Pew Infographic: Obama’s a ‘good man’ but ‘incompetent’

A Pew poll asking Americans to sum up the president in one word reveals that a majority of Americans believe Barack Obama is a good man even if he’s an incompetent leader.


Pew reported:

The national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted Jan. 7-11 among 1,504 adults, finds that the words good (35 mentions) and incompetent (33 mentions) are used most frequently to describe Obama. Those words also were used most often in June 2013, the last time this question was asked. This report shows the actual number of respondents mentioning each word; they are not percentages.

The responses are similar to one word descriptions Americans provided in 2013.

It’s worth noting, however, that way back in 2009 — or, as Obama might remember it, before the magic died — the top two responses were “good” and “intelligent.”

HHS chief praises Al Sharpton’s integrity on MLK Day

Defending Al Sharpton’s lifelong commitment to “fighting for what’s right,” Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell lauded the MSNBC figure and Obama administration cultural pointman today at an event for Sharpton’s National Action Network.

“Reverend Sharpton has spent his life fighting for what’s right, no matter how challenging. I want to thank you for your courage, tenacity and persistence,” said Burwell, who also honored the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in commemoration of the federal holiday named in his honor.

Burwell’s uncritical assessment of Sharpton’s integrity struck conservative critics as especially glib, coming on a day that celebrates the man who argued for weighing the worth of each individual based on the content of his character.

“Does she think Sharpton was fighting for what’s right when he defamed a district attorney by falsely claiming the official had participated in the gang rape of a black teenager?” Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein rhetorically asked.

“… Or maybe Burwell was thinking of the time when Sharpton helped instigate an anti-Semitic riot that resulted in the murder of a young Jewish rabbinical scholar?

“… Or maybe Burwell thought Sharpton was fighting for what was right when he injected himself into a landlord dispute in Harlem, declaring, ‘We will not stand by and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business on 125th Street’ — and leading protests resulting in the store being burnt down and seven people getting killed?”

Maybe Burwell was just talking about Sharpton’s dignified comportment that time he opened up about his productive and selfless contribution to the Tawana Brawley scandal:

GOP lawmaker wants to end birthright citizenship

Representative Steve King (R-Iowa) reintroduced legislation in the House this week that would end birthright citizenship in the U.S. The lawmaker contends that the effort is necessary to fight the “anchor baby agenda” of illegal immigrants who come to the nation to have children to ensure their citizenship.

For nearly 150 years, a clause in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution has granted citizenship, stating, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

King argues that the clause wasn’t often abused a century ago but that it “has now grown into a birthright citizenship, an anchor baby agenda.”

“When they started granting automatic citizenship on all babies born in the United States they missed the clause in the 14th Amendment that says, ‘And subject to the jurisdiction thereof.’ So once the practice began, it grew out of proportion and today between 340,000 and 750,000 babies are born in America each year that get automatic citizenship even though both parents are illegal. That has got to stop,” he said in a statement.

Kings proposal would limit birthright citizenship to people born in the country who also have at least one parent that is a U.S. citizen, a legal permanent resident or an immigrant in the armed forces.

King has introduced similar legislation twice before, in 2011 and 2013, drawing 39 GOP co-sponsors the second time.

U.S. Supreme Court takes up gay marriage case

The nation’s highest court on Friday consolidated four gay marriage cases and slated them for an April hearing, taking up an issue that, according to an early report in USA Today, promises to “resolve the national debate over same-sex marriage once and for all.”

Here is the listing of the cases to be consolidated.

The Court has indicated it will weigh whether the states reserve the power to prohibit same-sex couples from marrying, as well as to recognize or refuse recognition for same-sex marriages carried out in other of the states.

“Although the Court said explicitly that it was limiting review to the two basic issues,” wrote SCOTUS Blog, “along the way the Justices may have to consider what constitutional tests they are going to apply to state bans, and what weight to give to policies that states will claim to justify one or the other of the bans.”

Same-sex marriage currently is recognized by 36 states, as well as by Washington, D.C.

Cartoon roundup

Cam Cardow, Cagle Cartoons

So not only could the leader of the free world not be bothered to attend a march to show solidarity against Islamic terrorists, but he cared so little about it that he failed to send any of his high-profile minions — not even Attorney General Eric Holder, who just so happened to be in Paris at the time of the march. Way to send a message, President Obama!

Cam Cardow, Cagle Cartoons
Taylor Jones,
David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star
Milt Priggee,
Milt Priggee,
Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch
January 15, 2015
Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News
Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle
Cam Cardow, Cagle Cartoons
Bill Schorr, Cagle Cartoons
Cam Cardow, Cagle Cartoons


DOJ wants Twitter’s transparency lawsuit dismissed

The Obama administration is asking a federal court to throw out a lawsuit filed against the Department of Justice by Twitter over the DOJ’s nondisclosure policies, which Twitter argues violate the company’s 1st Amendment rights.

Twitter filed the suit late last year after the DOJ moved to prevent the social media site from publicly revealing detailed information on how often the government asks the company for personal information about its users — without those users’ knowledge or consent.

The company had pledged to release data on the frequency with which it receives FISA court orders and national security letters, but the DOJ blocked that move. Twitter is among a few holdout tech companies that has not signed on to the DOJ’s compromise disclosure plan, which permits companies to reveal the number of government requests they receive only in broad numeric ranges.

The DOJ asked the court to dismiss the suit, saying in a brief last week that “the Government has judged [the contested information to be] properly protected classified national security information, the disclosure of which would risk serious harm to national security.”

Missouri lawmaker wants tax increase on gun purchases to fund cop body cams

As more police departments throughout the nation are adopting policies requiring officers to wear body cameras while on duty, one Missouri lawmaker believes the cost of the new equipment should be offset by levying a new tax against lawful U.S. gun owners.

Rep. Brandon Ellington, a Democratic state lawmaker from Kansas, has introduced legislation that would require all Missouri law enforcement officers to wear body cameras. A separate piece of legislation would pay for the new cameras through a 1 percent statewide tax increase on firearm and ammunition sales.

The funds raised would go to the “Peace Officer Handgun and Ammunition Sales Tax Fund” for use by police departments.

Gun rights advocates have decried the plan, noting that it amounts to a punitive tax on legal gun purchasers.

“Forcing law-abiding Missourians to pay an additional tax on firearm and ammunition purchases is unmerited,” the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action said in a statement. “Gun owners and purchasers should not be responsible for funding these projects.”

But, as pointed out Monday, the tax wouldn’t be the first of its kind: “In Cook County, Illinois officials enacted a $25 one-time “Violence Tax” on each gun sale to fund indigent gunshot victim care at the county-run hospital. This came at the same time that legislation was proposed in Maryland, Massachusetts and California to add extra fees to ammunition sales to finance various mental health initiatives.”

Cartoon roundup

Bob Englehart, The Hartford Courant

In a newspaper office in Paris this week, Islamic terrorists failed miserably in their mission. Their goal in the brutal terror attack that took place in the office of Charlie Hebdo was to put out the flame of liberty and silence critics of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad. Many people, including a handful of talented cartoonists, are dead. But freedom of speech lives on — in fact, it thrives. After all, the pen is mightier than the sword.

Hajo de Reijger, The Netherlands
Paresh Nath, The Khaleej Times, UAE
Peter Broelman, Australia


Paul Zanetti, Australia
Manny Francisco, Manila, The Phillippines
Arcadio Esquivel, La Prensa, Panama,
Rainer Hachfeld, Neues Deutschland, Germany
Martin Sutovec, Slovakia
Tom Janssen, The Netherlands
Tom Janssen, The Netherlands
Dario Castillejos, El Imparcial de México
Joep Bertrams, The Netherlands
Frederick Deligne, Nice-Matin, France
Frederick Deligne, Nice-Matin, France
Kap, Spain
Patrick Chappatte, The International New York Times
karikatur für tribüne-ruhe in frieden
Petar Pismestrovic, Kleine Zeitung, Austria
Osama Hajjaj, Jordan
Martin Sutovec, Slovakia
Luojie, China Daily, China
Hajo de Reijger, The Netherlands
Osama Hajjaj, Jordan
Hajo de Reijger, The Netherlands
John Cole, The Scranton Times-Tribune
Milt Priggee,
Larry Wright,
John Darkow, Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri
RJ Matson
Statue of Liberty seen from the Circle Line ferry, Manhattan, New York
RJ Matson
January 8, 2015
Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News
Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch
Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune
Bill Day, Cagle Cartoons
Cam Cardow, Cagle Cartoons
Cam Cardow, Cagle Cartoons
Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star Tribune
Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle
Daryl Cagle,
Daryl Cagle,
Daryl Cagle,
Daryl Cagle,
Daryl Cagle,
David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star
Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star Tribune
Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle
Cam Cardow, Cagle Cartoons
Gary McCoy, Cagle Cartoons
Mike Keefe, Cagle Cartoons
Taylor Jones, El Nuevo Dia, Puerto Rico
Wolverton, Cagle Cartoons
January 9, 2015
Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News
Milt Priggee,


White House as surprised as anybody that Harvard profs are mad about Obamacare

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest had his logic inverter running at full speed Monday, as he attempted to respond to a reporter’s question about why so many Harvard professors are angry that their healthcare costs are going up (and their benefits down) under the Affordable Care Act.

Fox News’ Ed Henry asked Earnest about a story in The New York Times, which revealed that Harvard faculty members were outraged about their coverage changes — despite the fact that Harvard was a bastion of support for Obamacare in its infancy and development.

“I can only imagine the question you’d be asking me if The New York Times reported that the faculty at Harvard was getting a great deal,” said Earnest, failing to see the absurdity of his hypothetical (and tacitly acknowledging that the faculty at Harvard isn’t, under Obamacare, “getting a great deal”).

“I haven’t seen exactly what Harvard has said, but I do think as a general matter that the results that we’ve seen so far — they’re early — but the early results speak to the enormous benefits that the Affordable Care Act has paid to middle-class families across the country, to small-business owners, to the government’s bottom line and to the success that we’ve had in lowering healthcare costs,” Earnest said.

“… Let’s be clear — there are some important benefits that they do see under the Affordable Care Act; there are some patient protections that apply to everybody. So everybody who’s on the Harvard faculty can get a free annual checkup from their doctor.”

If you’re a Harvard faculty member and you’re reading this, we’d love to know how you feel about getting a free trip to the doctor under Obamacare.

… Never mind that some Harvard faculty may no longer be able to use Harvard’s own network of hospitals under the ACA’s new qualifying coverage guidelines.

Boehner to remain as House Speaker

John Boehner (R-Ohio) endured a minor conservative revolt to earn a third term as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Tuesday, reaping 216 votes in a roll-call election that garnered a momentary flash of publicity for promising — but failing — to elevate someone else to the position.

Boehner finished far ahead of the nearest Republican challenger, Daniel Webster of Florida, who received 12 votes. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) received 164 votes. Four Democrats — Jim Cooper (Tenn.), Daniel Lipinski (Ill.), Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) and Gwen Graham (Fla.) — voted for someone besides Pelosi.

The conservative dissent to Boehner’s speakership came from a loose group of 25 Republicans, although no single candidate emerged as a clear alternative.

According to The Hill, Boehner was “visibly emotional” and teared up following his victory, delivering a “humble and poetic” address to House members.

The Hill listed the following GOP House members, all of whom voted against Boehner:

Justin Amash (R-Mich.)

Brian Babin (R-Texas)

Rod Blum (R-Iowa)

Dave Brat (R-Va.)

Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.)

Curt Clawson (R-Fla.)

Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.)

Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.)

Scott Garrett (R-N.J.)

Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.)

Louie Gohmert (R-Texas)

Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.)

Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.)

Walter Jones (R-N.C.)

Steve King (R-Iowa)

Thomas Massie (R-Ky.)

Mark Meadows (R-N.C.)

Richard Nugent (R-Fla.)

Gary Palmer (R-Ala.)

Bill Posey (R-Fla.)

Scott Rigell (R-Va.)

Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.)

Randy Weber (R-Texas)

Daniel Webster (R-Fla.)

Ted Yoho (R-Fla.)

Jailed for weeks: Reason shows what happens when a checkpoint refusal goes wrong

In a new video report, Reason Magazine tells the story of Greg Rosenberg, a long-haul trucker who was recently jailed for 19 days — with no charges filed — by border agents in Laredo, Texas.

A naturalized U.S. citizen who came to the nation from Armenia a decade ago, Rosenburg says he is a checkpoint refusal activist because he believes it resembles political oppression people in his home country endured under Soviet rule.

Via Reason:

Rosenberg’s ordeal began in the border town of Laredo, TX. He and his friend pulled onto I-35 North at around midnight on September 26 in a truck carrying a load of Xerox machines destined for Ft. Worth. But only 29 miles north of the border, they’d encounter the Laredo North Border Patrol Station. And Greg would undergo a checkpoint interrogation like he’d never experienced before.

“They arrested me for what I looked like, but they pressed the charges because of my beliefs,” says Rosenberg.

H/T: Reason