The term "bully pulpit" stems from President Theodore Roosevelt's reference to the White House as a "bully pulpit," meaning a terrific platform from which to persuasively advocate an agenda. Roosevelt often used the word "bully" as an adjective meaning superb/wonderful.
The Bully Pulpit features news, reasoned discourse, opinion and some humor.
From Rush Limbaugh: My friends, the Democrats are intent on "cracking down" on wealthy tax dodgers, so they've come up with a new proposal to deal with Americans who are supposedly hiding money overseas. The measure requires foreign financial institutions to accept new reporting requirements -- or get smacked with a 30 percent tax on income from their US assets.
New York Democrat Charlie Rangel, the wealthy tax dodger who heads the House Ways and Means committee, said the bill "offers foreign banks a simple choice" -- to snitch on American account holders if they want access to our capital markets. Treasury Secretary Timmy Geithner, another wealthy Democrat tax dodger, says: "For too long, individuals have taken advantage of the system by hiding money in accounts overseas, while millions of families and small businesses here at home pay the price." The measure, he said, would insure "everyone pays their fair share."
Of course, the state-controlled news reports of this new "crackdown" failed to mention that both of these esteemed Democrats -- so anxious to stop greedy, wealthy tax dodgers from cheating -- had themselves cheated, with no consequences whatsoever. And I guaran-damn-tee the next time Rangel, Geithner, or any high-profile tax dodger in the Democrat Party face the cameras, not a single state-controlled reporter will challenge their using the heavy hand of government on others... while getting a pass for themselves.
See, Democrats see themselves as the new American royalty: they are above the law, and above reproach. And, thanks to their pals in the press, they are above scrutiny, as well -- but not from us.
(By Ben Smith, Politico) - One of President Barack Obama’s key political advisers has become the central strategist in New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine’s bruising campaign for re-election, a race the White House desperately wants to win to avert the consequences for its own agenda of a Republican winning in a traditionally Democratic state.
The White House was so concerned about Corzine's chances during the summer that Corzine's aides feared the first-term governor was being pressured to step aside for a stronger candidate. Those fears turned out to be groundless, but were part of the reason Corzine hired Joel Benenson, who has helped impose discipline on a struggling campaign and crystallize Corzine’s aggressive attacks on the character of his Republican opponent, former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie.
The race is seen as extremely close, complicated by the presence of a third candidate, Chris Daggett. For the White House, it’s a crucial symbolic prize. With Democrat Creigh Deeds running far behind his Republican rival in Virginia, the New Jersey race – once believed to be hopeless for Corzine – is now seen as the White House’s best bet to make the 2009 election cycle a political wash and to calm the nerves of congressional Democrats approaching the crucial 2010 midterm elections.
(By Ed Morrissey, Hot Air) - A month ago, the Law Library of Congress reviewed the removal of Manuel Zelaya from his post as President of Honduras, an act that the Obama administration called a “coup” and demanded reversed for its illegality. To the embarrassment of the White House and State Department, the Congressional body determined that Honduras acted lawfully in removing Zelaya for his crimes against their constitution, although they determined that his exile broke Honduran law. Now John Kerry wants the Law Library to retract its findings, apparently trying to rewrite history to hide the facts of the case:
The chairmen of the House and Senate foreign relations committees are asking the Law Library of Congress to retract a report on the military-backed coup in Honduras that they charge is flawed and “has contributed to the political crisis that still wracks” the country.
The request, by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. and Rep. Howard Berman, D-Calif., has sparked cries of censorship from Republicans who say the Democrats don’t like what the August report said: that the government of Honduras had the authority to remove President Manuel Zelaya from office.
Zelaya has been holed up at the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa for several weeks, and high-ranking U.S. officials arrived Wednesday to try to broker a resolution.
Critics of the Obama administration — which condemned Zelaya’s removal in June — have pointed to the report as evidence that the White House was wrong when it sided with most Latin American countries in calling for Zelaya to be returned.
The report did nothing to contribute to the political crisis in Honduras. Most Hondurans are probably unaware of the report, and would hardly consider it a priority in their lives, what with the rest of the political questions in the air at the moment. The only political “crisis” that the report stoked was the one in the US, when people wondered why we were suddenly taking the same side as Hugo Chavez, Daniel Ortega, and the Castro brothers against one of the more stalwart US allies in the region.
(Fox News) - One of 20 finalists in the Democratic National Committee's "Health Reform Video Challenge," the video shows the Los Angeles-based graffiti artist "Saber" at work, according to a copy of the video posted to YouTube. The DNC is using the splattered Old Glory to pick up some change, asking for donations to air the winner of its contest. "[T]o put the winning ad on national television, we'll need folks to chip in and help cover the cost of getting the ad on the air," the DNC says on its my.BarackObama.com Web site, which hosts its Organizing for America campaign program.
(AP) - A Raleigh man has left his nearly $1.7 million estate to four North Carolina cat charities.
WRAL-TV reported Thursday that Emil Campbell died suddenly last month and left instructions for his lawyer to bequeath his entire estate to cats.
Attorney Bobby Khot says Campbell left the money to four charities: Snowflake Animal Rescue, Marley's Cat Tales, SAFE Haven for Cats and Second Chance Pet Adoptions.
A spokeswoman for Snowflake Animal Rescue says her organization typically gets less than $6,000 a year in donations. She says she had to read the letter about Campbell's donation twice before she believed it.
Khot says his client didn't work at a high paying job but was very frugal and saved money. He says Campbell had one surviving daughter.
(By Ann Coulter, Townhall.com) - The Democrats' all-new "opt out" idea for health care reform is the latest fig leaf for a total government takeover of the health care system.
Democrats tell us they've been trying to nationalize health care for 65 years, but the first anyone heard of the "opt out" provision was about a week ago. They keep changing the language so people can't figure out what's going on.
The most important fact about the "opt out" scheme allegedly allowing states to decline government health insurance is that a state can't "opt out" of paying for it. All 50 states will pay for it. A state legislature can only opt out of allowing its own citizens to receive the benefits of a federal program they're paying for.
It's like a movie theater offering a "money back guarantee" and then explaining, you don't get your money back, but you don't have to stay and watch the movie if you don't like it. That's not what most people are thinking when they hear the words "opt out." The term more likely to come to mind is "scam."
Former governor testifies five hours in board of elections probe
RALEIGH (By David N. Bass, Carolina Journal Online) – Political observers knew he would show up, but few could have guessed that he would hang around so long.
Former Gov. Mike Easley, the subject of a North Carolina Board of Elections’ investigation, testified nearly five hours Wednesday during a third day of hearings into alleged fundraising fraud by his campaign. His testimony often contradicted past witnesses’ accounts — and at times, the former governor said things that seemed to be at odds with statements he had made earlier in the day.
Easley strolled into the hearing shortly before 9:30 a.m., flanked by his attorney and lawyers for the state Democratic Party. A moment later, elections board chairman Larry Leake swore the former governor in.
WASHINGTON (AP) – A Colorado company said it created 4,231 jobs with the help of President Barack Obama's economic recovery plan. The real number: fewer than 1,000.
A child care center in Florida said it saved 129 jobs with the help of stimulus money. Instead, it gave pay raises to its existing employees.
Elsewhere in the U.S., some jobs credited to the stimulus program were counted two, three, four or even more times.
The government has overstated by thousands the number of jobs it has created or saved with federal contracts under the president's $787 billion recovery program, according to an Associated Press review of data released in the program's first progress report.
From Rush Limbaugh: For over a year, there have been warnings that our military face deteriorating conditions in Afghanistan. Candidate Obama, remember, claimed that if elected, he would withdraw from Iraq, the so-called war of choice, and focus on Afghanistan -- which he said was the "war of necessity."
Well, despite all the promises and all the warnings (including dire pleas for additional troops from Obama's handpicked general on the ground), the military still awaits a decision from their Commander-in-Chief. This week, while they wait, multiple bomb attacks killed more American soldiers, making October the deadliest combat month since the war began after 9/11.
As terrorists become emboldened, the death toll in Pakistan and Iraq is also rising. There was even a deadly terror strike against Iran. The entire region seems to be imploding.
Democrats here upbraided Dick Cheney after he called out Obama for "dithering" in Afghanistan, yet the State-Controlled Media will not ask Obama why his decision is taking so long, or if domestic politics are a factor. Nor do they question the time he spends fundraising, campaigning, golfing (poorly, I might add), playing basketball, attending White House concerts -- while the troops wait... and die.
If you don't like the word "dithering," then come up with another word. But it is clear: neither national security, nor the war in Afghanistan, is top priority for this "young administration", but it is a top priority for our brave fighting troops -- and for the parents of those fallen, who are still waiting, in vain, for presidential leadership.
Much of what government does is based on the premise that people can't do things for themselves. So government must do it for them. More often than not, the result is a ham-handed, bumbling, one-size-fits-all approach that leaves the intended beneficiaries worse off. Of course, this resulting failure is never blamed on the political approach -- on the contrary, failure is taken to mean the government solution was not extravagant enough.
We who have confidence in what free people can achieve have long believed that government should not venture beyond its narrow sphere of providing physical security. It should not attempt to cure every social ill. So it's good to learn that serious scholars have demonstrated that our intuitions are right. Free people, given the chance, solve what many "experts" think are problems that require state intervention.
(Verum Serum) - Watching these clips, and reflecting back on the past 6 months, I still find it hard to believe that this transparent deception hasn’t even warranted a mention outside of conservative media.
(CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama’s safe schools czar wrote a foreword to a book in 1999 that called for elementary school children to explore their sexual identities, for teachers to incorporate homosexual themes in grades K-5, for discarding a “hetero-normative” approach to education and for “acknowledging children as sexual beings.”
(CNSNews.com) - Under the Senate Finance Committee version of the health-care bill, health insurance companies would be allowed to charge tobacco users premiums up to 50 percent higher than those of non-users, while marijuana and crack cocaine smokers could not be penalized with higher premiums.
According to provisions spelled out in the Senate Finance Committee's summary of the bill--the so-called "chairman's mark"--insurance issuers selling policies to individuals could only vary premiums based on three characteristics: tobacco use, age and family composition.
HARMON DEN (Asheville Citizen-Times) — State transportation officials warned Tuesday that work clearing Interstate 40 after the most destructive rock slide in more than a decade could take longer than first expected.
The N.C. Department of Transportation also offered some early glimpses of what will be involved — from precarious cable-mounted drilling to using a contraption resembling a moon rover to traverse a boulder pile more than 150 feet high.
The slide, about three miles east of the Tennessee line, has shut down I-40 from Exit 20 to just inside Tennessee.
Charlotte developer, Easley’s former treasurer testify about relationships
RALEIGH (By David Bass, Carolina Journal Online) — Forgetfulness was a recurring theme through a second day of a hearing Tuesday in the North Carolina Board of Elections’ ongoing investigation into alleged campaign finance wrongdoing by former Gov. Mike Easley.
In response to dozens of questions from lawyers and board members, four witnesses testified they couldn’t remember much about their political and personal relationships with the former governor, including details about fundraising strategies, campaign donations, and political patronage.
The hearings were in stark contrast to the day before, when witnesses offered a variety of anecdotes and tidbits about Easley’s conduct while in office, such as accusations that Easley diverted campaign funds to repair his personal residence in Raleigh.
(Hot Air) - Credit CNN here. Not only did Campbell Brown follow up with a question about MSNBC after this sorry hack went into Fox-bashing mode but CNN.com actually posted a write-up noting her lame retreat when confronted. Say, did you know that the White House is “calling everybody out,” not just Fox News? Keep watching those Sunday morning chat shows; I’m sure Axelrod and Emanuel will be on again soon to lay out their arguments against CNN and MSNBC.
The money line? “We’re going to speak truth to power.” The ultimate expression of self-righteous victimhood, offered here by … a senior advisor to the most powerful man on earth.
(The Washington Times) - During his first nine months in office, President Obama has quietly rewarded scores of top Democratic donors with VIP access to the White House, private briefings with administration advisers and invitations to important speeches and town-hall meetings.
High-dollar fundraisers have been promised access to senior White House officials in exchange for pledges to donate $30,400 personally or to bundle $300,000 in contributions ahead of the 2010 midterm elections, according to internal Democratic National Committee documents obtained by The Washington Times.
(CNS News) - Rep. Bart Stupak (D.-Mich.) told CNSNews.com that President Barack Obama told him in a telephone conversation that when he said in his Sept. 9 speech to a joint session of Congress that “under our plan no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions” he was not talking about the actual bill drafted in the House but about the president’s own health care plan—which has never been written.
(Big Hollywood) - “Can you imagine the s*** storm that would follow if David pissed on a painting of the prophet Muhammad?"
From the YouTube post: Larry's new medication causes him to pee rather forcefully resulting in "splash back". Said "splash-back" finds its way onto the cheek of a portrait of Jesus and the family mistakenly believe that they have been chosen.
From Rush Limbaugh: On Monday, when Dingy Harry Reid announced he included the so-called public option in the Senate health care bill, liberals like New York Senator Chuck-U Schumer did a happy dance; the left's 60-year-old dream of socialized medicine, they think, is one step closer to being realized.
Reid's plan includes a "moron" clause, supposedly allowing states to "opt out" of the government takeover. A.) You'd have to be a moron to believe that any state would "opt out" of government money, and B.) if any did, you can already smell the stench of future liberal lawsuits claiming the "opt out" decision violated their rights. Only a moron believes that any "opt out" state wouldn't be strong-armed to "opt in."
Dingy Harry's version of "reform" is also loaded with new taxes for those of you with existing health care plans Democrats consider to be top shelf; you'll be punished yet again for working hard and earning good benefits for yourself.
But despite the glee from some liberals, other Democrats are worried. Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln, who faces reelection next year, says she'll take some time to study the measure before announcing her vote. Ben Nelson, Nebraska, says he "is not committing" right now. Guaranteed: so-called moderate Democrats aren't studying Obama and Dingy Harry's bill -- they're studying the polls back home. Olympia Snowe is out of there; Lieberman says he'll filibuster against it.
But if a handful of Democrats think they can escape your wrath in 2010, we are going to get socialized health care. So, just like the amnesty bill, once again, folks, this is all up to you!
Libtalker: ‘Ruddy’ Cheney Eats Blood of Jewish, Muslim Babies
"Cheney, by the way, looks very ruddy. I couldn't get over that. Like he must have feasted on a Jewish baby or a Muslim baby. He must have sent his people out to get one and bring it back so he could drink its blood. Because, you know, that's what somebody like Cheney does to get that ruddy look."
Lieberman Will Join Filibuster of Reid’s Plan Unless Public Option Removed
"We're trying to do too much at once. To put this government-created insurance company on top of everything else is just asking for trouble for the taxpayers, for the premium payers and for the national debt. I don’t think we need it now."
(Politico) - Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) is drawing criticism from his congressional colleagues, but President Obama offered him some warm words at a Miami fundraiser for the Democratic congressional campaign committees last night.
Obama, in introducing the members of Congress in attendance, called Grayson – along with Florida Reps. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Kendrick Meek – as “outstanding members of Congress.”
Obama may regret his praise of Grayson, who is now drawing fire from members in both parties for referring to Linda Robertson, the adviser to Obama’s Fed Chief Ben Bernanke as a “K Street whore” in a radio interview last month. And he’s received national attention for equating GOP opposition to the Democrats’ health care plan to wanting sick seniors to “die quickly.”
This isn’t the first time the White House political operation has given an assist to Grayson’s re-election prospects. He was the first freshman Democrat in the House to receive political help from Vice President Joe Biden, who came down to Orlando to headline a fundraiser for him in August.
During the event, the vice president told Grayson: “We owe you one buddy…This is a guy who doesn't back away from a fight, and doesn't back down from what he believes in."
That much is clear, and even as Grayson continues to draw national controversy for his provocative comments, it doesn't look like the administration is making any effort to distance themselves from him.
(By Ed Morrissey, Hot Air) - We first mentioned this a couple of months ago, when the AARP lost 60,000 members in a month for backing ObamaCare and its cuts to Medicare and Medicare Advantage. Dan Eggen at the Washington Post reports in more detail on the political connections AARP gets for its acquiescence on Medicare cuts and the potential financial advantages it sees in political support of the administration’s efforts to overhaul the health-care industry:
The group’s dual role as an insurance reformer and a broker has come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks from congressional Republicans, who accuse it of having a conflict of interest in taking sides in the fierce debate over health insurance. Three House Republicans sent a letter to AARP on Monday complaining that the group was putting its “political self-interests” ahead of seniors.
GOP lawmakers point to AARP’s thriving business in marketing branded Medigap policies, which provide supplemental coverage for standard Medicare plans available to the elderly. Democratic proposals to slash reimbursements for another program, called Medicare Advantage, are widely expected to drive up demand for private Medigap policies like the ones offered by AARP, according to health-care experts, legislative aides and documents.
Republicans also question the high salaries and other perks given to some top AARP executives, who would not be subject to limits on insurance executives’ pay included in the Senate Finance Committee’s health reform package. Former AARP chief executive William Novelli received more than $1 million in compensation last year.
“We are witnessing a disturbing trend of handouts to special interests like AARP,” said House Republican spokesman Matt Lloyd, referring to Democratic negotiations over health reform. “In return, AARP is lobbying for a government-run health-care bill that will pad their own executives’ pockets at the expense of its own members and other vulnerable seniors.”
NASA new rocket test flight delayed by bad weather
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - NASA's newest rocket is stuck on the launch pad because of clouds and high wind.
Launch controllers tried repeatedly Tuesday to get the Ares I-X rocket flying. They got to within two-and-a-half minutes of launching the rocket, but the weather interfered. Minor problems stalled the countdown earlier in the morning.
Officials are deciding whether to try again Wednesday morning.
This is the first step in NASA's effort to return astronauts to the moon.
The experimental flight will last just two minutes. Parachutes will drop the first-stage booster into the Atlantic for recovery.
NASA expects to learn a lot, even if it's for another type of rocket. The White House is re-evaluating the human spaceflight program.
(By Ed Morrissey, Hot Air) - Almost two years ago, Barack Obama told the editors of the San Francisco Chronicle that anyone who wanted to open a new coal-burning electrical plant would get “bankrupted” by his policies. They may not even get the coal to burn, thanks to the EPA. The Washington Times’ Amanda Carpenter reports that the agency has held up scores of surface mining permits in an action that will get the attention of coal-producing states — and their Senators:
While campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination, Barack Obama said his cap-and-trade tax plans would “bankrupt” anyone building a coal-fired power plant. Although those taxes haven’t materialized, the Environmental Protection Agency has put the brakes on 79 surface mining permits in four states since he was elected.
The EPA says these permits could violate the Clean Water Act and warrant “enhanced” review. But the agency went even further last week, announcing plans to revoke a permit for the Spruce No. 1 Mine in West Virginia – a move that has caused anxiety among coal-state Democrats about the future of the industry under the Obama administration. …
Although his favored cap-and-trade bill hasn’t yet been passed, West Virginia’s Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin III, who supported Mr. Obama’s candidacy, called the EPA moves part of a stealth campaign to stifle the industry.
“Right now, my belief is that they’re trying to kill off surface mining through regulation what they cannot get done through legislation,” Mr. Manchin told MetroNews Talkline, a West Virginia call-in radio program, earlier this month. In West Virginia, 23 permits are being held up, with other affected states being Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.
Free flights and cars, furtive campaign donation methods discussed
RALEIGH (By David N. Bass, Carolina Journal Online) - Six witnesses subpoenaed to testify Monday in the North Carolina Board of Elections' probe into former Gov. Mike Easley's campaign finances highlighted slipshod record-keeping of contributions, promises from Easley staffers that money from maxed-out donors would be diverted from Democratic Party coffers to the governor’s campaign, and accounts of services provided to the governor that were not disclosed in a timely manner and not reimbursed, as the law requires.
The testimony ranged from free flights and cars given Easley and his family to furtive contribution schemes that appear to bypass contribution limits. The witnesses, who were under oath, often gave accounts that conflicted with explanations already provided by Easley.
The four-hour hearing sometimes degenerated into a finger-pointing contest. At one point, Easley’s lawyer questioned the honesty of McQueen Campbell, a Raleigh real-estate broker and long-time Easley friend, suggesting that Campbell had lied to the media when he resigned under a cloud as chairman of the N.C. State University board of trustees.
The first day wrapped up in late afternoon with testimony from a developer who said that he donated money to the state Democratic Party with the understanding that it would be funneled to the Easley campaign, possibly bypassing campaign finance limits.
The Spending Rolls On The fiscal 2010 bills grow domestic programs by 12.1%.
(The Wall Street Journal) - The White House disclosed the other day that the fiscal 2009 budget deficit clocked in at $1.4 trillion, amid the usual promises to do something about it. Yet even as budget director Peter Orszag was speaking, House Democrats were moving on a dozen spending bills for fiscal 2010 that total 12.1% in more domestic discretionary increases.
Remember, inflation is running close to zero, or 0.8%. The good news, if we can call it that, is that Senate Democrats only want to increase nondefense appropriations by 8% for 2010. Because these funding increases become part of the permanent baseline for future appropriations, the 2010 House budget bills would permanently raise annual outlays for discretionary programs by about $75 billion a year from now until, well, forever.
(Newsbusters) - Give Ed Schultz credit for something: on his MSNBC show this evening, he hosted an amusing smackdown between Barney Frank and Ralph Nader, perhaps the two most morose public men in America. For once, Barney was attacked from the left. The gist of Ralph's rebuke was that Frank hasn't gone far enough in regulating the financial industry.
Frank was finally so provoked that he claimed/admitted that when it comes to regulation, Democrats are "trying on every front to increase the role of government."
"Our party must be the party of the individual. It must not sell out the individual to cater to the group. No greater challenge faces our society today than ensuring that each one of us can maintain his dignity and his identity in an increasingly complex, centralized society. Extreme taxation, excessive controls, oppressive government competition with business ... frustrated minorities and forgotten Americans are not the products of free enterprise. They are the residue of centralized bureaucracy, of government by a self-anointed elite. Our party must be based on the kind of leadership that grows and takes its strength from the people. Any organization is in actuality only the lengthened shadow of its members. A political party is a mechanical structure created to further a cause. The cause, not the mechanism, brings and holds the members together. And our cause must be to rediscover, reassert and reapply America's spiritual heritage to our national affairs. Then with God's help we shall indeed be as a city upon a hill with the eyes of all people upon us."
(By Ed Morrissey, Hot Air) - So far in the annals of badly conceived government interventions into private enterprise, we have the late-1990s strengthening of the Community Reinvestment Act and Cash for Clunkers as the hall-of-fame candidates. The former created a housing bubble whose collapse ruined the financial markets, and the latter proved disastrous for automakers just as their new models hit showroom floors last month. Now a number of reports put a Porkulus program among these that essentially subsidizes the hoarding of golf carts for free:
As part of the huge $878 trillion (Or was it $787 billion? Can anyone remember, anymore?) “economic stimulus” created in Washington last winter, Congress OK’d a tax credit of between $4,200 and $5,500 for Americans who purchase an electric vehicle.
Some controversy arose as to which vehicles, exactly, qualified. The IRS recently ruled any electric vehicle qualifies for the subsidy, so long as it is road-worthy.
That means the model in question needs to have side and rearview mirrors and three-point seat belts, and be capable of going at least 15 to 25 mph. Meet those requirements, combine the federal credit with similar incentive plans in many states, and many a creative subject of the realm has discovered the government will now pay virtually the entire cost of acquiring a new … golf cart. …
The IRS also has ruled there’s no limit to how many electric cars an individual can buy, the Journal reports, inspiring some enterprising investors to stock up on multiple carts while the federal credit lasts, in order to resell them at a profit later on.
“This golf-cart fiasco perfectly illustrates tax policy in the age of Obama, when politicians dole out credits and loopholes for everything from plug-in cars to fuel efficient appliances, home insulation and vitamins,” The Wall Street Journal concludes. “Democrats then insist that to pay for these absurdities they have no choice but to raise tax rates on other things — like work and investment — that aren’t politically in vogue. If this keeps up, it’ll soon make more sense to retire and play golf than work for a living.”
(60 Minutes) - President Obama says rising costs are driving huge federal budget deficits that imperil our future, and that there is enough waste and fraud in the system to pay for health care reform if it was eliminated. At the center of both issues is Medicare, the government insurance program that provides health care to 46 million elderly and disabled Americans. But it also provides a rich and steady income stream for criminals who are constantly finding new ways to steal a sizable chunk of the half trillion dollars that are paid out each year in Medicare benefits. In fact, Medicare fraud - estimated now to total about $60 billion a year - has become one of, if not the most profitable, crimes in America.
(Politico) - President Barack Obama has only been in office for just over nine months, but he's already hit the links as much as President Bush did in over two years.
CBS' Mark Knoller — an unofficial documentarian and statistician of all things White House-related — wrote on his Twitter feed that, "Today - Obama ties Pres. Bush in the number of rounds of golf played in office: 24.
Took Bush 2 yrs & 10 months."
This news comes on the heels of today's news that Obama played golf with a woman — chief domestic policy adviser Melody Barnes — for the first time since taking office.
(Los Angeles Times) - Before its portfolio of bad loans helped trigger the housing crisis, mortgage giant Freddie Mac was the focus of a major accounting scandal that led to a management shake-up, huge fines and scalding condemnation of passive directors.
One of those board members was Rahm Emanuel, now chief of staff to President Obama. Emanuel earned at least $320,000 for his 14-month stint at Freddie Mac.
(CNSNews.com) – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) told CNSNews.com that after reviewing the Memorandum of Agreements between Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and state and local law enforcement agencies in 23 states, the only agency to lose its authority under the 287(g) program to operate task forces that can enforce federal immigration laws is the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
“It’s the only one,” Matt Chandler, spokesman for the DHS, said on Thursday.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who oversees the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, is well-known for arresting illegal immigrants to be deported, and his success in catching illegals has been criticized largely by liberal public leaders and activists.
(By Greg Barnes, The Fayetteville Observer) - Ten years ago, powerful Democrats threw their support behind a relatively unknown gubernatorial candidate from Southport - Mike Easley.
They lined up to provide money and favors for Easley's campaign. When he was elected, he rewarded many. They got access to the governor, were appointed to positions of power, found simpler ways through complicated bureaucracies.
Easley's big supporters included prominent business and political leaders from the Cape Fear region. State Sen. Tony Rand of Fayetteville. Businessmen Mac and McQueen Campbell. Fayetteville political figures Lyndo Tippett and George Tatum.
The allegations against the former governor center primarily on a questionable lease of a state-owned marina in Easley's hometown; the apparent below-market purchase of a lot in an upscale subdivision at the coast; free campaign air travel, cars and a country club membership; and a high-paying job created at N.C. State University for Easley's wife, Mary.
Monday, some of the allegations get a public airing. The State Board of Elections has scheduled a hearing on questions about Easley's campaign committee and the Democratic Party.
Commissioners OK $21,000 for look into high-speed service
DANBURY (By Lisa O'Donnell, Winston-Salem Journal) - Relief may be on the way for people in Stokes County who are on the wrong end of the digital divide.
The Stokes County Commissioners recently approved $21,000 for a feasibility study that will map, as closely as possible, where broadband access is already available and look at what it would take to increase accessibility.
Alan Wood, the county's director of economic development, is one of the driving forces behind bringing high-speed Internet access to more residents.
Marco Rubio capitalizes on a photo of Charlie Crist hugging Barack Obama
(NBC Miami) - Marco Rubio has less political experience than Charlie Crist. And he hasn’t raised nearly as much money in his run against the governor for U.S. Senate. And he still lags behind the governor in polls leading up the November race.
(TMZ) - During the Ohio State/Minnesota game, the NASCAR promotion turned nasty when broadcaster Chris Spielman asked where Colombian NASCAR driver Juan Pablo was in the standings ... then Bob Griese let this gem fly: "He's out having a taco."
At the end of the game, Griese issued a bland apology, saying, "Juan Pablo Montoya, he's one of the best drivers in NASCAR, I just want to apologize for the comment that I made earlier in the ballgame."
From Rush Limbaugh: Come January, doctors are facing a scheduled 20 percent drop in their Medicare reimbursement rate -- so Senate Majority Leader Dingy Harry Reid tried to ram through a measure to reverse that. Price tag: a quarter trillion dollars. Sadly for the Dingy One, 13 fellow Democrats didn't back his play; they cited the out-of-control deficit and budget overruns as they voted against their leader.
Poor Harry had a meltdown. First he blamed the AMA for providing him with "bad intelligence"; Harry claimed the AMA told him that 27 Republicans would vote for the measure, but none of them did. Then he unleashed his fury at Republicans, accusing them of "dirty tricks" to stop "meaningful reform."
"I want everyone within the sound of my [wimpish, little] voice to understand that Washington is being driven by a small number of people on that side of the aisle that are preventing us from doing things that help the American people," said Dingy Harry. "We're not trying to run over people with the 60 votes we have. We want to work with people. We want to get along."
Hey Harry! Can't you count? You have 60 votes! You just said it! You don't need Republicans to pass a damn thing! Just make your own people tow the party line!
But Dingy, we want to get along with you, too. So how about a compromise? You give up your tax-and-spend plans, forget about this health care takeover and cap-and-tax, and let's just be friends.
How about it, Harry? Are you game? Want to play ball that way? Join us!
Media Research Center: Discussing Obama administration efforts to limit executive pay in companies that took TARP funds, on Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith asked Congressional Oversight Panel Chair Elizabeth Warren: “Chuck Schumer, some others, have said...why wouldn’t we...make this law across the board and put a governor on compensation for everybody in private enterprise?’”
White House’s ‘Demonization’ of Critics Could Backfire
"O'Reilly, go after me, go after Hannity. It's, like, but when you start going after the entire news organization -- we have got, you know, people like Jennifer Griffin, eight years in Jerusalem, doing a phenomenal job. We got Bret Baier. And who's been complaining about Bret Baier? Steve Centanni, Adam Housley -- and we go through the whole list. But they're -- they want to take everybody."
From Rush Limbaugh: Democrat leaders on the House Judiciary Committee -- John Conyers of Michigan, Jerrold Nadler of New York, and Bobby Scott of Virginia -- have introduced a bill that would significantly weaken our ability to track down terrorists under the Patriot Act.
One measure would stop intelligence agencies from spying on so-called lone wolves. These are non-US citizens who are suspected of being terrorists, but are not a part of recognized terror groups. Another provision would make it more difficult to track suspected terrorists using "roving wiretaps". A third proposal would place roadblocks in the way of seizing records related to terror investigations.
In addition to all this, the retroactive immunity given to the phone companies who legally complied with Bush administration efforts would be repealed, forcing those businesses to defend their actions in court.
Now, it's hard to imagine, given the history of supposed lone wolves like Lee Harvey Oswald or Timothy McVeigh, why Democrats would oppose intelligence agencies keeping tabs on them. It's also difficult to understand why Democrats insist on persecuting the telephone companies that helped keep this country stay safe after 9/11.
But ever since we were struck, liberal Democrats have been on the attack... not against the terrorists who killed thousands of Americans, but against the agencies who brought the killers to justice -- and against the laws that prevented more attacks. This is all an outgrowth of the left's out-of-control hatred for George Bush, and now, with Obama in office, these fringe liberal kooks may actually prevail.
(By Ed Morrissey, Hot Air) - Barack Obama’s war on Wall Street has claimed one significant casualty so far: the state of New York. While the Pay Czar claws back bonuses and salaries from bailed-out investment firms, which was a condition of taking the TARP money (not exactly a voluntary act anyway), the big reduction means a big hit in New York state income revenues. Governor David Paterson took the opportunity to slam Obama over the missing money, observes the New York, er, Observer:
David Paterson, ever the friend of the White House, just attacked the Obama administration’s decision to restrict bonus pay with John Gambling on WOR.
“That probably cost New York $1 billion,” Paterson said. “And look, I’m not going to defend these people that run these companies. They’ve frittered away a lot of money in these reckless schemes. But the reality is, in the end, we’ve lost $1 billion dollars because of that act. And there goes that pipe dream legislators engaged in reacting to my cuts.”
White House pay czar Kenneth Feinberg did not seek President Obama's approval to order steep pay cuts from bailed-out executives.
(Fox News) - White House pay czar Kenneth Feinberg was the driving force behind the move to order steep pay cuts from bailed-out executives, and did not even seek the president's approval before making his decision.
The Treasury Department is expected to formally announce in the next few days a plan to slash annual salaries by about 90 percent from last year for the 25 highest-paid executives at the seven companies that received the most from the Wall Street bailout. Total compensation for the top executives at the firms would decline, on average, by about 50 percent.
The sweeping decision, though, came from Feinberg and not from President Obama.
(CBN) - On The 700 Club this morning, The Brody File did an in-depth report on Chai Feldblum, President Obama’s nominee for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Some of her comments will surely be controversial including video of her saying, “Gay sex is morally good”. It then gets even more interesting than that when she starts talking about her views on marriage and how in most cases sexual liberty trumps religious liberty.
(By Amanda Dodson, The Stokes News) - On Friday, October 16, after a busy week in Washington, United States Senator Richard Burr visited West Stokes High School. He met with students ranging from ninth through 12 grades enrolled in History and Economics classes.
As the young adults filed into the media room lined with chairs, they awaited to see, many for the first time, a United States senator. Principal Tony George, along with an array of faculty members, was in attendance. Other figureheads, such as Superintendent Dr. Stewart Hobbs; Colon Moore, member of the Stokes County Board of Education; Alan Wood, Economic Development Director; Homer Dearmin, Town Manager of Walnut Cove; and Stokes County Board of Commissioners members Leon Inman and Ernest Lankford, were there to welcome Burr.
After being introduced and presented with West Stokes athletic gear by Superintendent Hobbs, Burr took center stage. He said matter-of-factly, “Success is only determined from how hard you’re willing to work.” Burr himself has been working to represent NC citizens for the past 15 years.
GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) - When the website TotalBeauty.com recently ranked the Gate City as fourth in its list of eight cities with the ugliest guys, editors cited sexual inactivity, bad teeth and a high rate of obesity among the factors contributing to the dubious distinction.
Only Hagerstown, Md.; El Paso, Texas; and Miami, Fla., have uglier men, according to the online women's beauty magazine, which included statistics about education, contraception, erotica sales, gyms, exercise habits, smoking rates and others in determining the rankings.
(By Byron York, Washington Examiner) - There seems to be general agreement that the Obama White House's campaign against Fox News is actually directed at other news organizations -- to "get other journalists to think twice before following [Fox's] stories in their own coverage," according to an article in the Politico. Fox is beyond the pale, the White House is telling the press corps: You wouldn't want to have anything to do with that, would you?
But the White House campaign appears to be backfiring. A number of mainstream journalists are reacting badly to the attempt to declare a journalistic organization off-limits. Why the negative reaction? Is it because of solidarity among reporters? A reflexive defense of freedom of the press? Secret sympathy for Fox?
None of the above. The real reason the White House campaign is backfiring is that it offends journalistic self-esteem.
(By George Will, The Washington Post) - Three years before Rep. Wilbur Mills, the Arkansas Democrat who then chaired the Ways and Means Committee, had his fling with a stripper named Fanne Foxe, a.k.a. "The Argentine Firecracker" (Mills joined her on stage at Boston's exquisitely named Pilgrim Theater, which specialized in what Time magazine primly called "ecdysiast exhibitions"; this was after he had a fracas with Ms. Foxe that provoked her to jump into Washington's Tidal Basin across from the memorial to Thomas Jefferson, who really believed that democracies could behave rationally), he decided to seek the Democrats' 1972 presidential nomination. So in an almost admirably straightforward attempt to buy the votes of the elderly, he successfully championed an automatic COLA -- cost-of-living adjustment -- for Social Security.
His campaign fizzled but his achievement endures, and his place in liberalism's pantheon is secure. His COLA, which began in 1975, is the entitlement that proves that the entitlement system, like the universe, will expand until, perhaps like the universe, it collapses in on itself.
Barack Obama has now established Mills's Social Security COLA as the capstone to the architecture of the entitlement culture that is modern liberalism's crowning achievement: It is an entitlement to which you are entitled even when you are not entitled to it. Obama says that 57 million Americans -- every Social Security beneficiary and some other recipients of federal entitlements -- are entitled to $250 apiece to assuage the disappointment of having not been injured by inflation. Because the cost of living declined 4 percent last year, the 57 million are not entitled to the actual COLA, but they evidently are going to be declared entitled to monetary consolation for the misfortune of not experiencing misfortune.
(By Ed Morrissey, Hot Air) - A funny thing happened to the way to the first Senate floor vote on the health-care overhaul pushed by this administration. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, with 60 Democrats in the upper chamber, couldn’t get enough of them to end a filibuster. Who’s to blame for the failure to get a vote? Debbie Stabenow, who wrote the bill that attempted to sneak an extra $250 billion in costs past the CBO for ObamaCare? Centrist Democrats from red states who have to face the voters? A Majority Leader who has trouble “leading” himself the right way out of a paper bag?
No, of course not. It’s those evil Tonsil Vultures and Foot Rustlers:
Reid brought the bill to the floor in an effort to secure the support of doctors groups such as the American Medical Association (AMA) for the future fight over an overhaul of the nation’s healthcare system.
Reid’s gambit, however, backfired, leaving Reid blaming the AMA for failing to secure GOP votes and the AMA retorting that the leader misinterpreted its pledge.
Reid told colleagues that the AMA said it could deliver 27 Republican votes for the legislation, according to two Senate Democratic lawmakers, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Some Democrats wondered whether it was reasonable to expect that as many as 27 Republicans would support a 10-year freeze in light of the fact that only 17 Senate Republicans voted for a one-year freeze last July. Of that group, only 11 remain in the Senate.
(By Ann Coulter, Townhall.com) - The Obama administration has attacked Fox News in order to prevent government corruption stories broken on Fox from bleeding into the other media, which are all-consumed with daily updates on Levi Johnston's Playgirl spread and Carrie Prejean's breast implants.
'NOW' THEY TELL US Damage Done, Frisch Now Says Key Racist Remarks Not Made
(The Radio Equalizer) - With Operation Smear Rush now complete and the damage done, "progressive" sleazemeisters are apparently ready to come clean with the truth: Limbaugh never made two key racist statements.
Those alleged remarks, which were never sourced despite being repeated on MSNBC, CNN, in many newspapers and evening newscasts, ultimately cost Rush an opportunity to bid on the NFL's St Louis Rams.
From Rush Limbaugh: Last week, after Fox News aired video of Anita Dunn quoting Mao Tse-tung (who she called one of her "favorite political philosophers"), the Obama White House went ballistic. First, they blackballed Fox, banning White House staff from appearing on the network. Then they backtracked, retreating to their standard smear campaign -- supported by the State-Controlled Media.
Meanwhile, the White House is at war with the US Chamber of Commerce, over the Chamber's objections to health care and cap-and-tax proposals that will ruin American businesses; Obama consigliere Valerie Jarrett is leading the charge to smear the Chamber.
Now, my friends, the White House enemies list is growing. Obama has smeared doctors, insurance companies, auto and finance execs, media critics, and lots of others. He routinely accuses opponents of lying, greed, spreading misinformation, and worse. (All of the things he does!)
All this points to who this president is, and what the presidency has become. Obama proudly proclaims he want to usher in "fundamental changes" to our republic. He lacks public support for any of his schemes, but yet he and his minions throw thin-skinned temper tantrums at anybody who offers critical analysis of his plans.
Those who have studied history (like I have) know what happens when a thin-skinned, totalitarian narcissist with no constraints has the power to squash dissent: they just annihilate all opposition. But, thanks to the genius of our Founders, we have checks and balances, and regular elections, to limit the damage that a petty president -- like this one -- can do... if those elections are fair. Anybody ever heard of ACORN?
(CNSNews.com) – House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said that the individual health insurance mandates included in every health reform bill, which require Americans to have insurance, were “like paying taxes.” He added that Congress has “broad authority” to force Americans to purchase other things as well, so long as it was trying to promote “the general welfare.”
The Congressional Budget Office, however, has stated in the past that a mandate forcing Americans to buy health insurance would be an “unprecedented form of federal action,” and that the “government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of lawful residence in the United States.”
Hoyer, speaking to reporters at his weekly press briefing on Tuesday, was asked by CNSNews.com where in the Constitution was Congress granted the power to mandate that a person must by a health insurance policy. Hoyer said that, in providing for the general welfare, Congress had “broad authority.”
DANBURY (By Lisa O'Donnell, Winston-Salem Journal) - Many paddlers would agree that the prettiest sections of the 200-mile-long Dan River are in Stokes County.
Those sections are also among the most difficult to access.
Dale Swanson hopes to change that.
Swanson was recently named the Stokes Program Coordinator for the Dan River Basin Association, a nonprofit organization based in Eden that has become a strong advocate for promoting and protecting the river. Some of the association's activities include organizing outings on the river, working with local governments and building trails.
The new office is in the same building as the Stokes County Arts Council in Danbury.