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Teens Run Wild in Chicago’s Tony Shopping District

Sunday, March 31st, 2013 - by Rick Moran

We saw something similar in many neighborhoods in Chicago last summer; groups of teenage boys mostly randomly attacking people out for a walk, or simply minding their own business.

It was in the mid-50s yesterday and the warmer weather brought the ruffians to the Gold Coast and Magnificent Mile shopping districts in the Loop. There were dozens of arrests and several shoppers were assaulted, along with a mounted policeman.

CBS Chicago:

CBS 2 is learning about multiple incidents in at least four different locations along the Magnificent Mile and in the Gold Coast, yielding a slew of arrests.

Things got pretty bad, very quickly with many innocent shoppers and tourists caught in the middle of a very chaotic situation.

Hundreds of teens littered Michigan Avenue and State Street near Chicago.

Things started to go bad around 6:00 p.m. Saturday, with teens purposely bumping into people, and causing fights among themselves.

Fifteen juveniles and two adults were arrested and charged with Reckless Conduct— a misdemeanor.
Community activist, Andrew Holmes witnessed some of the problems, while shopping with his family.

“You had a group of teens, close to maybe 500. They assaulted a Chicago police officer that was on a mounted on a horse and all of a sudden they assaulted a citizen walking the streets, just a normal citizen shopping and enjoying the weather,” said Holmes.

Later that night, a man was attacked around 10:45 p.m. while walking near Chicago and Dearborn. Sources tell us he was jumped and punched in the face by a group of teens. He was taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

In a separate incident, a group of woman say they were attacked by a mob of girls on the CTA Red Line. The women reported a robbery once they got off the train at the State and Monroe station. Eleven females were arrested—10 juveniles and one adult—and charged with battery. Two of the teens were charged with strong- armed robbery.

This does not bode well for the coming months. With youth unemployment among blacks at historic levels, kids are going to be left with little to do except see what kind of trouble they can get in. Most of these kids were not gangbangers (500 gangbangers in downtown Chicago would have caused a lot more violence). But once they gather, mob psychology takes over and trouble follows.

Last summer it was “flash mobs” — groups of 10-20 kids roaming around looking for targets who were mostly white. If this is an escalation, police are going to have their hands full and residents will probably stay indoors.

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Stockman: The End Is Near and There’s Nothing We Can Do About It

Sunday, March 31st, 2013 - by Rick Moran

I’ve read a lot of doom-and-gloom analysis from financial experts over the last couple of years, but this one by former Reagan OMB Director David Stockman takes first prize for scaring the holy living beejeeses out of me.

A few highlights:

Since the S.&P. 500 first reached its current level, in March 2000, the mad money printers at the Federal Reserve have expanded their balance sheet sixfold (to $3.2 trillion from $500 billion). Yet during that stretch, economic output has grown by an average of 1.7 percent a year (the slowest since the Civil War); real business investment has crawled forward at only 0.8 percent per year; and the payroll job count has crept up at a negligible 0.1 percent annually. Real median family income growth has dropped 8 percent, and the number of full-time middle class jobs, 6 percent. The real net worth of the “bottom” 90 percent has dropped by one-fourth. The number of food stamp and disability aid recipients has more than doubled, to 59 million, about one in five American

[...]

As the federal government and its central-bank sidekick, the Fed, have groped for one goal after another — smoothing out the business cycle, minimizing inflation and unemployment at the same time, rolling out a giant social insurance blanket, promoting homeownership, subsidizing medical care, propping up old industries (agriculture, automobiles) and fostering new ones (“clean” energy, biotechnology) and, above all, bailing out Wall Street — they have now succumbed to overload, overreach and outside capture by powerful interests. The modern Keynesian state is broke, paralyzed and mired in empty ritual incantations about stimulating “demand,” even as it fosters a mutant crony capitalism that periodically lavishes the top 1 percent with speculative windfalls.

[...]

Soon Americans stopped saving and consumed everything they earned and all they could borrow. The Asians, burned by their own 1997 financial crisis, were happy to oblige us. They — China and Japan above all — accumulated huge dollar reserves, transforming their central banks into a string of monetary roach motels where sovereign debt goes in but never comes out. We’ve been living on borrowed time — and spending Asians’ borrowed dimes.

This dynamic reinforced the Reaganite shibboleth that “deficits don’t matter” and the fact that nearly $5 trillion of the nation’s $12 trillion in “publicly held” debt is actually sequestered in the vaults of central banks. The destruction of fiscal rectitude under Ronald Reagan — one reason I resigned as his budget chief in 1985 — was the greatest of his many dramatic acts. It created a template for the Republicans’ utter abandonment of the balanced-budget policies of Calvin Coolidge and allowed George W. Bush to dive into the deep end, bankrupting the nation through two misbegotten and unfinanced wars, a giant expansion of Medicare and a tax-cutting spree for the wealthy that turned K Street lobbyists into the de facto office of national tax policy. In effect, the G.O.P. embraced Keynesianism — for the wealthy.

[...]

THE state-wreck ahead is a far cry from the “Great Moderation” proclaimed in 2004 by Mr. Bernanke, who predicted that prosperity would be everlasting because the Fed had tamed the business cycle and, as late as March 2007, testified that the impact of the subprime meltdown “seems likely to be contained.” Instead of moderation, what’s at hand is a Great Deformation, arising from a rogue central bank that has abetted the Wall Street casino, crucified savers on a cross of zero interest rates and fueled a global commodity bubble that erodes Main Street living standards through rising food and energy prices — a form of inflation that the Fed fecklessly disregards in calculating inflation.

These policies have brought America to an end-stage metastasis. The way out would be so radical it can’t happen. It would necessitate a sweeping divorce of the state and the market economy. It would require a renunciation of crony capitalism and its first cousin: Keynesian economics in all its forms. The state would need to get out of the business of imperial hubris, economic uplift and social insurance and shift its focus to managing and financing an effective, affordable, means-tested safety net.

More on the next page.

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Why No Purple Hearts for Fort Hood Survivors?

Sunday, March 31st, 2013 - by Rick Moran

The Pentagon believes that awarding Purple Heart citations to the survivors of the Fort Hood massacre will “undermine the prosecution of Major Nidal Hasan by materially and directly compromising Major Hasan’s ability to receive a fair trial.” Since the military has designated Major Hasan’s terrorist attack as “workplace violence,” overturning that notion “would fundamentally compromise the fairness and due process of the pending trial.”

The explanation came in a document being circulated at the Pentagon that is in response to a bill being offered in Congress that would grant survivors of the attack Purple Hearts.

Fox News:

The document comes following calls from survivors and their families for the military honor, because they say Fort Hood was turned into a battlefield when Hasan opened fire during the November 2009 attack. Fox News is told that the DOD “position paper” is being circulated specifically in response to the proposed legislation.

The document reads in part:

“Passage of this legislation could directly and indirectly influence potential court-martial panel members, witnesses, or the chain of command, all of whom exercise a critical role under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Defense counsel will argue that Major Hasan cannot receive a fair trial because a branch of government has indirectly declared that Major Hasan is a terrorist — that he is criminally culpable.”

A source with knowledge of the position paper told Fox News that DOD is putting on a full-court press by sending senior officials, including generals, to meet with lawmakers in an effort to block support.

But Neal Sher, counsel for the Fort Hood families involved in a federal lawsuit against the department, told Fox News that the document — an “official Army response” to the request for Purple Heart status — is “an utter outrage” and that it was not surprising given it comes from the same department which labeled the attack “workplace violence.”

“This is a cynical travesty. What the government has done by making this statement is guarantee that anything done to help the victims will effectively prevent or impair Hasan’s prosecution. There was no reason for the government to put this kind of a statement in writing, even if it were true (which it is not),” Sher said via email.

Why is the Pentagon so resistant to acknowledging the sacrifice of Fort Hood survivors? Because if they did, they would have to admit that Hasan carried out a terrorist attack, as surely as if he had strapped explosives to his body and blown himself up. But we can’t have that because some people might get the idea that Muslims who scream “Allahu Akbar” before opening fire on unarmed soldiers really don’t like us very much. And that might lead to a backlash against all Muslims. It’s the same politically correct nonsense that allowed Major Hasan to stay in the army despite the knowledge of his superiors that he was falling under the spell of extremists.

The attack at Fort Hood turned that hall into a battlefield. Those wounded on that battlefield deserve all the honors due to someone who has sacrificed in the service of his country. Congress should push ahead with legislation to recognize those who survived the attack — and castigate the military for the cynicism.

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Sequester? No-quester

Sunday, March 31st, 2013 - by Rick Moran

There is a certain childlike delight in pointing a finger at your political opponents and taunting them with the sandbox epithet, “Told ya so, told ya so!”

Immature? Sure. But after all the taunting done by President Obama since he came into office, I think we can cut ourselves some slack this one time in order to lord it over an administration that badly miscalculated when attempting to scare the American people into putting pressure on the GOP to give up on the sequester.

News of the dire impact of the sequester on government services isn’t materializing. It’s true that the government funding bill passed last week allowed department heads and agency managers to move some funds around to lessen the impact of the sequester. But, in truth, even with the freedom of action granted by Congress, the scaremongering done by the administration that foretold drastic consequences if the sequester came to pass would have been discovered to be false anyway.

In short, the rhetoric isn’t matching the reality.

Politico:

More than a month after Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood warned of “calamity” in the skies, travelers are still flying. Airlines aren’t yet canceling flights. And there’s no sign of the long lines the Obama administration warned everyone to expect when automatic spending cuts hit March 1.

What happened? The much-feared budget ax is turning out to be a slow-rolling series of snips, with effects that have been much more gradual or modest than projected.

Airlines have yet to suspend or cancel flights in response to the cuts, even though LaHood predicted during a White House appearance Feb. 22 that they would do so “within the next 30 days.”

Meanwhile, far fewer airport control towers are facing potential closures than the 238 that the Federal Aviation Administration warned about in February. Only 24 towers — in places like Olathe, Kan., and Gig Harbor, Wash. — are in the first batch set to lose all their FAA funding on April 7. Dozens more will follow through early May, but local or state funding will keep some of those towers operating indefinitely.

The alarms about air travel are a prime example of how the White House “badly miscalculated” its rollout of the sequester, House Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) said.

He reserved particular ire for suggestions that the administration instructed agencies not to prepare until almost the bitter end, then pulled out a megaphone to broadcast impending doom.

“In the case of the FAA, it was the same thing — don’t prepare, don’t prepare, don’t prepare, and then a week or two weeks out, full campaign mode,” LoBiondo said. “People can come to their own conclusion, but I’m not sure [President Barack Obama] wants a solution on this, the way he’s been handling it.”

House Transportation Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) issued his own verdict within two weeks of the sequester taking effect March 1: “The sky isn’t falling.”

Nobody gave the Air Traffic Controllers union the memo:

“There are very real and very negative impacts to sequestration,” said Doug Church, a spokesman for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, pointing to data the union has compiled looking at impacts to major airports. “There will be a degradation of capacity and efficiency at a time when we should be focused on increasing both.”

No doubt the union will do its best to make LaHood’s predictions come true. But for the moment, airport operations are making LaHood out to be a liar — and a bad one at that.

Eventually, there will be visible consequences to the sequester cuts. They are not targeted carefully and some programs and operations were cut too much (others, probably not enough). But the GOP has gained the high ground in this debate and has dealt a blow to the credibility of the Obama administration.

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Obama Tax Policy Prophesied 89 Years Ago

Sunday, March 31st, 2013 - by Scott Ott

Read this paragraph, and tell me who it calls to mind:

“I have never viewed taxation as a means of rewarding one class of taxpayers or punishing another. If such a point of view ever controls our public policy, the traditions of freedom, justice and equality of opportunity, which are the distinguishing characteristics of our American civilization, will have disappeared and in their place we shall have class legislation with all its attendant evils. The man who seeks to perpetuate prejudice and class hatred is doing America an ill service. In attempting to promote or to defeat legislation by arraying one class of taxpayers against another, he shows a complete misconception of those principles of equality on which the country was founded.”

Though that could have been written yesterday, it actually comes from a little book written in 1924 under the name of Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, for the purpose of promoting President Coolidge’s plan to reduce tax rates, including top marginal rates on the wealthy.

Mellon goes on…

Any man of energy and initiative in this country can get what he wants out of life. But when that initiative is crippled by legislation or by a tax system which denies him the right to receive a reasonable share of his earnings, then he will no longer exert himself and the country will be deprived of the energy on which its continued greatness depends.

Amity Shlaes mentions the Mellon book on page 276 of her excellent biography, Coolidge.

Perhaps the leaders of the Republican Party in Congress should put down the RNC 2012 political autopsy report, pick up Shlaes’ Coolidge, and download Mellon’s Taxation.

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Business, Labor Reach Deal on Guest Worker Program

Saturday, March 30th, 2013 - by Rick Moran

One of the major stumbling blocks to comprehensive immigration reform was removed when business and labor leaders reached a deal on a new guest worker program.

No details of the compromise were released, although it is doubtful labor would have signed off on it without restrictions on the number of low wage workers that can participate.

Reuters:

The agreement still must be approved by the Gang of Eight senators, four Democrats and four Republicans. If they do so as expected, Senate legislation on a broad new immigration law would be advanced in the Senate in the coming weeks.

In recent days, the immigration effort had been stalled by failure to forge an agreement on the guest-worker program, although the White House insisted that progress was being made.

President Barack Obama wants to fulfill a campaign pledge by gaining passage of a law that would create a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants currently in the country. He has vowed to do what he can on immigration through executive actions in the absence of legislation.

Immigration long has been a controversial issue in the United States and previous efforts to craft a comprehensive overhaul of American immigration laws have failed, with Democrats and Republicans remaining far apart.

Many Republicans previously had taken a hard position against illegal immigrants. Obama’s unsuccessful Republican challenger last year, Mitt Romney, had advocated “self-deportation” of illegal immigrants. Republicans in Arizona and other states passed tough laws cracking down on illegal immigrants.

But the mood for a deal is ripe because Republicans saw Hispanic Americans vote overwhelmingly for Obama and other Democratic candidates in last November’s elections and they need to woo this increasingly important voting bloc.

Many Republicans see gaining favor with the Hispanic voting bloc, which accounts for 10 percent of the U.S. electorate and is growing, as a matter of political survival.

Republicans want to ensure that security along the U.S.-Mexican border is improved before immigrants can get on a path to citizenship. Obama feels security is sufficient but this disagreement is not seen as a deal-breaker.

“We’re seeing right now a good bipartisan spirit,” Obama told Spanish-language network Univision on Wednesday. “I want to encourage that and hopefully we’ll be able to get it done.”

It seems a foregone conclusion that the Senate will pass immigration reform when it comes to the floor in the next couple of weeks. The House is a different story. House Republicans will push hard for some kind of certification that the border is better secured — and likely won’t get it. The question is are there enough Republicans in the House willing to make border security a deal breaker? Perhaps not, but any kind of path to citizenship might be more problematic.

But with almost a near-solid Democratic vote, there only needs to be about 20 Republicans to vote for the bill in order for it to pass. That seems pretty certain at this point, so it looks like Obama will get his signature legislation for his second term.

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FAU Professor In ‘Jesus Stomping’ Incident Placed On Administrative Leave

Saturday, March 30th, 2013 - by Myra Adams

Anyone who has been following this story will be interested in a report from CBS News, Miami that is linked on Drudge:

BOCA RATON (CBS4) – The professor embroiled in a educational firestorm over his classroom practices has been placed on administrative leave.

Officials at Florida Atlantic University announced the move against Dr. Deandre Poole after receiving a complaint from student Ryan Rotella, who claims he was unfairly suspended from class for not writing the word ”Jesus” on a piece of paper and stomping on it as part of a class exercise.

The schools said removing Dr. Poole from the classroom was “for safety reasons” after the incident garnered a lot of media attention.

The controversy has even caught the attention of Governor Rick Scott, who called on University System Chancellor Frank Brogan to thoroughly investigate Rotella’s claims.

“As we enter the week memorializing the events of Christ’s passion, this incident gave me great concern over the lessons we are teaching our students,” Scott wrote in the letter.

Rotella, a deeply religious Mormon, told CBS12 that he was offended and refused to participate in the exercise.

“Anytime you stomp on something it shows that you believe that something has no value. So if you were to stomp on the word Jesus, it says that the word has no value,” said Rotella.

Rotella said he voiced his concerns to his teacher’s supervisor and later learned he was suspended from the class.

The report continues on to a second page that is available here.   Many readers who have closely followed this story have been waiting for some action regarding this professor and now it has finally happened. Of course what is not mentioned in this report is that the Professor is question is vice-chairman of the Palm Beach County Democrat Party. But that is ONLY a minor detail in the mainstream media.

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Countdown to Chaos: Can the Feds Get Their Obamacare Act Together in Time?

Saturday, March 30th, 2013 - by Rick Moran

When you stop and think about it, what the federal government is proposing to do in implementing Obamacare is absolutely breathtaking. The government is proposing to basically take over 17% of the American economy, create a massive database — yet to be built — so that insurance exchanges — yet to be designed — can give up to 62 million Americans access to individually tailored insurance plans, while coordinating among three federal agencies millions of requests for federal subsidies.

We are 149 days away from the October 1 deadline for state insurance exchanges to be up and running so that citizens can purchase plans and find out how much of a subsidy they are eligible for. The IT requirements to connect everything, have all the interfaces in place, not to mention securing the system from hackers looking to steal your personal information, are incredibly complex.

How complicated is it? Here’s a chart by Xerox (via WaPo) that should pop your eyes a bit:

Michael Barone published a letter from one of his readers, an IT professional with 35 years of experience, that lists just a few of the massive challenges facing the government:

“Wow, what can go wrong here? Let me assess this based on my years of experience in this industry. The federal government is going to build 50 exchanges, using a data hub that doesn’t exist physically and in fact, the design hasn’t been solidified, and must be accessible to a variety of data processing technologies that range from archaic to old.

Each of the 50 states have different eligibility rules, and with a significant number of states opting out, the federal government now has to learn the intricacies of each state’s Medicaid eligibility models which then scale to different applicability rules for different members of a given family. The thousands of pages of bureaucratic rules that will drive requirements haven’t been completed yet, and those requirements are needed to drive design not only for the application programs, but for the entire processing architecture. The issue of network, processor, and storage performance has to be decided, modeled and tested.

To complicate matters, the convoluted federal procurement rules for hardware and software have to be adhered to, which require mixing different hardware brands, software packages and service providers. Add to this compliance analysis to validate and re-validate trusted sources of data. All legal requirements at the local, state, and federal level have to be met by the design. And last but not least, staffing up for customer support which requires hiring, training on applications not yet designed and real world tested, the creation of support documentation, building or retrofitting facilities for these folks, setting up backup sites for the required redundancies, plus hardening the sites for natural disaster power failures.

Additionally, the people hired must meet the Equal Opportunity criteria, and all GUIs must be handicapped usable, as well as the facilities themselves. I could be here all evening defining additional work to be done. Oh, did I mention this will be done by next year?

Another Barone reader lists some of the resource requirements:

o System Analyst

Strong ability to work with subject matter specialist to develop systems requirements and document for the programmers.

o Technical and Subject Matter Specialists

Writers to develop Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the end users (How many will that be???) and SOP’s for operations.

Computers

o Will we need various types of computer equipment in order to test and migrate to production? Problem is we must likely don’t have that computer capacity in order to test followed by migration to production

o Mainframes, Desktops and other devices that I am unaware of

o Will vendors have to get involved with hardware/software packages, etc?

o LANs

Interfaces (based on the GAO report-as follows)

o IRS

o HHS

o TREASURY

o INSURANCE COMPANIES

o SSA

o STATE EXCHANGES

o CORPORATIONS

o SMALL BUSINESS

o MEDICARE

Given my chimp-like abilities with the computer, do you think they’re going to have someone you can talk to for help if you get stuck? (“Your call is valuable to us. Estimated wait time to speak to a representative is three days.”)

No one expected the implementation of Obamacare to be smooth. But this promises to be beyond disaster, a clusterfark of epic and unforgettable proportions.

If the government goes ahead and tries to maintain the October 1 deadline for the exchanges to go live, it will probably be as bad as it appears. They need to create 26 complete exchanges (the feds are partnering with 7 other states to build the systems). They need to sync up all those interfaces, including those connected to the IRS and HHS so that the consumer can get approved for subsidies. How many millions of lines of code? How complex will the applications be? We’re not even thinking about the complexity of the Medicaid expansion.

Why is the government so far behind the curve in prepping for Obamacare’s rollout? One big reason is that the 13,000 pages of regulations that are supposed to tell insurance companies what kinds of policies they can offer were just released after the election. Apparently, most of them were ready last May but the president chose not to release the bad news before he was safely re-elected.

The insurance companies couldn’t design the policies without the regulations and the IT people couldn’t create the platform without the policies. So instead of spending almost a year designing and tweaking the exchanges’ computer systems, the feds now have 149 days to get things up and running.

It’s not going to happen. Henry Chao’s famous quote about problems setting up the exchanges — “Let’s just make sure it’s not a third-world experience” — reflects the nervousness of the administration. It also points the way to some kind of delay as the kinks are worked out of the system.

Six months isn’t going to make the policies offered on the exchanges any cheaper. Nor is a delay going to make the process any easier. What was once promised to be an online experience similar to buying a plane ticket on Expedia is no doubt going to turn into something akin to Chinese water torture.

But for the present, we are stuck with it. For how long a time may very well depend on how patient the American public is with the incompetence of the government and the bewildering complexity of the exchanges.

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Photo Caption Winners: Head of State in Action

Saturday, March 30th, 2013 - by Myra Adams

Photo credit: Larry Downing, Reuters

It pleased me to see just how many of you followed the soccer ball off the fiscal cliff.

(Leading with this statement satisfies my daily requirement of mentioning the U.S. Debt Clock any chance I get.)

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming of announcing the winners of our latest and extremely successful Photo Caption Contest.

There were so many great captions to choose from that it made judging very difficult.

All the captions mentioned below are winners, but these three had the most bounce:

The ball had to pay OFA $15,000 to be in this photo.

Submitted by Adi.  Editor’s note: OFA (Organizing for Action) is Obama’s own activist/fundraising organization.

This is the most popular sport in Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain and Cyprus, right. Well, then following in their footsteps is my goooooaaaalllll!

The Truth? My media and I…we can bend it like Beckham.

Both submitted by cfbleachers, our reigning Caption King. Editor’s note: Seriously folks, I try NOT to select cfbleachers as the winner every contest, but his captions are just so clever I can not help myself.

Here are the rest of the best.

Several captions from one of our Royal Caption Kings, Donald Eugene:

The label says do not over inflate, to late for that.

Since I closed down most of the Control Towers, this ball don’t have any place to land.

Your right, this does look better than using Joe

We were going to use Rodman’s basketball for this take but, it kept setting off the Geiger Counter.

RockThisTown, another Royal Caption King scored high with these:

Mr. President, next time try bouncing your Nobel Prize off your head.

“This ball is from the Galaxy, so it’ll be perfect for my trophy case when I rule the universe.”

“To show my appreciation for this wonderful gift, I’m granting Obamacare waivers to all of you

From LeighB:

Michelle’s drone stopped by to remind Barack to pick up his socks.

From x2klofun:

One is a shiny object adored by throngs of international elitists. The other is a soccer ball.

And finally, more from our Beloved Caption King, cfbleachers:

Based on the last photo contestif I was that ball…I’d watch out for those horns.

After five years, the media finally snaps a photo of Obama using his head.

I’ll throw this ball in the air…and if it comes down, I’ll tax it.

Myra, it’s funny you put your debt clock and Pele’s sport in the same contest. Is Obama trying to prove he can count to a Brazilian?

“This is really not a sport for Democrats, you have to use your head and can’t grab everything you can get your hands on.”

See you all next time a photo is worthy of a Tatler Photo Caption Contest and Happy Easter everyone!

 

 

 

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35 Educators Indicted in Atlanta Schools Cheating Scandal

Saturday, March 30th, 2013 - by Rick Moran

The testing requirements in No Child Left Behind have been a constant source of complaint by many educators over the years. The notion that children were being taught to “test well” rather than filling their heads with knowledge had a lot of support among school districts — especially those from the inner city. The standards demanded by the law meant that bad test scores could eventually lead to losing some federal dollars.

The Atlanta school system found a way around that; they simply took the test scores from inner city kids and corrected some wrong answers. Presto! They created aggregate scores that beat a lot of suburban districts.

I suppose I should mention that many of those educators got big, fat, juicy cash bonuses for doing such a fine job.

On Friday, the state of Georgia indicted 35 teachers and administrators — including the former superintendent Beverly Hall — on charges ranging from racketeering to theft.

New York Times:

Paul L. Howard Jr., the district attorney, said that under Dr. Hall’s leadership, there was “a single-minded purpose, and that is to cheat.”

“She is a full participant in that conspiracy,” he said. “Without her, this conspiracy could not have taken place, particularly in the degree it took place.”

For years there had been reports of widespread cheating in Atlanta, but Dr. Hall was feared by teachers and principals, and few dared to speak out. “Principals and teachers were frequently told by Beverly Hall and her subordinates that excuses for not meeting targets would not be tolerated,” the indictment said.

Reporters for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and state education officials repeatedly found strong indications of cheating — extraordinary increases in test scores from one year to the next, along with a high number of erasures on answering sheets from wrong to right.

But they were not able to find anyone who would confess to it.

That is until August 2010, when Gov. Sonny Perdue named two special prosecutors — Michael Bowers, a Republican former attorney general, and Robert E. Wilson, a Democratic former district attorney — along with Mr. Hyde to conduct a criminal investigation.

[...]

Ms. Parks told Mr. Hyde that the cheating had been going on at least since 2004 and was overseen by the principal, who wore gloves so as not to leave her fingerprints on the answer sheets.

Children who scored 1 on the state test out of a possible 4 became 2s, she said; 2s became 3s.

“The cheating had been going on so long,” Ms. Parks said. “We considered it part of our jobs.”

She said teachers were under constant pressure from principals who feared they would be fired if they did not meet the testing targets set by the superintendent.

Dr. Hall was known to rule by fear. She gave principals three years to meet their testing goals. Few did; in her decade as superintendent, she replaced 90 percent of the principals.

Teachers and principals whose students had high test scores received tenure and thousands of dollars in performance bonuses. Otherwise, as one teacher explained, it was “low score out the door.”

The cheaters weren’t very clever — and cost at-risk children hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal and state aid:

At Parks Middle School, which investigators say was the site of the city’s worst cheating, test scores soared right after the arrival of a new principal, Christopher Waller — who was one of the 35 named in Friday’s indictment.

His first year at Parks, 2005, 86 percent of eighth graders scored proficient in math compared with 24 percent the year before; 78 percent passed the state reading test versus 35 percent the previous year.

The falsified test scores were so high that Parks Middle was no longer classified as a school in need of improvement and, as a result, lost $750,000 in state and federal aid, according to investigators. That money could have been used to give struggling children extra academic support. Stacey Johnson, a Parks teacher, told investigators that she had students in her class who had scored proficient on state tests in previous years but were actually reading on the first-grade level. Cheating masked the deficiencies and skewed the diagnosis.

One wonders if there are school districts where the cheating is more sophisticated and better hidden. And it calls into question NCLB testing protocols that place so much emphasis on standardized tests.

This probably won’t be the last school district to suffer such ignominy.

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Dr. Carson Apologizes for Anti-Gay Remarks

Saturday, March 30th, 2013 - by Rick Moran

Dr. Ben Carson is an urbane, sophisticated, very intelligent man, as he has demonstrated in his public appearances over the last few months.

So what possessed him to say this to Sean Hannity on Fox the other night?

Marriage is between a man and a woman. No group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality, it doesn’t matter what they are. They don’t get to change the definition.

Carson’s apologized by implying that people misunderstood what he was saying:

“I think people have completely taken the wrong meaning out of what I was saying,” the 61-year-old surgeon said in a telephone interview Friday. “First of all, I certainly believe gay people should have all the rights that anybody else has. What I was basically saying is that as far as marriage is concerned that has traditionally been between a man and a woman and nobody should be able to change that.”

“Now perhaps the examples were not the best choice of words, and I certainly apologize if I offended anyone,” he added. “But the point that I was making was that no group of individuals, whoever they are, whatever their belief systems, gets to change traditional definitions. The reason I believe the way I do, I will readily confess, is because I am a Christian who believes in The Bible.”

The Bible, he explained, “…says we have an obligation to love our fellow man as ourselves, and I love everybody the same — all homosexuals. Everybody who knows me knows I would never say anything to intentionally hurt someone.”

It should be noted that if he believes that gays should have “all the rights anyone else has,” then he should be supporting gay marriage. Obviously, it was an inartful way to say he doesn’t think gays should be discriminated against — a position at odds with most of the Republican base who don’t think gays should be protected under affirmative action law.

Carson may not have meant to offend, but he connected the tired, old myths about gays and gay marriage that have been consistently debunked to the movement to legalize gay marriage. The notion that most (if not all) gay men are pedophiles and the idea that adopting gay marriage will lead to legalizing pedophilia and bestiality are strawman arguments, refuted by the facts and somewhat ridiculous. What judge or state legislature in their right mind is going to legalize pedophilia or bestiality? The argument is specious and insulting to boot.

Carson’s apology won’t satisfy those who don’t want to be satisfied — those who see an opportunity to tarnish the image of a rising political star for the GOP. But the real problem is that Carson wasn’t saying anything that much of the right wing doesn’t believe — and they can’t recognize the insult he made or the ignorance he displayed in making those claims.

Carson’s statement, no matter how well intentioned, points to the GOP’s real problem with figuring out how to talk about gays and gay marriage without sounding like a bunch of bigots.

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North Korea Says it’s in a ‘State of War’ with South Korea

Saturday, March 30th, 2013 - by Rick Moran

The threats from North Korea continue to escalate, as the official news agency has announced that “a state of war” exists between the two Koreas.

Reuters:

The North also threatened to shut down an industrial zone it operates jointly with the South near the heavily armed border between the two sides if Seoul continued to say the complex was being kept running for money.

The two Koreas have been technically in a state of war for six decades under a truce that ended their 1950-53 conflict. Despite its threats, few people see any indication Pyongyang will risk a near-certain defeat by re-starting full-scale war.

“From this time on, the North-South relations will be entering the state of war and all issues raised between the North and the South will be handled accordingly,” a statement carried by the North’s official KCNA news agency said.

KCNA said the statement was issued jointly by the North’s government, ruling party and other organizations.

There was no sign of unusual activity in the North’s military to suggest an imminent aggression, a South Korean defense ministry official said.

The North has been threatening to attack the South and U.S. military bases almost on a daily basis since the beginning of March, when U.S. and South Korean militaries started routine drills that have been conducted for decades without incident.

What’s going on? If we are to believe the analysts, Kim’s madness has method:

To North Korea experts in Washington and Seoul, there is something familiar in the country’s threats to ‘‘keep the White House in the cross hairs of our long-range missiles.’’ Such threat of armed brinkmanship — the catch phrase in the 1990s was that Seoul would become a ‘‘sea of fire,’’ a term recently revived by North Korea’s news agencies — has in the past drawn its adversaries to the bargaining table with economic concessions.

But at the same time, the tensions with the outside world provide the government with opportunities to elevate its leader’s status among his people — which may be more important to a young, untested leader than it was to his father and grandfather.

According to the view that North Korea’s propaganda machine pounds into its citizens’ minds, the North is a tiny nation besieged by hostile outside forces, one that survived despite decades of sanctions and can finally stand up to both its US foe and its longtime Chinese ally — all thanks to the strong ‘‘military-first’’ leadership of the Kim family and the country’s nuclear arsenal.

In such a setting, Kim’s trip to a border island on a wooden boat — it almost seemed designed to create a ‘‘Washington crossing the Delaware’’ motif — is proof of his ‘‘daring and pluck,’’ as the country’s main party newspaper Rodong explained.

The whole thing is reminiscent of The Mouse that Roared, the 1959 film classic starring a manic Peter Sellers playing three roles, which was about a tiny, fictitious European country, the Duchy of Fenwick, that declared war on the United States, hoping to lose so that the US would generously rebuild their country.

But by sheer coincidence and luck, Fenwick invades New York, gets control of a doomsday bomb, and wins the war. They force the rest of the world into peace talks and everyone lives happily ever after.

Kim Jong-Un must be a fan of this movie because his bloodcurdling threats may be designed to force the Six Party talks back on track. Kim desperately needs food and economic aid and these wild threats give a sense of urgency to getting back to the bargaining table.

Unless they have all lost their minds, North Korea is not likely to attack. They would be certain losers and the regime itself might not survive. They have less than 30 day supply of gas, no air force to speak of, and it is unlikely that China would intervene on their behalf as they did during the first Korean war.

The danger is from accidental war. With both sides poised for battle, and both militaries on a hair trigger, a false image on a radar scope, or a misinterpreted gesture on either side, could let slip the dogs of war.

The North can fire 500,000 artillery rounds into Seoul during the first hour of the war. Obviously, this must be prevented at all costs. But the big question is who is going to help Kim climb down from the ledge he has deliberately walked out on? And can he do it without losing face with the regime’s inner circle?

It will be a tense few days on the peninsula.

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Islam’s Outrageous Obscenities

Friday, March 29th, 2013 - by Raymond Ibrahim

If you’re the sort who likes to consider the “differences” between the world’s major religions — or better still, if you think all religions are equal —  it may interest you to read “Islam’s Outrageous Obscenities,” where, based on recent assertions from Islam’s clerics (especially the fellow pictured here), I quote some rather “wild” language attributed to Islam’s prophet and the first caliphs.  Be warned, it contains lots of vulgarities and graphic imagery.

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Tax Dollars May be Funding Terror as Questionable Army Contracts Linger

Friday, March 29th, 2013 - by Bridget Johnson

Americans’ tax dollars may currently be supporting terrorist groups by way of 43 questionable contractors used by the U.S. Army.

After passage of the “No Contracting with the Enemy Act” provision of the Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) identified nine contractors and the Entity List, a notification by the Department of Commerce supported by all-source intelligence analysis, identified 34 more as potentially having direct links to an insurgent or terrorist group.

These recommendations to suspend or terminate work with a contractor were referred to the Army for investigation in September 2012. The Army’s Suspension and Debarment office has a stated goal of 30 days to process referrals from an inspector general or investigative agency, but all of the cases are backlogged.

The individuals and companies identified are believed to have links to groups such as the Haqqani Network and al-Qaeda. Ground-level investigations into the referred contractors found the parties “were active supporters of the insurgency or were otherwise engaged in actively opposing U.S. and Coalition Forces in Afghanistan” or had provided “material support to persons engaged against U.S. and Coalition forces in Afghanistan.”

In a letter this week to Army Secretary John McHugh and Army Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno, Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), John Cornyn (R-Texas) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.) called for a review of these 43 outstanding cases.

“Given the serious nature of these determinations, we strongly believe these cases continue to warrant special and immediate consideration from the Department of the Army,” the lawmakers wrote.

They noted a Jan. 15 response from the Army chiefs stating “the 43 recommendations did not include any supporting evidence other than the fact that the subject individuals or entities were so listed.” But the Army needed to look at classified materials to see that evidence.

“Despite numerous attempts by the SIGAR office to facilitate involvement in these cases by the Army’s Suspension and Debarment Official (SDO), it is our understanding that this individual has not yet conducted necessary reviews of the classified materials,” the senators wrote.

“We strongly believe that these debarment referrals are sufficient to call into question the acceptability of doing business with the named individuals or companies. However, we also believe that a thorough review of the underlying evidence is essential to effectively processing these 43 cases. While we understand that the review process may have started with some cases, it is time for the Army’s Procurement Fraud Branch and the SDO to fully process these designations without further delay.”

The senators asked for a determination to be made on each case within 30 days.

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Washington Post Editorial Board Attacks Republican Cuccinelli, Lays Groundwork to Support Democrat McAuliffe

Friday, March 29th, 2013 - by Bryan Preston

Virginia voters will have a pair of heavyweights on the ballot this fall, Republican state AG Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat party operative Terry McAuliffe. The Washington Post, which is to a great extent northern Virginia’s local paper, has endorsed the Democrat in every single statewide race — every single one — for the past 15 years.

Usually they wait until after Labor Day to jump in and start campaigning for the Democrat. But in an editorial the Post published Thursday, the paper got an early start with a ridiculous attack on Cuccinnelli.

The Post pulls some familiar media jujitsu, praising one Republican who has compromised on a core issue, in order to condemn another Republican, who has not. The Post never pulls this move on Democrats. Ever. Yet it would have readers believe that it is neither partisan nor biased.

The Post praises VA Gov. Bob McDonnell — whom it opposed when he ran for the office — for approving the recently passed transportation bill. But in the next breath, it unleashes hate on Cuccinelli.

As with any political achievement, many have already tried to take credit. Those most deserving are Mr. McDonnell and the faction of Republicans who faced conservative antipathy for supporting a bipartisan approach that acknowledged the long-obvious truth about Virginia’s roads — that they can’t be built for free. In facing up to the reality-defying elements of his party to enact an overdue bill that will help Virginia, Mr. McDonnell showed genuine leadership.

Others did not. Following Mr. McDonnell’s action on the bill, gubernatorial candidate and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) tried to take some of the credit for himself. “I was honored,” he said, “to work with members of the McDonnell administration in making sure the legislation was able to move forward without the threat of any legal challenges.” Mr. Cuccinelli declared last week one element of the unamended transportation bill to be unconstitutional, leading to one of Mr. McDonnell’s amendments.

Did you follow that? Cuccinelli won a concession to keep the bill, which he opposed, in line with the state’s constitution. In the Post’s eyes, that makes Cuccinelli the villain. Why is he not praised for protecting the state constitution? Because he is a Republican, and will be running against a Democrat. It really is that simple.

Here’s a fact that the Post never gets around to editorializing on: The transportation bill is the largest tax increase in Virginia history. McDonnell campaigned on resisting tax hikes, then turns around and signs a big one. But…Cuccinelli is the villain here? Because he wants Republicans to stick to their word, and legislators to adhere to the constitution of the state?

AG Cuccinelli is only the villain because he will be facing off against a Democrat in the fall. The Post ought to become an honest paper and report this editorial, and the many surely to come in support of every Democrat running statewide, as in-kind advertising contributions. That’s what they are.

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Hobby Lobby Wins Full Appeals Court Hearing on ObamaCare Mandate Challenge

Friday, March 29th, 2013 - by Bryan Preston

LifeNews has the story.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals today granted Hobby Lobby’s petition for a full hearing on its appeal of a judge’s decision requiring the Christian-owned and operated business to comply with the Obama Administration’s HHS mandate.

The appellate court agreed to an en banc hearing and agreed to place Hobby Lobby’s appeal before the entire court rather than the usual three-judge panel. The full court will now consider whether to halt enforcement of the HHS mandate, which forces Hobby Lobby Stores, to provide and pay for emergency contraceptives, such as the “morning-after pill” and “week-after pill”, in violation of the religious beliefs of its owners, the Green family.

More at the link.

I believe that, between the ObamaCare mandate and the aftermath of the nationwide legalization of gay marriage and the generally anti-Christian disposition of the hard left that dominates the current regime, we’re entering a time in which the American government will persecute Christians. In fact, through the abortifacient mandate, the state is already engaged in a form of persecution by forcing Christian business owners to violate their consciences, or turn over sufficient property in the form of fines that they could face bankruptcy. That’s the choice they face — do what the state orders you to do though it’s against your faith, or surrender your property and lose your livelihood.

How is that not persecution?

Maybe the Hobby Lobby case can slow things down.

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No White House Tours but Short Film of Bo the Dog Hunting Easter Eggs

Friday, March 29th, 2013 - by Bridget Johnson
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North Korea Promises to Launch ‘Merciless Nuclear Attacks’ on U.S. for Threatening Generalissimos’ Statues

Friday, March 29th, 2013 - by Bridget Johnson

Random highlights today of stories at North Korea’s official media, the Korean Central News Agency:

“A meeting of Pyongyangites took place at Kim Il Sung Square Friday to support the statement of the Supreme Command of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) and to win victory in the final do-or-die battle with aggressors including the U.S. imperialists and south Korean puppet group of traitors.”

“The U.S. hostile policy toward the DPRK that has been intensified after the DPRK’s launch of satellite for peaceful purposes has now reached the phase of a provocation of a nuclear war. The U.S. deputy secretary of Defense who flew into south Korea for the final examination of the preparations for a nuclear war against the DPRK ordered to ignite a nuclear war, making a bluff that the U.S. military has made the second Korean war a top priority.”

“The south Korean warmongers, elated with the backing of the U.S. master, are threatening punishment to ‘provocation’ of the DPRK and even seeking to mount precision missile strikes on the statues of the great Generalissimos Kim Il Sung andKim Jong Il, symbol of the DPRK’s dignity. …It is the steadfast will of the DPRK to react to the U.S. nuclear blackmail with merciless nuclear attacks, and war of aggression with a total war of justice.”

Yet for all the impending bloodshed and mushroom cloud(s), the Tourism section of the propaganda arm predicts a rising number of foreign visitors this year.

“In particular, the arrivals will be on rise from European countries, including Germany, UK and the Netherlands.

The figure of applicants for tourism in the DPRK by plane has already exceeded last year’s twice while that of those for tourism by bicycle increased sharply as compared with last year’s.

International railway service has been improved and regular and non-regular flights from various regions will be available.

Mini-golf playing in the Rungna People’s Pleasure Park in Pyongyang will be one of attractions this year.”

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‘Legitimate Life’: Shock Planned Parenthood Video vs. Todd Akin

Friday, March 29th, 2013 - by David Steinberg

A Florida Planned Parenthood official just stood in front of the Florida legislature to advance the argument that perhaps some life is at the whim of the living — “legitimate life,” for a perfectly representative description of her argument; there is no daylight between her testimony and an advocacy of decriminalizing murder.

If a child brought into the world under such circumstances is unworthy of life via the intentions of the mother, logic dictates that the child would be placed in such limbo indefinitely, until such time as the mother chooses to kill it. Two minutes later, twenty-five years later: if this monstrous woman could shape a society according to her testimony, then the mother would necessarily have a permanent right to slaughter her child.

Further: changing her mind, at any point, would change nothing.

If the mother decided she no longer wished the child to be dead, the logic of this “Legitimate Life” testimony — that some life is at the whim of the living — requires that the mother could always change her mind once again.

Which brings us to this: a government-funded organization just sent a representative to testify that she is not entirely sure a mother does not have an inalienable right to murderthe president whose administration funds her organization has expressed the exact same sentiments, and in fact voted on them — several times.

An honest culture, an honest media would consider this distinction:

– Todd Akin expressed an opinion supported by no one of his party, that was a part of no platform, that virtually no one alive had ever heard expressed before, whereas …

– This demon in Florida is not the first to equivocate on murder; she has an ally in a high place, and belongs to a billion-dollar organization that has equivocated on “legitimate life” frequently and publicly.

One of these incidents deserves a national conversation — especially during the trial of Kermit Gosnell, a man who actually acted on the theory of “legitimate life,” and likely murdered hundreds.

But the other one got it.

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North Carolina Woman Fights Off Two Male Intruders with Pistol

Friday, March 29th, 2013 - by Bryan Preston

Do you think these two Carolina thieves would have broken into this house, in broad daylight, if they believed that a) anyone was home, and b) whoever was home was also armed?

An Elm City woman shot at two men who broke into her home on Tonya Road Friday morning, her husband told WRAL News.

Chris Griffin said his wife, who had stayed home sick from work, heard a noise around 11 a.m. and then saw two men outside her house. When she heard them start kicking in the back door, she hid in the bedroom closet with a cellphone and a pistol.

The men ransacked the house, and when they opened the closet door, she fired at them, Griffin said. One man was struck, authorities said.

The men fled, and neighbor Wayne Crumpler said he heard them yelling for help.

The wounded man then started toward Crumpler’s house.

“He started in this direction. I stepped inside and got my revolver,” he said. “I told him to hold it.”

The man then ran into the woods, Crumpler said.

They were eventually caught and now face charges. One of them is just 16 years old. Neighbor Wayne Crumpler sounds like a good man.

“She was lucky she knew how to use a handgun and lucky she had it. Because If she hadn’t, we might be going to a funeral,” he said. “I’m proud of her.”

Was it luck, or forethought and preparation?

Two firearms just saved at least one life and helped take two criminals off the streets, at least for a while.

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President Morsi Smuggling Al-Qaeda Leader Zawahiri to Egypt?

Friday, March 29th, 2013 - by Raymond Ibrahim

According to a new report from the Arabic-language website Misr al-Gidida (New Egypt), during Egyptian president Muhammad Morsi’s recent visit to Islamabad, Pakistan, he secretly met with Ayman Zawahiri, the leader of the terrorist organization al-Qaeda, and promised to smuggle the Egyptian-born jihadi back home.  The Arabic report cites a Pakistani source saying that the meeting was clandestinely arranged, away from the delegation accompanying Morsi, and “facilitated by elements of Pakistani intelligence [ISI] and influential members of the international organization, the Muslim brotherhood” [all quotes translated from Arabic by author].

Morsi himself is a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood; Zawahiri is a former member who grew impatient with the Brotherhood’s tactics of non-violent patience and perseverance, eventually quitting the organization and joining the jihad, becoming its current leader.  (See “Ayman Zawahiri and Egypt: A Trip through Time” for an expose on Zawahiri and his decades-long connections to Egypt, the Salafis, and the Muslim Brotherhood.)

The Pakistani source adds that “the meeting lasted 45 minutes, during which Egyptian president Muhammad Morsi promised to make preparations for Ayman Zawahiri to return soon to Egypt, indicating that some Muslim Brotherhood members would handle the operation, by first smuggling the al-Qaeda leader to a Gulf nation, likely Qatar, and then easily transferring him to Egypt—on condition that Zawahiri disappear lest he embarrass Egypt’s ruling Muslim Brotherhood with its American ally, whose security and intelligence agencies consider Zawahiri most wanted.”…  Continue reading.

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Egyptian Imam: “Islam’s flag will be raised above the White House”

Friday, March 29th, 2013 - by Raymond Ibrahim

A video recording from a recent Friday sermon in Egypt, where the imam swears to Allah several times that the flag of Islam will be raised above the White House of America, recently appeared on the Arabic Internet.  According to the imam preaching, all Muslims need do is be patient and continue working towards this goal.

I uploaded it and included subtitles on my YouTube account, below:

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Flashback: Obama Votes Against Born Alive Act

Friday, March 29th, 2013 - by Bryan Preston
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Today, shocking video emerged showing a Planned Parenthood official arguing that even infants born alive, surviving an abortion attempt, have no right to life.

In 2003, then Illinois Sen. Barack Obama was asked his views on abortion. The future president resolutely declared, “I am pro-choice.”

An unidentified reporter follows up. “In all situations, including the late-term thing?”

Obama answers, “I am pro-choice. I believe that women make responsible choices, um, and they know better than anybody the tragedy, uh, of, a, uh, you know, a difficult, um, pregnancy, and, uh, I don’t think that it’s the government’s,uh, role to meddle in that choice.”

As president, Obama sees no problem with government meddling in a woman’s choice to own a firearm, despite the fact that the right to keep and bear arms is expressly protected in the Constitution.

Setting that aside, as a state senator, Obama opposed a partial birth abortion bill that came before the Illinois Senate. He also criticized the Supreme Court decision upholding the partial birth abortion ban.

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In 2008, when ruminating on the possibility of his own grandchildren coming into the world unexpectedly, then US Sen. Barack Obama described those future grandchildren as a “punishment.”

First Lady Michelle Obama is also far out on the edge of extremism on abortion. She signed a letter in 2004, when her husband was still in the Illinois Senate, that supported partial birth abortion.

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Shock Video: Planned Parenthood Official Argues In Favor of Post-Birth Abortion

Friday, March 29th, 2013 - by Bryan Preston
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This is where we are as a country: Planned Parenthood has far more access to and influence with our government than the average American. And what Planned Parenthood wants is ghastly.

Alisa Laport Snow, the lobbyist representing the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, testified that her organization believes the decision to kill an infant who survives a failed abortion should be left up to the woman seeking an abortion and her abortion doctor.

“So, um, it is just really hard for me to even ask you this question because I’m almost in disbelief,” said Rep. Jim Boyd. “If a baby is born on a table as a result of a botched abortion, what would Planned Parenthood want to have happen to that child that is struggling for life?”

“We believe that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician,” said Planned Parenthood lobbyist Snow.

In addition to the policy, it’s striking how difficult the Planned Parenthood official finds saying an f-word: family. It’s clearly not a word she is comfortable saying.

Why is that?

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Media Lied About Sandy Hook Shooter? Say It Isn’t So!

Friday, March 29th, 2013 - by Howard Nemerov

Yesterday, Reuters published a “factbox” of “items found in Newtown gunman’s home, car.” It included lots of hardware references, like a “large cache of guns, ammunition, swords and knives.” (It’s the guns, stupid!) Reuters said there were “NRA membership certificates” for both the murderer and his mother.

The NRA issued a concise rebuttal:

There is no record of a member relationship between Newtown killer [name redacted by this author*], nor between [killer’s mother], with the National Rifle Association. Reporting to the contrary is reckless, false and defamatory.

Of course, Reuters would counter that the NRA is defensive and lying, or something along that line. Except for one problem that challenges Reuters’ credibility: Reuters conveniently left out the most important item in the killer’s inventory.

In early March, top law enforcement officials attended a semi-annual meeting in New Orleans. Danny Stebbins, a colonel from the Connecticut State Police, presented his report on the Sandy Hook shooting.

Investigators found a “spreadsheet 7 feet long and 4 feet wide.” This spreadsheet contained “extensive research” of “mass murders of the past, and even attempted murders.” Police concluded: “They don’t believe this was just a spreadsheet. They believe it was a score sheet.”

“We were told [the murderer] had around 500 people on this sheet,” a law enforcement veteran told me Saturday night. “Names and the number of people killed and the weapons that were used, even the precise make and model of the weapons. It had to have taken years. It sounded like a doctoral thesis, that was the quality of the research.”

Police reached other conclusions:

  • This was the work of a video gamer who intended to place his name on top as all-time high scorer in real-life shoot-em-ups.
  • He picked the elementary school because it offered the best opportunity to “score” the most points before police arrived to stop him.
  • Video gamers lose all their points to the character who kills them, so this murderer planned to “retain” his points by committing suicide so law enforcement couldn’t take his points.
  • Said one official: “They have pictures from two years before, with the guy all strapped with weapons, posing with a pistol to his head. That’s the thing you have to understand: He had this laid out for years before.” [emphasis added]

Reuters didn’t tell the whole truth because the anti-rights narrative succeeds by sympathizing with murderers and derogating law-abiding citizens. The NRA is America’s oldest civil rights and gun safety organization. But the NRA stands in the way of the anti-rights agenda, so the NRA, consisting of nearly five million law-abiding Americans, must be demonized in order to destroy its influence.

Corrupt media’s goal is to stop people from learning the truth about the Sandy Hook shooting, and instead socially engineer Americans into willingly surrendering their civil right of self-defense. To accomplish this, any lie is acceptable.

(* In my position as journalist, I don’t give sick murderers the attention they crave by publishing their name.)

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Boehner to Young: ‘Immediate Apology’ Due for ‘Wetbacks’ Comment

Friday, March 29th, 2013 - by Bridget Johnson

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) sharply rebuked Alaska Rep. Don Young (R) for using the word “wetback” in a radio interview.

“My father had a ranch; we used to have 50-60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes,” Young said in an interview with a Ketchikan radio station aired Thursday. “It takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It’s all done by machine.”

Young issued a statement to local media after furor over the comment spread.

“During a sit down interview with Ketchikan Public Radio this week, I used a term that was commonly used during my days growing up on a farm in Central California,” Young said. “I know that this term is not used in the same way nowadays and I meant no disrespect.”

Boehner, who has tangled with Young before over the congressman’s ethics problems and probes, didn’t take that walkback as the necessary apology.

“Congressman Young’s remarks were offensive and beneath the dignity of the office he holds,” Boehner said in a statement. “I don’t care why he said it – there’s no excuse and it warrants an immediate apology.”

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Young’s comments “emphatically do not represent the beliefs of the Republican Party.”

“As I have continued to say, everyone in this country deserves to be treated with dignity and respect,” Priebus said. “Our party represents freedom and opportunity for every American and a beacon of hope to those seeking liberty throughout the world.”

The Group of Eight is due to unveil its bipartisan immigration reform framework soon as the GOP has pegged an initial $10 million investment toward minority outreach.

“Migrant workers come to America looking for opportunity and a way to provide a better life for their families,” Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said in a statement. “They do not come to this country to hear ethnic slurs and derogatory language from elected officials. The comments used by Rep. Young do nothing to elevate our party, political discourse or the millions who come here looking for economic opportunity.”

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Community College: Training Ground for New Community Organizers

Friday, March 29th, 2013 - by Michelle Horstman

There is no doubt that the youth of America are being recruited at breakneck speed by the progressives, both at the university level as well as elementary and high school. Many efforts are underway to expand their reach to preschool, as they attempt to start those programs at earlier and earlier ages. But what about community colleges? Surely, you don’t think they would leave any stone unturned.

Yes, they are actively working to train community college students to be “community organizers” and activists. And what a ripe audience! With tuitions rising and a large population of lower income and minority students, it is the perfect training ground.

One such effort is underway by the Rappaport Family Foundation, established by Andrew and Deborah Rappaport, one of the biggest contributors to progressive politics and financial supporters of Soros’ Center for American Progress. Their program in partnership with the New Organizing Institute, is called “The Milllennial Project.” Their catch phrase on site is “because leadership and organizing compliment ever major.” Offered is a course in organizing, so they can be sure community college students are well versed in the art of “change.”

A current publication on their site reviews the results of this project so far. Introductory pages suggest that “community college is where the struggle is.” Yet another struggle?

Community college students are ideal recruits in their eyes. From the same publication, page 5:

Since then, RFF has invested large amounts of time, energy, and more than $5 million in civic engagement initiatives led by young people, including those on university campuses, and among non-college youth. Through this work, we saw many strong and active training and advocacy organizations on 4-year university campuses. But when we looked to community college campuses – where the other half of our nation’s college students enroll – the picture looked very different. As funders of youth civic engagement, we realized that we were neglecting a critical segment of the youth population.

Do you think they are doing this out of the goodness of their hearts? Do they just want to help these young adults learn how to be leaders? Or might they have more in mind? We get that answer on page 14 of the report:

An investment in community college students is an investment in…the civic and political potential of the millennial generation. As we’ve witnessed, young people are a key constituency whose voter participation rates can swing elections. We’ve also seen the success of civic engagement programs at 4-year campuses and universities with campaigns focused on the Dream Act and student cost increases, as well as in the strong student voice in the national Occupy Wall Street Movement. We need to ignite more of the same activism on 2-year campuses.

Page 19:

We looked for programs that would prepare community college students to be a generation of committed, skilled, life-long, progressive activists.

They have planned this program using the very best in the business. Their pilot program was designed by Marshall Ganz:

…a senior lecturer in public policy at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He worked on the staff of the United Farm Workers for sixteen years before becoming a trainer and organizer for political campaigns, unions and nonprofit groups. He is credited with devising the successful grassroots organizing model and training for Barack Obama’s winning 2008 presidential campaign.

Ganz has done it all. From the early days with Cesar Chavez to campaigns for Nancy Pelosi and Jerry Brown to SEIU to the Screen Actors Guild to the current Organizing for America, he’s worked with them all.

You can read their entire publication to learn about the many activist organizations their initial California effort has already spawned, although most of us would never realize all of these different student initiatives were sparked by the same program.

One thing they emphasize is the importance of getting community college faculty and administration on board, but that is likely an easy task.

Their concluding statements, addressed to potential funders of this continuing effort, make it clear what the potential for this program can be:

Throughout our Initiative, we have been struck by just how below-the-radar and under-resourced community college student organizing, advocacy, and civic engagement has been until now. In the words of Campaign for College Opportunity, we see the potential for a “community college student leadership legacy for the State of California.” We do believe that the seeds of that movement are currently taking root; that the day is not far off when community college campuses will be fertile training grounds for the Millennial generation’s most effective civic leaders, and serve as the spawning grounds for the most timely campaigns for change. We encourage you as a funder and philanthropist to consider incorporating community college into your own thinking and how incorporating their talents, experience and wisdom can help you achieve your own philanthropic goals more quickly.

Unless we want to see their “philanthropic goals” take over this country, it might be wise for us to start paying close attention to the community college indoctrination movement already well underway.

 

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Piers Morgan Admits: Disarmament is Gun Control’s Goal

Friday, March 29th, 2013 - by Bryan Preston
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Dana Loesch took on gun control advocates Van Jones and Piers Morgan on CNN Thursday night. That she won decisively is hardly news, as it was the expected outcome. Piers Morgan simply cannot and will not debate facts. Van Jones is a 9-11 Truther disguised as a legitimate commentator. It was hardly a fair fight.

But Dana won something important, an admission. At about 4:42 minutes into this video, she turns to Morgan and asks him why 7 round magazines are acceptable to him, but 30 round magazines are not. Morgan replies, the difference is 23 — 23 lives not lost.

Loesch has set her trap.

“So seven lives lost are okay with you then?” she asks the blowhard British host.

After some crosstalk, Morgan says “Seven is better than 30, yes.”

“I’m just trying to establish where you draw the line,” Loesch fires back. “Where do you draw the line at preventing the deaths of children, Piers?”

“I would love to draw the line, Dana, at zero,” Morgan replied.

It’s an emotionally satisfying statement, and people like Piers Morgan pride themselves on how enlightened they are. But how does a nation of 330 million people get to the point where we actually have zero gun deaths? Full confiscation is the only possible way to get there, and pretty soon even that will not work. Unless government confiscates all 3D printers and all machine tools, and puts everyone who possesses knowledge of gun making in jail, there will be some form of firearm extant in this country. Even after all of that, we will still have a porous border to our south and multiple ways for guns to get into this sprawling country.

The reality is that the more firearms the government bans and confiscates, the more the balance of power is tipped in favor of criminals. This will make children safer, how?

Today’s fight over magazine capacity is also tomorrow’s fight over the right to bear arms itself.

h/t Jim Hoft

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Potemkin Column

Friday, March 29th, 2013 - by Stephen Green

California hiked taxes and now everything’s fine there. No, really.

Look, as a professional blogger I have to read a lot of stupid… stuff. But it’s been a long time — I mean, we have to go back almost two years — since I’ve read anything so brain-puddingly dumb as Timothy Egan’s column for the New York Times “Opinionater.”

Bear with me now as we journey inside:

Right on cue, just as the chorus of California-hating naysayers have signed off on yet another obituary — It’s Greece! A liberal nightmare! Everyone’s leaving! — the Golden State is dreaming once again.

Following a tax hike backed by voters last year, California is projecting a budget surplus in the near future, and big pockets of the state are national leaders in job creation and population growth.

Those “big pockets” are, from top to bottom, San Diego, Los Angeles, and the western half of the San Francisco Bay Area. And that’s about it, except maybe for the nicer bits of Sacramento. The rest of the state, as our own Victor Davis Hanson has illustrated, is exactly the basketcase everybody (but Egan) knows it is.

The California of middle-class dreams is dead. Those “pockets” are of the increasingly rich, taxed increasingly high, to keep at bay an increasingly dependent underclass. The rest of the state is hollowing out, as small business flees Sacramento’s increasingly Byzantine diktats. Of course, that is the Progressive vision of political perfection.

And yet it gets worse. Egan’s column, I mean:

Of greater significance, two of the biggest public works projects in American history — a $68 billion bullet train that will speed people from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 2 hours and 38 minutes, and a huge re-plumbing of the state’s biggest river and delta system — are moving forward. If they come together as planned, these ventures will lay the foundation for a California of 60 million people that may actually be more livable than the state that now has 38 million.

60 million people taking the high-speed train, huh? That boondoggle that might never get built? I’m curious where those extra 22 million are going to come from, after reading this report from Bill Watkins:

California’s poverty statistics are just as depressing. The state now is home to one-third of all US welfare recipients. According to a Census Bureau report, The Research SUPPLEMENTAL POVERTY REPORT: 2011 California has the nation’s highest poverty rate of any state. By its Supplemental Poverty Measure, 23.5 percent of California’s population is poor, while only 15.8 percent of the nation’s population is poor. No other state is above 20 percent.

Because of its aging and increasingly poor population, its dearth of young people and migratory trends, demand for government services in California will be increasing as the number of people available to pay for those services will be decreasing. Financing concurrent expenses will be hard enough. Paying for today’s excesses may prove impossible…

Domestic migration is important because it should be seen as an early warning signal of eventual decline. Migrants are the proverbial “canaries in the coal mine”. When domestic migration is negative, people are voting with their feet. They are saying that California doesn’t provide enough opportunity to stay, particularly given its high cost of living. Given how comfortable it is to live in California, I think they make that decision reluctantly.

Egan’s view of California is no different from standing in the well-appointed living room of a well-to-do serial killer, and congratulating him on his good taste — while ignoring the screams of the coeds chained to the water heater in the dank basement.

And yet Egan’s column gets even worse, letting loose cries of right-wing racism and accusations of being unpatriotic:

But there is something irrational, indeed unpatriotic, in rooting for California to fail, as so many conservatives are now doing. Sure, they are upset that the Republican Party is dead in this state — R.I.P. G.O.P. And, among the fringes, there are those who cannot accept that California is a minority-majority state, with whites making up about 39 percent of the population. They’ve seen the future and don’t like it one bit.

I won’t even bother trying to trump Egan’s race card, because it has lost its sting. But I will finish with one last thought.

We on the right aren’t rooting for California to fail. But we are desperately afraid that it will — and take the rest of the country with it.

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Kim Jung-Un Hates Hipsters and Barbecue

Friday, March 29th, 2013 - by Bryan Preston

Either that, or the new Kim is angry that his band didn’t make the cut at SXSW.

North Korea has revealed its plans to strike targets in Hawaii and the continental United States in photos taken in Kim Jong-un’s military command centre.

The photos appeared in the state-run Rodong newspaper and were apparently taken at an “emergency meeting” early on Friday morning. They show Kim signing the order for North Korea’s strategic rocket forces to be on standby to fire at US targets, the paper said, with large-scale maps and diagrams in the background.

The images show a chart marked “US mainland strike plan” and missile trajectories that the NK News web site estimates terminate in Hawaii, Washington DC, Los Angeles and Austin, Texas.

DC and LA make sense as the nation’s capital and largest city, but Austin? What’s the strategic thinking behind targeting a city that prides itself on being weird? Is it a jab at the Texas’ economy? A knock on Rick Perry? Is it a misdirection, disguising his true intent to attack Portland?

Maybe Dennis Rodman can shed some light on this for us.

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Chris Matthews Uses Classic Movie Shooting to Make Obama a Gun Control Hero…And Gets the Movie Wrong!

Friday, March 29th, 2013 - by Hans A. von Spakovsky

When Chris Matthews compared President Obama to Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca on his Thursday show after the President’s latest gun speech, he couldn’t even get his analogy straight.  Matthews said this:

“Let me start tonight with this: You know that scene in Casablanca when the French police captain shoots the Nazi, Major Strasser, and Humphrey Bogart does the right thing by Ingrid Bergman, and the anti-Nazi hero Victor Lazlo says “Welcome back to the fight, Rick.” Well, I felt that way today watching President Obama get back to the front in the historic battle for gun safety.”

The French police captain (played by Claude Raines) isn’t the one who shoots Major Strasser.  It is Bogart’s character, Rick Blaine, who Matthews is comparing the president to, who shoots the evil Nazi, Major Strasser.  Not a very good analogy to use for gun control.

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Alaska Congressman Walks Back Use of the Word ‘Wetback’

Friday, March 29th, 2013 - by Bridget Johnson

Alaska’s 30-year congressman, who’s no stranger to controversial remarks, walked back his use of the word “wetbacks” to describe Latino farm workers.

“My father had a ranch; we used to have 50-60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes,” Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) said in an interview with a Ketchikan radio station aired Thursday. “It takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It’s all done by machine.”

After the quote spread quickly across the country, Young issued a statement to local media.

“During a sit down interview with Ketchikan Public Radio this week, I used a term that was commonly used during my days growing up on a farm in Central California,” Young said. “I know that this term is not used in the same way nowadays and I meant no disrespect.”

The comment comes as the GOP is trying to make inroads with Hispanic voters.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus lashed out at the party for Young’s words.

“I agree that now, more than ever, we must resolve the many issues of our broken immigration system, but as we move forward, it’s important that our Republican colleagues are mindful of how words have consequences. When elected officials use racial slurs, it sets back our nation and sets back legislators who are seriously working toward real, bipartisan solutions,” said caucus chairman Ruben Hinojosa (D-Texas).

“Rep. Young says that he was just using the language he was accustomed to as he grew up, but there is no excuse for ignorance. He has served alongside Hispanics in Congress since 1973, so he should know terms like ‘wetback’ have never been acceptable,” Hinojosa continued. “As the Republican minority outreach efforts develop, I’d advise their strategists to list ‘don’t say racial slurs like “wetback”‘as a bedrock for their messaging.”

Hinjosa called on House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to condemn Young’s words “and ask members in their party to act responsibly.”

Young is currently being investigated — again — by the House Ethics Committee for allegations of misusing campaign coffers and lying to federal officials.

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Obama Wants to Wine and Dine More Senate Republicans

Friday, March 29th, 2013 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama wants to eat out again with more of his newfound dinner companions, Senate Republicans.

“The president called me early last week and he said that his first meeting with 12 Republicans, he felt, had been productive in sharing common ideas and finding differences,” Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) said yesterday on CNN. “And he wanted to reach out and meet with 12 more and asked if I would put together 12 Republicans to have dinner with him on April 10th and I’m in the process of doing that now.”

Republicans last enjoyed a three-hour private dinner with Obama at the Jefferson Hotel on March 6 — while their colleague, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), was staging a 13-hour talking filibuster of the John Brennan nomination over Obama’s domestic drone program.

Dining companions that night were Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), John McCain (R-S.C.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.). Coburn, Johanns, and Chambliss have previously said they’re not seeking re-election.

Apparently Obama wants to increase his guest list.

“Until I get everybody on, I’d rather release it all at one time, when we know everybody has accepted that’s coming. So I’m going to wait until the first of next week to do that,” Isakson said.

“There’s no set agenda and it’s open, including letting me pick whoever I wanted to invite to come to the dinner. I think the president’s experience coming to our conference about two weeks ago and the first dinner led him to believe there may be some areas where we’re not as far apart as we might have thought, like on reforms in terms of entitlements, things of that nature,” the senator continued.

“So I think the discussion primarily will revolve around spending, around revenues and around entitlements, which, after all, spending and our debt and deficit are our two biggest problems.”

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Bullets and Breakfast Tacos

Friday, March 29th, 2013 - by Bryan Preston

This morning, after an early interview on America’s Morning News, I put on my favorite hat

to cover up an usually bad case of bed head, and went out to get a couple of things.

First stop, the local sporting goods store to see if they had any ammo. They did, and they also had a line of about 40 people out the door, at the moment the place opened. Somehow word had gotten out that today’s shipment was better than most recent ones. News travels fast and the line kept building. It moved steadily. Everyone got what they wanted in their chosen calibers and left.

After that, I stopped off at the local breakfast taco shop.

Because this is what a man does. He feeds his family, and he stands vigilant to protect his family if the unthinkable becomes real.

Politicians like Barack Obama, Andrew Cuomo, Dianne Feinstein and others are trying to profit from sorrow. A man does not let some politician in Washington or anywhere else cynically use tragedy to bully him into giving up his rights.

Not now. Not ever.

 

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Democrats Are Being Shameless On Gay Marriage

Friday, March 29th, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

A lot of Democrats are coming out of the closet for gay marriage.  Sens. Kay Hagan (D- North Carolina), Mark Warner (D- Virginia), Jon Tester (D-Montana), Mark Begich (D- Alaska) and Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) have all hopped on the marriage equality bandwagon, and that’s a great way to fill the coffers of the Democratic Party for the 2014 midterms.

Since Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio came out in favor of gay marriage to complement his son’s coming out, there’s been a deluge of gay love within Congress.  However, I don’t know what’s worse.  Democratic politicians evolving on gay marriage, or their liberal base that seems convinced they’re sincere about it.

Elahe Izadi of the National Journal wrote yesterday that:

supporting same-sex marriage will help their [Democratic] campaigns’ coffers; red-state Democrats could get financial help nationwide to help fight potential blowback in their conservative states (McCaskill and Tester face reelection in 2018, while Warner and Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska, another Democrat who recently came out in support of same-sex marriage, are up again in 2014). Over the past decade, gay-rights advocates and groups have proved themselves to be major players in fundraising cycles, whether it’s state races in New York or the flood of financial support for President Obama after he reversed his position.

[...]

Public opinion is on their side, too: 58 percent of Americans support gay marriage, according to a NBC News/Washington Postpoll  — so Republicans like Portman could plausibly benefit financially from coming out in favor of same-sex marriage. Human Rights Campaign spokesman Fred Sainz stresses his organization is nonpartisan by design, and he points to the track record of support that Republicans have received from the gay community, such as in New York.

[...]

Still, some Democrats are holding back. Nine Senate Democrats, including Mark Pryor of Arkansas, have yet to endorse same-sex marriage. He is also up in 2014.

Concerning public opinion, as I’ve said ad nauseum, that’s shiftable sand.  There are no permanent victories in our society.  Second, another Democrat holding out is Sen. Bob Casey, Jr (D- Pennsylvania), who has retreated back into the bunker since he won re-election last November.  The problem is that pro-gay rights supporters are flooding his office with calls asking him to kowtow to his liberal base.

This should be interesting.  Pennsylvania has Democratic strongholds in the western part of the state near – and around – Pittsburgh, but  Democrats there are pro-life, pro-gun, and anti-gay marriage.  Although, given his name recognition and his late father’s popularity, residents of the Keystone state could probably have a change of heart, which is pathetic.

So, this seems to be another case where we see that Democrats have a spine comprised of jelly.  I’m not saying that it’s wrong to “evolve” on the issues, but it needs to be genuine, and not influenced by campaign cash.  After all, we have them on the record swearing they opposed same-sex marriage.  What a core-less bunch.

 

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