During a speech at the Legislative Conference of the National Treasury Employees Union last week, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said that many Americans don’t understand what motivates people to seek jobs in government.
“People do not seem to understand that so many people come to government knowing that they are not going to make the kind of money that they would make in the private sector but they come to government to feed their souls,” Cummings said.
That’s why the lawmaker says he’s dedicated to increasing wages for federal workers.
“So what are my priorities? What’s my reason for being here?” Cummings said. “My ardent priority is to do whatever I can to help federal workers obtain fair compensation and meaningful pay raises.”
“President Obama’s budget for the next year recommends a 1.3 percent pay raise for federal employees I believe this is too low. I love the president but I believe this is far too low, far too low.”
Even in exceptional, snowbound circumstances, one New Jersey town has managed to remain faithful to its ordinance forbidding door-to-door solicitation without a permit — even though the “culprits” were just a pair of teenagers offering to shovel snow for local residents.
The duo — Matt Molinari and Eric Schnepf — had reportedly been shoveling snow for money in their hometown of Bridgewater, New Jersey. Then a major snowstorm came along in late January, and they decided to branch out into nearby Bound Brook, where the police stopped them.
“They need a permit, un-permitted solicitation is not allowed,” was the reception Molinari told CBS New York they received in Bound Brook. But, according to the same story, Bound Brook Police Chief Michael Jannone said the city was only trying to keep people off the streets during a “state of emergency” and wasn’t trying to strenuously enforce a permitting ordinance.
Yet the two young men maintain the police cited the ordinance as the reason for shutting down their snow-shoveling enterprise — even though, as Molinari said, the cops “weren’t jerks” about it.
“[T]he real jerks in this case are the local officials who made the [permitting] rules,” Watchdog.org’s Eric Boehm retorted in a Monday report:
To get a permit for door-to-door solicitation in Bound Brook, Molinari and Schnepf would have had to pay the borough $450 (and the government-issued permission slip is only good for 180 days at a time, which is fine if you’re trying to run a snow-shoveling business, but not so great if you’re trying to offer services year-round).
At that cost, they’d have little chance of making any profit — unless the fine folks of Bound Brook are willing to pay $100 to have their driveways and front walks cleared.
While such ordinances are conceived to keep scammers and fly-by-night salesmen from taking advantage of local residents, they “have to take a back seat to common sense at times,” Boehm emphasized.
California prankster and liberty activist Mark Dice has again revealed alarming stupidity of some Americans. For his latest video, Dice racked up signatures to a petition to help “continue the spread of illiteracy” in the U.S.
“It’s part of an Obama administration education program,” Dice told one woman as she signed.
“A lot of kids just aren’t reading these days and a lot of adults just aren’t paying any attention at all,”
Dice added as she handed back the clipboard. “Thank you for demonstrating that.”
“A lot of people just aren’t paying any attention, aren’t reading, aren’t comprehending anything,” Dice told another man.
“They’re stupid,” the man responded as he signed the petition.
Throughout the video Dice is careful to repeatedly tell signees that the petition is aimed at encouraging and spreading “illiteracy.” And, though he may have selectively edited the footage, not a single person questions Dice as to why he would want to increase the number of people unable to read.
“Illiteracy, is that just more literacy? … Improving the mind,” one man pondered as he signed the petition.
It’s been a bad week for NBC’s Brian Williams. The newsman has been relentlessly mocked online since being called out for a 10-year-old lie about taking fire in Iraq. And it isn’t just the Internet that’s out to get Williams. According to an unnamed source, former “Nightly News” host Tom Brokaw wants Williams’ “head on a platter” over the malfeasance. The phrasing of Brokaw’s request must have jogged Williams’ memory: Tune in to “NBC Nightly News” next week to hear Williams recant how he lost his head once before at a palace called Machaerus.
Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News
Abolishing the individual mandate, subsidizing healthcare only for the poor and preserving the Affordable Care Act’s assurance of health coverage for pre-existing conditions are among the hallmarks of one new Obamacare alternative plan revealed by Congressional Republicans this week.
The plan — the first to be announced among other, competing GOP-backed alternatives to Obamacare — was revealed Wednesday by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.).
The legislation calls for an end to Obamacare’s mandate penalizing Americans for not obtaining health insurance, and it returns regulatory powers to the states, but preserves the pre-existing condition rule.
The bill’s sponsors, however, have not yet announced whether the legislation addresses those Obamacare customers who have already purchased insurance on the federal healthcare exchanges.
“Today, we offer a bold bicameral plan that fully repeals and replaces the healthcare law with reforms that empower patients — not Washington,” Hatch said in a statement Wednesday.
“We agree we can’t return to the status quo of the pre-Obamacare world, so we equip patients with tools that will drive down costs while also ensuring those with pre-existing conditions and the young are protected. Our plan allows patients to make healthcare decisions for themselves — without a maze of mandates, fines, and taxes. This plan is achievable, and above all, fiscally sustainable. And, unlike the passage of Obamacare, which was done in secret, we welcome input from the American people as we move this plan forward.”
Global warming, the nearly omnipotent (yet, ironically, man-made) force that’s responsible for everything from your dad’s drinking too much to your inability to remember your PIN number when there’s a line behind you at the checkout, has added a new power to its growing arsenal: volcanism.
TIME has an article out this week headlined “How Climate Change Leads to Volcanoes (Really)” that, like the clickbait it is, cites a study ascribing to global warming — ahem, climate change — the power to accelerate Icelandic volcanic activity:
Now, you can add yet another problem to the climate change hit list: volcanoes. That’s the word from a new study conducted in Iceland and accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters. The finding is bad news not just for one comparatively remote part of the world, but for everywhere.
Iceland has always been a natural lab for studying climate change. It may be spared some of the punishment hot, dry places like the American southwest get, but when it comes to glacier melt, few places are hit harder. About 10% of the island nation’s surface area is covered by about 300 different glaciers — and they’re losing an estimated 11 billion tons of ice per year. Not only is that damaging Icelandic habitats and contributing to the global rise in sea levels, it is also — oddly — causing the entire island to rise. And that’s where the trouble begins.
From there, the upshot is that melting glaciers are taking “the lid off the pot” (TIME’s phrase) and removing the gravitational pressure that keeps volcanoes from spewing. Oh, and somewhere in there, it’s assumed that mankind is the reason for all this.
“The Earth, we are learning yet again, demands respect,” writes TIME’s Jeffrey Kluger. “Mess with it and there’s no end to the problems you create.”
Ooh. Sounds like eschatology. Except it can’t be, because that’s not scientific… it’s religious. Which is something that climate alarmism clearly isn’t. Right?
Has Vice President Joe Biden forgotten whose been at the nation’s helm for the past few years?
During an address to the House Democratic Caucus Retreat Friday morning, Biden lamented how difficult the past six years has been for the U.S.
“To state the obvious, the past six years have been really, really hard for this country,” he said.
“And they’ve been really tough for our party. Just ask [former DCCC chair] Steve [Israel]. They’ve been really tough for our party. And together we made some really, really tough decisions — decisions that weren’t at all popular, hard to explain,” Biden continued.
Cam Cardow, Cagle Cartoons
In the news this week: Things that don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things but that can be fun to talk about. For starters, Michelle Obama accompanied her husband on a quick trip to Saudi Arabia and didn’t cover her head. Horrors! And, of course, as every red-blooded American knows, the Super Bowl is Sunday. And because of deflate-gate, what is often a rather boring game will be a little more intriguing right off the bat. Heck, people may even watch it for more than the ads.
Broadcast journalist Hugh Hewitt received a copy of a speech former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney had planned for supporters on Friday. The failed presidential candidate says it’s “time for him to give other leaders in the Party the opportunity to become our next nominee.”
Here is the full speech:
Let me begin by letting you know who else is on this call, besides Ann and me. There are a large number of people who signed on to be leaders of our 2016 finance effort. In addition, state political leadership from several of the early primary states are on the line. And here in New York City, and on the phone, are people who have been helping me think through how to build a new team, as well as supporters from the past who have all been kind enough to volunteer their time during this deliberation stage. Welcome, and thank you. Your loyalty and friendship, and your desire to see the country with new, competent and conservative leadership warms my heart.
After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the Party the opportunity to become our next nominee.
Let me give you some of my thinking. First, I am convinced that with the help of the people on this call, we could win the nomination. Our finance calls made it clear that we would have enough funding to be more than competitive. With few exceptions, our field political leadership is ready and enthusiastic about a new race. And the reaction of Republican voters across the country was both surprising and heartening. I know that early poll numbers move up and down a great deal during a campaign, but we would have no doubt started in a strong position. One poll out just today shows me gaining support and leading the next closest contender by nearly two to one. I also am leading in all of the four early states. So I am convinced that we could win the nomination, but fully realize it would have been difficult test and a hard fight.
I also believe with the message of making the world safer, providing opportunity to every American regardless of the neighborhood they live in, and working to break the grip of poverty, I would have the best chance of beating the eventual Democrat nominee, but that is before the other contenders have had the opportunity to take their message to the voters.
I believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country, one who is just getting started, may well emerge as being better able to defeat the Democrat nominee. In fact, I expect and hope that to be the case.
I feel that it is critical that America elect a conservative leader to become our next president. You know that I have wanted to be that president. But I do not want to make it more difficult for someone else to emerge who may have a better chance of becoming that president. You can’t imagine how hard it is for Ann and me to step aside, especially knowing of your support and the support of so many people across the country. But we believe it is for the best of the Party and the nation.
I’ve been asked, and will certainly be asked again if there are any circumstances whatsoever that might develop that could change my mind. That seems unlikely. Accordingly, I’m not organizing a PAC or taking donations; I’m not hiring a campaign team.
I encourage all of you on this call to stay engaged in the critical process of selecting a Republican nominee for President. Please feel free to sign up on a campaign for a person who you believe may become our best nominee.
I believe a Republican winning back the White House is essential for our country, and I will do whatever I can to make that happen.
To all my supporters, friends and family who worked both tirelessly and loyally to support my campaigns in the past, I will always be deeply appreciative. What you have already done is a tribute to your patriotism. We are overwhelmed and humbled by your loyalty to us, by your generosity of spirit, and by your friendship. God bless you all.
You may have (or you may even be) a dad or granddad who, as he’s aged, has become less measured with his words — especially in his most indignant moments.
So it was Thursday with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who couldn’t contain his disdain for representatives from Code Pink, the female-driven, anti-war nonprofit that advocates on a number of social justice fronts.
Code Pink activists didn’t let McCain’s friends — people like nonagenarians Henry Kissinger and George Schultz — take their places at the Senate Armed Services Committee witness table before busting out the pink banners and falling into this rhythmic chant:
Ar-rest Hen-ry Kiss-inger for w-a-a-a-a-r crimes!
Kissinger, Schultz and Madeline Albright — all former secretaries of state — were on hand to testify about U.S. national security. As the protesters chanted immediately behind the witness table, Albright sat stone-faced, staring straight ahead. Kissinger sat impassively. But Schultz engaged the group, shouting at them and turning around to air-swat them away in disgust.
McCain told Code Pink to “shut up” before finally asking the Capitol Hill police to escort a pair of the most vocal pinks out of the room.
After a short soliloquy that basically amounted to “In all my years, I never!” McCain delivered the Clint Eastwood moment:
Get out of here, you low-life scum.
Cranky… but it drew applause.
If you haven’t seen the previous installments in The Washington Free Beacon’s video series of compilations that document Al Sharpton’s ongoing struggles to accurately pronounce — or even understand — the news copy he’s handed, you’ve been missing out on pure comedy.
The Beacon is back again today with a brand-new update, though, so there’s no time like the present to jump in. Incredibly, Sharpton’s gaffes seem to be getting sloppier and, judging from the context at times, just more plain ignorant as his MSNBC hosting gig rolls along.
What’s amazing about these ongoing compilations is how little time it takes between installments for Sharpton to provide his mockers with a wealth of fresh material. When it comes to browbeating hapless donors for nonprofit funds, sure, he may be a taker. But when it comes to unintentional hilarity, Sharpton knows only how to give.
All together now: Resist We Much!