These are my links for March 8th through March 9th:
Limbaugh attack boomerangs on the White House – Perhaps the left carried on a little too long and a little too loudly regarding Rush Limbaugh’s nasty language about Sandra Fluke. Conservative activist Penny Nance, executive director of Concerned Women for America, has sent a letter to the White House chief of staff demanding President Obama’s super PAC live up to the same standard Democrats have articulated for Republicans and Rush Limbaugh.
Apple at center of e-book price-fixing allegations – The Justice Department has threatened to sue Apple and major publishers in a high-profile case that could reshape the digital-books market, driving down prices but also potentially shifting market power from publishers to e-commerce giant Amazon.
The government warned Apple and five major book companies that it intends to file a lawsuit accusing them of colluding to boost the prices of e-books, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources. Several of the publishers are already in talks to settle the matter, although those discussions appear to be at an early and uncertain stage, the Journal reported.
The publishers in question include Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group, Penguin Group, Macmillan and HarperCollins Publishers.
Now Limbaugh is returning the favor – and the split between the Sacramento retailer and the controversial radio host appears to be permanent.
Limbaugh on Thursday rejected Sleep Train’s offer to resume advertising on his national radio show and rehire Limbaugh as a paid spokesman. Limbaugh’s spokesman said the conservative commentator would no longer carry Sleep Train’s ads “in the future.”
Sleep Train stopped advertising on the show last Friday, becoming one of the first sponsors to drop Limbaugh. The company’s decision came two days after Limbaugh called a Georgetown University law student a “slut” and a “prostitute” over her stance on health insurance coverage for contraception.
Limbaugh apologized to the student over the weekend.
Sleep Train’s decision was especially noteworthy because Limbaugh and Sleep Train chief executive Dale Carlsen have known each other since the 1980s, when Sleep Train was a small company and Limbaugh was an on-air personality at Sacramento’s KFBK (1530 AM).
Kucinich May Still Run from Washington – Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who just lost his re-election bid in a Democratic primary on Tuesday, did not close the door to running for Congress in a new district — in a new state, CBS News reports.
He said “there’s new possibilities that are being born at this moment.”
Should he decide to run again, Washingtion state’s “most appealing choices for a Kucinich run could be the first and sixth congressional districts which lack incumbents because of the retirements of Democratic Reps. Jay Inslee and Norm Dicks.”
Pro-Obama PAC Won’t Give Back Maher’s Money – Current and former White House aides on Thursday rejected demands by a conservative group that a Super PAC supporting President Obama refund a $1 million check from comedian and talk show host Bill Maher because of coarse comments he’s made about Sarah Palin and other Republican women.
While Obama earlier this week denounced similar comments that radio talk show host made about a college student, Sandra Fluke, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters the president is not going to get involved in the Maher battle.
Romney Really Might Not Have the Delegates by June – The Republican primary has revealed distinct geographic tendencies. Mitt Romney is dominant in New England and in the West. Newt Gingrich has run well in the Deep South, while Rick Santorum has done well in caucus states, the Great Plains, and the peripheral South (it remains to be seen whether his support has bled into Gingrich’s strength in the Deep South). That leaves the Midwest as a battleground between Romney and Santorum.
While Romney had a good night on Super Tuesday, the truth is that he did nothing to alter the basic regional nature of his support. He won handily in New England and the West, essentially tied in the Midwest, and ran poorly in the South.
For the first time, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is putting a timeframe on his decision whether to enter the race.
He’s running for re-election as mayor but will he also jump into a possible recall race for governor?
He’s not answering that question yet, but now, for the first time, the mayor is indicating when he might make up his mind.
With an election for mayor less than four weeks away, Barrett continued to deflect any questions about a possible run for governor.
“I am certainly considering running for governor, but I haven’t made a decision quite honestly,” Barrett said.
Barrett spoke at a forum sponsored by Wispolitics.com, and afterward, 12 News reporter Kent Wainscott asked him whether Milwaukee voters deserved to know whether he plans to enter a likely governor’s recall race.
“I don’t know what the future holds, and that’s why I didn’t deny that this is something that I’m thinking about, because I am thinking about it, and I think the voters know that,” Barrett said.
GOP strategist: Appeal to Latino voters is party’s ‘great challenge’ – Republican Party strategist Whit Ayres says a new Fox News poll showing a strong preference for Democrats among Latino voters underscores what he called “the great challenge of the Republican Party going forward” – doing better with non-white voters, especially Latinos and Asians.
David Axelrod, President Obama’s senior campaign strategist, is scheduled to appear on Bill Maher’s late-night talk show within the next few weeks, according to Kelley Carville, an HBO spokesman.
As the controversy over Rush Limbaugh’s comments about Sandra Fluke continued, a former Obama White House official today joined Republicans in pointing out that Maher, who recently donated $1 million to a pro-Obama super PAC, has a history of his misogynistic slurs.
Last year, he was rebuked by the National Organization for Women for calling Sarah Palin a “dumb tw*t.”
“palin is right to point out that bill maher has said some pretty disgusting things about women, comedian or not. they are rush like,” Austan Goolsbee, the former chairman of President Obama’s Council on Economic Advisors, and currently a professor at the University of Chicago, tweeted.
After Obama spoke with Fluke, the Georgetown University Law Student called a “slut” and “prostitute” by Limbaugh, Palin challenged Priorities USA to return Maher’s donation.
“Pres. Obama says he called Sandra Fluke because of his daughters. For the sake of everyone’s daughter, why doesn’t his super PAC return the $1 million he got from a rabid misogynist?,” Palin wrote Tuesday on her Facebook page.
The 56-42 vote staves off an election-year rebuke of Obama, but will give political ammunition to backers of TransCanada Corp.’s plan to build a pipeline connecting Alberta’s massive tar sands projects to Gulf Coast refineries.
Despite Obama’s efforts, 11 Democrats brushed off Obama on the vote and sided with Republicans.
The 11 Democratic defections were Sens. Max Baucus (Mont.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Bob Casey (Pa.), Kent Conrad (N.D.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Jon Tester (Mont.) and Jim Webb (Va.).
No Republicans voted against the measure, and 60 votes were needed to move forward.
Bill Bennett: A lesson in how to turn the tables – Bill Bennett had this to say on CNN about the Rush Limbaugh hypocrisy fest: “My question is whether the president will give back the million dollars Bill Maher gave him. I don’t know how he’s going to explain that to Sasha and Malia, when that guy uses language that would make Rush blush.”
The comment is, in a word, perfect. The gentle tone of irony contrasts with the left’s hyperventilating. The matter-of-fact assertion highlights how the left’s “outrage” is reserved for political opponents’ entertainers. And his gentle rebuke to the president — who chose to drag his daughters into a phony political gambit — is the frosting on the well- baked cake.
Notice, in fact, how it is now the representative of the left who wants to move on? The Obama spinners have got as much mileage out of Limbaugh as they can, and if the conversation is now going to turn to their side, well then, for heaven’s sake, it’s time to turn the page! Or, as Dave Weigel put it in reference to David Axelrod’s inanity (“If Romney couldn’t stand up to “the most strident voices in your party, how can he stand up to Ahmadinejad?”): “Axelrod has no case. He’s a nomad flogging a camel to get one last mile out of it after it’s already crossed half the Gobi with no water.”
Carbonite shoots its business model in the foot – The decline in the price of Carbonite stock since it announced it was dropping its longstanding advertising on the Rush Limbaugh show is not the real story of the damage done to Carbonite.
The price of Carbonite stock has been dropping since October for reasons unrelated to this controversy, although it did fall off a small cliff this week.
The real problem for Carbonite and its shareholders is that in leaving behind 15 million Rush listeners, Carbonite has shot its business model in the foot.
2012 Michigan Republican Primary – Romney 38%, Gingrich 23%, Santorum 17%, Paul 14% – Mitt Romney, coming off his big win in the Florida Primary on Tuesday, is the clear front-runner in the first Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of the Republican presidential race in his home state of Michigan. Voters in this hard hit state see Romney as the much better choice to manage the economy. The Michigan Republican Primary is on February 28.
Romney earns 38% support from Likely Republican Primary Voters in Michigan, with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich a distant second with 23% of the vote. Seventeen percent (17%) prefer former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, and nearly as many (14%) favor Texas Congressman Ron Paul. One percent (1%) like some other candidate in the race, and six percent (6%) are undecided
Coulter’s shameful defense of Romneycare – Ann Coulter’s support for Mitt Romney entered a new stage today with a column offering an all out embrace of Romneycare. In the process, she insults the intelligence of conservative critics of the law and doesn’t address their actual arguments against it.
Her first defense of the law is to name other conservatives who supported it at the time. So what? Many of us were opposed to it all along. For instance, in August 2006, before Barack Obama even announced he was seeking the presidency, I fretted that Romney’s support for universal health care made him the natural heir to President Bush’s big government “compassionate conservatism.” In July 2007, I wrote that, “It is hard to imagine anything representing a greater affront to conservative principles than using government to coerce private citizens into purchasing healthcare.” David Hogberg was another early critic, among many others.
Have Democrats Succeeded in Pre-Destroying Romney? – – Tuesday’s installment of the left’s crusade to destroy Mitt Romney began like this: an operator chirping, “I’d like to welcome you today to the Mitt Romney Would Destroy Social Security and Medicare Conference Call.”
A few moments later, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, was on the line. “Thanks, everybody, for joining the call today,” she began. Within minutes, she had accused Romney of “political pandering,” supporting “the extreme tea party agenda,” and lying to senior citizens, Hispanics and supporters of the space program.
Just another day in the life of the vast left-wing conspiracy.
Practically every day for months, Democrats and their allies have been hammering Romney like this. Unions, party committees at the national and state levels, independent groups such as American Bridge and Americans United for Change, and the Obama campaign itself have undertaken an unprecedented effort to tarnish the front-runner while virtually ignoring the rest of the GOP candidates. And it appears to be working.
Even as he finds increasing success in the Republican primary, negative views of Romney have skyrocketed, particularly among independents, according to recent polls. An ABC News/Washington Post survey released last week, for example, found Romney viewed unfavorably by 49 percent of voters and favorably by just 31 percent. Among independents, just 23 percent viewed Romney favorably, compared to 51 percent who felt that way about President Obama.
One emerging strain of the conventional wisdom holds that it’s the harsh attacks on Romney from Newt Gingrich — and blowback from Romney’s own brutally negative campaign — that’s causing this to happen. Democrats have been pushing this line, in fact, arguing that Romney is winning at a steep cost and will limp into the general election bruised beyond repair.
Having told us only Romney was viable (with half-nods to Huntsman and Santorum) and having trotted out Elliot Abrams to smear Newt Gingrich with out of context quotes, even National Review is having trouble defending their candidate today.
This morning Mitt Romney said he wasn’t concerned about the poor. The poor, after all, have food stamps and Medicaid. But don’t worry. If the safety net is broken, Patrician Mitt Romney will fix it so the poor can stay comfortably poor. After all, just look what he did in Massachusetts. The poor can now wait 44 days to get in to see a doctor. Excelsior!
After making sure we all understood the poor were for the Democrats to be worried about, Romney decided to keep digging his hole even bigger. By the end of the day, Jim DeMint had to rebuke him.
Romney derangement syndrome (on the right) – So what gives? Perhaps it is frustration, especially among talk-show hosts, at not being able to derail Romney. Maybe some shrill bloggers understand that Romney threatens to prove that they are less in tune with Republicans than the “squishy” Republican candidates and officeholders. And maybe conservative political journalists have more in common with their mainstream counterparts than they’d like to admit — a suspicion of wealth, ignorance of the business world and a fixation on the candidates’ interaction with them. After all, Romney never really courted and flattered conservative pundits the way Newt Gingrich did (especially by bashing the mainstream media competition).
None of this is to say there isn’t strong and valid opposition to Romney in the conservative press. (Michelle Malkin, who recently endorsed Santorum, and staunch critics of Romneycare certainly fit this description.) But it’s hard to ignore the conclusion that for some in the conservative press there is an element of anti-Romney animosity that is not quite grounded in reason or ideological consistency — it is personal. And other than Romney’s being “handsome, rich and successful,” as Kathleen put it, it’s really hard to fathom where it comes from.
Romney Poised for Blowout Win in Nevada – A new Las Vegas Review-Journal poll in Nevada finds Mitt Romney leading the GOP presidential race with 45%, followed by Newt Gingrich at 25%, Rick Santorum at 11% and Ron Paul at 9%.
However, Carl Bunce, the Nevada chairman of the Paul campaign, “dismissed the poll results, saying most Paul supporters refuse to participate or lie in surveys because of a bad experience in Nevada four years ago. He said Sen. John McCain’s campaign did robocalls to identify Paul supporters and then sidelined them at the state party convention.”
U.S. military commanders had said in recent weeks they would begin a transition this year toward taking more of an advisory role as Afghanistan’s national army and police take greater responsibility for fighting the insurgency. But Panetta’s remarks were the first time the Obama administration has said it could foresee an end to regular U.S. and NATO combat operations by the second half of next year.
Figures on government spending and debt – Figures on government spending and debt (last six digits are eliminated). The government’s fiscal year runs Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.
Total public debt subject to limit Jan. 30 15,313,699
Statutory debt limit 16,394,000
Total public debt outstanding Jan. 30 15,356,140
Operating balance Jan. 30 158,596
Interest fiscal year 2012 through December 62,662
Interest same period 2011 56,780
Deficit fiscal year 2012 through December 321,735
Deficit same period 2011 368,960
Receipts fiscal year 2012 through December 555,437
Receipts same period 2011 531,797
Outlays fiscal year 2012 through December 877,173
Outlays same period 2011 900,757
Gold assets in January 11,041
The spokesman said the radiation levels were “barely measurable,” but the plant was shut down as a precaution.
“At no point were the public or our workers in any danger,” Southern California Edison spokesman Gil Alexander told ABC News.
Officials say the radiation leak likely occurred in the steam generator tubes of San Onofre’s reactor #3. The steam system, which is supposed to be shielded from exposure to radiation, was replaced in December 2010. Alexander said plant officials will be conducting an investigation into why the new steam tubes leaked.
Cities with highest and lowest unemployment rates – Nearly 90 percent of major U.S. cities had lower unemployment rates in December than the same month a year earlier, a reflection of stronger hiring nationwide.
The Labor Department said Wednesday that unemployment rates fell in 329 cities last year. They rose in 37 cities and were unchanged in seven.
The national unemployment rate fell in December to 8.5 percent – the lowest level in nearly three years. Employers added 200,000 net jobs, the sixth straight month of solid hiring.
Unemployment rates rose from November to December in a majority of U.S. cities. However monthly metro area unemployment data can be volatile because they aren’t adjusted for seasonal variations, such as holiday hiring.
The government will report Friday on U.S. hiring and unemployment in January.
Below are the cities with the highest and lowest rates:
Best and Worst Metro areas
Figures are in percentages
Highest unemployment rates December 2011
El Centro, Calif. 26.8
Yuma, Ariz. 23.1
Merced, Calif. 18.7
Yuba City, Calif. 18.1
Visalia-Porterville, Calif. 16.2
Fresno, Calif. 16.2
Modesto, Calif. 16.1
Stockton, Calif. 15.9
Hanford-Corcoran, Calif. 15.3
Ocean City, N.J. 15.1
Lowest unemployment rates December 2011
Bismarck, N.D. 3.2
Lincoln, Neb. 3.6
Fargo, N.D. 3.7
Burlington, Vt. 3.8
Logan, Utah 3.9
Midland, Texas 3.9
Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux, La. 4.3
Sioux Falls, S.D. 4.3
Ames, Iowa 4.3
Iowa City, Iowa 4.3
Romney supports automatic hikes in minimum wage – epublican presidential contender Mitt Romney renewed his support Wednesday for automatic increases in the federal minimum wage to keep pace with inflation, a position sharply at odds with traditional GOP business allies, conservatives and the party’s senior lawmakers.
“I haven’t changed my thoughts on that,” the former Massachusetts governor told reporters aboard his chartered campaign plane, referring to a stand he has held for a decade.
He did not say if he would ask Congress to approve the change if he wins the White House this fall.
Congress first enacted federal minimum wage legislation in 1938 and has raised it sporadically in the years since. The last increase, approved in 2007, took effect in three installments and reached $7.25 an hour for covered workers effective July 24, 2009.
It has never been allowed to rise automatically, as Romney envisions.
As the housing market enters its fourth year of high foreclosures and sluggish sales, the president said his proposal — targeted at the middle class — would help homeowners save about $3,000 a year, without “red tape” or a “runaround” from banks.
Theodore Olson: Obama’s Enemies List – How would you feel if aides to the president of the United States singled you out by name for attack, and if you were featured prominently in the president’s re-election campaign as an enemy of the people?
What would you do if the White House engaged in derogatory speculative innuendo about the integrity of your tax returns? Suppose also that the president’s surrogates and allies in the media regularly attacked you, sullied your reputation and questioned your integrity. On top of all of that, what if a leading member of the president’s party in Congress demanded your appearance before a congressional committee this week so that you could be interrogated about the Keystone XL oil pipeline project in which you have repeatedly—and accurately—stated that you have no involvement?
Consider that all this is happening because you have been selected as an attractive political punching bag by the president’s re-election team. This is precisely what has happened to Charles and David Koch, even though they are private citizens, and neither is a candidate for the president’s or anyone else’s office.
Gingrich 2012? Going, Going, Gone – Last week, New York magazine’s John Heilemann pointed out a deep truth about Newt Gingrich’s peculiar presidential campaign: The very media elite that Gingrich delights in hammering has actually been in his corner all along. The press likes a horse race; the press likes outsize personalities; the press favors an underdog; and the press even takes a strange sort of delight in being ruthlessly attacked.
Of course most political reporters don’t want Gingrich in the White House. But they’ve had every incentive to keep him in the headlines and overrate his odds of defeating Mitt Romney for the nomination.
Tuesday night’s Floridian drubbing won’t change those incentives, so we can expect a last burst of media chatter about how Gingrich could still recover, ride a wilderness campaign to a Super Tuesday comeback and fight Romney tooth and nail all the way to the convention. But chatter is all it will be. For Gingrich and his media enablers alike, the dream died in Florida – and here are four reasons why.
If Gingrich can’t compete in Florida, he can’t compete nationally.
These are my links for November 10th through November 14th:
CHELSEA CLINTON TO SHARE “MAKING A DIFFERENCE” STORIES FOR “NBC NIGHTLY NEWS” AND “ROCK CENTER WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS”– Chelsea Clinton is teaming up with “Rock Center with Brian Williams” and “NBC Nightly News” as a Special Correspondent, the network announced today. Clinton’s role with the shows and the network will be to highlight stories within the “Making a Difference” franchise.”Making a Difference” segments have a history of profiling organizations and individuals who represent the best of what works in the United States and around the world, frequently emphasizing stories about everyday people doing extraordinary things. Clinton’s dedication to public service, solution-based advocacy and focus on empowering people across the country and around the globe resonates with the purpose and content of “Making a Difference.” Her position with NBC News will still allow Clinton to continue her work with the Clinton Foundation and her studies in parallel.
“Chelsea is a remarkable woman who will be a great addition to NBC News. Given her vast experiences, it’s as though Chelsea has been preparing for this opportunity her entire life,” said Steve Capus, President of NBC News. “We are proud she will be bringing her considerable, unique talents and dedication to NBC News.”
“Our Making a Difference segments have become a signature of the broadcast. They adhere to a simple goal of highlighting the good works being done across the country and around the world,” said Brian Williams, Anchor and Managing Editor of Nightly News and Rock Center. “Chelsea Clinton has led a remarkable life. She possesses an uncommon understanding of humanity — on city streets, across this country and around the globe. We are so excited she’s joining us to tell the stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.”
Friday question answered – The Pros and Cons of Newt Gingrich– Yet there are still conservatives entranced with his patter and admiring of his intellect. PBS727 declares, “You bet he can. Strongest candidate out there. To hell with with his personal baggage. Just look at [Bill] Clinton, [John F.] Kennedy.” Carldahlmann argues: “Gingrich knows history, and he knows Congress. He’s smart and quick — he would kill Obama in any debate. In spite of his personal baggage, I think he’d make a dynamite President, and would create a very effective troika with Boehner and McConnell — this would be the Democrats’ worst nightmare, which is why I like it.”I agree that Gingrich will benefit for some time from Herman Cain’s and Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s woes. It is ironic that the feisty base, which wants to fight, fight, fight against the Democrats, would consider the last GOP speaker of the House to get badly rolled by the White House. But in short order not only his personal baggage but his embrace of decidedly unconservative ideas and ethical problems will become a turnoff for many evangelicals, the group the not-Romney candidate must capture. For all of his flash and humor, Gingrich remains a loose cannon and an inconsistent conservative — not exactly what the not-Romney crowd is looking for.
Democrats obsessed with Romney?– Borrowing the title from a popular new wave song from the 1980s, Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign is out Monday with an email that highlights the numerous recent attacks on the Republican presidential candidate by national Democrats.In an email with the heading “You’re My Obsession,” the Romney campaign states that “President Obama’s political machine has developed an obsession with attacking Governor Romney.”
The former Massachusetts governor, who’s making his second bid for the White House, has been at or near the top of most national polls this year in the race for the GOP presidential nomination, and he’s also currently at or near the top in surveys in crucial early voting states.
For months, Romney’s been the target of Web videos and emails from the Obama re-election campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and Priorities USA, an independent group that is supporting the president’s re-election bid. But the efforts seem to have stepped up in recent weeks.
Many of the emails and Web videos highlight what the Democrats call Romney’s “flip-flop” on numerous issues.
Canada Will Sell Oil To China If US Keeps Delaying The Pipeline – The Obama administration put off the decision to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline until 2013.
But that won’t stop Canada from trying to find another buyer, namely China, according to AFP.
Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has already spoken with Chinese President Hu Jintao about possible oil exports this past Saturday.
Harper told reporters, “This does underscore the necessity of Canada making sure that we are able to access Asian markets for our energy products.”
With plans for the Keystone XL oil pipeline on the rocks, and China looking to diversify its energy supplier portfolio, this might be the perfect opportunity for Canada to get its foot in the door of the Chinese energy market.
Poll Watch: Voters split on harassment charges, favor lie detector test– Likely voters are split over whether to believe Herman Cain or the women who accused him of sexual harassment, but a plurality would like him to take a lie detector test to help decide the issue.According to The Hill Poll, likely voters are split, 39 percent to 40 percent respectively, on whether they believe Cain or his accusers. Another 21 percent aren’t sure whom to believe.
Forty-seven percent of likely voters would like him to follow through on his professed willingness to take a lie detector test, while 35 percent said he should not and 18 percent were not sure.
Back in September he told a TV station that the U.S. had “gotten a little soft’’ when it came to competing in international markets.
On Saturday, speaking at a business forum on the sidelines of an economic summit in Honolulu, he said the U.S. had been “lazy’’ when it came to enticing businesses to invest in America.
“But we’ve been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades,’’ the president said. “We’ve kind of taken for granted — well, people will want to come here and we aren’t out there hungry, selling America and trying to attract new business into America.”
Soft and lazy. Sounds like America could use a few months on Parris Island.
Not that he’s lost hope. In the first year of his term, he gave a healthcare speech and proclaimed that “we can do great things.’’
This year, in his State of the Union speech, he was no less optimistic.
Americans, he said, are a people who “do big things.’’
“Lazy’’ is a strong word, though, and in a staid talk about trade and currency policy, it caused a bit of a stir.
Washington’s unwelcome delay in the Keystone XL pipeline project– EARLY LAST WEEK, as the Obama administration prepared to announce a delay in deciding whether to permit the construction of the Canada-U.S. Keystone XL oil pipeline, Joe Oliver, Canada’s natural resources minister, was in Asia to discuss cooperation with the energy-hungry and cash-flush Chinese on extracting his nation’s oil reserves. Given that China already has an $11 billion stake in Canadian oil production, Mr. Oliver should have little trouble getting the help.Despite the passion among environmentalists against Keystone XL, Mr. Oliver’s travels illustrate the critical point: Canada’s oil will come out of the ground, and someone somewhere will refine it and burn it.
Video: FINALLY: Warren Buffett Reveals What HIS Tax Plan Would Look Like – Warren Buffett is on CNBC this morning talking about the Buffett tax.
As he’s indicated before, what Obama calls the “Buffett Rule” (higher taxes on the rich, basically) differs from his real proposal for such a tax.
His idea is really simple.
He says his tax would require earners making over $1 million to pay 30% of their income in taxes and those making more than $10 million to pay 35%—something he admits most people are already doing.
The difference between the current progressive system, and his idea is that his scheme wouldn’t give any breaks to people who get much of their money from capital gains.
President Newt?– Newt Gingrich did very well for himself in the foreign policy debate Saturday, especially when he put down a smug Scott Pelley on the issue of whether killing Al-Awlaki comported with the “rule of law.” … Jennifer Rubin and I discuss what a Gingrich Presidency might be like in our most recent Ricochet podcast here (starting about 4:20 in). Rubin also has a detailed post on why Gingrich is not a “conservative dreamboat.” … A key point not addressed by issues papers is his firmness in negotiation, or lack thereof. During the welfare reform debate of 1995-6, my impression was that Gingrich always wants to be the hero who walks into the room and cuts the grand deal. As a result he is all-too-ready to make dramatic concessions, which is one reason Clinton cleaned his clock in the post-1994 budget negotiations. Fastest sellout in the West! …KEYWORDS: INFANTILE, EGOMANIAC
Some Democrats refuse to back President Obama– Sen. Joe Lieberman was treated like an outcast back in 2008 when he broke from the Senate Democratic Caucus and openly opposed Barack Obama’s bid for the White House.Asked last week if he’d back Obama in 2012, the Connecticut independent said, “I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
This time around, there may be more Liebermans.
A number of moderate Democrats like Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar and liberals like Sen. Bernie Sanders are declining to give their unqualified support for the president, saying they’re either too focused on their own races or are calling on the White House to cater to their agendas before they will offer an endorsement. Some up for reelection in red states or in swing districts fear that even showing up on stage with Obama will give their opponents an image to seize upon — much as Democrats did in 2008 when they repeatedly flashed shots of Sen. John McCain hugging President George W. Bush.
So as the president faces the dual challenges of energizing his base while wooing moderates, some Democrats in Congress are keeping their distance, with the president’s approval rating hovering in the mid-40s — and even lower in states like West Virginia, where moderate Sen. Joe Manchin is up for reelection.
Obama Dings Republicans On Waterboarding, Says Jobs Bill May Have To Wait Until After Election – President Barack Obama took one of his first swings at his Republican opponents on Sunday, criticizing Rep. Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain for supporting the use of waterboarding.
In an afternoon press conference at the APEC summit in Hawaii, Obama was read comments from the two aspiring presidents, and set aside his vow not to comment on the Republican race until they have a nominee to categorically defend his administration’s stance on the issue:
“Let me just say this: They’re wrong. Waterboarding is torture,” he said. “It’s contrary to America’s traditions. It’s contrary to our ideals. That’s not who we are. That’s not how we operate. We don’t need it in order to prosecute the war on terrorism. And we did the right thing by ending that practice. ”
“If we want to lead around the world, part of our leadership is setting a good example. And anybody who has actually read about and understands the practice of waterboarding would say that that is torture. And that’s not something we do — period.”
But Obama refused to attack former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for criticizing his record dealing with Iran, saying only that it’s a complicated issue — and anyone who says otherwise “is either politicking or doesn’t know what they’re talking about.”
Anti-Newt Gingrich chatter begins– A conservative source forwards an anti-Newt Gingrich email making the rounds this weekend, drawing Republicans’ attention to the former House speaker’s history of off-message and ideologically erratic comments.The email is a reminder of the challenge Gingrich faces ahead of him, if he really has to go through the same level of vetting as other credible GOP presidential candidates — like Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann did when they were on the upswing in the polls. But it’s also a sign that Gingrich’s rise is being taken seriously by his opponents inside the party. The email reads, in part:
Fellow Conservatives I urge all of to take a hard look at the real Newt Gingrich. Take 10 minutes of your time to read this email and pass it around as we can’t afford another faux president.
*The Newt Gingrich Files: Does he know where he stands?*
*MUST KNOW QUOTES*
• Gingrich: “There Are Parts Of The DREAM Act That Are Actually Quite Useful.” (“Newt And Callista Gingrich On Al Punto With Jorge Ramos,” Newt.org, 10/13/10)
• In A 2007 Interview With PBS, Gingrich Came Out In Favor Of A Cap And Trade System, Saying “It’s Something I Would Strongly Support.” (PBS’ “Frontline,” 4/24/07)
How Gingrich Can Win– Rich Galen explains how Newt Gingrich can win the GOP presidential nomination.”The two candidates who are stable in their numbers are Romney (with a ceiling of about 25 percent of GOP voters) and Ron Paul (who will stay between six and 10 percent). That leaves about 65 percent of Republican voters looking for a home. Cain will continue to drift downward (my words, not Newt’s); Santorum, Huntsman, and Bachman are, and will continue to be minor players.”
“So, Newt’s thinking goes, he doesn’t need to beat Romney — he needs to consolidate the non-Romney vote and he’s the only one who can do that.”
An example from recent history: “Sixty-two percent of Iowa voters wanted someone other than Barack Obama four years ago. The only reason he won was because Hillary and Edwards almost precisely split 60 percent of the votes.”
The American Spectator : Charlie Hebdo, Free Speech, and Islam – Unfortunately, the persistence of such sentiments only invites one to state principles that might seem obvious, but never grow unworthy of affirmation. There is no moral equivalence between those exercising their right to free speech and Islamists who wish to impose the standards of traditional Sharia (Islamic law) on society and are prepared to harm physically others and their property to achieve that end.
More generally, this affair — along with the attack on a Tunisian TV station for broadcasting the film Persepolis, and the death threats that forced the flight from Pakistan of the judge who convicted the assassin of Salman Taseer, the Punjab governor who opposed the blasphemy law — demonstrates that Islam as a whole still has a long way to go to come towards accepting basic standards of toleration of criticism.
In short, one hopes that the following principle — well summed up by a prominent Melkite Greek Catholic deacon — will come to be accepted as mainstream in Islam: ‘[O]ne’s response to someone else’s provocative action is entirely one’s own responsibility. If you do something that offends me, I am under no obligation to kill you, or to run to the United Nations to try to get laws passed that will silence you. I am free to ignore you, or laugh at you, or to respond with charity, or any number of reactions.’
Facing Eurocollapse – As the world financial crisis deepens, it is unlikely that it can be alleviated without carefully reviewing the infelicitous confluence of mistakes in Europe and the United States that has brought it to its present extreme state. The European Monetary Union, involving 17 countries, was based on a number of generally admirable premises, but also on a couple of false assumptions. All civilized people were grateful at the extension of European cooperation to this new level of intimacy, as ancient foes led by France and Germany reached an ever-closer community of national interest. For German chancellor Helmut Kohl, who did not trust Germany’s political instincts to cause his country to act responsibly when alone and not in the company of allies of less erratic recent history, an ever-closer union was an insurance policy of constructive peer-group thinking. He was sincere in espousing “a European Germany and not a German Europe.”
Romney and Gingrich Shine; Perry Doesn’t – No one touched Romney. He was unflappable and knowledgeable. He again showed the right political instinct to want to address the struggles of the middle class, although his tax plan doesn’t do it. His China-bashing will probably play well in the Midwest, although it’s foolhardy on the merits. He consistently got applause. I remember one of the early debates when Romney was flying above the other candidates and Pawlenty — I think — attacked him and he declined to reply, saying “that’s fine.” He said the same thing tonight when Santorum went after him. After all the churning in the race, Romney is in the same basically comfortable place he was in several months ago.
Teens, Kindness and Cruelty on Social Network Sites – As social media use has become pervasive in the lives of American teens, a new study finds that 69% of the teenagers who use social networking sites say their peers are mostly kind to one another on such sites. Still, 88% of these teens say they have witnessed people being mean and cruel to another person on the sites, and 15% report that they have been the target of mean or cruel behavior on social network sites.
GOP senators praise Boxer on highway bill– California Sen. Barbara Boxer won rare praise from Republicans on Wednesday for unanimously passing an overhaul of federal highway programs bill out of her committee.Boxer, a liberal Democrat who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, worked hand-in-hand with conservative Oklahoma Republican James Inhofe to consolidate 90 federal highway programs into 30, grant states more flexibility in spending highway money and expand a pilot program to leverage taxpayer money with private investment.
The two-year, $84 billion bill has no earmarks for pet projects and aims to offset all new spending with trims in other areas of the government. The 18-0 vote was a rare moment in the bitterly partisan climate on Capitol Hill and provides a template for infrastructure investment that has been sought by the Obama administration but rebuffed by Republicans.
The Senate last week defeated President Obama’s proposal for $50 billion in infrastructure spending.
Mitch Daniels: Does he have any foreign policy views? – The 2012 Republican presidential candidates and potential candidates are weighing in on the most significant development in the war on Islamic terrorism in years. Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Newt Gingrich have commented on the news of Osama bin Laden’s death, offering praise for our magnificent armed forces and intelligence team. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) have issued statements as well. Mike Huckabee’s comments included the best line of the day: “Welcome to hell.” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) had extended remarks, and his staff put out the video.
The one noticeable exception? Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R). I was surprised and e-mailed his staff. I received a one-word answer as to whether he had comment on the killing of Osama bin Laden: “No.”
This response does not strike me as one from a guy who envisions himself as commander in chief. Other than mouthing Ronald Reagan’s now very shopworn slogan (“Peace through strength”), Daniels speaks only of national security when he describes the need to cut defense spending.
Maybe Jennifer the Daniels folks just did not want to respond to you. Everyone on the right knows you are not Mitch's favorite fan.
These are my links for April 5th from 06:36 to 07:58:
Top 10 dumb arguments against Paul Ryan’s budget – Liberals with furrowed brows are conjuring up attacks (many contradictory) on Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget. To save them time, I’ve come up with 10 of these that don’t pass the laugh test ( and I even explain why the arguments aren’t worth making):
1. It doesn’t balance the budget in 10 years. Ryan’s budget puts us in “primary balance” ( the term President Obama is fond of using) in 2015; Obama’s never does. In 2012 the deficit is less than $1 trillion; Obama’s is over a trillion in 2012, the fourth straight year of trillion-dollar deficits. If you want to balance the budget in a decade you are looking at massive tax increases and substantial cuts in entitlement benefits for current retirees. Does Obama want to make that proposal?
2. It favors the rich. Actually, the rich are “hurt” by items such as Medicare means testing and by wiping out corporate welfare. The White House’s plan to do nothing on Medicaid will eventually leave the poor with a defunct health plan.
3. Ryan spares defense. He follows Obama’s defense spending cuts — $178 billion in the 2012 budget. Considering we are now fighting three, not two, wars under Obama, that seems rather draconian actually.
Read it all.
Charlie Cook: Warning Signs Among the GOP – Until recently, Republicans were taking solace in a number of things as they looked forward to 2012. For one, Republicans knew that the party not holding the White House rarely suffered large House and Senate losses in presidential reelection years.
In fact, the only time that has happened in recent history was to Republicans in 1964 when Lyndon Johnson won the White House a year after the assassination of President John Kennedy.
Republicans also took comfort in knowing that they would control redistricting efforts in states with 202 congressional districts, compared to Democrats who have control over the lines in states with just 47 districts.
The huge Republican redistricting gains many had predicted before the new year appear less likely today. Republicans will be able to protect a number of their freshmen in redistricting, but Democrats could reap a bonanza of new seats in Illinois and possibly in Florida and California, if new processes in those two jackpots play out as Democrats believe they will.
In the end, the GOP’s remapping gains might not be large enough to offset losses among some of the more exotic and problematic freshmen who won narrowly in swing districts.
Finally, Republicans have had even more reason to feel secure since redistricting was occurring the year after a huge wave benefited them, and Democrats have to win 25 seats for control in the House to flip.
Sorry Charlie – but there are no signs of concern.
The economy is not improving and except in California., Obama is toxic and Pelosi is more so.
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