January 18th, 2012
By Richard Verrier
Hollywood's chief lobbyist lashed out at tech companies for mounting Tuesday night's planned online blackout to protest proposed anti-piracy legislation that has pitted Southern California movie and music distributors against Silicon Valley Internet corporations.
Motion Picture Assn. of America Chief Executive Chris Dodd, the former Senator from Connecticut, accused technology companies such as Google, Mozilla and Wikipedia of resorting to stunts.
As part of the largest online strike in history, thousands of websites planned to black out their pages or shut down completely starting Tuesday night to protest anti-piracy bills they feel would limit freedom of speech and saddle legitimate websites with onerous legal costs.
But Dodd called the blackout a "dangerous gimmick."
"It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them for information and who use their services,'' Dodd said in a statement. "It is also an abuse of power given the freedoms these companies enjoy in the marketplace today."
Meanwhile, NetCoalition, a group of leading Internet and technology companies, announced that it launched a radio advertising campaign highlighting the Protect IP Act (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
"We want to let people know that these bills will harm American jobs and our economy by stifling innovation and chilling investment in one of the few industries growing and hiring,'' said Markham Erickson, executive director of NetCoalition.
January 18th, 2012
By NBC's Alex Moe
Sarah Palin on Tuesday urged South Carolina voters to support Newt Gingrich in their GOP presidential primary, offering the closest thing to an endorsement the former Alaska governor may come before this weekend's contest.
“If I had to vote in South Carolina, in order to keep this thing going, I’d vote for Newt and I would want this to continue,” Palin said during a FOX News interview Tuesday night.
Her support for the former House speaker, however, was somewhat qualified. Palin said she believed it would be best for the primary campaign to continue, so as to continue to add scrutiny to candidates and forge their strength as an eventual nominee against President Obama.
“More debates, more vetting of candidates because we know the mistake made in our country four years ago was having a candidate that was not vetted, to the degree that he should have been,” Palin explained. “I want to see that taking place this time because America is on this precipice — it’s that important. We need this process to continue."
“We think its a pretty darn clear call to arms,” Gingrich campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond told NBC News shortly after Palin made these comments this evening.
The conservative vote in South Carolina remains split between Gingrich, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Texas Gov. Rick Perry going into the closing days before the Jan. 21 primary in the state.
Each has been rallying voters behind their candidacy as the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who would see as the heavy favorite to win the nomination if he were to score a victory in South Carolina.
“If you consolidate the three conservative candidates, we clearly would have a huge margin over Romney, and the challenge for me is to convince conservatives to come home and have a single candidate on Saturday,” Gingrich told a crowd in Florence, S.C. today.
Palin offered words of flattery for Gingrich beyond her support this weekend, crowning him the winner of a Monday night debate. Her husband, Todd Palin, has formally endorsed Gingrich for president.
"Newt Gingrich is a true leader, which he has proven not only since the beginning of his campaign, but throughout his career,” Todd Palin said in a written statement sent out by the Gingrich campaign on Jan. 9.
It is still unknown if either Palin will actually campaign for Speaker Gingrich on the trail.
Tops at MSNBC
January 18th, 2012
US News and World Report
By Paul Bedard
When it comes to how Americans view President Obama going into the new year, there appears to be very little spirit of Auld Lang Syne. Instead, according to the new Washington Whispers poll, many voters aren't forgetting what they dislike about Obama and want him out office.
In our New Year’s poll, when asked what news event they fear most about 2012, Americans by a margin of two-to-one said Obama’s reelection. Only 16 percent said they fear the Democrat won’t win a second term, while 33 percent said they fear four more years.
Next to Obama’s reelection, 31 percent of Americans said they feared higher taxes, which may be proof that the president’s focus on the payroll tax cut has hit paydirt.
The poll, however, held out some hope for Obama. Some 38 percent of younger Americans, 18-24, said their biggest fear was higher taxes. Just 28 percent of those same voters said they feared Obama winning in November.
January 17th, 2012
by Joel Gehrke Commentary Staff Writer
Jeffrey Zients will serve as President Obama's new acting director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), but the president's decision might undercut attacks on Republican Mitt Romney's career as a venture capitalist, because Zients and Romney are both alumni of Bain & Company.
"I'm pleased to designate Jeff Zients to lead the Office of Management and Budget. Since day one, Jeff has demonstrated superb judgment and has provided sound advice on a whole host of issues," Obama said in a statement accompanying the announcement today. Zients previously served as Deputy Director of OMB under Jack Lew, who became Obama's chief of staff with the departure of Bill Daley.
Romney might also be pleased at Zients' promotion, given that they have a common professional background; Zients worked with Bain & Company as early as 1988, according to the Bain website. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney worked at Bain & Company, first from 1977-1984, and then again from 1991 and 1992, when he was the Bain & Company chief executive officer.
Update: Bain & Company says that Zients worked there from August 1988 to June 1990. Romney apparently returned to Bain & Company from Bain Capital in January 1991, so they missed each other by six months.
The Bain name has become politically-charged recently with the rise of Mitt Romney -- not for his work as a Bain & Company executive, but rather his career at Bain Capital. Romney helped found Bain Capital with his Bain and Company colleagues in 1984, and he led the firm from until 1990.
President Obama's top campaign strategist, David Axelrod, criticized Romney for having a "Bain mentality," just as some of Romney's Republican presidential election rivals have blamed him for layoffs that took place at companies that Bain Capital financed.
The White House emphasized Zients' "twenty years as a CEO, management consultant, and entrepreneur" when announcing his promotion, but did not mention that Zients' used to work with Bain & Company.
January 17th, 2012
CHARLESTON, South Carolina—Ron Paul's presidential campaign has a message for Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Rick Perry after they failed to get on the Virginia ballot — "it's over."
The three candidates joined in a lawsuit seeking to challenge the signature requirement for the Virginia primary ballot, but were unsuccessful in winning the right to appear.
“It’s over,” said Ron Paul 2012 National Campaign Chairman Jesse Benton in a statement to the press. “Ron Paul, the candidate of real change, will face off against establishment flip-flopper Mitt Romney in the Virginia primary, making that that Tuesday less ‘super’ for serial hypocrite Newt Gingrich, counterfeit conservative Rick Santorum, and Rick Perry, who I should mention is marginally attached to the presidential race.”
Here is the full statement from the Paul campaign:
It's Over – Only Two Republican Candidates on Virginia Ballot
In the Commonwealth, real change candidate and Champion of the Constitution Ron Paul will face down establishment flip-flopper Mitt Romney
LAKE JACKSON, Texas – 2012 Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul, the constitutionally-observant candidate of real change, will face down establishment candidate and notorious flip-flopper Mitt Romney in a head-to-head matchup in the Virginia primary.
The Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied four candidates’ appeals to appear on the ballot after their glaring failure to comply with the Commonwealth’s stringent, but widely-known, ballot access requirements.
Former candidate Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum did not file signatures with the Virginia State Board of Elections at all. Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich did file signatures, but fell short of qualifying. Rick Perry then brought a suit against the state challenging the ballot-access requirements to which all candidates were held, and others failing to qualify joined the suit. When the suit was struck down, an injunction was filed in part to reconcile whether and when paper ballots would be printed, and today the final decision was handed down.
Virginia is the nation’s 12th-largest state and its primary election takes place on March 6th – Super Tuesday. The absence of any other candidates on the ballot aside from Paul and Romney, including serial hypocrite Gingrich and counterfeit conservative Santorum, is sending ripple effects throughout key early voting states including South Carolina where Palmetto State voters now are concerned about how their vote will affect the nominating process going forward.
For example, some voters might vote for a candidate with an organization too weak to comply with ballot access requirements. Voting for that candidate would result in a vote wasted, as were the votes of many for candidates who exited the race like Michele Bachmann and Jon Huntsman. Others ponder that only one veteran of the armed forces – Ron Paul – will be on the ballot in Virginia, a state so steeped in military tradition. Still others have observed that only one Evangelical Christian will appear on the ballot there. Indeed, there are many questions.
One thing is certain. And that is, the decision has upended what plaintiffs against the Commonwealth and voters nationwide had expected just hours ago when plaintiffs held onto thin hopes of a reversal, or a convenient exception to the rule of law.
“It’s over,” said Ron Paul 2012 National Campaign Chairman Jesse Benton. “Ron Paul, the candidate of real change, will face off against establishment flip-flopper Mitt Romney in the Virginia primary, making that that Tuesday less ‘super’ for serial hypocrite Newt Gingrich, counterfeit conservative Rick Santorum, and Rick Perry, who I should mention is marginally attached to the presidential race.”
“This legal development affirms that this Republican nominating contest has always been a two-man race between the candidates with the resources and organization required for a 50-state race. Voters nationwide should get behind the candidate of real change as he competes nationwide – and nationwide means a lot of states, including large ones like Virginia,” said Mr. Benton.
“Right now South Carolina voters have vital information helpful for deciding not only who the authentic conservative in the race is – Ron Paul – but whether that candidate leaves South Carolina with a ticket that actually gets him somewhere,” added Mr. Benton.
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