These are my links for November 19th through November 20th:
California, Home of the Destitute– Today, California is the most spectacular failure of our time. Its government is broke. Productive citizens have been fleeing for some years now, selling their homes at inflated prices (until recently) and moving to Colorado, Arizona, Texas and even Minnesota, like one of my neighbors. The results of California’s improvident liberalism have been tragically easy to predict: absurd public sector wage and benefit packages, a declining tax base, surging welfare enrollment, falling economic production, ever-increasing deficits. Soon, California politicians will be looking to less glamorous states for bailout money. Things have now devolved to the point where California leads the nation in poverty:The Golden State’s poverty rate is a whopping 23.5 percent – higher than the District of Columbia, at 23.2 percent, and even Florida, and 19.5 percent.This is based on the federal government’s new poverty measure, and California suffered a bit because of its high cost of living, but that is a minor point–by any measure, California is number one in destitution. The cause is obvious: liberal Democrats have held unimpeded sway in California, just as they have in Detroit, Illinois, Miami, the District, and so on. Everywhere, the results have been similar. Where liberal policies are implemented, productive citizens fade away and poverty follows.
Cows Flee California Seeking a Better Economic Climate– It’s not just millionaires and billionaires who are fleeing the economic madness in California. Even cows are starting to depart for greener pastures. That’s right, 400 bovine refugees shuffled off to Kansas just this month, with more expected to follow as over 100 dairy farms in California close their doors.Why are cows voting with their hooves?
Opinion: President Obama won, but Obamacare didn’t – Carrie Lukas – POLITICO.com– During the campaign, President Barack Obama minimized discussion of his first term’s most consequential new law: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or what’s commonly referred to as Obamacare.That was no accident. Undoubtedly, the campaign knew that Obamacare is, as it always has been, deeply unpopular with the American people. In fact, Obamacare epitomizes the public’s greatest concerns about this administration: the massive expansion of government and failure to deliver a new era of post-partisanship to Washington, since the law was jammed through using a party line vote and every available legislative trick. Bringing up health care risked stirring the passions that fueled the tea party’s rise and the Democrats’ defeat in 2010.Yet, research conducted by the polling company, inc./WomanTrend for Independent Women’s Voice (IWV) shows that health care was an important concern for Americans on Election Day. The president was reelected in spite of voters’ lingering distaste for Obamacare, and the health care issue will remain a critical issue for voters moving forward.Just a quarter, or 26 percent of those surveyed by the polling company on Election Day supported implementing Obamacare completely. Even less than half (48 percent) of self-identified Democrats want full implementation, suggesting that the health care law remains a liability, even within the president’s party.Forty-three percent of voters surveyed want Congress to either “just repeal the law” (30 percent) or move toward repeal, while pursuing other measures – including defunding, amending, and blocking – to prevent its implementation (13 percent). Another quarter (23 percent) favor amending the law, rather than full repeal.
Report: Paula Broadwell’s threat to Jill Kelley – Paula Broadwell allegedly threatened to make Jill Kelley “go away,” the New York Daily News reported Tuesday, in the latest twist in a sex scandal that has ensnared top U.S. national security officials.
Broadwell, the ex-mistress of retired Gen. David Petraeus — who stepped down from his post as head of the CIA over his extramarital affair with her — allegedly sent threatening emails to Kelley, a Tampa socialite who is reportedly a friend of Petraeus’s.
Oklahoma is latest to reject state-based health exchange– Add Oklahoma to the list of Republican-led states that won’t implement the key feature of President Obama’s healthcare law.Gov. Mary Fallin said Monday that she won’t set up a state-based insurance exchange — a new portal where people who don’t get insurance through their employers can shop for coverage, often with help from a federal subsidy.”It does not benefit Oklahoma taxpayers to actively support and fund a new government program that will ultimately be under the control of the federal government, that is opposed by a clear majority of Oklahomans, and that will further the implementation of a law that threatens to erode both the quality of American healthcare and the fiscal stability of the nation,” Fallin said in a statement.Republican governors are under pressure from conservatives not to set up their own exchanges. It’s seen as the best chance to stand in the way of the Affordable Care Act now that Obama’s reelection has protected the law from legislative repeal.
4 California men allegedly supported Taliban– Jihadist social media postings helped lead to the arrest and charging of four Los Angeles area men, who were allegedly on their way to Afghanistan to train with the Taliban and join al Qaeda, federal officials said.They were also plotting to kill American soldiers and bomb government installations, according to a joint statement Monday by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles.One of the men, a U.S. citizen born in Afghanistan, encouraged two of the others to embrace violent Islamic doctrine by introducing them online to radical teachings, including those of deceased U.S.-born al-Qaeda imam Anwar al-Awlaki.The three exposed their connection to each other and their radical leanings explicitly on Facebook for over a year. And one of them detailed his intentions to participate in jihad in an online chat with an FBI employee.Another man was recruited at a later point to join the other three in their training.
Tax loopholes alone can’t solve fiscal cliff– Raise revenues and reform the Tax Code? Easy — just eliminate all the tax loopholes, right?Good luck with that.“Eliminating loopholes” sounds a lot better than “raising rates”: The tax rate is what I pay, and a loophole is what the other guy gets.But the biggest loopholes in the U.S. Tax Code — generally referred to as tax expenditures — aren’t just the tricks of the trade for millionaires with offshore bank accounts. For the vast majority of Americans, they’re just how things work: You don’t pay taxes on your health insurance or Medicare benefits; you contribute tax-free to your 401(k); and your mortgage interest pushes down your tax bill each year.And even if you dump the biggest of the set, these tax perks don’t even come close to closing the deficit. At best, the top 10 would pull in an extra $834 billion a year, according to Joint Committee on Taxation figures. Considering the hole lawmakers are trying to fill is several trillion dollars large, it’s clear they wouldn’t even come close
Red-State Senate Democrats May Be Hard to Corral on Cliff– Senate Democrats, optimistic about prospects for a deficit-reduction deal, may have to contend with wariness from seven members who face 2014 re-election campaigns in states Mitt Romney won Nov. 6.Some of those seven Democrats, including North Carolina’s Kay Hagan and Louisiana ’s Mary Landrieu, say they aren’t ready to commit to President Barack Obama’s proposals for boosting tax revenue. Instead, Hagan isn’t ruling out support for extending the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for top earners. Landrieu said she opposes eliminating tax breaks for oil companies.Possible Democratic defections heighten the need for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to woo Republican support for a deal to avert the so-called fiscal cliff — $607 billion in tax increases and spending cuts set to begin taking effect in January. Lame-duck Republican Senators Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Olympia Snowe of Maine and Richard Lugar of Indiana are potential candidates.
Portman and Cruz plan to focus on fundraising, recruitment for NRSC– The new vice chairmen of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) have unusually specific tasks heading into 2014: fundraising and recruitment.Both elements are crucial to a successful election cycle, and the early, precise focus by newly elected Chairman Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) demonstrates a shake-up in committee structure meant to avoid the losses that plagued Republicans in 2012.Moran has tasked Sen.-elect Ted Cruz (R-Texas) with grassroots and Hispanic outreach. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) has been given the goal of energizing donors fatigued from an election in which they saw a disappointing return on their investments.The trio has met at least twice since the announcement of new NRSC leadership last Wednesday, and a senior Moran aide said the three will continue to meet and discuss plans for 2014 over the phone until they all return to the Senate in January.
Boehner tightens grip on GOP rank and file ahead of deficit talks– Speaker John Boehner is tightening his grip on the House Republican Conference weeks before an anticipated vote on a deficit deal.The Ohio Republican has smoothed over differences with Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), expanded his powers on the panel that doles out plum committee assignments, shot down a challenge to his earmark moratorium and worked behind the scenes to ensure that Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) would win her leadership contest.All of Boehner’s moves are aimed at shoring up his influence over the GOP conference, which in turn maximizes the Speaker’s leverage with President Obama and the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Is Rush Limbaugh’s Country Gone?– William Bennett, conservative stalwart, television commentator and secretary of education under President Reagan, complained on the CNN Web site that Democrats have been successful in settingthe parameters and focus of the national and political dialogue as predominantly about gender, race, ethnicity and class. This is the paradigm, the template through which many Americans, probably a majority, more or less view the world, our country, and the election. It is a divisive strategy and Democrats have targeted and exploited those divides. How else can we explain that more young people now favor socialism to capitalism?In fact, the 2011 Pew Research Center poll Bennett cites demonstrates that in many respects conservatives are right to be worried:Not only does a plurality (49-43) of young people hold a favorable view of socialism — and, by a tiny margin (47-46), a negative view of capitalism — so do liberal Democrats, who view socialism positively by a solid 59-33; and African Americans, 55-36. Hispanics are modestly opposed, 49-44, to socialism, but they hold decisively negative attitudes toward capitalism, 55-32.
The GOP Consultant Class Blames Me– RUSH: Couple of sound bites. First, Mike Murphy. He is a Republican consultant. He was on Meet the Press yesterday, and among other things, he said this.MURPHY: The biggest problem that Romney had was the Republican primary. That’s what’s driving the Republican brand right now to a disaster, and we’ve got to get, kind of, a party view of America that’s not right out of Rush Limbaugh’s dream journal.RUSH: You gotta get a view of the Republican Party that is not right out of my dream journal. What, folks, did I or any of you have to do with the Republican primary? Did not Murphy get the candidate he wanted? All these consultants, do you realize they get rich no matter who wins or loses? Little-known secret. They get rich no matter who wins or loses. But the Republican primary, as far as he’s concerned there were too many conservatives in it saying too many stupid things.We need to get rid of conservatism, is what is he’s saying. We need to get rid of all these people shouting stupid conservative stuff, and that’s where it happened at the primary, and that’s where Romney lost the election because of all the conservatives branding the party. Romney was not able to recover from that. Steve Schmidt. He’s back. He can’t let go of me. This is University of Delaware panel discussion last Wednesday.
Hostess mediation: Judge delays hearing to allow Hostess, unions to work out issues– Hostess Brands Inc. agreed in court on Monday to enter private mediation with its lenders and leaders of a striking union to try to avert the liquidation of the maker of Twinkies snack cakes and Wonder Bread.Hostess, its lenders and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) agreed to mediation at the urging of Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain of the Southern District of New York, who advised against a more expensive, public hearing regarding the company’s liquidation.”My desire to do this is prompted primarily by the potential loss of over 18,000 jobs as well as my belief that there is a possibility to resolve this matter,” Drain said.The 82-year-old Hostess was seeking permission to liquidate its business, claiming that its operations have been crippled by a bakers strike and that winding down is the best way to preserve its dwindling cash.
California officials release results of first cap-and-trade auction– The California Air Resources Board today released the results of the state’s inaugural cap-and-trade auction.The auction took place on Wednesday.Cap-and-trade is a system designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California. Under the system, businesses including refineries, power plants and large factories will be capped at 90 percent of current emissions. Those businesses must then buy credits at auction or on the open market in order to be allowed to continue to produce at current levels.Businesses could also meet their regulatory burdens by lowering emissions.Cap-and-trade goes into effect in 2013.The newly-released report on the auction shows businesses purchased all 23.1 million emissions credits that were up for bid.
The settlement price for accepted bids in the auction was $10.09.
CARB has estimated that a $10 price for emissions allowances could add 10 cents to the price of a gallon of gasoline.
Another Victory for Challengers of HHS Mandate – The HHS contraceptive mandate suffered another loss last Friday—its third loss in the four decisions that have addressed the merits of the claim that the HHS mandate violates the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). In a thorough opinion in Tyndale House Publishers v. Sebelius, Judge Reggie B. Walton of the federal district court for the District of Columbia granted a preliminary injunction that bars the federal government from penalizing a publishing house for its religiously based refusal to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives that also operate as abortifacients.
Exercise Gains Momentum as Psychiatric Treatment– The benefits of exercise in nearly every aspect of physical health are well known, but evidence in recent years suggests a unique effect on some psychiatric disorders, prompting mental health clinicians to rethink treatment strategies and to consider the possibility of exercise not just in therapy but as therapy.”Above and beyond the standard benefits of exercise in healthy living and general well-being, there is strong evidence demonstrating the ability of exercise to in fact treat mental illness and have significant benefits on a neurotrophic, neurobiologic basis,” Douglas Noordsy, MD, told delegates attending Psych Congress 2012: US Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress.Some of the strongest evidence is seen in depression, where psychiatric benefits from exercise have been shown in some cases to match those achieved with pharmacologic interventions and to persist to prevent remission in the long term.
Asian American voters go heavily for Obama in California– Latino voters are credited with helping swing the vote for Barack Obama, but the rapidly growing Asian American electorate supported the incumbent by an even broader margin. According to Edison Research’s exit polls, 73 percent of Asian Americans nationwide voted for Obama, while 71 percent of Latinos did so. In California, 79 percent of Asian Americans favored Obama.In 1992, 31 percent of Asian Americans preferred the Democratic nominee, but that number has grown in each subsequent election since. The Asian American population, meanwhile, has increased 32 percent over the past decade alone.While they represented just 3.4 percent of the national vote, Asian Americans accounted for 11 percent of the California vote, according to Edison Research. Voter registration tallies show Orange County Asian American voters running nearly 5 points greater than the statewide share, according to Political Data.By 2050, Asian Americans will account for 10 percent of the nation’s voters and at least 20 percent of the state’s voters, according to Taeku Lee, a UC Berkeley political scientist and co-author of the National Asian American Survey.
Orlando Health eliminates 400 jobs through layoffs and attrition– For the first time in its nearly 100-year history, Orlando Health is reducing its workforce by up to 400 positions starting immediately, hospital officials announced this morning.The elimination of 300 to 400 jobs will occur in two phases, and represents a 2- to 3-percent decrease in the system’s 16,000 employees, said Orlando Health spokeswoman Kena Lewis. The reductions affect all departments and all eight of its hospitals, including Orlando Regional Medical Center and Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children.The first wave of employees affected by the “labor expense reduction” portion of the initiative received their notices Friday, said Lewis. The next wave of downsizing will happen after the first of the year.
McClintock: Election will bring pain to CA– Abraham Lincoln said that if the voters get their backsides too close to the fire, they’ll just have to sit on the blisters for a while. After the Nov. 6 election, Californians have some very nasty blisters to sit on.However, after pain, enlightenment usually comes. If not, California pharmacies will be selling out of salve.
Austin company creates app that helped Obama campaign– Political experts say the just-completed presidential race involved more spending by both sides on information technology than ever before.Some of that spending was on applications for mobile devices as a way to reach out to both supporters and volunteers.That is why a small Austin digital design firm, Thirteen23, found itself working furiously from May through July to create the app the Obama campaign wanted.The Obama campaign had worked with Square Inc., a mobile payments company, on an app that could let supporters contribute to the campaign over their smartphones. When the campaign wanted a bigger, more elaborate app, Square referred them to Thirteen23, which it had previously done work with.The 11-person Austin firm hadn’t done political projects before, but executive director Doug Cook said it liked the challenge of creating a vital two-way online communication link between the campaign and its supporters and volunteers.While some campaigns had already used smartphone apps to push out information to supporters, this application was seen as something far more complex.
“We said, if we are going to build an app, lets make tools that make people effective. Lets give volunteers tools that they can use,” said Ryan Hovenweep, the firm’s creative director.
The app would provide localized information about campaign events to supporters. But it also gave volunteer workers the tools to canvass potential voters house to house and to report back their findings to the campaign’s computers.
“With a smartphone in hand, you can go talk to people and get information,” Hovenweep said. “With the app, they are immediately taking the information from the ground and putting it back into the campaign database.”
With a tight deadline and the order to create an useful, complex app for volunteers, the company threw itself into the project in May and delivered software to the Obama campaign in July. The Obama campaign released the first version of software, for iPhone users, at the end of July. The Android version was delivered a few weeks later.
These are my links for November 16th through November 19th:
OBAMA ORGANIZATION TO REMAIN ACTIVE NATIONWIDE – DEMS GETTING DATA JUMP ON 2016– The Obama campaign continues to refine, update and expand its vast database, working the muscle to increase its value for 2014 and 2016. The organization wants to avoid a post-2008 lull, when Obama’s high command was so focused on building a government and staving off a depression that some in the grassroots network felt neglected. This time, supporters are already being asked if they are interested in running for office, and “how many hours per week” they would be willing “to volunteer in your community as part of an Obama organization.”Campaign manager Jim Messina blasted a 24-question email to the campaign’s tens of millions of supporters and eavesdroppers last evening, with the subject line, “Your feedback needed: Take this quick survey.” Participants must enter email address, first and last name, ZIP code, birthdate and gender. This question makes it clear that Obama’s brain trust will keep the machine oiled and cranking: “What would you choose as the top priority for this organizations [sic] in the weeks and years to come?” Choices are: 1) “Passing the President’s legislative agenda”… 2) “Supporting candidates in upcoming elections” … 3) “Training a new generation of leaders and organizers” … 4) “Working on local issues that affect our communities.”
Requiem for the Twinkie? – Hostess Brands goes Ding Dong dead, leaps into the Dumpster– Friday’s news that the company making Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread is preparing to liquidate touched off a blame game among Americans shocked that these iconic products are in danger of going away forever.The move follows a strike that began Nov. 9 by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union. It refused to swallow additional wage and benefit concessions to keep the bankrupt Hostess Brands afloat. Its 5,000 members were nearly unanimous in rejecting the company’s final contract offer.As a result, the company said, most of the 18,500 Hostess employees will lose their jobs. That includes members of the largest union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which did agree to the company’s concession demands.The bakery union’s self-defeating refusal to accept financial reality is only part of the story however. For Hostess, the strike was the final blow of many. High commodity costs hurt the company. Not only did it pay a fortune for food ingredients, but also for the energy to run its facilities and fuel its delivery trucks.
The recession hurt too. Hostess was unprepared to meet difficult business conditions that prevailed in 2009, when it emerged from a previous bankruptcy reorganization in which it obtained big concessions from its workforce. It had been, in fact, a poorly managed company for a long time. A string of short-sighted executives were quick to take money out of the business and slow to make the capital investments it needed to stay competitive.
Perhaps most damaging, the company failed to innovate in response to changing consumer tastes. Hostess didn’t have to make Ho Ho’s out of tofu to stay relevant. Food companies such as Kraft, Sara Lee and Nabisco have long understood their success depends on sophisticated market research, product development and creative marketing. It doesn’t come cheap.
The GOP’s Latino Opportunity– In winning re-election, President Obama carried nearly all the same demographic groups as in 2008, but by smaller margins. The major exception: Hispanics, America’s fastest-growing bloc. Having given Mr. Obama 67% of their votes in 2008, they gave him 71% this time.This has alarmed Republicans. Mr. Obama had offered Hispanics little more than a broken promise to reform immigration in his first term, yet he scored the largest victory among them since Gerald Ford visited Texas in 1976 and tried to eat a tamale without removing its husk.Mitt Romney’s margin of defeat among Hispanics in Nevada (47 points) and Colorado (52 points) made those states unwinnable. In Florida, where Republican winners routinely carry the Hispanic vote, he lost it by 21 points. Mr. Romney carried Arizona but lost Hispanic voters there by an astonishing 55 points. In 2004, George W. Bush lost Arizona Hispanics by only 13 points.Republicans—even outspoken ones like talk-radio and Fox News host Sean Hannity—are now claiming to have changed their views on immigration. Columnist Charles Krauthammer was frank with his prescription: “Yes, amnesty. Use the word. . . . The other party thinks it owns the demographic future—counter that in one stroke by fixing the Latino problem.”
Such open-mindedness is laudable and probably necessary, but the immigration issue is no silver bullet. And Mr. Krauthammer’s phrase—”the Latino problem”—helps illustrate the real problem. For too long, Republicans have been content to cram Hispanics into gerrymandered Democratic districts and forget about them. Some GOP candidates consciously avoid targeting Hispanics too aggressively, lest they actually turn out to vote.
In 1983, Republican pollster Lance Tarrance wrote a private memo urging the Republican National Committee to “redouble our efforts to attract the Mexican-American populations. We need to ‘double our budget’ in this area if we stand any chance for the future.” This warning went unheeded.
In 1999, when I worked in the RNC press shop, Chairman Jim Nicholson told me the GOP deserved an “F” for its outreach efforts to date. Republican presidential contender Bob Dole had won just 21% of Hispanics in 1996. A Univision survey from 1998 had shown that Hispanics overwhelmingly believed the Republican Party either “ignores me” (41%) or “takes me for granted” (22%). This left plenty of low-hanging fruit.
Why ObamaCare Is Still No Sure Thing– Champions of ObamaCare want Americans to believe that the president’s re-election ended the battle over the law. It did no such thing. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act won’t be fully repealed while Barack Obama is in office, but the administration is heavily dependent on the states for its implementation.Republicans will hold 30 governorships starting in January, and at last week’s meeting of the Republican Governors Association they made it clear that they remain highly critical of the health law. Some Republican governors—including incoming RGA Chairman Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Ohio’s John Kasich, Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and Maine’s Paul LePage—have already said they won’t do the federal government’s bidding. Several Democratic governors, including Missouri’s Jay Nixon and West Virginia’s Earl Ray Tomblin, have also expressed serious concerns.Talk of the law’s inevitability is intended to pressure these governors into implementing it on the administration’s behalf. But states still have two key choices to make that together will put them in the driver’s seat: whether to create state health-insurance exchanges, and whether to expand Medicaid. They should say “no” to both.
Can conservatives prevent the U.S. from becoming California?– As bad as last Tuesday night was for the national Republican Party, it was far, far worse for the California Republican Party. Not only did Golden State Democrats maintain control of every statewide elected office; not only did Gov. Jerry Brown’s $6 billion Proposition 30 tax hike pass by solid margins; but Democrats also secured supermajorities in both state legislative chambers. Now, Brown and the Democrats can raise taxes by as much as they want.The California Republican Party is functionally dead. And how is California doing, now that liberals have successfully terminated the state’s remaining conservatives?For starters, it’s still in debt. Despite Brown’s historic tax hike, the California Legislative Analyst’s Office announced this week that the state still faces a $2 billion budget deficit just for the next fiscal year. California’s liberal electorate has already racked up an additional $370 billion in state and local debt over that last decade. That is more than 20 percent of the state’s gross domestic product.According to the California State Budget Crisis Task Force, that comes to more than $10,000 in debt for every Californian. And because the state’s credit rating is so low, California taxpayers must fork over about $2 for every new dollar borrowed. In 2012 alone, the state budget included more than $7.5 billion in debt service — more than most states’ budgets.
Don’t think for a second that California’s chronic deficits are caused by low taxes. Even before last Tuesday’s tax hikes, California had the most progressive income tax system in the nation, with seven brackets, and the second-highest top marginal rate. Now it has the nation’s highest top marginal rate and the nation’s highest sales tax. And the budget still isn’t balanced.
The real cause for California’s fiscal crisis is simple: They spend too much money. Between 1996 and 2012, the state’s population grew by just 15 percent, but spending more than doubled, from $45.4 billion to $92.5 billion (in 2005 constant dollars).
Gallup Blew Its Presidential Polls, but Why?– Last week’s presidential election has widely been seen as a victory for pollsters who, on balance, saw President Obama as the favorite before Election Day. But that wasn’t the case for the esteemed Gallup Organization. Its polling showed Republican Mitt Romney with a significant lead among likely voters 10 days before Nov. 6 and marginally ahead of Obama on the eve of an election that Obama won by about 3 percentage points.At an event on Thursday at Gallup’s downtown Washington offices, Gallup Editor in Chief Frank Newport told a gathering of fellow pollsters that the organization was reviewing its methodology in light of these inaccuracies. But its fairly consistent Republican bias in 2012 and its overestimation of the white portion of the electorate raise important questions about sampling and the way Gallup determines which respondents are registered and likely to vote.”We don’t have a definitive answer,” Newport said.The day before Election Day, Gallup released data culled from the four previous days, showing Romney with a 1-point lead among likely voters, 49 percent to 48 percent. Before that final survey, Gallup had suspended polling for three days in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, when nearly 10 million Americans were without electricity.
Immediately before the storm hit, Gallup showed Romney ahead by 5 points, 51 percent to 46 percent, and Romney led by as many as 7 points in mid-October. All the while, most other national polls showed a neck-and-neck race.
Are the DREAMers a Special Case? – DREAMERS vs. COMPREHENSIVISTS– Now that the GOP leadership has signaled its eagerness to again support the Democrat drive for amnesty and open borders, a fight has broken out on the other side. This is a revival of the public spitting match between the “comprehensive” amnesty crowd in D.C., who want amnesty for all illegal aliens or nothing, and the DREAMers, illegal aliens who came here as children, who are willing to cut a separate deal for themselves.The fight has resurfaced on NBC Latino’s website (why is there such a thing?), where a professor Stephen Nuno has written that “Immigration reform should not focus on Dreamers” because “I think Dreamers can be detrimental to the goal of immigration reform.”
Republicans at a crossroads – Stay the Course?– Republican governors are torn between essentially staying the course in the wake of Mitt Romney’s loss and a more proactive strategy aimed at radically shaking up their party in an effort to reach out to young and minority voters.Some governors believe that Romney’s loss two weeks ago to President Barack Obama was just that — a loss by a single candidate who ran a defensive campaign pummeled by negative ads and lacking in vision. They advocate sticking to a tried-and-true formula of running their own races and hewing to local instead of national dynamics.
Tribal America – Mark Steyn on our suddenly race-obsessed politics– To an immigrant such as myself (not the undocumented kind, but documented up to the hilt, alas), one of the most striking features of election-night analysis was the lightly worn racial obsession. On Fox News, Democrat Kirsten Powers argued that Republicans needed to deal with the reality that America is becoming what she called a “brown country.” Her fellow Democrat Bob Beckel observed on several occasions that if the share of the “white vote” was held down below 73 percent Romney would lose. In the end, it was 72 percent and he did. Beckel’s assertion — that if you knew the ethnic composition of the electorate you also knew the result — turned out to be correct.This is what less enlightened societies call tribalism: For example, in the 1980 election leading to Zimbabwe’s independence, Joshua Nkomo’s ZAPU-PF got the votes of the Ndebele people while Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF secured those of the Shona — and, as there were more Shona than Ndebele, Mugabe won. That same year America held an election, and Ronald Reagan won a landslide victory. Nobody talked about tribal-vote shares back then, but had the percentage of what Beckel calls the “white vote” been the same in 2012 as it was in 1980 (88 percent), Mitt Romney would have won in an even bigger landslide than Reagan. The “white vote” will be even lower in 2016, and so, on the Beckel model, Republicans are set to lose all over again.
White House denies editing talking points on Benghazi attack, contradicting Petraeus– The White House yesterday denied it edited talking points about the terrorist attack that killed the American ambassador to Libya — contradicting remarks made a day earlier by disgraced ex-CIA chief David Petraeus.“The only edit that was made by the White House and also by the State Department was to change the word ‘consulate’ to the word ‘diplomatic facility,’ since the facility in Benghazi was not formally a consulate,” Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters aboard Air Force One.“Other than that, we were guided by the points that were provided by the intelligence community. So I can’t speak to any other edits that may have been made.”
Newt Gingrich on Romney’s “Gifts”– The former Speaker in colloquy with the Texas Tribune’s Evan Smith:EVAN SMITH: So Governor Romney said yesterday now somewhat famously, that “the reason that the president won is because he gave gifts to minorities in the form of healthcare or to young people in the form of preferable college loan…”NEWT GINGRICH: I am very disappointed…EVAN SMITH: With Governor Romney saying that?
NEWT GINGRICH: With Governor Romney’s analysis, which I believe is insulting and profoundly wrong.
EVAN SMITH: Can you talk about that? Why is that?
NEWT GINGRICH: Well first of all, we didn’t lose Asian-Americans, because they got any gifts. He did worse with Asian-Americans than he did with Latinos.
EVAN SMITH: Right, seventy-three percent of Asian-Americans, seventy-one percent of Latinos.
NEWT GINGRICH: This is the hardest working and most successful ethnic group in America, okay. They ain’t into gifts. Second, it’s an insult to all Americans. It reduces us to economic entities who have no passion, no idealism, no dreams, no philosophy, and if it had been that simple, my question would have been “Why didn’t you out bid him?”
An Awakened Giant: The Hispanic Electorate is Likely to Double by 2030– The record number1 of Latinos who cast ballots for president this year are the leading edge of an ascendant ethnic voting bloc that is likely to double in size within a generation, according to a Pew Hispanic Center analysis based on U.S. Census Bureau data, Election Day exit polls and a new nationwide survey of Hispanic immigrants.The nation’s 53 million Hispanics comprise 17% of the total U.S. population but just 10% of all voters this year, according to the national exit poll. To borrow a boxing metaphor, they still “punch below their weight.”
These are my links for November 14th through November 16th:
Twinkies Maker Hostess Going Out of Business– Hostess, the makers of Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread, is going out of business after striking workers failed to heed a Thursday deadline to return to work, the company said.“We deeply regret the necessity of today’s decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike,” Hostess CEO Gregory F. Rayburn said in announcing that the firm had filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to shutter its business. “Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders.”
Details about the GOP’s alternate to the DREAM Act emerge– The Daily Caller has obtained details of an ACHIEVE Act proposal being floated by some Senate Republicans.It appears similar to the conservative alternative to the Dream Act that Sen. Marco Rubio worked on last summer (before President Obama issued his executive order, effectively tabling the issue until after the election).Essentially, the proposal involves several tiers: W-1 visa status would allow an immigrant to attend college or serve in the military (they have six years to get a degree). After doing so, they would be eligible to apply for a four-year nonimmigrant work visa (also can be used for graduate degrees.)Next, applicants would be eligible to apply for a permanent visa (no welfare benefits.) Finally, after a set number of years, citizenship “could follow…”
Martinez criticizes Romney comments, points way forward for GOP– New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, the GOP’s most prominent Latina, chastised Mitt Romney’s rhetoric Thursday and called on the Republican Party to play ball on immigration reform.“We have to start electing people who look like their communities all the way from city council to county commissioners to county clerks all the way through the state and up into national politics,” she told POLITICO and Yahoo News at the conclusion of the Republican Governors Association meeting here.
Some Republican governors soften on taxes– Some Republican governors are softening on the party’s hard-line toward tax increases for the wealthy, suggesting that GOP congressmen at least be open to rate hikes in exchange for a comprehensive fiscal agreement on taxes and entitlements.“The people have spoken, I think we’re going to have to be [flexible] now,” said Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, when asked if his party would now have to be open to taxes on the highest earners. “Elections do have consequences. The president campaigned on that.”
Top California pollster says 2012 election could be a turning point– DiCamillo said the overwhelming support for President Barack Obama among ethnic voters was solely responsible for his landslide, 21 percentage-point win in California. While non-Hispanic white voters backed Republican Mitt Romney by an 8 percent margin, he noted, Obama carried Latinos by 45 points, Asian-Americans by 53 points and African-Americans by more than 90 points.”It bodes very poorly for the long-term prospects of the California Republican Party,” he said.Both pollsters agreed with the assessment of numerous national analysts that, to become more competitive among Latino voters, Republicans in Congress must support comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants who have been working in the United States for a number of years.That policy change alone, however, will not be enough, DiCamillo said.
“It’s not even the one thing that I would point to as having the most to do with partisan preference,” he said.
DiCamillo said the issue that most separates ethnic voters from non-Hispanic whites in California is their perception of the role of government. His polling has found that while non-Hispanic whites are essentially divided over the question of whether government should do more to try to improve the lives of residents, ethnic voters by a 2-to-1 margin believe that it should.
Jobless Claims in U.S. Jumped Last Week After Sandy– More Americans than forecast submitted claims for unemployment insurance last week as superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on the job market.Applications for jobless benefits surged by 78,000 to 439,000 in the week ended Nov. 10, the most since April 2011, the Labor Department said today in Washington. Several states said the increase was due to the storm that hit the Northeastern part of the U.S. in late October, a Labor Department spokesman said as the data were released to the press.The extent of the damage means it may take weeks for the underlying trend in firings to again become clear. Before the storm, the labor market was gaining momentum even as year-end domestic fiscal policy uncertainties raised concern among businesses.“At least a few state labor offices were shut in the prior week so it’s almost as if you have two weeks of claims in one,” said Ryan Wang, an economist at HSBC Securities USA Inc. in New York. “You have a double whammy this week, where people were filing claims they were unable to previously and individuals unable to work for the storm were filing additional claims.”
The ObamaCare Battlefront Shifts To The States– Throughout the debate over ObamaCare – and back to HillaryCare and beyond – the fundamental question in health reform has always been this: Who will control our choices – government or individuals?Each side has won battles over the last 15 years in the tug of war between those who want a system that empowers the individual and one that cedes more and more authority to the state.Congress created the State Children’s Health Insurance Program to expand publicly-financed coverage to children.But it later created Health Savings Accounts to empower individuals in the free market.
It expanded Medicare to create a new prescription drug benefit.
But it also boosted participation by private plans in Medicare through the Medicare Advantage program.
Doc Shortage Could Crash ObamaCare Health Care– The United States will require at least 52,000 more family doctors in the year 2025 to keep up with the growing and increasingly older U.S. population, a new study found.The predictions also reflect the passage of the Affordable Care Act — a change that will expand health insurance coverage to an additional 38 million Americans.”The health care consumer that values the relationship with a personal physician, particularly in areas already struggling with access to primary care physicians should be aware of potential access challenges that they may face in the future if the production of primary care physicians does not increase,” said Dr. Andrew Bazemore, director of the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Primary Care and co-author of the study published Monday in the Annals of Family Medicine.Stephen Petterson, senior health policy researcher at the Robert Graham Center, said the government should take steps — and quickly — to address the problem before it gets out of hand.
“There needs to be more primary care incentive programs that give a bonus to physicians who treat Medicaid patients in effort to reduce the compensation gap between specialists and primary care physicians,” said Petterson, who co-authored the study with Bazemore.
But such changes may be more easily said than done.
The problem does not appear to be one of too few doctors in general; in fact, in 2011 a total of 17,364 new doctors emerged from the country’s medical schools, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Too few of these doctors, however, choose primary care as a career — an issue that may be worsening.
California Vehicle license fees would triple under measure planned by state Sen. Ted Lieu– Touted as a test of the new Democratic supermajority in Sacramento, South Bay state Sen. Ted Lieu plans to introduce a measure to triple vehicle license fees.The constitutional amendment would restore the 2 percent vehicle license fee slashed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger after he won office partly on that pledge.The 1.35 percent transportation system user fee increase would generate an estimated $3.5 billion to $4 billion annually for roads and public transit in yet-to-be-decided proportions, Lieu said.Buoyed by the Democratic supermajority achieved just last week, Lieu, D-Redondo Beach, plans to introduce the legislation in either December or January. He envisions the Legislature will approve the amendment and place it before voters in November 2014.
“It would be a test to see what the two-thirds (majority) Legislature means,” Lieu told the editorial board of the Los Angeles News Group. “The best way for us to lose the supermajority is to overreach.
“I’m not saying it would be an easy sell,” he added of the proposal. “I’m aware of the fact I may be attacked for it.”
THE IMMIGRATION AMNESTY FANTASY– The networks had barely called the election for President Barack Obama before GOP elites rushed to embrace an amnesty for illegal immigrants.Getting killed by almost 3-to-1 among Latino voters understandably concentrates the mind, but it’s no reason to lose it. The post-election Republican reaction has been built on equal parts panic, wishful thinking and ethnic pandering.It’s one thing to argue that amnesty is the right policy on the merits. It’s another to depict it as the magic key to unlocking the Latino vote. John McCain nearly immolated himself within the Republican Party with his support for amnesty and did all of 4 percentage points better among Latino voters in 2008 than Mitt Romney did in 2012, according to exit polls.What is the common thread uniting McCain, the advocate of “comprehensive” immigration reform, and Romney the advocate of “self-deportation”? They are both Republicans supporting conservative economic policies. Surely, that had more to do with their showing among Latinos than anything they did or didn’t say about immigration.
According to Census Bureau data, among native-born Hispanics, 50 percent of all households with children are headed by unmarried mothers. About 40 percent of all households receive benefits from a major welfare program. This doesn’t mean that the GOP shouldn’t try to appeal to voters in these households. It does mean that they aren’t natural Republican voters.
Latinos tend to have liberal attitudes toward government. Take health care. An ImpreMedia/Latino Decisions poll of Latinos conducted on the eve of the election found that 61 percent of Latinos support leaving Obamacare in place. Sixty-six percent believe government should ensure access to health insurance. This might have something to do with the fact that 32 percent of nonelderly Latinos lack health insurance, about twice the national average.
In California, Heather MacDonald of the Manhattan Institute noted in the aftermath of the election, “Hispanics will prove to be even more decisive in the victory of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30, which raised upper-income taxes and the sales tax, than in the Obama election.”
These are facts that never intrude upon Wall Street Journal editorials scolding Republicans for supposedly turning their backs on new recruits. In the Journal’s telling, if it weren’t for Republican intransigence on immigration, Latino voters would be eagerly joining the fight for lower marginal tax rates and free-market entitlement reforms.
John Cornyn on Senate races: GOP bungled it– Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the incoming Republican whip who led his party’s Senate campaign efforts this year, candidly acknowledged the GOP bungled a prime opportunity to take control of the chamber through a combination of poor polling, poor candidates and a poor job of selling its message.While claiming Democrats “got lucky” in gaining two Senate seats, the Texas Republican admitted his party had an image deficiency with women, minorities and disaffected voters — one that needs to be immediately addressed before suffering the consequences in the next election cycle.
Gallup Poll: Economy, Entitlements, Iran Are Americans’ Top Priorities– Solid majorities of Americans in the Nov. 9-12 USA Today/Gallup poll also put heavy emphasis on significantly reducing the United States’ dependence on fossil fuels, making college education more affordable, making major cuts in federal spending, and simplifying the tax code by lowering rates and eliminating deductions and loopholes.Not only do at least seven in 10 Americans rate all of these goals as extremely or very important, but majorities of Republicans as well as Democrats agree on their importance. In other words, there is bipartisan consensus that these goals are important.On the reverse side of things, relatively few Americans, including fewer than four in 10 Republicans or Democrats, consider making major cuts to military and defense spending a high priority for Obama.
Romney Blames Loss on Obama’s ‘Gifts’ to Minorities and Young Voters– Saying that he and his team still felt “troubled” by his loss to President Obama, Mitt Romney on Wednesday attributed his defeat in part to what he called big policy “gifts” that the president had bestowed on loyal Democratic constituencies, including young voters, African-Americans and Hispanics.In a conference call with fund-raisers and donors to his campaign, Mr. Romney said Wednesday afternoon that the president had followed the “old playbook” of using targeted initiatives to woo specific interest groups — “especially the African-American community, the Hispanic community and young people.”“In each case, they were very generous in what they gave to those groups,” Mr. Romney said, contrasting Mr. Obama’s strategy to his own of “talking about big issues for the whole country: military strategy, foreign policy, a strong economy, creating jobs and so forth.”Mr. Romney’s comments in the 20-minute conference call came after his running mate, Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, told WISC-TV in Madison on Monday that their loss was a result of Mr. Obama’s strength in “urban areas,” an analysis that did not account for Mr. Obama’s victories in more rural states like Iowa and New Hampshire or the decrease in the number of votes for the president relative to 2008 in critical urban counties in Ohio.
LA Governor Bobby Jindal rejects Mitt Romney’s ‘gifts’ theory– Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal forcefully rejected Mitt Romney’s claim that he lost because of President Barack Obama’s “gifts” to minorities and young voters.Asked about the failed GOP nominee’s reported comments on a conference call with donors earlier Wednesday, the incoming chairman of the Republican Governors Association became visibly agitated.“No, I think that’s absolutely wrong,” he said at a press conference that opened the RGA’s post-election meeting here. “Two points on that: One, we have got to stop dividing the American voters. We need to go after 100 percent of the votes, not 53 percent. We need to go after every single vote.“And, secondly, we need to continue to show how our policies help every voter out there achieve the American Dream, which is to be in the middle class, which is to be able to give their children an opportunity to be able to get a great education. … So, I absolutely reject that notion, that description. I think that’s absolutely wrong.”
He reiterated the points for emphasis.
“I don’t think that represents where we are as a party and where we’re going as a party,” he said. “That has got to be one of the most fundamental takeaways from this election: If we’re going to continue to be a competitive party and win elections on the national stage and continue to fight for our conservative principles, we need two messages to get out loudly and clearly: One, we are fighting for 100 percent of the votes, and secondly, our policies benefit every American who wants to pursue the American dream. Period. No exceptions.”
Obama to open ‘fiscal cliff’ talks with call for $1.6T in new revenues – So 2009– President Obama is taking a tough opening stance in talks over deficit reduction, pushing Republicans to accept a plan that calls for $1.6 trillion in new tax revenue over the next ten years, according to reports.The figure is double the $800 billion last discussed by the White House and House Speaker Boehner (R-Ohio) during their 2011 negotiations on raising the debt-ceiling limit.The president’s plan is based on his most recent budget proposal, which sought the $1.6 in new revenues by targeting the wealthy and corporations. The president and congressional lawmakers are set to meet at the White House on Friday as both sides begin hammering out a deficit-cutting plan that helps the nation move past the “fiscal cliff” of rising tax rates and automatic spending cuts set to take effect in January 2013.Both sides say they hope to avoid the fiscal cliff, but are at an impasse over taxes, with the president insisting that the wealthy pay more.
House Republicans on Wednesday were incredulous at the president’s opening bid.
“That is so 2009. It’s like he is still in charge of this place,” said Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), referring to the last time Democrats had a majority in the House.
Look Who’s Refusing To Compromise To Avoid Going Off The Fiscal Cliff – The LEFT– Budget Talks: If President Obama wants to get a deficit deal done to avoid the fiscal cliff, his biggest challenge won’t be Republicans, but his own hard-core left-wing supporters.Two days after the election, Obama’s favorite economist, Paul Krugman, set the tone for the intransigent left in a column titled: “Let’s not make a deal.” Boiled down, his advice to Obama was this: Don’t give in to any Republican demands, even if doing so would “inflict damage on a still-shaky economy.” After all, Obama would be better positioned to “weather any blowback from economic troubles.”Krugman’s advice may be disturbingly cold and calculating, but he has plenty of company on the left.Robert Kuttner, co-founder of the liberal American Prospect magazine, suggests Obama should just sit it out, let all the Bush tax cuts expire, the automatic spending cuts kick in and expect public pressure to force Republicans to give in entirely.
The left-wing Daily Kos called any kind of “grand bargain” between Obama and the GOP a “Great Betrayal.”
Immigrants and the GOP – Debunking some talk radio myths– The GOP’s Presidential election defeat is opening up a debate in the party, with more than a few voices saying they are willing to rethink their views on immigration. This is good news, which means it’s also a good moment to address some of the frequent claims from the anti-immigration right that simply aren’t true, especially about Hispanics.One myth is that Latino voters simply aren’t worth pursuing because they’re automatic Democrats. Yet Ronald Reagan was so eager to welcome Latinos to the GOP that he described them as “Republicans who don’t know it yet.”Recall that between 1996 and 2004 the GOP doubled its percentage of the Hispanic vote to more that 40%, culminating in the re-election of George W. Bush, who won Colorado, Iowa, New Mexico and Nevada—states with fast-growing Hispanic populations that Mitt Romney lost. The notion that Hispanics are “natural” Democrats and not swing voters is belied by this history.