February 18th, 2012
Washington, Feb 16 - Tomorrow, February 17, 2012, will be exactly 3 years since President Obama signed his infamous stimulus package into law. It was a plan designed to create jobs by growing the size of government, and its record has not been good.
|Democrats said their costly plan ($1.2 trillion, including interest) would “save or create” up to 4 million jobs and bring the unemployment rate down to about 6% today. The unemployment rate has not fallen below 8% at any point in the last 36 months. Furthermore, the official unemployment rate does not actually count unemployed people who have given up looking for work.
The above chart shows the “labor force participation rate.” This statistic represents the share of working-age Americans who are either employed or unemployed but looking for work. It is not a pretty picture. Only 63.7% of working-age Americans are currently in the workforce – the lowest in almost 29 years!
To put it another way, 36.3% of working-age Americans do not have a job and are not even looking.
After 3 years of failure, it’s time to try something that will work. Let’s ramp up energy production. Let’s cut away government red tape that slows down job creation. And let’s design a new tax code that is simpler, flatter, and fairer. Let’s pass the Jobs Through Growth Act, and create jobs by growing the economy – not the government.
Congressman Jim Jordan is Chairman of the Republican Study Committee (RSC).Print version of this document
February 18th, 2012
Not even the so-called “phony soldiers” controversy which led to the attack of Rush Limbaugh, and propagated by Media Matters, has caused its conservative counterpart the Media Research Center to challenge its purpose. But revelations about Media Matters in recent days have changed that.
For the first time since Jan. 2008, MRC president Brent Bozell took on the subject of Media Matters on Thursday night’s “Hannity” on the Fox News Channel. Bozell offered his critique of the organization and why they are more political operatives than media critics.
“Well, let me first preface this by saying as a matter of policy I refuse to talk about this organization. I’m making an exception tonight because I do want to comment on it tonight,” Bozell said. “Because that memo — and kudos to Tucker Carlson and Daily Caller for this. That memo confirms everything you and I talked about for the last year about the left where they have an agenda, they have — objective truth has nothing to do with it. If you look and read the words, where does the media bias come in play anywhere there? What they say is, their job is to do the dirty work for the Obama administration and Congress. And they are going after Fox. Not because of a bias on Fox, but because they want to do the dirty work of the Obama administration and they see Fox as not being in tune with the Obama administration.” (RELATED: The money behind the message: Left-wing foundations lavish millions on Media Matters)
Bozell pointed out that they had an agenda and offered various campaigns by Media Matters to get former analyst Juan Williams and current analyst Mara Liasson off of NPR as evidence. But he also told of the since-debunked controversy involving Limbaugh and how that was a stain on the organization.
“How about this one, Sean — think about this,” he said. “We all know the phony soldier story with Rush Limbaugh. We all know how he was completely discredited. We know how it was used as an attempt to end his career by going after his advertisers with an absolutely false story. It was so false, it was so thoroughly debunked that his enemies on Capitol Hill had to issue a formal speech on the floor of the House to apologize. Do you know Sean that you can go on this group’s website and the story is still there?”
Bozell noted that Media Matters’ favorite targets were “Hannity” host Sean Hannity and “The O’Reilly Factor” host Bill O’Reilly, but rarely the straight news talent on the network, including “Special Report” host Bret Baier or “The Fox Report” anchor Shepard Smith. But he said that as their list of so-called boogeymen has grown shorter, the tactics of Media Matters have become more desperate.
“I am getting a sense that Media Matters is like the rats in the corner — the rat that is cornered that goes for the jugular,” he said. “According to this report, their audience is down 63 percent. The numbers are down 63 percent. They have more money than the good Lord. But they don’t have an audience out there and I think they are getting desperate. I think the tactics they are employing are the tactics of desperation. When they go this personal, this savage, this ugly — that’s desperation. That’s when I say to conservatives, watch out.”
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February 18th, 2012
So it has become quite apparent that this Jeremy Lin story has made some lose their ever loving mind. First, we had MSG Network’s attempt at creativity by putting Lin’s mugs in a graphic with a fortune cookie that they titled every so gracefully, “Good Fortune”. And now ESPN has one upped them by describing Jeremy Lin’s underwhelming performance last night against the Hornets as “Chink In The Armor”.
Oh, and if that headline isn’t enough ESPN trotting out one their analyst last who also slipped the phrase in while discussing Lin with Knicks analyst Clyde Frazier.
Yeah, yeah, yeah it’s a figure of speech, but there are plenty of figures of speech available for use here. Let’s try to stay away from ones that could be seen as offensive. It would make life so much easier.
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February 18th, 2012
TEHRAN – Iranian ships moved through the Suez Canal and into the Mediterranean Sea on Saturday, the IRNA news agency reported, citing the country's navy commander, Admiral Habibollah Sayari.
Sayari said the passage through the Suez Canal was only the second made by Iranian ships since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
It follows the passage of the Iranian frigate Alvand and the supply ship Kharg on Feb. 22 last year. The ships successfully moved through the canal and then docked two days later at the Syrian port of Latakia.
Israel called last year's passage a "political provocation" and put its own navy on alert in response.
It was not known how many ships passed through the canal Saturday. However, Sayari said the ships were docked in the Saudi port city of Jeddah ahead of their passage through the canal, AFP reported.
Two Iranian ships -- the destroyer Shahid Qandi and the Kharg -- were docked in Jeddah two days ago.
February 18th, 2012
Washington (CNN) - In an unusual move Friday, six members of the House Ethics Committee recused themselves from the investigation of Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters, after outside counsel hired to review the case recommended they no longer participate in the probe.
A letter from Alabama Republican Jo Bonner read on the House floor requested that House Speaker John Boehner appoint six new members to continue the inquiry, effectively replacing himself, four additional Republicans, and one Democrat two and a half years into the investigation.
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"I am writing to request the appointment of six substitute members," said Bonner, a Republican congressman from Alabama.
The ethics committee hired outside counsel Billy Martin in July of 2011 to review the case after multiple reports of possible improper communication among committee attorneys and lawmakers on the panel.
After interviewing current and former Ethics Committee members and staff, as well as assessing "tens of thousands of pages of documents," Martin recommended that leadership and four sitting members recuse themselves from the inquiry.
Recusal recommendations were not expected to occur until Martin completed his review, but because "one necessary witness refused to appear voluntarily" and planned to exercise Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination when subpoenaed to testify, Martin was compelled to "advance that timing."
"The witness' refusal to answer questions prevents the completion of the due process review," Bonner said.
However, he noted that Martin had not discovered any evidence that indicated "actual bias or partiality," any "conflict which would cause disqualification," or anything that "should cause a mandatory recusal."
A source close to the investigation told CNN this kind of move was unprecedented.
Members stepping aside include Bonner, Texas Reps. Michael McCaul and Michael Conaway, Pennsylvania Rep. Charles Dent, and Rep. Gregg Harper of Mississippi-all Republican-as well as Democratic California Rep. Linda Sanchez, who served as ranking member on the bipartisan panel.
Bonner listed reasoning for the action saying, "The members requested recusal because 1) They believe that, out of an abundance of caution and to avoid even an appearance of unfairness, their voluntary recusal will eliminate the possibility of questions being raised as to the partiality or bias of committee members considering this manner; 2) They want to assure the public the House and Representative Waters that this investigation is continuing in a fair and unbiased manner; and 3) They want to move this matter forward in a manner that supports the greatest public confidence in the ultimate conclusions of the committee."
Democratic Reps. John Yarmuth of Kentucky, Donna Edwards of Maryland, Pedro Pierluisi from Puerto Rico, and Joe Courtney of Connecticut remain part of the investigation as ethics committee members.
In October 2009 the ethics committee unanimously voted to investigate whether Waters violated any House rules when she helped arrange a meeting in September 2008 between OneUnited, a minority-owned bank in which her husband had financial interest, and Treasury Department officials.
The bank was seeking federal assistance and Waters is a senior member of the House Financial Services committee.
Waters has asserted her innocence since the beginning of the probe. An ethics trial scheduled for November of 2010 was postponed. The following month Waters insisted that committee leadership "set the record straight" and examine media reports of misconduct on the part of two attorneys leading the case against her.
In July 2011 Waters sent a letter urging the recusal of all members of the ethics committee involved in the investigation.
Waters' office has not yet responded to a CNN request for comment on the recusals.
Following Martin's recommendation that "no member who served on the committee in the 111th Congress should serve as a substitute," Boehner named GOP Rep. Bob Goodlatte from Virginia to serve as acting chairman for the duration of the investigation. Fellow Republicans including Rep. Michael Simpson of Idaho, Ohio Rep. Steven LaTourette, West Virginia Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, and Arkansas Rep. Tim Griffin were also named as substitutes. Democratic Rep. John Sarbanes of Maryland replaces Sanchez, and Yarmuth will serve as acting ranking member for the duration of the investigation.
Though Bonner, Sanchez, McCaul, Conaway, Dent, and Harper have recused themselves from the Waters probe, the letter confirms they will continue to serve on the ethics committee for all other purposes, with Bonner serving as chairman and Sanchez as ranking member.
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