These are my links for December 29th through January 2nd:
- Can the Republican party survive any more McConnell-brokered deals? – Mitch McConnell has many virtues as a legislator. Unfortunately, brokering deals advantageous to Republicans is not one of them.McConnell’s defenders will say that his most recent deal was the best any Republican could do under the circumstances. Perhaps. But this defense ignores the fact that it was McConnell’s prior deal — the one creating the “fiscal cliff” — that established these adverse circumstances.Let’s step back and consider the impact of McConnell’s deals on the valiant effort of House Republicans in 2011 to use the debt-ceiling to attack the debt. So far, the results are as follows: (1) the debt ceiling was raised, (2) the debt continued to soar, (3) the latest McConnell-brokered deal will increase, rather than decrease, the debt, and (4) taxes are about to go up.
- The McConnell Tax Hike – The McConnell Tax Hike will become law of the land. Mitch McConnell can and should take responsibility for it.The McConnell Tax Hike raises taxes on people making over $400,000.00, but it also raises taxes on the middle class. “More than 80 percent of households with incomes between $50,000 and $200,000 would pay higher taxes.”Not only does the McConnell Tax Hike stick it to the middle class, it raises taxes $41 for every $1 in spending cuts. Those spending cuts are ephemeral as there is $330 billion in new spending and a $4 trillion price tag over the next ten years.
Both Hollywood and NASCAR get carve outs. So too do wind energy companies.
The Republican Establishment in Washington, DC should be burned to the ground and salt spread on the remains. Republicans who saw Mitch McConnell and John Boehner destroy the last plank of the Republican Party are going to need to look elsewhere for a savior for their party. Boehner and McConnell have declared they will survive. Their party? They don’t really care.
Conservatives must look elsewhere. I do not advocate a third party. I advocate bring fresh blood into the GOP.
- Senate-Passed Deal Means Higher Tax on 77% of Households – The budget deal passed by the U.S. Senate today would raise taxes on 77.1 percent of U.S. households, mostly because of the expiration of a payroll tax cut, according to preliminary estimates from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center in Washington.More than 80 percent of households with incomes between $50,000 and $200,000 would pay higher taxes. Among the households facing higher taxes, the average increase would be $1,635, the policy center said. A 2 percent payroll tax cut, enacted during the economic slowdown, is being allowed to expire as of yesterday.
- McConnell’s World | The Page by Mark Halperin | TIME.com – RT @MarkHalperin Mitch McConnell is the reason we got this deal. What does he do for an encore?
- Timeline of the ‘fiscal-cliff’ showdown
- The fiscal cliff deal that almost wasn’t – House Speaker John Boehner couldn’t hold back when he spotted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in the White House lobby last Friday.It was only a few days before the nation would go over the fiscal cliff, no bipartisan agreement was in sight, and Reid had just publicly accused Boehner of running a “dictatorship” in the House and caring more about holding onto his gavel than striking a deal.“Go f— yourself,” Boehner sniped as he pointed his finger at Reid, according to multiple sources present.
Reid, a bit startled, replied: “What are you talking about?”
Boehner repeated: “Go f— yourself.”
The harsh exchange just a few steps from the Oval Office — which Boehner later bragged about to fellow Republicans — was only one episode in nearly two months of high-stakes negotiations laced with distrust, miscommunication, false starts and yelling matches as Washington struggled to ward off $500 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts.
The White House and Congress knew of the self-imposed deadline for more than 17 months and they still blew past it, as a president fresh off a strong reelection victory tested — and ultimately broke — the Republican Party’s fidelity to its tax-cuts-only governing philosophy.
It took a late intervention of two Senate veterans — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Vice President Joe Biden — to rescue the negotiations. Their relationship, forged over two decades on Capitol Hill, helped move Congress to a resolution because it wasn’t burdened by the raw political conflicts of the past and the legislative fights still to come.
- How the House Voted on Fiscal Cliff Legislation – Most House Republicans voted against the final fiscal cliff deal late Tuesday night, while just 16 Democrats joined them.A few notes from the votes:* The bill easily passed 257-167, with 217 votes needed for passage. Democrats voted 172-16 in favor while Republicans votes 151-85 against.
* GOP leadership was split. While House Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) and 2012 vice presidential nominee and Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.) voted yes, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) voted no.
* Ryan’s vote is noteworthy because another major 2016 presidential contender, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), was one of just eight senators to vote no early Tuesday morning, as did another potential presidential candidate, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).
* Other no votes included GOP firebrands Reps. Allen West (Fla.), Michele Bachmann (Minn.) and Joe Walsh (Ill.). West and Walsh lost reelection in November, while Bachmann narrowly won.
* GOP Senate candidate Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) voted no. She is a top hope for Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s (D-W.Va.) seat.
- Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2013-01-01 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2013-01-01
- Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2013-01-01 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2013-01-01 #tcot
- My Daily Twitter Digest for 2013-01-01 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2013-01-01
- Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-31 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-31
- Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-31 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-31 #tcot
- My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-31 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-31
- Gregory Flap @ Chumash Casino Resort – A little poker to start the New Year! (@ Chumash Casino Resort)
- LIVE: Final Day Before The Fiscal Cliff – Business Insider – RT @businessinsider: Fox News reports Reid hasn’t signed on to tax deal
- What’s in the fiscal cliff deal – Ginger Gibson – POLITICO.com – RT @politico: What’s in the fiscal cliff deal? @GingerGibson details:
- White House pre-spins fiscal cliff defeat | WashingtonExaminer.com – RT @conncarroll: White House pre-spins fiscal cliff defeat
- Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-30 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-30
- Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-30 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-30 #tcot
- My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-30 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-30
- Adventure Travel, Gear, and Fitness | OutsideOnline.com – CrossFit Endurance’s Unconventional 12-Week Marathon Training Plan | Endurance | #tcot
- Silent sub: Russian noiseless Borei class nuclear submarine immersed – Super-modern, powerful and almost noiseless Russian nuclear submarine Vladimir Monomakh has been put in water to become the third ship of the Borei project. The cruiser is about to begin sea trials and mooring to become fully operational in 2013.Vladimir Monomakh was laid down at Russia’s largest shipbuilding complex Sevmash, located on the shores of the White Sea in the town of Severodvinsk in northern Russia on March 19, 2006 – the 100th anniversary of the Russian submarine fleet.Borei-class submarine
Length: 170 m
Beam: 13.5 m
Draught: 10 m
Test depth: 450 m
14,720 tons surfaced
24,000 tons submerged
Speed: 29 knots (54 km/h)
Complement: 107 (55 officers)
Armament: 16-20 × Bulava SLBMs
6 × 533 mm torpedo tubes
It belongs to a class of missile strategic submarine cruisers with a new generation of nuclear reactor, which allows the submarine to dive to a depth of 480 meters. It can spend up to three months in autonomous navigation and, thanks to the latest achievements in the reduction of noise, it is almost silent compared to previous generations of submarines.
The submarine is armed with the new missile system, which has from 16 to 20 solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missiles Bulava (SS-NX-30 by NATO classification). The rocket is able to overcome any prospective missile defense system.
- NFL playoff matchups and dates are set – latimes.com – RT @latimessports: NFL playoff matchups and dates are set
- CrossFit Endurance’s Unconventional 12-Week Marathon Training Plan | Endurance | OutsideOnline.com – CrossFit Endurance’s Unconventional 12-Week Marathon Training Plan
- Hillary Clinton hospitalized after doctors discover blood clot – NBC Politics – Hillary Clinton hospitalized after doctors discover blood clot – NBC Politics #tcot
- Report: Hillary Clinton hospitalized after doctors find blood clot – The Hill’s Blog Briefing Room – RT @thehill: Report: Hillary Clinton hospitalized after doctors find blood clot by @danielstrauss4
- Hillary Clinton hospitalized after doctors discover blood clot – NBC Politics – RT @nbcwashington: Latest on Sec. Clinton’s hospitalization:
- Hillary Clinton ‘in hospital’ with blood clot – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been admitted to hospital in New York with a blood clot, officials say.Mrs Clinton suffered a concussion earlier this month after fainting and falling down.At the time, she was reported to have had a stomach virus and to have passed out after becoming dehydrated.
Mrs Clinton is due to stand down as secretary of state before US President Barack Obama officially begins his second term in January.
Doctors discovered the clot during a follow-up examination on Sunday, her spokesman Philippe Reines said.
Mrs Clinton is being treated with anti-coagulants. She was admitted to New York-Presbyterian Hospital, where she will remain for the next 48 hours so that doctors can monitor her medication.
- Pentagon Readying 800,000 for Rolling Layoffs – The Pentagon is preparing to notify its entire civilian workforce to prepare for furloughs if Congress and President Barack Obama are unable to reach a deal before Jan. 2 to avert automatic spending cuts.A senior defense official said Sunday that the Pentagon would notify 800,000 civilian workers to brace for furloughs in the new year, meaning the workers would be ordered to take mandatory leave without pay for a certain period. The warning is much gloomier than the agency recently offered employees, as it had said there wouldn’t be an immediate impact on personnel or operations if a deal wasn’t reached by January.But the senior official said that notices would go out soon after sequestration took effect. The official didn’t know when the first layoffs would take place, but said they weren’t likely to happen immediately.
The Pentagon must notify Congress of the possible layoffs because of labor laws requiring advance notice, the official said.
In a letter to employees before the December holidays, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta promised that other options for cutting costs would be examined before officials resort to layoffs and that sequestration “would not necessarily require immediate reductions in spending.”
- California Democrats signal they want to reform Proposition 13 – San Jose Mercury News – California Democrats signal they want to reform Proposition 13 #tcot
- Untitled (http://pollingmatters.gallup.com/2012/12/very-conservative-americans-least.html) – RT @gallupnews: Very Conservative Americans Least Likely to Want Fiscal Cliff Compromise #tcot
- GOP Sen. Cornyn will oppose Hagel nomination – Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), the Republican whip, told me in a phone interview this morning he would oppose the nomination of Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense: “I can’t support a Hagel nomination if it comes,” he said. He is the first senator to expressly state he would oppose Hagel. He told me he thinks there would be substantial opposition to Hagel on both sides of the aisle. “I’ve heard prominent Democrats concerned about his position on Israel. Many Republican have said they did not want to prejudge. But it would be a bad move and one of the reasons I’ve taken the position [to oppose]. ‘Mr. President don’t do that. It would be a bad nomination.’”
- As ‘fiscal cliff’ looms, Republicans have no political incentive to make deal with Obama – That mentality means that for the vast majority of Republicans in Congress, a deal is more dangerous than no deal. A deal creates the possibility of a primary challenge from their ideological right in districts and even states that, by and large, went heavily against Obama in November. No deal means they might — with the emphasis on “might” — face some blow back from constituents who want them to get something done for the good of the country and put the partisanship and politics aside.And so, if you are wondering why congressional Republicans won’t, in the words of Obama, just “take the deal,” now you know. They have every political reason not to.
- Pat Buchanan – Conservative Columnist and Political Commentator – Why the War Party Fears Hagel #tcot
- Press Releases – News – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell – RT @StewSays: Sen. McConnell’s speech today on the lack of urgency and his call to VP Biden is here: #FiscalCliff
- Untitled (http://gov.mtopgroup.com/ref/art1/house-live.htm) – RT @HouseFloor: 2:15:44pm – The House recessed. The next meeting is subject to the call of the Chair.
- McConnell reaches out to Biden, Reid steps back – RT @ZekeJMiller: RT @edatpost: Mitch McConnell reaches out to @VP Biden as Harry Reid steps back #fiscalcliff
- Why the War Party Fears Hagel – Neocon hostility to Hagel is rooted in a fear that in Obama’s inner councils his voice would be raised in favor of negotiating with Iran and against a preventive war or pre-emptive strike. But if Obama permits these assaults to persuade him not to nominate Hagel, he will only be postponing a defining battle of his presidency, not avoiding it.For Bibi Netanyahu is going to be re-elected this January. And the government he forms looks to be more bellicose than the last. And Bibi’s highest priority, shared by his neocon allies, is a U.S. war on Iran in 2013.If Obama does not want that war, he is going to have to defeat the war party. Throwing an old warrior like Chuck Hagel over the side to appease these wolves is not the way to begin this fight.
Nominate him, Mr. President. Let’s get it on.
- Latest on the fiscal cliff: Major setback – Negotiations between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have suffered a “major setback” after Republicans demanded the inclusion of new method for calculating entitlement benefits as part of the fiscal cliff package, according to Democratic sources.The provision, known as “chained CPI,” is opposed by many progressives because it would result in lower payments for Social Security beneficiaries.
- Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-29 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-29
- Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-29 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-29 #tcot
- My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-29 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-29
- The Healthy Flap: December 29, 2012 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – The Healthy Flap: December 29, 2012
- 52 ways to leave your blubber – latimes.com – 52 ways to leave your blubber
- Hope for hearing: Cochlear implants – CNN.com – Hope for hearing: Cochlear implants
- Medicare Cuts Loom Large as ‘Cliff’ Nears – ABC News – Medicare Cuts Loom Large as ‘Cliff’ Nears
- New year means changes for taxes, driving, light bulbs Page 1 of 4 | UTSanDiego.com – New year means changes for California taxes, driving, light bulbs #tcot
- Lawmakers in VIP loan program violated no rules, House panel says – latimes.com – Lawmakers in VIP loan program violated no rules, House panel says #tcot
- New law: Texting on hands-free devices while driving will be legal Jan. 1 – LA Daily News – New California law: Texting on hands-free devices while driving will be legal Jan. 1 #tcot
- The Fiscal Cliff – Something for Nothing? – Flap’s Blog – The Fiscal Cliff – Something for Nothing? #tcot
House GOP Speaker Boehner and President Obama will meet on the Fiscal Cliff this afternoon
These are my links for December 27th through December 28th:
- Speaker John Boehner notified House Republicans yesterday that not only should they return to Washington by Sunday, but they should also be prepared to stay in town all of next week. That means nothing will happen in either chamber of Congress until Boehner is reelected Speaker on January 3rd. In all likelihood, House Republicans will then also immediately pass the exact same legislation they passed this summer, extending all the current tax rates and redirecting the scheduled defense cuts into more domestic spending cuts. They will then ask Obama and Reid to craft their own bill addressing these problems in the Senate.In other words, nothing will have changed. We will be right back where we are today, waiting for Obama and Reid to act.Democrats will have a slightly more liberal Senate to work with next year, but it is not at all clear how many more votes for Obama’s preferred outcome he will have gained. If anything the Senate will have less moderates (in both parties) meaning Obama’s chances for a “grand bargain” will have shrunk, not grown.
And while it is likely House Republicans will agree to some type of tax cut in the new year, if anything their opposition to undoing the domestic side of the spending sequestration, let alone agreeing to increase in spending, will rise. “People who have contacted me are asking me to stand firm on what really matters, which is the spending side of the equation,” Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., told Politico.
Obama may have won reelection in 2012 by a four point, 51 percent to 47 percent, margin. But 51 percent of that very same electorate told exit pollsters that, “Government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals.” Meanwhile only 43 percent said, “Government should do more to solve problems.” That is hardly a mandate for Obama’s ambitious second term agenda.
- Health Reform: The ObamaCare Political Storms are Far From Over – The actual course of events after January 1, 2014 is likely to be stormy and filled with developments investigative reporters will enthusiastically describe and ACA opponents will point to with relish. There is every prospect that during the years 2014 and 2015 the political storms will be as furious as they were when a committed president and Democratic Congressional leadership gave life to the long-delayed dream of national health reform. Those who said that the presidential election would settle the fate of heath reform will be proven mostly right. But it will become clear that they had the date wrong: the key election will turn out to have been not 2012, but 2016.
- No charges in Countrywide VIP loans probe – onner and Sanchez noted that the full 10-member Ethics Committee unanimously determined “after lengthy and careful consideration that it does not appear that there is any specific credible evidence of actual violations that remain within the jurisdiction of the Committee.”More than a half-dozen current and former lawmakers, including retiring Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), obtained mortgages through the Countrywide VIP program. In some cases they saved thousands of dollars compared with what they would have paid if the transaction were handled differently, according to a report released in July by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.Other lawmakers who received Countrwide VIP loans include former Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), as well as Reps. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), Pete Sessions (R-Texas), Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.) and former Rep. Tom Campbell (R-Calif.).Dodd and Conrad were cleared of any wrongdoing by the Senate Ethics Committee in 2009.
All of the lawmakers said they were not aware of their inclusion in a VIP program, and denied seeking preferential treatment for the mortgages. Such an action would violate congressional ethics rules and potentially federal laws.
- As Swing Districts Dwindle, Can a Divided House Stand? – In 1992, there were 103 members of the House of Representatives elected from what might be called swing districts: those in which the margin in the presidential race was within five percentage points of the national result. But based on an analysis of this year’s presidential returns, I estimate that there are only 35 such Congressional districts remaining, barely a third of the total 20 years ago.Instead, the number of landslide districts — those in which the presidential vote margin deviated by at least 20 percentage points from the national result — has roughly doubled. In 1992, there were 123 such districts (65 of them strongly Democratic and 58 strongly Republican). Today, there are 242 of them (of these, 117 favor Democrats and 125 Republicans).So why is compromise so hard in the House? Some commentators, especially liberals, attribute it to what they say is the irrationality of Republican members of Congress.But the answer could be this instead: individual members of Congress are responding fairly rationally to their incentives. Most members of the House now come from hyperpartisan districts where they face essentially no threat of losing their seat to the other party. Instead, primary challenges, especially for Republicans, may be the more serious risk.
In the chart below, I’ve grouped the country’s Congressional districts into seven categories based on the results of presidential voting there from 1992 through 2012:
- The logic of House GOP intransigence – In the staunchly conservative districts that most House Republicans inhabit, playing ball with President Barack Obama on taxes and the debt means tempting a primary opponent in the next election. The threat of a challenge from the left that might come from digging in, on the other hand, is almost nonexistent for most members.As a matter of pure political self-interest, the post-election debate within the GOP about how to broaden the party’s appeal and avoid another Romney-esque debacle in four years is irrelevant in this quarter of GOP politics. For the overwhelming majority of House Republicans, the largely white, resolutely conservative electorate that Mitt Romney relied on — excessively, as it turned out — is all they need to ensure reelection.
- Why they want to go over the cliff – Washington’s Democratic and Republican power brokers have sent the message to the nation that going over the fiscal cliff is a worst-case scenario. But they’re not acting that way, not at all.Instead, many of them have calculated that it’s better to go over the cliff — at least temporarily — than swallow a raw deal.
- Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-27 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-27
- Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-27 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-27 #tcot
- My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-27 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-27
- Scott Brown: Obama Sent Fiscal Cliff Proposal – Business Insider – RT @businessinsider: Scott Brown: Obama Has Sent Senate Republicans A Fiscal Cliff Proposal
- Flap’s Dentistry Blog: The Morning Drill: December 27, 2012 – The Morning Drill: December 27, 2012
- The Morning Flap: December 27, 2012 – Flap’s Blog – The Morning Flap: December 27, 2012 #tcot
These are my links for December 22nd through December 27th:
- Why States May Want to Fall off the ‘Cliff’ – Falling off the “fiscal cliff” is a bad thing, right? Not necessarily for some state governments that could begin collecting more in estate taxes on wealth left to heirs if the United States goes over the “cliff,” allowing sharp tax increases and federal spending cuts to take effect in January.In an example of federal and state tax law interaction that gets little notice on Capitol Hill, 30 states next year could collect $3 billion more in estate taxes if Congress and President Barack Obama do not act soon, estimated the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, a Washington think tank.
The reason? The federal estate tax would return with a vengeance and so would a federal credit system that shares a portion of it with the 30 states. They had been getting their cut of this tax revenue stream until the early 2000s. That was when the credit system for payment of state estate tax went away due to tax cuts enacted under former President George W. Bush.
- The Year the Dreams Died – 2012 – Barack Obama in 2008 won an election on an upbeat message of change amid hopes that the first black president would mark a redemptive moment in American history. Four years later, the fantasies are gone. In continuing dismal economic times, Obama ran for reelection neither on his first-term achievements — Obamacare, bailouts, financial stimuli, and Keynesian mega-deficits — nor on more utopian promises.Instead, Obama’s campaign systematically reduced his rival, Wall Street financier Mitt Romney, to a conniving, felonious financial pirate who did dastardly things, from letting the uninsured die to putting his pet dog Seamus in a cage on top of the family car.
Obama once had mused that he wished to be the mirror image of Ronald Reagan — successfully coaxing America to the left as the folksy Reagan had to the right. Instead, 2012 taught us that a calculating Obama is more a canny Richard Nixon, who likewise used any means necessary to be reelected on the premise that his rival would be even worse. But we know what eventually happened to the triumphant, pre-Watergate Nixon after November 1972; what will be the second-term wages of Obama’s winning ugly?
- Obama’s Numbers Went Down, but Romney Never Inspired Voters to Vote | RealClearPolitics – The 2012 election was different. Barack Obama got 6 percent fewer popular votes than he had gotten in 2008. And Mitt Romney got only 1 percent more popular votes than John McCain had four years before.In retrospect, it looks like both campaigns fell short of their turnout goals. Yes, examination of election returns and exit polls indicates that the Obama campaign turned out voters where it really needed them.
That enabled him to carry Florida by 1 percent, Ohio by 3 percent, Virginia by 4 percent, and Colorado and Pennsylvania by 5 percent. Without those states, he would have gotten only 243 electoral votes and would now be planning his presidential library.
But the conservative bloggers who argued that the Obama campaign’s early voting numbers were below target may have been right. If Mitt Romney had gotten 16 percent more popular votes than his predecessor, as John Kerry did, he would have led Obama by 4 million votes and won the popular vote 51 to 48 percent.
Romney, like Kerry, depended on voters’ distaste for the incumbent; he could not hope to inspire the devotion Bush enjoyed in 2004 and that Obama had from a diminished number in 2008.
But to continue this counterfactual scenario, if Obama had won 23 percent more popular votes this year than in 2008, he would have beaten Romney by 85 million to 69 million votes and by 54 to 44 percent.
In reality, Obama’s vote and percentage went down. Considering what happened in Bush’s second term, that suggests a course of caution and wariness for the re-elected president and his party.
- Piers Morgan: Bible And Constitution ‘Inherently Flawed,’ ‘Time For An Amendment To Bible’ – On Monday, CNN host Piers Morgan invited Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren on his program to discuss gay marriage and the bible. Fresh off his feud with Second Amendment rights activists following his full-throated defense of stricter gun control laws in the wake of the Newtown massacre, Morgan inspired further outrage among the religious when he told the pastor he thought it was time for an “amendment to the bible.” In Morgan’s opinion, the bible, like the American Constitution, is “inherently flawed.”
- Supreme Court won’t block Obama health law’s contraception mandate – he Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to block the Obama administration’s contraception mandate from taking effect.Justice Sonia Sotomayor rejected a request for an emergency injunction that would have shielded employers from the mandate.
by Hobby Lobby, an arts-and-crafts chain. The company’s Catholic owners say the contraception mandate violates their religious freedom.
Hobby Lobby might eventually win on that point, Sotomayor said, but the company didn’t meet the standard for an injunction blocking the mandate from taking effect.
The administration’s policy requires most employers to include contraception in their employees’ healthcare policies, without charging a co-pay or deductible. Churches and houses of worship are exempt, and religious affiliated institutions such as Catholic hospitals don’t have to cover contraception directly. (Their insurance companies cover the cost of making it available at no cost to the employee.)
But some Catholic employers say they should be able to opt out of the mandate simply because it violates their personal faith, no matter what type of business they run.
- Poll: 46% say Obama’s second term will be better – President Barack Obama looks primed to do a “better job” in his second term than he did in his first term, a plurality of Americans say.According to a CNN/ORC poll out Thursday, 46 percent of Americans think the president’s job performance will improve this time around, while 22 percent say Obama will do a worse job. Another three in 10 see Obama offering “about the same” performance as he did during his first administration.
- When will the right start hating Hillary Clinton again? – Her poll numbers are staggering. Fellow Democrats fear her. So do some Republicans. The main question now is, when will the right start hating Hillary Clinton again and kick a “Stop HRC” movement into high gear?You could hear the sounds of the ignition being turned during the past 10 days as an illness that led to a concussion (under circumstances that the public still knows little about) forced Clinton to cancel Senate testimony about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. That led to charges of a cover-up from some dependably anti-Clinton quarters, such as the New York Post and former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton.
- Obama looks to retain upper hand as ‘fiscal cliff’ negotiations resume – President Obama will strive to retain the political upper hand in negotiations over deficit reduction when he returns to Washington Thursday morning.Obama had been in Hawaii with his family since Saturday but is scheduled to arrive back at the White House just before noon as the nation approaches the year-end fiscal cliff.
- Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-26 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-26
- Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-26 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-26 #tcot
- My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-26 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-26
- Ed Driscoll » The Howard Kurtz Recursion – RT @rsmccain: Wow, @EdDriscoll is all over David Gregory like a cheap suit
- U.S. to Hit Debt Limit Monday | Fox Business – LOL Obama, you really put it to the House GOP, now didn’t you? #tcot
- Where’s Hillary? | The Weekly Standard – I she isn’t in a hospital having surgery then is she in the Middle East?
- Day By Day December 26, 3012 – The Princess American – Flap’s Blog – Day By Day December 26, 3012 – The Princess American #tcot
- Jerry Brown pushes new funding system for California schools – After California schools eliminated art programs and increased class sizes to survive budget cuts, they are finally on the verge of getting more money thanks to voter-approved taxes and economic recovery.But K-12 districts may not share equally in the expanding budget pie.
Gov. Jerry Brown is pushing hard to overhaul California’s convoluted school funding system. His plan has two major objectives: Give K-12 districts greater control over how they spend money, and send more dollars to impoverished students and English learners.
- Labor beat Prop. 32 via social media – Leaders of the California unions that spent $75 million to defeat Proposition 32’s union-busting campaign in November discovered something during the bruising battle: 40 percent of likely voters were not watching any Prop. 32-related TV commercials, even though the spots droned on nonstop throughout the fall.So the forces opposed to the measure, which would have banned the use of union payroll deductions for political contributions, changed tactics.
Fusing a sophisticated data-mining operation with messages sent through social media platforms such as Facebook, the unions changed how they were singling out voters younger than 40 who don’t watch TV. Within weeks, they saw support for their position among younger voters climb from 40 percent to 60 percent.
- In 2013, Millions Of Americans Face Obamacare Tax Hikes – As part of the negotiations over the fiscal cliff, Congress and President Obama are battling over whether to raise marginal tax rates at the very top of the income ladder.Regardless of how these talks turn out, millions of Americans are already facing tax hikes thanks to Obamacare.
Obamacare’s authors chose to offset about half of the trillion-dollar cost of the law through higher taxes. Since the Supreme Court upheld the law’s individual mandate and allowed states to opt out of its Medicaid expansion, though, the cost estimate has swelled to $1.76 trillion between 2012 and 2021.
In 2013, a number of Obamacare’s taxes will go into effect. Each will increase the cost of health care, yield job losses, and deprive our struggling economy of investment. These are the true costs of Obamacare.
- FreedomWorks tea party group nearly falls apart in fight between old and new guard – The day after Labor Day, just as campaign season was entering its final frenzy, FreedomWorks, the Washington-based tea party organization, went into free fall.Richard K. Armey, the group’s chairman and a former House majority leader, walked into the group’s Capitol Hill offices with his wife, Susan, and an aide holstering a handgun at his waist. The aim was to seize control of the group and expel Armey’s enemies: The gun-wielding assistant escorted FreedomWorks’ top two employees off the premises, while Armey suspended several others who broke down in sobs at the news.
The coup lasted all of six days. By Sept. 10, Armey was gone — with a promise of $8 million — and the five ousted employees were back. The force behind their return was Richard J. Stephenson, a reclusive Illinois millionaire who has exerted increasing control over one of Washington’s most influential conservative grass-roots organizations.
Stephenson, the founder of the for-profit Cancer Treatment Centers of America and a director on the FreedomWorks board, agreed to commit $400,000 per year over 20 years in exchange for Armey’s agreement to leave the group.
- Gallup poll: Public’s fear of falling over ‘fiscal cliff’ grows – A new poll finds the public’s fears over the looming “fiscal cliff” growing, as the year-end deadline for a deficit deal nears.Fifty percent of those surveyed in a new Gallup poll released Wednesday believe President Obama and lawmakers will reach an agreement to avoid January’s set of tax increases and automatic spending cuts. Forty-eight percent are doubtful a deal will be reached in time.
- Starbucks makes political push on fiscal cliff – CNN Political Ticker – CNN.com Blogs – RT @PoliticalTicker Starbucks makes political push on fiscal cliff –
- Fiscal Cliff: Fears mount over dive, poll says – POLITICO.com – RT @politico Poll: Americans are rapidly becoming more pessimistic about averting the fiscal cliff
- Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-25 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-25
- Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-25 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-25 #tcot
- My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-25 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-25
- Affordable Care Act presents many unknowns for California officials – As California positions itself at the vanguard of the national healthcare overhaul, state officials are unable to say for sure how much their implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act will cost taxpayers.The program, intended to insure millions of Americans who are now without health coverage, takes states into uncharted territory. California, which plans to expand coverage to hundreds of thousands of people when the law takes effect in 2014, faces myriad unknowns. The Brown administration will try to estimate the cost of vastly more health coverage in the budget plan it unveils next month, but experts warn that its numbers could be way off.
The costs will be astronomical and the POLS will be scrambling to pay for it all.
- Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-24 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-24
- Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-24 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-24 #tcot
- My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-24 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-24
- Merry Christmas 2012 – Flap’s Blog – Merry Christmas 2012 #tcot
- Realignment’s unintended consequence: No supervision, rehabilitation for criminals – The first wave of felons sent to county jails instead of state prisons under Gov. Jerry Brown’s public safety realignment plan are back on the streets after serving their sentences, and local law enforcement officials are worried they will trigger a spike in crime.Almost all of the felons are under no obligation to report to a parole agent or probation officer, and many did not get job training and other rehabilitation services while behind bars.
“Of those 9,000 who have been sentenced to jail in lieu of prison, about 90 percent of them are going to come out without supervision by a probation officer or a parole agent,” county Chief Probation Officer Jerry Powers said during a recent meeting of the Southern California Association of Governments.
- Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-23 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-23
- Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-23 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-23 #tcot
- My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-23 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-23
- Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-22 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-22
- Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-22 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-22 #tcot
- My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-22 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-22
- Gregory Flap @ Ronnie’s Diner – The pre- Christmas 10 miles is finished. Now, the protein plate at Ronnie’s! (@ Ronnie’s Diner) [pic]:
- Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-21 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-21
- President Obama’s dilemma – Carrie Budoff Brown – POLITICO.com – President Obama’s dilemma – Carrie Budoff Brown – #tcot
These are my links for December 19th through December 20th:
- Dec. 21, 2012: Fearful ‘end of world’ callers flood NASA – If there’s one government agency really looking forward to Dec. 22, it’s NASA.The space agency said it has been flooded with calls and emails from people asking about the purported end of the world — which, as the doomsday myth goes, is apparently set to take place on Dec. 21, 2012.The myth might have originated with the Mayan calendar, but in the age of the Internet and social media, it proliferated online, raising questions and concerns among hundreds of people around the world who have turned to NASA for answers.Dwayne Brown, an agency spokesman, said NASA typically receives about 90 calls or emails per week containing questions from people. In recent weeks, he said, that number has skyrocketed — from 200 to 300 people are contacting NASA per day to ask about the end of the world.
“Who’s the first agency you would call?” he said. “You’re going to call NASA.”
- House set to vote on Boehner’s Plan B – A scheduled showdown vote Thursday evening in the U.S. House will determine how Congress and the White House proceed on fiscal cliff negotiations.With less than two weeks until the automatic tax hikes and spending cuts of the fiscal cliff take effect, the House will consider two measures proposed by Speaker John Boehner in the latest wrinkle of tense negotiations with President Barack Obama.One of the proposals would amount to both a concession by Republicans and a hard-line stance against the president on taxes. It would extend tax cuts scheduled to expire at the end of the year for most people while allowing rates to increase to 1990s levels on income over $1 million.A second proposal would change the automatic spending cuts set to kick in next year under the fiscal cliff, replacing cuts to the military with reductions elsewhere.
The White House threatened Wednesday to veto Boehner’s tax plan, saying it would achieve little and diverted the focus from efforts to negotiate a broader agreement to reduce the nation’s chronic federal deficits and debt.
While considered a negotiating tactic to pressure Obama to make more concessions, the vote also seeks to turn public opinion that now backs the president over Republicans in the talks.
- Day By Day December 20, 2012 – As Good as it Gets – Flap’s Blog – Day By Day December 20, 2012 – As Good as it Gets #tcot
- Here’s What to Watch in Debate on GOP’s Plan B – Welcome to the preview of the debate on the Plan B bill—or is that bills?— where the drama will unfold according to an unacknowledged script of party politics.One of the leading actors in the recitation, House Speaker John Boehner, was not even in the room when the Rules Committee debated well into Wednesday night, before voting to send to the floor the speaker’s fiscal cliff proposal that extends Bush-era rates on people who earn $1 million or less as well as on spending cuts, a late addition to the agenda and a retread of a bill the House passed earlier this year.The spending-cut measure, dubbed the “magical mystery bill” by Democratic Rep. James McGovern of Massachusetts, because it was not added to the agenda until late Wednesday, is evidence that the speaker did not have the support in his conference for Plan B alone. Spending cuts were needed to sweeten the deal for the restive members of the conference.”Of course, spending cuts were a very important part of this and we passed the reconciliation package last May, and there were members who were concerned that this didn’t have spending cuts in it and so that’s why the inclusion of this will allow that to happen,” Chairman David Dreier said in an interview.
- As Election Sting Lingers, Republicans’ Recalibration Advances – An influential Republican operative lamented that Jindal cast light on something that had fallen out of the national dialogue, complaining that there’s no reason to remind the public of an issue that caused Republicans fits this past year. But Jindal, who is widely expected to consider a 2016 presidential bid, observed that the Democrats successfully painted the GOP as opposing the use of birth control. That misconception is something high-level Romney campaign aides Katie Gage and Rich Beeson have said was a tough one for them to refute during the election, noting that it hindered their candidate’s electoral prospects.In addition to losing support among women, Republicans lost the Latino vote by historic margins on Election Day. While officials on both sides of the aisle have cautioned that the Hispanic population doesn’t rise and fall based solely on the nation’s immigration policies, the optics of a legislative fight on the issue do hold significance.In March, the American Conservative Union will host its annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington. And while the country’s largest gathering of conservatives typically boasts a speaker roster peppered with controversial firebrands, the ACU unveiled a lineup of young and diverse headliners for the 2013 confab.Among the speakers are Tim Scott, the 47-year-old African-American congressman from South Carolina who was appointed to the Senate this week; Ted Cruz, a 41-year-old Canadian-born Latino who was elected to the Senate from Texas last month; Marco Rubio, also 41 and a Cuban-American senator from Florida; and Susana Martinez, the 53-year-old Mexican-American governor of New Mexico. The 2012 GOP vice presidential nominee, Paul Ryan, will also speak, as will Ron Paul, Jim DeMint and noted immigration reform champion Jeb Bush.
- The Auto Bailout Failure Is Now Complete – You may recall that during the presidential election, the Treasury Department refused requests by General Motors to unload the government’s stake in the giant automaker.Taxpayers had sunk $50 billion into a union bailout in 2009 and were now proud owners of 26.5 percent of the struggling company. Reportedly, GM had growing concerns that the stigma of “Government Motors” was hurting sales in the United States. At the time, any transaction would have come at a steep loss to taxpayers and undermined the president’s questionable campaign assertions that the auto union rescue had been a huge success.Well, now that the election is over and the Treasury Department is freed of political considerations, it plans to sell its 500 million shares of stock over the next 12 to 15 months and ease its way out of the company. GM will buy around 200 million shares at $27.50 per share by the end of the year. GM’s buy brings taxpayers back to around $5.5 billion of the $27 billion the company still owes. The special inspector general for TARP estimated in October that the Treasury would need to sell the remaining 500 million shares at $53.98 per share just to break even on its investment.Once GM buys its 200 million shares, the taxpayer stake in the company will drop to 19 percent, but the price to break even on the remaining 300 million shares will be around $70 per — or, in other words, probably never. As of this writing, GM shares are trading at around $27 per share. That, in the Obama era, is considered a successful transaction between the state and private industry. So successful that you’ll also remember that during the campaign, Obama maintained that “what we did with the auto industry, we can do in manufacturing across America.”
Taxpayer funds and unions for everyone.
- Fiscal Cliff’s Dirty Secret: It’s Not About Taxes At All, But Too Much Spending – There’s a lot of talk right now about an impending fiscal cliff. But we already went over a cliff economically in this country a long time ago.The current debate over tax hikes is an empty one built upon a false premise. The debate is whether raising tax rates will address our current crisis. The premise is that it is a lack of taxation that has led to the crisis. Both are hopelessly wrong.President Obama’s proposed tax increases on the top 2% of earners would fund the federal government for about eight days. Even if we taxed Americans earning over $1 million on 100% of their income, we would raise only about $600 billion in revenue.Taxing citizens at this level is a tyranny even Europe hasn’t reached, and still it would only address about one-third of our deficit.
If one actually does the math, “taxing the rich” turns out to be no real solution at all, only fantasyland rhetoric.
Every dollar the government takes is another dollar used unproductively. Every dollar removed from the private sector and wasted in the hands of bureaucrats is a dollar that will not be used to purchase goods, to pay for services or to meet a payroll.
- Examiner Editorial: Boehner’s Plan B is conservatives’ best hope | WashingtonExaminer.com – You are wrong, sir | RT @JohnCornyn Examiner: Plan B is conservatives best option
- Mass. poll: Scott Brown for John Kerry’s seat – Kevin Robillard – POLITICO.com – Brown beats all Dems handily | RT RT @politico New Massachusetts poll: Scott Brown for John Kerry’s seat:
- Here’s What to Watch in Debate on GOP’s Plan B – Hopefully failure RT @HotlineJosh RT @mikecatalini: What to watch for in today’s Plan B floor debate in the House
- Examiner Editorial: Boehner’s Plan B is conservatives’ best hope | WashingtonExaminer.com – No way! RT @ByronYork RT @conncarroll: Examiner Editorial: Boehner’s Plan B is conservatives’ best hope #tcot
- Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-19 – Flap’s California Blog – Flap’s California Blog @ Flap Twitter Digest for 2012-12-19
- Is the Handwriting on the Wall for Rep. Buck McKeon? – Flap’s Blog – Is the Handwriting on the Wall for Rep. Buck McKeon? #tcot
- Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-19 – Flap’s Blog – FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog – Flap’s Blog @ Flap Twitter Daily Digest for 2012-12-19 #tcot
- My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-19 – Locum Tenens (Temporary) Dentist – Gregory Cole, D.D.S. – My Daily Twitter Digest for 2012-12-19
- Philip Klein: How to evaluate ‘fiscal cliff’ proposals | WashingtonExaminer.com – Philip Klein: How to evaluate ‘fiscal cliff’ proposals | #tcot
- Philip Klein: How to evaluate ‘fiscal cliff’ proposals – After weeks of relative calm, America’s “fiscal cliff” drama has now been overtaken by a flurry of proposals, counterproposals and legislative maneuvering.As various ideas have been floated, they have triggered two main reactions among conservatives. One is to insist that if Republicans firmly stand their ground long enough, they will eventually get what they want from President Obama. Another is to side with House Speaker John Boehner and to act as if anybody who rejects any of his proposals is completely detached from reality.If Republicans refuse to back any deal that doesn’t preserve all of the Bush-era rates in hopes of protecting the GOP’s reputation as the low-tax party, they risk accomplishing the exact opposite. Americans would likely blame the GOP for taxes going up on everybody — as would happen automatically on Jan. 1 if no deal is struck. At that point, Obama could propose a massive tax cut for those making less than $250,000 per year, and it would be difficult for Republicans to resist. If they continued to do so, their reputation as tax cutters would be deeply damaged.
- Obama Digital Team Say Mobile Ads Targeting Young, Females and Hispanics Worked – Obama Digital Team Say Mobile Ads Targeting Young, Females and Hispanics Worked #tcot
- Flap’s Dentistry Blog: New Prophylatic Antibiotic Guidelines for Joint Replacements Issued by the American Dental Association – New Prophylatic Antibiotic Guidelines for Joint Replacements Issued by the American Dental Association
- Judge Robert H. Bork – R.I.P. – Flap’s Blog – Judge Robert H. Bork – R.I.P. #tcot
- The Morning Flap: December 19, 2012 – Flap’s Blog – The Morning Flap: December 19, 2012 #tcot
- Day By Day December 18, 2012 – The Environmentalists – Flap’s Blog – Day By Day December 18, 2012 – The Environmentalists #tcot