"President Obama has officially decided I am NOT being deported."
So tweets hoity-toity CNN host Piers Morgan, the centerpiece of a public White House petition calling for his deportation, British accent and all. The petition, signed by more than 100,000 respondents vexed by Mr. Morgan's continued opposition to firearms, suggested he was out to actually "undermine" the Bill of Rights. The White House responded to the petition Wednesday, living up to its promise to react should a given plea garner 25,000 signatures within a month.
"Let's not let arguments over the Constitution's Second Amendment violate the spirit of its First," says White House spokesman Jay Carney in the official acknowledgment. "President Obama believes that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. However, the Constitution not only guarantees an individual right to bear arms, but also enshrines the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press — fundamental principles that are essential to our democracy. Americans may disagree on matters of public policy and express those disagreements vigorously, but no one should be punished by the government simply because he or she expressed a view on the Second Amendment — or any other matter of public concern."
"We find it necessary to protect people like the president and the vice president and governors and other members of Congress and members of the Cabinet, with heavily armed people. But yet they think that somehow that the rest of us should be protected by something else. Just what is it that we should be protected by?" asks syndicated talk radio host Mike Huckabee, alluding to the idea of soothing the shooter with a violin, motivational speakers or psychiatric medication.
"Common sense says that when someone has confronted you with a weapon, the only sure [thing] you can do to protect yourself — unless you're incredibly fast and can outrun a bullet — is to be able to defend yourself with something even to or greater than the threat that you face."
NASCAR AND THE CLIFF
"A tax break for NASCAR race tracks is one of several loopholes in the last-minute deal to avert the fiscal cliff that is under fire from critics, who say the back-room deals are too costly to taxpayers. But the general manager of the New Hampshire Motor Speedway says the tax benefit has promoted economic development in the Granite State and is being used as intended," says Dave Solomon, a local correspondent with the New Hampshire Union Leader.
"I can't speak for all the tax breaks that got included with that bundle," explains speedway manager Jerry Gappens, referring to the controversy surrounding loopholes that benefit Puerto Rican rum-makers, Hollywood movie producers and Wall Street bankers. "But I know in our case, it's stimulating economic growth through reinvestment in our facilities, which gets more fans here and increases jobs."
The tax break for "motor sport entertainment complexes" was approved in 2003, and extended each year by Congress since then, Mr. Solomon points out. It allows NASCAR racetracks to depreciate the investment in new facilities over seven years instead of 15 to 39 years, resulting in larger deductions and lower tax bills.
The measure has saved the aforementioned speedway substantial sums, raising employment from 17 to 38 full-time jobs. Some of the investments "encouraged by the tax savings" include a $1 million shower facility for speedway guests, a $1 million video scoreboard, a $1.2 million ambulance facility, $6.5 million in infield landscaping and a new tram system to transport fans from parking lots to the track.
YOUNG AND MAYBE BROKE
"The idea that America offers young people the opportunities necessary to make an even better life for themselves than the one their parents had is often seen as an important part of the American Dream. However, confidence that the current generation will achieve this has been in relatively short supply in recent years," says a Gallup poll released Wednesday. It reveals that 49 percent of Americans think that the future generation will lead a better life than their parents.
Among Democrats, that number was 66 percent in 2008, and remains at 66 percent four years later. Republicans are downright morose. In 2008, three-fourths of them had high hopes for young people in the future. Now the number has sunk to 29 percent.
CLINTON AS DAD
Just so you know. The National Father's Day Council has selected former President Bill Clinton as a 2013 "Father of the Year," to be awarded in June. The group, which was founded in 1931, credits Mr. Clinton with fostering "the strongest economy in a generation and the longest economic expansion in U.S. history, including the creation of more than 22 million jobs" — which may or may not have anything to do with his fatherhood skills. The nonprofit group explains that its award is meant to recognize "contemporary lifestyle leaders of our culture."
Previous fathers-of-the-year have included Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, plus Gens. Douglas MacArthur, Colin Powell and Norman Schwarzkopf, plus NBC News anchors Tim Russert and Brian Williams. See the group's story here: momanddadday.com.
POLL DU JOUR
• 42 percent of Americans have a favorable impression of the National Rifle Association; 66 percent of Republicans, 74 percent of "strong" conservatives, 22 percent of Democrats and 25 percent of "strong" liberals agree.
• 45 percent overall have an unfavorable view of the NRA; 18 percent of Republicans, 7 percent of strong conservatives, 67 percent of Democrats and 67 percent of strong liberals agree.
• 41 percent overall support armed security personnel in every American school; 52 percent of Republicans, 62 percent of strong conservatives, 35 percent of Democrats and 33 percent of strong liberals agree.
• 27 percent overall support arming teachers with guns; 35 percent of Republicans, 49 percent of strong conservatives, 19 percent of Democrats and 27 percent of strong liberals agree.
Source: A Public Policy Polling survey of 1,100 registered U.S. voters conducted Jan. 3 to 6.
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