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Washington Post: Chuck Hagel won confirmation Tuesday to become defense secretary over objections to his views on Middle East security and the administration’s handling of an attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya.
Major Push To Get Christians To Voting Booth: 12 states ID’d as key to restoring Judeo-Christian heritage
World Net Daily: They’re targeting 12 key states: Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Alaska, Arkansas, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia. The strategy was profiled Monday by David Brody of CBN News. Brody said the groups – led by the American Renewal Project – are planning briefings for evangelical pastors, voter-registration drives and other events in an attempt “to restore American to its Judeo-Christian heritage.”
The Hill: Regulations the Obama administration finalized on Friday will lead to a steep and sudden increase in healthcare costs for young people, the health insurance industry said.
Baptist Press: Pornography is the “pink elephant in the pew” — the embarrassing, big subject no one wants to talk about — and that silence is feeding a “bubonic plague” harming churches, pastor Jay Dennis told state Baptist convention executive directors and editors gathered in Oklahoma City.
PBS: However, even as Christian evangelicals continue to organize in this beautiful corner of Colorado to fulfill their vision of America, some within these groups are starting to reassess their activism. They wonder just how deeply they should be involved in American politics and whether they should start building bridges to people who don’t agree with them.
NCPA Policy Digest: The Obama administration issued its long-awaited final rule on essential health benefits that insurers must offer consumers in the individual and small-group market beginning in 2014 under the health care reform law, says Reuters.
Discovery.com: The study, which examined the brain activity of 35 men and 47 women registered as either Democrat or Republican, found no difference in the amount of risk people of each political persuasion were willing to take on during a gambling game. But the way the brain processed risk worked differently between the groups, with Republicans showing more activity in an area linked with reward, fear and risky decisions and Democrats showing more activity in a spot related to processing emotion and internal body cues.
NCPA Policy Digest: Villarreal demonstrates that there is a mismatch between job demand through the next decade and the graduates we are producing. It is important that the federal government stop interfering in employment and education markets by curtailing federal student loan programs and equalizing tax credits for all students at all colleges, be they four year or otherwise.
NY Times: The college degree is becoming the new high school diploma: the new minimum requirement, albeit an expensive one, for getting even the lowest-level job.
LifeSiteNews: Despite the Obama administration urging states to run their own markets for those without health insurance to purchase subsidized plans, the majority have opted to leave the job to the federal government. Twenty-six states opted to let the deadline for forming state insurance exchanges pass on Friday, leaving the Obama administration to handle the details – and the costs – itself.
Victor Davis Hanson at Washington Times: The gradual decline of a society is often a self-induced process of trying to meet ever-expanding appetites, rather than a physical inability to produce past levels of food and fuel, or to maintain adequate defense. Americans have never had safer workplaces or more sophisticated medical care — and never have so many been on disability.
The Hill: Republican senators are blocking a vote on former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) this week unless he provides additional financial information, setting up what Democrats say is the first-ever filibuster of a Defense secretary nominee
Daily Mail: The incoming head of the CIA converted to Islam while working as a station chief in Saudi Arabia in the 1990s, a former FBI agent has claimed. John Guandolo, who retired from the FBI in 2008, said in a radio interview that John Brennan – who has been nominated by Barack Obama as the new director of the CIA – visited the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina accompanied by Saudi officials who may have persuaded him to convert.
Washington Post: Maine’s highest court prepared to weigh in on whether a man can be charged with invasion of privacy for viewing videos of accused johns who were recorded without their knowledge while engaging in sex acts with a woman who’s charged with using her Zumba studio as a front for prostitution.
Drones: Yes, the Military Can and Should Target American Members of Al-Qaeda | David French at National Review
David French at National Review: If you are a member of al-Qaeda, do you gain additional protections from attack if you are also an American citizen? With great feeling, many Americans seem to say yes. With equal feeling, I say no. Before I explain, let’s remember that — legally — we are in a state of armed conflict against al-Qaeda, pursuant to the post-9/11 Authorization for Use of Military Force. We are not engaged in a law-enforcement operation
LifeSiteNews: One of the country’s leading legal experts and political commentators says that pro-life activists may have a personal reason to be concerned about a new Justice Department white paper outlining some of the criteria the Obama administration use to select Americans it can assassinate without a trial — because the administration has repeatedly labeled the pro-life movement as one of the primary sources of domestic terrorism. Some are asking specifically whether the policy could one day apply to the pro-life movement, gun enthusiasts, preppers, or small government conservatives.
San Francisco Chronicle: Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill Thursday that would have made New Jersey the third state to legalize gambling over the Internet, but said he would sign it if it had a 10-year trial period and a higher tax rate on casinos.
Fox News: Supermarket owners argue a pending federal food-labeling rule that stems from the new health care law would overburden thousands of grocers and convenience store owners — to the tune of $1 billion in the first year alone.
NCPA Policy Digest: Now that the dust has settled and the true costs of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have been revealed, union leaders are realizing the overhaul may not be such a good deal, says the Wall Street Journal.
The HIll: Iowa’s 2014 Senate race is fast becoming an early battleground in the Republican family feud over recruiting “electable” candidates, with an early GOP front-runner scoffing Tuesday at suggestions he wouldn’t survive a general election.
AZ Central: The U.S. Postal Service will stop delivering mail on Saturdays but continue to deliver packages six days a week under a plan aimed at saving about $2 billion annually, the financially struggling agency says.
Sentencing Law and Policy: I noted in this prior post the must-read opinions from a split Second Circuit panel in US v. Broxmeyer, No. 10-5283 (2d Cir. Aug. 27, 2012) (available here), in which the panel upholded the reasonableness of a 30-year sentence for possession and attempted production of child pornography.
Forbes: What’s the big deal, right? Just like Skype! Or ooVoo or any number of other video chat apps for the desktop. Except there’s no intermediary! This demonstration uses a relatively new protocol called WebRTC that promises to change the way we all use the internet.
Rasmussen Reports: New recruiting commercials present the U.S. Navy as “a global force for good,” a description that aggravates some policy analysts. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that it doesn’t do too well in the court of public opinion either.
NY Times: The biggest donors in the Republican Party are financing a new group to recruit seasoned candidates and protect Senate incumbents from challenges by far-right conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts who Republican leaders worry could complicate the party’s efforts to win control of the Senate.
The HIll: Senate Republicans are demanding the administration hand over all documents related to Jack Lew’s failure, when he was head of the Office of Management and Budget, to comply with a law aimed at ensuring Medicare’s solvency.
First Things: After the 2009 Super Bowl in Miami, the Florida Department of Children and Families reported more than twenty children identified as sex trafficking victims in conjunction with the big game.
The Hill: Republican Sens. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Roy Blunt (Mo.), Thad Cochran (Miss.), Susan Collins (Maine), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Dean Heller (Nev.), John Hoeven (N.D.), John McCain (Ariz.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Richard Shelby (Ala.), John Thune (S.D.) and Roger Wicker (Miss.) voted with the Democratic caucus to pass the legislation. Only one Democrat — Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.)— voted against the bill.
CBS Chicago: Hold on to your wallets: we are in the middle of a gas price spike, and experts say it will only get worse. CBS 2′s Courtney Gousman learned several factors might push the price in our area to more than $4 a gallon.
Politico: State demographers say California’s Hispanic population will equal that of whites within six months and exceed it early next year — a milestone in the country’s racial and ethnic shifts.
CNSNews: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) made $64.2 billion in “improper payments” in fiscal 2012, according to the federal website PaymentAccuracy.
The Hill: Leading House Democrats wrote to the Health and Human Services Department on Friday to push for changes in rules about wellness programs in employers’ healthcare packages.
LA Times: GOP lawmakers in several battleground states have proposed a proportional method for awarding votes, rather than the current winner-take-all system. But some within the party object.
Washington Post: The drastic $85 billion in automatic spending cuts Congress approved in hopes of heading off another deficit showdown may or may not occur, but federal agencies say the threat has been disrupting government for months as officials take costly and inefficient steps to prepare.
Front Page Magazine: Obama Inc. is consolidating control over the economy which puts its minions in the position of being able to make policy through economic pressure and policy. Under Socialism, you don’t have to pass a law, you just have to use your economic control to make the companies enforce the law.
Chicago CBS Local: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is putting more pressure on gun makers to get behind his push for an assault weapons ban and criminal background checks for gun purchasers.
AP: Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss said Friday he will not seek a third term next year, expressing deep frustration with Washington gridlock that he doesn’t see changing in a divided government.
The Hill: Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) has a strong lead over possible Democratic contenders in the race to succeed Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), according to a new poll.
Wellsboro Gazette: When a young man turns 18, he is required by law to register with the Selective Service System. It’s important to note that this law applies to almost all male U.S. citizens and male aliens living in the U.S. who are 18 through 25.
Boston Globe: Gen. Martin Dempsey is chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He said Thursday the assault problem is due partly to the military’s separate classes of personnel—male ‘warriors’ versus the rest of the force, including women.
Barna Group: From its place in schools, to the public square, to people’s individual lives, the current and future role of the Bible in U.S. society is an often-debated topic. A new release from Barna Group shows how this debate plays out regionally and takes a look at how 96 of the largest cities in the nation view the Bible.
The HIll: The House on Wednesday put new pressure on the Senate to pass its first budget in nearly four years, by approving a bill that threatens to withhold senators’ pay until that work is done.
AP: The Air Force recorded an “appalling” number of reports of sexual assault last year even as it worked to curb misconduct in the wake of a sex scandal at its training headquarters in Texas, the service’s top officer told lawmakers on Wednesday.
Justin Shubow at Public Discourse: The plan of our nation’s capital and the architecture of its core buildings and monuments must carry on the classical vision the Founders intended as the physical manifestation of America’s form of government and political ideals.
How Appealing: And in news coverage, XBIZ.com reports that “Ira Isaacs Sentenced to 4 Years in Federal Prison, Fined $10K.” According to the article, “Isaacs attorney Roger Jon Diamond indicated that his client will appeal the ruling to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.”
AP: Charities and nonprofit organizations worry that new limits on tax deductions for high earners will hurt donations just as charitable giving is starting to rebound from the depths of the recession.
Weekly Standard: According to a background briefer provided by the White House, President Barack Obama is asking doctors to help deal with guns. Here’s the relevant passage . . .
AZ Central: The Arizona Legislature has been told by an appeals court that it cannot pick and choose which parts of a voter-approved school funding initiative it wants to pay.
AP: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said Monday she plans to push for an expansion of the state’s Medicaid program under the federal health care law, a surprising decision that could have an impact on other Republican governors weighing a similar decision.
Heritage Foundation: The U.S. is not going to default on its interest payments, Foster said, and “this assurancerests not on congressional action to raise the debt ceiling, but on the simple fact that the Treasury has far more than enough funds to pay all interest as it comes due.”
AP: For U.S. troops, less combat is not translating to less stress. Members of the military committed suicide at a record pace in 2012 – almost one per day – and some experts think the trend will grow worse this year.
Albert Mohler: But, do politicians bear all the blame? Not hardly. The public has an insatiable appetite for pseudo-events and a horrified aversion to the truth. Why? We are approaching the point that voters will not deal with the issue because it will cost them their entitlements. They will be glad for their children and grandchildren to pay the catastrophic debt. As Brooks explains: “Ultimately, we should blame the American voters. The average Medicare couple pays $109,000 into the program and gets $343,000 in benefits out, according to the Urban Institute. This is $234,000 in free money. Many voters have decided they like spending a lot on themselves and pushing costs onto their children and grandchildren.
The Hill: Senate Democratic leaders have sent a letter to President Obama pledging their support if he raises the nation’s $16.4 trillion debt ceiling unilaterally in the face of Republican resistance.
Mark Bauerlein at Public Discourse: Sneering at persons who are not social constructionists has become commonplace. Until defenders of inherent virtues, natural laws, divine beings, and other things that transcend social reality learn to overcome this initial set-up, they will be forever on the defensive.
Gary King at the NY Times: CONGRESS and President Obama have pushed through a relatively modest stopgap measure to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” but over the coming years, the United States will confront another huge cliff: Social Security.
Wall Street Journal: During the negotiations, the White House won a concession from Republicans to allow phaseouts for personal exemptions and limitations on itemized deductions, starting at an income of $250,000 for individuals and $300,000 for joint filers.