10 things to know today

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday:
AP Wire
Mar 12, 2014


A powerful senator accuses the agency of interfering with a congressional investigation into the CIA's possible use of torture during Bush-era terror probes.


Military radar data adds confusion and mystery to one of the most puzzling aviation incidents of recent years.


Republican David Jolly, who campaigned on a pledge to repeal the health care law, wins a hard-fought congressional race in Florida.


Crimea's parliament raises the possibility of declaring itself an independent state — rather than becoming part of Russia.


The Justice Department is examining why GM waited until February to recall 1.6 million compact cars after knowing about a problem with ignition switches for a decade.


As part of trade talks, the European Union wants to ban the use of European names like Parmesan, feta and Gorgonzola on cheese made in the U.S.


Thieves break into a safe at Joel Osteen's megachurch in Houston and make off with $600,000 in cash and checks.


The 11 stone masks date back 9,000 years and offer a rare glimpse at some of civilization's first communal rituals.


Visiting Manhattan, he goes shopping at the Gap, buying sweaters for his daughters and an athletic jacket for his wife.

10. BYE, BIG D

Franchise sack leader DeMarcus Ware is released by the Dallas Cowboys as the NFL's free-agency signing period opens.




"ObamaCare's implementers continue to roam the battlefield and shoot their own wounded, and the latest casualty is the core of the Affordable Care Act—the individual mandate. To wit, last week the Administration quietly excused millions of people from the requirement to purchase health insurance or else pay a tax penalty.

This latest political reconstruction has received zero media notice, and the Health and Human Services Department didn't think the details were worth discussing in a conference call, press materials or fact sheet. Instead, the mandate suspension was buried in an unrelated rule that was meant to preserve some health plans that don't comply with ObamaCare benefit and redistribution mandates. Our sources only noticed the change this week.

"Now all you need to do is fill out a form attesting that your plan was cancelled and that you "believe that the plan options available in the [ObamaCare] Marketplace in your area are more expensive than your cancelled health insurance policy" or "you consider other available policies unaffordable." (Sounds like the Boonstra exemption.)

Oh well, just another day and another unconstitutional amendment of a law - it's the Chicago way!


"The Service Employees International Union settled on paying close to a $200,000 fine for illegally funneling millions in contributions into a 2012 Michigan ballot campaign over collective bargaining for home health workers." http://dailycaller.com/2014/03/1...

Just another example of the Chicago way. . . .

Barry Soetoro

7. Please consider helping the Osteen's with their loss. They may not being able to fly in first class on their ski trip to Vail this spring without your generous donations.



Whew, at first thought you were talking about the Obumblers and their trip to Vail - I was worried that they finally blew through all the taxpayer money for their vacations.


Joel Ostene and co. are frauds preaching feeling good above doing good.



New York Times finally notices that Obama EPA's WAR ON COAL is causing hardships on Americans - women, minorities, and children hit hardest.

"Underlying the growing concern among consumers and regulators is a second phenomenon that could lead to even bigger price increases: Scores of old coal-fired power plants in the Midwest will close in the next year or so because of federal pollution rules intended to cut emissions of mercury, chlorine and other toxic pollutants. Still others could close because of a separate rule to prevent the damage that cooling water systems inflict on marine life.

For utilities, another frigid winter like this one could lead to a squeeze in supply, making it harder — and much more expensive — to supply power to consumers during periods of peak demand."

Boy, Lord Obama really IS King Midas in reverse - everything he touches turns to spit.


I'm gratified you seem to have developed some concern for women, minorities, children, and the elderly = those most disenfranchised by Republican voter ID/suppression laws, and most hurt by Dark Money Koch Bros deceitful ads on Obamacare, the government shutdown with threats of US default, the Republican War on Women, NO Jobs Bills, opposition to an increase in the minimum wage, the push to privatize Social Security, massive increases to the Federal debt due to 30 years of poor management - tax cuts to the wealthiest along with increased spending.

Noting your recent concern for those most vulnerable among us, you should be grateful the EPA is cracking down on the coal industry that has enjoyed years of dumping massive amounts of toxins directly into streams and creeks. You don't supply the link for your comments, perhaps overlooked it in your haste to print your comment due to your newly-found concern? Here's mine: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/a...

"One of the nation's largest coal producers will pay a $27.5 million fine and spend $200 million to reduce illegal toxic discharges into hundreds of waterways across five Appalachian states, according to a proposed settlement Wednesday.

The agreement includes the largest fine ever for violations of water pollution permits, with many of the violations reported by the company to state environmental officials. The Associated Press obtained details about the settlement before it was filed Wednesday in federal court in West Virginia.

The government says that between 2006 and 2013, Alpha Natural Resources Inc. and dozens of subsidiaries violated water pollution limits in state-issued permits more than 6,000 times. They discharged heavy metals and other contaminants harmful to fish and other wildlife from nearly 800 outfall pipes directly into rivers, streams and tributaries, according to the government. There is no evidence that any of the violations contaminated drinking water, EPA officials said.

Monitoring records attached to the complaint show that in some cases, the releases exceeded permit limits by as much as 35 times.

The settlement comes nearly two months after the water supply for 300,000 people in and around Charleston, W. Va., was temporarily undrinkable after the spill of a coal-cleaning chemical on the banks of the Elk River."


Such vituperation! Must have been quite a shock that voters sunk Sink, the handpicked candidate of the Democrats and Nancy Pelosi in Florida, who outspent the victor by huge amounts and ran on a pro-Obamacare platform.

One at a time:

Voter ID is a commonsense antidote to voter fraud and requiring ID for important activities and transactions is commonplace - including voting in union elections;

The Koch brothers rank 59th in political donations, far behind Actblue and most labor unions http://www.politisite.com/2014/0...

Harry Reid and Obama shut down the government when they failed to act on the appropriations bill duly passed by the House in furtherance of its Constitutional responsibilities, and all of the following compromise appropriations bills passed by the House.

To paraphrase Ann Coulter, Ted Kennedy has the only confirmed kill in the War on Women.

The massive increases in the National Debt have occurred under Obama - incontrovertible, by the way.

As fast as the coal companies are closing facilities due to Obama's War on Coal and coal miners and their union) Obama is funneling money to his crony capitalist millionaire friends in green energy, who promptly take it and go out of business.

Here's your link - http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/1...


11. An interesting statistic which should be listed as "the 11th Thing To Know Today" for concerned citizens. For years now, we have been instructed by the GOP and Vlad that Obama is unprecedented in his lawlessness, unconstitutionality, leading via a massive expansion of executive powers to circumvent the will of Congress and the entire body of US citizens. Scary stuff!

Turns out it's not true! For example, let's look at the number of presidential recess appointments, which are designed to circumvent Senate votes and appoint nominees to Federal positions when they might not pass through normal procedural voting.

To compare past presidents with the "lawless" President Obama:

Reagan = 240
Bush I = 77 (in one term)
Clinton = 139
Bush II = 171
Obama = 32 (in 6 years)

Makes you wonder.....with all the fuss from the GOP and Vlad about Obama's explosion of executive powers that doesn't hold up to scrutiny, what other instructions are they giving us that aren't fact-based?

Barry Soetoro

We're up to number 14 now if you didn't happen to notice. Please edit.


Frankly, I didn't notice. Didn't mean to step on Vlad's toes - this time.

Barry Soetoro

I've got a numbers OCD. Sorry.


Me, too. I once lost a lot of money because I was off by one digit....:'-(


Happy to help you, my friend:

1. Obama's current trouble in the Supreme Court is not that he made recess appointments, but that he unconstitutionally, and in violation of Separation of Powers, determined that HE and not the Senate would determine when the Senate was in session.

"There were three questions before the justices on Monday, and the administration had to prevail on all of them to win. But it ran into significant headwinds on at least two.

The narrowest question was whether the Senate could be said to be in recess when it insisted it was not. Justice Kagan said “it really is the Senate’s job to determine whether they’re in recess.” On this point, she told Mr. Verrilli, “history is entirely on the Senate’s side, not on your side.” http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/1...

2. Since the recess appointments of the other Presidents occurred when the Senate actually was in recess, they did not have the same issues. (After Bush made some controversial appointments in this manner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid began holding pro forma sessions every three days during intrasession recesses in order to block further appointments. (During a pro forma session a lone senator gavels an empty Senate to order and 30 seconds later ends the session.) Some describe these as “sham” sessions, but they’re official according to the Senate’s rules. Since Reid devised these pro forma proceedings, both parties have used them to block potential recess appointments. According to the congressional record, the Senate is never out of session during these breaks for more than three days.) Had Obama not arrogantly decided he would overrule the Senate, there would have been no problem and no case.

3. Your figures are meaningless - the issue is not the number of recess appointments, but the number of appointees blocked through filibusters. Although it is true that Obama has had a greater percentage of appointees blocked than all Presidents since 1949 (when cloture was first used on appointees), it is also true that (a) Obama poisoned the well by making an end run around the Senate by appointing unelected Czars to powerful positions, and (2) appointed a significant number of radical and controversial individuals.

4. This is now moot since Dingy Harry Reid overturned over 200 years of Senate precedent by greatly restricting the rights of the minority when he changed the filibuster rules. With any luck, later this year he will reap what he has sown.


What constitutes a real recess is just one of the issues as the fight over Senate confirmations moves to the Supreme Court. On Monday, the court will hear arguments in the administration’s challenge of an appeals court ruling that would tremendously restrict a president’s power to, as the Constitution allows, “fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate.”

What a coincidence! "C. Boyden Gray, the former White House counsel and ambassador, is among the conservative lawyers urging the Supreme Court to severely constrain the Obama administration’s ability to fill executive branch vacancies during a Senate recess. Mr. Gray is exceptionally well versed in the subject, having received his own recess appointment in 2006."

Interesting. Gosh - think of the wrongdoing by past presidents: "Besides Mr. Gray, at least two other conservative lawyers who are pushing for restraints were put on the federal Legal Services Corporation board by recess appointment — during the Reagan administration.

A Congressional Research Service review in February found those three appointments and hundreds of others since 1981 might have been invalid under the court ruling being reviewed by the Supreme Court and supported by the former recess appointees."

What a bunch of con-men! “This is part of a larger battle,” said William J. Olson, who filed a brief supporting the appeals court decision on behalf of Citizen United and other conservative organizations. “Presidents want to be able to avoid the role of the Senate.”

Mr. Olson says his own recess appointment to the Legal Services Corporation board of directors by President Ronald Reagan on Dec. 31, 1981, met the test of coming between sessions. It is a bit unclear as to whether the seat he filled can be considered to have come vacant during the same recess — the other test. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/1...

However, Justice Scalia, might want to recuse himself from the case, since his own son was appointed via recess appointment: The Supreme Court Could Halt the Recess Appointments That Got Scalia's Son His Job...On January 11, 2002, he became one of Bush's first recess appointees. That date clears the DC Circuit's bar of coming between sessions of congress, but Eugene Scalia's job didn't fall open during that recess. In the world envisioned by the DC Circuit, he would have been out of luck, forced to linger while Democrats held up his nomination. http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/...

You might call him dingy, but he stood up to the bullies like the boxer he used to be, and acted to repair a severely and intentionally broken Senate, where...."it was Republican filibusters of judicial and executive-branch nominees that finally drove Democrats to act on Thursday. Democrats had struck one deal after another with Republicans to try and rein in their abuse of the filibuster, but nothing worked. A few nominees would get through, and then another batch would promptly get filibustered. The chart below tells the tale. Under George Bush, Democrats mounted filibusters on 38 of his nominees. That's about five per year. Under Obama, Republicans have filibustered an average of 16 nominees per year."

The last straw came when Republicans announced their intention to filibuster all of Obama's nominees to the DC circuit court simply because they didn't want a Democratic president to be able to fill any more vacancies. At that point, even moderate Democrats had finally had enough. For all practical purposes, Republicans had declared war on Obama's very legitimacy as president, forbidding him from carrying out a core constitutional duty. Begging and pleading and cutting deals was no longer on the table. Eliminating the filibuster for judicial and executive branch nominees was the only option left, and on Thursday that's what Democrats finally did."

Reid opened debate in the morning by saying that it has become "so, so very obvious" that the Senate is broken and in need of rules reform. He rolled through a series of statistics intended to demonstrate that the level of obstruction under President Barack Obama outpaced any historical precedent.

Half the nominees filibustered in the history of the United States were blocked by Republicans during the Obama administration; of 23 district court nominees filibustered in U.S. history, 20 were Obama's nominees; and even judges that have broad bipartisan support have had to wait nearly 100 days longer, on average, than President George W. Bush's nominees. http://www.motherjones.com/kevin...


Using your unbiased source:


I note that you cleverly avoided the entire reason there is a lawsuit in the case - that the Ever-Arrogant Obama went far beyond what any President has presumed and determined that only HE rather than the Senate and HARRY REID, can decide when the Senate is in recess - just like HE, rather than the CONGRESS, can amend a law.

What next? Only HE rather than the Constitution, can decide how many terms a President can have, or how many illegals can be granted Amnesty? Certainly, what overtime means. You are setting yourself up to reap what Obama has sown.

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