Saturday, March 29, 2014
◼ A magnitude 5.1 earthquake centered in northern Orange County jostled the L.A. Basin, causing pictures to fall off walls, glass items to shatter and furniture to tumble. There were also reports of gas and water line damage and power outages. - LA Times
◼ Earthquake: 4.1 quake strikes near Rowland Heights; felt over wide area - LA Times
More than 100 aftershocks...
Official: 'Chance Of Something Larger'...
Geophysicist: Calm Before Storm...
The couple – who did not want their identity revealed – received the letter and voter registration card from their health insurance provider Covered California, the state-run agency that implements President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
They have lived in La Mesa for years and they have always been registered to vote Republican. Now, they are perplexed as to how the voter registration card pre-marked Democrat ended up in their mailbox.
◼ Want to know which states have the most and least burdensome tax rates?
Economic mobility – that is, our ability to climb the proverbial ladder – has a strong correlation to where we live. Children from Seattle whose families are in the 25th percentile in terms of income, for example, end up at roughly the same economic stature as kids from the median family in Atlanta.
Why? State and local taxes. At least that’s what a group of Harvard and Berkeley researchers collaborating on The Equality of Opportunity Project have to say. They “found a significant correlation between both measures of mobility and local tax rates.”
Friday, March 28, 2014
Last year, California’s Governor Jerry Brown proclaimed an end to the state’s worrisome and persistent deficit. How did he do it? In the 2012 election he had fed voters the notion that a proposed income tax increase would be spent on education. California voters treat education as a sacred cow, even though the state ranks near the bottom in test outcomes. They passed the ballot issue.
On January 31 last year, the state’s General Fund had a deficit of $15.7 billion. The higher tax rates brought in new money. This, along with internal and external borrowing, made it look as if the deficit had gone with the wind, but it hadn’t. Brown called it a surplus, amid much cheering by the spendthrift legislature.
Fast forward to the end of January this year. The deficit had been whittled down to $12.6 billion. Some surplus!
The state’s finances are heavily dependent on personal income tax revenue. When Silicon Valley and Hollywood do well, revenue goes up. When they burp, it goes down. State Controller John Chiang, upon releasing the January figures last month, said, “While year-to-date revenues are $27.5 million ahead of estimates...the stock market’s volatility reminds us that continued revenue outperformance should not be taken for granted. Spending discipline and paying down debt must continue to be our focus.” The last part of his message fell on the deaf ears of the Democrats’ heavy majority in the legislature.
California’s economy continues to head south. The highest state corporate tax rates, sales and gasoline taxes in the country, combined with a heavy regulatory burden, continue to drive business away. Charles Schwab, the San Francisco-based stock broker, announced recently that “a significant number” of its 2,700 locally based jobs would be moved out of state. Oil giant Chevron is moving 800 jobs to Texas. Campbell Soup is closing its Sacramento plant and moving its 700 jobs to other states. Boeing is closing its big jet assembly plant in Southern California and laying off 3,000 workers. Bayer, instead of making a new drug in its Berkeley plant, is going to do it in Germany, eliminating 500 new jobs — on top of the 450 it shifted from Berkeley to Europe two years ago.
Chief Executive magazine does an annual survey of 650 corporate chief executives throughout the nation. It asks them to rate the states based upon taxation, regulation, environment, and the quality of living for workers. For 2013, California ranked 50th — dead last — for the eighth year in a row. The magazine’s survey has company. The Kauffman Foundation’s survey of 6,000 small businesses nationwide produced a grade of “F” for California, and the Tax Foundation ranked it 48th on its business taxes.
Back in 1966 Ronald Reagan defeated Jerry Brown’s father, Governor Pat Brown. During the transition period, Brown’s finance director met with Reagan’s finance team. He said, “What you need to know is we’re spending a million dollars a day more than we’re taking in. Good luck. Goodbye.”
Like most states, California’s constitution does not permit budget deficits. Brown père’s administration masked the reality of its deficit by booking expected income on the accrual method and expenditures on a cash basis. As for Brown fils, it’s much simpler. He just declares the deficit a surplus and everyone cheers.
Peter Hannaford was closely associated with the late President Reagan for a number of years. His latest book is ◼ “Presidential Retreats.”
◼ Thirty-six U.S. Senate seats are up for grabs this November. - Rasmussen Reports
Twenty-one are held by Democrats and 15 by Republicans. Democrats now have a 53-to-45 majority over Republicans in the Senate, so the GOP needs to pick up six new seats to take control of the chamber. Rasmussen Reports began polling key Senate races in mid-January and will be returning to these races in the months ahead because a lot can change. But this is what America thinks so far.
◼ Tim Donnelly leads the field of Republicans bidding to unseat Gov. Jerry Brown early in this year's gubernatorial race, according to a new poll. - Sacramento Bee
Donnelly, with 10 percent support among likely voters, outpolls his closest GOP competitors by 8 percentage points, according to a Public Policy Institute of California poll released Wednesday.
Neel Kashkari, a former U.S. Treasury Department official and the best-funded Republican in the race, was supported by 2 percent of likely voters, as was Laguna Hills Mayor Andrew Blount.
All Republicans trail Brown by an enormous margin. The third-term Democrat is supported by 47 percent of likely voters, while 36 percent of likely voters remain undecided, according to the poll.
Brown is widely expected to win re-election, but the race for second place in June will determine which Republican represents the GOP in the state's highest-profile race in the fall.
Donnelly, a tea party favorite and former member of the anti-illegal immigration Minuteman Project, leads Kashkari, a more moderate candidate, among all voter groups, including Republicans, independent voters and Latinos, according to the poll.
Read more here: http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2014/03/poll-tim-donnelly-leads-all-republicans-in-race-for-governor.html#storylink=cpy
◼ From Tim Donnelly: As many of you have heard, a recent poll has confirmed our lead as the GOP #frontrunner.
In Harry Reid’s America a man must win political office so that his sons may have the liberty to practice law and register as lobbyists, engage in rent-seeking and government relations and crisis management and communications, in order to give their children a right to live in Brooklyn, to enroll in the New School, to visit the Vermont Studio Center, to have cronies finance their off-off-off-Broadway shows, to enjoy their allowance from grandpa.
...In recent years Reid has declared an American war “lost” while our troops still fought overseas; praised President Obama for his “light” skin and “no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one”; asserted falsely and without evidence that Mitt Romney had not paid any taxes for a decade; and said “Why would we want to do that?” when asked if he would fund cancer research during the government shutdown.
Now, with his majority in danger, his president unpopular, his floor agenda obstructed by members of his own caucus, Reid thrashes about uncontrollably. He calls Obamacare horror stories “untrue.” He says Obamacare numbers are not as high as projected because Americans “are not educated on how to use the Internet.” His Senate Majority PAC launches a $3 million ad campaign tying Republican candidates to two men most Americans have never heard of, two men who, funnily enough, are more popular than Reid....The Koch brothers, Reid says, “rig the system to benefit themselves.” He should know.
The fact that Harry Reid’s political and influence operation includes his five children has been established for some time. A few weeks ago, when I first heard Reid accuse private citizens of being un-American, I dredged up a Los Angeles Times article from 2003 with the headline, “In Nevada, the Name to Know Is Reid.” Chuck Neubauer and Richard T. Cooper’s meticulously researched and reported article begins with the story of the “Clark County Conservation of Land and Natural Resources Act of 2002,” a land bill of the sort that puts people to sleep. “What Reid did not explain” when he introduced the bill in the Senate, Neubauer and Cooper wrote, “was that the bill promised a cavalcade of benefits to real estate developers, corporations, and local institutions that were paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in lobbying fees to his sons’ and son-in-law’s firms.” I wonder why he left that part out.
...This is the arrangement put before the voters this coming Election Day; this is the “system” rigged to benefit the family Reid; this is the configuration of power that Charles and David Koch want to disrupt. How awful of them. How “un-American.”
Thursday, March 27, 2014
◼ Days After Supreme Court Challenge, Hobby Lobby President Speaks Out [VIDEO] - Heritage
Hobby Lobby President Steve Green set the record straight about his company’s fight against the government over the controversial Obamacare mandate.
In an exclusive on-camera interview with The Foundry, Green said Hobby Lobby drew the line when the government required the company to provide life-ending drugs, free of charge, under the health law’s mandate.
Nearly six in 10 people disapprove of President Obama´s job performance in a new poll by the Associated Press, the highest rating recorded by the newswire. According to the AP-GFK survey released Wednesday, 59 percent disapprove of Obama´s job performance while 41 percent approve. A similar poll released by the news outlet in January found 45 percent approved of him while 53 percent disapproved. Other recent polling has found Obama´s disapproval rating slightly lower, remaining in the low 50s. A CBS News poll Tuesday showed 50 percent disapproval, while Gallup has his disapproval at 52 percent.◼ Have Obama’s hopes for a ‘Francis bounce’ been dashed? After President describes first ever meeting with Pope as ‘incredibly moving’, Vatican rebuffs him with statement emphasising differing views on birth control - Daily Mail
Pope Francis has a 76 per cent approval rating in the U.S. according to poll
◼ Pope Obamus? - Rich Lizardo/American Spectator
No, not quite. But the New York Times might as well have referred to President Obama with that title in a story by Jason Horowitz this past Sunday that tried to portray the president as being part of the Catholic experience in America.
According to Horowitz (of Romney-was-a-prep-school-bully fame), President Obama began his professional career working in numerous Catholic parishes throughout Chicago's South Side. He worked intimately with priests, bishops, and other Catholic leaders to serve the poor and needy. And despite not letting Catholic doctrine "tempt him," he nonetheless "effectively proselytized for the church."
...The timing of the article is no coincidence. As the story acknowledges, the president is scheduled to visit Vatican City on Thursday to meet with Pope Francis for the first time. And Horowitz is right: "Mr. Obama has far more to gain from the encounter than the pope does" and the pope is probably "wary of being used for American political consumption."
◼ Obama wants halo effect - Politico
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow tore into the scandal-plagued Democratic Party of California on Wednesday night. She noted that the Golden State is dominated by Democrats and, while the state’s GOP is probably “beyond reviving,” the impression that the Democratic Party is corrupt at the state level has the potential to bring it back.
Maddow began by reporting that a series of raids were conducted across Northern California on Wednesday in which a variety of politicians were arrested. The arrest of Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) on gun trafficking and bribery charges made him the third Democratic lawmaker in state government currently facing a criminal investigation.◼ The Big Dreams of Corrupt Politicians - The Daily Beast
“Out of 40 state senators total, out of 28 Democratic state senators there are now three Democratic state senators with federal criminal indictments against them just this session, resulting already in eight felony convictions,” she said. “And yes, the Republican Party is essentially defunct in most of California and probably beyond reviving, but if anything can bring them back, it’s probably days like this.”
She said that the arrest of Democratic politicians in California coincides with arrests of Democratic elected officials in Rhode Island and North Carolina. She noted that none of these Democrats are federal or statewide officials. “But still,” she said, “today was basically Democratic catch-up day on the reasons why the word ‘politician’ has become an insult in our country.”
◼ Anti-Gun California Senator Busted For Conspiring to Illegally Traffic Guns - Katie Pavlich/Townhall
Funny how those who call for more gun control for the rest of us tend to have problems breaking gun laws already on the books.◼ ABC, CNN, MSNBC, PBS All Skip Political ID for 'Shocking' Corruption By Democrat Mayor - Newsbusters
Well, the mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina has resigned after being arrested during an FBI sting. Mayor Patrick Cannon accused of accepting more than $48,000 in bribes and then soliciting another million in bribes.◼ FBI Raids Assemblyman Bill Scarborough’s Office - New York Observer
ABC, CNN, MSNBC and PBS on Wednesday and Thursday all covered the "shocking" corruption involving the Democratic mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina. Yet, while talking about the tens of thousands of dollars in bribes he sought, none of these networks identified Patrick Cannon's political party. Only a Fox News host referred to him as a Democrat.
◼ Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon resigns after arrest on corruption charges - Charlotte Observer
◼ ‘A Criminal Organization Masquerading as a Political Party’ - PJ Media
“Think of the Democratic Party as what it really is: a criminal organization masquerading as a political party,” my friend and fellow PJM columnist Michael Walsh wrote in 2009...
Certainly, at a minimum it’s safe to say that Democrats were rather active on the nation’s police blotters today. Since this is one narrative the MSM will never assemble (as they’re in on the fun), it’s up to the Blogosphere — so here we go.
President Barack Obama gave Pope Francis a box of seeds as a gift, a fitting token as their first-ever meeting provided a fresh start of sorts between the administration and Catholic leadership after years of strained relations.
"These, I think, are carrots," Obama told the Pontiff, showing him a pouch from the box, which was made from timber from the first cathedral to open in the United States, in Baltimore.
The Pope gave the President two medallions -- one symbolizing the need for peace and solidarity between the two hemispheres -- and a copy of "Evangelii Gaudium," or "The Joy of the Gospel." The book was penned by the Pope and calls for a new era of evangelization and a renewed focus on the poor.
◼ As Obama meets the pope, Francis´ smile masks a serious message - Doyle McManus/Los Angeles Times
◼ Obama Invites Pope Francis to Visit the US - Mary Bruce/ABC
◼ Obama hears Vatican´s concerns over health care, invites Pope to U.S. - Philip Pullella & Jeff Mason/Reuters
◼ ‘LOL!’ Sen. Rand Paul cracks Obama, Pope Francis joke; Is this what Obama said? - TWITCHY
Indeed, while the media have fixated on the hypocrisy of a gun-control advocate--Yee sponsored legislation against detachable magazines, for example--alleged involvement in gun smuggling, few reports delve into the kind of weapons with which Yee was allegedly involved.
The FBI affidavit describes conversations about shipments of automatic weapons and talk of heavier weapons, including shoulder-fired missiles and artillery.
One arms trafficker Yee allegedly discussed sourced weapons from Russia. Another trafficker, in an alleged meeting with Sen. Yee, political consultant Keith Jackson, and the FBI informant on March 11, 2014, allegedly discussed arms to be obtained from the Philippines. The affidavit claims the arms trafficker claimed personal relationships with Islamic rebels in the Philippines, though the weapons were supposedly to be obtained from sources inside the Philippine military.
Throughout the document, a portrait emerges of a politician who is not only allegedly cavalier about campaign finance limits but who allegedly associates with violent criminals and drug traffickers.
◼ Hypocrisy overload: Tweets from gun control advocate Leland Yee, charged with arms trafficking - TWITCHY
The lesson here is that we need the 2nd Amendment to protect ourselves from the likes of Senator @LelandYee (D-CA) and his customers.— Jimmy (@JimmyPrinceton) March 27, 2014
◼ California Democrat And Gun Control Advocate Charged With Arms Trafficking - Forbes
◼ Anti-NRA California Democrat Indicted on Gun Trafficking Charges - MEDIAITE
Once known in the Golden State as a savvy political operator and backroom dealer, Yee is now accused of associating with notorious felons and accepting campaign funding in exchange for favors, including the facilitation of international arms trades.
Included in the charges in the 100-page indictment against Yee is the allegation that the state senator consorted with an FBI agent who posed as an Italian mobster and helped him to set up a deal to smuggle everything from small arms to missile launchers out of the Philippines.
Yee’s close associate, the former president of San Francisco’s school board, is also named in the indictment and is accused of murder-for-hire.
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice accused Barack Obama of dramatically weakening the United States' position in the world, drawing a straight line between Obama’s ever-yielding foreign policy and the increasing troubles around the world.
“Right now, there’s a vacuum,” she told a crowd of more than two thousand attending the National Republican Congressional Committee’s annual dinner last night in Washington, D.C. “There’s a vacuum because we’ve decided to lower our voice. We’ve decided to step back. We’ve decided that if we step back and lower our voice, others will lead, other things will fill that vacuum.” Citing Bashar al Assad’s slaughter in Syria, Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, al Qaeda’s triumphant return to Fallujah, Iraq, and China’s nationalist fervor, she concluded: “When America steps back and there is a vacuum, trouble will fill that vacuum.”
Rice – measured in tone, but very tough on substance – excoriated Obama administration policies without ever mentioning the president by name. She mocked the naïve hope that “international norms” would fill the vacuum left by U.S. retreat and blasted the president for hiding behind the weariness of the public.
“I fully understand the sense of weariness. I fully understand that we must think: ‘Us, again?’ I know that we’ve been through two wars. I know that we’ve been vigilant against terrorism. I know that it’s hard. But leaders can’t afford to get tired. Leaders can’t afford to be weary.”
◼ Update from Chris Wennerholm: On March 13th, we sent 2 boxes totaling $62,910. Our grand total since we started in November, 2009, is $408,279. Please give thanks to all who help with this worthy project.
Because our military families living overseas live at, or just above, the poverty level, HRWF decided to help support our troops by clipping 'manufacturer's coupons' for food and household items from newspapers and magazines and mailing them to an overseas military base. These coupons are honored at PXs on American bases around the world and help defray the cost of family living. (They are even honored several months after the expiration date.) This is a very worthwhile program we are proud to support.
As my late husband Bill was in the Air Force in WWII, in his memory, I chose a U.S. Air Force base in Okinawa, Japan, which had few sponsors. We may soon have to add another base or two as recipients due to the constantly growing volume of coupons we collect.
In November of 2009, the face value of our first mailing was $5,988; our three mailings in 2010 totaled $45,011; 2011 mailings totaled $54,184; our first 2012 mailing was $30, 504, for a grand total, to date, of
If you would like to help, here are the GUIDELINES FOR COUPONS:
1. Cut out and trim Manufacturer's Coupons only.
NO store coupons (like Target, Rite Aid, Safeway) and
NO restaurant coupons (like Olive Garden, Red Lobster, etc.)]
2. Sort into 2 piles: Food and Non-Food
(use 2 baggies or envelopes; label each).
3. FOOD includes: all food/beverages for humans,
candy, gum, mints, diet drinks, baby formula, drinks.
4. NON-FOOD includes: vitamins, drugs, dog food,
cat food, cosmetics, cleaning products, etc.
5. Add up the face value of coupons in each category.
For FREE items, check coupon for amount, such as
"Up to $2.99," etc.; otherwise, estimate.
6. Write total on each envelope. Bring to me, GOP
Headquarters, or the President at or before our next meeting.
Thank you all so much for your invaluable help with this project. It is greatly appreciated by our troops, by HRWF, and by me. Chris Wennerholm 725-2020.
I came to California with $300 in my pocket, married the most amazing woman in the state, bought a home in the scenic San Bernardo Mountains, started a business, and raised five sons — that’s the California dream.
We need to get the government out of the way so our children and all future Californians have the same opportunity.
◼ TIM DONNELLY ◼ ELECTTIMDONNELLY.COM
This is how you do it: Idaho governor signs emergency legislation nullifying all future federal gun laws
S1332 passed the house by a vote of 68-0 and the senate by a vote of 34-0. Alaska and Kansas have also passed similar laws.
Erich Pratt, Director of Communications for Gun Owners of America, cheered the governor’s action. “By signing this nullification bill into law, Idaho has joined an elite class of states that are telling the feds to ‘get lost’ — especially when it comes to unconstitutional gun control infringements”
Last weekend we learned that after five long years in office, among the many things the White House does not know is how and when Americans pay their taxes.
Matt Drudge is correct.
Last weekend we learned that after five long years in office, among the many things the White House does not know is how and when Americans pay their taxes. Since Team Obama likes taxes so much, you might think they would understand them, but no such luck. After years of on-the-job training, they flunked tax 101.
When Mr. Drudge tweeted that he had paid the first installment of his 2014 Obamacare tax penalty, it was because he had just made his first estimated quarterly tax payment. He figured the penalty in that amount, as the appropriate IRS form itself suggests he should do. You can find the discussion of the penalty on the form under “What’s New.” Lately, what’s new from the IRS has not been very good.
In response, a White House staffer — who actually draws his yearly salary from the estimated and withholding tax payments of people who work — called Mr. Drudge’s tweet a “flat lie” because the tax returns for 2014 are not due until 2015. He doesn’t seem to know what’s new at the IRS. But the news that the White House has no idea what the IRS is doing is not exactly new. Most ordinary Americans do know. They have to, and Mr. Drudge does, too.
The only real news here is that the White House does not know the difference between making payments and filing returns, and between employees and the self-employed. The tax applies to the 2014 tax year, and you would think they would just man up and deal with it instead of running from it like scalded dogs. Maybe they plan to try to find a way to postpone this, too, but they are running out of time.
It is hard to believe that the White House is so clueless, and that the liberal press doesn’t seem to be able to get it. There were members of the liberal press who were so eager to side with the White House that they jumped right into its humiliating display of ignorance with both left feet. Their apparent jealousy of Mr. Drudge was simply too tempting for them, so they rushed out to make fools of themselves. It was not the first time.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
◼ A proposed amendment to Massachusett’s divorce law would require divorcing couples to obtain specific authorization before a couple can have any sort of romantic interaction. - IJ Review
The exact wording:
In divorce, separation, or 209A proceedings involving children and a marital home, the party remaining in the home shall not conduct a dating or sexual relationship within the home until a divorce is final and all financial and custody issues are resolved, unless the express permission is granted by the courts.Republican state Senator Richard Ross, the author of the bill, distanced himself from it after receiving media blowback, saying that he merely submitted it at the request of a vengeful constituent.
International arms shipments, money laundering, murder-for-hire, drug distribution: State Sen. Leland Yee (D) indicted on arms trafficking, corruption charges
In a stunning criminal complaint, State Sen. Leland Yee has been charged with conspiring to traffic in firearms and public corruption as part of a major FBI operation spanning the Bay Area, casting yet another cloud of corruption over the Democratic establishment in the Legislature and torpedoing Yee's aspirations for statewide office.
Yee and an intermediary allegedly met repeatedly with an undercover FBI agent, soliciting campaign contributions in exchange for setting up a deal with international arms dealers.
At their first face-to-face meeting in January, "Senator Yee explained he has known the arms dealer for a number of years and has developed a close relationship with him," an FBI affidavit says, noting Yee told the agent the arms dealer "has things that you guys want."
◼ Boehner On New Obamacare Delay: ‘What the Hell Is This? A Joke?’ (VIDEO) - Heritage
◼ link - David Rutz/Washington Free Beacon
UN panel scientist calls UN global warming report CRAZY, demands own name stricken + New report from climate scientists: If global warming is real, it would actually be awesome
Turns out, a U.N. climate scientist totally agrees.
University of Sussex professor Richard Tol has charged his fellow academics on the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) with going apocalyptically overboard about global warming in a new report, reports the Daily Mail....
The last big IPCC report on the impact of climate change came out in 2007. It was riddled with errors and its fantastic predictions appear highly unlikely to come true.
The most notorious forecast promised that glaciers in the Himalayas could vanish by 2035. The IPCC has since officially abandoned that prediction.
◼ New report from climate scientists: If global warming is real, it would actually be awesome - CAIN TV
What happens when climate scientists not connected to the big government agenda do their own study? This.
Remember, the whole "climate change" debate is a canard and always has been. Big government types, both in Washington and around the globe, are hyping this hysteria as a way of justifying things they want to do anyway. Massive tax increases and controls on industry are not some emergency steps they propose to take in the face of an emergency. They are the fundamental core of left-wing thinking, and they can't make them happen without convincing people that we're all doomed without them.
That is one of the reasons the following question is rarely considered: Even assuming man-made "climate change" is real, why are we to assume it would be a terrible thing? Just because the scientists working for the UN and cited by Democrats and the media say so? Now that you're thinking about it, let me introduce you to the thinking of the Non-Governmental International Panel on Climate Change, which consists of climate scientists who are not part of the big government agenda, but are studying the issue just as carefully.
Here's some of what ◼ they have to say (hat tip to Rick Moran at the American Thinker):
The authors find higher levels of carbon dioxide and warmer temperatures benefit nearly all plants, leading to more leaves, more fruit, more vigorous growth, and greater resistance to pests, drought, and other forms of “stress.” Wildlife benefits as their habitats grow and expand. Even polar bears, the poster child of anti-global warming activist groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), are benefiting from warmer temperatures.
◼ Justices Kagan, Sotomayor and Ginsburg aggressively questioned the corporate challengers who want exemptions from providing contraception under Obamacare at Tuesday's oral arguments. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties say the measure violates their religious freedoms - TIME (Image source/Nikki Kahn—The Washington Post/Getty Images)
The three women of the Supreme Court dominated questioning at the beginning of Tuesday’s oral arguments in a case pitting religious business owners against the new health care reform law’s mandate that employer-provided insurance cover contraceptive care.
The court case will determine whether Hobby Lobby, a Christian-owned craft store chain, and Conestoga Wood Specialties, a cabinet company, can be exempted from providing contraception coverage to female employees through federally mandated health insurance policies.
Supreme Court proceedings make for notoriously difficult and unreliable predictors of how justices might rule on a case. That said, Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg wasted no time in pressing the corporate challengers...
DON'T LIKE IT, PAY THE TAX...
◼ Justices Impersonating Accountants - Smitty/The Other McCain
Related, via Hot Air Quotes of the Day:◼ Supreme Court Women Come Out Swinging - CNS
“One religious group could opt out of this and one religious group could opt out of that, and everything would be piecemeal and nothing would be uniform,” Kagan warned. “Religious objectors would come out of the woodwork.”In other words, kind of like the Amish, or Congress:
Along with eschewing cars and many other modern technologies, the descendants of 18th-Century German immigrants who practice the Amish and Old Order Mennonite religions, have effectively opted out of Obamacare, along with most federal safety net programs.I guess Kagan’s point is to warn that our Balkanized system could get kinda fragmented, or something. WHY ARE WE PAYING THIS IDIOT?
A little-known provision of the law with its roots in a 1950s battle over Social Security exempts these communities from the individual mandate, an element of the Affordable Care Act that requires most Americans to purchase health insurance in some form.
Abortion fight haunts Obamacare...
◼ Health law penalizes 'wrong' insurance 18 times more than no insurance
Would President Obama prefer that you have health insurance of which he doesn’t approve, or no health insurance at all? Well, based on the penalties in play under his signature legislation, it would appear that he prefers for you to have no insurance at all than to have the “wrong” insurance (as defined, of course, by his administration).◼ White House extends deadline AGAIN; To rely on 'honor system'
As those who have been following the Hobby Lobby case—argued before the Supreme Court on Tuesday—know, under Obamacare, the “wrong” kind of insurance includes policies that don’t provide “free” coverage of, among other things, the abortion drug ella, contraception, and sterilization (but only sterilization for women). (Coverage of cancer or heart disease—apparently being less essential—need not be “free.”)
FLASHBACK: We Lack 'Statutory Authority' to Extend Deadline to Sign Up for Obamacare...
Nevada Navigators Convicted of Battery, Fraud, Criminal Endangerment...
TOP DEM POLLSTER: 'Don't defend it'...
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
◼ In this clip, successful investor Kevin O’Leary from ABC’s hit show “Shark Tank” eloquently and persuasively destroys many of the myths of the “1 percent” and describes in personal detail how many of the small businesses he works with have to spend nearly $20,000 to $30,000 a year complying with federal regulations. - Heritage
WARNING: EXTREMELY GRAPHIC
In the video the speaker uses the term Qurbān (Arabic: قربان), which can only signify a sacrifice, which indicates that the filmed slaughter is nothing but a ritual human sacrifice.
In a prior article of ours, we wrote on how when rebels took a certain village they gave the choice to Christians to convert or leave; those who didn’t were told they could stay with the condition that they had to pay the jizya, but, as one account reads:
For Christians who refused there remained two choices: they could leave behind all their property or they would be slain. The word that was used for the latter in Arabic (dhabaha) refers to the ritual slaughter of sacrificial animals.
What Islam is is an Aztec-like religion of the pagan world, riddled with human sacrifice, cannibalism, and a pool of human gore. All heresy eventually leads to paganism, and we see this outrightly in Islam.
And just think to yourself, that the poor Christians are in the middle of all this savagery and sadism. We are currently working tirelessly to rescue Christians in Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, and other nations.
WARNING: EXTREMELY GRAPHIC
[VIDEO] Ted Cruz makes surprise appearance, gives speech at Supreme Court in solidarity with Hobby Lobby
◼ [VIDEO] - (h/t: Caroline Pilgrim)/The Right Scoop
Ted Cruz gave a great speech today in a surprise appearance at the Supreme Court, supporting the cause of Hobby Lobby and reminding people of the importance of our God-given right of religious freedom and why it is protected in our Constitution. He also predicted that the Supreme Court would strike down the contraceptive mandate and rule in favor of Hobby Lobby.
◼ Obama: I'm Concerned About a Nuke Being Detonated in Manhattan - Daniel Halper/Weekly Standard
"With respect to Mr. Romney's assertion that Russia is our number one geopolitical foe, the truth of the matter is that America has a whole lot of challenges," said the president.
"Russia is a regional power that is threatening some of its immediate neigbors, not out of strength, but out weakness.
"Ukraine has been a country which Russia had enormous influence for decades, since the break-up of the Soviet Union, and we have considerable influence on our neighbors, we generally don't need to invade them in order to have a strong cooperative relationship with them. The fact that Russia felt compelled to go in militarily and laid bear these violations of internationl law indicates less influence not more.
"So my response then continues to be what I believe today, which is: Russia's actions are a problem. They don't pose the number one national security threat to the United States. I continue to be much more concerned when it comes to our security with the prospect of a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan," said Obama.
◼ The Obama Comment That Donald Trump Says Is ‘One of the Dumbest Statements I’ve Ever Heard by a President’ - Jason Howerton/The Blaze
“And I don’t mean just the president of this country,” he said. “I have never heard a statement like that. I was watching and I heard it and it was like – I can’t believe he said it. He just put a big target on Manhattan.”
Trump said it isn’t clear if Obama even “knows what he’s doing at all anymore.” He conceded that the president looked “exhausted” and “tired,” but it was still the “dumbest” statement he’s heard from a president.
So the thousands of dollars @SenatorReid reported as "holiday gifts" to FEC were paid to his granddaughter in CA. FEC has sent a letter. 1/2— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) March 25, 2014
◼ Reid paid granddaughter for "holiday gifts" to give donors, supporters - Ralston Reports
The Federal Election Committee has sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's campaign, asking for more information on why he listed an expenditure of more than $11,000 $16,000 in "holiday gifts."
The gifts, I have learned, were purchased from his granddaughter, Ryan Elisabeth Reid, who is a jewelry vendor in Berkeley, CA. The gifts were later passed on to donors and supporters, a Reid spokeswoman told me.
Reid's granddaughter is listed only as "Ryan Elisabeth" on the FEC report, which is attached here (see page 166). But her full name is Ryan Elisabeth Reid.
When I saw her name and did some resarch, I found the last name and asked Reid's office on Monday if she were a relation. I got nothing and later was told " it is a jewelry company/vendor."
Yes, one who happens to be named Reid.
After the Review-Journal's Steve Tetreault speculated publicly Tuesday that the vendor might be Reid's granddaughter, I asked again. This time, her identity was confirmed....
Update, 2:30PM: Reid will reimburse campaign: "I thought it would be nice to give supporters and staff thank-you gifts that had a personal connection and a Searchlight connection, but I have decided to reimburse the campaign for the amount of the expenditure.”
UPDATE: ◼ Harry Reid v. FEC Update: More Campaign Payments to Granddaughter Revealed, Total Rises to $31,000 - Washington Free Beacon
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) reacted swiftly to revelations that his campaign had purchased $16,786 worth of “holiday gifts” (for donors) from his own granddaughter, announcing that he would personally reimburse his campaign for the cost of the trinkets. Reid also angrily rebuffed a reporter’s question about the questionable campaign activity, chiding him for describing the amount as $17,000. “Sixteen [thousand dollars], but whatever,” Reid snarked.
Well, Reid looks awfully silly now that previous campaign documents have turned up almost $31,000 in payments to Ryan Elizabeth Reid for “gifts for supporters.” But whatever.
Have You Been Following The Hobby Lobby Case? This Is How the Supreme Court Reacted Today. Today the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby.
◼ Hobby Lobby is facing potential fines of over $475 million a year because Obamacare violates their religious beliefs. We've been covering it from moment one. - Derrick Morgan, Hans von Spakovsky and Elizabeth Slattery/THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION
President Obama’s health care law made its way back to the Supreme Court of the United States today. In addition to being unsound health care policy by limiting patient choice and increasing costs, it also requires businesses to pay for abortion-inducing drugs. This morning, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius, two challenges to the Obamacare mandate.◼ Hobby Lobby case: Justices skeptical of White House position - POLITICO
Hobby Lobby is an arts and crafts chain owned by the Green family, who are evangelical Christians, with over 13,000 employees. Hobby Lobby would face potential fines of almost $475 million a year if they fail to comply with this mandate. Conestoga Wood Specialties is a kitchen cabinet manufacturer run by the Hahns, a Mennonite family, with almost 1,000 employees. It would face financial penalties of about $35 million per year. Along with more than 300 plaintiffs in over 90 lawsuits, the Green and Hahn families believe that complying with the Obamacare mandate would force them to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs.
The First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) protect the free exercise of religion. Under RFRA, the government may not substantially burden the free exercise of religion unless it can show that the burden advances a compelling interest using the least restrictive means of achieving that interest. That’s a high bar. At issue in this case is whether these family businesses have religious liberty rights.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed skepticism of the legality of the Obama administration’s refusal to accommodate for-profit companies’ religious objections to the Obamacare requirement that most firms provide contraception in their employee health plans.◼ The oral argument in the Hobby Lobby religious freedom and contraception case. - Althouse
A majority of the justices seemed particularly doubtful of one of the administration’s central legal claims: the assertion that for-profit companies have no religious rights under federal law.
During more than 90 minutes of arguments, several justices repeatedly questioned why the administration couldn’t give for-profit companies with religious objections the same kind of accommodation that has been offered to religious nonprofits. Those organizations have been offered the chance to opt-out of contraceptive coverage and have it provided through their insurance company or administrator.
◼ SCOTUSblog and ◼ The Wall Street Journal have some detail to their coverage, but I'm going to read the transcript ◼ (PDF).◼ Argument Follow-up In The Contraception Mandate Cases - Ace Of Spades
◼ Reviewing The Legal Arguments In The Contraception Mandate Cases - Ace Of Spades
◼ The Obamacare tax credit and subsidy case argued today in the shadow of Hobby Lobby - Le-gal In-sur-rec-tion
◼ Sotomayor, Kagan: Hobby Lobby Should Drop Insurance, Pay Penalty and Let Employees Use Exchange - Penny Starr/CNS News
...“But isn't there another choice nobody talks about, which is paying the tax, which is a lot less than a penalty and a lot less than -- than the cost of health insurance at all?”...◼ Ted Cruz, Veteran of 9 Supreme Court Arguments, Says First Amendment on Trial Today - Rob Bluey/Heritage The Foundry
◼ INFOGRAPHIC: What Exactly This Hobby Lobby Case Is About
◼ TheBlaze has reported on countless instances of strange ‘facts’ creeping into Common Core sanctioned materials and math problems that are to be solved with never-before-seen methodology. One ‘frustrated’ father who was trying to help his son with a Common Core mathematics equation ran into that very issue, and what he did next is making its way around the internet. - GLENN BECK
◼ This questionnaire is from the Central Community School System in Louisiana. The parent notes that he thinks it’s a Common Core requirement but we’re not 100% sure of that fact. - Steve Straub/The Federalist Papers
In Common Core math, it often is not good enough to get the correct answer. Instead, students are required to show “higher order” thinking skills — in this case, use of the associative property. Yes, the associative property is important and should be taught at some point. Unfortunately, we suspect that many 7-year olds will not be able to understand this particular assignment. With limited days in the school year, wouldn’t second graders — second graders! — be better off spending their time attempting to master the traditional subtraction algorithm?
Most teachers are white, female, liberal and supporters of President Obama. They thought they were the solution. Turns out they were the problem.
In hundreds of school districts around the country, his company has been hired to show this cohort of young, white, liberal and female teachers how they are racist; how their racism is responsible for the achievement gap; and how they have to admit their own racism in a series of “Courageous Conversations” if they ever want to be successful educating black students.
Or if they want to keep their jobs.
◼ On Thursday, the Washington Post published an article by Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin titled “The biggest lease holder in Canada’s oil sands isn’t Exxon Mobil or Chevron. It’s the Koch brothers.”
...The theme of the article was that the Keystone Pipeline is all about the Koch brothers; or, at least, that this is a plausible claim. The Post authors relied on a report by a far-left group called International Forum on Globalization that I (Hinderaker) debunked last October.
So Thursday evening, I wrote about the Post article ◼ here. I pointed out that Koch is not, in fact, the largest leaser of tar sands land; that Koch will not be a user of the pipeline if it is built; and that construction of the Keystone Pipeline would actually be harmful to Koch’s economic interests, which is why Koch has never taken a position on the pipeline’s construction. The Keystone Pipeline, in short, has nothing whatsoever to do with the Koch brothers.
...The Post’s response attempted to explain “Why we wrote about the Koch Industries [sic] and its leases in Canada’s oil sands.” Good question! What’s the answer?
The Powerline article itself, and its tone, is strong evidence that issues surrounding the Koch brothers’ political and business interests will stir and inflame public debate in this election year. That’s why we wrote the piece.So in the Post’s view, it is acceptable to publish articles that are both literally false (Koch is the largest tar sands leaseholder) and massively misleading (the Keystone Pipeline is all about Koch Industries), if by doing so the paper can “stir and inflame public debate in this election year.” I can’t top Jonah Goldberg’s comment on that howler:
By this logic any unfair attack posing as reporting is worthwhile when people try to correct the record. Why not just have at it and accuse the Kochs of killing JFK or hiding the Malaysian airplane? The resulting criticism would once again provide “strong evidence that issues surrounding the Koch brothers’ political and business interests will stir and inflame public debate in this election year.”Let me offer an alternative explanation of why the Washington Post published their Keystone/Koch smear: 1) The Washington Post in general, and Mufson and Eilperin in particular, are agents of the Left, the environmental movement and the Democratic Party. 2) The Keystone Pipeline is a problem for the Democratic Party because 60% of voters want the pipeline built, while the party’s left-wing base insists that it not be approved. 3) The Keystone Pipeline is popular because it would broadly benefit the American people by creating large numbers of jobs, making gasoline more plentiful and bringing down the cost of energy. 4) Therefore, the Democratic Party tries to distract from the real issues surrounding the pipeline by claiming, falsely, that its proponents are merely tools of the billionaire Koch brothers–who, in fact, have nothing to do with Keystone one way or the other. 5) The Post published its article to assist the Democratic Party with its anti-Keystone talking points....
This kind of incest is common in Washington. You can’t separate the reporters from the activists from the Obama administration officials from the billionaire cronies. Often, as in this instance, the same people wear two or more of those hats simultaneously. However bad you think the corruption and cronyism in Washington are, they are worse than you imagine. And if you think the Washington Post is part of a free and independent press, think again.
◼ WASHINGTON POST FALLS FOR LEFT-WING FRAUD, EMBARRASSES ITSELF [UPDATED WITH POST'S RESPONSE]
...Why would the Washington Post embarrass itself by republishing a thoroughly discredited attempt to link the Koch brothers to the Keystone Pipeline? Because that is a Democratic Party talking point, and the Post is a Democratic Party newspaper. But the truth is a little worse than that.
Who is Post reporter Juliet Eilperin? Among other things, she is married to Andrew Light, who writes on climate policy for the Center for American Progress. The Center for American Progress is an Obama administration front group headed by John Podesta, who is a “special advisor” to the Obama administration. CAP’s web site, Think Progress, has carried out a years-long vendetta against the Koch brothers that has focused largely on the environment. Ms. Eilperin’s conflict in writing about environmental issues has already been a subject of controversy at the Post. The paper’s ombudsman should examine this latest example of Ms. Eilperin throwing facts to the winds in her eagerness to promote her (and her husband’s) far-left agenda....
...The result is a “de facto Official Secrets Act,” Risen explained, making the current White House “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation.” And the media has been “too timid” in pushing back against the onslaught....
Vatican Chief Justice: Obama’s Policies ‘Have Become Progressively More Hostile Toward Christian Civilization’
“It is true that the policies of the president of the United States have become progressively more hostile toward Christian civilization. He appears to be a totally secularized man who aggressively promotes anti-life and anti-family policies,” Burke told the magazine.
The former archbishop of St. Louis stated that Obama is trying to “restrict” religion.
...Pai’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal was published on Feb. 10. Two weeks later the study was dead. The article had taken a life of its own, drawing outcry across the political spectrum from Fox News to the Atlantic.
“One of the things that all of us prize, whether we come from a particular political persuasion, is the fact that freedom of the press is just that, that the government does not decide for the American people what information is critical and what is not,” Pai said. “The notion that a contractor tasked by the government identifying critical information needs and then studying how independent, private news organizations meet those needs, that’s a notion I think has a lot of resonance with anyone in this country.”
“And I think that’s what you saw.”...
Monday, March 24, 2014
@janschakowsky Wrong, Now she has to pay a 10 thousand dollar copay. Obamacare is a scam on Americans. Not healthcare— INDEPENDENT GIRL (@mitigirl) March 22, 2014
Curious as to why @janschakowsky is misleading women. How is it empowering to lie to us? Offensive to assume females are that stupid.— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) March 23, 2014
“It’s Women’s History Month. Sign up to pay 46% more for worse care because of this cat. Women love cats.”— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) March 23, 2014
"Lowering taxes for the third time in less than a year, Gov. Scott Walker signed his $541 million tax cut bill in a ceremony Monday":
Speaking at Horsens Homestead Farms, about 35 miles northwest of Green Bay, Walker called it a great day for Wisconsin taxpayers and a sign of the state's shifting financial fortunes in recent years.
"Now, instead of billion dollar budget deficits, we have a surplus — and today that money is on its way to the workers, parents, seniors, property owners, veterans, job creators and others. You deserve to keep as much of your hard-earned money as possible — because after all, it is your money," Walker said.
With growing tax collections now expected to give the state a $1 billion budget surplus in June 2015, Walker's tax proposal will cut property and income taxes for families and businesses, and zero out all income taxes for manufacturers in the state.
Though the state's tax revenue is increasing, GOP lawmakers and Walker are trimming state spending slightly for the next three years rather than increasing it.
Walker's plan for the surplus prioritizes the tax cuts and a roughly $320 million overhaul of income tax withholding over calls from Democrats to decrease about $2 billionin state borrowing through June 2015, strengthen the state budget and offset past cuts to schools.
The same is true of Washington, D.C., which is set to hold a primary in its mayoral election next week.
Judicial Watch is threatening legal action against the two states and the nation’s capital if immediate steps aren’t taken to clear the voter rolls of dead voters, voters who have moved away or voters that that have become ineligible for other reasons.
States and municipalities are required to keep legitimate roils under Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act, better known as the Motor Voter Law enacted in 1993.
Robert D. Popper, former deputy chief of the voting section within the Justice Department’s civil rights division, said he was part of five lawsuits during the Bush administration over allegations of improper voter list maintenance since he was hired in 2005.
“In the six years of the Obama administration, there’s been not a single lawsuit,” Popper, now a senior attorney for Judicial Watch, told reporters in Washington on Monday.
Section 7 of the NVRA made voter registration available at local departments of motor vehicle locations and other government offices. Section 8 required a system in place to ensure the voting rolls were kept clean to preserve election integrity.
“There has been to my knowledge a demonstrated lack of interest in the Justice Department in pursuing these lawsuits,” Popper said. “In fact, the one claim that had anything to do with this list maintenance coming out of this Justice Department concerned the lawsuit that it commenced and then lost in which it tried to force the state of Florida to stop removing non-citizens who are on the voter rolls in the run up to the 2012 elections. Other than that, the Obama administration has no interest in pursuing Section 8 lawsuits.”
...Earlier this month, Judicial Watch also sent letters to California, New Mexico, Kentucky, West Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois notifying them of “apparent problems” and asking these states to provide records of steps taken to assure the accuracy of the voter lists.
South American drug smugglers probably don’t care whether the U.S. has enough military power to fight two wars in distant lands simultaneously, but they do care about the size of the budget of their nemesis: the U.S. Coast Guard.
Smugglers in Latin America have increasingly turned to shipping drugs to the United States by boats instead of small airplanes. The numbers spell out the logic. A small airplane can carry about one ton of drugs; a boat may carry as many as 20 tons of cocaine.
The Coast Guard, which can make drug arrests hundreds of miles offshore — and does — had to reduce its operating costs by 25 percent in the 2013 fiscal year — thanks to the iron collar of the “Sequester.” It also lost important back-up help it was getting from the U.S. Navy when the Navy’s ships on drug duty in Latin America were decommissioned and not replaced — thanks also to the Sequester.
While cuts were being activated the territory where boats were being seized off California and northwestern Mexico grew by 300 percent to an area the size of the state of Montana.
Admiral Robert Papp, the head officer of the Coast Guard, recently told the Associated Press, “Our interdictions are down 30 percent from the year before...that’s an indicator to me that, as soon as we starting pulling assets away, they (smugglers) are running more drugs and they’re getting through.”
According to the Coast Guard, the 194,000 pounds of cocaine seized last year was 40,000 pounds fewer than the year before. It isn’t because South American coca plant growers have cut back on their crops. As one senior Coast Guard office puts it, “The Coast Guard’s aircraft and ships have cut back on fuel, so every hour we’re not in the air or on the water, it leaves a gap.” The smugglers have been quick to fill the gaps.
Swamped by the problems of Obamacare, one of the president’s goals has been barely mentioned: Intercepting 40 percent of illicit drug shipments by 2015. Indeed, seaborne smuggling is hardly mentioned by those who harp on border security. The concentration is on the flow of illegal people and drugs coming across land borders to Arizona and California. Pushed by Congress, the government has built more and better fences, discovered several smuggling tunnels, enhanced electronics and beefed up the number of Border Patrol personnel. All this while our capacity to meet the growth of seaborne smuggling is forced to decline.
Whatever they think of medical or recreational marijuana, most people would agree that they do not want the amount of “hard” drugs smuggled into the U.S. to grow. What can be done about it? For starters, the president could interrupt his non-stop campaign plugging the wonders of Obamacare, and spend a speech or two on the dire smuggling situation. Since this is also campaign election season, it provides a ready-made issue for alarmed incumbents and one for candidates challenging stand-pat office holders.
Peter Hannaford was closely associated with the late President Reagan for a number of years. His latest book is ◼ "PRESIDENTIAL RETREATS"
Gov. Mike Pence has signed a bill pulling Indiana from the reading and math education standards adopted by most states around the country.
The governor's office says Pence signed on Monday the proposal approved by legislators requiring the State Board of Education to draft new standards outlining what students should be learning in each grade rather than using the Common Core standards currently in place.
Pence said in a statement he believed Indiana's students are best served by education decisions made at the state and local level....
“After four years of implementation, countless delays, a website disaster, and constant litigation, the Affordable Care Act celebrates its inauspicious birthday this week,” says the introduction to a new study from the American Action Forum. ”From a regulatory perspective, the law has imposed more than $27.2 billion in total private sector costs, $8 billion in unfunded state burdens, and more than 159 million paperwork hours on local governments and affected entities. What’s more troubling, the law has generated just $2.6 billion in annualized benefits, compared to $6.8 billion in annualized costs. In other words, the ACA has imposed 2.5 times more costs than it has produced in benefits.”
159 million paperwork hours is more than double what the hideously complicated, economy-retarding Dodd-Frank law dumped on Americans – enough of a burden to keep eighty thousand people working 2,000 hours per year. Of course, Big Government liberals believe private-sector time is without value – you should be happy to spend hours expressing your patriotism by wrestling with mandatory paperwork! – but even government agencies, such as HHS and the Treasury, are paying for millions of hours of paper-shuffling due to the Affordable Care Act. Or, more to the point, they’re forcing you to pay for it by funding these bloated agencies, but at least they acknowledge the cost exists, unlike the private-sector compliance costs they try to obscure.
ObamaCare imposes costs far beyond paperwork compliance, of course. All those mandates, plus dozens of hidden taxes, siphon more billions out of the private economy. And all this for a law that has, thus far, actually increased the number of uninsured Americans!....
◼ Fourth anniversary: Why Obamacare is beyond fixing - UT San Diego
What our leaders need to do may be unlikely, but it’s obvious: Democrats should swallow their pride and acknowledge how unpopular the law is and how ineffective it’s been at helping the uninsured, then back a do-over on health reform.◼ Gee, why haven’t more younger and healthier consumers bothered to sign up? - HotAir
That do-over could start with some face-saving: a bipartisan agreement to maintain popular ACA provisions such as allowing children to stay on parents’ policies until age 26. Then Congress and the White House could try to fashion a health reform law with a chance of working — one that is actually read by lawmakers before being enacted.
Sticking with a failing, far-reaching law out of partisan stubbornness shouldn’t be an option.
...The problem? Most of the plans that these younger consumers can afford come with deductibles that far exceed the $3,000 out-of-pocket per household estimate, which sounds fantastically high in the first place, especially for that demographic. They will have to pay those deductible costs plus the premiums, which will also run in the thousands of dollars, before they see a single dollar in benefits. That’s why most of that demographic got catastrophic insurance coverage … before ObamaCare took that choice away from them.
Nate Silver, the New York Times statistics whiz and FiveThirtyEight founder and chief editor who accurately predicted every state’s election results in the 2012 election, has some good news for the Grand Old Party: The 2014 midterm Senate election he deemed a toss-up last July now projects a slight edge for the Republicans. Why the switch? He explains that Obama’s shrinking approval ratings and the fact that Republicans have recruited quality candidates have given the party the edge they now enjoy.
Hot Air reports that Silver predicts a has a 60% chance for the GOP to take control of the upper chamber, and a 30% chance of winning it big. Of the 36 Senate races this November, he’s predicting that Republicans will pick up 6 seats, and possibly as many as 11.
◼ Democrats downplay Nate Silver's Senate projection - Rebecca Berg/Washington Examiner
In an interview with Jon Karl on ABC's "This Week," Silver, who recently relaunched his FiveThirtyEight franchise, gave Republicans a 60-percent chance of winning a Senate majority during the 2014 midterm election cycle.
But Democrats, who have in the past lauded Silver for his analysis of polls, on Monday were skeptical of his projection this time around.
In another example of this administration's incompetence, married couples are filing separately under Obamacare:
By “hurdle,” one presumes the Washington Post means “another example of Obama administration incompetence that no one discovered until the law got implemented.” Hey, po-tay-to, po-tah-to, right? Blame Congress for this one too, because they roped the IRS into the ObamaCare scheme without specifying the way the law should be applied, leaving that to Treasury to figure out. And that’s worked as well as everything else in ObamaCare has, evidently...
How will Treasury deal with this issue? In the same ad hoc manner that the rest of the administration has so far — by ignoring laws and regulation in order to avoid the embarrassment of incompetent management...
Why didn’t the Obama administration act to fix this problem earlier? They’ve known about it for two years. They should have realized the issue when the exchanges went on line nearly six months ago, too. With a week to go before the deadline for coverage, suddenly the IRS is reacting to the issue, as well as those involving legal immigrants and — I’m not making this up — families with twins, which the exchange is incapable of properly handling.
Sunday, March 23, 2014
One side insists government must force all to agree with them. The other wishes simply to be left alone to pursue their own occupations in accord with their conscience.
Across social media last week, some in the Twittersphere claimed family businesses fighting for a fundamental freedom want to impose their religious and moral beliefs on their employees.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The distortion is part of a fierce national argument into which the Supreme Court is about to wade. One side insists government must force all to agree with them. The other wishes simply to be left alone to pursue their own occupations in accord with their conscience.
In a reversal of commonly held stereotypes, many so-called progressives now seek government-enforced conformity. The left used to argue that we should be free to live without fear of government sanction. Today they insist everyone agree with them – or else.
President Barack Obama’s health care law includes a mandate that employers must provide coverage of drugs that can cause an early abortion – without cost to the employee. Some object on religious grounds and on March 25, two family-owned businesses – one is evangelical, the other Mennonite – will get their day before the Supreme Court.
◼ WATCH: Tough Questions on Religious Freedom, Abortion Drugs - Heritage
Two cases before the Supreme Court are not about limiting a woman’s freedom to buy birth control, as they have been widely mischaracterized, but about challenging the government’s power to force Americans to violate their religious beliefs, a Heritage Foundation analyst said in an interview with The Foundry.
Sarah Torre, a policy analyst in Heritage’s DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society, said Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, two businesses owned by religious families, see themselves as fighting for a fundamental freedom in the cases to be argued Tuesday.
And, as you might expect, the claims don’t support the campaign’s mission.
Claim 1: “By middle school, girls are 25 percent less likely than boys to say they like taking the lead.”
This study was conducted between 1992 and 1997, so it's already out of date....
In a much more recent study, called “Change It Up,” girls were more likely than boys to say they wanted to be a leader....
The study never says what percentage of boys thought they could learn leadership skills or already possessed them. When asked about the missing information, Kamla Modi, an analyst at the Girl Scout Research Institute (which commissioned the study), said the reason boys weren’t included in that question is because “there is not a leadership problem for men in this country, but there is a leadership problem for women.”...
Sheryl Sandberg said she was called bossy once and it really affected her. Maybe it did, but she’s a billionaire now and the chief operating officer of Facebook, so it couldn’t have hurt too badly. How did she actually deal with it? By kicking butt and taking names – that’s how. Why isn’t she teaching girls that?
◼ Dear Sheryl Sandberg: There Are Far Worse Things Than Being Called Bossy - Micheline Maynard/Forbes
I’ve got news for her: there are far worse things for women than being called bossy. And, I don’t think banning bossy does much to help young girls, either.◼ Celebs sign on to campaign to ban the word 'bossy' - FOX
For one, bossy isn’t only a word that applies to women. It’s gender neutral. There are plenty of bossy men out there, too. Bossy is bossy — dictatorial, unyielding, telling people what to do and expecting them to do it without any input.
Bossy is not the same thing as being a leader, even though Sandberg might view it that way. Leadership is an entirely different category. There are bosses who are leaders, and bosses who are bossy. We’ve all worked for them. We know the difference....
But, we don’t have to ban words to make young girls feel better. Instead, teach them to believe in possibilities, no matter what anyone says about them, and keep finding ways to move forward.
“The word ‘bossy’ is more PC gibberish. It demonizes an ordinary word without really putting much thought behind it. Instead of banning, we should be promoting positives like leadership, ambition, faith and self-respect,” Katie Yoder, staff writer for the Media Research Center, told FOX411. “This is not about female empowerment, it’s about indoctrination. Their strategy is to make young women play the role of victims, which undermines instead of helping them.”