Rep. Zoe Lofgren says the United States has a long history of welcoming immigrants. During a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Feb. 5, 2013, Lofgren, D-Calif., turned to the history books for perspective on the question of what status to grant newcomers to the United States. "What makes America special is that people come here, assimilate and become American with all of the rights and responsibilities citizenship bestows," Lofgren said. "With the exception of slavery and the Chinese Exclusion Act, our laws have never barred persons from becoming citizens, and we should not ...>> More
Zoe Lofgren: "With the exception of slavery and the Chinese Exclusion Act, our laws have never barred persons from becoming citizens."
Facebook posts: "Washington, D.C., now has greater population than Wyoming and Vermont, more active duty military than 29 states, more tax revenue than 29 states (and) a larger domestic product than 27 states."
For decades, residents of Washington, D.C., have been clamoring for representation in Congress. Currently, the nation’s capital has only a non-voting delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives and no U.S. senators. The issue has been such a frustration that D.C. license plates feature the protest motto, "Taxation Without Representation." It’s against this backdrop that we noticed a Facebook post recently. Here’s the text: "Washington, D.C., now has: "Greater population than Wyoming & Vermont "More active duty military than 29 states "More tax revenue than 29 states "A larger ...>> More
Wayne LaPierre: "As a result of National Rifle Association and other private-sector (safety-education) programs, fatal firearms accidents are at the lowest level in 100 years."
During a closely watched Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun policy on Jan. 31, 2013, National Rifle Association executive director Wayne LaPierre offered several statistics designed to bolster his group’s position against gun control. Here’s one claim that caught our eye: "Teaching safe and responsible gun ownership works, and the NRA has a long and proud history of doing exactly that," LaPierre said. "Our Eddie Eagle Child Safety Program has taught 25 million young people that if they see a gun, they should do four things: stop, don't touch it, leave the area, ...>> More
Rush Limbaugh: Research shows that "a vast majority of arriving immigrants today come here because they believe that government is the source of prosperity, and that's what they support."
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio talked immigration recently with conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, steering into an interesting side issue: why people come to the U.S. "You look at people that come from Latin America. They come to get away from stale, stagnant economies where the rich keep winning and everybody else keeps working for them because big government dominates those economies," Rubio said. To which Limbaugh responded: "Well, is that the reason that a majority of immigrants come to this country today? I know it used to be. They wanted to be ...>> More
Stephen King: Says since Australia passed tough gun laws, "homicides by firearm have declined almost 60 percent."
Author Stephen King once asked his publisher to pull one of his novels off the shelves. Six people had died — in real life. Four boys in 10 years brought guns to school. One killed a teacher and two students. Another shot five members of a prayer group, killing three. All four teenagers had read Rage, a book King wrote when he was a teen himself and published under another name. King, in a blunt, impassioned essay, wrote that when he learned of the copycat crimes, he wanted the book off ...>> More
Kirsten Gillibrand: "Today, about 40 percent of guns are purchased without a background check."
Gun control advocates are lining up behind President Barack Obama’s call for a law requiring universal background checks on gun purchases. "The background checks bill is vitally important," New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said in an interview on MSNBC Jan. 24, 2013. It’s "going to basically say you can’t buy guns without getting a background check. Today, about 40 percent of guns are purchased without a background check." If the figure sounds familiar, it’s because gun control advocates are citing it with abandon. Obama mentioned it in the White House ceremony outlining ...>> More
Americans for a Strong Defense: Says Chuck Hagel has called for "an end to our nuclear program."
The United States faces terrifying threats from foreign countries, but Chuck Hagel, the nominee for defense secretary, wants to close up our nuclear shop, says Americans for a Strong Defense, a group formed to oppose Hagel’s nomination. "We live in a dangerous world," says the narrator in an ad that ran shortly before the Jan. 31 hearings were set to begin. "Iran. North Korea. Even Russia." Ominous news coverage mentions "brand new threats from Iran aimed squarely at the United States," North Korea launching a "long-range missile" and Russia "test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile." ...>> More
Dianne Feinstein: "One out of every five law enforcement officers that's killed is killed with an assault weapon."
Almost six weeks after the gun rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., took the lead in proposing a new assault weapons ban. She later argued for its passage on the Jan. 28, 2013, edition of CBS’ Face the Nation. Host Bob Schieffer asked Feinstein, "What about the idea -- which some gun rights supporters cite -- they say, ‘Look, all of this is just to make people feel good. It's just, kind of, feel-good legislation’ -- that, in the end, it's not going to stop these kinds ...>> More
Marco Rubio: "Washington, D.C., had some of the strictest gun laws in the country. And when they passed them, violence skyrocketed."
Do gun laws work? As lawmakers consider President Barack Obama's call to take action against gun violence after mass shootings in Connecticut, Colorado, Wisconsin and Arizona, some argue new rules won’t help. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, told Fox News that Obama’s plan — which proposes steps such as closing background check loopholes and banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines — is "not going to solve the problem." "Washington, D.C. had some of the strictest gun laws in the country," Rubio told host Brian Kilmeade on Jan. ...>> More
Sean Hannity: Under President Barack Obama, "8.3 (million) fewer Americans are working today than there were four years ago."
During the Jan. 22, 2013, edition of his Fox News show, Sean Hannity introduced an interview segment with Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., by noting that during his second inauguration, President Barack Obama barely mentioned the primary topic of the 2012 presidential election -- the economy. After playing some excerpts from Obama’s inaugural speech, Hannity said, "While Obama remains hell-bent on tackling national security threats like climate change, the president made no substantive references to economic matters like putting you the American people back to work." Then, welcoming McCarthy to the show, Hannity ...>> More
Ron DeSantis: The tax penalty that the government imposes if you don't buy health insurance "is lower than it would have cost to buy insurance."
Following President Barack Obama’s second inaugural address, three freshmen Republican members of Congress appeared on Greta Van Susteren’s Fox News show to offer their reactions. The panel focused on the need to address the nation’s debt problem, but the discussion also turned to a favorite Republican point of attack: Obamacare. Ron DeSantis, who represents northeast Florida including St. Augustine, Daytona Beach, and areas near Jacksonville, predicted that the health care law will put negative pressure on the insurance market. "It's structured in a way I think is going to end ...>> More
Jackie Speier: "Even members of the NRA, when they were polled recently, were under the impression that everyone has a criminal background check."
On the president’s list of gun-control priorities: require background checks for all gun sales. That step has widespread support, even among gun owners, gun-control advocates say. In fact, many assume such a measure is already in place, claimed Rep. Jackie Speier, a California Democrat who is vice chair of a new congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. "Even members of the NRA, when they were polled recently, were under the impression that everyone has a criminal background check," she told Ed Schultz in a Jan. 15, ...>> More
The rich should pay more taxes because of rising income inequality, said Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in a Jan. 7, 2013, interview on MSNBC. Sanders’ comments came after anchor Thomas Roberts asked him whether he, President Barack Obama and Democratic lawmakers are ready to "go after corporations that in some cases pay no taxes at all." Roberts asked, "Do Democrats smell blood in the water here?" Sanders responded, "Well, Thomas, it's not smelling blood in the water. What it is is looking at reality, and the reality is that we have growing wealth ...>> More
Mark Shields: Since 1968, "more Americans have died from gunfire than died in … all the wars of this country's history."
Since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., supporters and opponents of gun control have thrown out statistics to support their point of view. Here’s one that caught our eye, offered by liberal commentator Mark Shields on the Dec. 21, 2012, edition of the PBS NewsHour. Shields told host Judy Woodruff, "You know, Judy, the reality is -- and it's a terrible reality -- since Robert Kennedy died in the Ambassador Hotel on June 4, 1968, more Americans have died from gunfire than died in … all the ...>> More
Facebook posts: In 2011, more people were murdered with knives, "hands or feet" or "clubs and hammers" than with any type of rifle.
Gun-rights advocates have mounted an aggressive social-media campaign to blunt the popularity of the White House’s efforts to advance new restrictions on guns. One reader forwarded us a statistics-heavy Facebook post that echoes others we’ve received. It says, "Facts gun control advocates don’t want you to know. According to the FBI, in 2011, 1,694 were murdered with knives, 726 with hands or feet, 496 with clubs or hammers, 323 with rifles of any type. But Obama wants to ban semi-automatic rifles?" We should first note that there is significant disagreement over ...>> More
The grilling Chuck Hagel, the nominee for Secretary of Defense, will receive from the U.S. Senate boils down to this : How much does he love Israel and hate Iran? Politicians and foreign policy observers have been poring over Hagel’s votes and statements about the Middle East in reaction to President Barack Obama’s Jan. 7 nomination of Hagel, a Republican and former senator from Nebraska, to replace retiring Leon Panetta. U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, a member of the House foreign affairs committee who chairs a subcommittee on the Middle East, issued a ...>> More
Emergency Committee for Israel: "While President Obama says all options are on the table for preventing a nuclear Iran, Hagel says military action is not a viable, feasible, responsible option."
President Barack Obama’s nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., as defense secretary is expected to create a hotly contested fight about his comments on Israel and Iran. Pro-Israel hawks have cast a portrait of Hagel as too soft on Iran and not chummy enough with Israel. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said a day before the Jan. 7 announcement that if confirmed, Hagel would be "the most antagonistic secretary of defense towards the State of Israel in our nation's history." The Hagel nomination comes two months after Obama won re-election amid much ...>> More
By Alex Dobuzinskis
Jan 5 (Reuters) - Retired Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy is taking aim at what he sees as knee-jerk support for marijuana legalization among his fellow liberals, in a project that carries special meaning for the self-confessed former Oxycontin addict.
Kennedy, 45, a Democrat and younger son of the late "Lion of the Senate" Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, is leading a group called Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) that opposes legalization and seeks to rise above America's culture war over pot with its images of long-haired hippies battling law-and-order conservatives.
Project proposals include increased funding for mental health courts and treatment of drug dependency, so those caught using marijuana might avoid incarceration, get help and potentially have their criminal records cleared.
Kennedy wants cancer patients and others with serious illnesses to be able to obtain drugs with cannabinoids, but in a more regulated way that could involve the U.S. Food and Drug Administration playing a larger role.
The eight-term former congressman from Rhode Island and the group he chairs will put forth their plan on Wednesday with a media appearance in Denver.
Their efforts follow the November election that saw voters in Washington state and Colorado become the first in the nation to approve measures to tax and regulate pot sales for recreational use. Kennedy's group is seeking to shift the debate and reclaim momentum for the anti-legalization movement, in part by proposing new solutions with appeal to liberals, such as taking a public health approach to combat marijuana use.
Legalization backers have argued that the so-called War on Drugs launched in 1971 by former President Richard Nixon has failed to stem marijuana use, and has instead saddled otherwise law-abiding pot smokers with criminal records that may block their avenues to landing a successful job.
Kennedy faults the U.S. government for allocating too much of its $25 billion drug control budget to law enforcement rather than to treatment and prevention.
"Yes, the drug war has been a failure, but let's look at the science and let's look at what works. And let's not just throw out the baby with the bathwater," Kennedy, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2011, said in a telephone interview.
The U.S. Department of Justice is still developing a policy in regard to the new state legalization measures.
President Barack Obama said in an interview with ABC News last month that it did not make sense for the federal government to "focus on recreational drug users in a state that has already said that, under state law, that's legal."
Conservative political commentator David Frum, a speech writer for former President George W. Bush, is also a board member on Project SAM, which lends it a bipartisan flavor.
For his part, Kennedy is aiming many of his arguments toward liberals like himself. Polls show Democrats largely favoring legalizing marijuana, and among the 18 states that allow medical marijuana, several are in the West and Northeast and are heavily Democratic.
"The fact is people are afraid on the (political) left to look like they're not for an alternative to incarceration and criminalization, and they're afraid they're not going to look sympathetic to a cancer patient" who might use marijuana, Kennedy said. As a result, he said the legalization position mistakenly comes to be seen as "glamorous."
Kennedy admits to having smoked pot but also said that, as an asthma sufferer, he "found other ways to get high."
In 2006, he crashed his car into a security barrier in Washington, D.C., and soon after sought treatment for drug dependency. He said he was addicted to the pain reliever Oxycontin at that time and suffered from alcoholism. He added that he has been continuously sober for nearly two years.
Kennedy, who was married for the first time in 2011, said he worries his 8-month-old son might be predisposed to drug abuse - due to a kind of genetic "trigger" - and that is part of his fight against legalization.
He also said he wants to "reduce the environmental factors that pull that trigger," such as marijuana use being commonly accepted.
Meanwhile, another prominent figure from Rhode Island, the newly crowned Miss Universe Olivia Culpo, is making waves by also objecting to legalization. She told Fox News this week there are "too many bad habits that go with the drug."
In Washington state, Alison Holcomb was campaign director for the legalization measure, which billed itself as having a public health element to help people dependent on marijuana.
The measure, which is not set to go into full effect until after state regulators spend most of 2013 setting guidelines, would allow adults 21 and older to buy marijuana at special stores.
Holcomb argued that drug dependency courts are more geared toward users of hardcore drugs, and that the approach her group put forward is the sensible one.
"I don't know what a public health approach without legalization looks like, if you're still arresting people," she said.
Taxes on marijuana sales would generate, at the high end of estimates, over $500 million a year with $67 million of that going to a state agency that provides drug treatment, said Mark Cooke, policy adviser for the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington state, which supported the campaign.
Also included in the tax revenue would be $44 million for education and public health campaigns - including a phone line for people wanting to quit using marijuana, Cooke said. (Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Gunna Dickson)
The new monthly jobs report wasn't quite as strong as some had hoped, but it wasn't necessarily awful news, either. As Matt Yglesias noted, "[M]ake no mistake -- this economy is growing and has been growing steadily for months. It's not booming and it's not undoing the damage of the prolonged labor market weakspot, but it's definitely growing and the situation is definitely improving."I think that's right, but I also wonder whether Congress will screw it up.Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said something the other day that stuck with me: "Something has...
Giffords, who two years ago survived a shooting at a campaign event in Tucson that left six dead and many more wounded, will attend a private event at a Newtown home.
On Wednesday, Giffords met with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at City Hall to discuss the need for tougher gun control measures in the wake of the tragic shooting at Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary School. Details of Giffords' meeting with Bloomberg have not been made public.
The former congresswoman, who has made a remarkable recovery after suffering a gunshot wound to the head, has become an advocate for gun control since the 2011 shooting that nearly took her life. Following the massacre in Newtown, Giffords' husband Mark Kelly wrote a Facebook post on behalf of Giffords and himself, urging action on gun violence:
My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and the entire community of Newtown, CT. I just spoke to Gabby, and she sends her prayers from Tucson.
As we mourn, we must sound a call for our leaders to stand up and do what is right. This time our response must consist of more than regret, sorrow, and condolence. The children of Sandy Hook Elementary School and all victims of gun violence deserve leaders who have the courage to participate in a meaningful discussion about our gun laws - and how they can be reformed and better enforced to prevent gun violence and death in America. This can no longer wait.
As news of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary played out around the country, the mantra from the gun-rights folks was fairly consistent: now is not the time to discuss how the government should deal with controls on firearms. It’s politicizing tragedy to talk about it, they whine.O.K., I’ll agree. Let’s not talk about policy when it comes to Sandy Hook.Instead, let’s consider the San Ysidro McDonald’s massacre in 1984. Following the shooting of 40 people at that time, gunnies also said it was too soon to discuss new firearms laws; it would...
American International Group: AIG has fully repaid the federal government "plus a profit of more than $22 billion."
New Year’s Day football watchers got a heavy dose of rah, rah from AIG, the big insurance company that was bailed out by federal taxpayers. An ad called "Thank You, America" featured scenes from Hurricane Sandy, tornado-ravaged Joplin, Mo., and the World Trade Center — disasters the company insured — with the message: We paid you back. AIG has repaid "everything, plus a profit of more than $22 billion," an employee in the ad says. Text on the screen soon flashes: "$205 billion, paid to America from AIG." ...>> More
Greta Van Susteren was up in arms on Wednesday about a Daily Beast story which alleged that she had joked about Secretary of State Clinton's concussion.
Clinton recently sustained a concussion the week before she was scheduled to speak in Congress about the Benghazi attack, and her testimony was postponed. Several Fox News personalities and guests suggested that Clinton was trying to avoid testifying. A Daily Beast story initially reported that Van Susteren said that Clinton had had an "immaculate concussion."
The Daily Beast later corrected the story, explaining that it was Laura Ingraham who made the remark in question.
Before that though, Van Susteren hit back in a blog post. "SHAME ON THE DAILY BEAST and LAUREN ASHBURN AND TINA BROWN’s EDITORS – I NEVER, NEVER, NEVER SAID THIS (in fact, I spoke out to the OPPOSITE RIGHT HERE ON GRETAWIRE!)" she wrote.
Van Susteren defended Clinton and spoke out against her colleagues' remarks in December. ""I don’t agree with any of my FNC colleagues or anyone else who is a tad bit sarcastic on our air about Secretary Clinton’s health," she wrote at the time.
In a later post on Wednesday, Van Susteren wrote, "I just called Tina Brown and told her to fix that NOW — I told her I was furious — she hung up on me."
California's Democratic leaders are giddy about the future now that they have gained everything they wanted in the recent election – voter-approved tax increases and two-thirds supermajorities in both houses of the Legislature, thus rendering Republicans little more than an annoying irrelevancy who can no longer block tax hikes. Will Democrats just ramp up the taxing-and-spending spree or will some semblance of a "moderate" Democratic caucus emerge to offer a limited check on those tendencies? Either way, it's hard to find good news for taxpayers or business...