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.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
That's how one longtime friend and campaign trail companion of John McCain, the vanquished 2008 GOP presidential nominee, described veep nominee Sarah Palin.
In an expansive story in the August edition of Vanity Fair, a slew of senior members of McCain's campaign team told reporter Todd S. Purdum that they suffer a kind of survivor's guilt following the 2008 presidential election.
(StarTribune.com) - The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled today that Democrat Al Franken won the U.S. Senate election and said he was entitled to an election certificate that would lead to him being seated in the Senate.
"Affirmed," wrote the Supreme Court, unanimously rejecting Republican Norm Coleman's claims that inconsistent practices by local elections officials and wrong decisions by a lower court had denied him victory.
"Al Franken received the highest number of votes legally cast and is entitled [under Minnesota law] to receive the certificate of election as United States Senator from the State of Minnesota," the court wrote.
If President Obama's plan is approved, private insurance will likely disappear because few companies will be willing to pay huge health care costs for similar coverage offered by the government.
Thus, the number of Americans who for one reason or another lack health insurance, is actually 35.9 million--or "almost" 36 million--not the "almost" 50 million being repeatedly cited.
According to “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States,” a Census Bureau report published in August 2008, there were 45.65 million people in the United States who did not have health insurance in 2007, the latest year for which figures are available--and 9.7 million of those uninsured persons were not U.S. citizens.
(The Raleigh News & Observer) - Former first lady Mary Easley's hiring left a trail of dethroned N.C. State officials, but she has notified the university that she doesn't plan to join them.
Easley indicated in a letter delivered to the university Monday that she will appeal her firing earlier this month. Her attorney, Marvin Schiller, declined to comment further.
In the letter, he wrote that Easley plans to file a formal grievance through NCSU related both to her termination and "with respect to any severance, notice or hearing which she may be due under NCSU's policies, regulations and rules."
RALEIGH (Winston-Salem Journal) — North Carolina would waste taxpayers' money if it signs on to federal plans for high-speed rail service. That's the conclusion of a new John Locke Foundation Policy Report.
"The average North Carolinian will take a round trip on a high-speed train only once every 27 years," said report author Randal O'Toole, senior fellow at the Cato Institute. "That's certainly not worth the cost of pursuing high-speed rail service for this state. The administration's proposed high-speed rail plan will cost $1,000 for every federal income taxpayer, yet the average American would rarely or never ride high-speed trains."
President Obama persuaded Congress to devote $8 billion of federal stimulus funds to high-speed rail projects across the country, O'Toole said. The federal government will accept proposals from the states to build some of the 8,500 route-miles of high-speed rail identified by the Federal Railroad Administration.
AP NewsBreak: SC gov admits additional liaisons
In a lengthy, emotional interview with The Associated Press, the governor described seven meetings with the woman, including their first in 2001. Sanford says there have been five over a 12-month period, including two multi-night stays with her in New York.
It was the first disclosure of any get-togethers with her in the United States and contradicted a public confession last week during which he admitted to a total of four encounters in the past year.
He previously announced he would reimburse the state for money spent during a government trip to Brazil and Argentina in June 2008. But he insists no public money was used for any other meetings with her.
Granted, South Carolina's Gov. Mark Sanford may be too busy to wonder, given that he's trying to simultaneously save his job, his political future and, apparently, his marriage.
But to some, one of the most fascinating aspects of our nation's latest ritual public apology from a straying politician is that Sanford, unlike many straying politicians before him, seems to really be in love with the object of the straying.
From Rush Limbaugh: What's hidden in this bill is a total abomination.
From Rush Limbaugh: Another case reversal exposes judge's true character.
On American land and coastlines lie vast deposits of coal, natural gas, and oil. Since colonial times, Americans innovators have used our resources to advance our prosperity. They've pioneered ways to efficiently produce that energy. But for decades, liberals have thwarted us from using our own abundant natural resources, making us dependent on nations that now use their wealth to threaten us. Liberals have demonized our own energy producers and have even blamed us for being greedy consumers. Now they are exacting their punishment.
These liberal legislators, 89 of them from five states – California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York – are using fraudulent science as justification to destroy American jobs and impose prosperity-killing tax increases on everybody.
Sadly, eight Republicans signed on with liberal Democrats to force this scheme down our throats: California's Mary Bono; Delaware's Michael Castle; Mark Kirk of Illinois; Leonard Lance, Frank LoBiondo, and Christopher Smith of New Jersey; New York's John McHugh; and David Reichert of Washington. Hopefully voters will visit upon each what is due. Meanwhile, either the Senate kills this measure or our prosperity has been burried.
Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
• Human Events: The Eight Republican Cap and Traitors
Monday, June 29, 2009
Remembering the Gipper...
"The Founding Fathers established a system which meant a radical break from that which preceded it. A written constitution would provide a permanent form of government, limited in scope, but effective in providing both liberty and order. Government was not to be a matter of self-appointed rulers, governing by whim or harsh ideology. It was not to be government by the strongest or for the few. Our principles were revolutionary. We began as a small, weak republic. But we survived. Our example inspired others, imperfectly at times, but it inspired them nevertheless. This constitutional republic, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal, prospered and grew strong. To this day, America is still the abiding alternative to tyranny. That is our purpose in the world -- nothing more and nothing less."
Autopsy Shows Billy Mays Had No Head Trauma
Billy had admitted to suffering a blow to the head when the front tires of US Airways Flight 1421 blew upon landing -- but the doc said he found "no signs of internal or external head trauma."
Dr. Chrostowski said Billy most likely died from complications due to heart disease. He said the autopsy showed "hypertensive and arteriosclerotic disease of the heart" -- which is known to cause sudden death.
The doc said Billy -- who was scheduled to have his third hip replacement surgery today -- had prescriptions for tramadol and hydrocodone, but said Mays had no history of drug abuse and "the counts of remaining medication are correct."
The doc will announce the official cause of death once all test results are in.
Report: EPA Suppressed Report Skeptical of Global Warming
(CBS News) - Less than two weeks before the agency formally submitted its pro-regulation recommendation to the White House, an EPA center director quashed a 98-page report that warned against making hasty "decisions based on a scientific hypothesis that does not appear to explain most of the available data."
The 'cruel and bizarre' restrictions were put in place by NHS managers in North Yorkshire struggling to deal with a huge deficit at their health trust.
It could mean women with severe fertility problems to wait years for one cycle of IVF treatment.
Former Edwards aide Andrew Young says the ex-senator and his former mistress, Rielle Hunter, once made a sex tape, according to someone who has seen Young’s book proposal.
St. Martin’s Press just inked a deal with Young, who also says in his proposal that, contrary to his public statement last year, he is not the father of Hunter’s infant daughter — Edwards is. Edwards has denied that.
Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) said that he supported the bill the House was considering (and subsequently approved Friday evening by a narrow 219-212 vote), but he had not read the whole bill.
“You’d have to have hours and hours and hours to be able to do all that, but we’re well aware of the main items,” Rep. Abercrombie told CNSNews.com.
But the liberal member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus also said he was skeptical about “how it works out in practice.”
“Well, I think the overall goals of the bills need to be supported,” he added. “How it works out in practice, of course, is something else.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) has also declined to commit to giving the public a week to read and consider the final health-care bill.
At her press briefing on Thursday, Pelosi was asked whether the health-care bill would be handled differently than the stimulus bill, which came up in February. The 1,071-page final text of that bill was posted on the House Appropriations Committee’s Web site late on a Thursday night and then voted on the next day.
Barring a major blow-up, North Carolina will operate off a temporary spending plan for some time, allowing agencies to maintain basic services but making none of the changes needed to ensure the state doesn’t fall into deficit next year.
The so-called continuing resolution will instruct agencies to hold back on automatic pay raises and other increases, allowing them to operate at 85 percent of last year’s budget. That measure is still pending in the House, where lawmakers want to give themselves two weeks to finish their work. Senate budget writers would prefer an indefinite time frame.
RALEIGH (Winston-Salem Journal) - So far, none of North Carolina's big-name Democrats seems to want to run next year against Sen. Richard Burr.
Even as Burr has already begun preparations for what could be a tough re-election fight, his most likely challengers are two dark-horse candidates, both lawyers with little political experience and even less statewide name recognition.
In that regard, it's not much different than what happened in the 2008 U.S. Senate race, when top Democrats declined to run against incumbent Republican Elizabeth Dole. State Sen. Kay Hagan was persuaded to run and wound up defeating Dole.
Examiners conducted a preliminary autopsy Monday on Mays, the man with the booming voice famous for fronting products such as OxiClean and Orange Glo in TV commercials.
The pitchman was pronounced dead at his home near Tampa, Florida, Sunday morning, after his wife, Deborah, found him unresponsive, Tampa police said.
He was 50.
He had told a friend before he went to sleep Saturday he was not feeling well.
"He said he was groggy, he wasn't feeling that great. He wanted to get some sleep," Todd Schnitt said.
RALEIGH (The Raleigh News & Observer) - Nearly six months after taking office, Gov. Beverly Perdue's political honeymoon is over.
Perdue has been politically whipsawed from the left and the right. Teachers, state employees and advocates for the poor have taken to the streets, upset about state budget cuts and furloughs. Conservatives, outraged over her proposal to raise taxes by $1.5 billion, have taken up protest signs.
Their anger has taken a toll on Perdue, to the point that she is now among the nation's most unpopular governors.
Ponzi Mastermind Madoff Sentenced to 150 Years for Fraud
(AP) - Bernard Madoff has been sentenced to the maximum 150 years in prison for his multibillion-dollar fraud scheme. U.S. District Judge Denny Chin handed down the sentence in New York on Monday. Defense attorneys had sought 12 years, while prosecutors wanted the maximum. The federal probation department had recommended 50 years. Chin called the fraud "staggering" and noted that it spanned more than 20 years. He says "the breach of trust was massive."
Court Overturns Sotomayor: 5-4 Ruling in Favor of White Firefighters in Reverse Discrimination Case
(Breitbart.com) - The Supreme Court has ruled that white firefighters in New Haven, Conn., were unfairly denied promotions because of their race, reversing a decision that high court nominee Sonia Sotomayor endorsed as an appeals court judge.
WASHINGTON (Winston-Salem Journal) - The White House left open the possibility yesterday that President Obama might pay for his health-care overhaul by taxing employer-provided health insurance even though he had campaigned on not raising taxes on middle-class families.
David Axelrod, White House adviser, said that the administration wouldn't rule out taxing some employees' benefits to pay for a health-care agenda that has yet to take final form. The move would be a compromise with fellow Democrats, who are pushing the proposal as a way to pay for the massive undertaking without ballooning the federal deficit.
"There are a number of formulations and we'll wait and see. The important thing at this point is to keep the process moving, to keep people at the table, to the keep the discussions going," Axelrod said. "We've gotten a long way down the road and we want to finish that journey."
RALEIGH (By David N. Bass, Carolina Journal Online) - As jailed former state House Speaker Jim Black mounts a campaign for early release from federal prison, critics contend that the state justice system did favors for Black regarding the settlement of his $1 million fine in a corruption and bribery scheme.
Black was given two years (and offered two extensions) before paying the fine; he was allowed to do so in $500,000 installments. And even though the Matthews Democrat owned more than a dozen parcels of real estate, including prime commercial properties and several lots with homes at Lake Norman, he was not required to sell or take out mortgages on any of them to satisfy the final half of the fine.
Instead, prosecutors and the court let Black pay the second installment by surrendering two parcels of undeveloped land in a Matthews subdivision that was most recently valued for tax purposes at about 30 percent of the value of his outstanding debt.
Final Interview: Billy Mays Talks to Tampa TV Reporter After Rough Landing
“I just came from the Conan O'Brien show, just did an Oxyclean commercial up in Philly. On my way back home to have surgery on my hip on Monday. If that's the toughest part of it, I'm good."
Harrowing leaked autopsy details show the singer was a virtual skeleton — barely eating and with only pills in his stomach at the time he died.
His hips, thighs and shoulders were riddled with needle wounds — believed to be the result of injections of narcotic painkillers, given three times a day for years.
And a mass of surgery scars were thought to be the legacy of at least 13 cosmetic operations.
(By George Will, The Washington Post) - "In the beginning," says a character in a Peter De Vries novel, "the earth was without form and void. Why didn't they leave well enough alone?" When Washington is finished improving health care, Americans may be asking the same thing. Certainly the debate will compel them to think more clearly about this subject.
Most Americans do want different health care: They want 2009 medicine at 1960 prices. Americans spent much less on health care in 1960 (5 percent of gross domestic product as opposed to 18 percent now). They also spent much less -- nothing, in fact -- on computers, cellphones, and cable and satellite television.
Your next car can cost less if you forgo GPS, satellite radio, antilock brakes, power steering, power windows and air conditioning. You can shop for such a car at your local Studebaker, Hudson, Nash, Packard and DeSoto dealers.
This week, a jury found the California Department of Transportation liable for over $6 million in damages because they "knew" the road was hazardous. The money will be paid to the parents of those killed and injured. Meanwhile, the 17-year-old who caused this tragedy pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter in juvenile court and served no jail time. California, though broke, won't appeal the verdict. Leaving taxpayers on the hook.
Does the word "responsible" mean anything, anymore?
Second item. Officials at the University of California in Santa Barbara gave a sociology professor a pass for an e-mail he sent to students. The e-mail juxtaposed graphic images from the Nazi Holocaust with recent images from Israel defending itself from Gaza. The professor, William I. Robinson, teaches a course called the "Sociology of Globalization." Despite university policies barring professors from using campus resources for their own political agendas, school administrators found nothing wrong with the professor's actions.
And, sadly, they have an excuse. If the President of the United States can draw the same repugnant moral equivalences in a speech from Cairo, who's to stop a lowly, little, meager repugnant professor in Santa Barbara?
Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
• AP: Calif. Must Pay $6.3M Over Crash on Rolling Road
• LA Times: UC Santa Barbara Professor Cleared of Improper Conduct
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Mays, 50, was found unresponsive by his wife inside his Tampa, Fla., home at 7:45 a.m. on Sunday, according to the Tampa Police Department.
Police said there were no signs of forced entry to Mays' residence and foul play is not suspected. Authorities said an autopsy should be complete by Monday afternoon.
Friday, June 26, 2009
The person, who was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity, said Jackson suffered a heart attack, which is a blocking of the arteries that deprives the heart of adequate blood. That can lead to cardiac arrest, an interruption of the normal heartbeat.
Jackson's brother Jermaine said Thursday that it was believed the pop singer went into cardiac arrest. The Los Angeles County coroner's office, which completed its autopsy Friday, said determining the cause of death will require further tests that will take six to eight weeks.
Weiner: Ahmadinejad and Saudis want the same as the GOP
Weiner said that Republicans' opposition to the climate change bill scheduled for a vote this afternoon benefits the oil-rich companies, which have been accused of funneling some of that money to terrorist groups.
"Ahmadinejad, the Saudi Kingdom — they want exactly what my Republican friends are advocating," Weiner said on the floor during the debate ahead of this afternoon's vote.
"We can't come to the floor and say I'm outraged at what's going on in Iran…and then come to the floor and continue the policies that are paying for them!" Weiner added.
The New York lawmaker, once a prospective candidate for mayor of New York City, praised Democratic colleagues for acting on climate change.
The person who makes the call says Jackson was not breathing and unconscious. Jackson was not responding to CPR. The caller says the doctor on scene -- Dr. Conrad Murray -- was the only witness -- "The doctor has been the only one here."
Cap and Trade: Will It Save the Earth?
(The Heritage Foundation) - A focus group lets us know what they think about global warming and cap and trade policy proposals that reduce emissions. Heritage analysts point out some key misconceptions that might change their minds about this massive new energy tax.
He was a world-renowned superstar, but there are parts of his life that hardly merit words of tribute from an American President.
In 2005, Jackson was put on trial on charges he molested a 13-year old boy. He was acquitted.
But there were other allegations of improper conduct and strange behavior by the so-called King of Pop.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, the chief congressional advocate of taxing some employer-provided benefits to help pay for a $1 trillion overhaul of the U.S. health system, says any change should exempt perks secured in existing collective-bargaining agreements, which can be in place for as long as five years.
The exception, which could make the proposal more politically palatable to Democrats from heavily unionized states such as Michigan, is adding controversy to an already contentious debate. It would shield the 12.4 percent of American workers who belong to unions from being taxed while exposing some other middle-income workers to the levy.
(By KIMBERLEY A. STRASSEL, The Wall Street Journal) - Steve Fielding recently asked the Obama administration to reassure him on the science of man-made global warming. When the administration proved unhelpful, Mr. Fielding decided to vote against climate-change legislation.
If you haven't heard of this politician, it's because he's a member of the Australian Senate. As the U.S. House of Representatives prepares to pass a climate-change bill, the Australian Parliament is preparing to kill its own country's carbon-emissions scheme. Why? A growing number of Australian politicians, scientists and citizens once again doubt the science of human-caused global warming.
Among the many reasons President Barack Obama and the Democratic majority are so intent on quickly jamming a cap-and-trade system through Congress is because the global warming tide is again shifting. It turns out Al Gore and the United Nations (with an assist from the media), did a little too vociferous a job smearing anyone who disagreed with them as "deniers." The backlash has brought the scientific debate roaring back to life in Australia, Europe, Japan and even, if less reported, the U.S.
But after two of the same dramas within two weeks, it’s fair to ask: Does the casting ever change? Are female politicians really that much more faithful — or are they just not getting caught?
“We don’t have any data that women are more honest and pure when it comes to this sort of stuff,” said Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. “But we certainly have evidence that we just don’t see women falling prey to [public disclosure of affairs] in the same way that men have been.”
Specifically, President Obama opposes the inclusion of $369 million in the bill for more F-22 fighter jets and $603 million for development and procurement of the alternative engine program for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program.
If the final bill presented to the president contains either of those provision, a White House statement released Wednesday threatened, "the president's senior advisors would recommend a veto."
What if Government Ran Health Care? (Sprint Ad Remix)
(Reason TV) - As the debate over health care reform gets underway, Reason.tv asks, What if government ran health care?
For your Joe Biden Gaffe files: Washington. Mandarin Oriental Hotel. LGBT fundraiser. Hauled in about $1 mill. 33% better than last year with Michelle Obama. …
Biden also praised Tim Kaine as the “great governor of New Jersey.”
One problem: Tim Kaine’s not governor of New Jersey.
Jon Corzine is governor of New Jersey (Remember, he didn’t wear his seatbelt in the state patrol car for the big high-speed crash).
Tim Kaine is governor of another state, called Virginia.
He’s also chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
She faces up to 5 years in prison
(Freep.com) - Detroit City Council President Pro Tem Monica Conyers pleaded guilty this morning to conspiring to commit bribery and is free on personal bond.
U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn said, "The defendant now stands convicted."
The one count of conspiring to commit bribery is punishable by up to five years in prison.
No sentencing date has been set.
Conyers, the wife of powerful Democratic congressman U.S. Rep. John Conyers, appeared before Cohn to answer charges in connection with the wide-ranging probe of wrongdoing at Detroit city hall.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (Winston-Salem Journal) - A day after his stunning confession that he cheated on his wife with a woman in Argentina, a chastened Gov. Mark Sanford sought to do damage control yesterday at home with his family while many politicians urged the South Carolina leader to resign.
Fellow Republicans issued sharp calls for the disgraced Sanford to step down -- a move that he indicated he was not considering.
Glenn McCall, a local representative to the Republican National Committee, said that the GOP "can recover from this if we hold him accountable and the governor does the right thing and resigns for the sake of the party."
Jackson Family -- Demerol Shot Caused Death
Family members are saying the dosage was "too much" and that's what caused his death.
But McKalip, who happens to be a St. Petersburg, Fla.-based neurosurgeon, predicts an eventual mass exodus of doctors out of medicine if Congress passes a health-care reform bill that contains a mandatory government insurance option.
“I think you’ll see an incremental change where doctors will be squeezed so hard, they will simply start migrating out of medicine,” McKalip said at a unique virtual town meeting broadcast on the Internet Thursday evening.
Obama Suggests Health-care Reform Will Mean Rationing for Some, but Admits He Would Pay Out-of-Pocket for His Own Family
During the 90-minute question-and-answer session, which hosts Diane Sawyer and Charlie Gibson said was attended by 164 people “on the front lines of health care in America,” epilepsy specialist Dr. Orrin Devinsky asked the president one of a few challenging questions.
Devinsky asked: “If a national health plan was approved and your family participated, and, President Obama, if your wife or your daughter became seriously ill, and things were not going well, and the plan physicians told you they were doing everything that reasonably could be done, and you sought out opinions from some medical leaders and major centers, and they said there's another option that you should -- should pursue, but it was not covered in the plan, would you potentially sacrifice the health of your family for the greater good of insuring millions? Or would you do everything you possibly could as a father and husband to get the best health care and outcome for your family?”
Obama didn’t answer directly, saying that “(I)f it's my family member, my wife, if it's my children, if it's my grandmother, I always want them to get the very best care.”
Harry Reid Confesses He Didn't Have a 'Lot of Time' to Read Stimulus Bill--But Won't Commit to Giving Public a Week to Read Health-Care Bill Before Se
Reid confessed at his Thursday news briefing that he did not have “a lot of time” to read the 1,071-page stimulus bill before voting on it in February.
He was unapologetic, however, about the way Congress rushed that bill through before it could be reviewed by senators and the public, and declined to commit to giving senators and the public at least a week to read the final version of health-care reform bill before calling a vote on it.
Right Pundit Attempts to Read 1200-Page Cap-and-Trade Bill Before Friday’s Vote
"Because your representatives don't find it important to read the bills they vote on, I'm going to give the cap-and-trade bill a try myself. I'm posting my reading here (for as long as I can last), so they're welcome to watch in lieu of reading it themselves. Ha, what are the chances? The bill is 1,200 pages long, 300 of which were added in private deals, without the benefit of public hearings. And, it's not even available in its final form, which will emerge near the vote on Friday, and we'll likely never see it until it's passed," says Mary Katharine Ham.
Next day, Democrat Senate leader Dingy Harry Reid announced that Democrats have enough votes to pass an immigration bill. New York Senator "Chuck You" Schumer – whose subcommittee handles immigration – declared: "All the fundamental building blocks are in place to pass comprehensive reform this session, and possibly later this year." He said "President Obama's leadership will be the critical difference" in getting it "over the hump."
So this year – in addition to taking over the auto industry, controlling Wall Street, putting us trillions of dollars in debt, paying off big labor, rolling out billions of new taxes with a "cap-and-trade" energy bill, attempting to take over the heath care industry – and with unemployment still skyrocketing – Democrats are going for "comprehensive immigration reform."
You want to hazard a guess what Democrat mean when they say "comprehensive immigration reform"? No matter how you dress it up, strip it down, or throw it around, it means only one thing. Amnesty – for illegal immigrants...who represent a voting block that Democrats want to cement as their own for generations to come.
The speed at which this Party is trying to destroy our private sector, our institutions, and our freedoms is breathtaking. Is this really what you want...to succeed?
Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
• McClatchy Newspapers: Obama, Congress Prepare to Take Up Immigration Overhaul
Thursday, June 25, 2009
(U.K. Sun) - PARAMEDICS dashed to dying Michael Jackson’s side after a panic-stricken phone call from the superstar’s Los Angeles home.
The dramatic call was made by a member of staff last night at just after 8pm UK time.
Fire Department medics responded to the alert and arrived to find the 50-year-old singer collapsed and not breathing. He had suffered a cardiac arrest.
Ad Slams 1,092-Page ‘Cap and Trade’ Legislation That Would Create $846B in Higher Taxes
(The New American) - Tomorrow, Congress is voting on the 1,092-page American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454) to restrict carbon-dioxide emissions in order to fight global warming. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the measure, which is also known as "cap-and-trade" legislation, would create $846 billion in higher taxes and increase federal “direct spending by about $821 billion.” In addition to the direct tax implications, the bill's extensive new “cap-and-trade” regulations could skyrocket all Americans’ utility bills and create massive job losses. This legislation, which would give a double-hit to the wallets of consumers, is strongly backed by President Barack Obama.
(Fox News) - Farrah Fawcett, the multiple Golden Globe and Emmy-nominated American actress best known for her role as the vivacious Jill Munroe in the 1970s television series “Charlie’s Angels,” died in a Santa Monica hospital. She was 62.
Fawcett was diagnosed with anal cancer in September 2006 and, despite going into remission and enduring extensive chemotherapy and surgery both in the U.S. and Germany, it was revealed earlier this year that the cancer had spread to her liver. She stopped receiving treatment in May.
Senior senators said Wednesday the benefits tax could be essential for the complex plan to be fully financed.
"I don't want to prejudge what they're doing," Obama said, referring to proposals in the Senate to tax workers who get expensive insurance policies. Obama, who campaigned against the tax when he ran for president, drew a quick rebuff from organized labor.
Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer said Thursday the governor was with his family at their beach home on Sullivans Island. First lady Jenny Sanford and the couple's four sons have been staying at the house.
The first lady was not with the governor when he admitted at a news conference Wednesday that he had been in Argentina during his unexplained absence from the state. Both have said they plan to try to reconcile.
Sawyer says Sanford has spent the last two days touching base with other elected officials and has personally apologized to his staff.
Thanks to an extensive juggling effort on the part of Superintendent of Stokes County Schools Dr. Stewart Hobbs and his staff, that number should decrease.
At a joint meeting between the Stokes County Board of Education and the Stokes County Board of Commissioners on Monday afternoon, Hobbs announced that the actual number of positions would probably be somewhere between 15-29. Teaching assistant positions were another story, however. An estimated 29 of those may be gone in the upcoming school year.
Built in 1923 in honor of Nancy Jane Cox Reynolds, the school has educated many of Westfield and Danbury’s residents. However, a recent Stokes County Board of Education decision mandated the destruction of the old school and its replacement with a replica.
Years of use crippled the foundation of the school, and while the new building, expected to open by at least the 2011-2012 school year, will look the same on the outside, upgrades on the interior will enhance its educational potential.
Press Leak: Monkey Urinates on Zambian President During News Conference
"You have urinated on my jacket!"
DETROIT (Winston-Salem Journal) - For anyone who grew up around cars, it's a well-known rule that you must change your oil every 3,000 miles.
But automakers say that oils and engines have improved so much in recent years that you can safely go far longer between changes. Still, the mileage between changes remains controversial.
(Winston-Salem Journal) - Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines said he intends to return a $1,000 campaign contribution given to him in 2005 by Billy Prim, the owner of the city's minor-league baseball team.
Joines has been a vocal supporter of Prim's plans to build a new, $40.7 million ballpark for the Winston-Salem Dash near the city's downtown, continuously encouraging the city council to approve funding for construction. The council voted unanimously last week to contribute another $15.7 in additional financial help to build the stadium. The city initially gave $12 million in 2007 to build the ballpark.
Prim also gave smaller donations to two members of the council, Dan Besse and Vivian Burke.
He would be sitting there far from the headlines serving out the remainder of a sentence scheduled to keep him behind prison walls until 2012 save one thing -- a campaign to either have Black, 74, moved to a prison closer to home, or cut loose altogether under a compassionate early-release program. More than 150 Black supporters -- including former Gov. Jim Martin -- have written to federal officials seeking mercy. According to his lawyers, Black tried to help the government with its investigation of corruption in North Carolina, and thus deserves some consideration. Plus, his health is failing and his wife is suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's disease.
As sad as that may be -- Black's wife didn't make any of this mess -- there is someone else that the feds ought to consider before Black: Mike Decker, the former state representative from Walkertown whose actual cooperation helped take the speaker down.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., made the announcement Thursday. Of the five congressional committees working on President Barack Obama's top legislative priority, Finance has the best chance of producing a bipartisan bill.
Baucus said the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office confirmed the $1 trillion cost over 10 years.
Obama's goal is to reduce costs and provide coverage to nearly 50 million uninsured Americans.
Obama Won’t Pledge to Keep Family on Public Health Plan if They Become Sick
(ABC News) - Dr. Orrin Devinsky asked the president pointedly if he would be willing to promise that he wouldn’t seek such extraordinary help for his wife or daughters if they became sick and the public plan he’s proposing limited the tests or treatment they can get.
The president refused to make such a pledge, though he allowed that if “it’s my family member, if it’s my wife, if it’s my children, if it’s my grandmother, I always want them to get the very best care."
That's the incentive behind College Bound Sisters, a program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro that aims to keep 12- to 18-year-old girls in school and baby-free.
Girls in the program attend 90-minute meetings every week at which they receive lessons in abstinence and the use of contraceptives — and they receive $7 every week they do not get pregnant. The money is deposited into a fund that's collectible when they enroll in college.
(The Wall Street Journal) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has put cap-and-trade legislation on a forced march through the House, and the bill may get a full vote as early as Friday. It looks as if the Democrats will have to destroy the discipline of economics to get it done.
Despite House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman's many payoffs to Members, rural and Blue Dog Democrats remain wary of voting for a bill that will impose crushing costs on their home-district businesses and consumers. The leadership's solution to this problem is to simply claim the bill defies the laws of economics.
Their gambit got a boost this week, when the Congressional Budget Office did an analysis of what has come to be known as the Waxman-Markey bill. According to the CBO, the climate legislation would cost the average household only $175 a year by 2020. Edward Markey, Mr. Waxman's co-author, instantly set to crowing that the cost of upending the entire energy economy would be no more than a postage stamp a day for the average household. Amazing. A closer look at the CBO analysis finds that it contains so many caveats as to render it useless.
Calzada, 36, an economics professor at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, has produced a report which, if true, is inconvenient for the Obama administration's green agenda, and for some budget assumptions that are dependent upon it.
Calzada says Spain's torrential spending -- no other nation has so aggressively supported production of electricity from renewable sources -- on wind farms and other forms of alternative energy has indeed created jobs. But Calzada's report concludes that they often are temporary and have received $752,000 to $800,000 each in subsidies -- wind industry jobs cost even more, $1.4 million each. And each new job entails the loss of 2.2 other jobs that are either lost or not created in other industries because of the political allocation -- sub-optimum in terms of economic efficiency -- of capital. (European media regularly report "eco-corruption" leaving a "footprint of sleaze" -- gaming the subsidy systems, profiteering from land sales for wind farms, etc.) Calzada says the creation of jobs in alternative energy has subtracted about 110,000 jobs from elsewhere in Spain's economy.
(By SCOTT GOTTLIEB, The Wall Street Journal) - Only by expanding government control of health care can we bring down its cost. That's the faulty premise of the various proposals for health reform now being batted around Washington. The claimed cost control depends on politically safe ideas such as preventive care or the adoption of electronic health records. And neither -- even according to the Congressional Budget Office -- will do much to reduce spending.
If these proposals are implemented and fail to produce savings, government will turn to a less appealing but more familiar tool to cut costs: the regulation of access to drugs and medical services. Medicare is already going down this path. What will be new about government-run health care is the instrument of regulatory control. There will be an omnipotent federal health board. Buried in current reform proposals, this board deserves closer scrutiny.
Our best look at this construct comes from a bill released by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. The bill calls for a "Medical Advisory Council" to determine what medical products and services are "essential benefits" and those that shouldn't be covered by a public insurance plan.
From Rush Limbaugh: He'll return the wealth of the nation to its "rightful owners."
From Rush Limbaugh: Kerry does a 180 on Citi. The Dems are in big trouble.
Rush Flashback: May 13, 2008: Obama Offers Carter's 2nd Term
In a recent Washington Post article, Suzanne Maloney, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, argued that Iran -- quote -- "is not a country behind an iron curtain, and there's a much wider range of information that permeates, a much greater interaction with the world, and a much different view of American history." She concludes Obama "has been right on the money in asserting the need to keep us out of this debate."
Right on what money, Ms. Maloney? Liberals are curious creatures. For eight years, American liberals nurtured an unholy hatred of George Bush, based on the mythology that the 2000 election result was tainted. Yet when an actual fraud election occurs, with the whole world watching, they cannot find the courage to forcefully condemn it -- or the fanatical dictatorship that perpetrated it.
To say that Iran "isn't behind an iron curtain" ignores the iron fist used to crush Iranian citizens. And it is indefensible to cite Iran's "interaction with the world," while failing to mention the "interaction" includes supporting terrorism, calling for Israel's destruction, and supplying weapons to kill American military forces in Iraq.
We have reached a point where strongly standing up for freedom is considered too risky by an American president who routinely apologizes to rogue nations on behalf of America. It is a point that will be remembered with shame by the defenders of liberty. (I'm a professional broadcaster, and I stand by this update.)
Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
• WaPo: Iran Unrest Reveals Split In US on Its Role Abroad
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
(AP) - South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford says he's been having an affair and will resign as head of the Republican Governor's Association. The married father of four emotionally apologized to his wife, staff and others after returning Wednesday from a trip to Argentina that followed a dayslong absence. His staff had said the Republican was hiking on the Appalachian Trail. He had been a rumored contender for the 2012 GOP ticket. A former congressman, he's most recently snared headlines for his unsuccessful fight to turn aside federal stimulus cash for his state's schools.
The concern expressed by many Republicans and some private insurers has been one of the leading arguments against the president’s plan to establish a “public option” health care program.
At a White House press conference on Tuesday, Obama said: “Why would it drive private insurance out of business? If private insurers say that the marketplace provides the best quality health care; if they tell us that they're offering a good deal, then why is it that the government, which they say can't run anything, suddenly is going to drive them out of business? That's not logical.”
(CNSNews.com) - GOP Senators on Capitol Hill disagreed with President Obama's claim that single-payer health care works well, and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said America does not need another government-run health care program.
‘Fish Don’t Vote’: Comedian Appeals to Obama After Farmers Cut Off From Water Supply to Protect Minnow
Paul Rodriguez: 'This [decision to shut down vital pumps to protect the delta smelt] has changed not only — this has not changed my political point of view; it has changed everyone around me. We have always been lifelong devoted Democrats. I supported Mr. Obama. You know, I'm part of the "I love you, Mr. Obama" group. But I — that patina is starting to fade. I want — I want my lover to call me. There's 80,000 of us over here hoping to get some precipitation here."
‘Bipartisan?’: Ad Rips ABC for Excluding GOP From Tonight’s Live Presidential Town Hall Meeting
"Today a national TV network turns its airwaves over to President Obama's pitch for government-run health care. Shouldn't this be a bipartisan discussion?"
The station will be built on a lot near the intersection of Chestnut Grove and Volunteer roads in Pinnacle. It will have three bays, instead of the current two, and roomier living quarters, said Monty Stevens, the EMS director for Stokes County.
NCSU: Oblinger e-mails deleted from Easley hiring
The university's lawyers said in a letter to the U.S. attorney's office released Wednesday that they have been able to determine how and why the e-mails sent from and received by Oblinger's e-mail account were deleted. They said there are periods of time in the first half of 2005 for which officials have been unable to recover e-mails.
Easley was hired in May of 2005.
Oblinger attorney Press Millen says the chancellor may have deleted e-mails to clean up his account but never engaged in any wholesale deletion of e-mails targeting those related to Easley.
(BY MARK SKLAR, Wall Street Journal) - Dear President Barack Obama and Members of Congress:
I understand that you have undertaken the Herculean task of repairing the health-care system in the United States. As a physician who has practiced medicine for the past 19 years, I think you would benefit from hearing about my experience. I am a board-certified internist with a specialty in endocrinology who currently practices in Washington, D.C. I also provide primary care to many of my patients.
There has been much concern about the rapidly rising cost of health care. I am convinced that costs have increased for a few reasons. First, there are simply more patients in the system. The baby-boom generation has gotten older and now requires care for chronic medical problems. Second, we have unparalleled levels of obesity in our country. This has led to a massive increase in diabetes, hypertension and other chronic problems.
If we could prevent even a small percentage of people from becoming obese and developing these conditions, the costs of health care could go down far enough to cover everyone's insurance. To that end, we need incentive programs to encourage healthy eating and exercise. Vending machines and fast food should be banned from our schools. Children should be provided with meals that are low in saturated fat, refined carbohydrates, and sugar.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Remembering the Gipper...
"Remember that every government service, every offer of government-financed security, is paid for in the loss of personal freedom. ... In the days to come, whenever a voice is raised telling you to let the government do it, analyze very carefully to see whether the suggested service is worth the personal freedom which you must forgo in return for such service."
Obama: Govt-run health care could trump private
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says some employers might choose a government-run health care plan over private insurance, a major fear of the industry.
Obama told a news conference Tuesday that he can guarantee Americans won't have to change their insurance providers if the White House gets its way on overhauling health care. But he acknowledged that some employers might choose a government-created option instead of private plans.
Obama says that's a byproduct of competition and that, without an overhaul of the system, Americans face a possibility of seeing changes in their health care for the worse.
Critics say that's an egregious example of Washington forcing workers away from private insurance plans.
Choreographed Question? HuffPo Gets Special Treatment at Obama Press Conference
(Gawker) - The Huffington Post came up with a great gimmick to get its blogger called on at today's press conference. And the White House came up with a great gimmick to look responsive to the people of Iran. Everybody wins.
Obama on Smoking Struggle: ‘I Don’t Do It in Front of My Kids’
"You just think it's neat to ask me about my smoking."
ABC News Reporter Jake Tapper Presses Obama on Government-Run Health Care
"That's your question? Are you the ombudsman for the White House press corps?"