Top 10 companies lobbying Washington

The full list: Here are the publicly traded companies that have done the most direct lobbying since 2009, plus a bonus:

1. General Electric (GE): $134 million

2. AT&T: (T, Tech30) $91.2 million

3. Boeing Co (BA): $90.3 million

4. Northrop Grumman (NOC): $87.9 million

5. Comcast Corp (CMCSA): $86.4 million

6. Verizon Communications: (VZ, Tech30) $86.4 million

7. FedExCorp (FDX): $85.7 million

8. Exxon Mobil (XOM): $85 million

9. Lockheed Martin (LMT): $78.8 million

10. Pfizer (PFE): $77.8 million

via Top 10 companies lobbying Washington – Oct. 1, 2014.

New York Times Surprised That Republicans Don’t Want to See Obama Murdered

The lead paragraph of a New York Times article by Peter Baker:

President Obama must be touched by all the concern Republicans are showing him these days. As Congress examines security breaches at the White House, even opposition lawmakers who have spent the last six years fighting his every initiative have expressed deep worry for his security.

I kid you not. 

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Republicans rallying behind religious liberty – US News

WASHINGTON (AP) — Prospective Republican presidential candidates are promoting religious liberty at home and abroad at a gathering of evangelical conservatives, rebuking an unpopular President Barack Obama while skirting divisive social issues that have tripped up the GOP.

The annual Values Voter Summit opened Friday in Washington with speeches from several potential presidential candidates, including Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. The program features ambitious Republicans with positions on social issues across the spectrum — from the libertarian-leaning Paul, who favors less emphasis on abortion and gay marriage, to Huckabee, a former Southern Baptist pastor whose conservative social values define his brand.

via Republicans rallying behind religious liberty – US News.

Sandy Hook commission calls for homeschool oversight

A Connecticut government task force wants to give special educators with public schools the power to veto homeschooling parents’ education plans.  

The Connecticut Post reports the state has placed increased scrutiny on its roughly 5,000 homeschoolers since the December 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 students and six educators died.

The shooter, Adam Lanza, 20, was diagnosed in 2005 with Asperger’s syndrome. High school exacerbated his struggles, which included “extreme anxiety and discomfort with changes, noise, and physical contact with others,” a state attorney’s report said. Lanza’s mother, whom he also killed, began homeschooling him in about 10th grade with the aid of Newtown High School so he could graduate in 2009 with a public school diploma. 

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First Case of Ebola in USA

From CNN: 

A patient at a Dallas, Texas, hospital is the first case of Ebola virus diagnosed in the United States, according to the CDC. 

Other Americans were diagnosed in West Africa and then brought to the United States for treatment.

Muslim Day Parade in NYC with Hanged and Caged Women!

You won’t see this on your local news. It goes against the narrative being told by the political elite. 

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Exercise Is ADHD Medication

Physical movement improves mental focus, memory, and cognitive flexibility; new research shows just how critical it is to academic performance. 

Mental exercises to build (or rebuild) attention span have shown promise recently as adjuncts or alternatives to amphetamines in addressing symptoms common to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Building cognitive control, to be better able to focus on just one thing, or single-task, might involve regular practice with a specialized video game thatreinforces “top-down” cognitive modulation, as was the case in a popular paper in Nature last year. Cool but still notional. More insipid but also more clearly critical to addressing what’s being called the ADHD epidemic is plain old physical activity.

This morning the medical journal Pediatrics published research that found kids who took part in a regular physical activity program showed important enhancement of cognitive performance and brain function. The findings, according to University of Illinois professor Charles Hillman and colleagues, “demonstrate a causal effect of a physical program on executive control, and provide support for physical activity for improving childhood cognition and brain health.” If it seems odd that this is something that still needs support, that’s because it is odd, yes. Physical activity is clearly a high, high-yield investment for all kids, but especially those attentive or hyperactive. This brand of research is still published and written about as though it were a novel finding, in part because exercise programs for kids remain underfunded and underprioritized in many school curricula, even though exercise is clearly integral to maximizing the utility of time spent in class.

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Underfunded state public pensions in peril | AEIdeas

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Did Ruth Bader Ginsburg Just Disqualify Herself from Hearing the Texas Abortion Clinic Case?

The latest issue of The New Republic features a long, fascinating interview with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Among other things, the octogenarian justice denounces the various liberal pundits who keep calling on her to retire, attacks Citizens United as the “one [current] decision I would overrule,” and even gets a nice little jab in at her former colleague John Paul Stevens (“He was always fair in assigning dissents: He kept most of them himself”). But the most interesting part of the interview occurs when the talk turns to abortion. Here’s the relevant exchange with interviewer Jeffrey Rosen:

JR: And if Roe [v. Wade] were overturned, how bad would the consequences be?

RBG: It would be bad for non-affluent women. If we imagine the worst-case scenario, with Roe v. Wade overruled, there would remain many states that would not go back to the way it once was. What that means is any woman who has the wherewithal to travel, to take a plane, to take a train to a state that provides access to abortion, that woman will never have a problem. It doesn’t matter what Congress or the state legislatures do, there will be other states that provide this facility, and women will have access to it if they can pay for it. Women who can’t pay are the only women who would be affected.

JR: So how can advocates make sure that poor women’s access to reproductive choice is protected? Can legislatures be trusted or is it necessary for courts to remain vigilant?

RBG: How could you trust legislatures in view of the restrictions states are imposing? Think of the Texas legislation that would put most clinics out of business.

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Yet More IRS Employees Busted for Stealing Taxpayers’ Identities

Hacker

It’s hard to keep up with the privacy-threatening shenanigans at the Internal Revenue Service, but let’s give it a try. Just days after revealing that the tax agency’s failure to follow its own rules put the private data of 1.4 million people at risk, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration publicized the sentencing of Tax Examining Technician Missy Sledge for aggravated identity theft and mail fraud, and IRS employee Monica Hernandez for making and subscribing a false income tax return, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft.

According to the Inspector General’s Office, “as part of her official IRS duties, Sledge had access to taxpayers’ personal identifiers, including names, Social Security Numbers (SSN), dates of birth, and addresses, as well as information about tax professionals. Sledge used this access in furtherance of an identity theft scheme which included the filing of fraudulent tax returns and the subsequent theft of refunds.”

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The Left’s Populist Tax Agenda

Copying the right’s success, the left is taking its tax agenda directly to the people. This November, voters will again have the chance to decide on taxes. But as Ira Stoll reports, in a number of cases, the questions they will be voting on are not aimed at limiting taxes or at cutting them, but, instead, at increasing them.

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Obama’s Adviser Valarie Jarrett has Ugly Debut on “The Good Wife”.

Top Obama adviser Valarie Jarrett made her debut on a television drama this weekend, and it was pretty ugly.

The Democratic strategist Donna Brazile has played herself on the show three times. Sunday marked the debut of the Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, playing herself in a plot line that saw her going along with an Eli Gold ploy to encourage Alicia to run for state’s attorney. These cameos would make sense if Michelle and Robert King, the show’s creators, were lobbying for some kind of federal production tax credit. And they probably succeed as fan service for a liberal audience of a certain age. But they don’t work as television drama. The political functionaries can’t act — they’re a distraction, and they flatten every scene they’re in. The shock of recognition isn’t worth it.

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Americans step up spending, but home market weakens | Reuters

American consumer spending rose 0.5 percent last month. The housing sector remained an exception, and not in a good way. 

U.S. consumer spending accelerated in August, the government said on Monday, a positive sign for an economy that appears to be firing on nearly all cylinders.

The housing sector remains an exception, however, with a separate report showing Americans signed fewer contracts in August to purchase previously owned homes.

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Elizabeth Warren Calls For Investigation Of NY Fed Over Secret Tapes

Elizabeth Warren wants a congressional investigation of the New York Federal Reserve after recently secret recordings suggest some foul play by the financial authority.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) are both calling for Congress to investigate the New York Federal Reserve Bank after recently released secret recordings show the central bank allegedly going light on firms it was supposed to regulate.

Warren and Brown, both members of the Senate Banking Committee, called for an investigation of the New York Fed after Carmen Segarra, a former examiner at the bank, released secretly recorded tapes that she claims show her superiors telling her to go easy on private banks. Segarra says that she was fired from her job in 2012 for refusing to overlook Goldman’s lack of a conflict of interest policy and other questionable practices that should have brought tougher regulatory scrutiny.

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U.S. bankruptcy judge allows Detroit water shutoffs to continue – Yahoo News

The bankruptcy judge overseeing Detroit’s woes said that shutting off water to non-paying customers can continue, because he has no jurisdiction to act otherwise.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes ruled on Monday that Detroit can continue shutting off water service to non-paying customers, saying his court does not have jurisdiction over the issue and that suspending disconnections for six months could hurt the city’s finances.

“Detroit cannot afford any revenue slippages,” the judge said, before resuming his ongoing hearing on Detroit’s plan to exit the biggest-ever municipal bankruptcy.

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White House Shows Support For Aspirations Of Hong Kong People

The White House gave a thumbs up to the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, which are still growing in spite of tear gas and officials’ demands.

The White House is watching democracy protests in Hong Kong closely and supports the “aspirations of the Hong Kong people,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Monday.

“The United States supports universal suffrage in Hong Kong in accordance with the Basic Law and we support the aspirations of the Hong Kong people,” said Earnest, who also urged restraint on both sides.

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U.S. may keep secret prisoners in custody after Afghan war exit | Reuters

The U.S. will likely keep its secret prisoners when the war “ends.”

The fate of a group of prisoners held in near-total secrecy by U.S. forces at a prison in Afghanistan is hanging in limbo, the facility’s commander said, as Washington gropes for options after its legal right to hold them there expires in December.

The inmates – all foreign nationals captured on battlefields around the world – could be transferred to the U.S. court system or, as a last resort, to the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, Brigadier General Patrick J. Reinert told Reuters.

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State: White House didn’t drop the ball on ISIS threat | TheHill

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki says that when President Barack Obama said his administration “underestimated” the threat of ISIS he didn’t really mean it. We’ve “long been tracking this,” she insists. So, we knew what was happening and just dropped the ball?

The Obama administration didn’t overlook the threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki insisted Monday.

“Absolutely not,” Psaki told MSNBC, saying the administration had “long been tracking this.”

Psaki spoke amid a brewing controversy over President Obama’s assertion during an interview with “60 Minutes” on Sunday that the U.S. intelligence community underestimated the terror network’s rise.

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Afghan president to sign deal Tuesday allowing US troops to stay after 2014, officials say | Fox News

Nearly 10,000 American troops will remain in Afghanistan after 2014, promises the country’s newly elected president Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai. 

Newly inaugurated Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai is expected to sign a vital security deal Tuesday to allow American soldiers to remain in the country past the end of the year, officials say. 

A senior Defense Department official confirmed to Fox News that the new president will sign the Bilateral Security Agreement allowing for 9,800 U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan after 2014. The president also is expected to sign a NATO Status of Forces Agreement, which will allow a small NATO force to stay on as well.

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Owen Paterson: Fight Against Climate Change ‘May Cause More Harm Than Global Warming’ | CCD

Measures to combat climate change may be causing more damage than current global warming, a former environment secretary has said. Owen Paterson, who was sacked in David Cameron’s reshuffle in July, attacked what he described as a “wicked green blob” of environmentalists for failing to explain the pause in global warming. –Matt Dathan, The Times, 28 September 2014

 

There has not been a temperature increase now for probably 18 years, some people say 26 years. So the pause is old enough to vote, the pause is old enough to join the army, the pause is old enough to pay its taxes. We were never told the pause was coming along, there are – as I understand it – about 30 different explanations for it and nobody explains why the pause is suddenly going to disappear and we’re going to get back on the track upwards. So I’m concerned that the measures being taken to counter projected dangers may actually be causing more damage now than those dangers. –Owen Paterson, The Times, 28 September 2014

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Marriage Isn’t Dead — Yet

casselman-feature-marriage-1

Fewer Americans of all stripes are getting married. But beneath that overarching trend lies an important distinction: Some groups are merely delaying marriage, while others are skipping it entirely.

The Pew Research Center last week released a big report on the decline in marriage in the United States. In 1960, nearly 90 percent of 25- to 34-year olds had been married; today, that figure is barely 50 percent.1 The trend is remarkably broad, cutting across race, education, income and other characteristics.2

But dig deeper into the numbers and they reveal a hidden divide: Affluent, college-educated Americans are increasingly delaying marriage until their 30s. But they aren’t abandoning marriage altogether; in fact, they appear likely to get married at close to the same rate as past generations. They rarely have children outside of marriage, and they are relatively unlikely to get divorced.

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Community College Spotlight | California OKs 4-year degrees at 2-year colleges

Fifteen California community colleges will be allowed to offer bachelor’s degrees in vocational fields. That makes California the 22nd state to let students earn four-year vocational degrees at two-year colleges.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Sunday to create the pilot program, which will launch on Jan. 1, 2015.

California joins 21 other states that authorize two-year colleges to offer four-year degrees.

In recent years, advocates have argued that growing industry demand for more educated workers in fields such as dental hygiene and automotive technology could be met by expanding existing programs at community colleges.

“This is landmark legislation that is a game changer for California’s higher education system and our workforce preparedness,” state Sen. Marty Block, D-San Diego, who authored the bill, said in a statement. “SB 850 boosts the focus of our community colleges on job training and increasing the accessibility and affordability of our state’s higher education system.”

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Hong Kong Democracy Protests Grow, Despite Tear Gas – NBC News.com

Anti-Beijing, pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong grew after police used tear gas to disperse protesters.

Pro-democracy protests expanded in Hong Kong on Monday, a day after demonstrators upset over Beijing’s decision to limit political reforms defied onslaughts of tear gas and appeals from Hong Kong’s top leader to go home.

“I hope the public will keep calm. Don’t be misled by the rumors. Police will strive to maintain social order, including ensuring smooth traffic and ensuring the public safety,” said the Beijing-backed Leung, who is deeply unpopular. He added, “When they carry out their duties, they will use their maximum discretion.”

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Possible Ebola Patient Arrives at U.S. NIH Lab – NBC News.com

A doctor who may have contracted Ebola while working in Sierra Leone returned to the United States and checked himself in with the National Institute of Health.

An American doctor who was exposed to the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone checked in to the National Institutes of Health hospital Sunday for experimental testing and possible isolation and treatment, the NIH said.

The doctor, who hasn’t been identified, was working in Sierra Leone. If he or she has been infected, it would be the fourth U.S. doctor sickened by Ebola and treated for it. Two — Dr. Kent Brantly and Dr. Rick Sacra — have been treated and released and another unidentified doctor was being treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Another American, Nancy Writebol, was also treated and released from Emory.

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Governor vetoes bill that would have limited police use of drones – LA Times

Gov. Brown signs laws to crack down on human traffickingGov. Jerry Brown (D-Ca.) vetoed a bill that would have limited police use of drones in the state.

Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday vetoed a bill that would have required law enforcement agencies to obtain warrants to use drones for surveillance.

Brown, in his veto message, said that although there may be some circumstances when a warrant is appropriate, the bill went too far.

The measure appeared to impose restrictions on law enforcement that go beyond federal and state constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizures and the right to privacy, the governor stated.

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Illinois Sen. Durbin says he’ll seek investigation of Chicago air traffic control center fire | Fox News

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says he wants an investigation into how a contract employee was able to start a fire at a regional flight control center that caused the cancellation of thousands of flights in and out of Chicago and disrupted air traffic nationwide.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said Sunday that he will seek an investigation into how a contract employee was able to sabotage a regional control center and bring Chicago’s two international airports to a halt.

The Illinois Democrat told The Associated Press that he will ask inspectors general at the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration to investigate whether there was a security breach when the employee entered the building early Friday with a suitcase without causing suspicion. He then started a fire in the basement telecommunications room before attempting to commit suicide by slashing his throat.

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Syria’s al-Qaeda chief warns West of revenge for air strikes

The leader of the Al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria warned of terrorist attacks in the U.S. and Europe as retribution for air strikes against their group and ISIS in the country.

The head of Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliate has warned that failure to stop US-led air strikes on jihadist positions in Syria would “transfer the battle” to Western countries.

In an audio message posted on the internet on Sunday, Abu Mohammad al-Jolani, who heads Al-Nusra Front in Syria, addressed citizens “in America and Europe” and called on them to stand against their governments.

“Your leaders will not pay the price for the war alone; you will pay the higher price,” Mr Jolani warned, in his first speech since the coalition launched strikes on Syria last week.

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7 in 10 U.S. Troops Oppose Boots on the Ground in Iraq | TIME

More than 70 percent of U.S. troops surveyed opposed putting “boots on the ground” in Iraq in order to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). 

Pessimism about success of Iraqi mission growing, with almost 60% saying the war was not very or not at all successful, up from 31% in 2013

A large majority of the U.S. military’s rank and file are opposed to sending troops back to Iraq in combat roles, according to a new Military Times poll, even as the Pentagon commits to a broadening program of air strikes against Islamist extremists in the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).

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Boehner Says Yes to Ground Troops.

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) has signaled that it may be inevitable that American troops will be fighting the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria and Iraq. From an ABC News interview with George Stephanopoulos yesterday:

“If I were the president, [said Boehner,] “I probably wouldn’t have talked about what I wouldn’t do — and maybe we can get enough of those forces trained to get them on the battlefield, but somebody’s boots have to be there.”

“If no one else will step up, would you recommend putting American boots on the ground?” Stephanopoulos pressed.

“We have no choice,” Boehner warned. “These are barbarians. They intend to kill us, and if we don’t destroy them first, we’re going to pay the price.”

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CNN Poll: Americans are steadfastly opposed to sending U.S. ground troops to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria

Americans are steadfastly opposed to sending U.S. ground troops to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria, but an overwhelming number of people continue to support the U.S.-led airstrikes against the terrorist group, a CNN/ORC International poll shows.

The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International, which interviewed 1,055 adult Americans, by telephone between Thursday and Saturday. The sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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