June 27th, 2012
ABC News / By ALON HARISH
CR Notes: Nearly two in three Americans think President Barack Obama is better suited than Republican rival Mitt Romney to deal with an alien invasion, according to a survey released Wednesday. Hmmm...many thoughts come to mind as to WHY. Perhaps it comes down to the last line of the article below.
If you believe in UFOs, you may be in better company than you think.
Thirty-six percent of Americans -- about 80 million people if the survey applied to the whole country -- believe UFOs exist, and a tenth believe they have spotted one, a new National Geographic poll shows.
Seventeen percent said they did not believe in UFOs, or Unidentified Flying Objects, and nearly half of those surveyed said they were unsure. Perhaps reflective of today's political climate, there appears to be near-universal skepticism of government — nearly four-fifths of respondents said they believe the government has concealed information about UFOs from the public.
The study, commissioned in anticipation of National Geographic Channel's "Chasing UFOs" series premiering Friday night, was not all serious, said Brad Dancer, National Geographic's senior vice president for audience and business development. Respondents were asked whether President Barack Obama or Republican challenger Mitt Romney would handle an alien invasion better (Obama won 65 percent in that contest) and which superhero they would call in to fight off the attack (the Hulk beat out Batman and Spider-Man).
"We were trying to have a little fun and see if pop culture references have had an impact on people's beliefs," Dancer said. "It's intended as a fun survey of public opinion."
Hollywood, he added, may have contributed to the belief — held by 55 percent of Americans, according to the study — that Men in Black-style agents threaten people who report UFO sightings. As movies portraying aliens become increasingly convincing, they may subconsciously affect people's attitudes, he said.
A growing number of Americans have come to believe that Earth is not the only planet in the universe hosting life, he said. The study showed that 77 percent of Americans believe there are signs that aliens have visited Earth.
While the study may be used as ammunition by the vocal minority of UFO enthusiasts, Dancer said that it leaves open the precise definition of the term UFO.
"UFO doesn't necessarily mean alien spacecraft," he said. "There are things that are unexplained. They're interesting because they're unknown. People love a mystery."
The study, conducted by the polling firm Kelton Research, found that more Americans believe "The X-Files" best represented what would happen if aliens invaded Earth than any other movie.
The study, in which a random sample of 1,114 Americans 18 and over was surveyed, also asked what respondents would do if aliens visited Earth. Nearly a quarter said they would try to befriend the extraterrestrials, 13 percent said they would lock themselves indoors, and just one in 20 said they would "try to inflict bodily harm."
Those numbers did not surprise longtime UFO investigator David MacDonald, director of the non-profit Mutual UFO Network, who said the idea of contact with extraterrestrials has become commonplace in the last few decades.
"We have grown up with 'Star Trek,' 'Star Wars' and 'Battlestar Galactica,'" MacDonald said. "We're at the point where we'd say 'What planet are you from? Oh well, let's have a beer.'"
June 27th, 2012
CBS News / By Rebecca Kaplan
(CBS News) STERLING, Va. - In advance of the Supreme Court's ruling on the Affordable Care Act due out Thursday, Mitt Romney said Wednesday it was a "moral failure" for President Obama to focus on health care legislation during a time of economic crisis.
"His policies were not focused on creating jobs. They were focused on implementing his liberal agenda. There's nothing wrong with people having an agenda, but when the country's in crisis, you have a moral responsibility to focus on helping people come out of that crisis," Romney told a crowd of hundreds of supporters in Virginia, that proved to be one of the most energetic and excited crowds he has faced recently. "It was not just bad policy; it was a moral failure to put forward a piece of legislation that wouldn't help Americans get back to work."
With the Supreme Court's ruling on the constitutionality of the healthcare law expected Thursday morning, Romney has spent the past two days previewing the ways he will respond. As he has promised to repeal and replace the law if it is not struck down by the Court, he has outlined his specific objections.
"I don't like the idea of government bureaucrats getting between us and our doctors, that's number one. And by the way, for our senior citizen friends who are concerned about Medicare, let's remind them about one other thing we don't like about Obamacare. The president cut $500 billion out of Medicare to pay for Obamacare, another good reason to get rid of it," Romney said. "And then for those that are a little younger, he's adding trillions of dollars to federal spending - we don't need more debt, we do not need more deficits, we cannot pass on these burdens to the next generation."
Romney has made the law a central focus of his campaign, even though it is similar to a state insurance mandate he put into place in Massachusetts. If the Court rules against its constitutionality, Romney will lose a major talking point. Still, he has publicly expressed hope the law will be struck down.
"My guess is, they're not sleeping real well at the White House tonight," he told the crowd.
Romney was introduced by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, widely considered to be among Romney's vice presidential picks. McDonnell was firmly on message in advance of the Supreme Court ruling.
"All that time when president Mitt Romney would have been focusing on jobs and economic development and getting you back to work and creating better dreams for you and your kids this president's focusing on unfunded mandates on the states and taking over the health care system, the best health care system in the world, by the federal government. So this president is out of touch, out of time, and it's time for a new president," he said.
After the event, Romney came outside to present a new truck to one of his biggest fans, 70-year-old Virginia resident Jim Wilson, who used to follow Romney's campaign around the country with a pickup truck laden with Romney signs. After the truck was destroyed in a fire earlier this month, the campaign purchased a used 2003 Chevy Silverado for $13,900, and Romney presented Wilson with the keys.
June 27th, 2012
The congressional contempt vote against Attorney General Eric Holder is looking more and more like a fait accompli, as House Speaker John Boehner presses ahead with a Thursday floor vote and conservative Democrats one-by-one announce they will side with Republicans.
At least four Democrats so far have said they plan to vote to hold Holder in contempt over his refusal to turn over Operation Fast and Furious documents. Sources told Fox News that roughly 20 are likely to break ranks.
Those Democrats are largely conservative-leaning lawmakers facing perilous political circumstances in their home districts. But regardless of motive, their support only increases the odds that the nation's top law enforcement official will be held in contempt of Congress come Thursday.
Should this happen, the vote would touch off a whole new legal process -- in which a U.S. attorney would be called upon to convene a grand jury to consider the allegations and whether to indict, though with Holder at the helm it's unclear how that would play out.
The two sides also will likely continue to battle over the documents at the heart of the dispute as President Obama tries to lock them down by claiming executive privilege.
Several Democrats indicated Wednesday they don't buy that argument.
"While Republicans and Democrats argue over the scope of the people's right to know what happened, the attorney general has decided to withhold relevant documents," Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., said in a statement announcing he would support the contempt resolution. "The only way to get to the bottom of what happened is for the Department of Justice to turn over the remaining documents, so that we can work together to ensure this tragedy never happens again."
Other Democrats to announce an anti-Holder stance include Reps. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va.; Collin Peterson, D-Minn.; and Jim Matheson, D-Utah.
Matheson said the public, Congress and the family of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry -- whose murder scene included weapons from the botched anti-gunrunning operation -- "deserve answers."
The White House, though, slammed Republican leaders for pressing ahead, accusing them of engaging in "political gamesmanship" with a vote they claim could have been avoided.
"(Republicans) have shown very little interest in reaching a resolution. Instead, they've chosen a path of political confrontation and theater," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday. "It is politics."
Carney said Democrats are "hopeful" a last-minute arrangement can be reached, but expressed doubt that would happen.
Boehner said Thursday that "we are going to proceed." The House Rules Committee teed up a Thursday floor vote on contempt by taking up two related contempt resolutions Wednesday afternoon.
That meeting was contentious.
GOP Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the lawmaker leading the contempt charge, told the rules committee that he's pressing ahead because Holder has not fully complied with requests for a full account.
"Over the last year-and-a-half, the committee has found the Department of Justice uncooperative every step of the way," said Issa, R-Calif.
But Rep. Elijah Cummings, ranking Democrat on the House oversight committee, asked the panel and Boehner to put off the vote.
"I urge you to take a step back," said Cummings, D-Md. "I am convinced ... that this can be worked out."
Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., the top Democrat on the rules committee, added, "This has all the trappings of a witch hunt."
The vote is proceeding despite a last-ditch attempt by Obama administration officials on Tuesday to work out a deal.
A source familiar with those talks told Fox News that the Republicans met with administration officials twice Tuesday -- at the Justice Department and at the White House. The Justice Department showed GOP staff 14 documents on the failed anti-gunrunning operation, totaling about 30 pages.
Republicans apparently thought the offer was not good enough.
But the move prompted criticism from the White House.
"This was a good faith effort to resolve this while still protecting the institutional prerogatives of the Executive Branch, often championed by these same Republicans criticizing us right now," said White House spokesman Eric Schultz.
Republicans have accused the Justice Department of stonewalling all along, and claim the contempt vote is a last-resort move to extract documents about the operation -- specifically documents from February 2011 and beyond that speak to why the administration might have initially claimed it did not allow guns to "walk" across the U.S.-Mexico border. The administration later retracted that claim.
Fox News' Chad Pergram contributed to this report.
June 27th, 2012
By Howie Carr
Jackie Whiton, age 65, had worked as a cashier at the Big Apple convenience store in Peterborough, N.H., for years. But then a couple of weeks ago she committed a firing offense.
She refused to allow a welfare recipient to use his EBT card to buy a pack of smokes.
How dare a taxpayer say no to a member of the non-working class? This is verboten in Obama’s America.
So she was fired. That’ll teach her. The gimme guy was a young man, about 20, and when he asked for cigarettes, Jackie Whiton handed them to him but asked for his ID. He handed her his EBT card.
“I said to him, ‘Do you think that the man in line behind you and the lady behind him want to buy you your cigarettes?’ And he said ‘Yes.’ Then he said, ‘Give me back my card.’ And I said, ‘Give me back my cigarettes.’ ”
The kid left and the man behind him in line then told Jackie Whiton, “You said just exactly what I was thinking.”
“I’ve never seen the likes of it,” she was saying Monday night. “People who could work using welfare money to buy cigarettes and beer? And it happens all the time. A friend of mine was in another store last week and watched a woman buy three 18-packs of beer with an EBT card.”
After her stand, things at Big Apple went downhill quickly for Jackie Whiton. Her manager called the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services and was told that cigarettes — and beer — can be purchased with a cash (as opposed to a food) EBT card.
“We’re not real happy about it,” a department spokesman said yesterday. But the only place the card is prohibited is in casinos, liquor stores and “venues of adult entertainment.”
So you can buy Bud Light with your free Obama bucks, but not vodka. Does this make any sense?
The next day, the 20-year-old’s “foster mother” showed up at the Big Apple to complain about how her “son” had been mistreated. Jackie Whiton talked back again.
“I told her, ‘Use the money you get from the state to buy his cigarettes.’ She said, ‘Absolutely not.’ ”
Jackie, don’t you understand? What’s theirs is theirs and what’s yours is theirs. Whiton’s manager told her she could no longer refuse to sell cigarettes or beer to welfare recipients. So she gave her notice to the manager, but was still working behind the counter when another youth came in the store with an EBT card looking for cigarettes.
“He was very capable of working,” Jackie said, “so I told him to get a J-O-B.”
A few minutes later, she was fired. A spokesman for the 78-store chain said yesterday: “Company policy is to follow rules and regulations, and the sale of cigarettes to EBT card-holders is legal. She didn’t wish to follow company policy, so she was let go after four years.”
Too bad Big Apple recycles their surveillance video after 10 days. If only she could post her last stand on YouTube, Jackie Whiton might be the next Bus Lady.
Herald's Top articles in News & Opinion
June 27th, 2012
CR Notes: Well, personally, I've always liked the Statesman Sen. Orin Hatch, who was backed by several "Very" Right-Wing organizations as well.
He's a high-ranking long-time Conservative incumbent with gobs of influence.
Not exactly what I would term a Tea Party Loss, quite frankly....
By Lee Davidson
The Salt Lake Tribune
The tea party, big-spending PACs and challenger Dan Liljenquist failed Tuesday to force 78-year-old Orrin Hatch into retirement. The self-proclaimed "tough old bird" flew easily through the GOP primary, so now only Democrat Scott Howell stands between him and a record-shattering seventh term.
"I’m very energized by all this," Hatch said as it became clear he would likely win by a wide margin. "This will give us an opportunity to help Mitt Romney to get the things that will really turn this country around."
He vowed to keep working hard in the general election, and said he will continue to stress how important is for him to become chairman of the Finance Committee, if Republicans can win control of the Senate.
"That’s where 60 percent of all the spending is [controlled], that’s where the entitlements are, it’s where the terrible tax code is … it’s all on that committee. Romney understands that," Hatch said.
"I’ve given it everything I have," Hatch said of the race. "I have a great time campaigning. It’s the fun part of being in these offices."
Liljenquist — a former state senator who was just a year old when Hatch was first elected to the Senate 36 years ago — congratulated Hatch, and vowed to help him with the general election. Liljenquist lost every county, including his home county of Davis, in unofficial results.
"This race has been focused on the fiscal issues facing this country and I have appreciated the opportunity to meet and talk with the voters of Utah," Liljenquist said. "Senator Hatch has my support moving forward and I look forward to helping get this country back on track."
Liljenquist said it is difficult to say if he will run for political office again, but, "I have a passion for policy and I want to be involved in any way that I can."
Hatch’s easy win shows how much Utah’s political landscape changed since two years ago, when the tea party managed to dump three-term incumbent Sen. Bob Bennett at the state GOP convention.
Hatch avoided Bennett’s fate first by spending heavily to recruit supporters to attend political caucuses to run as state GOP delegates — and replace many of the tea partyers that doomed Bennett. It helped him to survive the convention to face a primary.
"I think what also helped us was Mitt Romney’s endorsement," said Dave Hansen, Hatch’s campaign manager. "It wasn’t just Mitt saying, ‘I endorse Orrin.’ He was saying, ‘As president, I need Orrin Hatch in the Senate to help me.’ That made a difference" with Romney-loving Utahns.
Hansen added, "Senator Hatch is also a tough, hard campaigner. He wears out 20-year-olds on the campaign staff."
Hatch spent a whopping $10 million on the race. "We had the resources to do what we planned to do. We had the money to go on TV early and stay there," Hansen said. "We put together an unprecedented organization. Not only did it help us to recruit delegates and people to attend the caucuses, but the lists we developed helped us in the primary to identify who we needed to get out to vote."
Hansen said Hatch was successful in keeping the campaign focused on messages that helped him. He refused more a single debate with Liljenquist during the primary campaign period, but Hansen said Hatch’s polling showed people didn’t care much whether they debated — so he said the emphasis by Liljenquist about debates did not hurt.
Hatch’s heavy spending outpaced more than $1 million spent by the national FreedomWorks PAC, which had helped to defeat Bennett. (FreedomWorks spent even more than the $800,000 or so that Liljenquist’s campaign itself spent).
Groups supporting Hatch also spent heavily to help him. Such PACs, including FreedomPath and the National Rifle Association, spent $969,000 to help him.
Hatch has now served 36 years, and would serve 42 years if he wins and serves a full seventh term until age 84. No other senator from Utah has served more than five terms. Hatch would also become the fifth oldest member of the Senate next year after retirements of others.