Daily Archives: 01/16/2012
HuffPost Reports: Paul flew first class on at least 31 round-trip flights and 12 one-way flights since May 2009 when he was traveling between Washington and his district in Texas, according to a review by The Associated Press of his congressional office expenses. Four other round-trip tickets and two other one-way tickets purchased during the period were eligible for upgrades to first-class after they were bought, but those upgrades would not be documented in the expense records.
Paul, whose distrust of big government is the centerpiece of his presidential campaign, trusts the more expensive government rate for Continental Airlines when buying his tickets. Paul chose not to buy the cheaper economy tickets at a fraction of the price because they aren’t refundable or as flexible for scheduling, his congressional staff said.
“We always get him full refundable tickets since the congressional schedule sometimes changes quickly,” said Jeff Deist, Paul’s chief of staff. Paul might have to pay out of his own pocket for canceled flights in some cases if he didn’t buy refundable tickets, Deist said.
But records show that most of the flights for Paul were purchased well in advance and few schedule changes were necessary. Nearly two-thirds of the 49 tickets were purchased at least two weeks in advance, and 42 percent were bought at least three weeks in advance, the AP’s review found.
JTA Reports: A three-justice panel of the California 3rd District Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 11 that Margarito Jesus Garcia, who is serving 15 years to life for a conviction on second degree murder, should receive kosher meals from the state’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, reversing a lower court ruling.
The justices said the corrections department was in violation of Garcia’s rights under the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000.
Garcia said he was Catholic when he entered prison, but in 2009 requested kosher meals, saying he had been practicing Messianic Judaism for the last two years. The prison’s Jewish chaplain rejected Garcia’s request, saying he was not practicing Judaism as his “sincerely held belief.”
FL News 13 Reports: The former presidential candidate and Georgia businessman endorsed Craig Miller for the Republican’s Florida Senate nomination Thursday in Orlando.
Miller, the former CEO of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, will continue to push Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan, which was a centerpiece of Cain’s presidential campaign.
Miller and Cain have both served as president of the national restaurant association, and while neither has political experience, both hope their business experience will be a strong pull for voters.
Political Ticker: Somos Republicans, which says it has a membership of 6,000 people, issued a statement Monday saying the former speaker of the House “knows the importance of the Latino community” and “has been working hard for many years to include American Hispanics in the overall conversation for a better America.”
Star Ledger Reports: “In terms of me, I’ll be much more ready four years from now,” he said.
Christie, who called politics a “contact sport,” said there’s no doubt he’s attracted to holding positions of power, but has so far foregone the ultimate test for a simple reason.
“There’s nothing more unattractive than getting there and feeling like you’re not ready,” he said, adding that he’s never felt over his head as governor.
Winfrey, who endorsed President Obama in 2008, asked Christie about the odds the Democrat will win another four years. “He is as good a politician as I’ve ever seen,” he said. “I think where the shortcoming has been is in governing.”
Politicker Reports: Shortly after he pulled off a shockingly close second place finish against Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the 2009 mayoral election, former Comptroller Bill Thompson declared his intention to run again in 2013. Since then, Mr. Thompson remained relatively under the radar causing some City Hall watchers to question whether he’d make good on his promise to take another shot at the mayor’s office. At the TWU Local 100 rally last night, The Politicker spoke with Mr. Thompson about his plans for 2013.
Mr. Thompson said he’s definitely going to be in the race. He also rejected the notion he’s been too quiet and gave us his take on Mayor Bloomberg’s third term.
“I’ve made it very clear, I’m definitely running. I’m not thinking about it, I am running,” Mr. Thompson said.
Mr. Thompson said his campaign has been “ramping it up for months now.”
Read more at: PolitickerNY
State of Politics Reports: Cuomo will not be attending National Action Network’s Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration hosted by the Rev. Al Sharpton – generally a must-do event for New York elected officials (especially Democrats seeking to curry favor with Sharpton and the all-important African-American voting bloc) held at the House of Justice in Harlem. (1:30 p.m.)
Both Mayor Bloomberg and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand sent out schedules indicating their plans to be on hand for NAN’s annual MLK fest. It’s a safe bet many, many other currently sitting pols and aspiring candidates will be on hand, too. After all, it is an election year.
LoHud Reports: As Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to present his budget proposal for the coming fiscal year, a state financial report shows the boomlet that appeared briefly in the spring has fizzled.
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in his quarterly “cash report” that state tax revenues were up 8.6 percent. But that’s compared to a low 2010 figure, deeper in the recession, and revenues were much stronger earlier in the year compared to December.
In the first fiscal quarter, revenues were more than $700 million ahead of the same period in 2010, but DiNpaoli and Cuomo warned to expect a bumpy ride the rest of the 2011.
“A stronger recovery has slowed. It hasn’t stopped, but it’s slower than we’d like,” DiNapoli said in an interview. “We are still in a very sluggish period of recovery.”
Cuomo will present his 2012-13 budget Tuesday.
Forward Reports: Democrat Steve Cohen, the first Jewish congressman to represent a district in Tennessee, has lost a key constituency, the small Jewish community in Memphis, after the borders of his district were redrawn.
Cohen’s Ninth District has been reshaped in a way that cut him off from most of the Jews living in Memphis. Even Cohen’s synagogue will be represented by another congressman.
The redistricting was determined by Tennessee’s Republican-led state legislature, following the latest U.S. Census.
Cohen appealed the decision and asked for an adjustment that would have kept the Jewish community of Memphis, estimated at 2,500 members, and its key institutions, including two large synagogues and a Jewish retirement home, within his district. But on January 13 his appeal was rejected in a final vote.
Politticker Reports: Councilman Lew Fidler, who’s running for the State Senate in the special election to replace Carl Kruger, went onto Assemblyman Dov Hikind’s radio show late Saturday night to make his case before the program’s primarily Jewish audience. The guest host, Joe Lazar, who once ran for the City Council himself with Assemblyman Hikind’s backing, asked Councilman Fidler how he felt about one of his more controversial Council colleagues, Charles Barron.
“It was only really when he was at his most hateful that it was necessary to stand up,” Mr. Fidler responded. “The problem with Charles Barron is that he’s a pleasant human being. He’s fun to talk to. He’s glib. He’s articulate. That’s what makes him dangerous.”
Big Gov Reports: The Empire State is struggling to bring in additional tax revenue it projected it would gain from efforts to stop smokers from buying untaxed cigarettes on Indian Reservations, reports the New York Post:
The state’s tax collectors were recently calling around to convenience-store owners, wondering what was up. The $130 million in extra tax that Albany was expecting from a change in the law about cigarette sales on Indian reservations wasn’t happening.
A memo sent to members of the New York Association of Convenience Stores from the group’s president, Jim Calvin — a copy of which I have on my desk — said, “I got a call from Gov. Cuomo’s budget office yesterday. In examining cigarette tax receipts so far this fiscal year (April 1 to March 31) it looks like they will fall considerably short of their projection in new revenues. . . .”
The state had hoped to get the extra dough by enforcing a new law that made it illegal for licensed cigarette wholesalers in the state to sell untaxed name-brand cigarettes like Newport and Marlboro to Indian reservations.
Why the need for the extra measures focused on Indian Reservation sales in the first place?
In short, going “On The Reservation” and buying untaxed, name-brand cigarettes became an appealing prospect to many smokers following New York’s institution of a $1.60 per pack cigarette tax hike in 2010
Jpost Reports: Iran has taken control of Iraq, and is trying to influence Saudi Arabia through aggressive diplomacy, Li eberman says; the comments come as Iran threatens Gulf countries not to help US, Europe with sanctions on Iran.
Iran is trying to exert it’s control on the entire Gulf region through its aggressive energy policies, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Israel Radio, after Iran threatened its Gulf neighbors that they would suffer consequences should they raise oil output to replace Iranian crude facing an international ban.
Forward Reports: The most prominent name among the prime minister’s donors is that of the Falics, a well-known family that owns Duty Free Americas, a large chain of duty-free shops that operates in 13 airports and along the United States’ northern and southern borders. At one point, the family also owned the Christian Lacroix fashion house.
Nily Falic is the national president of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces in the United States; another family member, Jana Falic, is president of WIZO-USA.
The family members who contributed to Netanyahu were Nily’s husband, Chaim, who passed away earlier this month; their son, Leon; another son, Jerome; and her daughter, Jana, along with her husband Simon. Each of them donated $11,000.
The Falics have contributed to Netanyahu before, giving him $15,000 in 2005. During previous primaries, the family also donated money to Limor Livnat and Shaul Mofaz.
The family has also become involved in U.S. elections, and in recent years has donated a total of more than $100,000 to various candidates, both Republicans and Democrats.