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The top 10 lobbying victories
of this year
The Hill [Washington DC], by Kevin Bogardus    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 12/18/2012 1:09:40 PM     Post Reply
The influence industry scored several hard-fought victories in a year in which lawmakers were more focused on campaigning than legislating. Though the winners and losers in the lobbying battle over the “fiscal cliff” are not yet known, a number of companies, trade groups and lobbyists already have a signature triumph to call their own in 2012. The tech industry beat back legislation that would have put a tighter leash on the Internet; business groups outmuscled Tea Party activists to reauthorize the U.S. Export-Import Bank; and Wall Street managed to water down a provision in fast-moving ethics legislation.

Small Protest Gathers in
Front of NRA´s DC Office
Breitbart Big Government, by Kerry Picket    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 12/18/2012 12:29:21 PM     Post Reply
Around 60 to 75 protesters appeared in front of the National Rifle Association´s headquarters in Washington D.C. on Monday afternoon. Chanting "shame on the NRA," the the small group, led by the organization CREDO, met several blocks away from the NRA´s Capitol Hill office and marched up to the doors of the NRA building. The protest, a reaction triggered by the deadly school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, started at noon and lasted until 1:30 PM. "The NRA takes tens of millions in corporate donations from gun makers and uses that money to lobby Congress and defeat anyone who opposes

Nick Kristof detained in Bahrain
Politico, by Dylan Byers    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 12/18/2012 12:18:35 PM     Post Reply
New York Times columnist and human-rights reporter Nick Kristof emails POLITICO from Bahrain, where he is currently detained and being denied entry: I’m ok – as you can tell my the fact that I’m on line. They’re very polite, and they acknowledge that Americans don’t need a visa if they have on onward flight in less than 72 hours. But they say that my name is on a blacklist. I’m being evicted in a morning flight. ...They just said it was because of past things. But it’s clearly because of my past coverage of Bahrain. I was here when they



Justice informs Petraeus mistress
Paula Broadwell she won’t be
charged with cyberstalking
Associated Press, by Staff    Original Article
Posted By: KarenJ1- 12/18/2012 12:07:37 PM     Post Reply
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department is dropping its investigation into whether David Petraeus’ mistress, Paula Broadwell, stalked a romantic rival online. Broadwell’s lawyer, Robert Muse, gave The Associated Press a letter from U.S. Attorney Robert O’Neill that says no federal charges will be brought in Florida related to “alleged acts of cyberstalking.” A retired general, Petraeus resigned as CIA director in November after acknowledging the extramarital affair, which was exposed after Broadwell emailed Tampa socialite Jill Kelley, allegedly warning Kelley to stay away from Petraeus and Gen. John Allen, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan.

McDonald’s for Christmas?
Burger Chain Asks Franchisees
to Make It Business As Usual
Time Magazine, by Martha C. White    Original Article
Posted By: NorthernDog- 12/18/2012 12:06:34 PM     Post Reply
A Big Mac probably isn’t your idea of Christmas dinner, but McDonald’s is asking its franchisees to stay open on Christmas Day — a day when even Wal-Mart, which caught flack for opening on Thanksgiving evening this year, closes its doors. “Our largest holiday opportunity as a system is Christmas Day,” McDonald’s COO Jim Johannesen wrote in one of two memos that was sent to franchisees and obtained by Advertising Age magazine. “Last year, [company-operated] restaurants that opened on Christmas averaged $5,500 in sales,” he wrote. Johannesen also said one reason behind the improvement in the chain’s November sales figures

Dick´s suspends sales of
popular rifle in wake of Newtown
Philadelphia Inquirer, by Brian X. McCrone    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 12/18/2012 12:05:43 PM     Post Reply
Dick´s Sporting Goods, in response to the Newtown, Conn., massacre, announced this morning that it has suspended sales of a popular form of modern hunting rifle in its stores nationally. The sports retail chain, which has 15 stores in the Philadelphia region, said it has halted sales of the "modern sporting rifle," a semi-automatic weapon which is used primarly for hunting and target shooting. Dick´s also removed all firearms from its store nearest the school where 20 children and six adults were gunned down Friday morning. "We are extremely saddened by the unspeakable tragedy that occurred last week

White House: Boehner’s
‘Plan B’ no good
Washington Post, by Rachel Weiner    Original Article
Posted By: KarenJ1- 12/18/2012 11:43:46 AM     Post Reply
The White House has come out against the ‘Plan B‘ proposed by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), which would raise taxes on income over $1 million a year. The president “is not willing to accept a deal that doesn’t ask enough of the very wealthiest in taxes and instead shifts the burden to the middle class and seniors,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement. ”The Speaker’s ‘Plan B’ approach doesn’t meet this test because it can’t pass the Senate and therefore will not protect middle class families, and does little to address



Parents Say Christmas
Carols are Form of Bullying
Fox News, by Todd Starnes    Original Article
Posted By: KarenJ1- 12/18/2012 11:29:03 AM     Post Reply
A group of parents in Missoula, Mont. are upset over the religious nature of Christmas songs performed at a local elementary school – alleging the songs about the Baby Jesus is unconstitutional and a “form of bullying.” (Snip) The parents, who declined to be identified, are threatening to sue the Missoula County Public School District unless songs like “Joy to the World” and “Good Christian Men Rejoice” are replaced with secular tunes. “Bullying is such a hot topic, yet that seems to be what is occurring here,” the parents wrote in a letter obtained by The Missoulian.

New York State Budget Balanced
With Gimmicks, Study Says
Bloomberg, by Henry Goldman    Original Article
Posted By: fca- 12/18/2012 11:18:14 AM     Post Reply
New York state relies on gimmicks and nonrecurring revenue to pay for rising pension costs and the most-generous Medicaid benefits in the U.S., said a group led by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker and former Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch.. Annual pension contributions may increase 31 percent .. Retirement obligations and health care are outdistancing revenues at an ever-increasing pace .. To balance New York’s budget, state officials have relied on about $25 billion in nonrecurring, or “one-shot,” revenue actions, over the past 10 years
Headline resplit to site style by staff

Where are the fathers?
Israel Hayom, by Ruthie Blum    Original Article
Posted By: JumboHC- 12/18/2012 11:14:30 AM     Post Reply
It was inevitable that the mourning of Friday’s massacre in Connecticut would be accompanied by a discussion of the ills of American society. It was to be expected, as well, that the horror of the 27 people shot dead — 20 young children, six adults, and the murderer’s own mother — would lead to renewed calls for stricter gun-control legislation. Other topics examined since the shocking mass slaughter at an elementary school in a crime-free neighborhood

As Newtown burials begin,
Washington feels the heat
to act firmly on gun
control... and the Daily News
calls on America to join
our petition to ban ALL assault weapons
New York Daily News, by Dan Friedman, Kristen A. Lee *and    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 12/18/2012 11:12:22 AM     Post Reply
The powerful gun lobby’s iron grip on Washington showed signs of loosening Monday in the wake of the massacre of 20 children in Connecticut, but President Obama faces a long, difficult and contentious struggle if he wants to see any meaningful changes in the nation’s gun laws. In a stirring speech on Sunday in the community devastated by the school slaughter, the President assured the nation he would deploy the full power of his office to make it harder for madmen to kill innocent people with firearms.



Rep. Schwartz: ‘Respect
for Life’ Means ‘Different
Things to Different People’
Cybercast News Service, by Fred Lucas & Eric Scheiner    Original Article
Posted By: KarenJ1- 12/18/2012 11:09:57 AM     Post Reply
Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) said Tuesday, “I do think the respect for life is something that we were built on certainly in our country and that means – obviously different things to different people.” In the context of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., a caller on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal program said the legalization of abortion, and taxpayer funded abortions, have led to a “culture of death.” The shooter murdered 26 people, 20 of them were children, mostly kindergarteners. The caller to the program said, “Roe v. Wade took away the right to life.

Richard Engel Recounts Syrian
Kidnapping, ‘Psychological
Torture’ On Today
Mediaite, by Meenal Vamburkar    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 12/18/2012 11:06:51 AM     Post Reply
NBC News’ Richard Engel and his two colleagues, producer Ghazi Balkiz and cameraman John Kooistra, are fortunately safe after being kidnapped and held for five days in Syria. On Tuesday morning, speaking from Turkey, the three recounted their experience. “We weren’t physically beaten or tortured. It was a lot of psychological torture, threats of being killed,” Engel said on Today. “They made us choose which one of us would be shot first, and when we refused, there were mock shootings. They pretended to shoot Ghazi several times. And when you’re blindfolded, and they fire the gun up in the air,

House GOP´s Plan B Tax-
Only Bill on Floor This Week
National Journal, by Michael Catalini    Original Article
Posted By: JoniTx- 12/18/2012 10:57:01 AM     Post Reply
House Speaker John Boehner said the House would vote this week on a tax-only measure to keep rates low for most Americans. Two congressional sources said the vote would probably be held on Thursday. The tax-only measure is being called "Plan B" by Republicans and they are looking at it as an alternative to a broader plan that the speaker has been negotiating with the White House. Talks between the White House and House Republicans have not yet yielded a broad deal, but the two sides have moved closer together in recent days.

Source: CT Murderer Lived
in Windowless Basement
Playing Violent Video Games
Breitbart´s Big Government, by Tony Lee    Original Article
Posted By: KarenJ1- 12/18/2012 10:49:59 AM     Post Reply
Adam Lanza, the shooter who massacred 20 children and six adults last Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School, spent hours in the windowless basement of his home playing violent video games like "Call of Duty" and obsessing over "guns and military equipment." Peter Wlasuk, a plumber who worked at the Lanza home, told The Sun that Lanza "lived in the basement" and he found it "strange." "He had a proper set up down there — computers, a bathroom, bed and desk and a TV," Wlasuk said. "There were no windows.” Wlasuk said he went down to the



Obama´s true record on gun control:
a mix of inaction and occasionally
giving in to the gun lobby
Telegraph [UK], by Tim Stanley    Original Article
Posted By: Attercliffe- 12/18/2012 10:39:09 AM     Post Reply
Obama’s response to the tragedy at Newtown has been admirable in tone (boy, this guy can give a speech) but actually quite light in content. “These tragedies must end,” he said, implying serious action to reform access to guns – and the White House has promised that he will act "swiftly". But his rhetoric has been just as misleadingly ambitious in the past. After the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in 2011, Obama wrote that it was a time for “a new discussion on how we can keep America safe for all our people.” The discussion never happened.

Team Obama still raising money--
off Sandy Hook shootings
Washington Examiner, by Paul Bedard    Original Article
Posted By: KarenJ1- 12/18/2012 10:36:34 AM     Post Reply
They won the campaign handily and even had $14.2 million to spare, but the Obama-Biden campaign is still raising money, this time off the president´s comments about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Connecticut. In email from chief campaign advisor David Axelrod that urges supporters to watch President Obama´s moving address to the community of Newtown, there are two links that open a page with a video player featuring the president´s speech and two donate buttons asking for $15-$1,000 for his campaign. "The next chapter begins today. Stand with President Obama

IRS rule threatens to shut
down the small businesses
that prepare tax returns
Washington Examiner, by Joel Gehrke    Original Article
Posted By: KarenJ1- 12/18/2012 10:20:22 AM     Post Reply
Small business owners who prepare tax returns for a living every year must either seek additional training or close their doors due to a new Internal Revenue Service regulation set to take effect at the end of this year. “Despite a federal lawsuit filed in March by three independent tax preparers and the Institute for Justice (IJ), the IRS refuses to budge on its December 31 deadline for roughly 350,000 tax-return preparers to comply with a mandatory continuing-education requirement, which will be followed next year by an IRS-mandated exam,” IJ’s Dan Alban writes at Doublethink Magazine (which I edit).

States Give ObamaCare
A Massive Vote
Of No Confidence
Investor´s Business Daily, by IBD Staff    Original Article
Posted By: RustMB- 12/18/2012 10:19:26 AM     Post Reply
Health Reform: If ObamaCare is such a great idea, why are so many governors — including several Democrats — refusing to play along? What do they know that the administration isn´t telling the rest of us? So far, not one part of ObamaCare has worked as planned. Almost immediately, the administration had to distribute huge numbers of waivers to companies because its initial rules would have forced them to drop their low-cost plans. ObamaCare´s high-risk pools promised to cover hundreds of thousands...

Facebook´s Instagram claims
´perpetual´rights to users´ photos
Telegraph [UK], by Matt Warman    Original Article
Posted By: Attercliffe- 12/18/2012 10:12:53 AM     Post Reply
Newly announced changes to Instagram´s terms and conditions give the Facebook-owned photo-sharing site ´perpetual´ rights to all images uploaded, and allow Instagram to use them for commercial purposes without identification. "You acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such," the new terms say. That may let advertisers use teenagers’ photos for marketing, raising privacy and security concerns, Jeffrey Chester, executive director for the Center for Digital Democracy, told Bloomberg. Facebook itself was sued by users angry that their images had been used as part of ´sponsored stories´, and settled the case


Bob Schieffer: If Sandy Hook
Shooter Had Arab Name, ‘People
Would Be Going Nuts’
Mediaite, by Andrew Kirell    Original Article
Posted By: KarenJ1- 12/18/2012 10:11:44 AM     Post Reply
During a Sunday morning panel discussion on the potential political impact of Friday’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer put forth the idea that if the shooter had an Arab name, people would be much more inclined to revamp public policy to address such gun violence, much like how government fundamentally changed its role after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Schieffer’s comment came in response to panel guest James Peterson suggesting that addressing the “proliferation of guns” in America “should be a new front in the ‘War on Terror.’”

Bernie Goldberg To O’Reilly:
Both Liberals And Conservatives
Guilty For Politicizing CT Shooting
Mediaite, by Josh Feldman    Original Article
Posted By: KarenJ1- 12/18/2012 10:05:18 AM     Post Reply
Bill O’Reilly brought on Bernard Goldberg tonight to take on the almost immediate politicization of last Friday’s tragic shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut. Both O’Reilly and Goldberg agreed that the liberal media was very quick to jumpstart the gun control debate, but Goldberg acknowledged there was a fair amount of politicization on the right from people who he said want assault weapons not because of the Second Amendment, but because of their paranoia over the government coming to take away their guns. (Snip) O’Reilly was amazed at how it “took minutes” for liberal pundits to direct

Husband of top deputy to Susan
Rice tweets anti-Kerry messages
Daily Caller, by Jamie Weinstein    Original Article
Posted By: Drive- 12/18/2012 9:34:59 AM     Post Reply
The husband of one of Susan Rice’s top deputies at the United Nations intimated on Twitter on Saturday that he would prefer someone other than John Kerry be appointed the next secretary of state, now that Rice is out of the running. Bruce Jones, a senior foreign policy fellow at the Brookings Institution and the husband of Ambassador Elizabeth M. Cousens, the U.S. Representative on the U.N. Economic and Social Council and Alternate Representative to the U.N. General Assembly, tweeted two comments seemingly disparaging the prospect of a Kerry nomination.

An intriguing look inside religion and
Congress: Who prays and for what?
Investor´s Business Daily, by Andrew Malcolm    Original Article
Posted By: SurferLad- 12/18/2012 9:21:52 AM     Post Reply
We´ve been hearing a lot about religion lately. It is the holiday season for such things in America. And, sadly, we´ve suffered another gaping wound from a sick outlier wreaking incomprehensible revenge on the most innocent of innocents and their caregivers. Despite the sacred separation of church and state in American governmental tradition, religion is an everyday fact of life for most Americans and is reflected in the operations of its government. [Snip] Now, the smart folks over at C-SPAN have given us a peek into the religions of Congress´ everyday operations.

Harmless Entertainment?
National Review, by Mona Charon    Original Article
Posted By: jackson- 12/18/2012 9:08:56 AM     Post Reply
In the wake of past mass shootings, when the “national conversation” has focused exclusively on guns, I have argued that our appallingly inadequate mental-health system was a better subject of reform. At least half of the shooters in the rampage killings that are ripping our hearts out are young men with serious mental illnesses, and our system has neither the legal nor the financial resources to get them the treatment and restraint that they, and we, desperately need.This time, mental-health reform has received passing mention, along with the usual pleas for gun control

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