• Pinboard Links,  The Morning Flap

    The Morning Flap: March 6, 2013

    Hugo Chavez

    These are my news headlines for March 5th through March 6th:

    • Hugo Chavez, passionate but polarizing Venezuelan president, dead at 58 – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who went from a young conspiratorial soldier who dreamed of revolution to the fiery anti-U.S. leader of one of the world’s great oil powers, died March 5 in Caracas of complications from an unspecified cancer in his pelvic area.He was 58 and had been president since 1999, longer than any other democratically elected leader in the Americas. Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced the death.Mr. Chavez first revealed in a brief, dramatic television address in June 2011 that he had undergone two surgical procedures in Cuba. He would go under the knife two more times, greatly weakening the once robust leader. Mr. Chavez had been elected in October 2012 to a third six-year term. But he missed his swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 10 while lying gravely ill in a Havana hospital after undergoing what his aides had called a complex operation a month before.

      The country was plunged into an institutional crisis, with Mr. Chavez’s foes accusing the government of violating the constitution. But Mr. Chavez’s lieutenants managed to buy time until their leader’s pre-dawn return to Venezuela on Feb. 18. He remained at a Caracas military hospital, with his Twitter account bursting out messages such as “Onward toward victory always!! We will live and we will triumph!!”

      As an obscure 37-year-old lieutenant colonel, Mr. Chavez had led a failed coup in 1992 against President Carlos Andres Perez’s government. Six years later, on Dec. 6, 1998, Mr. Chavez was elected president in a landslide after pledging to replace a broken, corrupt political system and redistribute the country’s substantial oil-fueled wealth.

    • Jeb Bush is back in the spotlight — and thinking about 2016 – Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who has remained on the sidelines since his older brother left the White House with dismal ratings four years ago, has jumped back into the political fray this week with a new book, wall-to-wall television interviews and a round of public speaking engagements.His appearances mark a change in approach for Bush, 60, who has operated as more of a Republican elder statesman since leaving Tallahassee in 2007 but is now clearly considering a run for the White House.
    • Journalists as Ring Wraiths – Today’s Washington journalists are like J. R. R. Tolkien’s ring wraiths, petty lords who wanted a few shiny golden Obama rings — only to end up as shrunken slaves to the One.The Bob Woodward/Ron Fournier/Lanny Davis psychodrama is another small reminder that the Obama administration continues to assume that the press should be little more than a veritable Ministry of Truth. Its proper duty is to serve the White House and promote the progressive agenda of Barack Obama. Any were considered suspect who questioned whether those exalted ends should really be achieved by any means necessary — but they were so few and far between that it mattered little.
    • Massachusetts needs a waiver from Obamacare rules for small-business health plans – Massachusetts has made a concerted effort in the last few years to rein in health care costs for small businesses. But new federal regulations written to implement the Affordable Care Act threaten to undercut those efforts — and saddle thousands of Bay State businesses with big increases in premiums.
    • God and Jeb at CPAC – CPAC Has Become the Defender of the Status Quo – John McCain’s presidential campaign manager from four years ago, Steve Schmidt, has compared the upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) to the “Star Wars bar scene.”Reflecting on the dysfunctional 2008 freak show that passed for a campaign against Barack Obama, Mr. Schmidt would know.The conference’s problem, for many longtime participants, is not the diversity and raucous freedom one might expect to find in a social club on an alien planet. The quandary is that what is now the largest gathering of conservative activists in the nation has wandered far from its original intent, which was a rejection of the status quo.

      In the old days, the event represented the best intellectual revolutionary elements of the conservative movement. Panel after panel would argue and debate issues such as abortion, foreign aid, spending policies and about what the true Holy Grail of conservatism entailed – defending institutions or individuals?

      The conference was always separate and apart from the GOP establishment, even in the Reagan years. Today it no longer represents a joyous insurgency but is instead part of the Washington political establishment.

    • The Mighty Jeb Bush Comes Down to Earth – Bush’s flip flop on immigration will doom any chance he had for a 2016 Presidential race.
    • Boehner Pledges to Stick to the ‘Hastert Rule’ – Speaker John A. Boehner sought to assure his conference on Tuesday that the “Hastert rule” is still regular practice, on the heels of breaking it for the third time this Congress.Republicans breached the rule — under which the speaker only brings forward bills that enjoy support from the “majority of the majority” — last week when a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act passed with a majority of Democratic votes. Of three major bills passed this session, two have passed in violation of the rule. The House passed the fiscal-cliff deal Jan. 1 despite the rule as well.The rule — named after former Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill. — may be tested again in coming months on legislation relating to immigration and gun control, although a GOP leadership aide said that scenario is highly unlikely.
    • Analyst estimates Chávez’s family fortune at around $2 billion – But, u can’t take it with you RT @DRUDGE_REPORT: CLAIM: Chavez Had Amassed Private Fortune of $2 Billion…
    • CDC Warns Of Spread Of Deadly Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria « CBS Miami – CDC Warns Of Spread Of Deadly Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria #tcot
    • Twitter / RepJoseSerrano: Hugo Chavez was a leader that … – RT @jeffemanuel: So, is it McCarthyism to declare @RepJoseSerrano a dyed-in-the-wool, dictator-supporting socialist?
    • Untitled (http://bigstory.ap.org/article/chavezs-successor-venezuela-nicolas-maduro) – RT @AP: Hugo Chavez’s successor in Venezuela: Nicolas Maduro: -CC
    • Jeb Bush immigration comments spark uproar – Kevin Robillard – POLITICO.com – RT @politico: Jeb Bush immigration comments spark uproar:
    • Jeb Bush: Actually, I could support a path to citizenship in theory « Hot Air – Jeb Bush is all over the place on immigration. He is as much feckless as his brother W was wrong #tcot
    • Video: Jeb Bush on 2016: ‘I’ve Decided . . . Not to Think About It for a While’ – Former Florida governor Jeb Bush continued to fend off speculation about his 2016 presidential prospects this morning, saying that he hasn’t decided whether he’ll run and won’t for at least another couple years.“I’ve decided not to think about it for a while, and I have the discipline to do that,” Bush told CBS’s Charlie Rose, and that his focus is on being a voice in immigration reform, the subject of his new book, Immigration Wars. When co-host Norah O’Donnell suggested that it was interesting he hadn’t ruled out running, Bush laughed it off: “I guess that’s interesting, I don’t find it that interesting.”
    • Rubio in ‘same place’ as Jeb Bush on immigration – POLITICO.com – “@politico: Marco Rubio in “same place” as Jeb Bush on immigration, @mkraju reports: “
    • Ken Jeong AHA Hands-Only CPR video – YouTube – RT @RaDragon: Disco is NOT dead 😉 PSA: Hands-Only CPR
    • Support @Flap – Gregory Flap Cole in the 2013 Los Angeles Marathon – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – Support @Flap – Gregory Flap Cole in the 2013 Los Angeles Marathon #tcot
    • Jeb Bush’s False-Flag Operation – Jeb Bush generated quite a bit of publicity for his new book yesterday by suggesting that amnestied illegal immigrants should not be eligible for citizenship. Instead, he’s suggesting they be given some kind of permanent status that would provide them work cards, Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses, and the right to travel abroad and return, but not allow for eventual naturalization — in effect, a kind of permanent guestworker program or a green-card-lite, rather than an actual green card. This is consistent with suggestions from other pro-amnesty Republicans, including Senator Rubio and a group of House members working up an amnesty deal.Unfortunately, it’s a trick.
    • Two more casualities of Twitter’s power play | Android Central – @TweetDeck better give mobile users a better app RT @androidcentral: Two more casualities of Twitter’s power play
    • Jeb Bush’s Poorly Timed Flip-Flop on Immigration – NationalJournal.com – Jeb knows exactly what he is doing |Jeb Bush’s Poorly? Timed Flip -Flop on Immigration
    • A Market Solution to Immigration Reform | RealClearPolitics – A Market Solution to Immigration Reform #tcot
  • Pinboard Links,  The Morning Flap

    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
  • Pinboard Links,  The Morning Flap

    The Morning Flap: February 9, 2012

    These are my links for February 8th through February 9th:

    • Where’s the Rest of Them? – The biggest problem with the GOP Presidential field is that each of the candidates seems to be running to represent only part of the Republican coalition. Mr. Romney sounds like he thinks conservatives can be won over with a few poll-tested lines like “I’ll repeal ObamaCare,” while Mr. Santorum sounds like he only needs conservative votes to become President. To adapt Ronald Reagan’s famous line, Where’s the rest of them?
    • Path to a Brokered GOP Convention Emerges – For many conservative Republicans, the dream outcome of the primary season is a brokered convention. Disappointed in the four remaining choices, they hope to change horses in August, and draft their preferred candidate, be it Jeb Bush, Mitch Daniels, Chris Christie, or Paul Ryan.

      I’ve been adamant that such an outcome is extremely unlikely. For a brokered convention to occur, there has to be an almost perfect storm of events; the GOP elites can’t just declare shenanigans on the primary season and select a new nominee. Instead, something has to prevent any of the current candidates from clinching a majority of the delegates; if one of them amasses that majority, he will be the nominee on the first ballot at the convention in Tampa.

      My assumption — and the assumption of many — was that the GOP fight would eventually degenerate into an ideological battle between the very conservative and somewhat conservative/moderate wings of the party, with Romney on one side and a single alternative on the other. Unless there was a late entrant or Ron Paul caught fire in the caucus states, someone was virtually assured of claiming the requisite number of delegates in that scenario. But for the first time, the two way faceoff doesn’t seem inevitable, and a viable path to a brokered convention is beginning to emerge. Let’s start with something else I overlooked. The GOP does have super-delegates of a sort, in the form of the 63 RNC members. They aren’t as numerous as they are in the Democratic Party, but they are still there. While many of them have already declared allegiance to one candidate or another, those commitments can evaporate quickly, as Hillary Clinton learned to her sorrow in 2008.

    • 20% of Republicans leaning to Obama! – For critics of Barack Obama, 2012 has been portrayed as a do-or-die year for the country – an election that will determine whether America stays on the road to European-style socialism or veers right to reclaim its positions as the most vibrant economy in the world and the home of individual liberty.

      But the 2012 election is looking more like a replay of 2008 than a do-over.

      The latest WND/Wenzel Poll shows none of the current crop of Republican presidential candidates has solidified the base of the party, with one in five GOP voters leaning toward support of Obama in November.

      The results are from the public-opinion research and media consulting company Wenzel Strategies. The poll was conducted by telephone Feb. 1-3, 2012, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.44 percentage points.

    • News from The Associated Press – RT @AP: U.S. Justice Department plans to announce a settlement between states, top mortgage lenders in 15 minutes: -EF
    • Flap’s Dentistry Blog: Pennsylvania Dental Patient Sentenced to Prison for Stealing a Wisdom Tooth Extraction – Pennsylvania Dental Patient Sentenced to Prison for Stealing a Wisdom Tooth Extraction
    • Day By Day February 9, 2012 – Bone | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Day By Day February 9, 2012 – Bone
    • Apple to Announce iPad 3 First Week in March – John Paczkowski – Mobile – AllThingsD – RT @allthingsd: Apple to Announce iPad 3 First Week in March -by @JohnPaczkowski
    • Obama’s Economic Approval Rating Improves – RT @gallupnews: Obama’s Economic Approval Rating Improves… #Gallup #Obama
    • Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-02-09 » Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-02-09
    • Log In – The New York Times – RT @ByronYork: Douthat link:
    • Plan of Attack | Washington Free Beacon – RT @FreeBeacon: .@kredo0 reports: What an Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities might look like
    • @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-02-09 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – @Flap Twitter Updates for 2012-02-09
    • Keep an Eye on Ryan – Tomorrow night, Paul Ryan will speak at CPAC. National Review Online has obtained an embargoed copy of the speech. It’s powerful stuff. He’ll talk about how Republicans share responsibility for the fiscal crisis. And he’ll detail President Obama’s dismal record. But the big theme is that Republicans need to make 2012 more than a “referendum.” He wants it to be a “choice.”

      “The easy way is always tempting,” he’ll tell conservatives, urging them to avoid a victory “by default.” Bold ideas, he’ll say, are the only way to win a mandate:

    • Missile Defense Program Weakened under the Obama Administration – Abstract: In passing the FY 2012 defense authorization and appropriations bills, Congress missed an ideal opportunity to reverse the damage that the Obama Administration inflicted on U.S. missile defense programs in 2010. Congress specifically failed to move the U.S. toward a more defensive nuclear posture, protect U.S. missile defense options against the President’s arms control agenda, or prepare layered U.S. missile defenses against potential threats, including an EMP attack or an Iranian attack on the East Coast. To properly defend against the missile threat, the U.S. needs to build on the Navy’s proven Aegis missile defense system, integrate other vital components into the missile defense system, and develop and deploy space-based missile defenses.
    • Mike Huckabee to Start New Radio Show | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Mike Huckabee to Start New Radio Show
    • Santorum | Gary Varvel | The Indianapolis Star | IndyStar.com – Santorum | Gary Varvel | The Indianapolis Star |
    • Another Shot at Tax Break Democrats Love to Hate | Capital Notes — From KQED’s John Myers – Another Shot at Tax Break Democrats Love to Hate | Capital Notes — From KQED’s John Myers
    • Another Shot at Tax Break Democrats Love to Hate | Capital Notes — From KQED’s John Myers – Another Shot at Tax Break Democrats Love to Hate | Capital Notes — From KQED’s John Myers
    • The State Worker: California pension reform group suspends initiative campaign – The State Worker: California pension reform group suspends initiative campaign
    • Another Shot at Tax Break Democrats Love to Hate | Capital Notes — From KQED’s John Myers – Another Shot at Tax Break Democrats Love to Hate | Capital Notes — From KQED’s John Myers
    • (404) http://t.co/47gpLH – RT @AP: Wash. state lawmakers OK gay marriage; state would be seventh in the nation to allow same-sex couples to wed: …
    • Don’t Worry! Coffee is Not Going to Hurt Your Heart | Smiles For A Lifetime – Temporary (Locum Tenens) Dentistry – Don’t Worry! Coffee is Not Going to Hurt Your Heart
    • The State Worker: California pension reform group suspends initiative campaign – The State Worker: California pension reform group suspends initiative campaign
    • Another Shot at Tax Break Democrats Love to Hate | Capital Notes — From KQED’s John Myers – Another Shot at Tax Break Democrats Love to Hate
    • Flap’s California Afternoon Collection: February 8, 2012 » Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Afternoon Collection: February 8, 2012
    • foursquare :: Gregory Flap @ Chez Cole – Checking out the updated Foursquare Android app (@ Chez Cole)
    • The State Worker: California pension reform group suspends initiative campaign – California pension reform group suspends initiative campaign
    • Assembly speaker wants to trade tax breaks for scholarships – latimes.com – Assembly speaker wants to trade tax breaks for scholarships
    • It’s California time for Newt Gingrich – Ginger Gibson – POLITICO.com – It’s California time for Newt Gingrich
    • Untitled (https://plus.google.com/105353644409523560325/posts/6j9nVaLqSSH) – Justice Ginsburg should have retired decades ago…. talk about being out of step..
    • Updated: AD-38: Rep. Buck McKeon Caught Covering His Bases for Himself and California Assembly Candidate Wife Patricia McKeon » Flap’s California Blog – Updated: AD-38: Rep. Buck McKeon Caught Covering His Bases for Himself and California Assembly Candidate Wife Pa…
    • Thoughts on the Ninth Circuit’s Same-Sex Marriage Decision – 1. This is going up to the Supreme Court. I suspect that the backers of Prop. 8 won’t even ask for en banc review by the Ninth Circuit, since they’re unlikely to win there. Depending on how quickly they file their petition for certiorari, the Court will either decide in late September to hear the case, or will decide this late this Spring. Either way, the Court will hear the case next Term, though probably not before the election. Though, for reasons I describe below, the decision only applies to states, like California, that recognized civil unions but not same-sex marriages, it’s still a conclusion of national importance, one on which the Supreme Court is likely want to speak. And even if, as described below, the decision is limited just to California, I think the Court will still think it’s important for it to resolve the question.

      2. The Ninth Circuit did not decide that all opposite-sex-only marriage recognition rules are unconstitutional. Rather, it concluded that when a state has already recognized same-sex civil unions that are functionally equivalent or nearly equivalent to marriage, denying the symbolic recognition provided by the label “marriage” is no longer rationally related to a legitimate government interest. The court did not decide whether the general constitutional right to marry that applies to same-sex couples, or whether opposite-sex-only recognition rules are generally unconstitutional on the grounds that discrimination based on sexual orientation requires “strict scrutiny” or “intermediate scrutiny” and fails that scrutiny. It only applied the rational basis test, and held that the regime of civil unions but not same-sex marriage lacks a rational basis.

    • Government Employer Free to Fire Human Resources Officials Who Publicly Criticize the Propriety of Gay Rights Laws – So holds Dixon v. University of Toledo (N.D. Ohio Feb, 6, 2012). (I blogged about this case when it was filed.) A few thoughts:

      (1) Some of the analysis seems limited to high-level “policymaking” employees, such as a university Associate Vice President.

      (2) But some of the argument suggests that any time any government manager with hiring and firing authority — or even with substantial input into hiring and firing decisions — speaks out in opposition to civil rights laws protecting gays, the government may fire the manager on the grounds that the speech (a) “could disrupt the … [d]epartment by making homosexual employees uncomfortable or disgruntled,” (b) might lead “homosexual prospective employees [to] reconsider applications,” and (c) might “lead to challenges to her personnel decisions.”

      (3) This in turn highlights the danger to government managerial employees who want to participate in, for instance, campaigns opposing same-sex marriage or proposed laws banning sexual orientation discrimination. If you’re such an employee, you’d be wise to keep your mouth shut on such matters, whether it comes to letters to the editor, to blog posts, to yard signs, to campaign donations, or to signatures on initiative or referendum petitions (in states that disclose such signatures). After all, any of these might be noticed by people who will publicize what you said or did, and who will directly or indirectly inform your supervisors about it.

    • Poll Watch: Congressional Approval at New Low of 10% – Disapproval is 86% | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Poll Watch: Congressional Approval at New Low of 10% – Disapproval is 86%
    • Archbishop of San Francisco says Obama ruling strikes at religious freedom – Catholic Archbishop George Niederauer of the Archdiocese of San Francisco has written a letter that will be distributed at all Masses this weekend about the Obama administration’s decision to require Catholic institutions to administration would require Catholic institutions such as hospitals and universities to provide contraceptives under the Affordable Care Act. See Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ statement here.

      The ruling has raised a huge row with many Catholics, who make up 27 percent of the electorate and constitute a large share of independents. They are also concentrated in the battleground states that will decide the presidential election. Catholic hospitals serve an estimated one sixth of the population. The Archdiocese of San Francisco includes San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin counties and includes, according to the Archdiocese, more than 550,000 Catholics.

    • Babs Boxer Comes up with the Dumbest Defense (So Far) of the ObamaCare Abortifacient Mandate – This policy is among the most illiberal ever foisted on the American public by its elected officials. They literally lied, even to members of their own party, to get this policy passed along purely partisan lines. Their own leadership told us that we have to pass the bill even to find out what’s in it. One must be a fellow traveling liar, or simply intolerant to the core, to defend this affront.

      Liberals claim the mantle of tolerance, but this policy is deeply intolerant. It forces aactions on a sizable number of Americans who disagree with undertaking those actions for reasons explicitly protected in the Constitution. The numerous ObamaCare waivers, granted mainly to unions that have supported Democrats with campaign cash, open up equal protection issues and expose the politics at the core of what was sold as a “health care” bill. It was a government power bill, from the start. And this mandate has placed the administration in a very awkward political spot. Continue the abortifacient policy to appease Boxer et al, but risk losing millions of votes that went Obama’s way in 2008. Or, scuttle it, and dispirit the illiberal, intolerant progressive mob.

    • President Obama: ‘I Don’t Want Them Punished With A Baby’
      – YouTube
      – Video: President Obama: ‘I Don’t Want Them Punished With A Baby’
    • Barbara Boxer weighs in on Catholic contraception controversy – Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., probably the Senate’s leading pro-choice voice, stepped into the debate over the Obama administration’s rule requiring Catholic institutions to provide birth-control coverage. The Archdiocese of San Francisco has called the rule an assault on religious freedom and the Obama administration is in damage-control mode with a critical voting bloc. Obama reportedly weighed the politics before approving the decision.

      One analysis of these politics calculates that Obama’s decision will help him with young, secular women, Catholic or not, and that’s why the White House is standing firm while making noises about a compromise. Obama is touting the decision on his campaign website.

      Writing in the Wall Street Journal, where the lead editorial lambasts the rule, Boxer and Democratic colleagues Patty Murray of Washington and Jeanne Shaheen, defend the decision and accuse its critics (led by the Catholic bishops and joined by GOP presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich) of mounting “an aggressive and misleading campaign to deny this benefit to women,” that is “being waged in the name of religious liberty.”

    • Flap’s Dentistry Blog: Not For Profit Delta Dental Executive Pay and Perks Exposed – Not For Profit Delta Dental Executive Pay and Perks Exposed
    • Medicaid may stop covering visits to ER later deemed ‘unnecessary’ – Medicaid soon might stop covering emergency-room treatment that state officials decide afterward was “not medically necessary.”

      A state Health Care Authority rule putting a three-visit limit on unnecessary ER use by poor patients was blocked in court on procedural grounds. The agency has replaced it with a new policy planned to take effect April 1 that would reduce the number of conditions deemed non-emergencies but would forbid even a single unnecessary visit.

      The doctors and hospitals who sued over the old rule blasted the new plan Tuesday, saying it would leave it up to a “faceless bureaucrat” to decide what’s an emergency. They weren’t ready to say they’ll go to court again over it.

      Medical providers would foot the bill if they treat patients and the state doesn’t pay. They couldn’t bill the patients, as was possible under the old rule, the Health Care Authority says.

      “The client is not at risk anymore for the ER bills,” said Dr. Jeffery Thompson, chief of the state’s Medicaid program. “This is invisible to the client. The client’s going to get treatment regardless.”

      The move is part of an ongoing attempt by state government to crack down on excessive ER use. Other kinds of treatment have such limits, Thompson says.

      He points to patients seeking ER treatment for diaper rash and other ailments better treated by a primary-care doctor, and to hospital frequent fliers who show up twice a day, as he said one patient with obsessive-compulsive disorder did recently. The hope is to divert such patients to other providers.

    • Dependent Nation: Dependency Index Surges 23% Under President Obama; 67 Million Get Aid – The American public’s dependence on the federal government shot up 23% in just two years under President Obama, with 67 million now relying on some federal program, according to a newly released study by the Heritage Foundation.

      The conservative think tank’s annual Index of Dependence on Government tracks money spent on housing, health, welfare, education subsidies and other federal programs that were “traditionally provided to needy people by local organizations and families.”

      The increase under Obama is the biggest two-year jump since Jimmy Carter was president, the data show.

      The rise was driven mainly by increases in housing subsidies, an expansion in Medicaid and changes to the welfare system, along with a sharp rise in food stamps, the study found.

    • President 2012 GOP Poll Watch: Romney 37% Vs. Gingrich 21% Vs. Santorum 17% | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – President 2012 GOP Poll Watch: Romney 37% Vs. Gingrich 21% Vs. Santorum 17%
    • AD-38: Why is Patricia McKeon Protecting Her Assembly Candidacy Tweets? » Flap’s California Blog – AD-38: Why is Patricia McKeon Protecting Her Assembly Candidacy Tweets?
    • AD-38: Scott Wilk Receives the Endorsement of California Young Republicans » Flap’s California Blog – AD-38: Scott Wilk Receives the Endorsement of California Young Republicans
    • Flap’s California Morning Collection: February 8, 2012 » Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Morning Collection: February 8, 2012
    • The Morning Flap: February 8, 2012 | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – The Morning Flap: February 8, 2012
  • CPAC,  Gay Marriage,  GOProud,  Mike Huckabee,  Sarah Palin

    Video: Sarah Palin, CPAC and Gay Rights – Has Palin Changed her Position?

    Sarah Palin as interviewed by David Brody from CBN.com

    Now, even I am confused with what Sarah Palin is trying to say about where she stands on homosexual issues, such as DADT, Gay Marriage, Federal Marriage Amendment, etc.

    Certainly, GOProud Advisory Council member Tammy Bruce didn’t help mudding up the waters in early January.

    In January, for example, Palin re-tweeted a post by gay conservative talk radio host Tammy Bruce in which she complained about Republican opposition to the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” At the time, Bruce commended Palin for what she thought was an endorsement of the repeal effort.

    “I think @SarahPalinUSA RT my tweet is her first comment on DADT, treatment of gays & attempts to marginalize us–thank you Governor,” Bruce wrote on Twitter. But when asked in a subsequent interview on Fox News whether the policy should be repealed, Palin responded: “I don’t think so right now.”

    Now, I don’t care if Sarah Palin attends CPAC and organizations who oppose GOProud’s stances on social issues have every right to boycott or stay away. This is their choice. I have never attended because I hate DC in the winter although I will probably attend Western CPAC this year in the fall.

    But, Sarah Palin REALLY needs to clear the air.

    Her remarks did not sit well with American Principles Project president Frank Cannon. His group was one of the first to call on supporters to boycott this year’s CPAC conference, one of the largest annual gatherings of conservatives in the country, over GOProud’s involvement.

    “The concern of conservatives is over the participation of a group whose stated goals run at odds with that of core conservative principles, not over debate over those issues,” said Cannon said in a statement on Monday.  “Governor Palin should clarify her comments by letting us know whether in her definition, traditional marriage is a core component of conservatism.”
    “Certainly Governor Palin would not be in favor of allowing a socialist group to be a participating organization (i.e. co-sponsor of CPAC) in the name of healthy debate,” he added.

    It should be simple for Palin to write a position paper on these issues and post it on her Facebook feed. She has stated during the 2008 campaign for Vice President that she opposed Gay Marriage and supported a Federal Marriage Amendment to the U.S,. Constitution.

    In an interview to air tomorrow on The 700 Club, Christian Broadcasting News senior correspondent David Brody asked Palin, “On constitutional marriage amendment, are, are you for something like that?”

    “I am, in my own, state, I have voted along with the vast majority of Alaskans who had the opportunity to vote to amend our Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman,” Palin said, citing the 1998 initiative that banned gay marriage in her home state.

    “I wish on a federal level that that’s where we would go because I don’t support gay marriage,” Palin added, taking a position at odds with McCain, who voted against efforts for a proposed Federal Marriage Amendment in 2004 and 2006. Earlier this month, McCain told the Washington Blade, a gay newspaper, that he continues to oppose such an amendment today because he thinks the definition of marriage should be a state matter and not one for the federal government “as long as no state is forced to adopt some other state’s standard.”

    So, Sarah have you changed your position, yes or no?

    I can see, that if Palin has, there will be an even more hurried attempt by social conservatives in the GOP to urge Mike Huckabee to run for President – as to oppose Sarah Palin.

  • CPAC,  Sarah Palin

    President 2012: Sarah Palin a NO SHOW Again at CPAC

    Sarah Palin buttons are displayed for sale outside the Safari Club International Convention in Reno, Nevada January 29, 2011

    Sarah Palin was EVEN offered the keynote closing address but she is a no go for the Conservative Political Action Conference.

    After skipping the popular Conservative Political Action Conference for the past three years, Sarah Palin has once again turned down the invitation of CPAC officials to address the conference this year.

    CPAC organizers invited Palin to deliver the closing-night keynote speech on Saturday Feb. 12, immediately following the announcement of the results of CPAC’s annual presidential straw poll,  but after several days of negotiations, she declined.

    “We’re disappointed that she wasn’t able to make it this year,” American Conservative Union Chairman David Keene said through a spokesman on Thursday. He noted that Palin “expressed interest in wanting to come this year,” but said that it came down to “a scheduling issue.”

    I think Sarah is afraid of what a third or fourth place finish in the Presidential Straw Poll would do to her brand. You know that Mitt Romney would bus folks in and spare no expense.

    Sarah Palin does not need CPAC to be better known among conservatives, unlike Tim Pawlenty and Mitch Daniels. If her polling against President Obama continues in the doldrums, she will NOT run for President anyway.

    Sarah, if not a candidate, can speak next year at CPAC and deliver the red meat.

  • CPAC,  Focus on the Family,  GOProud

    Focus on the Family to Pull Out of CPAC?

    Well, not this year. But, in the future?

    Gay group causing Focus to question sponsorship role in conference

    Focus on the Family and other conservative ministries are boycotting or questioning their commitment to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C., next month because a gay advocacy group is cosponsoring the event.

    Tom Minnery, senior vice president of the Focus lobbying arm CitizenLink, said Tuesday that the February event could be the last time the Colorado Springs-based ministry is a CPAC sponsor.

    CitizenLink is participating this year in part to offset GOProud’s presence at CPAC, Minnery said.

    “When you don’t have the influence of organizations like ours,” Minnery said, “you end up with influences from organizations like GOProud.”

    Over the years, CPAC has become the largest conservative political action rally in America, attended each year by thousands of Republican politicians and conservative Christian leaders. Among scheduled speakers this year are Republican powerhouses Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich and author Ann Coulter.

    GOProud formed in 2008 in Washington, D.C., to give gay Republicans a political voice. Its 2,000 members favor conservative causes such as smaller government, fiscal restraint and gun ownership, GOProud founder and president Jerry LaSalvia said.

    But it also strays from Republican orthodoxy by promoting gay marriage and praising the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the U.S. military.

    It’s those exceptions that rankle some conservatives.

    I suspect that social conservative organizations will not participate in ANY events where GOProud is a sponsor. Their interests are incompatible and there is no reason for Focus, Citizen Link, et. al. to associate with them in a private, sponsored conference.

    Dialogue is one thing but inimicable political interests are quite another.


    Big Conservative Organizations Leaving CPAC

    Mark Steyn and Pamela Geller at CPAC

    It was bound to happen by trying to accommodate everyone – from the John Birch Society to GOProud.

    Two of the nation’s premier moral issues organizations, the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America, are refusing to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference in February because a homosexual activist group, GOProud, has been invited.

    “We’ve been very involved in CPAC for over a decade and have managed a couple of popular sessions. However, we will no longer be involved with CPAC because of the organization’s financial mismanagement and movement away from conservative principles,” said Tom McClusky, senior vice president for FRC Action.

    “CWA has decided not to participate in part because of GOProud,” CWA President Penny Nance told WND.

    FRC and CWA join the American Principles Project, American Values, Capital Research Center, the Center for Military Readiness, Liberty Counsel, and the National Organization for Marriage in withdrawing from CPAC. In November, APP organized a boycott of CPAC over the participation of GOProud.

    Besides social conservatives being upset with the inclusion of GOProud, there is also a financial scandal that is brewing within the CPAC organization.

    The non-profit organization responsible for the largest annual conservative gathering in the U.S. is under investigation for embezzlement of hundreds of thousands of dollars in donor money over several years, WND has learned.

    The American Conservative Union, headed by David Keene and best known for its organization of the Conservative Political Action Conference each year in the nation’s capital, has been embroiled in controversies in recent years, but this one is shaking the foundations of the Washington institution.

    The American Conservative Union reported to the Internal Revenue Service last month a “material diversion of the organization’s assets” totaling over $400,000. The group has an annual operating budget of about $1.5 million.

    I never found the desire to travel to D.C. in the middle of winter to cozy up to conservative pundits and leaders who would always come to California anyway. And, besides, the weather is horrendous and why pay for misery?

    Also, with the advent of social media, access to the conservative movement is only a tweet or click away.

    For convention junkies, there is always WCPAC.
    where my USC buddy, Jim Lacy is Chairman.  There will NOT be a controversy there, I bet.

    I will probably attend WCPAC this next year.

  • CPAC,  Mitt Romney,  Sarah Palin

    Mitt Romney’s Classless CPAC Remarks Aimed at Sarah Palin

    Mitt Romney at 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)

    At CPAC this past weekend, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney took a jaded swipe at Alaska Governor Sarah Palin who did not attend.

    There are so many conservative leaders here this weekend. I was looking forward to seeing Governor Palin again. There’s a rumor that she has been offered an 11-million- dollar book contract. My publisher has been talking to me about an 11-millon-dollar deal as well. I’m just not sure I can come up with that kind of money.

    Both Romney and Palin may be running for President in 2012 but this reminds voters why Romney did so poorly in 2008.

    Remember the personal attacks/TV ads against Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain in the Presidential primary elections?

    Hey Mitt, lay off the CLASSLESS remarks about fellow Republicans.

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