These are my links for November 19th through November 20th:
California, Home of the Destitute– Today, California is the most spectacular failure of our time. Its government is broke. Productive citizens have been fleeing for some years now, selling their homes at inflated prices (until recently) and moving to Colorado, Arizona, Texas and even Minnesota, like one of my neighbors. The results of California’s improvident liberalism have been tragically easy to predict: absurd public sector wage and benefit packages, a declining tax base, surging welfare enrollment, falling economic production, ever-increasing deficits. Soon, California politicians will be looking to less glamorous states for bailout money. Things have now devolved to the point where California leads the nation in poverty:The Golden State’s poverty rate is a whopping 23.5 percent – higher than the District of Columbia, at 23.2 percent, and even Florida, and 19.5 percent.This is based on the federal government’s new poverty measure, and California suffered a bit because of its high cost of living, but that is a minor point–by any measure, California is number one in destitution. The cause is obvious: liberal Democrats have held unimpeded sway in California, just as they have in Detroit, Illinois, Miami, the District, and so on. Everywhere, the results have been similar. Where liberal policies are implemented, productive citizens fade away and poverty follows.
Cows Flee California Seeking a Better Economic Climate– It’s not just millionaires and billionaires who are fleeing the economic madness in California. Even cows are starting to depart for greener pastures. That’s right, 400 bovine refugees shuffled off to Kansas just this month, with more expected to follow as over 100 dairy farms in California close their doors.Why are cows voting with their hooves?
Opinion: President Obama won, but Obamacare didn’t – Carrie Lukas – POLITICO.com– During the campaign, President Barack Obama minimized discussion of his first term’s most consequential new law: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or what’s commonly referred to as Obamacare.That was no accident. Undoubtedly, the campaign knew that Obamacare is, as it always has been, deeply unpopular with the American people. In fact, Obamacare epitomizes the public’s greatest concerns about this administration: the massive expansion of government and failure to deliver a new era of post-partisanship to Washington, since the law was jammed through using a party line vote and every available legislative trick. Bringing up health care risked stirring the passions that fueled the tea party’s rise and the Democrats’ defeat in 2010.Yet, research conducted by the polling company, inc./WomanTrend for Independent Women’s Voice (IWV) shows that health care was an important concern for Americans on Election Day. The president was reelected in spite of voters’ lingering distaste for Obamacare, and the health care issue will remain a critical issue for voters moving forward.Just a quarter, or 26 percent of those surveyed by the polling company on Election Day supported implementing Obamacare completely. Even less than half (48 percent) of self-identified Democrats want full implementation, suggesting that the health care law remains a liability, even within the president’s party.Forty-three percent of voters surveyed want Congress to either “just repeal the law” (30 percent) or move toward repeal, while pursuing other measures – including defunding, amending, and blocking – to prevent its implementation (13 percent). Another quarter (23 percent) favor amending the law, rather than full repeal.
Report: Paula Broadwell’s threat to Jill Kelley – Paula Broadwell allegedly threatened to make Jill Kelley “go away,” the New York Daily News reported Tuesday, in the latest twist in a sex scandal that has ensnared top U.S. national security officials.
Broadwell, the ex-mistress of retired Gen. David Petraeus — who stepped down from his post as head of the CIA over his extramarital affair with her — allegedly sent threatening emails to Kelley, a Tampa socialite who is reportedly a friend of Petraeus’s.
Oklahoma is latest to reject state-based health exchange– Add Oklahoma to the list of Republican-led states that won’t implement the key feature of President Obama’s healthcare law.Gov. Mary Fallin said Monday that she won’t set up a state-based insurance exchange — a new portal where people who don’t get insurance through their employers can shop for coverage, often with help from a federal subsidy.”It does not benefit Oklahoma taxpayers to actively support and fund a new government program that will ultimately be under the control of the federal government, that is opposed by a clear majority of Oklahomans, and that will further the implementation of a law that threatens to erode both the quality of American healthcare and the fiscal stability of the nation,” Fallin said in a statement.Republican governors are under pressure from conservatives not to set up their own exchanges. It’s seen as the best chance to stand in the way of the Affordable Care Act now that Obama’s reelection has protected the law from legislative repeal.
4 California men allegedly supported Taliban– Jihadist social media postings helped lead to the arrest and charging of four Los Angeles area men, who were allegedly on their way to Afghanistan to train with the Taliban and join al Qaeda, federal officials said.They were also plotting to kill American soldiers and bomb government installations, according to a joint statement Monday by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles.One of the men, a U.S. citizen born in Afghanistan, encouraged two of the others to embrace violent Islamic doctrine by introducing them online to radical teachings, including those of deceased U.S.-born al-Qaeda imam Anwar al-Awlaki.The three exposed their connection to each other and their radical leanings explicitly on Facebook for over a year. And one of them detailed his intentions to participate in jihad in an online chat with an FBI employee.Another man was recruited at a later point to join the other three in their training.
Tax loopholes alone can’t solve fiscal cliff– Raise revenues and reform the Tax Code? Easy — just eliminate all the tax loopholes, right?Good luck with that.“Eliminating loopholes” sounds a lot better than “raising rates”: The tax rate is what I pay, and a loophole is what the other guy gets.But the biggest loopholes in the U.S. Tax Code — generally referred to as tax expenditures — aren’t just the tricks of the trade for millionaires with offshore bank accounts. For the vast majority of Americans, they’re just how things work: You don’t pay taxes on your health insurance or Medicare benefits; you contribute tax-free to your 401(k); and your mortgage interest pushes down your tax bill each year.And even if you dump the biggest of the set, these tax perks don’t even come close to closing the deficit. At best, the top 10 would pull in an extra $834 billion a year, according to Joint Committee on Taxation figures. Considering the hole lawmakers are trying to fill is several trillion dollars large, it’s clear they wouldn’t even come close
Red-State Senate Democrats May Be Hard to Corral on Cliff– Senate Democrats, optimistic about prospects for a deficit-reduction deal, may have to contend with wariness from seven members who face 2014 re-election campaigns in states Mitt Romney won Nov. 6.Some of those seven Democrats, including North Carolina’s Kay Hagan and Louisiana ’s Mary Landrieu, say they aren’t ready to commit to President Barack Obama’s proposals for boosting tax revenue. Instead, Hagan isn’t ruling out support for extending the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for top earners. Landrieu said she opposes eliminating tax breaks for oil companies.Possible Democratic defections heighten the need for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to woo Republican support for a deal to avert the so-called fiscal cliff — $607 billion in tax increases and spending cuts set to begin taking effect in January. Lame-duck Republican Senators Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Olympia Snowe of Maine and Richard Lugar of Indiana are potential candidates.
Portman and Cruz plan to focus on fundraising, recruitment for NRSC– The new vice chairmen of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) have unusually specific tasks heading into 2014: fundraising and recruitment.Both elements are crucial to a successful election cycle, and the early, precise focus by newly elected Chairman Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) demonstrates a shake-up in committee structure meant to avoid the losses that plagued Republicans in 2012.Moran has tasked Sen.-elect Ted Cruz (R-Texas) with grassroots and Hispanic outreach. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) has been given the goal of energizing donors fatigued from an election in which they saw a disappointing return on their investments.The trio has met at least twice since the announcement of new NRSC leadership last Wednesday, and a senior Moran aide said the three will continue to meet and discuss plans for 2014 over the phone until they all return to the Senate in January.
Boehner tightens grip on GOP rank and file ahead of deficit talks– Speaker John Boehner is tightening his grip on the House Republican Conference weeks before an anticipated vote on a deficit deal.The Ohio Republican has smoothed over differences with Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), expanded his powers on the panel that doles out plum committee assignments, shot down a challenge to his earmark moratorium and worked behind the scenes to ensure that Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) would win her leadership contest.All of Boehner’s moves are aimed at shoring up his influence over the GOP conference, which in turn maximizes the Speaker’s leverage with President Obama and the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Is Rush Limbaugh’s Country Gone?– William Bennett, conservative stalwart, television commentator and secretary of education under President Reagan, complained on the CNN Web site that Democrats have been successful in settingthe parameters and focus of the national and political dialogue as predominantly about gender, race, ethnicity and class. This is the paradigm, the template through which many Americans, probably a majority, more or less view the world, our country, and the election. It is a divisive strategy and Democrats have targeted and exploited those divides. How else can we explain that more young people now favor socialism to capitalism?In fact, the 2011 Pew Research Center poll Bennett cites demonstrates that in many respects conservatives are right to be worried:Not only does a plurality (49-43) of young people hold a favorable view of socialism — and, by a tiny margin (47-46), a negative view of capitalism — so do liberal Democrats, who view socialism positively by a solid 59-33; and African Americans, 55-36. Hispanics are modestly opposed, 49-44, to socialism, but they hold decisively negative attitudes toward capitalism, 55-32.
The GOP Consultant Class Blames Me– RUSH: Couple of sound bites. First, Mike Murphy. He is a Republican consultant. He was on Meet the Press yesterday, and among other things, he said this.MURPHY: The biggest problem that Romney had was the Republican primary. That’s what’s driving the Republican brand right now to a disaster, and we’ve got to get, kind of, a party view of America that’s not right out of Rush Limbaugh’s dream journal.RUSH: You gotta get a view of the Republican Party that is not right out of my dream journal. What, folks, did I or any of you have to do with the Republican primary? Did not Murphy get the candidate he wanted? All these consultants, do you realize they get rich no matter who wins or loses? Little-known secret. They get rich no matter who wins or loses. But the Republican primary, as far as he’s concerned there were too many conservatives in it saying too many stupid things.We need to get rid of conservatism, is what is he’s saying. We need to get rid of all these people shouting stupid conservative stuff, and that’s where it happened at the primary, and that’s where Romney lost the election because of all the conservatives branding the party. Romney was not able to recover from that. Steve Schmidt. He’s back. He can’t let go of me. This is University of Delaware panel discussion last Wednesday.
Hostess mediation: Judge delays hearing to allow Hostess, unions to work out issues– Hostess Brands Inc. agreed in court on Monday to enter private mediation with its lenders and leaders of a striking union to try to avert the liquidation of the maker of Twinkies snack cakes and Wonder Bread.Hostess, its lenders and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) agreed to mediation at the urging of Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain of the Southern District of New York, who advised against a more expensive, public hearing regarding the company’s liquidation.”My desire to do this is prompted primarily by the potential loss of over 18,000 jobs as well as my belief that there is a possibility to resolve this matter,” Drain said.The 82-year-old Hostess was seeking permission to liquidate its business, claiming that its operations have been crippled by a bakers strike and that winding down is the best way to preserve its dwindling cash.
California officials release results of first cap-and-trade auction– The California Air Resources Board today released the results of the state’s inaugural cap-and-trade auction.The auction took place on Wednesday.Cap-and-trade is a system designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California. Under the system, businesses including refineries, power plants and large factories will be capped at 90 percent of current emissions. Those businesses must then buy credits at auction or on the open market in order to be allowed to continue to produce at current levels.Businesses could also meet their regulatory burdens by lowering emissions.Cap-and-trade goes into effect in 2013.The newly-released report on the auction shows businesses purchased all 23.1 million emissions credits that were up for bid.
The settlement price for accepted bids in the auction was $10.09.
CARB has estimated that a $10 price for emissions allowances could add 10 cents to the price of a gallon of gasoline.
Another Victory for Challengers of HHS Mandate – The HHS contraceptive mandate suffered another loss last Friday—its third loss in the four decisions that have addressed the merits of the claim that the HHS mandate violates the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). In a thorough opinion in Tyndale House Publishers v. Sebelius, Judge Reggie B. Walton of the federal district court for the District of Columbia granted a preliminary injunction that bars the federal government from penalizing a publishing house for its religiously based refusal to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives that also operate as abortifacients.
Exercise Gains Momentum as Psychiatric Treatment– The benefits of exercise in nearly every aspect of physical health are well known, but evidence in recent years suggests a unique effect on some psychiatric disorders, prompting mental health clinicians to rethink treatment strategies and to consider the possibility of exercise not just in therapy but as therapy.”Above and beyond the standard benefits of exercise in healthy living and general well-being, there is strong evidence demonstrating the ability of exercise to in fact treat mental illness and have significant benefits on a neurotrophic, neurobiologic basis,” Douglas Noordsy, MD, told delegates attending Psych Congress 2012: US Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress.Some of the strongest evidence is seen in depression, where psychiatric benefits from exercise have been shown in some cases to match those achieved with pharmacologic interventions and to persist to prevent remission in the long term.
Asian American voters go heavily for Obama in California– Latino voters are credited with helping swing the vote for Barack Obama, but the rapidly growing Asian American electorate supported the incumbent by an even broader margin. According to Edison Research’s exit polls, 73 percent of Asian Americans nationwide voted for Obama, while 71 percent of Latinos did so. In California, 79 percent of Asian Americans favored Obama.In 1992, 31 percent of Asian Americans preferred the Democratic nominee, but that number has grown in each subsequent election since. The Asian American population, meanwhile, has increased 32 percent over the past decade alone.While they represented just 3.4 percent of the national vote, Asian Americans accounted for 11 percent of the California vote, according to Edison Research. Voter registration tallies show Orange County Asian American voters running nearly 5 points greater than the statewide share, according to Political Data.By 2050, Asian Americans will account for 10 percent of the nation’s voters and at least 20 percent of the state’s voters, according to Taeku Lee, a UC Berkeley political scientist and co-author of the National Asian American Survey.
Orlando Health eliminates 400 jobs through layoffs and attrition– For the first time in its nearly 100-year history, Orlando Health is reducing its workforce by up to 400 positions starting immediately, hospital officials announced this morning.The elimination of 300 to 400 jobs will occur in two phases, and represents a 2- to 3-percent decrease in the system’s 16,000 employees, said Orlando Health spokeswoman Kena Lewis. The reductions affect all departments and all eight of its hospitals, including Orlando Regional Medical Center and Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children.The first wave of employees affected by the “labor expense reduction” portion of the initiative received their notices Friday, said Lewis. The next wave of downsizing will happen after the first of the year.
McClintock: Election will bring pain to CA– Abraham Lincoln said that if the voters get their backsides too close to the fire, they’ll just have to sit on the blisters for a while. After the Nov. 6 election, Californians have some very nasty blisters to sit on.However, after pain, enlightenment usually comes. If not, California pharmacies will be selling out of salve.
Austin company creates app that helped Obama campaign– Political experts say the just-completed presidential race involved more spending by both sides on information technology than ever before.Some of that spending was on applications for mobile devices as a way to reach out to both supporters and volunteers.That is why a small Austin digital design firm, Thirteen23, found itself working furiously from May through July to create the app the Obama campaign wanted.The Obama campaign had worked with Square Inc., a mobile payments company, on an app that could let supporters contribute to the campaign over their smartphones. When the campaign wanted a bigger, more elaborate app, Square referred them to Thirteen23, which it had previously done work with.The 11-person Austin firm hadn’t done political projects before, but executive director Doug Cook said it liked the challenge of creating a vital two-way online communication link between the campaign and its supporters and volunteers.While some campaigns had already used smartphone apps to push out information to supporters, this application was seen as something far more complex.
“We said, if we are going to build an app, lets make tools that make people effective. Lets give volunteers tools that they can use,” said Ryan Hovenweep, the firm’s creative director.
The app would provide localized information about campaign events to supporters. But it also gave volunteer workers the tools to canvass potential voters house to house and to report back their findings to the campaign’s computers.
“With a smartphone in hand, you can go talk to people and get information,” Hovenweep said. “With the app, they are immediately taking the information from the ground and putting it back into the campaign database.”
With a tight deadline and the order to create an useful, complex app for volunteers, the company threw itself into the project in May and delivered software to the Obama campaign in July. The Obama campaign released the first version of software, for iPhone users, at the end of July. The Android version was delivered a few weeks later.
Comments Off on The Morning Flap: November 20, 2012
These are my links for December 15th through December 20th:
Obama’s job-approval rating is highest since summer – After a difficult summer and a contentious fall, President Obama’s job-approval ratings are showing signs of improvement — a crucial indicator of his reelection chances as he seeks to overcome voters’ doubts about his economic stewardship.A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that Americans are still broadly disapproving of Obama’s handling of the economy and jobs, the top issues, but that views of his overall performance have recovered among key groups, including independents, young adults and seniors.
Gingrich’s Lead Dries Up in National Polls – Newt Gingrich’s lead in the GOP presidential race is disappearing as the former House speaker comes under heavy attack from his rivals, according to three new national polls.Gingrich had surged to the top of the ballot in recent weeks, leading his fellow GOP candidates in several polls by double digits. But an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Tuesday finds him tied with Romney for first. They each receive 30 percent support from registered voters. The pair, though, holds a substantial lead over the rest of the field. Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who has been running negative ads against Gingrich, has 15 percent. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann receives 7 percent, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has 6 percent, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum garners 4 percent support. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman sits at the bottom of the poll with 2 percent.
Obama is the Fourth Best President? – President Obama told 60 Minutes — in a portion of the interview that did not air — that his accomplishments so far as president rank pretty high historically.Said Obama: “The issue here is not gonna be a list of accomplishments. As you said yourself, Steve, you know, I would put our legislative and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president — with the possible exceptions of Johnson, F.D.R., and Lincoln — just in terms of what we’ve gotten done in modern history. But, you know, but when it comes to the economy, we’ve got a lot more work to do. And we’re gonna keep on at it.”
What if Ron Paul wins Iowa? – If he should win, Iowa caucus goers will rightly be the target of widespread anger and disdain from the mainstream and conservative media as well as a great many in the party, both from establishment and Tea Party quarters. An Iowa state operative, rather defensively, insisted to me that it would be wrong to take a Ron Paul win out on Iowa or strip it of its first-in-the-nation status. “Ron Paul proves a point — if you run the three-pronged traditional caucus approach: advertise here, send mailers and visit often — anyone can do well — EVEN Ron Paul. Iowa isn’t a place that ‘wins’ the nomination it’s a place that ‘winnows’ the path to the nomination.” That’s just not going to fly when the flogging of Republicans begins, labeling Iowans as a bunch of racist loons. If Iowa can’t sniff out such characters, why put it in charge of the winnowing?As far as the race itself goes, it will certainly burst the Newt Gingrich bubble, suggesting that his 15 minutes (four or five weeks?) of fame are over and casting down on his organizational abilities. For the candidates who finish back in the back (e.g., Perry, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum), Iowa would be a reprieve, allowing them to argue, in essence, that the whole thing was an aberration, before they move on to “real” contests in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida.
The Company Ron Paul Keeps – Yet a subsequent report by Reason found that Ron Paul & Associates, the defunct company that published the newsletters and which counted Paul and his wife as officers, reported an income of nearly $1 million in 1993 alone. If this figure is reliable, Paul must have earned multiple millions of dollars over the two decades plus of the newsletters’ existence. It is incredible that he had less than an active interest in what was being printed as part of a subscription newsletter enterprise that earned him and his family millions of dollars. Ed Crane, the president of the Cato Institute, said Paul told him that “his best source of congressional campaign donations was the mailing list for the Spotlight, the conspiracy-mongering, anti-Semitic tabloid run by the Holocaust denier Willis Carto.”This sordid history would not bear repeating but for the fact that the media love to portray Paul as a truth-telling, antiwar Republican standing up to the “hawkish” conservative establishment. Otherwise, the newsletters, and Paul’s continued failure to name their author, would be mentioned in every story about him, and he would be relegated to the fringe where he belongs. But Paul has escaped the sort of media scrutiny that would bury other political figures. A December 15 profile of Paul in the Washington Post, for instance, affectionately described his love of gardening and The Sound of Music and judged that “world events have conspired to make him look increasingly on point”—all without any mention of the newsletter controversy. Though present at nearly every Republican debate, he has yet to be asked about the newsletters. Had Paul’s persona and views changed significantly since 2008, this oversight might be understandable. But he continues to say and do things suggesting that, far from disowning the statements he has claimed “do not represent what I believe or have ever believed,” he still believes them.
Auto-insurance researchers: ‘Cell phone bans don’t help reduce crashes’ – All those fancy in-car docks and voice navigation? Utterly pointless. At least according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, who reckons that it’s not the phone that’s the issue, but “the full spectrum of things that distract.” The IIHS (funded by a group of car insurers) compared crash data between states that had instituted cell phone bans and those that hadn’t. According to its research, while the ban had reduced phone use (whoa, really?), it hadn’t helped reduce crash rates. The National Transportation Safety Board has presented several studies linking cell phone use to an increased chance of crashing and their latest proposals would ban most hands-free systems found in major car makers’ vehicles today. Hear that? That was the sound of hundreds of third-party accessory manufacturers recoiling in horror.
The 25 Best Social Media Books of 2011 – It seems like only yesterday that I was writing my review of the best social media books of 2010, a list that included only 15 selections. Time flies so fast and 2012 is just around the corner, so it’s time to reveal my picks for best books of 2011. Unfortunately for me, but fortunately for you, I had a hard time narrowing down the list to 15 so I have increased the number to 25 books. There were simply too many great additions to literature that exists on social in 2011 to be limiting. This is certainly a reflection of both the maturity of social media in the marketplace as well as the importance that certain publishers (notably Wiley) have placed on releasing books with social media as their main subject matter.Before I start off with my recommended social media books of the year, we always must first begin with those classics that were updated and revised for 2011 that should be on anyone’s wish list for the holidays. These include:
Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies [Expanded and Revised Edition] by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff
Engage! The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate and Measure Success in the New Web. Revised and Updated by Brian Solis
The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly [3rd Edition] by David Meerman Scott
The Social Media Survival Guide: Strategies, Tactics, and Tools for Succeeding in the Social Web by Deltina Hay
GOP Debate: Fox gets glowing reviews – Given that some of those dastardly “mainstream media” reporters within the Beltway have been known to rib Fox News’ journalism from time to time, it’s been notable to see a clear trend emerge from the Republican debates in 2011: The faceoffs hosted by Fox have been some of the most lauded by media observers – even by some liberal commentators.Thursday’s debate in Sioux City, Iowa, won four-star reviews.
In Memoriam: Christopher Hitchens, 1949–2011 – Christopher Hitchens—the incomparable critic, masterful rhetorician, fiery wit, and fearless bon vivant—died today at the age of 62. Hitchens was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in the spring of 2010, just after the publication of his memoir, Hitch-22, and began chemotherapy soon after. His matchless prose has appeared in Vanity Fair since 1992, when he was named contributing editor.
AP-GfK Poll: Obama Re-Election Odds Roughly 50-50 – Entering 2012, President Barack Obama’s re-election prospects are essentially a 50-50 proposition, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. It found that most Americans say the president deserves to be voted out of office even though they have concerns about the Republican alternatives.Obama’s overall standing in the poll suggests he could be in jeopardy of losing re-election even as the survey showed that public’s outlook on the economy appears to be improving. For the first time since spring, more people said the economy got better in the past month than said it got worse. The president’s approval rating on unemployment shifted upward — from 40 percent in October to 45 percent in the latest poll — as the jobless rate fell to 8.6 percent last month, its lowest level since March 2009.
The poll found Americans were evenly divided over whether they expect Obama to be re-elected next year.
For the first time, the poll found that a majority of adults, 52 percent, said Obama should be voted out of office while 43 percent said he deserves another term. The numbers mark a reversal since last May, when 53 percent said Obama should be re-elected while 43 percent said he didn’t deserve four more years.
Obama’s overall job approval stands at a new low, with 44 percent approving and 54 percent disapproving. The president’s standing among independents is worse: Thirty-eight percent approve while 59 percent disapprove. Among Democrats, the president holds steady with an approval rating of 78 percent while only 12 percent of Republicans approve of the job he’s doing.
Carlos the Jackal sentenced to life, again – Carlos the Jackal, the flamboyant Venezuelan who symbolized Cold War terrorism, was sentenced to life in prison – again – in a Paris trial that ended late Thursday with him rallying for revolution and weeping for Moammar Gadhafi.Carlos, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, hasn’t seen freedom since French agents spirited him out of Sudan in a sack in 1994. He’s already serving a life sentence in a French prison for a triple murder in 1975, the worst punishment meted out in a country that does not have the death penalty.
Once one of world’s most-wanted men, the former gun-for-hire and self-proclaimed revolutionary was escorted out of his cell and back to court last month to face charges that he instigated four bombings in France in 1982 and 1983 that killed 11 people and injured more than 140 others.
Just before midnight Thursday, the court found Ramirez guilty in all four attacks, and sentenced him to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 18 years.
Combative and defiant throughout the six-week trial, the 62-year-old Ramirez denied any role in the attacks.
This section specifically affirms that the President has the authority to deny due process to any American it charges with “substantially supporting al Qaeda, the Taliban or any ‘associated forces’” – whatever that means.
Would “substantial support” of an “associated force,” mean linking a web-site to a web-site that links to a web-site affiliated with al-Qaeda? We don’t know. The question is, “do we really want to find out?”
We’re told not to worry – that the bill explicitly states that nothing in it shall alter existing law.
There is no existing law that gives the President the power to ignore the Bill of Rights and detain Americans without due process. There is only an assertion by the last two presidents that this power is inherent in an open-ended and ill-defined war on terrorism. But it is a power not granted by any act of Congress. At least, not until now.
What this bill says is, “What Presidents have only asserted, Congress now affirms in statute.”
Gingrich Momentum Slows, Polls Suggest – National polls are less important than those in Iowa and New Hampshire, but there’s a worrying number for Mr. Gingrich here as well. The Gallup tracking poll, which has a larger sample size than most other surveys, shows Mr. Gingrich’s lead over Mr. Romney down to 5 points, 29 percent to 24 percent. A week and a half ago, when the Gallup poll made its debut, Mr. Gingrich’s lead was 15 points.What’s interesting about the Gallup poll is that Mr. Romney’s support has not increased very much; instead, the number of undecided voters has grown, which is fairly unusual at a critical stage of a primary campaign. This suggests that the race remains quite fluid, but that fluidity may no longer be working to Mr. Gingrich’s benefit.
The great Gingrich crash of ’11? – Primary doomsayers are a dime a dozen during the campaign season, but there’s enough evidence out this morning to suggest that Gingrich may — may — be going down in Iowa.First, the polls. On the Real Clear Politics aggregate polling data for Iowa, Gingrich has fallen from a 31-point high to 27.2. He’s still way out ahead of the pack (Romney has 18, Paul 16.7), but if history is any guide, falls in Iowa are irreversible. The three other candidates to surge in Iowa — Bachmann, Perry, and Cain — were never able to gain points on the RCP aggregate after they started losing them.
Second, the Intrade numbers: Over the last two days, Gingrich’s closing value crashed 15 points, his most precipitous fall on the online exchange site since his surge began.
Newt’s loot: Billionaire commits $20M – Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson is planning to direct $20 million to an outside group backing Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign, multiple sources told POLITICO – the first answer to urgent pleas from allies to the former speaker’s long-time billionaire supporters.After leaving Congress, Gingrich cultivated a network of a few dozen uber-wealthy backers who poured tens of millions of dollars into a network of groups that helped him maintain a foothold in politics. Now, operatives supporting his presidential campaign are asking those same donors to write fat checks to a suite of new super PACs they hope can spend big on ads to offset Gingrich campaign fundraising that had lagged behind his rivals.
"Unless something changes, he will run in the 7th Congressional District and is confident in doing so," Lungren adviser Rob Stutzman told The Bee.
Lungren had toyed with running against McClintock, the more conservative of the two, in the 2012 GOP primary for the 4th Congressional District.
The district where McClintock will be running is among the most conservative in the state. It includes part of Roseville, and stretches from Lake Tahoe south past Yosemite National Park.
By deciding to stay put, Lungren will seek the congressional seat that includes his home in Gold River. If he wins reelection — not a sure thing — he would represent McClintock, whose residence is in Elk Grove.
"Republicans need to focus on holding the House, not necessarily running against each other, which unfortunately is happening elsewhere," Stutzman said.
Lungren won reelection last year against Democratic physician Ami Bera. Bera, a proven fund-raiser, is planning to run again.
Does Rick Perry have a Social Security problem? – Perry has a couple of options here. He can disclaim his prior suggestion to send Social Security to the states, but stick by his statement that Social Security is not sustainable. That would require presenting something more detailed than his campaign line that we should all have a ”conversation” about Social Security. Another approach would be to stick with his call for a radical reworking or end to federal retirement benefits. That too would require a full plan and plenty of assurance that he’s not going to relegate grandma to eating cat food in her old age. Perry’s campaign has not yet responded to my request for comment.
There is plenty of room for smart talk on Social Security. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) sets forth some solid suggestions in his Roadmap for America. Perry will need to show he has a serious plan as well — or maybe even to adopt Ryan’s ideas in total.
Rove is right about one thing: Even for Republicans, the idea of ending Social Security is going to be a tough sell.
UPDATED AT 1:34 P.M.
A Perry spokesman e-mails me: “We realize entitlement reform is a politically touchy subject, but it must be discussed if America is serious about fiscal responsibility and economic growth. At the rate they are going, many federal entitlement programs will be unsustainable, unaffordable and unavailable for future generations. Governor Perry would protect Social Security benefits for those at or near retirement and also recognizes we must discuss changes to make Social Security and other retirement benefits financially sound and viable going forward.”
That doesn’t sound like he’s ready to propose anything specific. We’ll have to see if that will be sufficient to allay concerns he is out to wreck Social Security.
Perry needs a specific proposal like Paul Ryan
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