August 28, 2014

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Dems’ catch: Voters like their issues, not party
Written by Associated Press   
Saturday, February 15, 2014 9:00 PM

CAMBRIDGE, Md. (AP) — Congressional Democrats held a retreat this week seeking inspiration. But they left as befuddled as ever by an America that arguably likes their issues but not always the party.

This fall’s elections seem likely to leave Democrats in the House minority, and may rob them of their Senate majority. Republicans hope to gain six net seats to control the Senate.

At a three-day retreat by the Chesapeake Bay, House Democrats struggled to explain this political landscape while also insisting the public supports their agenda on immigration, income, women’s rights and other priorities. Friday pep talks by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden did little to solve the riddle.

 
Point of View — Once upon a time-ish
Written by Kathleen Parker   
Saturday, February 15, 2014 9:00 PM

BY KATHLEEN PARKER

WASHINGTON — It is easy these days to imagine that one is living in a fairy tale, albeit a dreary one.

In fairy tales, as in Washington, things are true that can’t possibly be — and what is not true can be defended by tilting the facts a certain way and catching the light just so.

Objective truth, it seems, has gone the way of trolls, goblins and gremlins, by which one should not infer that Truth has taken up residence in the U.S. Congress.

 
Obamacare’s unintended consequences
Written by Rob Portman   
Saturday, February 15, 2014 9:00 PM

BY US SENATOR

ROB PORTMAN

 

The more we learn about Obamacare, the worse it gets for the American people. We have become almost numb to the parade of bad news that has followed last year’s rollout of the President’s healthcare legislation — the failed website, the millions of Americans who lost their health insurance or their doctor, the millions more who’ve seen their premiums and deductibles go up, the businesses that aren’t hiring or are cutting hours because of the law’s provisions.

Take the small business owner who wrote to me about having to tell his 35 employees that their insurance would be cancelled and that the cheapest replacement policies would include a 35 percent increase in premiums as well as a 33 percent increase in deductibles. Or the father of five who saw the cost of his family’s insurance double under Obamacare. I’ve heard many similar stories repeated by moms and dads and small business owners across our state.

 
What’s all the ‘flap’ about?
Written by Nancy Spencer   
Saturday, February 15, 2014 9:00 PM

You all know of my slow descent into Facebook oblivion. I was resistant and claimed I would never be on Facebook and questioned what did I want or need to do that for. And then I created a Facebook account and hundreds of friends and thousands of hours invested in reading posts, hitting “like” and playing Words With Friends and Bejeweled Blitz later, I don’t know what I ever did without it.

That is one thing I will never be able to say about “Flappy Bird.”

“Flappy Bird” is a simple game in which users fly a small bird through a course of pipes. If the bird touches the pipes or the ground, it dies.

“Flappy Bird” was originally released for the iPhone in May but didn’t become the top free iPhone app until mid-January, following a surge in popularity that seems to have kicked off in early December.

 
Final Farm Bill reverses reform
Written by Information submitted   
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 9:07 PM

BY TRACI BRUCKNER

Center for Rural Affairs

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

On Feb. 7, President Barack Obama signed the Farm Bill into law in East Lansing, Mich.

The Center for Rural Affairs opposed the final Farm Bill that came out of the Conference Committee because the conference report stripped out bipartisan reforms, which passed both House and Senate, and would have tightened the definition of being “actively engaged” in farming. The current definition has been a loophole that mega-farms use to gain additional payments by defining passive investors as qualified farmers, even though those investors provide no real labor or management on the farm.

Not only did the Conference Committee leaders actually increase farm payment limits from $50,000 to $125,000 for the primary commodity program, they turned aside real reform passed in both House and Senate, to essentially create a commodity program that will provide unlimited payments to mega-farms, no matter how large they get, as long as payments flow to family members.

Conference Committee leaders have tried to lay claim to the mantle of reform. However, this Farm Bill will continue to provide virtually unlimited farm program payments to the nation’s largest and wealthiest farms, which they will use to bid up land costs, drive their smaller neighbors out of business and bar the next generation of farmers from even gaining a foothold in farming. This is not reform, this is smoke and mirrors. We can, we must do better than this.

 
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