After using the “blue slip process” many times to his advantage, Senator Reid, again shows the height of his hypocrisy in asking Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy to bypass the process.
From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
STEPHENS WASHINGTON BUREAU WASHINGTON – Sen. Harry Reid said Wednesday he is seeking a way around opposition to place Clark County judge Elissa Cadish on the federal court in Nevada.
Reid said he plans to ask Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy to hold a confirmation hearing on Cadish, circumventing objections from fellow Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada.
“It’s an emergency vacancy,” Reid said in explaining his effort. “There has yet to be anyone I’ve heard who doesn’t think she is qualified. I’ve picked somebody who I believe is the most qualified district judge we have in the state.”
Cadish, a Clark County district judge, was nominated by President Barack Obama in February to become U.S. district judge in the state. But her confirmation bid hit a snag after the discovery of a 2008 questionnaire that raised questions about her position on gun rights.
Heller, a Republican, has come out against Cadish and has declined to sign a “blue slip,” the paperwork that home state senators traditionally provide to the Judiciary Committee authorizing the panel to schedule a hearing and advance the nomination.
Reid, the Senate majority leader, said he plans to ask Leahy to bypass the blue slip process in this case and move forward with the Cadish nomination. He said the two could meet Thursday.
Charles Murray, one of America’s most influential social policy thinkers, has come out with a widely discussed new book called Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010, which argues that Americans are splitting into two divergent classes, and that this growing divide could end American life as we have known it.
A self-described libertarian, Murray started his career as a liberal Democrat who spent six years in the Peace Corps and voted for Jimmy Carter in the 1976 presidential election. His political transformation came while he was researching his landmark 1984 book, Losing Ground: American Social Policy 1950-1980, which marshaled exhaustive evidence that American welfare programs were harming the very people they were supposed to be lifting out of poverty.
Losing Ground was fiercely denounced by the political left, but soon won mainstream acceptance that the War on Poverty was failing. The simple fact is there wouldn’t have been welfare reform in the 1990s without Losing Ground.
The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life, Murray’s 1994 collaboration with Harvard psychologist Richard Herrnstein, was more controversial. The book maintained that differences in genes contribute to differences in IQ, which in turn play a significant role in the life outcomes of individuals. Most controversially, Herrnstein and Murray argued that various ethnic groups have distinct in inherited intelligence. (Economist James J. Heckman reviewed The Bell Curve for Reason back in 1995: http://reason.com/archives/1995/03/01/cracked-bell/singlepage)
Murray has written more than 20 books, including What It Means to Be a Libertarian: A Personal Interpretation, and he’s currently the W.H. Brady Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute .
Reason’s Ronald Bailey sat down with Murray in March for a wide-ranging discussion of how his earlier work informs Coming Apart, why he remains libertarian in his outlook, and whether younger Americans face an relentlessly negative future.Visit http://www.reason.tv for downloadable versions and subscribe to Reason.tv’s YouTube Channel to receive notifications when new material goes live.
On April 25, 2012, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (MN-06) testified at the House Oversight Committee’s hearing regarding the federal government’s role in protecting taxpayers from Medicaid fraud.
Credible sources are telling Fox News that Newt Gingrich will indeed suspend his campaign. The end of the campaign will come as soon as next Tuesday.
Newt Gingrich plans to formally leave the Republican presidential race next Tuesday, senior campaign aides told Fox News, after struggling for months to turn around his sagging bid for the White House.
The former House speaker will “more than likely” endorse Mitt Romney when he makes his announcement to either suspend or end the campaign, a source said.
The decision comes after Gingrich huddled with senior advisers following the five primaries Romney swept on Tuesday night. Romney’s victories made it virtually impossible for Gingrich to secure the 1,144 delegates needed for the Republican nomination.
Gingrich’s exit is a stark turnaround from his public posture just a few months back, when in December he confidently declared following his rise in national polls that he’s “going to be the nominee.” His campaign then flagged until his blockbuster victory in the South Carolina primary in late January — Gingrich failed to follow that up with any victories save for a win in his home state of Georgia, as Romney marched steadily toward the nomination.
Let it never be said that State Senator Alan Lowenthal is a slouch. He’s got political posturing, scare tactics and the rhetoric of dependency down to a science. It’s obvious, however, that he’s more interested in making the poor and the taxpayer alike victims of government waste than he is in solving real problems.
In an April 24th press release, Lowenthal attacked the House Committee on Agriculture’s recent recommendation to cut $33 billion over 10 years from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. Administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), this federal food stamp program is, by the agency’s own admission, rampant with fraud. In fact, a March 2011 USDA summary report acknowledged that trafficking alone, defined as the sale of benefits to food retailers for cash, diverted $330 million between 2006 and 2008. That figure doesn’t include additional fraud perpetrated by program beneficiaries, who sell their benefits to others for a profit. Recent investigative reporting by David Goldstein at CBS 2 in Los Angeles suggests that abuses of this latter type are also widespread.
Stunningly, the USDA claims in the first paragraph of the 2011 summary that such fraud comes at no financial cost to the federal government–aka you and me. It is merely, the report notes, a black mark on the program’s mission and credibility. While one can’t deny the credibility problem, waste, fraud and abuse do indeed come at a high financial cost to taxpayers, particularly in the current challenging economy. Elected officials have a fiduciary duty to track and address such problems so that taxpayers do not continue to pay for programs that fail to work as intended. Throwing good money after bad helps no one, including those who legitimately face financial hardship.
Which reveals additional serious flaws in Lowenthal’s attack…
In the past 10 years, SNAP spending has nearly tripled. Much of that increase has occurred just in the last three years, with program spending more than doubling from $34.9 billion in 2008 to $76 billion in 2011. House Ag Committee Chair Frank Lucas (R-OK) acknowledges that SNAP now comprises nearly 80 percent of total USDA spending. These statistics reflect in large measure the Obama administration’s open and active efforts to boost rather than minimize dependence on SNAP through recruitment drives and incentive programs. President Obama did not earn the nickname “the Foodstamp President” without cause.
Ultimately, the $33 billion in cuts proposed by the House Committee on Agriculture represents, over the coming 10 years, a meager 4 percent of this out-of-control, wasteful, and abuse-ridden SNAP spending. More embarrassingly for Senator Lowenthal, the House Committee has plainly stated that the cuts are primarily aimed at closing loopholes and reworking the program’s eligibility triggers in order to minimize precisely this waste and abuse epidemic within the program in order to benefit legitimate SNAP recipients and taxpayers alike. Two incentives for states administering the program would also be on the chopping block. However, in point of fact, not a single dollar of the proposed cuts would prevent the truly needy from receiving SNAP benefits. Nor would the cuts in any way reduce SNAP benefit levels.
Perhaps Senator Lowenthal could explain to us all his particular interest in maintaining fraud, waste, and abuse.
Or is it that, as usual, he just hasn’t done his homework?
Republican Congressional Candidate, CA-47
Cross-posted from Steve Foley for Congress
On Tuesday, April 24 members of the Occupy movement gathered in DC at the Department of Justice to protest “mass incarceration” of black and Latino youth, demand the release of convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, end the “racist death penalty,” and more. Among the celebrities scheduled to address the crowd were actor Danny Glover, rapper Chuck D, activist Angela Davis, and others.
Reason.tv asked protesters what they thought about praise by two of the rally’s organizers, ANSWER Coalition and the Workers World Party, of North Korea, Barack Obama’s terrible drug war record, and whether Cuba’s court and electoral system was more trustworthy than our own.
On Wednesday, April 25, 2012, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann will testify at a House Oversight Hearing on Medicaid Fraud. Bachmann previewed the hearing with Jay Kolls of KSTP.
Today U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) spoke on the Senate floor about the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act.
The Violence Against Women Act (S. 1925) includes reauthorization of programs vital to the National Council of Family and Juvenile Court Judges (NCJFCJ), located in Reno. The NCJFCJ provides training nationwide to ensure the justice system is equipped to appropriately assist families and young people who face significant hardships.
In Massachusetts, the Boston Herald reports that Scott Brown continues to blast Professor Warren for her interest free loan from Harvard. Brown’s camp also blasted Warren’s financial history as she campaigns in support of low-interest student loans, saying the Harvard Law professor’s interest-free loan from Harvard means she is out of touch with struggling students. Warren disclosed the 20-year interest free loan from Harvard, which lent her between $15,000 and $50,000 in 1996, in financial disclosure forms filed last year.
- Meanwhile, the Springfield Republican reports that Brown continues to press Warren to release her income tax returns. Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown’s re-election campaign is taking aim at Elizabeth Warren, his chief Democratic rival, for her refusal to release six years of income tax returns and for accepting a zero-interest loan from her employer more than 15 years ago. In a series of press releases sent on Tuesday, Brown’s campaign manager Jim Barnett lashed out at Warren for refusing to release six years of income tax returns, the latest number suggested by Brown in the ongoing battle on the topic.
- Finally, Lt. Colonel Brown released a radio report reaffirming his commitment to the military installations in the Bay State. “Hello this is Scott Brown; Hanscom, Devens, Westover, Barnes, Otis, Natick Labs. What do these military installations have in common? They are all valuable strategic defense assets that play an important role in the Massachusetts economy. Not only do they employ tens of thousands of people, they support numerous other jobs in the community as well. They also have come under attack for cuts and potential closures. As a Lieutenant Colonel in the National Guard, and a member of the Armed Services Committee, I know how critical these bases are to our nation’s defense needs. But we can’t assume that Washington sees things the same way we do. That’s why I’m working with Democrats and Republicans, state and local officials to strongly advocate for our military bases. Our national security depends on keeping these bases open, and so does our economy.”
Crossroads GPS is out with a new ad targeting Democrat Senate candidate Shelley Berkley highlighting her abysmal record of voting for tax hikes and out of control spending.