- The Washington Times - Monday, April 18, 2016

The sparse media marketplace dedicated to the needs of conservatives, right-leaners and liberty-minded folk just got a little larger. Ambitious and toting a little kryptonite: That would be Heat Street, an ambitious new online news site launched Monday by Dow Jones & Company, which also publishes The Wall Street Journal.

Ah, but step carefully. Editors Louise Mensch and Noah Kotch warn that Heat Street “is not a safe place. The pomposity of self-regarding, self-conscious, self-abusing journalists will be absent from our pages.”

Well, that sounds promising. The politics here are right-leaning and libertarian-minded; the publication also covers culture wars, commentary, technology, celebrity, business and assorted lifestyle matters.

“We plan to break news, move the media and mock the mainstream. It takes friction to generate heat. We will rub against the grain of convention. That’s our mission,” vow the two editors.

The opening salvo included news that Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernard Sanders‘ wife Jane had been accused of fraud in peaceful little Vermont and that Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign is “curiously” cautious.

Barack Obama inspired millions with his message of ‘Hope and Change.’ Hillary Clinton? Not so much,” declared correspondent Andrew Stiles. Find the new site here: HeatSt.com.

NONE OF THAT VICE PRESIDENT STUFF

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has already declared he would never want to be Donald Trump’s running mate. So we can forget the theoretical ticket of “Trump/Kasich.” Looks like the feeling is mutual over in the “Trump/Cruz” department.

“I have zero interest whatsoever,” Sen. Ted Cruz told ABC News when asked if he’d consider being Mr. Trump’s vice president.

ONE FOR THE LITTLE SISTERS

A new Marist Poll finds that 53 percent of Americans say the federal government is being unfair in its treatment of the Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious employers grappling with the contraceptive mandate found in Obamacare.

“Unlike many other religious organizations or those organizations whose health plans are ‘grandfathered’ and are ‘exempt’ from providing contraception and abortion-inducing drugs, the Little Sisters and many other religious employers are required by the government to sign a form directing their contractors to deliver such coverage through these religious employers’ own health plan,” the poll noted.

The Supreme Court heard the case March 23, then requested additional filings from the attorneys for both the government and the religious employers. Initial filings were made April 12; a second filing will follow Wednesday.

“It is no surprise that as people understand this case, they see the mandate as both unnecessary and unfair,” says Mark Rienzi, senior attorney at The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents the Little Sisters. “We emphasized once again in our supplemental brief filed last week to the Supreme Court following its unprecedented request that the government has many ways it can meet its goals of providing these services to women who want them without forcing nuns to violate their religious beliefs.”

MONICA REVISITED

“I think it’s fair to say that whatever mistakes I made, I was hung out to dry by a lot of people — by a lot of the feminists who had loud voices. I wish it had been handled differently. It was very scary and very confusing to be a young woman thrust on to the world stage and not belonging to any group. I didn’t belong to anybody.”

— Anti-bullying advocate and former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, recalling her 1990s-era relationship with then-President Bill Clinton, in a conversation with The Guardian.

BEWARE THE ‘REGULATORY DARK MATTER’

Arriving Tuesday from the Competitive Enterprise Institute: insight on “regulatory dark matter,” a phenomenon that “devours” the economy, jobs and much more, according to the policy group. Federal regulators are implementing sly new restrictions on Americans business via guidance documents, memoranda and other means, CEI says.

The regulators are, in fact, “dodging legally required checks and balances,” according to lead author Wayne Crews, vice president for policy at the organization. He says the practice is akin to the Obama administration’s pesky habit of imposing unilateral executive actions.

Legislators should be paying attention.

“Congress needs to focus on the secretive ‘regulatory dark matter’ used by federal agencies to enact new policies and rules,” says Mr. Crews, who notes that over a third of agency rules are issued without a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, as required by the Administrative Procedure Act.

Among many things, Mr. Crews recommends that agency actions and programs not authorized by Congress be defunded while “vaguely worded laws” should be amended or repealed altogether.

Find his thoughts here

A TAXING SITUATION

Americans may be rejoicing now that tax day has finally come and gone. Or maybe not. There is a lingering final toll associated with the nation’s complex federal tax system, according to the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, which did all the math.

When all is said and done, Americans spent 6.1 billion hours preparing all those 1040s, plus $234 billion in compliance costs, fees, software and other extras.

“For the sake of our economy at home, our competitiveness abroad and our rights as citizens wherever we choose to live, Congress and the president must begin simplifying the tax system now,” says Pete Sepp, president of the research group.

POLL DU JOUR

84 percent of Americans are satisfied and enthusiastic about their personal and family relationships.

77 percent are satisfied with their career.

73 percent are happy with their “work-life balance.”

64 percent are satisfied with their personal financial situation.

37 percent are satisfied with the way their state and local governments are working.

20 percent are satisfied with the way the federal government is working.

Source: An Associated Press/GFK poll of 1,076 U.S. adults conducted March 31-April 4 and released Monday.

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