These are my links for August 3rd through August 10th:
White House Approached Schwarzenegger in 2011– Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is getting back into the movie business with a lineup of six film projects–but at one point, things might have gone a very different way.Mr. Schwarzenegger was approached by White House officials about a cabinet position around the time he left office in January 2011, according to people familiar with the matter.The entreaty to the centrist Republican governor wasn’t completely out of the blue.Mr. Schwarzenegger, who was in office for more than seven years and continues to promote his vision of “post-partisanship,” acknowledged earlier in his career that he’d welcome a cabinet post.
5 Graphs That Show How Crazy It Is to Compare California to Greece– Even though it occupies a special place of disdain for the GOP faithful, California is a pretty dynamic economy by global standards. It’s the home of Hollywood and Silicon Valley. And while the state might play a larger economic role than in other corners of the country, it’s still relatively light compared to Europe’s more bloated government sectors. State spending is last year was roughly 6 percent of its economy, while federal dollars usually make up around 18 percent. In Italy and Greece, Government is about half the economy. In Spain, it’s around 43 percent.So lumping California in with Greece, Italy, and Spain is, in the end, pretty silly. But why am I dwelling on it then? Again, every good joke is supposed to have a kernel of truth. And among a certain set of conservatives, there seems to be a feeling that states are just one extra medicaid payment away from getting savaged by the world’s bond markets. California has its economic problems. But they’re not that bad. Just ask Europe.
Noonan: A Nation That Believes Nothing– When Americans go to Europe they see everything but the taxes. The taxes are terrible. But that’s Europe’s business and they’ll have to figure it out. Yes what happens there has implications for us but still, they’re there and we’re here.What Americans are worried about, take as a warning sign, and are heavily invested in is California—that mythic place where Sutter struck gold, where the movies were invented, where the geniuses of the Internet age planted their flag, built their campuses, changed our world.We care about California. We read every day of the bankruptcies, the reduced city services, the businesses fleeing. California is going down. How amazing is it that this is happening in the middle of a presidential campaign and our candidates aren’t even talking about it?Mitt Romney should speak about the states that work and the states that don’t, why they work and why they don’t, and how we have to take the ways that work and apply them nationally.
Barack Obama can’t talk about these things. You can’t question the blue-state model when your whole campaign promises more blue-state thinking.
But Mr. Romney can talk about it.
Both campaigns are afraid of being serious, of really grappling with the things Americans rightly fear. But there’s no safety in not being serious. It only leaves voters wondering if you’re even capable of seriousness. Letting them wonder that is a mistake.
Homeland Security official claims in suit Secretary Napolitano favored women pals– A veteran US law-enforcement official has filed a blockbuster discrimination lawsuit against Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, charging she pushed him aside to make way for a less-qualified woman who’s “enjoyed a long-standing relationship” with the anti-terror chief.The lawsuit, which was first reported yesterday by blogger Debbie Schlussel, identifies the woman as Dora Schriro, who was later appointed by Mayor Bloomberg as commissioner of the city Department of Correction, a post she still holds.The court papers also allege that Suzanne Barr, Napolitano’s chief of staff at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has engaged in “numerous” acts of “sexually offensive behavior” intended to “humiliate and intimidate male employees.
Janet Napolitano-run Homeland Security treated male staffers like lapdogs, federal discrimination lawsuit charges– Looks like the Department of Homeland Security could be renamed the Department of Hyper Sexuality.A blistering federal discrimination suit accuses agency honcho Janet Napolitano of turning the department into a female-run “frat house” where male staffers were banished to the bathrooms and routinely humiliated.James Hayes Jr., who now is New York’s top Homeland Security cop, claims Napolitano filled top spots in Washington, D.C., with two of her gal pals who were bent on tormenting male employees.The suit identified them as Dora Schriro, who is now running the city Department of Correction, and Suzanne Barr, the chief of staff for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Soon after Schriro and Barr were hired in January 2009, male staffers were treated like lapdogs, Hayes claims.
The Romney Hood Fairy Tale– As he escalates his class war re-election campaign, President Obama has taken to calling Mitt Romney’s economic plan “Robin Hood in reverse” or “Romney Hood.” The charge is that even though Mr. Romney is proposing to cut tax rates for everybody across the board, Mr. Romney will finance this by imposing a tax increase on the middle class. His evidence is a single study by the Tax Policy Center, a liberal think tank that has long opposed cutting income tax rates.The political left always says Daddy Warbucks gets all the tax-cut money. So this is hardly news, except that the media are treating this joint Brookings Institution and Urban Institute analysis as if it’s nonpartisan gospel. In fact, it’s a highly ideological tract based on false assumptions, incomplete data and dishonest analysis. In other words, it is custom made for the Obama campaign.
Obama Immigration-Policy Details Emerge– The Obama administration on Friday revealed details of its sweeping immigration program that could allow almost one million undocumented young people to remain in the country, an initiative that is prompting nonprofit organizations to ramp up efforts to help potential beneficiaries.According to the rules of the program, which was first announced in June, applicant information won’t be shared with immigration enforcement except in cases that involve crimes. Applicants will be disqualified for offenses such as drunk driving, but not for driving without a license.
Facebook prices may alter Calif. budget– Facebook’s disappointing stock performance could punch a hole in the state budget if share prices don’t recover by the end of the year, according to the state’s legislative analyst.State officials, like many investors, assumed the tech company’s stock would fetch at least $35 a share after its initial public offering this year. The officials figured California would reap about $1.9 billion in new revenue over this fiscal year and next, from taxes levied once former and current employees are allowed to exercise stock options or sell shares in November.In all, the state expected that revenue to account for about 1 percent of taxes that California took in over the next two years. But Facebook’s stock has performed far below expectations.
Expanding the Dental Safety Net– This white paper from the Pew Children’s Dental Campaign investigates how the addition of dental therapists to the dental team may expand the capacity of Federally Qualified Health Clinics to treat more children.Recent research from the University of Connecticut suggests that adding dental therapists to Federally Qualified Health Clinics (FQHCs) could significantly expand the availability of care for millions of American children.In particular, by including dental therapists as providers in school-based programs operated by FQHCs, the researchers estimated states could provide access to care for 6.7 million Medicaid-eligible children, nationwide.[i] Moreover, the analysis also suggests that this significant increase in access could be realized for a cost of approximately $1.8 billion — just one half of 1 percent of combined state and federal 2009 Medicaid spending.[ii]While the University of Connecticut study is the first of its kind and further research is needed, these promising, preliminary findings underscore the urgency of such additional analysis and, more broadly, for the expansion of the dental workforce throughout the dental safety-net system. This white paper reviews the study’s findings and provides context from states where allied dental providers and school-based delivery models are already in place. Expanding the Dental Safety Net also offers recommendations for policy makers as well as other stakeholders to help them support the development and systemic integration of allied dental providers to ensure all children can receive the critical dental care they need.
U.S. GSA Administration Regional Commissioner Jeffrey Neely
These are my links for April 13th through April 16th:
Photos Show Embattled GSA Official Enjoying Wine and Soak in Spa Tub at M Hotel During “Pre-Conference” Meeting – The government official on the frontlines of the scandal involving a wasteful government conference, U.S. General Services Administration regional commissioner Jeffrey Neely, will invoke his 5th amendment right against self-incrimination, his lawyer Preston Burton tells ABC News. He won’t comment on the $822,751 conference, many of the expenditures for which the GSA Inspector General called “excessive” and “wasteful.” He won’t comment on the bizarre awards ceremony, or the commemorative coins, the mind-reader/motivational speaker.
Mr. Neely bares a bit more in a photo collection on his wife’s Google+ page. There visitors can see photos of Neely staying in a luxurious suite at the M Resort Spa & Casino in November 2009, during one of the eight scouting and off-site pre-conference meetings to prepare for the October 2010 conference.
DNC Chief Called on to Release Tax Returns – Democratic National Committee chief Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been called on to release her personal income tax returns. The request was made by her congressional opponent, Republican Karen Harrington of Florida.
“This week millions of taxpaying Americans will fulfill their requirement of filing their tax returns by paying any and all taxes due to the federal government,” Harrington’s campaign writes. “Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been asking Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney to release his 2011 tax return even after Governor Romney released his 2010 tax return.”
“Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz’s request of Governor Romney to release his tax returns screams of hypocrisy, because to the best of our knowledge, Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz has never released a single tax return of her own. As a member of Congress, she is required to release a yearly ‘financial disclosure,’ this yearly disclosure is not a tax return.
“While asking for Governor Romney to release his past tax returns, and In keeping with the spirit of President Obama’s call for ‘full transparency,’ we ask Congressman Wasserman Schultz to release her own tax returns.”
There are no records of Wasserman Schultz having ever released her personal income tax returns, though, as the Harrington campaign states, members of Congress are required to disclose assets, holdings, and various other financial information.
Wisconisin Property Taxes Go Down for the First Time in 12 Years Statewide – Today Governor Walker announced that statewide property taxes for the typical homeowner have gone down for the first time in 12 years. The tax bill for the median value home is $39 per homeowner lower than originally estimated by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau when the 2011-2013 budget was passed.
“Our reforms have reversed a decade of property tax increases from previous administrations,” said Governor Walker. “For the first time in over ten years, the average property taxpayer will have more money in his or her pocket than the year before.”
Since 1998, property taxes paid by homeowners have risen 43 percent. This year property taxes paid by the typical homeowner went down .4 percent. Without the Governor’s reforms the average homeowner would have paid an additional $700 over the biennium.
Romney Specifies Deductions He’d Cut – Mitt Romney, speaking at a private fundraising event on Sunday, offered the first details of deductions he would eliminate or limit in order to offset the income tax cut he has proposed for all taxpayers.
Mr. Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, said he would eliminate or limit for high-earners the mortgage interest deduction for second homes, and likely would do the same for the state income tax deduction and state property tax deduction.
He also said he would look to the Department of Education and the Department of Housing and Urban Development for budget cuts.
Gingrich’s Billionaire Backer Turns Sights to House – Sheldon Adelson, a wealthy casino owner who has spent millions to boost the presidential campaign of Newt Gingrich, has donated $5 million with his wife to a super PAC for House Republican candidates, according to campaign filings released Sunday.
The Adelsons made their donations in February to the Congressional Leadership Fund, which was formed last year to be “focused solely and exclusively” on maintaining the GOP majority in the House.
The super PAC has the backing of the top GOP brass in the House. Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy were each among the 60 GOP lawmakers who attended the super PAC’s inaugural event last fall.
Martinez has worked 41 years as a community college educator, including the last five as president of Rio Hondo.
“It is now time for a new generation of leadership to take Rio Hondo College into the next 50 years, which will surely be as outstanding as the milestone year the college will be celebrating,” Martinez said. “I am truly proud of our collective accomplishments these past five years.”
Martinez said he is proud of the progress the college has made during his five years, including the near-completion of the $245 million facilities construction program, receipt of full accreditation from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and restoration of the Rio Hondo College Police Academy program.
However in the last year, he’s had issues with faculty members.
In December, he filed an internal grievance against three professors whom he said have been critical of him to the point of creating a work environment so hostile as to cause him to suffer a mild stroke.
Martinez experienced his stroke in February 2011 and was “out for a time,” college spokeswoman Susan Herney said in December.
His doctors cleared him to resume his regular schedule, she said.
For example, on April 2 ,I had a post on Big Government that highlighted how former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, used her Current TV show to lambaste Stand Your Ground laws, and to blame Republicans for the existence of such laws in the first place. However, as I showed, the dirty little secret is that Granholm signed Michigan’s Stand Your Ground bill into law in 2006.
Now it’s been discovered that an even more prominent Democrat, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, signed Arizona’s Stand Your Ground bill into law while governor of that state in 2006. And it’s important to note that Napolitano didn’t sign the bill half-halfheartedly, rather, she even countered anti-gunners’ opposition in the signing.
1) Since Democrats are determined to hang Ryan’s bold “Path to Prosperity” budget plan around the neck of every Republican running for office in 2012, why not have its author and best salesman advocate for it directly vs. President Obama?
2) Ryan — to borrow a favorite Simon Cowell phrase — is “current.” He’s smack in the middle of budgetary and ideological clash between Democrats and Republicans and would immediately energize conservative and Tea Party activists.
3) Ryan is a strong national defense conservative, as well as pro-life.
4) Ryan is from a battleground state, Wisconsin, and a battleground region, the upper Great Lakes.
5) Ryan’s youth, vigor, likability and Jimmy Stewart persona — well, a wonky version of George Bailey — would be an immediate shorthand signal to voters that he’s a different kind of Republican. He also has a compelling life story to tell.
6) Obama suddenly and unexpectedly to Washington insiders looks beatable — by the right candidate.
I can easily see a Mitch Daniels/Paul Ryan ticket.
Or a Mike Huckabee/Paul Ryan ticket
Or going for broke: Paul Ryan/Rudy Giuliani ticket
We Respond to NPR’s Lighthearted Coverage of Koch Death Threats | – I am writing to raise deep concerns about a Morning Edition segment that aired on April 22 and apparently made light of death threats that had been leveled at gentleman in Iowa but that had been intended for our company.
The item was read by hosts Mary Louise Kelly and Renee Montagne, billed as “our last word in business,” and was clearly framed as an amusing take on the news. Kelly and Montagne made sport of the fact that a Mr. Dutch Koch shares the same surname as that of our company, even musing that he’s also been “confused with the big soda maker” – Coca-Cola, it seems. Kelly quipped that “he does not say which cola he prefers” before cutting away to what sounds like bongo drum music.
But there is nothing even remotely funny about a person’s life being threatened and NPR ought to be ashamed that simple fact of decency has to be pointed out.
More Koch Derangement Syndrome from the LEFTY NPR.
"Where immigration is concerned, the federal government fundamentally sets the policy." She said communities will benefit from the tool.
"Let's assume we have 11 million people in the country illegally," she said. If Congress can provide enough enforcement funding to remove perhaps 400,000 of them annually, she added, "How are we going to set those priorities? One big priority is who is violating criminal laws."
The program is a good one and is a start only.
Immigration is a federal perogative and the Obama Administration needs to do more.