Obamacare contraception decision imposed by court on priest group

Washington Times Politics - Wed, 2015-05-20 15:39

A federal appeals court said Wednesday it will not reconsider a pro-life ministry's plea for relief from Obamacare's birth control mandate, dealing a second blow in as many days to religious nonprofits who say the administration is ignoring its strongly held beliefs and signals from the Supreme Court.

The U.S. ...

Senate would put colleges on hook for student loan default

Washington Times Politics - Wed, 2015-05-20 15:20

College and universities that churn out students who default on their federal loans should be forced to bear some of the brunt of those costs, senators said Wednesday in a bipartisan push to try to make schools with high student default rates have to put "skin in the game."

Sen. ...

11th Circuit won't grant Siegelman a new trial

Washington Times Politics - Wed, 2015-05-20 15:11

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman will not get a new trial or a reduction in his prison sentence, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

The 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the former governor's claims that his 2006 bribery trial was tainted and that his ...

ACLU & FreedomWorks: NSA reform bill has gaping holes

Freedom Works - Wed, 2015-05-20 14:45

Earlier this month, a federal appeals court took a close look at the National Security Agency's collection and data-mining of Americans' phone records and concluded that the program was unlawful.

Rather than stop it, however, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit noted that Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the provision the NSA relies on for the program, would sunset on June 1. So the court decided to let Congress determine whether Section 215 should die, be revised, or extended without alteration.

Last Wednesday, the House passed a bipartisan reform bill that would prohibit the NSA's nationwide bulk collection of Americans' phone records. While the bill would stop spy agencies from engaging in some of the most egregious forms of abuse — such as collecting the information of an entire state, zip code, or service provider — it would not stop them from demanding vast amounts of information about Americans who have no connection to terrorism. Moreover, there is no requirement that the government immediately delete information that is irrelevant, or that belongs to innocent people — meaning those records could end up in intelligence databases for years. Clearly, this reform does not go far enough.

Author: Matt Kibbe and Anthony D. RomeroPublication Name: USA Todayhttp://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2015/05/20/patriot-act-senate-law-nsa-reform-column/27591559/Date Published: Wednesday, May 20, 2015FW Core Issues: PrivacyEnable Call to Action on frontpage: Button Text: Read More at USA Today

Fox News announces its plans for the first Republican presidential debate in August

Washington Times Politics - Wed, 2015-05-20 14:45

The countdown is on for the very first Republican presidential debate, set for August 6 in Cleveland - to be moderated by Fox News anchors Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace.

Michael Clemente, executive vice president of News Editorial, has also revealed the entry criteria for candidates: They must ...

ESPN to appeal Indiana judge's ruling on Notre Dame police

Washington Times Politics - Wed, 2015-05-20 14:37

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - ESPN will appeal a northern Indiana judge's ruling that the University of Notre Dame police department is not subject to the state's open records law.

Lawyers for ESPN filed a notice Wednesday with the Indiana Court of Appeals that it would appeal the April 20 ...

Key Vote YES on the Flake Amendment to Remove Trade Adjustment Assistance from Fast-Track

Freedom Works - Wed, 2015-05-20 14:32

As one of our over 6.9 million FreedomWorks members nationwide, I urge you to contact your senators and ask them to vote YES on the Flake amendment to remove Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) from H.R. 1314, the vehicle for Trade Promotion Authority (TPA).

FreedomWorks supports free trade, and the Trade Promotion Authority deal as a potential means to increase free trade, but TAA is a wasteful and duplicative program that should not be reauthorized at all – and certainly not as part of the TPA.

TAA gives subsidies—in the form of job training for workers and direct financial assistance for firms—to those purported to be harmed by increased international trade. From a public policy standpoint, trying to “correct” for job losses in particular sectors as a result of increased competition is simply wrongheaded. In order for an economy to grow and thrive, industries need to be flexible and able to change with changing market conditions. Trying to prop up industries that cannot compete on their own merely delays the inevitable and inhibits growth.

TAA has also been proven by multiple studies to be ineffective, and it is duplicative of several other federal jobs programs. Finally, the eligibility standards for TAA are notoriously loose, meaning that some companies are able to cash in despite not actually having been impacted by foreign trade.

Thus, I hope that you’ll tell your senators to vote YES on the Flake amendment to strip the Trade Adjustment Assistance language from H.R. 1314. We will count votes for this amendment towards their score in FreedomWorks’ Economic Freedom Scorecard for 2015. The Scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the FreedomFighter Award, which recognizes members of Congress with voting records that support economic freedom.

Sincerely,

Matt Kibbe President and Founder, FreedomWorks

Files:  KVN 2015-05-20 - YES - Flake Amendment to Remove TAA from TPA.pdf

Analysis: Recent California newspaper editorials

Washington Times Politics - Wed, 2015-05-20 14:30

May 20

The Sacramento Bee: California Medical Association goes neutral on death with dignity

Ever so slowly, attitudes change for the better.

The politically influential California Medical Association announced ... it has changed a long-held position and dropped its opposition to pending death-with-dignity legislation, Senate Bill 128.

The association's decision ...

Jeb Bush Has Bigger Problems Than Iraq War Stumble

TownHall - Wed, 2015-05-20 14:30
By now everyone has had their say about Jeb Bush's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week. 2015-05-20T00:01:00-04:00 2015-05-20T21:30:03Z Jonah Goldberg

Lawmakers pass 'cooling off' requirement for ex-legislators

Washington Times Politics - Wed, 2015-05-20 14:21

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Nevada senators have passed a measure that would require a "cooling off" period for former legislators who want to become lobbyists.

Republican Assemblyman Pat Hickey is sponsoring AB273, which passed the Senate unanimously on Wednesday and passed the Assembly unanimously in April.

The measure would ...

Gulf oil leak records cannot be kept secret, US judge says

Washington Times Politics - Wed, 2015-05-20 14:20

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A federal magistrate judge Wednesday rejected a company's bid to preserve the confidentiality of numerous emails and reports about its failed efforts to halt a decade-old Gulf of Mexico oil leak.

The documents could be evidence in a lawsuit that a coalition of environmental groups, led ...

Marco Rubio, House GOP back Rick Scott in Medicaid standoff with HHS

Washington Times Politics - Wed, 2015-05-20 14:15

Presidential candidate Marco Rubio and other Florida Republicans urged President Obama on Wednesday to renew federal funding for health program at the center of a festering dispute between Gov. Rick Scott and the administration, which wants the state to expand Medicaid under Obamacare instead.

Their letter to the president comes ...

Deal near on bill requiring public bodies to have agendas

Washington Times Politics - Wed, 2015-05-20 13:48

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - House and Senate members are nearing a deal on a bill that would require government bodies in South Carolina to publish agendas before public meetings.

The solving of a problem created by a state Supreme Court ruling last year looks like it will be the only ...

Kansas governor says he's not drawing clear lines on taxes

Washington Times Politics - Wed, 2015-05-20 13:33

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Republican Gov. Sam Brownback said Wednesday that he's not drawing "very clear lines" about what he'll accept as the GOP-dominated Kansas Legislature considers reversing one of his major economic initiatives to help close a state budget shortfall.

Legislators in both parties said the tactic is helpful ...

FreedomWorks hosts bloggers for a unique, in-depth Justice Reform Briefing

Freedom Works - Wed, 2015-05-20 13:15

What happens when you put 15 conservative and libertarian bloggers in a room at one of the most influential progressive organizations in the United States with their staff and journalists to discuss justice reform? As counterintuitive as it may seem given obvious ideological divides, the discussion was nothing short of profound and, perhaps to some in the room, even surprising as an unlikely alliance began to evolve.

On Monday, May 18, FreedomWorks and the Center for American Progress hosted a joint Justice Reform Briefing. FreedomWorks invited journalists and bloggers from inside and outside the Beltway to attend the event, handing them literature featuring justice reform-related issues, including Justice for All: 5 Principles for a Better Justice System.

At the morning session hosted at FreedomWorks’ office, conservative and libertarian bloggers heard presentations from speakers on specific justice reform issues on which we have spent much of our efforts. Our staffers went over reform efforts in the states, which have been led predominately by Republican states, and legislation in Congress to reform federal civil asset forfeiture laws and mandatory minimum sentences.

Julie Borowski gave a great presentation on civil asset forfeiture, emphasizing the problems this bad policy presents for innocent people, their property, and their constitutionally guaranteed right of due process.

Molly Gill of Families Against Mandatory Minimums discussed the unfairness of mandatory minimum sentences. She told heartbreaking personal stories of people who were prosecuted under this particularly terrible brand of big government in the courtroom.

Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli offered the conservative case for justice reform and spoke on overcriminalization in federal law, noting that there are so many criminal statutes on the books that they cannot even be accurately counted.

“The best part about the Justice Reform Briefing,” said Taylor Millard, a blogger and podcast host at Vigilant Liberty Radio, “was finding out about actual examples of how mandatory minimums are unfair and statistics on what the government pulls in on civil asset forfeiture versus criminal forfeiture.”

The morning session at FreedomWorks was only the beginning.

At noon, we traveled to the Center for American Progress (CAP), where our bloggers joined their staffers, journalists and bloggers for a joint lunch session featuring Christine Leonard of the Coalition for Public Safety and a three-part joint afternoon session moderated by policy experts from left and the right.

Vikrant Reddy of the Charles Koch Institute and Chelsea Parsons from the Center for American Progress moderated the afternoon discussion on prison reform for American Progress. Logan Albright from FreedomWorks and Sakira Cook from the Leadership Conference led the discussion on civil asset forfeiture. And Benji McMurray from the office of Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Jesselyn McCurdy from the American Civil Liberties Union guided the conversation on sentencing reform.

Bloggers and staffers representing both FreedomWorks and the Center for American Progress engaged each other openly and honestly. Nothing was off limits during the discussion. The bloggers with FreedomWorks showed a tremendous depth of knowledge on all the issues discussed at the morning session and learned a lot from their counterparts with the Center for American Progress during their afternoon session.

“I enjoyed the two parts of briefing because the FreedomWorks part armed me with a plethora of facts and stories I was unaware of that will help me make my cases in writing,” said Jessica Szilagyi, who writes for the Georgia-based blog, Peach Pundit.

“The part of the summit at the Center for American Progress was great for messaging because of the open forum and honest discussion that circulated, offering fears and needs from many sides of the justice reform message,” she added.

Even though they will never agree on a host of contentious policy issues, both sides walked away from the summit knowing that they found common ground with unlikely allies on justice reform to bring fairness back into the system, while reducing costs to taxpayers and lower crime and repeat offender rates.

MICHAEL HAYDEN: The chasm between the security agencies and the Obama administration

Washington Times Politics - Wed, 2015-05-20 13:02

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

One way of looking at the federal government is that part of it is permanent and another part of it is transient. The transient government comprises those elected officials and political appointees who change when administrations change.

There are exceptions (like Bob Gates staying on at Defense), but presidents ...

Former Va. lawmaker says 19-year-old woman's baby is his

Washington Times Politics - Wed, 2015-05-20 13:01

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A former Virginia lawmaker who was accused of having sex with a 17-year-old employee says he is the father of her baby.

Joe Morrissey made the announcement Wednesday on the Jack Gravely show on WLEE radio in Richmond. Morrissey previously had said only that he was ...

Hillary Clinton campaign raffling off backstage pass to meet candidate

Washington Times Politics - Wed, 2015-05-20 12:13

Hillary Rodham Clinton's first big campaign rally also will be the prize in a fundraising raffle, her campaign announced Wednesday.

In an email to supporters, the Clinton campaign promised to automatically enter donors in a sweepstakes to win a trip and all-access pass to Mrs. Clinton's first rally.

"Huge news: ...

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