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December 2010

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Napolitano Visit Aimed at Beefing Up Afghan Border Security, Customs
During an unannounced New Year's Eve visit to Afghanistan, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano traveled to the country's mountainous border region near Pakistan to see first-hand her department's efforts in the war effort there.

"No refusal" DUI checkpoints could be coming to Tampa
Florida is among several states now holding what are called "no refusal" checkpoints. It means if you refuse a breath test during a traffic stop, a judge is on site, and issues a warrant that allows police to perform a mandatory blood test

Internet groups fear UN could threaten cyberspace
Fourteen technical organizations that help oversee how cyberspace runs wrote an open letter asking the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development (UNCSTD) to reverse its decision. Meanwhile the Internet Society, an umbrella group that helps manage technical standards online, posted a petition to its website in protest

GOP Fuming Over Recess Appointment of Lawyer Who Compared 9/11 to Drug Trade
Obama has outraged Republicans by directly appointing six officials this week without the consent of Congress, including his pick for deputy attorney general, who once compared the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks to the drug trade.

Which Part of the Constitution is ‘Confusing’ Ezra?
Such an old document is impossible to understand? Forgetting the obvious slams that could be made at young Mr. Klein with regard to his youthful ignorance of any bit of important American culture that predates ‘N Sync, I’d instead like to thank Ezra for providing evidence of one of the basic, principled differences between the right and the left: Conservatives still look to our country’s founding documents to guide their political and legislative agendas and the left just does what they want and then tries to force it through because working within the confines of the Constitution is just “too hard.”

Obama family on multi-million dollar Christmas vacation in Hawaii
Nobody questions a president's right or need to take time away from the White House, but an investigation by Hawaii Reporter has turned up some eye-opening information about the costs and other aspects of the Obama get-away. Just consider these estimates on part of the costs of the latest Obama Hawaii trip:

US, Venezuela evict ambassadors in diplomatic spat
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez dared the U.S. to expel his ambassador in retaliation for his move to reject the U.S. envoy to the South American country. On Wednesday, that's just what the Obama administration did.

Did Big Apple public unions stage a slowdown on snow removal?
Selfish Sanitation Department bosses from the snow-slammed outer boroughs ordered their drivers to snarl the blizzard cleanup to protest budget cuts — a disastrous move that turned streets into a minefield for emergency-services vehicles, The Post has learned.

Careerist RINO certified as winner of Alaska Senate race
Gov. Sean Parnell and Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, who oversees elections, signed the paperwork certifying her victory in the hotly contested race. “It’s done,” Treadwell said after penning his last signature in front of cameras in Parnell’s office.

Feds investigating Christine O’Donnell for misusing campaign funds
Federal authorities have opened a criminal investigation of Delaware Republican Christine O’Donnell to determine if the former Senate candidate broke the law by using campaign money to pay personal expenses, according to a person with knowledge of the investigation.

Kansas lawmaker more inspired than ever to do away with lame duck
Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kansas) is not at all impressed by talk of how much work Congress got done during the lame-duck session. In fact, she’d like to ban these after-election sessions altogether. Jenkins introduced a bill last summer that would put an end to the lame-duck session except in the case of a national emergency when leaders would call members back to Washington to respond.

Dems rip proposed rule giving new power to GOP Budget chairman
The proposed rule would allow the Budget Committee chairman to set spending ceilings for 2011 without a vote by the full House. By approving the rules package, the House would give authority to the new Budget panel chairman to set budget ceilings at a later time and his decision would not be subject to an up-or-down vote on the floor.

Leading Pelosi ally envisions 'rancorous' period in politics
One of outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi's closest allies said Thursday the next session of Congress will likely be one of the "most rancorous" periods in U.S. history. Rep. Henry Waxman (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, said that with Republicans taking control of the House and returning with bolstered numbers in the Senate, partisan bickering will heat up in the Capitol.

Dems say new GOP plan to repeal healthcare would increase deficit
The new rules allow the Budget Committee to "make appropriate budget adjustments" to account for the repeal of the reform law before adopting a fiscal 2012 budget plan, House aides explained.

From greenhouse gases to green agenda: 5 energy issues to watch
On Thursday, just hours before most people in Washington left town for the holidays, the EPA made two major announcements in its efforts to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. The agency laid out a timetable for phasing in emissions standards for power plants and refineries, and announced it would issue greenhouse gas permits in Texas, where the governor had refused to align with federal rules. On top of that, beginning in January the EPA will, on a case-by-case basis, begin phasing in rules that require large new industrial plants and sites that perform major upgrades to curb emissions.

Challenger won't block Murkowski's Senate victory certification
Joe Miller will not block the certification of Sen. Lisa Murkowski as the winner of November’s Alaska Senate race, but he will not drop his legal challenge of the recount there, either. Miller said late Sunday he wants his state to have two senators when the new Congress is sworn in on Jan. 5, so he will not stand in the way of having the election results certified by a federal judge.

Rep.-elect Walsh will turn down government health insurance
Another newly elected Republican member of Congress says he will not accept the government-sponsored health insurance plan available to lawmakers. Rep.-elect Joe Walsh (Ill.), who rode a wave of Tea Party support to defeat three-term Rep. Melissa Bean (D) in November, said he does not believe lawmakers should receive the benefits.

New GOP rules will make it tougher for House to raise ceiling on federal debt
House Republicans set to release their recommended rules changes Wednesday will change the names of several committees and repeal a rule making it more difficult to raise the debt ceiling. They will also require that all bills be posted online three days before a vote.

Perilous predictions for 2011
Nowhere is prediction more fraught with peril than in politics and world affairs. The success rate is in inverse proportion to the costs that unexpected acts in the real world can impose on the investor. So despite the difficulty of providing a reliable guide to the future there are huge incentives to try to chart the way ahead.

Surprise! End-of-life advisory incentives return - through regulation
Better get used to this process, because it’s how President Obama will be pushing his agenda on all fronts. The New York Times reports today that the White House will create incentives for doctors to discuss "options" for end of life care through regulation, after Congress removed the incentives from ObamaCare:

GOP Ascent Signals a Much Tougher Stance on Illegal Immigration
The end of the year means a turnover of House control from Democratic to Republican and, with it, Congress' approach to immigration. Legislation to test interpretations of the 14th Amendment as granting citizenship to children of illegal immigrants will emerge early next session. That is likely to be followed by attempts to force employers to use a still-developing web system, dubbed E-Verify, to check that all of their employees are in the U.S. legally.

Coburn: Economy Threatened Without Spending Cuts
Coburn says the U.S. must begin to chip away at the country's huge debt and slash hundreds of billions from the budget in wasteful spending or face the kind of severe fiscal crisis that has plagued Ireland and Greece.

Historian Kidd: Obama Pushes US to Secularism
Obama has made misstatements that propel speculation he is pushing the United States toward a secular state instead of one founded on religious principles, history professor and author Thomas Kidd tells Newsmax.TV. The impression rises partly from gaffes such as misquoting the Declaration of Independence, Kidd said in the exclusive interview.

As America Celebrates Christmas, Rev. Franklin Graham Says Secular 'War' Rages Against Christians
The campaign against Christianity rages "not just in America, but in many countries around the world," the noted evangelist and son of world-renowned preacher Billy Graham declares during an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV.

US Has Approved Business With Blacklisted Nations
Despite sanctions and trade embargoes, over the past decade the United States government has granted special licenses allowing American companies to do billions of dollars in business with Iran and other countries blacklisted as state sponsors of terrorism.

AZ Sheriff Authorizes Lethal Force Against Cartels, Bandits
Drug smugglers and border bandits have been threatening citizens and law enforcement in southern Arizona for long enough and one county Sheriff is taking a stand. Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu has announced his police department plans to use deadly force, if necessary, to finally drive the dangerous criminals out of the area.

Emails Reveal NYC Mayor’s Office Offered Behind-the-Scenes Support for Ground Zero Mosque
Internal emails obtained by Judicial Watch suggest a number of top deputies in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office "went to great lengths" to help the developers of the proposed Ground Zero mosque, including drafting a letter addressed to the community board on their behalf. The New York Daily News reports:

Senate Democrats Poised for Power Grab
Senate Democrats are going to be working over the Christmas break to deliver a lump of coal to the American people in the form of a radical changing of the Senate's rules. This is a naked power grab by liberals in the Senate pure and simple. The National Journal reports that Senate Democrats are laying the groundwork to chip away at the filibuster on January 5, 2011. They are going to push the idea that a simple majority of the Senate can abolish the filibuster rules, or radically change the rules, in a new Congress.

President Meets with Union Bosses to Discuss Government-Union 'Partnership'
The U.S. Department of Labor, which has become akin to the Ministry of Workers' Councils, regularly issues a newsletter via e-mail and posts it on the Ministry's website. This week, among other items touted, was this little gem on union bosses meeting with President Obama to discuss growing the economy and the government-union partnership.

Three days after he posted a series of six video clips recorded with a cell phone camera at San Francisco International Airport, four federal air marshals and two sheriff's deputies arrived at his house to confiscate his federally-issued firearm. The pilot recorded that event as well and provided all the video to News10. At the same time as the federal marshals took the pilot's gun, a deputy sheriff asked him to surrender his state-issued permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Election board: Emanuel will remain on ballot
The unanimous ruling in favor of the former White House chief of staff comes after board hearing officer Joe Morris ruled early Thursday morning that Emanuel’s name should remain on the ballot even though he moved to Washington D.C. in 2009 to work for Obama. After a hearing later in the morning, the board affirmed Morris’ decision that Emanuel didn’t lose his residency status and therefore can continue his campaign.

Sewage spill shuts Obama's vacation beach
Hawaii has been plagued with heavy rains recently, and the Oahu village of Kailua has been forced to release untreated sewage and agricultural runoff into Kailua Bay and the beaches around the Obamas' rental home. County officials have posted signs telling tourists to stay out of the water but many Hawaiian visitors are going in for a Christmas dip anyway.

Vice Admiral: Obama was outmaneuvered by Russians on START
"The Obama administration is continuing a dated policy in which we cannot even unilaterally reduce our own inventory of weapons and delivery systems without being on parity with the Russians," Miller told the U.S. Naval Institute in Annapolis, Md. "We could give up plenty of deployed delivery systems and not adversely affect our national security one bit, but New START prohibits such action - so we are now stuck with some outmoded and useless elements in our nuke force."

Obama WH says polar bears not endangered
The Obama administration is sticking with a George W. Bush-era decision to deny polar bears endangered species status. In a court filing Wednesday, the Fish and Wildlife Service defended the previous administration’s decision to give the polar bear the less-protective "threatened" species designation, a move that will frustrate environmentalists who hoped for stronger protections under the Endangered Species Act.

Adviser: Obama may tap administration outsider for permanent chief of staff
Senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said the president would look to some "new faces" when filling vacant White House positions.

No Congress Since '60s Makes as Much Law Affecting Most Americans as 111th
However history judges the 535 men and women in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate the past two years, one thing is certain: The 111th Congress made more law affecting more Americans since the "Great Society" legislation of the 1960s.

One-sixth of House skips final lame-duck votes
More than 70 House members didn't bother showing up to vote Tuesday, even as the lower chamber wraps up its final priorities of the lame-duck session -- including a bill on funding the federal government through March and a measure on health benefits for 9/11 first responders.

Senate ratifies new U.S.-Russia nuclear weapons treaty
The Senate ratified the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, known as New START, by a vote of 71 to 26, easily clearing the threshold of two-thirds of senators present as required by the Constitution for treaty ratification.

Obama's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year
There he was, on New Year's Day, on vacation with his family in Hawaii, stuck on a secure phone with counterterrorism officials, trying to figure out what screw-ups had allowed a would-be terrorist to board a Christmas Day flight with explosives in his underwear. Things only got worse for Obama when he returned to Washington in between a pair of epic winter storms.

Time to abolish the FCC?
The net neutrality vision for government regulation of the Internet began with the work of Robert McChesney, a University of Illinois communications professor who founded the liberal lobby Free Press in 2002. Mr. McChesney’s agenda? "At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies," he told the website Socialist Project in 2009. "But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control."

Deal reached on 9/11 responder health bill
Republican and Democratic senators struck a tentative deal to approve an aid bill for Ground Zero workers after New York lawmakers agreed to scale back its cost and accept other conditions, according to people familiar with the discussions.

WH to issue EO continuing indefinite detention at Gitmo
The Obama administration is preparing an executive order that would formalize indefinite detention without trial for some detainees at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but allow those detainees and their lawyers to challenge the basis for continued incarceration, U.S. officials said.

This is about as bad as it could get for Democrats, and as good as it could get for Republicans.
The next GOP presidential candidate gets six free electoral votes from South Carolina, Texas, Utah. The Democratic caucus in the House is about to see internal warfare in the rust belt and northeast, as their members are forced into Thunderdome battle for the diminished number of seats. Only in Illinois, I think, will the Democrats be able to create a map that hurts the GOP’s newly elected members and takes back a seat or two.

Battle Brewing Over Justice Department Nominee
A veteran lawyer with liberal credentials and no national security background is the White House's new choice to head the Justice Department’s office of legal counsel, the Wall Street Journal reports. Virginia Seitz, a Rhodes scholar and former clerk to Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, could be a controversial pick for a post that has become mired in partisan fights over national security policy and has not had a Senate-confirmed appointee in seven years.

Manchin: Sorry for Skipping Votes to Attend Party
Skipping key votes for a Christmas party probably isn’t the best strategy for a new senator - just ask freshly elected West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin. He apologized Tuesday for missing votes on the repeal of "don’t ask, don’t tell" and the DREAM Act over the weekend to attend a Christmas party,

Census: Population Up 27M in Last Decade as Immigration Balloons
Immigration accounted for three-quarters of population growth during the decade. Census Bureau data found 13.1 million new immigrants (legal and illegal) who arrived in the last 10 years; there were also about 8.2 million births to immigrant women during the decade.

Inspectors are allowing travelers to enter the U.S. without secure ID
More than 18 months after U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspectors were supposed to start enforcing stringent ID requirements at the nation's land borders, millions of travelers are still being admitted without passports or other secure IDs, a new government audit shows.

Corrections biggest recipient of federal stimulus school money
The biggest recipient of Alabama’s federal stimulus dollars for education isn’t a school system or college. It’s the state prison system. An analysis by the Press-Register in Mobile revealed that the state Department of Corrections has received $118 million of Alabama’s $1.1 billion in federal stimulus funds for education since 2009. Officials said the money covered health care costs for 26,000 inmates and salaries and benefits for about 4,200 corrections officers and other employees for 3˝ months.

Latest Terror Threat in US Aimed to Poison Food
The plot uncovered earlier this year is said to involve the use of two poisons - ricin and cyanide - slipped into salad bars and buffets. Of particular concern: The plotters are believed to be tied to the same terror group that attempted to blow up cargo planes over the east coast in October, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Republicans Start Teaching Members How to Obey the Constitution
The Pledge to America released by House Republicans in September of this year included a commitment to "require every bill to cite its specific Constitutional Authority." To implement this proposal, the Transition Team and the Elected Republican Leadership are recommending a change to standing Rules of the House to require that each bill or joint resolution introduced in the House be accompanied by a statement citing the specific powers granted to Congress in the Constitution to enact the proposed law.

Senate votes to advance START; treaty on course for approval
Democrats appear to have more than enough votes for final ratification of the arms treaty, which could come on Wednesday.

Senate approves government funding bill; sends to House
The bill now heads to the House where a vote is expected before the current continuing resolution expires at midnight. The Senate-approved, 36-page resolution provides a small increase of $1.16 billion over the spending levels of 2010, according to a Senate Appropriations Committee summary.

Republicans say net neutrality 'cannot be allowed to stand,' promise fight in 112th
Incoming House Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (Mich.) said in a press conference on Tuesday that his committee is planning multiple hearings to beat back regulations the FCC approved Tuesday. The regulations, which aim to prevent phone and cable companies from toying with Internet traffic, have stoked virtually unanimous resistance from House Republicans and found a growing constituency of opponents in the Senate.

GOP senators up in 2012 face primary threats because of START support
Several Republican senators up for reelection in 2012 are being threatened with primary challenges because of their support for the new START Treaty. At least one group, the National Republican Trust PAC, has vowed to make the START Treaty its No. 1 2012 issue.

U.S. Adopts Rules for Internet Traffic Managed by AT&T, Comcast
The Federal Communications Commission approved the so- called net-neutrality rules by a vote of three to two today. Supporters argued that Internet providers, which also own some of the content they deliver online, might interfere with videos and services owned by others such as Google Inc.

Emergency Gov Funding Skips Obamacare
Republicans have managed to strip funding for Obamacare from a measure that will keep the government running until March, The Hill reports. The bill, known as a continuing resolution, could be acted on as early as today.

Virginia Spends on Jobs While Cutting Services
Cash-strapped Virginia is giving millions of dollars in outright grants and tax breaks to corporations that bring in jobs even as the state cuts education spending and delays payments to its workers’ pension fund, The Wall Street Journal reports. Officials point to the 55,000 new jobs created in Virginia from February to October - the country’s third-highest job-creation rate in that span - as proof the program is working.

States Seek Amendment to Repeal Federal Laws
"The repeal amendment would provide a check on the ever-expanding federal government, protect against congressional overreach and get the government working for the people again, not the other way around," Cantor has said.

UN mulls internet regulation options
At a meeting in New York on Wednesday, representatives from Brazil called for an international body made up of Government representatives that would to attempt to create global standards for policing the internet.

Mexican drone crashes in backyard of El Paso home
"We are collecting data about the crash. We don't have the aircraft because it was returned to its owner," said Keith Holloway, spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates aircraft crashes in the United States and in other countries that request its help.

American Redneck Society formed to advocate for rural Americans
"I really felt that American Rednecks are an under-served, but large population that could benefit from a formal membership organization structure," said American Redneck Society Executive Director Rob Clayton.

Military jury: Prison, dismissal for Army birther
An Army doctor who disobeyed orders to deploy to Afghanistan because he questioned President Barack Obama's eligibility to be commander in chief was sentenced by a jury Thursday to six months in a military prison and will be dismissed from the Army.

Senate Dem to propose two-year block on climate-change regs
Originally, Rockefeller wanted this as an amendment to the OmniPorkulus bill, but that died last night as well. He’ll have to either attach it to the continuing resolution, or else aim at either DADT or the START treaty for his amendment. Republicans certainly won’t have any trouble at all supporting Rockefeller’s efforts, but Reid will be stuck between his promise to the West Virginia Senator and a White House that will not react well to such a moratorium.

Reagan Aide Perle: START 'Seriously Flawed'
Richard Perle, a key architect of President Ronald Reagan’s strategy to end the Cold War, says the Obama administration should drop its efforts at rapid ratification of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia. "It’s a seriously flawed treaty," says Perle, now a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. "It’s certainly not the kind of treaty Ronald Reagan fought for and accomplished."

Harry Reid Drops Nearly $1.3 Trillion Spending Bill
Nevada Democrat Harry Reid gave up on the nearly $1.3 trillion bill after several Republicans who had been thinking of voting for the bill pulled back their support. GOP leader Mitch McConnell threw his weight against the bill in recent days, saying it was in his words "unbelievable" that Democrats would try to muscle through in just a few days legislation that usually takes months to debate.

Food safety bill looks dead, though Democrats say they haven't given up
The Food Safety Modernization Act was included in the proposed omnibus spending bill that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) threw out Thursday night when it became clear it didn't have the votes to pass. Reid said he would work with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Friday morning to propose a short-term continuing resolution.

House tax vote could be delayed
The House was set to vote on the rule governing debate on the broad tax bill, but the measure was withdrawn at the last minute when leaders realized it was likely to be rejected. Liberals opposed to the deal Obama struck with Republicans were upset that the procedure approved by the House Rules Committee on Wednesday did not allow them a clean opportunity to vote on the legislation the Senate passed on Wednesday. A final vote on the tax deal had been planned for Thursday evening.

Obama tells lawmakers not passing tax deal could end presidency, Dem says
"The White House is putting on tremendous pressure, making phone calls, the president is making phone calls saying this is the end of his presidency if he doesn't get this bad deal," he told CNN's Eliot Spitzer.

Senate GOP likely to force confrontation of FCC net neutrality rules
Thirty senators have signed a letter making it clear that should the Federal Communications Commission implement "net neutrality" regulations during its December 21st meeting, the GOP will force a confrontation on the Senate floor over the rules. Doing so would provide insight into how Republicans, as a minority in the Senate, leverage its control over the House of Representatives to hamstring attempts by the executive branch to rule by regulatory fiat.

NH Democratic Party accused of ‘religious intolerance’
Democratic spokeswoman Harrell Kirstien accused Republican State Rep. David Bates of attempting to impose a "Bible belt social agenda" after video surfaced of Bates saying "the only hope for America" is to "turn from our wicked ways and ask god to heal our land" and "the problem we have here in this country and in all of our states is that we no longer fear god" at New England Solemn Assembly in Plymouth Massachusetts.

Court Rebuffs Obama on Warrantless Cell-Site Tracking
A federal appeals court on Wednesday rejected the Obama administration’s contention that the government is never required to get a court warrant to obtain cell-site information that mobile-phone carriers retain on their customers.

GOP will paralyze Senate floor with reading of 1,924-page spending bill
Senate clerks are expected to read the massive bill in rotating shifts around the clock - taking breaks to drink water and pop throat lozenges - to keep legislative business on track, according to a Democratic leadership aide.

GOP freshman charges Cantor with crafting lax work schedule
"As we know, Congress needs to work to create jobs, reduce the deficit, strengthen our economy, limit the size of government and contend with a plethora of national security issues," West said Thursday in a statement. "How are we to do that when, among other things, we start off being in session only ten days the entire month of January?"

Reid gets votes he needs to advance $858B tax package
Senate Democrats and Republicans joined together Monday afternoon to advance an $858 billion package of tax cuts and benefits, setting up a political showdown with the House. As of 5:10 p.m., the vote count was 79-10 to move forward with the package.

Judge Calls Health Law Unconstitutional
In a 42-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson said the law's requirement that most Americans carry insurance or pay a penalty "exceeds the constitutional boundaries of congressional power."

Obama, Haley go head to head
In an exchange recounted by Gov.-elect Nikki Haley and confirmed by White House aides, Obama rejected Haley's request to repeal the health care bill - but said he'd consider letting states opt out of its mandates if they ran exchange programs, banned insurance firms from denying coverage of pre-existing conditions and enabled people to pool together for better rates.

Van Hollen: Tax deal will come to floor, but estate tax is sticking point for Dems
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said on "Fox News Sunday" that, even though the White House has said that the deal to extend the Bush-era tax cuts isn't open to negotiation, House Democrats are still going to make an effort to lop out at least one controversial provision: the estate tax.

Michael Steele to reveal decision Monday
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele intends to announce his reelection plans on Monday evening, and key supporters expect him to drop out of the hotly contested race

Venezuela acquired 1,800 antiaircraft missiles from Russia last year
Russia delivered at least 1,800 shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles to Venezuela in 2009, U.N. arms control data show, despite vigorous U.S. efforts to stop President Hugo Chavez’s stridently anti-American government from acquiring the weapons.

Van Jones: We are coming for the media and that’s not all
The big take-away that people are getting from this is how they want to take over the media. We already know that Al Not-So-Sharpton is meeting with the FCC soon to put pressure on them to create new ways of regulating talk radio for the explicit purpose of taking down Rush Limbaugh. It’s all about baby steps, and this is one of them. Once the new regulation is in place, then they will use it against those whoever they want to shut down, like Rush, Hannity, Levin, Beck, and so on. And part of that process will be figuring out a way to regulate cable, i.e. Fox News, so they can do the same with that.

How important is this deal to Obama? Less than a Christmas party and dealing with his spouse’s irritation.
The leader of the free world brought his predecessor onto the stage to pull his chestnuts out of the fire, and he’s not interested enough to stick around? The Christmas party took precedence over spending a few minutes with Clinton to pitch his own deal? Michelle wouldn’t have understood if he, er, did his job?

Boehner: Cost-cutting measure per week coming next Congress
Boehner, appearing Sunday on CBS' "60 Minutes," said he's going to cut his and all other House leadership budgets, in addition to committee budgets and members' allowances all by 5 percent, resulting in savings of $25 million to $30 million. "It likely would be one of the first votes we cast," he said. Although he acknowledged that the cuts represent a small fraction of the more than $1 trillion federal deficit, he said, "You’ve got to start somewhere. And we’re going to start there."

Tea Party-backed freshmen win plum committee assignments
Most of the 22 House Republican freshmen-to-be selected to sit on much-coveted, A-list committees won their races with Tea Party backing. The House Republican Steering Committee last week added the incoming members to the rosters of four powerful committees: Appropriations, Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce and Financial Services.

House GOPs, 'thugocrats' exchange salvos
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) toasted her new chairmanship of the House Foreign Affairs Committee last week by cutting a cake emblazoned with the words "Congrats, Loba Feroz." Most congressional staffers wouldn’t surprise their boss with a dessert calling her a "ferocious she-wolf." But ever since Cuban dictator Fidel Castro coined the nickname for the panel's ranking Republican, Ros-Lehtinen has worn it as a badge of honor.

House Dems deny tax cuts and unemployment extension to the American people
Defying President Obama, House Democrats voted Thursday not to bring up the tax package that he negotiated with Republicans in its current form. "This message today is very simple: That in the form that it was negotiated, it is not acceptable to the House Democratic caucus. It's as simple as that," said Democratic Congressman Chris Van Hollen.

Socialist Sen. Sanders Filibusters Tax-Cut Deal
Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who conferences with Senate Democrats, launched a filibuster at 10:30 am Friday against Obama's tax-cut compromise with congressional Republicans. He shows no sign of letting up. He has vowed to go as long as he can.

November federal budget deficit highest on record
he federal budget deficit rose to $150.4 billion last month, the largest November gap on record. And the government's deficits are set to climb higher if Congress passes a tax-cut plan that's estimated to cost $855 billion over two years.

Dems show signs of abandoning Obama elsewhere after frustration with tax deal
Incensed over President Obama’s tax compromise, House Democratic leaders are showing signs of abandoning the administration and going their own way on critical issues such as national security.

Cancun temps plunge to 100-year record low -- during 'global warming' summit!
ClimateGate was "bad enough," says Duncan Davidson in Wall Street Pit, but Cancun's weather is particularly "inconvenient" for global-warming alarmists. It's a reminder that global temperatures have "flatlined" despite rising carbon dioxide levels, "which is decidedly chilling against the concept of hampering economic growth to limit Co2 emissions."

AP Enterprise: FAA loses track of 119,000 aircraft
The records are in such disarray that the FAA says it is worried that criminals could buy planes without the government's knowledge, or use the registration numbers of other aircraft to evade new computer systems designed to track suspicious flights. It has ordered all aircraft owners to re-register their planes in an effort to clean up its files.

New poll indicates 40% of physicians will retire or find other work under ObamaCare
During the ObamaCare debate last summer, Investors Business Daily took a survey of practicing physicians to see whether they were contemplating "going Galt" if ObamaCare passed. Their survey showed that 44% of all doctors would consider retiring or pursuing other lines of work in the new system, but critics widely panned the survey as biased and accused IBD of pushing its agenda through rigged polls. Today, IBD claims vindication in a new survey conducted by Merritt Hawkins for the Physicians Foundation - which largely corroborates the earlier poll:

EPA suddenly retreating on emissions rules enforcement
The Obama administration is retreating on long-delayed environmental regulations, new rules governing smog and toxic emissions from industrial boilers, as it adjusts to a changed political dynamic in Washington with a more muscular Republican opposition.

At Obama's Side, Bill Clinton Implores Dems to Back Tax Deal
Former President Bill Clinton implored Democrats to back the tax-cut deal that President Barack Obama negotiated with Republicans as the former president made a surprise appearance at Obama's side in the White House briefing room Friday.

The anger of Barack Obama
Faced with increasing criticism from liberals over his decision to compromise with Republicans on a two-year extension of the Bush tax cuts, Obama openly chastised the party's base -- warning them of being "sanctimonious" and reminding them that "this country was founded on compromise".

Jim DeMint: I’ll vote to filibuster the tax cuts deal
They expect several defections from the right flank of their party. Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) have expressed concern about extending the jobless benefits without paying for them. Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), as the first Republican to wage this fight earlier this year, could also go against the deal.

Fingerprint scanner use raises privacy concerns in N.C
Next month, 13 law enforcement agencies in the region will begin using a new handheld device that lets an officer scan a person's fingerprints and seek a match in an electronic database - all without going anywhere. Police say taking fingerprints in the field will allow them to work more efficiently and safely. But the ACLU North Carolina in Raleigh worries that the device may allow officers to violate privacy rights.

Food Stamp Rolls Continue to Rise
Some 42.9 million people collected food stamps last month, up 1.2% from the prior month and 16.2% higher than the same time a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Nationwide 14% of the population relied on food stamps as of September but in some states the percentage was much higher. In Washington, D.C., Mississippi and Tennessee, the states with the largest share of citizens receiving benefits, more than a fifth of the population in each was collecting food stamps

Senate convicts La. judge on impeachment charges
House prosecutors laid out a damaging case against Porteous, 63, a New Orleans native who was a state judge before winning appointment to the federal bench by President Bill Clinton in 1994. The prosecutors said gambling and drinking problems led him to begin accepting cash and other favors from attorneys and bail bondsmen with business before his court.

Tax Appeals Swamp U.S. Cities, Towns as Property Prices Plunge
The backlog of cases from taxpayers seeking to lower property-tax bills of more than $100,000 shot up to 14,236 this year from an annual average of about 6,000 during the past decade. The backlog of smaller claims was at 28,558 at the end of September, eight times higher than a decade ago, according to records at the tribunal, a Lansing-based administrative court.

FCC push to regulate news draws fire
... outlets should be mandated to do the following: prove they have made a meaningful commitment to public affairs and news programming, prove they are committed to diversity programming (for instance, by showing that they depict women and minorities), report more to the government about which shows they plan to air, require greater disclosure about who funds political ads and devote 25 percent of their prime-time coverage to local news.

Congress deals death blow to Guantanamo closure
The massive spending bill Democrats released early Wednesday morning would prohibit the Obama administration from spending any money either to transfer detainees to the United States or to buy a replacement prison in the United States, as Mr. Obama had planned.

Harry Reid tries to add online poker to tax bill
Already, the online poker proposal has exposed the Nevada Democrat to charges of flip-flopping on a controversial issue, as well as using his Senate leadership position to repay big casino interests that helped him win reelection in a hard-fought campaign against Republican Sharron Angle last month.

Son of CIA officer who spied for Russia avoids jail... after promising to help convict his father
Yesterday, US District Judge Anna Brown sentenced Nathan Nicholson to five years' probation and 100 hours community service after agreeing with a joint recommendation by prosecutors and defence lawyers who said he was manipulated and groomed by his father.

Lieberman Wants New York Times Investigated for WikiLeaks Revelations; the Times Answers
Sen. Joe Lieberman says The New York Times may have committed a crime by publishing confidential government documents obtained from WikiLeaks. Meanwhile, David Sanger, the chief Washington correspondent for The Times, reveals that the newspaper's editors and its lawyers debated at length whether to publish some of the cables. "This was never an easy decision to publish national security information."

House Democrats tack controversial food-safety bill to spending measure
House Democrats on Tuesday tucked the controversial food-safety bill into the continuing resolution to keep funding the government through Sept. 30 of next year. Although the Senate passed the bill last week, it was voided because it contained tax provisions that must originate in the House in accordance with the Constitution.

Claire McCaskill Calls For Violence If Dems Don’t Get Their Historic Tax Hikes
Obama lackey Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and her democratic colleagues held a press conference today. The liberal senator called for violence if democrats don't get their historic tax hikes. McCaskill told the press that if democrats were not allowed to raise taxes on the rich, "It really is time for Americans to take up pitchforks."

Retail pump prices hit 26-month high
Although supplies remain plentiful and gasoline demand has diminished since September, retail gas prices are rising because oil prices are at the highest levels since October 2008. The two-week advance paused on Monday as benchmark oil for January delivery lost 23 cents at $88.96 a barrel in midday trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. A stronger dollar kept a lid on prices. Since oil and other commodities are priced in dollars, a stronger dollar makes them more expensive for buyers who use other currencies.

Short goodnight expected for the DREAM Act during lame duck
The DREAM Act - a priority of Democrats in both Congress and the White House - faces a difficult future in the lame duck. Even as Democrats in both chambers prepare to consider the measure this week, Republicans and centrist Democrats are already lining up to shoot it down.

Rangel in deeper with new ethics charge
The Federal Election Commission is investigating a complaint that Rep. Charles Rangel improperly used his National Leadership PAC to fund his legal defense on ethics charges for which he was censured Thursday, The Post has learned.

FCC commissioners demand authority over campaign financing, free Internet
Here’s your FCC at work, ensuring that freedom of speech and property rights are defended on America’s airwaves. Just kidding! The Blaze and Naked Emperor News has two clips of FCC commissioners demanding unprecedented authority over prior restraint of speech and seizure of private property in order to satisfy their ideas of - you guessed it - "diversity." First we have Michael Copps, who last week demanded not only the authority to enforce campaign-finance reform (usually the purview of the FEC), but also the authority to order music stations to broadcast news shows, and for networks to give up 25% of prime-time air to locally-produced shows:

New Fed study suggests net job creation from Porkulus was - zero
It is difficult to properly calculate the effects of the 2009 ARRA bill, as it was a nation-wide program. Though employment and growth failed to respond to ARRA as the Administration had suggested, fiscal stimulus advocates have argued that employment levels would have been lower still without the program.

Dems to try passing omnibus environmental bill in lame-duck session
Well, you can’t say that Democrats are inconsistent. Even after getting shellacked in the midterms, Harry Reid will still try to use the remaining time in the 111th Session to tackle his priorities, in part by pushing an omnibus enviro bill through the Senate while stalling on the upcoming tax hikes:

Oil industry urges Congress to reverse Obama administration's drilling rollback
American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard told reporters Monday he’s hopeful Interior will change its mind, but also made clear he’ll lobby Congress to mandate wider development. He slammed "unelected bureaucrats" for making what he called harmful decisions.

Senate Republican to push states' rights in response to healthcare law
The legislation, called the 10th Amendment Regulatory Reform Act, mirrors a bill introduced by Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) on March 25, two days after the president signed healthcare reform into law. It would allow designated state officials to file a legal brief challenging the constitutionality of proposed regulations during the time when they're open for comment.

Kyl: 'Recipe' for tax deal likely to include unemployment benefits
Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said Sunday that he expected the "recipe" for a tax-cut compromise to included extensions of unemployment benefits and Bush-era tax rates for all income brackets.

WikiLeaks Cables Reveal How US Manipulated Climate Accord
The US diplomatic cables reveal how the US seeks dirt on nations opposed to its approach to tackling global warming; how financial and other aid is used by countries to gain political backing; how distrust, broken promises and creative accounting dog negotiations; and how the US mounted a secret global diplomatic offensive to overwhelm opposition to the controversial "Copenhagen accord", the unofficial document that emerged from the ruins of the Copenhagen climate change summit in 2009.

Senate Can’t Pass Tax Cuts, Back to Negotiations
By a vote of 53 to 36, the Senate defeated a proposal to extend tax cuts first on those earning more than $250,000 in income. Then, by a vote of 53 to 37, the Senate defeated a proposal by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) that set the income cap at $1 million. That plan was also opposed by the Obama administration.

Wiedemer: Fed’s Medicine Will 'Become Poison,' Spark Inflation
he Federal Reserve’s continuous printing of money will eventually push inflation up to 10 percent, and investors will want to buy gold and other commodities to protect themselves, says Robert Wiedemer, co-author of the best-selling book "Aftershock," which predicts two more economic bubbles directly ahead for the U.S. In its quantitative easing, the Fed is buying bonds with printed money, which will boost inflation and interest rates, Wiedemer tells Newsmax.TV Money.

Hold the Brownies! Michelle Obama Food Bill Could Limit School Bake Sales
A child nutrition bill on its way to President Barack Obama - and championed by the first lady - gives the government power to limit school bake sales and other fundraisers that health advocates say sometimes replace wholesome meals in the lunchroom. "This could be a real train wreck for school districts," Lucy Gettman of the National School Boards Association said Friday, a day after the House cleared the bill. "The federal government should not be in the business of regulating this kind of activity at the local level."

Gingrich Says He's More Inclined than Not to Run
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says he's more inclined to run for president in 2012 than not to make a bid. Gingrich says he probably won't make a decision until late February or early March. But he says that talking to friends and thinking about such an undertaking have made him more inclined to believe that "it's doable."

Court to Hear Arguments over Ariz. Immigration Law
he impassioned debate over the nation's immigration policy takes center stage at the Supreme Court Wednesday in a dispute over an Arizona law. Arizona's employer sanctions law punishes businesses that knowingly hire workers illegally in the U.S.

Vote Recount Returns NY Senate Majority to GOP
Republicans will regain control of the New York Senate after a recount completed Saturday handed control of a key seat on Long Island to the GOP candidate. The final vote tally gave Republican Jack Martins a narrow win over Democratic Sen. Craig Johnson in the 7th Senate District in Nassau County.

Fed aid in financial crisis went beyond U.S. banks to industry, foreign firms
The Fed's efforts to prop up the financial sector reached across a broad spectrum of the economy, benefiting stalwarts of American industry including General Electric and Caterpillar and household-name companies such as Verizon, Harley-Davidson and Toyota. The central bank's aid programs also supported U.S. subsidiaries of banks based in East Asia, Europe and Canada while rescuing money-market mutual funds held by millions of Americans.

Government reports violations of limits on spying aimed at U.S. citizens
The federal government has repeatedly violated legal limits governing the surveillance of U.S. citizens, according to previously secret internal documents obtained through a court battle by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Feds Warrantlessly Tracking Americans’ Credit Cards in Real Time
The document, obtained by security researcher Christopher Soghoian, explains how so-called "Hotwatch" orders allow for real-time tracking of individuals in a criminal investigation via credit card companies, rental car agencies, calling cards, and even grocery store loyalty programs. The revelation sheds a little more light on the Justice Department’s increasing power and willingness to surveil Americans with little to no judicial or Congressional oversight.

China’s gold imports surge fivefold
The surge, which comes as Chinese investors look for insurance against rising inflation and currency appreciation, puts Beijing on track to overtake India as the world’s largest consumer of gold and a significant force in global gold prices.

WH wants transfer authority on appropriations?
The White House is seeking more than $11.4 billion in new spending above 2010, chiefly for foreign aid and defense accounts as well as education initiatives and housing assistance for low-income tenants. The administration also wants to a remarkably open-ended authority to transfer funds between accounts, a power that is sure to be resisted by the Appropriations Committee leadership.

Jim DeMint to GOP incumbents: I will not primary you
"First, despite rumors to the contrary, I want to assure you that I will not recruit or support primary challengers to incumbent Republicans, and you can also be assured I will support all of our Republican nominees for the Senate," he wrote in the letter he sent Wednesday. "My goal for 2012 is to raise more than $10 million through the Senate Conservatives Fund to replace incumbent Democrats with conservative Republicans."

House Ethics committee targeting Finance next?
House ethics investigators have begun a probe into why the powerful House Financial Services Committee did not fully comply with its promise to turn over all documents pertinent to an investigation of subcommittee chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), according to congressional staff and other sources close to the inquiry.

Congress Dithers, Anger Mounts as Jobless Number Hits 9.8%
Republicans and conservative economists voiced rising frustration Friday that Democrats are moving forward with a series of symbolic votes against extending the Bush-era tax cuts, even as unemployment rose to 9.8 percent and rattled investors and Wall Street analysts.

Food Stamps in NYC a No-Coke Currency
Momentum may be building behind a New York City proposal to cross sweetened drinks such as soda off the list of goods that residents can buy with food stamps, the Wall Street Journal reports. Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s "soda ban," which still needs federal approval, picked up a high-profile local endorsement this week from the city’s newly elected public advocate, Democrat Bill de Blasio.

Texas Will See Dramatic Gain in US House Seats
Fast-growing Texas is poised to be the biggest winner of all when it comes to picking up influence in Congress in the next few years, and Republicans are salivating at the prospect of fattening the largest GOP delegation in Washington.

Texas Republican: Get rid of the CBO
"They can say what they want. But if CBO were really bipartisan, the facts wouldn't be so clear as they are about what CBO has done. Uh, they are quite partisan ... We need bills scored by groups that can look at history and reality." Gohmert also said the CBO did "the president's bidding" when making conclusions about the fiscal impact of March's healthcare overhaul.

Could Procedural Error Prevent Dems From Passing Food Safety Bill?
A controversial food safety bill that passed the Senate this week appears to be heading back to the chamber after Democrats violated a constitutional provision that requires tax provisions to originate in the House of Representatives, Roll Call reports. This procedural hurdle could threaten the Food Safety Modernization Act‘s passage as time remaining in the Senate’s lame-duck session ticks away.

Communist Head Explains How to Use the Dem Party, Cheers the Decline of ‘Anti-Communism’
There’s a method to their madness. That‘s the takeaway from a recent Communist Party head’s journal article explaining how the communists can work within the Democratic Party and even "capture" it entirely. The article also explains the decline of anti-communism, citing union ties to the Communist Party as an example.

Rep. King Stands Up Against ‘Reparations’ Vote, Stands by ‘Urban’ Comment
"The unaccountable lame duck Congress has irresponsibly voted to spend $1.15 billion on a Pigford settlement program that is severely compromised by fraud," King said in a statement. "This means that people who have never farmed and people who have never been discriminated against by the USDA will be receiving tends of thousands of dollars in cash and debt relief simply for having filed a false claim."

Oil drilling ban to be maintained in key areas, sources say
Obama administration officials will announce Wednesday afternoon they will not allow offshore oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico or off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts as part of the next five-year drilling plan, according to sources briefed on the plan, reversing two key policy changes President Obama announced in late March.

High court questions broad use of FOIA exemption
The justices heard argument Wednesday in an appeal from Glen Milner, a Washington state resident who sued under FOIA for maps showing the extent of damage expected from an explosion at the Navy's main West Coast ammunition dump on an island near Port Townsend in western Washington.

GOP Will Filibuster All Bills if Taxes, Budget Not Addressed
All 42 Senate Republicans have signed a letter refusing to vote for cloture on any bill before the Senate until the federal government is funded beyond this week and the Bush-era income tax cuts are addressed before they expire December 31.

House May Block Food Safety Bill Over Senate Error
A food safety bill that has burned up precious days of the Senate’s lame-duck session appears headed back to the chamber because Democrats violated a constitutional provision requiring that tax provisions originate in the House.

Coming: Gov't By Regulation Instead Of Law
Republicans are assuming that cap-and-trade (aka cap-and-tax) is dead because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid lacks the votes to bring up the House-passed bill and because this issue proved a loser in the 2010 House races. Like the famous Mark Twain saying, its death may be exaggerated.

Bennet angry over Senate process, caught on hot mic: 'This stuff is rigged'
Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., was caught blowing off some steam in the Senate chamber this morning. Sitting in the presiding officer's chair, in front of a microphone he apparently didn't realize was live, Bennet complained to a female colleauge (who was off-camera) while other senators voted that the Senate's process was "rigged." He also complained that there had been no advance discussion of the Democrats' lameduck agenda before the session began.

Amtrak lifts ban on guns
Travelers can check firearms, including handguns, starter pistols, rifles and shotguns, and up to 11 pounds of ammunition at any train station that offers checked baggage service and if the travelers' itinerary includes a train with a baggage car. Most big-city train stations, including New York, Boston, Chicago and Washington, have checked-baggage service.

GOP readies rarely-used procedural attack on EPA aggression
GOP lawmakers say they want to upend a host of Environmental Protection Agency rules by whatever means possible, including the Congressional Review Act, a rarely used legislative tool that allows Congress to essentially veto recently completed agency regulations.

Senate rejects earmark ban in lame-duck session
This doesn’t exactly come as a surprise, since the Republicans only have 42 seats in the lame-duck Senate and most of the anti-earmark caucus won’t take their seats until January. Still, the final vote on the proposed earmark ban was the closest reformers have come to victory, and it may be a harbinger of better days ahead:

FCC Plans to Act on Net Neutrality Dec. 21
The debate continues to rage over the issue of net neutrality, which entails government requirements that internet providers treat all customers the same regardless of how they use the web. The Federal Communications Commission, led by Chairman Julius Genachowski, has announced that it will consider going ahead with a net neutrality rule at its meeting Dec. 21,

House GOP Mulls Term Limits for Leadership
Many Republicans support term limits in one form or another, and now the House GOP’s transition team is looking at term limits for leadership posts. Incoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., tells The Hill he’s "supportive of what’s being proposed, which is a six-year term limit for each position."

Gov’t Report: ACORN Improperly Awarded $450,000 FEMA Grant
Oops. That’s what the government is saying after a Department of Homeland Security report shows that a New Orleans ACORN affiliate was improperly awarded nearly half a million dollars by FEMA in 2007. The money was awarded based on lies and ACORN programs that didn’t exist, and was doled out against the advice of an evaluation panel.

Defecting: At Least 13 Lawmakers Switch to GOP Post Election
At least 13 state lawmakers in five states have defected to Republican ranks since the Nov. 2 election, adding to already huge GOP gains in state legislatures. And that number could grow as next year’s legislative sessions draw near. The defections underscore dissatisfaction with the Democratic Party, particularly in the South, and will give Republicans a stronger hand in everything from pushing a conservative fiscal and social agenda to redrawing political maps.

WH 2012: Sarah Palin has some surprising celebrity admirers
However, in the interest of correcting the record (and provoking some fun water-cooler chatter), here are a few celebrities who have defied the trend of either demonizing or lionizing her.

Texas conservatives target Hutchison
The four-term senator hasn’t announced whether she’ll run for reelection, but, no matter her decision, Tea Party activists are preparing to run their own candidates. Because of that, GOP activists and strategists suspect retirement will prove the more attractive option for the senator.

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