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.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Several Democrats are furious with Sen. Reid (D-Nev.) for agreeing to let Specter (Pa.) keep his seniority, accrued over more than 28 years as a GOP senator. That agreement would allow Specter to leap past senior Democrats on powerful panels — including the Appropriations and Judiciary committees.
“I won’t be happy if I don’t get to chair something because of Arlen Specter,” said Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), who sits on the Appropriations Committee with Specter and is fifth in seniority among Democrats, behind Chairman Daniel Inouye (Hawaii) and Sens. Robert Byrd (W.Va.), Patrick Leahy (Vt.) and Tom Harkin (Iowa). “I’m happy with the Democratic order, but I don’t want to be displaced because of Arlen Specter,” she said.
Sarah Palin Welcomes Crew From TLC’s ‘American Chopper’
"It means so much to the state of Alaska that these guys are building this bike that will honor statehood here."
Dennis Miller: Miss California Fielded Tougher Questions Than Obama
"First off, I find it weird that we've come to a point in history where a chick running for Miss USA gets harder questions than the President of the United States."
Goldberg: NYT Reporter’s ‘Enchanted’ Question to Obama ‘Fits Our Metrosexual Times’
"A lot of men today - even men in powerful positions, especially men in journalism - they're softer. They're what a friend of mine calls NPR men. They want to know about your feelings, whether you're enchanted."
It actually was him - and the other Democrats controlling Congress the previous two years - who shaped a budget so out of balance.
And as a presidential candidate and president-elect, he backed the twilight Bush-era stimulus plan that made the deficit deeper, all before he took over and promoted spending plans that have made it much deeper still.
Elizabeth Edwards writes in a new memoir that news of her husband's affair made her vomit in a bathroom.
(Fox News) - When Elizabeth Edwards learned of her husband's affair, she went into a bathroom and "threw up," she writes in her new memoir to be published in May.
"I cried and screamed, I went to the bathroom and threw up," Edwards writes in her book "Resilience."
Edwards said her husband, former North Carolina Senator John Edwards, admitted to the betrayal just days after declaring his run for president in 2006 -- and a year before the National Enquirer first reported it.
Biden would avoid subways, planes after swine flu outbreak
(Politico) - Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that he would not recommend taking any commercial flight or riding in a subway car “at this point” because swine flu virus can spread “in confined places.” A little more than one hour later, Biden rushed out a statement backing off.
“I would tell members of my family – and I have – I wouldn’t go anywhere in confined places now,” Biden said on NBC’s “Today” show.. “It’s not that it’s going to Mexico. It’s [that] you’re in a confined aircraft. When one person sneezes, it goes all the way through the aircraft. That’s me. …
“So, from my perspective, what it relates to is mitigation. If you’re out in the middle of a field when someone sneezes, that’s one thing. If you’re in a closed aircraft or closed container or closed car or closed classroom, it’s a different thing.”
Nothing is further from the truth. Following Olympia Snowe would ensure Democrats remain in power for generations to come. America has been at a political crossroads of sorts for years, and it may take several more election cycles to determine which side emerges victorious.
But what conservatives stand for defines America at its best. We are a nation that rewards achievement and achievers, instead of punishing their efforts. Conservatives advance policies that motivate personal growth, not government growth. Conservatives believe in protecting innocent life, but will fight to the death terrorists who kill Americans simply for being Americans. We demand fiscal responsibility, and accountability. We want our children educated, not indoctrinated. We are proud to be a nation Under God and to uphold the values that made us the greatest nation in the world.
Now, liberalism -- be it from Democrats or Republicans like Ms. Snowe -- is poison to prosperity and liberty. We fight to defeat it, not join it. And, Ms. Snowe, if Republicans abandon our values, we lose. When conservatism is supported, America wins. (And I'd point out that conservatism's not running the Republican Party right now, and last I looked, the Republican Party's losing!)
Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
• Olympia Snowe: We Didn't Have to Lose Arlen Specter
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
(Fox News) - President Obama and Vice President Biden publicly welcomed Sen. Arlen Specter to the Democratic Party Wednesday, calling him a man of "immense personal courage" and "unmatched integrity."
"Arlen Specter is one tough hombre," Obama said during a morning news conference Wednesday inside the White House.
"I have the honor of standing next to the newest Democrat from the state of Pennsylvania. I know the decision Senator Specter made yesterday wasn't easy -- it required long and careful consideration and it required courage. But I know that it also reflects an independence that has been a hallmark of Arlen Specter's career since the days he arrived in Washington. He has never been in the Senate to fight for any particular party, but rather for the men and women of Pennsylvania who sent him here," Obama said.
WASHINGTON (Fox News) - More than 50 million retirees can expect to receive $250 payments from the government in the next few weeks as their share of the economic stimulus package enacted in February.
Economists say the payments will be a timely boost just as the recession is showing signs of easing a little.
The payments are part of the $787 billion package of spending and tax cuts enacted in February to help boost the economy. They will go to people who receive Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, railroad retirement or veteran's disability benefits.
From Rush Limbaugh: Don Obama has delivered the automakers to unions.
The oversight panel issued a report on the TARP bailouts, warning that the program is unwieldy because it's too big. Worse, the way it's being implemented puts taxpayers at a huge disadvantage. The report warns that the risks assigned to taxpayers is a lot higher than the risks assigned to private investors in TARP.
There's reason for taxpayers and private investors to be concerned about these risks. The inspector general of TARP warns that losses due to fraud could be "staggering." According to the report, there are at least 20 ongoing criminal investigations involving TARP money. Just imagine how "staggering" the undetected fraud is.
So while Tim Geithner blames America, we're being warned of financial disaster. Again. And, again, warnings are ignored -- just as they were when the Bush administration warned of the fraudulent housing programs that the Democrats set up through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
All Obama's talk of transparency and change is just that: talk. Democrats are Democrats. And to them, taxpayer money will always be a private piggy bank and a gateway to their own personal power. The fraud isn't just in the TARP program; the fraud permeates the entire Democrat Party. (Give us a report on that, Senator Specter! Let us know how it looks to you when you get there!)
Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
• S.F. Examiner: Fraud concerns overshadow Geithner's TARP testimony
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
“You haven't certainly heard warm encouraging words about how [the GOP] views moderates,” said Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, one of the few remaining moderate Republicans in the Senate.
Snowe said the party's message has been, “Either you're with us or you’re against us.”
Her frustration was shared by Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), who slammed right-wing interest groups for pushing moderates out of the party.
Specter switched parties Tuesday after a recent poll showed him badly losing a Pennsylvania Republican primary next year to Club for Growth founder Pat Toomey. Toomey’s staunchly fiscally conservative political action committee backs only those Republicans who support a low-tax, limited-government agenda and comes down hard on those who break with party orthodoxy.
"I don't want to be a member of the Club for Growth,” said Graham. “I want to be a member of a vibrant national Republican party that can attract people from all corners of the country — and we can govern the country from a center-right perspective.”
“As Republicans, we got a problem,” he said.
Perdue cuts state salaries, warns of $3 billion deficit
Perdue also warned that the state's budget shortfall for the current fiscal year may exceed $3 billion.
She said the temporary pay cut will save $65 million, although that's relatively small compared to the shortfall now expected.
Perdue said in a statement she also has identified ways to close the remaining budget gap. She said that will include more special funds, tapping the state's Savings Reserve Account and using federal recovery dollars.
The Democrat said the economic crisis has forced her "to make difficult decisions."
Perdue made the cuts effective through June 30, the end of the fiscal year. Employees will be allowed to take the 10 hours off until the end of the 2009 calendar year.
Before Perdue revealed the larger shortfall projection, state leaders had expected the budget shortfall would be about $2.2 billion this fiscal year.
"North Carolina continues to experience the effects of a national economic crisis, which force me to make difficult decisions in order to maintain a balanced budget through June," Perdue said in a statement.
"I will do what I must in order to ensure that North Carolina can pay our bills and provide the essential services required by our citizens."
"I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans," Specter said in a statement posted on a Web site devoted to Pennsylvania politics and confirmed by his office. Several Senate officials said a formal announcement could come later in the day or Wednesday.
Specter, 79 and in his fifth term, is one of a handful of Republican moderates remaining in Congress in a party now dominated by conservatives. Several officials said the White House as well as leaders in both parties had been involved in discussions leading to his move.
Sam Fulwood of Politico.com gets the award for planting a kiss on each of Obama's cheeks. He writes that in his first 100 days, Obama has distinguished himself from all other presidents. Why? Because Obama is "the nation's first hip president."
All you have to do, says Fulwood, is "watch him walk. Listen to him talk. See the body language, the expressions, the clothes. He's got attitude, rhythm, a sense of humor, contemporary tastes." Quick aside: I wonder what would happen to any conservative who said Obama's "got rhythm" -- but I digress.
Mr. Fulwood reminds us that during the campaign, Obama used his personality, smile, jaunty stride, and hip-hop verbiage to disarm critics and win supporters. Not only that, he's open, athletic, healthy, tech-savvy... and he's married to Michelle, who sets style by going sleeveless.
The gushing doesn't stop there, my friends. Mr. Fulwood quotes author John Leland who describes Obama's unique "awareness": "He's white -- and black. He's an elitist -- and regular folk. He's not pinned down to a perspective."
My friends, this is what happens when a Drive-By is in love with a married man he can never hope to have. And Mr. Fulwood, a quick note: All of God's children have rhythm, sir. All of them. Even Obama, who I don't really think has a lot of rhythm, to tell you the truth. I don't think he dances very well.
Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
• Politico.com: For Obama, hipness is what it is
Monday, April 27, 2009
Remembering the Gipper...
"We maintain our strength in order to deter and defend against aggression -- to preserve freedom and peace. Since the dawn of the atomic age, we've sought to reduce the risk of war by maintaining a strong deterrent and by seeking genuine arms control. 'Deterrence' means simply this: making sure any adversary who thinks about attacking the United States, or our allies, or our vital interests, concludes that the risks to him outweigh any potential gains. Once he understands that, he won't attack. We maintain the peace through our strength; weakness only invites aggression."
Modeling agencies clueless about Levi Johnston
VF.com contributor Nell Scovell asked the agencies if they were considering taking Johnston up on his offer.
“I have no idea who he is or what he looks like,” said Erin Lundgren of New York Model Management’s men’s board. “I wish I knew more about who that is, but my computers are down.”
Obamas prove stingy with school auction
This past weekend was the Obamas’ first chance to participate in the Sidwell Friends School Dollars for Scholars benefit, and some families who remember the Clintons’ support are disappointed in the Obamas’ first showing.
According to a source with ties to the school, the only items up for bid from the Obamas included a signed copy of the Rolling Stone issue featuring the president and a signed copy of the January Vogue that featured the first lady.
“There were expectations that they might donate something more personal, like the Clintons did,” said another source who knew about the auction. “Lots of people were disappointed.”
A spokesperson for the Obamas said, “We have no comment on this.”
Chelsea Clinton remains involved in the event — this year she and a fellow alumna Nicole Davison donated a “lunch or brunch” in New York City. The value, according to the bidding materials: “priceless.”
(By Lori Montgomery and V. Dion Haynes, Washington Post) - Gail Johnson doesn't think of herself as wealthy. The former pediatric nurse has spent 20 years building a chain of preschools and after-school programs that accommodate sick children so working parents can keep their jobs.
But, like most small-business owners, Johnson reports her profit on her personal tax return. In a typical year, she and her husband make more than $500,000, according to her accountant, a figure that throws them squarely into the ranks of the richest Americans -- and makes them a prime target for the Obama administration's tax policy.
Since last year's campaign, President Obama has vowed repeatedly not to increase taxes for families making less than $250,000 a year. That pledge, while politically popular, has left him with just two primary sources of funding for his ambitious social agenda: about 3 million high-earning families and the nation's businesses.
Johnson, with her company, falls into both categories. If Obama's tax plans are enacted, her accountant estimates that her federal tax bill -- typically, around $120,000 a year -- would rise by at least $23,000, a 19 percent increase.
"You hear 'tax the rich,' and you think, 'I don't make that much money,' " said Johnson, whose Rainbow Station programs are headquartered near Richmond. "But then you realize: 'Oh, if I put my business income with my wages, then, suddenly, I'm there.' "
Obama gets ahead of prompter
(Politico) - President Obama’s speech at the National Academy of Sciences Monday morning hit a brief snag when Obama got ahead of his script.
Laying his plan for a President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, Obama began to name the members of PCAST listed in his prepared remarks – before realizing he’d already introduced them, earlier in his speech.
“In addition to John – sorry, the – I just noticed I jumped the gun here,” Obama said, pausing for several seconds as he looked at the prompter. “Go ahead. Move it up. I had already introduced all you guys.”
The audience, which gave the president a warm reception, responded with a quiet laugh.
Miss California: Sponsors Told Me ‘You Need to Not Talk About Your Faith’
San Diego (NBC) - Carrie Prejean said that her state sponsors urged her to apologize afterward [after telling a judge gay people shouldn't marry] but she rejected the advice and says officials from the Miss California USA pageant were worried that her comments would cost their contest financial backing and tried to prepare her for a string of post-pageant media interviews by discouraging her from discussing her religious beliefs. "You need to apologize to the gay community. You need to not talk about your faith. This has everything to do with you representing California and saving the brand,'" Prejean recalled being told. "I was representing California. I was representing the majority of people in California."
"NASCAR just puts us in this box. Brad (Keselowski) did a great job - congrats to him on the win. But they put us in this box and we'll race like this until we kill somebody and then they'll change it."
AP: Track medical director Bobby Lewis said none of the injuries was life-threatening but two women were airlifted to Birmingham hospitals.
The struggling automaker said it will offer 225 shares of common stock for every $1,000 in notes held by bondholders as part of a debt-for-equity swap that aims to retire most of GM's $27 billion in unsecured debt.
The announcements came in a filing Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Key Democrat Congressman: ‘Nobody in This Country Realizes That Cap-and-Trade is a Tax’
"Nobody in this country realizes that cap-and-trade is a tax -- and it's a great big one," Rep. John Dingell (D-Michigan) said Friday.
April 18: Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, right, hands President Obama the book titled "The Open Veins of Latin America" by Eduardo Galeano.
(By Joshua Rhett Miller, Fox News) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez wasn't the first to discover the book he gave to President Obama last week in an attempt to ease diplomatic tensions — college students in the U.S. have been turning its pages for years.
The 317-page "Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent" has been identified on the syllabi of at least 20 U.S. colleges and universities since 2003, and it's been taught for decades on American campuses.
The virulently anti-American book tells how for 500 years Europe and then the U.S. exploited Latin America, leaving it impoverished and governed by corrupt leaders.
Washington, DC (By Marc Morano, Climate Depot) - UK's Lord Christopher Monckton, a former science advisor to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, claimed House Democrats have refused to allow him to appear alongside former Vice President Al Gore at a high profile global warming hearing on Friday April 24, 2009 at 10am in Washington. Monckton told Climate Depot that the Democrats rescinded his scheduled joint appearance at the House Energy and Commerce hearing on Friday. Monckton said he was informed that he would not be allowed to testify alongside Gore when his plane landed from England Thursday afternoon.
“The House Democrats don't want Gore humiliated, so they slammed the door of the Capitol in my face,” Monckton told Climate Depot in an exclusive interview. “They are cowards.”
According to Monckton, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), Ranking Member on the Energy & Commerce Committee, had invited him to go head to head with Gore and testify at the hearing on Capitol Hill Friday. But Monckton now says that when his airplane from London landed in the U.S. on Thursday, he was informed that the former Vice-President had “chickened out” and there would be no joint appearance. Gore is scheduled to testify on Friday to the Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment's fourth day of hearings on the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. The hearing will be held in 2123 Rayburn House Office Building.
I think we have an excessive degree of concern right now about home ownership and its role in the economy. Obviously, speculation is never a good thing. But those who argue that housing prices are now at the point of a bubble seem to me to missing a very important point. Unlike previous examples we have had, where substantial excessive inflation of prices later caused some problems, we are talking here about an entity — home ownership, homes — where there is not the degree of leverage we have seen elsewhere. This is not the dot-com situation; we have problems with people having invested in business plans for which there was no reality. People building fiber-optic cable for which there was no need. Homes that are occupied may see an ebb and flow in the price at a certain percentage level, but you’re not going to see the collapse that you see when people talk about a bubble. And so, those of us on our committee in particular, will continue to push for home ownership.
After getting booed by the beauty pageant crowd and berated by one of the contest judges on Sunday, Carrie Prejean is suddenly a conservative sensation, a poster girl for the right who has bloggers, talk show hosts and Republican pols singing her praises.
Several Obama aides said the president’s decision was in line with his frequent criticism during the campaign of President George W. Bush’s policies on interrogations at secret prisons. On his second day in office, Obama banned the prisons and the tactics in an executive order.
The aides also said they hope the memos’ release will focus public attention on the coldness and sterility of the legal justifications for abusive techniques, with Obama telling reporters in the Oval Office on Tuesday that the documents demonstrate that the nation lost its “moral bearings” in the Bush years.
A source familiar with White House views said Obama’s advisers are further convinced that letting the public know exactly what the past administration sanctioned will undermine what they see as former vice president Richard B. Cheney’s effort to “box Obama in” by claiming that the executive order heightened the risk of a terrorist attack.
“It’s the worst I’ve ever seen it,” said Stokes County Schools Superintendent Dr. Stewart Hobbs. “It’s even worse than in 2002.”
Even the ordering of necessary items has been affected. The state declared that any orders that had not arrived by last Thursday, April 16, would have to be cancelled. Thanks to quick thinking and action by Stokes County Schools Finance Director Lanette Moore, Stokes County’s orders were largely unaffected.
County commissioners voice opposition to Senate Bill 758: Bill could force a tax increase of 20.9 cents
Senate Bill 758 was introduced on March 23 by Senators Bob Rucho, Republican, and Daniel Clodfelter, Democrat, both of Mecklenburg County. It was referred to the Committee on Appropriations/Base Budget on March 24.
In essence, the 22-page bill would remove the secondary roads from the State Highway System and transfer the responsibility for construction and maintenance of secondary roads to the individual counties. The act would become effective as of January 1, 2011.
Stokes County’s Board of Commissioners have unanimously prepared to take a stand against the proposed bill. They have drafted a resolution of opposition to be sent to the members of the NC General Assembly representing Stokes County, as well as to the NC Association of County Commissioners and all other NC counties.
In the service of his ultimate mission -- the leveling of social inequalities -- President Obama offers a tripartite social democratic agenda: nationalized health care, federalized education (ultimately guaranteed through college) and a cash-cow carbon tax (or its equivalent) to subsidize the other two.
Problem is, the math doesn't add up. Not even a carbon tax would pay for Obama's vastly expanded welfare state. Nor will Midwest Democrats stand for a tax that would devastate their already crumbling region.
What is obviously required is entitlement reform, meaning Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. That's where the real money is -- trillions saved that could not only fund hugely expensive health and education programs but also restore budgetary balance.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
(By JAMES BOVARD, IBD Editorials) - President Obama signed legislation Tuesday to triple the number of AmeriCorps members from 75,000 to 250,000.
Obama declared that the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act is about "connecting deeds to needs." Ironically, the signing ceremony and a $5 billion multiyear outlay for AmeriCorps came one day after Obama called on his cabinet members to trim $100 million in wasteful government spending.
Paying people on false pretenses to do unnecessary things is the soul of AmeriCorps. Since President Clinton created this program in 1993, politicians have endlessly touted its recruits as volunteers toiling selflessly for the common good.
This seemingly insignificant change is momentous. It means that the federal government will control all of the major banks and financial institutions in the nation. It means socialism.
The Times dutifully dressed up the Obama plan as a way to avoid asking Congress for more money for failing banks. But the implications of the proposal are obvious to anyone who cares to look.
(By George Will, Washington Post) - Monday morning the government braced for austerity, as the government understands that. Having sent Congress a $3.5 trillion budget, the president signaled in advance -- perhaps so his Cabinet members could steel themselves for the new asceticism -- that at the first meeting of his Cabinet he would direct the 15 heads of departments to find economies totaling $100 million, which is about 13 minutes of federal spending, and 0.0029 percent -- about a quarter of one-hundredth of 1 percent -- of $3.5 trillion.
If the Agriculture Department sliced the entire $100 million, that would be equal to 0.1 percent of its fiscal 2008 budget. The president, peering from beneath his green eyeshade at the secretary of agriculture, might remember this from The Post of Jan. 24:
"Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack . . . learned that his new workplace contains a post office, fitness centers, cafeterias and 6,900 employees. But he remained uncertain about exactly how many employees he supervises nationwide. 'I asked how many employees work at USDA, and nobody really knows,' he said."
(By JIM VANDEHEI & JOHN F. HARRIS, Politico) - One of the Washington media’s most time-honored rituals is starting to flower, with the blossoms at peak for the next week or so.
April 29 will be the 100th day of Barack Obama’s presidency.
The “100 days” concept has had mythical status since the days of the New Deal, when Franklin D. Roosevelt made history with a blizzard of bold federal actions. And reporters have been addicted to stories around this milestone in every administration since.
RALEIGH (Carolina Journal Online) — A bill being considered in the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee would impose an excise tax of 0.25 percent on the purchase and sale of all stocks, options, and futures. The tax would apply to the entire transaction amount, regardless of whether the trade results in a profit or a loss.
Democrats pushing the bill want to make Wall Street pay for the $750 billion bailout of the financial industry. By imposing the tax at the exchange level, the bill’s sponsor, U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., and 13 Democratic co-sponsors believe it will have “a negligible impact on the average investor.”
But tax analysts and industry experts say such a tax would punish all investors by doubling the cost of a completed transaction at a time when many Americans have seen the value of their investment portfolios fall by 40 to 60 percent.
She was the biggest fan of all of us -- Father, me and my brothers John and Jim.
After reading the eulogy column I wrote for Father last year -- not to excess, probably only about 4,637 times -- Mother realized to her chagrin that she wouldn't be able to read the eulogy column I'd be writing for her, and started hinting that maybe I could rustle up a draft so she could take a peek.
But I couldn't do it, until I had to.
From Rush Limbaugh: Remember the people who made life on earth better.
From Rush Limbaugh: Failure and naivete. Statism, arrogance and missteps.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Wednesday Funnies :-)
President Obama's been reaching out to Iran, reaching out to Cuba, reaching out to Latin America. The only place he can't seem to be able to reach out to: Texas.
Despite Governor Rick Perry talking about how Texas could secede from the Union if it wanted to, 75 per cent of the people who live there want to stay in the United States. Of course they want to stay. I mean, after spending all that time and effort sneaking across the border to get here, why would they want to leave?
Amid much criticism, President Obama has released top-secret terror memos from the Bush administration. According to the memos, President Bush authorized various forms of torture, including waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and, of course, the fourth hour of the "Today" show.
It's being reported a congressional aide caught a staph infection at the congressional gym. If that's all you catch from a congressman, consider yourself lucky.
Did you even know there was a congressional gym? Have you seen your average congressman? Does Barney Frank look like he's been to the gym to you?
The National Security Agency briefed Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) “a few years ago” that they had wiretapped Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), Pelosi revealed Wednesday.
But Pelosi said she was not told what federal eavesdroppers picked up on the call — and never alerted Harman to it.
“It was not my position to raise it with Jane Harman,” Pelosi told reporters at the Christian Science Monitor lunch. “In fact, I didn’t even know if what they were talking about was real. All they said was that she was wiretapped.”
(Daily Mail) - A three-year-old girl waiting for vital heart surgery has had her operation cancelled three times in as many weeks because of a shortage of hospital beds.
Ella Cotterell was due to have an operation to widen her aorta artery in her heart on Monday at Bristol Children's Hospital, but her surgery was cancelled 48 hours before because all 15 beds in the intensive care unit were full.
Ella, of Bradley Stoke, Bristol, had open heart surgery when she was just nine days old and suffered a stroke at 18 months.
Her parents Ian Cotterell, 44, and Rachel Davis, 40, were told in October that she would need the operation within 12 to 18 months.
First, Perez Hilton called her a "dumb [expletive]" in a self-produced video on his Web site.
Then Tinsletown took to Twitter, as the likes of Shanna Moakler, Giuliana Rancic, Holly Madison and Heidi Montag Tweeted their outrage.
The vote was 156-149, said Sam Marshall, the general presbyter of the Salem Presbytery in Clemmons.
Salem Presbytery is one of five regional governing bodies for the Presbyterian Church USA in North Carolina.
SBI to investigate death of Stokes County inmate
James Trent Johnson, 45, of Walnut Cove, had been in jail since April 13, said Stokes County Sheriff's Capt. Al Tuttle.
According to court records, Johnson was facing numerous drug charges, including trafficking in opium or heroin.
Officers found Johnson unconscious about 4:20 yesterday when they made their rounds. He was taken to Stokes Reynolds Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
Johnson was not on a suicide watch, Tuttle said.
"He had some medical issues, and was being observed for that," Tuttle said, but he was not believed to be suicidal.
The State Bureau of Investigation will conduct an investigation of Johnson's death, which is standard procedure when an inmate dies, Tuttle said.
New West Stokes principal named
George, the current principal of Starmount High School in Yadkin County, will take over at West Stokes on July 1.
His job was one of several approved by the Stokes County Board of Education at its work session earlier this month, said Melisa Jessup, the executive director of human resources for the county's school system. George replaces Charles McAninch, who left in October to become principal at Meadowlark Middle School in Winston-Salem.
Also, David Hicks will be the new principal at Chestnut Grove Middle School. He replaces Todd Martin, who was name the director for middle schools for the school system. Hicks is currently the principal at Mount Olive Elementary School. Amy Nail will replace him.
Nicole Rose, an assistant principal at Francisco Elementary, will be the new principal at the school. She will replace Gerald Jones, who will be the assistant principal at West Stokes High School.
Karen Boles will be the new principal at Germanton Elementary School, and Brett Denney was named the new principal at London Elementary School.
Allegations of ethics violations by Democrats in recent months have not made the same splash that they did a few years ago when Republicans were on the receiving end.
(Fox News) - Allegations of ethics violations by a handful of Democrats in recent months reached something of a crescendo this week as two prominent members of Congress were accused of corruption.
California Rep. Jane Harman denied allegations that she offered to help seek reduced charges for two pro-Israel lobbyists suspected of espionage in exchange for help from a pro-Israel donor, also suspected Israeli agent, in lobbying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to give Harman a key chairmanship.
And California Sen. Dianne Feinstein denied that she devised legislation that helped her husband get a federal contract to sell foreclosed properties at compensation rates higher than the industry norms.
Serena Sutton-Smith, 54, burned to death after refusing to get out of her Vauxhall Nova as she sat with her foot flat on the accelerator. She spun the wheels so fast that her tires disintegrated and the metal rims sent a shower of sparks into the engine, igniting the brake fluid and setting the car on fire.
Appalled onlookers urged her to get out of the car as the flames licked around her but she told them to “F*** off”, an inquest in Gloucester was told.
Landmark ‘Four Corners’ Monument Turns Out to Be Geographically Way Off
"I'd probably go ask for my six dollars back."
Obama Opens Door to Prosecution of Bush Era Officials for Harsh Interrogation Tactics
(MSNBC) - President Barack Obama has said he does not support charging CIA agents and interrogators who took part in waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics, acting on advice from superiors that such practices were legal. But he also said that it is up to the attorney general whether to prosecute Bush administration lawyers who wrote the memos approving these tactics.
(The Raleigh News & Observer) - Mike Easley has recharged the battery and cranked up a new explanation of how that GMC Yukon wound up in the Easley family driveway.
The SUV wasn't on lease from a friendly auto dealership in Robeson County after all. Instead, it had done campaign duty for almost two years during the former Democratic governor's successful run for re-election in 2004 -- even though the campaign hadn't paid for the vehicle or use of it, and the dealership couldn't have donated it legally. And then, starting in 2005, it wound up in the hands of Easley's son the law student because, well, just because.
But it's all been straightened out now. As of this month, Easley has paid the dealer for the SUV (a 2000 model) itself. His campaign committee has paid for the vehicle's use during the gubernatorial campaign. The campaign has even paid the State Board of Elections nearly $3,000 in interest on the money that should have been paid to the dealership back when it should have been paid, instead of right after The N&O's J. Andrew Curliss started asking questions.
Obama’s Spending vs Obama’s Spending Cuts — in Pictures
Posted April 20th, 2009
According to reports, President Barack Obama plans to convene his Cabinet for the first time today, where he will order members to identify a combined $100 million in budget cuts over the next 90 days. Just how laughable is Obama’s latest stunt to try to maintain his “fiscal responsibility” credentials? This graphic from Heritage’s John Fleming might help:
First, we salute a group that's unmarked by history: the first coal miners in America -- farmers, selling it by the bushel. Their efforts grew into an industry that fuels America's energy needs. To the coal miners of America, past and present: Happy Earf Day.
Next: two little-known men -- Charles and Frank Duryea. On September 20, 1893 they constructed and tested the first gasoline-powered automobile. They were also the first to incorporate into an American automobile business. Now we travel the Earf in gas-powered cars; we owe these two a debt of gratitude.
Next we honor, this Earth Day, an inventor whose legacy has spread all over the Earf: Gordon Dancy. He invented the first high-density plastic grocery bag, which can handle up to 40 pounds of stuff. That singular invention has benefited our daily life on earth in multitudinous ways.
And, lastly, perhaps America's greatest inventor of all time: Thomas Edison, whose incredible inventions defined our modern world. Among them, the incandescent light bulb, so that we can see Earf at night. A hero to America and all of mankind. And on this Earth Day, we salute him and so many other capitalist inventors whose efforts have brought so much joy -- and progress -- to us, the inhabitants, of Mother Earf.
Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
• Kansas City Star: More mellow Earth Day still relevant
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Readings show Four Corners marker off by 2.5 miles
The only place in the United States where four state boundaries come together was first surveyed by the government in 1868 during the initial survey of Colorado's southern boundary. The survey was inaccurate.
Officials said Monday the accurate location lies to the east of U.S. 160 in Colorado and northeast of the San Juan River as it flows into New Mexico.
"That's my business," Murtha said. "I've been in it for 35 years."
As head of a powerful Defense committee, Murtha controls hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, reports CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson. And he's not shy about directing money to those who give generously to his election campaigns.
CBS News has learned that this month, Murtha is steering new earmarks toward 10 companies that recently donated to his campaign.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Taxpayers are increasingly exposed to losses and the government is more vulnerable to fraud under Obama administration initiatives that have created a federal bank bailout program of "unprecedented scope," a government report finds.
In a 250-page quarterly report to Congress, the rescue program's special inspector general concludes that a private-public partnership designed to rid financial institutions of their "toxic assets" is tilted in favor of private investors and creates "potential unfairness to the taxpayer."
The report, which examines the six-month old, $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, is scheduled for release Tuesday.
Mrs. Feinstein's intervention on behalf of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was unusual: the California Democrat isn't a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs with jurisdiction over FDIC; and the agency is supposed to operate from money it raises from bank-paid insurance payments - not direct federal dollars.
Documents reviewed by The Washington Times show Mrs. Feinstein first offered Oct. 30 to help the FDIC secure money for its effort to stem the rise of home foreclosures. Her letter was sent just days before the agency determined that CB Richard Ellis Group (CBRE) - the commercial real estate firm that her husband Richard Blum heads as board chairman - had won the competitive bidding for a contract to sell foreclosed properties that FDIC had inherited from failed banks.
Washington politics is a game and selfishness, out-sized egos and corruption are predictable.
But over the last week I find myself in a fury.
The cause of my upset is watching the key civil rights issue of this generation — improving big city public school education — get tossed overboard by political gamesmanship. If there is one goal that deserves to be held above day-to-day partisanship and pettiness of ordinary politics it is the effort to end the scandalous poor level of academic achievement and abysmally high drop-out rates for America’s black and Hispanic students.
Sources: Congresswoman Caught on Wiretap Brokering Deal with Suspected Israeli Agent
(CQ Politics) - Rep. Jane Harman , the California Democrat with a longtime involvement in intelligence issues, was overheard on an NSA wiretap telling a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department reduce espionage-related charges against two officials of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the most powerful pro-Israel organization in Washington. Harman was recorded saying she would "waddle into" the AIPAC case "if you think it'll make a difference," according to two former senior national security officials familiar with the NSA transcript. In exchange for Harman's help, the sources said, the suspected Israeli agent pledged to help lobby Nancy Pelosi , D-Calif., then-House minority leader, to appoint Harman chair of the Intelligence Committee after the 2006 elections, which the Democrats were heavily favored to win.
"I'm not sure if it's good to have freedom or not," he said. "I'm gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled," or "we'll just do what we want." He said having freedoms in Hong Kong and Taiwan has made both of those societies "chaotic." The reaction was swift: Hong Kong and Taiwan leaders condemned his remarks.
I bring this up not to pick apart an actor, but his comments do echo the ideological struggle taking place right here in America. Our own government is in the hands of those who believe that virtually every aspect of our lives needs to be "controlled." Government officials believe they can choose winners and losers better than the free market can. Our financial institutions, auto, housing, healthcare, and energy sectors are all facing increasing government control -- because allowing failed banks to close, or foreclosures to be expedited, would be too "chaotic". So government -- not the marketplace -- is to be trusted, according to this view... even though government's "good-management" track record is: zip, zero, nada.
The ultimate result: diminished liberty for everybody. It is not an exaggeration to say that the very notion of freedom is under assault in some quarters of our society. Not only is freedom worth defending, it has to be defended and fought for... if America is to remain the last, best hope for mankind.
Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
• AP: Jackie Chan's China Comments Prompt Backlash
Monday, April 20, 2009
Remembering the Gipper...
"The choice before us is clear. I strongly feel that the great majority of Americans believe that nothing would better encourage economic growth than leaving more money in the hands of the people who earn it. It's time to stop stripping bare the productive citizens of America and funneling their hard-earned income into the Federal bureaucracy. ... Americans have always been prepared to pay their fair share, but today they should make it clear to all elected officials that government has gone beyond its bounds and that the people will not tolerate [an] ever-increasing tax burden."
The Dash will play at old Ernie Shore through June 17
The Dash home opener against the Wilmington Blue Rocks is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at Gene Hooks Field at Wake Forest Baseball Park. The city of Winston-Salem sold the field to Wake Forest University after the 2008 minor league season.
The Dash, owned by local entrepreneur Billy Prim, were supposed to start the 2009 season in a new ballpark downtown; negotiations between Prim and his former business partner, Andrew "Flip" Filipowski, have stalled construction. In making the announcement, the Dash did not promise to open the new stadium at that time.
President Obama plans to convene his Cabinet for the first time today, where he will order members to identify a combined $100 million in budget cuts over the next 90 days, according to a senior administration official.
The budget cuts, while they would account to a minuscule portion of federal spending, are intended to signal the president’s determination to cut spending and reform government, the official said.
Obama’s order comes as he is under increasing pressure to show momentum toward his goal of eventually reducing the federal deficit, even as he goes about increasing spending in the short run to prop up the economy and support his priorities.
Earlier this month, both chambers of Congress passed Obama’s $3.5 trillion budget outline for 2010, which includes unprecedented new investments in health care, education and energy. But the huge budget, which contemplates a $1.2 trillion deficit, has drawn the ire of small-government conservatives who say that the deficits jeopardize the nation’s economic future.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Sunday portrayed veterans as victims – not perpetrators – of right-wing extremism as she sought to combat the political controversy arising out of an April 14 Homeland Security memo warning that returning soldiers could be ripe for domestic terrorism participation.
“The report is not saying that veterans are extremists. Far from it,” Napolitano said on CNN’s State of the Union. “What it is saying is returning veterans are targets of right-wing extremist groups that are trying to recruit those to commit violent acts within the country. We want to do all we can to prevent that.”
Quote of the Day...
"When capitalism screws up, you get more government. But when government screws up, you don't get more capitalism. You get more government."
Friday, April 17, 2009
Obama, Venezuela's Chavez shake hands at summit
PORT OF SPAIN, April 17 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday greeted and shook hands with Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez during an impromptu meeting with the anti-U.S. leader at the Summit of the Americas.
Photographs released by the Venezuelan government showed Chavez, a fierce foe of former President George W. Bush, smiling and clasping hands with Obama at the start of the summit of Latin American and Caribbean leaders in Trinidad.
"I greeted Bush with this hand eight years ago; I want to be your friend," Chavez told Obama, according to a Venezuelan presidential press office statement.
Chavez, a staunch ally of Cuba, had became one of the Bush's administrations most strident critics. In March, he called Obama at best an "ignoramus" after the U.S. leader said Chavez obstructed progress in Latin America.
Ties between Washington and Caracas have frayed under Chavez, who often accuses U.S. officials of trying to topple him. Chavez expelled the U.S. envoy to Caracas in September in a dispute over U.S. activities in Venezuelan ally Bolivia.
Former soldier Chavez says socialist revolution can counter U.S. free-market policies in South America and he has become a standard-bearer for anti-U.S. sentiment in the region. But Washington has branded him a threat to regional stability. (Reporting by Patrick Markey; Editing by Eric Walsh)
Parents Call Foul Over Fast Food Ads That Use Sex to Sell Burgers
Chris Wallace Calls NYT on Carpet for Lead Story’s ‘Egregious’ Liberal Media Bias
"I've got to give you one today that I think is one of the most egregious examples of media - liberal media bias that I have ever seen."
WASHINGTON (Fox News) - President Barack Obama absolved CIA officers from prosecution for harsh, painful interrogation of terror suspects Thursday, even as his administration released Bush-era memos graphically detailing -- and authorizing -- such grim tactics as slamming detainees against walls, waterboarding them and keeping them naked and cold for long periods.
Human rights groups and many Obama officials have condemned such methods as torture. Bush officials have vigorously disagreed.
In releasing the documents, the most comprehensive accounting yet of interrogation methods that were among the Bush administrations most closely guarded secrets, Obama said he wanted to move beyond "a dark and painful chapter in our history."
A study conducted by UC Berkeley "Professor of Organizational Behavior" Jennifer Chatman found that job seekers who suck up are 20 percent more likely to land the job. Prof. Chatman also notes that underlings are less candid. They're more likely to lavish praise on their bosses -- even if their bosses are idiots who make stupid decisions. Employees also avoid bearing bad news. Ms. Chatman warns: "It can be bad for business" if the "yea-sayers" are kept around.
Other experts aren't so hard on the suck-ups. Frances Cole Jones, a professional coach and author, says: "It's nothing to be ashamed of. In tough times," she advises workers to "go to work early, stay late, attend meetings, and volunteer for extra work. In times like these, the smart thing to do is to 'suck up.'"
So, folks, the choice is yours. You're the one who has to live with yourself if you brown-nose the boss. But I just find it ironic that when Democrats are in the White House -- whether it's Bill Clinton with Monica, or Obama -- the only way for some people to get ahead is to "suck up"... which is a sad state of affairs. (I guess for some.)
Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
• Reuters: Workers "Sucking Up" Bad for Business -- Experts
Thursday, April 16, 2009
(Fox News) - For thousands of Americans, Tax Day was a moment to protest what they see as bloated budgets and a pile of debt being passed on to their children.
For CNN, MSNBC and other media outlets, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to use the word "teabagging" in a sentence.
Teabagging, for those who don't live in a frat house, refers to a sexual act involving part of the male genitalia and a second person's face or mouth.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the “IHS” monogram that had previously adorned the stage at Georgetown’s Gaston Hall was still covered up--when the pediment where it had appeared was photographed by CNSNews.com.
“In coordinating the logistical arrangements for yesterday’s event, Georgetown honored the White House staff’s request to cover all of the Georgetown University signage and symbols behind Gaston Hall stage,” Julie Green Bataille, associate vice president for communications at Georgetown, told CNSNews.com.