The National Organization for Marriage’s lawsuit against the IRS may be the case that finally breaks the IRS’s “omerta” code. In the spring of 2012, NOM’s private tax-return data turned up splashed on the Web site of its chief political opponent, the Human Rights Campaign. The leak plainly came from the IRS, because the tax return published on the site was stamped with special codes the IRS uses on electronically filed returns. The leaked, confidential information included a list of NOM donors. Making their names virtually invited harassment of these people. Incidentally, the chairman of the Human Rights Campaign, Joe Solomonese, happened to
Imagine a world in which the Middle East is not descending into carnage and chaos but is on the brink of a monumental series of breakthroughs. By next spring,Iran’s nuclear program will be secured and Egypt will be a liberal democracy. Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad has stepped aside. And, not least, Israelis and Palestinians have settled on the terms for a Palestinian state. This is the world that John Kerry inhabited as he shuttled across the world last week: a fantastical realm created by his billowing vision of what he can accomplish as secretary of state. Meanwhile, on this planet, aid
The Obama administration has a schizophrenic attitude toward requiring people to go through criminal-background checks. Last week, Senator John Cornyn (R., Texas) grilled Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services secretary, about why the 45,000 “navigators” who assist people in signing up for Obamacare aren’t required to undergo a criminal-background check, even though they handle sensitive personal information. “So a convicted felon could be a navigator and could acquire sensitive personal information from an individual unbeknownst to them?” Cornyn asked her. “That is possible,” said Sebelius, noting that states could always impose their own requirements — as some have done. The risk
If the battles roiling the Republican Party over the last four years were a Star Wars film, last week’s elections might be titled “The Establishment Strikes Back.” No matter what you call it, the star is Chris Christie. After suffering repeated indignities at the hands of conservative activists and political neophytes, the party’s donors, consultants, and less Tea Party-friendly politicians reminded the country that they too can win—and also sit on their hands whenever the GOP nominates candidates they dislike, just as much as any grassroots conservative group. But this bit of conventional wisdom, while truer than most, can be overstated. The
There are few better examples of the fecklessness of the Obama presidency than the sight of the huckster-in-chief speaking at a conference to sell foreign companies on the advantages of investing in the United States, which is what he stooped to on October 31 at the SelectUSA Investment Summit. There are two possible reasons for him to have done this: The first is that he really thinks that he can give a speech and spur foreign direct investment. That perspective is, of course, asinine, and would be the Washington equivalent of a Pacific island cargo cult. It’s not like a
WASHINGTON — When President Obama travels abroad, his staff packs briefing books, gifts for foreign leaders and something more closely associated with camping than diplomacy: a tent. Even when Mr. Obama travels to allied nations, aides quickly set up the security tent — which has opaque sides and noise-making devices inside — in a room near his hotel suite. When the president needs to read a classified document or have a sensitive conversation, he ducks into the tent to shield himself from secret video cameras and listening devices. American security officials demand that their bosses — not just the president, but
e’re three years from the next presidential election, and Hillary Clinton is, once again, the inevitable Democratic nominee. Congressional Republicans have spent months investigating her like she already resides in the White House. The New York Times has its own dedicated Clinton correspondent, whose job it is to chronicle everything from Hillary’s summer accommodations (“CLINTONS FIND A NEW PLACE TO VACATION IN THE HAMPTONS”) to her distinct style of buckraking (“IN CLINTON FUNDRAISING, EXPECT A FULL EMBRACE”). There is a feature-length Hillary biopic in the works, and a well-funded super PAC—“Ready for Hillary”—bent on easing her way into the race.
As you dig into your Butterball with all the trimmings this Thanksgiving, remember that millions of famished schoolkids around America may be forced to forgo classic turkey — and chow down instead on vegan black-bean patties and organic locavore quinoa salad. On Nov. 1, sizable cuts were gouged into the federal food-stamp program (or, as it’s now called, SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), which feeds 47.6 million people, or nearly one in six Americans. In the city, 1.9 million folks get the bulk of their Jell-O and Campbell’s Soup from stamps. But news has spread among the poor, like leafy green vegetables,
The former Secretary of State was offered the President´s position at Penn State through a search firm hired to find a steady hand to help the University in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. She turned them down. Condoleezza Rice is perfectly happy with her position as a political science professor at Stanford, the university she´s worked with on and off for thirty years, according to the statement her reps gave the Philadelphia Inquirer. "We received a request about this position through a search firm," Georgia Godfrey, Rice´s chief of staff, said. "Our office declined on her behalf, since she
The good news is the U.S. economy wheezed out 204,000 new jobs in October, despite all the sound and fury (signifying very little) over the 17%, 16-day-long government semi-demi-shutdown. The bad news is pretty much everything else, so let’s take a look at what lies underneath the big headline number. CNBC put a happy face on the latest jobs report with the headline, “Shutdown slowdown? Job creation soars in October.” It’s true that 204,000 is a bit higher than the recent average of 190,000, but the story’s very first paragraph belies the word “soars.” Read: There were a net 204,000 new jobs
Beaming electricity into homes without wires has been a dream since the days of Nikolai Tesla. The Daily Mail reports researchers at Duke University have made a breakthrough on the efficiency of turning otherwise-wasted radio waves into electricity: Engineers at Duke University have designed a breakthrough gadget that ‘harvests’ background microwave radiation and converts it into electricity, with the same efficiency as solar panels. The development, unveiled on Thursday, raises exciting possibilities such as recharging a phone wirelessly and providing power to remote locations that can’t access conventional electricity. And the researchers say that their inexpensive invention is remarkably versatile.
Tucked inside nearly 11,000 pages of the Affordable Care Act is a little-known provision that doles out three months of free health care to individuals who choose to default on their premiums. People who receive the federal subsidy to be part of Obamacare will be allowed to incur a three-month “grace period” if they can’t pay their premiums and then simply cancel their policies, stiffing the doctors and hospitals. Their only repercussion is that they have to wait until the following year’s open enrollment if they want coverage on the exchange. “It will help break the system,” said Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas,
To the list of problems plaguing President Obama’s health care law, add one more — fraud. With millions of Americans frustrated and bewildered by the trouble-prone federal website for health insurance, con men and unscrupulous marketers are seizing their chance. State and federal authorities report a rising number of consumer complaints, ranging from deceptive sales practices to identity theft, linked to the Affordable Care Act. Madeleine Mirzayans was fooled when a man posing as a government official knocked on her door. Barbara Miller and Maevis Ethan were pitched by telemarketers who claimed to work for Medicaid. And Buford Price was
‘If you like your health-care plan, you will be able to keep your health-care plan. Period.” How serious was this lie, repeated by Barack Obama with such beguiling regularity? Well, how would the Justice Department be dealing with it if it had been uttered by, say, the president of an insurance company rather than the president of the United States? Fraud is a serious federal felony, usually punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment — with every repetition of a fraudulent communication chargeable as a separate crime. In computing sentences, federal sentencing guidelines factor in such considerations as the dollar value
WASHINGTON — President Obama was seething. Two weeks after the disastrous launch of HealthCare.gov, Mr. Obama gathered his senior staff members in the Oval Office for what one aide recalled as an “unsparing” dressing-down. The public accepts that technology sometimes fails, the president said, but he had personally trumpeted that HealthCare.gov would be ready on Oct. 1, and it wasn’t. “If I had known,” Mr. Obama said, according to the aide, “we could have delayed the website.” Mr. Obama’s anger, described by a White House that has repeatedly sought to show that the president was
President Obama likes to say he will never again be running for office, but every Democrat knows he will be on the ballot figuratively in 2014, and 2016, as well. Right now they are rightly nervous about that prospect. A month ago, political Washington was transfixed by the errors committed by congressional Republicans. Those missteps led to a partial shutdown of the government, which in turn has brought approval of the GOP to record lows in many public opinion surveys. Nothing about that has changed. But today, it’s Obama in the spotlight. A president famous for his unflappability, he is
McAllen, Tex. — They were already running late for a doctor’s appointment, but first the Salas family hurried into their kitchen for another breakfast paid for by the federal government. The 4-year-old grabbed a bag of cheddar-flavored potato chips and a granola bar. The 9-year-old filled a bowl with sugary cereal and then gulped down chocolate milk. Their mother, Blanca, arrived at the refrigerator and reached into the drawer where she stored the insulin needed to treat her diabetes. She filled a needle with fluid and injected it into her stomach with a practiced jab. “Let’s go,” she told the children,
Hillary Clinton remains the most formidable presidential nomination frontrunner for a non-incumbent in the modern era. (snip)The only candidate in my mind who could catch fire, Massachusetts´ Senator Liz Warren, has already declared her support for Clinton. In fact, every single female Democratic senator is behind Clinton. What a difference that is from 2008. Much of the establishment was actually encouraging Obama to run in 2008. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid weren´t backing Clinton. Claire McCaskill´s endorsement of Obama in 2008 was particularly memorable. All three of them are now openly pleading for and endorsing Clinton for 2016.
Marathon talks on a deal to temporarily curb Iran´s nuclear program have broken down after a negotiations between foreign ministers ran into trouble late last night.[Snip] U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and foreign ministers of six other delegations conferred with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a late-night session which broke up after midnight. The French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, told France Inter radio yesterday that Paris would not accept a ´sucker´s deal´. They complained the text which was drafted as part of the agreement had been presented a ´fait accompli´ and did not want to be forced
NBC´s Chuck Todd scored a huge interview with President Obama Thursday and opened things by immediately drilling down on the president´s relentlessly repeated lie that under ObamaCare you can keep your current insurance plan if you like it. The full interview is even more impressive than the clips that have been going around. Even after he elicits a "sorry" out of Obama, Todd keeps after the point for almost ten minutes. Ultimately, though, Todd came away with the impression that Obama doesn´t believe he lied. And Todd is probably right, which is a little unnerving. During his own interview on the Hugh
Jim Capretta saw the Obamacare debacle coming when it was months away. On July 5, the Obama administration released a 600 page regulation announcing a one-year delay in part of Obamacare’s implementation. States would not have to check the income of people applying for subsidies, according to the administration’s guidance. The administration simply would not be ready in time. “This announcement is another indicator—as if we needed one—of the complete fiasco that is Obamacare implementation,” Capretta wrote the following Monday for the Weekly Standard. It wasn’t the first delay, as a few days earlier the administration had let all big businesses off the
President Barack Obama addressed the healthcare.gov website´s chronic dysfunctions Friday by quipping that he would fix it himself, ´but I don´t write code.´ The self-deprecating line came during a speech in New Orleans about shoring up U.S. exports through American port cities. But the moment also jokingly cast the president--perhaps unintentionally--as a hands-on administrator rather than the aloof executive that White House insiders have described in news articles, broadcast interviews and books. [Snip] Obama waited for audience laughter, but it didn´t come. His brief turn to address his calamitous health insurance overhaul included an admission that the Affordable Care Act
Don’t count Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus among those who believe comprehensive immigration reform is dead this Congress. Despite exasperation among reform advocates that the House has refused to vote on any major immigration bill — particularly the Senate-passed legislation — Priebus said that his “gut” feeling is that the House will indeed pass an immigration overhaul in the next 14 months. “Something significant is going to happen because obviously mass deportation is not an option. I don’t think doing nothing is an option. And I believe most people would agree that something significant needs to take place. Now what that
Ken Cuccinelli’s narrow loss in the Virginia gubernatorial race has become the latest battleground in the war between the so-called Republican establishment and Tea Party-type insurgents. The “establishment” blames the Tea Party induced government shutdown for alienating Virginians, a great many of whom work for the federal government. The insurgents blame the Republican Party for not providing enough money to Cuccinelli’s campaign. Some suggest that the “establishment” wanted Cuccinelli to lose out of spite and/or so it could blame the shutdown for his defeat. What does the Cuccinelli campaign have to say about this? Its chief strategist, Chris LaCivita, blames
In their new book ”Who’s Bigger: Where Historical Figures Really Rank,” computer scientist Steven Skiena and former Google engineer Charles B. Ward rank the 100 most significant people in world history using an algorithm they created. What goes into the algorithm? It’s complicated. If you really want to know the math behind it, read the book. Or you can learn a little about it here. But click below to see who makes the top 100 — then let us know who the list should and should not have been included in the comment section.