Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign has turned to DVDs to help retire its debt from the 2008 presidential race.
Her campaign circulated a fundraising e-mail on Tuesday saying that donors who contribute $35 or more to retire the “last bit” of the debt will receive a DVD of the former first lady’s “historic” speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
I wouldn't either.
Do you really want people who make decisions like this to be running our government?
Senator John Kerry said today he will voluntarily cut a check to the state of Massachusetts for some $500,000 in sales tax for a yacht he purchased in Rhode Island earlier this year.
"We’ve reached out to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue and made clear that, whether owed or not, we intend to pay the equivalent taxes as if the boat’s home-port were currently in Massachusetts," Kerry said in a statement released this afternoon. "That payment is being made promptly."
Kerry has been dogged by questions in recent days by questions about whether he purposely tried to evade taxes in his home state by listing the $7 million yacht's home berth as Newport, R.I., when he actually intended to use the boat at his summer home on Nantucket.
Today will be my fourth day of play at our national tournament in New Orleans. Although I have a week left here - and then another week in Omaha - I am whipped. Playing against the best of the best is exhausting. My muscles ache; I must fight off headaches. Filled with adrenaline when I finish late at night, sleep is difficult and spotty. The problems are tough; partner and I only solve some.
Most now know the story about Shirley Sherrod. A tape was posted at conservative news site Breitbart, and what viewers saw appeared to be a case of black-on-white racism on the part of Ms. Sherrod.
As it turned out, however, the tape posted was only part of a much longer segment. Once the segment was viewed in its entirety, a wholly different perspective was gained. Ms. Sherrod was demonstrating how she had learned from her experiences that need and poverty can happen to anyone, irrespective of race. She was giving her audience an object lesson; a fine one at that.
Policy makers ignored such disparities within America's white cultures when, in advancing minority diversity programs, they treated whites as a fungible monolith. Also lost on these policy makers were the differences in economic and educational attainment among nonwhite cultures. Thus nonwhite groups received special consideration in a wide variety of areas including business startups, academic admissions, job promotions and lucrative government contracts.
Where should we go from here? Beyond our continuing obligation to assist those African-Americans still in need, government-directed diversity programs should end.
Nondiscrimination laws should be applied equally among all citizens, including those who happen to be white. The need for inclusiveness in our society is undeniable and irreversible, both in our markets and in our communities. Our government should be in the business of enabling opportunity for all, not in picking winners. It can do so by ensuring that artificial distinctions such as race do not determine outcomes.
Memo to my fellow politicians: Drop the Procrustean policies and allow harmony to invade the public mindset. Fairness will happen, and bitterness will fade away.
Just as Webb says, changing our "diversity laws" doesn't mean ending help. We should help those among us who need it. What we should not do, however, is base this assistance upon the color of one's skin. Mercifully, the days when the laws of our land enshrined hate and discrimination have ended.
This is my second day of competing at our national bridge tournament in New Orleans. Thousands of people from all over the world will be here. In addition to competing, I take photos of competitors, meshing them with my "Roaming Reporting." Add in keeping on top of my real estate business and a bit of socializing... doesn't leave time for much else!
Yet there is something that takes priority over it all. My dad. 89 years ago today, my grandparents, Irene and William Kaplan, gave birth to The Greatest Dad ever - Howard Kaplan.
The calendar may say that Dad is now 89. For those who know him, however, his activities and personality seem closer to roughly 38. Younger than I am? When it comes to spirit - you bet!
Have a super birthday, Daddy! I look forward to the Big 9-0 next year. I suppose by then, you will have aged to something like 39 :)
This morning I asked Rush Limbaugh what he thought of references to him on the private left-wing journalist discussion group JournoList. As reported in the Daily Caller, Sarah Spitz, producer* of the KCRW public radio program “Left, Right and Center,” which is heard on a number of NPR stations across the country, wrote on JournoList that if she witnessed Limbaugh dying of a heart attack, she would “laugh loudly like a maniac and watch his eyes bug out.”
“I never knew I had this much hate in me,” Spitz wrote, according to the Daily Caller account. “But he deserves it.”
So I asked Limbaugh: What do you make of the fact that people in positions of influence on the Left don’t just want to see you fail, don’t just want to see you marginalized, but would actually like to witness you dying a painful death?
“Not having wished anyone dead, nor having fantasized about watching someone die, I cannot possibly relate to this,” Limbaugh responded.
The nation's three dominant credit-ratings providers have made an urgent new request of their clients: Please don't use our credit ratings.
The odd plea is emerging as the first consequence of the financial overhaul that is to be signed into law by President Obama on Wednesday. And it already is creating havoc in the bond markets, parts of which are shutting down in response to the request.
Standard & Poor's, Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings are all refusing to allow their ratings to be used in documentation for new bond sales, each said in statements in recent days. Each says it fears being exposed to new legal liability created by the landmark Dodd-Frank financial reform law.
The new law will make ratings firms liable for the quality of their ratings decisions, effective immediately. The companies say that, until they get a better understanding of their legal exposure, they are refusing to let bond issuers use their ratings.
That is important because some bonds, notably those that are made up of consumer loans, are required by law to include ratings in their official documentation. That means new bond sales in the $1.4 trillion market for mortgages, autos, student loans and credit cards could effectively shut down.
There have been no new asset-backed bonds put on sale this week, in stark contrast to last week, when $3 billion of issues were sold. Market participants say the new law is partly behind the slowdown.
President Obama recently has accused the Republicans of not having faith in the American people. David Harsanyi wonders, however - who is it really that does not have faith in all of us?
To begin with, what mysterious brand of public policy has Obama employed that exemplifies this sacred trust between public officials and the common citizen?
Was it the administration's faith in the wisdom of the American parent that persuaded it to shut down the voucher program in Washington, D.C., and continue the left's decades- long campaign denying school choice for kids and parents? Or was that just faith in public-sector unions?
Was faith in American industry behind the Democrats' support of a stimulus bill that was almost entirely predicated on preserving swollen government spending at the expense of private-sector growth?
Is this hallowed faith in the citizenry also what compels the administration to dictate what kind of car we will be driving in the future, what kind of energy we will be filling these "cars" with and what amounts of that energy will be acceptable?
Is faith in American know-how why Washington funnels billions of tax dollars each year to its handpicked industry favorites rather than allowing the best and brightest to — please pardon the pun — organically figure out what the most sensible energy policy is, as we have in every other sector?
You might note as you read all of the column, that despite what the President says, this is not essentially a partisan issue. Republicans have not been much better. One can surely point to many laws and directives that take away choice from us, and impose all sorts of regulation and force upon we, the people.
Would I like to see an administration that would return choice to the private sector, and let us rise - or fail - according to our own selections and actions and decisions? I sure would. Whether a Democratic or Republican administration would do this for us, however, is the big question.
A black employee who resigned from the Agriculture Department over racially charged comments at a Georgia NAACP meeting says her remarks are being intentionally misconstrued by conservative groups stoking racial tensions.
Shirley Sherrod says she was forced to step down by the White House even though her comments, in which she says she withheld support for a farmer because he was white, were really part of a story of racial reconciliation.
"Let he who is without sin," yada yada yada. Have I said things I wish I had not? Yes. Have I made statements where afterwards, I realize I did not well express what I intended to convey? Yes.
Too often, irrespective of our political beliefs, too many of us grab a few sentences or a word or two, and assume we know volumes about who someone is and what they believe.
Sometimes, in our haste, we are wrong.
I hope all those who share my beliefs about race give this case some reflection. If Ms. Sherrod really was trying to express what she had learned, rather than stating how she disliked white people - then perhaps one more injustice occurred with her "resignation."
A Georgia woman who said she believes her husband is the farmer referenced in the clip told CNN on Tuesday that Sherrod was helpful to her family and that the couple never felt she was being racist while trying to assist them in avoiding foreclosure.
"She treated us really good and got us all we could," said Eloise Spooner of Iron City, Georgia. Spooner said she remembered that Sherrod helped find an attorney to help her husband, Roger.
She said she doesn't believe Sherrod is being treated fairly.
Now, a new study from Purdue University suggests that free markets may also produce fairer wages:
The conventional wisdom is that the free market for labor, which determines the pay packages, cares only about efficiency and not fairness. We present an alternative theory that shows that an ideal free market environment also promotes fairness, as an emergent property resulting from the self-organizing market dynamics. Even though an individual employee may care only about his or her salary and no one else's, the collective actions of all the employees, combined with the profit maximizing actions of all the companies, in a free market environment under budgetary constraints, lead towards a more fair allocation of wages, guided by Adam Smith's invisible hand of self-organization.
In the new work, the researcher has determined that fairness is integral to a normally functioning free market economy.…
His theory describes how goal-driven "rational agents," or people, will behave in a free market economic environment under ideal conditions.
"The bottom line is that the free market does care about fairness," he said. "Clearly, the next step is to conduct more comprehensive studies of salary distributions in various organizations and sectors in order to understand in greater detail the deviations in the real world from the ideal, fairness maximizing, free market for labor."
It was the moment of greatest peril for then-Sen. Barack Obama’s political career. In the heat of the presidential campaign, videos surfaced of Obama’s pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, angrily denouncing whites, the U.S. government and America itself. Obama had once bragged of his closeness to Wright. Now the black nationalist preacher’s rhetoric was threatening to torpedo Obama’s campaign.
The crisis reached a howling pitch in mid-April, 2008, at an ABC News debate moderated by Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos. Gibson asked Obama why it had taken him so long – nearly a year since Wright’s remarks became public – to dissociate himself from them. Stephanopoulos asked, “Do you think Reverend Wright loves America as much as you do?”
Watching this all at home were members of Journolist, a listserv comprised of several hundred liberal journalists, as well as like-minded professors and activists. The tough questioning from the ABC anchors left many of them outraged. “George [Stephanopoulos],” fumed Richard Kim of the Nation, is “being a disgusting little rat snake.”
Others went further. According to records obtained by The Daily Caller, at several points during the 2008 presidential campaign a group of liberal journalists took radical steps to protect their favored candidate. Employees of news organizations including Time, Politico, the Huffington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Guardian, Salon and the New Republic participated in outpourings of anger over how Obama had been treated in the media, and in some cases plotted to fix the damage.
In one instance, Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent urged his colleagues to deflect attention from Obama’s relationship with Wright by changing the subject. Pick one of Obama’s conservative critics, Ackerman wrote, “Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists.”
So what has been the government’s response in the current crisis? Besides spending stimulus, it was tax incentives for new home buyers and cash for clunkers if you bought a new car. All three are programs for borrowing output, homes and cars from future production and sales. Using subsidies to pump up home sales beyond what people could afford was the problem that led to the crisis. Now the problem is touted as the solution.
We are in times not seen since the Depression, when at its depth in 1934 my parents lost their Kansas farm to the bank. Such memories and the intensity of the current crisis led me and my colleague, Steven Gjerstad, to examine the last 14 recessions including the Depression. We have been surprised and dismayed to learn that in 11 of these 14 recessions the percentage decline in new house expenditure preceded and exceeded percentage declines in every other major component of GDP. Hence the sources of the current debacle are hardly new!
"We found activity in a brain pathway that is exactly the same brain pathway that becomes affected when you're profoundly addicted to cocaine and nicotine," explained Fisher. "Brain regions associated with intense romantic love, physical pain and deep attachment. So, you're craving this person. You're madly in love with him. Deeply attached to them. You're in physical pain. And you are obsessed with somebody."
If you are like me, then you don't know a great many people who have served in the military. But, whether we come from backgrounds steeped in service, or have little knowledge of the inner workings of the military, all of us should honor those who do serve. All the freedoms that we cherish, all the material goods - and our families and friends - all could be threatened by enemies. If not for those who risk all, we ourselves could find ourselves at high risk.
Thus, it was with sadness and dismay that I read this column.
It was inauguration day for the nation’s most modern facility for the treatment of active-duty soldiers and veterans suffering from brain injuries and psychological disorders—5,000 of them with having a hamburger lunch with At the podium in Bethesda, Maryland, stood Arnold Fisher, the chief fundraiser for this precious center that may need to care for hundreds of thousands of victims, searching in vain for one White House official, one Cabinet officer, one member of the Joint Chiefs, one senator. He found none. And he asked again and again, “Where are they?”
Where were they? President Obama was in meetings and having a hamburger lunch with Russian President Medvedev. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was also at these meetings, though not at the hamburger shop in Virginia. Michelle Obama, who has made caring for military families one of her top priorities, couldn’t make it; she was said to have given her final "no" at the last minute. She was accompanying Mrs. Medvedev on a visit to the Duke Ellington School for the Arts in D.C., where they watched a dance performance. Vice President Joe Biden also met with Russians and with Israelis. Defense Secretary Robert Gates sent his deputy William Lynn III. All four Joint Chiefs sent their deputies. General Eric Shinseki, secretary of Veterans Affairs, couldn’t make it. Not one among the legions of pro- and antiwar hooting senators could find the time. Only two members of the House of Representatives found their way to the ceremony.
But there was Fisher at the podium. A corporal in the Korean War, Fisher is now a successful real-estate developer, builder, and philanthropist. He avoids confrontation and the limelight, but he could not suppress his dismay about the absences that inaugural day. “Here we are in the nation’s capital, the seat of our government, the very people who decide your fate, the people who send you out to protect our freedoms. And yet, where are they?” he asked the attendees. “And while we appreciate that much of our military leadership is present, our government should be behind this effort,” he continued. “I know these are difficult times. I read newspapers. I see the news. And still, where are they? They call you out. You are injured. We are all here. Where are they?”
This should not be a partisan, left-right issue. This should be something that matters to every American. Somehow, some way - our government should let those who serve and who do pay the price for that service clearly know how much we value what they do.
Povolchak was sworn in as a United States citizen after he turned 18.
"I know many, many people take freedom for granted," he said before taking his citizenship oath. "But I never will."
At 42, Walter Polovchak is now older than his father, Michael, was when he moved his family -- wife Anna, daughter Nataly and sons Walter and Michael -- to Chicago. A bus driver in the Ukraine, Michael Polovchak found Chicago overwhelming.
"My father couldn't get used to life, change, language, country," Polovchak said. "He was just brought up in a different, old Soviet-era system."
But where his father saw dead ends, young Walter saw opportunity.
"There was unlimited freedom of movement, freedom to go to church, freedom to live anywhere you want to go, freedom to travel."
Too many of us - including yours truly - do not think that frequently about these "simple" freedoms.