The Morning Flap: December 18, 2012

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Drudge Screencap of Boehner Crying

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

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

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

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

The sell-out begins…..

The Morning Flap: December 17, 2012

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These are my links for December 14th through December 17th:

  • With Supermajority, California Democrats Strategize – The Democratic Party has controlled the California Legislature for a nearly unbroken stretch of 42 years. Yet control goes only so far: it takes two-thirds of the Legislature to enact a host of important legislation in this state, meaning that even the diminished Republican Party has been able to easily frustrate Democratic ambitions.
  • The Doctor Won’t See You Now – As I wrote a couple weeks ago, Obamacare governmentalizes one-sixth of the U.S. economy — or the equivalent of the entire French economy. No one has ever attempted that before, not even the French. In parts of rural America it will quickly achieve a Platonic perfection: There will be untold legions of regulators, administrators, and IRS collection agents, but not a doctor or nurse in sight.
  • The Facts about Mass Shootings – A few things you won’t hear about from the saturation coverage of the Newtown, Conn., school massacre:Mass shootings are no more common than they have been in past decades, despite the impression given by the media.In fact, the high point for mass killings in the U.S. was 1929, according to criminologist Grant Duwe of the Minnesota Department of Corrections.Incidents of mass murder in the U.S. declined from 42 in the 1990s to 26 in the first decade of this century.

    The chances of being killed in a mass shooting are about what they are for being struck by lightning.

    Until the Newtown horror, the three worst K–12 school shootings ever had taken place in either Britain or Germany.

    Almost all of the public-policy discussion about Newtown has focused on a debate over the need for more gun control. In reality, gun control in a country that already has 200 million privately owned firearms is likely to do little to keep weapons out of the hands of criminals. We would be better off debating two taboo subjects — the laws that make it difficult to control people with mental illness and the growing body of evidence that “gun-free” zones, which ban the carrying of firearms by law-abiding individuals, don’t work.

  • White House won’t accept new tax offer from Republican leader – President Barack Obama is not ready to accept a new offer from the Republican leader of the U.S. the House of Representatives to raise taxes on top earners in exchange for major cuts in entitlement programs, a source said late Saturday.The shape and details of Boehner’s offer were uncertain Saturday night, as was the exact reason the president was prepared to reject it.The source said Obama sees the offer made on Friday by U.S. House Speaker John Boehner as a sign of progress, but simply believes it is not enough and there is much more to be worked out before Obama can reciprocate.Tax rates and entitlements are the two most difficult issues in the so-far unproductive negotiations to avert the “fiscal cliff” of steep tax hikes and spending cuts set for the new year unless Congress and the president reach a deal to avoid them.

    The Boehner offer is the first significant sign of a shift in the Republican insistence that low tax rates set to expire on December 31 be extended for all taxpayers, and comes at some risk to the speaker.

  • Republican leaders balance politics and principle on immigration reform – Senior Republicans say the party is struggling to thread the needle on immigration reform, an issue emerging as the next big item on the political agenda once the ongoing deficit talks reach their conclusion.On the one hand, GOP leaders recognize the party needs a new approach. Mitt Romney performed dismally with Latino voters in November’s general election.On the other hand, internal skeptics fear that a GOP rush to embrace a more liberal approach to immigration would risk sundering the conservative movement without paying any electoral dividends.These dilemmas are not entirely new. President George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) pushed immigration reform in the middle of the last decade.

    They had no success, were subjected to considerable criticism from other conservatives and the issue almost capsized the latter’s run for the 2008 presidential nomination.

  • What If Nothing or Nobody is to Blame for Adam Lanza? Guns, Video Games, Autism or Authorities – What if there is nobody or nothing to blame for Adam Lanza’s heinous acts? Other than Lanza, of course.What if school security and the school psychiatrist kept an eye on Lanza since his freshman year? The Wall Street Journal has a compelling narrative about the red flags addressed.What if he had a form of autism that has little or no link to violent behavior? Lanza may have had Asperger’s syndrome but, even so, that is not a cause.What if it’s too simple to lay the massacre at the feet of the gun lobby? Reader Larry Kelly tweets that shaming Aspies “makes about as much sense at stigmatizing the NRA. Pick an enemy … any enemy. Let outrage and fear rule.”

    What if Lanza wasn’t provoked by video games? David Axelrod, a close friend an adviser of President Obama, tweeted last night: “In NFL post-game: an ad for shoot ’em up video game. All for curbing weapons of war. But shouldn’t we also quit marketing murder as a game.”

    When I asked whether he was laying groundwork for a White House initiative, Axelrod said no: “Just one man’s observation.” A senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said today that Axelrod was not a stalking horse for Obama on this issue.

    What if Lanza’s mother did everything she could, short of keeping her guns out her adult son’s reach? What if he wasn’t bullied?

  • Dukakis seen as possible Senate replacement if Kerry tapped for State – Former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, the 1988 Democratic presidential nominee, may be headed back to the political spotlight as he’s considered a likely interim replacement for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.).President Obama is set to tap Kerry to succeed Hillary Clinton as secretary of State, according to media reports.
  • Hill Poll: Gloomy voters say US on wrong track, kids will be poorer – A mood of economic gloom hangs over the nation as President Obama and Republican leaders scramble to strike a deficit deal that avoids automatic tax hikes and spending cuts, according to a new poll for The Hill.The poll, conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, found nearly 6-in-10 people (59 percent) feel the country is on the wrong track. It also showed people are deeply pessimistic about their chances for future prosperity, with 54 percent saying they believe their children will be worse off as adults than their parents.
  • Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-16 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-16
  • Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-16 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-16 #tcot
  • My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-16 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-16
  • GetGlue – Your app for TV, Movies, and Sports – I unlocked the Hollywood Intern sticker on #GetGlue! @intel
  • Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-15 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-15
  • Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-15 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-15 #tcot
  • My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-15 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-15
  • Gregory Flap @ Ronnie’s Diner – 16 miles in the LA Marathon bank. Now, time for some pancakes. (@ Ronnie’s Diner w/ 3 others) [pic]:
  • Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-14 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-14
  • Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-14 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-14 #tcot
  • My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-14 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-14
  • Obama: Enforcement of Marijuana Laws Not a HIGH Priority – Flap’s Blog – Obama: Enforcement of Marijuana Laws Not a HIGH Priority #tcot
  • California: Smoking Climbs Among Young Adults – Smoking among young adults in California is climbing even as the tobacco habit has leveled off or is declining among younger and older residents of the state, according to a new report from the state Department of Public Health.The smoking rate among adults aged 18 to 24 rose from 12.3 percent in 2010 to 14.6 percent in 2011, the report said. The increase came after the rate had declined in four of the previous five years.That group had the highest smoking rate of any age group in the California. The rate was 13.2 percent among 25 to 44 year olds, 12.1 percent among 45 to 64 year olds and 6.9 percent among those 65 and older. Among all adults the smoking rate was 12 percent in 2011, virtually unchanged from the 11.9 percent rate the year before.The increase among young adults might be a delayed effect of the state’s success in tamping down smoking by high school students, said Colleen Stevens, branch chief for the tobacco control program.
    With high school students smoking less, many of those people might be simply putting off trying tobacco until they are 18, and then becoming addicted. The smoking rate among high school students has declined from 21.6 percent in 2000 to 13.8 percent in 2010, although the number of students who reported trying tobacco increased slightly between 2008 and 2010.
  • Sales of smokeless tobacco products jump in California, report says – Sales of chewing tobacco and other such smokeless products rose sharply in California over the last decade, and officials are especially concerned about the increase in use among youths, state public health officials said Thursday.Smokeless tobacco use among high school students grew to 3.9% of students in 2010, up from 3.1% in 2004. Nearly $211 million in non-cigarette tobacco and nicotine products were sold in California in 2011, up from $77 million in 2001, according to a report released Thursday by the state Department of Public Health.
    The main types of smokeless tobacco seen in California are snuff and chewing tobacco, which have similar health risks to cigarettes. But there was also an increase in sales of snus, small packets of tobacco that are placed under the lip. Other dissolvable products like orbs and strips are becoming more popular in other states, and officials predict they will soon come here.
  • Political ethics panel accuses GOP Berryhill brothers of money laundering – State authorities have accused two brothers who served together as Republican legislators of illegally laundering $40,000 in political donations.State Sen. Tom Berryhill (R-Modesto) and former Assemblyman Bill Berryhill (R-Ceres), grape farmers who represented adjacent legislative districts, allegedly funneled the money through two county Republican central committees to skirt contribution limits.An administrative law judge will decide whether the men are guilty of charges drafted by the state Fair Political Practices Commission.
  • California Initiative backers must come forward, FPPC says – The people who pay for petition drives in support of statewide ballot measures can no longer hide their identity, thanks to a regulation adopted by the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission on Thursday.Meeting in San Diego, the watchdog panel decided to require groups spending more than $100,000 for a signature drive to state on their organization papers what they’re backing.The change comes after people trying to track ballot measures complained there was insufficient information to determine what groups were behind the efforts.“Getting information out about who is circulating petitions is imperative,” said Commissioner Elizabeth Garrett before the requirement won unanimous approval.

    In an Internet-related item, the commission will now require candidates and committees sending out mass emails to identify themselves in the missives. Current regulation only requires identification when 200 or more pieces are sent through Postal Service mail.

  • Obama’s Electronic Medical Records Scam – You know who is benefiting from the initiative? Put on your shocked faces: Obama donors and cronies.
    Billionaire Judith Faulkner, Obama’s medical information czar and a major Democratic contributor, just happens to be the founder and CEO of Epic Systems — a medical software company that stores nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population’s health data. Another billion-dollar patient-record database grant program has doled out money to the University of Chicago Medical Center (where first lady Michelle Obama and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett both served in high-paid positions). As I’ve previously reported, these administration grants circumvent any and all congressional deliberation as part of Team Obama’s election-year “We Can’t Wait” initiatives.
  • The Morning Flap: December 14, 2012 – Flap’s Blog – The Morning Flap: December 14, 2012 #tcot
  • Bobby Jindal backs over-the-counter birth control – Re: Gov. Bobby Jindal and birth control = Pander Bear. #tcot
  • Patriot missiles a warning to Syria’s al-Assad – CNN.com – U.S. to send troops, Patriot missiles to Turkey #tcot

The Morning Flap: December 14, 2012

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Pinboard Links, The Morning Flap

Drudge Screencap Obama Sending Troops to Turkey

These are my links for December 13th through December 14th:

  • U.S. to send troops, Patriot missiles to Turkey – The United States gave the go-ahead Friday to deploy Patriot anti-ballistic missiles to Turkey along with enough troops to operate them as the heavily embattled government in neighboring Syria again vehemently denied firing ballistic missiles at rebels.The United States has accused Damascus of launching Scud-type artillery from the capital at rebels in the country’s north. One Washington official said missiles came close to the border of Turkey, a NATO member and staunch U.S. ally.Syria’s government called the accusations “untrue rumors” Friday, according to state news agency SANA. Damascus accused Turkey and its partners of instigating rumors to make the government look bad internationally.

    U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta signed the order while en route to Turkey to send two Patriot missile batteries and 400 U.S. troops to operate them. The surface-to-air interceptors will help in “dealing with threats that come out of Syria,” Panetta said after landing at Incirlik Air Base, a U.S. Air Force installation about 80 miles from Syria’s border.

    Panetta was unconcerned about possible reactions from Damascus to the Patriot deployment. “We can’t spend a lot of time worrying about whether that pisses off Syria,” he said, adamant that helping Turkey was the priority.

  • Extremism in Defense of Liberty – The rise of the Tea Party, and its swift incorporation into the GOP, can best be understood as a response to a dilemma that presented itself to conservatives 20 years ago. In the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the federal government shutdowns of 1995 and ’96, it appeared that the fight against the Evil Empire was Mission Accomplished while the fight to curb the size and influence of the federal establishment was Mission Impossible. Take away the two goals that had defined the conservative movement since the first issue of National Review, and it was unclear what conservatives were supposed to do, and what conservatism was supposed to be about. The innovations proposed to fill this lacuna included national greatness conservatism, compassionate conservatism, and George W. Bush’s call after 9/11 to “support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.” These missions proved to be, respectively: vague and pointless; a project of social reinvigoration to which political measures could make no more than a marginal contribution; and an extravagant ambition far exceeding America’s capacity and her citizens’ patience.========A must read for the weekend!
  • Only 15 States Opt to Run Obamacare Exchanges – Only 15 states have told the federal government they plan to operate health insurance exchanges under President Barack Obama’s reform law, leaving Washington with the daunting task of creating online marketplaces for two-thirds of the country.On the eve of a federal deadline for states to say whether they will run their own exchanges, a top health care policy official told lawmakers that the exchanges will start enrolling eligible families starting on Oct. 1.”I am confident that states and the federal government will be ready in 10 months, when consumers in all states can begin to apply,” Gary Cohen, director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, told a House panel.

    Cohen was among federal officials who testified alongside state health authorities at a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health.

    In written testimony, Cohen said that while 15 states have told the administration they will operate exchanges, 11 others have opted for versions that will require major involvement by the federal government.

    Experts say the number of states planning to operate their own exchanges could reach 18, plus the District of Columbia, by the time the deadline arrives Friday.

  • Charles Krauthammer: The right-to-work dilemma – For all the fury and fistfights outside the Lansing Capitol, what happened in Michigan this week was a simple accommodation to reality. The most famously unionized state, birthplace of the United Auto Workers, royalty of the American working class, became right-to-work.It’s shocking, except that it was inevitable. Indiana went that way earlier this year. The entire Rust Belt will eventually follow because the heyday of the sovereign private-sector union is gone. Globalization has made splendid isolation impossible.
  • Get ready for the costs and chaos of Obamacare – Nancy Pelosi was widely mocked when she said of Obamacare, “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” At the time, March 2010, Pelosi’s words accurately described the Democrats’ just-get-it-done approach to passing a national health care bill. But now it turns out Pelosi was wrong. In fact, we have to implement Obamacare so that you can find out what is in it.Amid the other momentous events coming in 2013 — bitter fights over federal spending, debt, entitlements and immigration — the biggest story of the year, and of 2014 as well, will be the arrival of Obamacare in the lives of every American.
  • It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad ObamaCare – For sheer political farce, not much can compete with ObamaCare’s passage, which included slipping the bill through the Senate before dawn three Christmas eves ago. But the madcap dash to get ready for the entitlement’s October 2013 start-up date is a pretty close second.The size and complexity of the Affordable Care Act meant that its implementation was never going to easy. But behind the scenes, even states that support or might support the Affordable Care Act are frustrated about the Health and Human Services Department’s special combination of rigidity and ineptitude.To take one example, for the better part of a year states and groups like the bipartisan National Governors Association and the National Association of Medicaid Directors have been begging HHS merely for information about how they’re required to make ObamaCare work in practice. There was radio silence from Washington, with time running out. Louisiana and other states even took to filing Freedom of Information Act requests, which are still pending.
  • Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-13 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-13 #tcot
  • MichelleFields.com – Rapper’s fans threaten to rape Michelle Malkin for criticizing his album cover « #tcot
  • My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-13 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-13
  • Rapper’s fans threaten to rape Michelle Malkin for criticizing his album cover « MichelleFields.com – RT @chasrmartin: Rapper’s fans threaten to rape Michelle Malkin for criticizing singer
  • Obama and Boehner meet again to avert fiscal cliff – President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner met privately Thursday after another day of back-and-forth over tax hikes, spending cuts and efforts to avoid the year-end “fiscal cliff.”Hours earlier, Boehner said that unless Obama makes further concessions on spending cuts, Washington will head over the cliff and into a series of tax hikes and massive budget reductions.”The president wants to pretend spending isn’t the problem. That’s why we don’t have an agreement,” said Boehner, R-Ohio. “Unfortunately, the White House is so unserious about cutting spending that it appears willing to slow-walk our economy right up to — and over — the fiscal cliff.”
  • Obama, Boehner meet at the White House | POLITICO 44 – POLITICO.com – RT @politico: RT @jeneps Obama and Boehner spent 50 minutes meeting at the White House today
  • Earth to Karl Rove and Sheldon Adelson: Do This – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Earth to Karl Rove and Sheldon Adelson: Do This #tcot
  • Rep. Elton Gallegly and Friends Operation Toy Drop 2012 Edition – Rep. Elton Gallegly and Friends Operation Toy Drop 2012 Edition #tcot
  • Top GOP aide: ‘We’ll confirm Hagel, Kerry’ | WashingtonExaminer.com – Top GOP aide: ‘We’ll confirm Hagel, Kerry’ #tcot
  • Where big GOP bucks could matter – Mitt Romney and the GOP lost, but it wasn’t for lack of money. They spent a lot; they just didn’t get enough bang for the buck.Billionaire Sheldon Adelson alone donated $150 million. But Romney lost anyway, especially among unmarried women.Which is why I think that rich people wanting to support the Republican Party might want to direct their money somewhere besides TV ads that copy, poorly, what Lee Atwater did decades ago.

    My suggestion: Buy some women’s magazines. No, really. Or at least some women’s Web sites.

    One of the groups with whom Romney did worst was female “low-information voters.” Those are women who don’t really follow politics, and vote based on a vague sense of who’s mean and who’s nice, who’s cool and who’s uncool.

  • Top GOP aide: ‘We’ll confirm Hagel, Kerry’ – The growing possibility of President Obama naming Democratic Sen. John Kerry as secretary of State and former GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel to run the Pentagon is being embraced by Senate Republicans who predict confirmation.”I think both of them will be questioned vigorously but confirmed,” said a top GOP Senate aide, meaning the GOP won’t put up a fight in the Democratically-controlled chamber. That will be a key selling point as Obama considers his choices.Reports emerged Thursday that Hagel, a Vietnam vet from Nebraska, was the frontrunner to replace exiting Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
  • EXCLUSIVE: Susan Rice drops out of running for secretary of state; cites ‘very disruptive’ confirmation process – Rock Center with Brian Williams – Susan Rice drops out of running for secretary of state; saddened by partisan politics #tcot
  • Susan Rice drops out of running for secretary of state; saddened by partisan politics – Embattled U.N. envoy Susan Rice is dropping out of the running to be the next secretary of state after months of criticism over her Benghazi comments, she told NBC News on Thursday.“If nominated, I am now convinced that the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive and costly – to you and to our most pressing national and international priorities,” Rice wrote in a letter to President Obama, saying she’s saddened by the partisan politics surrounding her prospects.“That trade-off is simply not worth it to our country…Therefore, I respectfully request that you no longer consider my candidacy at this time,” she wrote in the letter obtained by NBC News.

    =========

    Rice would not be confirmed anyway.

  • Latinos didn’t cost Mitt Romney the election – Republicans have a major Latino problem, but it didn’t cost them the 2012 election.According to a Fix review of election results, Mitt Romney would have needed to carry as much as 51 percent of the Hispanic vote in order to win the Electoral College — a number no Republican presidential candidate on record has been able to attain and isn’t really within the realm of possibility these days.Latinos did push President Obama over the top in several key states — including Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico and Pennsylvania — that he would have lost without them. (Obama also would have lost the popular vote without Latinos.)

    But it was a given that Obama was going to win a higher share of their votes; what mattered was the margin. And in order for Romney to have won the presidency, he would have needed to perform far better than any previous Republican presidential candidate.

  • Feds Raise Hackles Over 5-Hour Energy Drink | The Weekly Standard – RT @DRUDGE_REPORT: FEDS TO INVESTIGATE 5-HOUR ENERGY DRINKS…
  • Day By Day December 13, 2012 – The Big Top – Flap’s Blog – Day By Day December 13, 2012 – The Big Top #tcot
  • Flap’s Dentistry Blog: Just Say No to Magnetic Tongue Studs – Just Say No to Magnetic Tongue Studs
  • The Morning Flap: December 13, 2012 – Flap’s Blog – The Morning Flap: December 13, 2012 #tcot

The Morning Flap: December 13, 2012

Posted Posted in Pinboard Links, The Morning Flap

Drudge Screencap of California Blue Shield Raising Rates

These are my links for December 12th through December 13th:

  • The Republican brand problem – One thing comes through loud and clear in the new NBC/Wall Street Journal national poll: Republicans have a major brand problem.Consider the following findings in the NBC/WSJ poll:* Asked an open-ended question as to what single word or short phrase people would use to describe the Republican Party, 65 percent of the responses were negative, while just 17 percent were positive. (For Democrats, 35 percent were positive, while 37 percent were negative.) Among the most oft-mentioned phrases used to describe Republicans: “bad/weak/negative” (8 percent), “uncompromising/need to work together” (6 percent) and “broken/disorganized/lost” (6 percent). So, that happened.* The poll tested the positive and negative ratings for 11 politicians or political institutions. The lowest rated — in terms of the differential between positive and negative ratings — was the Republican Party, with a 30 percent positive score and a 45 percent negative score. Of the five worst positive-to-negative ratios, Republicans claimed four of them. (The lone exception: Susan Rice with a 20 positive/24 percent net-negative score.)

    * When asked who they trusted more in “handling the fiscal cliff,” 38 percent named President Obama while just 19 percent named House Speaker John Boehner and Republicans in Congress. (Fourteen percent said they trusted both equally, and another 28 percent said they trusted neither side.)

    What those numbers make clear is that the Republican brand is badly damaged. It is regarded by too many people as an uncompromising relic of the past — a party that lacks new ideas and is, therefore, forced to largely serve as a blockade to the other side. (That’s the biggest reason, by the way, why Republicans should be interested in compromising on the fiscal cliff. They gap between how Obama is regarded and how they are seen is enough to make going over the cliff a genuine political loser for them.)

  • California prison phychiatrist under investigation for $800,000 pay – After raking in half a million dollars for being “on call,” California’s top paid public employee of 2011 — a prison psychiatrist from Newark — has been suspended with pay for allegedly falsifying time records, officials said Tuesday.Dr. Mohammad Safi, 54, was paid more than $803,000 last year as a supervising senior psychiatrist at a Department of State Hospitals facility within Salinas Valley State Prison in Monterey County, records show.That amount included more than $503,000 for on-call pay — in Safi’s case being available to respond quickly to emergencies.His suspension was first reported Wednesday by Bloomberg News, which published an extensive analysis of state government pay that ranked California tops in the nation. It showed Safi was paid more than twice as much as any state psychiatrist in the 12 states Bloomberg examined.
  • California lawmaker Roger Hernandez proposes benefits for undocumented immigrants – A California lawmaker wants to expand government benefits for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who qualify for a new federal work-permit program.Assemblyman Roger Hernandez (D-West Covina) introduced legislation this week aimed at illegal immigrants who are part of an Obama administration protocol that allows undocumented immigrants who came to the United States before they were 16, and who are now 30 or younger and meet certain other criteria, to obtain work permits.The bill, AB 35, would enable those immigrants to obtain state identification cards and receive unemployment benefits and state-administered medical services. This year, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a measure that will allow that group of young immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.
  • Fiscal Cliff Creates Problems That Don’t Faze Obama – Is Barack Obama bluffing when he threatens to go over the fiscal cliff if Republicans refuse to agree to higher tax rates on high earners?Some analysts think so. Keith Hennessey, a former top staffer for the Bush White House and Senate Republicans and a veteran of budget negotiations, argues that Obama’s whole second term would be blighted if he allows the fiscal cliff tax increases and sequestration budget cuts to take place next month.
  • Blue Shield of California seeks rate hikes up to 20% – Health insurer Blue Shield of California wants to raise rates as much as 20% for some individual policyholders, prompting calls for the nonprofit to use some of its record-high reserve of $3.9 billion to hold down premiums.In filings with state regulators, Blue Shield is seeking an average rate increase of 12% for more than 300,000 customers, effective in March, with a maximum increase of 20%.Some consumer advocates and healthcare economists say Blue Shield shouldn’t be raising rates that high when it has stockpiled so much cash. The company’s surplus is nearly three times as much as the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Assn. requires its member insurers to hold to cover future claims.”Blue Shield is sitting on a huge surplus that is beyond what is required or necessary,” said Laurie Sobel, a senior attorney for Consumers Union in San Francisco. “It should be used to hold down rate increases when it hits these extraordinary levels.”

    California officials can take into account an insurer’s amount of surplus, among many other factors, when determining whether they think a rate increase is reasonable. Both the California insurance commissioner and the state Department of Managed Health Care are reviewing the company’s proposed premiums, but neither agency has the authority to reject changes in rates

  • DeMint: Obama wants cliff dive – South Carolina GOP Sen. Jim DeMint accused President Barack Obama on Thursday of trying to take the country over the fiscal cliff.“The president campaigned on raising taxes and getting rid of the Bush-era tax cuts, and he’s gonna get his wish,” DeMint said on CBS’s “This Morning.”
    Continue Reading“I believe we’re going to be raising taxes, not just on the top earners. Everyone is going to pay more taxes next year in this country, and I think that’s what the president wants. … If you look at the facts, we don’t need more revenue, we just need to stop spending. The president is not going to stop spending. He’s proposed more spending. So it’s hard to work with someone who I think is intentionally trying to take us over this cliff.”
  • GOP tech gap needs millions – Republicans need to make a multimillion-dollar investment to close a digital gap with Democrats and President Obama, according to GOP tech experts.The party faces a growing urgency to catch up with Democrats; frustrated GOP operatives believe the party is lagging in an area widely agreed to have given Obama the edge in the last two presidential election cycles.“Everyone in the party is frustrated. I haven’t talked to one person who thinks that the Republicans were more successful online in 2012 [than in 2008 or 2010],” said Vincent Harris, a GOP strategist who ran digital campaigns for Rick Perry’s and Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaigns.“There is no doubt in my mind that this is the moment that this must be fixed. The good news, though, is that everyone seems to be open to solutions,” he said
  • The do’s and don’ts of quitting smoking – Anyone who has ever smoked and tried to quit knows how addictive nicotine can be. But what really works when it comes to quitting? Several former smokers had some hard-earned tips that might help you quit.Carla Berg, a Winship Cancer Institute addiction expert and professor at the Emory School of Public Health, had talked to hundreds of people trying to quit.”One thing I hear from people all the time is, ‘I’m just waiting to feel ready to quit,’ or, ‘I just need to want to quit and then I’ll quit.’ And what we know is that just rarely happens out of nowhere. So I always tell people if you’re waiting for the best time to quit smoking, that time is now,” said Berg.So what works? Through her Facebook Page, FOX 5’s Beth Galvin asked former smokers to share their secrets.
  • Election over, administration unleashes new rules – While the “fiscal cliff” of looming tax increases and spending cuts dominates political conversation in Washington, some Republicans and business groups see signs of a “regulatory cliff” that they say could be just as damaging to the economy.For months, federal agencies and the White House have sidetracked dozens of major regulations that cover everything from power plant pollution to workplace safety to a crackdown on Wall Street.The rules had been largely put on hold during the presidential campaign as the White House sought to quiet Republican charges that President Barack Obama was an overzealous regulator who is killing U.S. jobs.But since the election, the Obama administration has quietly reopened the regulations pipeline.
  • Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-12 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-12
  • Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-12 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-12 #tcot
  • My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-12 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-12
  • Poll: Obama won 71% of Asian Vote – But Not Wedded to Either Party – Asian American voters came out in droves for President Barack Obama over GOP challenger Mitt Romney, but the country’s fastest growing ethnic group is not wedded to either party, according to a new poll out Wednesday.Obama won an estimated 2.3 million of their votes to Romney’s estimated 900,000 votes, or 71 percent to 28 percent, according to the survey by the Asian American Justice Center, Asian & Pacific Islander American Vote and the National Asian American Survey
  • Mark Levin explains how a big part of Obamacare could be gutted during Obama’s second term » The Right Scoop – – RT @JedediahBila: Mark Levin explains how a big part of Obamacare could be gutted during Obama’s second term:
  • 5 ways the GOP can do better with Latinos – A coalition of conservative groups is releasing a major study of Latino voters in four key states this morning, and Republicans would be wise to heed its lessons.Resurgent Republic and the Hispanic Leadership Network are presenting the findings of their study at 9 a.m. Eastern. The polls of Florida, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada show Republicans remain in contention for as many as half of Latino voters in those four states in 2016, but fewer than one-quarter of Latinos in each state say they are likely to vote Republican four years from now.
  • Election Integrity Activist Calls for Prop 37 Recount – Another Bay Area citizen has called for a recount on a statewide ballot measure, this time on Prop 37, and she’s being helped by the man responsible for the Prop 29 recount last summer.Lori Grace, an election integrity activist based in Tiburon, Calif., filed a formal request with the Secretary of State’s office on Monday for a recount in the contest over Prop 37, a voter initiative that would require special labels on foods containing genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. (There won’t be any other ballot measure recounts from the general election, since Monday was the last day to file).Having two such recounts in one year is highly unusual, if not unprecedented. The earlier effort came after the June primary, when Bay Area surgeon John Maa requested a recount for Prop 29, the cigarette tax initiative that would have helped to fund cancer research.Now Maa is imparting some of his own hard-earned (and expensive — recounts in California must be bankrolled by the requester) knowledge to Grace. Both acknowledged that Maa has given her strategical advice on how to proceed.
  • California Governor Jerry Brown has early-stage prostate cancer – Gov. Jerry Brown is undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, his office announced this afternoon.The governor’s office described the condition as a “localized prostate cancer” and said Brown is continuing to work a full schedule while being treated with a short course of radiation.It released a statement from Eric Small, Brown’s oncologist at University of California San Francisco.”Fortunately, this is early stage localized prostate cancer, which is being treated with a short course of conventional radiotherapy,” Small said in the statement. “The prognosis is excellent, and there are not expected to be any significant side effects.”
  • As ‘fiscal cliff’ nears, Obama schedule loaded with photo-ops, holiday parties, golf – Since returning from a trip to southeast Asia on Nov. 21, President Obama has managed to play three rounds of golf but has met face-to-face only once with Speaker John A. Boehner, the man with whom he is trying to strike a deal on taxes and spending that could prevent another recession.With the deadline for going over the “fiscal cliff” less than three weeks away, the president’s schedule this week is exceptionally light. It does not include any time on the links with Mr. Boehner, Ohio Republican, who is also an avid golfer.On Monday, Mr. Obama’s only public event was a trip to Detroit, where he held a campaign-style rally with union auto workers that was ostensibly a push for middle-class tax cuts but mainly showcased Mr. Obama’s criticism of Michigan’s new “right-to-work” labor law.“It seems to me, that time would have been better spent here in Washington, D.C., working on the fiscal cliff, but he was in Michigan,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander, Tennessee Republican.

    On Tuesday, Mr. Obama had lunch with Vice President Joseph R. Biden and spoke to Mr. Boehner by phone late in the day. The president spent much of his evening with first lady Michelle Obama posing for photographs with members of the White House press corps and their guests at a holiday party. (Mr. Obama actually has performed this function twice in the past week; there was another media holiday party at the White House on Dec. 5).

  • California prison health care receiver issues layoff notices – California Correctional Health Care Services has issued layoff warnings to 2,200 of its employees with a goal of axing 829 positions early next year.The cuts will touch nearly 60 job classifications around the state, from doctors to custodians and impact 38 jobs in Sacramento County. The statewide cuts take effect Mar. 31, 2013.The state normally issues three lay off warning notices for every position it cuts, and workers in danger of losing their jobs can displace less-senior counterparts in state government, so it’s not clear how many staff will actually lose work. Officials don’t have an estimate of savings from the reductions.
  • Day By Day December 12, 2012 – Figures – Flap’s Blog – Day By Day December 12, 2012 – Figures #tcot
  • Rep. Moran: Son’s Attack on Girlfriend “An Accident” – Virginia Rep. Jim Moran’s office has another statement about his son’s arrest for assaulting his girlfriend in Columbia Heights earlier this month. And it turns out it was all an accident, according to Moran, despite his son’s guilty plea to assault.”The situation was an accident,” Moran spokeswoman Anne Hughes writes in an email, adding that both Moran and his girlfriend testified to that in court. “Patrick didn’t hit or shove her.”Hughes claims that only Patrick Moran and his girlfriend were around to see the alleged attack. “They were the only two people who witnessed the scene,” writes Hughes. “In that sense, their statements are the only ones that matter.”That would contradict the police report, which describes both a Metropolitan Police Department sergeant and an Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration investigator seeing Moran slam his girlfriend’s head into a trash can cage outside the Getaway, a 14th Street NW bar.
  • Democratic senator Menendez employed illegal immigrant who was registered sex offender – U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez employed as an unpaid intern in his Senate office an illegal immigrant who was a registered sex offender, now under arrest by immigration authorities, The Associated Press has learned. The Homeland Security Department instructed federal agents not to arrest him until after Election Day, a U.S. official involved in the case told the AP.Luis Abrahan Sanchez Zavaleta, an 18-year-old immigrant from Peru, was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in front of his home in New Jersey on Dec. 6, two federal officials said. Sanchez, who entered the country on a now-expired visitor visa from Peru, is facing deportation and remains in custody. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss details of Sanchez’s immigration case.
  • Sandoval opts to expand Medicaid coverage for Nevada’s neediest – Sandoval opts to expand Medicaid coverage for Nevada’s neediest #tcot
  • Fiscal Cliff: Hundreds of Billions Apart – The bellowing on Capitol Hill about which side has offered more “specifics” to resolve the fiscal cliff showdown masks a larger problem for Washington: The two sides are still hundreds of billions of dollars apart on revenue and entitlement cuts.Not to mention, Republicans and Democrats are also light-years apart on policy details that back up those budget targets.That’s why there’s increasing skepticism in Washington that a deal actually can be reached before Jan. 1, and the country will go over the fiscal cliff.
  • Fiscal Cliff: 180 economists oppose tax hike – A letter signed by 180 economists opposed to tax increases as part of a fiscal cliff deal will be delivered to Congress on Wednesday, according to a national anti-tax group.The letter argues that hiking tax rates would have a “significant, negative impact on the economy” and is slated to be sent to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, said Pete Sepp, executive vice president of the National Taxpayers Union, the low-taxes advocacy group that coordinated the effort.
  • California Psychiatrists Paid $400,000 Shows Bidding War- Bloomberg – RT @BloombergNews: Why do California psychiatrists make more than $400,00? Examining a payroll system run amok |
  • War-making for Losers By Mark Steyn – The new US Army manual for troops heading east apparently blames the tendency of Afghanistan’s US-trained soldiers and policemen to shoot their western “allies” on “American cultural ignorance”. Fortunately, the manual offers a solution:The draft leaked to the newspaper offers a list of “taboo conversation topics” that soldiers should avoid, including “making derogatory comments about the Taliban”…I mean, it’s not like they’re the enemy or anything.…“advocating women’s rights,” “any criticism of pedophilia,” “directing any criticism towards Afghans,” “mentioning homosexuality and homosexual conduct” or “anything related to Islam.”
  • Inside the Boehner-Ryan Alliance – Robert Costa – National Review Online – Inside the Boehner-Ryan Alliance – The speaker and the former GOP veep contender are quiet partners #tcot
  • Democrats continue to find out what was in ObamaCare–and try to dismantle it | Mobile Washington Examiner – Democrats continue to find out what was in ObamaCare–and try to dismantle it | Mobile Washington Examiner #tcot
  • Inside the Boehner-Ryan Alliance – The speaker and the former GOP veep contender are quiet partners – Paul Ryan spent the summer and fall in the national spotlight, but this winter he’s a subdued presence. He’s rarely granting interviews, and his public appearances have been scattered, with the most high profile a speech at the Kemp Foundation dinner. His closest friends say that he wants to return to his work quietly, and that he’s uninterested in playing a prominent role in the fiscal-cliff debate, even though he’s the GOP’s reigning budget expert.
  • The Morning Flap: December 12, 2012 – Flap’s Blog – The Morning Flap: December 12, 2012 #tcot
  • Democrats continue to find out what was in ObamaCare–and try to dismantle it | Mobile Washington Examiner – Democrats continue to find out what was in ObamaCare–and try to dismantle it #tcot

The Morning Flap: December 12, 2012

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Pinboard Links, The Morning Flap

Chart of California State Worker Pay

These are my links for December 11th through December 12th:

  • California: A new ‘Mad Max’ sequel? – Californians increasingly may be on their own against criminals because of state and local budget problems. Two recent reports are scary.KCBS wrote, “Burglaries are up a startling 43 percent in Oakland this year compared to last, part of an ever-growing crime problem in the city…. The city could be down to a little more than 600 [police] officers by February, which would be 200 fewer than in 2008.”In San Bernardino, according to CBS News, “[City Attorney Jim] Penman said the city is dealing with bankruptcy, which has forced officials to cut its police force by about 80 officers.” Consequently, there’s been growing criticism about the police department’s response time.

    “Let’s be honest, we don’t have enough police officers. We have too many criminals living in this city. We have had 45 murders this year … that’s far too high for a city of this size,” Penman said.

    Talking to a local group, Mr. Penman also said, “Go home, lock your doors and load your gun.”

  • $822,000 Worker Shows California Leads U.S. Pay Giveaway – The California payroll totals reflected in the Bloomberg data have their roots in wage negotiations carried out during Davis’s time as governor.One of the first goals of state employee unions when Davis took over in 1999 after 16 years of Republican governors was to unwind curbs on pensions put in place by Governor Pete Wilso n in 1991. Workers also wanted broad wage increases.Unions persuaded the California Public Employees’ Retirement System to sponsor legislation called Senate Bill 400, which sweetened state and local pensions and gave retroactive increases for tens of thousands of retirees. Highway-patrol officers were granted the right to retire after 30 years of service with 90 percent of their top salaries, a benefit that was copied by police agencies across the state.

    California’s annual payment toward pension obligations ballooned to $3.7 billion in the current fiscal year from $300 million when the bill was enacted. Some cities that adopted the highway-patrol pension plan later cited those costs for contributing to their bankruptcy filings.

    Davis and the Legislature also agreed to labor contracts that gave 164,000 state workers pay increases of 4 percent in 1999 and again in 2000. Those contracts cost the state an extra $1.3 billion within a year, according to the state’s independent Legislative Analyst’s Office.

    There were more to come.

  • Democrats continue to find out what was in ObamaCare–and try to dismantle it – The Affordable Care Act was bad legislation, in part because it depended on plenty of imaginary budget savings. “This is a coverage bill, not a cost reduction bill,” top Senate staffer David Bowen said to a K Street audience after the bill passed. Bowen said that Senate Democrats had decided to do the same thing Massachusetts had done: “do coverage first, knowing that that would bring on a cost battle second.”But since the passage of Obamacare, the cost-controls and offsets have one-by-one been stripped out.First, Democrats killed the ill-conceived long-term-care-insurance measure, known as the CLASS Act. This provision, which provided government insurance for long-term care, was, amazingly, booked as reducing the deficit. This was ridiculous, and after the bill passed, Democrats realized it was a disaster, and they repealed the provision.

    Another reason the bill was supposed to “reduce the deficit” was an unusually onerous tax hike on small businesses. The provision, known as the “1099 provision” would have forced small businesses to file all sorts of new paperwork for all sorts of transactions (sell a digital camera, file a 1099), in the hope of picking up transactions that are taxable. Congress also repealed that provision.

    And now the health-care-industry lobbies that supported this subsidy-and-mandate-laden bill are lobbying to kill the cost-controls that offset the costs of its subsidies. All sorts of providers are lobbying to kill the Independent Payment Advisory Board. And the medical-device industry has convinced two Democratic Obamacare-backing Senators to try to kill the medical device tax:

  • Krauthammer: Right-To-Work “An Adjustment To Reality” – CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: This is an adjustment to reality. The fact is that, you know, in the glory days the 40s, the 50s, the 60’s, the UAW was able to give its workers the highest wages, benefits in the world. That was because of an anomaly that we were only industrial country that came out of second World War intact. Europe was on its knees, Germany and Japan were rubble. So, we thought that was the natural order of things. It wasn’t.And when the other industrial countries recovered, we got world competition as we have. We ran into bankruptcies, Chrysler now twice. We see that in the southern states where the transplants are without the unions. They weren’t the ones who went bankrupt last in 2008 and 2009. So it really is a choice. It’s a tough choice, and I sympathize with the unions, but the fact is that in the global economy where you have to compete on wages and other elements, of the units of production, you can you either have, you know, high wages with low employment or you can, as Obama would say, spread around the wealth.The fact is that in the right-to-work states, unemployment is 6.9%. And in the other stays the non-right-to-work, it’s 8.7. So you can choose to have fewer workers who enjoy higher, inflated, unnatural, if you like, wages, uncompetitive wages. Or you can have competitive wages and more people employed, more people with the dignity of a job and less unemployment, more taxation and more activity. I think it’s it the right choice but I understand how it’s a wrenching choice.
  • Union bastion Michigan joins right-to-work states
  • Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-11 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-11 #tcot
  • My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-11 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-11
  • Sitar Master Ravi Shankar Dies at Age 92 – Speakeasy – WSJ – R.I.P. RT @WSJ: Breaking: Indian sitar legend Ravi Shankar dies at 92
  • Fiscal cliff: GOP makes another counteroffer – House Republicans say they have sent President Barack Obama a fresh proposal that would “achieve tax and entitlement reform to solve our looming debt crisis and create more American jobs.”“As the speaker said today, we’re still waiting for the White House to identify what spending cuts the president is willing to make as part of the ‘balanced approach’ he promised the American people,” said Michael Steel, Speaker John Boehner’s spokesman. “The longer the White House slow-walks this process, the closer our economy gets to the fiscal cliff.”
  • Day By Day December 11, 2012 – Back in the USSR – Flap’s Blog – Day By Day December 11, 2012 – Back in the USSR #tcot
  • Wealthy group that includes Warren Buffett, Jimmy Carter calls for heftier estate tax – The Hill’s On The Money – Let them pay it all RT @thehill: Wealthy group that includes Warren Buffett, Jimmy Carter calls for heftier estate tax
  • Obamacare fee of $63 per person to begin in 2014 – Your medical plan is facing an unexpected expense, so you probably are, too. It’s a new, $63-per-head fee to cushion the cost of covering people with pre-existing conditions under President Obama’s health care overhaul.The charge, buried in a recent regulation, works out to tens of millions of dollars for the largest companies, employers say. Most of that is likely to be passed on to workers.Employee benefits lawyer Chantel Sheaks calls it a “sleeper issue” with significant financial consequences, particularly for large employers.

    “Especially at a time when we are facing economic uncertainty, [companies will] be hit with a multimillion-dollar assessment without getting anything back for it,” said Mr. Sheaks, a principal at Buck Consultants, a Xerox subsidiary.

  • Crossroads GPS Targets Democratic Senators Over The Fiscal Cliff – Crossroads GPS Targets Democratic Senators Over The Fiscal Cliff #tcot
  • Flap’s Dentistry Blog: American Dental Association Announces Resin Infiltration Procedure Code – American Dental Association Announces Resin Infiltration Procedure Code
  • The Morning Flap: December 11, 2012 – Flap’s Blog – The Morning Flap: December 11, 2012 #tcot

The Morning Flap: December 11, 2012

Posted Posted in Pinboard Links, The Morning Flap

Boehner and Obama

House Speaker and President Obama

These are my links for December 10th through December 11th:

  • Scalia quizzed at NJ’s Princeton on gay issue – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Monday found himself defending his legal writings that some find offensive and anti-gay.
    Speaking at Princeton University, Scalia was asked by a gay student why he equates laws banning sodomy with those barring bestiality and murder.
    “I don’t think it’s necessary, but I think it’s effective,” Scalia said, adding that legislative bodies can ban what they believe to be immoral.
    Scalia has been giving speeches around the country to promote his new book, “Reading Law,” and his lecture at Princeton comes just days after the court agreed to take on two cases that challenge the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
    Some in the audience who had come to hear Scalia speak about his book applauded but more of those who attended the lecture clapped at freshman Duncan Hosie’s question.
    “It’s a form of argument that I thought you would have known, which is called the ‘reduction to the absurd,'” Scalia told Hosie of San Francisco during the question-and-answer period. “If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?”
    Scalia said he is not equating sodomy with murder but drawing a parallel between the bans on both.
    Then he deadpanned: “I’m surprised you aren’t persuaded.”
    Hosie said afterward that he was not persuaded by Scalia’s answer. He said he believes Scalia’s writings tend to “dehumanize” gays.
    As Scalia often does in public speaking, he cracked wise, taking aim mostly at those who view the Constitution as a “living document” that changes with the times.
    “It isn’t a living document,” Scalia said. “It’s dead, dead, dead, dead.”
  • An Increasingly Polarized Nation– Gerald Seib: “Based on nearly complete results, of the 234 Republicans elected to the House, just 15 come from districts that the Democratic president carried… Of 201 Democrats elected, just nine come from districts Republican Mitt Romney carried… Not only are House members coming from reliably partisan districts, many are winning in landslides. In this fall’s election, 125 House members — 42 Republicans and 83 Democrats — won their districts with 70% or more of the vote…””The situation is similar in the Senate. There will be 45 Republican senators in the new Congress. Only 10 of them come from states President Obama won. There will be 55 Democrats and independents who caucus with Democrats. Just 11 of them come from states Mr. Romney won…””Voting in that presidential race, meanwhile, was starkly partisan. President Obama won the votes of just 6% of Republicans, exit polls indicate. Mr. Romney won just 7% of Democrats.”New York Times: “Of the 234 House Republicans who will sit in the 113th Congress, 85 percent won re-election with 55 percent of the vote; more than half of next year’s House Republican Conference won more than 60 percent. And virtually every one of them ran on holding the line against tax increases and the Obama agenda.”
  • ‘Dr. No’ of Senate says ‘yes’ to taxes– The Oklahoma senator and obstetrician known as “Dr. No” has taken on the most unlikely of roles: getting Republicans to say “yes” to tax hikes.Tom Coburn, who has blocked dozens of bills, infuriated Democratic leaders and been on the lopsided end of some 96-3 votes, has been encouraging fellow Republicans both publicly and behind the scenes to break with the anti-tax orthodoxy that has come to define — some say hamstring — the modern GOP.
  • Cliff Talks Progress Between Obama, Boehner – Budget negotiations between the White House and Republican House Speaker John Boehner have progressed steadily in recent days, people close to the process said, breathing life into talks that appeared to have stalled.
    Related VideoLast August, President Obama and Congress put the U.S. economy on course to go over a “fiscal cliff.” With the 2012 presidential election decided, WSJ’s David Wessel tells you everything you need to know about the “cliff” but were afraid to ask.Both sides still face sizable differences before any agreement might be reached by the end of the year, and talks could well falter again over such controversial issues as taxes and Medicare before any deal is reached.The people familiar with the matter say talks have taken a marked shift in recent days as staff and leaders have consulted, becoming more “serious.” Both sides have agreed to keep details private, according to the people, who declined to detail where new ground was being broken.
  • The Demographics of Mobile News– In the growing realm of mobile news, men and the more highly educated emerge as more engaged news consumers, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, in collaboration with The Economist Group. These findings parallel, for the most part, demographic patterns of general news consumption.But there are some important areas of difference between mobile and general news habits-particularly among young people. While they are much lighter news consumers generally and have largely abandoned the print news product, young people get news on mobile devices to similar degrees as older users. And, when getting news through apps, young people say they prefer a print-like experience over one with high-tech or multi-media features.These are key findings of an analysis of mobile news habits across a variety of demographic groups. This report builds off an earlier PEJ and The Economist Group report, The Future of Mobile News, which found that half of U.S. adults now own mobile devices and a majority use them for news. Both reports are based on a survey of 9,513 U.S. adults conducted from June-August 2012 (including 4,638 mobile device owners). Men, especially young men, are heavier mobile news consumers than women. More than 40% of men get news daily on either their smartphone and/or tablet, compared with roughly 30% of women. On the tablet specifically, men check in for news more frequently and are more apt to read in-depth news articles and to watch news videos. Women, on the other hand, are more likely than men to use social networks as a way to get news.
  • Report: Bill Clinton really wants Hillary to run for president again | Mobile Washington Examiner – Report: Bill Clinton really wants Hillary to run for president again #tcot
  • Report: Bill Clinton really wants Hillary to run for president again– Former president Bill Clinton really wants his wife Hillary to run for president again according to a report by Jodi Kantor of the New York Times. From the article:Bill Clinton, however, sometimes cannot keep himself from verbally gaming out another campaign for her, said a friend who recently spent time with him. “Every indication is that he would really want her to run,” the friend said.It appears that someone is anxious to be America’s first “First Gentleman” in the White House.
  • Preparing for ‘fiscal cliff,’ investors move assets to avoid higher taxes– As lawmakers struggle to agree on a plan to avert the series of tax increases looming next year, many investors are taking preemptive action to get out of harm’s way.Americans are moving to sell investment homes, off-load stocks, expand charitable donations and establish tax-sheltering gifts before the end of the year. Financial advisers and accountants say people are trying to avoid the higher taxes that will take effect in 2013 if Washington does not avert the “fiscal cliff.”For the most part, the people moving their assets are the wealthy, who have the most to lose even if a deal is struck. Ordinary Americans also are in line for higher income and payroll taxes and fewer deductions and tax credits if the nation goes over the fiscal cliff. But since most of their earnings come through wages, there is little they can do to minimize the impact. Also, the majority of investment income earned by middle-income people comes through tax-deferred vehicles such as individual retirement accounts and 401(k)s, making the possible changes in taxes on investment returns largely immaterial.
  • GOP mute as Supreme Court tackles gay marriage – GOP mute as Supreme Court tackles gay marriage #tcot
  • Rubio, McCain huddle on immigration reform
  • Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-10 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-10
  • Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-10 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-10 #tcot
  • My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-10 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-10
  • Boom! Obama Campaign Unleashes Its List on Congress | TechPresident – Boom! Obama Campaign Unleashes Its List on Congress | TechPresident #tcot
  • CDT Code for Resin Infiltration Gives Practices Additional Treatment and Billing Options– The American Dental Association (ADA) has announced that resin infiltration of incipient smooth surface lesions is now covered by a 2013 CDT Code classification. The newly defined classification allows practices to accurately code and bill for Icon® by DMG America, a resin infiltration technology that fills, reinforces, and stabilizes demineralized enamel for the purpose of arresting the progression of incipient carious lesions and removing cariogenic white spots. Resin infiltration is a new treatment that has been gaining popularity as an alternative treatment that ends the “wait and see” approach to caries management, without having to “drill and fill.”Icon is the first product to bridge the gap between prevention (fluoride therapy) and traditional caries restoration. Icon’s micro-invasive infiltration technology can be used to treat facial and proximal carious lesions up to the first third of dentin (D-1). Classification from the ADA gives more practices the ability to offer their patients a less invasive, pain free alternative to aggressive treatment techniques. This treatment is performed in a single visit without drilling, anesthesia or the sacrifice of healthy tooth structure. Clinicians can immediately treat upon discovery versus waiting to see whether the caries will progress.The official classification defines resin infiltration as: Application of a resin material engineered to penetrate and fill the sub-surface pore system of an incipient caries lesion to strengthen, stabilize, and limit the lesion’s progression, as well as mask visible white spots.
  • Caffeinated Coffee Reduces the Risk of Oral Cancer? – Locum Tenens Dentist – Caffeinated Coffee Reduces the Risk of Oral Cancer?
  • Boom! Obama Campaign Unleashes Its List on Congress | TechPresident – Boom! Obama Campaign Unleashes Its List on Congress #tcot
  • Boom! Obama Campaign Unleashes Its List on Congress– The Obama political operation took a big step today, sending out an email to its millions of supporters asking them to call Members of the House of Representatives to pass a Senate-approved bill aimed at preventing the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts on the bottom 98% of U.S. taxpayers. In some cases, recipients are being asked to call their own Member; in others, where their Member is already in favor of the Senate bill, Obama activists are being asked to call Obama supporters whose representatives may be a swing vote. In case there’s any doubt, these emails are aimed at putting heat directly on Republican House members.”We know we can affect change in Washington when we raise our voices together,” says the email from Stephanie Cutter, the 2012 deputy campaign manager. “So pick up the phone and make a few calls. Republicans in the House need to hear from their constituents.”This email represents a critical shift in Obama’s political strategy. Paid for by the Obama Victory Fund 2012, it is not aimed at re-electing the President–the ostensible purpose of that campaign entity–but at moving his legislative agenda. It is the President using his army to go directly in the face of Members of Congress who are perceived to stand in his way. Apparently, OFA’s lawyers have decided that they can use their email list in this manner, after some earlier doubts. (It’s not clear that this crosses any lines; for example, John Kerry continued to use his 2004 campaign email list to advance his political agenda for years after losing his run for the White House.)
  • The Afternoon Flap: December 10, 2013 – Flap’s Blog – The Afternoon Flap: December 10, 2013 #tcot