Daily Archives: 03/20/2012

SURPRISE, SURPRISE: Charlie Rangel Announces He’ll Run Again

In a statement released Tuesday night, the 81-year-old Rangel made it official, putting to rest rumors that he would step aside. He’s been a political mainstay in Harlem since 1971. At the end of 2010, Rangel, a Democrat, was convicted of 11 ethics violations. They include failure to pay some taxes and using congressional resources to raise money for an academic center bearing his name. He was censured by the House last year; that’s the most serious congressional penalty short of expulsion. NBCNY

After IL, Romney Builds His Lead

Neil King Writes: Bolstered by his strong showing Tuesday in the Illinois primary, Mitt Romney has built a commanding lead, but the prize remains elusive…. Mr. Romney has amassed almost exactly half of all delegates up for grabs so far. Were he to continue that pace in all 24 contests beyond Illinois, he still wouldn’t seal the nomination until the last primary, in Utah on June 26.

To end the race earlier, Mr. Romney would need to win a larger share of delegates than he has in the contests to date. Yet even if Mr. Romney were to amass every delegate in every contest over the next two months—a near impossibility under state rules—he still wouldn’t nail down the nomination until the end of May.

Wash Post: 12 of New York’s 27 House Seats Competitive Under New Map

Wash Post Reports: Under a map approved by a three-judge panel Monday, upwards of a dozen of the state’s 27 House seats will be ripe for competition in 2012, including some previously safe seats. New York’s congressional delegation has shifted between parties as much as nearly any other state over the last decade — including in some very significant special elections — but 2012 could up the ante even more.

The map shows many of the upstate seats that have swung between parties in recent years remain competitive. In addition, Long Island seats held by Reps. Steve Israel (D), Pete King (R) and Carolyn McCarthy (D) become more competitive, and Republicans even have an outside shot at beating Rep. Louise Slaughter (D) in her previously safe Buffalo area district, which became significantly more conservative. Read more »

NJDC Claims Republican Budget Cuts Medicare, Other Programs

Today, House Republicans unveiled their new budget that — like their budget from last year — fails to address America’s budget needs responsibly or preserve vital social safety net programs. Last year, several Jewish community organizations and leaders expressed deep concern about the Republicans’ budget proposals. The GOP’s budget this year contains similar policies that only amplify the Republican Party’s message that it does not support the programs supported by the mainstream of the American Jewish community. – NJDC

Cameron ‘Tucked in Bed’ by Obama on Air Force One

AFP Via France24 Reports: British Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday revealed he was “tucked up in bed” by US President Barack Obama during the pair’s recent trip on Air Force One.

The two leaders were repeatedly seen back-slapping and sharing jokes during Cameron’s recent US visit, but now it appears the friendship was sealed when the president offered Cameron the use of his personal quarters. Read more »

US Permits Many Euro Nations to Buy Iran Oil Despite Sanctions

The Obama administration on Tuesday granted exemptions from U.S. economic  sanctions to 10 European Union countries and Japan abecause they have  significantly reduced their purchases of petroleum from Iran. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gave the waivers to Belgium,  Britain, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands,  Poland, Spain and Japan, meaning that banks and other financial institutions  based there will not be hit with penalties under U.S. law for 180 days. – AP Via Politico

U.S. Judge Allows Cuban Spy to Return Home to See Ailing Brother

Bloomberg: A Miami judge allowed a Cuban spy on parole in the U.S. to visit his ailing brother in Cuba for two weeks, raising the prospect that the communist authorities will soften their approach to Allen Gross, a U.S. government subcontractor jailed on the island. Read more »

“Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport”

USA Today: Arkansas’ busiest airport will soon bear the name of one of the state’s most famous couples: Bill and Hillary Clinton.

In an unanimous vote earlier today, the Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission move to rename the Little Rock National Airport to honor former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The official title will be the “Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.” Read more »

Buffett Rule Would Bring In Only $31 Billion Over Next 11 Years

A bill designed to enact President Barack Obama’s plan for a “Buffett rule” tax on the wealthy would rake in just $31 billion over the next 11 years, according to an estimate by Congress’ official tax analysts obtained by The Associated Press. That figure would be a drop in the bucket of the over $7 trillion in federal budget deficits projected during that period. It is also minuscule compared to the many hundreds of billions it would cost to repeal the alternative minimum tax, which Obama’s budget last month said he would replace with the Buffett rule tax. – Huff Post

Video: Einstein Archive To Be Posted Online, Most in German



Syrian Rebels Outgunned, Struggling for Supplies

Human Rights Watch Blames Rebeles for Abusing Others

AP Reports: Syrian rebel commander Ahmad Mihbzt and his ragtag fighters grabbed their aging rifles to fight Syrian troops advancing on their village, but soon fled under a rain of exploding artillery shells.

“We will fight until our last drop of blood,” Mihbzt declared a week later in this village across the Turkish border. “We just withdrew because we ran out of ammunition.”

Like Mihbzt’s men, rebels across Syria fighting to topple President Bashar Assad lack the weapons that can pose a serious challenge to the regime’s large, professional army. Some rebel units have more fighters than guns, forcing them to take turns fighting. Read more »

Article and Video: Obama Sends Message to Iranian People

Algemeiner Reports: In a message to the Iranian people during Nowruz – the Persian New Year – President Barack Obama spoke about the tenuous relationship between the United States and the Islamic Republic, and the decision by Iran’s government to restrict the flow of free information to its citizens. Read more »

Romney Super PAC Spends 75% its Money Against Rick Santorum

The super PAC, Restore Our Future, spent a total of $12.2 million last month… In all, the super PAC spent $9.9 million on ads, mailings and  phone banking attacking Santorum, as compared $1.6 million attacking Newt  Gingrich, and $52,000 supporting Romney. It raised a total of $6.2 million and finished last month with $10.5 million  in the bank. – Ken Vogel

Biden’s National Security Adviser to address J Street at Conference

Blinken is Far Left in This WH Photo

JTA Reports: Tony Blinken, Vice President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, will address this year’s J Street conference. Blinken will address a session on the U.S. role in resolving the Arab-Israel conflict and join a panel afterward discussing his remarks.

Obama administration officials at previous conferences of the dovish pro-Israel group have included James Jones, the national security adviser at the time of the 2009 conference, and Dennis Ross, the architect of President Obama’s Iran policies, at the 2011 conference.

Keynoters at the conference include Amos Oz, the Israeli novelist and peace activist; Ehud Olmert, the former Israeli prime minister; Anat Hoffman, a secular and women’s rights leader in Israel; and Peter Beinart, whose book “The Crisis of Zionism” will be unveiled during the March 24-27 conference.

PENTAGON: U.S. Will be Drawn Into War if Israel Strikes Iran

NYT Reports: A classified war simulation held this month to assess the repercussions of an Israeli attack on Iran forecasts that the strike would lead to a wider regional war, which could draw in the United States and leave hundreds of Americans dead, according to American officials.

The officials said the so-called war game was not designed as a rehearsal for American military action — and they emphasized that the exercise’s results were not the only possible outcome of a real-world conflict. Read more »

Photos: Storobin Voting; Volunteers Gathered for GOTV

Video: Congressman Israel Says Medicare Not Going Bankrupt

Obama Bundler Jumps to Romney Due to Israel Borders

WFB: President Obama’s controversial request that Israel retreat to its 1967 borders has caused at least one prominent billionaire to switch parties, the Washington Post reports:

Susan Crown, a philanthropist and member of the billionaire Crown family, has switched sides from supporting Obama in 2008 to backing Romney now, although some of her relatives remain Obama supporters. Crown said in an interview that she was prompted to support Romney after Obama spoke in favor of a return to 1967 borders with land swaps as part of a potential Israeli- Palestinian peace settlement.

Crown notes that independent-leaning voters in Illinois, Obama’s hometown, are fed up with the president’s policies.

Secret Service Code Names of GOP Rivals Revealed

USA Today: They might be Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum to you and me, but the GOP presidential candidates are referred to by their code names by the Secret Service agents who protect them.

Romney goes by “Javelin” and Santorum uses “Petrus,” according to an exclusive report in GQ magazine.

The candidates get to pick their code names, which date back to a time when electronic communications weren’t encrypted. Now, the code names — which are to be easily pronounced and understood over the radio– are a matter of tradition. Read more »

Iran Sanctions Seen Spurring More Saudi Oil to U.S.

Reuters Reports: Saudi Arabia is preparing to extend this year’s unexpected jump in oil sales to the United States, adding to speculation about the response of the world’s top oil exporter to sanctions against Iranand a rally in prices.

The kingdom’s shipments to the United States have quietly risen 25 percent to the highest level since mid-2008, according to preliminary U.S. government data, a sizeable leap that appears at least partly related to the imminent completion of a major expansion at its joint-venture Motiva refinery in Texas. Read more »

WH Admits Asking News Agencies to Pull Malia Obama Vacation Story

The White House has admitted to telling news agencies to pull stories on Malia Obama visiting the Mexico for spring break, Politico reports.

Kristina Schake, Communications Director to the First Lady, emailed Dylan Byers:

From the beginning of the administration, the White House has asked news outlets not to report on or photograph the Obama children when they are not with their parents and there is no vital news interest. We have reminded outlets of this request in order to protect the privacy and security of these girls.

See here screen shots of the pulled story.

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