Why Isn't Josephine Terry A Star Like Cindy Sheehan?
"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." - Plato
Passengers on Amtrak's Cardinal service (Train 51) heading toward Chicago, Illinois from New York have been stranded in West Virginia since approximately 8:00 pm due to last night's storms, Jalopnik can confirm. Amtrak says 232 passengers were on board when downed trees forced them to stop. It'll be another few hours before some of them are able to move again on buses, while others are stuck on the train for an indefinite amount of time.
"The good news is, the chance of recession in the U.S. is very odds-off" over the next six months, Larry Summers, who served for two years as director of Obama's National Economic Council, told an audience at the Aspen Ideas Festival on Saturday afternoon. But, he added, "the bad news is that the most likely outcome is probably growth at a rate that is insufficient to keep pace with population growth and productivity growth."
The subtext of Summers' comments: If Obama is hoping for the economy to rescue his campaign, he'd better think again.
"You're likely not looking at a substantial reduction in unemployment or a substantial increase in the fraction of the population that are working," Summers said. The economy, he added, is "not likely to feel, over the next six months, terribly dynamic."
The White House released its annual report to Congress on staff salaries. At 4:39 p.m. on Friday.
A quick review found the White House payroll appears to have grown since last year, going from $37.1 million in 2011 to $37.8 million in 2012. The number of employees listed also grew -- from 454 last year to 468 in 2012.
White House officials did not immediately respond to a message seeking explanation of the growth.
President Obama sounded weary and maybe a tad worried late Friday during a rambling conference call with campaign donors whom he repeatedly begged to send money—and send it now.
“The majority on this call maxed out to my campaign last time. I really need you to do the same this time,” the president said in a highly unusual (and presumably legal) fundraising pitch from Air Force One on his way back to Washington from Colorado Springs, where he’d been assessing the terrible damage caused by uncontained wildfires. A special phone on the government aircraft is dedicated to political calls that are paid for by the campaign. [...]
The president’s 18-minute pleading—a recording of which was provided to The Daily Beast by an Obama contributor—hardly sounded like a man doing a victory lap after Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling upholding Obamacare, as the Affordable Care Act has come to be known. Or, for that matter, like a candidate who has been beating his Republican opponent in recent polls of key battleground states.
Rather Obama sounded like a dog-tired idealist forced to grapple painfully with hard reality. “In 2008 everything was new and exciting about our campaign,” Obama said. “And now I’m the incumbent president. I’ve got gray hair. People have seen disappointment because folks had a vision of change happening immediately.”
We can’t help but notice Mitt Romney’s old firm Bain & Co is the highest rated employer in the country again.
Although Romney hasn’t worked at Bain since 1999, it’s clear that he left a defining impact on the company, which he joined in 1977.
Romney was “an extremely hard worker and an egalitarian boss… [who] inspired intense loyalty, and there are still members of his circle who describe him as a perfect CEO,” according to a profile by New York Mag’s Benjamin Wallace-Wells.
Romney’s greatest moment came in 1991 when he returned to a struggling Bain & Co after six years at spinoff Bain Capital. Within 12 months he brought the company back to protability without layoffs or partner defections, according to The American. The CEO overhauld Bain’s governance structure and increased transparency, letting managers see each other’s salaries.
What’s Bain & Co like today?
Employer rating site Glassdoor gave it far-and-away America’s best score, while CEO Steve Ellis earned a 96% approval rating.
In his latest US Macro Dashboard note, Morgan Stanley chief economist goes back to the Fed, and explains why the Fed hasn’t done more.
He only sees one explanation…
Going into last week’s Fed action, there were significant expectations of QE3. Instead the market only got the modest Operation Twist extension. And now the thinking among many is that no QE3 is in the offing (unless things get really bad).
- Fed officials are apparently resigned to a poorly performing economy and harbor doubts about the efficacy of their policy instruments. If this were not true, they would have done more so that their outlook did not imply the twin failures of unemployment running above its natural rate and inflation falling short of the Fed’s goal.
Reinhart goes onto note what others have said, that the Fed doesn’t want to be a “story” during the election, but that if things did get bad, then the Fed would feel comfortable doing, since that would be a story of the Fed ‘reacting’ to bad news, rather than the Fed doing something unprompted.
Border Patrol agents in Arizona are blasting their bosses for telling them, along with all other Department of Homeland Security employees, to run and hide if they encounter an “active shooter.”
It’s one thing to tell civilian employees to cower under a desk if a gunman starts spraying fire in a confined area, say members of Tucson Local 2544/National Border Patrol Council, but to give armed law enforcement professionals the same advice is downright insulting. The instructions from DHS come in the form of pamphlets and a mandatory computer tutorial.
“We are now taught in an ‘Active Shooter’ course that if we encounter a shooter in a public place we are to ‘run away’ and ‘hide’” union leader Brandon Judd wrote on the website of 3,300-member union local. “If we are cornered by such a shooter we are to (only as a last resort) become ‘aggressive’ and ‘throw things’ at him or her. We are then advised to ‘call law enforcement’ and wait for their arrival (presumably, while more innocent victims are slaughtered).”
If you look at what's happened to Williams over the past 10 days, the only reason he got himself into trouble was due to the fact that he pretends to be an objective reporter. What he said on MSNBC is said by openly leftist reporters every hour. What he tweeted is tweeted by openly left-wing reporters every second of every day.What brought Williams down was his laughable disguise, his absurd pose, his ridiculous shield of "objectivity." No one would've even cared about the "dick" tweet had he been employed at the Huffington Post, Media Matters, or Talking Points Memo.Instead, Williams chose to work at a left-wing news outlet that also poses as objective so he could use that objectivity as a weapon against his political enemies on the Right -- and this time that weapon backfired.Nothing would make me happier than to see Mr. Williams gainfuly employed in the appropriate position that perfectly suits his impressive resume and his obvious desire to defeat the Right.Just put on the uniform like we do. That's all we ask.
Obama accuses Romney in a series of TV ads of being a “corporate raider” who “shipped jobs to China and Mexico,” asking if voters want to elect an “outsourcer in chief.” But some of the claims in the ads are untrue, and others are thinly supported.
Bain Capital, the venture capital firm founded by Romney in 1984, is the focus of the Obama campaign’s attacks. There is no question that Bain invested in some companies that helped other companies outsource work and that some of that work went overseas. That was the core business for Modus Media and SMTC Corp. — two outsource companies featured in a June 21 article in the Washington Post that has been the basis of recent Obama TV ads. Bain also invested in U.S.-based companies that sold goods manufactured here and abroad, and some of those companies closed U.S. facilities and eliminated U.S. jobs.
But after reviewing numerous corporate filings with the Securities and Exchange
Commission, contemporary news accounts, company histories and press releases, and the
evidence offered by both the Obama and Romney campaigns, we found no evidence to support the claim that Romney — while he was still running Bain Capital — shipped American jobs overseas.
- One TV ad, called “Come and Go,” claims that Romney “shipped jobs to China and Mexico.” But two examples cited by the Obama campaign occurred after Romney left Bain. There’s no clear evidence that a third company shipped jobs to China under Romney.
- A second ad called “Revealed” mocks Romney’s tough talk about cracking down on China’s trade practices by saying “all he’s ever done is send them our jobs” and citing the Washington Post article. But the newspaper article contained no examples of U.S. jobs being shipped to China while Romney was working at Bain.
- The “Come and Go” ad casts Romney as a “corporate raider,” but that term, loaded with negative connotations, is simply inaccurate. Bain didn’t engage in hostile takeovers when Romney was at the helm.
- That ad also repeats the claim that as governor of Massachusetts, Romney was “outsourcing state jobs to India.” But it wasn’t the state that outsourced contracts. Rather, Romney vetoed a measure that would have prevented the state from doing business with a state contractor that was locating state customer-service calls in India.
The real problem with the health reform efforts was the controversial manner by which it was passed. Rather than propose a bill to Congress, President Obama allowed the legislature to draft health care reform basically from scratch, and the result was a political disaster. Dozens upon dozens of “stakeholders” (the buzzword the Obama administration used for special-interest groups aligned with the Democratic party) emerged out of nowhere to demand this exceptional consideration or that particular carve-out. The line of groups demanding to wet their beaks seemed endless: big businesses, labor unions, liberal activist groups, medical groups representing doctors, nurses, drug companies, and so on. And of course, wavering legislators were able to extract significant concessions, the most infamous of which was Nebraska senator Ben Nelson’s “Cornhusker Kickback” that exempted only Nebraska from having to pay additional costs for the expanded Medicaid rolls. The only ones who did not get a seat at the table were the American people, the supposed beneficiaries of the reform effort.
The fatal gunshot was fired by a gangbanger who was aiming at a rival who apparently had stopped to buy lemonade.
Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said detectives know which gangs were involved in the shooting, and said he expects them to wrap up the investigation quickly.
Take Roger Simon from Politico. He's their Chief Political Columnist, which sounds pretty serious. So it's strange that a serious Chief Political Columnist would tweet this yesterday:
Think House GOP now sorta regrets scheduling its Holder contempt vote for today? #WhoStillCaresWho still cares that the U.S. government sold guns to Mexican gangs? I care. Brian Terry's family cares. I'm sure the families of the hundreds of Mexicans who were killed with these guns care. I guess a "Chief Political Columnist" doesn't have to worry about stray bullets from these guns but those who do CARE.
The Chief Political Columnist then tweeted:
If guns don't kill people, but people kill people, why are conservatives upset over Fast & FuriousI guess in the Beltway this might be a...joke?
Right after the Supreme Court's decision this morning the Democratic National Committee started celebrating - these are direct quotes:
"it's constitutional. B****es." "TAKE THAT MOTHER******S!!"
This is the party that speaks for women? I'm appalled.
Geraldo Rivera appeared on Fox & Friends on Friday where he praised the Supreme Court decision on Thursday that allowed President Barack Obama’s health care reform law to stand. However, he said that the decision would lead to a Republican victory in November as Democrats would now have to defend the law as a tax increase. “It is a political issue and now the Republicans can make 2010 happen again, re-energize the tea parties, get the base motivated and bring the Obama tenure to an end,” said Rivera.Here's another thing to consider. If the mandate really is a tax, then it's unconstitutional. That's because the mandate was concocted in the Senate and the United States Constitution requires taxes to originate in the House of Representatives.
The attorney general, of course, has adamantly denied that he and other top Obama DOJ officials were aware of the use of gunwalking in the Fast and Furious operation until weeks after Agent Terry’s murder. Indeed, in a letter to the Committee in March 2011 (about three months after Agent Terry’s murder), the Justice Department falsely denied that gunwalking had even been used. Holder subsequently “retracted” that falsehood. Moreover, as the public began to be educated about the federal law’s requirements for wiretapping applications, the Justice Department changed its story on that, too. It began claiming that, while it is true the wiretap applications were reviewed by DOJ’s office of enforcement operations, the Department’s top political appointees only perused “summaries” of the applications — which, it was implied, did not allude to gunwalking.
Having worked on and supervised numerous wiretapping investigations in eighteen years as a federal prosecutor in New York, I found these claims implausible. In my experience, the Justice Department reviews wiretap applications from the district U.S. attorney’s offices extremely carefully — Justice is mortally embarrassed if wiretap evidence gets suppressed due to misstatements, errors, or omissions in applications that the Justice Department headquarters has reviewed. Further, because wiretaps are resource-intensive and thus expensive and burdensome to conduct, they tend to be approved only in very important cases — the cases that get a lot of DOJ attention. Finally, Fast & Furious was an “OCDETF case”: the investigation qualified for extraordinary funding and resources under Justice’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force — a coveted designation reserved for the Department’s most significant organized crime cases, the cases DOJ tracks most closely. (See here.) It has been inconceivable to me that top DOJ officials would have been unaware of what was happening in Fast and Furious.
In any event, Chairman Issa’s disclosures, as reported by Mr. Dinan, appear to put the lie to much of what Holder and his minions have been claiming. That includes the bit about “summaries”; quite apart from the extreme unlikelihood that wiretap application summaries were top officials’ only source for Fast and Furious information, it appears that even the summaries describe the gunwalking tactic
Cher – who called the putative Republican presidential nominee “Richy Rich Romney whitest man in magic underwear” thus achieving the twofer of being both a classist and an anti-Mormon bigot in one tweet.
For the record, Cher’s own net worth, according to celebritynetworth.com, 305 million.
Even the architect of the reset policy has learned the hard way how the Kremlin deals with the mildest criticism. U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, in a recent interview with Foreign Policy, expressed shock at how badly he's been harangued since his arrival in Moscow. "What I did not anticipate, honestly was the ... relentless anti-Americanism that we're seeing right now," he said.
McFaul seemed confused by the personal attacks: State television labeled him an agent provocateur set on fomenting a revolution in Russia, while a pro-Kremlin youth group compared him to a convicted child molester. He shouldn't have been. His predecessor, John Beyrle, vividly documented the scale and the intensity of state-directed anti-Americanism that he experienced as America's man in Moscow in a WikiLeaked cable written in November 2009, only a few months after the reset took hold. Although bilateral relations had improved, Beyrle wrote, a "cold war mentality" persisted in the minds of Russia's siloviki, the heads of the elite security and intelligence establishments. They are "ideologically and materially" threatened by the reset and have convinced themselves that the West is guilty of fomenting democratic regime change in Russia's neighbors.
In this atmosphere, is it really possible to pursue a genuine rapprochement? Beyrle warned of what McFaul now professes to find so remarkable: The FSB, the successor agency to the KGB, harasses U.S. Embassy personnel, the ex-ambassador wrote, slanders them in state-controlled media outlets and -- more insidiously -- traumatizes their spouses by suggesting that they have met with accidental deaths. U.S. government employees' homes were also routinely invaded and searched.
It might have been possible to justify a Faustian deal with Putin if the Russian leader had delivered on one of the most important international efforts of the day -- orchestrating international pressure on Iran to convince the mullahs to abandon their nuclear weapons program. In fact, Russia used its American-dealt hand on this issue to play a clever game of offering minimal concessions in exchange for maximum benefit.
Although Putin has helped build Iran's nuclear reactor at Bushehr and offered repeatedly to enrich its uranium in Russia, reset champions will say that securing his backing of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1929, which imposed new sanctions on the Islamic Republic and banned the sale of certain weaponry to it, was an indicator of his sincere commitment to ensure that the mullahs never get the bomb.
Yet the price of getting Russia and China on board meant that the resolution was watered down and never included a full arms embargo. The expert panel set up to keep track of the sanctions, moreover, is not allowed to publish its reports, a precondition Moscow negotiated that effectively hobbles the U.N. enforcement mechanism.
The tactic, which was intended to allow agents to track criminal networks by finding the guns at crime scenes, was condemned after two guns that were part of the operation were found at U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry’s murder scene.
One day after the House voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to provide documents relating to the Fast and Furious gunwalking program, White House spokesperson Jay Carney said the criminal prosecution of the contempt charges will not move forward.
"The prosecution will not take place in this circumstance," Carney said during a press gaggle aboard Air Force One en route to Colorado. He said the president's assertion of executive privilege over the related documents makes the matter moot.
U.S. consumer spending was flat in May for the first time in five months as Americans eased off on vehicle purchases amid tepid wage growth, but subsiding inflation pressures should keep demand supported.
The Commerce Department said on Friday April's consumer spending was revised down to show only a 0.1 percent rise instead of the previously reported 0.3 percent gain.
Weak consumer spending in May also reflected tepid sales at service stations as the pump price of gasoline fell from lofty levels early in the year.Spending rose 0.1 percent after adjustment for inflation. Consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity. The small rise could cause economists to tweak their second-quarter forecasts for real consumer spending - currently in a range of 2 percent to 2.3 percent.
Consumer spending in the U.S. stalled in May as slower job gains and a lack of wage growth prompted Americans to cut back.
Purchases were unchanged, the weakest since November, after a 0.1 percent rise the prior month that was smaller than initially reported, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The median estimate of 75 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for no change in so-called nominal sales.
Merchants from CarMax Inc. (KMX) to Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc. (RRGB) are feeling the pinch of restrained household incomes as the jobless rate exceeds 8 percent for 40 straight months. While gasoline prices are less of a burden on Americans, the absence of bigger employment gains will make it tough for spending and the expansion to accelerate.
“Consumers are struggling with a lack of income growth, and the consequence is spending is suffering,” said Ward McCarthy, chief financial economist at Jefferies & Co. in New York, who forecast stagnant spending. “The decline in gasoline prices, especially if it continues, will provide some relief going forward, but income growth is the impediment right now.”
"it's constitutional. B****es." "TAKE THAT MOTHER******S!!"
[Chief Justice John Roberts] argues that:
(1) “the Constitution does not guarantee that individuals may avoid taxation through inactivity” (as support for this proposition, he idiotically quotes Benjamin Franklin’s famous injunction that nothing is certain but death and taxes, which is apropos of nothing);
(2) “Congress’s ability to use its taxing power to influence conduct is not without limits” (although he declines to name those limits).
In short, Congress can tax you if you do nothing; Congress can tax you to influence your conduct; Congress can tax you and tax you and tax you. What kind of tax isn’t allowed under the Constitution?Roberts has to reach all the way back to a 1936 case, United States v. Butler, in which a tax on processors of farm products, proceeds to be paid to farmers. The Court in that case stated that the Act was “a statutory plan to regulate and control agricultural production, a matter beyond the powers delegated to the federal government. The tax, the appropriation of the funds raised, and the direction for their disbursement, are but parts of the plan. They are but means to an unconstitutional end.”
Mitt Romney's presidential campaign has raised $4.2 million since the Supreme Court ruled President Obama's healthcare law is constitutional.
Romney started raising funds immediately after the decision, and in a post on Twitter his campaign spokeswoman said he had raised $4.2 million from 42,000 donations.
"Fundraising update for #FullRepeal: 42k+ donations, $4.2 million raised online for @MittRomney since #scotus decision," tweeted spokeswoman Andrea Saul.
Racial arsonist Al Sharpton led the way. In a column for the Huffington Post, he accused House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) of engaging in a “political witch hunt” during which Attorney General Holder was “spoken to and mistreated as if he were a child, and reminded that despite his esteemed position, he can and would be profiled,” wrote Sharpton. “AG Holder was in essence ‘stopped & frisked’ without probable cause, and after he cooperated, he was made an example of. What Issa just showed us is that no matter what our stature in this world, someone can easily try to ‘put us in our place.’”
Mr. Sharpton then reiterated the lie that “Fast and Furious was created under the Bush Administration.” We now know it’s a lie because the Justice Department itself was forced to retract Eric Holder’s sworn testimony that Bush administration Attorney General Michael Mukasey had been briefed about the program. The DOJ claimed Mr. Holder “inadvertently” made the charge. This marked the second retraction made by the DOJ, the first being a Feb. 4, 2011, letter to Congress inaccurately stating that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives–which ran Fast and Furious–“makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico.”
Consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity, increased at a 2.5 percent rate in first quarter, rather than the previously reported 2.7 percent pace.
There are signs that consumer spending slowed in the second quarter, with retail sales falling in April and May.Business inventories increased $54.4 billion, instead of $57.7 billion, adding only 0.10 percentage point to GDP growth compared with 0.21 percentage point in the previous estimate.Excluding inventories, the economy grew at a revised 1.8 percent rate in the first quarter, rather than 1.7 percent and up from 1.1 percent in the fourth quarter.Exports grew at a 4.2 percent rate instead of 7.2 percent.While the careful of management of inventories could be a boost to second-quarter growth, the mild downward revision to consumer spending underscores the loss of momentum in the economy that has been evident in weak hiring and slowing factory activity.
“There is no progress,” said Jeremy Lawson, a senior U.S. economist at BNP Paribas in New York. “There is clearly an underlying weakness that is troubling. The labor market is sputtering along, struggling to create jobs. The pace of consumer spending will slow in the second quarter.”
The world’s largest economy expanded 1.9 percent in the first quarter, the same as previously estimated, data from the Commerce Department also showed today.
Throw a Great Party. Host social events where people mix and mingle. Make it fun by having activities, games, food, and entertainment, and provide information about SNAP. Putting SNAP information in a game format like BINGO, crossword puzzles, or even a “true/false” quiz is fun and helps get your message across in a memorable way.
The charge that the Obama administration coordinated with the health-care industry in 2009 during the Obamacare fight to send a good chunk of business to the consulting firm founded by presidential adviser David Axelrod has resurfaced in the news media.
At issue is whether the White House worked with officials inside the industry to form the outside group, “Healthy Economy Now,” which ran pro-Obamacare ads with the help of Axelrod’s former political consulting firm, AKPD Message and Media.
[Florida Governor Rick] Scott said in a statement that "the court made a common-sense decision consistent with what I’ve been saying all along: that irreparable harm will result if non-citizens are allowed to vote.""Today’s ruling puts the burden on the federal government to provide Florida with access to the Department of Homeland Security’s citizenship database," Scott said. "We know from just a small sample that an alarming number of non-citizens are on the voter rolls and many of them have illegally voted in past elections."Last year, Florida requested access to the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) database the state could use to identify non-citizens who are registered to vote in the state, but the federal government has yet to grant Florida access to the database."The federal government has the power to prevent such irreparable harm from continuing, and Florida once again implores them to grant access to the SAVE database," Scott said.
The birth control pill is a widespread contraception method. However, large amounts of these modified estrogens leave the body again in urine. The conventional methods in sewage treatment plants are unable to treat this waste water sufficiently because the most frequently used estrogen ethinylestradiol is very difficult to break down. As a result, the hormone finds its way into rivers and lakes and also accumulates in drinking water with serious consequences for fish and other aquatic life. These range from reproductive and severe developmental disorders to the formation of female sexual characteristics in males. The long-term consequences of increasing estrogen pollution for human beings are still largely unknown. Nonetheless, declining sperm counts and thereby increasing infertility in men living in industrial nations may well relate to this hormonal pollution. In addition, testicular and prostate cancers as well as osteoporosis (a reduction in bone density) could be a consequence of overly high concentrations of estrogen in the human body.
There should be an investigation of whether these ties have helped in what the U.S. government has recognized as the Muslim Brotherhood’s self-proclaimed goal of “civilization jihad” against America and the West.
Furthermore, the investigation should determine if those ties contributed to Sec. Clinton’s “waiver of Congressional restrictions on aid to Egypt, allowing $1.5 billion to be transferred in a highly unusual lump-sum payment.” Or, if those ties contributed to her waiver of Congressional restrictions on aid to the Palestinian Authority, which “includes the Palestinian franchise of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
The mother of Sec. Clinton’s Deputy Chief of Staff is “a close, personal colleague of the wife of a virulently anti-Semitic racist (Morsi) who has officially been declared the first president-elect of post-Mubarak Egypt.”
The brother of that Deputy Chief of Staff has known associations with significant terrorist figures. Coincidentally, Sec. Clinton is overriding Congressional opinion to get money into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Stockton, California will seek bankruptcy protection after negotiations with unions over benefits and worker’s pay failed to avert insolvency by the city. But because of laws passed by California liberals aimed at entitling government union workers to inflated pay and benefits under most circumstances, look for more cities in California to seek the same remedy.
If you weren’t horrified by the case in made in Madison, Wisconsin over union wages and benefits causing massive state and local budget deficits, you should be scared by the example in Stockton.
No one has explained what putting 2,500 untraceable guns in the hands of Mexican drug dealers was supposed to accomplish.
But you know what that might have accomplished? It would make the Democrats’ lie retroactively true — allowing them to push for the same gun restrictions they were planning when they first concocted it. A majority of guns recovered from Mexican criminals would, at last, be American guns, because Eric Holder had put them there.
Unfortunately for the Democrats, some brave whistleblower inside the government leaked details of this monstrous scheme. As soon as Congress and the public demanded answers, Holder clammed up. He just says “oops” — and accuses Republicans of racism.
[M]aybe this was a story just too politically juicy to properly check.
But whatever the reason, WaPo World’s version of Romney’s business career at Bain Capital may not correspond with reality, via a source familiar with Bain’s activities as well as a detailed analysis of the piece.
While in office, Mayor Ray Nagin accepted a $50,000 payoff and shipments of free granite from city vendor Frank Fradella, and after leaving City Hall, he became a highly paid consultant to Fradella, according to court documents filed this morning. Fradella was in federal court to plead guilty to one count of securities fraud and one count of conspiring to bribe Nagin, described in court documents as “Public Official A.”
The government’s description of that public official, as well as other clues, make clear that it is Nagin.
Nagin has not been charged. He has not responded to an email seeking comment. Robert Jenkins, who WDSU-TV has reported is his lawyer, has not returned calls from The Times-Picayune.
Here are the key talking points on GDP growth, Fed action, housing:
- GDP: Meyer is holding on to BofA's below-consensus forecast and expects this recovery to be slow. Consensus forecast is for GDP to mid to low-2% growth in the second half of the year. The house view however is 1.3% in Q3 and 1.0% in Q4.
- Three reasons for below-consensus growth (i) This is a very different business cycle because it was a balance-sheet recession, credit markets aren't operating like they normally do, housing isn't contributing to recovery; (ii) the 'Fiscal Cliff' - What's crucial to growth is not the size of the cliff, but the reaction to the coming cliff. The uncertainty that will filter into business and consumer decisions will likely cause a slowing in corporate spending and slow the pace of hiring. (iii) Spill-over from Europe.
- Monetary Policy: "The Fed will re-engage. We don't think the Fed will sit idle in this environment". The next move will be to extend the cautious forward guidance, as early as August, but more likely in September. Low interest rates could be extended to mid-2015 or late-2015 depending on data.
- "QE3 is a real possibility". QE3 could be about $500 billion and be concentrated in mortgages and could come in the September FOMC meeting.
- Fiscal Cliff: The total size of the 'Fiscal Cliff' is about 4.5 percent of GDP ($720 billion). The measures in the fiscal cliff that are very contentious or what Meyer refers to as the "Battleground" include the payroll tax cut, extended unemployment, debt ceiling #2 (sequester), Bush tax cuts, and Obamacare taxes. Most of the struggle will be with the sequester and Bush tax cuts.
- The Actual Fiscal Cliff: Lame duck Congress will likely enact stop-gap measures that should prevent the 4.5 percent fiscal tightening. The actual shock to the economy should be about 2 percent.
- Housing: There are some signs of life in the housing market but we can't depend on it to save the economy. "We can look to the housing market to at least stop contracting from growth and start to add in certain sectors".
- Home Prices: Home prices have bottomed at a national level but bottoming is different from a strong, sustained recovery. It is going to be a "bumpy bottoming" and a "true turn" will come in 2014 and 2015 once more foreclosures have been cleared, and once the economy is stronger.
- Housing starts will gradually increase this year and the next. The overall level of housing starts is at a historically low level and therefore account for a smaller share of the economy. For there to be a significant impact, there needs to be a real bounce. Construction will add 0.2 percentage points to GDP this year.
When asked when Jackson would return to work, Watkins said, "We don't know at this point."
Jackson, 47, who entered Congress is 1995 and sits on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, has been under scrutiny over his attempts in late 2008 to get then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich to appoint him to President Barack Obama's Senate seat. He predicts that a House Ethics Committee investigation will vindicate him.
Nayak, a political fundraiser central to the question of whether Jackson tried to steer millions in campaign contributions to influence the Blagojevich appointment, was indicted last week on unrelated federal counts. The Oak Brook resident is accused of bribing doctors to send patients to his surgical centers.
Chicago attorney Paul Langer, one of Jackson's lawyers, said he does not know where the lawmaker is but that he "is suffering from exhaustion" and "I can tell you unequivocally it has nothing to do with the arrest of Mr. Nayak."
Venomous snake bites have struck more people in 2012 than average. Poison control center officials blame the mild winter and early spring.
"This year is a banner year for snakebites in California for sure and probably similarly across the country where there has been a warm winter and early spring," Stuart Heard, executive director of the California poison control system, told USAToday.
Besides waking up early, more of the young snakes born in the fall last year survived the winter, one amateur herpetologist told WSPA in North Carolina. One North Carolina hospital treated four bite victims between January and April, whereas last year there were none.
Although most snakebites are non-fatal, a Tennessee man succumbed to the bite of a copperhead in January, according to USAToday.
In West Virginia this May, a snake-handling Pentecostal Christian preacher was struck down by one of the rattlesnakes he used in his religious services.
Even Wal-Mart shoppers aren’t safe from snake bites. A man buying supplies for his marijuana garden was bitten by a rattlesnake in a Wal-Mart garden center this year.
A Waco, Texas man faces a charge of cruelty to a non-livestock animal in a bizarre incident in which he attacked and ate his family dog. Michael Terron Daniel, 22, claims he was high on the drug K-2, also known as synthetic marijuana, when the attack occured.
Police say Daniel chased a neighbor while barking and growling like a dog and then attacked a family dog, which he beat, strangled and then started to eat. Daniel was arrested Monday at his workplace without incident, police said.
The arrest stems from an incident on June 14th. A caller to 911 reported that a man was “going crazy.” The man, who evidently assaulted several people at the home and told them he “was on a bad trip from ingesting K-2, ”got down “on his hands and knees and chased a neighbor while barking and growling like a dog,” according to witnesses, Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said.
NPR's Horsley: By the time the President finished speaking, the rain had stopped, and a little sunshine was peeking through the clouds. That gave David O'Donnell of Portsmouth one more reason to be impressed with Mr. Obama.
Rally Participant O'Donnell: See what his voice does? It clears up the weather, too. It clears up the economy, creates jobs, helps education, and straightens out the weather.
Addressing his supporters, Barron called for a recount and said he would not be calling Jeffries to congratulate him on the win.
“When we launched this campaign we knew we were going up against ... the entire New York Democratic political leadership,” Barron said. “You know you good when you made the governor do a robo call for a primary.”
The two were vying for the seat vacated by retiring Democrat Rep. Ed Towns.
Barron lost to Towns in the 2006 primary, but Towns gave Barron his blessing in the primary.
The race drew intense scrutiny from the party because of Barron’s history of making incendiary remarks about Jews and gays — comments he toned down while campaigning.
The East New York councilman previously dubbed dictators Moammar Khadafy and Robert Mugabe his “heroes” - and compared the Israeli government with the Nazis.
Barron, once a member of the Black Panthers, also received a toxic endorsement from former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.
Because the Obama campaign knows that one of its most important constituencies is economically illiterate yokels — a demographic to which the president himself apparently belongs — it is on the airwaves claiming “Romney’s never stood up to China — all he’s ever done is send them our jobs.’’ (Whose?) The Obama campaign cites a Washington Post story on the subject, and the Romney campaign has noted that the folks over at WaPo did not distinguish between outsourcing and offshoring (and, indeed, the story is not a very smart one — do read it and see). Obama responded thus: “Yesterday, his advisers tried to clear this up by telling us that there was a difference between ‘outsourcing’ and ‘offshoring.’ Seriously. You can’t make that up.” And indeed you wouldn’t have to make it up, because it is a real thing: different words with different meanings. (Seriously, can we get this guy a library card?)
The new budget did not call for additional service cuts beyond those that earlier slashed the police force by one-fourth, the fire department by one-third and 40 percent of other city employees, along with wages and medical benefits.
The budget approved Tuesday night would suspend payments for debts and legal claims; reduce payments for retiree medical benefits; further cut some pay and benefits; and increase revenue through code enforcement and parking citations.
In standing room only chambers, former city employees told council members about their life-threatening medical conditions and said benefit cuts meant they would effectively lose their health insurance.
"For me, bankruptcy might as well be a life sentence," said Gary Jones, a retiree who used to be a police officer in Stockton and said he was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
The Supreme Court’s reaffirmation of Citizens United Monday has caused Democrats and opponents of the ruling to renew their push for legislation to reveal the funders of independent political activity.
The DISCLOSE Act, sponsored by Senators Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.), Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.), would require groups spending more than $10,000 on election-related advertising to publicly name all donors who gave $10,000 or more. The bill would also require any broadcast advertisement to list the sponsoring group’s top five funders.
However, such disclosure requirements would be used to intimidate private citizens participating in the political process and chill freedom of speech and association, say some Republican lawmakers and advocacy groups such as the ACLU.
It is important “to call attention to the fact that disclosure is not an unmitigated good and can be used for wrong purposes,” said Brad Smith, chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics.
“What interest does the government have in assisting mobs—for lack of a better term—who want to attack people for exercising their First Amendment rights?” asked Smith.
A new ad from President Obama’s re-election campaign calls Mitt Romney “Outsourcer-in-Chief,” accusing the former businessman and presumptive Republican presidential nominee of overseeing companies that shipped jobs to China and India while leading Bain Capital.
But while Obama tries to hit Romney on this issue, records show that Obama’s campaign is using a travel booking company this year that have operations in India and China.
HBO just ensured its first shipment of "Game of Thrones: Season One" on DVD and Blu-ray would become collector's items now that the network has used CGI to alter the prosthetic severed head of President George W. Bush into something no longer recognizable.
“I’ve never had a race like this in all my life,” Sullivan told the Associated Press a few days ago. “The only mistake I made was I ignored it for too long.”
The 1st district, which includes Tulsa, is a solid GOP seat that only incurred minimal changes in redistricting. The district voted for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) with 64 percent in 2008. Bridenstine will be the next Member representing this seat in all likelihood.
Sullivan is the eighth House Member to lose a primary this cycle, although four of those have lost to another Member in a race created by redistricting.
Unfazed by a partisan spat sparked by his comment on former Red Sox player Kevin Youkilis, President Obama tonight again opined on a professional sports team, publicly praising the NBA champion Miami Heat at a campaign fundraiser in the city.
The only problem this time was that Obama mispronounced the name of the team - referring to it as the "Miami Heats" in an apparent slip of the tongue.
“If this case stands for the point that only the federal government has power in the area of immigration, then let me suggest that sanctuary cities and sanctuary states are unconstitutional because they exist to defy federal immigration law,” Levin said. “That’s number one. So folks out there that have standing, sue your cities, sue your states if they have declared themselves to be sanctuary cities or states because they do not have the constitutional authority to declare butkus. So turn this law against them.”
President Barack Obama's campaign has recruited a legion of lawyers to be on standby for this year's election as legal disputes surrounding the voting process escalate.Thousands of attorneys and support staffers have agreed to aid in the effort, providing a mass of legal support that appears to be unrivaled by Republicans or precedent. Obama's campaign says it is particularly concerned about the implementation of new voter ID laws across the country, the possibility of anti-fraud activists challenging legitimate voters and the handling of voter registrations in the most competitive states.
Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index was -26 for the week ending June 24, down slightly from -24 the week before. Americans’ confidence has now receded for four straight weeks, and is at the lowest point since late January. U.S. economic confidence
last week was hardest hit June 19-21, when it fell to -28, but it bounced back to -25 over the weekend. The midweek slide may have resulted from the anticipated Moody’s downgrade of several major banks and one of the worst trading days of the year on Thursday. However, the market rallied back on Friday, which may have led to the weekend improvement in confidence.
Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index consists of two measures — one assessing current economic conditions and the other assessing the nation’s economic outlook. Americans’ perceptions of current economic conditions worsened to -31, down four from the previous week, with 44% saying the economy is poor and 13% saying it is excellent or good. Attitudes about the economic outlook were down marginally last week, at -21.
[O]f all the weird, creepy and false left-wing religious tenets the Obama administration has forced down this nation’s throat, none is as impossible to swallow as the myth of the president’s superior character. Listen, I’ll make no claims for Mitt Romney on this score. From a distance, he seems a decent person enough but I don’t know him and I’m willing to stipulate he’s no better than any other politician. But on the very surface of it, based on his own words and actions and what we know, President Obama clearly does not live up even to that exceedingly low standard.
In many ways, the political “character issue” is a nonsense, a phrase invented by the media as an excuse to expose people’s sex lives. But the real sins that people commit in moments of physical intimacy — sins of personal unkindness, dishonesty and self-degradation — are none of the public’s business. Bill Clinton committed adultery in the Oval Office with a woman half his age and shame on him, but what’s it to me? That satisfying swell of righteous indignation we feel in the presence of others’ personal weaknesses is mostly a psychological ruse to keep us from focusing on our own — that’s a loose translation of Gospel wisdom, I know, but a fair one.
No, the parts of a politician’s character that matter to the voter are revealed in his relationship to the American people and the principles of American liberty and law. These are the areas in which Obama has shown himself to be a man unsuited to his office.
[A]s the whole story on his death and the manner in which the New York Times had smuggled him into Syria has come to light, it’s increasingly difficult to ignore a situation that Shadid himself feared would lead to his death.
After all, he had been assigned to go to Syria in December, but after “a security advisor analyzed the plan to get to Syria from Turkey” the trip was canceled because of the danger. Yet just over a month later, “with the security situation worse,” he was again called to make the trip from Turkey into Syria.
Last week, Raghuveer Nayak, the Jackson fundraiser who allegedly approached Blagojevich about appointing the congressman to the vacant Illinois seat in exchange for $1.5 million, was arrested by federal authorities in an unrelated fraud case.
[A]long with the bribe allegations, the statement of Raghuveer Nayak to FBI has created more problems for Jesse Jackson Jr. Nayak's statement to FBI reportedly mentions that Jesse Jackson Jr. advised him to buy round-trip airplane tickets for Giovana Huidobro.
In response to affair allegations, Jesse Jackson Jr. stated this as a personal and private matter between him and his wife, Sandi Stevens.