These are my links for August 10th through August 12th:
Romney Picked Ryan Over Advisers’ Early Doubts– Mitt Romney appears to have picked Paul Ryan as his running mate over the objections of top political advisors, offering a glimpse at the leadership style of the Republican nominee in the most important decision of his campaign. Romney’s aides have stressed publicly in the 24 hours since Romney electrified conservatives with his choice that the pick was the governor’s alone. They have been less forthcoming on the flip side: That much of his staff opposed the choice for the same reason that many pundits considered it unlikely — that Ryan’s appealingly wonky public image and a personality Romney finds copasetic will matter far less than two different budget plans whose details the campaign now effectively owns.”Everybody was against [Ryan] to start with only Romney for,” said one top Republican, who is skeptical of the choice and griped that Romney’s top advisors have “been giving Mitt everything he wanted in this campaign.”Romney, his advisor Beth Myers told reporters Saturday, met with a team of about a half-dozen key campaign advisors several times on the issue, and spoke to a wide circle of trusted allies; it’s not unusual that there would be differences, or that the instinct of many would be to do no harm, and to keep the campaign focused on the economy and on Barack Obama. Romney’s decision to roll the dice himself reflects a different side than often seen of the cautious candidate: A desire to surround himself with people he genuinely respects, and a confidence in his own political judgement.
Sarah Palin will not speak at GOP convention #tcot– 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, announced Sunday she would not speak at this year’s Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.In a statement published on the blog of Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren, Palin said this year would be a “good opportunity for other voices to speak at the convention and I’m excited to hear them.”Palin expressed her backing for the GOP ticket and said she would continue to focus her efforts on helping the party remove President Obama from office and control both chambers of Congress.“As I’ve repeatedly said, I support Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in their efforts to replace President Obama at the ballot box, and I intend to focus on grassroots efforts to rally Independents and the GOP base to elect Senate and House members so a wise Congress is ready to work with our new President to get our country back on the right path,” she said.
Palin Vows to Protect Ryan From What Happened to her in 2008 #tcot– Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin says she’s “all in” for Romney-Ryan and promises to help make sure this time the vice presidential nominee’s reputation “won’t be thrashed.”Palin told Fox News she believes Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., will certainly be scrutinized and vetted. But the 2008 vice presidential candidate says she “will be darned” if the same thing happens to him that happened to her in 2008, when she alleges the McCain campaign did not protect her from the “lame-stream media.”Palin says that there are a lot of people like her who will have Ryan’s back. “We will call out the media for their lies and distortions as they try to thrash his reputation and his record,” she said.Palin remembers being thrust into the race, “going from Wasilla to the national/international stage with about four days’ preparation.” She blames the McCain campaign for the bumpy ride.”I felt when I was thrust into that spotlight I didn’t have a lot of people in the McCain campaign who had my back and would correct the media because they had a lot of friends in the media, and they wanted jobs with the media afterwards. They didn’t really defend what I really stood for and what my record was all about,” Palin said.
Sarah Palin lauds Paul Ryan choice by smacking California #catcot #tcot– If you’re the kind of person who enjoys a good political debate, then you have to be rooting that some day… some time… Sarah Palin will debate Gov. Jerry Brown.Because on Saturday night, Palin made it pretty clear what she thinks of Brown’s home turf.”When I think about the direction our country is rapidly drifting in, I can’t help but look at California as a cautionary tale,” the former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential candidate writes on her Facebook page.Make no mistake, it’s a posting that’s mostly critical of President Barack Obama and mildly enthusiastic about Mitt Romney’s selection of Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, as his running mate.But even though the Golden State is only a jumping off point, Palin sinks her teeth in deep. Several times over, in fact.”Obama’s vision for America will make the rest of the country look like California, minus the beautiful scenery and warm weather,” she writes.A paraphrasing of her Saturday night California massacre doesn’t do it justice: high-speed rail, water, unemployment, business regulations, taxes, real estate, state government spending, public employee pensions, municipal bankruptcies, good-for-nothing Democrats.
California State GOP down, but not buried #catcot #tcot– So is the California Republican Party, which spawned two presidents and only a generation ago appeared to be in the ascendency, really dead? That’s the unspoken question in the minds of Republican activists at the party’s semi-annual convention.The answer: Down, certainly, but not quite out.One reason is that there’s more to the California Republican Party than the California Republican Party.
The state party structure has never been a well-oiled, professional political machine like its Democratic counterpart. It’s a collection of amateurs and volunteers such as its current chairman, Tom Del Beccaro.Republican legislators and congressmen raise their own money and independent GOP groups, such as the Lincoln Club, often play powerful roles. The Lincoln Club, for instance, is the financial muscle behind Proposition 32, which is aimed at kneecapping Democratic fundraising by making it more difficult for unions to extract political money from paychecks.That said, the state GOP does have a big problem: It remains a mostly white, mostly suburban and rural party of social conservatives in a state that is mostly nonwhite and fairly libertarian on cultural issues such as abortion, immigration and gay marriage.Del Beccaro has made broadening the party’s appeal his mission, but he’s facing internal criticism because of money woes and other issues and could even lose some of his authority.
These are my links for July 25th through July 26th:
Obamacare falling short already– The unintended, convoluted and costly consequences of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law are about to be realized. Obamacare was rushed through Congress in 2010 despite almost no one knowing what the 2,700-page law provided, apart from a vague promise to make health care more affordable and accessible.This week, the Congressional Budget Office said that, because the U.S. Supreme Court, in ruling last month to validate most of the Affordable Care Act, allowed states to opt out of the law’s expansion of Medicaid, about 3 million fewer people will end up insured than originally estimated. This is guesswork because the CBO admits no one knows how many states will opt out. We believe many, if not all, states controlled by Republican legislatures and governors will opt out.
Government Did Not Build Your Business – “If you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen,” declared President Barack Obama at a campaign stop last week in Virginia. Evidently, the president believes that economic growth and job creation are largely the result of actions taken by benevolent government agencies. But while it is certainly the case that good governance is essential, entrepreneurs engaging in voluntary cooperation coordinated through competition in free markets is what actually creates wealth and jobs. In the Virginia speech, the president also observed, “Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive.” As parts of “this unbelievable American system” that “allowed” businesses to “thrive,” the president cited “a great teacher” and that “somebody invested in roads and bridges.” With regard to building a business, the nebulous “somebody” who “made that happen” is, of course, government.
Shifting Dynamics Favor G.O.P.– Since 2006, members of the House have faced electoral waves that swept away scores of incumbents.But the 2012 struggle for control of the House is shaping up less as a partisan surge than as a series of squalls, in which the outcome will largely depend on individual survival skills rather than a national movement.In New York, Dan Maffei, a Democrat, hopes to snag back a seat he lost two years ago, while Representative Kathy Hochul, a Democrat who won in a special election last year, is trying desperately to hang on. In California, a nonpartisan primary and an expensive member-against-member contest between two Democrats, Brad Sherman and Howard Berman, have muddled the outlook in a state where Democrats had high hopes.
No Building Permits for Opponent of Same-Sex Marriage– But denying a private business permits because of such speech by its owner is a blatant First Amendment violation. Even when it comes to government contracting — where the government is choosing how to spend government money —the government generally may not discriminate based on the contractor’s speech, see Board of County Commissioners v. Umbehr (1996). It is even clearer that the government may not make decisions about how people will be allowed to use their own property based on the speaker’s past speech.And this is so even if there is no statutory right to a particular kind of building permit (and I don’t know what the rule is under Illinois law). Even if the government may deny permits to people based on various reasons, it may not deny permitsAmendment rights. It doesn’t matter if the applicant expresses speech that doesn’t share the government officials’ values, or even the values of the majority of local citizens. It doesn’t matter if the applicant’s speech is seen as “disrespect[ful]” of certainpeople’s rights to express such views without worrying that the government will deny them business permits as a result. That’s basic First Amendment law — but Alderman Moreno, Mayor Menino, and, apparently, Mayor Emanuel (if his statement is quoted in context), seem to either not know or not care about the law.
Chick-fil-A Blocked From Opening Second Chicago Store– A Chicago politician said he will block Chick-fil-A from opening a restaurant in his ward, following anti-gay marriage remarks by the fast food chain’s president.Alderman Joe Moreno, who represents Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, plans to use his aldermanic privilege, a Chicago tradition in which City Council members defer to aldermen on local matters, to block the restaurant’s permit.”It’s a very diverse ward– economically, racially, and diverse in sexual orientation,” Moreno told ABCNews.com. “We’ve got thriving businesses and we want more but at the very least don’t discriminate against our LGBTQ folks.”Moreno is not alone in standing up to the fast food restaurant, whose president Dan Cathy came under scrutiny after he told the Baptist Press he was “guilty as charged” when it came to supporting “the biblical definition of the family unit.”
The Battle for Ballot Integrity in Pennsylvania – Pennsylvania is, for the moment, ground zero in the battle over voter fraud. In March, Pennsylvania’s legislature enacted a law that requires identification for voting. The ACLU has sued to enjoin enforcement of the law; a trial on its lawsuit began today and is expected to last for around a week. This illustrates how low the ACLU has fallen. Voting illegally–that’s a “civil right!” But how about not having your vote canceled by the ballot of an illegal voter? Is that a civil right? Naahh.
Conservatives urge Cantor to push spending fight into 2013– House conservatives urged Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) to back a stopgap spending bill that would extend into 2013 and take the issue of government funding off the table during the election and the jammed lame-duck session this fall.Cantor attended a meeting Wednesday of the conservative Republican Study Committee, where lawmakers voiced support for passing a long-term continuing resolution when federal funding runs out at the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.While conservatives led a fight for deep spending cuts in a continuing resolution in 2011, they are worried that Democrats will draw them into a battle that could lead to a government shutdown in October, right before the November elections. They also want a stopgap measure to extend beyond the end of the year so that Democrats cannot use it as leverage in a broader fight over expiring tax rates and automatic spending cuts.
Pat Buchanan wants Palin to speak at convention– Echoing Jim DeMint, it’s Pat Buchanan, after Greta Van Susteren asked Wednesday night whom he’d like to speak at the Republican convention.Buchanan:”I’ll tell you who I like — your buddy and my favorite, Sarah Palin.I would say to Governor Romney at the convention: ‘Look, let’s not have a boring convention…. why don’t you bring in all the voices of the party and say ‘Look, you may not agree with this folks and that folks, but we are all united behind Governor Romney’.”
These are my links for July 10th through July 16th:
Obama – ‘If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen’– President Barack Obama addressed supporters in Roanoke, Virginia on Friday afternoon and took a shot at the business community. President Obama dismissed any credit business owners give themselves for their success:There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. (Applause.)If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.
The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.
Speculation mounts on Romney VP pick – Speculation about who Mitt Romney will choose as a running-mate intensified over the weekend as a buzz around the unlikely name of Condoleezza Rice proved a welcome distraction from Democratic attacks over his Bain Capital record.
Kelly Ayotte, a Republican senator from New Hampshire who is herself mooted as a possible vice-presidential choice, said on TV that the former secretary of state under George W. Bush would be an excellent choice.
“She’s very qualified. She’s excellent. She’s tested. Yes,” Ms Ayotte told ABC’s This Week.
Welcome to California: America without Republicans – “I believe that if we’re successful in this election,” President Obama told campaign donors in Minnesota last month, “that the fever may break, because there’s a tradition in the Republican Party of more common sense than that.” Apparently Obama believes that if he wins this November, Republicans on Capitol Hill will all begin to act like Chief Justice John Roberts by betraying their conservative beliefs and signing on to Obama’s unprecedented expansion of the federal welfare state. But what would America look like if the Republican “fever” did break? We already know. It would look a lot like the state of California, where no non-cyborg Republican has been governor since 1996. Democrats have also enjoyed complete control of the state legislature since 1997. And they have governed exactly the way you’d expect Democrats to govern.
Sarah Palin Still Waiting for Romney Invite to Tampa – Mitt still hasn’t invited Sarah to the GOP’s nomination assembly in Tampa, and the Tea Party is livid. Peter J. Boyer on how the snub could sabotage Romney’s tenuous ties to the grassroots—and why Palin is keeping the week open, just in case.
‘Monica, Monica’ chants taunt Clinton in Egypt– US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was taunted by chants of “Monica, Monica” by tomato-throwing demonstrators as she visited the Egyptian port city of Alexandria on Sunday.The chants, referring to the Monica Lewinsky scandal when her husband, Bill Clinton, was president, were heard outside the US consulate as she visited for its reopening.An embarrassed Egyptian security official said they were chanting “Monica, Monica” and “Irhal, Clinton” (Get out, Clinton.)
Tomatoes, shoes and a water bottle were thrown at part of Clinton’s motorcade as it pulled up, protected by riot police, although a US official said Clinton’s own vehicle was not hit.
Medicaid’s New Tug of War – Economic View– THE new health care law’s individual mandate — the provision pushing people to buy insurance, and upheld last month by the Supreme Court — has garnered huge attention. But about half the planned expansion of insurance coverage under the new law comes from another source entirely: growth of the Medicaid program.Many Governors Are Still Unsure About Medicaid Expansion (July 15, 2012)
Yet Medicaid has never been especially popular, and when its expanded role becomes more widely understood, it is likely to become less popular still.Medicaid beneficiaries have limited means, and their low incomes usually translate into below-average political influence. The joint federal-state financing of Medicaid reflects its lack of broad support among the more affluent. Neither the federal government nor the states wish to pick up the entire tab, and many state governments — and not just Republican administrations — would prefer to spend more on education, roads and other programs. Yet the federal subsidy for Medicaid expenditures keeps many states locked in — the Feds usually pick up at least half the cost — at levels they would not have chosen on their own.
Those are signs of a program ripe for cuts, and yet the law is bringing a major Medicaid expansion. Will it stick? The additional federal subsidy is probably high enough to induce most states to expand Medicaid in the short run. (Under the Supreme Court decision, states can back out of the Medicaid expansion and lose only the new federal subsidy rather than all of their Medicaid funds.)
The greater likelihood is that, over time, American voters will rebel against Medicaid and dismantle the subsidies that keep the states locked in, and will prefer instead to spend the money on other programs.
July panic for Obama — for good reason– So the Obama team has shot its wad. Its opponent has more ammo and more money now. Romney hasn’t been mortally wounded. And there isn’t money from Obama to keep up the 4-to-1 spending barrage. In fact without it, Obama might well have fallen behind in the race. So the Obama team pleads for money and turns up the volume of the attacks. (After calling Romney a criminal in July, what’s left for September and October?)Obama is now committed to a strategy that isn’t working. He’s left to unleash his attack dogs and to pray for a miracle. Maybe the economy will rebound. Perhaps Romney will implode or pick a Sarah-Palin-type for vice president.The reason, you see, that Obama’s camp has become so frantic in July is that its ineffectiveness in the summer subjects its side to grave risks. Having to defend his record, rely on his debate prowess and be evaluated on the economy over the last three years is as risky as, well, as sending thousands across a vast, empty field as enemy fire rains down upon them.
Report: Thousands fled Canada for health care in 2011– A Canadian study released Wednesday found that many provinces in our neighbor to the North have seen patients fleeing the country and opting for medical treatment in the United States.The nonpartisan Fraser Institute reported that 46,159 Canadians sought medical treatment outside of Canada in 2011, as wait times increased 104 percent — more than double — compared with statistics from 1993.Specialist physicians surveyed across 12 specialties and 10 provinces reported an average total wait time of 19 weeks between the time a general practitioner refers a patient and the time a specialist provides elective treatment — the longest they have ever recorded.
In 2011, Canadians enrolled in the nation’s government-dominated health service waited long periods of time for an estimated 941,321 procedures. As many as 2.8 percent of Canadians were waiting for treatment at any given time, according to the Institute.
“In some cases, these patients needed to leave Canada due to a lack of available resources or a lack of appropriate procedure/technology,” according to the Institute. “In others, their departure will have been driven by a desire to return more quickly to their lives, to seek out superior quality care, or perhaps to save their own lives or avoid the risk of disability.”
Dem. Chair Invested in Swiss Banks, Foreign Drug Companies, and the State Bank of India– Disclosure forms reveal that Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a member of Congress from Florida, previously held funds with investments in Swiss banks, foreign drug companies, and the state bank of India. This revelation comes mere days after the Democratic chair attacked presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for holding money in Swiss bank accounts in the past.”Americans need to ask themselves, why does an American businessman need a Swiss bank account and secretive investments like that?” the DNC chair, a chief surrogate for President Obama’s reelection team, said on Fox News Sunday two days ago. “Just something, a thought, that I’d like to leave folks with.”It’s been a consistent theme of Obama’s reelection strategy: Attack Romney for foreign investments he held, especially in Swiss bank accounts, “to try to promote his wealthy, out-of-touch businessman persona.”
But disclosure forms reveal that in 2010, Wasserman Schultz invested between $1,001-$15,000 in a 401k retirement fund run by Davis Financial Fund. As the fund discloses, it is invested in the Julius Baer Group Ltd. and the State Bank of India GDR Ltd., as well as other financial, insurance, bank institutions.
Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court John Roberts
These are my links for May 21st through May 22nd:
Targeting John Roberts – The left tries to intimidate the High Court on ObamaCare– You can tell the Supreme Court is getting closer to its historic ObamaCare ruling because the left is making one last attempt to intimidate the Justices. The latest effort includes taunting Chief Justice John Roberts that if the Court overturns any of the law, he’ll forever be defined as a partisan “activist.”Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy recently took the extraordinary step of publicly lobbying the Chief Justice after oral argument but before its ruling. “I trust that he will be a Chief Justice for all of us and that he has a strong institutional sense of the proper role of the judicial branch,” the Democrat declared on the Senate floor. “The conservative activism of recent years has not been good for the Court.”
Romney and the Right– This November, millions of conservatives will find themselves in the familiar position of holding their noses to vote for a problematic Republican presidential candidate, because the alternative is far worse.Although conservatives don’t exactly have fond memories of the candidacies of Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole in 1996 and Senator John McCain in 2008, the almost certain nomination of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has its own sting.In 2010, tea-party energy swept a new generation of conviction conservatives into statehouses, governors’ mansions, and the U.S. Congress. Many on the right held out hope that the big payoff would be putting a principled conservative in the White House.
Timing May Be Key in Romney’s VP Announcement– t Romney deliberates on his most important pre-convention political decision, the identity of whomever he selects as a running mate isn’t the only choice he and the vetting team must make.The timing of that vice-presidential unveiling can have a major impact on the race, as the experience of his 2008 predecessor demonstrated fully.
Obama Thinks He’s the Fairness Czar– Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, N.J., came across as a moderate, sensible Democrat when he said on “Meet the Press” Sunday that negative political ads are “nauseating to the American public. Enough is enough. Stop attacking private equity. Stop attacking Jeremiah Wright.”Booker, a Barack Obama surrogate, later tried to walk back his comments. He posted a video in which he explained that he was expressing his frustration with negative campaigning when he spoke out, effectively undermining the president’s re-election narrative. (Booker also referred to the biggest non-story in politics last week, about a political consultant who recommended that a super PAC use Wright in an anti-Obama ad. That ad didn’t get made.)
Obama Campaign Does Damage Control After Dems Question Anti-Bain Strategy– The Obama campaign is in full damage-control mode one day after Newark Mayor Cory Booker publicly derided Democrats’ assault on presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney over his record at Bain Capital.Chief Obama strategist David Axelrod today publicly rebuked Booker, a popular and high-profile surrogate for the campaign, saying he was “just wrong.””I love Cory Booker. He’s a great mayor. If I were, if my house was on fire, I’d hope he were my next door neighbor,” Axelrod said on MSNBC, referring to Booker’s rescue of a neighbor last month.
“I agree with what he said later. I think this was a legitimate area for discussion,” Axelrod said of Booker’s subsequent comments clarifying the issue.
As for the criticism that the Team Obama’s Bain attack is part of “nauseating” political discourse with which Booker has become “very uncomfortable,” Axelrod said, “on this particular instance he was just wrong.”
Hamid Karzai blows top over Dana Rohrabacher– Afghan President Hamid Karzai says Rep. Dana Rohrabacher will be banned from entering his country until the congressman “changes his tongue” and stops criticizing Afghanistan.“A democratically elected congressman of the United States of America should not be talking of an ethnic divide in Afghanistan, should not be interfering in Afghanistan’s internal affairs, should not be asking the Afghan people to have a federal structure as against what the Afghan constitution has asked for, should not be speaking disrespectfully about the Afghan people or the various ethnic groups in Afghanistan,” Karzai said in an interview with CNN. “If an Afghan did that from Afghanistan, how would you react to him in America?”
Sarah Palin: ‘Shame’ Cory Booker backed down– Sarah Palin is applauding Cory Booker’s criticism of the Obama campaign’s attacks on Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital as “candid,” adding that it was a “shame” that the Democratic mayor retreated from his initial remarks that have touched off a firestorm.“It was a shame to see Cory kind of back down from what his answer was, which was so candid,” Palin told Sean Hannity of Fox News on Monday
El Monte school district moving to dismiss employees who have been on paid leave for months– After 10 months of investigation, the local high school district is winding down its inquiries into a dozen employees accused of stealing.Four of the El Monte Union High School District employees no longer work for the district, for undisclosed reasons, and the school board is still figuring out what to do about eight other employees, according to Superintendent Nick Salerno and Thomas Madruga, the district’s attorney.Most the workers in question were on the district’s maintenance/facilities staff.
Several of the 12 employees have been on paid leave since late June or early July of last year. Officials would not reveal exactly how many.
The school board was briefed about the workers during a closed-session portion of a May 2 board meeting, according to Madruga. And resolutions for the remaining employees could come soon, he said.
Sources inside the district said the board rejected a proposal that would have let two of the employees come back to work, after facing a few days of unpaid leave as discipline.
Madruga and Salerno said the charges relate to accusations of theft that were brought to the attention of the district at the end of the last school year.
Some of the allegations were small, such as taking home the last few sheets of a roll of paper towels, according to Salerno and Madruga.
But others involved using the district’s lines of credit to acquire personal property.
“I mean costly equipment, major equipment,” Salerno said.
Some of the employees were accused of using district finances to buy a motor home.
Salerno said that district officials learned that a culture of taking things from the district had taken hold among a handful of employees in the district’s maintenance staff.
He said as far as he knew, the practices had been going on for decades.
“There seemed to be this small circle who accepted this stuff and thought it was OK,” he said.