The Hive – Please Talk Among Yourselves

Here is our usual weekend discussion thread, where comments on the general topics of the day are welcome.

But please remember to post and comment on specific news items in the ‘News Selected By Our Correspondents’ thread below or via the link found in the sidebar.



Selected News For The Week June 30 – July 6

This thread is for the busy bees of S&L to post news articles that might not warrant their own thread.

Posting Guidelines

To make the articles as readable as possible, please:

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  • Avoid editorials or opinion pieces unless they are truly newsworthy.
  • Avoid items that most people most likely have seen elsewhere.
  • Post articles that fit under the topic of a recent thread as a comment there.
  • Always spell out the name of the source and post a link to it.
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  • Posts of articles that do not follow these guidelines may be edited or deleted.



    Bi-Partisan House Votes Holder In Contempt

    From The Hill:

    In 255-67 vote, House places Holder in contempt of Congress

    By Jordy Yager and Pete Kasperowicz – 06/28/12

    The House voted Thursday to place Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for not complying with a congressional subpoena.

    Seventeen Democrats bucked party lines and voted with Republicans to pass a criminal contempt resolution in a 255-67 vote…

    Only two Republicans voted "no" on the measure, while 65 Democrats recorded "no" votes and 108 Democrats didn’t cast votes. Most of them were protesting the fact that the House GOP was holding the vote.

    It is very telling that 108 Democrats were afraid to go officially on the record as opposing finding out more about ‘Fast & Furious.’

    The two Republican "no" votes were Reps.



    The NYT Praises Roberts’ Exquisite Delicacy

    From the New York Times:

    Roberts Shows Deft Hand as Swing Vote on Health Care

    June 28, 2012

    WASHINGTON — Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has a favorite quotation from one of the giants who preceded him on the Supreme Court. Assessing the constitutionality of a law passed by Congress, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. once wrote, “is the gravest and most delicate duty that this court is called on to perform.”

    But apparently that duty does not supersede ‘protecting the Court’s reputation.’

    In finding a way to uphold President Obama’s health care overhaul law on Thursday, Chief Justice Roberts performed the task with exquisite delicacy

    And some are suggesting that this is exactly why he did it. To get the praise of the New York Times.



    Obama-Care Contains 20 New Or Higher Taxes

    From Americans For Tax Reform:

    Full List of Obamacare Tax Hikes

    By Ryan Ellis and John Kartch | June 28, 2012

    Obamacare contains 20 new or higher taxes on American families and small businesses.

    Arranged by their respective effective dates, below is the total list of all $500 billion-plus in tax hikes (over the next ten years) in Obamacare, where to find them in the bill, and how much your taxes are scheduled to go up as of today:

    Taxes that took effect in 2010:

    1. Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals (Min$/immediate): $50,000 per hospital if they fail to meet new "community health assessment needs," "financial assistance," and "billing and collection" rules set by HHS. Bill: PPACA; Page: 1,961-1,971

    2. Codification of the “economic substance doctrine” (Tax hike of $4.5 billion).



    GOP May Use Reconciliation To Repeal O-Care

    From the Heritage Foundation:

    Senate GOP Will Use Reconciliation in Attempt to Repeal Obamacare

    Lachlan Markay
    June 28, 2012

    Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that Obamacare’s health insurance mandate is in fact a tax levied on those who do not purchase insurance, Senate Republicans will look to repeal the full law through the budget reconciliation process.

    Reconciliation was used to push Obamacare through the Senate in 2009. Generally reserved strictly for budget-related measures, it eliminates the possibility of a filibuster, meaning Republicans would only need 51 votes to repeal that portion of the law – or even the full law itself.

    Unfortunately, there are not currently 51 Republicans in the Senate. And several of those Republicans in the Senate might not be counted on to vote for repeal.



    Jobless Number Revised 68 Of Last 69 Weeks

    From Reuters:

    Jobless claims fall last week, but still high

    June 28, 2012

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week, government data showed on Thursday, but remained too high to signal any major improvement in the labor market.

    Initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 386,000, the Labor Department said. The prior week’s figure was revised up to 392,000 from the previously reported 387,000.

    Given that it was revised up by 5,000, this week’s number only fell by 1,000 instead of the 6,000, when comparing apples to apples.

    Also, it should be noted that according to today’s Department of Labor’s news release, if the number was not seasonally adjusted, the number of new claims actually increased 3,870 from the previous week.


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    Throw Parties To Get People On Food Stamps

    From the Daily Caller:

    USDA suggests food stamp parties, games to increase participation

    By Caroline May | 06/27/2012

    While spending on the food stamp program has increased 100 percent under President Barack Obama, the government continues to push more Americans to enroll in the welfare program.

    The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has embraced entire promotional campaigns designed to encourage eligible Americans to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps.

    A pamphlet currently posted at the USDA website encourages local SNAP offices to throw parties as one way to get potentially eligible seniors to enroll in the program.

    “Throw a Great Party. Host social events where people mix and mingle,” the agency advises. “Make it fun by having activities, games, food, and entertainment, and provide information about SNAP.



    Black Caucus To Walkout During Holder Vote

    From The Hill:

    Black caucus to stage walkout during Holder contempt vote in House

    By Jordy Yager – 06/27/12

    Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) plan to stage a walkout during Thursday’s vote on whether to place Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.

    The CBC is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. on Thursday to discuss the details of the walkout and is planning to circulate a letter to House Democrats requesting that they join them on the Capitol steps for a press conference during the contempt vote.

    Of course they are only going to ‘walkout’ to the Capitol steps for a press conference.

    The move comes less than 24 hours before the House plans to vote for the first time in history to hold a sitting attorney general in contempt of Congress for not complying with a congressional subpoena.



    Dammit! Hispanics Still Aren’t Turning Out!

    From a frustrated National Journal:

    Should Democrats Worry About Hispanic Turnout?

    If there was any doubt about the importance of the Hispanic vote this election year, President Obama laid it to rest with his recent, aggressive courtship of Latino voters. But this month also provided fresh warnings to the Obama campaign that Hispanic voters, despite their growing numbers, aren’t all that interested in turning out to vote.

    The evidence can be drawn from the House primaries that took place in states with significant Hispanic populations over the last month, particularly California, New York, and Texas. In contests from Southern California to Spanish Harlem, Hispanic candidates suffered political disappointments because of low turnout from their own voters.

    The biggest setback for Hispanic representation took place in Texas, where Latinos fueled the population growth in the state over the last decade.



    Rev Al Threatens Congress Over Holder Vote

    From the Houston Chronicle:

    Civil rights leaders condemn GOP for attacks on AG Eric Holder; Al Sharpton singles out John Cornyn

    Alexa Walczak
    June 26, 2012

    A group of prominent civil rights leaders today condemned House Republicans and Texas Sen. John Cornyn for their sharp criticism of Attorney General Eric Holder.

    At a press conference held at the National Press Club, the group, which included the Rev. Al Sharpton, denounced the impending vote in the U.S. House to hold Holder in contempt of Congress for declining to turn over all requested documents in connection with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms’ Operation Fast and Furious…

    “Holder is not in contempt of Congress, he is in contempt of the narrow political agenda of some of the House leadership,” said Wade Henderson, CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.



    CNN Has Lowest-Ratings Quarter Since 1991

    From Deadline Hollywood:

    CNN Sinks To 21-Year Primetime Ratings Low In Second Quarter

    By DOMINIC PATTEN | Tuesday June 26, 2012

    Coming off its least-watched month in primetime in 20 years in May, CNN has taken another big ratings blow: The cable news network has registered to its lowest-rated quarter in primetime since 1991. For this year’s second quarter, CNN hit a low among total viewers and the key adults 25-54 demographic, with all primetime programs posting steep declines. The network averaged 446,000 total viewers and 129,000 in the 25-54 demo in primetime. Compared to last year’s second quarter, that’s down 35% and 41%, respectively.

    Rival Fox New Channel, meanwhile, with 1.79 million primetime total viewers on average, was down 1% from its 2011 second-quarter numbers.



    GAO: $1.4B In Mortgages Went To Tax Cheats

    From the Washington Times:

    GAO: $1 billion in tax credits went to cheats

    Stephen Dinan
    Wednesday, June 27, 2012

    Tax cheats were given $1.4 billion in government-backed mortgage loans under President Obama’s economic stimulus, and the government doled out at least an additional $27 million in tax credits to delinquents who took the first-time-homebuyer tax break, according to a government audit released Tuesday.

    Yes, but tax cheats vote, too. In fact, they probably can be counted on to vote several times.

    Under government rules, delinquent taxpayers are supposed to be ineligible for the mortgage insurance program unless they have reached a repayment agreement with the Internal Revenue Service. But the Federal Housing Administration didn’t have the right controls to weed out bad applications, said the Government Accountability Office, Congress‘ chief investigative arm.


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    Dem Campaign Chair Says Avoid Convention

    From an irony proof Reuters:

    Democratic campaign chair tells candidates to avoid convention

    By Samuel P. Jacobs
    WASHINGTON | Tue Jun 26, 2012

    (Reuters) – The man responsible for getting Democrats elected to the U.S. Congress this fall has a message for his party’s candidates: Stay away from the Democratic National Convention.

    "If they want to win an election, they need to be in their districts," New York congressman Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told the Reuters Washington Summit on Tuesday.

    The Democratic convention, to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, in early September to formally nominate President Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential nominee, is viewed warily by some of the party’s candidates.

    The September 3-6 gathering to fete a president whose popularity ratings have hovered around 50 percent is a particularly sensitive issue for Democratic candidates who are in close races in states or districts where Obama trails Republican Mitt Romney in voter surveys.


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    Why Stockton Is Bankrupt – Union Pensions

    The vast majority of the articles about Stockton, CA, going bankrupt either don’t mention why or they come up with somewhat preposterous explanations. Such as we see here, from the Los Angeles Times:

    Stockton braces for possible bankruptcy as key vote looms

    June 26, 2012

    Stockton residents braced for a fateful City Council meeting on Tuesday night that could result in the city declaring bankruptcy.

    The prospect of insolvency was generating national headlines Tuesday…

    The working-class port city — where much of California’s agricultural exports set sail — lived largely on credit during economic boom times. The city borrowed millions of dollars for ambitious, eye-catching projects in the mid-2000s. Up went a sports arena, hotel and promenade. The city booked a Neil Diamond concert as a kickoff to better times.


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