Archive for May 7th, 2009

Video: Tom Ridge won’t say if he’ll vote for Pat Toomey

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

From Politico:

Nick Sloan: Libertarian party’s path to victory

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Nick Sloan:

A good breakdown of what Libertarians have to do to prevail. My favorite part:

Media: Crying about press coverage will not give us media support.

What the libertarian movement needs are libertarians who are willing to do the hard work (which, incidentally, will create paying jobs for themselves) of developing legitimate press outlets that do a fine job of covering reality, while ensuring that the hidden assumptions used to choose which news is important and what it means are libertarian assumptions.

A successful libertarian political movement will help those libertarians develop their media skills and outlets.

The tolerant left and John Ashcroft

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Prime Buzz:

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) – A Missouri university’s decision to award an honorary degree to former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft is drawing protests from some students and faculty members.

Ashcroft will receive the award and deliver the graduation speech Saturday at Truman State University in Kirksville. As governor, he led the effort to upgrade the school from a regional university to a statewide liberal arts campus.

Nearly 300 opponents signed a petition “voicing discontent” with the decision by the school’s Board of Governors to give Ashcroft an honorary doctorate. A silent protest is planned during his commencement speech.

Cheney to GOP: ‘It would be a mistake for us to moderate’

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Ben Smith:

Dick Cheney did an interview today with Scott Hennen, a North Dakota radio host, whose staff sent over a transcript (after the jump), defending the Bush administration and advising the Republican Party to stay with its roots.

“I think it would be a mistake for us to moderate,” Cheney said. “This is about fundamental beliefs and values and ideas … what the role of government should be in our society, and our commitment to the Constitution and constitutional principles. You know, when you add all those things up, the idea that we ought to moderate basically means we ought to fundamentally change our philosophy. I for one am not prepared to do that, and I think most of us aren’t. Most Republicans have a pretty good idea of values, and aren’t eager to have someone come along and say, ‘Well, the only way you can win is if you start to act more like a Democrat.’”

Hitwise media traffic report

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

PDF from Drudge:

1. Yahoo! News news.yahoo.com 6.77% 1
2. MSNBC www.msnbc.msn.com 3.55% 4
3. The Weather Channel – US www.weather.com 3.39% 2
4. CNN.com www.cnn.com 3.26% 3
5. Google News news.google.com 2.87% 5
6. Drudge Report www.drudgereport.com 2.19% 6
7. The New York Times www.nytimes.com 1.72% 8
8. Fox News www.foxnews.com 1.71% 7
9. USA Today www.usatoday.com 1.66% 9
10. Time www.time.com 1.55% 13

1. swine flu 0.72%
2. weather 0.57%
3. cnn 0.46%
4. swine flu symptoms 0.37%
5. weather.com 0.33%
6. cnn.com 0.25%
7. fox news 0.24%
8. drudge report 0.21%
9. drudge 0.19%
10. news 0.17%
11. msnbc 0.16%
12. dateline.msnbc.com 0.14%
13. weather channel 0.14%
14. tv guide 0.12%
15. accuweather 0.12%
16. kentucky derby 0.11%
17. cnn news 0.10%
18. bbc news 0.10%
19. new york times 0.09%
20. google news 0.09%

LA Times on Manny Ramirez, who loses a third of salary

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

LA Times:

The suspension, for using what a source says is a female fertility drug, begins tonight and will cost him $7.7 million. Ramirez takes responsibility, while the Dodgers support the testing program and their star slugger.

AP: Ramirez suspended 50 games for drug violation

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

AP:

NEW YORK (AP) – Manny Ramirez was suspended for 50 games by Major League Baseball on Thursday, becoming the latest high-profile player ensnared in the sport’s drug scandals.

The commissioner’s office didn’t announce the specific violation by the Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder, who will lose about one-third of his $25 million salary.

“Recently I saw a physician for a personal health issue. He gave me a medication, not a steroid, which he thought was OK to give me,” Ramirez said in a statement issued by the players’ union.

University of Illinois bans handshaking at graduation

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

CBS affiliate in Chicago:

It’s a graduation tradition: a congratulatory handshake along with your diploma. But Wednesday night, the H1N1 flu virus has the University of Illinois at Chicago banning the handshakes. And UIC isn’t alone. CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine questions, is the fear getting out of hand?

Obama to make decision on flu vaccine mass-production

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

WSJ:

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is weeks away from a critical decision on whether to trigger mass production of swine-flu vaccine, which could affect the bottom lines of big vaccine makers as well as public health.

Besides determining whether a vaccine would be effective and safe, government officials and private laboratories will need to answer practical and financial questions: Does it make sense to order hundreds of millions of doses and organize a mass vaccination campaign for a virus that, so far, isn’t widespread and doesn’t seem particularly lethal?

WHO: Up to 2 billion people might get swine flu

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

AP:

GENEVA (AP) – The World Health Organization said Thursday that up to 2 billion people could be infected by swine flu if the current outbreak turns into a pandemic. The agency said a pandemic typically lasts two years.

WHO flu chief Keiji Fukuda said the number wasn’t a prediction, but that experience with flu pandemics showed one-third of the world’s population gets infected.

“If we do move into a pandemic then our expectation is that we will see a large number of people infected worldwide,” Fukuda said. “If you look at past pandemics, it would be a reasonable estimate to say perhaps a third of the world’s population would get infected with this virus.”

In Mexico, which has had the most cases, high schools and universities opened for the first time in two weeks as the country’s top health official insisted the epidemic is on the decline. All students were checked for swine flu symptoms and some were sent home.

BBC reports on Michael Savage

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

BBC:

US talk show host Michael Savage has said he was “shocked and angered” at being placed on a list of people banned from entering the UK.

The Conservative political commentator whose real name is Michael Alan Weiner, is one of 22 people barred for fostering extremism or hate.

He told his radio audience that he was intending to sue British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, who he described as the “lunatic … Home Secretary of England”.

Speaking exclusively to the BBC Mr Savage said he would drop the threat if he received an apology.

GM posts $6 billion loss for first quarter: AP

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

The AP:

DETROIT (AP) – General Motors Corp. says it lost $6 billion in the first quarter and spent $10.2 billion more cash than it took in, as a sales slump cut revenue by $20 billion.

The nation’s biggest domestic automaker lost $9.78 per share, compared with a loss of $3.3 billion, or $5.80 per share, in the year-ago period.

GM has received $15.4 billion in federal loans and faces a June 1 government deadline to finish a restructuring plan or go into bankruptcy protection.

Revenue dropped 47 percent, to $22.4 billion from $42.4 billion in the year-ago quarter.

Detriot column: Obama’s flawed auto logic

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Detroit News:

President Barack Obama insists he doesn’t want to run the domestic auto industry — and we should all be thankful for that.

But his actions speak differently — and we should all be worried.

“… I rejected the original restructuring plan” that Chrysler LLC submitted for government loans, he said April 30 in announcing his decision to force Chrysler into bankruptcy. “… And the standard I set was high — I challenged them to design a plan …”

That’s a lot of self promotion and involvement from a guy who doesn’t want to control the companies.

To be sure, the government, with the investment of $4 billion in our tax dollars in Chrysler and $15.4 billion in General Motors Corp. needs to set guidelines and rules for repayment. If not met, call the loans and get our money back.

But forcing a private American company into bankruptcy because the president thinks it’s the most prudent action. Um, no. Not by any measure.

Kiefer Sutherland Charged With Head-butting Assault

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

WCBS:

Sutherland surrendered to New York City police Thursday afternoon for questioning about a fashion designer’s claim that the actor head-butted him at a Manhattan nightclub.

He was led into the first precinct at 16 Ericsson Place by authorities after arriving with his lawyer in a Lincoln Town Car. He did not speak to the throng of reporters and photographers surrounding the station.

Sutherland was given a ticket and ordered to appear in court at a later date. It is a minor misdemeanor that is akin to a speeding ticket.

But with Sutherland’s prior arrest record for drunk driving, there may be repercussions beyond the alleged head-butting incident.

MA: Free cars for poor fuel road rage

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Boston Herald:

Gov. Deval Patrick‘s free wheels for welfare recipients program is revving up despite the stalled economy, as the keys to donated cars loaded with state-funded insurance, repairs and even AAA membership are handed out to get them to work.

But the program – fueled by a funding boost despite the state’s fiscal crash – allows those who end up back on welfare to keep the cars anyway.

“It’s mind-boggling. You’ve got people out there saying, ‘I just lost my job. Hey, can I get a free car, too?’ ” said House Minority Leader Brad Jones (R-North Reading).

AP: number of unemployed workers getting benefits climbs to a new record.

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

AP:

Retail results also improved as discounter Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and other stores reported April sales figures that beat expectations. Analysts acknowledged the positive economic signals but cautioned that any recovery will be subdued as long as unemployment stays high.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that the number newly laid off workers applying for benefits dropped to 601,000 last week. That was far better than the rise to 635,000 claims that economists expected.

EU: Mandatory SHORTER work week to boost economy

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Reuters:

EU leaders on Thursday called for a shorter working week and extra state-funded retraining programmes as recession threatens millions of jobs.

However, the results of a special EU meeting on the continent’s labour crisis failed to impress union leaders who are increasingly concerned about mass lay-offs.

With the recession expected to wipe out 8.5 million European jobs over two years, top officials from the Czech Republic, Sweden and Spain — the current and future EU presidencies — agreed to focus on identifying job opportunities, upgrading skills and encouraging labour mobility.

Climate Change Bill Going Nowhere: Club for Growth

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Club for Growth:

These are words that make me smile. From The Politico:

After months of haggling, [Henry Waxman] still doesn’t have a deal that moderates will support. On Wednesday, he had to back off his threat from a day earlier to skip a key subcommittee vote after members raised a ruckus. And, to top it all off, the president and others are breathing down his neck to wrap up work on climate change so that Waxman can turn his focus to the blockbuster fight of the summer over health care reform.

[...]This is the first real test for House Democrats since Barack Obama moved into the White House. Failure to move this climate change measure through the chamber would be a body blow to the whole party – even if isn’t going anywhere in the Senate. And negotiations, to this point, have only highlighted the divisions Waxman must try to bridge.

Satire: Specter Switches from Jewish to Christian Religion to Boost Seniority

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Scrappleface:

(2009-05-06) – Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter, who last week became a Democrat to boost his odds of winning re-election, again shocked the political world when he announced today that he had switched from Judaism to Christianity in hopes of regaining the seniority which the senate stripped from him Tuesday.

The latest switch comes just a day after the senator expressed hope that Republican Norm Coleman of Minnesota would win his lingering recount battle against Democrat Al Franken to ensure that the senate would still include a Jewish Republican.

If MO’s McCaskill and NE’s Johanns can refuse earmarks, Tiahrt and Moran should be able to do the same thing

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Nebraska Senator Mike Johann’s decision to refuse earmarks will greatly increase the pressure on Kansas Congressmen Todd Tiahrt and Jerry Moran to do the same thing.  Currently, their US Senate primary fight is virtually non-issue-based, as both are near-replicas of moderate Republican President President Bush: family men, socially conservative, but not fiscally conservative.

The Republican party, in recent years, has lost in large part because of the party’s hypocrisy on spending.  It’s not yet clear that Tiahrt and Moran know this.

Here’s Club for Growth:

From the Associated Press:

U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns of Nebraska said Thursday he won’t ask for earmarks in this year’s budget, because he’s not confident the system is transparent or based on merit.

Johanns, a freshman Republican, said in a year of unprecedented federal spending, he believes most Nebraskans will support his decision.

In a release to the news media Johanns said, “While I do believe attempts to reform the earmarking process are a start … they have not gone far enough.”

Senator Johanns deserves high praise for this. He is now only the 8th Senator to swear off pork.