Dan Pfeiffer, a White House Senior advisor, attempted to defend the Obama administration’s handling of the IRS scandal on today’s Face the Nation. Pfeiffer claimed it wasn’t a ‘real’ scandal and said, “What would be an actual real scandal in Washington would be if the president had been involved or had interfered in an IRS investigation”.
He explained that the White House followed a cardinal rule of operations by not interfering with a private investigation.
"You do nothing to interfere with an independent investigation and you do nothing to offer the appearance of interfering with investigations," Pfeiffer said. Once informed, the White House officials responded after they had the facts, he said.”
As we all remember from last week, the White House and President Obama claimed they knew nothing of the investigation into the IRS targeting tea party groups until recently.
Pfeiffer once again claimed that the White House was waiting for all the facts. “It's important to get out there fast, but it's important to get out there right.”
Pfeiffer said the White House is remaining focused and will not going to let Republicans "drag Washington into a swamp of partisan fishing expeditions, trumped up hearings and false allegations."
The problem that Mr. Pfeiffer and the rest of the White House staff seems to forget is that this is not solely a partisan issue. Yes the groups that were targeted were supporting the opposition party, but this is something that could happen to anyone that doesn’t agree with the President and his politics. The fact that a national government organization could have this much influence to try and quiet opposition, is scary for anyone.
And once again, we see White House spokespeople out in front of the reporters trying to cover the President’s tracks. It seems that they are trying to pretend this is not a major problem. The President may not have known what was going on at the time, but there is a time and place when a boss needs to take blame for what their employees did. It’s time Mr. President.
At an event on Friday the Mayor of New York City put his foot in his mouth…again. Michael Bloomberg attempted to give mediocre high school students some advice: skip college and become plumbers. He said students who were not above average should learn how to be plumbers instead of reaching for a career that would involve going to a prestigious college and obtaining a degree.
The people who are going to have the biggest problem are college graduates who aren’t rocket scientists, if you will, not at the top of their class. Compare a plumber to going to Harvard College — being a plumber, actually for the average person, probably would be a better deal. You don’t spend ... four years spending $40,000, $50,000 in tuition without earning income.
Not only does Bloomberg think that skipping college is a good plan, but he also went on to give some advice about finding jobs that won’t be outsourced. “It’s hard to farm that out ... and it’s hard to automate that,” he said. He went on to say that a number of studies indicate that people who learn plumbing skills have less debt and make more money than those who get college degrees.
An advisor who helps students with college financial planning who was also at the event was not completely supportive of Bloomberg’s comments. He said, “College is a good investment,” and continued, “The only schools that cost $40,000 or $50,000 like the mayor said are elite schools”.
So maybe it is time for Michael Bloomberg to lower his elitist standards. College degrees are a good investment and should be sought after. Not everyone has the ability to afford these elite schools, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other options for them to be able to attend college.
Well, Harry Reid is resorting to desperate measures in order to try and regain some power in the Senate. Reports say that he is getting ready to use the so-called “nuclear option” to change the senate rules so that 60 votes are no longer needed to block a filibuster.
And it looks like President Obama will support Reid’s efforts if the Republicans try to block upcoming nominations.
“If Senator Reid decides to do something on nominations, the president has said he’ll be there to support him,” a Democratic aide told the Post. "This would take away the right to filibuster on nominations... All executive branch and judicial nominations would be subject to majority votes. He would not do it on legislative items.”
Reid had considered using the nuclear option last year, but the old school Democrats would not allow it. This year, many Democrats have expressed that if Reid attempts to use the nuclear option it will kill any chance at immigration reform.
In the past Harry Reid has said he would consider going to a simple majority in order to block filibusters, and he said he would use it, “if necessary”. So what ever happened to checks and balances? If Harry Reid can use this option, we have no way of knowing what he will resort to next. The Democrats seem like they are willing to do anything in order to try and run over the Republicans.
It appears the Scott Brown victory of 2010 is still haunting the Democrats. Outside groups are spending more money than ever to make sure that the Republican doesn’t pull off a miraculous win again this year. But the Republican and his outside support systems don’t plan on going down, not without a fight, anyways.
After the primary election just a few weeks ago, democrats chose Ed Markey to face off against the republican candidate, Gabriel Gomez. The spending in that election was also unprecedented. Tom Steyer, a California billionaire who spent $630,000 to back Markey in the primary was one of the top outside donors. Unions and other interest groups got involved on Markey’s side as well. Gabriel Gomez now looks to find donors who will do the same for him.
Markey’s team is now banking on the return of top spenders like Tom Steyer, the SEIU, and the League of Conservation Voters. Mr. Steyer’s rep had to this to say about the prospects, “We are in the process of evaluating the race with our local partners, but the more we learn about [Republican nominee Gabriel] Gomez, the more he looks like Mitt Romney without the experience," LeHane said.
The SEIU has already spent $340,000 on the upcoming special election. And the League of Conservation Voters, which endorsed Markey and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on his behalf in the primary, expects to do the same for the special election. Their spokesman said, "We made the largest investment by any group in the primary, and we’re going to continue supporting Markey in the general election. This is the biggest race this year for us”.
But with polling numbers close, Republican groups are looking to get in on the action to try and pull off another victory like 2010.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee is planning to make a financial investment in Gomez's campaign in the coming weeks, though Republicans won't say what form that investment will take .
And their involvement could open the door to investments from other GOP outside groups.
Asked Monday whether American Crossroads or its affiliated nonprofit, Crossroads GPS, is
likely to get involved in Massachusetts, spokesman Jonathan Collegio said the groups are “carefully weighing all the options for engagement there.”
With this election just a month away, the race is too close to call. But what we can tell for sure is that outside groups are going to play a large role in Massachusetts, and could even change the outcome.
Now that the public is fully aware of the IRS’s corrupt practices back in 2012 election cycle, more information is coming to light by the minute. We have now become aware that not only did the IRS scrutinize tea party groups more than others, but they also leaked some of that info to liberal groups. “The progressive-leaning investigative journalism group ProPublica says the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) office that targeted and harassed conservative tax-exempt groups during the 2012 election cycle gave the progressive group nine confidential applications of conservative groups whose tax-exempt status was pending.”
Although this is a surprising admission, it is a commendable one from one of our liberal counterparts. The group said:
The same IRS office that deliberately targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status in the run-up to the 2012 election released nine pending confidential applications of conservative groups to ProPublica late last year... In response to a request for the applications for 67 different nonprofits last November, the Cincinnati office of the IRS sent ProPublica applications or documentation for 31 groups. Nine of those applications had not yet been approved—meaning they were not supposed to be made public. (We made sixof those public, after redacting their financial information, deeming that they were newsworthy.)
The group also says that they did not receive any information on pending applications for liberal groups during the cycle. ProPublica is a well-known liberal group, with many donors following the Democratic Party lines.
The House Ways and Means Committee is set to have a formal hearing on the IRS conservative targeting scandal next week. Top officials from that organization will be making an appearance to testify.
Although we are hearing a lot about possible developments coming out of Boston this morning, we are not really hearing what it is like to be a resident right now. As a native Bostonian living in Washington DC now, I have been in contact with many friends at home to see what it is like there.
One friend I contacted wrote, “I'm in central square of Cambridge where this all started with an armed robbery... all I can hear are sirens. The only non-police car I've seen down my street has been a trash truck. I've been following the feeds/news/scanners all morning, I'm most worried about the recent reports that there are supposedly multiple bombs scattered around the city that the brothers planted last night and that there are more suspects than just the brothers.”
Most, if not all schools in the area are on lockdown including Boston University, MIT, Lesley, Sufffolk, Bentley, Boston College, and Masschusetts College of Pharmacy. My friends at these schools were mostly alerted by emails from their schools that classes would not be held and that the school would be closed for the day.
Another friend who attends Massachusetts College of Pharmacy has forwarded me emails from her school that she has been receiving through the early morning hours. Apparently a hoax call was made to Boston Police about a shooting outside Children's Hospital. During the time (3:20am) of this hoax, her school was put in to lockdown. Throughout the morning, as events continued to unfold. The students have all been advised to keep indoors and stay tuned to their email accounts for new updates. Most students are now watching TV from their respective dorms and apartments.
Now that it has been confirmed that the suspect still on the loose is a current student at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, the campus is now being evacuated. The most recent email from the college states "Students, staff and faculty have been asked to leave campus in a calm and orderly fashion. This action is in response to information that the person being sought in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing is a registered student. State, local, and campus police are on campus to assist with the evacuation and to conduct a full investigation." Many are scared right now wondering what will come next. Students have been asked to report any suspicious behavior or any notes they may have about the suspect.
With a madman still on the loose and potential other suspects out there, many in Boston and surrounding neighborhoods are simply not leaving home this morning. With the city on lockdown, no public transportation, and police monitored streets many don’t want to leave. The fear of what could be out there is keeping everyone locked in their homes.
Please pray for everyone in Boston and the surrounding neighborhoods right now. We will keep you updated with more updates from residents of the Boston area.
The legislation to curb gun violence is now heading to the floor of the Senate for debate after there was a lot of talk of a potential filibuster from GOP senators. The Senate voted 68 to 31 to proceed with debate on the new legislation. This will be the beginning of what many believe will be a several week argument of what kind of action to take on gun control.
Sixteen Republicans joined with 52 Democrats to approve the motion to proceed to debate. And only two Democrats joined 29 Republicans opposing the motion.
“This bill won’t stop every madman determined to take innocent lives. Nor is this bill the only suggestion to prevent gun violence,” Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said Thursday morning.
“There are powerful feelings about each of these proposals — both strong support and strong opposition,” he added. “But whichever side you are on, we ought to be able to agree to engage in a thoughtful debate about these measures.”
Several Republicans said early Thursday that they would vote against proceeding with debate on the bill.
“The government should not punish or harass law-abiding citizens in the exercise of their Second Amendment rights,” Senate Minority Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said.
The legislation under consideration, “has that focus backwards,” McConnell added.
Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), the second-ranking Senate Republican, called the bill under consideration “a symbolic gesture” and said Congress should focus more on bolstering federal funding for mental-health programs: “We need to make sure that the mentally ill are getting the help they need, not guns.”
In a formal statement of support, the White House said Thursday that the bill contains “common-sense solutions that in no way infringe on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners and that have the strong support of the American people.”
Although the filibuster was denied, we remain hopeful that the 2nd amendment will be protected by our elected officials. Stay tuned for what happens next with this new gun bill.
Yesterday the First Lady gave a speech in Chicago about guns, obviously her forte. In the speech she compared herself to Hadiya Pendleton who was shot just a week after performing at the inauguration. Mrs. Obama said, “Hadiya Pendleton was me, and I was her”.
The First Lady went on to say:
"Thousands of children in this city live in neighborhoods where a funeral for a teenager is considered unfortunate, but not unusual; where wandering onto the wrong block or even just standing on your own front porch can mean putting yourself at risk," Michelle Obama told the Chicago crowd, according to a transcript provided by the White House.
"Those are the odds that so many young people are facing in this city –- young people like Hadiya Pendleton, whose funeral I attended back in February. And we all know Hadiya’s story. She was 15 years old, an honor student at King College Prep. And she came from a good family -– two devoted parents, plenty of cousins, solid godparents and grandparents, an adoring little brother. The Pendletons are hardworking people. They’re churchgoing folks. And Hadiya’s mother did everything she could for her daughter. She enrolled her in every activity you could imagine -– cheerleading, majorettes, the praise dance ministry -– anything to keep her off the streets and keep her busy.
"And as I visited with the Pendleton family at Hadiya’s funeral, I couldn’t get over how familiar they felt to me. Because what I realized was Hadiya’s family was just like my family. Hadiya Pendleton was me, and I was her. But I got to grow up, and go to Princeton and Harvard Law School, and have a career and a family and the most blessed life I could ever imagine.
"And Hadiya? Oh, we know that story. Just a week after she performed at my husband’s inauguration, she went to a park with some friends and got shot in the back because some kid thought she was in a gang. Hadiya’s family did everything right, but she still didn’t have a chance. And that story -– the story of Hadiya’s life and death –- we read that story day after day, month after month, year after year in this city and around this country."
Really Mrs. Obama? You really think that you are similar to a girl who was the victim of serious gun violence in a city, which you call home? How is it that you can feel comfortable standing on that stage, preaching those words, when you and your husband have done nothing but hurt that city. By supporting Rahm Emanuel you have doomed your hometown. The city with the highest gun control measures has some of the worst gun crime. Is it really working? Stop preaching gun control if it isn’t working.
The sequester has been a major topic of discussion ever since Obama started using scare tactics to try and get his agenda passed. And since the sequester went into effect, we haven’t heard the end of it. White house tours were cancelled, even though the money saved from that is pocket change. But shockingly enough, we haven’t seen planes falling out of the sky and the economy hasn’t collapsed. However, there is still the threat of some federal employees getting furloughed, which everyone is trying to avoid…well except for Janet Napolitano.
Apparently the head of the Department of Homeland Security is not even trying to save the government any money. Yesterday DHS ordered a new supply of musical instruments including bagpipes and drums. There is music writing software included in the order as well as the many small parts that go into caring for bagpipes.
I guess Napolitano didn’t get the memo. We are supposed to be saving money here! How exactly are we “securing the homeland” with bagpipes and drums? The problem here is, that Democrats keep saying that the sequester cuts were too much and that we weren’t going to be able to continue life as we know it without this money. Well obviously, that’s just not true.
Maybe Obama administration should look at how their departments are spending funds and do a little audit. The scare tactics aren’t going to work when there is hypocrisy coming from within the administration and officials the president appointed. Until the President looks more closely at how money is being spent from within the government, he cannot preach about how raising taxes is the only way out of this recession.
Before he was killed, former Navy SEAL, Chris Kyle envisioned a concealed handgun training class for educators. Yesterday this vision came to life when over 700 teachers and administrators attended the all-day session on gun laws and their safety. The class took place at a school in the Dallas-Forth Worth area. Dalworthington Police Chief Bill Waybourn planned the class with Kyle and was happy to see the results, “It went from 20 to 30 teachers to the more than 700 we have here today. It just exploded with Chris’ involvement”.
Teachers from across the state and at least one representative from each school district in North Texas attended the class, which was organized in response to the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., according to the report.
Participants who complete the required live-ammunition firing training will be eligible for concealed-handgun licenses, the Fort Worth Star Telegram reported.
Last week, the Texas Senate Education Committee approved a plan to train armed teachers for gunfights in classrooms or at campus sporting events or board meetings.
Texas already allows teachers and other school personnel who have previously been certified to carry concealed weapons to do so in classrooms with the permission of their local school districts.
Teachers and administrators who took the class said that they found it to be helpful for life outside the classroom.
Obviously, there were hundreds of people who found this training to be of help and maybe others will now see that people who learn about guns and how to properly use them are not our enemies. The secret to having a society where guns are legal and safe is to have the citizens learn how to use them and in a safe manner. Taking away our rights is not the answer to solving gun crime in this country.