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share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: August 14, 2012

These are my links for August 12th through August 14th:

  • Newt Gingrich Tells Piers Morgan ‘You Guys Almost Sound Like You’re An Extension of the Obama Campaign’- Piers Morgan on Monday picked the wrong guy to toss Democrat talking points at.After the CNN anchor spoke the typical liberal nonsense about Paul Ryan’s budget only benefiting rich people, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich scolded, “I do wonder sometimes if you guys all get off in a little club and learn a brand new mantra and then all repeat it mindlessly…You guys almost sound like you’re an extension of the Obama campaign”
  • BUSTED: CNN’s Soledad O’Brien Caught Using Liberal Blog To Attack Ryan Plan- In yet another classic display of the liberal media, CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien has been caught red-handed using left-wing blog Talking Points Memo to counter Virginia House of Delegates member Barbara Comstock on the House GOP budget.As Ali A. Ackbar of Viral Read discovered:Tonight, she was the substitute host for Anderson Cooper, a program that boasts of its reputation for “keeping [politicians] honest.” During her interview with Virginia House of Delegates Republican member Barbara Comstock, O’Brien became visibly flustered and was actually caught doing finger stress exercises as she attempt to insert editorial commentary while her guest, a former skilled Republican operative, defended the House GOP budget, designed by Budget Chairman Paul Ryan.Accidentally, a cameraman captured O’Brien furiously flipping through notes, only to cut out seconds later. What was she viewing?

    Footage proves it was a printed email, talking points and opposition research.

  • Day By Day August 14, 2012 – Vegetables – Flap’s Blog – Day By Day August 14, 2012 – Vegetables #tcot
  • The Forgotten History of Ryan’s Medicare Reform- There was a small but instructive moment in 2010, the summer after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, that shows why Paul Ryan is so unusual for Washington.A panel at the American Enterprise Institute featured Richard Foster, the Medicare actuary who estimates that ObamaCare’s $716 billion in Medicare cuts will cause one of six hospitals to become unprofitable. In the audience was Chip Kahn, the president of a for-profit hospital trade group that lobbied for ObamaCare, who stood up to defend the bargain his industry cut in return for 30 million new subsidized customers.Mr. Foster noted that the cuts, which come via a technical change to Medicare payment rates, apply in perpetuity. But the hospitals only get the extra patients once, so the wedge between costs and benefits for hospitals widens over time.”Well,” Mr. Kahn replied, “you can say, ‘Did you make a bad deal?’ Fortunately I don’t think I’ll probably be working after 2020.” When Mr. Foster pressed him, he joked again, “I’m glad my contract only goes another six years.”

    This kind of short-range thinking—and intellectual exhaustion—dominates both parties and their many clients in Washington, in health care especially.Mr. Ryan’s political character has always been different. He saw before anyone else that one era of government was inexorably ending, and that if we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.

  • McCain Says Reid’s Claim on Romney’s taxes is Wrong- Sen. John McCain told Jon Ralston that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is wrong about his assertion that Mitt Romney did not pay taxes for 10 years, saying his team that vetted the presumptive GOP nominee in 2008 found no such thing.Said McCain: “Nothing in his tax returns showed that he did not pay taxes.”
  • Paul Ryan veep selection draws Romney closer to House GOP- Mitt Romney’s selection of Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate draws his presidential campaign closer to Congress and the House Republican leadership, an association that could carry more risk than reward in the short term.As a former executive and governor who had never served in Washington, Romney had run an outsider campaign and kept a healthy distance from a historically unpopular Congress. The presumptive GOP nominee did not support the 2011 debt ceiling deal negotiated by his party’s congressional leadership (and which Ryan backed), and he did not immediately endorse the Ryan-authored budget plan that the House has passed two years in a row.
  • Marco Rubio, Chris Christie get key speaking roles at RNC- In a showcase role on his party’s biggest stage, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio will introduce Mitt Romney for his speech to accept the nomination for president on the last night of the Republican National Convention.It is an introduction aimed at giving Romney a boost from a rising star in a must-win state, but it will almost certainly further enhance Rubio’s standing, too.New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a favorite among fiscal conservatives in the party, will give the keynote address, the convention announced early Tuesday.”We have an opportunity in Tampa to make clear that if we tell each other the hard truths, tackle the big problems, and make bold choices, we will see America’s comeback,” Christie, a former federal prosecutor known for his take-no-prisoners speaking
  • Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-08-14 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-08-14
  • @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-08-14 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-08-14 #tcot
  • Caught: Soledad O’Brien Uses Liberal Blog to Attack Ryan Plan | Viral Read – @Soledad_OBrien should be asked to resign. What an insufferable biased hack…how about it CNN? #tcot #catcot
  • Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin raise questions by moving into expensive $3.3 million Manhattan apartment- Anthony Weiner’s wife not only took him back, she took him back in style — moving with the shamed pol into a luxurious, $3.3 million Manhattan pad owned by a deep-pocketed Democratic donor, The Post has learned.After quitting his Queens House seat amid a notorious sexting scandal, Weiner and beautiful, brainy spouse Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, landed in the sprawling, 12th-floor Park Avenue trophy residence owned by Rosen Partners LLC, which is headed by close Clinton pal Jack Rosen, records show.Rosen — who oversees the American Jewish Congress — is an influential international political force. He’s been a guest at the White House, flies the Clintons in his private plane, and has poured money into both Bill and Hillary Clinton’s election campaigns over the years, according to campaign-finance records.
  • Treasury: U.S. to lose $25 billion on auto bailout- The Treasury Department says in a new report the government expects to lose more than $25 billion on the $85 billion auto bailout. That’s 15 percent higher than its previous forecast.In a monthly report sent to Congress on Friday, the Obama administration boosted its forecast of expected losses by more than $3.3 billion to almost $25.1 billion, up from $21.7 billion in the last quarterly update.The report may still underestimate the losses. The report covers predicted losses through May 31, when GM’s stock price was $22.20 a share.On Monday, GM stock fell $0.07, or 0.3 percent, to $20.47. At that price, the government would lose another $850 million on its GM bailout.

    The government still holds 500 million shares of GM stock and needs to sell them for about $53 each to recover its entire $49.5 billion bailout. At the current price, the Treasury would lose more than $16 billion on its GM bailout.

    The steep decline in GM’s stock price has indefinitely delayed the Treasury’s sale of its remaining 26 percent stake in GM. No sale will take place before the November election.

  • Hey Paul Ryan haters, your congressional insider trader suspect actually is Sheldon Whitehouse- Paul Ryan falsely was accused today by left-wing bloggers, most notably Matthew Yglesias (formerly of Think Progress now of Slate), of insider trading based on confidential information provided by the Treasury Secretary to Congress on September 18, 2008.That day, Ryan traded Citigroup stock.The accusation fell apart when someone noticed that the congressional meeting was in the evening of September 18, after the markets closed and Ryan already had completed his trades.  Yglesias issued a retraction, and even New York Magazine defended Ryan on the charge of insider trading (which at the time would have been legal for members of Congress).If Yglesias and the rest of the left-blogosphere want to chase someone for insider trading based solely on the timing of trades around the September 18 congressional briefing, then they need look no further than their hero Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), as I detailed on November 19, 2011, Sheldon Whitehouse, luckiest investor in America?
  • Obama Trying to Rekindle Hope and Change in Iowa? – Flap’s Blog – Obama Trying to Rekindle Hope and Change in Iowa? #tcot
  • California 2012 Propositions: Democrats Vs. Republicans – Part 1 – California 2012 Propositions: Democrats Vs. Republicans – Part 1
  • Video: Paul Ryan Heckled at Iowa State Fair – Flap’s Blog – Video: Paul Ryan Heckled at Iowa State Fair #tcot
  • Poll Watch: Positive views of Ryan jump higher after pick- Little known nationally before Saturday’s announcement, favorable impressions of Ryan jumped 15 percentage points among the overall electorate with positive views soaring from 49 to 70 percent among conservative Republicans.In Wednesday through Friday interviews, fully 45 percent of Americans expressed no opinion of Ryan, dropping to 30 percent on Saturday and Sunday. The increasing familiarity all went to the positive side of the ledger, giving Ryan an initial advantage in the sprint to define his candidacy.Overall, in interviews after his selection, 38 percent of all Americans express favorable views of Ryan, 33 percent negative ones. (Before the the announcement, Ryan was somewhat underwater, scoring 23 percent favorable, 32 unfavorable.) The most recent national numbers on Vice President Joe Biden are from a July Pew Research Center poll showing a split decision, 40 percent favorable, 37 percent unfavorable.One of the largest movements on Ryan’s favorability numbers was the 21-point jump among conservative Republicans, but the initial movement was positive among independents as well, doubling from 19 to 39 percent.
  • Romney Attacks Obama Again Over Work for Welfare – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Romney Attacks Obama Again Over Work for Welfare
  • Retirees Shower Paul Ryan With Contributions- Democrats say presumptive GOP vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan is a senior citizen’s worst nightmare, but retirees seem to have no problem writing him checks.One of the most prolific fundraisers in Congress, Ryan has drawn nearly $400,000 from retirees this election cycle, dramatically outperforming most House lawmakers, according to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics.The seven-term Wisconsin Congressman and House Budget chairman has come under fire for the controversial budget proposal he released last year that called for dramatically reshaping Medicare and repealing President Barack Obama’s health care law. The plan would transition Medicare into a voucher-like system by 2022 and strike the 2010 health care law – two ideas that Democrats say would be devastating for older Americans.Just about 13 percent of residents of Ryan’s district, which blends the wealthy Milwaukee suburbs with some of the state’s largest industrial areas, are 65 years or older, ranking 203rd out of the 437 districts, including Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, according to 2010 census data.

    By comparison, Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), who represents more people over age 65 than any another Member of Congress, according to 2010 census figures, has raised just $113,000 from retirees so far this cycle.

  • Log In – The New York Times – Motorola to Cut 20% of Work Force, Part of Sweeping Change – #tcot
  • RealClearPolitics – Election 2012 – North Carolina: Romney vs. Obama – @draigun Here is the link for the RCP polling averages for NC: NC is in play.
  • Motorola to Cut 20% of Work Force, Part of Sweeping Change – NYTimes.com – Obamanomics: Motorola to Cut 20% of Work Force, Part of Sweeping Change OOPS #tcot
  • Romney in Florida Attacks Obama on Medicare – Flap’s Blog – Romney in Florida Attacks Obama on Medicare
  • Does Paul Ryan Help Mitt Romney in the Electoral College? – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – RE: @MuddyPolitics I think you underestimate the problems President Obama has with ObamaCare and the poor economy, es…
  • President 2012 Poll Watch: Paul Ryan a Mixed Reaction? – Flap’s Blog – President 2012 Poll Watch: Paul Ryan a Mixed Reaction?
  • Does Paul Ryan Help Mitt Romney in the Electoral College? – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog- RE: @MuddyPolitics Look at the Electoral Map above and you answer your own questions.Romney needs Ohio and Florida …
  • California Pension Reform: Legal pension hikes: air time, golden handshake- If the Legislature attempts pension reform this month, one of the targets may be “air time,” a decade-old policy that allows CalPERS and CalSTRS members to boost their pensions by buying up to five years of additional service credit.Another older but also colorfully named policy, the “golden handshake,” allows management to encourage early retirement by boosting pensions with two years of additional service credit.Some regard air time as an abuse, even though employees make a payment that is supposed to cover the cost. There is the question of fairness, a benefit not available to all citizens, and of taxpayer risk if long-term investment earnings are below the forecast.The golden handshake, with employers presumably paying the cost, has the same investment risk and often is offered only to higher-paid employees. The CalPERS version also gets competition from a private firm, Public Agency Retirement Services.

    Air time and the golden handshake were linked in a bill veto message in 2003 by former Gov. Gray Davis, who signed a major state worker pension increase, SB 400 in 1999, criticized for triggering unsustainable pension increases throughout the state.

  • California moving forward on plan to upgrade schools, seek 2014 bond- State officials have set to work on an ambitious plan to upgrade California’s aging and outdated school facilities and, in doing so, lay the groundwork for a 2014 bond measure to help pay for it.The goal is to transform existing school structures into 21st Century learning environments – clean, safe and technologically-advanced with sustainable, cost-efficient energy systems – for the state’s six million students.The first step, officials said, is to create a comprehensive inventory on the status of the state’s classrooms to assess what actually needs to get done.“It’s vital that we have a plan,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said during a hearing on school facility needs last week. “I think it’s going to be a springboard for action in a way that the Legislature can move to a place in 2014 where we can go to the voters to say ‘let’s re-up; let’s invest again in a program that’s even more targeted toward the needs of our students.”
  • Irish Pull Teeth as Europe Crisis Means Dental Cutbacks – Businessweek – Irish Pull Teeth as Europe Crisis Means Dental Cutbacks – Businessweek #tcot
  • President 2012 Poll Watch: Republicans Have Significantly More Voter Engagement – President 2012 Poll Watch: Republicans Have Significantly More Voter Engagement
  • Irish Pull Teeth as Europe Crisis Means Dental Cutbacks – Businessweek – Irish Pull Teeth as Europe Crisis Means Dental Cutbacks #tcot
  • Irish Pull Teeth as Europe Crisis Means Dental Cutbacks- Pedro Ruiz of Madrid, a 29-year-old unemployed plumber, has been putting off dental surgery to fix his crooked teeth.“I don’t want to spend in one visit to a dentist what it takes me 10 days to earn,” said Ruiz.In the midst of Europe’s worst financial crisis in a generation, countless other patients are making similar decisions across the continent, doing without everything from checkups to tooth implants as unemployment has surged and governments have reined in health spending. Many are putting their health at risk.Though no hard Europe-wide data on dental spending exists, the cutbacks by governments and individuals mean oral cancers and other illnesses won’t be spotted earlier, when they’re more easily treatable, said Kamini Shah, honorary secretary at the British Association for the Study of Community Dentistry.

    “The mouth is a mirror to the rest of the body,” said Shah.

    The effects of the financial crisis on dental care are also evident for companies that supply equipment. Shares of the world’s biggest makers of dental implants, Nobel Biocare Holding AG (NOBN) and Straumann Holding AG (STMN), have plunged 90 percent and 67 percent, respectively, from their peaks in 2007.

    Declining sales in Europe is “the new normal,” said Ingeborg Oie, an analyst with Jefferies International Ltd.

    “If Europe continues to plod along this trajectory then we’re not going to be out of this for a few years,” she said.
    Cheaper Dentures

    In Spain, which has the highest unemployment rate among countries using the euro at 24.8 percent, patients are choosing cheaper, removable dentures costing a few hundred euros instead of permanent implants that can cost thousands of euros, Manuel “Alfonso” Villa, president of the Spanish Dental Association said in a telephone interview from his clinic in Gijon, northern Spain.

    “People are very scared about spending,” he said. “We’ve noticed a significant slowdown since 2009, but 2011 and this year have been disastrous.” Patients are delaying procedures “unless it hurts too much,” he said.

    Ruiz, the Spanish plumber, earned 2,500 euros ($3,070) a month before losing his job in January. He just finished a temporary job that paid him 1,200 euros and decided to bank it rather than spend it on his teeth because “it’s not a life-or- death matter.”

  • Flap’s Dentistry Blog: The Morning Drill: August 13, 2012 – The Morning Drill: August 13, 2012
  • Day By Day August 13, 2012 – Package Deals – Flap’s Blog – Day By Day August 13, 2012 – Package Deals
  • Axelrod Draws Parallel Between Ryan and Palin – Lara Seligman – NationalJournal.com – Weak analogy and wishful thinking RT @nationaljournal Axelrod draws parallel between Ryan and Palin. #tcot
  • 10 reasons why Paul Ryan could help Mitt Romney become US President – Mail Online – Toby Harnden’s blog- Until a fortnight ago, it looked like Mitt Romney wanted to make the safest, least dramatic vice-presidential pick possible, a running mate who would be the unPalin – someone who would be a news story for the day but would not alter the shape of the campaign.Someone like Tim Pawlenty or Rob Portman. Either this approach was a feint all along or something changed as the 2012 campaign descended into petty, slimy negativity and Romney began to slip slightly in the polls despite a terrible economy and unemployment rising to 8.3 percent.Choosing Ryan is a bold and surprising – though by no means as outlandish as Sarah Palin in 2008 – choice. Vice-presidential running mates seldom have a major impact on the outcome of a presidential election. But this time, Ryan might a difference – here are 10 reasons why:
  • Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-08-13 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-08-13
  • Why Romney Chose Ryan – A Choice Between Stagnation and Renewal- Mitt Romney did much more this weekend than announce a running mate. He unveiled a significant change in strategy. The 2012 election is now a choice, not just a referendum.Conservatives have spent much of this summer reassuring themselves. They’ve pointed out the extraordinary sums President Obama has thrown at crippling Mr. Romney. They’ve noted how ugly and brutal those attacks have been. They’ve comforted themselves that, for all the smears, Mr. Romney is within a few points of the incumbent in national tracking polls.Yet the same can be said on the other side. The economy is teetering, the deficit exploding, the nation unhappy with his signature legislation. Daily, Mr. Romney beats the White House with these failures. But he has barely moved the polling dial.
  • VP candidate Ryan returns to Wisconsin to adoring crowd- Brushing aside tears and responding to raucous cheers, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan returned to Wisconsin on Sunday for an emotional homecoming in front of thousands of people on the grounds of the Waukesha County Expo Center. “It’s good to be home,” Ryan said in a speech that wove personal history and national aspiration.A day after he was named Mitt Romney’s running mate and vaulted on to the Republican Party’s biggest political stage, Ryan spoke of his family’s deep roots in Wisconsin and his ties to Janesville, where “we live on the block I grew up on.”
  • @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-08-13 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-08-13
  • Sports / Quite simply, this was the greatest Olympic Games in USC history. Trojans set new school records by earning 12 golds and 25 total medals. See more from USC Athletics: http://say.ly/bEb3XIi – The greatest Olympic Games in USC history – new school records by earning 12 golds & 25 total medals. via @pinterest
  • Time to Start Training for the Los Angeles Marathon – Time to Start Training for the Los Angeles Marathon
  • Video: The Romney and Ryan 60 Minutes Interview – Flap’s Blog – Video: The Romney and Ryan 60 Minutes Interview
  • Untitled (http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/12/4717754/dan-walters-state-gop-down-but.html#mi_rss=Dan%20Walters?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter) – Untitled (… #tcot
  • Untitled (http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/12/4717754/dan-walters-state-gop-down-but.html#mi_rss=Dan%20Walter) – Untitled (… #tcot
  • The Sunday Evening Flap: August 12, 2012 – Flap’s Blog – The Sunday Flap: August 12, 2012
share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: August 14, 2012
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share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: August 3, 2012

Unemployment rate graph The Morning Flap: August 3, 2012

These are my links for The Morning Flap – August 2nd through August 3rd:

  • July jobs report: America’s labor market depression continues- Only in a world of lowered, New Normal expectations was the July jobs report anything less than another disaster for U.S. workers. Nonfarm payrolls rose 163,000 last month as the unemployment rate rose to 8.3%. In addition, employment for May and June was revised by 6,000 jobs.– Not only is the 8.3% unemployment rate way above the 5.6% unemployment rate that Team Obama predicted for July 2012 if Congress passed the $800 billion stimulus plan. It’s way above the 6.0% unemployment rate they predicted if no stimulus was passed.– Job growth, as measured by nonfarm payrolls, has average about 75,000 jobs a month during the Obama recovery for a total of 2.7 million jobs. Context: During the first three years of the Reagan Recovery, job growth averaged 273,000 a month for a total of 9.8 million. If you adjust for the larger U.S. population today, the Reagan Recovery averaged 360,000 jobs a month for a three-year total of 13 million jobs.– This continues to be the longest stretch of 8% or higher unemployment since the Great Depression, 42 straight months.– If the labor force participation rate was the same as when Obama took office in January 2009, the unemployment rate would be 11.0%.

    – Even if you take into account that the LFP should be declining as America ages, the unemployment rate would be 10.6%.

    – If labor force participation rate hadn’t declined since just last month, unemployment rate would have risen to 8.4%.

    – The broader U-6 unemployment rate, which includes “all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons,” ticked up to 15.0%.

    – Two years ago, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner wrote his now-infamous “Welcome to the Recovery” op-ed for the New York Times. During those two years, the economy has added an average of just 137,000 jobs a month.

    – Not only is the 8.3% unemployment rate way above the 5.6% unemployment rate that Team Obama predicted for July 2012 if Congress passed the $800 billion stimulus plan. It’s way above the 6.0% unemployment rate they predicted if no stimulus was passed.

  • 195,000 Fewer Americans Had Jobs in July; 150,000 Dropped Out of Labor Force- There were 195,000 fewer people employed in the United States in July than in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as the national unemployment rate ticked up from 8.2 percent to 8.3 percent.Meanwhile, 150,000 people simply dropped out of the labor force during the month and did not seek to find a job.In June, according to BLS, there had been 142,415,000 people employed in the United States. In July, that dropped to 142,220,000–a decline of 195,000.Similarly, in June, there were 155,163,000 people in the civilian labor force in the United States. To be counted in the civilian labor force, person must be 16 years old or older, not be in the military, prison or a mental institution, and either have a job or have actively looked for a job in the past four weeks.In July, the number of people in the civilian labor force was 155,013,000–a decline of 150,000 from June.
  • Economy Creates 163,000 New Jobs but Rate Rises to 8.3%- The U.S. economy followed up a weak second quarter by creating more jobs than expected with 163,000 new positions added in July, but the unemployment rate rose to 8.3 percent.Markets reacted positively to the announcement, with the stock market surging at the open and safe-haven bond prices plunging. Economists had been expecting 100,000 new jobs.As the country struggles to gain growth traction, the unemployment rate held above 8 percent for the 41st consecutive month, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”I’d call this a soft 163,” said Steve Blitz, chief economist at investment research firm ITG in New York. “If you want to take from this the notion that the economy is not heading to a recession or something more ominous, that’s fine. But if you want to take from this the idea that the economy is about to accelerate, I think that would be a big mistake.”
  • CA Gov. Brown Allegedly Took $3 Million from 9/11 Fund- As California teeters near default in many areas, news is breaking that Gov. Jerry Brown may have taken up to $3 million from a fund created “in honor of the victims of the 2001 terror attacks” to make up for shortfalls.The fund, which was raised by the sale of specialized plates within the state, totals approximately $250 million, and the AP reports that both Brown and former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger each allegedly dipped into the monies in an effort to make ends meet.
  • GAO: Tax cheats get millions in Medicaid money- One in every 20 health providers getting taxpayer money from Medicaid is delinquent on their federal taxes, and in some cases the tax cheats are years behind in paying the IRS, according to a new audit by Congress’s investigators.The Government Accountability Office looked at about 7,000 providers in three large states who Medicaid reimbursed more than $6 billion in 2009 and found that they had nearly $800 million in unpaid federal taxes.In two cases, the health companies — which range from dentists and doctors to private ambulances and medical supply companies — had been under criminal investigation, including for medical billing fraud.“It is outrageous that heath care providers who cheat on their taxes are getting paid with taxpayer dollars through the Medicaid program,” said Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate’s investigative subcommittee.He called for the government to prohibit companies with unpaid taxes from Medicaid money.
  • Tax Scam: IRS Pays Out Billions in Fraudulent Refunds- The IRS is paying out billions of dollars in fraudulent tax refunds to identity thieves; a problem that the tax service’s inspector general told CNBC is a “growing problem” involving numbers that are increasing “exponentially.”In a new report to be issued Thursday, the inspector general for the IRS says that tax thieves are stealing the identities of taxpayers and then filing bogus returns on their behalf and collecting fraudulent refunds as a result.The inspector general estimates that the IRS could issue as much as $21 billion in fraudulent tax refunds over the next five years.
  • Pelosi, Dems push Homeland Security for clarity on LGBT deportations- Scores of House Democrats called on the Obama administration this week to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples when considering deportations.Behind Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), the lawmakers want the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to state explicitly that LGBT “family ties” will be deemed “a positive factor” discouraging deportation as DHS agents gauge whether to pursue cases.
  • Defense Lawyers Say Prop 37 Will Bring Bumper Crop of Litigation- With recent polling suggesting Californians want labels on genetically modified food, defense attorneys warn that an upcoming ballot initiative could generate a bumper crop of litigation.Proposition 37, also known as the Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, would require labels on edibles containing ingredients whose DNA was tweaked to increase yield, to fight off disease or for any other reason. If voters approve the initiative in November, California would become the first state in the nation to employ such a far-reaching consumer alert system.Proponents say their measure has a simple rationale: Californians should know what’s in the food they buy and eat. But legal critics say compliance would be a far more complex task. And they point to an enforcement provision authorizing private consumer lawsuits, something defense lawyers compare less than flatteringly to Prop 65, the 1986 law that requires businesses to warn consumers about chemicals they use.”When I used to go and talk about Prop 65 when it was on the ballot, I would say the biggest beneficiaries would be lawyers. I think that goes double for Prop 37,” said Michele Corash, a environmental defense partner with Morrison & Foerster.James Wheaton, the Oakland attorney who helped draft Prop 37, said such claims amount to scare tactics.
  • Majority of Californians say they know nothing about emissions cap-and-trade program- California’s landmark global-warming bill was a white-hot topic in the 2010 governor’s race and remains former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s signature environmental achievement.But as the state prepares to unroll the law’s cap-and-trade program in November with the first state auctions of emissions permits, a new poll finds that 57 percent of Californians say they have never heard anything about the program.The statewide poll by the Public Policy Institute of California further found that 30 percent of respondents said they had heard “a little,” while just 12 percent said they had heard “a lot.”
  • Police Chief’s $204,000 Pension Shows How Cities Crashed- Stockton, California, Police Chief Tom Morris was supposed to bring stability to law enforcement when he was appointed to the job four years ago.He lasted eight months and left the now-bankrupt city at age 52 with an annual pension that pays more than $204,000 — the third of four chiefs who stayed in the position for less than three years and retired with an average of 92 percent of their final salaries.Stockton, which filed for bankruptcy protection on June 28, is among California cities from the Mexican border to the San Francisco Bay confronting rising pension costs as they contend with growing unemployment and declining property- and sales-tax revenue. The pensions are the consequence of decisions made when stock markets were soaring, technology money flooded the state, and retirement funds were running surpluses.“We didn’t have very many people looking out for the taxpayers when these deals were negotiated,” San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, 63, said in a telephone interview. San Jose, the state’s third-largest city, approved a ballot measure in June to contain annual retirement costs that soared to $245 million from $73 million in the past decade.
share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: August 3, 2012
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share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: June 7, 2012

Scott Walker Forward The Morning Flap: June 7, 2012

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

These are my links for June 6th through June 7th:

  • Walker Changes Attitudes on Public Employee Unions- The results are in, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has beaten Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in the recall election. That’s in line with pre-election polling, though not the Election Day exit poll. Even before the results came in, we knew one thing, and that is that the Democrats and the public employee unions had already lost the battle of ideas over the issue that sparked the recall, Walker’s legislation to restrict the bargaining powers of public employee unions.That’s supported by a Marquette University poll showing 75 percent of Wisconsin voters favoring increases in public employees’ contributions for health care and pensions. It also showed 55 percent for limiting collective bargaining for public employees and only 41 percent opposed.
  • Forget Wisconsin. The Unions’ Biggest Loss Was in California- Bad news for teachers and other public-sector employees: America is more than ready to cut your pensions and benefits. While most politicos had been focusing this week on the Wisconsin recall, an election 2,100 miles away in San Jose, Calif., may be a bigger harbinger of the kind of austerity voters are developing a taste for.In this city of about a million residents an hour south of San Francisco,voters on Tuesday approved arguably the country’s boldest pension cuts. San Jose’s Democratic mayor, Chuck Reed, has been grappling with ballooning pension costs that have increased from $73 million to $245 million in the last decade. Retirement costs already consume more than 20% of the city’s general fund, which helps explain why Reed was pushing San Jose to pass Measure B,which would give voters the power to approve increases in pension benefits and give the city the power to suspend automatic 3% annual raises during a fiscal crisis. The measure would also make workers contribute half the cost of their pensions; employees currently pay $3 for every $8 the city contributes, and the city is financially responsible for any shortfalls. Also included are provisions to curb the abuse of disability benefits. It’s a tough package —and will certainly be challenged in court because it changes benefits not only for future workers, something everyone agrees is legal, but for current ones as well. Nonetheless, voters passed it by a stunning margin of 69.5% in favor, 30.4% opposed. A pension reform measure also passed in San Diego.
  • Romney: Obama slowed recovery to push Obamacare- In an appearance in Texas Wednesday, Mitt Romney charged that President Obama “knowingly slowed down the recovery in this country…in order to put in place Obamacare.” The president’s action, Romney said, “deserves a lot of explaining.”Speaking to an audience at USAA, an insurance and financial services company headquartered in San Antonio, Romney cited a book, “The Escape Artists: How Obama’s Team Fumbled the Recovery,” by the liberal journalist Noam Scheiber. In the book, Scheiber discussed Obama’s thinking on the question of whether, early in his term, to focus more attention on passing a national health care law or to devote more energy to bringing about economic recovery. As Scheiber put it, Obama saw health care as a bigger long-term accomplishment. “There was a strain of messianism in Barack Obama, a determination to change the course of history,” Scheiber wrote. “And it was this determination that explained his reluctance to abandon his presidential vision.” So health care it was.”I always admired the president’s courage for recognizing that fifty years from now people would remember that all Americans had health care,” former Obama economic adviser Larry Summers told Scheiber. “And even if pursuing health care affected the pace of the recovery, which was unlikely in my view, people wouldn’t remember how fast the recovery from this recession was.”
  • Senator Asks DOJ to Investigate SWAT-ting Attacks on Conservative Bloggers- A number of conservative bloggers allege they have been targeted through the use of harassment tactics such as SWAT-ting (fooling 911 operators into sending emergency teams to their homes), in retaliation for posts they have written, and now Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., has stepped into the matter. He has sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder urging him to investigate the SWAT-ting cases to see if federal laws have been violated.”I am writing with concern regarding recent reports that several members of the community of online political commentators have been targeted with harassing and frightening actions. Any potentially criminal action that incites fear, seeks to silence a dissenting opinion, and collaterally wastes the resources of law enforcement should be given close scrutiny at all levels,” Chambliss wrote in the letter.
  • Exit poll: Wisconsin in play in November – The Wisconsin exit poll evidently reported the race for governor in the recall ballot as 50%-50%. With 92% of the vote in, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s excellent website reports the score as 54%-46% Walker. Let’s say that’s the final results: only 13% of precincts from Milwaukee County and 3% of precincts from Madison’s Dane County —the Democrats’ two reservoirs of big majorities—remain uncounted. It has been emblazoned on mainstream media that the exit poll also showed Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney in the state 51%-45%. But if you think the exit poll was 4% too Democratic—and that’s in line with exit poll discrepancies with actual vote results over the last decade, as documented by the exit poll pioneer, the late Warren Mitofsky*—that result looks more like 49%-47% Romney. Or assume the remaining Milwaukee County precincts whittle Republican Governor Scott Walker’s margin over Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett to 53%-47%, which looks likely, the Obama-Romney numbers would look like 48%-48%
  • Rendell: Wisconsin recall a ‘dumb political fight’ for labor to pick- Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) ripped the unions and activists who charged forward in trying to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) on Wednesday, calling the push a political blunder.”It was a dumb political fight — I would have waited until Walker’s reelection,” Rendell told The Hill when asked if the recall push had been a mistake. The former governor and head of the Democratic National Committee pointed to exit polls that showed a number of independents and Democrats who opposed Walker’s policies nonetheless voted for him because they opposed a recall.
  • Barney Frank: Dems, unions made ‘big mistake’ in pushing for Wisconsin recall- Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) slammed unions and liberal activists for pushing to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R).”I think the people on the Democratic side made a big mistake and the funding thing was a big deal,” Frank told The Hill Wednesday afternoon, alluding to Republicans’ big cash advantage in the race. “My side picked a fight they shouldn’t have picked. The recall was upsetting to people, the rerun of the election with [Democratic Milwaukee Mayor] Tom Barrett — it’s not a fight I would have picked.”
  • Obama frets after ‘terrifying’ recall vote- President Obama will need to double down on his efforts to keep Wisconsin safely in his column after Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) resounding victory in Tuesday’s recall election.Every Democratic presidential candidate since Walter Mondale in 1984 has won Wisconsin, but the Obama campaign “can’t view Wisconsin as being in the bank for them,” said Barry Burden, a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. “They’re definitely going to have to put more effort here than they were initially planning.”Political observers say Obama remains the odds-on favorite to win Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes, a sentiment reflected in exit polls showing the president leading Mitt Romney by a healthy margin.
  • Romney narrows gender- Mitt Romney has significantly narrowed the gender gap with President Obama despite massive Democratic attacks on the GOP over a variety of issues.As recently as April, Obama led Romney by 18 percent among women voters in a USA Today/Gallup poll of 12 swing states. The huge advantage with women gave Obama an overall edge of 9 percent.Recent polls show Romney has sliced into that lead.
  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-06-07 – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-06-07
  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » CA-26: Republicans Vote for Linda Parks Tomorrow – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » CA-26: Republicans Vote for Linda Parks Tomorrow
  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » CA-26: Republicans Vote for Linda Parks Tomorrow – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » CA-26: Republicans Vote for Linda Parks Tomorrow
  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » CA-26: Republicans Vote for Linda Parks Tomorrow – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » CA-26: Republicans Vote for Linda Parks Tomorrow
  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » CA-26: Republicans Vote for Linda Parks Tomorrow – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » CA-26: Republicans Vote for Linda Parks Tomorrow
  • Flap’s Dentistry Blog: How Will Dentistry Be Affected By ObamaCare – The Affordable Care Act? – How Will Dentistry Be Affected By ObamaCare – The Affordable Care Act?
  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » CA-26: Republicans Vote for Linda Parks Tomorrow – RE:  LInda Parks proved to be the weakest candidate. Now, Strickland will face the full money and labor machine of th…
  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » The Morning Flap: June 6, 2012 – The Morning Flap: June 6, 2012
share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: June 7, 2012
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share save 120 16 Flaps Links and Comments for October 3rd through October 4th

These are my links for October 3rd through October 4th:

share save 120 16 Flaps Links and Comments for October 3rd through October 4th
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share save 120 16 Flaps Links and Comments for April 28th on 16:25

These are my links for April 28th from 16:25 to 16:35:

  • California Pensions: Public hospital president’s retirement pay highlights issue of ‘supplemental’ pensions – When he turned 65 two years ago, Samuel Downing received a $3-million retirement payment from a public hospital district in Salinas, Calif., where he serves as president and chief executive.

    But Downing continued working at his $668,000-a-year job for another two years, and after he retires this week, he will receive another payment of nearly $900,000. That comes on top of his regular pension of $150,000 a year.

    The payments amount to one of the more generous pension packages granted to a public official in California and come amid growing debate about "supplemental" pensions that some officials receive on top of their basic retirement benefits.

    Though Downing's case is extreme, it follows the disclosure of extra pension benefits received by employees in municipalities including Bell and San Diego. Earlier this year, a state watchdog group called for stricter pension rules, saying California's retirement plans are "dangerously underfunded, the result of overly generous benefit promises, wishful thinking and an unwillingness to plan prudently." Seventy percent of Californians support a cap on pensions for current and future government workers, according to a recent Los Angeles Times/USC Poll.

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    Come on.

    There needs to be a cap and reform NOW.

  • California Water agencies would be taxed under state bill – Retail water districts would pay a new tax under proposed state legislation to fund water-related supply, environmental and recreation projects. The size of the tax has yet to be calculated, but it would be significant.
    A hearing is scheduled May 4 for the bill, Senate Bill 34, in the California Senate's Governance and Finance committee. Since the bill would impose a tax, it requires two-thirds approval by the Legislature.
    SB 34 was introduced in the Natural Resources and Water committee by state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto. The influential legislator is perhaps best known as the author of California's hands-free cellphone law. The water tax bill was approved April 12 by the committee on a 5-3 vote.
    Simitian is offering SB 34 as an alternative to an $11.4 billion water bond measure the Legislature recently placed on the ballot for November 2012. The bill doesn't specify the level of taxes but is expected to be revised later to do so.
    Backers say the bill pays for necessary upgrades to California's water infrastructure, especially in the Sacramento River delta, which showed its inadequacy during the state's recently ended drought.
    Opponents say SB 34 doesn't give specifics about where the money will be spent. They include water districts around the state and the Association of California Water Agencies, a statewide organization of water agencies.
    "It would force water agencies to pay a steep new water tax with no direct benefit to those who pay," said Phil Rosentrater, spokesman for Western Municipal Water District in Riverside County. The district covers 850,000 people concentrated along the Interstate 15 corridor, including Lake Elsinore, Wildomar and parts of Murrieta and Temecula.
    The San Diego County Water Authority, a wholesaler whose member retail agencies are subject to paying the tax, is scheduled to vote Thursday on a recommendation to oppose the bill.

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    Read it all

    There is NO guarantee that the money would go to improve the Sacramento Delta and improve water delivery to Southern California.

    So, this is an easy no for the Cal GOP.

    The bill requires a two-thirds vote in the affirmative and I doubt one vote from a Republican.

  • California Legislature seeking to halt DMV notices to buy time on budget – To buy negotiating time for Gov. Jerry Brown's tax extensions, lawmakers are seeking to halt Department of Motor Vehicles notices for drivers whose vehicle registration expires in July and later.

    Under current law, DMV must send notices at least 60 days before a renewal due date. That means the department is required to notify motorists by May 2 if their vehicle registrations are up for renewal on July 1.

    Because lawmakers haven't agreed to extend the 2009 vehicle license fee increase, drivers are poised to receive a 0.5 percentage point reduction in their VLF starting July 1. The fee is currently a 1.15 percent tax on the estimated value of a vehicle. On a $15,000 car, the difference in rates would be $75.

    Democrats still hope to persuade Republicans to extend the higher VLF rate beyond June. But they don't want drivers to receive renewal notices quoting lower VLF rates now, only to have DMV ask them for more money later this year. That would frustrate drivers and likely undermine support for Brown's tax plan.

    So the Assembly approved a bill Thursday that directs DMV to delay sending renewal notices starting with drivers whose registrations are due July 1. That buys at least another month of time for Democrats to negotiate with Republicans on maintaining higher VLF rates. Democrats say the money is needed to avoid deep cuts in local law enforcement programs.

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    Political machinations to capture more tax revenue.

    Good grief!

share save 120 16 Flaps Links and Comments for April 28th on 16:25
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