- ‘Optionally piloted’ Black Hawk helicopter clears tests; future missions to go ‘fully unmanned’
- Vice News reporter kidnapped in Ukraine is freed after being beaten, blindfolded
- FCC’s new ‘net neutrality’ proposal sparks outrage among consumer advocates
- Families of ferry’s lost confront South Korean officials
- 2-week truce for Sriracha hot sauce maker, California city
- NYC’s de Blasio seeks to ban wood-burning fireplaces
- Residents angry Obama mispronounced town’s name during mudslide visit
- Israel halts peace talks with Palestinians
- Netanyahu’s driver accused of raping girls under age 12
- Putin calls Internet ‘CIA project’ that must be controlled
Inside the Beltway: Steve Stockman connects the dots
Well, there’s a thought: Rep. Steve Stockman has a timely request for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The Texas Republican notes in a letter to Chairman Darrell E. Issa: “Recent revelations [show] the National Security Agency has been keeping an ‘ongoing, daily’ log of every domestic phone call in the United States. I respectfully request your Committee subpoena the records of every phone call made from all public and private telephones of all IRS personnel to all public and private telephones of all White House personnel.”
The lawmaker adds, “If President Obama is collecting such information, he certainly would want us to use it. If he has nothing to hide he has nothing to be afraid of.”
Mr. Stockman is revisiting a troublesome matter that recently riveted public attention, namely, the IRS targeting of conservative groups. “This case must be investigated fully, given admitted wrongdoing by the IRS, its potentially criminal implications and revelations the White House has been less than honest about what they knew and when,” he says.
From another corner of the universe: The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against FBI Director Robert Mueller, Attorney Gen. Eric H. Holder and three other members of the Obama administration challenging the NSA’s “dragnet acquisition” of phone call records, noting that the “practice is akin to snatching every American’s address book.” The suit says the practice violates the First and Fourth amendments, has a “chilling effect” on whistleblowers, and will ultimately impact the business of the ACLU itself.
“Americans’ views of former president George W. Bush have improved, with 49% now viewing him favorably and 46% unfavorably. That is the first time since 2005 that opinions of him have been more positive than negative,” writes Jeffrey M. Jones, a Gallup analyst.
Republicans still give the former president a kindly 87 percent favorability rating in a survey released Tuesday. That’s up 14 points from a similar poll four years ago. Predictably, less than a quarter of Democrats have warm feelings toward Mr. Bush. Still, it’s better than the previous survey, when only 10 percent of Democrats gave him a positive review.
IF IT’S WEDNESDAY
Then it’s time for a midweek fundraiser, no matter what’s happening in the nation’s capital. Indeed, President Obama embarks on a jaunt to Boston on Wednesday to raise money on behalf of “Ed Markey for Senate and the Massachusetts Democratic Party,” according to a White House dispatch. Then it’s on to Miami for some Democratic National Committee events, with a return home later in the evening. And yes, Air Force One still costs $179,500 an hour to operate.
LINE IN THE SAND
While the Senate argues the finer points of the immigration debate, the Heritage Foundation is launching a $100,000 ad campaign to take issue with the “Gang of Eight” immigration reform bill, the organization says.
“The bill is an amnesty proposal dressed up in feel-good ‘pathway to citizenship’ rhetoric,” says spokeswoman Genevieve Wood, noting that their campaign aims to “show the proposal for what it really is — a rehashed version of 1986 reforms that proved to be an abysmal failure.” Previous Heritage research, she says, shows that amnesty would add trillions of dollars to the national debt.
“The pro-amnesty crowd is trying every trick in the deceptive marketing handbook — from rebranding ‘amnesty’ as a ‘pathway to citizenship,’ to the old bait-and-switch of promising strong security and delivering nothing but amnesty instead,” Ms. Wood adds. “We’re trying to shine some light on what the bill really does, so the American people won’t be fooled again.”
NO LINE IN THE SAND
“When the immigration bill was introduced 53 days ago, the bipartisan Senate group said it was a starting point and welcomed improvements. Since then, the bill has received an unprecedented amount of public scrutiny and input: Our office alone received thousands of suggestions and comments on the legislation, and senators offered 301 amendments during the Judiciary Committee mark-up,” says Alex Conant, spokesman for Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican and the legislative point man.
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