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Michelle Obama’s School Lunch Program Gutted in Budget Deal

Thursday, December 11th, 2014 - by Liz Sheld

First Lady Michelle Obama’s vile and unappetizing lunch program would suffer a blow under the new federal budget deal being considered.

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The New York Post reports: “Among the many provisions tucked into the 1,603-page budget bill, is one that would give schools a pass on serving whole grain products in students’ meals. The bill also puts off a First Lady-backed attempt to make the lunches less salty by 2017.”

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The first lady’s program was exposed when kids around the country started posting stomach-churning images of the “approved” lunches with the hashtag #thanksmichelleobama

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Patricia Montague, head of the School Nutrition Association, said the program was “well intended, but have resulted in unintended, adverse consequences.”  She also said that the unappetizing new foods have caused a drop in lunch sales, “crippling” school budgets.

The drop in sales of school lunches over the last two years is astonishing. “The number of school lunches served in America dropped more than 1 million between 2013 and 2014, according to data released this month by the Department of Agriculture.”

The federal budget deal is scheduled for a vote today; let’s hope that this is one feature that makes it through the negotiation process.

 

 

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They Never Stop, They Never Sleep, They Never Quit

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh
Or whatever

Or whatever

The Social Justice Warriors always just keep coming at you, but now they’re conducting bombing and strafing runs:

Now that the U.S. military has opened more jobs to women and allowed gay men and lesbians to serve openly, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James says the ban on transgender troops is likely to be reassessed and should be lifted.

“Times change,” she told Capital Download, saying the policy “is likely to come under review in the next year or so.” Asked whether dropping the ban would affect military readiness, she replied: “From my point of view, anyone who is capable of accomplishing the job should be able to serve.”

Fair enough, but isn’t there, you know, another agenda besides national security at work here?

James, 56, a former House staffer and executive in the national security industry, was direct and blunt-spoken Tuesday in USA TODAY’s weekly video newsmaker series. The hallway outside her office is lined with portraits of her 22 predecessors, all but one of them male.

She apparently is the first secretary of a branch of the armed forces to support the idea of ending the ban on transgender troops, though House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California and some other members of Congress have urged the Pentagon to lift it.

Remember, whenever the word “justice” is modified by an adjective, it’s not justice — it’s payback.

 

 

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That Rolling Stone Piece Keeps Looking Worse

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

Devastating take-out in the Washington Post today, as even more wheels fall off that Rolling Stone story about an alleged gang rape on the campus of the University of Virginia:

In their first interviews about the events of that September 2012 night, the three friends separately told The Post that their recollections of the encounter diverge from how Rolling Stone portrayed the incident in a story about Jackie’s alleged gang rape at a U-Va. fraternity. The interviews also provide a richer account of Jackie’s interactions immediately after the alleged attack and suggest that the friends are skeptical of her account.

The scene with her friends was pivotal in the article, as it alleged that the friends were callously apathetic about a beaten, bloodied, injured classmate reporting a brutal gang rape at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. The account alleged that the students worried about the effect it might have on their social status and how it might reflect on Jackie during the rest of her collegiate career and that they suggested not reporting it. It set up the article’s theme: That U-Va. has a culture that is indifferent to rape.

“It didn’t happen that way at all,” Andy said.

It gets worse:

They said there are mounting inconsistencies with the original narrative in the magazine. The students also expressed suspicions about Jackie’s allegations from that night. They said the name she provided as that of her date did not match anyone at the university, and U-Va. officials confirmed to The Post that no one by that name has attended the school.

Also, photographs that were texted to one of the friends showing her date that night were actually pictures depicting one of Jackie’s high school classmates in Northern Virginia. That man, now a junior at a university in another state, confirmed that the photographs were of him and said he barely knew Jackie and hasn’t been to Charlottesville for at least six years.

The friends said they were never contacted or interviewed by the pop culture magazine’s reporters or editors.

There now appear to be even more significant questions about the reliability of the explosive single-sourced article. Having digested the new evidence, Charles Cooke over at National Review has this to say:

I just read the second part of the piece again, and it is absolutely damning. We are approaching the point at which one could construct a case in favor of the whole thing’s having been made up from scratch.

Ouch.

 

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Mulvaney Amendment to Defund Immigration Orders Won’t Get Floor Vote

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Rep. Mick Mulvaney’s (R-S.C.) amendment in the omnibus spending bill to defund President Obama’s executive actions on immigration won’t be receiving a floor vote.

The House Rules Committee heard several proposals from House conservatives seeking to defund the program, and allowed a few hours of debate. In the end, none of the efforts made it out of committee.

“We are, whether we like it or not, on a timetable,” chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) stressed, noting that anything “extraneous” in the spending bill would kick it back to the Senate as the 113th Congress closes in on its final days.

Sessions also noted “we should have learned our lesson” about flirting with a government shutdown for things that won’t pass the current Senate or the president’s desk.

The chairman did say that he’ll come back in the 114th Congress, when the GOP controls the House and Senate, with a bill of his own to defund the immigration orders.

Mulvaney’s amendment — backed by Reps. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.), Dave Brat (R-Va.), Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas), Dave Schweikert (R-Ariz.), and Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), who whipped up additional support in the caucus — states that the Department of Homeland Security can’t use any of its budget to execute any of the November memoranda on immigration, including “exercising prosecutorial discretion with respect to individuals who came to the United States as children and with respect to certain individuals who are the parents of U.S. citizens or permanent residents.”

Reps. Steve King (R-Iowa) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) offered their own amendments. King’s amendment funded all of the government through January and forbid the use of any DHS money for “any” executive branch policy “that has the effect of providing for parole, employment authorization, deferred action, or any other immigration benefit or form of relief for individuals who are in violation of the immigration laws.”

Mulvaney said tonight that he was “moved by the support of my colleagues: 66 of whom co-sponsored the amendment in less than 24 hours.”

“Unfortunately, my amendment was disallowed, and as a result we will not have the opportunity to vote on it on the floor. That is disheartening, especially when nearly 30 percent of our conference supported the amendment,” Mulvaney said. “I believe very strongly that members of Congress should be afforded the opportunity to amend bills instead of having to take a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote on a 1,600-page bill.”

“I look forward to exploring alternative avenues to stop this constitutional overreach by the president and his administration,” the congressman continued. “To that larger point, whether you agree or disagree with what the president did on immigration, we should all be concerned about the manner in which the president acted. None of us benefit from legislating-by-executive-order.”

“And the House should be taking all steps it can to send that message very clearly. That is what my amendment was about. I am disappointed it was killed without a vote.”

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Make a Liberal Mad, Shop Here

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

From deep in the bowels of Crazytown come these helpful hints for members of the Hive looking for places not to patronize. According to writer Mindy Fischer, the major don’ts include Chick-fil-A, Hobby Lobby, Walmart, Exxon and Cracker Barrel. Sample entry:

3. Carl’s Jr. Carl’s Jr. has been notorious for objectifying women in most of their highly sexual and controversial ads. But they also have been huge supporters of extreme anti-abortion causes. And if that’s not enough reason to avoid this fast food restaurant, they are also totally against gay rights. As a matter of fact, gay rights groups actually started calling the food “Bigot burgers” after the company’s founder, Carl Karcher, came out in support for a 1978 proposition which would have allowed school boards to fire any teacher for being gay or for advocating homosexuality. In addition Carl’s Jr. is also a big time donor for Conservative Super PACs and the Republican Party.

Here’s No. 10, Urban Outfitters:

Urban Outfitters has a very well known reputation for being both anti-women and anti-gay. In 2008, the company’s president and founder, Richard Haney, decided to back one of the Presidential nominees. And of all of the choices out there he felt he most aligned with the homophobic Rick Santorum. And in addition this company is also a major donor for extreme Conservative causes and candidates.

Luckily for Regressive Left, the writer offers a balancing list of ten places you should shop at if you want to fight for rights and hug trees and stuff. Hold on to your hat: Starbucks makes the list, along with Microsoft and Martha Stewart. But here’s one you probably didn’t see coming:

No. 9, Heineken. The Heineken brewery is a major supporter of climate change. They have won many awards for their contributions and have a long history of working to cut both direct and indirect climate emissions. Earlier this year Heineken was recognized as a world leader for both transparency and corporate actions on climate change.

Waiter, make mine a… um… Coors. Mmmmm.

 

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VIDEO: Obama Does His Best Santa Impression

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson
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President Obama seemed to enjoy his “ho, ho, ho” Santa impersonation today while delivering Toys for Tots to the Marine Corps Reserve at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling today.

Obama hauled in two bags in Santa style while Michelle Obama set down one bag, briefly chuckling at the president.

“That’s a pretty serious ‘ho, ho, ho,’” she said.

“Ho, ho, ho,” the president replied.

Michelle Obama told the crowd that she “brought a little help this year,” noting her husband hadn’t been to the Toys for Tots campaign event before.

“Welcome to Toys for Tots. Your first year. We’re going to break you in slowly, okay?” she said, patting him on the back.

Michelle said it’s the sixth year she’s been involved.

“And every year it’s just a tremendous privilege to be able to be a part of making Christmas just a little brighter for a few kids across the country,” she said. “And we try to make it a big deal at the White House. We create competitions. I think this year the office that collected the most toys got a Bo and Sonny visit.”

She said the White House employees probably donated 1,000 toys this year.

In introducing the president, Michelle said she didn’t know how good he’d be at sorting gifts. “Because he doesn’t usually deal in shopping in any kind of way,” she said. “But we’ll watch him closely to see if he can figure out which ones are girls, zero to two, or unisex. It gets really complicated. So watch him, because he could really make your work harder.”

“I’m the big elf,” President Obama quipped. “I’m like Will Ferrell.”

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Elizabeth Warren Wants to Shut Down the Government

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 - by Rick Moran

Senator Elizabeth Warren is bat guano crazy. She is calling on Democrats in the House to oppose the bi-partisan budget bill negotiated by the House and Senate because an obscure rule dealing with derivatives contained in the Dodd-Frank financial regulation reform bill has been removed.

If House Democrats follow her lead, the budget bill will fail and the government will be forced to shut down at 12:01 AM on Friday. At present, Speaker Boehner does not have enough votes for Republicans to pass the measure themselves. That’s because some conservatives in the House are also bat guano crazy and insist they can defund the president’s immigration orders, despite a majority of Democrats in the Senate and a certain veto from President Obama, even if they could somehow get the measure through the upper body.

I have yet to hear one right-winger explain just how defunding can work under these circumstances. Do they plan to hypnotize 15 Democratic senators and, through the power of suggestion, get them to vote for the provision defunding the immigration executive orders? Maybe they don’t know that President Obama has to sign the bill for them to achieve victory. Lacking a coherent plan, their futile gesture will fail and make them look, well, crazy.

Politico:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called on Democrats in the House to use their leverage and reject a bipartisan spending bill to keep the government open until a measure tucked inside rolling back a piece of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law is removed.

“Who does Congress work for?” Warren said in a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon. “Does it work for the millionaires, the billionaires, the giant companies with their armies of lobbyists and lawyers, or does it work for all the people?”

Warren’s call went further than House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who said Wednesday that she is “deeply troubled” by the banking measure. The Democratic discontent with the measure could make passing the bill more difficult, as House Speaker John Boehner is not expected to have enough votes on his own.

(Also on POLITICO: Coburn threatens spending deal over defense bill)

Warren, a popular figure on the left, told Democrats to withhold their support for the funding bill until the Wall Street provisions are removed. Warren, a fierce opponent of Wall Street, is a populist who has supported reforming banks for years.

“Now, the House of Representatives is about to show us the worst of government for the rich and powerful,” she continued. “The House is about to vote on a budget deal, a deal negotiated behind closed doors that slips in a provision that would let derivatives traders on Wall Street gamble with taxpayer money and get bailed out by the government when their risky bets threaten to blow up our financial system.”

She acknowledged that bipartisan House and Senate negotiators have worked “long and hard” on the spending bill, and that Senate leadership “deserve great credit for preventing the House from carrying out some of their more aggressive … fantasies about dismantling even more pieces of financial reform.”

Note: The amendment to Dodd-Frank would mostly help farmers and other commodity producers.

Some House conservatives want to join with liberal House Democrats to assure a government shutdown. They probably wouldn’t admit it, but that is the practical effect of their plans. But for rabid ideologues of the right and left, “practical” is just another word for “cowardice.”

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On Second Thought, Rick, No Thanks

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

Rick Santorum — that would be the former Senator from Pennsylvania who’s been out of office for almost eight years after being defeated for re-election by 18 points, and losing the 2012 GOP presidential nomination to Designated Megaloser Mitt Romney — is running for president again. On the theory, apparently, that if you get rejected by your own state, you might as well go national, even if you’ve already lost once. Hey, it worked for Mitt!

Rick Santorum won primaries and caucuses in 11 states in 2012, coming in a respectable second in the GOP presidential primary season. And Republicans have a history of bestowing their nomination on the next guy in line, usually an also-ran from the last contest. Yet the former senator from Pennsylvania is rarely mentioned in the already feverish pre-game 2016 chatter among the political commentariat and the donor class.

That’s just the way he likes it. Or so he says. “America loves an underdog. We’re definitely the underdog in this race,” he said in an interview Tuesday. Santorum added that being underestimated — again — “has given me a lot of latitude.”

The 20012 Republican candidate field was the worst in living memory (Herman Cain? Michele Bachmann?), so Santorum did respectably enough in a race he had little chance to win against Mitt’s Money. But with a good crop heading for 2016, he might want to reconsider.

Reflecting on how a presidential campaign could be different this time around, Santorum said: “We’re just obviously in a better place right now. Our message will be a lot more focused this time than it was last time.”

Yes, focus is exactly we need.  Oh, well, at least the Swiss Miss isn’t running again too… wait — what?

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Pew Poll: Support for Gun Rights Exceeds Support for Gun Control

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Surprise!

For the first time in over 20 years, Americans support gun rights more than gun control.

In a Pew Research poll released Wednesday, 52 percent are in support of the protection of gun rights and 46 percent support gun control. This is the first time in two decades that Pew has found more support for gun rights than gun control.

Backing for gun rights has been on the rise since January 2013, when it had 45 percent supporting protections. During that time period, support for gun control also fell from 51 percent to its current standing.

So…support for gun rights has been on the rise despite a full-court press from President Obama, the MSM, and gun-control Democrats throughout America in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy. Let us also not forget that Michael Bloomberg has been throwing money all over the place to gut the Second Amendment.

Now, state legislators have formed an anti-gun coalition to keep alive the liberal fantasy that Americans want comprehensive gun-control legislation.

The American people have no interest in onerous, comprehensive gun bills and they never will. The civil unrest we are seeing in the past few weeks isn’t going to change that. It will more than likely make law-abiding citizens even more steadfast about their rights to protect themselves.

The only people who want Americans to have restricted access to firearms are the same people giving tacit or overt approval to the lawless mobs who have been dominating the news lately.

Good luck with that.

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Video Of Navy Laser Weapon System (LaWS) Demo

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Via NPR

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Detroit Officially Exits Bankruptcy

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Tough love works.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said today that Detroit’s bankruptcy, the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, will end at 12:01 a.m. ET on Thursday.

“The financial emergency in the city of Detroit will be defined as wrapping up today,” Snyder said at a news conference in Detroit.

He said paperwork to officially end the bankruptcy would be approved later today. The move comes a month after a federal judge approved a strategy for the city to exit bankruptcy.

Kevyn Orr, the city’s emergency manager, said he would step down following today’s announcement. Snyder tapped Orr for the job in March 2013 soon after the governor said Detroit was in a financial emergency.

It was less than two years ago that members of the Detroit city council and others were screaming that Snyder was a racist for taking control away from the mayor and council and giving emergency powers to Orr (they never did, however, adequately explain how putting a black man in charge was “racist”).

Cynical observers (“Present.”) believed for a long time that municipal authorities were merely biding time and hoping for a federal bailout of the city. That cynicism proved to be on point when a member of the council called for the president to do just that soon after the 2012 election.

What Gov. Snyder did was proactive, difficult and necessary. It has now proven to be successful.

If the same people who got Detroit into dire financial straits don’t screw it up, that is.

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Because Why Not? NASA Building a Biodegradable Drone

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

My Christmas list is complete.

A bio-drone that dissolves after use leaving no trace it ever existed may sound like the stuff of a James Bond film, but NASA and a team of researchers are actually building one.

Made from a substance that combines mushroom fibers and cloned paper wasp spit, the drone might resemble a propeller-powered egg carton, but its designers say it has the ability to fly into environmentally sensitive areas and leave almost no trace.

Lynn Rothschild, the NASA developer guiding students from Stanford-Brown-Spelman working on the project, says the drone could be made to disappear simply by ditching it into a stream or puddle.

Who among us hasn’t at one time asked, “What am I going to do with all of this spit from my paper wasp clones?”

I am at once fascinated and horrified by the future of drone technology. The same drone that can deliver a pizza can also take a peek from afar into your shower window. Once I realized the latter, everything in The Jetsons started to give me nightmares.

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Senator Udall Reveals Classified Info in Blasting CIA

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 - by Rick Moran

Outgoing Colorado Senator Mark Udall took to the floor of the Senate to skewer the Obama administration and the CIA over the CIA torture report, at one point calling for a “purge” of the CIA and accusing the agency of continuing to lie.

Udall didn’t stop there. He discussed the findings of a classified report known as the Panetta Review, claiming that the administration was keeping the document from the Senate.

He also called for the resignation of current CIA chief John Brennan:

National Journal reports:

In a career-defining speech, Sen. Mark Udall took to the Senate floor Wednesday to discuss a largely classified internal CIA investigation into the agency’s Bush-era “enhanced interrogation techniques,” and to call for the current CIA director’s resignation.

Udall, an outbound Democrat from Colorado, began highlighting key conclusions from the CIA’s so-called Panetta Review, written in 2011 and named after then-agency Director Leon Panetta. Its critical findings, in addition to the agency’s attempts to prevent the Senate from seeing it, Udall said, demonstrates that the CIA is still lying about the scope of enhanced-interrogation techniques used during the Bush administration.

That deceit is continuing today under current CIA Director John Brennan, Udall said.

“The refusal to provide the full Panetta Review and the refusal to acknowledge facts detailed in both the committee study and the Panetta Review lead to one disturbing finding: Director Brennan and the CIA today are continuing to willfully provide inaccurate information and misrepresent the efficacy of torture.”

Obama, Udall said, “has expressed full confidence in Director Brennan and demonstrated that trust by making no effort at all to rein him in.” Udall additionally referred to Brennan’s “failed leadership” and suggested that he should resign.

Udall said that redactions in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s landmark torture report obfuscated key details about the CIA’s harsh interrogation methods. Among those, Udall said, the report is ambiguous about how many CIA officials participated in the brutal practices. In reality, it was only a handful, he said.

As he spoke, Udall continued to give a blistering and detailed account of the CIA leadership’s and its refusal to come clean with the American people on the Bush-era program. Udall accused the CIA of outright lying to the committee during its investigation.

“Torture just didn’t happen, after all,” Udall said. “Real, actual people engaged in torture. Some of these people are still employed by the CIA.”

Udall said it was bad enough not to prosecute these officials, but to reward or promote them, he said, was incomprehensible. Udall called on Obama “to purge” his administration of anyone who was engaged in torturing prisoners.

“He needs to force a cultural change at the CIA,” Udall said.

And, Udall said, the institutional problems are far from over. “CIA was knowingly providing inaccurate information to the committee in the present day,” he said.

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Showdown: Dave Brat Offers Omnibus Amendment to Defund Amnesty

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 - by David Steinberg

Moments ago, Rep. Dave Brat’s Communication Director Brian Gottstein send out the following release. The amendment puts GOP leadership on record as funding amnesty, should it fail. It currently has the support of 53 members.

Conservatives should appreciate the efforts. I take the proposed amendment as a sign that Brat takes his mandate to halt amnesty as a promise made to his district. Most point to Brat’s opposition to amnesty as the primary reason he defeated Eric Cantor, and Brat’s victory over Cantor was later revealed to be the primary reason that amnesty didn’t happen last summer.

The release:

Brat proposes amendment today to stop Obama’s amnesty order

WASHINGTON, DC (December 10, 2014) – Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA) joined Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) and Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) to offer an amendment today to the omnibus budget bill to cut off funding for President Obama’s attempt at executive amnesty. As of the latest count, 53 of their House colleagues have also signed on as cosponsors.

The proposed amendment will be presented to the House Rules Committee for consideration this afternoon.

“Our amendment is simple and straightforward,” said Brat.  “It specifically says DHS cannot use funds to implement the executive amnesty outlined in 10 memos from DHS and two from the president himself.  Our amendment says we in Congress refuse to allow an agency of this government to commit an act that the leadership on both sides has said is illegal.

“The president himself said he does not have this power.  The Constitution says he does not have this power.  And the American people have demanded the rule of law be followed.  This amendment will ensure that happens.“

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What Interrogation Tactics Would You Not Try?

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 - by Scott Ott

Out of a clear blue sky, stock brokers and janitors rained.

Contorted bodies approached terminal velocity in wind-whipped business suits.

Forced to decide between the slow agony of fire and the sudden — O, God I hope it’s sudden –slam against cement, they laid out upon the atmosphere, wishing for the whisper of angel wings to whisk them ever upward.

Yet.

Plummeting.

I called a database vendor to get a project update. He said, “Do you know what’s happening?”

“No, what?”

“We’re under attack,” he said. “America is under attack.”

Phone slam. Dial my brother’s house — my brother, the United Airlines pilot. His wife answers.

Trying to sound calm, I say, “Where’s Jim?”

“He’s in triple-seven training in Colorado.”

She’s heard. She’s watching.

I exhale.

Turns out that one of the commandeered flights was a route my brother sometimes flew. Try not to think about that.

Falling Man on 9/11/2001Several days later, I’m out in the yard in rural Central Pennsylvania and the eery silence of the skies gives way to the whistle of a small jet engine. I stop and stare stunned at the ordinary airplane in the glide path of the local airport. I watch it to the vanishing point — the first I’ve seen since they cleared the skies because no one knew how many more would become missiles.

America’s incredible knack for engineering and for funding seamless systems was transformed by a relatively primitive enemy, into a boomerang bomb that locked onto us, like the Russian torpedo in the climax of The Hunt for Red October.

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Smith College Prez: Oops, I Guess ‘All Lives’ Don’t Matter After All

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh
Might want to rethink that

Might want to rethink that

So this happened — where else but on the campus of one of our institutions of higher fascism:

The president of prestigious Smith College is red-faced and apologetic Tuesday for telling students on the Northampton, Mass., campus that “all lives matter.”

Kathleen McCartney wrote the phrase in the subject line of an e-mail to students at the school, whose alumni include feminists Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan, former First Lady Nancy Reagan and celebrity chef Julia Child. McCartney was attempting to show support for students protesting racially charged grand jury decisions in which police in Missouri and New York were not charged in the deaths of unarmed black men…

“We are united in our insistence that all lives matter,” read the e-mail,in which she made clear she was strongly behind the protests, writing that the grand jury decisions had “led to a shared fury… We gather in vigil, we raise our voices in protest.”

But you just know there’s a “but” coming…

But she soon received backlash from students for her phrasing. They were offended that she did not stick with the slogan “black lives matter.” The Daily Hampshire Gazette, which first covered the story, quoted one Smith sophomore, Cecelia Lim, as saying, “it felt like she was invalidating the experience of black lives.”

In response to student backlash, McCartney apologized in another campus-wide email Friday, saying she had made a mistake “despite my best intentions… I regret that I was unaware the phrase/hashtag “all lives matter” has been used by some to draw attention away from the focus on institutional violence against Black people,” she wrote.

American universities today: re-education camps for administrators.

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Belatedly, NBC News Admits Gruber’s Words Will ‘Keep Haunting Democrats’

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

It’s online, but it’s a start.

The debate over Gruber’s words will extend beyond today’s hearing. The Supreme Court will hear a case called King v. Burwell this spring in which conservative lawyers argue the subsidies people get under the law should not apply to states that have not set up their own exchanges, citing text of the law, which says tax credits should go to Americans, “through an Exchange established by the state.” The Obama administration and Democrats who wrote the law, as Gruber argued, have said it was always their intention to offer tax credits to people who did not leave in states that set up their exchanges.

Only 14 states have so far set up exchanges, meaning that millions of people would not be eligible to get the subsidies under the law if the court rules against the Obama administration’s position. If the Court ruled against the administration’s view, it is likely states with Republican-led governors and legislatures would opt against setting up exchanges, as they have declined to expand Medicaid under the law, while more blue states would embrace the exchanges.

The remarks that Gruber made in a speech in January 2012 are now at the center of the conservatives’ case at the Supreme Court, which is expected to make a ruling next spring. “What’s important to remember politically about this, is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an Exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits,” Gruber said back then, suggesting most states would eventually feel compelled to set up exchanges.

Conservatives seized on these comments because Gruber was a key figure in crafting the health care law. He was an architect of the Massachusetts health care reform signed into law by then-Gov. Mitt Romney that included a mandate everyone purchase insurance. The Obama administration borrowed heavily from the Massachusetts law in writing the Affordable Care Act, and Gruber worked as a paid consultant for the administration in 2009 and 2010, using an economic model he has created to predict how much various provisions in the law would cost and how many of the uninsured they would cover.

This isn’t notable because it is providing any groundbreaking news, quite the opposite. It’s notable because the post saying what until recently was something that the MSM and the Obama administration had hoped to keep contained as merely internal outrage among conservative activists and pundits. In the not too distant past, the mainstream, left-leaning media could simply ignore a story like this and it would often go away. That is obviously no longer the case.

President Obama and his cheerleaders in the press seem to be unaware of the rapidly shifting media landscape, however, and keep plowing ahead as if it were 1997. That is why the president thought he could merely tell everyone that Gruber didn’t play a big part in the crafting of Obamacare and it would be enough to throw people off the trail.

The media has, for the most part, spent a month ignoring this and hoping for a little retro magic. That the most partisan hacks among the Big Three networks are now stating the obvious means it is probably an even bigger problem than they’re admitting and Team Lightbringer is really sweating this one.

Baby steps.

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Former Obama CIA Dep. Director: Torture Report ‘Deeply Flawed’

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

I don’t know how this guys snuck onto a CBS news show but he’s certainly not in line with the prevailing MSM narrative.

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Video of Obama: ‘They Are Americans in Their Hearts, Even if They Don’t Have a Right Piece of Paper’

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

Hat tip: NoMoreCocktails.com and Grabien. Transcript:

“What we’re also saying tough, is that for those who have American children or children who are legal permanent residents, that you can actually register and submit yourself to a criminal background check, pay any back taxes, and commit to paying future taxes. And if you do that you get as a piece of paper that gives you insurance that you can work and live here without fear of deportation.That does not apply to everybody but it does apply to roughly 5 million, about half of what is estimated to be the number of undocumented workers here.

Now, that is a temporary just like DACA, the program that we put in place for young people who were brought here, who otherwise are good citizens, or studying, working, join our military. We did that several years ago where we said it does not make sense for us to subject these young people to a deportation risk. They are Americans in their hearts, even if they don’t have a right piece of paper. That is temporary as well although it’s been subject to renewal.”

Another video excerpt from this townhall puts the president’s emotion-based idea — that one can look into someone’s heart to figure out if they’re an American and should be recognized as such by the federal government — into greater context. On the next page see a video from the same session of the president with one of his famous Bible butcherings: 

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Bachmann Hints at 2016 Presidential Bid

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 - by Walter Hudson

Outgoing Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) dropped a subtle hint in a recent Associated Press interview that she may be considering a 2016 presidential run. The piece highlights Bachmann’s high-profile career bucking the political establishment, even within her own party. Published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the report reads:

As she wrapped up her congressional business this past week, Bachmann said she is determined to play a role in the next presidential election. The possibility of Democrats nominating Hillary Rodham Clinton will make the voices of Republican women more important than ever, she said.

“I occupy a very unique space,” she said. “I am the only woman who has been in presidential debates on the Republican ticket.”

Her own presidential bid began in June 2011 and peaked with a win in a key Iowa straw poll, but she never found traction with voters as real ballots were cast. While she has “no intention right now of running for president,” she also won’t rule it out.

“I think it will develop as we go what my level of involvement will be,” she said.

Bachmann’s unique style attracted national support, as well as national opposition. Her last election in Minnesota’s deeply conservative sixth district proved nonetheless close. She eked out a three-point victory.

Bachmann’s opponent in that 2012 race, hotel businessman Jim Graves, was set to challenge her again in 2014 with air support from national groups. When Bachmann announced she would not seek re-election, Graves soon withdrew his name from consideration, declaring his “mission accomplished.”

Bachmann’s successor, Congressman-elect and former gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, sailed into office 18 points ahead of Democrat Joe Perske. That margin represents a 15 point improvement over Bachmann’s last performance, which could indicate that Bachmann’s negatives were beginning to outweigh her positives as a candidate.

Would the same prove true nationally? Would you support Bachmann for president? Let us know in the comments below.

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Congressional Budget Deal Would Stop Marijuana Legalization in D.C.

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 - by Liz Sheld

The spending deal reached between Senate Democrats and House Republicans would block the legalization of marijuana until September of 2015 in Washington, D.C.

The move to block to legalized marijuana overrides the will of the voters who approved initiative 71 in the November election. The ballot measure allowed for possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana and up to three mature cannabis plants for home cultivation.

A spending “rider” on the deal would allow neither the 2 oz of pot nor the three plants.

“I can’t believe they did this,” D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) said. “We don’t need to be locking these people up.”

“It’s totally disturbing; it’s entirely undemocratic,” said Adam Eidinger, who led the efforts to collect over 57,000 signatures this year to put the measure before D.C. voters.

Marijuana advocates are planning a march today in front of the Justice Department and Capitol Hill. The Washington Post reports there is “potential for several advocates to seek arrest.”

“I’m ready for some civil disobedience. If you’re going to overturn an election, you might as well say something before it’s done.” said Eiginger.

The marijuana rider “mirrored” an amendment introduced last summer by Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), who is a critic of legalized marijuana.

Following a speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation, which was interrupted repeatedly by marijuana advocates, Harris said a deal would “show fairly broad-based support in Congress against legalization.”

Maryland’s only House Republican also said he had no qualms about interfering with the results of the Nov. 4 election. On that day, voters in Alaska, the District and Oregon chose to legalize marijuana, but only the District’s vote was subject to oversight by Congress.

Said Harrs: “The fact is the Constitution gives Congress the ultimate oversight about what happens in the federal district.”

Washington D.C.’s district Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton was not happy with the development. “I certainly don’t know why Democrats would agree to block legalization while we still control the White House, we still control the Senate — and who knows, they may even need Democratic votes to pass this.” She claims she was locked out the process of discussion on the issue. “I don’t even know which Democrats are in the room. . . . I cannot tell why Democrats would want to give Republicans a head start to do what they are going to be able to do, I suppose, in less than a month” when Republicans take control of the Senate.

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McDermott: GOP Created Name ‘Obamacare’ to Symbolically Destroy Obama

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

A Washington state Democrat said that Republicans dubbed the Affordable Care Act “Obamacare” so that they could symbolically destroy President Obama when they destroy the bill.

Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) said GOPs in Congress are just trying “more of the same game” in efforts to defund and dismantle Obamacare.

“They’ve been trying to discredit it. Tear it apart. Tear it down, repeal it. Whatever you want to do. They’re trying to do it as long as they get rid of healthcare for the American people,” McDermott told MSNBC, branding Obamacare adviser Jonathan Gruber’s comments “careless remarks people make in situations.”

“But the real facts are, it’s working, and the American people know it. And the Republicans are absolutely apoplectic trying to find some way to do the president in, but they can’t do it because it’s a good idea.”

Obamacare working, McDermott argued, “was their fear from the very beginning, that what the president was putting together would work for the American people and then the people would say, gee, the Democrats have delivered what we really need.”

“So they are fighting a losing battle, but you got to give it to them,” he added. “They are stubborn if they’re not very thoughtful.”

The congressman stressed that “no one in this country believes that people shouldn’t be secure when they get sick, that they know they’ll be taken care of, that they won’t be bankrupted by an injury.”

“That question is not the question here. The question has always been whether the president will get credit for doing it. That’s why they called it Obamacare. Because they wanted to call it Obamacare and then destroy it and they could say, well, you see, he wasn’t much of a president anyway.”

The Obama administration and DNC began using the term Obamacare before the last presidential election, saying they wanted to put a positive spin on the word.

In the next Congress, McDermott predicted that Republican lawmakers will purposely “try and drive his numbers down so that people will say he’s a failure.”

“We had the best job numbers last month that you could have. We’ve gone up 330,000 people. The actual wage growth was .4 percent, which is the biggest it’s been in months, in fact in years. And yet they continue to talk about what a failure he is,” he said. “That’s the whole point, is to make him a failure, so that in the 2016 election, they start to say, well, we’ve had a failed presidency, now we got to elect a Republican. That’s what this is all about.”

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Report: IRS Paid Out $6 Billion in Bogus Child Tax Credits

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 - by Liz Sheld

According to a government investigator, the IRS paid out more than $6 billion in “bogus” tax credits to people who were not eligible to receive them. “Payments went to families that mistakenly claimed the tax credit or claimed the wrong amount, as well as taxpayers who committed fraud, according to an audit by J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration.”

The tax credit originates from a 2009 economic stimulus package that temporarily expanded the credit to families who do not make enough money to pay taxes. These folks receive the tax credit in the form of a cash refund rather than as a credit.

The expanded tax credit program is set to expire at the end of 2017, but Democrats were trying to expand the program and cut a deal before they leave town for Christmas. Negotiations were unsuccessful to keep the program alive.

The report contradict the IRS’ position that there is a relatively low risk for improperly paying out money for child tax credits. “It is imperative that the IRS take action to identify and address all of its programs that are at high risk for improper payments,” George said in a statement.

The IRS responded that it “continues to aggressively explore new ways to detect and stop potentially fraudulent claims while maximizing the use of limited compliance resources.”

Predictably, the IRS says budget cuts have interfered with their compliance efforts. “IRS funding limitations severely hamper our efforts on these and other compliance areas,” the agency statement said. “Since 2010, the IRS budget has been reduced by $850 million and we have 13,000 fewer employees.”

Earlier this year, the IRS said they have fewer agents auditing tax returns than any times since the 1980s. Perhaps their agents are busy snooping in the personal business of people associated with the tea party movement.

The inspector general’s report estimates that taxpayers improperly claimed between $5.9 billion and $7.1 billion in child tax credits that year. The report, however, does distinguish between fraud and credits that were claimed by mistake.

 

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U.N. Official: Holder Needs to Start Arresting CIA Officers, Government Officials Named in Report

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The United Nations special rapporteur on counterterrorism and human rights called for the prosecution of CIA officers and other government officials after the release of a report detailing enhanced interrogation techniques used against a handful of terror suspects.

Ben Emmerson, a British barrister with experience on the tribunals for the Rwanda and Khmer Rouge genocides, said in a statement that he welcomed the “belated publication” of the report, issued by the Senate Intelligence Committee days before Democrats hand over the gavels of committee chairmanships over to Republicans.

“It has taken four years since the report was finalised to reach this point. The Administration is to be commended for resisting domestic pressure to suppress these important findings,” Emmerson said, noting that in 2013 he called for the report to made public in full “without excessive and unnecessary redactions.”

“The summary of the Feinstein report which was released this afternoon confirms what the international community has long believed – that there was a clear policy orchestrated at a high level within the Bush administration, which allowed to commit systematic crimes and gross violations of international human rights law,” he said.

“The identities of the perpetrators, and many other details, have been redacted in the published summary report but are known to the Select Committee and to those who provided the Committee with information on the program.”

Emmerson said “it is now time to take action.”

“The individuals responsible for the criminal conspiracy revealed in today’s report must be brought to justice, and must face criminal penalties commensurate with the gravity of their crimes,” he said. “The fact that the policies revealed in this report were authorised at a high level within the US Government provides no excuse whatsoever. Indeed, it reinforces the need for criminal accountability.”

He added that the CIA officers involved in the interrogations who “physically committed acts of torture therefore bear individual criminal responsibility for their conduct, and cannot hide behind the authorisation they were given by their superiors.”

“However, the heaviest penalties should be reserved for those most seriously implicated in the planning and purported authorisation of these crimes. Former Bush Administration officials who have admitted their involvement in the program should also face criminal prosecution for their acts.”

Emmerson said the first step needs to be Eric Holder making some arrests.

“President Obama made it clear more than five years ago that the US Government recognizes the use of waterboarding as torture. There is therefore no excuse for shielding the perpetrators from justice any longer. The US Attorney General is under a legal duty to bring criminal charges against those responsible,” the rapporteur continued.

“Torture is a crime of universal jurisdiction. The perpetrators may be prosecuted by any other country they may travel to. However, the primary responsibility for bringing them to justice rests with the US Department of Justice and the Attorney General.”

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Biden: It’s a Badge of Honor to Expose our Mistakes in CIA Torture Report

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014 - by Liz Sheld

Following the release of the controversial CIA report on interrogation techniques, Vice President Joe Biden called it a “badge of honor.”

“No, I think it’s a badge of honor,” Biden said when asked at POLITICO’s Women Rule Summit whether the sharply critical report by the Senate Intelligence Committee is a “black stain.”

“Every country, every country, has engaged in activities somewhere along the line that it has not been proud of,” he added.
Biden went on to say:

“Think about it, name me another country that’s prepared to stand and say, ‘This was a mistake, we should not have done what we’ve done and we will not do it again,’” Biden said to applause from the 400 people in attendance for the daylong event that featured a number of panels on promoting women in politics, business and other professions.

Biden said America will be the stronger for saying, “We made a mistake, we’re exposing it.”

“That will strengthen us worldwide,” he said. “It will not weaken us … it will make it more difficult for the mistake to ever to be able to be made again.”

But not everyone was so chipper about the release of the CIA report. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) said the report “will cause violence and deaths.”

“I think this is a terrible idea,” Rogers said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Foreign leaders have approached the government and said, ‘You do this, this will cause violence and deaths.’ Our own intelligence community has assessed that this will cause violence and deaths.”

The White House was fully supportive of the release of the report despite security risks associated with releasing inflammatory details about U.S. intelligence programs. WH spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama “strongly supports the release of the declassified summary” and that it was an opportunity to “be clear about what American values are and be clear about the fact that the administration believes . . . that something like this should never happen again.”

Prior to the release of the report, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel warned that military forces were on “high alert everywhere in the world.”

“We don’t have any specific information or intelligence to show that there is anything out there that would lead us to do anything beyond high alert right now,” Hagel told reporters in Baghdad. “But, yes, we were concerned about the content of that report being declassified.”

 

 

 

 

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Former CIA Official Jose Rodriguez: Obama Prefers to Kill From Afar, Using Drones

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard
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Jose Rodriguez, former head of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, sat down with Sean Hannity to discuss the Senate’s CIA enhanced interrogation report. Hannity pointed out that Sen. Dianne Feinstein and other Democrats are being hypocritical and showing “selective moral outrage” for blasting the enhanced interrogation techniques while remaining silent on President Obama’s drone program.The estimated death toll under the current administration’s drone program is 2,400, Hannity said. “In Pakistan alone the estimated death toll is between 400 and 950 civilians, including 168 to 200 children.” He asked how the drone program “is not far more morally problematic than enhanced interrogation” to Feinstein.

“This administration does not take any prisoners, they prefer to kill them from afar, using drones,” Rodriguez said. “And somehow, they feel that because they kill from a distance, somehow, it’s more ethical … more ethical than the difficult and messy and unpleasant task and mission of actually interrogating prisoners. I think it’s a distortion of what our values are.”

Hannity said if given a choice between being waterboarded or killed by a drone strike, he would choose waterboarding.

“I think I’ll take the waterboarding, too,” Rodriguez said.

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This One Minor Detail of LeBron’s ‘I Can’t Breathe Shirt’ Outraged Fans

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 - by Paula Bolyard
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Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James appeared during warm-ups before Monday night’s game against the Brooklyn Nets wearing a shirt that said “I CAN’T BREATHE,” in support of the family of Eric Garner, who died in New York after a confrontation with police. Several players on both teams joined LeBron in wearing the shirts including Kevin Garnett, Kyrie Irving, and Deron Williams. They followed the lead of Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose, who wore the same shirt before a game on Saturday night.

After the game, James explained to reporters why he wore the shirt.

“It was a message to the family that I’m sorry for their loss. Sorry to his wife. And that’s what it’s about. I think everybody else get caught up in everything else besides who’s really feelin’ it, and that’s the family. That’s what it’s about,” he said.

“Obviously we know our society needs to do better, but like I said before, violence is not the answer and retaliation isn’t the solution. As a society we know we have to get better but it’s not going to be done in one day. Rome wasn’t built in a day and we know that, but we all have to do better,” James continued.

While a lot of fans agreed with LeBron’s message in principle, many were disturbed by — of all things — the font choice.

We are now at a point in the culture where civil discourse has blown past anything resembling meaningful debate, past memes and soundbites, even past short t-shirt slogans. Now it’s devolved into whether or not the message carries the right font:

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The Untold Story From Louisiana’s Election Day

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 - by Chris Queen

The defeat of Mary Landrieu, Louisiana’s newly lame-ducked senator, over the weekend led the news cycle. But the untold story of Louisiana’s election day came from St. Bernard Parish, just east of New Orleans, where voters rejected measures for over $6 million in property taxes.

Voters struck down most of the proposed renewals Saturday by at least 60 percent, a percentage that Parish Council Chairman Guy McInnis McInnis called “a serious message to government.”

“We have to seriously look at the budget, and we need to look at cutting the budget,” McInnis said. “Regardless of whether we put them on the ballot again, we have to prepare ourselves for not having that money because they may fail again.”

And the tax rejection came as the costs of maintaining services rise for the parish’s smaller post-Hurricane Katrina population.

There are roughly a third less people, homes and jobs in St. Bernard now than before Katrina, and those who returned are paying about 30 percent more in taxes, including 35 new mills added to the tax rolls in 2013 for firefighting and the policing.

This isn’t the first time voters in the parish have spoken up — in April, 80% of voters rejected a $9 million tax increase to benefit the county’s hospital.

Residents blame an unusually large levee tax proposal for spearheading the anti-tax sentiment, while others claim the timing of the vote – just after property tax bills arrived in the mail – for fanning the flames. One local educator coined a phrase that hits the nail on the head.

Ron Chapman, a Nunez Community College history professor, said he blamed the “administration and the council for not educating voters.”

“If you don’t know what something is, you vote against it,” Chapman said.

He also said there is post-Katrina tax fatigue in the parish.

“We have a real problem here. We are stuck having to pay for infrastructure that is too big for the people in it,” he said. “It’s like old people who own a large home and then their children move out and it is just too big for them to maintain.

Chapman added, “The parish really should have shrunk its footprint after the storm. Because, how are we going to pay for it? We are finding out now that we can’t.”

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Rolling Stone and Journalism 101

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

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Nice wrap-up here by veteran reporter Carl Cannon on all the ways Rolling Stone failed the basic tenets of journalism in the University of Virginia “rape” story.  So many red flags flew by the editors in their haste to contribute to the Narrative that common practices seemed to have gone right out the window.  As I wrote on Twitter, if your controversial single-sourced story’s single source asks to be taken out of the story, you have no story. If you haven’t gotten the other side, you have no story. If the details keep changing, you have no story. This doesn’t mean that the story is or is not true; it just means that you can’t print it.

–The magazine didn’t attempt to interview the men they accused of rape because of an agreement with Jackie.

–They neglected to corroborate Jackie’s recollections with her three erstwhile “friends.”

–They didn’t reveal that the version she gave them is materially different from the one she provided the university.

But wait — there’s more:

Even before the Rolling Stone piece unraveled Friday in the face of contrary facts unearthed by the Post and the fraternity’s lawyers—the frat didn’t even host a party on the date in question—so much was wrong with this approach that it’s hard to know where to start. But let’s try.

First, as I tell young reporters, if your byline is on that story it’s your story, not your source’s. Second, you don’t use a hunch to assess a source’s credibility; you check out their story. Third, libel law aside, it’s not old-fashioned to ask a person you’ve accused of a serious felony for their side of the story; it’s an essential exercise in ascertaining the truth.

Let me just add to that: skepticism — about everything, including your mother — is one of the most important qualities a journalist can possess. It will save you a lot of heartache and trouble down the road.

Here’s what puzzles me the most about Rolling Stone‘s failure: the seriousness of the charge. According to the magazine, this was a brutal , violent gang rape that went on for hours, on the campus of a prestigious American university. Was there no police report? If not, why not? Were the pages of the magazine the best place to raise these charges? A good editor would have halted the reportage right there until he got damn good answers. Wanting to believe is no substitute for actually believing. As the old Hollywood saying goes, if you want to send a message, call Western Union.

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(VIDEO) MSNBC Sadly Trots Out Valerie Plame as CIA Expert for Torture Report Story

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

The leftist media is fond of resurrecting figures that were central to narratives that they have created to destroy Republicans in the past. Anita Hill is dusted off every so often so they can stomp their feet and remind us that they hate Clarence Thomas for being a black man who isn’t liberal. Now it’s Valerie Plame’s turn. The woman who was so deeply undercover that she had a parking space at Langley was MSNBC’s “former covert operative” expert today for a segment on the CIA torture report, as if her administrative track career gave her some keen insight into enhanced interrogation techniques.

It was Ms. Plame who was supposed to bring down Karl Rove for good. Lo these many years later, Mr. Rove is doing quite well (for better or worse) and Ms. Plame is presumably on her way back to media mothballs.

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Reid Wants Dems to Work Overtime to Wield Last Bit of Majority Power

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Bah humbug.

Senate Democrats plan to squeeze every last drop out of their majority, threatening to extend the lame duck to approve key nominees of President Barack Obama before turning over Senate control to Republicans in January.

If they hold their caucus together, Democrats can unilaterally prevail and approve Vivek Murthy to be surgeon general, Sarah Saldana to lead Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and Carolyn Colvin to be Social Security administrator, as well as nine judicial nominees, nominees Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday his chamber will consider before the year ends.

But it could get messy given the controversy surrounding Murthy and Saldana — and could require overtime for lawmakers, including defeated or retiring ones who are eyeing the exits for good. Democrats may need all their members to stick around to win tough votes, including Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who lost her seat on Saturday and has missed all of this week’s votes so far.

“Maybe we’ll have to work the weekend and maybe even work next week. I know that’s tough duty for everybody, but we may have to do that,” Reid said when asked about the road ahead for approving the president’s team.

Hell hath no fury like an entitled senator scorned, however, few things terrify members of Congress more than the prospect of actually having to work. Once you start cutting into the vacation time it can get ugly.

Perhaps a spiteful exit by the Reid majority would steel the incoming majority leader’s spine. However this plays out, there aren’t likely to be a lot of congratulatory gifts handed out on the Hill next month.

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Blitzer to Feinstein: ‘I Assume You Would Feel Guilty’ if Americans are Killed Because of CIA Report

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson
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Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) defended the release of the CIA enhanced interrogation report in a testy exchange with CNN today, arguing that ISIS “may seize” upon the report, “they may not.”

Feinstein pushed for the release of the report in the waning days of her chairmanship before handing over the gavel to Republicans in the 114th Congress.

“Look, there is no perfect time to release this report,” she said when asked about the potential risk to American lives because of its publication, as the White House warned Monday. “This began 12 years ago. We have worked for five-and-a-half years to document records as to what happened.”

Feinstein accused host Wolf Blitzer of doing “a good job, certainly, of hyping the warnings.”

“Is it possible that something would happen?” she said. “Yes. But it’s possible that something happens even without this. There have been beheadings. There have been attacks without this report coming out. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t clean our house. It doesn’t mean that an Intelligence Committee that has worked for five-and-a-half years to put together a cogent report that we believe will stand the test of time shouldn’t release it.”

“The world is an unstable place. You know as well as I do, ISIL is pure evil. They may seize upon it, they may not. But they are going to continue to behead. They are going to continue to destroy. They are going to continue to kill innocent people until they are stopped. And I deeply believe that.”

The report, the senator said, is “what America is all about. We admit our mistakes. We commit ourselves to never let these mistakes happen again. And that’s what this is all about.”

“But if Americans are killed as a result of this report and they tell you that, I assume you would feel guilty about that,” Blitzer replied.

“I would feel very badly, of course. I mean what do you think, Wolf Blitzer?” Feinstein shot back.

“But we lose control. At the end of this year, the Republicans take control. And there’s some evidence that this report would never see the light of day,” she continued. “We believe it should see the light of day. And let me say this. This is a 400-plus-page summary. It is not the 4,600 page documentary of all of the detail of what happened. That can be declassified and released one day at an appropriate time.”

“But in the meantime, to get out what the executive summary said, that these EITs did not work, that the program was not well administered, that it was not well managed, I think, is extraordinarily important. That, yes, there were black sites where people who were not qualified to do the interrogation did interrogation.”

She then dug into what “CNN is doing this these days.”

“You are really hyping it to a point — obviously, they’re going to take 96 hours before the report came out to secure all our facilities,” she said of the extra security ordered for U.S. installations worldwide.

Blitzer noted that they’re simply reporting on what the FBI, DHS and Pentagon have been telling U.S. personnel around the globe.

“Do you have a question?” Feinstein retorted.

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Making the Tough Calls: Cameron Diaz or Kate Upton?

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 - by Michael Walsh

Via Ace of Spades, this splendid conversation starter in the Daily Mail:

According to their poll of 1,000 men and 1,000 women, when it comes to having the perfect body, men and women think differently about what is sexy. While women are hell-bent on achieving the slim, boyish shape of Cameron Diaz it is the curvy figure of Kate Upton that men most desire. Meanwhile, while Hugh Jackman’s beefy Wolverine look was the dream physique for men, more than half of women yearn for their man to look like Ryan Gosling.

Personally, I’m not much interested in the latter two, except as actors, but the Diaz/Upton question is worth pondering.  I’ve actually encountered Ms. Diaz (she’s taller than you think she’s going to be), so I can report that in the flesh she is a fine-looking woman. And Kate, well we’ve all certainly seen plenty of her.

According to Women’s Health readers, the sexiest body part of a man is his chest, closely followed by his face and bottom. And they would rather their man had hairs on their chest with just 28 per cent thinking it was acceptable for men to shave it. This contrasts to 44 per cent of men who think shaving their chest is an acceptable grooming ritual along with moisturising (84 per cent) and tweezing their eyebrows (43 per cent).

These statistics led Men’s Health Editor Toby Wiseman to comment: ‘Understanding what women want is one of the great mysteries all men have confronted down the ages, and some of our female respondents’ answers have been genuine eye-openers. ’The good news is we can stand down on the preening – women are still in the market for someone distinctly masculine.’

Yes, but back to Cameron and Kate: whom would you choose? Voluptuous Kate or is there something about Mary…?

something about mary

Ladies? Gentlemen?

 

 

 

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How’s that Medicaid Expansion Working Out For Ya, Barry?

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 - by Rick Moran

One of the signature parts of the Affordable Care Act was the expansion of Medicaid to those earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level (about $32,900 for a family of 4 in 2014). Originally, all states were required to adopt this expansion. But the Supreme Court decision in June, 2012 that declared the individual mandate legal also struck down the mandatory expansion of Medicaid and made state participation in the program voluntary. Subsequently, 26 states and the District of Columbia adopted the expansion.

The federal government promised the states to pay 100% of the bill for those participating in the expanded Medicaid program through 2016. In 2017, the feds promised to pay 95% through 2019. And in 2020 and forever after, 90%.

Medicaid expansion is a success story for Obamacare — sort of. Although more than 9 million Americans took advantage of the expansion to sign up for Medicaid, an already broken program is now being threatened with collapse due to the massive increase in demand for services. The reason? There just aren’t enough doctors and hospitals out there willing to accept the far below market reimbursements for services. And now, a new report from the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services reveals just how bad the problem of finding a doctor is for new Medicaid patients.

New York Times:

Large numbers of doctors who are listed as serving Medicaid patients are not available to treat them, federal investigators said in a new report.

“Half of providers could not offer appointments to enrollees,” the investigators said in the report, which will be issued on Tuesday.

Many of the doctors were not accepting new Medicaid patients or could not be found at their last known addresses, according to the report from the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services. The study raises questions about access to care for people gaining Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The health law is fueling rapid growth in Medicaid, with enrollment up by nine million people, or 16 percent, in the last year, the department said. Most of the new beneficiaries are enrolled in private health plans that use a network of doctors to manage their care.

Patients select doctors from a list of providers affiliated with each Medicaid health plan. The investigators, led by the inspector general, Daniel R. Levinson, called doctors’ offices and found that in many cases the doctors were unavailable or unable to make appointments.

More than one-third of providers could not be found at the location listed by a Medicaid managed-care plan.

“In these cases,” Mr. Levinson said, “callers were sometimes told that the practice had never heard of the provider, or that the provider had practiced at the location in the past but had retired or left the practice. Some providers had left months or even years before the time of the call.”

About 8 percent of providers were at the locations listed, but said they did not participate in the Medicaid health plan with which they were supposedly affiliated. Another 8 percent participated in Medicaid, but were not accepting new patients.

“When providers listed as participating in a plan cannot offer appointments, it may create a significant obstacle for an enrollee seeking care,” Mr. Levinson said. “Moreover, it raises questions about the adequacy of provider networks. It suggests that the actual size of provider networks may be considerably smaller than what is presented by Medicaid managed-care plans.”

Investigators called 1,800 providers listed by more than 200 health plans under contract with Medicaid in 32 states. In all cases, insurers confirmed that the doctors were supposed to be taking Medicaid patients.

You might ask why states aren’t jumping to take the deal offered by Washington. Usually, a state splits the cost of Medicaid 50-50 with the federal government. So when the feds offer to reimburse states for 90-100% of Medicaid costs, you’d think it was an offer they couldn’t refuse.

Some GOP governors couldn’t refuse. But those governors that declined to receive the Medicaid expansion cash did so for good reason; Washington “guarantees” on funding are not set in stone. Congress could cut the reimbursement amount and leave states holding the bag. States would then be forced to either cut physician reimbursement rates further or trim the Medicaid rolls. Neither option is palatable, but is the probable future of those states that accepted the expansion.

So, a program already teetering because physicians were opting out of Medicaid networks or refusing to take new patients at all, finds itself becoming even more dysfunctional as millions of new enrollees enter the system and are having a difficult time finding a doctor to treat them.

One option being proposed — whispered by Obamacare proponents — is to force doctors to take Medicaid patients. If you can mandate that individuals buy insurance, why not mandate that doctors take Medicaid patients? It’s this sort of illogic that got Obamacare passed in the first place and will ultimately lead to a complete takeover by government of the health care system.

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U.S. Grilled Over Greenhouse Gas Emission Targets At U.N. Climate Shakedown

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

As was noted here yesterday, it’s the least wonderful time of the year for those who aren’t members of the Church of Climate Hysteria.

Like all things United Nations, this dog and melting pony show is designed primarily to give lesser countries a public forum to pretend to be superior to the United States.

Washington is on track to meet its targets for reducing emissions in heat-trapping greenhouse gases despite an uptick last year, U.S. officials insisted at climate talks Monday.

Quizzed by rich and poor countries about its efforts against global warming, President Barack Obama’s envoys sought to explain how exactly the U.S. plans to cut emissions 17 percent by 2020 based on 2005 levels.

Emissions were down about 10 percent but rose slightly last year and in early 2014 due to an “extraordinarily cold winter” that required high energy consumption, deputy U.S. climate adviser Rick Duke said in response to a question from China. He said emissions are projected to be down next year.

For the most part, China has been given a free pass on emissions standards by the international community, so the mere fact that its envoys get to even speak at this conference are an indication of what a sham it is.

Note also the reference to an “extraordinarily cold winter” as a factor for the uptick in emissions. That’s right, we didn’t meet some arbitrary numbers because we are a civilized country that tries to keep its citizens from freezing to death in the winter.

Those of us who are more than cynical about the U.N. motives may wonder if there is something to be gained by making American officials feel guilty.

Remember kids, our current president is eager for the United States to be treated this way.

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