I don’t know how successful this protest will be after the very successful Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day yesterday.
And, I certainly don’t think a bunch of folks (same sex or not) kissing will have much of a positive impact on families buying a chicken sandwich.
But, hey, it is their right and unlike some big city American Mayors, who wish to stifle free speech and show Chick-Fil-A the door because of what the company President believes/says, they will be allowed to proceed.
Even Mike Huckabee, the former Governor of Arkansas and organizer of Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day is approving.
These are my links for August 1st through August 2nd:
Obamacare Robs Medicare of $716 Billion to Fund Itself – Last week, a new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report updated the amount of money Obamacare robs out of Medicare from $500 billion to a whopping $716 billion between 2013 and 2022.
According to the CBO, the payment cuts in Medicare include:
A $260 billion payment cut for hospital services.
A $39 billion payment cut for skilled nursing services.
A $17 billion payment cut for hospice services.
A $66 billion payment cut for home health services.
A $33 billion payment cut for all other services.
A $156 billion cut in payment rates in Medicare Advantage (MA); $156 billion is before considering interactions with other provisions. The House Ways and Means Committee was able to include interactions with other provisions, estimating the cuts to MA to be even higher, coming in at $308 billion.
$56 billion in cuts for disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments.* DSH payments go to hospitals that serve a large number of low-income patients.
$114 billion in other provisions pertaining to Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP* (does not include coverage-related provisions).
Chick-fil-A not alone in touting religion alongside products– Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy is not the only business tycoon who refuses to hide his faith under a bushel — top executives from some of America’s biggest companies are born-again Christians who talk about their beliefs more often than their balance sheets.Major corporations like Tyson Foods, Interstate Batteries and Hobby Lobby were either founded or are now led by outspoken and deeply religious bosses. While some of the companies distinguish between their corporate identities and their leaders’ faith, others embrace it.—Norm Miller, chairman of Interstate Batteries, discusses his faith and salvation at length on the company’s website, even inviting people to write him for advice on prayer;—Tyson Foods, the Arkansas food processing giant, offers chaplains to counsel its employees on life issues like deaths or family emergencies;
—In-N-Out Burger, the popular California-based hamburger chain, prints “John 3:16” on the bottom of its cups;
Chick-fil-A: Hundreds line up in support, don’t mind long wait– A line of hundreds of people formed outside a Northridge Chick-fil-A on Wednesday afternoon as crowds flocked to the restaurant on “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.”Gwilym McGrew, who drove to the fast-food restarauant from Woodland Hills, said more than 100 cars were waiting along Tampa Avenue to pull into the parking lot. “A couple hundred” people had lined up on foot, he said, some drinking water distributed by employees.”It’s very calm madness,” McGrew said. “Everybody’s very orderly.”McGrew was one of many people who ventured to the restaurant to show support for Chick-fil-A, which drew criticism after chief executive Dan Cathy said in a recent interview he and his company were against gay marriage. The comments drew strong reactions as customers pledged to boycott the chain and some mayors proclaimed they would not allow Chick-fil-A to open within their cities.
In response, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee declared Wednesday “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day,” calling on people to eat at the restaurant to show support.
McGrew said he came to the restaurant to support Cathy’s religious beliefs, even though he said he himself is not religious.
“I’m not getting myself involved in the issue of gay marriage and all that, I’m not getting involved in a religious debate,” he said. “I’m getting involved in the government putting their thumb on a businessperson for his religious beliefs.”
Chick-fil-A’s president shows dangers of corporate outspokenness– Sometimes politics intercede where you may not expect it. Corporations of all types have supported Planned Parenthood for years, presumably on the grounds that helping deliver inexpensive healthcare to underprivileged women was a good thing and one that fit in with corporate principles such as diversity and fairness. Then one morning they woke up to discover that their longtime beneficiary had become transformed into a gigantic political football. (Apologies to Franz Kafka.) The next thing they knew, they were on an anti-abortion organization’s boycott list.Corporate executives surrounded by yes men telling them how wise they are will probably continue to try sharing their wisdom on subjects well outside their core competencies. Sometimes they’ll tailor their words to what they think are their target markets. Sometimes, like Cathy, they’ll discover that there are bigger markets out there where customers may not care for what they have to say. We should defend to the death their right to speak, and also our own right to make them pay for it, or not, at the cash register.
Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day brings out supporters, protesters– It used to be that taking a bite of a chicken sandwich just meant you were hungry. Now it has become a symbol of whether you stand for or against same-sex marriage, or – alternately – the right to express your personal views without fear of retaliation.At Chick-fil-A locations across the country, people voted with their wallets today, coming out to express support for the fast-food chain after CEO Dan Cathy said in an interview that he is a firm backer of traditional marriage.“I believe what the Bible says (about marriage),” Chauncy Fields told us after wolfing down a breakfast of chicken and biscuits. “So I came out here to support Chick-fil-A and the movement.”Chris Johnson sees a double standard. “He (Dan Cathy) said the exact same thing that President Obama said,” Johnson told Fox News — referring to the president’s past opposition to gay marriage – “And he gets negativity, and Obama gets positivity.”
At one Atlanta location, the restaurant was packed, while the line for the drive-thru looped twice around the building and out into the street.
Wendy’s Sign Angers Liberals; Wendy’s Tweet Angers Conservatives– he sign, and its implied support of Chick-fil-A’s stance on gay marriage, was the work of Jim Furmen, who owns 86 Wendy’s franchises in North Carolina. When pictures of the signs were posted on Reddit and began circulating online, Wendy’s quickly took to Twitter to say the franchise owner did not represent the views of the entire company, saying “We proudly serve ALL customers” and adding that the signs had been taken down.Conservative bloggers and writers then took issue with the insinuation that Chick-fil-A did not serve all customers (even its critics haven’t made that charge), whereupon Wendy’s backtracked. “Not our intention at all,” Wendy’s said repeatedly to users that criticized them. “We’re simply saying that an independent franchisee posted the sign.”
Rick Warren: Chick-fil-A’s owner told me they set a new world record in sales today – Not a word about today’s activities has been whispered on Chick-fil-A’s feed even though CFA has been trending on Twitter off and on all day. As noted in the earlier post, the suspicion is that the company’s lying low about what’s happening in order to extricate itself from the front line of the culture war, but I wonder if today’s outpouring will draw some sort of recognition tomorrow. If Dan Cathy’s willing to tout the numbers to Rick Warren, presumably an official acknowledgment and thank you is on the way.
The Great Chick-fil-A War of 2012 – Ed goes on to point out the obvious: in a free country, any citizen has a right to protest or boycott a business, and any officeholder is free to express their personal support or opposition to the views of a company or its leaders. But once officials start using the power of the state to punish companies for expressing views they disagree with, well… that’s fundamentally anti-American, and sliding towards a fascist view of how society should operate. Your ability to run your business should not depend upon mayoral approval of your personal views
Why August Will Determine Senate Control– August is usually a sleepy month in politics. Congress leaves Washington for its annual summer recess, and campaigning takes a back seat as voters, more concerned with their own vacations than with statewide elections, tune out. But that’s not the case this year. When the 113th Congress gavels into session in January, the party that controls the Senate will credit key primaries this month with handing them power.The stakes are high for Republicans. Four states with competitive races hold GOP primaries over the next four weeks. And while the tone of a primary campaign rarely dictates the outcome in the fall, the candidates who emerge from those primaries will either help or hinder their party’s chances to win the four seats necessary to take over the upper chamber.That makes the Republican primaries in Wisconsin, Missouri, Connecticut, and Arizona worth watching.
Rep. Capps didn’t report rent income to IRS for a decade | The Daily Caller– In a possible congressional ethics violation, California Democratic Rep. Lois Capps rented a room in her personal home to one of her congressional staffers for years and did not report the income to the IRS —during that time, or for more than a decade — until 2012. Capps also withheld that information from the proper congressional authorities for five years — from 2001 until early 2006.The staffer in question was Jeremy Tittle, a “case worker” in Capps’ district office from late 2000 until late 2004. According to Federal Election Commission records, Tittle was also a staffer for Capps’ political campaigns from as early as 2001 to as late as 2004.
Possible VP Rob Portman was ‘frustrated’ at Bush budget office– Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who served as former President George W. Bush’s budget director, sought this week to distance himself from his former boss by saying he was “frustrated” in the high-profile post.Pressed on his record with Bush, Portman — a leading GOP vice presidential contender — agreed to an exclusive interview with The Hill in his Senate office.
Amazon joins Walmart in push for online sales tax– Congressmen in both parties want you to pay more taxes on your online purchases, and once again, big business is lobbying for bigger government, which would hurt Mom and Pop.Online sales taxes have been a battlefield for lobbying titans for years, pitting Walmart and the rest of the brick-and-mortar retail lobby against Amazon and other online retailers. But now Amazon has changed its business model and also its lobbying position, joining the rest of the retail giants in calling on Congress to aid states in collecting sales tax from online sales.Here’s the background:
Cal Fire losing inmate volunteers– The number of state prison inmates available to perform crucial, labor-intensive tasks in battles against wildfires could soon drop dramatically, due to California’s shift of low-level offenders from state prisons to county jails.When wildfires ignite in California, some of the first crews on the scene are not state firefighters, but inmates who undergo training to handle such jobs as creating containment lines.There are more than 4,000 prisoners statewide trained for the work now, but prison officials said they expect that number to shrink by 1,500 by June as inmates are sent to county jails instead of prison.
Ethics Committee: reprimand Rep. Laura Richardson– The House Ethics Committee says California Democratic Congresswoman Laura Richardson should be reprimanded for misusing her staff.The committee found she improperly compelled staff to perform campaign work and obstructed the internal investigation by altering or destroying evidence, failing to produce subpoenaed documents and attempting to influence testimony of witnesses.The committee announced Wednesday that Richardson agreed to admit to all seven counts against her. The committee recommended that the House adopt its report, and said doing so would serve as a reprimand. Richardson also agreed to pay a $10,000 fine, to be paid by Dec. 1.
Villaraigosa says he’d like to be governor of California– As Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa prepares to take the gavel for the Democratic National Committee’s national convention in Charlotte this summer, Yahoo! News asked whether the termed-out mayor could be the nation’s first Latino president.Villaraigosa assured his interviewer that he has no interest in national office, but he does have another job in mind after 2013, when he will be forced from Getty House.”The job I’ve said to people I would like is I would like to be governor of the state of California,” he said.Villaraigosa spokesman Teddy Davis was not immediately available to comment on the mayor’s statement.
Villaraigosa opted not to run for the job when it was last open in 2010. Gavin Newsom briefly challenged Jerry Brown in the Democratic primary before dropping out of the race, eventually running for lieutenant governor.
Giving a boost to the Latino vote– Eliseo Medina, secretary-treasurer of SEIU International and widely regarded as one of the nation’s most influential Latino leaders, was back in his home state last week to give a California lift to the national “Todos a Votar (Let’s Vote)” campaign that aims to inspire 2 million more Latinos to vote this fall than voted in the 2008 presidential campaign.He thinks that goal is realistic, as do officials with eight largest Latino organizations in the nation that are coalescing behind the effort. If it is reached, the National Association of Latino Elected Officials estimates that the total Latino vote will rise by 26 percent and that nearly 1 of 11 voters in November will be Latinos.NALEO estimates that 3.9 million California Latinos will vote in the fall, or more than a quarter of this state’s electorate.
Former Service Employees International Union leader indicted– Not long ago, Tyrone Freeman was a rising young star in the national labor movement, already the head of California’s biggest union local and a force in Democratic politics from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C.Freeman’s quick climb up the ranks of the powerful Service Employees International Union burnished his reputation as an effective advocate for the disadvantaged, a man who helped improve the lot of about 190,000 workers paid about $9 an hour to provide in-home care for the infirm.On Tuesday, however, Freeman was indicted on federal charges of stealing from those workers to enrich himself, including by billing the union for costs from his Hawaii wedding.The 15-count indictment secured by the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles also alleges that Freeman violated tax laws and gave false information to a mortgage lender. If convicted on all counts, he could face maximum prison sentences in excess of 200 years.
An A/V follow-up on Rob’s post to give you a sense of how things are going. There’s no hard sales data yet, just anecdotal accounts of big crowds, but the photos are impressive. Twitchy has a nice gallery; this one, from Fox Atlanta, is local but also solid. And as for the lone CFA in the Chicago, Legal Insurrection’s got that covered. A reminder to Rahm and that dumb alderman who wanted Chick-fil-A banned from his ward: Gay-marriage opponents turn out. If you’re going to take them on and risk galvanizing them, at least avoid doing it via tactics that are obviously unconstitutional and therefore destined to fail. Good lord.
I don’t know if these Americans are supporting traditional marriage or are just revolted on how the free speech rights of the Chick-Fil-A President Dan Cathy were trounced by the same sex marriage supporting POLS.
In any case, Chick-Fil-A has come out alright in the flap and some folks even enjoyed a chicken sandwich.
These are my links for July 30th through August 1st:
NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn asks NYU to evict Chick-fil-A– A powerful New York politician claims she was just speaking as a private citizen when she tried to run Chick-fil-A out of town, but she used her official letterhead and even invoked her position as City Council speaker to apply pressure on the embattled chicken chain.New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who has mayoral aspirations, sent a letter to New York University president John Sexton on Saturday asking the school to immediately end their contract with the fast food restaurant. The Atlanta-based company’s sole New York City outlet is in the school’s food court.”I write as the Speaker of the NYC Council, and on behalf of my family. NYC is a place where we celebrate diversity. We do not believe in denigrating others. We revel in the diversity of all our citizens and their families,” the letter begins.
“Let me be clear ?? I do not want establishments in my city that hold such discriminatory views,” Quinn, an open lesbian who recently married her longtime partner, also wrote in the letter. “We are a city that believes our diversity is our greatest strength and we will fight anything and anyone that runs counter to that.”
“As such I urge you to sever your relationship with the Chick?fil?A establishment that exists on your campus,” the speaker added.
The letter has drawn the ire from others on the council.
Chick-Fil-A Supporters To Turn Out For ‘Appreciation Day’– The culture clash over Chick-Fil-A could come to a head on Wednesday, with supporters in Chicago and around the country turning out for an “appreciation day” first proposed by former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.Nationwide as of Wednesday morning, about 582,000 people planned to go to a Chick-Fil-A location and order something for Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day.Meanwhile, Republicans in Chicago say they will also file a formal complaint at City Hall against Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno (1st), who wants to block the restaurant from moving into his ward because of the company’s position on gay marriage and gay rights.
White House issues embarrassing apology to Charles Krauthammer over Churchill bust gaffe – The Obama presidency is fond of issuing apologies for America on the world stage, but very rarely makes them at home to Americans. White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer has just issued one to Washington Post columnist and Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer, who last week wrote an op-ed berating the Obama administration for removing a bust of Sir Winston Churchill from the Oval Office when it came to power. Pfeiffer had issued a stinging attack on Krauthammer, alleging that his Churchill bust reference was “100 percent false.” Krauthammer was of course 100 percent correct, and the British Embassy in Washington even issued a statement contradicting Pfeifer’s remarks.
Where’s The Outrage From Young Americans About Obama’s Health Reforms?– President Obama’s 2010 health reform law has been heralded by its supporters as strongly beneficial for young Americans. After all, the ACA decrees that all health insurance plans that offer any dependent coverage must offer coverage to enrollees’ “adult children” (the terminology used in the law) until age 26, even if the adult child no longer lives with his or her parents, is not a dependent on a parent’s tax return, or is no longer a student … even if the adult child is married. And the uninsured rate for those between 19 and 26 has indeed decreased.So what’s not to like about the health law for young Americans? The under-appreciated truth is that the ACA has serious adverse impacts on young Americans, far more significant and longer lasting than temporary eligibility to remain on a parent’s insurance.Health insurance costs are now dramatically shifted onto the backs of younger, healthier adults. Proponents of the ACA claim that those shunning insurance are responsible for shifting massive costs to insured Americans, thereby raising insurance prices significantly without the ACA’s individual mandate. This is factually false. Generally, the population at whom the mandate is directed – those who voluntarily do not buy insurance and are not eligible for current government insurance – tend to be younger, healthier, and use far less medical care, on average about $850 and only $56 per year in emergency care. Based on both household survey and provider data, uninsured health care shifts only 0.8% to at most 1.7% of expenditures toward those already insured.
Tea Party-Backed Cruz Wins Texas GOP Senate Race– The Tea Party trumped the institution in Texas on Tuesday, propelling attorney Ted Cruz to an upset victory over Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the nationally watched Republican primary for the Lone Star State’s open U.S. Senate seat.Cruz, a 41-year-old Cuban-American who is expected to win the general election in November (Texas hasn’t elected a Democrat statewide since 1994), has pledged to bring his unbending conservatism to the upper chamber. The Tea Party’s upset win is significant given the widespread rumors of its demise. But Cruz’s victory signals that the grassroots movement has not just endured but is now woven into the fabric of the Republican Party, some observers say
Elizabeth Warren: Obama’s Convention Gamble– For all the attention being paid lately to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s verbal miscues, President Obama made a pretty devastating blunder of his own in a speech in Roanoke, Va., last month when he ad-libbed a riff straight from Elizabeth Warren’s Senate campaign rhetoric.Obama made the case for an active government role in the economy, and criticized those individuals who thought their business success was entirely attributable to hard work and smarts. He’s gotten the most scrutiny over his “you didn’t build that” line, but reading the speech with full context, it’s clear that he’s making a case against an unfettered free market while downplaying the individual efforts of entrepreneurs.
Report cites killings blamed on non-deported illegals– The Obama administration released illegal immigrants who went on to commit more crimes, including charges of 19 murders, 3 attempted murders and 142 sex crimes, the House Judiciary Committee said in a report Tuesday.All told, 16 percent of the nearly 47,000 illegal immigrants the administration was notified of but declined to deport between 2008 and 2011 under its Secure Communities program have gone on to be charged with other crimes, the committee said.They were part of the nearly 160,000 immigrants — most of them here legally — who were flagged by Secure Communities during the three-year period and who were later charged in nearly 60,000 more crimes, according to the committee and the Congressional Research Service, which looked at data the committee subpoenaed from the Homeland Security Department.
Who’s tweeting? Lawmakers don’t say– Most lawmakers do not disclose whether they write their own tweets, according to a review of lawmaker Twitter bios by The Hill, which also finds that most members likely use a ghostwriter.While 84 percent of House lawmakers and 93 percent of senators are on Twitter, few follow President Obama’s example in personally signing or tagging their tweets, an indication that would highlight the tweet’s authenticity.Only 14 members of the House and 12 senators include a line in their bios that indicate whether a tweet is written by the lawmaker or a member of his or her staff. Those numbers include two accounts that put “press” in their Twitter account name and five that credit the account to “the office of” the lawmaker.
California: The Road Warrior Is Here– George Miller’s 1981 post-apocalyptic film The Road Warrior envisioned an impoverished world of the future. Tribal groups fought over what remained of a destroyed Western world of law, technology, and mass production. Survival went to the fittest — or at least those who could best scrounge together the artifacts of a long gone society somewhat resembling the present West.In the case of the Australian film, the culprit for the detribalization of the Outback was some sort of global war or perhaps nuclear holocaust that had destroyed the social fabric. Survivors were left with a memory of modern appetites but without the ability to reproduce the means to satisfy them: in short, a sort of Procopius’s description of Gothic Italy circa AD 540.Our Version
Sometimes, and in some places, in California I think we have nearly descended into Miller’s dark vision — especially the juxtaposition of occasional high technology with premodern notions of law and security. The state deficit is at $16 billion. Stockton went bankrupt; Fresno is rumored to be next. Unemployment stays over 10% and in the Central Valley is more like 15%. Seven out of the last eleven new Californians went on Medicaid, which is about broke. A third of the nation’s welfare recipients are in California. In many areas, 40% of Central Valley high school students do not graduate — and do not work, if the latest crisis in finding $10 an hour agricultural workers is any indication. And so on.
Now Reuters And Bloomberg Are Reporting Apple Will Announce The Next iPhone On September 12– Bloomberg and Reuters are the latest publications to confirm that Apple is planning to announce the next iPhone on September 12.Bloomberg cites two anonymous sources “with knowledge of the company’s plans” who say Apple will unveil a redesigned iPhone 5 on that date.Reuters cites a single source “familiar with the plan” who says Apple is planning to unveil a new product at an event that day, which it expects to be the next iPhone.
However, Reuters does note that its source says the date could “shift.”
Romney Spokesman to Reporters: ‘Shove It’– A traveling press secretary for the Romney campaign had some choice words for the press corps on Tuesday in Warsaw, Poland, at one point telling reporters to “kiss my ass” and “shove it.”As Mitt Romney was leaving a stop at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, approximately 100 yards away from the site itself, reporters shouted questions to the presumptive nominee, who ignored them.After several questions involving Romney’s missteps on the trip, including comments he made in Israel, Romney spokesman Rick Gorka shot back.
“Show some respect,” he said after being challenged for not taking questions, according to pool reports.
“We haven’t had another chance to ask a question,” a New York Times reporter said.
“Kiss my ass,” Gorka said back. “This is a Holy site for the Polish people. Show some respect.”
Just a few moments later, Gorka told a Politico reporter to “shove it.”
These are my links for July 26th through July 27th:
US economic growth slowed to 1.5 pct. rate in Q2– The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of just 1.5 percent from April through June, as Americans cut back sharply on spending. The slowdown in growth adds to worries that the economy could be stalling three years after the recession ended.The Commerce Department also said Friday that the economy grew a little better than previously thought in the January-March quarter. It raised its estimate to a 2 percent rate, up from 1.9 percent.Growth at or below 2 percent isn’t enough to lower the unemployment rate, which was 8.2 percent last month. And most economists don’t expect growth to pick up much in the second half of the year. Europe’s financial crisis and a looming budget crisis in the U.S. are expected to slow business investment further.Stock futures rose slightly after the report was released. Some economists had thought the estimate would be lower.
Still, the lackluster economy is raising pressure on President Barack Obama in his re-election fight with Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
California GOP faces money woes– November election, the California Republican Party is so awash in red ink that its board has approved laying off staff and vacating the party’s main headquarters in Sacramento, The Chronicle has learned.The crisis emerged after state party officials, facing an $850,000 shortfall in late June, fell behind in rent, phone bills, payments to Internet vendors and printers, and worried they would have to cut employees’ health care insurance payments, according to several Republican sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity.Since then, party officials have reportedly negotiated down the debt, but campaign finance reports to be released Tuesday are expected to show the California GOP to be at least $450,000 in the red, multiple sources said.
The Chicken Inquisition – Rahm Emanuel has been many things in life — ballet dancer, investment banker, congressman, White House chief of staff, now mayor of Chicago — and he apparently wishes to add another title to his curriculum vitae: Grand Inquisitor. He has denounced the fast-food chain Chick-fil-A and endorsed a Chicago alderman’s plan to block construction of a new outlet because the company’s executives do not share his politics. This is a gross abuse of power: Imagine if the mayor of Provo, Utah, had tried to punish a business for supporting same-sex marriage — the Left would demand his resignation, etc. The powers of government are not to be used for parochial political ends. Even in Chicago.
Four Little Words – Why the Obama Campaign is so worried– What’s the difference between a calm and cool Barack Obama, and a rattled and worried Barack Obama? Four words, it turns out.”You didn’t build that” is swelling to such heights that it has the president somewhere unprecedented: on defense. Mr. Obama has felt compelled—for the first time in this campaign—to cut an ad in which he directly responds to the criticisms of his now-infamous speech, complaining his opponents took his words “out of context.”
‘You didn’t build that’ remarks won’t change Obama’s strategy– The Obama campaign has no plans to change the president’s style on the stump in the wake of his “you didn’t build that” remark, which Republicans have seized upon in recent days to argue the president is out of touch on the economy.Obama made the impromptu remark during a Virginia campaign address earlier this month when he was speaking without a teleprompter, referring occasionally to a binder of notes on his podium. The Hill reported last week that Obama would rely on the teleprompter less so that he could be more spontaneous and interact with his supporters at campaign appearances instead of reading from two glass panes.
Mitt Romney’s Olympics comments trigger response from Cameron, British press– British Prime Minister David Cameron and England’s famously tough media tweaked Mitt Romney Thursday after the presumptive Republican presidential nominee suggested that London might not be ready for its Olympic moment.“It’s hard to know just how well it will turn out,” said Romney, who ran the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. “There are a few things that were disconcerting: the stories about the private security firm not having enough people, supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials, that obviously is not something which is encouraging.”Those comments prompted a quick rebuke from Cameron. “We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world,” Cameron told reporters after visiting the venues where the 2012 Summer Olympics will begin Friday. “Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere” — an apparent reference to Salt Lake City.
Google+ traffic soars: 66 percent increase in nine months– Traffic analytics site ComScore has revealed a large increase in visits to Google+. According to ComScore, the number of unique visitors to the social network has increased by 66 percent over the last nine months, with an estimated 110.7 million international visitors in June. In the US, traffic increased from 15.2 million to 27.7 million visitors over the same period. While the stats aren’t official, they do align with figures released by other traffic analysts earlier this month.ComScore also detailed Facebook’s US figures from November through to June, noting a drop from 166 million to 159.8 million over the period. PR consultant Morten Myrstad, who shared the figures, appropriately, on Google+, points out that although Facebook’s lead has dropped slightly, the unique visitor numbers don’t take into account how long users spend on the site, or return visits.
Chicago Alderman: I Will Deny Business Permit Because “There Are Consequences for [Its Owner’s] Statements and Beliefs,” and They Should Include Denial– This is just appalling. A government official thinks that the proper “consequence” for a business owner’s “statements and beliefs” is the denial of the ability to do business. Because he’s “sure the majority of” his constituents find the owner’s “comments and attitudes repugnant,” it’s just fine for him to use the coercive power of the government to block the business from opening up a store. His “belief in equality is resolute,” and that apparently justifies him discriminating against businesspeople for exercising their First Amendment rights to speak out. They “should really reconsider [their] platform on gay issues,” or else the government of Chicago will exclude them from the alderman’s ward.As I noted before, such a viewpoint-based denial of a business permit is a blatant violation of the First Amendment. But that doesn’t seem to bother Alderman Moreno, because his “principles” seem to demand this sort of unconstitutional behavior. As I said, just appalling.
These are my links for July 25th through July 26th:
Obamacare falling short already– The unintended, convoluted and costly consequences of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law are about to be realized. Obamacare was rushed through Congress in 2010 despite almost no one knowing what the 2,700-page law provided, apart from a vague promise to make health care more affordable and accessible.This week, the Congressional Budget Office said that, because the U.S. Supreme Court, in ruling last month to validate most of the Affordable Care Act, allowed states to opt out of the law’s expansion of Medicaid, about 3 million fewer people will end up insured than originally estimated. This is guesswork because the CBO admits no one knows how many states will opt out. We believe many, if not all, states controlled by Republican legislatures and governors will opt out.
Government Did Not Build Your Business – “If you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen,” declared President Barack Obama at a campaign stop last week in Virginia. Evidently, the president believes that economic growth and job creation are largely the result of actions taken by benevolent government agencies. But while it is certainly the case that good governance is essential, entrepreneurs engaging in voluntary cooperation coordinated through competition in free markets is what actually creates wealth and jobs. In the Virginia speech, the president also observed, “Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive.” As parts of “this unbelievable American system” that “allowed” businesses to “thrive,” the president cited “a great teacher” and that “somebody invested in roads and bridges.” With regard to building a business, the nebulous “somebody” who “made that happen” is, of course, government.
Shifting Dynamics Favor G.O.P.– Since 2006, members of the House have faced electoral waves that swept away scores of incumbents.But the 2012 struggle for control of the House is shaping up less as a partisan surge than as a series of squalls, in which the outcome will largely depend on individual survival skills rather than a national movement.In New York, Dan Maffei, a Democrat, hopes to snag back a seat he lost two years ago, while Representative Kathy Hochul, a Democrat who won in a special election last year, is trying desperately to hang on. In California, a nonpartisan primary and an expensive member-against-member contest between two Democrats, Brad Sherman and Howard Berman, have muddled the outlook in a state where Democrats had high hopes.
No Building Permits for Opponent of Same-Sex Marriage– But denying a private business permits because of such speech by its owner is a blatant First Amendment violation. Even when it comes to government contracting — where the government is choosing how to spend government money —the government generally may not discriminate based on the contractor’s speech, see Board of County Commissioners v. Umbehr (1996). It is even clearer that the government may not make decisions about how people will be allowed to use their own property based on the speaker’s past speech.And this is so even if there is no statutory right to a particular kind of building permit (and I don’t know what the rule is under Illinois law). Even if the government may deny permits to people based on various reasons, it may not deny permitsAmendment rights. It doesn’t matter if the applicant expresses speech that doesn’t share the government officials’ values, or even the values of the majority of local citizens. It doesn’t matter if the applicant’s speech is seen as “disrespect[ful]” of certainpeople’s rights to express such views without worrying that the government will deny them business permits as a result. That’s basic First Amendment law — but Alderman Moreno, Mayor Menino, and, apparently, Mayor Emanuel (if his statement is quoted in context), seem to either not know or not care about the law.
Chick-fil-A Blocked From Opening Second Chicago Store– A Chicago politician said he will block Chick-fil-A from opening a restaurant in his ward, following anti-gay marriage remarks by the fast food chain’s president.Alderman Joe Moreno, who represents Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, plans to use his aldermanic privilege, a Chicago tradition in which City Council members defer to aldermen on local matters, to block the restaurant’s permit.”It’s a very diverse ward– economically, racially, and diverse in sexual orientation,” Moreno told ABCNews.com. “We’ve got thriving businesses and we want more but at the very least don’t discriminate against our LGBTQ folks.”Moreno is not alone in standing up to the fast food restaurant, whose president Dan Cathy came under scrutiny after he told the Baptist Press he was “guilty as charged” when it came to supporting “the biblical definition of the family unit.”
The Battle for Ballot Integrity in Pennsylvania – Pennsylvania is, for the moment, ground zero in the battle over voter fraud. In March, Pennsylvania’s legislature enacted a law that requires identification for voting. The ACLU has sued to enjoin enforcement of the law; a trial on its lawsuit began today and is expected to last for around a week. This illustrates how low the ACLU has fallen. Voting illegally–that’s a “civil right!” But how about not having your vote canceled by the ballot of an illegal voter? Is that a civil right? Naahh.
Conservatives urge Cantor to push spending fight into 2013– House conservatives urged Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) to back a stopgap spending bill that would extend into 2013 and take the issue of government funding off the table during the election and the jammed lame-duck session this fall.Cantor attended a meeting Wednesday of the conservative Republican Study Committee, where lawmakers voiced support for passing a long-term continuing resolution when federal funding runs out at the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.While conservatives led a fight for deep spending cuts in a continuing resolution in 2011, they are worried that Democrats will draw them into a battle that could lead to a government shutdown in October, right before the November elections. They also want a stopgap measure to extend beyond the end of the year so that Democrats cannot use it as leverage in a broader fight over expiring tax rates and automatic spending cuts.
Pat Buchanan wants Palin to speak at convention– Echoing Jim DeMint, it’s Pat Buchanan, after Greta Van Susteren asked Wednesday night whom he’d like to speak at the Republican convention.Buchanan:”I’ll tell you who I like — your buddy and my favorite, Sarah Palin.I would say to Governor Romney at the convention: ‘Look, let’s not have a boring convention…. why don’t you bring in all the voices of the party and say ‘Look, you may not agree with this folks and that folks, but we are all united behind Governor Romney’.”