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Daily Catch: Big Brother in Newsroom, Kerry the Warmist, Tough Love for the Maine Municipal Association

Big Brother FCC Enters Newsrooms: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is preparing to send spies researchers into newsrooms across the country to investigate how news outlets decide what to report. The so-called “Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs” is scheduled for a field test this spring in Columbia, S.C. The FCC report will explore how Fox News decides to report on presidential scandals while MSNBC is content to investigate Justin Bieber’s latest shenanigans. Meanwhile, Reporters Without Borders annual ranking of countries’ press freedom just ranked the U.S. 46th – behind Germany (14th), Australia (28th), and El Salvador (38th).

In Quinnipiac Poll, Hillary sweeps 2016 Ohio field, Christie drops, Obama’s approval “goes from terrible to bad”: In the critical swing state of Ohio, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tops New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie 49 – 36 percent. She also bests Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (50-36), former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (51-36), and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (51-38). Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan comes closest to Clinton (49-40). President Barack Obama’s approval rating in Ohio improved from 34 – 61 in November to 40 – 55.

House GOP to Fight Regulatory Tsunami: In the face of mounting federal regulations coming from the Obama administration, House Republicans are preparing a package of bills designed to make regulations more transparent and reduce their negative impact on the American economy. TheHill.com reports: “GOP leaders next week will bring up the Achieving Less Excess in Regulation and Requiring Transparency (ALERRT) Act, H.R. 2804. The legislation combines four measures proposed by Republicans over the last year.” One of the bills would require heads of federal agencies to report on new regulations each month, rather than once every two years. This bill is intended to help businesses better predict regulatory shifts. Another bill would require agencies to choose rulemaking options that impose the least possible cost on companies. (Apparently causing harm to the private sector is not big part of the regulatory calculus.) Previously, such regulatory reforms have found little support in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

CPAC Welcomes GOProud: After years of excluding the Republican gay advocacy group GOProud from the Conservative Political Action Conference, organizers now say the group will be welcomed at the annual gathering of conservatives. Like GOProud, Gov. Chris Christie was snubbed last year but has been invited to attend this year.

President Allen West: Former Florida Congressman and Iraq War veteran Allen West isn’t ruling out a presidential bid in 2016. West, a black Republican, became a darling of the tea party movement for his straight-talking style on radical Islam willingness to challenge the political class in Washington, D.C. After losing his reelecting bid in 2012, West formed a political action committee that supports conservative minority and military-veteran candidates.

Climate Scientists Nail Kerry: Secretary of State John Kerry has recently decided that it is the job of America’s top diplomat to promote the theory of anthropogenic global warming and nastily disparage all who dare disagree. In Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal, climate scientists Richard McNider and John Christy took non-scientist Kerry to task for his recent remarks in Indonesia. From WSJ:

“In a Feb. 16 speech in Indonesia, Secretary of State John Kerry assailed climate-change skeptics as members of the “Flat Earth Society” for doubting the reality of catastrophic climate change. He said, “We should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists” and “extreme ideologues to compete with scientific facts.” But who are the Flat Earthers, and who is ignoring the scientific facts? In ancient times, the notion of a flat Earth was the scientific consensus, and it was only a minority who dared question this belief. We are among today’s scientists who are skeptical about the so-called consensus on climate change. Does that make us modern-day Flat Earthers, as Mr. Kerry suggests, or are we among those who defy the prevailing wisdom to declare that the world is round?… We should not have a climate-science research program that searches only for ways to confirm prevailing theories, and we should not honor government leaders, such as Secretary Kerry, who attack others for their inconvenient, fact-based views.” Read the full op-ed here.

O’Care Job Loss: The Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) has issued a report showing big job losses attributed directly to Obamacare’s medical device tax. According to the report, which was obtained by DailyCaller.com, 33,000 jobs have already been lost in the industry and more than 130,000 are expected to follow. The release of the report follows claims from top Obama administration officials, including Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, that Obamacare has not caused any job loss.

Analyst or Advocate: The Maine Wire has obtained further evidence that GOP lawmakers on the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee are playing in a rigged game. More emails have emerged which raise questions about an allegedly non-partisan committee analyst’s advocacy for the Democratic Party’s agenda. In the latest email, the analyst can be found writing Democratic talking points laden with campaign messages: “They’re the people we can tell that we chose to provide them access to health care or we chose not to even though the costs of care are 100% paid.”

Cockfighting enthusiasts angry with McConnell for supporting farm bill that stiffens penalties: No, this head isn’t from The Onion. It’s from Kentucky’s Lexington Herald-Leader. “This will destroy Mitch McConnell in Kentucky,” said Craig Davis, president of the United Gamefowl Breeders Association, according to the Herald-Leader. Apparently cockfighting lovers are upset with a part of the behemoth farm bill that makes it a federal crime to be a spectator at an animal fight.

Boehner to Florida?: Breitbart News is reporting that U.S. House Speaker John Boehner has purchased a condominium in sunny Marco Island, Fla. The move could hint at a possible retirement for the Ohio Republican, meaning Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (D-trip) fundraisers will have to find a new boogeyman to vilify in email solicitations.

The Dalai Lama touts Free Markets: His Holiness the Dalai Lama joined the American Enterprise Institute Thursday morning to discuss happiness, free enterprise and human flourishing.

Teachers Union Protects Teachers Suspected of Heroin Use: Six teachers suspected of using heroin while working at the Benjamin Cosor Elementary School in Fallsburg, N.Y., have been advised by their union to lawyer-up following the discovery of heroin and drug paraphernalia in the faculty bathroom. The teachers have stopped cooperating with police investigators and the union has said it is committed to protecting their due process.

In Colorado, Pot Tax Revenues Soar: Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is prepping plans to spend some $99 million generated through a 12.9 percent tax on legal marijuana sales next year. The revenue stream far surpassed previous estimates by $30 million and will be used to fund “substance abuse prevention, youth marijuana use prevention and other priorities,” according to AP.

Revenue Sharing v. Medicaid Expansion: Assistant House Republican Leader Alex Willette (R-Mapelton) gave a speech to some municipal leaders, mostly Democrats, this week and took the opportunity to splash some cold water on their faces. In a move many in the crowd, including House Speaker Mark Eves (D-North Berwick), were not expecting, Willette said the most serious threat to revenue sharing is Medicaid expansion. Here are some highlights from the speech:

“There is an elephant in the room and until we have the political courage to address it, our towns, our schools, our roads, our natural resources management agencies, and countless other important state priorities, will be under siege…. I’m talking about runaway welfare spending.  I’m talking specifically about our Medicaid system here in Maine. Medicaid has doubled as a share of the state budget since 1998 and now consumes a quarter of all state spending.  It’s estimated to consume 40 percent of the state budget in 10 years from now. That is unsustainable.  We must have the financial flexibility to respond to the needs of our towns and our cities.  We must keep our existing promises before we make new ones. That is why I encourage every local leader to speak out in opposition to a new record expansion of our Medicaid program. State government cannot be all things to all people.  There is a finite amount of state revenue out there. That said, I am on your side in this battle, and I and the House Republican caucus will continue to support essential government services over welfare expansion.”

Correction: A previous Daily Catch linked to an article from pollster YouGov which claimed to show that 71 percent of Obama voters regret voting for him in 2012. Turns out, the methodology for the poll was weak and not well disclosed. Thanks to the ever-inquisitive Prof. Amy Fried for regurgitating (Pollways: No, 71% of Obama voters do not regret voting for him) another Huffington Post story (HuffPo: No, 71 percent of Obama voters don’t regret voting for him) into her BDN blog. YouGov has since updated their poll.