Thursday, October 31, 2013

Oregon Man Behind Decision to Blow up Whale Dies

 Technology Oregon Man Behind Decision to Blow up Whale Dies 

An Oregon highway engineer whose 1970 decision to use a half-ton of dynamite to blast away a beached dead whale became an Internet sensation has died. George Thomas Thornton was 84.

The Oregon Department of Transportation says Thornton was a highly respected engineer who worked for the agency for 37 years.

In November 1970, he got the call to remove a 45-foot-long sperm whale that washed up near Florence. He decided to use dynamite to disintegrate the animal. The blast rained down pieces of whale that covered spectators and flattened the roof of a car.
A Portland TV station filmed the explosion, and it was broadcast widely. The video of the whale explosion remains a popular feature on YouTube.
Perl Funeral Home in Medford confirmed Thornton died Oct. 27. His family declined to comment.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Barack Obama: Out of the Loop or Excuses?

Obama's 'in-the-dark' defense
By JENNIFER EPSTEIN | 10/28/13 8:23 PM EDT +POLITICO  excerpt:
President Barack Obama is briefed each day on a wide range of domestic and international issues, yet when it comes to major controversies, his administration’s response is often the same: the president didn’t know.
The most recent appearance of the tendency came Sunday, as the Wall Street Journal reported that Obama was unaware of the National Security Agency’s surveillance of foreign leaders until earlier this year. The story came on the heels of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s claim that the president didn’t learn of the problems with until after the site’s Oct. 1 launch.

Barack Obama: Out of the Loop or Excuses?
And earlier this year, Obama himself said he learned about the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of political groups “from the same news reports that I think most people learned about this.”
The bottom line explanation in all these instances is the same: President Obama didn’t know any more about the scandal than the ordinary person on the street, and certainly wasn’t involved in decision-making processes — at least, not until long after potential problems arose.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Clinton Ally Pens E-Book: ‘The Benghazi Hoax’

Media Matter's Propagandist David Brock Pens E-Book: ‘The Benghazi Hoax’

By MAGGIE HABERMAN | 10/19/13 8:51 PM EDT @Politico

Media Matters founder and Hillary Clinton ally David Brock has co-authored a 90-page e-book called “The Benghazi Hoax,” a tome intended as a counterweight of sorts to criticisms of the former Secretary of State and President Barack Obama over the 2012 attacks in Libya.

Background on the Attack and the Special Mission Benghazi
Brock previewed the book in an interview with POLITICO last week in the liberal group’s Washington offices. He described it as an important and necessary resource on the Benghazi attacks that left four Americans dead last Sept. 11 — and which some congressional Republicans have shown continued interest in probing.
Brock insisted the book is not intended as a de facto defense of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as she comes under scrutiny ahead of a likely 2016 presidential bid. Supporting the Clintons is a fraction of Media Matters’ mission, he said, and her role in the Benghazi attacks is not the sole focus of the book.

Secretary of State has to Approve High Threat Level Locations
But the mere fact of the book’s existence is an acknowledgement that Benghazi will remain a topic of debate, and one that could harm Clinton with independent and center-right Republicans. And it comes as Brock-affiliated groups could fill an organizational void for Clinton, who has no machinery of her own beyond a handful of staffers since leaving the State Department.

The book, which comes out Tuesday, is as much about pushing back against criticisms by the right that Obama is a weak president who has hurt America in the world, Brock said.

Still, he added, there are “six super PACs out there dedicated to trying to tarnish [Clinton’s] reputation.”
 The Clintonista Brock spins the coverup:
“People have missed the fact that Benghazi was not only a tragedy, but it was a night of valor,” said Brock. The book – the first such endeavor for Media Matters, which is self-publishing it – was conceived of in the spring, as the congressional hearings on Benghazi were taking place, he said.
 David Brock is just another leftist that cannot tell the truth.
The Benghazi Timeline
 The book offers a sweeping criticism of a number of Republicans, including last year’s GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, as well as members of the media. That includes but is not limited to several Fox News anchors, whom Brock describes as “hoaxters” interested in tarnishing Obama and Clinton, and, by extension, former United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice. Her Sunday show appearances defending the administration shortly after the attacks helped sink her hopes of becoming Secretary of State.

 Obama called Benghazi an 'act of terror' the next day?

Was there 'accountability' with a review board? @CSPAN
Hillary Clinton, the Whistleblower and the Benghazi Mission @CSPAN  

Friday, October 18, 2013

Obamacare Rollout- Persistent Problems Plague Progress

ObamaCare problems mount

 By Elise Viebeck - 10/18/13 01:20 PM ET excerpt from The Hill:
 The problems for the main ObamaCare enrollment portal are going from bad to worse.

ObamaCare's online marketplace is reportedly creating a mess for insurance companies by approving error-ridden applications, the latest in a series of problems that threaten to dampen enrollment under the healthcare law.

Among the small number of people who have successfully purchased coverage, many have filed out duplicate enrollments, misreported family members or left data fields empty, insurers told The Wall Street Journal.

These errors were attributed to flaws in the design of the online enrollment system, which does not easily allow users to fix their mistakes.

Problems plague Obamacare rollout

 October 17th, 2013 CNN's Jake Tapper excerpt:
President Barack Obama's presidential campaign, and indeed his administration, have been well-known for being on the cutting edge of technology.
Yet when it came to the roll out of Obama's signature domestic policy achievement, someone dropped the tech-savvy ball.
The federal exchange website "" has at times been slow, inaccessible to users, and – in the words of the White House – prone to frequent "glitches."
"According to other IT experts, it's been software issues, in addition to not knowing what the volume was going to be," said former Medicare director for the George H. W. Bush administration Gail Wilensky.

An early policy decision put undue burden on the website, said Wilensky. Normally, online shoppers can browse products anonymously, decide whether they want to buy something, and then go through the process of providing personal information.
"The administration made the decision that they didn't want people to look at options, unless they also had the subsidy that they would receive available to them. They were afraid of sticker shock," said Wilensky.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz Releases New Book

Wasserman Schultz talks up her new book

' Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) credits an early bid for public office for giving her more opportunities in her political life.
She first ran for the Florida state legislature at the age of 25 and was elected at 26'

' In the interview, Wasserman Schultz declined to talk about political ambitions or opportunities. The congresswoman insisted she is focused on the job at hand: running for reelection to her House seat and leading the Democratic Party through the 2014 midterms.'

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Up Late: When Alec Baldwin Met Bill de Blasio

MSNBC's 'Up Late With Alec Baldwin' Debuts With Policy Discussions in a Diner

When Harry endorsed Sally
Alec Baldwin's foray as an MSNBC late night host began with jazzy intro music and a friendly chat with New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio on a set that resembled  an old-time diner.

 Up Late With Alec Baldwin debuted on Friday at 10 p.m. ET, slotted in the same one hour frame as Real Time With Bill Maher.

Bill de Blasio and Alec Baldwin reenact the classic scene from  'When Harry Met Sally' 

Altruism is the morality of cannibals.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Truckers Ride for the Constitution

The Washington Post Reports: excerpt
Police authorities in Maryland and Virginia reported no major incidents Friday as a result of the much-talked about truckers protest around the Beltway. Drivers of tractor trailers had said they were going to drive slowly to block off parts of the Beltway to protest excessive government intrusion. 

There were police reports of about 30 tractor trailers with American flags and signs for their protest — “Truckers Ride for the Constitution” — driving at the same speed as the rest of traffic on the Beltway in Friday morning’s rush hour. But by mid-day the truckers appeared to have broken into smaller groups amid already-heavy volumes of traffic and rain showers on a holiday weekend.

The Associated Press cover the protest.
“We saw about 20 of their trucks this morning coming from Route 66 in Virginia into Maryland,” he said. “They were going the speed limit but it was stop and go traffic, and we’ve had six inches of rain for the last two and a half days. 
Bad weather and Bad Traffic:
“It was pretty much a non-event,” she said. “They continued to comply with the laws. I would think the heavy traffic and the rain made it hard for them to stay together.”

Virginia state police did stop four tractor-trailers Friday morning after they drove side-by-side, across all four northbound lanes of the Beltway’s inner loop. That caused traffic to slow to 15 miles per hour. State police troopers stopped the vehicles and “warned them not to impede traffic,” Geller said. The drivers were not issued tickets and allowed to “proceed on their way.”

RT America covers the protest

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Coach Mike Ditka's Biggest Regret: Senator Barack Obama

Quoted: Mike Ditka's biggest regret

 “Biggest mistake I’ve ever made. Not that I would have won, but I probably would have and he wouldn’t be in the White House.”

—Former NFL coach Mike Ditka, as quoted by the Dickinson Press, regretting not running for Senate against Barack Obama in 2004.
Quoted: Mike Ditka's biggest regret

Friday, October 4, 2013

Democrats Link CR to Debt Ceiling in Possible Executive Power Grab

HuffPo starts us off with background on the 14th Amendment.

Obama DOJ Still Won't Explain Opposition To 14th Amendment Option

'WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration is still refusing to disclose what its legal team concluded about the 14th Amendment option, which many progressives believe would allow the president to continue to pay the government's obligations if Congress refused to raise the statutory debt limit.

In January, ahead of what was sure to be another budget battle, The Huffington Post filed a Freedom of Information Act request with The Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, seeking documents regarding the office's advice to the president on the 14th Amendment option. Last week, the office rejected that request but acknowledged the existence of memorandums on the option -- meaning the Obama administration had at least given the option significant consideration.'
'Proponents of the option point to Section 4 of the 14th Amendment, which says that the “validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payments of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.” It follows, then, that the president could raise the government's borrowing limit, independent of congressional gridlock -- a potential way forward as the government again approaches a shutdown.'
'The sought-after documents would likely explain in detail why the administration does not believe the 14th Amendment allows the president to raise the debt ceiling limit without congressional approval. Yet, it is possible the memos conclude that the president could raise the debt ceiling limit, and the president simply disagreed with their advice.'
 Author and Radio Host Mark Levin offers a possible explanation. 

Motive and Opportunity 

Democrats push to connect CR, debt ceiling

 Politico writes:

'Senate Democrats hope to raise the debt ceiling and reopen the government in one fell swoop, leaders indicated on Thursday.
Democratic demands are the same as they’ve always been: They want the GOP to agree to a debt ceiling increase and a continuing resolution to open the government that doesn’t include policy riders, particularly related to Obamacare. But now that the government is closed and the debt limit just two weeks away, leadership on Thursday sought to more explicitly connect the two critical items.'
'Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his chief message man, New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer , did not say when the Senate will seek to move a debt ceiling increase or whether it will move that legislation separate from a spending bill or in a package. But in their minds, the two issues have become inextricably linked, given the October calendar.'

Rationalize the TYRANNY

Our Outlaw President? Obama Should Ignore the Debt Ceiling

The United States government is likely to shut down nonessential services tomorrow, after House Republicans voted before dawn yesterday to attach a one-year delay of President Obama’s health care law (and a repeal of a tax to pay for it) to legislation to keep the government running. The Democratic-led Senate is expected to refuse.

House Republicans also said last week that they would not agree to lift the debt ceiling unless implementation of the health law was delayed by one year. So the government is also headed toward a mid-October default on its debts — and a full-blown constitutional crisis.
Failure to raise the debt will force the president to break a law — the only question is which one.
The Constitution requires the president to spend what Congress has instructed him to spend, to raise only those taxes Congress has authorized him to impose and to borrow no more than Congress authorizes.

If President Obama spends what the law orders him to spend and collects the taxes Congress has authorized him to collect, then he must borrow more than Congress has authorized him to borrow. If the debt ceiling is not raised, he will have to violate one of these constitutional imperatives. Which should he choose?

In 2011, when Congress last flirted with not raising the debt ceiling, lawyers disagreed. Some argued that the president must honor the debt ceiling, thereby violating budget laws. Others held that he must honor budget legislation. No one argued that he should unilaterally raise taxes. Professors Neil H. Buchanan and Michael C. Dorf, who parsed the arguments in the Columbia Law Review in 2012, concluded that all options were bad, but that disregarding the debt ceiling was least bad from a legal standpoint.

I agree. Lawyers tend to play down policy considerations as a basis for interpreting law. In this case, the consequences are so overwhelmingly on one side that they cannot be ignored by the president and should not be ignored by the courts. If the debt ceiling is not increased, the president should disregard it, and honor spending and tax legislation.

A decision to cut spending enough to avoid borrowing would instantaneously slash outlays by approximately $600 billion a year. Cutting payments to veterans, Social Security benefits and interest on the national debt by half would just about do the job. But such cuts would not only illegally betray promises to veterans, the elderly and disabled and bondholders; they would destroy the credit standing of the United States and boost borrowing costs on the nation’s $12 trillion publicly held debt.

There is no clear legal basis for deciding what programs to cut. Defense contractors, or Medicare payments to doctors? Education grants, or the F.B.I.? Endless litigation would follow. No matter how the cuts might be distributed, they would, if sustained for more than a very brief period, kill the economic recovery and cause unemployment to return quickly to double digits.
Nor is it reasonable to expect the president to collect more in taxes than is authorized by law. For him to do so would infringe on Congress’s most fundamental powers and the principles on which the nation was founded.

The only defensible option for the president if the debt ceiling is not raised is to disregard the debt ceiling. The action would be unconstitutional because it would be illegal. Financial markets might react negatively, but not nearly so negatively as if the United States failed to redeem bonds or to pay interest on its debt.

The president would be attacked. He might even be impeached by the House. But maybe not: the House would then be saying that the president should have illegally failed to pay F.B.I. agents, or school districts, or Medicare doctors. In any case, he would not be convicted by the Senate. And he would have saved the nation from much agony.

Disregarding the debt ceiling would have one additional, thoroughly benign effect. It would end the capacity of Congressional minorities to precipitate crises in order to accomplish goals for which they lacked the votes. Today, a minority is holding hostage all federal programs in an attempt to eviscerate a law that Congress passed, the president signed and the Supreme Court upheld — the Affordable Care Act. In the future, an imaginative and irresponsible minority could use the threat not to raise the debt ceiling for any purpose — to shape tax policy, or foreign policy, or civil rights policy.
The debt ceiling is the fiscal equivalent of the human appendix — a law with no discoverable purpose. It is one law too many. Once Congress has set tax rates and spending levels, it has effectively said what it wants the debt to be. If Congress leaves the debt ceiling at a level inconsistent with duly enacted spending and tax laws, the president has no choice but to ignore it.