Water Cooler

WATER COOLER

The Water Cooler is written by Washington Times staffers.

  • Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky's Secretary of State (sos.ky.gov)

    They love Alison Lundergan Grimes: 60 Hollywood stars unite to defeat Mitch McConnell

    By Jennifer HarperPublished November 7, 2013 Comments

    The liberal prowess of Tinseltown should never be underestimated. Their reach extends into the Blue Grass State. DreamWorks chief Jeffrey Katzenberg now says his "top priority" is to unseat Sen. Mitch McConnell in 2014, this according to Tina Daunt, who follows political trends for the Hollywood Reporter. Mr. Katzenburg has sent out the call to silver screen chums to contribute to Alison Lundergan Grimes, age 34 and a Democrat who is challenging the Kentucky Republican. She also happens to be Kentucky’s secretary of state and refers to her rival as "Senator Gridlock." Mrs. Grimes has already raised $2.5 million for her campaign chest. And among her 60 instant A-List contributors: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, Ben Stiller, Woody Allen, Jerry Seinfeld, Nicolas Cage, Steven Spielberg, Leonardo DiCaprio, Danny DeVito, Barbra Streisand, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, Jon Hamm and Chris Rock.

  • A screenshot of what users see when they try to sign up for Obamacare on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013. (The Washington Times)

    Heh... '404' named word of the year, thanks in part to Obamacare failures

    by Jennifer HarperPublished November 6, 2013 Comments

    The Global Language Monitor has declared that "404" is their official "Word of the Year." The Austin-based research group determined the winner based on frequency of actual usage, using computer-aided tracking of some 275,000 print, electronic and social media sources. Yes well. The numbers-only designation appeared a lot recently at the Obamacare website, but we already know all that. "404 is the near-universal numeric code for failure on the global Internet, augmenting its original use as 'page not found' " explains chief analyst Paul JJ Payack. "The recent ObamaCare launch debacle in the US is only a representative example of a much wider system fail." And rounding out the top-five words of the year after 404, in second place, it's "fail", a single word often used as a complete sentence (Fail!) to signify failure of an effort, project, or endeavor", Mr. Payack says. "Hashtag" is third, designating the number or ...

  • A Spanish lawmaker talks on his cell phone at the Spain's parliament, in Madrid, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013. Speaking in parliament, Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Spain was taking the surveillance allegations seriously and that the head of Spain's intelligence services will address Parliament over allegations that Spain was a target for surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency. He reiterated that if confirmed, such activity is “inappropriate and unacceptable between partners and friends.” Up to now the Spanish government insists it is unaware of any U.S. spying. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

    The majority of Americans agree: everybody spies on the US - including our allies

    by Jennifer HarperPublished November 1, 2013 Comments

    Do allies and enemies alike "spy" on U.S. leaders? Voters themselves appear to agree that clandestine activities are a reality of life these days for those at the highest echelons of power, according to a wide ranging new survey. And it's complicated: some say the anger of those leaders whose cell phones were monitored by the National Security Agency was simply "posturing for the media." A few of the many numbers: 50 percent of registered U.S. voters say the United Kingdom "probably or definitely" spies on American leadership. 59 percent say the same of Germany and 58 percent for France; 79 percent say the same about Iran; 80 percent say the same for China as well as Russia. 30 percent of the respondents felt that world leaders were "truly angry" over revelations that the National Security Agency had targeted their private cellphone conversations; 28 percent of Republicans and 31 percent ...

  • **FILE** Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (Associated Press)

    Romney calls ObamaCare a 'frustrating embarrassment'

    by Jennifer HarperPublished October 31, 2013 Comments

    The man who could be considered a founding father of tenable public healthcare programs is still shaking his head. "In the years since the Massachusetts health care law went into effect nothing has changed my view that a plan crafted to fit the unique circumstances of a single state should not be grafted onto the entire country," Mitt Romney said just as President Obama arrived in Boston this week to give a speech about the Affordable Care Act - on the very historic spot where Mr. Romney, as governor of Massachusetts, had once introduced his version of state run healthcare. Mr. Romney is in agreement with observers like Newt Gingrich, who long warned that the supersized healthcare reform legislation should be broken down into a half dozen manageable components. But the deed is done, and proposed legislation is now law. "Had President Obama actually learned the lessons of Massachusetts health ...

  • Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius listens to a member of her staff while testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, before the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the difficulties plaguing the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  Partisan sparks were flying in Congress on Tuesday as Sebelius, President Barack Obama's top health official apologized for wasting consumers' time as they tried to use the crippled website that allows them to buy government mandated health insurance under the overhaul known as Obamacare. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

    Common sense triumphs: 70 percent of registered voters want to delay Obamacare for a year

    by Jennifer HarperPublished October 30, 2013 Comments

    The public's common sense appears to trump White House political posturing: a national poll of 661 registered voters find that seven-out-of-10 say that a one-year delay for Obamacare is a good idea. The numbers: 55 percent of the voters "strongly favor" a delay in enforcing the health care law's individual mandate, while 15 percent "somewhat favor" it. Meanwhile, 14 percent "strongly oppose" the delay while 9 percent "somewhat oppose" it. The survey was conducted by Public Opinion Strategy for Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies from Oct. 27-29. "President Obama's dramatically incompetent rollout of this law has created a situation where we need to hit the pause button and delay Obamacare for a year," says Crossroads GPS communications director Jonathan Collegio. "Congress should immediately pass, and the president should sign, a one year delay of this law. To do otherwise would put pride in a failed policy above common sense." And the ...

  • FILE - In this Oct. 13, 2013, file photo, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at a rally in front of the WWII Memorial in Washington. Cruz took nothing short of a victory lap in his state of Texas this week, appearing before crowds that overlooked the fact that the Republican who led the charge to kill money for President Barack Obama’s health care law had failed. Now he’s coming to Iowa, where Republicans have the first say in the presidential race, and will view him much more skeptically. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

    Liberals wonder if there is a 'left wing' Ted Cruz to fight for their cause

    by Jennifer HarperPublished October 29, 2013 Comments

    Sen. Ted Cruz attracts much criticism. But he also may attract imitators, even on the Left. "It is time to admit that Ted Cruz is not as craven as he seems. A fraud, a wacko bird, a fool, an amateur, Jim DeMint without the charm - yes, all the names his fellow Republicans are calling the senator from Texas bear the sting of truth. But you have to give the man this: he has the courage of his convictions and the nerve to use a diversity of tactics to advance them," points out Richard Kim, executive editor of The Nation in an analysis of the Texas Republican. The publication, founded in 1865, has been described as the 'flagship of the Left', incidentally. Mr. Kim expects more efforts by the GOP to further discredit Obamacare, he says. But it appears that the left leaning factions may be searching fro a standard ...

  • Straightforward poll reveals why American own guns: it's personal

    by Jennifer HarperPublished October 29, 2013 Comments

    The findings are straightforward enough. Gallup asked 309 gun owners an open-ended question: Why do you own a gun? Here is what they said - the desire for personal safety and protection was in first place, cited by 60 percent. In second place, hunting (36 percent), followed by recreation (13 percent), target shooting (8 percent), concern for Second Amendment rights (5 percent), personally "like guns" (5 percent), the firearm was an antique or heirloom (5 percent), they were "raised with guns" (4 percent), ownership was related to employment (3 percent), "no reason in particular" (3 percent), animal control (1 percent) and collect guns (1 percent). "Personal protection is the top reason Americans own a gun, as was true in 2000 and 2005. This, rather than views on the Second Amendment, may explain why moving toward greater gun control, as Obama and many Democrats have sought to do, is so difficult," ...

  • FILE - In this Nov. 6, 2012, file photo voters leave a polling place on election day in Nashville, Tenn. With the partial federal shutdown come and gone, the government now powering back up to full speed, and the next budget crisis pushed off at least until January, there is no shortage of speculation about whether voters will retaliate in the 2014 elections against lawmakers for this fall's budget impasse. A lot depends on how the next year goes.(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

    62 percent of voters ready to 'fire every lawmaker on Capitol Hill'

    by Jennifer HarperPublished October 25, 2013 Comments

    Voter fatigue with Congress has reached a critical stage. How critical? Among many other things, a new Fox News survey finds that 62 percent of American voters would "fire every lawmaker on Capitol Hill right now" if they could. Read on: 77 percent of U.S. voters say term limits should be established in the U.S. Congress; 83 percent of Republicans and 72 percent of Democrats. 72 percent overall are ready to vote their lawmakers out of office for "a fresh start in Washington"; 75 percent of Republicans and 69 percent of Democrats agree. 64 percent overall would consider voting for a third party candidate in the next election; 69 percent of Republicans and 56 percent of Democrats agree. 62 percent overall would "fire every lawmaker on Capitol Hill right now"; 69 percent of Republicans and 57 percent of Democrats agree. 55 percent overall say the "two party system is broken"; ...

  • The Texas School Book Depository window Lee Harvey Oswald shot from is among the "Kennedy assassination items" going up for bid on Thursday. (rr auctions)

    Oswald's wedding ring, Jack Ruby's hat: JFK assassination items go up for bid

    by Jennifer HarperPublished October 24, 2013 Comments

    The 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination is a month off. Still, 290 items of Kennedy memorabilia go up on the auction block at noon Thursday. They include three pickets from a fence that stood on the infamous "grassy knoll" site in Dallas, plus the very window that Lee Harvey Oswald took aim from when he shot the president. The glass-encased artifact is deemed "the controversial and extremely historically important Texas School Book Depository sixth-floor corner window; by RR Auction, which has organized the sale. Also up for bid: Oswald's wedding ring and his official Dallas Police Department mugshot, nightclub owner Jack Ruby's jaunty hat he wore when he shot Oswald, plus many personal items of the slain president. They include an unsmoked La Azora cigar still in a cellophane wrapper, his personal rosary, a lock of hair once collected by a barber and even a limousine from the ...

  • A "brosurance" outreach for Obamacare aimed at young males from the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and ProgressNow Colorado taps into party mentality. (Colorado Consumer Health Initiative)

    Keg handstands? Obamacare taps into frat boy emotions

    by Jennifer HarperPublished October 23, 2013 Comments

    A few weeks ago, one promotional outreach for Obamacare involved attractive young women parading around in their underwear or athletic shorty-shorts, bearing signs that read "Are you covered?" Now comes another version:"Brosurance". This one is aimed at young males, courtesy of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and ProgressNow Colorado. Their collective message: "Keg stands are crazy. Not having health insurance is crazier. Don't tap into your beer money to cover those medical bills. We got it covered. Thanks, Obamacare!" And so much for gravitas. But it is the young males, in the long run, who will have to pay more for the reinvented healthcare system. Providers might as well get their attention now.

  • Illustration by Greg Groesch for The Washington Times

    Aggressive GOP heavyweights in hot pursuit of those mysterious Obamacare sign-up numbers

    by Jennifer HarperPublished October 22, 2013 Comments

    House Speaker John A. Boehner already has said that the Grand Old Party will launch a series of "smart, targeted strikes" against the health care law. And here they come. Like many baffled observers, party officials are eager to see the actual enrollment numbers, the factual revelations that the White House is keeping in house. The Republican National Committee has filed a Freedom of Information Act request to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services requesting information on the number of Americans who have enrolled in health insurance through the federal website Healthcare.gov. The numbers, reason committee Chairman Reince Priebus, will reveal the true, ineffective status of the site. "Really, it's telling that they don't want to give out any numbers. This is an administration that never misses an opportunity to brag. They've previously leaked sensitive national security information to burnish their image. So what are they hiding?" Mr. Priebus ...

  • ** FILE ** President Ronald Reagan has a word in the ear of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at a reception given by the British government at London's St. James's Palace for leaders attending an economic conference in 1984. (AP Photo, File)

    Iron lady wisdom: conservatives look back to Margaret Thatcher for 2014 guidance

    by Jennifer HarperPublished October 21, 2013 Comments

    "Liberalism reigns in the White House, but America remains a conservative nation at heart," write Nile Gardiner and Stephen Thompson, authors of "Margaret Thatcher on Leadership: Lessons for American Conservatives Today," just published by Regnery Books. "Margaret Thatcher succeeded because she understood the concerns of the conservative grassroots on core issues such as the economy, government spending and taxes. She won over millions more to the conservative cause not by watering down her message or shifting her position, but by presenting an attractive vision of economic freedom," the authors note. On shelves just 10 weeks before 2014 dawns, the publisher calls the book a "practical and inspirational" guide. "She made the conservative party more open and inclusive. Lady Thatcher understood that conservative principles are for everybody, not tied to special interest groups or trends," Regnery says. "Conservative ideas must win people over first, before conservatives can win their votes later."

  • Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich pauses during a presidential campaign stop at Food City in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Monday, March 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

    Newt Gingrich: John Boehner's job as House Speaker '10 times' the challenge he once faced

    by Jennifer HarperPublished October 18, 2013 Comments

    Behold, some empathetic words for oft-beleaguered House Speaker John A. Boehner, from one who has been there and done that. "I think he has an amazingly hard job. Boehner's job is vastly harder than mine was," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told Larry King, host of "Politicking with Larry King," a prime-time talk show that aired Thursday night on RT, the Russia-owned news channel. "It is harder for him to manage the House Republicans; he doesn't have a Republican leader in the Senate the way I did. Instead, he has to deal with Harry Reid, who is a hard-core Democrat, and I had Bill Clinton, who you could talk with. He's got Barack Obama, who doesn't want to talk. So I think Boehner's job is 10 times harder than mine was," Mr. Gingrich told the veteran host. "I have no idea how I would have done in that job. It ...

  • Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., is surrounded by reporters after leaving the office of Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., on Capitol Hill on Monday, Oct. 14, 2013 in Washington. Reid reported progress Monday towards a deal to avoid a threatened default and end a two-week partial government shutdown as President Barack Obama called congressional leaders to the White House to press for an end to the impasse. "We're getting closer," he told reporters. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

    Are politicians addicted to spectacle?

    by Jennifer HarperPublished October 17, 2013 Comments

    The agreement on the shutdown and the debt ceiling is no guarantee that lawmakers and the White House will behave. They seem addicted to spectacle and the kind of hand-wringing political theater that garners press coverage, while masking inactivity or indecision. Once, such incivility and posturing was more of a bad habit or occasional embellishment, not the norm. Consider that in 1999, a contentious U.S. House actually opted to go on a series of bipartisan retreats to remedy their discord. The press deemed these events "civility retreats," dutifully chronicling the attempts to iron out differences and seek productive protocols. "At the weekend-long civility retreats in Hershey, Pa., over 200 members of the House of Representatives developed a comprehensive, detailed portrait of what wasn't working on Capitol Hill and what needed to be done to fix it," Mark Gerzon - the mediation consultant who actually designed those retreats - tells The ...

  • ** FILE ** Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, accompanied by Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., chair of the tea party caucus, speaks during a news conference with tea party leaders about the IRS targeting tea party groups, Thursday, May 16, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

    Third party fever: record number of Americans want a political alternative

    by Jennifer HarperPublished October 14, 2013 Comments

    More Americans dream of a third political party than ever before: "60 percent of Americans say the Democratic and Republicans parties do such a poor job of representing the American people that a third major party is needed," says Gallup analyst Jeffrey Jones, who reports that these findings set a record. And for the first time, Republicans and Democrats roughly agree: 52 percent of the GOPers and 49 percent of Democrats say a third party is in order. Only a quarter of the respondents overall say the two major parties "adequately" represent the nation. Mr. Jones is not surprised, pointing out that the two parties can't agree on "the most basic of government functions," like passing an annual budget to pay for federal programs. But third party fans shouldn't get their hopes up. "The desire for a third party is not sufficient to ensure there will be one," Mr. Jones ...

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