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Heather Ginsberg - Several Cities Looking at Banning People From Living in Their Cars
Posted: 4/9/2014 5:54:00 PM EST

In one of the most liberal states in the country and one of the richest counties there, many of their poor population are facing troubles. Palo Alto, one of the richest areas in California, which is part of Silicon Valley, is looking at punishing the homeless who are forced to live in their cars.

An ordinance passed by Palo Alto last year would punish people who are cited for living in a vehicle with as much as a $1,000 fine or 6 months in jail. Right now the city has delayed the enforcement of this ordinance because of a challenge to a similar ban in Los Angeles.

Right now the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is considering a challenge to a very similar law they currently have in Los Angeles. A decision is expected within a few months and this could then affect laws in nearby San Jose and Santa Clara. There are at least 70 cities across America with these types of laws, targeting those who live in their cars.

It seems that all the rich people in Palo Alto became scared of the people who were living in their cars and washing in the local community center. They began to call in the authorities to rid them of this ‘nuisance’.

How is it that anyone can tell people where they can live? And what good does it do to put anyone in jail for doing what might be absolutely necessary for their survival? And let’s talk about another silly idea, fining people who are homeless. If they had the money to pay a fine, wouldn’t you think they would probably use it to pay rent in a home or apartment?

This just doesn’t seem like the most effective way to help those impoverished citizens.

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Daniel Doherty - Hillary's New Memoir Slated to Be Released In June
Posted: 4/9/2014 5:15:00 PM EST

Hillary Clinton admitted today she’s “thinking about running” for president, and the release of her new memoir on June 10, I suspect, will only fan the speculation flames even more:

Hillary Rodham Clinton's new book on her time as President Barack Obama's secretary of state will be released on June 10, her publisher says.

Publisher Simon & Schuster said Wednesday that Clinton would share "candid reflections about key moments during her time as Secretary of State as well as her thoughts about how to navigate the challenges of the 21st century." The book's title and jacket design have not yet been released; the publishing date was released by the publisher on a website for the book: http://www.hillaryclintonmemoir.com/

Clinton's book has been widely anticipated as she considers another presidential campaign in 2016. The former first lady and New York senator is already a best-selling author: Her 2003 memoir, "Living History," sold more than 1 million copies.

Clinton has been traveling the country giving paid speeches to industry organizations and appearing before a variety of constituency groups that comprise the Democratic party. During a speech in San Francisco on Tuesday, Clinton said she was seriously considering a presidential bid and all it would entail.

Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer has famously asked Fox News viewers to come up with a single Hillary Clinton accomplishment during her tenure as Secretary of State. Question: Can you think of one? (For what it’s worth, DNC attendees were recently asked that very question, and came up remarkably short). Put differently, the book will give her an opportunity to tout her accomplishments as a cabinet secretary -- and perhaps clear up some questions that need answering -- before she runs for president.

We’ll see if she actually answers any of them.

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Katie Pavlich - BREAKING: Emails Show Lois Lerner Fed True the Vote Tax Information to Democrat Elijah Cummings
Posted: 4/9/2014 4:25:00 PM EST

New IRS emails released by the House Oversight Committee show staff working for Democratic Ranking Member Elijah Cummings communicated with the IRS multiple times between 2012 and 2013 about voter fraud prevention group True the Vote. True the Vote was targeted by the IRS after applying for tax exempt status more than two years ago. Further, information shows the IRS and Cummings' staff asked for nearly identical information from True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht about her organization, indicating coordination and improper sharing of confidential taxpayer information.

Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa, along with five Subcommittee Chairmen are demanding Cummings provide an explanation for the staff inquiries to the IRS about True the Vote and for his denial that his staff ever contacted the IRS about the group.

“Although you have previously denied that your staff made inquiries to the IRS about conservative organization True the Vote that may have led to additional agency scrutiny, communication records between your staff and IRS officials – which you did not disclose to Majority Members or staff – indicates otherwise,” the letter to Cummings states. “As the Committee is scheduled to consider a resolution holding Ms. Lerner, a participant in responding to your communications that you failed to disclose, in contempt of Congress, you have an obligation to fully explain your staff’s undisclosed contacts with the IRS.”

The first contact between the IRS and Cummings' staffers about True the Vote happened in August 2012. In January 2013, staff asked for more information from the IRS about the group. Former head of tax exempt groups at the IRS Lois Lerner went out of her way to try and get information to Cummings' office.The information Cummings received was not shared with Majority Members on the Committee.

On January 28, three days after staffers requested more information, Lerner wrote an email to her deputy Holly Paz, who has since been put on administrative leave, asking, “Did we find anything?” Paz responded immediately by saying information had not been found yet, to which Lerner replied, “Thanks, check tomorrow please.”

On January 31, Paz sent True the Vote's 990 forms to Cumming's staff.

Up until this point, Rep. Cummings has denied his staff ever contacted the IRS about True the Vote and their activities during Oversight hearings. In fact, on February 6, 2014 during a Subcommittee hearing where Engelbrecht testified, Cummings vehemently denied having any contact or coordination in targeting True the Vote when attorney Cleta Mitchell, who is representing the group, indicated staff on the Committee had been involved in communication with the IRS. This was the exchange:

Ms. Mitchell: We want to get to the bottom of how these coincidences happened, and we’re going to try to figure out whether any – if there was any staff of this committee that might have been involved in putting True the Vote on the radar screen of some of these Federal agencies. We don’t know that, but we – we’re going to do everything we can do to try to get to the bottom of how did this all happen.

Mr. Cummings. Will the gentleman yield?

Mr. Meadows. Yes.

Mr. Cummings. I want to thank the gentleman for his courtesy. What she just said is absolutely incorrect and not true.

After the hearing, Engelbrecht filed an ethics complaint against Cummings for his targeting and intimidation of her organization.

Rep. Cummings has described the investigation into IRS targeting of conservative groups as a "witch hunt," and has tried multiple times to put the investigation on hold.

"These documents, indicating involvement of IRS officials at the center of the targeting scandal responding to your requests, raise serious questions about your actions and motivations for trying to bring this investigation to a premature end. If the Committee, as you publicly suggested in June 2013,'wrap[ped] this case up and moved on' at that time, the Committee may have never seen documents raising questions about your possible coordination with the IRS in communications that excluded the Committee Majority," the letter sent by Issa and the Chairmen further states. "As the Committee continues to investigate the IRS's wrongdoing and to gather all relevant testimonial and documentary evidence, the American people deserve to know the full truth. They deserve to know why the Ranking Member and Minority staff of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform surreptitiously contacted the IRS about an individual organization without informing the Majority Staff and even failed to disclose the contact after it became an issue during a subcommittee proceeding...We ask that you explain the full extent of you and your staff's communications with the IRS and why you chose to keep communications with the IRS from Majority Members and staff even after it became a subject of controversy."

The House Oversight Committee will vote tomorrow about whether to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress.

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Guy Benson - Obamacare "Beneficiary:" I've Been Rejected by 96 Doctors So Far
Posted: 4/9/2014 4:25:00 PM EST


So writes Danielle Kimberly in Ebony, as she discovers for herself what conservatives meant when we repeatedly warned that obtaining health coverage is not the same thing as securing healthcare:


“I’m sorry, we are no longer accepting that kind of insurance. I apologize for the confusion; Dr. [insert name] is only willing to see existing patients at this time.” As a proud new beneficiary of the Affordable Health Care Act, I’d like to report that I am doctorless. Ninety-six. Ninety-six is the number of soul crushing rejections that greeted me as I attempted to find one. It’s the number of physicians whose secretaries feigned empathy while rehearsing the “I’m so sorry” line before curtly hanging up. You see, when the rush of the formerly uninsured came knocking, doctors in my New Jersey town began closing their doors and promptly telling insurance companies that they had no room for new patients. My shiny, never used Horizon health card is as effective as a dollar bill during the Great Depression. In fact, an expert tells CNN, “I think of (Obamacare) as giving everyone an ATM card in a town where there are no ATM machines.”


If you assumed the author of this piece surely learned a valuable political lesson from her experience, you'd be mistaken. She goes on to gush about how "grateful" she is for the "tremendous strides" President Obama has made on healthcare, praising the government's "valiant attempts" to address this problem, and implicitly placing most of the blame for her plight on greedy doctors (I wonder where she got that idea). It goes without saying that less partisan victims won't be as forgiving of the political operation that sold them this bill of goods. Critics of Obamacare have been citing simple math and expert analyses for years in arguing that the new law would exacerbate an increasingly acute doctor shortage. Cheerleaders for Obamacare's enormous Medicaid expansion never seem to mention that the broken program (a) doesn't improve health outcomes for its recipients, (b) deepens the "uncompensated care" problem it's supposed to help alleviate, and (c) all too often provides appallingly bad access to care for beneficiaries. Jim Geragthy runs through just a few relevant stats:


A study from Merritt Hawkins released in February found that less than half the doctors in the nation’s largest cities take Medicaid patients; in 2009 it was above 55 percent. The range varies widely from city to city and from specialty to specialty, but in some cities, it is nearly impossible to find a specialist who accepts Medicaid. Only 7 percent of cardiologists in Minneapolis accept Medicaid; only 15 percent of dermatologists in Philadelphia; only 35 percent of obstetricians and gynecologists in Denver; only 28 percent of orthopedists in Seattle, and only 32 percent of family practitioners in New York City.


This is what we meant when we predicted Obamacare's "access shock" impact, the effects of which are reverberating across the country:


Shortly after Mary West bought health insurance, she realized there was a problem. For years, the Spartanburg resident was treated by a doctor at Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System. Now that she has a shiny new health insurance card in her pocket, she will have to find somewhere else to receive care. “I have to find a different health care provider,” she said. “It's frustrating.” ... What West learned after she bought insurance caught her by surprise. “Consumers' Choice (representatives) told me I could go to Regional, but I was going to have to pay out of pocket,” West said. Of the insurance providers with plans for sale on healthcare.gov, Spartanburg Regional, has a contract only with Coventry. It will accept patients with the other plans, but those patients must pay out-of-pocket expenses.


Meanwhile, 1,800 middle class New Jersey families have received letters informing them that their kids' health plans have been canceled under Obamacare. Millennials are fretting over the cost of coverage offerings on the exchange, and Hawaiians on the small group market are bracing for substantial premium increases next year:



Hawaii's troubled Obamacare exchange cost taxpayers $120 million to build, and only enrolled a few thousand consumers.

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Sarah Jean Seman - Early Analysis: Obamacare Enrollees Take More HIV/AIDS, Pain Meds Than Privately Insured
Posted: 4/9/2014 4:18:00 PM EST

An early analysis of Obamacare enrollees suggests they are more likely than the privately insured to use expensive specialty drugs.

According to the report by pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts:

More than six in every 1,000 prescriptions in the Exchange plans were for a medication to treat HIV. This proportion is nearly four times higher in Exchange plans than in commercial health plans.

Approximately 43% of Exchange enrollees were previously enrolled in a plan with Express Scripts in 2013. The remaining 57% could have been uninsured or previously enrolled in a plan with pharmacy coverage administered by another organization.

Obamacare users received 35 percent more pain medication, 27 percent more medication to control seizures, and 14 percent more antidepressants than the privately insured. The proportion of contraceptives actually dropped 31 percent among Obamacare enrollees.

These pharmacy costs could become a concern, considering that once an individual’s out-of-pocket limit is capped, Obamacare will have to pick up the entire tab. The maximum out-of-pocket cost in 2014 is $6,350 for any individual plan and $12,700 for a family plan, according to Healthcare.gov.

Seventy-six percent of likely U.S. voters polled already believe that Obamacare is somewhat likely to cost more than projected, according to a Rasmussen report released Monday. Fifty-seven percent said bloated Obamacare costs are very likely.

The Obama Administration needs more young people to sign-up in their exchange system to counterbalance this current pace of prescription drug consumption.

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Daniel Doherty - Single Tear: Retiring Dem Loses Bid to Give Members of Congress a Raise
Posted: 4/9/2014 3:35:00 PM EST

The odds, alas, were never really in his favor to get this measure passed. But he did give it a valiant effort, I suppose. So I’ll give him that:

A retiring congressman has lost his quixotic bid to give members of Congress $25 a day to help with their living expenses in Washington.

Democrat Jim Moran of Virginia offered the plan as a replacement for the cost of living increase that would be denied lawmakers under legislation heading to the House floor later this spring.

The House Appropriations Committee rejected Moran's measure by a voice vote as it debated the congressional budget.

Members of Congress earn $174,000 a year and are supposed to receive annual cost of living pay raises.

Lawmakers have voted for five consecutive years to deny themselves the raise.

Usually Democrats direct their attention to more, shall we say, populist endeavors. They decry and push back against income inequality, diminishing wages, and growing poverty rates. In other words, they present themselves as championing causes that affect lower and middle class people. So why, then, is Rep. Moran (D-VA) whining about an issue no one living outside-the-beltway cares anything about?

Two theories: One, Rep. Moran is retiring so he isn’t overly concerned about how silly this all looks. Offering up legislation that gives members of Congress what amounts to a pay increase, when in fact each member already earns $174,000 per annum, is absurd. Surely, with such generous salaries being paid for by American taxpayers, it's not impossible for lawmakers to find living arrangements within their budgets, right? Two, he genuinely believes that six-figure salaries are not commensurate with each member’s congressional responsibilities, in which case it’s probably a good thing he’s retiring.

In truth, you’d be hard pressed to find working Americans who say members of Congress are underpaid. It’s only the barnacles in Washington who seem to think they’re entitled to more of your money.

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Katie Pavlich - BREAKING: House Ways and Means Committee Votes to Refer Lois Lerner For Criminal Charges
Posted: 4/9/2014 12:19:00 PM EST

The House Ways and Means Committee has voted to 23-14 along party lines to refer former head of tax exempt groups at the IRS Lois Lerner to the Justice Department for prosecution. Although the details about exactly what charges will be have not yet been released, lawmakers are arguing Lerner has not been truthful with Congress or the IRS inspector general and leaked confidential tax information.

Last time a referral like this happened, it was to Major League Baseball player Roger Clemens, who was pursued by the Department of Justice for lying to Congress but was exonerated in court.

This is a test for the Department of Justice and the Obama administration. What's more important? Baseball and steroids? Or the most powerful federal agency abusing its power to target innocent conservative groups?

Last summer President Obama called the targeting "outrageous" and promised to hold people responsible and accountable for what happened. If the Justice Department refuses to pursue charges against Lerner, it's fair to say one reason is because they don't want information leading back to the administration coming out in court.

Tomorrow the House Oversight Comittee will vote on whether to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress.

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Leah Barkoukis - Another Victory in Conservative Christian Professor’s Academic Freedom Case
Posted: 4/9/2014 11:18:00 AM EST

Last month, academic freedom and the First Amendment scored a major victory when a federal jury found that the University of North Carolina-Wilmington had retaliated against conservative Christian professor Dr. Mike Adams. Despite a track record of success at the public university, the criminology professor was denied a promotion to full professor because of his social and political views.

When Townhall first reported the story, the jury’s verdict was only for liability. This week, however, we learned of even more good news for Adams, a Townhall columnist.

“[T]he judge ruled – holding that Dr. Adams was entitled to receive the promotion he was wrongly denied, the pay increase he was entitled to, and back pay to compensate him for lost income,” the ACLJ, who represents Adams along with Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Travis Barham, wrote on Tuesday. “This ruling sends a message to public universities: academic freedom isn’t just for the Left, it’s a constitutional right for all professors -- even Christian conservatives.”

The verdict and the judge’s ruling are encouraging and certainly a victory on many fronts, but as the ACLJ notes, the battle to defend our nation’s fundamental freedoms isn’t over.

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Guy Benson - Poll: Key Elements of Democratic Base Planning to Sit Out Midterm Elections
Posted: 4/9/2014 11:08:00 AM EST


Ask a Democratic operative about generic ballot polls like this one, and he'd tell you that the party would obviously prefer to be in a better position, but they're not overly concerned at this early stage. Show him this data, however, and watch the color will drain from his face:


A new poll from Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg has got to be cause for concern for Democrats. The poll shows that the key members of the Democratic coalition that has delivered Barack Obama two terms a president are not anxious to vote in the 2014 midterm election. The poll shows that a group known as the "Rising American Electorate" -- which includes the strongly Democratic blocs of young people, unmarried women and minorities -- is significantly less likely to vote than other voters, who tend to favor Republicans...Just 64 percent of members of the Rising American Electorate say they are "almost certain" to vote in 2014, compared to 79 percent of everyone else...This is hardly the first sign of potential turnout problems for Democrats. An AP poll released over the weekend showed those who are very interested in politics favor a GOP-controlled Congress to a Democratic one by 51-37 percent.


Again, these results are from a Democratic pollster. His results in graph form:



"RAE" voters are core members of the demographic coalition Democrats need to turn out in order to be successful. It's this group that made Barack Obama a two-term president in 2012. Non-RAE voters heavily skew Republican. As you can see, nearly 80 percent of strong GOP leaners are highly likely to vote in November, whereas these key Democratic groups are in the mid-60's on that question. If that's how things ultimately play out this fall, Team Blue is in for a world of hurt -- which is why Democrats are pulling out all the pandering stops. The administration is brushing aside scheduled Obamacare-caused Medicare cuts to try to mitigate the damage among seniors. Joe Biden is admonishing his party to fight back against Republican "voter suppression" schemes. And the entire Democratic machine is coordinating to draw attention to the phony "pay gap for women" issue, which they're hoping will galvanize unmarried women. That latter push has been met with unusual skepticism -- if not hostility -- from the mainstream media. CNN aired a decidedly negative segment on the White House's rhetoric, while CBS News exposed the White House's hypocrisy on the issue:



White House spokesman Jay Carney got testy with a reporter who asked a question about the administration's misleading statistics, drawing surprised jeers from others in the press corps:



And that wasn't the only time a White House official was knocked back on his or her heels trying to square their demagoguery with empirical facts:


As soon as Stevenson was actually questioned about the statistic by McClatchy reporter Lindsay Wise, the White House adviser crumbled, admitting her earlier comments were inaccurate. “If I said 77 cents was equal pay for equal work, then I completely misspoke,” Stevenson said. “So let me just apologize and say that I certainly wouldn’t have meant to say that.” Oh, I’m sorry, I guess when Stevenson said “we see it when men and women are working side by side doing identical work” — that was an accident?


If this was the next big ploy to turn Democrats' polls around, it's off to a very rough start.

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Christine Rousselle - Hillary Clinton: "I Am Thinking About" Running for President
Posted: 4/9/2014 11:00:00 AM EST

Not an official announcement by any means, but former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said today during a post-speech question and answer session that she is "thinking about" running for president in 2016. She declined to give a definite yes or no when asked, and joked that she was there for "marketing advice."

"I am obviously flattered and deeply honored to have people ask me and encourage me, and I am thinking about it, but I am going to continue to think about it for a while."

Clinton is considered by many to be the front-runner for the Democratic nominee, despite the fact that she has not actually entered the race.

Concerns about Clinton's health, however, have some questioning whether or not she is physically capable of handling the grueling campaign schedule. In late 2012, Clinton was briefly hospitalized for a blood clot on her brain.

Regardless of health or other factors, Clinton made it clear that an announcement about her campaign won't be coming for a long time.

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