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share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: December 17, 2012

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
share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: December 17, 2012
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share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: December 13, 2012

California Blue Shield The Morning Flap: December 13, 2012

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
share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: December 13, 2012
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share save 120 16 American Smoking Sinks to One in Five   Tied for All Time Low

Gallup Poll Smoking American Smoking Sinks to One in Five   Tied for All Time LowAccording to the latest Gallup poll.

The prevalence of smoking in the U.S. is currently tied for the all-time low in Gallup trends dating from 1944, after a long, slow decline in smoking rates since the 1970s. Currently, 20% of adults say they smoked a cigarette “in the past week,” down from 22% last year but matching the 2009 level.

Gallup recorded the sharpest decline in smoking between the early 1970s and late 1980s, with the rate dropping roughly 15 percentage points during this period. Smoking leveled off at about 25% for much of the 1990s, but has since descended slowly, if unevenly, to 20%. The latest results are from Gallup’s annual Consumption Habits poll, conducted July 9-12, and are in line with the smoking rate the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index finds in daily surveys of Americans.

According to an analysis of Gallup trends since 2001 — combining data from Gallup’s Consumption Habits polls into three periods, 2001-2005, 2006-2010, and 2011-2012 — the most recent decline in smoking has not occurred across the board, but is seen mainly among certain groups. Smoking rates have fallen particularly sharply among young adults — those 18 to 29 — as well as among college non-graduates and those living in the East and West.

Great news as I am reminded what my parents told me over fifty years ago.

Smoking is a dirty, nasty habit – don’t ever start because it will be hard to quit.

Face it smoking is “unhealthy” and “addictive” behavior.

In the next decades, let’s hope the numbers of Americans who smoke drop even further.

share save 120 16 American Smoking Sinks to One in Five   Tied for All Time Low
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share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: April 24, 2012

immigration fence The Morning Flap: April 24, 2012

A US Border vehicle drives along the US and Mexico border fence in Naco, Arizona, Photo: Reuters

These are my links for April 23rd through April 24th:

  • For first time since Depression, more Mexicans leave U.S. than enter – A four-decade tidal wave of Mexican immigration to the United States has receded, causing a historic shift in migration patterns as more Mexicans appear to be leaving the United States for Mexico than the other way around, according to a report from the Pew Hispanic Center.

    It looks to be the first reversal in the trend since the Depression, and experts say that a declining Mexican birthrate and other factors may make it permanent.

  • Net Migration from Mexico Falls to Zero—and Perhaps Less | – The largest wave of immigration in history from a single country to the United States has come to a standstill. After four decades that brought 12 million current immigrants—more than half of whom came illegally—the net migration flow from Mexico to the United States has stopped—and may have reversed, according to a new analysis by the Pew Hispanic Center of multiple government data sets from both countries.

    The standstill appears to be the result of many factors, including the weakened U.S. job and housing construction markets, heightened border enforcement, a rise in deportations, the growing dangers associated with illegal border crossings, the long-term decline in Mexico’s birth rates and changing economic conditions in Mexico.

    The report is based on the Center’s analysis of data from five different Mexican government sources and four U.S. government sources. The Mexican data come from the Mexican Decennial Censuses (Censos de Población y Vivienda), the Mexican Population Counts (Conteos de Población y Vivienda), the National Survey of Demographic Dynamics (Encuesta Nacional de la Dinámica Demográfica or ENADID), the National Survey of Occupation and Employment (Encuesta Nacional de Ocupación y Empleo or ENOE), and the Survey on Migration at the Northern Border of Mexico (Encuesta sobre Migración en la Frontera Norte de México or EMIF-Norte). The U.S. data come from the 2010 Census, the American Community Survey, the Current Population Survey and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

  • California’s Demographic Revolution by Heather Mac Donald – California is in the middle of a far-reaching demographic shift: Hispanics, who already constitute a majority of the state’s schoolchildren, will be a majority of its workforce and of its population in a few decades. This is an even more momentous development than it seems. Unless Hispanics’ upward mobility improves, the state risks becoming more polarized economically and more reliant on a large government safety net. And as California goes, so goes the nation, whose own Hispanic population shift is just a generation or two behind.

    The scale and speed of the Golden State’s ethnic transformation are unprecedented. In the 1960s, Los Angeles was the most Anglo-Saxon of the nation’s ten largest cities; today, Latinos make up nearly half of the county’s residents and one-third of its voting-age population. A full 55 percent of Los Angeles County’s child population has immigrant parents. California’s schools have the nation’s largest concentration of “English learners,” students from homes where a language other than English is regularly spoken. From 2000 to 2010, the state’s Hispanic population grew 28 percent, to reach 37.6 percent of all residents, almost equal to the shrinking white population’s 40 percent. Nearly half of all California births today are Hispanic. The signs of the change are everywhere—from the commercial strips throughout the state catering to Spanish-speaking customers, to the flea markets and illegal vendors in such areas as MacArthur Park in Los Angeles, to the growing reach of the Spanish-language media.

  • Are Hispanics moving up or down the social scale? – Arguably, Hispanics received the most benefit and the most harm from subprime lending during the Housing Bubble.

    A 2005 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York of 75,744 minority subprime loan borrowers found the largest percentage was Hispanic (15,647 loans or 20.7 percent). This study found no evidence of adverse pricing of subprime loans by race or ethnicity and minority borrowers paid lower rates.

    A 2008 study by the U.S. Federal Reserve in Washington, D.C. found Southern California was the hot spot for the most subprime loans in all of the United States in 2005. And out of the top 10 cities with the most subprime loans, six were in California (percent of Hispanic population in parentheses): Riverside (45 percent), Bakersfield (45.5 percent), Stockton (37.6 percent), Modesto (35.5 percent), Fresno (50.3 percent) and Visalia (46.0 percent). Where Hispanics got into trouble had more to do with home equity loans than primary home purchase loans.

    Hispanics were hit hardest with foreclosures after the Housing Bubble popped.

    If the Housing Bubble demonstrated anything, it is that Hispanics suffered not from too little, but too much, upward mobility by government-induced home ownership policies.

  • Boston Qualifying Rate Drops by a Third – Some interesting data-crunching from Ray Charbonneau, who blogs at Y42K?: If you compare the 2011 and 2012 fields of some major marathons, you’ll find the Boston qualifying rate on average has dropped by about a third. Charbonneau excludes the results from this year’s Houston Marathon—where qualifying rates actually went up—assuming that the Olympic Marathon Trials helped attract some higher-caliber athletes than the 2011 race. He also excludes results from this year’s exceptionally warm Boston Marathon and National Marathon in Washington, D.C., where qualifying rates dropped even more than a third. The stricter qualifying standards the B.A.A. put into place for the 2013 Boston Marathon (which went into effect last September) lowered qualifying times across all age groups by five minutes and 59 seconds. Based on Charbonneau’s results, this drop should eliminate about a third of all previous qualifiers.
  • Rethinking the Hispanic Vote – For Republicans, the illegal immigration litmus test, forcing conservative candidates to toe a hardline on the issue, could very well recede in the near future. A January Pew poll showed the number of Republicans considering illegal immigration as a top issue has plummeted, dropping from 69 percent in 2007 to 48 percent at the beginning of this year. The future Republican positioning on immigration could very well be closer to the policy views of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio than that of hardliners like Iowa Rep. Steve King.

    The long-term political implications are equally significant. Democrats have counted Hispanics as a pivotal part of their coalition, but there’s no guarantee that as first-generation immigrants assimilate, they will remain reliable partisan voters. Indeed, a complementary Pew Hispanic Center study, released last month, showed immigrants becoming more Republican the longer they’ve been in this country — a similar narrative to other first-generation ethnic groups.

  • Protest by Catholic activists may hamper Obama reelection bid – President Obama has seen his standing among Catholic voters, a crucial segment of the electorate, slip in recent weeks, and a looming confrontation with Catholic activists could make it worse.

    Democrats want voters this year to focus on what they have branded a war on women, but the flip side of the debate — the so-called war on religion — is not going away anytime soon.

    Earlier this month, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called for two weeks of public protest in June and July against what it sees as growing government encroachment on religious freedom.

    The protests are expected to include priests and nuns and thousands of Catholic parishioners. Some activists expect civil disobedience, which could lead to powerful images of priests and nuns being led away in hand restraints.

  • Capitol Alert: Measure to repeal death penalty in California qualifies for ballot – Capitol Alert: Measure to repeal death penalty in California qualifies for ballot
  • Pew: immigration from Mexico drops to net zero – Immigration from Mexico has reached a net zero, with as many Mexicans moving back to Mexico as are entering the United States, according to the Pew Research Center’s Jeffrey Passel, a highly regarded demographer who used data from both countries.

    The report released Wednesday cited several possible reasons, including, “the weakened U.S. job and housing construction markets, heightened border enforcement, a rise in deportations, the growing dangers associated with illegal border crossings, the long-term decline in Mexico’s birth rates and changing economic conditions in Mexico.”

  • California prisons detail plan to downsize, cut costs – The California prison system on Monday unveiled an extensive plan to cut spending by billions of dollars, close a prison and return inmates being housed out of state — all while meeting court-ordered benchmarks on medical care and overcrowding.

    In three years, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is expected to be 7.5% of the state’s total budget, down from an estimated 9.4% in the upcoming fiscal year. This is largely because of realignment, the process of sending low-level offenders to local jails instead of state prisons to comply with a court order to reduce chronic overcrowding.

    “California is finally getting its prison costs under control and taking the necessary steps to meet federal court mandates,” Gov. Jerry Brown said in a statement.

    Some parts of the state’s plan will require consent from the Legislature, and its success also hinges in part on court approval. Although the court ordered California to reduce its inmate population to 137.5% of prison capacity, the state expects to fall slightly short, at 141% — a difference of up to 6,000 inmates — by the June 2013 deadline.

    Corrections Secretary Matt Cate said the state will ask the court to raise its benchmark next year.

  • Measure to repeal death penalty in California qualifies for ballot – Californians voters going to the polls in November will again decide the fate of the death penalty.

    A measure to abolish the death penalty and replace it with a maximum sentence of life behind bars without parole has qualified for the Nov. 6 ballot, the Secretary of State confirmed today. The measure, backed by a coalition that includes the American Civil Liberties Union and some law enforcement and victims rights groups, would apply to inmates currently on death row.

    Supporters say capital punishment, which voters added to the state’s books in 1978, costs California more than $100 million a year while leading to very few executions because of the time it takes to go through the appeals process.

  • The politics of death penalty heads to November ballot – Almost 34 years to the day California voters decided that the state’s worst crimes should be punished by execution, the repeal of that same punishment will be back on the statewide ballot.

    State elections officials confirmed late Monday that an initiative to abolish capital punishment in California has qualified for the November ballot, with supporters having gathered more than enough voter signatures to call the question.

    The initiative would not only repeal the death penalty but would also convert the sentences of all 724 inmates currently on Death Row to life without the possibility of parole. It would further commit $30 million a year for three years to local law enforcement efforts on unsolved murder and rape crimes.

  • Medscape: Medscape Access – Medscape: Medscape Access
  • Poll: Obama ahead in battleground New Hampshire – CNN Political Ticker – CNN.com Blogs – RT @PoliticalTicker: Poll: Obama ahead in battleground New Hampshire -
  • Doctors say teens go to hospitals after drinking hand sanitizer – Doctors are warning parents about a dangerous new trend after six teenagers drank hand sanitizer and ended up in San Fernando Valley emergency rooms with alcohol poisoning.

    Teenagers are using salt to separate the alcohol from the sanitizer, doctors said.

    “It’s essentially a shot of hard liquor,” said Cyrus Rangan, director of the toxicology bureau for the Los Angeles County public health department and a medical toxicology consultant for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “All it takes is just a few swallows and you have a drunk teenager.”

    Although there have been only a few cases, Rangan said the practice could easily become a larger problem. Bottles of hand sanitizers are inexpensive and accessible and teens can find instructions on distillation on the Internet.

  • Medscape: Medscape Access – Unexplained Infant Deaths Often Linked to Bed Sharing
  • Medscape: Medscape Access – Big Tobacco Groups Fear Spread of Plain Packaging
  • Humor / Not the ol’ bag over the head trick…. – Not the ol’ bag over the head trick….
  • Unexplained Infant Deaths Often Linked to Bed Sharing – Among infants who have died suddenly and unexpectedly, most were sharing a sleep surface with another child or adult, and only one fourth were sleeping in a crib or on their back when found, according to a new report.

    Results were published in the American Journal of Public Health online April 19. The study was conducted by Patricia G. Schnitzer, PhD, from the Sinclair School of Nursing, University of Missouri, Columbia, and colleagues.

    According to the researchers, more than 4000 infants without prior known illness or injury die suddenly and unexpectedly each year in the United States.

    The researchers found that only about one fourth of infants were sleeping in a crib or on their back when found, but 70% were on a surface not intended for infant sleep, such as an adult bed. Of note, 64% of infants were sharing a sleep surface, and of those, nearly half were sleeping with an adult.

    One study limitation, among others, is the possible lack of generalizability because the data were as drawn from only 9 states.

    “Infants whose deaths were classified as suffocation or undetermined cause were significantly more likely than were infants whose deaths were classified as SIDS to be found on a surface not intended for infant sleep and to be sharing that sleep surface,” Dr. Schnitzer and colleagues note.

  • Big Tobacco Groups Fear Spread of Plain Packaging – The world’s top tobacco groups fear if new rules on plain packaging take hold in Australia and Britain they may spread to higher-growth and potentially more lucrative emerging markets and put a curb on their future profits growth.

    Health campaigners are pushing for tobacco companies to package their cigarettes in plain packs displaying the product name in a standard typeface and with graphic health warnings as a way of discouraging youngsters from taking up smoking.

    Australia aims to become the first nation in the world to force tobacco groups to sell cigarettes in these plain, brand-free packets by December this year, while Britain this week launched a three-month consultation over the issue.

  • Smoking Cessation Worth It Despite Dim Outcomes – Drugs and counseling to help patients stop smoking typically double the odds of success relative to solo cold-turkey attempts, but success rates still seldom exceed 20%, a researcher said here.

    The bottom-line message: “Keep trying,” said Michael K. Ong, MD, PhD, of the University of California Los Angeles, in a presentation at the American College of Physicians’ annual meeting.

    Existing approaches to smoking cessation will remain the best available for the foreseeable future, Ong suggested, and even though their effectiveness is modest at best, they are better than letting patients fend for themselves.

    He noted that clinicians are often reluctant to assist patients with these problems. A recent CDC survey found that only about half of smokers who saw a health professional in the previous year reported being advised to quit.

    An earlier survey identified a series of reasons that physicians had for not offering to help with smoking cessation, such as they’re too busy; the services are not billable; it’s a futile effort; and patients may be scared away.

  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » Video: Rudy Giuliani Finally Endorses Mitt Romney on Eve of New York Primary Election – Video: Rudy Giuliani Finally Endorses Mitt Romney on Eve of New York Primary Election
  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » President 2012 Poll Watch: Arizona in Play? – President 2012 Poll Watch: Arizona in Play?
  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » CA-Sen: Conservative California Republican Assembly Endorses Al Ramirez for U.S. Senate – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » CA-Sen: Conservative California Republican Assembly Endorses Al Ra…
  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » CA-Sen: Conservative California Republican Assembly Endorses Al Ramirez for U.S. Senate – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » CA-Sen: Conservative California Republican Assembly Endorses Al Ra…
  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » CA-Sen: Conservative California Republican Assembly Endorses Al Ramirez for U.S. Senate – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » CA-Sen: Conservative California Republican Assembly Endorses Al Ra…
  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » CA-Sen: Conservative California Republican Assembly Endorses Al Ramirez for U.S. Senate – RE:  No, I don’t see much support out there for Dr. Orly.

    But, does it matter much who the candidate is, when runnin…

  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » CA-26: Linda Parks Fights Back Against Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee – CA-26: Linda Parks Fights Back Against Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » The Morning Flap: April 23, 2012 – The Morning Flap: April 23, 2012
  • AT&T wields enormous power in Sacramento – As the sun set behind Monterey Bay on a cool night last year, dozens of the state’s top lawmakers and lobbyists ambled onto the 17th fairway at Pebble Beach for a round of glow-in-the-dark golf.

    With luminescent balls soaring into the sky, the annual fundraiser known as the Speaker’s Cup was in full swing.

    Lawmakers, labor-union champions and lobbyists gather each year at the storied course to schmooze, show their skill on the links and rejuvenate at a 22,000-square-foot spa. The affair, which typically raises more than $1 million for California Democrats, has been sponsored for more than a decade by telecommunications giant AT&T.

    At the 2010 event, AT&T’s president and the state Assembly speaker toured Pebble Beach together in a golf cart, shaking hands with every lawmaker, lobbyist and other VIP in attendance.

    The Speaker’s Cup is the centerpiece of a corporate lobbying strategy so comprehensive and successful that it has rewritten the special-interest playbook in Sacramento. When it comes to state government, AT&T spends more money, in more places, than any other company.

  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » CA-Sen: Conservative California Republican Assembly Endorses Al Ramirez for U.S. Senate – CA-Sen: Conservative California Republican Assembly Endorses Al Ramirez for U.S. Senate
  • Flap’s California Morning Collection: April 23, 2012 » Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Morning Collection: April 23, 2012 via @flap
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Obama and Bo the Dog The Morning Flap: April 19, 2012

The Obamas and Bo, their dog – A Chilling Photo?

These are my links for April 18th through April 19th:

  • Bam Bites Dog – The political perils of personal attacks – One time Barack Obama went to an Indian restaurant and ordered the lassi. Was he ever disappointed when the waiter brought him a yogurt drink!

    We’ll be here all week. But seriously, folks, we have a man-bites-dog story for you today.

    First, some background. Last week Byron York of the Washington Examiner reported that “some Obama staffers are reportedly obsessing over a nearly 30-year-old story about [Mitt] Romney’s dog”:

    In 1983, Romney took his family on vacation and, faced with a packed station wagon, put his Irish setter Seamus in a travel kennel strapped to the roof of the car. Romney constructed a special windshield in an effort to make the dog more comfortable, but Seamus ended up relieving himself on the roof, which reportedly caused much consternation among the Romney boys. Ever since the story got out–it was reported by the Boston Globe in 2007, during Romney’s first run for president–Romney opponents have used it in semiserious and sometimes fully serious ways to portray him as insensitive.
    “I have heard, in focus groups, the dog story totally tanks Mitt Romney’s approval rating,” Chris Hayes said on his MSNBC show. The Washington Post reported last month that the Seamus story “is ballooning into a narrative of epic proportions”:

    Late-night host David Letterman has been giving the dog near-nightly shout-outs. There are parody Web videos, “Dogs Aren’t Luggage” T-shirts and Facebook groups. (“Dogs Against Romney,” which protested outside last month’s Westminster dog show, has more than 38,000 Facebook fans.) The New Yorker featured a cartoon, with Rick Santorum riding in Romney’s rooftop dog carrier, on its cover last week. In the five years since the story was revealed, New York Times columnist Gail Collins has mentioned Seamus in at least 50 columns.

  • The Dog Days of the Presidential Campaign Begin – I would note that in 2008, John McCain’s presidential campaign wouldn’t have touched this anecdote with a ten-foot pole. Between this and the Romney camp’s rapid response to the Rosen comments, we are seeing a Republican presidential campaign that is exponentially faster on its feet and way more nimble than the previous general-election campaign against Obama.
  • IN-Sen: Don’t Believe the Anti-Incumbent Narrative – A few weeks after that primary, on May 8, Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar will either lose to state Treasurer Richard Mourdock or squeeze by him in the GOP primary.

    Lugar’s problems, however, have nothing to do with the “anti-incumbent” mood or Congress’ poor reputation. Instead, they have everything to do with his record and his horrible campaign.

    Lugar’s record and style don’t fit comfortably with where his party now is, yet he made little or no effort to sooth conservatives or to prepare for a battle. If he had, he might, for example, have purchased a house or condo in the state so that he wouldn’t need to stay in a hotel when he returns to the state to campaign.

    More than a year ago, I wrote in this space about Lugar’s vulnerability in a possible one-on-one primary. Almost immediately, I received a call from a Lugar staffer telling me how wrong I was and pointing out that the Senator was hugely popular and had a large campaign war chest.

    In other words, Lugar’s team didn’t understand what could happen if voters were presented with a credible opponent who either had money or would be supported by outside groups willing to spend heavily to defeat the Senator. And later, the campaign didn’t understand why anyone would care that Lugar didn’t own a residence in the state.

  • Weiner a jerk before crotchgate, craved media attention: book – Disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner was behaving like a jerk long before the world got a glimpse of his crotch.

    A new book offering an inside look at the US House of Representatives depicts Weiner as a desperately ambitious loudmouth who berated his staff and would do or say anything for TV airtime.

    Weiner “would enter his office in the Rayburn Building screaming at the top of his lungs, ‘Why the f–k am I not on MSNBC?!’” journalist Robert Draper wrote in “Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the US House of Representatives.”

    He finally got his wish, Draper wrote, when Weiner pushed to become the liberal spokesman for ObamaCare.

    “He was now on MSNBC every week, sometimes every day — to the point where he was carrying his own makeup kit. (Or rather, his press guy was.)” Draper wrote.

    Excerpts of the book, due out Tuesday, surfaced yesterday on the Web site Politico.

  • Daily exercise can reduce risk of developing Alzheimer¿s, study finds – latimes.com – RT @latimesmost: You’re never too old to reduce Alzheimer’s risk with exercise
  • Hydration for Runners – Run to Your Best – RT @Racerunningtips: Hydration for Runners: Hydrating for Optimal Performance
  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-04-19 – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-04-19
  • The Top 10 Most Expensive Obamacare Taxes and Fees – Yesterday was tax day, serving as a special reminder of how big the federal government has become. As Heritage has warned before, Obamacare is on track to makes things a lot worse.

    The President’s health law will be partially paid for by tax increases and the creation of new taxes. When Obamacare first passed, the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that its tax hikes would total $502 billion over the next 10 years. But most of the new, higher taxes don’t kick in until later in the decade, which means that once all of the law is fully implemented, the taxpayers’ tab will be much bigger than originally estimated.

    A new study by the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) revealed today that Obamacare will impose higher taxes totaling $4 trillion between now and 2035, with substantial hits on working Americans. That works out to more than $1.7 trillion over a decade—more than triple the original 10-year score.

    Below is a list of 10 of Obamacare’s most costly taxes and fees, drawn from research by Heritage tax policy expert Curtis Dubay:

  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » R.I.P. Dick Clark 1929-2012 – R.I.P. Dick Clark 1929-2012
  • Flap’s Dentistry Blog: Study: No Independent Association of Periodontal and Atherosclerotic Vascular Disease? – Study: No Independent Association of Periodontal and Atherosclerotic Vascular Disease?
  • In-Sen: Mourdock Leads Lugar in Internal Poll – Indiana state treasurer Richard Mourdock leads Senator Dick Lugar by one point according to a poll commissioned by the Mourdock campaign. Conducted between April 16 and 17 by the firm McLaughlin and Associates, the poll surveyed 400 likely Republican primary voters and found Mourdock in the lead, 42–41, against Lugar. The poll had a 4.9 percent margin of error.

    Since January, Lugar’s favorability rating has fallen ten points, from 57 to 47 percent, while Mourdock’s has risen by eleven, from 35 to 46 percent. “These results clearly demonstrate that Richard Mourdock has the momentum to win,” a memo from pollsters John McLaughlin and Stuart Polk notes.

  • Is stagnation good enough for Obama’s reelection? « The Enterprise Blog – RT @JimPethokoukis: I plugged in Citi’s new econ forecast into 2 election models. Obama losses under both
  • Untitled (http://www.laobserved.com/biz/2012/04/la_churches_being_fo.php) – RT @LAObserved: L.A. churches being foreclosed on in record numbers. @LABizObserved
  • AD-38: Scott Wilk Signs Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge » Flap’s California Blog – AD-38: Scott Wilk Signs Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge » Flap’s California Blog
  • Gallup Presidential Election Trial Heat Results: Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney – RT @gallupnews: Presidential Election: Romney 48% (+1), Obama 44% (+1). Get the full trend… #Gallup
  • Gavin Newsom Gets Current TV Show — What About the Equal Time Rule? | TheWrap TV – California’s Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom gets a TV show on Current TV – whether you like it or not #catcot #tcot
  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » President 2012: Romney Up With Web Ad About Unemployment in Key Battleground State of North Carolina – President 2012: Romney Up With Web Ad About Unemployment in Key Battleground State of North Carolina
  • AD-38: Scott Wilk Signs Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge » Flap’s California Blog – RE:  Yes, last August seems a long time ago for Senator Tony Strickland…
  • Medscape: Medscape Access – Menthol Cigarettes Double Stroke Risk
  • Menthol Cigarettes Double Stroke Risk – Menthol cigarettes more than double the risk for stroke compared with regular cigarettes, a new study shows. In women and nonblack smokers, the risk for stroke was more than tripled.

    No significant associations were observed between the tobacco additive and other forms of cardiovascular disease, such as hypertension, myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

    The mechanism by which menthol may increase stroke risk remains unclear.

    One potential mechanism is that menthol stimulates upper-airway cold receptors, which can increase breath-holding time, which may in turn facilitate the entrance of cigarette particulate matter into the lungs, notes Nicholas Vozoris, MD, from St. Michael’s Hospital, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

    Another possibility is that menthol cigarettes exert some selective effects on the cerebrovascular system.

  • Potential VP pick Mitch Daniels endorses Mitt Romney – Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, frequently mentioned as a potential vice presidential candidate, is the latest Republican leader to formally endorse Mitt Romney.

    “It must be a slow news day if this has made the air,” Daniels told Fox News on Wednesday. “But for what it’s worth, I did send a congratulatory note to Gov. Romney the other day offering to anything I could to help him, and here I am.”

    It didn’t come across as a particularly strong endorsement, and the Fox News anchor noted that Daniels has a dry, self-deprecating manner.

    “He’s already won our nomination,” Daniels continued. “He’s earned it, he’s proven himself the best nominee we could put forward, and I’m just happy to sign on and help him.”

  • Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » The Morning Flap: April 18, 2012 – The Morning Flap: April 18, 2012
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