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share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: December 27, 2012

Obama Over the Cliff The Morning Flap: December 27, 2012

These are my links for December 22nd through December 27th:

  • Why States May Want to Fall off the ‘Cliff’ – Falling off the “fiscal cliff” is a bad thing, right? Not necessarily for some state governments that could begin collecting more in estate taxes on wealth left to heirs if the United States goes over the “cliff,” allowing sharp tax increases and federal spending cuts to take effect in January.In an example of federal and state tax law interaction that gets little notice on Capitol Hill, 30 states next year could collect $3 billion more in estate taxes if Congress and President Barack Obama do not act soon, estimated the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, a Washington think tank.

    The reason? The federal estate tax would return with a vengeance and so would a federal credit system that shares a portion of it with the 30 states. They had been getting their cut of this tax revenue stream until the early 2000s. That was when the credit system for payment of state estate tax went away due to tax cuts enacted under former President George W. Bush.

  • The Year the Dreams Died – 2012 – Barack Obama in 2008 won an election on an upbeat message of change amid hopes that the first black president would mark a redemptive moment in American history. Four years later, the fantasies are gone. In continuing dismal economic times, Obama ran for reelection neither on his first-term achievements — Obamacare, bailouts, financial stimuli, and Keynesian mega-deficits — nor on more utopian promises.Instead, Obama’s campaign systematically reduced his rival, Wall Street financier Mitt Romney, to a conniving, felonious financial pirate who did dastardly things, from letting the uninsured die to putting his pet dog Seamus in a cage on top of the family car.

    Obama once had mused that he wished to be the mirror image of Ronald Reagan — successfully coaxing America to the left as the folksy Reagan had to the right. Instead, 2012 taught us that a calculating Obama is more a canny Richard Nixon, who likewise used any means necessary to be reelected on the premise that his rival would be even worse. But we know what eventually happened to the triumphant, pre-Watergate Nixon after November 1972; what will be the second-term wages of Obama’s winning ugly?

  • Obama’s Numbers Went Down, but Romney Never Inspired Voters to Vote | RealClearPolitics – The 2012 election was different. Barack Obama got 6 percent fewer popular votes than he had gotten in 2008. And Mitt Romney got only 1 percent more popular votes than John McCain had four years before.In retrospect, it looks like both campaigns fell short of their turnout goals. Yes, examination of election returns and exit polls indicates that the Obama campaign turned out voters where it really needed them.

    That enabled him to carry Florida by 1 percent, Ohio by 3 percent, Virginia by 4 percent, and Colorado and Pennsylvania by 5 percent. Without those states, he would have gotten only 243 electoral votes and would now be planning his presidential library.

    But the conservative bloggers who argued that the Obama campaign’s early voting numbers were below target may have been right. If Mitt Romney had gotten 16 percent more popular votes than his predecessor, as John Kerry did, he would have led Obama by 4 million votes and won the popular vote 51 to 48 percent.

    Romney, like Kerry, depended on voters’ distaste for the incumbent; he could not hope to inspire the devotion Bush enjoyed in 2004 and that Obama had from a diminished number in 2008.

    But to continue this counterfactual scenario, if Obama had won 23 percent more popular votes this year than in 2008, he would have beaten Romney by 85 million to 69 million votes and by 54 to 44 percent.

    In reality, Obama’s vote and percentage went down. Considering what happened in Bush’s second term, that suggests a course of caution and wariness for the re-elected president and his party.

  • Piers Morgan: Bible And Constitution ‘Inherently Flawed,’ ‘Time For An Amendment To Bible’ – On Monday, CNN host Piers Morgan invited Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren on his program to discuss gay marriage and the bible. Fresh off his feud with Second Amendment rights activists following his full-throated defense of stricter gun control laws in the wake of the Newtown massacre, Morgan inspired further outrage among the religious when he told the pastor he thought it was time for an “amendment to the bible.” In Morgan’s opinion, the bible, like the American Constitution, is “inherently flawed.”
  • Supreme Court won’t block Obama health law’s contraception mandate – he Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to block the Obama administration’s contraception mandate from taking effect.Justice Sonia Sotomayor rejected a request for an emergency injunction that would have shielded employers from the mandate.

    by Hobby Lobby, an arts-and-crafts chain. The company’s Catholic owners say the contraception mandate violates their religious freedom.

    Hobby Lobby might eventually win on that point, Sotomayor said, but the company didn’t meet the standard for an injunction blocking the mandate from taking effect.

    The administration’s policy requires most employers to include contraception in their employees’ healthcare policies, without charging a co-pay or deductible. Churches and houses of worship are exempt, and religious affiliated institutions such as Catholic hospitals don’t have to cover contraception directly. (Their insurance companies cover the cost of making it available at no cost to the employee.)

    But some Catholic employers say they should be able to opt out of the mandate simply because it violates their personal faith, no matter what type of business they run.

  • Poll: 46% say Obama’s second term will be better – President Barack Obama looks primed to do a “better job” in his second term than he did in his first term, a plurality of Americans say.According to a CNN/ORC poll out Thursday, 46 percent of Americans think the president’s job performance will improve this time around, while 22 percent say Obama will do a worse job. Another three in 10 see Obama offering “about the same” performance as he did during his first administration.
  • When will the right start hating Hillary Clinton again? – Her poll numbers are staggering. Fellow Democrats fear her. So do some Republicans. The main question now is, when will the right start hating Hillary Clinton again and kick a “Stop HRC” movement into high gear?You could hear the sounds of the ignition being turned during the past 10 days as an illness that led to a concussion (under circumstances that the public still knows little about) forced Clinton to cancel Senate testimony about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. That led to charges of a cover-up from some dependably anti-Clinton quarters, such as the New York Post and former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton.
  • Obama looks to retain upper hand as ‘fiscal cliff’ negotiations resume – President Obama will strive to retain the political upper hand in negotiations over deficit reduction when he returns to Washington Thursday morning.Obama had been in Hawaii with his family since Saturday but is scheduled to arrive back at the White House just before noon as the nation approaches the year-end fiscal cliff.
  • Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-26 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-26
  • Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-26 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-26 #tcot
  • My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-26 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-26
  • Ed Driscoll » The Howard Kurtz Recursion – RT @rsmccain: Wow, @EdDriscoll is all over David Gregory like a cheap suit
  • U.S. to Hit Debt Limit Monday | Fox Business – LOL Obama, you really put it to the House GOP, now didn’t you? #tcot
  • Where’s Hillary? | The Weekly Standard – I she isn’t in a hospital having surgery then is she in the Middle East?
  • Day By Day December 26, 3012 – The Princess American – Flap’s Blog – Day By Day December 26, 3012 – The Princess American #tcot
  • Jerry Brown pushes new funding system for California schools – After California schools eliminated art programs and increased class sizes to survive budget cuts, they are finally on the verge of getting more money thanks to voter-approved taxes and economic recovery.But K-12 districts may not share equally in the expanding budget pie.

    Gov. Jerry Brown is pushing hard to overhaul California’s convoluted school funding system. His plan has two major objectives: Give K-12 districts greater control over how they spend money, and send more dollars to impoverished students and English learners.

  • Labor beat Prop. 32 via social media – Leaders of the California unions that spent $75 million to defeat Proposition 32’s union-busting campaign in November discovered something during the bruising battle: 40 percent of likely voters were not watching any Prop. 32-related TV commercials, even though the spots droned on nonstop throughout the fall.So the forces opposed to the measure, which would have banned the use of union payroll deductions for political contributions, changed tactics.

    Fusing a sophisticated data-mining operation with messages sent through social media platforms such as Facebook, the unions changed how they were singling out voters younger than 40 who don’t watch TV. Within weeks, they saw support for their position among younger voters climb from 40 percent to 60 percent.

  • In 2013, Millions Of Americans Face Obamacare Tax Hikes – As part of the negotiations over the fiscal cliff, Congress and President Obama are battling over whether to raise marginal tax rates at the very top of the income ladder.Regardless of how these talks turn out, millions of Americans are already facing tax hikes thanks to Obamacare.

    Obamacare’s authors chose to offset about half of the trillion-dollar cost of the law through higher taxes. Since the Supreme Court upheld the law’s individual mandate and allowed states to opt out of its Medicaid expansion, though, the cost estimate has swelled to $1.76 trillion between 2012 and 2021.

    In 2013, a number of Obamacare’s taxes will go into effect. Each will increase the cost of health care, yield job losses, and deprive our struggling economy of investment. These are the true costs of Obamacare.

  • FreedomWorks tea party group nearly falls apart in fight between old and new guard – The day after Labor Day, just as campaign season was entering its final frenzy, FreedomWorks, the Washington-based tea party organization, went into free fall.Richard K. Armey, the group’s chairman and a former House majority leader, walked into the group’s Capitol Hill offices with his wife, Susan, and an aide holstering a handgun at his waist. The aim was to seize control of the group and expel Armey’s enemies: The gun-wielding assistant escorted FreedomWorks’ top two employees off the premises, while Armey suspended several others who broke down in sobs at the news.

    The coup lasted all of six days. By Sept. 10, Armey was gone — with a promise of $8 million — and the five ousted employees were back. The force behind their return was Richard J. Stephenson, a reclusive Illinois millionaire who has exerted increasing control over one of Washington’s most influential conservative grass-roots organizations.

    Stephenson, the founder of the for-profit Cancer Treatment Centers of America and a director on the FreedomWorks board, agreed to commit $400,000 per year over 20 years in exchange for Armey’s agreement to leave the group.

  • Gallup poll: Public’s fear of falling over ‘fiscal cliff’ grows – A new poll finds the public’s fears over the looming “fiscal cliff” growing, as the year-end deadline for a deficit deal nears.Fifty percent of those surveyed in a new Gallup poll released Wednesday believe President Obama and lawmakers will reach an agreement to avoid January’s set of tax increases and automatic spending cuts. Forty-eight percent are doubtful a deal will be reached in time.
  • Starbucks makes political push on fiscal cliff – CNN Political Ticker – CNN.com Blogs – RT @PoliticalTicker Starbucks makes political push on fiscal cliff -
  • Fiscal Cliff: Fears mount over dive, poll says – POLITICO.com – RT @politico Poll: Americans are rapidly becoming more pessimistic about averting the fiscal cliff
  • Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-25 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-25
  • Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-25 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-25 #tcot
  • My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-25 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-25
  • Affordable Care Act presents many unknowns for California officials – As California positions itself at the vanguard of the national healthcare overhaul, state officials are unable to say for sure how much their implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act will cost taxpayers.The program, intended to insure millions of Americans who are now without health coverage, takes states into uncharted territory. California, which plans to expand coverage to hundreds of thousands of people when the law takes effect in 2014, faces myriad unknowns. The Brown administration will try to estimate the cost of vastly more health coverage in the budget plan it unveils next month, but experts warn that its numbers could be way off.

    =========

    The costs will be astronomical and the POLS will be scrambling to pay for it all.

  • Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-24 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-24
  • Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-24 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-24 #tcot
  • My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-24 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-24
  • Merry Christmas 2012 – Flap’s Blog – Merry Christmas 2012 #tcot
  • Realignment’s unintended consequence: No supervision, rehabilitation for criminals – The first wave of felons sent to county jails instead of state prisons under Gov. Jerry Brown’s public safety realignment plan are back on the streets after serving their sentences, and local law enforcement officials are worried they will trigger a spike in crime.Almost all of the felons are under no obligation to report to a parole agent or probation officer, and many did not get job training and other rehabilitation services while behind bars.

    “Of those 9,000 who have been sentenced to jail in lieu of prison, about 90 percent of them are going to come out without supervision by a probation officer or a parole agent,” county Chief Probation Officer Jerry Powers said during a recent meeting of the Southern California Association of Governments.

  • Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-23 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-23
  • Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-23 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-23 #tcot
  • My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-23 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-23
  • Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-22 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-22
  • Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-22 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-22 #tcot
  • My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-22 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-22
  • Gregory Flap @ Ronnie’s Diner – The pre- Christmas 10 miles is finished. Now, the protein plate at Ronnie’s! (@ Ronnie’s Diner) [pic]:
  • Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-21 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-21
  • President Obama’s dilemma – Carrie Budoff Brown – POLITICO.com – President Obama’s dilemma – Carrie Budoff Brown – #tcot
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share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: December 20, 2012

0 The Morning Flap: December 20, 2012

These are my links for December 19th through December 20th:

  • Dec. 21, 2012: Fearful ‘end of world’ callers flood NASA – If there’s one government agency really looking forward to Dec. 22, it’s NASA.The space agency said it has been flooded with calls and emails from people asking about the purported end of the world — which, as the doomsday myth goes, is apparently set to take place on Dec. 21, 2012.The myth might have originated with the Mayan calendar, but in the age of the Internet and social media, it proliferated online, raising questions and concerns among hundreds of people around the world who have turned to NASA for answers.Dwayne Brown, an agency spokesman, said NASA typically receives about 90 calls or emails per week containing questions from people. In recent weeks, he said, that number has skyrocketed — from 200 to 300 people are contacting NASA per day to ask about the end of the world.

    “Who’s the first agency you would call?” he said. “You’re going to call NASA.”

  • House set to vote on Boehner’s Plan B – A scheduled showdown vote Thursday evening in the U.S. House will determine how Congress and the White House proceed on fiscal cliff negotiations.With less than two weeks until the automatic tax hikes and spending cuts of the fiscal cliff take effect, the House will consider two measures proposed by Speaker John Boehner in the latest wrinkle of tense negotiations with President Barack Obama.One of the proposals would amount to both a concession by Republicans and a hard-line stance against the president on taxes. It would extend tax cuts scheduled to expire at the end of the year for most people while allowing rates to increase to 1990s levels on income over $1 million.A second proposal would change the automatic spending cuts set to kick in next year under the fiscal cliff, replacing cuts to the military with reductions elsewhere.

    The White House threatened Wednesday to veto Boehner’s tax plan, saying it would achieve little and diverted the focus from efforts to negotiate a broader agreement to reduce the nation’s chronic federal deficits and debt.

    While considered a negotiating tactic to pressure Obama to make more concessions, the vote also seeks to turn public opinion that now backs the president over Republicans in the talks.

  • Day By Day December 20, 2012 – As Good as it Gets – Flap’s Blog – Day By Day December 20, 2012 – As Good as it Gets #tcot
  • Here’s What to Watch in Debate on GOP’s Plan B – Welcome to the preview of the debate on the Plan B bill—or is that bills?— where the drama will unfold according to an unacknowledged script of party politics.One of the leading actors in the recitation, House Speaker John Boehner, was not even in the room when the Rules Committee debated well into Wednesday night, before voting to send to the floor the speaker’s fiscal cliff proposal that extends Bush-era rates on people who earn $1 million or less as well as on spending cuts, a late addition to the agenda and a retread of a bill the House passed earlier this year.The spending-cut measure, dubbed the “magical mystery bill” by Democratic Rep. James McGovern of Massachusetts, because it was not added to the agenda until late Wednesday, is evidence that the speaker did not have the support in his conference for Plan B alone. Spending cuts were needed to sweeten the deal for the restive members of the conference.”Of course, spending cuts were a very important part of this and we passed the reconciliation package last May, and there were members who were concerned that this didn’t have spending cuts in it and so that’s why the inclusion of this will allow that to happen,” Chairman David Dreier said in an interview.
  • As Election Sting Lingers, Republicans’ Recalibration Advances – An influential Republican operative lamented that Jindal cast light on something that had fallen out of the national dialogue, complaining that there’s no reason to remind the public of an issue that caused Republicans fits this past year. But Jindal, who is widely expected to consider a 2016 presidential bid, observed that the Democrats successfully painted the GOP as opposing the use of birth control. That misconception is something high-level Romney campaign aides Katie Gage and Rich Beeson have said was a tough one for them to refute during the election, noting that it hindered their candidate’s electoral prospects.In addition to losing support among women, Republicans lost the Latino vote by historic margins on Election Day. While officials on both sides of the aisle have cautioned that the Hispanic population doesn’t rise and fall based solely on the nation’s immigration policies, the optics of a legislative fight on the issue do hold significance.In March, the American Conservative Union will host its annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington. And while the country’s largest gathering of conservatives typically boasts a speaker roster peppered with controversial firebrands, the ACU unveiled a lineup of young and diverse headliners for the 2013 confab.Among the speakers are Tim Scott, the 47-year-old African-American congressman from South Carolina who was appointed to the Senate this week; Ted Cruz, a 41-year-old Canadian-born Latino who was elected to the Senate from Texas last month; Marco Rubio, also 41 and a Cuban-American senator from Florida; and Susana Martinez, the 53-year-old Mexican-American governor of New Mexico. The 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee, Paul Ryan, will also speak, as will Ron Paul, Jim DeMint and noted immigration reform champion Jeb Bush.
  • The Auto Bailout Failure Is Now Complete – You may recall that during the presidential election, the Treasury Department refused requests by General Motors to unload the government’s stake in the giant automaker.Taxpayers had sunk $50 billion into a union bailout in 2009 and were now proud owners of 26.5 percent of the struggling company. Reportedly, GM had growing concerns that the stigma of “Government Motors” was hurting sales in the United States. At the time, any transaction would have come at a steep loss to taxpayers and undermined the president’s questionable campaign assertions that the auto union rescue had been a huge success.Well, now that the election is over and the Treasury Department is freed of political considerations, it plans to sell its 500 million shares of stock over the next 12 to 15 months and ease its way out of the company. GM will buy around 200 million shares at $27.50 per share by the end of the year. GM’s buy brings taxpayers back to around $5.5 billion of the $27 billion the company still owes. The special inspector general for TARP estimated in October that the Treasury would need to sell the remaining 500 million shares at $53.98 per share just to break even on its investment.Once GM buys its 200 million shares, the taxpayer stake in the company will drop to 19 percent, but the price to break even on the remaining 300 million shares will be around $70 per — or, in other words, probably never. As of this writing, GM shares are trading at around $27 per share. That, in the Obama era, is considered a successful transaction between the state and private industry. So successful that you’ll also remember that during the campaign, Obama maintained that “what we did with the auto industry, we can do in manufacturing across America.”

    Taxpayer funds and unions for everyone.

  • Fiscal Cliff’s Dirty Secret: It’s Not About Taxes At All, But Too Much Spending – There’s a lot of talk right now about an impending fiscal cliff. But we already went over a cliff economically in this country a long time ago.The current debate over tax hikes is an empty one built upon a false premise. The debate is whether raising tax rates will address our current crisis. The premise is that it is a lack of taxation that has led to the crisis. Both are hopelessly wrong.President Obama’s proposed tax increases on the top 2% of earners would fund the federal government for about eight days. Even if we taxed Americans earning over $1 million on 100% of their income, we would raise only about $600 billion in revenue.Taxing citizens at this level is a tyranny even Europe hasn’t reached, and still it would only address about one-third of our deficit.

    If one actually does the math, “taxing the rich” turns out to be no real solution at all, only fantasyland rhetoric.

    Every dollar the government takes is another dollar used unproductively. Every dollar removed from the private sector and wasted in the hands of bureaucrats is a dollar that will not be used to purchase goods, to pay for services or to meet a payroll.

  • Examiner Editorial: Boehner’s Plan B is conservatives’ best hope | WashingtonExaminer.com – You are wrong, sir | RT @JohnCornyn Examiner: Plan B is conservatives best option
  • Mass. poll: Scott Brown for John Kerry’s seat – Kevin Robillard – POLITICO.com – Brown beats all Dems handily | RT RT @politico New Massachusetts poll: Scott Brown for John Kerry’s seat:
  • Here’s What to Watch in Debate on GOP’s Plan B – Hopefully failure RT @HotlineJosh RT @mikecatalini: What to watch for in today’s Plan B floor debate in the House
  • Examiner Editorial: Boehner’s Plan B is conservatives’ best hope | WashingtonExaminer.com – No way! RT @ByronYork RT @conncarroll: Examiner Editorial: Boehner’s Plan B is conservatives’ best hope #tcot
  • Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-19 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-19
  • Is the Handwriting on the Wall for Rep. Buck McKeon? – Flap’s Blog – Is the Handwriting on the Wall for Rep. Buck McKeon? #tcot
  • Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-19 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-19 #tcot
  • My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-19 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-19
  • Philip Klein: How to evaluate ‘fiscal cliff’ proposals | WashingtonExaminer.com – Philip Klein: How to evaluate ‘fiscal cliff’ proposals | #tcot
  • Philip Klein: How to evaluate ‘fiscal cliff’ proposals – After weeks of relative calm, America’s “fiscal cliff” drama has now been overtaken by a flurry of proposals, counterproposals and legislative maneuvering.As various ideas have been floated, they have triggered two main reactions among conservatives. One is to insist that if Republicans firmly stand their ground long enough, they will eventually get what they want from President Obama. Another is to side with House Speaker John Boehner and to act as if anybody who rejects any of his proposals is completely detached from reality.If Republicans refuse to back any deal that doesn’t preserve all of the Bush-era rates in hopes of protecting the GOP’s reputation as the low-tax party, they risk accomplishing the exact opposite. Americans would likely blame the GOP for taxes going up on everybody — as would happen automatically on Jan. 1 if no deal is struck. At that point, Obama could propose a massive tax cut for those making less than $250,000 per year, and it would be difficult for Republicans to resist. If they continued to do so, their reputation as tax cutters would be deeply damaged.
  • Obama Digital Team Say Mobile Ads Targeting Young, Females and Hispanics Worked – Obama Digital Team Say Mobile Ads Targeting Young, Females and Hispanics Worked #tcot
  • Flap’s Dentistry Blog: New Prophylatic Antibiotic Guidelines for Joint Replacements Issued by the American Dental Association – New Prophylatic Antibiotic Guidelines for Joint Replacements Issued by the American Dental Association
  • Judge Robert H. Bork – R.I.P. – Flap’s Blog – Judge Robert H. Bork – R.I.P. #tcot
  • The Morning Flap: December 19, 2012 – Flap’s Blog – The Morning Flap: December 19, 2012 #tcot
  • Day By Day December 18, 2012 – The Environmentalists – Flap’s Blog – Day By Day December 18, 2012 – The Environmentalists #tcot
share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: December 20, 2012
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share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: December 19, 2012

Time POTY Cover The Morning Flap: December 19, 2012

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

  • A Bad Budget Deal – Higher taxes now for notional reform later is worse than nothing – It’s clear by now that the budget talks are drifting in a drearily familiar Washington direction: Tax and spending increases now, in return for the promise of spending cuts and tax and entitlement reform later. This is a bad deal for everyone except the politicians who want more money to spend.Consider the tax increase now being touted as a sign of “compromise.” Speaker John Boehner has moved from opposing higher tax rates to offering higher rates for incomes above $1 million a year. While that’s better than the scheduled increase on incomes above $200,000 a year (for singles), it would still put the GOP on record as endorsing a tax increase, in particular on small businesses that file individual returns.President Obama has countered with a ceiling of $400,000. If they compromise at $500,000, we are all supposed to thank the two sides for their reasonableness. Yet both parties will have declared that raising tax rates is no big economic deal. This will hurt the economy, and it further advances Mr. Obama’s political goal of separating the middle class from the affluent on tax policy.

    What about tax reform next year? A final judgment on this prospect depends on the fine print, but it’s already looking grim. The GOP has prepared the ground for a genuine tax reform, on the Simpson-Bowles model, that lowers rates in return for fewer deductions. In what is shaping up as this budget deal’s prototype, tax reform looks like it means both higher rates and fewer deductions.

    This isn’t reform. It’s another tax increase next year disguised as reform. The Fortune 500 CEOs who are lobbying Republicans don’t mind because they hope to get a cut in the corporate tax rate. But small businesses will be stuck with a huge immediate tax increase, at least until their owners can scramble to reorganize as corporations instead of Subchapter S companies or LLCs.

  • How Do We Know an ‘Assault Weapon’ Ban Would Not Have Stopped Adam Lanza? Because It Didn’t – Although Friday’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School has prompted renewed calls for reinstating the federal “assault weapon” ban, we know for a fact that such a law would not have stopped Adam Lanza or made his attack less deadly, because it didn’t. The rifle he used, a .223-caliber Bushmaster M4 carbine, was legal under Connecticut’s “assault weapon” ban, which is similar to the federal law that expired in 2004. Both laws, in addition to listing specifically prohibited models, cover semiautomatic rifles that accept detachable magazines and have at least two out of five features: 1) a folding or telescoping stock, 2) a pistol grip, 3) a bayonet mount, 4) a grenade launcher, and 5) a flash suppressor or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor. The configuration of the rifle used by Lanza, which his mother legally purchased and possessed in Connecticut, evidently was not covered by that definition.
  • Democrats Dismiss Boehner’s “Plan B” on Budget – With one eye on the clock and the other on the White House, House Speaker John Boehner introduced a “fiscal cliff” backup plan Tuesday that would only address taxes — an apparent attempt to pressure President Obama into moving Boehner’s way in deficit-reduction negotiations.“Plan B” would permanently extend current tax rates on those with annual incomes below $1 million, a concession by Boehner from his earlier opposition to any rate increase. The speaker insisted he was not walking away from the negotiating table, but said he wants to move faster to ensure that most Americans’ taxes won’t rise starting Jan. 1.
  • Benghazi review slams State Department on security – The leaders of an independent panel that blamed systematic State Department management and leadership failures for gross security lapses in the deadly Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya will explain their findings to Congress on Wednesday.The two most senior members of the Accountability Review Board are set to testify behind closed doors before the House and Senate foreign affairs committees on the classified findings of their harshly critical report.An unclassified version released late Tuesday said serious bureaucratic mismanagement was responsible for the inadequate security at the mission in Benghazi where the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed.

    “Systematic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department resulted in a Special Mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place,” the panel said.

    Despite those deficiencies, the board determined that no individual officials ignored or violated their duties and recommended no disciplinary action. But it also said poor performance by senior managers should be grounds for disciplinary recommendations in the future.

    Wednesday’s classified testimony from the review board – retired Ambassador Thomas Pickering and a former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen – will set the stage for open hearings the next day with Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, who is in charge of policy, and Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides, who is in charge of management.

  • Inquiry Into Libya Attack Is Sharply Critical of State Department – An independent inquiry into the attack on the United States diplomatic mission in Libya that killed four Americans on Sept. 11 sharply criticized the State Department for a lack of seasoned security personnel and for relying on untested local militias to safeguard the compound, according to a report by the panel made public on Tuesday night.
  • 2012 Person of the Year: Barack Obama, the President | TIME.com – Why of course. He won decisively RT @TIME Barack Obama is TIME’s 2012 Person of the Year | #POY2012
  • Resolutions: So Irresistible, So Hard to Keep – WSJ.com – RT @WSJ More than half of the 45 million smokers in the U.S. tried to quit in 2010, but < 10% of them managed to stop.
  • Sleep’s Surprising Effects on Hunger – WSJ.com – RT @WSJ Study: sleep deprivation triggers hormonal changes that can lead to overeating, weight gain.
  • Obama to Announce Gun Task Force – President Barack Obama will on Wednesday announce the first step on gun control following the Newtown school shootings: an interagency task force, led by Vice President Joe Biden, charged with guiding the administration’s continuing response.The announcement will be the third time in five days Obama has addressed the massacre that killed 20 first-graders and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. And it will follow a call on Friday for “meaningful action” and his Sunday pledge to use the White House to “engage” Americans to prevent mass shootings.
  • Magazine Clips, Background Checks Lead Gun Talk – All of a sudden a dam broke, and it’s OK for members of Congress to talk about guns. The discussion is civil and calm for now, and everyone hopes that means sanity will prevail when it comes to new firearms policies.“I think elected officials are thinking about trying a little experiment. They might try to get the policy right in the hopes that the politics will take care of themselves,” said Mark Glaze, director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, an organization run by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.In an incredibly divided Congress, it seems ridiculous to assume lawmakers would focus on policy before politics. (For Exhibit A of political gamesmanship, look at the back and forth on a fiscal-cliff deal on Tuesday.) But on guns, it turns out there is a lot of rational agreement among even gun enthusiasts about trying to protect innocent people from being killed by them.

    New rules being tossed around by lawmakers include banning high-capacity magazine clips, the kind that allow hundreds of rounds to be fired at a time, and tightening up background checks for gun purchases. Existing gun laws could also be enforced with greater regularity, such as compelling or enticing states to do a better job of reporting red flags like drug abuse or domestic violence to a national crime database.

  • New GOP polling firm goal: Catch up with Dems – The Republican polling community is about to get a shake-up.With the GOP still reeling from its defeats in the 2012 election, a new Republican polling firm is seeking to help the party bounce back with a fresh stream of data on the state of the electorate.The outfit, Harper Polling, launches this week with the goal of putting the party on parity with Democrats in the field of IVR polling – a term that stands for interactive voice response polling, commonly known as “robo-polling.”

    For several cycles now, Democrats have benefited from a high-volume, relatively inexpensive flow of survey data from the company Public Policy Polling, which takes hundreds of polls in any given cycle checking up on individual races and national issue debates. Some of those surveys are released to the public, while others are conducted for private purposes by Democratic campaigns and interest groups.

  • Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-18 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-18
  • Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-18 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-18 #tcot
  • My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-18 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-18
  • Behind the Curtain: Grand old white male party gets diversity memo – Republicans are in full panic mode about being the party of old, white, straight, conservative men for years to come — and struggling big time with how to change things.Under pressure from party leaders, most Republicans have chucked the anti-gay marriage, anti-illegal immigrant hostility — at least in public — that defined the party the past three elections. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other prominent Republicans are privately warning conservatives to put a sock in it when it comes to arguments that turn off large swaths of voters, sources tell us. Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy is doing the same on the House side.
  • The Morning Flap: December 18, 2012 – Flap’s Blog – The Morning Flap: December 18, 2012 #tcot
  • Byron York: Anxiety rises as Americans face start of Obamacare | Mobile Washington Examiner – Anxiety rises as Americans face start of Obamacare #tcot
  • Log In – The New York Times – President Delivers a New Offer on the Fiscal Crisis to Boehner #tcot
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share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: December 18, 2012

More Taxes and More Debt The Morning Flap: December 18, 2012

These are my links for December 17th through December 18th:

  • States Give ObamaCare Massive Vote Of No Confidence, Rightly So – If ObamaCare is such a great idea, why are so many governors — including several Democrats — refusing to play along? What do they know that the administration isn’t telling the rest of us?So far, not one part of ObamaCare has worked as planned. Almost immediately, the administration had to distribute huge numbers of waivers to companies because its initial rules would have forced them to drop their low-cost plans.ObamaCare’s high-risk pools promised to cover hundreds of thousands, but ended up attracting almost no one. The small-business tax break has been a complete bust. Insurance premiums are already spiking.And now states are in open revolt against two key elements of the law.
  • Anxiety rises as Americans face start of Obamacare – This March will mark three years since Obamacare became law, and it still has not had any serious effect on most Americans’ lives. That’s the way President Obama and the law’s Democratic authors planned it; they conveniently pushed the dislocations and unhappy consequences of national health care well past their re-election campaigns.But Obamacare will be here soon, with an Oct. 1, 2013, start of enrollment in insurance exchanges and a Jan. 1, 2014, deadline for full implementation. The political results could be deeply painful for Democrats.
  • President Delivers a New Offer on the Fiscal Crisis to Boehner – President Obama delivered to Speaker John A. Boehner a new offer on Monday to resolve the pending fiscal crisis, a deal that would raise revenues by $1.2 trillion over the next decade but keep in place the Bush-era tax rates for any household with earnings below $400,000.The offer is close to a plan proposed by the speaker on Friday, and both sides expressed confidence that they were closing in on a major deficit-reduction plan that could be passed well before January, when more than a half-trillion dollars in automatic tax increases and spending cuts would kick in.Senior Republican aides said the speaker was to meet with House Republicans on Tuesday morning to discuss the state of negotiations. But they cautioned that obstacles remained.“Any movement away from the unrealistic offers the president has made previously is a step in the right direction,” said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Mr. Boehner. “We hope to continue discussions with the president so we can reach an agreement that is truly balanced and begins to solve our spending problem.”

    The two sides are now dickering over price, not philosophical differences, and the numbers are very close.

=============

The sell-out begins…..

share save 120 16 The Morning Flap: December 18, 2012
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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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