Posts Tagged “Pinboard Links”
These are my links for December 18th through December 19th:
- A Bad Budget Deal – Higher taxes now for notional reform later is worse than nothing – It’s clear by now that the budget talks are drifting in a drearily familiar Washington direction: Tax and spending increases now, in return for the promise of spending cuts and tax and entitlement reform later. This is a bad deal for everyone except the politicians who want more money to spend.Consider the tax increase now being touted as a sign of “compromise.” Speaker John Boehner has moved from opposing higher tax rates to offering higher rates for incomes above $1 million a year. While that’s better than the scheduled increase on incomes above $200,000 a year (for singles), it would still put the GOP on record as endorsing a tax increase, in particular on small businesses that file individual returns.President Obama has countered with a ceiling of $400,000. If they compromise at $500,000, we are all supposed to thank the two sides for their reasonableness. Yet both parties will have declared that raising tax rates is no big economic deal. This will hurt the economy, and it further advances Mr. Obama’s political goal of separating the middle class from the affluent on tax policy.
What about tax reform next year? A final judgment on this prospect depends on the fine print, but it’s already looking grim. The GOP has prepared the ground for a genuine tax reform, on the Simpson-Bowles model, that lowers rates in return for fewer deductions. In what is shaping up as this budget deal’s prototype, tax reform looks like it means both higher rates and fewer deductions.
This isn’t reform. It’s another tax increase next year disguised as reform. The Fortune 500 CEOs who are lobbying Republicans don’t mind because they hope to get a cut in the corporate tax rate. But small businesses will be stuck with a huge immediate tax increase, at least until their owners can scramble to reorganize as corporations instead of Subchapter S companies or LLCs.
- How Do We Know an ‘Assault Weapon’ Ban Would Not Have Stopped Adam Lanza? Because It Didn’t – Although Friday’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School has prompted renewed calls for reinstating the federal “assault weapon” ban, we know for a fact that such a law would not have stopped Adam Lanza or made his attack less deadly, because it didn’t. The rifle he used, a .223-caliber Bushmaster M4 carbine, was legal under Connecticut’s “assault weapon” ban, which is similar to the federal law that expired in 2004. Both laws, in addition to listing specifically prohibited models, cover semiautomatic rifles that accept detachable magazines and have at least two out of five features: 1) a folding or telescoping stock, 2) a pistol grip, 3) a bayonet mount, 4) a grenade launcher, and 5) a flash suppressor or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor. The configuration of the rifle used by Lanza, which his mother legally purchased and possessed in Connecticut, evidently was not covered by that definition.
- Democrats Dismiss Boehner’s “Plan B” on Budget – With one eye on the clock and the other on the White House, House Speaker John Boehner introduced a “fiscal cliff” backup plan Tuesday that would only address taxes — an apparent attempt to pressure President Obama into moving Boehner’s way in deficit-reduction negotiations.“Plan B” would permanently extend current tax rates on those with annual incomes below $1 million, a concession by Boehner from his earlier opposition to any rate increase. The speaker insisted he was not walking away from the negotiating table, but said he wants to move faster to ensure that most Americans’ taxes won’t rise starting Jan. 1.
- Benghazi review slams State Department on security – The leaders of an independent panel that blamed systematic State Department management and leadership failures for gross security lapses in the deadly Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya will explain their findings to Congress on Wednesday.The two most senior members of the Accountability Review Board are set to testify behind closed doors before the House and Senate foreign affairs committees on the classified findings of their harshly critical report.An unclassified version released late Tuesday said serious bureaucratic mismanagement was responsible for the inadequate security at the mission in Benghazi where the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed.
“Systematic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department resulted in a Special Mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place,” the panel said.
Despite those deficiencies, the board determined that no individual officials ignored or violated their duties and recommended no disciplinary action. But it also said poor performance by senior managers should be grounds for disciplinary recommendations in the future.
Wednesday’s classified testimony from the review board – retired Ambassador Thomas Pickering and a former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen – will set the stage for open hearings the next day with Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, who is in charge of policy, and Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides, who is in charge of management.
- Inquiry Into Libya Attack Is Sharply Critical of State Department – An independent inquiry into the attack on the United States diplomatic mission in Libya that killed four Americans on Sept. 11 sharply criticized the State Department for a lack of seasoned security personnel and for relying on untested local militias to safeguard the compound, according to a report by the panel made public on Tuesday night.
- 2012 Person of the Year: Barack Obama, the President | TIME.com – Why of course. He won decisively RT @TIME Barack Obama is TIME’s 2012 Person of the Year | #POY2012
- Resolutions: So Irresistible, So Hard to Keep – WSJ.com – RT @WSJ More than half of the 45 million smokers in the U.S. tried to quit in 2010, but < 10% of them managed to stop.
- Sleep’s Surprising Effects on Hunger – WSJ.com – RT @WSJ Study: sleep deprivation triggers hormonal changes that can lead to overeating, weight gain.
- Obama to Announce Gun Task Force – President Barack Obama will on Wednesday announce the first step on gun control following the Newtown school shootings: an interagency task force, led by Vice President Joe Biden, charged with guiding the administration’s continuing response.The announcement will be the third time in five days Obama has addressed the massacre that killed 20 first-graders and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. And it will follow a call on Friday for “meaningful action” and his Sunday pledge to use the White House to “engage” Americans to prevent mass shootings.
- Magazine Clips, Background Checks Lead Gun Talk – All of a sudden a dam broke, and it’s OK for members of Congress to talk about guns. The discussion is civil and calm for now, and everyone hopes that means sanity will prevail when it comes to new firearms policies.“I think elected officials are thinking about trying a little experiment. They might try to get the policy right in the hopes that the politics will take care of themselves,” said Mark Glaze, director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, an organization run by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.In an incredibly divided Congress, it seems ridiculous to assume lawmakers would focus on policy before politics. (For Exhibit A of political gamesmanship, look at the back and forth on a fiscal-cliff deal on Tuesday.) But on guns, it turns out there is a lot of rational agreement among even gun enthusiasts about trying to protect innocent people from being killed by them.
New rules being tossed around by lawmakers include banning high-capacity magazine clips, the kind that allow hundreds of rounds to be fired at a time, and tightening up background checks for gun purchases. Existing gun laws could also be enforced with greater regularity, such as compelling or enticing states to do a better job of reporting red flags like drug abuse or domestic violence to a national crime database.
- New GOP polling firm goal: Catch up with Dems – The Republican polling community is about to get a shake-up.With the GOP still reeling from its defeats in the 2012 election, a new Republican polling firm is seeking to help the party bounce back with a fresh stream of data on the state of the electorate.The outfit, Harper Polling, launches this week with the goal of putting the party on parity with Democrats in the field of IVR polling – a term that stands for interactive voice response polling, commonly known as “robo-polling.”
For several cycles now, Democrats have benefited from a high-volume, relatively inexpensive flow of survey data from the company Public Policy Polling, which takes hundreds of polls in any given cycle checking up on individual races and national issue debates. Some of those surveys are released to the public, while others are conducted for private purposes by Democratic campaigns and interest groups.
- Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-18 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-18
- Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-18 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-18 #tcot
- My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-18 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-18
- Behind the Curtain: Grand old white male party gets diversity memo – Republicans are in full panic mode about being the party of old, white, straight, conservative men for years to come — and struggling big time with how to change things.Under pressure from party leaders, most Republicans have chucked the anti-gay marriage, anti-illegal immigrant hostility — at least in public — that defined the party the past three elections. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other prominent Republicans are privately warning conservatives to put a sock in it when it comes to arguments that turn off large swaths of voters, sources tell us. Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy is doing the same on the House side.
- The Morning Flap: December 18, 2012 – Flap’s Blog – The Morning Flap: December 18, 2012 #tcot
- Byron York: Anxiety rises as Americans face start of Obamacare | Mobile Washington Examiner – Anxiety rises as Americans face start of Obamacare #tcot
- Log In – The New York Times – President Delivers a New Offer on the Fiscal Crisis to Boehner #tcot
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These are my links for December 17th through December 18th:
The sell-out begins…..
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These are my links for December 14th through December 17th:
- With Supermajority, California Democrats Strategize – The Democratic Party has controlled the California Legislature for a nearly unbroken stretch of 42 years. Yet control goes only so far: it takes two-thirds of the Legislature to enact a host of important legislation in this state, meaning that even the diminished Republican Party has been able to easily frustrate Democratic ambitions.
- The Doctor Won’t See You Now – As I wrote a couple weeks ago, Obamacare governmentalizes one-sixth of the U.S. economy — or the equivalent of the entire French economy. No one has ever attempted that before, not even the French. In parts of rural America it will quickly achieve a Platonic perfection: There will be untold legions of regulators, administrators, and IRS collection agents, but not a doctor or nurse in sight.
- The Facts about Mass Shootings – A few things you won’t hear about from the saturation coverage of the Newtown, Conn., school massacre:Mass shootings are no more common than they have been in past decades, despite the impression given by the media.In fact, the high point for mass killings in the U.S. was 1929, according to criminologist Grant Duwe of the Minnesota Department of Corrections.Incidents of mass murder in the U.S. declined from 42 in the 1990s to 26 in the first decade of this century.
The chances of being killed in a mass shooting are about what they are for being struck by lightning.
Until the Newtown horror, the three worst K–12 school shootings ever had taken place in either Britain or Germany.
Almost all of the public-policy discussion about Newtown has focused on a debate over the need for more gun control. In reality, gun control in a country that already has 200 million privately owned firearms is likely to do little to keep weapons out of the hands of criminals. We would be better off debating two taboo subjects — the laws that make it difficult to control people with mental illness and the growing body of evidence that “gun-free” zones, which ban the carrying of firearms by law-abiding individuals, don’t work.
- White House won’t accept new tax offer from Republican leader – President Barack Obama is not ready to accept a new offer from the Republican leader of the U.S. the House of Representatives to raise taxes on top earners in exchange for major cuts in entitlement programs, a source said late Saturday.The shape and details of Boehner’s offer were uncertain Saturday night, as was the exact reason the president was prepared to reject it.The source said Obama sees the offer made on Friday by U.S. House Speaker John Boehner as a sign of progress, but simply believes it is not enough and there is much more to be worked out before Obama can reciprocate.Tax rates and entitlements are the two most difficult issues in the so-far unproductive negotiations to avert the “fiscal cliff” of steep tax hikes and spending cuts set for the new year unless Congress and the president reach a deal to avoid them.
The Boehner offer is the first significant sign of a shift in the Republican insistence that low tax rates set to expire on December 31 be extended for all taxpayers, and comes at some risk to the speaker.
- Republican leaders balance politics and principle on immigration reform – Senior Republicans say the party is struggling to thread the needle on immigration reform, an issue emerging as the next big item on the political agenda once the ongoing deficit talks reach their conclusion.On the one hand, GOP leaders recognize the party needs a new approach. Mitt Romney performed dismally with Latino voters in November’s general election.On the other hand, internal skeptics fear that a GOP rush to embrace a more liberal approach to immigration would risk sundering the conservative movement without paying any electoral dividends.These dilemmas are not entirely new. President George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) pushed immigration reform in the middle of the last decade.
They had no success, were subjected to considerable criticism from other conservatives and the issue almost capsized the latter’s run for the 2008 presidential nomination.
- What If Nothing or Nobody is to Blame for Adam Lanza? Guns, Video Games, Autism or Authorities – What if there is nobody or nothing to blame for Adam Lanza’s heinous acts? Other than Lanza, of course.What if school security and the school psychiatrist kept an eye on Lanza since his freshman year? The Wall Street Journal has a compelling narrative about the red flags addressed.What if he had a form of autism that has little or no link to violent behavior? Lanza may have had Asperger’s syndrome but, even so, that is not a cause.What if it’s too simple to lay the massacre at the feet of the gun lobby? Reader Larry Kelly tweets that shaming Aspies “makes about as much sense at stigmatizing the NRA. Pick an enemy … any enemy. Let outrage and fear rule.”
What if Lanza wasn’t provoked by video games? David Axelrod, a close friend an adviser of President Obama, tweeted last night: “In NFL post-game: an ad for shoot ’em up video game. All for curbing weapons of war. But shouldn’t we also quit marketing murder as a game.”
When I asked whether he was laying groundwork for a White House initiative, Axelrod said no: “Just one man’s observation.” A senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said today that Axelrod was not a stalking horse for Obama on this issue.
What if Lanza’s mother did everything she could, short of keeping her guns out her adult son’s reach? What if he wasn’t bullied?
- Dukakis seen as possible Senate replacement if Kerry tapped for State – Former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, the 1988 Democratic presidential nominee, may be headed back to the political spotlight as he’s considered a likely interim replacement for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.).President Obama is set to tap Kerry to succeed Hillary Clinton as secretary of State, according to media reports.
- Hill Poll: Gloomy voters say US on wrong track, kids will be poorer – A mood of economic gloom hangs over the nation as President Obama and Republican leaders scramble to strike a deficit deal that avoids automatic tax hikes and spending cuts, according to a new poll for The Hill.The poll, conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, found nearly 6-in-10 people (59 percent) feel the country is on the wrong track. It also showed people are deeply pessimistic about their chances for future prosperity, with 54 percent saying they believe their children will be worse off as adults than their parents.
- Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-16 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-16
- Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-16 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-16 #tcot
- My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-16 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-16
- GetGlue – Your app for TV, Movies, and Sports – I unlocked the Hollywood Intern sticker on #GetGlue! @intel
- Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-15 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-15
- Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-15 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-15 #tcot
- My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-15 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-15
- Gregory Flap @ Ronnie’s Diner – 16 miles in the LA Marathon bank. Now, time for some pancakes. (@ Ronnie’s Diner w/ 3 others) [pic]:
- Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-14 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-14
- Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-14 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-14 #tcot
- My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-14 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-14
- Obama: Enforcement of Marijuana Laws Not a HIGH Priority – Flap’s Blog – Obama: Enforcement of Marijuana Laws Not a HIGH Priority #tcot
- California: Smoking Climbs Among Young Adults – Smoking among young adults in California is climbing even as the tobacco habit has leveled off or is declining among younger and older residents of the state, according to a new report from the state Department of Public Health.The smoking rate among adults aged 18 to 24 rose from 12.3 percent in 2010 to 14.6 percent in 2011, the report said. The increase came after the rate had declined in four of the previous five years.That group had the highest smoking rate of any age group in the California. The rate was 13.2 percent among 25 to 44 year olds, 12.1 percent among 45 to 64 year olds and 6.9 percent among those 65 and older. Among all adults the smoking rate was 12 percent in 2011, virtually unchanged from the 11.9 percent rate the year before.The increase among young adults might be a delayed effect of the state’s success in tamping down smoking by high school students, said Colleen Stevens, branch chief for the tobacco control program.
With high school students smoking less, many of those people might be simply putting off trying tobacco until they are 18, and then becoming addicted. The smoking rate among high school students has declined from 21.6 percent in 2000 to 13.8 percent in 2010, although the number of students who reported trying tobacco increased slightly between 2008 and 2010.
- Sales of smokeless tobacco products jump in California, report says – Sales of chewing tobacco and other such smokeless products rose sharply in California over the last decade, and officials are especially concerned about the increase in use among youths, state public health officials said Thursday.Smokeless tobacco use among high school students grew to 3.9% of students in 2010, up from 3.1% in 2004. Nearly $211 million in non-cigarette tobacco and nicotine products were sold in California in 2011, up from $77 million in 2001, according to a report released Thursday by the state Department of Public Health.
The main types of smokeless tobacco seen in California are snuff and chewing tobacco, which have similar health risks to cigarettes. But there was also an increase in sales of snus, small packets of tobacco that are placed under the lip. Other dissolvable products like orbs and strips are becoming more popular in other states, and officials predict they will soon come here.
- Political ethics panel accuses GOP Berryhill brothers of money laundering – State authorities have accused two brothers who served together as Republican legislators of illegally laundering $40,000 in political donations.State Sen. Tom Berryhill (R-Modesto) and former Assemblyman Bill Berryhill (R-Ceres), grape farmers who represented adjacent legislative districts, allegedly funneled the money through two county Republican central committees to skirt contribution limits.An administrative law judge will decide whether the men are guilty of charges drafted by the state Fair Political Practices Commission.
- California Initiative backers must come forward, FPPC says – The people who pay for petition drives in support of statewide ballot measures can no longer hide their identity, thanks to a regulation adopted by the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission on Thursday.Meeting in San Diego, the watchdog panel decided to require groups spending more than $100,000 for a signature drive to state on their organization papers what they’re backing.The change comes after people trying to track ballot measures complained there was insufficient information to determine what groups were behind the efforts.“Getting information out about who is circulating petitions is imperative,” said Commissioner Elizabeth Garrett before the requirement won unanimous approval.
In an Internet-related item, the commission will now require candidates and committees sending out mass emails to identify themselves in the missives. Current regulation only requires identification when 200 or more pieces are sent through Postal Service mail.
- Obama’s Electronic Medical Records Scam – You know who is benefiting from the initiative? Put on your shocked faces: Obama donors and cronies.
Billionaire Judith Faulkner, Obama’s medical information czar and a major Democratic contributor, just happens to be the founder and CEO of Epic Systems — a medical software company that stores nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population’s health data. Another billion-dollar patient-record database grant program has doled out money to the University of Chicago Medical Center (where first lady Michelle Obama and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett both served in high-paid positions). As I’ve previously reported, these administration grants circumvent any and all congressional deliberation as part of Team Obama’s election-year “We Can’t Wait” initiatives.
- The Morning Flap: December 14, 2012 – Flap’s Blog – The Morning Flap: December 14, 2012 #tcot
- Bobby Jindal backs over-the-counter birth control – Re: Gov. Bobby Jindal and birth control = Pander Bear. #tcot
- Patriot missiles a warning to Syria’s al-Assad – CNN.com – U.S. to send troops, Patriot missiles to Turkey #tcot
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These are my links for December 13th through December 14th:
- U.S. to send troops, Patriot missiles to Turkey – The United States gave the go-ahead Friday to deploy Patriot anti-ballistic missiles to Turkey along with enough troops to operate them as the heavily embattled government in neighboring Syria again vehemently denied firing ballistic missiles at rebels.The United States has accused Damascus of launching Scud-type artillery from the capital at rebels in the country’s north. One Washington official said missiles came close to the border of Turkey, a NATO member and staunch U.S. ally.Syria’s government called the accusations “untrue rumors” Friday, according to state news agency SANA. Damascus accused Turkey and its partners of instigating rumors to make the government look bad internationally.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta signed the order while en route to Turkey to send two Patriot missile batteries and 400 U.S. troops to operate them. The surface-to-air interceptors will help in “dealing with threats that come out of Syria,” Panetta said after landing at Incirlik Air Base, a U.S. Air Force installation about 80 miles from Syria’s border.
Panetta was unconcerned about possible reactions from Damascus to the Patriot deployment. “We can’t spend a lot of time worrying about whether that pisses off Syria,” he said, adamant that helping Turkey was the priority.
- Extremism in Defense of Liberty – The rise of the Tea Party, and its swift incorporation into the GOP, can best be understood as a response to a dilemma that presented itself to conservatives 20 years ago. In the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the federal government shutdowns of 1995 and ’96, it appeared that the fight against the Evil Empire was Mission Accomplished while the fight to curb the size and influence of the federal establishment was Mission Impossible. Take away the two goals that had defined the conservative movement since the first issue of National Review, and it was unclear what conservatives were supposed to do, and what conservatism was supposed to be about. The innovations proposed to fill this lacuna included national greatness conservatism, compassionate conservatism, and George W. Bush’s call after 9/11 to “support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.” These missions proved to be, respectively: vague and pointless; a project of social reinvigoration to which political measures could make no more than a marginal contribution; and an extravagant ambition far exceeding America’s capacity and her citizens’ patience.========A must read for the weekend!
- Only 15 States Opt to Run Obamacare Exchanges – Only 15 states have told the federal government they plan to operate health insurance exchanges under President Barack Obama’s reform law, leaving Washington with the daunting task of creating online marketplaces for two-thirds of the country.On the eve of a federal deadline for states to say whether they will run their own exchanges, a top health care policy official told lawmakers that the exchanges will start enrolling eligible families starting on Oct. 1.”I am confident that states and the federal government will be ready in 10 months, when consumers in all states can begin to apply,” Gary Cohen, director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, told a House panel.
Cohen was among federal officials who testified alongside state health authorities at a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health.
In written testimony, Cohen said that while 15 states have told the administration they will operate exchanges, 11 others have opted for versions that will require major involvement by the federal government.
Experts say the number of states planning to operate their own exchanges could reach 18, plus the District of Columbia, by the time the deadline arrives Friday.
- Charles Krauthammer: The right-to-work dilemma – For all the fury and fistfights outside the Lansing Capitol, what happened in Michigan this week was a simple accommodation to reality. The most famously unionized state, birthplace of the United Auto Workers, royalty of the American working class, became right-to-work.It’s shocking, except that it was inevitable. Indiana went that way earlier this year. The entire Rust Belt will eventually follow because the heyday of the sovereign private-sector union is gone. Globalization has made splendid isolation impossible.
- Get ready for the costs and chaos of Obamacare – Nancy Pelosi was widely mocked when she said of Obamacare, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” At the time, March 2010, Pelosi’s words accurately described the Democrats’ just-get-it-done approach to passing a national health care bill. But now it turns out Pelosi was wrong. In fact, we have to implement Obamacare so that you can find out what is in it.Amid the other momentous events coming in 2013 — bitter fights over federal spending, debt, entitlements and immigration — the biggest story of the year, and of 2014 as well, will be the arrival of Obamacare in the lives of every American.
- It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad ObamaCare – For sheer political farce, not much can compete with ObamaCare’s passage, which included slipping the bill through the Senate before dawn three Christmas eves ago. But the madcap dash to get ready for the entitlement’s October 2013 start-up date is a pretty close second.The size and complexity of the Affordable Care Act meant that its implementation was never going to easy. But behind the scenes, even states that support or might support the Affordable Care Act are frustrated about the Health and Human Services Department’s special combination of rigidity and ineptitude.To take one example, for the better part of a year states and groups like the bipartisan National Governors Association and the National Association of Medicaid Directors have been begging HHS merely for information about how they’re required to make ObamaCare work in practice. There was radio silence from Washington, with time running out. Louisiana and other states even took to filing Freedom of Information Act requests, which are still pending.
- Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-13 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-13 #tcot
- MichelleFields.com – Rapper’s fans threaten to rape Michelle Malkin for criticizing his album cover « #tcot
- My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-13 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-13
- Rapper’s fans threaten to rape Michelle Malkin for criticizing his album cover « MichelleFields.com – RT @chasrmartin: Rapper’s fans threaten to rape Michelle Malkin for criticizing singer
- Obama and Boehner meet again to avert fiscal cliff – President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner met privately Thursday after another day of back-and-forth over tax hikes, spending cuts and efforts to avoid the year-end “fiscal cliff.”Hours earlier, Boehner said that unless Obama makes further concessions on spending cuts, Washington will head over the cliff and into a series of tax hikes and massive budget reductions.”The president wants to pretend spending isn’t the problem. That’s why we don’t have an agreement,” said Boehner, R-Ohio. “Unfortunately, the White House is so unserious about cutting spending that it appears willing to slow-walk our economy right up to — and over — the fiscal cliff.”
- Obama, Boehner meet at the White House | POLITICO 44 – POLITICO.com – RT @politico: RT @jeneps Obama and Boehner spent 50 minutes meeting at the White House today
- Earth to Karl Rove and Sheldon Adelson: Do This – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Earth to Karl Rove and Sheldon Adelson: Do This #tcot
- Rep. Elton Gallegly and Friends Operation Toy Drop 2012 Edition – Rep. Elton Gallegly and Friends Operation Toy Drop 2012 Edition #tcot
- Top GOP aide: ‘We’ll confirm Hagel, Kerry’ | WashingtonExaminer.com – Top GOP aide: ‘We’ll confirm Hagel, Kerry’ #tcot
- Where big GOP bucks could matter – Mitt Romney and the GOP lost, but it wasn’t for lack of money. They spent a lot; they just didn’t get enough bang for the buck.Billionaire Sheldon Adelson alone donated $150 million. But Romney lost anyway, especially among unmarried women.Which is why I think that rich people wanting to support the Republican Party might want to direct their money somewhere besides TV ads that copy, poorly, what Lee Atwater did decades ago.
My suggestion: Buy some women’s magazines. No, really. Or at least some women’s Web sites.
One of the groups with whom Romney did worst was female “low-information voters.” Those are women who don’t really follow politics, and vote based on a vague sense of who’s mean and who’s nice, who’s cool and who’s uncool.
- Top GOP aide: ‘We’ll confirm Hagel, Kerry’ – The growing possibility of President Obama naming Democratic Sen. John Kerry as secretary of State and former GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel to run the Pentagon is being embraced by Senate Republicans who predict confirmation.”I think both of them will be questioned vigorously but confirmed,” said a top GOP Senate aide, meaning the GOP won’t put up a fight in the Democratically-controlled chamber. That will be a key selling point as Obama considers his choices.Reports emerged Thursday that Hagel, a Vietnam vet from Nebraska, was the frontrunner to replace exiting Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
- EXCLUSIVE: Susan Rice drops out of running for secretary of state; cites ‘very disruptive’ confirmation process – Rock Center with Brian Williams – Susan Rice drops out of running for secretary of state; saddened by partisan politics #tcot
- Susan Rice drops out of running for secretary of state; saddened by partisan politics – Embattled U.N. envoy Susan Rice is dropping out of the running to be the next secretary of state after months of criticism over her Benghazi comments, she told NBC News on Thursday.“If nominated, I am now convinced that the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive and costly – to you and to our most pressing national and international priorities,” Rice wrote in a letter to President Obama, saying she’s saddened by the partisan politics surrounding her prospects.“That trade-off is simply not worth it to our country…Therefore, I respectfully request that you no longer consider my candidacy at this time,” she wrote in the letter obtained by NBC News.
Rice would not be confirmed anyway.
- Latinos didn’t cost Mitt Romney the election – Republicans have a major Latino problem, but it didn’t cost them the 2012 election.According to a Fix review of election results, Mitt Romney would have needed to carry as much as 51 percent of the Hispanic vote in order to win the Electoral College — a number no Republican presidential candidate on record has been able to attain and isn’t really within the realm of possibility these days.Latinos did push President Obama over the top in several key states — including Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico and Pennsylvania — that he would have lost without them. (Obama also would have lost the popular vote without Latinos.)
But it was a given that Obama was going to win a higher share of their votes; what mattered was the margin. And in order for Romney to have won the presidency, he would have needed to perform far better than any previous Republican presidential candidate.
- Feds Raise Hackles Over 5-Hour Energy Drink | The Weekly Standard – RT @DRUDGE_REPORT: FEDS TO INVESTIGATE 5-HOUR ENERGY DRINKS…
- Day By Day December 13, 2012 – The Big Top – Flap’s Blog – Day By Day December 13, 2012 – The Big Top #tcot
- Flap’s Dentistry Blog: Just Say No to Magnetic Tongue Studs – Just Say No to Magnetic Tongue Studs
- The Morning Flap: December 13, 2012 – Flap’s Blog – The Morning Flap: December 13, 2012 #tcot
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These are my links for December 12th through December 13th:
- The Republican brand problem – One thing comes through loud and clear in the new NBC/Wall Street Journal national poll: Republicans have a major brand problem.Consider the following findings in the NBC/WSJ poll:* Asked an open-ended question as to what single word or short phrase people would use to describe the Republican Party, 65 percent of the responses were negative, while just 17 percent were positive. (For Democrats, 35 percent were positive, while 37 percent were negative.) Among the most oft-mentioned phrases used to describe Republicans: “bad/weak/negative” (8 percent), “uncompromising/need to work together” (6 percent) and “broken/disorganized/lost” (6 percent). So, that happened.* The poll tested the positive and negative ratings for 11 politicians or political institutions. The lowest rated — in terms of the differential between positive and negative ratings — was the Republican Party, with a 30 percent positive score and a 45 percent negative score. Of the five worst positive-to-negative ratios, Republicans claimed four of them. (The lone exception: Susan Rice with a 20 positive/24 percent net-negative score.)
* When asked who they trusted more in “handling the fiscal cliff,” 38 percent named President Obama while just 19 percent named House Speaker John Boehner and Republicans in Congress. (Fourteen percent said they trusted both equally, and another 28 percent said they trusted neither side.)
What those numbers make clear is that the Republican brand is badly damaged. It is regarded by too many people as an uncompromising relic of the past — a party that lacks new ideas and is, therefore, forced to largely serve as a blockade to the other side. (That’s the biggest reason, by the way, why Republicans should be interested in compromising on the fiscal cliff. They gap between how Obama is regarded and how they are seen is enough to make going over the cliff a genuine political loser for them.)
- California prison phychiatrist under investigation for $800,000 pay – After raking in half a million dollars for being “on call,” California’s top paid public employee of 2011 — a prison psychiatrist from Newark — has been suspended with pay for allegedly falsifying time records, officials said Tuesday.Dr. Mohammad Safi, 54, was paid more than $803,000 last year as a supervising senior psychiatrist at a Department of State Hospitals facility within Salinas Valley State Prison in Monterey County, records show.That amount included more than $503,000 for on-call pay — in Safi’s case being available to respond quickly to emergencies.His suspension was first reported Wednesday by Bloomberg News, which published an extensive analysis of state government pay that ranked California tops in the nation. It showed Safi was paid more than twice as much as any state psychiatrist in the 12 states Bloomberg examined.
- California lawmaker Roger Hernandez proposes benefits for undocumented immigrants – A California lawmaker wants to expand government benefits for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who qualify for a new federal work-permit program.Assemblyman Roger Hernandez (D-West Covina) introduced legislation this week aimed at illegal immigrants who are part of an Obama administration protocol that allows undocumented immigrants who came to the United States before they were 16, and who are now 30 or younger and meet certain other criteria, to obtain work permits.The bill, AB 35, would enable those immigrants to obtain state identification cards and receive unemployment benefits and state-administered medical services. This year, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a measure that will allow that group of young immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.
- Fiscal Cliff Creates Problems That Don’t Faze Obama – Is Barack Obama bluffing when he threatens to go over the fiscal cliff if Republicans refuse to agree to higher tax rates on high earners?Some analysts think so. Keith Hennessey, a former top staffer for the Bush White House and Senate Republicans and a veteran of budget negotiations, argues that Obama’s whole second term would be blighted if he allows the fiscal cliff tax increases and sequestration budget cuts to take place next month.
- Blue Shield of California seeks rate hikes up to 20% – Health insurer Blue Shield of California wants to raise rates as much as 20% for some individual policyholders, prompting calls for the nonprofit to use some of its record-high reserve of $3.9 billion to hold down premiums.In filings with state regulators, Blue Shield is seeking an average rate increase of 12% for more than 300,000 customers, effective in March, with a maximum increase of 20%.Some consumer advocates and healthcare economists say Blue Shield shouldn’t be raising rates that high when it has stockpiled so much cash. The company’s surplus is nearly three times as much as the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Assn. requires its member insurers to hold to cover future claims.”Blue Shield is sitting on a huge surplus that is beyond what is required or necessary,” said Laurie Sobel, a senior attorney for Consumers Union in San Francisco. “It should be used to hold down rate increases when it hits these extraordinary levels.”
California officials can take into account an insurer’s amount of surplus, among many other factors, when determining whether they think a rate increase is reasonable. Both the California insurance commissioner and the state Department of Managed Health Care are reviewing the company’s proposed premiums, but neither agency has the authority to reject changes in rates
- DeMint: Obama wants cliff dive – South Carolina GOP Sen. Jim DeMint accused President Barack Obama on Thursday of trying to take the country over the fiscal cliff.“The president campaigned on raising taxes and getting rid of the Bush-era tax cuts, and he’s gonna get his wish,” DeMint said on CBS’s “This Morning.”
Continue Reading“I believe we’re going to be raising taxes, not just on the top earners. Everyone is going to pay more taxes next year in this country, and I think that’s what the president wants. … If you look at the facts, we don’t need more revenue, we just need to stop spending. The president is not going to stop spending. He’s proposed more spending. So it’s hard to work with someone who I think is intentionally trying to take us over this cliff.”
- GOP tech gap needs millions – Republicans need to make a multimillion-dollar investment to close a digital gap with Democrats and President Obama, according to GOP tech experts.The party faces a growing urgency to catch up with Democrats; frustrated GOP operatives believe the party is lagging in an area widely agreed to have given Obama the edge in the last two presidential election cycles.“Everyone in the party is frustrated. I haven’t talked to one person who thinks that the Republicans were more successful online in 2012 [than in 2008 or 2010],” said Vincent Harris, a GOP strategist who ran digital campaigns for Rick Perry’s and Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaigns.“There is no doubt in my mind that this is the moment that this must be fixed. The good news, though, is that everyone seems to be open to solutions,” he said
- The do’s and don’ts of quitting smoking – Anyone who has ever smoked and tried to quit knows how addictive nicotine can be. But what really works when it comes to quitting? Several former smokers had some hard-earned tips that might help you quit.Carla Berg, a Winship Cancer Institute addiction expert and professor at the Emory School of Public Health, had talked to hundreds of people trying to quit.”One thing I hear from people all the time is, ‘I’m just waiting to feel ready to quit,’ or, ‘I just need to want to quit and then I’ll quit.’ And what we know is that just rarely happens out of nowhere. So I always tell people if you’re waiting for the best time to quit smoking, that time is now,” said Berg.So what works? Through her Facebook Page, FOX 5’s Beth Galvin asked former smokers to share their secrets.
- Election over, administration unleashes new rules – While the “fiscal cliff” of looming tax increases and spending cuts dominates political conversation in Washington, some Republicans and business groups see signs of a “regulatory cliff” that they say could be just as damaging to the economy.For months, federal agencies and the White House have sidetracked dozens of major regulations that cover everything from power plant pollution to workplace safety to a crackdown on Wall Street.The rules had been largely put on hold during the presidential campaign as the White House sought to quiet Republican charges that President Barack Obama was an overzealous regulator who is killing U.S. jobs.But since the election, the Obama administration has quietly reopened the regulations pipeline.
- Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-12 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-12
- Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-12 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-12 #tcot
- My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-12 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-12
- Poll: Obama won 71% of Asian Vote – But Not Wedded to Either Party – Asian American voters came out in droves for President Barack Obama over GOP challenger Mitt Romney, but the country’s fastest growing ethnic group is not wedded to either party, according to a new poll out Wednesday.Obama won an estimated 2.3 million of their votes to Romney’s estimated 900,000 votes, or 71 percent to 28 percent, according to the survey by the Asian American Justice Center, Asian & Pacific Islander American Vote and the National Asian American Survey
- Mark Levin explains how a big part of Obamacare could be gutted during Obama’s second term » The Right Scoop – – RT @JedediahBila: Mark Levin explains how a big part of Obamacare could be gutted during Obama’s second term:
- 5 ways the GOP can do better with Latinos – A coalition of conservative groups is releasing a major study of Latino voters in four key states this morning, and Republicans would be wise to heed its lessons.Resurgent Republic and the Hispanic Leadership Network are presenting the findings of their study at 9 a.m. Eastern. The polls of Florida, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada show Republicans remain in contention for as many as half of Latino voters in those four states in 2016, but fewer than one-quarter of Latinos in each state say they are likely to vote Republican four years from now.
- Election Integrity Activist Calls for Prop 37 Recount – Another Bay Area citizen has called for a recount on a statewide ballot measure, this time on Prop 37, and she’s being helped by the man responsible for the Prop 29 recount last summer.Lori Grace, an election integrity activist based in Tiburon, Calif., filed a formal request with the Secretary of State’s office on Monday for a recount in the contest over Prop 37, a voter initiative that would require special labels on foods containing genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. (There won’t be any other ballot measure recounts from the general election, since Monday was the last day to file).Having two such recounts in one year is highly unusual, if not unprecedented. The earlier effort came after the June primary, when Bay Area surgeon John Maa requested a recount for Prop 29, the cigarette tax initiative that would have helped to fund cancer research.Now Maa is imparting some of his own hard-earned (and expensive — recounts in California must be bankrolled by the requester) knowledge to Grace. Both acknowledged that Maa has given her strategical advice on how to proceed.
- California Governor Jerry Brown has early-stage prostate cancer – Gov. Jerry Brown is undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, his office announced this afternoon.The governor’s office described the condition as a “localized prostate cancer” and said Brown is continuing to work a full schedule while being treated with a short course of radiation.It released a statement from Eric Small, Brown’s oncologist at University of California San Francisco.”Fortunately, this is early stage localized prostate cancer, which is being treated with a short course of conventional radiotherapy,” Small said in the statement. “The prognosis is excellent, and there are not expected to be any significant side effects.”
- As ‘fiscal cliff’ nears, Obama schedule loaded with photo-ops, holiday parties, golf – Since returning from a trip to southeast Asia on Nov. 21, President Obama has managed to play three rounds of golf but has met face-to-face only once with Speaker John A. Boehner, the man with whom he is trying to strike a deal on taxes and spending that could prevent another recession.With the deadline for going over the “fiscal cliff” less than three weeks away, the president’s schedule this week is exceptionally light. It does not include any time on the links with Mr. Boehner, Ohio Republican, who is also an avid golfer.On Monday, Mr. Obama’s only public event was a trip to Detroit, where he held a campaign-style rally with union auto workers that was ostensibly a push for middle-class tax cuts but mainly showcased Mr. Obama’s criticism of Michigan’s new “right-to-work” labor law.“It seems to me, that time would have been better spent here in Washington, D.C., working on the fiscal cliff, but he was in Michigan,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander, Tennessee Republican.
On Tuesday, Mr. Obama had lunch with Vice President Joseph R. Biden and spoke to Mr. Boehner by phone late in the day. The president spent much of his evening with first lady Michelle Obama posing for photographs with members of the White House press corps and their guests at a holiday party. (Mr. Obama actually has performed this function twice in the past week; there was another media holiday party at the White House on Dec. 5).
- California prison health care receiver issues layoff notices – California Correctional Health Care Services has issued layoff warnings to 2,200 of its employees with a goal of axing 829 positions early next year.The cuts will touch nearly 60 job classifications around the state, from doctors to custodians and impact 38 jobs in Sacramento County. The statewide cuts take effect Mar. 31, 2013.The state normally issues three lay off warning notices for every position it cuts, and workers in danger of losing their jobs can displace less-senior counterparts in state government, so it’s not clear how many staff will actually lose work. Officials don’t have an estimate of savings from the reductions.
- Day By Day December 12, 2012 – Figures – Flap’s Blog – Day By Day December 12, 2012 – Figures #tcot
- Rep. Moran: Son’s Attack on Girlfriend “An Accident” – Virginia Rep. Jim Moran’s office has another statement about his son’s arrest for assaulting his girlfriend in Columbia Heights earlier this month. And it turns out it was all an accident, according to Moran, despite his son’s guilty plea to assault.”The situation was an accident,” Moran spokeswoman Anne Hughes writes in an email, adding that both Moran and his girlfriend testified to that in court. “Patrick didn’t hit or shove her.”Hughes claims that only Patrick Moran and his girlfriend were around to see the alleged attack. “They were the only two people who witnessed the scene,” writes Hughes. “In that sense, their statements are the only ones that matter.”That would contradict the police report, which describes both a Metropolitan Police Department sergeant and an Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration investigator seeing Moran slam his girlfriend’s head into a trash can cage outside the Getaway, a 14th Street NW bar.
- Democratic senator Menendez employed illegal immigrant who was registered sex offender – U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez employed as an unpaid intern in his Senate office an illegal immigrant who was a registered sex offender, now under arrest by immigration authorities, The Associated Press has learned. The Homeland Security Department instructed federal agents not to arrest him until after Election Day, a U.S. official involved in the case told the AP.Luis Abrahan Sanchez Zavaleta, an 18-year-old immigrant from Peru, was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in front of his home in New Jersey on Dec. 6, two federal officials said. Sanchez, who entered the country on a now-expired visitor visa from Peru, is facing deportation and remains in custody. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss details of Sanchez’s immigration case.
- Sandoval opts to expand Medicaid coverage for Nevada’s neediest – Sandoval opts to expand Medicaid coverage for Nevada’s neediest #tcot
- Fiscal Cliff: Hundreds of Billions Apart – The bellowing on Capitol Hill about which side has offered more “specifics” to resolve the fiscal cliff showdown masks a larger problem for Washington: The two sides are still hundreds of billions of dollars apart on revenue and entitlement cuts.Not to mention, Republicans and Democrats are also light-years apart on policy details that back up those budget targets.That’s why there’s increasing skepticism in Washington that a deal actually can be reached before Jan. 1, and the country will go over the fiscal cliff.
- Fiscal Cliff: 180 economists oppose tax hike – A letter signed by 180 economists opposed to tax increases as part of a fiscal cliff deal will be delivered to Congress on Wednesday, according to a national anti-tax group.The letter argues that hiking tax rates would have a “significant, negative impact on the economy” and is slated to be sent to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, said Pete Sepp, executive vice president of the National Taxpayers Union, the low-taxes advocacy group that coordinated the effort.
- California Psychiatrists Paid $400,000 Shows Bidding War- Bloomberg – RT @BloombergNews: Why do California psychiatrists make more than $400,00? Examining a payroll system run amok |
- War-making for Losers By Mark Steyn – The new US Army manual for troops heading east apparently blames the tendency of Afghanistan’s US-trained soldiers and policemen to shoot their western “allies” on “American cultural ignorance”. Fortunately, the manual offers a solution:The draft leaked to the newspaper offers a list of “taboo conversation topics” that soldiers should avoid, including “making derogatory comments about the Taliban”…I mean, it’s not like they’re the enemy or anything.…“advocating women’s rights,” “any criticism of pedophilia,” “directing any criticism towards Afghans,” “mentioning homosexuality and homosexual conduct” or “anything related to Islam.”
- Inside the Boehner-Ryan Alliance – Robert Costa – National Review Online – Inside the Boehner-Ryan Alliance – The speaker and the former GOP veep contender are quiet partners #tcot
- Democrats continue to find out what was in ObamaCare–and try to dismantle it | Mobile Washington Examiner – Democrats continue to find out what was in ObamaCare–and try to dismantle it | Mobile Washington Examiner #tcot
- Inside the Boehner-Ryan Alliance – The speaker and the former GOP veep contender are quiet partners – Paul Ryan spent the summer and fall in the national spotlight, but this winter he’s a subdued presence. He’s rarely granting interviews, and his public appearances have been scattered, with the most high profile a speech at the Kemp Foundation dinner. His closest friends say that he wants to return to his work quietly, and that he’s uninterested in playing a prominent role in the fiscal-cliff debate, even though he’s the GOP’s reigning budget expert.
- The Morning Flap: December 12, 2012 – Flap’s Blog – The Morning Flap: December 12, 2012 #tcot
- Democrats continue to find out what was in ObamaCare–and try to dismantle it | Mobile Washington Examiner – Democrats continue to find out what was in ObamaCare–and try to dismantle it #tcot
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