ABC News’ Matthew Jaffe reports: Not only do supporters of the repeal have reason to celebrate today because of the House of Representatives’ vote in favor of a stand-alone bill to repeal the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, but also because the chances of the bill passing the Senate improved when Republican Olympia Snowe of Maine said she will support it…



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The Note

“After a chilly initial reception from Democrats, the White House appears to have garnered enough bipartisan support to secure the $ 858 billion bill’s safe passage through a turbulent Congress,” Time reports.

The Senate will vote today and Democratic leaders in both houses signaled that their caucuses “were prepared to swallow the accord’s unpalatable provisions to safeguard the middle class and cushion the economy.”

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “is walking a perilous path in the debate over President Obama’s tax plan, letting angry Democrats vent their frustration while also preserving the plan’s chance of passage,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

The Washington Post highlights the biggest problem Democrats have with the bill: “One part of the tax deal between President Obama and congressional Republicans stands out because it would make the tax code even more generous to the wealthy than it was during the Bush era: the estate tax.”
Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

CNN's Kiran Chetry helped two illegal immigrants lobby for the passage of the DREAM Act on Wednesday's American Morning, which would grant amnesty to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrant youth. Chetry encouraged them to express their concerns for the legislation, as many Republicans in Congress don't support it, and tossed softball questions, which gave them ample time to vouch for the act.

The anchor interviewed Cesar Vargas and Gaby Pacheco 40 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour. Chetry labeled the two "classic examples of who this DREAM Act would help, if it were to pass the Congress" (both were also held up as examples by the Obama administration as two out of the "10 Reasons We Need the Dream Act," as listed on the White House's blog on December 3). She turned to Vargas first and asked, "Are you worried that this [bill] will fail, since there has not been a lot of Republican support?"

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CNN's Kiran Chetry helped two illegal immigrants lobby for the passage of the DREAM Act on Wednesday's American Morning, which would grant amnesty to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrant youth. Chetry encouraged them to express their concerns for the legislation, as many Republicans in Congress don't support it, and tossed softball questions, which gave them ample time to vouch for the act.

The anchor interviewed Cesar Vargas and Gaby Pacheco 40 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour. Chetry labeled the two "classic examples of who this DREAM Act would help, if it were to pass the Congress" (both were also held up as examples by the Obama administration as two out of the "10 Reasons We Need the Dream Act," as listed on the White House's blog on December 3). She turned to Vargas first and asked, "Are you worried that this [bill] will fail, since there has not been a lot of Republican support?"

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NewsBusters.org - Exposing Liberal Media Bias

President Obama:

I am pleased that today, the House has joined the Senate in passing the Claims Settlement Act of 2010. This important legislation will fund the agreements reached in the Pigford II lawsuit, brought by African American farmers, and the Cobell lawsuit, brought by Native Americans over the management of Indian trust accounts and resources. I want to thank Attorney General Holder and Secretaries Salazar and Vilsack for all their work to reach this outcome, and I applaud Congress for acting in a bipartisan fashion to bring this painful chapter in our nation’s history to a close.

This bill also provides funding for settlements reached in four separate water rights suits brought by Native American tribes, and it represents a significant step forward in addressing the water needs of Indian Country. Yet, while today’s vote demonstrates important progress, we must remember that much work remains to be done. And my Administration will continue our efforts to resolve claims of past discrimination made by women and Hispanic farmers and others in a fair and timely manner.

***

Speaker Pelosi:

Today vote in the House to pass legislation to provide funding to settle African  American farmers’ and Native Americans’ lawsuits against the federal government brings a much-delayed end to serious cases of discrimination. Settlements were reached in both of these class action lawsuits, and now we have finally ensured the federal government will honor its commitments. By compensating black farmers and Native Americans for past failures of judgment by the United States Department of Agriculture and Department of the Interior, we close the door on an old injustice. And we are proud to have done so in a fiscally responsible way, not adding a dime to the deficit.

We recognize that there are other discrimination cases that remain to be resolved — including women, Hispanic and Native American farmers. It is my hope these cases will come to a similarly just conclusion.


Big Government

(CNN) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday the long awaited Pentagon report on the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy indicates that over two-thirds of service members do not object to gays and lesbians serving openly in the U.S. armed forces.

Gates urged the Senate to pass a repeal of the policy before it is repealed by “judicial fiat.”


CNN Political Ticker

A religious group calling itself the American Values Network has gone back into the annals of political history to advocate for the passage of the START Treaty currently pending before the Senate:

Riffing off Lyndon Johnson’s infamous “daisy ad” — the one where Johnson said the world would end if voters opted for Barry Goldwater — an innocent girl dies in a nuclear holocaust, all because obstinate Republican senators didn’t pass the administration’s treaty in the lame-duck Senate session. If only there had been U.S. nuclear inspectors on the ground in Russia, we could have averted this world-ending fate.

Here’s the video:

As Spencer Ackerman notes, however, even the new START Treaty won’t do what this group claims is necessary:

even under New START, the U.S. still won’t be able to catalog every Russian warhead, so it’s not as if the loose-nuke problem resolves itself when the inspectors return. It’s true that on-the-ground inspectors provide more precision in understanding the state of the Russian nuclear arsenal than satellites do. But the point of the video is to inspire fear, not persuade people on the merits of the treaty

And that is really what the ad is meant to do, of course, just like the original Daisy ad, which has become iconic even though it only actually aired on time. This time around, the AVN is apparently investing millions to run the ad on cable and on Christian radio stations. Whether the image of a little girl repeatedly getting incinerated in a nuclear holocaust will actually cause anyone to change their mind on the START treaty is another question.

For comparison’s sake, here’s the original Daisy ad:




Outside the Beltway

I applaud the Senate for passing the Claims Settlement Act of 2010, which will at long last provide funding for the agreements reached in the Pigford II lawsuit, brought by African American farmers, and the Cobell lawsuit, brought by Native Americans over the management of Indian trust accounts and resources. I particularly want to thank Attorney General Holder and Secretaries Salazar and Vilsack for their continued work to achieve this outcome. I urge the House to move forward with this legislation as they did earlier this year, and I look forward to signing it into law.

This bill also includes settlements for four separate water rights suits made by Native American tribes. I support these settlements and my Administration is committed to addressing the water needs of tribal communities. While these legislative achievements reflect important progress, they also serve to remind us that much work remains to be done. That is why my Administration also continues to work to resolve claims of past discrimination made by women and Hispanic farmers against the USDA.


Big Government

Paved with good intentions.
American Thinker Blog

President Obama reiterated his support for the DREAM Act during a meeting Tuesday afternoon with Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.Y.) and Reps. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) and Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), all of the pro-immigration reform Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Obama said he believes Congress should act on the issue before adjourning.

Both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have signaled they hope to hold votes this session on the act, which would allow some undocumented young people to gain legal status if they attended college or served in the military for two years.

Politico has the full readout from the meeting, which also states Obama’s continued commitment to comprehensive immigration reform “at the earliest opportunity”:

“The President reiterated his support for fixing the broken immigration system and urged the CHC leaders to work to restore the bipartisan coalition backing comprehensive immigration reform. The President repeated his hope that, with the election season’s pressures past, Congressional Republicans would work with their Democratic colleagues not only to strengthen security at the nation’s borders, but also to restore responsibility and accountability to what everyone agrees is a broken immigration system. The President reiterated his strong support for bipartisan Congressional action on immigration reform at the earliest opportunity, noting that the American people expect both parties to work together to tackle the challenges confronting our nation.”

Obama has consistently stated his support for the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform. But with a likely tight vote ahead for the act in the Senate, Gutierrez said the president’s support is needed to ensure a united Democratic effort to pass the bill.

“With the White House, Majority Leader Harry Reid, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and every Democratic Leader in the House and Senate pulling in the same direction, we can pass the DREAM Act before the end of the 111th Congress,” he said in a press release after the meeting.

Right now, it is unclear whether all Democrats would vote for the DREAM Act, which is a problem given the Republicans’ larger share of the Senate after the newly elected Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) takes Obama’s former seat. At least five Democrats who voted against the DREAM Act in 2007 told The Hill they are still uncertain on how they would vote this year, and only two Republicans have said they would vote for the act as a standalone bill. Reid needs at least 60 votes to prevent a Republican filibuster — the tactic that took down the effort to insert the DREAM Act and a repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” into the defense authorization bill in September.

Michigan Messenger

People who want to try to make ends meet by selling food that they make at home may now do so legally, as long as they stick to baked goods, jams and jellies.

A Cottage Food Bill enacted this year allows people to set up small scale food vending operations without the expense of renting a licensed commercial kitchen as long as their revenues are less than $ 15,000 per year.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the new law is expanding participation in farmers markets around the state.

“I had a lot of inquiries, but we didn’t have any spaces left,” said Nancy Voges, marketing coordinator for the Downtown Rochester Farmers Market and one of many managers who had to turn away vendors.
However, she was able to accept some cottage bakers — including Shannon Winsted of Lapeer — for the upcoming Kris Kringle Market, Dec. 3-5 on West Fourth Street. Winsted, who lost her sales job months ago when her employer closed, used to bake for fun for friends and even made wedding cakes. Now she’d like to launch a baking business, but she can’t afford to rent a licensed kitchen. She hopes cottage baking will give her exposure and provide the added income she needs to become licensed.

Brian Steinberg a chef, cooking and baking instructor, college student and part-time food writer in Ann Arbor told the Free Press that more people should take advantage of the new law.

“Don’t feel like you have to get that farmers market booth to sell things,” he said. “Christmas is coming up. If you have a bunch of friends who want cookies, you can bake cookies for them…. There are church bake sales and sales at schools and clubs.” Now that the cottage food law is on the books, “you can bake out of your home and you don’t have to underground,” he said.

The law requires that each cottage food items be sold directly to consumers and that they are marked with labels that show the ingredients, the name and address of the producers and a notice that it was produced in an undisputed home kitchen.

Details about Michigan’s Cottage Food Law are available at the website of the Dept. of Agriculture.

Michigan Messenger

The show comes to you from New Delhi where we spoke to U.S. Ambassador to India Tim Roemer on the president’s trip to Asia and explored the new Congress and the president’s hat issues.



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Political Punch

"This is the type of direct democracy people say they want. Sometimes you wonder," MSNBC's Chuck Todd editorialized after a segment about conservative ballot initiatives that passed into law on Tuesday.

Towards the bottom of the 9 a.m. EDT hour of "The Daily Rundown," reporter Mara Schiavocampo looked at a handful of state ballot initiatives that voters had considered at the polls on Tuesday.

Aside from Proposition 19 — the marijuana legalization measure which was rejected by California voters — Schiavocampo noted two conservative ballot questions that passed in Oklahoma: a measure declaring English the official language of the Sooner State and a measure forbidding consideration of Islamic sharia law or international law in rulings made by Oklahoma state judges.

Schiavocampo insisted that "critics" — whom she failed to name — dismissed the ballot questions as "cultural wedge issues that were designed to bring conservatives to the polls."

[Video after page break]

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NewsBusters.org - Exposing Liberal Media Bias

This preordained doomed attempt should NOT serve as an impetus for unilateral FCC action

Last week gave us another piece of last minute, hurry-up and pass-it legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman’s bill to regulate the Internet, codify Net Neutrality (NN) and define the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s role therein.

tubesiii

As the recently departed White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel once said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”  Or a manufactured one - like the four-plus year slow burn “dire” need for Net Neutrality implementation.  Without which the Internet has exploded into a nearly limitless cornucopia of free speech, free markets and free people.

We’ve gone this long – and this incredibly well – without Net Neutrality.  We certainly don’t need the FCC ramming it through in an after-the-election November meeting designed from all appearances to thwart and avoid the scrutiny of the American people.

In actuality, this NN bill had ZERO chance of passing.  You can’t introduce it out of Committee the Tuesday before the Friday Congress adjourns - and expect it to become law.  Anyone who follows these things knows this is folly.

It did accomplish something.  Forced again to make a decision inside of six seconds on transcendentally important legislation, the Republicans rightly said No.  Ranking Committee member Joe Barton decided they would not, again, be forced aboard another screaming legislative locomotive.

And a gentle reminder – the Democrats are the majority and have the votes, without a single Republican signing on.  If they were serious about pushing ahead with the bill, they most certainly could have done so.

After all, ramming through legislation in uni-partisan fashion hasn’t yet bothered the Democrats a whit.  ObamaCare, anyone?  Alleged economic “stimulus?” Etc, etc, etc.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

And Democrat-only legislation is infinitely better than a unilateral Internet power grab by the FCC, for which the author of this bill is now calling.

In response to the Republicans’ absurd decision to want to actually read and discuss the legislation, the pro-Net Neutrality forces in unison screeched:

“We tried a legislative fix - but the intractable Republicans wouldn’t sign on, so now the FCC MUST unilaterally act to reclassify the Internet.”

In unison?

Republicans scuttle US net neutrality bill-Waxman - Reuters

Waxman’s last-minute Net neutrality bill hits a GOP wall - Los Angeles Times

Net Neutrality Bill Stalls Without GOP Support - National Journal

Draft Net Neutrality Bill Axed by GOP - Wireless Week

Net Neutrality Bill Dead After Waxman Fails to Get GOP Support- PC World

Net neutrality bill blocked by Republicans - ZDNet UK

After GOP Kills Net Neutrality Bill, Focus Shifts Back to FCC - Daily Finance

Waxman says net neutrality bill dead, FCC should assert regulatory authority - Washington Post

Waxman Drops Net Neutrality Bill, Calls on FCC to Reclassify Broadband - Firedoglake

Waxman Scraps Net Neutrality Bill, Calls for FCC Action - IT Business Edge

FCC needs to do what Congress couldn’t: guarantee net neutrality - Seattle Times

A Clear Message Emerges From the Hill’s Net Neutrality Mess: ‘The FCC Must Act’ - Huffington Post

It’s put-up or shut-up time for the FCC’s net-neutrality advocates - Washington Post

The time for compromise has passed on net neutrality - Seattle Times

In unison.

Media Marxist mission accomplished.   Leftists never allow facts to get in the way of a good beating.

To the facts - in all of the many, MANY above headlines, did you notice a decided lack of this?

Free Press Pushed Hard Against Waxman’s Net Neutrality Bill - Broadcasting & Cable

Sources: OIC not supporting Waxman net-neutrality bill - The Hill

So perhaps it wasn’t solely the Republicans who were opposed to moving forward with the bill.

The defeat-seeking missiles at Free Press – paragons of bipartisan compromise all – led the charge against the bill based upon disliking its content.  Long before the Republicans had a chance to say No based upon the lack of time to discuss its content.

As to those calendar constraints:

(Senator) Rockefeller Doubtful On Moving Net Neutrality Bill - National Journal

From the piece:

Senate Commerce Chairman John (Jay) Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said Wednesday that he believes it will be “almost impossible” to move a network neutrality bill through congress this year.

Again, this bill – based upon when it was introduced - was born to die.

The bill did serve one positive – though far less reported upon – purpose.  As we said last week:

Net Neutrality Bill Might Be More About Message Than Action - National Journal

This act by Congress reminds us – as we have repeatedly reminded us - that it takes an act of Congress to give the FCC authority over the Internet.  And that STILL hasn’t yet happened.

And, again, it isn’t just us reminding us.   There are the 299 members of Congress – a large bipartisan majority.  There are the more than 150 organizations, state legislators and bloggers.  There are theseventeen minority groups – that are almost always in Democrat lockstep.

There are the many additional normally Democrat paragons, including several large unions: AFL-CIO, Communications Workers of America (CWA), International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW); several racial grievance groups: League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Minority Media and Telecom Council (MMTC), National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Urban League; and an anti-free market environmentalist group: the Sierra Club.

And there is the unanimous D.C. Circuit Court – led by a Democrat Bill Clinton-appointee – that have joined the chorus, ruling in April in the Comcast-BitTorrent case that the FCC doesn’t yet have the authority to regulate the Internet.

So while it is distressing that the Chairman of the relevant Committee is ready to cede his and Congress’s proper role in this process – it is not at all compelling.

The FCC should not engage in this unilateral Internet power grab.  Especially in the manner it seems to have now set-up to do so – in a dead of winter post-election November meeting.

This belongs – and has always belonged – where it just ever so briefly was – in Congress.


Big Government

U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Jose Gutierrez

U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Jose Gutierrez

As I wrote earlier this week, many military experts have come out in support of the DREAM Act because it would significantly increase the pool of qualified recruits in the Latino population, which comprises the majority of undocumented immigrants and is more likely to enlist and serve in the military than any other group. Today, on a national conference call, former and retired military personnel called on Senators to pass the National Defense Authorization Act with the DREAM Act as an amendment to the legislation.

Louis Caldera, former Director of the White House Military Office and United States Secretary of the Army, stated:

The DREAM Act will materially expand the pool of individuals qualified, ready and willing to serve their country in uniform. Of the 50,000 youth coming of age every year in the terrible predicament of being ineligible to work, enlist, or receive federal financial aid to attend college, many of those are not yet ready to pursue full time education. Military service is a highly appealing way to better themselves, give back to their country and earn their residency and eventually citizenship. I have no doubt many of these enlistees will be among the best soldiers in our Army.

Major General Alfred Valenzuela echoed Caldera’s call to action:

I’ve seen the sacrifice that these immigrant men and women make to this country. They come here with the dream of becoming citizens and sign up to die for the country they call home but yet are never granted citizenship. We should pass the DREAM Act so that those individuals willing to give their lives to the U.S. can also be called citizens of the U.S.

Retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Military Police Corps Margaret Stock reiterated her support of DREAM Act legislation:

Passage of the DREAM Act would directly benefit American national defense by enlarging the pool of highly qualified, US-educated ‘green card’ recruits for the US Armed Forces. Rather than having these US-educated young people sent back to countries they can’t remember-where they will no doubt be forced to serve in foreign militaries and other foreign organizations-they can put their talents to use for the benefit of the American people and the All Volunteer Force.

Valenzuela pointed to the moving story of Marine Lance Cpl. Jose Gutierrez in an effort to highlight the desperate need for immigration reform. Gutierrez was one of the first U.S. servicemen killed in combat in Iraq. However, he was not a citizen of the country he died for. At the age of 14, Gutierrez made the 2,000-mile journey from Guatemala City to the U.S. Like many of the undocumented immigrants that politicians deride and demonize, Gutierrez hopped 14 freight trains to get through Mexico and was detained by immigration authorities. Because his parents were no longer alive, Gutierrez was made a ward of Los Angeles Juvenile Court and received permanent residency when he was 18. His foster sister stated that he “wanted to give the United States what the United States gave to him. He came with nothing. This country gave him everything.” Valenzuela presided over his funeral.

Today’s call also highlighted the stories of Caesar Vargas and Carlos Saavedra, two young men who want to give back to the U.S. by serving in the military, but can’t because they are undocumented. “Whether it is serving in the military as a JAG officer or serving in the front line as an intelligence officer to lead Marines, who themselves may be DREAMers, I want to earn my place next to the great heroes of our nation that have and are fighting to defend the bedrock principles that are embedded in our Constitution,” stated Vargas.

Wonk Room

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