Friday, May 2, 2014


With the House GOP report on Obamacare an embarrassing dud directly contradicted by insurance companies who say the White House's figure of 85-90% of first premiums have been paid up is correct and the April unemployment rate seeing the best numbers since September 2008 the Republicans are now in pure panic mode.  No surprise then that just hours after that monster jobs report and the unemployment rate down to 6.3%, Orange Julius gave the Tea Party what they wanted: a select committee to investigate Benghazi and Darrell Issa's clown show calling up John Kerry to testify.

The creation of the panel, which Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced on Friday, comes the same day that House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) issued a subpoena to force Secretary of State John Kerry to testify about the attacks.

Together, the steps signal a bold escalation of the Republican strategy to find the Obama administration at fault for its handling of the Benghazi attacks, which left U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead. They come after internal White House emails were released this week that Republicans say prove the administration lied about its role in drafting talking points about the attack.

“These revelations compel the House to take every possible action to ensure the American people have the truth about the terrorist attack on our consulate that killed four of our countrymen,” Boehner said in a statement announcing his intent to create the select committee.

It’s unclear who will chair the panel, but leadership aides said Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) is being seriously considered for the post.

By convening a select committee and demanding that Kerry testify, House Republicans are assuring that scrutiny of the White House over Benghazi — a topic that energizes the GOP base — will remain strong in the months ahead of the midterm elections.

 Because Benghazi was such a successful issue for the GOP during the 2012 elections.

Look, the GOP is clearly terrified that they've got nothing for 2014, and need something to keep the rubes busy while they keep pillaging the country.  Benghazi fits the bill pretty well.  If they're reduced to this nonsense, then they're screwed and they know it.

Bring it on, clowns.  New Tag:  Benghazi Is The New Hodor

A Streetcar Now Desired

Time to check in on Cincinnati politics again, and as a reminder Mayor Cranley's quixotic battle against the streetcar ended last December.  He's not only accepted the fact that the streetcar is cheaper to finish than the kill right now, but suddenly with Cincinnati being in the mix to land the GOP National Convention in 2016, getting the streetcar done ahead of time to show off to the country is suddenly making the project a priority.

Cincinnati's streetcar could be open to riders up to two months earlier than expected if the city lands the 2016 Republican National Convention.

"It's certainly possible," said John Deatrick, head of the streetcar project. "If all goes well, it could be done quicker than the time we've laid out."

The $133 million streetcar currently is scheduled to open on Sept. 15, 2016, but project leaders have started looking at whether they can open it in time for the convention – most likely in July or August.

Cincinnati is one of six cities on the short list to land the Republican convention. Members of the Republic National Committee's convention site selection committee are scheduled to visit Cincinnati on Tuesday to help determine whether the city makes the next round of cuts in mid-May.

Business leaders have told The Enquirer that the local steering committee expects to push for the streetcar to open early if Cincinnati makes the next round of cuts. The streetcar was not mentioned in Cincinnati's official convention bid package, because the steering committee did not think it would be finished in time, City Councilwoman Amy Murray said.

But Murray said she now expects the possibility of the streetcar being ready at convention time will be discussed with RNC officials on Tuesday. Murray is a member of the local convention steering committee and chairwoman of City Council's transportation committee.

"Ideally, if we have any large convention in the summer of 2016, it would be great if the streetcar would be done in time," Murray said. "If we get the Republican National Convention, then I think it's time to have a serious conversation.

What a difference five months makes, huh John.  The streetcar project went from albatross and boondoggle to selling point for the Republican National Convention in near-record time.  It would be hysterical except for the fact that Cranley largely won by opposing the streetcar, then dropped that opposition within weeks of taking office, and now he's hoping to sell it as a convention draw.

That's our Mayor!

The Assault On Sexual Assault

The Obama administration this week launched efforts at dealing with sexual assault on college campuses nationwide, and it's not just public service announcements. These also include investigations with real teeth as the Department of Education is going after a number of major universities for failure to handle these cases correctly.

The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights released a list of 55 colleges being investigated, a move that the agency expects will encourage dialogue and coax schools to toughen up on how they deal with sexual violence.

Among the schools on the list are: Michigan State University, Arizona State University, Princeton University, Catholic University of America, Florida State University and Swarthmore College.

“We are making this list available in an effort to bring more transparency to our enforcement work and to foster better public awareness of civil rights,” Catherine Lhamon, the Education Department’s assistant secretary for civil rights, said in a statement.

The investigations are being conducted under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which ensures that students are not denied, for reasons of gender, the ability to fully participate in educational and other opportunities at schools that receive federal funds.

The comprehensive list released on Thursday is the first of its kind. The move is part of the administration’s efforts to curb sexual harassment and sexual violence, especially in colleges, and to push schools to do more to prevent and punish on assaults.

Following a three-month study conducted by a task force established by President Barack Obama to address the issue, the White House earlier this week launched a website,, to help victims find help and report crimes.

According to the White House, one in five women, and a smaller number of men, are sexually assaulted during their college years, with cases often going unreported.

One in five is a real problem, a serious epidemic that has to be stopped.  I'm glad to see the Department of Education stepping in because it's painfully clear that universities are more inclined to sweep these incidents under the rug than deal with them.  It's a promising start.


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