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Chuck Hagel Had A Bad Day Pictorial Retrospective Open Thread

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Stephen Kruiser

Feel free to suggest your own captions. Or pretend that none of this is happening.

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Obama Recovery Going So Well That Two-Thirds Are Delaying Retirement

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Stephen Kruiser

Unexpectedly!

The American workplace is about to get grayer.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans between the ages of 45 and 60 say they plan to delay retirement, according to a report to be released Friday by the Conference Board. That was a steep jump from just two years earlier, when the group found that 42% of respondents expected to put off retirement.

The increase was driven by the financial losses, layoffs and income stagnation sustained during the last few years of recession and recovery, said Gad Levanon, director of macroeconomic research at the organization and a co-author of the report, which is based on a 2012 survey of 15,000 individuals.

Let’s hope they aren’t working in jobs that are about to be nuked by Obamacare. This also brings up another question: if all the kids are moving back in with their parents because they can’t find jobs, where are the parents going to move if they end up in the same boat?

Four more years.

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Good News: RNC Ended 2012 With $4.7 Million On Hand To Blow Another Election

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Stephen Kruiser

Yay Team!

The Republican National Committee ended the 2012 presidential cycle in the black, the party announced Thursday.

The committee ended the year with $4.7 million in cash on hand, and raised $378 million over the last two years.

That’s a stark contrast to how the party began the presidential cycle, when it was saddled with $24 million in debt. The debt was mostly accrued under the leadership of former party chairman Michael Steele. The committee has now paid off that debt and is running a surplus — putting the party in a solid financial situation going into the 2014 midterms.

Combined with Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, the party raised $632 million in 2012.

Here’s an idea, why not start spending some of that on a Get Out The Vote effort that will actually work in 2014?

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Jonathan Alter: Obama Going Far Left Will Help Find The Center, Or Something

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Stephen Kruiser

Perhaps there are no editors at Bloomberg

Goal-post shifting is back in style. Behind the soaring rhetoric of the inaugural address and his announcement of a bold immigration plan, the president is engaged in a carefully calibrated effort to move the debate away from the right side of the field.

In their interactions over the last two years, a chastened Obama started in the center and the Republicans started on the right, and the never-found compromise lay on the center-right.

Since winning re-election, Obama is starting on the center- left and the Republicans are moving toward the center-right. With any luck, they will find compromise in the center. The real center.

Again, here’s more of the Obama First Term Centrist fairy tale. Of course, Obama never once “started in the center”, he started somewhere near the lunatic fringe. He’s now moving so far we’re going to need one of Newt’s Moon bases to accommodate him.

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LA Cardinal Roger Mahony Relieved Of Public Retirement Duties

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Stephen Kruiser

Still embarrassing and sad.

Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, who retired less than two years ago as the leader of the nation’s largest Roman Catholic archdiocese, was removed from all public duties by his successor, Archbishop José H. Gomez, as the church complied with a court order to release thousands of pages of internal documents that show how the cardinal shielded priests who sexually abused children.

The documents, released as part of a record $660 million settlement in 2007 with the victims of abuse, are the strongest evidence so far that top officials for years purposely tried to conceal abuse from law enforcement officials. The files, which go from the 1940s to the present, are the latest in a series of revelations that suggest that the church continued to maneuver against law enforcement even after the extent of the abuse crisis emerged.

Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Curry, who was the vicar for clergy and one of the cardinal’s top deputies and his adviser on sexual abuse, also stepped down as the regional bishop for Santa Barbara, Calif.

As a practicing Catholic in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, I’ve seen some of the lasting effects of Mahony’s part in this scandal. The tragedy of abused children was compounded by the higher-ups who stupidly tried to hide it. Now tens of thousands of decent priests who aren’t criminal deviants are paying the price for the few who were shielded by their superiors.

The new archbishop had this to say:

In a letter on Thursday, Archbishop Gomez wrote that the files are “brutal and painful reading.”

“The behavior described in these files is terribly sad and evil,” he said. “There is no excuse, no explaining away what happened to these children. The priests involved had the duty to be their spiritual fathers, and they failed. We need to acknowledge that terrible failure today.”

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Paul Persists on Trying to Stop Defense Sales to Egypt

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Bridget Johnson

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) got a vote today on his amendment to the debt limit bill that would prohibit the U.S. government from selling F-16 military aircraft, M1 tanks, and similar military weapons to the Egyptian government.

“I think it is a blunder of the first proportion to send sophisticated weapons to a country that allowed a mob to attack our embassy and to burn our flag. I find it objectionable to send weapons, F-16s and tanks, to a company that allowed a mob chanting ‘death to America’ to threaten our American diplomats,” Paul said in a floor speech.

That amendment failed 79-19.

So he molded the amendment into a standalone bill and introduced a bill “to prohibit the sale, lease, transfer, retransfer, or delivery of F-16 aircraft, M1 tanks, or certain other defense articles or services to the Government of Egypt.”

“I think this is particularly unwise since Egypt is currently governed by a religious zealot, a religious zealot who said recently that ‘Jews were bloodsuckers and descendants of apes and pigs.’ This doesn’t sound like the kind of stable personality we would be sending our most sophisticated weapons to,” Paul said.

“I think it is a grave mistake to send F-16s and tanks to a country that detained American citizens on trumped up political charges. On a country that currently is still detaining Egyptian citizens on trumped-up political charges.”

On 2016 watch, Paul will be delivering a “major foreign policy speech” on Feb. 6 at the Heritage Foundation here in Washington.

According to his office, “Sen. Paul’s speech, ‘Restoring the Founders’ Vision of Foreign Policy,’ will discuss his vision of a foreign policy that respects the plain language of our Constitution, the legal powers of Congress and the proper duties of the Commander-in-Chief, as well as outline a platform for which America can better avoid never-ending conflict and protracted commitments.”

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Funemployment Now Even Funner!

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Stephen Green

While Washington pretends to tighten its belt, real America ought to get ready for even more of the new normal:

The year-over-year change in real GDP was 1.5 percent. There has never been a time since measurement commenced in 1948 when the annual pace of real GDP has fallen that low without the economy ultimately slipping into recession. Sub-2.0 percent readings are historically the warning signal.

The President’s jobs panel could not be reached for comment.

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2002 Email Links Sen. Bob Menendez to Young Prostitutes

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Bryan Preston

Unless somebody has a time machine, this could become major trouble for Democrat Bob Menendez.

In a little-noticed email published online Wednesday by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a young Dominican woman wrote nine months ago that she slept with 59-year-old New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez at a series of sex parties organized by Dr. Salomon Melgen, a longtime Menendez campaign donor.

“That Senator also likes the youngest and newest girls,” the woman wrote on April 21, 2002, according to an English translation provided to The Daily Caller by a native Spanish speaker.

“In the beginning he seemed so serious, because he never spoke to anyone, but he is just like the others and has just about the same tastes as the doctor, very refined. I think they were taking us more often to get us checked [medically] because of him.”

“The doctor” is evidently Dr. Salomon Melgen, whose office was raided after authorities saw document shredding trucks outside.

The young woman wrote that she was recruited as an escort from an adult escort service called the Doll Palace, and that the code word “chocolate” would summon her and other girls to Melgen’s sex parties.

Menendez insists that the allegations are false. But. This evidence is more than 10 years old. Menendez’s scandal only came to light shortly before the election. Does this 2002 evidence not lend a certain weight to the allegations he faces — that he used the doctor’s personal jet to fly to the Dominican Republican to procure the services of prostitutes, and young ones at that, in 2009?

By the way, the scandal could spread. It turns out that Dr. Melgen, who is being investigated for Medicare fraud, has big-name friends besides Menendez.

Among the politicians whom Melgen has befriended, and for whom he has hosted private fundraisers at his 5,000-square-foot home: former U.S. Sens. Christopher Dodd and Bob Graham, late Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles — who also was a patient of Melgen’s — former President Bill Clinton, and Leonel Fernández, former president of the Dominican Republic.

Goodman noted that Bill and Hillary Clinton vacationed at the doctor’s home in Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic, and that he became good friends with Terry McAuliffe, former Democratic National Committee chairman and co-chair of Clinton’s 1996 reelection campaign.

“He used to go to Dr. Melgen’s home in Casa de Campo and play golf all the time,’’ Goodman said of McAuliffe.

This week, Menendez hastily reimbursed the doctor for the use of his plane. He claims that his failure to pay the doc before now was an “oversight.” It could also have been an attempt to keep the flights off the books, and out of the public eye.

The Washington Post says that of all the pols in the den of villainy known as DC, Menendez had the worst week of them all. He may have even worse weeks ahead.

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[VIDEO] The Worst 80 Seconds of Chuck Hagel’s Confirmation Hearings

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Bryan Preston

According to the White House, Chuck Hagel participated in a couple of mock hearings to get him ready for today’s fiasco. So, as Ramesh Ponnuru tweeted…

Which is terrifying, when you think about the fact that Barack Obama wants Hagel to head up our national defense. Imagine this guy representing the United States in talks with, say, Putin. Or anyone, really.

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Obama, CBS’ Scott Pelley Set to Play Softball, Exchange Valentines on Super Bowl Sunday

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Bryan Preston

Yeah, this is going to be one tough interview.

“CBS Evening News” anchor Scott Pelley is scheduled to interview President Obama live on Super Bowl Sunday, CBS announced Thursday. Pelley will interview the President at the White House at 4:30 p.m. ET as part of CBS Sports’ pre-game coverage.

CBS has become Obama’s preferred softball partner. He was last seen on that network not having to answer a single question of substance about anything, including why his administration pushed an obvious lie about the cause of a terrorist attack in Benghazi.

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That Gayle Trotter Is a Bad Bad Girl

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

Well, Gayle Trotter spoke her mind at yesterday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing gun violence, and good for her!  Huffington Post, Slate, and Jezebel all went into attack mode after her testimony, which mainly revolved around how banning so-called assault weapons would be detrimental to women’s safety.  Jezebel called her “Palin-esque.”  Huffington Post called her testimony “outrageous.”  So, off the bat, you know she was probably right given the left-wing reaction (snark).

However, it appears a lot of liberal women seem to hate her because she’s a Senior Fellow at the evil Independent Women’s Forum.  Amanda Marcotte of Slate’s Double X blog, who also led the “cyber-lynch mob“ against the Duke lacrosse players falsely accused of rape, said that:

The Independent Women’s Forum was founded in 1992 out of a coalition of conservative women organized to support Clarence Thomas in the face of allegations that he sexually harassed Anita Hill. True to those roots, one of their primary functions since then has been to undermine efforts to end sexual abuse and violence against women. Their long-standing opposition to the Violence Against Women Act no doubt contributed to the GOP finding excuses to avoid reauthorizing it. They’ve organized protests of campus fundraising for anti-violence organizations. So who else would you turn to if you’re the gun industry and wanting someone to testify in favor of guns, with an eye towards trying to get women to buy more of your product? This is an era where Rush Limbaugh thinks it’s funny to mock kids who don’t want to die. All bets are off when it comes to defending guns.

Jezebel reiterated the same point.

Aha: Trotter is a Senior Fellow at the conservative Independent Women’s Forum, a nonprofit that describes its mission on its website as: “increasing the number of women who understand and value the benefits of limited government, personal liberty, and free markets,” and “countering those who seek to ever-expand government.” Basically, it seems like Trotter is down to tackle any standard conservative issue, a theory evidenced by the rhetoric she recently employed in a Fox News op-ed; she called Obama “a card-carrying member of the jet-setting liberal class that wants to bargain with the American people to win their votes.” Just cleared my “GOP talking points” bingo card in in one fell swoop!

And so did the Huffington Post.

Despite her strong emphasis on the need to prevent violent crimes against women at home, Trotter is an outspoken opponent of the Violence Against Women Act, a law designed to aid women faced with domestic violence. In 2012, she wrote on the Independent Women’s Forum’s blog that VAWA infringed upon the rights of men who were falsely accused of domestic abuse. The law would also embolden “false accusers,” who would take “needed resources like shelters and legal aid … denying real victims of abuse access to these supports,” she wrote. Trotter and the forum characterized VAWA as “reckless demagoguery.”

So, the IWF is against VAWA.  Who cares?  We’re talking about gun violence, and the Democratic attempt to heavily curb our Second Amendment rights.  However, why did feminists have such a strong reaction to Ms. Trotter? Oh, she said:

Guns make women safer,” Trotter argued, because they eliminate the advantage violent criminals might have in size and strength. “Using a firearm with a magazine holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition, a woman would have a fighting chance even against multiple attackers.

I would also argue that it also keeps society from falling under tyranny.  It’s good that 65% of Americans know what the right to bear arms was meant to entail by our Framers. Trotter wrote an op-ed in The Washington Times on January 17, which detailed how it’s “womanly” to support the Second Amendment and self-defense.

Armed women benefit even those who choose not to carry. In jurisdictions with concealed-carry laws, women are less likely to be raped, maimed or murdered than they are in states with stricter gun ownership laws. All women in these states reap the benefits of concealed-carry laws, which dramatically increase the risk that a would-be assailant faces.

[...]

We already have more than 20,000 under-enforced or selectively enforced gun laws on the books. Gun regulation affects only the guns of the law-abiding. Criminals will not be bound by such gestures, especially as we continually fail to prosecute serious gun violations or provide meaningful and consistent penalties for violent felonies using firearms.

She’s out of control! That’s not the right feminist/liberal narrative.  Crucify her, but leave Barabbas.

All of this, despite constitutional law professor David Kopel saying at the hearing that the final study from members picked by then-Attorney General Janet Reno showed that the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons ban had abjectly failed in reducing crime.  However, since that is a fact, liberals need to get personal.

Marcotte concluded her blog with this statement: “she’s too busy imagining that women might have to fend off the zombie apocalypse to worry about the real dangers that ordinary women face in this country every day.”  Jezebel’s Katie J.M. Baker had a similar tone.

Looks like someone wants to be the next Sarah Palin! But could you please leave us ladies out of your defense of Second Amendment rights? That is not a gun in our pocket [,]and we are not happy to see you.

I could show you Code Pink’s twitter timeline, but I don’t give a platform to morons.  She was mocked during her testimony.  What’s apparently clear is that feminism, despite being advertised as an open forum for all women, is really only for those affiliated with left-wing politics.  These are individuals who want abortion funded by taxpayers, their birth control pills funded by taxpayers, and a hyper-regulatory progressive state to keep in all intact.  Any deviation from that agenda is considered anti-feminist, anti-woman, and traitorous.  They try to adhere to the belief that no one can, or should, define feminism, but are appalled when someone articulates a more conservative vision of it.  It’s a totalitarian way of thinking, which is pervasive on the left.

Case in point, if you’re Black, Hispanic, Asian, or part of any minority group and vote Republican, you’re considered a traitor.  Does anyone remember the hate congressional candidate Mia Love reaped during the 2012 election cycle?

Trotter gave her opinions about the dangers of more gun laws from Washington.  It hamstrings law-abiding citizens, and has de minimis effects on crime.  However, that got feminists in a tizzy, and now they’re smearing her as that IWF lady. Joe Scarborough called her a “jackass” this morning on his show for defense of assault weapons, and Twitchy noted the sexist smears coming from proggies on Twitter.

Liberals are engaging in this depraved behavior because their side lost this debate back in 2000, and this exercise in calling her “Palin-esque” is all that they have left.

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Biden: Yeah, These Gun Control Policies We’re Pushing Really Won’t Stop Shootings

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Bryan Preston

Which begs the question, then what are they for?

Vice President Joe Biden acknowledged that new gun laws would not “fundamentally alter” the likelihood of another mass shooting, though he insisted there has been a “sea change” in American views on guns in the wake of Newtown.

“Nothing we’re going to do is going to fundamentally alter or eliminate the possibility of another mass shooting or guarantee that we will bring gun deaths down to 1,000 a year from what it is now,” Biden told reporters Thursday afternoon after he spent over an hour lunching with Democratic senators at the Capitol.

But they have to act anyway, claims Biden, because of the emotion of it all.

“I’m not saying there’s an absolute consensus on all these things,” Biden said, “but there is a sea change, a sea change in the attitudes of the American people. I believe the American people will not understand — and I know that everyone in that caucus understands — they won’t understand if we don’t act.

“The visual image of those 20 innocent children being riddled with bullets has, has absolutely, not only traumatized the nation, but it has caused– like the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

Credible polls don’t really back that up, even after weeks of Biden and the usual suspects on the left pushing hard to move public opinion.

Again: If these laws won’t do what they’re claimed to be intended to do, then why push them?

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[VIDEO] Hagel Pledges to Learn More about the Defense Department if He Is Confirmed to be Its Boss

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Bryan Preston

Right. Because leading our national defense is the perfect place for on the job training.

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HAGEL: “A number of questions were asked of me today about specific programs, submarine programs, different areas of technology and acquisitions, and our superior technology. I’ve said I do not know enough about it. I don’t. There are a lot of things I don’t know about. If confirmed, I intend to know a lot more than I do. I will have to. But at the same time, I would never think that this, as I said earlier, is about me or I will be running anything. I will be the leader. I’ll be responsible. I will be accountable, but I’ve got to rely on the right teams, the right people to bring those people together. And again, it’s accountability and responsibility. I would stop there, if that gives you some sense of how I would intend to do this business.”(Chuck Hagel, Armed Services Committee U.S. Senate, Hearing, 1/31/13)

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[VIDEO] Senators ‘Very Surprised,’ ‘Shocked’ At Hagel’s Terrible Testimony

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Bryan Preston

CNN’s Dana Bash reports that senators in both parties have been shocked at how badly former Sen. Chuck Hagel is handling his confirmation hearing. Hagel is stumbling through answering basic questions about his own past statements on Israel, Iran and other issues.

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Immigration Reform = Increase in Obamacare Costs

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

When Obamacare is fully implemented by 2014, legal immigrants can apply for benefits.  As Sarah Kliff of Washington Post’s WonkBlog posted yesterday:

The health-care law does offer new coverage options for legal immigrants. They, like American citizens, are eligible for subsidized health insurance coverage if they earn less than 400 percent of the poverty line ($44,680 for an individual).

Legal immigrants can also qualify for Medicaid coverage after five years of legal residence in the United States. This was true prior to the Affordable Care Act, but will likely become more meaningful when many states expand their Medicaid programs up to 133 percent of the federal poverty line.

Legal immigrants will also be subject to the mandated purchase of health insurance coverage at the start of next year.

However, if this new immigration reform package manages to be signed into law, the illegal immigrants, who are exempted from the individual mandate, would be eligible for benefits.  As Kliff noted:

if immigration reform were to shrink the undocumented population – or eliminate it altogether – new paths to coverage would open up – and that uninsured population would likely shrink. The Congressional Research Service estimates that 80 percent (17.5 million people) of non-citizens would, due to their income level, qualify for some part of the insurance expansion.

Keep in mind, CRS data does not break out documented and undocumented non-citizens; this graph includes both groups. Still, it’s a helpful guide to think about the income levels of this population.

The yellow chunk of the pie chart shows everyone earning less than 133 percent of the poverty line. These are people who would qualify for the Medicaid expansion, although would be subject to a five-year waiting period (during that time, however, they would have the option to buy insurance using federal subsidies).

The blue slice, 46.3 percent of the non-citizen population, would qualify for federal subsidies to purchase private insurance coverage. The last part of the population, represented in red, would not qualify for assistance – not due to their immigration status, but because of their higher income. They would still, however, have access to their state health insurance exchange. Right now, undocumented immigrants are specifically barred from buying coverage there (as part of the purchasing process, Homeland Security will verify citizenship status).

This means more money for programs, like Medicare, which will soon be rendered useless by Mr. Arithmetic.  Phlip Klein at The Washington Examiner wrote on January 29 that his:

…very rough estimate based on existing CBO analysis is that an expansion of Obamacare on that scale could easily cost several hundred billion dollars over a decade – maybe more than a half trillion. The reason why it’s difficult to make a projection is that it’s hard to say who would qualify for Medicaid and who would qualify for subsidies. Also, given that the subsidies vary by income level, it’s hard to say (beyond educated guessing) where on the scale this newly eligible population would fall and thus how generous their subsidies would be. Also, it’s hard to say how many of them would have incomes low enough to qualify for existing Medicaid benefits anyway, which they would have been able to claim with or without Obamacare.

Having made these caveats, here are some ways of looking at what it could cost to insure newly eligible immigrants under various assumptions. After the Supreme Court’s Obamacare decision, the CBO estimated that the law would cover an additional 11 million people on Medicaid (at a cost of $643 billion from 2013 through 2022) and 25 million through the exchanges (at a cost of just over $1 trillion over the same period). So, for every additional 1 million people on Medicaid, the federal government will be spending about $58 billion over the next decade and for every 1 million people on the exchange, taxpayers would be spending about $41 billion. Projecting this out for 8 million new beneficiaries would give a range of $328 billion to $464 billion. This would be conservative, however, because the current 10-year CBO estimate includes fiscal year 2013, though the law isn’t going to be implemented until 2014 – thus the actual 10-year cost is understated.

Again,we have another instance that shows there are no free lunches in American public policy.  Someone gets screwed over to benefit a specific group.  It’s simple economics.  In this case, it’s the American taxpayer, who is already buckling under the weight of the state.

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Rahm Emanuel ‘Reassigning Desk Cops’ to Combat Violence

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Howard Nemerov

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel claims to have found “200 more cops at desks” who will be reassigned to the streets: “To do what I think is a key component, which is to reduce gun violence and gang activity, before a flame becomes a fire. To put it out.”

In 2011, Chicago had the 6th highest murder rate of all cities over 500,000 population (out of 34). Of cities over 1 million population, Chicago ranked 2nd after Philadelphia (out of 10).

Which brings up some questions:

  • Considering Chicago’s perennial competition as “Murder Capital of America” when does the “flame” become a “fire”?
  • If these cops aren’t needed for administrative work, what were they doing at a desk?
  • How many other cops are on “desk duty” who could be out protecting the public?
  • Will Emanuel reduce his own security detail to put more cops on the street, or does he think he’s so much more important than the People of Chicago?

According to the latest available FBI data, Chicago had 12,092 full-time officers in 2011, or 4.5 officers per 1,000 population. Obviously, some of these officers were on desk duty. A Sun-Times article notes that Chicago hasn’t had a police entrance exam since 2010, and only plans to hire 500 officers in 2013. In any case, Chicago PD is 5% short of the 9,641 beat officers they’d like to have. This means that over 2,900 officers are on desk duty (FBI count minus the assumed 9,159 current beat officers).

Assuming three shifts per day, this means Chicago fields about 3,053 officers per shift, making the very best assumption that no officers are stuck in court hearings, sick, on administrative leave for using their service weapon, or on vacation. This means that on any given shift, there’s one officer per 1,000 population.

Alderman Bob Fioretti accused Emanual of balance Chicago’s budget by “eliminating more than 1,400 police vacancies.”

“We have an over-arching gang problem that keeps expanding every time we turn around. The murder rate is going up. Auto theft and bank robberies are going up.

Meanwhile, Chicago still has the strictest gun control laws in America, and Emanuel and his police chief Garry McCarthy insist it’s just “gun violence” as if the two are synonymous. Both want far more federal gun control than currently exists.

But why bother changing failed policies as long as nobody demands you stop blaming inanimate objects and start taking responsibility?

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WH Spokesman: It’s Ridiculous to Criticize Obama’s Dead Jobs Council that He Barely Met With

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Bryan Preston

Today President Obama failed to reauthorize the jobs council that he created by executive order two years ago. Therefore, that council died. Not that it ever mattered in terms of policy, as the president had not met with it in about a year and never met with it more than a handful of times. It held a total of four meetings.

Questioned about the demise of the council today, White House spokesman Jay Carney ridiculed critics.

“It’s a little ironic to hear from those who with great fervor embraced the policies that helped create the greatest economic crisis of our lifetime … be critical on this,” Carney said, adding that he viewed criticisms from Republicans as “somewhat ridiculous.”

Carney was again, for the hundred millionth time, blaming the policies of the Bush era for the economic collapse, which was actually triggered by the loose lending policies of the Democrat-run federal housing lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Perhaps, with the death of Obama’s irrelevant jobs council, the president will also stop pretending to pivot toward jobs. That never was a particularly convincing pirouette.

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Hagel Crumbling Under the Pressure?

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Stephen Green
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Courtesy of PJTV’s Alexis Garcia, watch as Chuck Hagel gives increasingly strange answers to questions from Republican lawmakers.

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John Kerry Hires Globe ‘Reporter’ Who Used to Cover Him

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Bryan Preston

Cozy. A mainstream media stenographer reports for duty.

A politics editor and reporter at the Boston Globe, Glen Johnson, is leaving the paper to go work for the new secretary of state, John Kerry.

But we shouldn’t read anything into it. No bias should be evident. Nothing to see here at all. Move along.

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Highlights from Chuck Hagel’s Confirmation Hearing

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Bryan Preston

Former Sen. Chuck Hagel has undergone a grilling today before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) confronted Hagel with reports that Iran has endorsed his nomination to run America’s defense. Hagel did not enjoy the exchange.

Sen. Lindsay Graham skewered Hagel on his past comments about the “Israel lobby,” and Hagel had no effective reply.

Sen. Ted Cruz also confronted Hagel with a past comment, in which Hagel agreed with the premise when a questioner characterized the United States as the “world’s bully.” Cruz played a clip from this interview with Hagel on Al Jazeera. Cruz also hinted that he would filibuster Hagel’s nomination until the nominee produces numerous documents that the committee has requested, but Hagel has not delivered.

The Free Beacon has more. Hagel’s performance was about as weak as I’ve ever seen from a major cabinet nominee. He often seemed confused when senators questioned him about his own past statements. He often seemed confused about the present reality of the world, as when he declared that Iran’s mullahcracy is an “elected, legitimate government” under questioning from Sen. Saxby Chambliss, and had to try walking that back. Sen. John McCain sharply questioned Hagel on his opposition to the Iraq surge, which won that war. Hagel simply refused to answer that question.

Hagel’s is a nomination that should be in deep trouble.

Update: The Right Scoop has posted video of Cruz interrogating Hagel.

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Japanese Analysis of US Gov Data Indicates Warming … Stopped?

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Charlie Martin

This from Anthony Watts, friend of PJM and occasional contributor:

Please have a look at this, and thank the Japanese.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/01/31/japans-cool-hand-luke-moment-for-surface-temperature/

BTW, in case it isn’t obvious, this find throws the “hottest ever” claims of NOAA/NCDC/NASA into serious question, since the temperature peaks of the last decade are well below that of the NOAA/NASA/Met office data set.

What are they going to say, that Japanese scientists “did it wrong” when they cite it in their own publications?

What we really need to see is the unadjusted CLIMAT data reports plotted prior to 2000. I’m betting NCDC will be loathe to do that, for obvious reasons.

Read the whole thing, but basically the difference between warming in US models and no-warming in the Japanese models comed from the systematic adjustments applied.

Update

Just to be clear here, these data are not the result of a prospective, predictive sort of climate model; however, the way the raw data is combined into a curve and the adjustments applied are the result of a statistical model.

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BREAKING Video: Sen. Marco Rubio Says No to Hagel Nomination

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Bryan Preston

Appearing on the Fox News Channel this morning, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said that he will not be able to support the nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel to become the next defense secretary.

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FOX: Joining us now, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a member of the foreign relations committee as well as the intelligence committee. Have you heard anything one way or the other, Senator, that causes to decide your vote on Chuck Hagel?

RUBIO: Well let me begin by saying that Chuck Hagel’s service to our country, particularly in Vietnam is something all of us admire and I don’t think you will find any debate about that but he is being nominated for one of the most important cabinet positions in our country, the secretary of defense. I stated long ago I’ve been deeply disturbed by his previous comments and positions in regards to sanctions on Iran and in regards to direct negotiations with North Korea. Obviously statements he made about Israel. These are not the kind of statements and kind of positions I want to see our secretary of defense have and these are big, big problems. For those reasons  I just don’t believe I will be able to support his nomination especially after his testimony in the last hour here has really not said anything that addresses those concerns to my satisfaction.

Hagel’s nomination hearing so far has been a bit of a train wreck. His past positions on Israel and Iran have drawn fire from Democrats and Republicans. Sen. John McCain grilled Hagel for opposing the surge, which led to victory in the Iraq war. That opposition calls Hagel’s defense thinking into question. Even liberal Peter Beinart tweeted during the hearing that Hagel has fared poorly.

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BREAKING: Hardly Anybody Likes Congress

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Stephen Green

From Rasmussen:

Just 32% of Likely U.S. Voters now believe their local congressional representative deserves to be reelected, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Thirty-nine percent (39%) think their local congressman does not deserve reelection. Twenty-nine percent (29%) are undecided.

And yet what’s the recidivism — excuse me; retention — rate for Congresscritters running for reelection? About a million and six percent, if memory serves.

So here’s a little idea you can share with your friends and families and coworkers. On election day 2014, try voting for the other guy. It’s radical, I know, but it just might work. Better yet, vote for the other guy of the same party during the primaries.

What’s that, you say? There’s nobody running against him in the primaries? Then why don’t you do it? Raise a little money, file the paperwork, and run for Congress.

Have you seen the creatures who do manage to get elected? Of course you have — that’s why only a third of you think your local creature deserves reelection. You couldn’t possibly be any worse. And at the very least maybe you’ll put a little fear of God into your Congressman, simply by providing him with the tiniest amount of job insecurity.

We’ve been living with job insecurity for five years now. Isn’t it time for politicians to share the pain?

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Is Russia Scared of Israel?

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Roger L Simon

You would think so, considering the former mighty Soviet Union’s namby-pamby response to yesterday’s Israeli air force attack on a target or targets inside Syria. Via Reuters:

“If this information is confirmed, then we are dealing with unprovoked attacks on targets on the territory of a sovereign country, which blatantly violates the UN Charter and is unacceptable, no matter the motives to justify it,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Unacceptable, you say? My word, sir. I will take that under advisement. Meanwhile, the world knows what Israel had in mind with its attack – sending a message to Assad, Hezbollah and the mullahs that their Russian armaments and chemical weapons should stay in their closets or else.

As for the onetime Bear, well, growl-growl but that’s about it. I doubt they want to tangle with the IAF and now everyone knows it.

Bravo, Israel.

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DHS Study: Mass Killers Don’t Use ‘Assault’ Weapons, Didn’t Serve in the Military

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Bryan Preston

The Department of Homeland Security conducted a study of 29 mass killings in the US since 1999. The result is a picture of the typical mass killer. He would not have been slowed down, much less stopped, by the current round of “assault” weapon banning.

The basic pattern found by the New Jersey DHS fusion center, and obtained by Public Intelligence (.PDF), is one of a killer who lashes out at his co-workers. Thirteen out of the 29 observed cases “occurred at the workplace and were conducted by either a former employee or relative of an employee,” the November report finds. His “weapon of choice” is a semiautomatic handgun, rather than the rifles that garnered so much attention after Newtown. The infamous Columbine school slaying of 1999 is the only case in which killers worked in teams: they’re almost always solo acts — and one-off affairs. In every single one of them, the killer was male, between the age of 17 and 49.

They also don’t have military training. Veterans are justifiably angered by the Hollywood-driven meme of the unhinged vet who takes out his battlefield stress on his fellow Americans. (Thanks, Rambo.) In only four of the 29 cases did the shooter have any affiliation with the U.S. military, either active or prior at the time of the slaying, and the fusion center doesn’t mention any wartime experience of the killers. Yet the Army still feels the need to email reporters after each shooting to explain that the killer never served.

The study excludes the most infamous veteran mass killer, Timothy McVeigh, because he perpetrated his act of terrorism well before 1999. And his bombing was an act of terrorism. It did not involve a gun.

To anyone who actually served in the military, the notion that we veterans tend to snap and go off shooting people is insulting and ludicrous. Most who serve in the military never see combat. They’re not even in combat roles. The frustrated and crazed veteran who turns into a killing machine is a stereotype that Hollywood and our new secretary of state helped perpetuate. Thanks for that, John F. Jenjis Khan Kerry.

Over at Ace’s place, another observation gets a worthy mention.

Typically, the immediate deployment of law enforcement is required to stop the shooting and mitigate further harm to victims. Typically, active shooter situations are over within 10 to 15 minutes.

Those 15 minutes tend to be the critical time when the shooter is hunting and killing unarmed and defenseless people. When the good guys with guns show up, the massacre tends to end. Usually with the death of the shooter, one way or another.

These mass shootings tend to be acts of rage that end in suicide. What laws will stop that? Ramp up the penalty for gun crime all you want. If the shooter does not intend to survive the massacre, a million year sentence in jail will do nothing to stop him. And why, Sen. Feinstein, do you focus on weapons that tend not to be the ones used in mass killings?

I submit the probability that Feinstein et al are trying to ban specific guns because they think they can, on the way to banning more, and then more, until all firearms are taken out of the hands of us citizens. Every act of violence will lead to calls to further restrict the rights of the law-abiding.

Furthermore, they don’t really care about the facts and will not be deterred by knowledge of what firearms killers actually use, or past history with gun bans, or the present evidence presented by Chicago’s bloody streets. They want a full ban and are approaching it incrementally.

So, they must be stopped, here and now. No farther.

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Does Liberty Work at Work, Even for Government Bureaucrats?

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Scott Ott

If you really believe in individual liberty, and you’re politically active, do you believe that the people who work for government deserve the kind of liberty to which you aspire?

If you’re an advocate of free markets, does that really mean individual freedom in the marketplace, or merely that companies should be able to trade freely, but the employees of those companies are treated like untrustworthy children whose every move must be monitored, regulated and, if aberrant, punished?

Check out this presentation purportedly from the folks at Netflix that endeavors to create a culture of liberty, where adults are treated as such, there’s no vacation policy, and your value to the organization is based on the market price of replacing you if you leave.

It made me think, and my mind drifted to public-sector organizations. Sometimes conservatives, libertarians and Republicans can sound so hostile toward government bureacrats that I wonder how they envision the government actually functioning if their vaunted principles were to suddenly become policy.

Do we want freedom for the voter, citizen and taxpayer, but serfdom and penury for government employees? I suspect it’s something most of us have not contemplated fully.

Riffle through the Netflix slides, and then tell me what you think.

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GOP Senators to NLRB, CFPB: Take Down the ‘Open for Business’ Sign

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Bridget Johnson

A trio of Republican senators today introduced a bill to block NLRB actions in the wake of a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that President Obama’s recess appointments to the labor authority were unconstitutional.

The Restoring the Constitutional Balance of Power Act of 2013 would prohibit the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) from enforcing or implementing decisions and regulations without a constitutionally confirmed board or director.

It would also block CFPB’s next transfer of funds from the Federal Reserve to carry out any actions that require the approval of a director.

It was introduced by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), and John Cornyn (R-Texas).

“If they won’t take down their ‘Open for Business’ sign and put up one that says ‘Help Wanted,’ then the Senate will,” said Alexander. “The president created this problem but the Constitution provides him with a way to fix it—send the Senate acceptable nominees to fill these important positions.”

Johanns said the agencies “have been operating under a ruse for more than a year.”

“Any decisions or regulations made by the people who have no right to be there are invalid. This legislation forces them to stop functioning as if they legitimately hold office and recognize the reality that the president overstepped his constitutional authority,” he said.

“American democracy was born out of a rejection of the monarchies of Western Europe, anchored by limited government and separation of powers,” Cornyn said. “We refuse to stand by as this president arrogantly casts aside our Constitution and defies the will of the American people under the guise of defending them.”

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HUGE Generational Gap On Assault Weapons

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

Jessica Stanton at The Daily Caller wrote today about the huge generational gap on the right to own so-called assault weapons.

A vast majority of young adults under the age of 34 believe that Americans have a right to own an “assault weapon,” according to a new Reason-Rupe poll released Thursday. Seventy percent of 18-24 year-olds and 58 percent of 24-34 year-olds indicated the government “should allow the private ownership of assault weapons.” But a majority of older Americans disagree, with 57 percent of 55-64 year-olds and 61 percent of people over the age of 65 asserting that “assault weapons should be prohibited.

[...]

Overall, 51 percent said “assault weapons” should be allowed, including 68 percent of Republicans, 57 percent of independents and 33 percent of Democrats. Forty-four percent indicated that people “should be prohibited” from owning such weapons.

[...]

The poll sampled 1,000 adults and was conducted via telephone from Jan. 17 to 21. Notably, 40 percent of respondents self-identified as independents, versus 36 percent and 22 percent who identified with the Democratic or Republican Party, respectively. The poll has a margin of error of a plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

Additionally, concerning how unaffiliated people lean politically in this poll, 30% split for the Republicans, 35% for the Democrats, and 20% for Independents.  Furthermore, when Reason combined all the participants by party identification Democrat and Democrat-leaning independents was 49%, Independent was 9%, and Republican and Republican-leaning independents was 37%.  Seven percent were unsure.  So, the total split is 49/37/9.  Even in a D+12 poll, 51% agree that Americans should be able to own an “assault” weapon.

 (H/T Jessica Stanton at Daily Caller)

 

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UPDATED) Did New York Times Just Publish Staged Photos on A1, Above the Fold?">(UPDATED) Did New York Times Just Publish Staged Photos on A1, Above the Fold?

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by David Steinberg

Today’s NYTimes.com carries a 14-picture gallery of clashes in Damascus between the Free Syrian Army and forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Today’s New York Times, print version, publishes three photos of the clashes on A1, above the fold. The caption reads:

Clashes in Syria, and a Potential Step Forward

Top, two insurgents in Damascus took position before being hit by army snipers; the fighter on the right died soon after being dragged from the line of fire. On the political front, Syria’s top opposition leader expressed a willingness for the first time to talk with the government.

So: three photos are prominently featured in the print edition, and 14 are featured in a gallery online.

However, the picture described in the print edition as “Top, two insurgents in Damascus took position before being hit by army snipers” does not appear in the online gallery.

I have been unable to locate it on the NYT website.

This picture made the cut for the top three pictures to be published in the print edition — indeed, it is featured on top — but did not make the cut for the much larger online gallery.

Here it is, from my phone:

In that picture, note the two men are supposedly taking cover from Assad’s forces, which would be to the photographer’s right.

But in picture 7 from the online gallery, this:

If Assad’s forces are to the right, these two FSA, and the photographer, would appear to be sitting ducks.

Also here in picture 9:

And in picture 10:

Additionally: this man is supposedly shot by a sniper bullet, and is being dragged. No blood is visible on his clothing or on the ground in any picture.

Will make a few phone calls, and will update this post.

UPDATE:

A video camera is visible in picture 7, by the FSA member’s right knee. It appears to be pointing directly at the two men supposedly under fire:

In picture 10, the video camera is clearly visible, perched on a small tripod:

So: the photographer managed to be in position to capture two men supposedly in peril, one of them subsequently shot and killed, and just happened to have the presence of mind — and luck — to set up a second camera, for video, in what would be a perfectly clear vantage point to film the drama. From a tripod.

No smoking gun, but I believe there is enough accumulated evidence present to be objectively suspicious.

The photographer for the gallery is listed as Goran Tomasevic of Reuters. Putting in calls to Reuters to see if they have footage from that video camera, and to see if the Times can answer why the key photo from the print edition is missing from the gallery.

UPDATE: PJ Media Middle East Editor Barry Rubin weighs in:

“1. I believe the photos were falsified.

2. You do not take cover from a sniper by putting your back against a wall. That makes you a target in a shooting gallery. Incidentally, these photos look almost identical to the false photos in the Muhammad Dura case, in which Israelis (who were not in range of the place) supposedly killed a boy in Gaza. He and his father were backed against a wall in clear sight of the alleged Israeli soldiers. The photographers were positioned almost identically, out in the open and in imminent danger if their story was true. The father and son were slumped just like in the photo — and there was no blood. I wouldn’t be surprised if the people who organized this hadn’t studied that footage.

3. The arms visible are an AK47 and an RPG. More important, a sniper would be using heavy ammo and aiming for the head to be certain to kill the targets. The guy’s head would have been blown apart, he would have been thrown hard against the wall and there would be blood everywhere. The wall is clean.

4. Look at the placement of the gun on top of the dying man. It obviously has been laid there. If the guy had been shot and thrown back the gun would have flown into the air. We need to believe that he was hit, thrown back, fell, and yet the gun in effect merely dropped into his lap.

4. It is not only the presence of the cameraman, but his posture. He is holding the equipment calmly and stably, as if he has no fear at all and plenty of time, as if he were settled in and hadn’t thrown himself into that postition. Also, he knows exactly what to photograph. One would expect him to be snapping shots of the sniper and moving his camera around quickly.

5. In the dragging photo, the man is positioned so you cannot see the head, and as you point out, there’s no blood. Moreover the other guy is sitting calmly in the same place! His gun isn’t even up and pointed! If your friend was shot dead by a sniper you can’t see a moment ago, would you just keep sitting there unprepared?

I am not an expert on photography, but I believe these are false, indeed ridiculously so. I believe an intelligent editor should have had serious questions about this, especially after there has been so much controversy about falsified photos.

My opinion is that there is no big political goal here, but that the photographer wanted to have good photos to sell.

UPDATE: Here is the gallery from Reuters’ website.

Note the photographer’s commentary:

There were two rebels next to me and two rebels across the street. A couple of sniper shots were fired. They were clearly sniper shots, not Ak’s, as they came one by one. I could clearly see through the lens when they actually shot the rebel. The rebel next to him was also shot and injured but he should recover after being hit in the stomach.

So: the photographer is claiming that in this picture …

… the man in camo on the left has just been struck in the gut. By a sniper bullet.

Also note that nowhere in photographer’s comments does he mention where on his body the supposedly dead man was struck by the fatal shot.

It appears The Atlantic also has published the gallery, confident in the photos’ veracity.

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Kerry Says Farewell to the ‘Cacophonous Cauldron’

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Bridget Johnson

John Kerry (D-Mass.) said farewell to the Senate after 28 years yesterday in a way that only Kerry could: with a 7,457-word floor speech.

Kerry’s wife, Teresa Heinz, was in the gallery for the 52-minute occasion, as the 2004 presidential loser reminisced about being elected to the Senate five times and peppered his remarks with vintage Kerry quips.

“Yesterday, nearly three decades after the people of Massachusetts first voted me into this office, the people I worked with in the Senate voted me out of it,” he said. “As always, I accept the Senate’s sound judgment!”

“Eight years ago, I admit that I had a very different plan, slightly different anyway, to leave the Senate, but 61 million Americans voted that they wanted me to stay here with you. And so staying here – I learned about humility, and I learned that sometimes the greatest lesson comes not from victory, but from just dusting off a defeat and starting over when you get knocked down.”

He thanked his 561 staff members and 1,393 interns over the years, and a couple of senior citizens who opened his mail — unpaid — at a district office for more than a decade. He thanked subway operators, Capitol Police, cloakroom attendants, and Politico reporter David Rogers (formerly of the Boston Globe), who has covered Congress longer than Kerry was a senator.

“Sometimes a farewell speech signals a complete departure from public life, sometimes a new journey altogether. Sometimes a forced departure. Sometimes a leap for freedom,” Kerry waxed. “I’m grateful that at this moment, thanks to my colleagues, serendipity and the trust of our President, while I’m closing a chapter, it’s not the final one. But I assure you, amid the excitement and the possibility, I do feel a wistfulness about leaving the United States Senate. And that’s because, despite the obvious frustrations of recent days and years, a frustration we all share — this place remains one of the most extraordinary institutions of any kind on the face of the earth.”

He said coming to the Senate gave him “the privilege of learning what really makes our nation tick.”

“What a gift to have been the nominee of my party, to have come within a whisper of winning the Presidency against a wartime incumbent, but more importantly, to have experienced the magic of our nation in such personal ways,” Kerry said.

The bulk of his speech meandered from sights he’s seen around the country to historical meanderings to reflections on other senators, and included dropping phrases such as “cacophonous cauldron.”

“Many have stood here, delivering farewell speeches and lamented what became of the Washington where President Reagan and Speaker O’Neill could cultivate an affiliation stronger than party, or a Congress that saw true friendships between Senators like Kennedy and Hatch, Inouye and Stevens, Obama and Coburn—the odd couples as they have been dubbed,” Kerry said, with an obvious hint at the farewell speech of his friend Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) at the end of the 112th Congress. “I can’t tell you why, but I think it’s possible this moment may see a turn in the spirit of the Senate. There are new whispers of desire for progress, rumors of new coalitions, and sense of possibility whether it is on energy or immigration.”

“…My friends, the persistent shouting match of the perpetual campaign, one that takes place in parallel universes thanks to our polarized, self-selecting media, makes it harder and harder to build consensus among people. The people don’t know what to believe. So in many ways it encourages an oversimplification of problems that too often retreat to slogans, not ideas for real solutions.”

As the longtime senator heads to the State Department, the best advice came via Twitter from Reuters campaign correspondent Sam Youngman: “You’ve been warned, Foggy Bottom. Use the bathroom before Secretary Kerry begins his welcome remarks.”

Since the full video of Kerry’s farewell is just too much, here’s the part where he cries.

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Unions That Supported ObamaCare Now Balk At Paying For It

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Bryan Preston

That sound you may hear drifting faintly on the breeze is coming from the world’s tiniest violin. The Big Labor gang that love ObamaCare enough to lobby for it and foist it on the American people against the majority’s will are now facing reality: It’s a stupid and hideously expensive law.

Labor unions enthusiastically backed the Obama administration’s health-care overhaul when it was up for debate. Now that the law is rolling out, some are turning sour.

Union leaders say many of the law’s requirements will drive up the costs for their health-care plans and make unionized workers less competitive. Among other things, the law eliminates the caps on medical benefits and prescription drugs used as cost-containment measures in many health-care plans. It also allows children to stay on their parents’ plans until they turn 26.

To offset that, the nation’s largest labor groups want their lower-paid members to be able to get federal insurance subsidies while remaining on their plans. In the law, these subsidies were designed only for low-income workers without employer coverage as a way to help them buy private insurance.

Notice that last part. Now that they got what they want and find that it’s problematic to their own bottom line, they want YOU and ME to pay even more to prop themselves up. These union thugs have absolutely no shame at all. What about our bottom lines?

In early talks, the Obama administration dismissed the idea of applying the subsidies to people in union-sponsored plans, according to officials from the trade group, the National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans, that represents these insurance plans.

The unions involved in these talks include the big ones: the AFL-CIO and the Teamsters, among others. They’re threatening to drop coverage due to the cost. Prediction: Big Labor will get the subsidies. Granting them will not only please the president’s leftist base, it will move us that much closer to what he really wants, single payer, government-run health care.

 This present balking may be part of the plan.

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Buzz Ballad: I’m NRA You Hate, I Am

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Buzzsawmonkey

I’m NRA You Hate, I Am
—apologies to Herman’s Hermits, and “I’m Henry the Eighth, I Am”

I’m NRA you hate, I am
NRA you hate, I am, I am
I own guns and I want to buy more
You keep asking what I need ‘em for
But thanks to the Second Amendment (Amendment!)
It’s none of your business what I need (Indeed!)
Whether for sport or personal defendment
NRA you hate I a-a-a-a-am
NRA you hate I am

Second verse, same as the first!
A little bit louder, and a little bit worse!

I’m NRA you hate, I am
NRA you hate, I am, I am
I own guns and I want to buy more
You keep asking what I need ‘em for
But thanks to the Second Amendment (Amendment!)
It’s none of your business what I need (Indeed!)
Whether for sport or personal defendment
NRA you hate I a-a-a-a-am
NRA you hate I am

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Dem Senator: Obama’s CIA Nominee Didn’t Even Review CIA Report

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Bridget Johnson

A Democrat on the Intelligence Committee said he didn’t receive satisfactory answers — or even preparedness to discuss the interrogation program — from President Obama’s nominee to lead the CIA, counterterrorism adviser John Brennan.

“I was deeply disappointed today during my meeting with John Brennan,” said Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.). “A few weeks ago, I had asked that he be prepared to discuss at today’s meeting the findings of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s comprehensive study on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation program. Not only was he not prepared to discuss the important findings, but he hadn’t reviewed the report at all.”

Udall sits on the Intelligence Committee, before which Brennan will stand for a confirmation hearing on Feb. 7. He and Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Ron Wyden (R-Ore.) asked to meet with Brennan yestesrday after asking him to review the committee’s findings, which were based on a documentary review of more than 6 million pages of CIA and other records and raised questions about intelligence operations and oversight.

Udall said Brennan promised to take a peek at the report before his confirmation hearing.

“I intend to hold him to that promise, and I hope Mr. Brennan will be more forthcoming in his testimony next week,” he said. “I understand that he may not see it in his or the CIA’s interests to criticize the very agency that he hopes to lead, but I see this as an opportunity for Mr. Brennan to correct the record, institute the necessary reforms and help restore the CIA’s reputation for integrity and analytical rigor.”

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We’ve Got to Keep it Together

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Bryan Preston

This morning I ventured out in the rush hour traffic to get some ammo for one of my firearms. It’s one that fires a caliber made scarce in all the recent hubbub, common yet now almost impossible to find on a store shelf anywhere, thanks to the Democrats’ push for gun control. These anti-self-defense zealots are selling millions of guns and billions of rounds of ammunition.

A song came on the radio.

They say I need some Rogaine to put in my hair
Workin’ out at the gym to fit my underwear…

Sorry, wrong song. This song came on the radio.

I get up, and nothing gets me down
You got it tough, I’ve seen the toughest around
And I know, baby, just how you feel
You’ve got to roll with the punches to get to what’s real

I suppose that “Jump” is considered classic rock now. There are days when I feel my age, but this isn’t one of them. When I was a kid, these guys were cool. So was their hair.

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It was 1984. We had a beast president. America was optimistic then. Nothing was gonna get us down.

I wish I could say that things look bright in the next few years, but they don’t. Things look intense and difficult. The combination of a contracting economy, an infantile, power hungry and devious group atop our government, the connected promises of a massive welfare state, potentially “free” health care, and another round of amnesty for illegal aliens combined with Chicago-style politics, does not bode well for the next few years. It’s probably going to be tough. The law abiding citizen just trying to get by and feed his family has very few voices in our nation’s capital. There’s a greater chance than at any other time in my lifetime that economic collapse and a law and order breakdown could occur. I don’t rate the chance for the latter as high yet, but it’s sneaking up. I’m undecided as to whether the current administration is merely incredibly foolish or is actively courting disaster. I lean toward the latter. It’s beyond certain that they want to suppress all dissent, and that the mainstream media are actively helping them do that. The slim majority of Americans who re-elected this cabal are handing them more power. Obama’s approval ratings keep going up, even while the objective facts of his performance should have already made him a lame duck. It’s very hard to have faith right now. The opposition has the tactical high ground.

But we can’t let that get us down. We just can’t. No matter what. Like the man says, you’ve got to roll with the punches to get to what’s real. What’s real is our faith in God above, our families, and our natural rights that no government can rightfully take away from us. They are endowed to us by our Creator, not some jackwagon in Washington.

If we get down, if we let the discouragement of the times get the better of us and check out on what’s going on, this American thing of individual freedom is over. The almighty state runs the table, maybe on its way to ruining everything. The world becomes a whole lot more dangerous place than it already is. It’s as simple as that.

Buck up. We can’t let the flame of liberty be extinguished.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, yes, I got my ammo.

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Graham to Obama: Are You Going to Lead in Effort to Free American Pastor from Iran?

Thursday, January 31st, 2013 - by Bridget Johnson

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has asked President Obama to show leadership in trying to free an American Christian pastor from prison in Iran.

Recently, 11 Republican senators wrote Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on behalf of Saeed Abedini to implore that she “exhaust all efforts” and “not stand idly by while the Iranian regime arbitrarily persecutes a U.S. citizen who has committed no crime.” This week, Tehran sentenced 32-year-old Abedini to eight years in the notorious Evin prison on charges that could have carried a death sentence.

“Such treatment of an American citizen by Iranian fanatics is nothing less than outrageous,” Graham wrote Obama yesterday. “Pastor Abedini’s case is symbolic of the gross injustice against all Christians in Iran today,” he added, noting that the mullahs committed “a second crime” to “compassionate people of all faiths” since Abedini was trying to tend to orphans in the country.

“I appreciate that spokesmen at the White House and the Department of State have recently called upon the Iranian government to release Pastor Abedini,” Graham said. “This is to be expected, and a growing chorus of voices is undoubtedly essential in highlighting the injustice committed against a man condemned to prison simply because of his faith.:

“While I fully recognize the myriad national security issues posed by the fanatical theocracy in Tehran, I believe the case of Pastor Abedini deserves your full attention and engagement. To this end, it is imperative that you personally add your voice to those calling for Pastor Abedini’s immediate and unconditional release. There is no better symbol of American values, specifically freedom of religion, or demonstration of loyalty to the welfare of our citizens abroad than vocal and sustained support directly from the President of the United States,” he continued.

“I believe that anything less than your personal attention will only guarantee that the injustice committed by the ruling mullahs against Pastor Abedini prevails, the separation from his loving family endures, and his good works remain in abeyance while imprisoned.”

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