Wednesday, December 26, 2012

GOP senators won’t confirm Kerry until Clinton testifies on Benghazi!

Examiner ^ | 12./26/12 | Joel Gehrke

Republican senators will refuse to confirm Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., as Secretary of State until the nation’s current top diplomat, Hillary Clinton, testifies about her handling of the Benghazi terrorist attack.
“The Senate is expected to take up Kerry’s nomination in early January, but multiple Republican senators have already said they won’t agree to a vote on Kerry’s nomination until Clinton testifies about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi,” The Cable’s Josh Rogin notes.
Clinton backed out of testifying at a congressional hearing last week after fainting and suffering a concussion. She was the first cabinet-level official to acknowledge that terrorists played a role in the assault on the U.S. mission in Benghazi.
“For some time, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and other groups have launched attacks and kidnappings from northern Mali into neighboring countries,” Clinton said during a United Nations meeting in New York on September 26. “Now, with a larger safe haven and increased freedom to maneuver, terrorists are seeking to extend their reach and their networks in multiple directions. And they are working with other violent extremists to undermine the democratic transitions underway in North Africa, as we tragically saw in Benghazi,” (emphasis added).
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Michelle to Remain in Hawaii, Costing Taxpayers Over $200K

White House Dossier ^ | 12/26/12 | Keith Koffler

President Obama will return to Washington from Hawaii Thursday while First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters plan to continue their vacation, adding at least $100,000 and probably more than $200,000 to taxpayer costs for the excursion.
Instead of accompanying her husband home on Air Force One, Mrs. Obama will fly on her own Air Force jet at a later date and require security and staff to remain in place in Hawaii for the length of her stay, which reportedly could extend until January 6.
The White House does not reveal the price tag for the Obamas’ vacations. But an estimate can be made given several known and likely expenses.
Assuming Mrs. Obama uses the type of plane she has flown before to Hawaii, the Air Force C-40B Special Mission Aircraft, the cost of a flight from Honolulu to Washington would be about $63,000. If the C-40B must be flown out to Hawaii to retrieve Mrs. Obama, as would seem likely, the first lady’s travel costs could amount to about $126,000, assuming the jet is dispatched from Washington.
And the cost would be much higher still if a supply-carrying cargo jet comes home along with Michelle in addition to the cargo jet that accompanies Air Force One – particularly if that jet too must be flown out to Hawaii just for Mrs. Obama.
Once you throw in the tens of thousands of dollars that must be dished out to house, pay, and support the military and Secret Service assets enlisted to protect Mrs. Obama – as well as other support staff – the price tag for her stay is probably in excess of $200,000, and possibly much more, depending on how long she remains on vacation.
Mrs. Obama flew to Hawaii separately from the president in 2010 and 2011, in those cases leaving early with the family while he finished work with Congress and then joined them for the remainder of the vacation.
If Obama strikes an early deal on the fiscal cliff and then returns to Hawaii to finish up his vacation, the tab for taxpayers would be extraordinary. Air Force One costs about $180,000 an hour to fly, and the roundtrip taxpayer-funded ticket for the nine-hour flight would amount to about $3.24 million.
Obama plans to fly out of Hawaii Wednesday night at about 10:00 pm local time, which would get him to the White House at around 12:30 pm ET on Thursday.

The Real Reason Liberals Want To Raise Taxes On The Rich Has Nothing To Do With Closing The Deficit

Business Insider ^ | 12/26/2012 | Joe Weisenthal

A common argument you hear from conservatives is that raising taxes on the rich is a joke of a deficit reduction proposal, because it hardly makes a dent in the deficit.
According to CNBC, reverting to Clinton-era levels would just get you about $40-$45 billion in the first year. GOP Congressman Tom Price has gotten a lot of attention for saying it would only fund government for 8 days...
So what is the point?
Well, it's not really about deficit reduction at all. Zachary Goldfarb at The Washington Post has a great piece on how Democrats once vehemently opposed the Bush tax cuts, but are now trying to permanently preserve all of them for the vast majority of taxpayers. One big reason is that the economy has changed, and there's a recognition among virtually everyone that the economy is too weak to let taxes rise above the board.
But as for raising taxes on the rich...
What’s more, income inequality has been growing. Sparing the middle class higher taxes while requiring the wealthy to pay more would tip the scales slightly in the other direction.
“The reason there’s been this movement toward broad consensus on renewing the tax cut for working- and middle-class families is that will give us a sharper progressivity in the tax system that is very much desired by Democrats and progressives who’ve seen an income distribution more and more distorted toward the wealthy,” said Betsey Stevenson, former chief economist in Obama’s Labor Department and a professor at the University of Michigan, who added that taxes may have to rise even more than currently contemplated to meet the country’s needs.
The point about making the tax code more progressive doesn't get talked enough, but when discussing changing marginal tax rates, this should be the main issue.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

EDITORIAL: Government recalls GM stock (Good read)

The Washington Times ^ | December 26, 2012 | Editorial

Administration puts an expensive end to a disgraceful episode

General Motors will no longer be “Government Motors.” The Treasury Department on Wednesday announced its intention to liquidate federal holdings in the automobile company over the next 15 months. The final tally will show this policy has been a disaster for taxpayers.

Under the best case scenario, the public will wind up shelling out more than $13 billion by the close of this unfortunate episode. Though President Obama has portrayed the GM bailout as saving Detroit, it was really a reward for the auto unions. It was a celebration of bad management that steamrolled the rights of creditors. It was precisely the sort of thing that ought never happen in an economy based on free exchange.

In the aftermath of the financial meltdown four years ago, Congress created the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to bail out several of the big-name Wall Street firms. Uncle Sam created a similar program to funnel almost $50 billion to “save” GM. This allowed GM to bypass much of the traditional bankruptcy process, which is designed to permit a struggling business to reorganize in an orderly fashion. Avoiding bankruptcy preserved the lavish union contracts largely responsible for sending the company over the edge in the first place. As part of the bailout deal, Uncle Sam grabbed a 60 percent ownership stake in GM...

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

University of Texas law student leads the way in 3-D printable gun technology!

 By Eric Owens 

Demands for stricter restrictions on gun sales are all the rage right now in light of the Connecticut elementary school massacre. However, a law student at the University of Texas says new technology will soon change the regulatory landscape dramatically, and possibly make such regulation futile.
The student, Cody Wilson, is among the leaders of Defense Distributed, home of the wiki weapon project. The goal of the collaborative, nonprofit project is simple: to create freely available plans that you can download from the Internet and produce a gun using a 3-D printer.
YouTube video at shows Wilson’s group test firing a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle, reports KVUE, Austin’s ABC affiliate. An AR-15 was among the weapons Adam Lanza used in the Sandy Hook shooting.
According to Wilson, 24, the group used a 3-D printer to print a plastic lower receiver. The piece was then attached to the rest of a real gun. In a test that was unverified by any independent observers, the plastic piece broke, but not before the gun fired six live rounds.
“What I’m doing is showing people, okay, this is something that can be done right now with this technology, and we’re changing this in the software, and we’re making modifications and customizations and testing with different rounds and different guns, but what we make won’t look like a plastic AR-15,” Wilson told WVUE. “What we make will just be the gun at its most essential, something that just is a firearm practically speaking.”
The legality of printable 3-D guns is not clear. (RELATED: Democratic congressman urges renewal of plastic gun ban)
Democratic New York Rep. Steve Israel doesn’t want to take any chances, though, according to WVUE. Israel has called for the renewal of the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988, which is set to expire in December 2013.
As Slate notes, the Act makes it illegal to “manufacture, sell, ship, deliver” or “possess” firearms that garden-variety metal detectors or x-ray machines can’t detect. A renewed act would presumably cover guns manufactured with 3-D printed gun parts, which are plastic.
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Health-care sector vulnerable to hackers!

Washington Post ^ | December 25, 2012 | Robert O’Harrow Jr.

As the health-care industry rushed onto the Internet in search of efficiencies and improved care in recent years, it has exposed a wide array of vulnerable hospital computers and medical devices to hacking, according to documents and interviews.
Security researchers warn that intruders could exploit known gaps to steal patients’ records for use in identity theft schemes and even launch disruptive attacks that could shut down critical hospital systems.
A year-long examination of cybersecurity by The Washington Post has found that health care is among the most vulnerable industries in the country, in part because it lags behind in addressing known problems.
“I have never seen an industry with more gaping security holes,” said Avi Rubin, a computer scientist and technical director of the Information Security Institute at Johns Hopkins University. “If our financial industry regarded security the way the health-care sector does, I would stuff my cash in a mattress under my bed.”
Compared with financial, corporate and military networks, relatively few hacks have been directed at hospitals and other medical facilities. But in recent months, officials with the Department of Homeland Security have expressed growing fear that health care presents an inviting target to activist hackers, cyberwarriors, criminals and terrorists.
“These vulnerabilities may result in possible risks to patient safety and theft or loss of medical information,” a DHS intelligence bulletin said in May.
Security researchers are starting to turn up the same kinds of trivial-seeming flaws that earlier opened the way for hackers to penetrate financial services networks, Pentagon systems and computers at firms such as Google.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

You Believe!

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The Progressive Solution

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Ban Them!

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We must protect our children!

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My Record!

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Bottom of the...

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I survived

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Join the union...or else!

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Clinging to their guns

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Give or Receive?

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