With all six of its National Guard's Black Hawk helicopters still deployed in Iraq, flood-devastated Vermont received help from neighboring New Hampshire and distant Illinois this week in bringing relief to residents stranded in 13 communities after flooding caused by last weekend's Tropical Storm Irene washed out hundreds of the state's roads and bridges.
On Monday, the New Hampshire National Guard sent over two of its Black Hawk helicopters, which transported Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate and Vermont's Gov. Peter Shumlin, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch on a survey of flood-damaged areas in the state. On Wednesday the first of eight helicopters on loan from the Illinois National Guard arrived to help with the distribution of food and other supplies as Vermonters continued to struggle with the after effects of the storm that flooded homes, business, and government offices. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn ordered the helicopters and 95 members of the Illinois Guard to Vermont from Rome, New York, where they had been sent to assist in flood relief efforts in that state.
About 200 National Guard members from Maine and 50 from West Virginia were also enroute to Vermont, the Boston Globe reported on Friday.
Was Texas Governor Rick Perry for ObamaCare before he was against it? Today Perry rails against the healthcare law, calling it “the closest this country has ever come to outright socialism” in his 2010 book Fed Up, where he also declared the individual mandate “a total outrage.” If elected President, he says, he will use an executive order to repeal or block as much of ObamaCare as possible.
But 18 years ago, Perry, then Texas Agriculture Commissioner, penned a letter to then-First Lady Hillary Clinton that opened: “I think your efforts in trying to reform the nation’s health care system are most commendable.” Perry then asked Clinton to “give particular attention to the needs of the nation’s farmers, ranchers, agriculture workers, and other members of rural communities,” noting that many of them were uninsured and faced shortages of healthcare services. “Again,” Perry wrote in conclusion, “your efforts are worthy.... Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of any assistance.”
The Daily Caller, which posted a copy of the letter, asked Perry’s presidential campaign about the candidate’s 1993 praise for “HillaryCare.”
Just days before Hurricane Irene hit American shores, Texas Representative and Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul declared that FEMA should stay out of the recovery efforts that were inevitable. Paul has been a long-time critic of the agency, and as a general rule, believes that most federal agencies (i.e., those that do not serve a purpose delegated to the federal government in the Constitution) should be done away with as they are unconstitutional and typically inept. However, this particular declaration of Paul’s drew some tense ire over the course of the last few days, as well as some support.
Last week, Rep. Paul said that FEMA is far more detrimental to recovery efforts than beneficial because “all they do is come in and tell you what to do and what you can’t do,” and add billions to the deficit.
On August 30, Paul appeared on CNN with Anderson Cooper to defend his comments, where he made the following statement:
We’ve only had [FEMA] since 1979 and they don’t have a very good record. These natural disasters are very dangerous, so I don’t understand why we would turn it over to a federal bureaucracy.
The White House announced Thursday that it is building a new webpage, entitled "We the People," designed to give Americans the ability to digitally create and sign petitions to propose various government actions, particularly regarding job creation.
This new government tool will be available at the White House website, and it is "a new way to petition your government to take action on a range of important issues," says the narrator in a White House video. "It’s a new way for your voice to be heard in our government," Macon Phillips, the White House director of digital strategy, suggested.
"When I ran for this office, I pledged to make government more open and accountable to its citizens," President Obama proclaimed in a taped announcement, and this new tool will provide Americans with "a direct line" to the White House for issues they are concerned about. Critics say the timing of the new project is not coincidental, as it comes at a time when the President and congressional Democrats are eagerly discussing how the federal government can promote job growth — through legislative action.
WhiteHouse.gov has the details on how the petitions will work:
The Ohio School Athletic Association seems to be taking the non-constitutional maxim of “separation of Church and state” a bit too far. The Association, along with one of its referees decided to penalize the Louisville High School football team’s receiver for making a gesture to heaven, and is now facing harsh criticism as a result of that decision.
The team defended the gesture for which they were penalized by explaining that it was intended to commemorate a friend of theirs who had been killed a week earlier. The Blaze reports:
After scoring what would have been the game’s winning touchdown — putting the team up 26-24 — Alex Schooley, along with his teammate Gavin Lovejoy, pointed their fingers toward the sky in a commemorative gesture for their friend, Dom Wilgus, 16, who was killed in a car accident the week earlier. It so happened Schooley had also been pallbearer at Wilgus’ funeral that very morning.
Who says Ron Paul can’t beat Barack Obama? The Texas Congressman’s threat to prevent the President’s upcoming speech to Congress from occurring the same night as a Republican presidential candidates’ debate — a debate in which Paul will participate — may very well have been the deciding factor in forcing Obama to postpone his appearance.
Obama sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner Wednesday morning requesting to speak before a joint session of Congress on September 7 at 8 p.m. Eastern. Shortly thereafter the White House announced the President’s speech, which is to present his proposed jobs program. There was just one problem: A GOP presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library is already scheduled to take place at that same time.
No one seriously believes the White House’s denials that Obama’s speech was timed to keep television viewers from seeing the opposition. NBC’s Chuck Todd, for instance, remarked that the timing was “hardly a coincidence.”
Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.) used her congressional office funds to pay for a fancy $20,000 luncheon for some of her constituents in May, calling it a "briefing" to get around House rules prohibiting such expenditures. Jay's Catering handled the details of the party complete with singing, dancing, and "special consideration of [guests'] dietary and medical needs." Chris Kuhles, catering manager, said "It was a Polynesian-themed event — Huli Huli Chicken, fried rice, green salad, Hawaiian sweet rolls [and} for dessert, truffle cake."
It was all according to Hoyle, said Richardson's spokesman Ray Zaccaro: "All expenses associated with the event were in keeping with the rules and standards of the House Members Representational Account (MRA)." However, a close look at those rules showed that Richardson's "briefing" violated at least three of the MRA rules including these:
In an effort to create an ultimate Nanny state, the California Assembly has recently passed legislation that legislates the proper treatment of babysitters, as per the Assembly’s standards. The new legislation requires that babysitters receive rest and meal breaks. Additionally, parents who hire babysitters would be required to provide workers’ compensation benefits.
Written by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) Assembly Bill 889 makes these requirements and more. The bill applies to all “domestic employees,” to include housekeepers, nannies, caregivers, and babysitters.
A federal judge has temporarily blocked enforcement of a law, passed by the Texas legislature in May, that requires a woman seeking an abortion to receive a sonogram at least 24 hours before the procedure so she can see the baby’s features and hear its heartbeat. U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks of Austin ruled that the law, set to go into effect on September 1st, “compels physicians to advance an ideological agenda with which they may not agree, regardless of any medical necessity, and irrespective of whether the pregnant women wish to listen.”
In his August 31st injunction, reported the Baptist Press News, “Sparks wrote that the law’s requirements expand beyond medically necessary information and ‘are unconstitutional violations of the First Amendment right to be free from compelled speech.’” Specifically, continued the BP news story, “Sparks argued that the First Amendment rights of doctors and patients are violated in the law’s requirements that doctors show the patient an ultrasound of the baby, make the heartbeat audible and give a verbal description of the child.”