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NPR Asks: ‘Is Slow Growth Actually Good for the Economy?’

Friday, April 27th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Preserved for posterity.

Next, NPR will claim James O’Keefe “heavily edited” their headline to make them look bad.

Here are a few other headlines to go along with NPR’s “slow growth.”

US Economy Grows at Tepid 2.2%; Misses Estimates (unexpectedly?)

US Firms Add Jobs, but Mostly Overseas

US Home Ownership Hits Decade Low

Insight: Falling Home Prices Drag New Buyers Underwater

That’s all good for the economy too, right?

h/t Hot Air

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Obama Has An Enemies List of Romney Major Donors

Friday, April 27th, 2012 - by Myra Adams

Today in The Wall Street Journal, Kimberley Strassel has a piece that Drudge has picked up with this teaser line:

Obama attempts to intimidate donors to Romney’s campaign.

Apparently President Obama not only looks to Abraham Lincoln for presidential inspiration but also now to Richard Nixon. Nixon, you may remember, became infamous during Watergate for formulating an “enemies list” of people he thought were his political enemies and arranged for them to receive a special visit from the IRS.

Obama’s version of Nixon’s enemies list is just as sinister because Obama’s campaign is naming names of major donors to the Romney campaign and publicly criticizing them on an Obama For America campaign web site called KeepingGOPHonest.com. The site headline reads: — Behind the curtain: A brief history of Romney donors.

Check out the site and weep.

Do we still live in America, Home of the Free, or has Obama For America morphed into Obama Against America?

Let’s watch and see if the mainstream media calls out their Beloved Leader on this horrific assault on free elections and democracy.

While Obama today is speaking to troops in Ft. Stewart, Georgia, who defend our freedom from enemies abroad, the commander in chief himself is assaulting our electoral freedom directly from White House.

One can only imagine how much ink and bandwidth the media would have used to show outrage if in 2004 President George W. Bush’s campaign had a similar web site denigrating John Kerry’s major donors.

Like I said, start weeping for our nation.

 

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Mitt Romney Saves Dog, Several People

Friday, April 27th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Like Allah, I’m puzzled why this story hasn’t gotten more circulation. It could have come up at any time the Romney camp wanted to show his leadership, quick thinking, or just to sidle up to the outdoor recreation crowd. Once Axelrod launched the Dog Wars, this 2007 rescue story should have made a quick and strong comeback.

Gov. Mitt Romney rode to the rescue over the weekend during a vacation trip — using his Jet Ski to help pluck a New Jersey family and their dog out of Lake Winnipesaukee after their boat sank.

The drama began at about 8:30 p.m. Saturday, as Romney and his family were relaxing at their lakeside summer home in Wolfeboro, N.H.

Gubernatorial son Josh Romney told the Herald yesterday that he and brother Craig were cleaning the beach while their father puttered in the garage when the quiet night air was pierced with screams.

“We heard a whole bunch of screaming,” said Josh Romney, who immediately hopped onto his Jet Ski. “We tore out of there and my dad hopped on the other Jet Ski and came out right after us.”

Chasing fleeting glimpses of “bobbling heads” in the water, the Romney trio arrived on their two Jet Skis to find three women and three men wearing lifejackets they hadn’t even had time to buckle.

The governor pulled the two younger women aboard his three-seater Jet Ski and zoomed back to shore, while his sons helped the mother of the family onto their vehicle.

In the middle of the rescue, the governor actually took a dunking himself — thrown off the Jet Ski as one anxious boater scrambled aboard and tipped the craft off-balance.

The rescuing Romneys also managed to snatch the family dog, McKenzie, from a watery grave — grabbing the Scottish terrier first because it was the only passenger without a lifejacket.

The Romney boys rescue dogs, they don’t eat them. That’ll fit on a bumper sticker. The story also makes for a good campaign subtext now: Romney would ride in to rescue a nation drowning in Obama’s debt. Plus, Obama ate dogs.

Front page thumbnail thanks to Sondra K.

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FLOTUS Speaks to US Troops Looking Like She’s Covered in Blood

Friday, April 27th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

First Lady Michelle Obama and the president addressed soldiers at Ft. Stewart, GA today. The president’s speech saluted the military for turning Iraq away from civil war toward a more civil society (with no help from then Sen. Obama, who opposed the surge that led to victory) and noted his own political support for various non-controversial veterans and military-related programs. As the president continued to speak, the topics grew ever more political and the speech turned into a campaign stump speech to promote an executive order the president is signing regarding higher education.

The First Lady introduced the president. Her startling choice of attire speaks for itself.

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House Republicans Prep Contempt of Congress Charge Against Eric Holder

Friday, April 27th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Republican House leaders, led by Rep. Darrell Issa, are preparing a contempt of Congress citation against Attorney General Eric Holder. Issa, who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, has tangled with Holder and the Obama administration for well over a year to get information regarding what the AG knew and when he knew it regarding the ATF’s Fast and Furious scandal. Justice provided an inaccurate, misleading memo to Issa’s committee in February 2011, that it later was forced to withdraw. Holder has claimed that he knew nothing about the gunrunning operation until just a few weeks before the first congressional hearings about it, but Issa’s investigation found that Holder’s own deputy chief of staff knew that a Fast and Furious firearm had been involved in the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry the same day he was killed. Issa’s committee says that internal whistleblowers have provided more documentation into Fast and Furious than Holder’s DoJ has, despite the department’s legal obligation to respond to congressional subpoenas for them.

A Congressional contempt citation could trigger an independent counsel’s probe, to determine how much Holder knew, and how involved he and his office truly were in the Fast and Furious operation.

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Biden Calls Campaign Audience ‘Dull as Hell’

Friday, April 27th, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

Vice President Joe Biden continued his campaign roadshow today when he berated a breakfast fundraiser crowd in Washington for being “dull as hell.”

Tickets started at $2500, with all proceeds from the event going to the Obama Victory Fund, for the event with more than 200 members of the Turkish and Azeri communities.

According to the White House pool report, Biden reiterated many of his foreign policy lines from yesterday and hit on some of the standard domestic campaign themes.

“I guess what I’m trying to say without boring you too long at breakfast – and you all look dull as hell, I might add,” Biden then said. “The dullest audience I have ever spoken to. Just sitting there, staring at me.”

“Pretend you like me!” Biden exclaimed, drawing laughs.

When finally wrapped up the 20-minute address, he said it was “because I’m boring you as much as I’m boring myself.”

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Mark Your Calendars: 3 Years Without a Senate Budget!

Friday, April 27th, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

Sunday marks the third anniversary since the last time Senate Democrats proposed and passed a budget.

Senate Republicans aren’t exactly celebrating, but want to make sure the milestone doesn’t go unnoticed.

“The last time Senate Democrats passed a budget, a gallon of gas cost about half what it does now, the debt was $4.5 trillion dollars less than it is today, and ObamaCare was just a twinkle in the president’s eye,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).

“Their lack of leadership has led to a national debt that is not only larger than the economy but also surpasses the combined debt of the Eurozone and the UK,” he added. “The road out of a fiscal crisis starts with a responsible budget, and Republicans are ready to sit down and make the hard choices that entails.”

“Working without a budget is no way to run a business and it’s certainly no way to run the world’s biggest government,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio).

A very merry unbirthday to the nonexistent Senate budget!

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So Mr. President, When Are You Going to Fulfill Your START Promises Again?

Friday, April 27th, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

More lawmakers are needling President Obama about when he’s going to get around to fulfilling the promises he made to the Senate in order to get the new START arms-reduction treaty pushed through in 2010.

Last week, two Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee urged Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) to check in on the administration’s nuclear modernization promises, 16 months after the treaty passage.

Yesterday, a group of freshmen who weren’t on the Hill when START was pushed through wrote directly to Obama, asking when he was going to coe through on his commitment to modernize the U.S. nuclear complex and strategic delivery systems.

“For those who voted in favor of New START, the commitment to nuclear modernization was deemed essential,” said the letter, led by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.). “Those of us who came to the Senate after the New START was ratified, and who were already skeptical of the treaty’s merits, will watch closely to see how these commitments are carried out. A failure to honor past nuclear modernization commitments will impact our willingness to support New START implementation and any future treaties related to our nuclear weapons complex.”

The pledge to provide sufficient funding for modernization wasn’t in the president’s FY 2013 budget request.

“While our nation’s fiscal crisis demands that we make difficult budget decisions, failing to address our nation’s nuclear modernization requirements will add a needless national security crisis to our nation’s fiscal crisis,” it continued. “Reductions to nuclear force levels mandated by New START cannot be made without unacceptable risk unless the arsenal and the weapons complex are modernized.”

Also signing on to the letter were Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).

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Who Is EPA Crucifixion Chief Al Armendariz?

Friday, April 27th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

President Obama appointed SMU professor Al Armendariz to head up the EPA’s Region VI, to fanfare from the left, in November 2009. Prof. Armendariz’s SMU web site is…spare. From his resume linked there, we learn that at the time of his appointment he was officially a research associate professor in SMU’s Department of Environmental and Civil Engineering. His last private sector experience was in 1998, when he was a chemical engineer at Radian Corp for about three years. He appears to have no serious managerial experience prior to his EPA appointment to head Region VI. From associate professor to managing a bureaucracy that spans five states, including major oil producers Texas and Louisiana, is quite a leap.

Armendariz’s list of references on his resume is a who’s who of the loony left in Texas environmental politics.

Notice two of those names: Tom “Smitty” Smith and Jim Schermbeck. Both are well-known around Texas as left-wing, anti-business agitators. Schermbeck is the left-wing filmmaker who figured prominently in former Travis County DA Ronnie Earle’s indictment of Tom DeLay a few years ago. Schermbeck often operates as Erin Brockovich’s sidekick, running around Texas creating environmental scares and then taking those to court. He once opposed a road project in Ellis County, TX, claiming that some slag used to build the road would cause major health problems for residents living near it. After exhaustive and expensive scientific studies, it turned out that there was a problem with the slag: Prolonged exposure to it could cause body odor. So Schermbeck moved on to another project, and eventually got some industrial cement kilns shut down in Midlothian, TX, driving the price of cement up by restricting supply. He also killed a few Texas jobs along the way.

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Rubio, Casey Effort to Stop Assad Advances Through Senate

Friday, April 27th, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

A resolution by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) calling for democratic transition in Syria was passed through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday on a 13-6 vote.

The resolution calls on Bashar al-Assad to step down from power so that the Syrian people can begin the transition to an inclusive democratic government. It also calls on the Obama administration to continue to provide support, including communications equipment, to the political opposition in Syria and robust humanitarian assistance to those affected by the ongoing violence. It also calls for the development of a plan to identify and secure the Assad regime’s stockpiles of conventional, biological, and chemical weapons.

“More than 10,000 people have now been killed in Syria,” said Casey. “Despite the presence of UN monitors, the violence has not stopped and Assad has not removed his forces from cities and towns across the country.  We must do more to provide humanitarian assistance to those suffering under the regime’s brutality, and to assist opposition organizations that seek a peaceful, democratic future for Syria.”

It comes the same week that Rubio gave a foreign-policy address at the Brookings Institution, where he was introduced by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).

“The goal of preventing a dominant Iran is so important that every regional policy we adopt should be crafted with that overriding goal in mind. The current situation in Syria is an example of such an approach. The fall of Assad would be a significant blow to Iran’s ambitions. On those grounds alone, we should be seeking to help the people of Syria bring him down,” Rubio said.

“But on the Foreign Relations committee, I have noticed that some members are so concerned about the challenges of a post-Assad Syria that they have lost sight of the advantages of it.”

Legislation by Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) that would require the president to report to Congress on Syria issues also passed through the committee on a voice vote.

The Senate has left for a weeklong recess.

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Boehner: Obama Should Reimburse Taxpayers for ‘Pathetic,’ ‘Fake Fight’ Student-Loan Trip

Friday, April 27th, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) criticized President Obama’s student-loan tour this week as “beneath the dignity of the White House” and said taxpayers shouldn’t be stuck paying a dime for the cost of the trip.

The trip to North Carolina, Colorado, and Iowa was a carefully scripted piece of political theater intended to hit on the youth vote, the economy, and education in one fell swoop while wrapping campaigning in an official-business package.

“This week, the president traveled across the country on taxpayers’ dime, at a cost of $179,000 an hour, insisting that Congress fix a problem that we were already working on,” Boehner said yesterday at his weekly press conference. “Frankly, I think this is beneath the dignity of the White House.”

He said that both parties knew that the expiration of the rate cut on some Stafford loans was imminent and “fully expected this would be taken care of.”

“And for the president to, to make a campaign issue out of this and then to travel to three battleground states and go to three large college campuses on taxpayers’ money to try to make this a political issue is pathetic,” Boehner said. “And his campaign ought to be reimbursing the treasury for the cost of this trip.”

The White House, while insisting it is properly reimbursing campaign trips, tangled with the media last week over what constitutes a battleground state. “If you look at everyone in the news organizations and all their maps about what states are up for grabs and that kind of stuff, and say the president can’t go to those states, you’re basically saying he can’t go to half the country,” spokesman Jay Carney said.

“Our country’s facing some major economic and fiscal challenges, yet here’s the president wasting time on a fake fight to try to gain his own re-election,” Boehner said. “These are the types of political stunts and, frankly, they aren’t worth it and worthy of his office.  This is the biggest job in the world, and I’ve never seen a president make it smaller.”

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The Hill: ’70 Percent of Guns Found in Mexico Are From the US’

Friday, April 27th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

The number is bogus, but that doesn’t stop the Hill from reporting, without questioning or analyzing, another round of phony numbers from the government:

Nearly 70 percent of all guns found in Mexico came from the U.S. over the past four years, according to data released by the federal government on Thursday.

More than 68,000 of the 99,691 firearms that were recovered between 2007 and 2011, and submitted to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for trace testing, were either made in the U.S. or legally brought into the U.S. at one point, according to the agency.

Both gun-rights supporters and opponents have used the ATF’s numbers in years past to argue for their cause.

Indeed. There’s a whole scandal surrounding ATF and its gun numbers. It’s called Fast and Furious. There’s even a book about it. The Hill gets around to mentioning FnF at the end of its story, when that operation is at the heart of the debate over guns in Mexico.

As for the tracing numbers, they’re hard to get when most guns seized are never submitted for tracing: (h/t Tom Maguire)

We can find no hard data on the total number of guns actually “recovered in Mexico,” but U.S. and Mexican officials both say that Mexico recovers more guns than it submits for tracing. Therefore, the percentage of guns “recovered” that are traced to U.S. sources necessarily is less than 90 percent. Where do the others come from? U.S. officials can’t say.

Fox News has put the percentage of guns that have been traced to U.S. sources at only 17 percent, but we find that to be based on a mistaken assumption that throws its figure way off. We can’t offer a precise calculation because we know of no hard information on the total number of guns Mexican officials have recovered. But if a rough figure given by Mexico’s attorney general is accurate, then the actual percentage of all Mexican crime guns that have been traced to U.S. sources is more than double what Fox News has reported.

Which would put the number at 34%, not the 90% the Obama administration used to claim, or even the 70% it claims now. Still, by knocking 20% off the propaganda price the administration is at least moving in the right direction. Give Obama another five years and maybe the administration will move the number down some more.

Or, ramp it back up to give himself more flexibility to go after the Second Amendment.

When the Hill does get around to discussing Fast and Furious, it comes with curious omissions:

The ATF has come under fire over the past 16 months for a failed operation it conducted to try and stop the flow of guns from the U.S. to Mexico. Operation Fast and Furious authorized the sale of nearly 2,000 weapons in the Southwest border region to known and suspected straw buyers for Mexican drug cartels.

The operation’s theory revolved around tracking those guns through the hands of cartel members in an effort to dismantle the entire network. But ATF agents were not given permission or resources to follow the gun buyers, allowing the guns to disappear, with only the hope of recovering them later for tracing at a crime scene or police bust.

One of those crime scenes was the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. Two and maybe three Fast and Furious guns turned up in his killing, and Fast and Furious factored in the killing of ICE agent Jaime Zapata. The supposed target of Fast and Furious, Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta, was taken into custody more than once by ATF, only to be released.

None of that worth a mention, Hill?

 

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Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood MP Seeks to Abolish Female Rights and Enforce Female Genital Mutilation

Friday, April 27th, 2012 - by Raymond Ibrahim

According to the Egyptian website Youm 7, Azza al-Jarf, a female Member of Parliament representing the Muslim Brotherhood’s “Freedom and Justice Party,” is trying to abolish several laws currently enjoyed by Egyptian women—including preventing them from divorcing or even separating from their husbands, because “the man has the authority and stewardship” (see Koran 4:34); mandating that fathers must circumcise their daughters; and trying to get the Egyptian educational system to ban the teaching of the English language—on the grounds that it is an “infidel” tongue—while separating boys and girls in classrooms and forcing girls to wear the hijab.

Azza Jarf: Putting a stop to infidel freedoms in Egypt’s new parliament.

 

Ms. Jarf, of course, is not the first Muslim female in Egypt opposed to her own gender; earlier, another female politician declared that “women are deficient in intelligence and religion,” and that, in agreement with Sharia law, they are banned from running for presidency…

Continue reading.

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Now Up on the PJ Media Homepage

Friday, April 27th, 2012 - by Ed Driscoll

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Labor Department Backtracks on Proposed Regulations for Kids on Farms

Thursday, April 26th, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

The Labor Department announced today that it is backtracking on a proposed rule that would have kept youths from working on family farms.

“The decision to withdraw this rule – including provisions to define the ‘parental exemption’ – was made in response to thousands of comments expressing concerns about the effect of the proposed rules on small family-owned farms,” Labor said in a statement. “To be clear, this regulation will not be pursued for the duration of the Obama administration.”

While not targeting kids under 16 who work in “agricultural vocations,” the Labor Department said it would be setting up an “educational program” regarding kids on farms.

“Instead, the Departments of Labor and Agriculture will work with rural stakeholders – such as the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Farmers Union, the Future Farmers of America, and 4-H – to develop an educational program to reduce accidents to young workers and promote safer agricultural working practices,” the statement said.

Congressmen representing rural areas rejoiced at the turnabout.

“The fact that this rule was ever proposed in the first place was absurd, and it shows the administration’s fundamental misunderstanding of what it takes to run a family farm,” said Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.). “I am, however, glad to see the administration exercise common sense and actually listen to the thousands of comments expressing concerns about the effect it would have on family-owned farms.”

“Agriculture is vital to our region’s economy and food security, and I look forward to continuing to work with New Yorkers to ensure Washington works for the farming community — not against it,” said Rep. Bill Owens (D-N.Y.).

The proposed regulations would have kept children on farms from participating in a variety of activities including operating a tractor, applying pesticides and working with livestock.

“This policy was not only unnecessary, it threatened the very way of life that I and so many others hold dear,” said Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa). “When will President Obama realize that his out of touch policies do not reflect the values of the American people? His actions continue to show that he is disconnected with the people in the heartland of this great country.”

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Video: Sebelius Admits She Never Consulted the Constitution or Legal Precedent on the Abortifacient Mandate

Thursday, April 26th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

I was tempted to title this post “Hi, I’m Not a Serious Political Party At All: Part 2.” Watch the video, which is from hearings earlier today. Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina asks the HHS secretary a simple question: When you say that you weighed the balance of the Constitution versus the administration’s contraceptive mandate, what did you mean by that?

It turns out that she meant nothing at all by that. “Balance” is just a word that sounded good. She did not look into past Supreme Court cases regarding religious liberty. She did not look at any case law at all. She did not even have any sort of legal memo drafted to back up the mandate. She says she relied on “discussions,” which really means that she was just following Obama’s orders without bothering to determine whether those orders were legal or not. They discussed it with Planned Parenthood, and then they decreed it. The rest: Wingin’ it.

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More at the Beckett Fund’s web site. The entire administration ought be embarrassed by Kathleen Sebeluis’ comedic, pitiful performance in this hearing. But the fact is, based on how the administration’s lawyer keeps having his head handed to him by the Supreme Court, the administration is probably under the mistaken impression that Sebelius did just fine.

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First Signs of a Real Obama Backlash?

Thursday, April 26th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

In the past few weeks, Americans have learned just how wasteful that obscure and well regarded government agencies can be. From the GSA’s lavish spending to send interns to Palm Springs, to the Secret Service’s hooker ho-downs in Third World Countries, from the oppressive TSA to the crucifying EPA, government is increasingly becoming more than just the enemy of small government advocates. If you run a business, fly anywhere, own a farm or just want to be free, big government has become a big enemy, period.

Barack Obama, meanwhile, is oblivious to all this. He keeps on pushing government as the be all end all solution to everything. A new poll out suggests that this attitude is going to catch up with him.

Today, just one in three has a favorable view of the federal government — the lowest level in 15 years, according to a Pew survey. The majority of Americans remain satisfied with their local and state governments — 61 percent and 52 percent, respectively — but only 33 percent feel likewise about the federal government.

In 2002, nearly double that figure, 64 percent, viewed the federal government favorably, and Americans held their local and state governments in similar esteem, at 67 percent and 62 percent, respectively.

There’s the expected partisan gap: A majority of Democrats, 51 percent, view the Obama-led government favorably, compared to 27 percent of independents and 20 percent of Republicans. During the Bush presidency, a majority of Republicans viewed the federal government favorably, while support for it faded among Democrats.

Independents align more closely with the Republican position than with Obama’s pro-big government position.

From the general to the specific, Obama’s personal spending habits are even chipping away at his base support:

Blue collar Democratic voters, stuck taking depressing “staycations” because they can’t afford gas and hotels, are resentful of the first family’s 17 lavish vacations around the world and don’t want their tax dollars paying for the Obamas’ holidays, according to a new analysis of swing voters.

“They view everything through their own personal situation and if they can’t afford to do it, they can’t enjoy it, they don’t like Obama using their tax dollars to benefit himself,” said pollster John McLaughlin. “In this case, they see him as out of touch. While they are struggling he’s not sharing in that struggle and he’s basically doing what they can’t do on their tax dollars,” added the GOP pollster.

He and several other top-tier Republican pollsters, organized by Resurgent Republic, traveled to 11 battleground states to host focus groups of independent and swing voters, mostly Democrats, who voted for President Obama in 2008 but who are now on the fence.

What they found:

The theme, said McLaughlin, is that the first family “is out of touch” with working class voters.

He added that the president’s attack on the rich and GOP presidential challenger Mitt Romney’s wealth is working, but the voters were also lumping in the president’s vacation spending in with the General Services Administration’s Las Vegas scandal and federal spending for those who aren’t looking for work.

“There really wasn’t a real dislike for Romney. It was just that he is too rich. But on the other hand there is a start of resentment of the government,” he said.

Out of touch, and championing something that an increasing number of Americans from center left to right see as the problem. Let the backlash begin.

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Michelle Obama’s Spain Vacation Cost $467,585

Thursday, April 26th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Or, about half what that controversial GSA conference with the hot tub guy cost.

Judicial Watch obtained the Secret Service records pursuant to an August 2010 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.  (The agency notified Judicial Watch that it withheld 78 pages of responsive records in their entirety.) Judicial Watch obtained the U.S. Air Force records pursuant to a March 5, 2012, FOIA lawsuit.

The following are highlights from the U.S. Air Force records, which indicate a total cost of $213,124.15:

  • According to U.S. Department of Defense’s 2010 published hourly rates, the total cost of flying Michelle Obama and her guests from Camp Andrews to Malaga and then to Mallorca and back to the United States was $199,323.75. This is based on approximately 17 hours and 15 minutes of total flying time.
  • The 15-member flight crew stayed at Tryp Guadalmar, a nearby motel. Lodging cost was $10,290.60 and car rental cost was $2,633.50. Food cost was $876.30, including $57.68 for four bottles of maple syrup and a package of pancake mix.

The U.S. Air Force concealed the number of civilian passengers who accompanied Mrs. Obama on the five-day trip, citing an exemption to FOIA law. (The New York Times previously reported that Mrs. Obama brought along one of her daughters and “two friends and four of their daughters, as well as a couple of aides and a couple of advance staff members.”)

Secret Service records, meanwhile, show that the costs to the agency for the vacation were $254,461.20. This total includes $26,670.61 for a chauffeur tour of Costa del Sol and $50,078.78 for a travel planning company SET P&V, S.L. (George Soros is 50% owner of the travel company.) Taxpayers also paid the bill for separate lodging for a dog and its handler.

In August 2010, Michelle Obama, her daughter and friends embarked on what the press described as a “whirlwind tour of Spain,” which included visits to the coastal towns, shopping and a lunch date with the country’s King and Queen.  While the White House claims the Obamas “paid their own way” for the vacation, the records detail some of the required security and other costs to taxpayers for the private trip.

And you, taxpayer, got to pay for it while you and your kids pretended to enjoy yet another staycation.

But don’t you worry. Michelle Obama shops at Target, so she’s really one of us.

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North Korea: No Dong, No Fly

Thursday, April 26th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

You’ve heard of Potemkin villages. North Korea has introduced the Potemkin missile. According to the Hindustan Times:

The weapons displayed on April 15 appear to be a mish-mash of liquid-fuel and solid-fuel components that could never fly together.

Undulating casings on the missiles suggest the metal is too thin to withstand flight. Each missile was slightly different from the others, even though all were supposedly the same make. They don’t even fit the launchers they were carried on.

Two analysts who detail those discrepancies in a paper posted recently on the website Armscontrolwonk.com say there is no doubt that the missiles were mock-ups.

It’s been a bad run for the Jung Un. Taking over after the timely death of his mad father, the pudgier Kim tried scaring the world with an ICBM launch, only to have that missile crash into the sea. He had to apologize for that debacle. Now he’s been caught parading fake missiles. North Korea traffics in selling weapons tech to rogue states, it’s one of the country’s few exports. That’s part of the reason for publicly parading them.

Hey mullah, wanna buy a missile? Not anymore.

North Korea’s collapse may be closer than it looks.

 

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Obama Medals of Freedom to Go to Albright, Peres, Union Activist, More

Thursday, April 26th, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama just named 13 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

“These extraordinary honorees come from different backgrounds and different walks of life, but each of them has made a lasting contribution to the life of our Nation,” Obama said. “They’ve challenged us, they’ve inspired us, and they’ve made the world a better place. I look forward to recognizing them with this award.”

The winners are:

  • Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
  • Civil rights lawyer and Watergate investigator John Doar
  • Bob Dylan
  • Smallpox eradicator William Foege
  • Former astronaut and senator John Glenn
  • Gordon Hirabayashi, who defied a forced relocation and internment effort during World War II
  • UFW co-founder Dolores Huerta
  • Polis underground office Jan Karski
  • Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low
  • Novelist Toni Morrison
  • Israeli President Shimon Peres
  • Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens
  • University of Tennessee basketball coach Pat Summitt

Obama announced Peres’ honor back at the AIPAC conference in early March. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hasn’t received a Medal of Freedom.

This does give a great excuse, though, to remember Madeleine Albright’s accomplishments…

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Muslim Persecution of Christians: March, 2012

Thursday, April 26th, 2012 - by Raymond Ibrahim

The war on Christianity and its adherents rages on in the Muslim world. In March alone, Saudi Arabia’s highest Islamic law authority decreed that churches in the region must be destroyed; jihadis in Nigeria said they “are going to put into action new efforts to strike fear into the Christians of the power of Islam by kidnapping their women”; American teachers in the Middle East were murdered for talking about Christianity; churches were banned or bombed, and nuns terrorized by knife-wielding Muslim mobs. Christians continue to be attacked, arrested, imprisoned, and killed for allegedly “blaspheming” Islam’s prophet Muhammad; former Muslims continue to be attacked, arrested, imprisoned, and killed for converting to Christianity.

To understand why all this persecution is virtually unknown in the West, consider the mainstream media’s well-documented biases: also in March alone, the New York Times ran a virulently anti-Catholic ad, but refused to publish a near identical ad directed at Islam; the BBC admitted it will mock Jesus but never Muhammad; and U.S. sitcoms were exposed for bashing Christianity, but never Islam.

Is it any wonder, then, that this same mainstream media ignores or at best whitewashes the nonstop persecution of Christians under Islam? Exposing such ugly truths would undermine their narrative of Islam as the “religion of peace.”

Read on for a long list of abuses against Christians at the hands of Muslims for the month of March alone.

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DeMint Turning Reins of Conservative Caucus Over to Toomey

Thursday, April 26th, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is handing the reins of a caucus of upper-chamber conservatives to Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).

Toomey will become chairman of the nonpartisan Senate Steering Committee in September.

“Sen. Pat Toomey is a proven and trusted conservative, and I’m very glad he’s taking on this new role,” said outgoing Chairman DeMint. “I’ve fought hard over the last few years to help elect new conservatives to the Senate, and it’s very rewarding to see them step into positions of leadership. I’ve enjoyed chairing this group for the past five years, and I look forward to working closely with Pat and the other Steering members to advance conservative principles at this critical time when our country needs them most.”

“I’m honored to lead the historic Steering Committee,” Toomey said. “It is a privilege to be entrusted with this position. Sen. DeMint has been a courageous leader, and I look forward to building on the great work he has done. The Steering Committee will continue to provide conservative solutions, especially to limit government overreach, restore fiscal responsibility, reinvigorate free enterprise and maintain a strong national defense.”

Toomey, the former Club for Growth president who was elected to the Senate in the 2010 GOP midterm rout, is mentioned on many shortlists as a potential vice presidential pick.

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‘Crucify’ EPA Official Apologizes; Sen. Inhofe Doesn’t Buy It

Thursday, April 26th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Fox reports:

Armendariz also issued a statement apologizing after Inhofe slammed the comments on the Senate floor, and fired off a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson highlighting them.

“I apologize to those I have offended and regret my poor choice of words,” Armendariz said. “It was an offensive and inaccurate way to portray our efforts to address potential violations of our nation’s environmental laws. I am and have always been committed to fair and vigorous enforcement of those laws.”

Inhofe, though, said he’s launching an investigation. On Fox News on Thursday, the senator said the remarks are “all a part of Obama’s war on domestic energy,” particularly on a process known as hydraulic fracturing — which is used to extract oil and natural gas from rock.

Inhofe noted that the EPA, following Armendariz’ comments, went after natural gas firms in three states and tried to link hydraulic fracturing to water contamination.

“You read his whole statement, and it’s pretty revealing,” Inhofe said. “And I think when he comes out and apologizes for using the word crucify he’s still getting his message across there — intimidation, threats.”

The Obama White House also sought to distance itself from Armandariz’s comments. The White House can do all the distancing it wants, but the fact is, the EPA has behaved as a punitive imperial power under Obama. Inhofe notes its stance on fracking, and I’ll bring up how EPA handled the cross-state pollution rule last summer.

Texas was not included in the EPA’s draft rule related to sulfur dioxide cuts because EPA modeling had shown little downwind impact from Texas power plants on other states.

On Thursday, however, the EPA said Texas would be required to meet lower SO2 limits to avoid allowing the state to increase emissions.

Five states — Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, along with the District of Columbia — were dropped from the final EPA rule.

Despite the agency’s own science, Texas (red state) was added without warning, while three blue states and a swing state were dropped off. Once implemented, the rule will drive up electricity prices in the impacted states, which will drive up unemployment. The appearance here is that Texas was punished by EPA for having low unemployment and for being a GOP state that has challenged Obama’s actions on a range of issues.

Armandariz’s comments should trigger an investigation into every action the EPA has taken since Obama took office.

Update: By the way, Armendariz is the administrator for EPA’s Region VI. His territory just happens to include Texas. Texans do not take kindly to imperial wannabes.

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Hi, I’m Not a Serious Political Party at All

Thursday, April 26th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

This is Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and an elected representative in Congress. She isn’t interested in having Congress pass a federal budget.

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Well, at least we have a cool Preezy of the United Steezy.

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Soooo cool.

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The Democrats’ plan: Keep unemployment high, so the unemployed will vote for Democrats to keep their benefits coming.

Soooo cool.

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Boy Ain’t THIS the Truth

Thursday, April 26th, 2012 - by Patrick Richardson

 

From the Department of Labor trying to keep kids from working on the farm to unions forcing their members to make political contributions, our essential liberties are bruised and the flame is going out. I’m not sure what we do about it, except to keep fighting and defeat this president in November. Romney was far from my first choice, but I’d vote for a syphilitic camel before I’d vote for the Dog-Eater-In-Chief.

h/t Chris Muir at Day by Day, who is — frankly — a genius. Draws good too.

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Biden: ‘I Promise You the President Has a Big Stick’

Thursday, April 26th, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

Vice President Joe Biden went after presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney in a campaign address at New York University, questioning the former Massachusetts governor’s chops on foreign policy.

And, he was there to try to prop up his boss’ credentials.

“I promise you the president has a big stick. I promise you,” Biden said in reference to Teddy Roosevelt’s mantra.

Biden again credited President Obama for going after Osama bin Laden in Pakistan while questioning whether Romney would have made the same move. “This guy’s got a backbone like a ramrod. No, no, for real,” Biden said. “We can’t say for certain what Gov. Romney would have done.”

The vice president accused Romney of wanting to go “back to the future” on foreign policy.

“Back to a foreign policy that would have America go it alone — shout to the world you’re either with us or against us, lash out first and ask the hard questions later, if they get asked at all, isolate America instead of isolating our enemies, waste hundreds of billions of dollars and risk thousands of Americans’ lives on a war that’s unnecessary,” he said.

“Governor Romney, I think, is counting on collective amnesia of the American people,” Biden said.

It was the fifth in a series of Biden speeches that have put campaign issues such as Social Security in front of key audiences.

He charged that Romney would come into office with a “profound — a profound — misunderstanding” of a commander in chief’s responsibilities and a Cold War mentality “that is totally out of touch with the realities of the 21st century.”

“That kind of thinking may work for a CEO but it will not and cannot work for a president,” Biden said. “And it will not work for a commander in chief.”

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‘Moderate’ Muslim Brotherhood Takes ‘Till Death Do Us Part’ to a Whole Other Level in Egypt

Thursday, April 26th, 2012 - by Rick Moran

Those “moderate” Egyptian Islamists sure are a compassionate bunch. It seems they want to tweak the laws covering women’s rights, as well as grant some, well, unusual rights to husbands regarding post-mortem conjugal bliss.

Daily Mail:

Egyptian husbands will soon be legally allowed to have sex with their dead wives – for up to six hours after their death.

The controversial new law is part of a raft of measures being introduced by the Islamist-dominated parliament.

It will also see the minimum age of marriage lowered to 14 and the ridding of women’s rights of getting education and employment.

Keeping them in the kitchen barefoot and pregnant is one thing. But allowing a man to continue enjoying his dead wife’s affections up to six hours after she is freed from her Islamist husband’s chains adds insult to injury.

Necrophilia has its advantages, of course. You don’t have to beat your spouse because she denies you your “rights” as a husband.

The subject of a husband having sex with his dead wife arose in May 2011 when Moroccan cleric Zamzami Abdul Bari said marriage remains valid even after death.

He also said that women have the right to have sex with her dead husband, alarabiya.net reported.

It seems the topic, which has sparked outrage, has now been picked up on by Egypt’s politicians.

I guess this is their idea of “equal rights.”

Some of the people who will be voting for this law visited the White House a couple of weeks ago. Maybe NOW and other women’s rights groups in America might want to ask the president if press secretary Jay Carney’s statement on the visit still holds. Said Carney:

“Because of the fact that Egypt’s political landscape has changed, the actors have become more diverse and our engagement reflects that. The point is that we will judge Egypt’s political actors by how they act — not by their religious affiliation.”

This is how they act. Are you judging yet?

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Obama Brands Romney as Goldwater – Will Puppet Be Next?

Thursday, April 26th, 2012 - by Myra Adams

With Obama about to launch his re-election campaign on May 5th (cough cough) his grand strategy for victory has been formulated.

News Flash…Mitt Romney is a radical.

In case you missed it, Obama’s campaign narrative goes something like this:

Romney used to be a flip- flopper with no core and you could not trust him.

But now, since becoming the presumptive Republican nominee, he has morphed into a radical and not just a run-of-the-mill radical, but a Goldwater ’64 radical.

David Plouffe, one of Obama’s highest ranking generals said recently in a NYT interview (where else?) “.. he (Romney) is the most conservative nominee that they’ve had going back to Goldwater.”

Ah… Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater vs. President Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ)  November, 1964, the glory days for Democrats, with LBJ winning his only full term in a landslide with 486 electoral votes to Goldwater’s 52.  LBJ received 61.1% of the vote and Senator Goldwater earned 38.5%.

Even worse, Goldwater only won 6 states.

That 1964 election resonates with me because it is the first presidential election I can remember. Now a little background is needed. I was born and raised in the radical Democrat state of Massachusetts, in a Boston suburb, and literally never met a Republican until I was 18 and left for college in Ohio.

On the morning of Election Day 1964, I distinctly recall yelling out the school bus window with fellow students to people on the sidewalks,  “LBJ for the USA” and “LBJ all the way”.

I also remember being told (probably in school) that Goldwater was very dangerous and if elected, was going to blow up the world.

Recalling all this so clearly obviously means LBJ’s message of Goldwater’s radicalism made a huge impact on me as a nine year old and, more important, how that message was so much a part of the ’64 election narrative.

So will Obama’s branding of Romney as a Goldwater radical be as effective?

Will today’s nine year olds remember it when they are in their 50s?

Probably not, because like the flip-flopper label, (after much focus-group testing),  “Romney the radical label will most likely not last.

So then it is on to President Obama’s next feeble attempt at branding which I predict will be “Romney the puppet”.

Expect in the next few months to hear David Plouffe say something like this, “Romney, if elected, would be totally controlled by the right wing radical Congress. He would be their puppet on a string, moving and swaying to their direction and then signing whatever legislation they put in front of him.”

From flip-flopper to radical to puppet to who knows what else after that?

Obama’s strategy reminds me of jujutsu, using your opponent’s own strength against him to your advantage.

From a Republican point of view, Obama is really the radical so if he paints Romney as a radical, it is harder for Romney to say, “No Obama YOU are the radical”, without sounding like the election has denigrated into a name calling exercise. Which it will anyway.

With that thought in mind,  I would like to pose a more serious question, how are we as a nation ever going to endure seven more months of what the Obama campaign is going to put us through?   The lies, distortions and endless promises of spending, oh, I mean investment.

Will someone please check and see if Prozac is included for free in ObamaCare because we are all going to need it even more than we need contraceptives.

 

 

 

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Second Producer Fired in Zimmerman 911 Call Edit

Thursday, April 26th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Breitbart reports on the quiet firing of a second producer in its accidental, incidental, nothing to see here dishonest edit of George Zimmerman’s 911 call.

There has been a second firing at NBC over the misleading edit of George Zimmerman’s 911 call. A report published yesterday afternoon by the Miami Herald identifies reporter/producer Jeff Burnside as the individual responsible for the edits which appeared in an NBC6 news story on March 19th and again on March 20th.

Burnside worked for WTVJ news, the NBC owned and operated station in Miami where the edit appears to have originated. SFLTV blog confirms his firing but says it was not for the edit that appeared on the Today show, but a similar edit that appeared on WTVJ. So that makes two separate versions of the same “accidental” edit that NBC ran with this on the air.

Back to the Breitbart report:

Burnside’s social media accounts show he was heavily involved in the Trayvon Martin story beginning on March 19th. The next day he interviewed one of Zimmerman’s neighbors at the scene of the shooting. The story he wrote to accompany the interview (since corrected) is one of the two places the misleading edit appeared. In the original version Burnside quotes from the Zimmerman 911 call with a misleading ellipsis, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good…he looks black.” On March 22nd Burnside posted this photo of himself interviewing Al Sharpton who was in Florida for a Trayvon Martin rally. He also attended a rally with Ben Jealous of the NAACP.

The Sharpton connection is key. His status as major advocate in this story, and host on MSNBC, constitutes a glaring conflict of interest that taints the network up and down the line. NBC has failed to maintain editorial standards in dealing with this conflict. And even in the second firing, the network is unapologetic.

“The network is very sensitive about the whole Al Sharpton/MSNBC issue, so when the right-wing bloggers started hammering, they needed to throw them fresh meat,” said the station source, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the controversy. “It’s not at all clear how this happened. Obviously, there was miscommunication.”

Actually, it’s pretty clear how this happened, creating the same bad edit that aired multiple times and ended up on the web, all within the same network. Burnside found himself in the middle of a career-making story, interviewing heavyweights like Sharpton for pieces that had the potential to go national and put him on the network honchos’ radar. He edited the Zimmerman 911 call to drive the narrative forward that Zimmerman racially profiled and then murdered Trayvon Martin. From there, it looks like NBC Today producers found Burnside’s edit too good to check, and aired it and slapped it on their web sites. The network’s editorial failure trickles all the way up to Today executive producer Jim Bell. NBC has only grudgingly taken any action in response to this, and still has not corrected its false Today show reports on the air. Corrections have been relegated to NBC’s web sites.To WTVJ’s credit, the station has aired a correction and publicly fired its big-name reporter.

But behind the scenes, it’s all the right-wing bloggers’ fault. For catching NBC red-handed.

Oh, one more thing, just for fun…

Burnside, 52, won several regional Emmy awards and was known for his investigative reports and coverage of environmental issues. Named “Top TV Reporter” by the New Times in 2007, he is on the board of directors of the Society of Environmental Journalists.

Anyone surprised that Burnside turns out to be as much an advocate as a journalist?

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D.C. Delegate to Barry: Stop Your ‘Time Dishonored Pattern’ of Saying Racist Stuff

Thursday, April 26th, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

After councilman Marion Barry’s latest controversial remark, D.C.’s delegate to Congress today called on the former mayor “to cease the time dishonored pattern he seems to be adopting of targeting racial groups to call attention to issues.”

Earlier this month, Barry called Asian businesses in his district “dirty.” At a district hearing Monday, while talking about the need to train more black nurses, he singled out Filipino immigrants.

“[I]f you go to the hospital now, you’ll find a number of immigrants who are nurses, particularly from the Philippines,” said Barry. “And no offense, but let’s grow our own teachers, let’s grow our own nurses, and so that we don’t have to go scrounging in our community clinics and other kinds of places, having to hire people from somewhere else.”

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), who was also exasperated at Barry over his previous comment, said today that he owed an apology to Filipino nurses, “who do not deserve to be insulted” for helping fill the national void of nurses.

“The UDC School of Nursing is doing its job, but we have not done ours,” Norton said.  “We have not prepared a child who wants to grow up to be a nurse with the quality of education she or he must have to study nursing.”

Norton tried to call Barry to tell him to stop using “racially cloaked language,” her office said, but hasn’t been able to reach him.

Norton and Barry first met during the civil rights movement. Her office said that her message to him is “that racial rhetoric surrounding such issues does a particular disservice beyond the offense to the group that is singled out.”

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Rubio Huddles with Gutierrez, Other Dems on DREAM Act Alternative

Thursday, April 26th, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) told Univision that he had a fruitful conversation with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) yesterday afternoon about introducing a watered-down version of the DREAM Act.

Rubio and Gutierrez also huddled with Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Rep. Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas).

“It was a great meeting. Look, I am going to meet with anyone independent of their political party or what perceived or real political benefit my association [provides] as long as it does one thing: stop the deportations,” Gutierrez told Univision News in an interview Wednesday evening.

“He said it and we agreed with him; today was not a day for us to come together because there is no proposal to agree on,” Gutierrez said of Rubio. “It was simply a conversation opening dialogue.”

Under Rubio’s version, certain undocumented minors would receive legal status, but not a special pathway to citizenship. Gutierrez has derided that alternative as the “Stolen Dream Act,” but said he’s now willing to give Rubio a chance to see how the proposal comes together.

“He asked me to give him a chance, and I’m going to wait,” Gutierrez said. “…I asked him when did he think we could hear more, he said in a few weeks. Sounds great to me.”

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Federal Crucifixion Flashback: Gibson Guitar

Thursday, April 26th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Remember this? Rewind to August 2011.

Federal agents swooped in on Gibson Guitar Wednesday, raiding factories and offices in Memphis and Nashville, seizing several pallets of wood, electronic files and guitars. The Feds are keeping mum, but in a statement yesterday Gibson’s chairman and CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz, defended his company’s manufacturing policies, accusing the Justice Department of bullying the company. “The wood the government seized Wednesday is from a Forest Stewardship Council certified supplier,” he said, suggesting the Feds are using the aggressive enforcement of overly broad laws to make the company cry uncle.

It isn’t the first time that agents of the Fish and Wildlife Service have come knocking at the storied maker of such iconic instruments as the Les Paul electric guitar, the J-160E acoustic-electric John Lennon played, and essential jazz-boxes such as Charlie Christian’s ES-150. In 2009 the Feds seized several guitars and pallets of wood from a Gibson factory, and both sides have been wrangling over the goods in a case with the delightful name “United States of America v. Ebony Wood in Various Forms.”

There has never been a satisfactory explanation for the government’s aggressive behavior toward Gibson. The “crime” they were accused of involved using a specific type of wood to make guitars. It hardly demanded fully armed tactical teams swooping into the guitar maker’s factory. The factory had been there for decades, and wood is heavy. There was no flight or fight risk. But the two raids were very intimidating.

There was a dual agenda at work, involving union and foreign labor. The administration crucified Gibson, to use the EPA’s lingo, to promote that agenda via fear. To make an example out of Gibson. The “crime” of using the wrong wood served merely as the excuse to hang the non-union, GOP supporting guitar maker on a prosecutorial cross.

Did the feds build their cross out of illegal ebony? Who would prosecute them if they did?

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Just Another Day in the Hands of the TSA

Thursday, April 26th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Bridget already covered the TSA’s behavior when frisking Rep. Quico Canseco of Texas — essentially, TSA agents are allowed to do unto you whatever they want, but if you so much as move their hand away they’ll threaten you with an assault charge.

TSA agents in Los Angeles, meanwhile, stand accused of a less handsy crime: Arrests have been made in a TSA drug running scheme.

Four current and former Transportation Security Administration screeners have been arrested and face charges of taking bribes and looking the other way while suitcases filled with cocaine, methamphetamine or marijuana passed through X-ray machines at Los Angeles International Airport, federal authorities announced Wednesday.

The TSA screeners, who were arrested Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, allegedly received up to $2,400 in cash bribes in exchange for allowing large drug shipments to pass through checkpoints in what the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles called a “significant breakdown” of security.

And in Wichita, KS, TSA would have you know that a four-year-old girl may well be the next al Qaeda regional chief.

The grandmother of a 4-year-old girl who became hysterical during a security screening at a Kansas airport said Wednesday that the child was forced to undergo a pat-down after hugging her, with security agents yelling and calling the crying girl an uncooperative suspect.

“Uncooperative suspect.” Let that phrase roll around your mind as you see just what this suspect looks like:

Clearly, we’re looking at the next Osama bin Laden here. It’s only matter of time, or that seems to be what the TSA agents believe. If she’s a suspect, we’re all suspects, which is exactly how TSA treats us all.

Once you’ve passed sentence on our four-year-old princess, it’s time to take up the next TSA suspect:

Her name is Dina Frank. She’s seven years old, three years farther along in her journey to jihad if you’re with the TSA.

Traveling from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to Florida, the Frank family was yanked out of line as it boarded the plane in a dispute over how 7-year-old Dina had been screened. The little girl, who has cerebral palsy, walks with crutches and leg braces.
“They make our lives completely difficult,” said her father, Dr. Joshua Frank, a Long Island pediatrician. “She’s not a threat to national security.”

Flying is always difficult for the family, but this week was particularly dreadful, Frank and his wife, Marcy, said.

With her crutches and orthotics, Dina cannot walk through metal detectors and instead is patted down by security agents. The girl, who is also developmentally disabled, is often frightened by the procedure, her father said.

Marcy Frank usually asks the agents to introduce themselves to her daughter, but those on duty on Monday were exceptionally aggressive, Joshua Frank said, and he began to videotape them with his iPhone.

“And the woman started screaming at me and cursing me and threatening me,” he said.

Eventually, a supervisor decided it was sufficient to inspect Dina’s crutches and allowed the family to leave for the gate.

They were there for an hour before the agents reappeared with a manager to tell them that proper protocol had not been followed, and that Dina had to be screened after all, the Franks said. After initially offering to pat her down at the gate, they insisted she return to the security area, Joshua Frank said.

“So then I got aggravated,” he said.

With Dina now in her wheelchair, Frank raced her across the JetBlue terminal, but by then, the family had missed its plane. The Franks caught a subsequent flight.

It’s been said often that TSA combines some of the worst aspects of government in one agency: The efficiency of GSA with the courtesy of the DMV. But it’s worse than that. TSA has become the airport version of the EPA, an agency that by its own admission crucifies just to make examples, and to cow everyone else. Getting handsy with congressmen and little girls has nothing to do with keeping us safe from terrorists. It’s just conditioning us for ever more intrusive and oppressive government in every aspect of our lives.

 

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Sen. Harkin Launches New Attack on For-Profit Schools

Thursday, April 26th, 2012 - by Bryan Preston

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), who has lied about serving in Vietnam, has proposed legislation that would clamp down on how for-profit schools and universities can market themselves. According to an editorial in the Des Moines Register:

Last week, Harkin announced new legislation that would prohibit schools from using money from federal aid on advertising, marketing and recruiting. They are already prohibited from using this money for lobbying. The Protecting Financial Aid for Students and Taxpayers Act would ensure Pell Grants, GI Bill funds and other public money is not used for activities that serve no educational purpose. Lawmakers in Washington should support this legislation.

“Taxpayers should not be picking up the tab for colleges with dismal graduation rates that spend up to 30 percent of their revenue on marketing machines,” said Harkin, chairman of the HELP Committee.

Dismal graduation rates? If that’s the problem, then why isn’t Harkin going after taxpayer-funded community colleges? They have some of the worst graduation and outcome rates in all of education. By their own admission, community colleges aren’t making the grade.

Calling the American dream imperiled, the American Association of Community Colleges issued a report on Saturday intended to galvanize college leaders to transform their institutions for the 21st-century needs of students and the economy.

Released here on the opening night of the group’s annual conference, the report acknowledges the sector’s historic growth and success but also argues that even so, far too many community-college students do not graduate. The study also found employment preparation inadequately connected to the needs of the job market, and a need for two-year colleges to work more closely with high schools and baccalaureate institutions.

“As they currently function, community colleges are not up to the task before them,” it says.

The report, “Reclaiming the American Dream: Community Colleges and the Nation’s Future,” is blunt: The colleges must “redesign their institutions, their mission and their students’ educational experiences” to ensure that they meet the needs of a changing society.

Should taxpayers pick up the tab for the obviously far left political indoctrination that goes on all across the increasingly expensive state university culture? Should taxpayers foot the bill for university presidents and deans to live like minor kings, with lavish salaries and sprawling government-owned mansions and fleets of expensive cars? Should taxpayers foot the bill for tenured professors who do little in the way of actual teaching, sloughing those duties off onto graduate assistants? Taxpayers are footing the bill for all of that and much more waste that has become part of the state university culture. Harkin’s bill doesn’t address any of it.

We hear quite a bit these days about unsustainable student debt and the higher ed cost bubble. But we hear very little about how to stop higher ed costs from skyrocketing. My view is that Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s call for state universities to aggressively fight rising costs and establish a $10,000 degree is a very good first step to rein in the insane higher ed costs families and students are faced with now. Sen. Harkin’s oppression of for-profits, which compete with state schools and in some ways are more effective at achieving positive outcomes for students, is counter productive. Government officials — governors, senators, and so forth — have quite a bit of power when it comes to encouraging state institutions to change their ways. But rather than demand reform in state universities, they tend to use those institutions to build up their personal pork portfolio. Harkin is inserting himself and big government into the operations of free market schools, empowered by the Obama administration’s takeover of the federal student loan program and via the GAO’s heavy-handed report on for-profits. This won’t help anyone but Sen. Harkin.

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Obama Pushes Two-State Solution in Israeli Independence Day Message

Thursday, April 26th, 2012 - by Bridget Johnson

A day after waiving restrictions on aid to the Palestinian Authority, President Obama issued a statement marking the “momentous day” 64 years ago that the United States became the first country in the world to recognize the State of Israel.

“Ours is a unique relationship founded on an unbreakable commitment to Israel’s security, and anchored by our common interests and deeply held values,” Obama said. “These values continue to enlighten and guide our efforts as we work with Israel, as well as with others in the region, to confront shared challenges and to achieve a just and comprehensive peace based on a two-state solution that will usher in a future of peace, security, and dignity for the people of Israel and its neighbors.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent out a warmer independence greeting last night “on behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States” — in which she didn’t specifically push a two-state solution.

“Our relationship grows stronger every day as we work to promote regional security, create new economic partnerships, increase two-way trade and broaden our energy cooperation. We are steadfast in our commitment to Israel’s security, which is a cornerstone of our foreign policy in the Middle East,” Clinton said.

“And we will continue to work with you and your neighbors to achieve the shared goal of a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in the Middle East. Congratulations and best wishes for peace and prosperity in the years to come.”

The head of the conservative Republican Study Committee included Israel’s right to defense in his congratulatory statement from the caucus.

“I hope this day reminds every American about our important bond of friendship with Israel,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). “The people of Israel desire to live their lives in peace and freedom, just like we do. And like us, they fiercely defend themselves when attacked. Considering the challenges she has faced, sixty-four years of Israeli independence is a remarkable achievement. Let us work and pray for countless more years to come.”

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