These are my links for March 8th through March 9th:
Limbaugh attack boomerangs on the White House – Perhaps the left carried on a little too long and a little too loudly regarding Rush Limbaugh’s nasty language about Sandra Fluke. Conservative activist Penny Nance, executive director of Concerned Women for America, has sent a letter to the White House chief of staff demanding President Obama’s super PAC live up to the same standard Democrats have articulated for Republicans and Rush Limbaugh.
Apple at center of e-book price-fixing allegations – The Justice Department has threatened to sue Apple and major publishers in a high-profile case that could reshape the digital-books market, driving down prices but also potentially shifting market power from publishers to e-commerce giant Amazon.
The government warned Apple and five major book companies that it intends to file a lawsuit accusing them of colluding to boost the prices of e-books, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources. Several of the publishers are already in talks to settle the matter, although those discussions appear to be at an early and uncertain stage, the Journal reported.
The publishers in question include Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group, Penguin Group, Macmillan and HarperCollins Publishers.
Now Limbaugh is returning the favor – and the split between the Sacramento retailer and the controversial radio host appears to be permanent.
Limbaugh on Thursday rejected Sleep Train’s offer to resume advertising on his national radio show and rehire Limbaugh as a paid spokesman. Limbaugh’s spokesman said the conservative commentator would no longer carry Sleep Train’s ads “in the future.”
Sleep Train stopped advertising on the show last Friday, becoming one of the first sponsors to drop Limbaugh. The company’s decision came two days after Limbaugh called a Georgetown University law student a “slut” and a “prostitute” over her stance on health insurance coverage for contraception.
Limbaugh apologized to the student over the weekend.
Sleep Train’s decision was especially noteworthy because Limbaugh and Sleep Train chief executive Dale Carlsen have known each other since the 1980s, when Sleep Train was a small company and Limbaugh was an on-air personality at Sacramento’s KFBK (1530 AM).
Kucinich May Still Run from Washington – Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who just lost his re-election bid in a Democratic primary on Tuesday, did not close the door to running for Congress in a new district — in a new state, CBS News reports.
He said “there’s new possibilities that are being born at this moment.”
Should he decide to run again, Washingtion state’s “most appealing choices for a Kucinich run could be the first and sixth congressional districts which lack incumbents because of the retirements of Democratic Reps. Jay Inslee and Norm Dicks.”
Pro-Obama PAC Won’t Give Back Maher’s Money – Current and former White House aides on Thursday rejected demands by a conservative group that a Super PAC supporting President Obama refund a $1 million check from comedian and talk show host Bill Maher because of coarse comments he’s made about Sarah Palin and other Republican women.
While Obama earlier this week denounced similar comments that radio talk show host made about a college student, Sandra Fluke, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters the president is not going to get involved in the Maher battle.
Romney Really Might Not Have the Delegates by June – The Republican primary has revealed distinct geographic tendencies. Mitt Romney is dominant in New England and in the West. Newt Gingrich has run well in the Deep South, while Rick Santorum has done well in caucus states, the Great Plains, and the peripheral South (it remains to be seen whether his support has bled into Gingrich’s strength in the Deep South). That leaves the Midwest as a battleground between Romney and Santorum.
While Romney had a good night on Super Tuesday, the truth is that he did nothing to alter the basic regional nature of his support. He won handily in New England and the West, essentially tied in the Midwest, and ran poorly in the South.
For the first time, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is putting a timeframe on his decision whether to enter the race.
He’s running for re-election as mayor but will he also jump into a possible recall race for governor?
He’s not answering that question yet, but now, for the first time, the mayor is indicating when he might make up his mind.
With an election for mayor less than four weeks away, Barrett continued to deflect any questions about a possible run for governor.
“I am certainly considering running for governor, but I haven’t made a decision quite honestly,” Barrett said.
Barrett spoke at a forum sponsored by Wispolitics.com, and afterward, 12 News reporter Kent Wainscott asked him whether Milwaukee voters deserved to know whether he plans to enter a likely governor’s recall race.
“I don’t know what the future holds, and that’s why I didn’t deny that this is something that I’m thinking about, because I am thinking about it, and I think the voters know that,” Barrett said.
GOP strategist: Appeal to Latino voters is party’s ‘great challenge’ – Republican Party strategist Whit Ayres says a new Fox News poll showing a strong preference for Democrats among Latino voters underscores what he called “the great challenge of the Republican Party going forward” – doing better with non-white voters, especially Latinos and Asians.
David Axelrod, President Obama’s senior campaign strategist, is scheduled to appear on Bill Maher’s late-night talk show within the next few weeks, according to Kelley Carville, an HBO spokesman.
As the controversy over Rush Limbaugh’s comments about Sandra Fluke continued, a former Obama White House official today joined Republicans in pointing out that Maher, who recently donated $1 million to a pro-Obama super PAC, has a history of his misogynistic slurs.
Last year, he was rebuked by the National Organization for Women for calling Sarah Palin a “dumb tw*t.”
“palin is right to point out that bill maher has said some pretty disgusting things about women, comedian or not. they are rush like,” Austan Goolsbee, the former chairman of President Obama’s Council on Economic Advisors, and currently a professor at the University of Chicago, tweeted.
After Obama spoke with Fluke, the Georgetown University Law Student called a “slut” and “prostitute” by Limbaugh, Palin challenged Priorities USA to return Maher’s donation.
“Pres. Obama says he called Sandra Fluke because of his daughters. For the sake of everyone’s daughter, why doesn’t his super PAC return the $1 million he got from a rabid misogynist?,” Palin wrote Tuesday on her Facebook page.
The 56-42 vote staves off an election-year rebuke of Obama, but will give political ammunition to backers of TransCanada Corp.’s plan to build a pipeline connecting Alberta’s massive tar sands projects to Gulf Coast refineries.
Despite Obama’s efforts, 11 Democrats brushed off Obama on the vote and sided with Republicans.
The 11 Democratic defections were Sens. Max Baucus (Mont.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Bob Casey (Pa.), Kent Conrad (N.D.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Jon Tester (Mont.) and Jim Webb (Va.).
No Republicans voted against the measure, and 60 votes were needed to move forward.
Bill Bennett: A lesson in how to turn the tables – Bill Bennett had this to say on CNN about the Rush Limbaugh hypocrisy fest: “My question is whether the president will give back the million dollars Bill Maher gave him. I don’t know how he’s going to explain that to Sasha and Malia, when that guy uses language that would make Rush blush.”
The comment is, in a word, perfect. The gentle tone of irony contrasts with the left’s hyperventilating. The matter-of-fact assertion highlights how the left’s “outrage” is reserved for political opponents’ entertainers. And his gentle rebuke to the president — who chose to drag his daughters into a phony political gambit — is the frosting on the well- baked cake.
Notice, in fact, how it is now the representative of the left who wants to move on? The Obama spinners have got as much mileage out of Limbaugh as they can, and if the conversation is now going to turn to their side, well then, for heaven’s sake, it’s time to turn the page! Or, as Dave Weigel put it in reference to David Axelrod’s inanity (“If Romney couldn’t stand up to “the most strident voices in your party, how can he stand up to Ahmadinejad?”): “Axelrod has no case. He’s a nomad flogging a camel to get one last mile out of it after it’s already crossed half the Gobi with no water.”
Carbonite shoots its business model in the foot – The decline in the price of Carbonite stock since it announced it was dropping its longstanding advertising on the Rush Limbaugh show is not the real story of the damage done to Carbonite.
The price of Carbonite stock has been dropping since October for reasons unrelated to this controversy, although it did fall off a small cliff this week.
The real problem for Carbonite and its shareholders is that in leaving behind 15 million Rush listeners, Carbonite has shot its business model in the foot.
These are my links for February 24th through February 27th:
The State of the Twitterverse 2012 – Brian Solis – The first time I wrote about Twitter was March 2007. My, how time and Tweets fly. With 500 million registered users and 33 billion Tweets flying across the Twitterverse every day, Twitter has become a fabric of our digital culture. Twitter is now ingrained in our digital DNA and is reflected in our lifestyle and how we connect and communicate with one another.
While many struggle to understand its utility or its significance in the greater world of media, it is the most efficient global information network in existence today. News no longer breaks, it Tweets. People have demonstrated the speed and efficacy of social networking by connecting to one another based on interests (interest graph) rather then limiting connections to relationships (social graph). Twitter represents a promising intersection of new media, relationships, traditional media and information to form one highly human network.
I recently stumbled upon a well done infographic created by Infographic Labs to communicate the state of of the Twitterverse. It’s quite grand in its design. So, to help get the most out of it, I’ve dissected it into smaller byte-sized portions.
U.S. Agencies See No Move by Iran to Build a Bomb – Even as the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog said in a new report Friday that Iran had accelerated its uranium enrichment program, American intelligence analysts continue to believe that there is no hard evidence that Iran has decided to build a nuclear bomb.
Stages in Developing a Nuclear Nation – A report by international nuclear inspectors offers new details about Iran’s nuclear program. While Iran has increased production of a type of fuel needed to create the core of a nuclear bomb, it stops short of crossing that line
55% Oppose Affirmative Action Policies for College Admissions – The U.S. Supreme Court last week agreed to hear a case involving the use of race as a factor in college admissions. Most voters oppose the use of so-called affirmative action policies at colleges and universities and continue to believe those policies have not been successful despite being in place for 50 years.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 24% of Likely U.S. Voters favor applying affirmative action policies to college admissions. Fifty-five percent (55%) oppose the use of such policies to determine who is admitted to colleges and universities. Twenty-one percent (21%) are undecided.
EPA Needs More Time to Reconsider Boiler MACT Rules – American workers and the industries that employ them face an ill-thought out and incomplete set of Boiler MACT regulations costing $14 billion to implement. Given current economic realities, these regulations place at risk the jobs of your constituents and 200,000 working Americans across the country. With the economic climate as it is now, we cannot afford to lose too many more American manufacturing jobs.
The EPA asked for proper time to reconsider the Boiler MACT rules, and even attempted to stay the rules to have more time to clarify them. The forest products industry, for example, is compiling additional data at the EPA’s request, but may not have time to complete needed testing. The courts have made it clear that only Congress can give the EPA the time they have asked for and need to provide clarity. As a result, this legal uncertainty is a cloud over American businesses, which must be able to plan for the future in these uncertain economic times. Our communities deserve environmental rules that have been fully considered, and will hold up scientifically in the long term
“Cutting the Bureaucratic Gridlock” by Senator Tony Strickland – While I was visiting Teixeira Farms to discuss agricultural issues, the owners told me that one state agency said they needed to recycle all their water, while another state agency said they couldn’t recycle any of their water. The owners of the farm told me they were happy to do whatever was needed, but they couldn’t recycle all their water and none of their water at the same time.
Sadly, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Constituents and small business owners in my district often call my office, telling me that one state agency has given them the run-around about an issue and referred them to yet another state agency. Round and round they go, from agency to agency, until they finally give up.
Cleary, California’s vast bureaucracy is not working. There has to be a way to make government more efficient and maximize your precious tax dollars that come to Sacramento.
This is why I’ve authored Senate Bill 953. SB 953 would create the Bureaucracy Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC). SB 953 is modeled and named after the successful Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) program, which was established by the federal government after the end of the Cold War. The Federal BRAC program successfully identified and closed obsolete military bases, saving an estimated $20 billion annually.
State party chief wants GOP candidates to rally around statewide theme – Tacitly acknowledging that the California Republican Party will likely be strapped for funds to support candidates in the tough new districts in which many of them will be running this fall, Chairman Tom Del Beccaro said Friday he hopes GOP candidates will rally around “statewide themes” to maximize the party’s efforts.
“We need to make this a statewide election around an issue that coalesces voters,” he said at a news conference at the opening of the state GOP convention. “We can’t be the party of no. Parties become more attractive when they have positive ideas.”
In an email obtained by TheDC, Meckler told the state coordinators of Tea Party Patriots on Thursday night that he “fought long and hard” to maintain the group “as an organization that is run from the bottom up, with the intent of serving the grassroots.”
“Unfortunately, it is my belief that I have lost this fight,” Meckler said. “I probably fought the internal fight longer than I should have, but I wanted to give absolutely every possible effort to preserving what I believe was the unique nature of the TPP organization.”
Since the organization’s founding, Meckler has shared the role of national coordinator with co-founder Jenny Beth Martin. But Meckler wrote in the email that he had lost “influence in the leadership of the organization, and it has been that way for quite some time.”
Meckler said the board granted Martin “almost complete power over the day-to-day operations” in November 2011 after a “protracted fight in which I was complaining about the direction, operation (top-down) and finances of the organization.”
A talk with Scott Walker – For many conservatives frustrated with the Republican Party, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has been a bright spot. After taking office last year in a bluish state, Walker set out to close a $3.6 billion budget hole, in part, by reforming public sector unions. His reforms, which gave workers choices as to whether they wanted to join a union and curbed union collective bargaining powers that were crippling local budgets, sparked a wave a protests. But Walker stood firm and prevailed. Now unions plan to spend tens of millions of dollars on a campaign to recall him, with an election anticipated by June.
On Thursday, the Washington Examiner spoke with Walker by telephone about his reforms, the upcoming recall election, his decision to reject Obamacare funding, his views about the proper role of government and the extended Republican presidential primary.
Starting March 5, online readers will be asked to buy a digital subscription at an initial rate of 99 cents for four weeks. Readers who do not subscribe will be able to read 15 stories in a 30-day period for free.
Separately, The Times announced plans to launch a new weekly lifestyle section called Saturday for its print subscribers.
Other news outlets that have begun charging for online journalism include the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Dallas Morning News. Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper company, this week announced plans to launch a similar program at 80 publications, saying it could boost earnings by $100 million in 2013.
U.S. does not believe Iran is trying to build nuclear bomb – As U.S. and Israeli officials talk publicly about the prospect of a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program, one fact is often overlooked: U.S. intelligence agencies don’t believe Iran is actively trying to build an atomic bomb.
A highly classified U.S. intelligence assessment circulated to policymakers early last year largely affirms that view, originally made in 2007. Both reports, known as national intelligence estimates, conclude that Tehran halted efforts to develop and build a nuclear warhead in 2003.
The most recent report, which represents the consensus of 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, indicates that Iran is pursuing research that could put it in a position to build a weapon, but that it has not sought to do so.
Although Iran continues to enrich uranium at low levels, U.S. officials say they have not seen evidence that has caused them to significantly revise that judgment. Senior U.S. officials say Israel does not dispute the basic intelligence or analysis.
Could California swing the Republican nomination? – If no clear front-runner in the delegate count emerges by the end of April, Texas and California will move to the center of the political universe. These two gigantic, expensive states could then hold the keys to the nomination and determine whether we are headed for a brokered convention.
What would a hotly contested California Republican primary campaign, unseen in decades, look like? Certainly it would be very expensive, and waged almost entirely on television. The state is too big to quickly organize on a district level (ask anyone who has run for statewide office in California), making broadcast media critical. A quick bus tour, some fly-arounds and earned media stops would make up the rest. An insurgent candidate could also conceivably attempt to organize the small number of Republicans who live in heavily Democratic congressional districts in Los Angeles to score a few delegates.
California’s primary is “closed,” meaning only registered Republicans may participate. This results in a more conservative electorate than in “open” primary states where voters of other affiliations may vote in the Republican primary.
Although California votes late enough to be winner-take-all, it isn’t. Under rules adopted in 2000 and first put into effect in 2004, the California Republican Party will allocate delegates proportionally by congressional district. In 2008, John McCain won in 48 of 53 districts, with Mitt Romney winning in the remaining five.
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.
These are my links for November 21st from 08:13 to 14:38:
Boehner blames Obama for failure of supercommittee to reach a deal – House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is blaming President Obama for the failure of the congressional supercommittee to reach a deal for cutting the federal deficit.The Speaker’s office sent out a memo Monday morning that says the supercommittee “was unable to reach agreement because President Obama and Washington Democrats insisted on dramatic tax hikes on American job creators, which would make our economy worse.”The memo from Boehner’s office says Obama set the deficit panel up for failure by demanding it become the vehicle for economic stimulus.
“The President designed a political strategy that doomed the committee to failure first by insisting the committee include $450 billion of his failed stimulus policies in any agreement, making deficit reduction much harder and second by issuing a veto threat warning he would not accept an agreement that did not include a job-killing tax increase,” the memo obtained by The Hill states.
The memo was not signed by the Speaker, as is customary for messages that come directly from him.
Super Committee Fails to Reach Deficit Agreement – The bipartisan congressional committee tasked with finding at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction announced on Monday it cannot reach agreement by the Wednesday deadline, a stark if not unexpected admission that its efforts have ended in failure.”After months of hard work and intense deliberations, we have come to the conclusion today that it will not be possible to make any bipartisan agreement available to the public before the committee’s deadline,” the co-chairs, Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said.The declaration came late Monday afternoon in a written statement from the 12-member Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction despite last-second discussions in closed-door meetings.
The committee, in the end, could not resolve that Republicans would not go as far as Democrats wanted on allowing more revenue raisers, and Democrats did not want to move on entitlement reforms. Intense messaging by both political parties on which was more to blame is surely to spill out for days, if not months.
The super panel was created with extraordinary, fast-track powers this summer under the law agreed to by Republicans and Democrats during the debt ceiling crisis. That same law now says its failure will trigger $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts over 10 years, starting in 2013. That so-called sequestration is to include cuts to Pentagon spending.
When Did Liberals Become So Unreasonable? – If we trace liberal disappointment with President Obama to its origins, to try to pinpoint the moment when his crestfallen supporters realized that this was Not Change They Could Believe In, the souring probably began on December 17, 2008, when Obama announced that conservative Evangelical pastor Rick Warren would speak at his inauguration. “Abominable,” fumed John Aravosis on AmericaBlog. “Obama’s ‘inclusiveness’ mantra always seems to head only in one direction—an excuse to scorn progressives and embrace the Right,” seethed Salon’s Glenn Greenwald. On MSNBC, Rachel Maddow rode the story almost nightly: “I think the problem is getting larger for Barack Obama.” Negative 34 days into the start of the Obama presidency, the honeymoon was over.Since then, the liberal gloom has only deepened, as Obama compromise alternated with Obama failure. Liberals speak of Obama in unceasingly despairing terms. “I’m exhausted [from] defending you,” one supporter confessed to Obama at a town-hall meeting last year.“We are all incredibly frustrated,” Justin Ruben, MoveOn’s executive director, told the Washington Post in September. “I’m disappointed in Obama,” complained Steve Jobs, according to Walter Isaacson’s new biography. The assessments appear equally morose among the most left-wing and the most moderate of Obama’s supporters, among opinion leaders and rank-and-file voters. In early 2004, Democrats, by a 25-point margin, described themselves as “more enthusiastic than usual about voting.” At the beginning of 2008, the margin had shot up to over 60 percentage points. Now as many Democrats say they’re less enthusiastic about voting as say they’re more enthusiastic.
We’ve All Gone Crazy – Unlike David Brooks — I walk out of room the minute he starts talking — David Frum is someone I consider a friend, which causes me to get a lot of heat from some of my conservative friends, including those friends whom Frum has attacked by name.Frum stubbornly believes he’s right (and also, Right), and any attempt to argue him out of his position is doomed to failure, simply because it’s his position and he feels honor-bound to defend it. Being rather mule-headed myself, I can relate to that, even when I know Frum is wrong, wrong, wrong (as is anyone who disagrees with me). However, I believe the point of arguments among conservatives is always to find the best way to stomp liberalism into smithereens. And I wish Frum would stop carping so much about conservatives, and start stomping some liberals.Read it all
David Frum on the GOP’s Lost Sense of Reality – It’s a very strange experience to have your friends think you’ve gone crazy. Some will tell you so. Others will indulgently humor you. Still others will avoid you. More than a few will demand that the authorities do something to get you off the streets. During one unpleasant moment after I was fired from the think tank where I’d worked for the previous seven years, I tried to reassure my wife with an old cliché: “The great thing about an experience like this is that you learn who your friends really are.” She answered, “I was happier when I didn’t know.”It’s possible that my friends are right. I don’t think so—but then, crazy people never do. So let me put the case to you.I’ve been a Republican all my adult life. I have worked on the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, at Forbes magazine, at the Manhattan and American Enterprise Institutes, as a speechwriter in the George W. Bush administration. I believe in free markets, low taxes, reasonable regulation, and limited government. I voted for John McCain in 2008, and I have strongly criticized the major policy decisions of the Obama administration. But as I contemplate my party and my movement in 2011, I see things I simply cannot support.
Gallup poll: Is the Gingrich surge overrated? – In the latest Gallup GOP national poll, Mitt Romney (21 percent) and Newt Gingrich (22 percent) are in a statistical tie among registered Republican and Republican-leaning voters. Herman Cain has dropped to third (16 percent), with Texas Gov. Rick Perry (8 percent) now behind even Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) (9 percent).What is interesting is the Gingrich surge at the onset of his first round of rigorous scrutiny has him much lower than the peak for Perry (29 percent). A GOP operative says he’s not surprised. “[Gingrich is] more of a known commodity, and not always in a good sense. Therefore he’s less likely to see a full-scale swoon.” Republican consultant Tony Fratto says the terrain is also different now than when Perry entered with a splash. He tells me, “Perry and Cain haven’t lost all of their elevated support, just part. So there’s less for Gingrich to capture. And Romney’s support stays fairly consistent.”Probably……
Will GOP NLRB Member Resign to Shut Down Labor Agency? – On November 30, the National Labor Relations Board is scheduled to vote on proposed rule changes that would speed up union elections by disallowing some appeals until after a workplace vote occurs. Employers typically aim to delay an election so that they can use the time to intimidate employees to voting against a union.But that vote may never take place, because some conservative members of Congress are pushing a plan that would force the NLRB, which is an independent federal agency tasked with enforcing labor law, to shut down. There are currently three people serving on the NLRB; if that is reduced by one, the body will be unable to issue valid rulings.In New Process Steel, L.P. vs National Labor Relations Board, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that the NLRB cannot decide cases with only two members on the NLRB. For 27 months, during the last year of President Bush’s term and the first 14 months of the Obama administration, the NLRB only had two members (a Democrat and a Republican). The two members agreed to work together on common sense cases where they could easily agree on a ruling; they passed judgment in nearly 600 cases.
But the Supreme Court invalidated all those rulings because they were made with only two members. Therefore, some conservative politicians such as South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and prominent right-wing blogs such as RedState.com are pushing for Republican NLRB Board Member Brian Hayes to resign before the vote for the rules is issued on November 30, which would effectively shut down the agency.
“It’s an awesome thing,” said Tommy Farmer, state meth task force coordinator for Tennessee, the state that led the nation in the number of meth labs in 2010. “It keeps us in the fight so we can combat these things.”
The measure restores funding lost in February, when federal meth lab cleanup money through the Community Oriented Policing Services program ran out, and was not renewed. The program provided $19.2 million for meth lab cleanup in 2010.
Why Can’t Newspapers Make Money Online? – The bottom line is this: the reason that newspapers can’t make money is because they’re pricing themselves out of the market. It’s true that newspaper circulation has declined due to competition of various new media (check out Newspaper Death Watch if you really want to get depressed), and newspaper ad expenditures have declined along with them since 2001. But the real problem seems to be that newspapers have been way too slow in responding to competitive pressures by lowering their ad rates to a competitive level. Lulled into complacency by decades (if not centuries) of dominating the advertising industry, they’ve failed to recognize that when it comes to advertiser value, they’ve long since fallen from the top spot. The advantages they once had based on geographic exclusivity, readership, and exclusive content have been eliminated by the rise of the web. Today you can get your news from a huge number of sources other than the local bundle of papers tossed on your doorstep; and you (as a consumer) can get it for free. Craigslist and Facebook and Yelp and blogs and job listing sites and myriad other sources of local content have drained away readership and, more importantly, have all but negated the exclusive lock that newspapers used to have on local content. Advertisers who want to reach local audiences now have a huge amount of options and don’t have to be held hostage to the rates newspapers got used to charging.“News” has now become a commodity, yet the papers continue to charge premium prices. Unless they can figure out how to pare down costs, price themselves competitively, and, more importantly, offer content that’s worth paying for (see The Wall Street Journal), desperation tactics such as paywalls are only going to hasten the inevitable decline.