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share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: January 31, 2013

Obama Jobs Council The Morning Flap: January 31, 2013

These are my links for January 30th through January 31st:

  • The Chuck Hagel confirmation whip count -
  • Obama’s jobs council shutting down Thursday – President Barack Obama will let his jobs council expire this week without renewing its charter, winding down one source of input from the business community even as unemployment remains stubbornly high.When Obama in January 2011 formed his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, unemployment was hovering above 9 percent. Two years president later, more than 12 million people in the U.S. are out of work. The unemployment rate has improved to 7.8 percent, but both parties agree that’s still too high.A provision in Obama’s executive order establishing the council says it sunsets on Thursday. A White House official said the president does not plan to extend it.
  • Controversial school bonds create ‘debt for the next generation’ – The Bay Citizen – Controversial school bonds create ‘debt for the next generation’
  • California taxes surge in January, report says – latimes.com – California taxes surge in January, report says
  • Poll: Californians fear shootings, support citizenship | news10.net – PPIC Poll: Californians fear shootings, support citizenship
  • Myths of Weight Loss Are Plentiful, Researcher Says – NYTimes.com – Myths of Weight Loss Are Plentiful, Researcher Says #tcot
  • Science Says, ‘Good Riddance, Sen. Tom Harkin’ – Progressive Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) announced his retirement recently, foregoing a re-election bid in 2014. Science Insider, the policy news arm of the journal Science, wished him a fond farewell, calling him a “longtime champion” of biomedical research.This is exactly backwards.In reality, Harkin has been one of the leading voices of alternative medicine, up to 95% of which is complete nonsense. His insistence upon funding woo, through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) no less, has served to undermine biomedical research. Called the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), this joke of an organization was created — and packed full of woo-loving cronies — by Senator Tom Harkin.
  • ObamaCare: Some families to be priced out of health overhaul – Some families could get priced out of health insurance due to what’s being called a glitch in President Barack Obama’s overhaul law. IRS regulations issued Wednesday failed to fix the problem as liberal backers of the president’s plan had hoped.As a result, some families that can’t afford the employer coverage that they are offered on the job will not be able to get financial assistance from the government to buy private health insurance on their own. How many people will be affected is unclear.The Obama administration says its hands were tied by the way Congress wrote the law. Officials said the administration tried to mitigate the impact. Families that can’t get coverage because of the glitch will not face a tax penalty for remaining uninsured, the IRS rules said.

    “This is a very significant problem, and we have urged that it be fixed,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, an advocacy group that supported the overhaul from its early days. “It is clear that the only way this can be fixed is through legislation and not the regulatory process.”

    But there’s not much hope for an immediate fix from Congress, since the House is controlled by Republicans who would still like to see the whole law repealed.

  • Jobless Claims Go Higher; Income Surges, Spending Up – The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid rose sharply last week but remained at a level consistent with moderate hiring, while income surged much higher than expected and spending inched higher as well.The Labor Department says weekly applications for unemployment benefits leapt 38,000 to a seasonally adjusted 368,000. The increase comes after applications plummeted in the previous two weeks to five-year lows.Personal income rose 2.6 percent and spending was up 0.2 percent for the month, according to a separate report.
  • Why I Love Twitter | RedState – This —->RT @MelissaTweets: RT @JammieWF: Why I Love Twitter via @benhowe
  • Henninger: Obama’s Thunderdome Strategy – The president’s goal is to make Republican ideas intolerable – Henninger: Obama’s Thunderdome Strategy – The president’s goal is to make Republican ideas intolerable #tcot
  • On Immigration, Obama Acts as if He Has the Upper Hand -
  • Why Labor Has Learned to Love Immigration Reform – Why Labor Has Learned to Love Immigration Reform #tcot
  • Surprise decline in GDP fails to shift debate over ending sequestration – Surprise decline in GDP fails to shift debate over ending sequestration #tcot
  • Democratic super PAC targets 10 GOP representatives – Democratic super PAC targets 10 GOP representatives #tcot
  • Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2013-01-30 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2013-01-30
  • Obama expects immigration reform bill as early as June – The Hill’s Blog Briefing Room – Obama expects #immigration reform bill as early as June by @joneasley
  • Rand Paul: GOP must ‘evolve’ on immigration – Kevin Cirilli – POLITICO.com – Rand Paul: GOP needs immigration evolution:
  • Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2013-01-30 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2013-01-30 #tcot
  • My Daily Twitter Digest for 2013-01-30 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2013-01-30
  • Gingrich: Don’t trust Rubio, McCain on immigration | WashingtonExaminer.com – Gingrich: Don’t trust Rubio, McCain on immigration | #tcot
  • For millionaire athletes, states with highest tax rates may not make the cut | Fox News – For millionaire athletes, states with highest tax rates may not make the cut | Fox News #tcot
  • Gingrich: Don’t trust Rubio, McCain on immigration | WashingtonExaminer.com – Gingrich: Don’t trust Rubio, McCain on immigration | #tcot
  • Rubio’s amnesty: A path to oblivion for the GOP – IT’S NOT AMNESTY! Rubio’s proponents cry. They seem to think they can bully Republicans the way the Democrats do, by controlling the language.Rubio’s bill is nothing but amnesty. It isn’t even “amnesty thinly disguised as border enforcement.” This is a wolf in wolf’s clothing.Despite all the blather about how Rubio demands “Enforcement First!” the very first thing his proposal does is make illegal aliens legal. (Don’t call them “illegal aliens”!)

    The ability to live and work legally in America is the most valuable commodity in the world; it’s the Hope Diamond of the universe. I know young, well-educated Canadians who waited a decade for that privilege.

    Step One of Marco Rubio’s plan is: Grant illegal aliens the right to live and work in America legally. (Rubio’s first move in poker: Fold.)

    People who have broken our laws will thus leap ahead of millions of foreigners dying to immigrate here, but — unwilling to enter illegally — waiting patiently in their own countries.

    The only thing the newly legalized illegal immigrants won’t get immediately is citizenship. Rubio claims that under his plan, they won’t be able to vote or go on welfare. But in practice, they’ll have to wait only until the ACLU finds a judge to say otherwise.

  • A Pointless Amnesty – Illegal immigration is a curious subject: It is one of the few domains in which the authorities entrusted with enforcing the law feel obliged to negotiate the most concessionary terms and conditions with those who are breaking it, as though law enforcement were an embarrassing inconvenience. But the rule of law, national security, and economic dynamism are not mere pro forma matters — they are in fact fundamental, a reality lost on our would-be “comprehensive” immigration reformers.
  • Pushback: Gingrich, Vitter, National Review, Malkin, Coulter, Erickson oppose Rubio’s immigration plan – The key subplot to Rubio’s immigration push, of course, is how much of a headache it’ll be for him with conservatives in the 2016 primaries. The talk-radio charm offensive is mainly designed to get grassroots opinion-shapers like Rush to at least wait and see what the bill looks like before lobbying against it, but more broadly it’s designed to move the Overton window on what positions are acceptable for a good conservative to hold. Rubio can afford to have immigration reform fail; he can’t afford to be RINO-ized over it. Like I said yesterday, whether or not a bill ends up passing, he’s already achieved something significant by getting Rush et al. to acknowledge that “recognizing reality” in terms of a grand bargain on immigration is something “admirable and noteworthy.” No matter what happens now, unless he ends up voting for a watered-down Democratic bill with token enforcement (which he won’t), he’s got that as a soundbite for his primary ads in 2016. James Antle makes a good point too in noting that none of Rubio’s would-be rivals for the nomination have attacked him on this yet. Jindal, Paul, and Christie have all kept quiet and Ryan has actually endorsed Rubio’s plan. The likely candidates don’t want to alienate Latino voters and the pundits with big audiences don’t want to kneecap a guy who might end up being the party’s best chance to regain the presidency.
  • Marco Rubio: Applying Conservative Principles To Immigration – I appreciate the opportunity to respond to Erick’s post last night regarding the principles for immigration reform I have recently developed. Before diving into the details of the plan, I want to take a moment to point out how the debate about immigration reflects positively on the conservative movement in general. Unlike the left, whose default tactic is to attack and destroy the personal character of those who disagree with their views, the conservative movement is capable of accommodating a vibrant internal debate on important issues solely on the merits. RedState has always been a welcoming forum for that sort of debate.
  • Legislation proposed to help California launch healthcare overhaul – Los Angeles Times – Untitled (… #tcot
  • Guest Blog: Dr. Josie Dovidio – Dental Health Considerations & Aspergers Syndrome – Guest Blog: Dr. Josie Dovidio – Dental Health Considerations & Aspergers Syndrome
  • Photo of the Day: Bullet Turns Tooth Upside Down – Photo of the Day: Bullet Turns Tooth Upside Down
  • L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, again, cast as possible transportation secretary – LA Daily News – L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, again, cast as possible transportation secretary
  • State ordered to pay back districts $1 billion for 20-year-old mandate | EdSource Today – State ordered to pay back districts $1 billion for 20-year-old mandate
  • Counties express concerns about Medi-Cal expansion – latimes.com – Counties express concerns about Medi-Cal expansion
  • Phil Mickelson’s net state income tax increase: 83.6%!!!!! | CalWatchDog – Phil Mickelson’s net state income tax increase: 83.6%!!!!!
  • Five reasons Republicans won’t win Latino voters with immigration reform – Here are five reasons why.1. ¡es la economía, estúpido!Latinos didn’t vote for President Obama because Mitt Romney was seen as insensitive on immigration. According to a Fox Latino poll before the election, only 6% of Latinos said that immigration was the most important issue to their vote. A Latino Decisions (LD) election eve poll allowed multiple answers to issues that were important and, still, 65% did not say immigration was important to them.

    Latinos instead cared about the economy. About 50% said the economy was the most important issue to their vote. By a 75% to 19% margin, Latinos are more likely to believe in a bigger government, with more services, to a smaller one. President Obama got 75% of the Latino vote in the LD election eve poll – a perfect match.

    2. Latinos are liberal

    Latinos have said openly they won’t change their vote because of immigration policy. Only 31% of Latinos in the LD survey said they would be more likely to vote GOP, if the Republican party took a leadership role in immigration reform. A full 58% said they didn’t know or it would have no effect, while 11% said it would actually make them less likely to vote Republican.

    The reason is that Latinos are 9pt more likely to say they are liberal than the general population. Most of that has to do with the economy, but even on social issues, Latinos, especially second- and third-generation, are no more conservative than the general population. In fact, second- and third-generation Latinos are more likely to believe abortion should be legal and homosexuality accepted by society than the general population.

  • Unions and Hollywood Donors Bankroll New Advocacy Group – Shocker —>RT @politicalwire: Unions and Hollywood donors are bankrolling Obama’s new advocacy group
  • Clinton: Health won’t ‘factor in at all’ in decision to run for president – The Hill’s Video – Uh Huh! RT @thehill: #Hillary Clinton: Health won’t ‘factor in at all’ in decision to run in #2016 @HillTube
  • Untitled (http://www.sacbee.com/2013/01/30/5150647/dan-walters-gun-control-theory.html#mi_rss=Dan%20Walters) – RT @RobStutzman Sacbee – Dan Walters: Gun control theory doesn’t match reality
  • TABLE – U.S. Q4 GDP fell 0.1 pct
    | Reuters
    – RT @conncarroll so how are Obama’s tax hikes and defense cuts working out? | U.S. Q4 GDP fell 0.1 pct
  • Immigration reform could boost cost of Obamacare by hundreds of billions | Mobile Washington Examiner – Immigration reform could boost cost of Obamacare by hundreds of billions #tcot
  • Reid declines to endorse Feinstein’s assault-weapons ban – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday declined to voice support for Democratic legislation that would ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips.Reid said he would bring gun-violence legislation to the floor and open it to a lengthy amendment process. But he declined to endorse the assault weapons ban introduced last week by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), which has the support of the 2nd- and 3rd-ranking Senate Democratic leaders.
    “She’s talked to me about her assault weapons. The new one. She believes in it fervently and I admire her for that. I’ll take a look at that,” he said in response to a reporter’s question. “We’re going to have votes on all kinds of issues dealing with guns, and I think everyone would be well advised to read the legislation before they determine how they’re going to vote [on] it.”
  • Why Immigration Reform Won’t Cure the GOP’s Struggles with Hispanics – Leading Republicans are jumping on the immigration reform bandwagon, hoping that taking the issue off the table will give them a second chance to make inroads with Hispanic voters. But even with a bipartisan deal looking within reach, the Republican party may not benefit as much as strategists expect.Indeed, there’s evidence that Hispanic resistance to the Republican party is as rooted in the GOP’s skeptical view of government, as it is their disagreement with GOP hardliners on immigration. The Republican Party calls for smaller government, but many Latinos look to government assistance as a necessity. Forty-two percent of Hispanic voters say that a government job offers the best chance of gaining career success, compared to only one-third of white voters, according to a June Allstate/National Journal/Heartland Monitor poll.
share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: January 31, 2013
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share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: January 24, 2013

Dianne Feinstein2 The Morning Flap: January 24, 2013California Senator Dianne Feinstein

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

share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: January 24, 2013
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share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: January 23, 2013

Hillary Clinton Libya The Morning Flap: January 23, 2013

These are my links for January 22nd through January 23rd:

  • Clinton set for long-awaited Libya testimony, as senator urges ‘top-to-bottom review’ – More than four months after the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in eastern Libya, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will deliver long-awaited testimony on the historic security failure.The secretary, after missing prior sessions before Congress due to illness, is set to take lawmakers’ questions Wednesday before a House and Senate committee. As Clinton prepares to leave the department after a busy four years, the hearing is a chance to address what is arguably the biggest controversy of her tenure.
  • Rothenberg: The 2016 Presidential Race Begins Today – After recent work on congressional deals, Biden looks like a more serious contender in 2016, if he chooses to run.For many, Clinton, who started as the solid favorite for the Democratic nomination only to have Obama snatch it from her, is the prohibitive favorite for her party’s nomination if she wants it. At this point, we just don’t know if she will want it. Maybe the former first lady doesn’t even know yet.

    Biden, who will turn 71 toward the end of this year, was mocked often during Obama’s first term, but the former Delaware senator’s role in negotiating a deal to avert the fiscal cliff and his lead role in trying to come up with gun legislation that could be both effective and enacted suddenly makes him look like a more serious contender in 2016, if he chooses to run.

    After Clinton and Biden, the list becomes more speculative. New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley are seen as ambitious and interested. Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer probably should be on the list as well.

  • Health Insurance Brokers Prepare Clients For Obamacare Sticker Shock – A California insurance broker, who sells health plans to individuals and small businesses, told me that she’s prepping her clients for a sticker shock. Her local carriers are hinting to her that premiums may triple this fall, when the plans unveil how they’ll billet the full brunt of Obamacare’s new regulations and mandates.California is hardly alone. Around the country, insurers are fixing to raise rates by double digits. They’re privately briefing politicians in Washington on what’s in store. Those briefings are leaving a lot of folks up and down Pennsylvania Avenue jumpy.

    What’s gives? President Obama, after all, said he’d prevent these sorts of prices. His new health law gave state regulators the power to block premium increases. It even created a federal agency to oversee insurance rates. But these bureaucrats are spectators to the price hikes. They’re mere wallflowers. Even in the bluest of states.

    Their silence is the best evidence of who is culpable for the increases. It’s the policymakers. It’s Obamacare. The President is accepting the premium hikes as an allowable consequence of his healthcare policies.

  • Behind the Curtain: Joe Biden ‘intoxicated’ by 2016 run – Joe Biden summoned more than 200 Democratic insiders to the vice presidential residence Sunday night to chat about the 2012 triumph — but many walked away convinced his rising 2016 ambitions were the real intent of the long, intimate night.“I took a look at who was there,” said longtime New Hampshire state Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, “and said to myself, ‘There’s no question he’s thinking about the future.’ ”

    He’s right. Biden, according to a number of advisers and Democrats who have spoken to him in recent months, wants to run, or at least be well positioned to run, if and when he decides to pull the trigger.

    Biden has expressed a clear sense of urgency, convinced the Democratic field will be defined quickly — and that it might very well come down to a private chat with Hillary Clinton about who should finish what Barack Obama started.

  • Clinton to face Congress on Libya assault – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton faces tough questions in her long-awaited congressional testimony concerning the assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.Clinton is the sole witness Wednesday at back-to-back hearings before the Senate and House foreign policy panels on the September raid, an independent panel’s review that harshly criticized the State Department and the steps the Obama administration is taking to beef up security at U.S. facilities worldwide.

    Clinton had been scheduled to testify before Congress last month, but an illness, a concussion and a blood clot near her brain forced her to postpone her appearance.

  • Red-State Democrats’ Re-Election Playbook – President Obama won’t have to face voters again, but a handful of Democratic senators from conservative states will, and the president’s agenda, newly stamped with a liberal imprimatur at the inauguration, could prove tricky for them to navigate.How they go about doing that will require distancing themselves from the national Democratic Party and keeping their political antennae attuned to possible stumbling blocks in the Senate–what Democratic strategist Jim Manley calls a “yin and a yang equation.”

    “The yin is differentiation; the yang is also trying to avoid the minefield that the Republicans are going to lay for you on the floor of the Senate,” he said.

  • Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2013-01-22 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2013-01-22 #tcot
  • My Daily Twitter Digest for 2013-01-22 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2013-01-22
  • The Mickelson Vote – Lefty offends the lefties – California golfer Phil “Lefty” Mickelson says he will no longer publicly criticize the government for taking most of his paycheck. That’s a shame. But even if it’s now socially unacceptable for high achievers to suggest they should keep the fruits of their labor, that doesn’t mean they will keep supplying that labor.After a brilliant round Sunday at a tournament in La Quinta, California, Mr. Mickelson hinted that new tax burdens might drive him out of the state, out of professional golf, and perhaps even out of the country. “There are going to be some drastic changes for me because I happen to be in that zone that has been targeted both federally and by the state, and it doesn’t work for me right now,” he said. “So I’m going to have to make some changes.”
  • Harry Reid Threatens GOP with Nuclear Option On Senate Filibuster – Harry Reid Threatens GOP with Nuclear Option On Senate Filibuster Rules #tcot
  • Hillary Clinton 2008 campaign now debt-free – More than four years after Hillary Clinton lost the Democratic nomination for president, Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign is finally debt-free, new reports filed by the campaign show.Clinton’s campaign committee paid off about $25 million in debt and now has a surplus of $204,832. The campaign retired its debt just as Clinton is preparing to step down from her job as secretary of state. Clinton supporters are pushing her to run for the presidency again in 2016.
  • Phil Mickelson, taxes, and the Laffer curve | AEIdeas – RT @JimPethokoukis: ICYMI: Phil Mickelson, taxes, and the Laffer curve
  • Tiger Woods Says High Tax Rates Made Him Leave California – During a press conference Tuesday, golf legend Tiger Woods said he moved to Florida in 1996 because of California’s high tax rates. The comments came after fellow golfer Phil Mickelson hinted Sunday that he might leave the Golden State — or perhaps even move out of the U.S. completely — because of income tax increases.“I moved out of here back in ’96 for that reason,” Woods told reporters at the Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, Calif.
  • Flap’s Dentistry Blog: Dentist Robert Garelick Charged with Drunk Drilling – Dentist Robert Garelick Charged with Drunk Drilling
  • Medscape: Medscape Access – Big Xylitol Trial Finds Scant Benefits in Adult Caries #tcot
  • Video: Work Out With Your Pet? – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Video: Work Out With Your Pet?
  • Glendale City Council To Consider Gun Show Ban « CBS Los Angeles – Glendale City Council To Consider Gun Show Ban
  • Flap’s Dentistry Blog: The Daily Extraction: January 22, 2013 – The Daily Extraction: January 22, 2013
  • Honda v. Khanna: Could Silicon Valley be ground zero for 2014 House Asian-American battle royale? | Politics Blog | an SFGate.com blog – Honda v. Khanna: Could Silicon Valley be ground zero for 2014 House Asian-American battle royale?
  • Sandy Koufax to advise Los Angeles Dodgers, be at spring training – ESPN Los Angeles – Excellent! RT @ESPNlosangeles: Koufax to advise Dodgers, be at spring training
  • Ryan: Obama ‘Shadowboxing a Straw Man’ – Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan knocked President Barack Obama for “shadowbox[ing] a straw man” in his inaugural address. Speaking Tuesday morning on the Laura Ingraham Radio Show to guest host Raymond Arroyo, Ryan responded to Obama’s statement that Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security “do not make us a nation of takers, they free us to take the risks that make this country great.”Ryan called Obama’s insinuation that he and other reform-minded Republicans consider recipients of these benefits “takers” a “switcheroo.”

    “It’s kind of a convenient twist of terms to try and shadowbox a straw man to try to win an argument by default,” Ryan said.

    “No one is suggesting that what we call our ‘earned entitlements’, entitlements you pay for, you know, like payroll taxes for Medicare and Social Security, are putting you in a ‘taker’ category,” Ryan continued. “The concern that people like me have been raising is we do not want to encourage a dependency culture. This is why we called for welfare reform. This is welfare reform in 1996 was. This was what the new rounds for welfare reform we’re calling for do, which is to increase social mobility, economic opportunity, self-responsibility, those sort of things.”

    “I understand the president will continue to use straw man arguments, affix views to your political adversaries they do not have in order to try and win an argument by default,” Ryan added.

  • Nebraska governor Dave Heineman OKs Keystone XL route through state – Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman has approved a revised route for the Keystone XL pipeline, one that supporters say will avoid the most ecologically sensitive regions of his state.The action is part of a chain of events that will lead to an eventual decision by President Barack Obama, which has emerged as a crucial test of the president’s pledges to tackle climate change versus his embrace of “all of the above” energy. Heineman sent a letter Tuesday to Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton noting his approval of the new route.
  • Reid to Senate Republicans: Filibuster deal in 36 hours or face nuclear option – The Hill’s On The Money – RT @thehill: Administration ‘not opposed’ to GOP debt limit bill
  • Day By Day January 22, 2013 – Link This – Flap’s Blog – Day By Day January 22, 2013 – Link This #tcot
  • Republicans aim to suspend debt limit until May – @ThePlumLineGS The first olive branch form the House:
  • Did Beyoncé Lip-Sync the Star-Spangled Banner? | Inauguration 2013 | Washingtonian – RT @MelissaTweets: <eyeroll> RT @DRUDGE_REPORT: Did Beyoncé Lip-Sync the Star-Spangled Banner?
  • Home – ContraCostaTimes.com – California engineers question high-speed rail oversight – #tcot
  • President Obama dodges ‘hard choices’ on entitlements – President Barack Obama insisted four years ago that the nation must make “hard decisions” to preserve entitlement programs.But on Monday, the “hard choices” he spoke of on health care and the deficit came with a major caveat: He’s not willing to give up much.

    “The commitments we make to each other — through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security — these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us,” Obama told the cheering crowd as he launched his second term. “They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.

    His inaugural address promised an ambitious progressive agenda — and laid bare Obama’s deeply conflicted relationship with entitlement reform.

    He’s done just enough to earn credit for trying harder than any other Democratic president to tackle the issue, but he has yet to throw the full weight of his office or his formidable campaign operation behind it. His best chance will come early in his second term as lawmakers confront a series of budget battles, but Obama appears more ready to spend his political capital on guns, immigration and climate change.

    The president has never precisely defined what hard choices he would be willing to make on Medicare and Social Security. It’s not even clear what he would do if he had the power to remake the programs on his own, without worrying about opposition from Republicans or Democrats.

    And though Obama has talked about shared sacrifice from both parties, he has not gotten to the point in deficit negotiations at which he’s had to pressure rank-and-file Democratic lawmakers to cross their red line on the sacred issues, as House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) did with his own party in raising taxes.

    Unless Obama seizes the opportunity in the next few months, entitlement reform will hang over his second term, lurking like a legacy-killer if he hands off the task to the next president, deficit hawks warn.

  • The California Flap: January 22, 2013 – Flap’s California Blog – The California Flap: January 22, 2013
  • CalPERS nears a record $260 billion in assets – latimes.com – CalPERS nears a record $260 billion in assets
  • California engineers question high-speed rail oversight – ContraCostaTimes.com – California engineers question high-speed rail oversight
  • Tobacco tax hike eyed for 2014 state ballot | news10.net – Tobacco tax hike eyed for 2014 state ballot
  • The Morning Flap: January 22, 2013 – Flap’s Blog – The Morning Flap: January 22, 2013 #tcot
share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: January 23, 2013
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share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: January 22, 2013

Obama inauguration walk The Morning Flap: January 22, 2013

President and Michelle Obama

These are my links for January 18th through January 22nd:

share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: January 22, 2013
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share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: January 8, 2013

These are my links for January 7th through January 8th:

  • Hospital Opens Emergency Tent in Midst of Increasing Flu Cases – It’s the most miserable time of the year for many people in the area. Flu season is in full effect and this one in particular is shaping up to be more extreme than usual.The State Department of Health reports that four Pennsylvanians have already died of complications from the influenza virus.In response to the early start of flu season, the Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest had to open an emergency space to care for the increased number of people with flu-like symptoms.The hospital tells NBC10’s Katy Zachry why the tent was erected.

    “If we can remove them from the main ED and put them in environment where everyone is masked and everyone can be protected, it’s safer for them and certainly safer for the staff,” said Terry Burger, hospital director of infection control

  • GOP may use debt ceiling to force Harry Reid to pass budget – Tuesday marks the 1,350th day since the Senate passed a budget. The law requires Congress to pass a budget every year, on the grounds that Americans deserve to know how the government plans to spend the trillions of taxpayer dollars it collects, along with dollars it borrows at the taxpayers’ expense. But Majority Leader Harry Reid, who last allowed a budget through the Senate in April 2009, has ignored the law since then.There’s no mystery why. The budget passed by large Democratic majorities in the first months of the Obama administration had hugely elevated levels of spending in it. By not passing a new spending plan since, Reid has in effect made those levels the new budgetary baseline. Congress has kept the government going with continuing resolutions based on the last budget signed into law.While Reid has forbidden action, the House has passed budgets as required. Senate Democrats have been highly critical of those budgets, designed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. But under Reid’s leadership, Democrats have steadfastly refused to come up with a plan of their own.
  • ObamaCare: Fast-Food Worker Hours Cut, New Health Care Law Blamed – A fast-food chain is slashing employee hours so franchise owners don’t have to pay health benefits. Around 100 local Wendy’s workers have learned their hours are being cut. A spokesperson says a new health care law is to blame.“Thirty-six to 37 hours a week.” That’s how many hours T.J. Growbeck works at the 84th and Giles Wendy’s restaurant. The money he earns helps him pay for the basics, but that’s not the case for all his co-workers. “There are some people doing it trying to get by.”The company has announced that all non-management positions will have their hours reduced to 28 a week. Gary Burdette, Vice President of Operations for the local franchise, says the cuts are coming because the new Affordable Health Care Act requires employers to offer health insurance to employees working 32-38 hours a week. Under the current law they are not considered full time and that as a small business owner, he can’t afford to stay in operation and pay for everyone’s health insurance.
  • Obama’s CIA nominee to face tough questions about ‘enhanced interrogation’ – President Obama’s pick to head the CIA could face a rough road to confirmation in the Senate due to his involvement in the “enhanced interrogation” techniques of the George W. Bush administration.The president on Monday announced he would nominate John Brennan, the White House’s counterterrorism chief, to lead the top spy agency following the recent departure of David Petraeus.
  • GOP sees Chuck Hagel pick as chance for payback – As the tactical skirmishing begins over Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be secretary of defense, the short-term political calculus from 30,000 feet clearly favors Republicans: Hagel’s confirmation hearings are a potential boon for the GOP and a source of queasiness for pro-Israel Democrats, despite the historically long odds of blunting a presidential pick.
  • An appreciation: Richard Ben Cramer’s masterpiece – I don’t recall the first time I read “What It Takes,” but I knew exactly where to find it on my bookshelf Monday night upon hearing the awful news that Richard Ben Cramer had died.It’s insufficient to say that Cramer’s 1,047-page tour de force on the 1988 presidential race is the best book ever written about a campaign. It is that. But what makes it so valuable, so rewarding, just so much damn fun is that it illustrates why politics and journalism is so much damn fun.
  • Hagel’s Views Do Matter – Suppose a president were to request an assessment of a hypothetical strike on Iran. Suppose the secretary of defense delivers to him a plan requiring the insertion of US ground forces into Iranian cities to be sure of destroying relevant facilities. That “plan” is as much a veto of a strike as any decision.Donald Rumsfeld enabled the Iraq war by producing estimates it could be won with as few as 135,000 troops. Had he instead on 300,000, the war would not have occurred: it would have seemed too heavy a lift. (As indeed it proved.)A Secretary Hagel could similarly thwart policies he disapproved of by magnifying their cost and difficulty. That’s why his views matter, and that’s why it’s so disingenuous to claim they do not.
  • Gabrielle Giffords launches anti-gun website – Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband on Tuesday unveiled a new anti-gun violence initiative – two years after she was shot in the head at an event with constituents in Tucson, Arizona.Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, are behind Americans for Responsible Solutions, an effort that “will encourage elected officials to stand up for solutions to prevent gun violence and protect responsible gun ownership by communicating directly with the constituents that elect them,” according to the newly launched website, which is paid for by the Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC.
  • Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2013-01-07 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2013-01-07 #tcot
  • My Daily Twitter Digest for 2013-01-07 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2013-01-07
  • Fighting the Flu With Social Media – Fighting the Flu With Social Media
  • Chuck Hagel: The Armed Services Committee whip list – Seven of the 12 Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee have already expressed some opposition to Chuck Hagel, mere hours after the former Nebraska GOP senator was officially nominated to be Defense Secretary.Hagel doesn’t technically need any GOP votes to advance beyond the committee, on which Democrats hold a 14-12 majority, but some Democrats have also suggested they are hesitant to confirm him.Five of 14 Democrats on the committee have so far suggested they are either going to vote for Hagel or are leaning toward voting for him. Four others have withheld judgment and the rest haven’t spoken out publicly.Here’s how it breaks down so far
  • Chuck Hagel’s chances — in 3 charts – As Chuck Hagel, the former Nebraska senator and now President Obama’s nominee for secretary of defense, gears up for his confirmation process in the Senate, there is at least a possibility that he won’t be cleared by the upper chamber to head up the Pentagon.Just how often does the Senate oppose a Cabinet nominee to the point that he or she is rejected or withdraws? And for what reasons? Thanks to a research paper from James D. King, who heads the political science department at the University of Wyoming, we have the answers to these questions.We encourage you to read the entire report, from which we’ve plucked out some charts illustrating three truths about the Cabinet confirmation process – two of which The Fix’s Aaron Blake also noted in a recent post — that reveal both good and bad news for Hagel’s odds:1) The vast majority of individuals whom presidents nominate to their Cabinets are confirmed by the Senate.

    2) The defense secretary post has tended to be a source of very little controversy.

    3) Public policy issues account for much of the opposition in the confirmation process.

  • Fiscal Cliff Poll: Obama Seen as Victor But What About the Legislation? – Flap’s Blog – Fiscal Cliff Poll: Obama Seen as Victor But What About the Legislation? #tcot
  • Capitol Alert: Darrell Steinberg announces CA Senate committee assignments – Capitol Alert: Darrell Steinberg announces CA Senate committee assignments #tcot
  • Lawmakers return to work, get assignments – 95 percent accurate – Lawmakers return to work, get assignments
  • The Republicans’ Asian Problem – The Republicans’ Asian Problem
  • Capitol Alert: Darrell Steinberg announces CA Senate committee assignments – Darrell Steinberg announces CA Senate committee assignments
  • Los Angeles Public Television Icon Huell Howser Has Passed Away – Los Angeles Public Television Icon Huell Howser Has Passed Away
  • I Got 99 Senators—but Chuck Hagel Ain’t One | Washington Free Beacon – RT @philipaklein: RT @FreeBeacon: 99 Senators signed statement against anti-Semitism—except Chuck Hagel
  • Flap’s Dentistry Blog: The Daily Extraction: January 7, 2013 – The Daily Extraction: January 7, 2013
  • Flap’s Dentistry Blog: Dentist Melvin Ehrlich Facing Pornography Charges Suspends Practice – Dentist Melvin Ehrlich Facing Pornography Charges Suspends Practice
  • Day By Day January 7, 2013 – Rattle Hymn of the Republic – Flap’s Blog – Day By Day January 7, 2013 – Rattle Hymn of the Republic #tcot
  • Topsy-turvy Hagel politics – President Obama wants to get credit for bipartisanship, so he picks a Republican defense secretary who will garner few if any Republican votes. He walks away from a politically loyal African American woman for secretary of state (whose nomination would open up his political liabilities) but goes forward with a white, Republican man (whose nomination puts gobs of Senate Republicans in an untenable spot). The two groups of Democrats (gays and Jews) who turned out in droves for him watch a nomination proceed with someone who had tried to exclude gays from government and accused Jews of dual loyalty.
  • Obama’s Hagelian imperative – Presidents define themselves in large measure by the fights they pick, especially if these fights create tension with members of their own party or base. By nominating Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense, President Obama has picked a fight that most would consider unnecessary, and that fight puts him in tension with some Democratic Senators and a portion of his base.He thus defines himself. Not as a president who wants to tilt away from Israel and away from confrontation with Iran; Obama can (and I would argue has) defined himself that way without nominating Hagel. Rather, he defines himself as wanting publicly to stick it to Israel and its strongest U.S. supporters – to rub their faces in his redirection of U.S. policy. As Lindsey Graham says, this is an “in your face” nomination.
  • Mr. Hagel and the Jews – During the hearings on Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be secretary of defense, it’s clear that the views of gay rights organizations will be heard. There the issue seems to be whether Hagel’s apology for previous remarks and beliefs was sincere, or motivated solely by self-interest. He had years to apologize publicly, but did so only when opposition from gay rights groups threatened his nomination.
  • 8 questions for Chuck Hagel | AEIdeas – RT @JimPethokoukis: 8 (pointed) questions for Chuck Hagel
  • The California Flap: January 7, 2013 – Flap’s California Blog – The California Flap: January 7, 2013 #tcot
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