• Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links and Comments for August 15th through August 16th

    These are my links for August 15th through August 16th:

  • Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links and Comments for July 5th on 14:23

    These are my links for July 5th from 14:23 to 14:28:

    • Dilbert July 5, 2011 – Option? | Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Dilbert July 5, 2011 – Option? #tcot #catcot
    • President 2012: Behind the Scenes, Christian Right Leaders Rally Behind Rick Perry – In early June, TIME has learned, a group of prominent figures on the Christian Right held a conference call to discuss their dissatisfaction with the current GOP presidential field, and agreed that Rick Perry would be their preferred candidate if he entered the race. Among those on the call were Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council; David Barton, the Texas activist and go-to historian for the Christian Right; and John Hagee, the controversial San Antonio pastor whose endorsement John McCain rejected in 2008.

      Religious conservatives have often played a substantial role in choosing past Republican nominees, but leaders on the Christian Right have been conspicuously quiet so far in this campaign season. Privately, however, they are enthusiastic about Perry and are encouraging the Texas governor to throw his ten-gallon hat into the ring.


      Read it all….

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    Flap’s Links and Comments for July 1st on 11:38

    These are my links for July 1st from 11:38 to 11:54:

    • Official Calls For Riverside, 12 Other Counties To Secede From California – Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone apparently thinks so, after proposing that the county lead a campaign for as many as 13 Southern California counties to secede from the state.

      Stone said in a statement late Thursday that Riverside, Imperial, San Diego, Orange, San Bernardino, Kings, Kern, Fresno, Tulare, Inyo, Madera, Mariposa and Mono counties should form the new state of South California.

      The creation of the new state would allow officials to focus on securing borders, balancing budgets, improving schools and creating a vibrant economy, he said.

      “Our taxes are too high, our schools don’t educate our children well enough, unions and other special interests have more clout in the Legislature than the general public,” Stone said in his statement.


      Shame there is no Ventura County mentioned but LA County is in between geographically.

    • Union curbs rescue a Wisconsin school district – "This is a disaster," said Mark Miller, the Wisconsin Senate Democratic leader, in February after Republican Gov. Scott Walker proposed a budget bill that would curtail the collective bargaining powers of some public employees. Miller predicted catastrophe if the bill were to become law — a charge repeated thousands of times by his fellow Democrats, union officials, and protesters in the streets.
      Now the bill is law, and we have some very early evidence of how it is working. And for one beleaguered Wisconsin school district, it's a godsend, not a disaster.

      The Kaukauna School District, in the Fox River Valley of Wisconsin near Appleton, has about 4,200 students and about 400 employees. It has struggled in recent times and this year faced a deficit of $400,000. But after the law went into effect, at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, school officials put in place new policies they estimate will turn that $400,000 deficit into a $1.5 million surplus. And it's all because of the very provisions that union leaders predicted would be disastrous.

      In the past, teachers and other staff at Kaukauna were required to pay 10 percent of the cost of their health insurance coverage and none of their pension costs. Now, they'll pay 12.6 percent of the cost of their coverage (still well below rates in much of the private sector) and also contribute 5.8 percent of salary to their pensions. The changes will save the school board an estimated $1.2 million this year, according to board President Todd Arnoldussen.

      Of course, Wisconsin unions had offered to make benefit concessions during the budget fight. Wouldn't Kaukauna's money problems have been solved if Walker had just accepted those concessions and not demanded cutbacks in collective bargaining powers?

      "The monetary part of it is not the entire issue," says Arnoldussen, a political independent who won a spot on the board in a nonpartisan election. Indeed, some of the most important improvements in Kaukauna's outlook are because of the new limits on collective bargaining.

      In the past, Kaukauna's agreement with the teachers union required the school district to purchase health insurance coverage from something called WEA Trust — a company created by the Wisconsin teachers union. "It was in the collective bargaining agreement that we could only negotiate with them," says Arnoldussen. "Well, you know what happens when you can only negotiate with one vendor." This year, WEA Trust told Kaukauna that it would face a significant increase in premiums.


      Read it all

    • President 2012: Bachmann gets nod from fourth Iowa Senator – The presidential hopes of U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) received a third nod from the ranks of the Iowa Senate. Late Thursday the Bachmann campaign announced that it had received the endorsement of Iowa Sen. Nancy Boettger, a Harlan Republican.

      “I’m excited to have Nancy’s support,” Bachman said in a prepared statement. “As a former educator, Nancy understands the importance of raising children to be good stewards in the future.”
      The Boettger family are farmers and also run a bed and breakfast.

      “Michele is the kind of no-nonsense leader that America needs,” Boettger said. “Michele will stand up for what is right in any situation and I’m proud to lend my support to her campaign.”

      The endorsement marks the fourth that Bachmann has received from the Iowa Senate, with Kent Sorenson and Brad Zaun also making their support official this week and Jack Whitver providing his endorsement in advance of Bachmann’s campaign kick-off event in Waterloo

  • Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links and Comments for June 26th on 15:59

    These are my links for June 26th from 15:59 to 16:03:

    • President 2012: Presidential candidates will be frequent visitors to California – latimes.com – California voters will play a nominal role in the presidential campaign. But a steady stream of candidates is circling the state, wooing wealthy donors who will probably spend well over $100 million on the 2012 election.

      Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on Thursday finished a three-day, five-city swing, picking up checks from GOP lawmakers at a luncheon in Sacramento, tech titans at a barbecue in a tony Silicon Valley enclave, and moneyed Republicans at events in Southern California. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman will hold four events on Sunday and Monday, ending with a dinner at the upscale Island Hotel in Newport Beach. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty also recently visited the state.

      "They're coming here because they're smart. California is home to the largest Republican donor base upon the planet, and any well-organized candidate who's going to work to raise money must include California," said Ron Nehring, former chairman of the state GOP.

      Many candidates are more focused on donors than voters at the moment, as the fundraising quarter ticks to a close June 30, and candidates seek to demonstrate their fiscal might in disclosure reports. It's not limited to one side of the aisle: In recent weeks, President Obama and his wife, Michelle, headlined star-studded fundraisers here.


      Donors and the campaign cash are the most important priorities for the Presidential candidates. You have to go where the big money is and it is in California.

    • California Death penalty pricetag: $308 million per man – Capital punishment’s supporters say death is a strong deterrent to crime.

      Capital punishment’s detractors say it’s barbaric, and a colossal waste of money.

      New ammunition to decide who is right comes in a new study titled “Executing the Will of the Voters? A Roadmap to Mend or End the California Legislature’s Death Penalty Debacle. ”

      The study’s authors come from both sides of the debate: U.S. 9th Circuit Judge Arthur L. Alarcon has prosecuted death penalty cases, and Loyola Law School professor Paula M. Mitchell argues against them

      They both agree that the system in California is horribly broken, and in dire need of reform.

      “Since reinstating the death penalty in 1978, California taxpayers have spent roughly $4 billion to fund a dysfunctional death penalty system that has carried out no more than 13 executions,” they say. ” The current backlog of death penalty cases is so severe that most of the 714 prisoners now on death row will wait well over 20 years before their cases are resolved. Many of these condemned inmates will thus languish on death row for decades, only to die of natural causes while still waiting for their cases to be resolved.


      Read it all

  • Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links and Comments for May 6th on 20:01

    These are my links for May 6th from 20:01 to 20:03:

    • Dentistry 2.0 – Dentists Linger In Social Network "Land of the Lost" – For many Americans the Internet has become a credible source of health information.  Medical sites like WebMD, MayoClinic.com, Vitals.com, Healthgrades.com and others offer unprecedented access to health information to feed this growing consumer appetite for health information.  According to a recent survey by Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, 61 percent of Americans turn to the web for online medical advice and information.  This trend will certainly grow as the penetration of the Internet and mobile devices continue to grow and change the way Americans demand, search, and consume media.

      At the same time, healthcare professionals, including dentists are seeking the best possible position online by developing websites for their practice, and increasingly using tools like search engines (organic and pay per click), blogging, and social media.   Although dentists have been using the web to promote their practices in the United States by spending thousand of dollars each year on the medium, aggregate data on quality of dental websites in terms of user experience, search engine friendliness, and patient conversion rates are not readily available in the marketplace.   Now dentists are speeding ahead into the wild west of social media and staking their claim on properties like Facebook.


      Read it all

    • Rudy Giuliani could be ‘talked into’ running in 2012 – Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani admitted Friday that he can "probably be talked into" a run for the presidency.
      While speaking to a group from the Republican National Lawyers Association at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Giuliani asserted that his major goal is for a Republican to be elected as president in 2012.

      But he wouldn't rule out his own bid when responding to the question of whether he will consider a run.
      "Sure, but not right now," he said. "I enjoyed the debate so much last night…I will, sure, think about it, but not yet."
      And if Giuliani turns out to be the best Republican for the job, the 2008 candidate for the GOP nomination said, "I could probably be talked into doing it."


      In other words, Rudy is running for Vice President. And, he would make a good one or Attorney General which I think really is the job he wants,if not President

  • Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links and Comments for May 5th on 09:25

    These are my links for May 5th from 09:25 to 09:29:

    • California to delay sending DMV registration bills – Jerry Brown Holding Out for More Taxes – California drivers who are scheduled to register their cars in July are getting a reprieve –- as the state won’t be sending them their annual registration bill just yet and is waiving any late fees for at least a month.

      But the move is hardly a gift from the cash-strapped state. It is part of an effort by lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown to buy time to negotiate a budget package that includes hiking vehicle registration fees.

      Under current law, the annual vehicle license fee that drivers must pay is set to drop from 1.15% of a car’s value to .65% on July 1. But Brown wants to keep the fee at 1.15% — the difference amounts to $5 for every $1,000 a car is worth — and he signed a new law, SB 94, Wednesday to delay sending registration notices.

      The governor doesn’t want drivers to get a smaller bill this month and, should he succeed at extending the rate hike, a second bill asking them to make up the difference later.

      "It is going to eliminate some potential confusion and duplication," said Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer.

      Roughly 2.4 million vehicles are registered in California each month, said Mike Marando, a spokesman for the Department of Motor Vehicles. Drivers with July registration dates will not receive their renewal notices the usual 60 days in advance and they will not have to pay late fees for 30 days, he said. In addition, highway patrol officers will be instructed to ignore late registrations in the month of July.


      Come on Jerry. Just cut the budget.

      More political machinations from the California Democrats in order to exact more money from California taxpayers.

    • President 2012: Accepting award, Mitch Daniels highlights Syrian background – Mitch Daniels drew extensively on his Syrian heritage in accepting an award from an Arab-American group Wednesday night, connecting his own family’s journey to the United States with the uprisings unfolding in his ancestral homeland and elsewhere in the Arab world.

      “There have been the same stirrings, same yearnings for freedom that have busted loose elsewhere," the Indiana governor said during his second public appearance of the day in Washington. “May Syria and all the lands near it soon become places of peace, and freedom and self-determination.”

      Daniels, who gave a major education speech earlier in the day as he mulls a presidential bid, compared his paternal grandfather’s emigration from Syria to Ellis Island in 1905 to the broader struggles against dictatorship and autocracy in the Middle East, identifying the desire for freedom and a better life as the common threads.

      “The same dreams and the same hopes and the same determination to make a great life for themselves that brought Elias Esau Daniels to this country — of which he knew nothing, whose language he did not speak — is alive now in that part of the world,” Daniels said as he accepted the Kahlil Gabran "Spirit of Humanity" award at the Arab American Institute Awards Gala. "And they have a chance to bring the same sort of wonderful opportunities he made possible for my father and ultimately for me.


      Read it all.

      Decision time coming for Daniels in the next 10 days….

  • Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links and Comments for May 5th on 09:03

    These are my links for May 5th from 09:03 to 09:22:

    • Mitch Daniels: He’d call Dick Lugar! But Wait Jennifer Rubin….. – Strike two: Liberals are comforted by the notion that he is “if not a one-issue candidate, certainly a one-theme candidate” and is more than happy to take the meat ax to defense spending. Why, sort of a penny-pinching Obama!

      And then there is this:

      On foreign policy, he said that he’s a “water’s edge” kind of guy. He is sure that the President is in a position to know a lot more about what’s needed in Afghanistan than he is. He said he didn’t think Obama had “made the case” for the Libya intervention, though this doesn’t mean there is no case. Pressed to say something critical about Obama’s foreign policy, he said that he was “uncomfortable” with the President’s “apology tours.” But he didn’t look comfortable saying it.

      Jamie Rubin asked him a clever question, right out of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?”: if he had just one phone call to make about some foreign policy issue and he could call either Richard Lugar or John McCain, which would it be? After a little hemming and hawing, he said that he is “always comfortable” talking with Lugar. Though of course he respects McCain, too, he hastened to add. Maybe he was just being nice about his state’s senior senator, but I hope he was expressing a preference for diplomacy (Lugar’s M.O.) over warmongering (McCain’s).

      That’d be strike three. Relying on the Senate Republican most despised by the conservative base (who’s sure to be primaried) and who has run interference for President Obama on foreign policy issues such as START and a Russian reset will set alarm bells ringing on the right. If personnel is policy, then a Daniels administration would seem to be to the left of George H.W. Bush.


      Read it all.

      In three strikes Jennifer (Jamie) Rubin outs Mich Daniels as a liberal squish who either knows nothing about foreign policy or knows too much.

      Not a friend of the Indiana Governor, in post after post, she dissects his foibles while ignoring his successes and history.

      She whines that Daniel's spokesman does not call her back and then sets him up with a Hobson's choice question.

      Every pundit knows Daniel's connection to Senator Richard Lugar. It goes back decades.

      But, a choice between McCain and Lugar? I mean, please.

      Remember Mitch Daniels was Ronald Reagan's political director in the White House as well as George W. Bush's OMB Director. He is decidely pro-life and his conservative agenda which has made it into Indiana law is a record everyone can evaluate.

      Oh yeah and Indiana looking and speaking Daniel's grandfather came from Syria in the early 1900's.

      I wish we could see some balance from jennifer Rubin in her writings but since we won't I suppose I will have to continue to provide some counter-weight.

    • President 2012: ‘Probably not’ ready: Mitch Daniels on foreign policy – Conservative elites swoon over Mitch Daniels' fiscal conservative bona fides, but the Indiana governor says he's "probably not" ready for a foreign policy debate with President Barack Obama.

      Continue Reading
      Daniels passed on a chance to criticize Obama's Afghanistan troop surge Tuesday, telling reporters in New York that the commander-in-chief is privy to top secret information he does not have. The comments came as he's on a three-day East Coast swing, with a major education speech at the American Enterprise Institute set for Wednesday afternoon in Washington.

      The group of reporters included National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru, who reported Daniels' frank "probably not" response to the question of if he could engage Obama in a foreign policy debate at the moment.

      "His foreign-policy details are TBD," Ponnuru wrote.

      "Daniels said that 'it cannot be illegitimate to ask' if some of the country’s military commitments should be unwound,' but he has not yet reached any conclusions about which should be — or, at least, any he is willing to share," Ponnuru reported. "On Afghanistan he refuses to second-guess the decisions of the president, to whose greater access to information he defers. On Libya he says only that he has not seen the case for intervention made. One gets the impression of someone who is much more cautious about foreign intervention than Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty, but also cautious about saying so. He was asked if he were ready to debate President Obama on foreign policy. 'Probably not.' (He is candid.)."


      Daniels is candid and terribly non-spin – almost to a fault. This will play well in any Presidential or Vice Presidential debates.

  • Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links and Comments for May 4th on 08:43

    These are my links for May 4th from 08:43 to 08:46:

    • President 2012: Where is Mitch Daniels’s ‘A’ team? – First, the lineup is exceptionally light on presidential campaign experience. Mark Lubbers was on a 1996 Dick Lugar presidential campaign (honest, the senior Indiana senator really did run once). Kim Alfano is the closest to a seasoned national campaign adviser, and her experience consists primarily of a brief stint as a consultant the ill-fated Fred Thompson campaign. GOP advisers with whom I spoke praise Alfano’s abilities, but are generally not impressed with the quality and level of the campaign team’s experience. Indeed, if you compare the list to the all-star lineups put together by Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty you wonder whether Daniels understands the rigors of a national campaign.

      Second, as one adviser put it, “You’d think for a guy with strong Bush ties that you’d see some of the Bush operatives lining up to help Daniels get prepared. So far that doesn’t seem to be the case.” This is especially true, if, as has been reported, Daniels has spoken to former president George W. Bush about a run. Two GOP communications gurus point to the presence of the former head of the National Economic Council, Al Hubbard. He’s certainly a respected economist and able fundraiser, but not the sort who would run a campaign or serve as a top strategist. Others suggest that once Daniels comes on board many Bush administration veterans will climb on board.

      In short, it doesn’t appear there as of now is an “A” team of top-notch advisers on whom Daniels would rely. That is perhaps to be expected at this stage given former White House staffers’ observations that Daniels is someone who keeps his own counsel. That, in a presidential race, however, has considerable downsides and leaves a candidate unused to the national spotlight without critical sounding boards. (In private, Daniels has suggested he really can do without a lot of consultants.) If Daniels does throw his hat into the ring, he most likely will need to bolster his home-state team with some seasoned pols.


      Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post has a "hard-on" for Mitch Daniels i.e. she criticizes him at every turn.

      One wonders who then will be Jennifer's pick will be for the race for 2012?

      Jennifer is a good conservative pundit but when you get on her bad side, I guess you better be able to take the heat.

    • President 2012: Mitch Daniels’ political inner circle – The Mitch Daniels Inner Circle (listed alphabetically)

      *Kim Alfano: Alfano served as Daniels’ media consultant in his 2004 and 2008 gubernatorial campaigns. While Daniels’ lore holds that he writes his own television ads, Alfano was also intimately involved in helping craft the populist persona that proved so successful for Daniels in Indiana. Alfano has also done work in the past for former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign and made the ads for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad during the 2010 election.

      * Debbie Hohlt: Hohlt runs Daniels’ D.C. office and is the main point of contact for the governor in the nation’s capital. She’s been in GOP politics for years including serving a stint at the Republican National Committee as deputy communications director during the 1988 election. Her husband, Rick, is a major GOP fundraiser — and a native Hoosier.

      * Eric Holcomb: Holcomb is the first among equals in Daniels’ political world, having managed the governor’s 2008 re-election campaign. He is now the chairman of the Indiana Republican party, replacing Murray Clark, another Daniels’ ally, who stepped down at the end last year.

      * Al Hubbard: Hubbard is an Indiana native who has spent considerable time in previous Republican Administrations, serving as head of the National Economic Council during George W. Bush’s second term. Hubbard was also a major fundraiser for Bush during the presiden’st two terms in office.

      * Mark Lubbers: Lubbers is a longtime friend of Daniels who served as his top political adviser for a time in the governor’s office. He also managed Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar’s 1996 bid for president and helped organize the reality television show Daniels created during his gubernatorial campaigns. Lubbers is married to Teresa Lubbers, a former state senator and now the Commissioner of Higher Education in Indiana.

      * Christine Matthews: Matthews is the low-profile pollster who handled survey research for Daniels during his 2004 and 2008 runs for governor. She is the president and founder of Bellwether Research.

      * Brian McGrath: McGrath is the executive director of Aiming Higher, a Daniels-aligned political action committee in the state.(The group sponsored ads slamming state House Democrats for leaving town earlier this year.) McGrath has a hand in the fundraising and policy-making worlds of Daniels, according to those in the know.