Saturday, June 13, 2015

Los Angeles, California: Mayor Garcetti Makes Minimum Wage Law Official at Signing in South L.A.

Mayor Eric Garcetti signed into law Saturday afternoon a measure that will increase the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020, according to a news release from the city of Los Angeles.
Original post:
Mayor Eric Garcetti will formally sign into law Los Angeles’ landmark ordinance boosting the city’s minimum wage at a ceremony Saturday in South Los Angeles.
The signing will take place at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, a symbolic nod to the civil rights leader’s campaign to improve economic conditions for low-wage workers.
The law would raise the minimum wage in Los Angeles to $15 an hour by 2020, improving the financial outlook for hundreds of thousands of workers and making L.A. the largest city in the country to mandate higher pay for workers at the bottom of the income ladder.
Backers predicted its passage here could reverberate across the nation, ultimately aiding millions of Americans.

Congressional Democrats Move to Institute New Jersey Style Gun Control

Woman with gun / AP
Woman with gun / AP
Congressional Democrats introduced a bill Thursday that would implement a more restrictive process for obtaining a handgun nation wide.
The bill, called the Handgun Purchaser Licensing Act of 2015, comes less than a week after a New Jersey woman was killed while waiting for approval to buy a handgun under similar restrictions. If enacted, the bill would require Americans attempting to buy a handgun “provide proof they are at least 21 years old and a lawful resident of the United States; apply for the license at a law enforcement agency within the state; submit to a background investigation and criminal history check; submit fingerprints and photographs with their application and be eligible to purchase a handgun pursuant to the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act,” according to a fact sheet published by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D., Md).
Despite support from Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn), Sen. Chris Murphy (D., Conn), and Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D., Conn), the bill is unlikely to pass either the House of Representatives or the Senate.

Massachusetts House Launches Investigation Into Deval Patrick’s Hidden Accounts

Massachusetts House investigators are looking into whether former Gov. Deval Patrick diverted state money to secret funds for travel, advertising and other off-the-books expenses.
The Boston Herald first broke the story of the money transfers earlier this week.
Democratic state Rep. David Linsky is the chairman of the House Post Audit Committee and announced the investigation Thursday.
“As is my practice in all investigations, we will always go where the evidence takes us,” Linsky said, according to the Herald.
The Boston Herald reports that the former Democratic governor’s administration steered close to $27 million in state funds to various clandestine accounts.
These “trusts” allowed the governor to avoid the budget cut-backs due to the recession and did not bind the money to the oversight of the state legislature or the public.
Records show Patrick used a chunk of the funds for his world trips where he promoted Massachusetts as a global destination.
Between 2011 and 2014, the governor and his staff spent $535,558 in hotel costs, $332,193 in airfare, $305,976 for limousines and ground transportation, and $175,000 in miscellaneous travel expenses. The total bill for the trips in that three-year span came to $1.35 million.
One of the shady trusts was headed by a Patrick confidant, Betsy Wall. She had previously served as the head of tourism for the commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The Herald found that her “trust” sent $17 million to the advertising firm Connelly Partners, which is also employed by the state’s tourism office.
Apparently this under-the-radar $17 million was meant to bolster the state’s tourism industry through further marketing efforts than what the legislature had authorized.
The reason why government entities transferred millions into the secret accounts: “The (Patrick) administration asked us to,” said the spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority. The MCCA threw the most money to the slush funds totaling $23.5 million.
The Herald story says that Massport and the Mass Tech Collaborative, also gave money to the accounts. The MTC receives federal dollars, and received Obama stimulus funds.
Via: Daily Caller

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NEW YORK CITY, New York – Hillary Rodham Clinton’s re-launch went off without a hitch with roughly 5,000 people, according to the New York Times, which credits the official count to her campaign.

The crowd packed into an area on Roosevelt Island in New York City to hear the likely Democratic 2016 candidate speak and lay out the next phase of her campaign.
Although there were roughly two areas fenced off for extra crowd viewing areas, more people packed in to see Clinton than did to see the seven GOP presidential candidates last weekend in Iowa at 
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA)
’s Roast and Ride.

There was one almost empty area behind the press gallery with a large jumbotron airing Clinton’s speech.
Alex Swoyer/Breitbart News
Alex Swoyer/Breitbart News
Breitbart News spotted another viewing area that was completely empty farther back – with loudspeakers, but no jumbotron.
Despite the empty areas, the large turnout showed Clinton still appears to be a strong contender despite the scandals (Benghazi, private email server, Clinton Cash) – to name a few – that trail her campaign.
“I’ve been called many things by many people, quitter is not one of them,’’ she said to her audience.

How Obama’s Trade Deal Unraveled in the US House

President Obama’s last-minute push to whip votes for his trade bill backfired Friday as the House of Representatives killed a related measure providing aid to workers displaced by trade. The legislation was critical to the president’s pursuit of greater authority to negotiate trade agreements.
The 126-to-302 vote marked a failure for Obama after forging an unusual alliance with House Republicans. Skeptical Democrats argued the bill authorizing Trade Adjustment Assistance was funded through cuts to Medicare and would accelerate job losses.
“Our people would rather have a job than trade assistance,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said before the vote. “Whatever the deal is with other countries, we want a better deal for America’s workers.”
Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., said House Democrats have taken the trade bill “hostage” in an attempt to “undermine America’s trade agenda.”
“The Democrats are very good at talking about how much they care about the fight for working men and women who have been displaced and they didn’t send that message today, they did quite the opposite,” Dent said in an interview with The Daily Signal.
Trade Adjustment Assistance was used as an attempt to entice Democrats to support a second bill central to the trade deal. TAA, as it’s known, would have provided job training and relocation allowances for those who lose their jobs because of increased international trade.
Democrats didn’t go for the ploy and instead struck a blow to a program they typically support, bucking Obama’s 40-minute plea for passage just hours before the vote.

City of Spokane Opens Investigation into Dolezal’s Potential Code of Ethics Violation

spokaneOne of the big details coming out of the Rachel Dolezal race controversy is that the city of Spokane is actually investigating her for a potential code of ethics violation.
Dolezal currently serves on the city’s citizen police ombudsman commission, and according to KXLY, she identified herself as African-American on the application, despite having white parents who both said that their daughter is not actually black.
She was appointed to the board by Mayor David Condon, and in a joint statement with the council president, he said, “We are gathering facts to determine if any city policies related to volunteer boards and commissions have been violated. That information will be reviewed by the City Council, which has oversight of city boards and commissions.”
Meanwhile, earlier today the Spokane police suspended all its investigations involving Dolezal, including an incident where she says she received mail with hateful messages.


11hr after first shot, suspect's armored vehicle, feared to be rigged with explosives is destroyed

Contentions: The Democratic Party is Officially Leaderless

  • President Barack Obama wanted Congress to pass a variety of trade-related proposals, and he didn’t want to have to rely on Republican votes in order to see that happen. He lobbied his fellow Democrats in favor of trade, and he lobbied them hard. In the end, it wasn’t enough. On Friday, the president endured a stern censure from the very member of the party for whom he once served as a savior. Barack Obama’s presidency is all but over. It’s Hillary Clinton’s party now, but she does not seem inclined to lead it so much as to emerge as its supervisor by default and through a process of attrition. She is not in a hurry to rush that process, and there is no alternative Democratic leader waiting in the wings. Inadvertently, what House Democrats did on Friday was to decapitate their own party.

Inadvertently, what House Democrats did on Friday was to decapitate their own party.
By a hair’s margin, the GOP-dominated House passed fast-track trade promotional authority (TPA) that will allow the president to prioritize trade negotiations and conclude the terms of a free trade deal with 11 Pacific Rim countries. But by a resounding 302 to 126-vote margin, however, the House resoundingly rejected a Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) proposal passed in the Senate. The TAA, a giveaway to unions and other labor interests that will potentially be negatively impacted as a result of the passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, was soundly rejected.
Obama was not merely supportive of the passage of both TPA and TAA; he pressed his fellow Democrats in the House to pass both proposals. During the annual indulgence that is the Congressional baseball game at Nationals Park on Thursday, the president surprised the press when made an impromptu visit to the Democratic dugout. He smiled and waved to the adoring crowds, but Obama wasn’t there merely to soak in the applause; he was there to work House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. It was clear that his cajoling was unsuccessful on Friday morning when the president made another surprise visit to the Capitol Building to implore his fellow Democrats not to abandon him. None of this extraordinary effort was enough.

Clinton Staffers Claim Hillary is as Inspirational as Obama. Hilarity Ensues.

Clinton Re-Launch-Campaign Kickoff Speech (The First time was not painful enough)

Hillary Clinton delivered her official campaign launch speech on New York City’s Roosevelt Island. She talked about her personal story and how it guides her fight for everyday Americans, and she outlined her guiding principle that the true measure of America’s success shouldn’t be how those at the top are doing, but how all American families are doing.

Thank you! Oh, thank you all! Thank you so very, very much. (Cheers, applause.)
It is wonderful to be here with all of you.

To be in New York (cheers) with my family, with so many friends, including many New Yorkers who gave me the honor of serving them in the Senate for eight years. (Cheers, applause.)

To be right across the water from the headquarters of the United Nations, where I represented our country many times. (Cheers, applause.)

To be here in this beautiful park dedicated to Franklin Roosevelt’s enduring vision of America, the nation we want to be.

And in a place… with absolutely no ceilings. (Cheers, applause.)

You know, President Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms are a testament to our nation’s unmatched aspirations and a reminder of our unfinished work at home and abroad. His legacy lifted up a nation and inspired presidents who followed. One is the man I served as Secretary of State, Barack Obama, (cheers, applause) and another is my husband, Bill Clinton. (Cheers, applause.)

Two Democrats guided by the -- (cheering) Oh, that will make him so happy. They were and are two Democrats guided by the fundamental American belief that real and lasting prosperity must be built by all and shared by all. (Cheers, applause.)

President Roosevelt called on every American to do his or her part, and every American answered. He said there’s no mystery about what it takes to build a strong and prosperous America: “Equality of opportunity… Jobs for those who can work… Security for those who need it… The ending of special privilege for the few…(cheers, applause.) The preservation of civil liberties for all… (cheers, applause) a wider and constantly rising standard of living.”

That still sounds good to me. (Cheers, applause.)

Obama transfers six more Gitmo detainees, including alleged bin Laden bodyguards

Six detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention center, including two alleged Osama bin Laden bodyguards, have been transferred to Oman, the Pentagon said Saturday.
The terror-related detainees are all from neighboring and embattled Yemen. They departed Friday from the U.S. detention center, at a Naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, created in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks to get terror-suspects off battlefields.
This is the first time in roughly the past five months that Guantanamo suspects have been transferred, as Congress considers new restrictions on such moves.
President Obama campaigned in 2008 to close the facility. The new transfers mark the departure of more than half of the 242 detainees who were at the facility when Obama was sworn into office in 2009. The number is now 116.
National Security Council spokesman Ned Price on Saturday repeated the Obama administration’s argument that keeping open the facility weakens national security by draining resources, damages U.S. relations with key allies and partners and emboldens violent extremists.
“As the president has repeatedly made clear, the administration is determined to close the” facility, he said. “We are taking all possible steps to reduce the detainee population at Guantanamo and to close the detention facility in a responsible manner.”
Congressional Republicans and other critics of releasing detainees argue they have the strong potential to return to the battlefield or commit other acts of terror.
Each of six the new transferees was unanimously approved through the 2009 Executive Order Task Force. And they were approved by six federal departments or agencies -- the departments of Defense, State, Justice and Homeland Security; the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.   

Still, Obama remains far from achieving his closure goal, with just a year and a half left in office and as Capitol Hill lawmakers threaten to make the movement of prisoners even harder.

Bullet train puts California’s future in the hole

The California High Speed Rail Authority is in damage-control mode in Southern California.
Planning is underway for the Palmdale-to-Burbank section of the $68-billion bullet train, and the rail authority is required to solicit community input on proposed routes. On Monday, Team Bullet Train was at the Santa Clarita Activities Center to comply with that legal mandate.
The strain was evident. “Santa Clarita has been very effective at vocalizing its concerns to the High Speed Rail Authority,” a rail official stated with cool irritation.
“I will lead the City Council to file a lawsuit if it goes through Santa Clarita,” Council member TimBen Boydston said later.
Public meetings usually feature members of the audience asking questions of a panel of officials and experts. Everyone can hear the answers.
Not this time. The rail authority’s meeting took place in two large rooms, with chairs set up in one room and computer displays in the other. Two officials gave a presentation in the room with the chairs but would not take questions from the people sitting in them.
“We prefer that people ask their questions individually of the experts at the open house,” an information officer said, referring to the room where engineering and environmental consultants stood near their displays like bored vendors at a trade show.
So none of the other people attending the presentation heard the experts tell me that the automobile was “a 50-year experiment that did not work out well,” or that “Ansel Adams opposed the Golden Gate Bridge, and one day opposition to high-speed rail will seem just as ridiculous,” or that “we will learn from the Europeans” how to safely evacuate train passengers from a tunnel 60 feet underground in the event of a fire or explosion.
Actually, automobile sales have been rising since 1892, Ansel Adams was a photographer of nature’s untouched beauty, and the CHSRA’s own literature on project pros and cons lists “Fire & Life Safety” as one of the “cons” of the “HSR deep tunnel.”

1,037,900 Jobs Deficit: U.S. Created 16x as Many Jobs in Mexico as Mexico in U.S. - U.S.-majority-owned multinational enterprises employed 1,106,700 in Mexico in 2012 (the latest year on record), according to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, but Mexican-majority owned enterprises employed only 68,800 in the United States that year.
That means that U.S.-controlled multinationals employed 1,037,900 more people in Mexico than Mexican-controlled multinationals employed in the United States.
Put another way, multinational enterprises that had a majority U.S. ownership employed 16 times as many people in Mexico as Mexican-controlled multinationals employed in the United States.
Forty-nine percent of the jobs--546,500 of 1,106,700--that U.S.-controlled multinationals maintained in Mexico in 2012 were in manufacturing, according to the BEA. (See Table 5.2 in the August 2014 BEA report "Activities of U.S. Multinationl Enterprises in 2012.")
Those 546,500 Mexican manufacturing workers employed by U.S.-controlled multinationals included at least 100,000 in transportation equipment manufacturing, 71,300 in food manufacturing, 53,700 in computer and electronic products manufacturing, 34,000 in machinery manufacturing, 32,200 in chemical manufacturing, 30,500 in electrical equipment, appliances and components manufacturing, 18,600 in primary and fabricated metals manufacturing.
Of the 68,800 that Mexican-controlled multinationals employed in the United States in 2012, 56,200 were in manufacturing, according to the BEA.
The 546,500 that U.S.-controlled multinationals employed in manufacturing in Mexico was almost 10 times as many as the 56,200 Mexican-controlled multinationals employed in manufacturing here.
The overall number of workers that U.S.-majority-owned multinationals employ in Mexico has been increasing.

ObamaCare: King v. Burwell -- More than Tax Credits

As the Obama administration nervously waits for a Supreme Court decision in King v. Burwell, there is another aspect to the case that has nothing to do with ObamaCare or tax subsidies. King v. Burwell tells the story of a president who overstepped the limits of his authority by unilaterally changing key provisions of the law without Congressional approval. It’s also a story of an administration’s repeated efforts to interfere in Congressional inquiries to determine whether IRS and Treasury officials were pressured into promulgating rules that are contrary to statutory text and favorable to the administration’s political objectives. 

The issues raised in King v. Burwell weren’t created in a vacuum -- they are the consequence of a poorly written law that was hastily passed through the reconciliation process. A Supreme Court ruling in favor of plaintiffs would be a strong rebuke for President Obama, who repeatedly altered key provisions of the law. Even if the Supreme Court rules against plaintiffs, the story does not end, for there are other rules that are also contrary to the plain language of the law.

Almost immediately after Obamacare was signed into law, the Obama administration began to eliminate, postpone, and alter key provisions without Congressional approval. The first to go was the CLASS Act, a provision that the Congressional Budget Office relied on to justify the cost of the law. Next were the SHOPs, which were supposed to level the playing field for small business owners by expanding their options to purchase affordable and quality healthcare plans for employees. Next, and with no prior warning, President Obama delayed implementation of the Employer Mandate, but he did not do the same for the Individual Mandate. Other provisions, including COOPs and the Navigator program, fell to the wayside.  

Once the rulemaking process began, some members of Congress became concerned that department officials were not interpreting the law’s plain meaning. When the IRS issued its proposed rule for the tax credits in 2011, it was met with strong opposition from Congressional members including Senator Orrin Hatch, then the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee. Hatch questioned the legality of the proposed rule and in December 2011 sent a letter to the Department of the Treasury asking for all of the documents related to the development of the rule and the reasoning behind it. To date, the IRS and the Treasury Department have not responded to Hatch’s request. 
In September 2014, Darrell Issa, then Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, issued a Congressional subpoena to the IRS and Treasury requesting the same documents. The subpoena was ignored. After Issa moved to compel production of the documents, the Obama administration intervened and blocked the request. To date, no documents have been produced. 

Via: American Thinker

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Why Veterans Preferred to Call These 10 Cities Home

Pittsburgh has an active business community with a number of companies headquartered in the area. The Pittsburgh area offers a vibrant downtown, historic neighborhoods and plenty to do with ample downtown shopping and nightlife along the river.
Pittsburgh Snapshot
• Population - 2,357,981
• Median Home Price - $113,500
• Median Rental Price 2BR - $799
• Unemployment - 6.8%
• Local Employers - Alcoa, FedEx Ground
• Nearby College - University of Pittsburgh

Austin area residents enjoy a strong economy, education opportunities, attractive housing options, a relatively pleasant climate and abundant activities. Area highlights include the University of Texas, an important music scene and a large tech industry. 
Austin Snapshot
• Population - 1,731,777
• Median Home Price - $201,400
• Median Rental Price 2BR - $1,098
• Unemployment - 5.2%
• Local Employers - Union Pacific, City of Austin 
• Nearby Colleges - University of Texas


Oklahoma City, the capital and largest metro in the state, is a major hub for the oil industry and related manufacturing. The modern downtown features attractive parks and the restored "Bricktown" residential and entertainment district with a canal and promenade. 
Oklahoma City Snapshot
• Population - 1,256,947
• Median Home Price - $126,000
• Median Rental Price 2BR - $751
• Unemployment - 5.1%
• Local Employers - 77 Energy, Chesapeake Energy
• Nearby Colleges - University of Oklahoma

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