These are my (Flap) links for June 18th through June 19th:
A White House mess- One little-known fact about the world of journalism is that news organizations prepare obituaries of famous people while those people are still alive, so that packages of material will be ready to go when a death is announced.Over the past week, journalists have been writing articles that have the quality of these sorts of pre-obituaries — only the event they’re anticipating isn’t the last breath of an individual but the defeat of President Obama’s re-election bid.Even more striking, these journalists aren’t conservatives indulging in their deepest wish, but rather liberals who admire Obama and want to see him win a second term.Al Hunt, who was for decades the voice of liberal conventional wisdom as the Washington bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal, declared yesterday in his Bloomberg column that Obama “needs an intervention.”
The Sad Demise of the Occupy Movement- Remember when the Democratic Party saw the Occupy movement as the Left’s equivalent of the Tea Party? That lasted until it became obvious that 1) Occupy wasn’t actually much of a movement, and 2) to the extent it existed, it was an embarrassment. Occupy is in the process of fading away, not with a bang but a whimper, and with more criminal prosecutions to its credit than normal citizens converted to the leftist cause.But, much as a dead frog’s legs will continue kicking for a while, a few remnants of Occupy cling to a fitful existence. To see what the “movement” is up to these days, check out this online diary that documents the Occupy Caravan. The Caravan is a group of nine leftists who are driving, in two minivans, from California to Philadelphia. The diary, by one James Jennison, is hilarious but sad. You can’t help feeling sorry for this ragtag band of misfits who evidently think they are making some kind of political statement
Another Ridiculous Lie From Liberal Media – Distorting Romney’s “WAWAs” Hoagie Speech- Another example of how ridiculous the media is in their uncompromising struggle to distort the truth in order to make sure Obama wins and Conservatives lose.Today it’s being widely reported that Romney had a moment were he was amazed at the existence of WAWAs, a convenience/gas store, and the electronic touchtone ordering of sandwiches. They have spun this to make it seem like he’s out of touch – BUT THE VIDEO IS EDITED DECEPTIVELY:
MSNBC mischaracterizes Romney remarks- MSNBC aired footage today that inaccurately portrayed Mitt Romney’s remarks at a campaign stop in Pennsylvania.Discussing how the public sector suffers from a lack of competition, Romney told the audience about an optometrist who wanted to change his address and subsequently received 33 pages of paperwork from the federal government, which begat a months-long bureaucratic nightmare during which the optometrist in question wasn’t receiving his checks. “That’s how government works,” Romney said.Then, to illustrate the advantages of competition in the private sector, Romney shared an anecdote from his visit to the local WaWa chain store. “I was at WaWas, I went in to order a sandwich. You press a little touchtone keypad — you touch this, touch this, go pay the cashier — there’s your sandwich. It’s amazing. People in the private sector have learned how to compete. It’s time to bring some competition to the federal government.”
Will GOP demand Plame-style leak investigation?- A lot of lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans, are angry about the damaging national security leaks that have come out of the Obama administration. But Republicans are probably angrier, and their feelings can be explained in two words: Valerie Plame.The Plame affair was a complicated, tortured episode in which the George W. Bush White House was accused of having deliberately leaked classified information — the identity of an undercover CIA agent — to score political points during a particularly intense time in the Iraq war. Now, many Republicans believe the Barack Obama White House has deliberately leaked classified information — among other things, details of the U.S. cyberwar against Iran — to score political points during a particularly intense time in the presidential campaign.
Dem hopes of taking House dim- Democratic hopes of recapturing the House are dimming as a series of race-by-race setbacks and economic uncertainty suggest that the 25 seats they need to net might be out of reach.The Hill projects that Democrats will net somewhere between 10 and 15 seats, assuming the presidential election remains a close contest.House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has given her party a better than 50-50 chance of wresting control of the lower chamber — but missed opportunities in specific races and increasing economic worries have put that prediction in doubt.“The environment certainly isn’t as good as it was six months ago for Democrats,” a senior Democratic strategist who works on House races told The Hill, speaking on the condition of anonymity in order to comment candidly.“Democrats are way off track of where they need to be to regain the majority,” said David Wasserman, the House race editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report
Marco Rubio Not Being Vetted to Be Mitt Romney’s Running Mate- Even before the Republicans chose a presidential nominee it was widely assumed that Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., would be at the top of anybody’s list of vice presidential candidates. The reasons are obvious: Not only is he young, charismatic and wildly popular with conservatives, but he could also help Republicans win a key state (Florida) and make inroads with Hispanics.But knowledgeable Republican sources tell me that Rubio is not being vetted by Mitt Romney’s vice presidential search team. He has not been asked to complete any questionnaires or been asked to turn over any financial documents typically required of potential vice presidential candidates.
After spat with former construction management company, officials get projects back on track- Months after the El Monte Union High School District cut ties with its former construction management company, details are emerging about related issues that have come at a hefty expense to the district.A construction update last week revealed that the district is paying the price for design plans that didn’t have the required state approval before the construction work began at several campuses.In one case, work began on a new two-story classroom building without the plans getting state approved, resulting in the district being forced to make extensive revisions.In another a much publicized case, the state didn’t sign off on plans for new heating and air conditioning systems in two high school auditoriums before they were installed. The buildings have been closed for months as officials work to rectify the issue.The projects are part of a $148 million bond measure approved by voters in 2008. After parting ways with its construction management company Alsaleh Project Management (APM) last year and hiring another firm, officials have been working to get projects back on track. But it hasn’t been easy, or cheap.The costs of some construction projects under the bond measure have increased by up to 36 percent over what was originally budgeted, according to last week’s construction update.
While some of the rising costs were the result of upgrades desired by district leaders, part of the increase is related
A Guide to How Obama’s New Immigration Policy Will Work, And a Word of Caution- The policy memo directs ICE and Customs to begin using their on-the-ground discretion immediately. Citizenship and Immigration Services is ordered to implement what is known as “deferred action” for this category of immigrants within 60 days. It’s a good sign that the administration is moving quickly. But bear in mind, deferred action is exactly what it sounds like. It means the federal government isn’t placing you in removal proceedings now. In fact, the memo says specifically that the deferral is good for two years before the next re-evaluation. What happens after that is anyone’s guess. “The question becomes: What if the person is granted deferred action and then they turn 30,” Schwamkrug asks. “Does that mean it won’t be renewed?”If it isn’t, and that person doesn’t have some sort of legal status, current policy is to automatically forward them to immigration court for removal proceedings. Two years-worth of work authorization may be small recompense for imminent deportation.Perhaps the biggest wild card here is the November presidential election. Obama’s policy is just that. It doesn’t amount to citizenship, nor is it law, enacted by Congress. You can bet one of Mitt Romney’s first acts as president would be to rescind Napolitano’s memo. And then what? Young people who have lived their lives as Americans announce their presence as undocumented immigrants and become subject to removal proceedings. “You’re luring people out, dangling a carrot of employment authorization in exchange for putting themselves on the radar,” Schwamkrug says. “As attorneys, we’d have to lay everything out to our clients and let the clients make the choice. We can’t tell them what to do. But I personally think there’s cause for concern.”In other words, the undocumented American may rejoice, but must remain mindful that there’s no permanence to Obama’s extended hand. And in just five short months, it may be snatched away altogether.
Scalia and Ginsburg Drop Hints about Obamacare’s Fate at the Supreme Court- The Supreme Court is set to issue its ruling on the epic Obamacare case, Florida v. HHS, at the end of June. Two of the High Court’s justices, Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, dropped hints this weekend as to what the Court might do. Between what they said, and the scuttlebutt I’ve been hearing, we can start to think about what the Court may do—and when.On Friday, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke at the annual Court review of the American Constitution Society, a group “dedicated to…countering the activist conservative legal movement.” Ginsburg said that she was quite aware of the controversy surrounding the Obamacare case. “Some have described the controversy as unprecedented and they may be right if they mean the number of press conferences, prayer circles, protests, counter protests, going on outside the court while oral argument was under way inside.”
Organizers say they hope the coordinated events will mark a spring resurgence of the movement after a quiet winter. Calls for a general strike with no work, no school, no banking and no shopping have sprung up on websites in Toronto, Barcelona, London, Kuala Lumpur and Sydney, among hundreds of cities in North America, Europe and Asia.
In New York, Occupy Wall Street will join scores of labor organizations observing May 1, traditionally recognized as International Workers’ Day. They plan marches from Union Square to Lower Manhattan and a “pop-up occupation” of Bryant Park on Sixth Avenue, across the street from Bank of America’s Corp.’s 55-story tower.
“We call upon people to refrain from shopping, walk out of class, take the day off of work and other creative forms of resistance disrupting the status quo,” organizers said in an April 26 e-mail.
Occupy groups across the U.S. have protested economic disparity, decrying high foreclosure and unemployment rates that hurt average Americans while bankers and financial executives received bonuses and taxpayer-funded bailouts. In the past six months, similar groups, using social media and other tools, have sprung up in Europe, Asia and Latin America.
After Last Night – WH Correspondent’s Dinner – Politically, the most interesting phenomenon last night was the dog jokes. The President himself made three jokes about eating dogs. This represents a victory for new media and especially for Jim Treacher, since liberal news sources like the New York Times and Jon Stewart had studiously tried to pretend that the dog controversy didn’t exist. Obama and Kimmel evidently recognized that Twitter made such pretense impossible. (The New York Times, however, is still holding out.)
Events like last night’s always leave me feeling in need of a shower. Partly it is because there some truth to Kimmel’s joke, after noting that the room was full of politicians, members of the media and celebrities, that “Everything that is wrong with America is here in this room.” Partly is is due to the sense that everyone involved in the event is pretending. The politicians pretend to engage in self-deprecation that shows they don’t take themselves too seriously. The comics pretend that they are just trying to be funny, lampooning politicians impartially in search of laughs. But, even though some of the lines are indeed funny, the premise of the event is fundamentally false. In fact, politicians, comedians and even the celebrities present are pursuing an agenda that is both self-aggrandizing and political. That is why, I think, such events always leave me feeling unclean.
The Auto Bailout Bust – President Barack Obama has made the auto bailout a centerpiece of his reelection campaign, using it to bash Republican nominee Mitt Romney. But the tactic may backfire as the general election heats up, public opinion surveys suggest.
Recent polling from Rasmussen indicates that 59 percent view the bailouts as a “failure” and only 44 percent think the bailouts were “good for America.”
The administration has already written off $7 billion in taxpayer losses in the American takeover of Chrysler and General Motors; those losses are expected to climb as high as $23 billion—27 percent of the $85 billion spent on the bailout.
While the bailout is widely credited with saving the two companies, increasing taxpayer losses have made it nearly as unpopular in 2012 as it was when Obama was elected. More than half of Americans still disapprove of the auto bailout compared with 61 percent in 2008.
On Second Thought, Maybe N.C. Was a Mistake – If national Democratic strategists chose Charlotte, N.C., for the party’s national convention because they liked the facilities, the hotel accommodations or the weather in early September, then I guess I can’t yet quibble with the choice.
But if David Axelrod and the president’s other political advisers picked the Tar Heel State to make some broader political point, then they goofed.
Simply put: North Carolina looks like a mess for Democrats.
Shiller, the co-creator of the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price index, said a weak labor market, high gas prices and a general sense of unease among consumers was outweighing low mortgage rates and would likely keep a lid on prices for the foreseeable future.
Amazon Softens Stance on Taxes – Amazon.com Inc. reached an agreement with Texas officials Friday to begin collecting sales taxes in the state starting in July and appears to be backing away from its long-held opposition to tax collection in states where it has warehouses and other facilities.
With the deal, the Seattle-based company is on track to collect sales taxes in 12 states, which make up about 40% of the U.S. population, by 2016. Amazon currently collects taxes in five states. Since 2011, it has reached agreements with seven other states, including Texas, to begin tax collection over the next four years.
Reuters reports that the giant e-tailer will start collecting sales tax in Texas come July 1, as part of a settlement that requires Amazon to bring 2,500 jobs and $200 million in capital investment to the state over the next four years.
In exchange for the jobs and money, Texas State Comptroller Susan Combs is dropping the state’s demand for $269 million to cover sales taxes from 2005 to 2009, Reuters reports.
Amazon struck a deal with the state of Nevada earlier in the week whereby it will begin collecting sales taxes there on January 1, 2014. It also reached an agreement with California last September that gave it another year before it has to begin collecting sales taxes in that state.
Things went the other way in Illinois yesterday, when a judge there called unconstitutional a law designed to let the state collect sales tax from out-of-state, online retailers.
The Performance Marketing Association, which represents affiliate marketers such as those working with Amazon, had challenged the 2011 law that created the Illinois Affiliate Nexus Tax. A Cook County Circuit judge ruled the law unconstitutional because, according to Crain’s Chicago Business, “simply having an affiliated company in the state that makes sales or refers customers to an online retailer doesn’t create enough of a presence, or nexus, for tax purposes.”
The judge also said the law was unenforceable because of a federal Internet tax moratorium that is in place through 2014.
CA-26: NRCC gives 3 ‘contender’ status – The National Republican Congressional Committee has given three GOP House challengers “contender” status, the third out of four steps in the “Young Guns” program to recruit new and viable Republican candidates.
Republicans Tony Strickland in California, Jason Plummer in Illinois and Matt Doheny in New York were all elevated to the next level of the program Thursday.
The candidates will face new benchmarks for fundraising and recruiting before attaining “Young Guns” status.
CA-26: Dog Is as Dog Does – How a live-free-or-die dude like Strickland came to be a born-again Nanny State zealot, however, is not so mysterious. It turns out he’s now running for a congressional seat in Ventura, and his chief Democratic rival, Julia Brownley, led the charge to ban plastic bags statewide while in the Assembly. Not only that, but Brownley is now pushing a much softer and kinder bill to define what constitutes a reusable bag. Brownley’s bill would require such bags be strong enough to carry 22 pounds more than 100 times for a distance of 175 feet. Rather than require a warning label designed to scare off possible users, Brownley’s bill would mandate bags to come with a tag identifying its country of origin and stating no lead, cadmium, other toxic heavy metals designed to sap one’s wits were used in its manufacture.
Just remember there are 41 shopping days left between now and the June primary. I’ll do my part by shopping with a cross-contaminated, lead-based bag. You can spot me huffing by the broccoli section at Trader Joe’s. Please do not disturb. I already am.
These are my links for March 2nd through March 6th:
Sandra Fluke Argued for Mandatory Coverage for Sex-Change Surgery – Rather belatedly, we are becoming aware that this supposedly typical Georgetown coed is not very typical at all:
[B]irth control is not all that Ms. Fluke believes private health insurance must cover. She also, apparently, believes that it is discrimination deserving of legal action if “gender reassignment” surgeries are not covered by employer provided health insurance. She makes these views clear in an article she co-edited with Karen Hu in the Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law.
The title of the article . . . is “Employment Discrimination Against LGBTQ Persons” and was published in the Journal’s 2011 Annual Review.
Remember, as Byron York previously reported, Fluke was rejected as a last-minute substitute witness at a Feb. 16 committee hearing because staffers for Chairman Issa were unable to discover Fluke’s claim to expertise relevant to the subject of the hearing. This law school journal article is the sort of thing that might have been discovered about Fluke’s background, had the Democrats who put Fluke forward as a witness done so with the usual 72-hour advance notice.
Call Them Out By Name: Sandra Fluke, David Gregory and David Friend – After going to an Andrew Breitbart memorial event on Saturday, I am more inspired than ever to fight back against the Left. Three things that were said stood out to me in that regard. Number one, Dana Loesch said we need to follow Breitbart and hit Leftists by “calling them out by name.” Then Brandon Darby mentioned that the Left was taking advantage of our grief and we were losing on Limbaugh. Finally, I’m struck with the image of Breitbart himself in this tribute video looking straight at the camera and simply saying, “War.”
This is war. I am going to defend Limbaugh from the radical Leftists who want to take him off the air. And I am going to call out our opponents by name. Starting with Sandra Fluke, David Gregory and David Friend.
Sandra Fluke, Gender Reassignment, and Health Insurance – Sandra Fluke is being sold by the left as something she’s not. Namely a random co-ed from Georgetown law who found herself mixed up in the latest front of the culture war who was simply looking to make sure needy women had access to birth control. That, of course, is not the case.
As many have already uncovered Sandra Fluke she is, in reality, a 30 year old long time liberal activist who enrolled at Georgetown with the express purpose of fighting for the school to pay for students’ birth control. She has been pushing for mandated coverage of contraceptives at Georgetown for at least three years according to the Washington Post.
2011 total: 254 companies leave California – In 2011, 254 California companies moved some or all of their work and jobs out of state, 26% more than in 2010, according to Irvine business consultant Joe Vranich who has been tracking these departures since 2009.
Twenty-eight of these companies were in Orange County. Seven of them moved or expanded to Texas, three to Mexico, two to Washington and one each to 16 other states, said Vranich, who has changed the name of his business from The Relocation Coach to Spectrum Location Solutions, which helps companies define their goals, find new locations and coordinate the move.
The pace is accelerating, Vranich said. An average of 4.9 businesses left California each week of 2011, compared to 3.9 per week (202 total) in 2010 and one a week (51 total) in 2009. In what he calls “disinvestment events,” Vranich counts companies that move jobs, facilities or headquarters out of California and “in carefully selected instances, companies making major capital investments in plants elsewhere that in the past would have been built in California,” Vranich said.
Now, I believe in general principles, and I want to know what the general principle is about accepting apologies. I’d like to nail down people like Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Eric Boehlert, because their candidate, Barack Obama, is one of the greatest purveyors of apologies in the history of the world!
There is a difference between heartfelt apology, and a political confession. An apology would not be enough to obtain release from prison, while a confession, which is a political statement that has nothing to do with the heart, held out the possibility of getting one out of prison:
MoveOn.Org – Carbonite CEO tied to : time for conservatives to fight blacklisting?
No, you didn’t. Not the way you will in a minute. But first?
It’s time to turn the tables.
It’s time to stand up to the bullies.
It’s time to Rally for Rush.
Rush Limbaugh has discussed at length — at length — what Sandra Fluke and her statist cronies are up to. Yes, he used the words “slut” and “prostitute” — using the ludicrous to make his point. Ms. Fluke, in one of the most pathetic, shamelessly whining stories in recent memory, demands to be paid for her sex life because it costs $3,000 for three years of birth control while she’s at law school. She demands that a Catholic university violate its fundamental right to religious liberty so she can have others pay for her sex life. So Rush asked the farcical obvious about somebody who demands that someone else pay her for her apparent, self-admitted prolific sex life. He spent two solid days relating her greed for other people’s money and a lack of personal responsibility to the oldest of principles.
Right on cue, the blacklisting crowd came out of their Stalinist caves. Having driven Lou Dobbs from CNN, cut off Beck’s windpipe at Fox, severed Pat Buchanan from MSNBC, thus emboldened they have now set their sights on Rush.
When the late, great Andrew Breitbart was asked in a Twitter conversation whether he’d apologize for his website’s posting of a video of a speech by Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod that led to her forced resignation, Breitbart replied, “Apologize for what?”
Breitbart knew the sensitivities and the hypocrisy of the left when their sacred cows and double standards were under attack.
Hell hath no fury, he knew, like a liberal whose dogma stands exposed. He wondered why those on the right always had to apologize for saying liberal emperors had no clothes, when the left never had to apologize for anything no matter how outrageous or offensive.
L.A. Times Attempting Suicide – Today the Los Angeles Times is charging for visiting its site online. This is a suicide attempt that will severely damage the paper. Its parent company, Tribune Co., long has been in bankruptcy, running up $233 million in legal fees.
California Students Protest Education Entitlement Cuts – Middle-aged, greying 1960s radicals, pimply faced kids, teachers, throngs of SEIU members, angry Occupy protestors, and union members of all kinds descended upon the state Capitol Monday. They demanded, “Wall Street and the wealthy 1 percent, pay to refund education, jobs, essential services, and a better future.”
The protest was sponsored by the California Teachers Association and the Occupy movement.
The protest even included roving bands of gang-attired youth probably not connected to education, dreadlock-wearing Rastafarians, earth children and the unmistakable sweet smell of marijuana wafting about. Vapid stares, body odor, anger and an abundant use of the “F” word, some attended the rally with an express purpose in mind, while others appeared less committed and just were there for the chanting and day off of school. “Enough is enough,” came the rally cry from college student body presidents. “We stand in solidarity,” said one speaker as Che Guevara signs waived wildly.
Services will begin at 12:30 p.m. at St. Paschal Baylon Catholic Church in Thousand Oaks for retired Realtor Joseph “Joe” Brown.
Brown died Thursday in his Thousand Oaks home at age 86 with his wife, Dolly, by his side. He had been suffering from heart problems for some time, but Dolly Brown, 65, said his death was somewhat sudden.
“He was lying in his hospital bed about a week ago and he said, ‘I’m not being very productive,’ ” she said with a smile.
By all accounts, “productive” was an understatement when it came to Joe Brown. Among his many accomplishments was helping to establish Mary Health of the Sick Convalescent Home in Newbury Park, the Conejo Valley Association of Realtors and the Ventura County Community Foundation in Camarillo, to name a few of his efforts.
Lenny Dykstra gets 3 years in California prison – Disgraced ex-New York Mets outfielder Lenny Dykstra on Monday was sentenced to three years in a California state prison after pleading no contest to grand theft auto and providing a false financial statement.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Cynthia Ulfig sentenced Dykstra after refusing to allow him to withdraw his plea and said the scam to lease high-end automobiles from dealerships by providing fraudulent information and claiming credit through a phony business showed sophistication and extensive planning.
“He obviously didn’t have the money to get the vehicles,” Ulfig said. “His conduct was indeed criminal.”
GOP Hopefuls Losing Ground to Obama Among Latinos, Poll Says – Despite growing disappointment in his handling of immigration issues, Latino voters favor President Barack Obama by six-to-one over any of the Republican presidential hopefuls, showed a Fox News Latino poll conducted under the direction of Latin Insights and released Monday.
The national poll of likely Latino voters indicated that 73 percent of them approved of Obama’s performance in office, with over half those questioned looking favorably upon his handling of the healthcare debate and the economy, at 66 percent and 58 percent respectively.
Released on the eve of the Super Tuesday primaries in the race for the GOP nomination, the Fox News Latino poll shows former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 35 percent of Latino voter support, to Texas Rep. Ron Paul’s 13 percent, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich’s 12 percent, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s 9 percent.
I’m talking about the second-tier of the warfare, the attempt to intimidate those removed by one or more degrees of separation from the dispute, and to use them as tools against the target.
And I’m not talking about the attempt to get advertisers to stop advertising on Rush Limbaugh’s show, or Fox News, although that would be bad enough. I’m talking about the second-tier of the warfare, the attempt to intimidate those removed by one or more degrees of separation from the dispute, and to use them as tools against the target.
I would not be surprised to see a similar reaction from the right to the left’s attacks on advertisers, but that would be a mistake. What is happening goes beyond Obama’s call for people to argue with their neighbors and get in their faces. It goes far beyond Bill Clinton’s politics of personal destruction directed at accusers, and beyond name-calling by right wing pundits. This total war, in which no one is allowed to be non-political and neighbors and clients become mere pressure points, is a dangerous development.
Rush: “I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke”; Update: Ironic tweet of the day – I think Rush did the right thing in apologizing to Fluke. However, let’s keep in mind that it was Fluke who made her sexual activity a matter of national political debate by insisting that the government pass laws and regulations forcing employers and insurers to provide her free contraception, and apparently as much as she and others demand. It’s Republicans who believe that contraception should remain a private affair, and that employers and insurers should be free to decide whether to cover contraception for their employees and customers or not. Democrats used Fluke to demand that those choices be stripped from private enterprises and instead be forced by the executive branch to entirely subsidize contraception.
That is the argument we should be making, as Republicans and conservatives. If you want your sexual choices to remain private, don’t use the government to force other people to subsidize them. Then we won’t have to turn the sex lives of Georgetown law school students into topics for political speculation.
Gallup’s Unadjusted Unemployment Data Suggest Increase in BLS Adjusted Figure – Gallup finds U.S. unemployment, as measured without seasonal adjustment, to be 9.1% in February, based on almost 30,000 interviews with a random sample of Americans. When Gallup applies the 0.5-percentage-point seasonal adjustment that the government applied to its unadjusted data for February last year, it produces an adjusted unemployment rate for February 2012 of 8.6% –a substantial increase from the 8.3% adjusted rate the government reported for January.
These are my links for December 29th through January 2nd:
How Gingrich Blew His Second Chance – Jonathan Martin looks at how Newt Gingrich “learned all the wrong lessons from his campaign’s collapse this summer and none of the right ones from his remarkable comeback.”
“Instead of seizing the moment and making an aggressive case for why the contest was now a two-man race between a movement conservative and flip-flopping moderate — a unique opportunity afforded by the endorsement’s implicit-but-unmistakable critique of Mitt Romney in his firewall state — Gingrich fell back to his familiar habits, a routine marked by too much self-assurance and not enough discipline.”
“Between that and some other key factors — among them, Romney’s super PAC blitzkrieg and his own weak fundraising — a campaign that seemed on the cusp of stealing the nomination barely a month ago now faces an ignominious fourth place finish or worse.”
Ron Paul’s Secret Plan To Actually Win – Ron Paul — poised to finish strong in the Iowa caucuses – has begun to implement a quiet, complex plan to force a long battle with Mitt Romney for delegates to the Republican National Convention in August. His advantages: Experience, organization, and the legacy of the 2010 Tea Party revival, which convinced Republicans that anti-government figures like Paul just aren’t as weird as they’d thought.
Paul is following the roadmap set by Barack Obama’s 2008 strategy: Start early, learn the rules, and use superior organization and devoted young supporters to dominate the arcane but crucial party procedures in states your rivals are ignoring — states where caucuses and conventions that elect the delegates who will ultimately choose the Republican candidate. The plan begins in places like Minnetonka, Minnesota, a Minneapolis suburb where Paul has based his state headquarters, and where staffers have already begun running “mock-auses” — practice runs for Minnesota’s February 7 caucuses.
Paul’s rivals dismiss his chances. “Ron Paul’s not going to be our nominee,” Mitt Romney said flatly in December. But Paul’s organization is girding for the long haul, and while the 76-year old Texan is vanishingly unlikely to be the nominee — primaries in big states like New York and California could shut him out — observers in the caucus states say they expect Paul to win, and perhaps sweep, dozens of delegates from unexpected corners of the map. Those delegates, in turn, will give him at least a prominent position at the Republican National Convention, and a plausible shot at emerging as a kingmaker if a strong mainstream challenger to Romney emerges.
Palin: “I did praise Rick Santorum and I’ll praise him again…It’s no surprise that he has the support that he has.”
Adds, “the field is what it is at this point,” and/but will not shut the door on a second VP bid.
Occupy protest follows 123rd annual Rose Parade – The 2012 Tournament of Roses brought its flowery floats and strutting bands to a worldwide audience Monday under clear blue skies, and in its wake came a scruffier parade – thousands of anti-Wall Street protesters.
The 123rd annual New Year’s Day event, with the theme “Just Imagine,” flowed along downtown Pasadena to the cheers of hundreds of thousands of sidewalk spectators.
An estimated 40 million people viewed this year’s procession of 44 floats, 16 marching bands and 22 equestrian troupes on U.S. television.
There were 10 arrests overnight, including four felonies, as thousands of spectators staked out viewing places along the route but that figure was down from the previous year, police said.
“Everything went very, very well. We’re very pleased,” police Lt. Phlunte Riddle said.
Sinaloa Cartel Shifting Meth Production to Guatemala – The Sinaloa Cartel, already thought to be the largest supplier of methamphetamine to the US, may be shifting production southwards to Guatemala. This forms part of a larger trend, in which Mexican groups appear to be shifting many of their operations into Central America.
The Associated Press reports that the seizure of precursor chemicals to produce methamphetamine is spiking dramatically in Guatemala. In 2011, authorities seized about 1,600 tons of precursor chemicals, four times the amount seized in 2010. Much of the trade is thought to be controlled by the Sinaloa Cartel.
Such reports point to a key trend previously identified by InSight Crime: the shifting of drug production into Central American nations that are not prepared to confront the Mexican cartels. There have already been some signs that drug trafficking organizes have moved their cocaine-processing infrastructure into the region, with laboratories discovered in Honduras and Guatemala. Nicaragua saw its first ever meth lab dismantled in 2009. If Mexico’s meth production is moving southwards into the Northern Triangle, it is one more indication that the region is increasingly seen as a safer environment for the drug trade.
The shift into Guatemala could also be a sign sign that law enforcement efforts in Mexico are working. Both US and Mexican authorities seized a record amount of meth along the US-Mexico border last year. Another deterrent was Mexico’s decision to ban imports of pseudophedrine and ephedine, key ingredients in meth production, in 2008.
The AP report also supports the hypothesis that the Sinaloa Cartel is expanding its hold on the methamphetamine trade. This includes taking over the network once controlled by the Familia Michoacana. The Sinaloans are now thought to be the largest distributors of meth inside the US.
Republican presidential candidate, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas speaks during a campaign stop in Fort Madison, Iowa, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011
These are my links for December 21st through December 22nd:
Grappling With Ron Paul’s Racist Newsletters – Did you know about the racist newsletters published in the late 1980s and early 1990s under Ron Paul’s name? As the Texas Congressman surges in the GOP primary, the story of the newsletters is garnering headlines, as it did during his 1996 House campaign and his 2008 presidential run. He’s always insisted that he didn’t write the egregiously offensive material, and long ago repudiated it (though not as soon as he should have). Is this an old story voters will look beyond, like Newt Gingrich’s affairs? Or a new story for the vast majority of voters and the plurality of journalists who are less familiar with Paul than the other GOP frontrunners? Is it coming up now “for political reasons”? Or because it’s a legitimate subject of inquiry despite having been aired before in the media?
It seems to me that the story’s reemergence was inevitable and necessary to fully inform primary voters about their choices. This level of scrutiny is rightly what comes with contending for the presidency.
According to The Hill, the former Massachusetts governor was asked by radio host Howie Carr if Onyango Obama, who is allegedly in violation of his immigration status and was arrested for drunk driving this summer, should be deported.
In the Wednesday interview, Romney said the law must be followed.
“Well, if the laws of the United States say he should be deported, and I presume they do, then of course we should follow those laws,” he said.
Asked to clarify those comments in a press conference Thursday, Romney said his stance was not affected by the man’s relationship to the president.
And how many Miami-based HuffPo journalists are doing that? Two, according to Bill Cooke. He reports that Miami Herald staffers are complaining that the HuffPo duo are rewriting their newspaper stories for Huffington Post Miami.
Miami Herald managing editor Rick Hirsch declined to discuss this with Cooke. “I’ll say what I have to say directly to the Huffington Post. There are some things we’ll be discussing soon.”
McConnell offers a way out of the payroll tax cut thicket – As I predicted, the perennial adult in Washington, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), has stepped forward with a way out of the payroll tax box into which the House Republicans have climbed. He sent out this statement:
“The House and Senate have both passed bipartisan bills to require the President to quickly make a decision on whether to support thousands of U.S. manufacturing jobs through the Keystone XL pipeline, and to extend unemployment insurance, the temporary payroll tax cut and seniors’ access to medical care. There is no reason why Congress and the President cannot accomplish all of these things before the end of the year. House Republicans sensibly want greater certainty about the duration of these provisions, while Senate Democrats want more time to negotiate the terms. These goals are not mutually exclusive. We can and should do both. Working Americans have suffered enough from the President’s failed economic policies and shouldn’t face the uncertainty of a New Year’s Day tax hike. Leader Reid should appoint conferees on the long-term bill and the House should pass an extension that locks in the thousands of Keystone XL pipeline jobs, prevents any disruption in the payroll tax holiday or other expiring provisions, and allows Congress to work on a solution for the longer extensions.”
Ron Paul’s story changes on racial comments – Rep. Ron Paul has tried since 2001 to disavow racist and incendiary language published in Texas newsletters that bore his name, denying he wrote them and even walking out of an interview on CNN Wednesday. But he vouched for the accuracy of the writings and admitted writing at least some of the passages when first asked about them in an interview in 1996.
Some issues of the newsletters included racist, anti-Israel or anti-gay comments, including a 1992 newsletter in which he said 95% of black men in Washington “are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.”
Paul told TheDallas Morning News in 1996 that the contents of his newsletters were accurate but needed to be taken in context. Wednesday, he told CNN he didn’t write the newsletters and didn’t know what was in them.
Video: Ron Paul in 1995: Say, have you read my newsletters? – Mitt Romney can breathe a sigh of relief, because Andrew Kaczynksi has shifted his attention to Ron Paul this week. Andrew dug up a 1995 interview with C-SPAN, a year before running for Congress after a decade out of office. Paul tells C-SPAN that he was ready after the long hiatus to return to Washington, but that’s not the big catch in this clip. Starting at 1:45, Ron Paul explains that his private sector efforts are keeping him too busy — and starts plugging his newsletters:
What Ron Paul Thinks of America – Ron Paul’s supporters are sure of one thing: Their candidate has always been consistent—a point Dr. Paul himself has been making with increasing frequency. It’s a thought that comes up with a certain inevitability now in those roundtables on the Republican field. One cable commentator genially instructed us last Friday, “You have to give Paul credit for sticking to his beliefs.”
He was speaking, it’s hardly necessary to say, of a man who holds some noteworthy views in a candidate for the presidency of the United States. One who is the best-known of our homegrown propagandists for our chief enemies in the world. One who has made himself a leading spokesman for, and recycler of, the long and familiar litany of charges that point to the United States as a leading agent of evil and injustice, the militarist victimizer of millions who want only to live in peace.
Flipper: Romney changes stance on Iraq invasion – Romney’s statement on MSNBC is not only a change from what he said on Fox a few days ago. It’s also a change from his position during his first run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2007-2008. In a January 2008 GOP debate in Florida, Romney was asked, “Was the war in Iraq a good idea worth the cost in blood and treasure we have spent?” Romney answered: “It was the right decision to go into Iraq. I supported it at the time; I support it now.”
“It’s been going on 20 years that I’ve been pestered about this and CNN does it every time,” Paul said, clearly adjitated by the line of questioning. “When are you going to wear yourself out?”
The Texas congressman said that the articles – which did not carry a byline – were written by his publishing staff and that he did not know about them at the time.
“I didn’t write them, I didn’t read them at the time, and I disavow them. That is the answer,” Paul said.
When CNN reporter Gloria Berger defended her questioning as legitimate – noting that some of the articles were “pretty incendiary” – Paul began to remove his microphone.
The newsletters, mainly a forum for essay’s on Paul’s brand of libertarianism, once referred to Martin Luther King Jr. as “the world-class philanderer who beat up his paramours” and who “seduced underage girls and boys.”
In another article, the author writes that “given the inefficiencies of what DC laughingly calls the criminal justice system, I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.”
Mitt Romney Says ‘Yes’ To Deporting President Obama’s Uncle – Presidential candidate Mitt Romney told a Boston talk radio host on Wednesday that he supports the deportation of President Obama’s Kenyan-born uncle who was arrested this fall on drunken driving charges in Massachusetts.
When asked by Boston radio personality Howie Carr whether the president’s relative, Onyango Obama, should be deported, Romney said, “the answer is ‘yes.’”
“Well, if the laws of the United States say he should be deported, and I presume they do, then of course we should follow those laws,” Romney said. “And the answer is ‘yes.’”
When Carr brought up Onyango Obama case, Romney first sought clarification: “Who is Uncle Omar, Howie?” the former Massachusetts governor asked the radio host.
Carr explained that the uncle, nicknamed “Omar,” was recently arrested in Framingham, Mass.
“Now he’s claiming he’s got a Social Security number and drivers’ license and no one knows how he got them,” Carr told Romney, “but they’re apparently legit even though he’s in the country illegally.” (Onyango Obama had reportedly defied a 1992 deportation order.)
Said Gingrich: “I’ll tell you what. If he wants to test the heat, I’ll meet him anywhere in Iowa next week, one-on-one, 90 minutes no moderator, just a timekeeper. He wants to try out the kitchen? I’ll debate him anywhere. We’ll bring his ads, and he can defend [them].”
Ron Paul Storms Out Of CNN Interview – Ron Paul walked out of an interview with CNN’s Gloria Borger, following a heated exchange over the controversy regarding racist newsletters sent in his name during the 1990s. Borger asked the Congressman if he had ever read the newsletters. “Did you ever object when you read them?”
“Why don’t you go back and look at what i said yesterday on CNN and what I’ve said for 20 something years. 22 years ago? I didn’t write them, I disavow them, That’s it.”
“But you made money off them,”
“I was still practicing medicine,” Paul responded. “That’s probably why I wasn’t a very good publisher, I had to make a living.”
Tom Del Beccaro, Chairman of the California Republican Party Response to ProPublica Report – “The ProPublica report vindicates my repeated contention that the redistricting process was hijacked. That report, however, is just the tip of the iceberg. The corruption of the process went far beyond what was disclosed in that report. No fair minded person can now say the process or the result was fair. I am calling for an immediate and thorough investigation, by Congressional and State authorities, to get to the bottom of this obviously corrupted process. Beyond that, the Congressional and Senate lines as drawn by the Commission should not be used in any way for the upcoming elections.”
In previous years, the party had used its perennial control of California’s state Legislature to draw district maps that protected Democratic incumbents. But in 2010, California voters put redistricting in the hands of a citizens’ commission where decisions would be guided by public testimony and open debate.
Democrats skew redistricting effort to their benefit, investigation finds – California’s congressional Democrats ran a secret effort earlier this year to manipulate the work of the independent citizen’s panel that drew the state’s new political districts, foiling the intent of reformers who sought to remove the redistricting process from the control of party bosses.
Democrats met behind closed doors at the party’s Washington, D.C. headquarters, hired consultants, drew their ideal districts and presented maps to the panel through proxies who never disclosed their party ties or “public interest” groups created specifically for the purpose. In many cases, the panel responded by doing just what the Democrats wanted.
The New York-based nonprofit investigative foundation ProPublica released findings Wednesday from a months-long reconstruction of the Democrats’ stealth redistricting strategy, relying on internal memos, emails, interviews and map analysis.
The success of the strategy has Democrats projecting they may pick up as many as seven congressional seats in 2012 under new district boundaries adopted last summer, far more than had been expected originally.
“Every member of the Northern California Democratic Caucus has a ticket back to D.C.,” crowed one internal memo. “This is a huge accomplishment that should be celebrated by advocates throughout the region.”