According to the New York Post's Page Six, President Obama used the term "tea-bagger" in a letter response to a Texas teacher, Thomas J. Ritter. Ritter wrote a letter to President Obama expressing his concerns about the way he, and others in his administration, handles criticism over issues like healthcare.
Ritter reportedly wrote:
“I hesitated to write for fear of some kind of retribution .?.?. I watched you make fun of tea baggers and your press secretary make fun of Ms. [Sarah] Palin which was especially beneath the dignity of the White House .?.?. Do the right thing not the political thing. Suggest a bill that Americans can support.”
Obama responded with:
“I received your letter, an appreciate your concern about the toxic political environment right now. I do have to challenge you, though, on the notion that any citizen that disagrees with me has been ‘targeted and ridiculed’ or that I have ‘made fun’ of tea-baggers. I think a fair reading is that I have gone out of my way to listen to legitimate criticism, and defend strongly the rights of everyone to speak their mind."
To be fair, Ritter used the term "tea-bagger" first in his initial letter to Obama, but you'd think the President of the United States wouldn't repeat the degrading term, especially in writing, without at least condemning it.
H/T Ben Domenech
After failing to make it to the South Carolina primary in 2012, Jon Huntsman looked like he was giving up on a political career. But recent statements in New Hampshire are getting attention from national media outlets.
The former governor of Utah, Jon Huntsman came in third place in the New Hampshire primary in 2012, but had to call it quits before making it to South Carolina. He hedged all of his bets on New Hampshire and spent all of his money there. When results did not come out in his favor, many believed this would be the end of his public service. Just a few months ago Huntsman was even quoted saying that he is “not insane” and that he wants to return to public life after giving the best years of his life to politics.
But on Monday this week, Huntsman told an audience at St. Anselm College that he remains devoted to public service. In his long answer to a question about his 2016 intentions, Huntsman said, “Which is a long way of saying that I love public service. I’ll always be committed to public service. And as an itinerant public servant, from time to time it’s hard to know where you’re gonna wind up. But I’m not here as a candidate tonight, that’s for sure.”
Huntsman ran as a more moderate Republican in the 2012 primary, but unfortunately he fell short of reaching the national stage. Following the disappointing results of the 2012 election, many concluded that the Republican Party needed to find a candidate that could not only unite the party behind him, but also reach to the people in the middle. It seemed that perhaps this could have been Mr. Huntsman. Voted the most conservative Governor in the country at the time of his governorship, Huntsman was the solid conservative that many felt could reach to the middle with some of his more liberal social political opinions.
The younger generation seems to be the one to reach out to in 2016, and Mr. Huntsman’s political stances reach that base. We will have to keep an eye on him after many have already decided on Chris Christie as the front runner.
Just one day before Thanksgiving and on the busiest travel day of the year, the Obama administration has announced another Obamacare delay. Small business will not be able to shop online for health insurance until November of 2014, later than Health and Human Services originally announced.
More from the Washington Post:
Small businesses will still have the option to purchase coverage through the new marketplace but will not be able to do so online. Instead, until next fall, employers with fewer than 50 workers will need to work through a broker or agent to buy health plans for their employees.
"We’ve concluded that we can best serve small employers by continuing this offline process while we concentrate on both creating a smoothly functioning online experience in the SHOP Marketplace, and adding key new features, including an employee choice option and premium aggregation services, by November 2014," the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services wrote in a Q&A distributed to health law stakeholders.
After the Supreme Court announced that they will hear a challenge to the HHS Contraception Mandate, the White House put out a statement saying that the mandate is “essential” to a woman’s health. While the word “essential” is defined as being “a thing that is necessary” – meaning that the White House is literally claiming that women cannot be healthy without mandated contraception coverage, here are 10 women who accomplished great things without the government mandating that their employers pay for contraception.
1. Marie Curie
The first woman to win a Nobel Prize; also discovered polonium and radium.
2. Susan B. Anthony
Noted suffragette and early crusader for women’s rights; her picture also graced the dollar coin from 1979-1981.
3. Joan of Arc
As a young teen, she defeated the English army in battle before being executed for, among other things, refusing to change out of pants while as a prisoner of war.
4. Dolley Madison
The wife of President James Madison is noted for defining the role of the First Lady, and saved a portrait of George Washington from a burning White House.
5. Amelia Earhart
The first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean; she disappeared attempting to fly around the world.
6. Rosa Parks
Jump-started the Civil Rights movement and the Montgomery bus boycott.
7. Florence Nightingale
Nightingale is considered to be the creator of the modern nursing profession.
8. Sandra Day O’Connor
The first female justice appointed to the United States Supreme Court.
9. Margaret Chase Smith
Smith was the first woman to serve in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
10. Sarah Palin
First female governor of Alaska and first female Republican vice presidential nominee.
Somehow, against the seemingly-insurmountable odds against them, these women were able to accomplish great things without their employers being mandated to provide them with free birth control.
The so-called Geneva agreement -- signed by six world powers and Iran this past weekend -- alleviates some economic sanctions against the Republic of Iran in exchange for short-term concessions vis-à-vis their nuclear program. The deal is a temporary diplomatic breakthrough, lasting six months, and intended to give the P5+1 nations time to broker a comprehensive, long-term diplomatic resolution addressing Iran's nuclear capabilities. A plurality of Americans, albeit not a majority, support the interim accord:
(Reuters) - Americans back a newly brokered nuclear deal with Iran by a 2-to-1 margin and are very wary of the United States resorting to military action against Tehran even if the historic diplomatic effort falls through, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Tuesday.
According to the Reuters/Ipsos survey, 44 percent of Americans support the interim deal reached between Iran and six world powers in Geneva last weekend, and 22 percent oppose it.
While indicating little trust among Americans toward Iranian intentions, the survey also underscored a strong desire to avoid new U.S. military entanglements after long, costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
While the deal is receiving plaudits from voters, the agreement is doing precious little to improve the president’s favorability numbers, which are still hovering at historic lows:
Even as the poll showed a moderately favorable response to Obama's attempt at rapprochement with Iran, the diplomatic breakthrough did not appear to have offered any immediate political boost at home to the embattled president. Foreign affairs rarely trump domestic matters in terms of presidential popularity.
"This might have an effect on some of the political dialogue," Clark said. "But I don't think it's a game-changer that's going to reverse the tide from the president's current pretty negative approval ratings."
A separate Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll on Tuesday showed Obama's approval rating languishing at 38 percent, with 56 percent disapproving of the way he is handling his job. He spent the past three days on a swing through Western states trying to recover lost ground over his flawed healthcare rollout.
Not everyone is sanguine about the deal, however. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Bret Stephens described the deal as “worse than Munich” and the Paris Peace Accords --agreements that, respectively, appeased Hitler and ended the war in Vietnam:
Consider: Britain and France came to Munich as military weaklings. The U.S. and its allies face Iran from a position of overwhelming strength. Britain and France won time to rearm. The U.S. and its allies have given Iran more time to stockpile uranium and develop its nuclear infrastructure. Britain and France had overwhelming domestic constituencies in favor of any deal that would avoid war. The Obama administration is defying broad bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress for the sake of a deal.
As for the Vietnam parallels, the U.S. showed military resolve in the run-up to the Paris Accords with a massive bombing and mining campaign of the North that demonstrated presidential resolve and forced Hanoi to sign the deal. The administration comes to Geneva fresh from worming its way out of its own threat to use force to punish Syria's Bashar Assad for his use of chemical weapons against his own people.
He reached a rather ominous conclusion:
And each deal was a prelude to worse. After Munich came the conquest of Czechoslovakia, the Nazi-Soviet pact and World War II. After Paris came the fall of Saigon and Phnom Penh and the humiliating exit from the embassy rooftop. After Geneva there will come a new, chaotic Mideast reality in which the United States will lose leverage over enemies and friends alike.
Whether this deal is “worse than Munich” or not remains to be seen. But many Americans appear quite content with the result.
UPDATE: Rasmussen Reports' findings were similar: 41 percent of respondents support the agreement.
Last month, we reported on how President Obama's failed health care law included a provision that could bailout insurers who sell policies through the Obamacare exchanges, if too few young and healthy people sign up for Obamacare.
To recap, a "risk corridor" provision in Obamacare allows the federal government to give health insurers a tax payer bailout if the cost of providing care for those insured through Obamacare is higher than insurers originally estimated when they first set premium prices.
Originally, federal regulations allowed insurers access to taxpayer bailout funds only after they spent at least $60,000 on an individual.
On Monday, the Department of Health and Human Services introduced new regulations lowering that limit to $45,000. This will transfer billions more dollars from tax payers to insurance companies. This is automatic, entitlement, mandatory spending. It is not discretionary. Congress has no power to stop this bailout through the appropriations process.
The Congressional Budget Office never considered the possibility that health insurance companies would need a bailout when they scored Obamacare before it became law. If this bailout proceeds, Obamacare will add billions to the deficit.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has introduced legislation to repeal this health insurance company bailout. But it is highly unlikely Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), would ever a plow a vote on it.
In a speech given yesterday to Dreamworks employees, President Obama apparently revealed one of his new superpowers: he can identify the location of someone's birth just by looking at them.
I didn't ask, but just looking at faces I could tell there were some folks who are here not because they were born here, but because they want to be here. And they bring extraordinary talents to the United States and that's part of what makes America special.
Let's do a fun thought experiment where we imagine the media's reaction to a Republican saying they can "identify an immigrant" from just looking at someone. I feel like it wouldn't go over well.
Hudak will hold a news conference Wednesday morning at the Arvada Library.
"By resigning I am protecting these important new laws for the good of Colorado and ensuring that we can continue looking forward," Hudak wrote in her resignation letter in regard to her gun votes, which led to the recall effort.
Proponents of the recall have until early next week to submit about 18,900 valid signatures to the secretary of state's office. If enough signatures are valid, Hudak would be the third Colorado lawmaker to face a recall election this year because of her support for tougher gun laws.
Earlier this year, Colorado State Senator Angela Giron and Senate President John Morse, both from blue districts, were recalled and replaced with Republicans. Hudak was likely pressured into her resignation. If she had lost her recall election (which was likely), Democrats in Colorado would lose a majority in the legislature. Now, Democrats will be able to appoint Hudak's replacement, further ignoring constituents while allowing Democrats to avoid the consequences for anti-gun votes.
As a reminder, Hudak is the woman who told rape survivor Amanda Collins back in March during a hearing about concealed carry on campus that a gun wouldn't have helped her when she was attacked and lectured her by saying, "statistics are not on your side." Collins was raped at gun point in a gun free zone in 2007 while walking to her car at the University of Nevada-Reno. Due the University's no weapons policy, Collins was in possession of her concealed carry permit at the time of the attack, but not her firearm. Her assailant went on to rape two more women and killed one of them, Brianna Denison, who was just 20-years-old.
You can learn more about Amanda's story here.
UPDATE: Compass Colorado, the group helping to lead recall efforts, has released a statement.
“This is yet another indicator that the tides are changing in Colorado politics,” Executive Director of Compass Colorado Kelly Maher said in a statement. “Coloradans are sick of the extreme Democrats trying to control their lives. These “progressives” have overreached so far on so many issues that Colorado families are now ready for a new vision.”
The CIA reportedly trained some enemy combatants from Guantanamo Bay to operate as double agents and traded them freedom for assisting US intelligence. After being trained in a secret facility known as "Penny Lane" and funded with millions of US dollars, some former prisoners succeeded in helping take down al-Qaeda leaders while others vanished without a trace.
The Associated Press reports:
The CIA promised the prisoners freedom, safety for their families and millions of dollars from the agency's secret accounts.
It was a risky gamble. Officials knew there was a chance that some prisoners might quickly spurn their deal and kill Americans.
For the CIA, that was an acceptable risk in a dangerous business. For the American public, which was never told, the program was one of the many secret trade-offs the government made on its behalf. At the same time the government used the risk of terrorism to justify imprisoning people indefinitely, it was releasing dangerous people from prison to work for the CIA.
The AP names no source but claims that almost a dozen officials supported the story on condition of anonymity. Although the Penny Lane program was only active from 2003 to 2006, it remains secret information. In an attempt to win the detainees over to America's side, the report describes how US officials went to great lengths to make enemy combatants comfortable and happy:
Candidates were ushered from the confines of prison to Penny Lane's relative hominess, officials said. The cottages had private kitchens, showers and televisions. Each had a small patio.
Some prisoners asked for and received pornography. One official said the biggest luxury in each cottage was the bed — not a military-issued cot but a real bed with a mattress.
The cottages were designed to feel more like hotel rooms than prison cells, and some CIA officials jokingly referred to them collectively as the Marriott.
According to AP, the Penny Lane area is still visible in satellite footage.
Although only a handful of double agents were allegedly approved through the Penny Lane program, a significant proportion of all the released Guantanamo Bay detainees returned to anti-American terrorist activity. The US government has confirmed 16% returned to anti-American terrorist activity, and the report reveals that many suspect another unconfirmed 12% have returned as well.
The report claims that both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama had direct knowledge of the program, the latter of whom used Penny Lane information as part of decision-making in using Predator drones. The findings are especially problematic because Guantanamo Bay is still open (despite the President's promises).
In case you missed it yesterday, MSNBC fired Alec Baldwin after he made a series of anti-comments during a confrontation with paparazzi on the street. MSNBC host Martin Bashir, who suggested someone defecate in former Alaska Governor and Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin's mouth, hasn't even seen a suspension. As a reminder, Bashir didn't make the comments about Palin on the street or even during an on-air panel discussion, he made them in a scripted, planned, on-air segment while reading off of a teleprompter, which means his words were approved by multiple people including an executive producer.
Now, Baldwin is berating the network for firing him while leaving Bashir untouched. More from the Gothamist:
"Martin Bashir's on the air, and he made his comment on the air!
I dispute half the comment I made... if I called him 'c**ksucking maggot' or a 'c**ksucking motherf**ker'... 'faggot' is not the word that came out of my mouth. That I know. But you've got the fundamentalist wing of gay advocacy—Rich Ferraro and Andrew Sullivan—they're out there, they've got you. Rich Ferraro, this is probably one of his greatest triumphs. They killed my show. And I have to take some responsibility for that myself."
Maybe MSNBC should stop hiring jerks and start hiring men with manners. It would save them a lot of trouble.
Majority of Americans Believe Deportation of Illegal Immigrants Not Agressive Enough | Katie Pavlich