By Richard Cowan and Thomas Ferraro WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A landmark bill backed by U.S. President Barack Obama to overhaul the nation's immigration system survived unscathed on Thursday during the first day of consideration by a divided Senate Judiciary Committee. On bipartisan votes, the panel rejected conservatives' attempts to thwart implementation of a centerpiece of the bill – a pathway to U.S. citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants. By day's end leading Democratic and Republican senators said the committee had improved the bill. …
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Immigration bill backers thwart conservative amendments
Leading oil industry groups said Thursday federal land managers are blocking new energy development and job creation by postponing all oil and gas lease auctions on prime public lands in California until …
Oil industry: BLM prevents job creation in Calif.
South Korea's president ended her first U.S. trip on Thursday by joining the governor of California and the mayor of Los Angeles in a toast to future trade and tourism and stronger cultural ties between …
The midweek edition of the Morning Jolt features grim statistics on attitudes in the Muslim world, thoughts on Marvel’s superhero film franchises, and then these notes from the president’s press conference: ‘Hello,’ the President Lied Three quick points on Obama’s press conference from Tuesday … First, Obama demonstrates that the term “Game Change” is now the most useless buzzword since “value-added”: THE PRESIDENT: If I can establish in a way that not only the United States but also the international community feel confident is the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime, then that is a game-changer because what that portends is potentially even more devastating attacks on civilians, and it raises the strong possibility that those chemical weapons can fall into the wrong hands and get disseminated in ways that would threaten U.S. security or the security of our allies. Q By game-changer you mean U.S. military action? THE PRESIDENT: By game-changer I mean that we would have to rethink the range of options that are available to us. Watch your rear, Assad, or we might have to rethink the range of options. In Syria and all of the world’s trouble spots, the American people are going to resist intervening internationally until they’re confronted with something more horrible than the loss of blood and treasure spent in the war in Iraq. Right now, Americans aren’t convinced that anything can happen overseas that is so bad, so consequential and horrific, they’ll wish they had sent their sons and daughters and neighbors to go fight and die for something. For now, they’re right; they will probably be wrong someday. Secondly, examine Obama’s reaction to Jessica Yellin’s question: YELLIN: Lindsey Graham, who is a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, has said that Benghazi and Boston are both examples of the U.S. going backwards on national security. Is he right? And did our intelligence miss something? THE PRESIDENT: No, Mr. Graham is not right on this issue, although I’m sure generated some headlines. I think that what we saw in Boston was state, local, federal officials, every agency rallying around a city that had been attacked — identifying the perpetrators just hours after the scene had been examined. We now have one individual deceased, one in custody. Charges have been brought. I think that all our law enforcement officials performed in an exemplary fashion after the bombing had taken place. And we should be very proud of their work, as obviously we’re proud of the people of Boston and all the first responders and the medical personnel that helped save lives. Notice the sneer that Graham merely wants to “generate headlines” with his statement, as if it’s outlandish to argue that a terrorist murdering our ambassador or a terrorist bombing on the streets of Boston constitute “going backwards on national security.” Then notice that Yellin asks about the intelligence before the bombing, and Obama responds by citing the work of law enforcement after the bombing. Thirdly, Obama declared about his signature health care reform, “ A huge chunk of it has already been implemented. And for the 85 to 90 percent of Americans who already have health insurance, they’re already experiencing most of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act even if they don’t know it. Their insurance is more secure.” Jonathan Weisman of the New York Times responded , “Obama’s claim that folks who have insurance now have already gone through the ACA implementation is just not right. Lots of issues left.” The tax penalty for not having insurance isn’t in effect yet. Businesses may still decide to drop coverage and pay the fines ( for some companies, it may actually be cheaper to pay the fines ). We’re seeing companies try to shift as many employees as possible to less than 30 hours a week. As Inc. put it : The law’s new mandates–such as requiring insurers to cover preventive care at 100 percent–could drive rates higher. And small employers that buy insurance through the newly created Small Business Health Options Programs, or SHOP exchanges, may find higher costs once they are lumped in with a general-population risk pool. And as for that claim that your health insurance is “stronger,” perhaps the president meant, “ more expensive”: “Premiums could increase by an average of 30 percent for higher-income people in California who are now insured and do not qualify for federal insurance subsidies, the study said.”
A battle is heating up in California over Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to boost funding for all schools, but funnel more money to districts where many students are poor and struggle with English and less to wealthier districts.
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Battle in California Over School Funding
SACRAMENTO – In Dostoevsky’s “The Brothers Karamazov,” a priest recalls the words of a man who confessed: “The more I love mankind in general, the less I love people in particular.” We can all think of people like that – folks of varied political persuasions who rally to “save” humanity, but become so consumed by their cause that they lose patience for the individuals they ostensibly are trying to help. Judging by Gov. Jerry Brown’s latest plan to “save” the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, he appears to suffer from a variant of the same condition. California’s Green Governor loves the Earth in general but he doesn’t seem to care about particular earthly environments. Throughout his political career, Brown has championed grand Earth-saving projects such as AB 32, the state’s first-in-the nation cap-and-trade system designed to prod the world into cutting the carbon dioxide emissions that supposedly lead to global warming. He is pushing a high-speed-rail system that is designed to lure people out of their automobiles. He speaks often about his commitment to the environment. Yet I wonder whether the governor has ever taken the short trip from the Capitol to one of California’s ecological treasures. As it comes down from the mountains and heads toward the San Francisco Bay, the bulk of the state’s water passes through the Delta. It is a land of marshes, islands, charming small towns, Victorian mansions and orchards interspersed between 1,000 miles of waterways. The Delta also is Ground Zero for ongoing fights over the state’s water supplies. Judges have routinely stopped the water flows out of the Delta, toward the dry but agriculturally rich San Joaquin Valley and toward Southern California’s massive metropolises, to help a tiny endangered baitfish known as the Delta Smelt. The smelt is viewed as the canary in a coal mine – a bellwether for the ecological health of the waterways. Millions of fish are killed each year as they get caught in the giant pumps near Tracy, near the south end of the Delta. Environmentalists also express concerns about the level of saltwater that moves inland from the Pacific Ocean. This tiny, tranquil region is about to undergo dramatic, government-imposed changes that threaten its beauty and way of life. The governor’s plan is touted by Southern California water agencies and farmers alike who view it as a means to assure more consistent water supplies. I’m a believer in providing water to thirsty farmers and thirsty cities. But the Bay Delta Conservation Plan won’t necessarily increase the flow of water, according to the first parts of the plan, which recently has been released to the public. The plan would start a decade-long construction project to build two massive tunnels to bypass the current river system. At a cost estimated as high as $39 billion before the usual government-project overruns, the tunnels would move water supplies under the Delta and thereby decrease the current reliance on the aging, earthquake-prone levees. The plan has two equal goals: restore the Delta ecosystem and improve water reliability. It won’t increase water flows, but by resolving the Delta Smelt issue it will end the court-ordered water stoppages – at least in theory. Here, the administration proposes the use of tax dollars and massive engineering feats to solve a legal and regulatory problem. This is a poor use of resources, especially in a state that still is largely broke and that already faces some of the biggest debt and tax burdens in the nation. What are the chances that once the smelt issue is fixed that environmentalists won’t find another reason to sue to stop the water flows given that the water flows are the source of the real dispute? The administration’s plan will tear up the Delta for at least 10 years. We know how government infrastructure projects are always delayed, so it’s anyone’s guess how long it actually will take. Even its advocates admit that they aren’t sure about the unintended consequences of the project. As part of its ecosystem restoration program, this boondoggle will flood a large portion of the Delta’s land, destroying vineyards, farmland, orchards and marshes. It will submerge islands. There will be land confiscations. Environmental groups believe the re-engineering of the ecosystem will destroy salmon and other fish habitats. No one in their right mind would hand over a precious region such as this to bureaucrats, but in Sacramento these days the Brown administration is trying to relive the glory days of the New Deal where central planning and big spending are the in thing. Here’s a case where free-market advocates such as myself and true environmentalists should make common cause – to stop a misguided project that will raise water rates and increase the state’s debt load to provide limited and questionable gains. There are better, cheaper, more reasonable ways to increase water supplies, tend to a damaged ecosystem and shore up the levees. I don’t expect this governor to worry much about debt spending, tax burdens and that sort of thing. But perhaps his might take a trip through the meandering waterways and charming small towns of the Delta where he can learn that one shouldn’t save the environment in general by sacrificing an environment in theprocess. The post Water plan threatens taxpayers and the environment appeared first on Conservative News, Views & Books .
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Water plan threatens taxpayers and the environment
WASHINGTON (AP) — If a purse with $900 is stolen, the victim probably would call the police. If a computer hacker steals $900 from that same person's bank account, what then? Call the police? Could they even help?
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Local police grapple with response to cybercrimes
A number of unlikely sources defended President Obama last week when he called California Attorney General Kamala Harris “the best looking attorney general” and was later forced to apologize for it. His defenders mostly sang a common refrain: What's the harm in complimenting a woman's appearance? As if on cue, a study released Monday showed that media coverage of a woman candidate's appearance actually makes people less likely to vote for her — even if the comments are positive. …
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Making a down payment on his vow to go all in for Democrats in 2014, President Barack Obama is courting well-heeled donors in California on a two-day fundraising jaunt that requires the president to walk a fine line: Berate Republicans too much, and Obama could put fragile prospects for achieving his second-term goals in jeopardy.
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Obama raises California money for Democrats