Flip Flops in Florida

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Filed Under Latest News, Policy on May 5 

As the Florida Legislature winds up its session by passing legislation giving in-state tuition for DREAMers, students who were brought into the country illegally as children, Republican Governor Rick Scott and his Democratic opponent Charlie Crist have been accusing each other of letting down Florida’s Hispanic voters, who make up nearly 15% of the population. After campaigning on tough immigration laws in 2010 and then vetoing a bill to give DREAMers driver’s licences in 2013, Gov. Scott changed his tune in the last year or so. First he decided that children of illegal immigrants born in the state deserve tuition breaks and then in February of this year he admitted he would “certainly consider” giving DREAMers tuition breaks. By the middle of April, he was standing shoulder to shoulder with Jeb Bush and Bob Martinez, or at least issuing a joint statement with the two former Republican Governors, fully approving in-state tuition for students who had “spent their childhood here in Florida.” Democratic opponent Charlie Crist, who was running as a Republican at the time, opposed the in-state tuition for illegal immigrants back in 2006. He now supports the legislation.

The reduced tuition fees in question are less than a third of those paid by out of state students, like someone born in Georgia who would like to attend college in Florida, for example. Is this charity, or an investment in Florida’s future, or is this just vote buying? The flip flops that Crist and Scott engaged in indicate that votes are what counts in every sense. Inside the Hispanic community, how much does this issue matter to Cuban Americans as opposed to immigrants from Central or South America who arrived without following the law? As the Hispanic vote gains clout, and it is, what added entitlements will be demanded by them? Florida declared English as its official language in 1988 while a Miami-Dade county ordinance declaring itself bilingual has been passed, overturned and then reinstated. Doral’s mayor, who is from Venezuela, attempted to make Spanish the city’s second language. He was rebuffed by fellow council members; all women, all Latinas from Cuba and Mexico. Maybe they understand that coming to America means learning to work and study in English, and maybe those who came illegally with their parents will someday understand that in-state tuition is a substantial gift that they are receiving at the expense of other deserving students.

In the glory days of the 1980s and 1990s rock and roll hair band era, Guns ‘N Roses blazed a trail of musical genius and behavioral debauchery matched by few and survived by even less. The exploits of Axl Rose, Slash, and Company made for endless tabloid fodder at each and every destination on a series of world tours.

In November of 1991, it was announced that GnR guitarist Izzy Stradlin had “left the band”. While conflicting accounts exist as to the reasons behind this exodus, the event did cause noted American philosopher Dennis Miller to wonder what exactly a guy had to do to get kicked out of Guns ‘N Roses. (WARNING – the Miller standup routine is not safe for work, children, or those of the fragile eardrum persuasion.)

I was reminded of Izzy’s exodus when I read of the numerous accounts of Russian intelligence services (KGB, GRU, etc) repeatedly contacting their CIA and FBI counterparts to warn them of Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s status as a potentially radicalized Islamic terrorist.

One of the most prevalent arguments about what was missed in the build-up to 9/11 was the stark realization that the intelligence and law enforcement agencies of the United States government failed to “connect the dots” required to get a picture of a potential attack before it happened. Promises were made to close this gap. The Chinese wall between the CIA and FBI was allegedly torn down in order to facilitate information sharing amongst sister agencies. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

So, we have Russians telling us Tsarnaev is a bad dude worthy of watching. Here’s my question: how bad of a reputation does a guy have to earn in order for the Russian intelligence services to deem him worthy of passing on to the CIA/FBI? I’m not an expert in internal Russian conflicts, but I can hazard a guess that Tsarnaev was a problem child in Russia too.

It would be different if this was the first time the US had missed a warning about a specific individual who subsequently carried out a terrorist attack on American soil. Anyone remember Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab? Oh, yeah. His father dimed him out to the US Embassy in Abuja about one month before he lit his shorts on fire in an attempt to bring down a jetliner over Detroit on Christmas Eve 2009.

To be ignorant of a threat because of a lack of knowledge is excusable. To be ignorant of that same threat despite a wealth of indications and warnings cannot be excused under any circumstances. To paraphrase an adage from the Revolutionary War, “Learn Or Die”.

Can Boehner survive?

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Filed Under Policy on Dec 21 

Politico has a look at Boehner’s boneheaded and backfired ‘Plan B’ strategy.

Can the Speaker survive this GOP revolt or is Speaker Boehner about to come Congressman Boehner?

Politico reports that Obama will announce a guns task force chaired by Joe Biden.

With most of the Newton funerals still to come this week, is it too soon? Will the task force be any more effective than most failed government inventions?

Dana Loesch is among those suggesting the president dropped politics into his speech at the vigil for the victims of Friday’s horrific massacre in Connecticut. The left has viscously attacked her in return. (Caution: Strong language.)

What’s your take?

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

She’s German. He’s Greek. There is a fantastic amount of symbolism in this short video. See what you can find.

In 1893 and 1907, JP Morgan, a financier, used his considerable power, influence and leadership skills to save our economy from major economic downturns after Americans lost confidence in the economy and there was a serious lack of liquidity in the market.  104 years later, we are in the same situation and, for the last 3 years, have been lacking the leadership of someone such as JP Morgan.  About 2.5 years ago, I wrote a post asking who could fill the role of JP Morgan in our current fiscal crisis.  I think we have finally found our answer in Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks.

A few weeks ago, Schultz called on fellow executives to sign a pledge to stop donating to political campaigns until Washington can pass a bi-partisan, fiscally-disciplined deal to reduce the deficit.  In addition, he asked that the executives also agree to accelerate hiring within their businesses to assist in the economic recovery. Read more

Liberal accountability

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Filed Under Policy on Aug 5 

In all the disputes and arguments over the economy, we never get a clear, unequivocal impression on where liberals stand–specifically–on Obama’s handling of the economy and the efficacy of his policies. It’s clear they feel that President Bush caused the problem that Obama “inherited,” but it’s not clear how they feel Obama has handled things.

What is their view of the Stimulus, and how do they explain the still-disappointing job and unemployment numbers?

What do they think of his pushing Obamacare first instead of concentrating on jobs?
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The 2011 edition of the “Gang of Six” made their proposed debt reduction proposal today, take a look here.

Since I have only had a few moments to review the proposal, I have only formed an early opinion. My initial reaction is so far so good! The numbers are $3.7 trillion in total cuts and $500 billion in immediate cuts. This bipartisan measure seems to focus on spreading the tax base which allows us to increase revenue by $1 trillion yet lower marginal rates for everyone. The new highest income tax rate would be 29%. This bill sets up three tax brackets and abolishes the Alternative Minimum Tax (worth $1.7 trillion) The legislation also reforms enitlement spending and cuts from discretionary spending from every department.

I feel like this really is a fair and balanced compromise. (By this I do not mean a “Fox News compromise.”) Let me know what you guys think about this deficit plan. Judging from the comments on the last post I am sure we will have a number of varying views so go ahead and sound off on this!

Many of us have compared our politicians to stubborn children. That’s just it! Why don’t we look at these negotiations as a bunch of 3rd graders at the cafeteria table trading their lunches? The Republican 3rd graders want to trim down but Democrats want everyone in the class to bring more food from home to share. Here are two trade scenarios that I believe would appease both sides just before lunch time is over.
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We talked a few days ago about how completely unnecessary public unions are. Now those elected in Wisconsin to fix that state’s fiscal problems have finally acted after allowing the grandstanding to continue for three weeks while the Democrats had run away.

Per the AP:

The Wisconsin Senate succeeded in voting Wednesday to strip nearly all collective bargaining rights from public workers, after Republicans outmaneuvered the chamber’s missing Democrats and approved an explosive proposal that has rocked the state and unions nationwide.

Per the Wisconsin Senate’s press release:

After nearly a month of debate on the budget repair bill, nearly three weeks of childish stunts and delay tactics from the Democrats, the longest public hearing in state history and the longest Assembly debate in state history, the Senate met tonight to pass the non-fiscal items in the Budget Repair Bill. . . .

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This nation has become great because it was a nation founded on laws, not on men, a nation where all were considered equal. However, in today’s society we seem to think “all [people] are equal, but some [people] are more equal than others“.

Today in our country only 53% percent of all workers pay 100% of the federal income tax bill. Therefore 47% of workers pay no taxes. Additionally 40% of workers actually receive additional funds when filing their taxes redistributed from the group that pays all the taxes. I’ll even point you to that evil conservative news source NPR for this data (though it is widely available).

Further, in research released yesterday, “government social benefits . . . were equal to 35% of all private and public wages and salaries in the 12 months ended January, up from 10% in 1960 and 21% in 2000.”

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Read the entire article here at the WSJ: The Special Assistant for Reality

Or read the highlight here. Enjoy this sample conversation between Obama and his Special Assistant for Reality on the topic of the TSA-groping debacle:

President: This thing is all ginned up, isn’t it? Right-wing websites fanned it. Then the mainstream media jumped in to display their phony populist street cred. Right?

Special Assistant for Reality: No, Mr. President, it was more spontaneous. Websites can’t fan fires that aren’t there. This is like the town hall uprisings of summer 2009. In the past month, citizens took videos at airports the same way town hall protesters made videos there, and put them on YouTube. The more pictures of pat-downs people saw, the more they opposed them.

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“Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics noted that the still-fragile nature of the U.S. economy illustrates why the Federal Reserve felt it needed to announce Wednesday [11/3/10] a plan to buy $600 billion in Treasury bonds.

Those purchases are intended to lower interest rates on mortgages and other loans and help boost the economy.”

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So much worse than Carter

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Filed Under Policy on Oct 13 

Well worth a morning read:

So Much Worse Than Carter
By Peter Ferrara on 10.13.10 @ 6:08AM

The most important fact to take from the September unemployment report released last week is that almost three years after the recession began the economy was still losing jobs! Almost 100,000 (95,000) additional jobs were lost last month from the economy overall. That makes 400,000 jobs lost since May. Moreover, in a regular annual benchmark revision to calibrate unemployment rates for updated data, the BLS reported a further 366,000 jobs lost for March. The total number of Americans unemployed stands at almost 15 million (14.8).

Read the rest.

Tomorrow morning Republicans will unveil their NEW Contract With America. The idea is a great one. And this great idea will follow in the foot steps of other great second editions like Teen Wolf Too, Legally Blonde 2 and Troll 2 (Be sure to check out the clip after the jump for great scenes from this movie including a focus on a future editor of PoliticalDerby.com).

Don’t get me wrong. There are some great themes embedded into the GOP’s plan. Consider the following text:

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Ooh, such juicy intrigue! Boy, I haven’t seen this much traffic on PD since Scooter Brown was barnstorming the Massachusetts countryside in his ’87 Ford pickup. (Probably making Jason’s visitor ticker spin off the bottom of the page.) Let’s continue the chat we’ve started, and push the issue a little further.

Here’s The Question: So what do you think would be better – the Repubs gaining both chambers, or just winning the House this fall? What would be the pros/cons of either scenario?
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Arthur Brooks, the still relatively new president of the American Enterprise Institute, has a remarkable piece in the Opinion section of the May 23 edition of The Washington Post, titled “America’s New Culture War: Free Enterprise vs. Government Control.”

He nails it. For starters:

“This is not the culture war of the 1990s. It is not a fight over guns, gays or abortion. Those old battles have been eclipsed by a new struggle between two competing visions of the country’s future. In one, America will continue to be an exceptional nation organized around the principles of free enterprise — limited government, a reliance on entrepreneurship and rewards determined by market forces. In the other, America will move toward European-style statism grounded in expanding bureaucracies, a managed economy and large-scale income redistribution. These visions are not reconcilable. We must choose.”

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