From the New York Times:
Beheadings Raise Doubts That Taliban Have Changed
The boss of Britain’s biggest public sector union has come up with a foolproof plan to roll back the spending cuts being imposed by the Conservative-led coalition government: sabotage this summer’s Olympics in London.
Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, thinks the modest cuts (around three per cent in real terms over the term of this government) to public services are such a provocation the wrecking the games would be justified. “If the Olympics provide us with an opportunity, then that’s exactly one that we should be looking at,” McCluskey told the left-wing Guardian newspaper. He also called on members of the public to support striking workers with ‘civil disobedience’.
Unite is the biggest single donor to the opposition Labour party, and McCluskey’s remarks were seized on by the Conservatives. Prime Minister David Cameron forced Labour leader Ed Miliband to condemn the threat, and so risk falling out with the union which not only bankrolls his cash-strapped party, but played a key role in making him leader.
McCluskey has badly misjudged the mood of the British people. The upcoming games have captured the imagination of the country, and are set to provide a welcome boost to morale amid the current austerity and high unemployment. At the same time, in light of the economic situation people are growing tired of public sector unions campaigning against job losses, and cuts to pensions that are far better than most private sector workers can hope for.
The left in Britain is currently in some disarray, with the general public showing no inclination to revolt against the coalition’s policies, and criticism of Miliband’s leadership growing by the day. If the Olympics are disrupted by strikes, Cameron would likely win public support for a crackdown on public sector unions, and the Conservatives would receive a boost in their bid to win an outright majority at the next election.
Talk about over-sharing. As part of a safe sex marketing campaign for National Condom Week — which exists, apparently — Planned Parenthood gave away 55,000 condoms with smartphone-ready QR codes to college students for online check-ins.
Users can also identify the erotic environs (“Bedroom,” “In the Shower,” “At a Party,” “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles,” etc.) and rate the sex on a five-point scale in real time, which their partners must appreciate. It’s a cute gimmick, but — considering that a quarter of people unroll condoms the wrong way, according to a new study — tagging yourself on Sex Foursquare is less important than not getting pregnant or infected.
How many of these will turn up tagged near Georgetown Law?
Classy, Planned Parenthood. Not.
Our tax dollars, in one way or another, fund this trash.
Wow, looks like Bill is at least a little bit to the right of Barack on this one:
Bill Clinton says it’s time to build the Keystone XL pipeline.
Speaking at an Energy Department conference in Maryland on Wednesday, the former president said he was surprised the project has gotten as gummed up as it has, laying the blame on pipeline builder TransCanada.
“One of the most amazing things to me about this Keystone pipeline deal is that they ever filed that route in the first place since they could’ve gone around the Nebraska Sandhills and avoided most of the dangers, no matter how imagined, to the Ogallala [aquifer] with a different route, which I presume we’ll get now, because the extra cost of running is infinitesimal compared to the revenue that will be generated over a long period of time,” he said.
“So, I think we should embrace it and develop a stakeholder-driven system of high standards for doing the work,” Clinton added.
Okay, Bill is both right and wrong above. He’s right that it’s time to just build the pipeline. But it’s not the company’s fault that Obama has been playing politics with approval. I’m sure that if they’d chosen a different route the extreme greenies would have found some other reason to oppose it, and Obama would have played the same political games as a sop to his base.
Speaking of offering a sop to the greenies, Bill has to or risk losing invitations to DC dinner parties:
Meanwhile, Clinton said he worries that increased domestic oil and natural gas production could allow many in the U.S. to lose interest in investing in other, newer cleaner forms of energy.
“There are some hazards to the innovation project, right now. We have massive new recovery technologies in oil and gas which could lead us down the primrose path of thinking [that] we don’t have to keep using less energy and developing clean energy and technologies,” he said.
“A lot of people are saying, ‘Let’s just go for this and nothing else,’” he said, after discussing the oil production in places like the Bakken Shale in North Dakota.
Nice straw man there, Bill. Tell me, who are these “people” who are saying “let’s just go for this and nothing else,” and how many constitute a “lot”? Strangely, you seem unwilling to give specifics about it. In fact, conservatives support everything from coal to nuclear power, because we know that oil reserves are finite. But while we have those oil reserves, by all means, let’s use them until other technologies are ready for prime time.
However, for his support, tepid though it is, of Keystone XL, I’ll give him one tepid kudo.
On Sunday, Howard reported on a judge who drew a concealed handgun in the courtroom and offered it to a witness with a smart aleck comment about “killing her case.”
Well, that judge has now turned in his retirement papers.
Judge David Barrett, who last week pulled a gun out during a court hearing in Lumpkin County, has retired, according to a letter to Gov. Nathan Deal dated Wednesday.
Barrett was presiding over a bond hearing for former Hall County deputy Scott Sugarman last week when he pulled out his gun and pretended to offer it to an uncooperative witness, the presiding prosecutor said.
The resignation, which was accepted by Deal, takes effect Thursday.
So, first it’s a retirement, then it’s a resignation. It’s quite likely that this is more than a semantic point; if the judge retired, he’d probably be eligible for his state pension and retirement benefits, which he may not be eligible for if he resigned (or he might get benefits regardless; I’m not familiar with how their benefits work, and I couldn’t find anything online that would indicate one way or the other).
Back to the story, as might be expected from someone who worked closely with the judge for a long time, the local District Attorney had nice things to say about him.
The district attorney [Steve Langley], who was critical of the judge’s actions last week, extended praise of Barrett’s time as chief judge.
“I’ve practiced before him for 13 years and I’ve learned a lot,” he told The Times. “He has a quick mind, great legal knowledge and unimpeachable integrity.
A quick mind is a good thing in a courtroom. A quick draw isn’t.
Retired or resigned, I’m glad he won’t be on the bench anymore.
West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) said today that he will vote “in favor of a Senate measure to protect religious liberty” and support Sen. Roy Blunt’s amendment on the HHS contraception mandate.
Blunt added the amendment to the highway bill currently in consideration in the upper chamber. The Missouri Republican tweeted last night that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would allow a Thursday vote on his amendment, the “Respect Rights of Conscience Act,” which restores conscience protections for healthcare workers as they were before President Obama’s healthcare law was enacted.
“When I was Governor of West Virginia, we achieved a commonsense balance between women’s access to medical care and free expression of religion. As this debate moves forward, I would hope that the President and this Congress look to West Virginia as a model,” Manchin said. “While I would have preferred that both sides would have come together around a solution like we had in West Virginia, I am voting in favor of this measure to protect the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.
“Well-intentioned people on both sides of this issue can respectfully disagree, but for me this comes down to our religious liberties,” Manchin added. “I truly believe that we must safeguard Americans’ right to exercise their sincerely held religious views, and I support this measure to protect that freedom of conscience.”
If an employer has a religious or moral objection to a type of health coverage, Blunt’s bill lets them negotiate “a plan with a health insurance company that meets their needs.”
The amendment doesn’t impact any state laws that have contraception provisions, but just the Obama coverage mandate.
Most Democrats went on the offensive today against the amendment, claiming employers could claim a moral objection to any number of services.
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) tweeted, “
#BluntAmendment a threat not only to women’s health, but also to men & children’s health. …Under #BluntAmendment, employers could refuse to cover prenatal care, lifesaving immunizations & screenings 4 diseases like prostate cancer”
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said on the Senate floor that the amendment to the transportation bill was for the “entertainment and distraction of people.”
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said the Blunt amendment “would drive a big Mack truck” through Obama’s healthcare law. “My feeling is we will defeat the Blunt amendment tomorrow,” she said on the floor.
That’s what he told a reporter in Ohio today:
Jim Heath, a reporter for ONN-TV in Ohio, just Tweeted a remarkable piece of news: Mitt Roney told him he does not support the Blunt amendment, which would empower employers and insurers to deny health coverage they find morally objectionable.
I just got off the phone with Heath, and he graciously played me the audio. Heath asks Romney if he’s for the “Blunt-Rubio” amendment, and defines it. Romney replies:
“I’m not for the bill. But, look, the idea of presidential candidates getting into questions about contraception within a relationship between a man and a woman, husband and wife, I’m not going there.”
Here’s the Blunt amendment. It would amend ObamaCare to reverse the abortifacient mandate. Romney opposes that mandate. The Senate is set to vote on the amendment tomorrow. If he really opposes the amendment, he owes Republican voters an explanation.
It may be, as Ace hopes, that Romney simply didn’t know which amendment he was addressing in the question. Or Romney could have been saying that he opposes ObamaCare itself. It is a bit confusing, since Rubio has a separate bill up on the mandate and the reporter’s question combined the two efforts into one. We don’t yet have the full audio of the exchange. But if Romney didn’t know the details of the amendment or didn’t get the question, he should have answered as such and told the reporter he would get back with him once he had looked into it. If Romney isn’t up on what the Republicans in Congress are doing to undo the mandate, that’s not good. He should be.
Santorm and Gingrich are sure to hammer him on this.
Update: Matt Lewis reports that Romney’s camp says the question was confusing (as I suspected above) and that Romney supports the Blunt amendment.
Responding to my request for comment, Romney’s spokesperson Andrea Saul emailed me this to clarify:
Regarding the Blunt bill, the way the question was asked was confusing. Governor Romney supports the Blunt Bill because he believes in a conscience exemption in health care for religious institutions and people of faith.
The reporter basically misstates what the amendment would do, so the confusion is the fault of the media doofus.
More here. Media malpractice at its finest. And for that, we should thank Josh Marshall protege Greg Sargent. Sargent is an alum of the Talking Points Memo school of using whispers and innuendo when facts just won’t do. He’s the WaPost blogger who wrote just enough of a post about this to turn it into a story, and his strategic incuriosity added fuel to the story.
Here’s the actual exchange between Romney and the reporter:
HEATH: “He’s brought contraception into this campaign. The issue of birth control, contraception, Blunt-Rubio is being debated, I believe, later this week. It deals with banning or allowing employers to ban providing female contraception. Have you taken a position on it? He (Santorum) said he was for that, we’ll talk about personhood in a second; but he’s for that, have you taken a position?”
ROMNEY: “I’m not for the bill, but look, the idea of presidential candidates getting into questions about contraception within a relationship between a man and a women, husband and wife, I’m not going there.”
The Blunt amendment does not allow employers to “ban providing female contraception.” It allows them to opt out of covering contraception in their insurance plans for conscience reasons, which was the status of things until the ObamaCare mandate came down from Sebelius’ HHS. Big difference.
Dingy Harry wants Media Matters’ chief David Brock’s anti-Fox book to be a wild success:
Reid told the crowd he was “looking forward to this book, because if there’s anyone that needs to feel good about someone else beating up on Fox, it’s me.”
He said Brock “has changed the political world as we know it,” and pledged to help “promote” the book.
“I will do anything I can to make sure it’s a success,” Reid said.
The man whose book the Senate majority leader is promoting is an admitted drug user who claims that snipers are out to get him and that he is being blackmailed by an ex-boyfriend. Media Matters has become such a swamp of anti-Semitism that liberal Alan Dershowitz has declared war on it:
“I don’t know whether President Obama has any idea that Media Matters has turned the corner against Israel in this way,” he said. “I can tell you this, he will know very shortly because I am beginning a serious campaign on this issue and I will not let it drop until and unless [writer and activist MJ] Rosenberg is fired from Media Matters, or Media Matters changes its policy or the White House disassociates itself from Media Matters.”
Perhaps Dershowitz should have a word or two with the Democrats’ Senate leader, Harry Reid. It would probably be easier, though, to just admit that the entire Democrat party from Obama down is a lost cause and quit them.
Two Democrats and a Republican in the Senate sent a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta today asking that overseas military bases be closed before domestic ones as the Pentagon faces serious belt-tightening.
Sens. John Tester (D-N.D.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) were responding to a Defense Department request to Congress to realign or close stateside bases to save money.
The senators urged Panetta to “pursue an alternative course” and look at “outdated” facilities abroad.
“We certainly recognize the ongoing efforts by DOD to decrease defense spending by $487 billion over the next five years but do not believe another costly round of domestic base closures will get us closer to that objective,” they wrote.
“We believe that more must be done to reduce the presence of United States forces overseas. …We strongly disagree with any proposal that cuts a higher number of our military personnel and aircraft at home rather than in Europe.”
The senators worked to include a provision in the 2012 Defense Authorization Act that would have an independent agency review overseas bases and recommend cost-cutting in those areas.
“To achieve true cost savings, to align our forces more consistently with our national security strategy, and to spare communities in the United States a devastating economic blow and subsequent unemployment a domestic BRAC would undoubtedly bring, we therefore urge you to act immediately to close overseas bases,” they wrote.
The U.S. has more than 81,000 active duty military personnel stationed abroad, according to the June 2011 personnel strengths report by the Pentagon.
Its 2011 Base Structure Report noted 611 Department of Defense sites overseas, with the majority in Germany, Japan and South Korea.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus today called on Edward DeMarco, the acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, to write down mortgage principal amounts for homeowners who couldn’t make payments.
The CPC asked the overseer of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which guarantee more than half of the mortgages in the country, to embrace “debt forgiveness.” DeMarco defended the FHFA’s role in helping homeowners avoid foreclosure in testimony to the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday.
“Twelve million Americans owe more money than their home is worth,” Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) said. “The American people have been duped, lied to and unnecessarily kicked out of their homes.
“Now it’s time for Mr. DeMarco to stand up and do the right thing,” he added. “We saved the banks with an $800 billion bailout. It’s time we saved the homeowners.”
DeMarco has been asked by California Attorney General Kamala Harris to suspend foreclosures while the FHFA’s stance against debt forgiveness.
He told the Senate panel that cutting the loan’s interest rate, forbearance and extending the term of the loan are all better options than principal reduction.
Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva and Keith Ellison, co-chairmen of the CPC, noted in a statement that “progressive organizations and families struggling to keep their homes” protested yesterday outside regional Freddie Mac offices “demanding fair negotiations for themselves and other Americans who have been evicted from their homes.”
“Underwater homeowners need justice,” Grijalva and Ellison said. “Write downs are about keeping families in their homes and saving taxpayers money by preventing foreclosures. Simple, straightforward principal reductions are a good way to prevent the foreclosure crisis anchor from dragging down the U.S. recovery.”
Debt forgiveness is also being pushed by the Obama administration, with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan saying that principal reduction isn’t being utilized enough.
DeMarco has held firm in his stance that these principal reductions would hurt taxpayers, while noting that his agency has “a responsibility to find all prudent actions” to prevent foreclosures.
On Monday, 115 House members sent DeMarco a letter urging him to let Freddie and Fannie write down loans.
From CQ Today Online News:
The Air Force’s top officer on Wednesday called the potential mishandling of yet another aircraft procurement program and its subsequent termination an “embarrassment.”
The Air Force on Tuesday put aside a $355 million light attack aircraft contract, which was being executed on behalf of the Afghan government. Brazil’s Embraer in December won a contract to provide 20 Super Tucano aircraft. A Kansas-based competitor successfully protested the award.
But Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, Air Force chief of staff, said the service was not satisfied with its work supporting the decision. U.S.-based Sierra Nevada Corp. helps to build the Tucano in partnership with Embraer.
He said it “is a real disappointment if we did not execute at a higher standard,” Schwartz said. “If this wasn’t an innocent mistake, there will be hell to pay.”
Hey, Remember When Barack Obama Promised an Energy Plan that Would Reduce Dependence on Foreign Oil?
The RNC remembers that.
We’ve come a long way from hopenchange and big, grandiose promises. The Obama regime that scuttled the XL pipeline, lied about it, and has unleashed the EPA on electric plants admitted this week that it isn’t even trying to do anything about the rising price of gas. Not a thing. Well, other than pushing us to burn pond scum, anyway.
Gas from pond scum costs just a wee bit north of current gas prices. Great plan, Barry.
In 2003, when Texas was redrawing its electoral map, the state’s Democrats bolted for Oklahoma to deny the legislature a quorum. In 2011, as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker fulfilled a campaign promise to reform government union benefit packages, the state’s Democrats bolted to Illinois to deny a quorum while their labor allies occupied the capitol. Indiana’s Democrats also bolted that state to block the legislature from acting on a union reform bill last year.
It’s 2012, and some Democrats have gotten a bit smarter in how they thwart democratic action when things aren’t going their way. Texas is once again redrawing its electoral map. Rather than run off to Oklahoma or New Mexico, the Democrats and allied grievance groups have played a shell game which has ended up with a court drawing the map and put the state’s GOP convention in chaos. That chaos might impact the national GOP convention later this year. That’s a feature in their plan, not a bug.
But not all Democrats have come up with new tricks. In Iowa today, the state’s Democrats fled rather than deal with bills concerning basic, fundamental second amendment rights.
Iowa House Democrats this morning left the Capitol in protest of two gun bills the Republican majority had planned to debate today that critics contend would make the state part of the “Wild, Wild West.”
Right. One of the bills would write second amendment rights into the state’s constitution. The other would carve out legal protection for people who use force, including deadly force, in self-defense or the defense of others. Several states already have similar laws. Neither measure is radical. On their way out of the state, the Democrats claimed they were blindsided by the bills. That doesn’t appear to be true; Democrats had already attached an amendment to one of the bills.
Republicans hold 60 of the Iowa House’s 100 seats, so the Democrats’ bravely turning tail to flee doesn’t even deny a quorum. It’s just a childish temper tantrum.
Whatever it is, it’s neither democratic nor republican. As a party, Democrats push so many things that are antithetical to democracy — race and gender quotas, judicial activism, bills we’re not allowed to read containing mandates that wreck the Constitution, etc. And they have established a pattern of junking democracy when the voters go against them. That party needs a more accurate re-branding.
Update: Tantrum over, the Democrats are returning to Iowa. Which is too bad for Iowa, really. Nobody needs these petulant children around.
What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? In eternity, nothing, but in the here and now it’ll buy a pile of homes, private jets and some good press.
Nevertheless, square this:
The tycoon-turned-philanthropist has removed the wallet from his blazer to show me a printed card with his “11 Voluntary Initiatives,” an oddly naive reinvention of the Ten Commandments that he concocted some 15 years ago, including such vows as “I promise to care for Planet Earth and all living things thereon, especially my fellow beings.”
He may lack the ebullience of his earlier years, yet Turner shuttles endlessly among his 28 properties — 14 of them ranches with 55,000 bison — traveling hundreds of thousands of miles per year on his private Challenger jet, making numerous speeches when he’s not communing with nature in the “wilderness,” as he puts it.
Environmentalism, of the Al Gore and Ted Turner variety, is a form of I’ve-got-mine-and-you-can’t-have-yours. Millionaire and billionaire hypocrites living on massive, nation-sized carbon footprints, lecturing the rest of us how we should live. Among the Mouth’s frequent travels, Ted Turner shuttles back and forth between his harem of four girlfriends.
Sane people who don’t live in Washington D.C. might wonder how it came to be that $58,000,000,000 in foreign aid is sent overseas each year. Why would the federal government export so many hard-earned American dollars? Meet Jacqueline Morette.
These billboards can be found all over Washington D.C., particularly at Reagan National Airport, where they greet members of Congress weekly, and their staffs. “Stand with Morette: Don’t Cut Foreign Aid!,” Oxfam tells everyone arriving in or out of Washington. There’s no telling how much the “nonprofit” Oxfam paid to saturate D.C. with their more-tax-dollars-overseas message.
So the next time you wonder how it came to be that we spend $58 billion on foreign aid, remember Jacqueline.
Another victory for the forces of life:
Bipartisan legislation to repeal the healthcare law’s cost-control board sailed through a House panel on Wednesday, raising pressure on the Senate to take up the bill and dealing President Obama a political blow.
The Energy and Commerce Health subcommittee vote was 17-5, with ranking member Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) and Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) crossing the aisle to vote for repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board. There were no amendments.
Votes in the full committee and on the House floor have not yet been scheduled but are expected to happen by the end of next month, in conjunction with Supreme Court arguments on the healthcare reform law.
Note the second paragraph in the quote above. Even two Democrats found this part of the law an overreach! Maybe it was this that concerned them:
“Supporters of IPAB tell us there is nothing wrong with having 15 unelected bureaucrats making binding decisions about Medicare policy,” [Panel Chairman Joe] Pitts [(R-PA)] said.
“They are not troubled by the fact that there is no requirement for public comment prior to IPAB issuing its recommendations. That IPAB’s actions are not subject to judicial review does not alarm them.”
In other words, the IPAB — commonly called the Death Panel — was unelected, unaccountable, and its decisions were all but impossible to repeal. Sounds like the dream of hard-line lefties everywhere.
I’m pretty sure the full House will also vote to repeal, leaving the Democrat-led Senate in a quandary… do they vote to repeal this, and embarrass a President of their party; or do they vote to uphold this odious board? Likely Harry Reid will sit on it as long as possible, so let’s hope the Senate GOP finds a set of backbones and raises a stink about it if he does.
The State Department said today that North Korea has agreed to allow the return of International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors and made other concessions to pave the way for new nuclear negotiations.
The bilateral “exploratory” talks between Washington and Pyongyang happened Feb. 23-24 in Beijing.
“To improve the atmosphere for dialogue and demonstrate its commitment to denuclearization, the DPRK has agreed to implement a moratorium on long-range missile launches, nuclear tests and nuclear activities at Yongbyon, including uranium enrichment activities,” State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland said.
“The United States still has profound concerns regarding North Korean behavior across a wide range of areas, but today’s announcement reflects important, if limited, progress in addressing some of these,” she added.
Despite those concerns, the U.S. is moving forward with food aid.
“We have agreed to meet with the DPRK to finalize administrative details necessary to move forward with our proposed package of 240,000 metric tons of nutritional assistance along with the intensive monitoring required for the delivery of such assistance,” Nuland said.
She said the U.S. stressed it has no hostile intentions toward North Korea, and “is prepared to take steps to increase people-to-people exchanges, including in the areas of culture, education, and sports.”
From the North Korean side, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted a statement on the Korean Central News Agency website.
It largely mirrored the State Department release, save for some politburo-friendly language tweaks such as saying the U.S. “no longer” has hostile intent toward the country.
Pyongyang also noted that it expects more food assistance after the initial delivery.
“Once the six-party talks are resumed, priority will be given to the discussion of issues concerning the lifting of sanctions on the DPRK and provision of light water reactors,” the ministry said.
On the same day, KCNA published a same-old-Pyongyang statement against military exercises of “the U.S. imperialist aggressors and south Korean puppet warmongers,” which began Monday.
“This saber-rattling clearly shows that the U.S. imperialists and the south Korean authorities are ferocious warmongers who stoop to anything to achieve their ulterior goal of aggression no matter how the situation develops and no matter what public opinion at home and abroad demands,” the statement read. “…This saber-rattling is particularly dangerous as they are kicking up an anti-DPRK smear campaign and intensifying their moves to escalate the confrontation on an unprecedented scale and making desperate efforts to seek a way out of a serious ruling crisis.”
North Korea has warned that a “sacred war” will ensue if the exercises broach upon its territory.
Rasmussen says that WI Gov. Scott Walker enjoys majority support and will defeat the Big Labor/Democrat effort to recall him for the crime of fulfilling his campaign promises and restoring fiscal sanity to the state.
Most Wisconsin voters approve of the job embattled Governor Scott Walker is doing and oppose the effort to recall him from office before the next election.
A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey finds that 52% of Likely Wisconsin Voters at least somewhat approve of Walker’s job performance to date, while 46% at least somewhat disapprove. These findings include 40% who Strongly Approve of how the Republican governor is doing and just as many (40%) who Strongly Disapprove. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Overall, 54% oppose the recall effort. The left has become so desperate to oust Walker that it has taken to smearing volunteers who are auditing the recall petitions to determine how many of the signatures on them are legit.
If Big Labor fails in Wisconsin, the cradle of the labor movement, it’s Waterloo time.
This ad has started popping up on websites:
Clicking on the ad leads to this page, which is a typical political “fight this bill” lander and email generator. I encourage everyone who sees the ad in the wild to click on it. Doing so will probably cost NARAL money.
Question: Why is the woman in the ad black? Is NARAL engaging in racial stereotyping? Pushing Sangeresque eugenics? Or do we see a not very subtle, possibly defensive, play of the race card? The bulk of the NARAL page singles out Sen. Marco Rubio, criticizing him for introducing S.2043. Rubio’s bill, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (NARAL doesn’t do the courtesy of naming the bill) would restore the right of conscience to oppose paying for contraception and abortifacients in insurance plans. Perhaps NARAL used a black woman in the ad to deflect the appearance that their own page is anti-Hispanic for singling out Rubio when his bill does have 30 co-sponsors and many people, of both genders and multiple ethnic and political backgrounds, have criticized the HHS abortifacient mandate. The model says, in essence, “See, some of NARAL’s best friends are black.”
The email that NARAL would have its believers send to senators says:
Birth control is basic health care. Ninety-nine percent of women use birth control at some point in their lives. And one in three women struggles to cover the cost of birth control.
At $9 a month? Or free if you happen to live in liberal places like NYC? This lie isn’t even close to being believable.
Improving women’s access to birth control is positive in many ways. A woman who can plan when to have a family is able to participate in society more fully. Allowing women to plan and space their pregnancies contributes to healthy childbearing. And ultimately, fewer unintended pregnancies can reduce the need for abortion.
There’s more than one way to avoid unintended pregnancies. One of them is free!
The bottom line is that birth control is preventive care, and it improves women’s health.
Not necessarily. Being on the pill for prolonged periods of time can lead to complications for some women. Disclosure of such side effects is common in medical advertisements. NARAL should be honest.
I strongly support birth-control coverage for all women, and urge you to as well.
Birth control is not under attack. The issue is whether the government ought to force anyone or any private company to pay out of its own pocket for the lifestyle choices that others make. The issue is whether we retain the freedom of conscience in America or not. Those who are truly “pro-choice” should oppose the mandate, as it is a fundamental violation of the right to choose. The NARAL email and the ad that leads to it constitute a shameful chain of lies. NARAL is evidently desperate to hang on to the power that the Obama regime has granted it.
He’ll fit right in. The Volt has proven to be a rich man, 1%-er vehicle – the average purchaser has an average income of $170,000 per annum.
And wouldn’t a President Obama Volt purchase be a conflict of interest? The total government subsidy per Volt sold – paid for mostly by the 99% of us – is more than $200,000. The federal check cut – just at the point of purchase to the purchaser – is $7,500. And President Obama is looking to up that to $10,000.
Should President Obama personally benefit from the government policies he’s put in place? Crony Socialism – of which the $85 billion auto bailout is perhaps the worst of the myriad, egregious Administration examples – is bad enough. Self-Crony Socialism is even worse.
Less Government President Seton Motley:
“President Barack Obama has pledged to again demonstrate his uber-rich, 1%-er status once he’s out of office – joining his wealthy, Leftist friends in the uber-thin ranks of Chevy Volt owners. So as to cash in on all the government money he keeps shoveling at the uber-expensive, uber-failed pseudo-vehicle.
“No item better represents the out-of-touch-with-Reality mega-rich – for which Occupy Wall Street claims to have disdain – than the Chevy Volt. A completely ineffectual, absurdly expensive, entitlement-minded, built-and-paid-for-on-the-backs-of-the-99% vehicle that only the super-wealthy can afford.
“Why isn’t Occupy Wall Street protesting the Chevy Volt? And demanding that President Obama not benefit from the $65+ billion and counting he continues to pour into the Crony Socialist auto bailout and the Volt?”
We the Taxpayers own more than 500 million shares of GM stock, on which we are currently poised to lose more than $13 billion. To go with the (at least) $14+ billion we’ve already lost on the auto bailout. Less Government tracks the looming loss – and offers the solution for how we can extricate ourselves from Government Motors – at www.BailoutCost.com.
In his speech yesterday to the United Auto Workers, President Obama made a pointed reference toward a Republican presidential candidate when he said, “Some even said we should ‘let Detroit go bankrupt.’”
It got the predictable reaction from the labor audience, some nine months out from the presidential election.
But was it a “campaign speech”? “Not at all,” claims the White House.
Spokesman Jay Carney was grilled in the afternoon about Obama’s reference and the campaign flavor of the speech.
“I know that you were asked if it was a campaign speech, and you said not at all,” one reporter asked. “But repeatedly the president drew a contrast with Republicans in the speech. I mean, talking about ‘these folks trying to rewrite history,’ ‘these folks who said let Detroit go bankrupt.’ Who is it that said, ‘let Detroit go bankrupt’?”
“Well, I think a number of critics of the president’s decision said that in a variety of ways,” Carney replied.
“Any names of particular folks come to mind?” another reporter pressed.
“You can — I mean, there’s a whole list of people, Ed, who opposed this policy and who oppose it now, although try to alter the way that they suggest that they opposed it,” Carney responded.
“I think one of the reasons why people seem so surprised that you’re saying that the UAW event wasn’t political was because there were at least five specific references to Mitt Romney, although he wasn’t mentioned by name,” Jake Tapper asked later in the briefing. “Two of them were specific quotes from an op-ed he wrote in November 2008. So I guess the question is just this disingenuousness that, no, what are you talking about?”
“Well, look, Jake, first of all, I think many individuals in our public life opposed the auto bailout,” Carney said. “There’s no question.”
“But only one wrote an op-ed called, ‘Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,’” Tapper responded.
“Perhaps — I didn’t read every op-ed. But certainly that sentiment was shared by a number of –”
“You never read that op-ed?”
“I’m not saying I didn’t — I’m not saying — I said I didn’t read every op-ed,” Carney said. “So others may have also certainly shared that sentiment if not the same sentence.”
“All right, but why quote a Republican presidential candidate but refuse to mention his name? I mean, what’s the kabuki there?”
“There’s no — look, you guys have decided that that’s the most important issue — … But what’s your point?” Carney said.
And later, another question: “In his speech today, the President criticized those who had suggested that Detroit be allowed to go bankrupt. Without trying to pull you into the Mitt Romney debate, but in point of fact, they did go through bankruptcy.”
“Well, I want to be clear,” Carney said. “I do understand that former Governor Romney did suggest that that should happen. I’m not suggesting — I’m not pretending otherwise. But the point was that a lot of folks opposed it and took that position at the time.”
Under the guise of “potential persons.”
Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva, associated respectively with Monash University, in Melbourne, Australia, and with the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, in the UK, wrote a piece called “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?”
Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus’ health. By showing that (1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.
The AIPAC conference is swiftly approaching, which means the latest incarnation of Occupy is gearing up for its own scintillating schedule of coinciding seminars and protests. Today, Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin, one of the Occupy AIPAC organizers, posts on Antiwar.com “10 Reasons to Keep an Eye on AIPAC” — a big-brother-ish yet slightly less ominous version of the same list posted on the Occupy site, “10 Reasons Why the Israel Lobby AIPAC is So Dangerous.” Some lowlights:
- “AIPAC is lobbying Congress to promote a military confrontation with Iran.” This is probably the point on which this Latest Movement to Use the Word Occupy can score most points with the general public, fearmongering among those weary of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and those not schooled on the threat posed by Tehran.
- “AIPAC’s call for unconditional support for the Israeli government threatens our national security.” Because how dare we anger the Palestinian Authority and Hamas and their extremist minions.
- “AIPAC undermines American support for democracy movements in the Arab world.” Never mind wanting everyone to enjoy the same true freedoms as the Mideast’s strongest, real democracy: Israel.
- “AIPAC makes the U.S. a pariah at the UN.” Benjamin isn’t opposed to the heaping anti-Semitic number of resolutions brought up against Israel at the UN, she’s upset that the U.S. vetoes them and risks losing, um, “allies” that way.
- “AIPAC attacks politicians who question unconditional support of Israel.” Because the lawmakers who sign onto J Street letters are obviously so steeped in wisdom of the Middle East dispute.
- “AIPAC attempts to silence all criticism of Israel by labeling critics as “anti-Semitic,” “de-legitimizers” or “self-hating Jews.” I’d simply refer you to the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s 2011 Top 10 Anti-Israel/Anti-Semitic Slurs. By making this an annual report, the center is certainly carrying on the invaluable work of its namesake.
In a column titled “G.O.P. Greek Tragedy,” Maureen Dowd reveals the conspiracy theory vision mainstream Democrats believe about conservatives:
In the old days, the Republican ego had control of the party’s id. The id, sometimes described as a galloping horse or crying baby, “the dark, inaccessible part of our personality … chaos, a cauldron full of seething excitations,” as Freud called it, was whipped up obliquely by candidates. Nixon had his Southern strategy of using race as a wedge, Bush Senior and Lee Atwater used the Willie Horton attack, and W. and Karl Rove conjured the gay marriage bogyman.
Once elected, those presidents curbed the id with the ego, common sense and reason. But now the G.O.P.’s id is unbridled. The horse has thrown the rider; the dark forces are bubbling. Moderates, women, gays, Hispanics and blacks — even the president — are being hunted in this most dangerous game.
Which is the bigger drive among today’s progressives: to implement social justice with the perfect welfare state or to save the world from the imaginary Fascist Misogynist Anti-Gay Racist Imperialist Demons of the GOP?
Dowd chants the familiar spell: “Southern Strategy, Lee Atwater, Willie Horton, Karl Rove, gay marriage” and all of a sudden elaborate fantasies of an American Totalitarian state (described by Joe Conason in It Can Happen Here and Naomi Wolf in The End of America) spring to the progressive mind. The only reason Republicans since Reagan ever win elections is through their Faustian deal with the dreaded Christianist Theocracy Redneck Matthew Shepard-killing Red State Nationalists. Utilizing hidden electoral codes in their campaigns, the corporatist establishment Republicans dupe the NASCAR neanderthals to vote against their economic interests. (Thomas Frank set the talking point for the Bush era with 2004′s What’s the Matter with Kansas?) But, Dowd warns, now the barbarians who want to lock up gay people almost possess control of the GOP.
So the contents of Barack Obama’s agenda remain irrelevant to the Dowd-progressive. After all: at least with Obama, the teenage girls won’t need to perform their abortions themselves with coat-hangers.
Tea Party efforts to articulate fiscal sanity won’t penetrate minds hypnotized by this fantasy. Through emotional experiences and cultural conditioning the modern progressive channels her own id into hating those she deems beneath her in the pecking order. And as long as no greater threat to her comfort emerges, she’s likely to continue selecting conservatives as preferred whipping boy in her own Freudian dramas.
In the last few days leading up to the Michigan primary yesterday, the liberal and once popular website Daily Kos started to encourage its readers to get involved in the open Michigan primary by doing something they wouldn’t normally think of doing. The Daily Kos told its all-liberal readers to pick up a Republican ballot and vote for Rick Santorum. The Daily Kos’ idea was to give Rick Santorum a primary victory in Michigan, deny Mitt Romney a win, and cause chaos in the Republican primary. Readers responded with enthusiasm at the thought of helping Rick Santorum win the Republican nomination because they believed he was the weakest candidate to take on President Obama.
The Daily Kos went into a full out campaign – even sending out an email blast to its Michigan readers. The day before the Michigan primary, Jonathan Martin of Politico tweeted: @jmartpolitico: The 8500 MI’anders on Daily Kos email list got note today: “Please vote for Rick Santorum…”
While most all of the mainstream media journalists ignored the Daily Kos’ campaign, some on Twitter questioned just how effective the Daily Kos could be. After all, as Martin pointed out, they only had 8,500 supporters in Michigan.
Immediately, the power of the Daily Kos and its uber liberal founder Markos Moulitsas was on display. Political strategists were wondering if the Daily Kos still had any power or if the liberal class has moved on to David Brock’s Media Matters for America.
Markos’ campaign for Santorum went into over-drive. He tweeted and re-tweeted messages all day Monday encouraging and celebrating his supporters’ missives about supporting Santorum.
But the media’s prediction that Santorum would make Michigan a race or possibly even win it turned out to be spin. Romney easily won the state despite Markos’ campaign. And we learned that the Daily Kos’ power isn’t what it used to be.
Richard A. Grenell has nearly two decades of experience in all aspects of communications and public affairs. Grenell has served as the primary communications advisor for public officials at the local, state, federal and international levels, as well as for publicly traded Fortune 500 ranked companies. Follow Richard on Twitter.
Gizmodo lays out just how incredible this new weapon is, stating that ”it fires a 40-pound metal slug up to 5,600 miles per hour… slamming into its target with 32 times the force of a 1-ton car being thrust at 100 mph.”
Gizmodo contacted the Navy, and they agreed that the technology is becoming more compact and therefore more usable. ”It finally looks like a gun,” the Navy said.
Rail guns are designed to destroy basically anything, anywhere, on the land, sea, or in the air. The Navy may one day destroy the biggest, most expensive ships with nothing but a hunk of metal traveling really, really fast.
- Of Political Nausea, Dentists and Fortune Cookies, by Roger L Simon. No wonder the mudslinging is so brutal: the policy differences between the GOP frontrunners are only discernible with the aid of an electron microscope.
- GOP Turns Up Heat After Obama’s Keystone ‘Double Back Flip,’ by Bridget Johnson. The White House accused Republicans of using “demonstrably, categorically false” charges that the president isn’t helping oil production.
- A Strong Night for Mitt Romney, by Bryan Preston. Wins in Arizona and Michigan.
- Catching Up with Rep. Allen West, by Myra Adams. The freshman discusses his 2012 campaign.
- What American Exceptionalism Actually Means, by N.M. Guariglia. A response to Justice Ginsburg on positive rights and the Constitution.
- How To Get Organized in 5 Easy Steps, by John Hawkins. Not that hard to do.
Mitt Romney has done the double, winning both Arizona and Michigan and racking up the majority of the delegates available in the two states. Rick Santorum finished a distant second in Arizona and a strong second in Michigan. Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich were not factors in either race. Romney picks up all of Arizona’s 29 delegates in the state’s winner-take-all primary, and depending on how the votes break down in Michigan, Santorum looks likely to pick up no more than about 16 delegates in Michigan.
The day began with the possibility that Mitt Romney, whose father was Michigan’s three-term governor in the 1960s, could face a humiliating defeat in one of his home states. Instead, he appears to have blunted Rick Santorum’s charge. He has also moved out to a stronger lead in the delegate count.
Romney’s double win sets the stage for the Washington State primary on March 3 and Super Tuesday on March 6. Super Tuesday will see voters in Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia vote. Only Romney and Ron Paul are on the ballot in Virginia. Georgia and Tennessee probably favor Newt Gingrich. Romney presumably takes Massachusetts, where he served as governor. Polls show Santorum strength in Ohio. Super Tuesday could scramble the race again, but the more likely outcome after tonight is that Romney will emerge from the March 6 contests ahead of the pack.
A last curiosity from tonight’s primaries is the lack of a Michael Moore effect. Earlier in the day, crockumentary film maker Michael Moore gleefully claimed that Michigan Democrats were crossing over to vote for Santorum, purely to humiliate Romney. They failed. Or, there weren’t enough Michael Moore fans to matter.
Open Thread: Michigan, Arizona Primary Results (Update: Romney Wins Arizona) Update: Fox Projects Romney Wins Michigan
No numbers yet but they should be coming in soon. Mitt Romney looks to be cruising to a blowout win in Arizona, so naturally the nation’s lonely eyes turn to Michigan to see if there are enough citizens there who remember Gov. George Romney to vote for his son for president. And so we’ll have some suspense.
The stakes tonight: A Santorum win in MI reinforces the notion that Romney can’t even win his home state (well, one of his home states). A double by Romney suggests that he’s back on his game. A grand total of 59 delegates are up for grabs.
The argument between Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney has been among the most banal of political arguments of recent times. Santorum has slammed Romney for opposing the same auto bailout that he opposed, and Romney has slammed Santorum for trying to get Democrats to cross over and vote for him, even though Romney has crossed over to vote in Democrat primaries himself. That’s the bad news. The good news is that both would still be better than the petty, childish incumbent who thinks we can burn enough pond scum to power the economy. The big news on the gas price front today, in fact, wasn’t another goofy idea from the regime, but an admission that the Department of Energy isn’t even working on ways to bring the price of gas down. Thanks, Barack!
Update: The polls have closed in Arizona, and Mitt Romney has already been declared the winner there. He picks up all of Arizona’s 29 delegates in the winner-take-all primary.
Update: Apparently opposing the auto bailout hasn’t hurt Romney in Detroit. Wayne county is giving him a 14 point cushion, and all of the counties surrounding Detroit are going for Romney.
Update: 9:17 central, Fox projects that Romney will win Michigan. As of this writing, Romney leads by 5 points in MI with 70% of precincts reporting.
Here’s AlterNet’s actual headline on their empty story:
Scott Walker Imports Voter Suppression Thugs In Wisconsin Recall
Oooh, that sounds horrible! Who are these “voter suppression thugs”? The Black Panthers, who were actually captured on video trying to intimidate actual voters back in 2008? Well, no.
On Monday morning, Walker spokeswoman Ciara Matthews announced “we are not filing any specific challenges to any specific signatures today,” which led to a flurry of articles repeating the claim. Monday was the deadline for Walker to file challenges to the recall petitions. “That put us in an impossible timeline,” she said.
Walker’s filing with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board says his campaign has only been able to evaluate around 350,000 signatures, far short of the 540,000 minimum necessary for a recall.
However, Walker also asked the Boar to take into account the findings of the “Verify the Recall” initiative, a joint project between the Houston-based nonprofit “True the Vote” and the Wisconsin Tea Party groups, Grandsons of Liberty, and We The People of the Republic. However, it now appears that Walker and others are working to distance themselves from “True the Vote” and its parent group, the King Street Patriots.
KSP should be familiar to readers here. Based out of Houston, the group saw a widespread problem — voter fraud — and they have sought to correct it by training folks around the country how to spot and report voter fraud. They’ve been very effective, and now liberals smear them with lines like the one in the quote above about how KSP has been “accused of voter suppression.” Those doing the accusing are, most likely, engaged in voter fraud or at least turning a blind eye to it. That includes the criminal enterprise once known as ACORN and the Holder Department of Justice. In Wisconsin, KSP are doing the job the progressives within the state government don’t seem to be interested in, by auditing the recall petitions to verify the signatures on them. They’re posting what they find on their web site, and asking the state to look into their findings.
That’s it. Verifying that signatures on a petition to recall the duly elected governor (for carrying out his campaign promises, no less) now constitutes “voter suppression” in the minds of the leftists at AlterNet.
I guess pay-to-play doesn’t always work, even with the Obama Administration.
LightSquared CEO Sanjiv Ahuja abruptly announced his resignation Tuesday amid revelations of his company’s political proximity — and his own closeness — to the White House and Obama administration officials.
The Daily Caller first reported one week ago on emails and documents that indicate political ties and numerous meetings between LightSquared and Obama administration officials as the was undergoing regulatory review.
Ahuja’s resignation comes after Obama’s FCC suspended conditional approval of a waiver LightSquared needed to complete its high-speed broadband network. Until two weeks ago, the company’s final approval appeared imminent.
Ahuja, who had never donated to Democrats before and has not since, gave the maximum allowable $30,400 contribution to the Democratic National Committee on the same day his lawyers were trying to arrange a meeting for him at the White House with top Obama technology adviser Aneesh Chopra and other officials.
In emails between Ahuja’s lawyers and White House officials Ahuja wanted to meet with, his lawyers pointed out that he would attend an Obama fundraiser on or about the same day he wanted the meeting.
Am I the only one that smells a Chicago-style shakedown here? “Nice company you got here. Too bad you can’t get FCC approval for your gizmo. But, for a small ‘donation,’ we’ll pass the word to the right people.”
Of course, once word got out that LightSquared’s product would essentially make the entire GPS system unusable, pressure mounted from inside the Obama Administration to deny approval for their plans. Obama might not have minded going against outside pressure, but when it comes from two of his own departments, it would have looked extremely bad for him to push for approval, especially when everyone that uses GPS — which is a large portion of the electorate, including those that vote Democratic — would be affected if LightSquared fired up their system.
However, all is not lost. Ahuja isn’t unemployed quite yet.
According to the release, Ahuja will remain LightSquared’s chairman.
And Ahuja isn’t the only one who might have a problem here.
Philip Falcone, the CEO of Harbinger Capital Partners — which created LightSquared from its predecessor, SkyTerra — was appointed to the LightSquared board on Tuesday as well. The Obama administration FCC approved Harbinger’s purchase of SkyTerra after what appeared to be a series of favorable regulatory decisions amid White House visits.
So, all the same players are still in the game, ready if another opportunity arises… like, say, Obama being re-elected, at which time he won’t care what the voters think because he can’t run again.
All the more reason to make sure he gets defeated this time.
Straight from the “truth is stranger than fiction” file comes this:
To save the imperiled spotted owl, the Obama administration is moving forward with a controversial plan to shoot barred owls, a rival bird that has shoved its smaller cousin aside.
The plan is the latest federal attempt to protect the northern spotted owl, the passive one-pound bird that sparked an epic battle over logging in the Pacific Northwest two decades ago.
Okay, so what happens when the barred owl is also endangered because everyone’s shooting them? They don’t have an answer for that one, but they do admit “an ethical dilemma”
Officials acknowledge that the plan to kill barred owls creates an ethical dilemma, but say an experiment on private land in northern California has shown promising results. Spotted owls have returned to historic territories after barred owls were removed.
Here’s another dilemma… if, as the lefties believe, humans are responsible for the spotted owl’s decreasing numbers (a belief I question, but let’s accept it for the sake of the argument), why is it suddenly perfectly alright for humans to deliberately kill the barred owl? Why should we be so speciesist as to favor one owl over the other?
But, don’t worry, it’ll create jobs!
Salazar and other officials stressed the new plan’s job-creation component, noting that for the first time logging would be allowed in areas designated as critical habitat for the owl. Previous plans had barred logging in areas designated as critical habitat.
So, we kill birds to create jobs. Now, if the birds were edible (like chickens), I’d support hunting them, but killing a bird just because it bothers a more politically-favored bird really ruffles my feathers.
One Maine twin down, one to go:
Snowe, a moderate Republican who was often a key swing vote on partisan issues, was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1994. She previously represented Maine’s 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House for 16 years.
“After 33 years in the Congress this was not an easy decision. My husband and I are in good health. We have laid an exceptionally strong foundation for the campaign, and I have no doubt I would have won re-election,” she said in a statement.
“I do find it frustrating, however, that an atmosphere of polarization and ‘my way or the highway’ ideologies has become pervasive in campaigns and in our governing institutions,” she said.
Saying that she does “not realistically expect the partisanship of recent years in the Senate to change over the short term,” Snowe said she is not prepared to commit herself to another term when she’s not certain how productive it would be for her.
She added that the “political center” needs to return for democracy to flourish.
Three out of the four remaining Republican presidential hopefuls are now scheduled to address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference next week.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.) will be joining former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the first candidate announced as a speaker.
All three will speak on the last morning of the conference next Tuesday.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has also been added to the packed speakers’ roster at the hotly anticipated event.
Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli President Shimon Peres and President Barack Obama are all speaking at this year’s AIPAC.
For some time now, the West has been familiar with the Islamic doctrine of taqiyya, which permits Muslims to deceive non-Muslims in certain contexts. A new doctrine–”new” in that few in the West have ever heard of it–makes taqiyya look like child’s play: introducing tawriya, which allows Muslims to lie, not just to “infidels” in certain contexts, but for any reason at any time and to anyone, including fellow Muslims–even by swearing to Allah.
The ramifications are immense.