Daily Catch: O to End Austerity, Dems Questioned on ACA Savings, Bellows’ Fuzzy Math, and more


Big Brother in the Newsroom (update): After learning yesterday that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is sending researchers into newsrooms across the country to investigate how editors and reporters select newsworthy content, more details have come to light regarding the “critical information needs” review. President Obama’s administration will send government contractors out with the goal of assessing whether news outlets are meeting the public’s “needs” – which needs are defined by the administration. Now we know the scheme will be managed by the daughter of Democratic U.S. Rep James Clyburn. From the Washington Examiner: “Advocates promote the project with Obama-esque rhetoric. “This study begins the charting of a course to a more effective delivery of necessary information to all citizens,” said FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn in 2012. Clyburn, daughter of powerful House Democratic Rep. James Clyburn, was appointed to the FCC by President Obama and served as acting chair for part of last year. The FCC, Clyburn said, “must emphatically insist that we leave no American behind when it comes to meeting the needs of those in varied and vibrant communities of our nation — be they native born, immigrant, disabled, non-English speaking, low-income, or other.” (The FCC decided to test the program with a trial run in Ms. Clyburn’s home state, South Carolina.)

Ending Austerity: President Obama’s forthcoming budget will put an end to fiscal restraint austerity, abandoning any attempt to reform Social Security and pledging to increase spending by $56 billion. The Washington Post reports: “With the 2015 budget request, Obama will call for an end to the era of austerity that has dogged much of his presidency and to his efforts to find common ground with Republicans. Instead, the president will focus on pumping new cash into job training, early-childhood education and other programs aimed at bolstering the middle class, providing Democrats with a policy blueprint heading into the midterm elections.” The new spending will reportedly be completely covered by “closing tax loopholes.” Sound familiar?

Where’s my $2,500 savings?: Things got a little awkward for three Minnesota Democrats when they returned to Mankato, Minn. to field questions from constituents. One voter asks the elected officials: “I thought the Affordable Care Act would save $2,500 per family – what happened?” Hilarity ensues. That would be an excellent question to ask Reps. Chellie Pingree and Michael Michaud, who both voted for Obamacare and have fought against its repeal.

Fuzzy Math: The Council for a Livable World, a pro-Shenna Bellows organization, released a rather interesting picture last night on Twitter. According to the Council, electing Bellows over U.S. Sen. Susan Collins would increase the number of women in the U.S. Senate. Apparently the liberal “War on Women” trope is still valid when running against a GOP woman. (h/t David Sorensen)

bellows fuzzy math

Blue State Madness: The Republican Governor’s Association has debuted an intriguing website targeting blue state Democratic governors and gubernatorial candidates. Maine’s own Rep. Michael Michaud gets a nice shout out.

‘Tebow Bill’ dies in Virginia Senate: A bill nicknamed after Tom Tebow, the former Denver Broncos quarterback, died in the Virginina legislature Wednesday. The bill would have allowed homeschooled high school students to play sports at local high schools, much as Tebow did in Florida.

BIPAC Endorses Raye: The Business Industry Political Action Committee (BIPAC) has endorsed former state Senate President Kevin Raye’s campaign for Maine’s 2nd congressional seat. Formed in 1963, BIPAC’s goal is to help elect business-friendly candidates.

Passing Hero: Walt Ehlers, World War II Medal of Honor recipient, has died at age 92, according to the Orange County Register. Ehlers received the Medal of Honor for bravery during the D-Day invasion of France. He was a 23-year-old staff sergeant at the time he led a squad of soldiers into deadly hail of German machine guns.

Michelle and Barack Beg for Cash to Support Dem Governors: The First Couple hit the fundraising trail Thursday to raise cash for Democratic governors across the country. “We want to make sure that all across the country, we are supporting governors who are saying, ‘I’m going to set politics aside, I’m going to do what’s right for my constituents,’” Obama said, according to DailyCaller.com. In October, Michelle Obama’s appeal was a bit less subtle: “If you don’t like seeing folks in state government trying to undermine Obamacare or chip away at women’s rights and women’s health, then I urge you… write a check,” said the first lady. “That’s what we need you to do right now.  We need you to write a big old check. Write the biggest check you can possibly write.”

It’s Up to You: In a letter to the Village Soup, Jan Dolcater of Rockport questions whether Maine’s reputation for industriousness still holds true today: “[T]oday, this work ethic typified by the industrious Mainer does not seem to have the same resonance as it had in years past. Consider these facts that existed as of 2012. 27% of our population of 1,318,301 (355,941) were on Medicaid. That ranks Maine at #3 nationally. 13.8% of our population were receiving food stamps which place Maine at #2 nationally. Lastly, 4.9% of our population were receiving TANF (temporary assistance for needy families) and that puts Maine at  # 3 nationally. If anything, figures for 2013 will probably have an increase in these numbers.” (Village Soup link requires membership.)

Shadow Lobbying Complex: Uber-progressive TheNation.com has a thought-provoking graphic illustrating the rise of clandestine lobbying and influence peddling in Washington, D.C. Although lobbying activity has decreased on paper, the magazine argues, it’s actually been pushed underground, where citizens and journalists are less likely to see and understand how critical political decisions are being made.

Grave Robbers: It’s a sad sign of the times that thieves in Missouri are now robbing cemeteries and mausoleums for scrap metal. The Gateway Pundit relates two reports from local news sources that ornate mausoleum doors, artwork, and even urns are being purloined to fuel a “gnawing need for more drugs.”

CDC Subpoena: The Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability (OPEGA) voted unanimously to subpoena six people stemming from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) document shredding scandal, including CDC Director Sheila G. Pinette. Opponents of Gov. Paul LePage in the Democratic Party and the media have laid blame for the scandal at the Republican governor’s feet, which is curious, considering the bureaucrat suspected of illegally destroying public records has been a state worker for more than a decade.

No Medicaid Expansion? Murderer!: A liberal activist group with union backing has created a website calling Pennsylvania Republican Gov. Tom Corbett a killer for deciding not to expand Medicaid. TomCorbettKilled4Peopletoday.com is operated by Keystone Progress, a progressive advocacy group, according to DailyCaller.com. How long before Maine’s progressive activists start accusing LePage of murder?

King Barack: New York Democrats roar in approval as congressional candidate proclaims the “Barack Obama Dynasty!”


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