Saturday Reads: Steubenville News, Democrats’ Latest Cave, Plus Villager Snits and Fits

News-Wasting-Time

Good Morning!!

There is some news coming out of Steubenville, Ohio in the buildup to the the grand jury investigation, which begins hearing from witnesses on Tuesday.

From The Columbus Dispatch: School, other sites searched in wider Steubenville rape probe

Police officers and investigators yesterday were searching the eastern Ohio high school attended by two football players who raped a 16-year-old girl after an alcohol-fueled party last summer, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said.

Searches also took place at Vestige Ltd., a digital-evidence company in northeastern Ohio, and the offices of the Steubenville school board in addition to Steubenville High School, DeWine said. The searches are part of an attempt to learn whether other laws were broken in connection with the rape.

“What I hope people will believe when we’re done is that we did everything we could to find the truth and that justice was done,” DeWine said in an interview. “What you’re seeing today is just part of that effort.”

Using warrants, police officers and investigators began the searches about 2 p.m. and possibly would work into the night, DeWine said. There was no immediate word on what the searches turned up…

Judges sealed investigators’ requests for the search warrants at the request of the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, ruling that disclosing them “would be detrimental to the ongoing criminal investigation,” according to the judges’ orders.

Investigators leaving Steubenville High School on Thursday with documents, servers, and computers (Atlantic Wire)

Investigators leaving Steubenville High School on Thursday with documents, servers, and computers (Atlantic Wire)

The Atlantic Wire asks: What Is Steubenville Still Hiding?

Toward the end of the school day Thursday, more than eight months after a Steubenville Big Red pre-season game turned into a serious of house parties and a series of attacks on a 16-year-old girl, local police and investigators showed up — as if out of nowhere — at Steubenville High. They stayed on campus into the night, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine told the Associated Press, executing search warrants that were either new or unheard of — and certainly fascinating. “Steubenville Police assisted the Attorney General in the search warrants,” said William McCafferty,  the local police chief who “begged” for evidence when the initial crime was reported. Officials for Steubenville city schools, who have been publicly silent (save for one brief statement) since that fateful August night that brought a social media and judicial storm upon the Ohio town, confirmed the search in a a statement released Friday reading in part that “we have been from the beginning and are continuing to fully cooperate with the authorities in this investigation.”

But this is a new investigation, and this week’s search appears to have an urgency of its own, as DeWine’s grand jury prepares to convene on Tuesday. The attorney general said the searches at Steubenville city schools were “just part of that effort” — an effort he announced after two Steubenville High students and football players, Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, were found guilty of rape. “We cannot bring finality to this matter without the convening of a grand jury,” DeWine said at the time. “I anticipate numerous witnesses will be called. The grand jury, quite frankly, could meet for a number of days.”

Grand juries, by their nature, are conducted in secret, and the warrants executed on Thursday remain sealed — and so it remains unclear whether investigators were searching computers, paperwork, or physical evidence. DeWine has said the grand jury will be looking for, among other things, at the crimes of failure to report a felony, tampering with evidence. DeWine explained that “indictments could be returned and additional charges could be filed” in light of the jury, the nine members of which were seated last week but will begin hearing testimony and reviewing evidence on April 30. He alsocalled the grand jury “a very good investigative tool as well as a very deliberative body,” which makes the timing of the school search all the more interesting.

It sounds like this could get interesting. Personally, I’m hoping Coach Reno Saccoccia gets his comeuppance.

Yesterday, Democrats in Congress once again allowed Republicans to treat them like doormats when they voted to ease sequestration “pain” for the mostly wealthy frequent flyers.

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Thursday Reads: Will Obama Pull off A Grand Betrayal? And Other News…

obama-social-security-cuts

Good Morning?

We weren’t supposed to get any snow until late this afternoon, but it’s already coming down. The snow from the last two storms was just about gone and you could see the ground in places. Now they’re saying we may get up to a foot of snow. I’m hoping that’s not going to pan out.

Let’s see what’s happening out there in the world.

Call me paranoid, but I’m beginning to get the feeling that we’re being gamed by both Democrats and Republicans. Late last night, I was listening to a 24-hour politics station Sirius-XM radio, called POTUS radio.

Now I didn’t get the name of the man being interviewed, but he said that President Obama had asked Lindsey Graham to help him organize last night’s dinner with Republican Senators weeks ago! According to this guy, everything is coming together for Obama and for the Republicans–they are each getting what they wanted, which is serious austerity. Obama will get his “entitlement reforms” and the Republicans will get–what? Will there be any new revenue at all, or will the full burden for deficit cutting in the “grand bargain” fall on the social safety net?

From The New York Times Caucus blog:

For Washington-watchers looking for positive signs from President Obama’s unusual dinner with Republican senators on Wednesday night, there was this: Senators John McCain of Arizona and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma each gave waiting reporters a thumbs up as lawmakers exited the private dining room….

Besides Mr. McCain and Mr. Coburn, the diners were the Republican Senators Bob Corker of Tennessee, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Dan Coats of Indiana, Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, John Hoeven of North Dakota, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and – the only woman – Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire….

The president insists that any alternative package must combine a balance of spending cuts and new revenues, while Republicans generally oppose new taxes on the wealthy and corporations.

In the Senate…a number of Republicans are known to support higher tax revenues if Mr. Obama and Democrats agree to significant long-term reductions in future spending for the fast-growing entitlement programs, chiefly Medicare and Medicaid but also Social Security – just the trade-off Mr. Obama supports. Mr. Coburn and Mr. Chambliss, for example, are members of a bipartisan group that has supported a deficit-reduction plan with more additional revenues than the president has proposed.

I haven’t yet been able to find confirmation of the report I heard last night, but it would not surprise me. If Graham organized the dinner, it would also explain why the invitees included the three stooges, Graham and his pals John McCain, and Kelly Ayotte–who have been inseparable since they decided to raise hell over the attacks on the Benghzi consulate.

gty_john_mccain_jef_121115_mn

That the outcome described in the highlighted passage from the Caucus blog (see above) was either expected or deliberately planned would also explain why the latest meme in the media for the past week or so has been that Obama is suddenly weak and has no leverage and so much go hat in hand begging the Republicans for mercy.

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Friday Nite Lite: Drones, Domes and Storms Part One

TGIFNL…Thank Gawd Its Friday Nite Lite!

I guess you can say I am making up for the lame post last Friday. So much so, that I need to break this evening cartoons up into two post.

This first one will focus on the Post Office and Congress, with a few stragglers here and there.

Cagle Post » No Saturday Delivery

126871 600 No Saturday Delivery cartoons

Cagle Post » going postal

126863 600 going postal cartoons

Cagle Post » Saturday Delivery

126730 600 Saturday Delivery cartoons

Cagle Post » Congress Playing Chicken

126869 600 Congress Playing Chicken cartoons

Cagle Post » Sequester

126867 600 Sequester cartoons

Cagle Post » Tea Party Anchor

126842 600 Tea Party Anchor cartoons

Cagle Post » Jewell of a Secretary

126839 600 Jewell of a Secretary cartoons

Cagle Post » Sandy assistance

126797 600 Sandy assistance cartoons

Cagle Post » Teachers Packing Heat

126800 600 Teachers Packing Heat cartoons

This is an open thread.


Obama Outlines Budget 2013

WAPO has gotten a copy of the what the Obama administration is offering for its 2013 budget. There are several points that I think you’ll find interesting.   There’s a peace dividend, there’s no planned cuts to social security or medicare, and there’s plans for higher taxes.  It appears Obama will not repeat the conciliatory tone of his first 4 years which we characterized as a series of cave-ins.

Democrats said Obama is likely to maintain a tough stance Friday, when Boehner and other congressional leaders are due to gather at the White House for their first face-to-face discussions about how to avoid the fiscal cliff. Fresh off a resounding electoral victory in which they kept the White House and picked up seats in the House and Senate, Democrats said there is no reason to compromise now on a central plank of the president’s platform.

“It was an intrinsic part of his campaign, and the public supports it. So what more do you want?” said Rep. Sander M. Levin (D-Mich.), the senior Democrat on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.

Obama’s stance on not extending the Bush tax cuts was stated in meetings with liberals yesterday and in a presser today.   This is consistent with the WAPO budget outline.

Obama’s 2013 budget sought to reduce borrowing over the next 10 years by about $4 trillion, counting $1.1 trillion in agency cuts already in force. In addition to raising taxes, Obama proposed to slice $340 billion from health-care programs and to count about $1 trillion in savings from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

His budget request did not include reductions to health and retirement benefits, but Obama did consider such changes in his 2011 talks with Boehner, including raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 and applying a stingier measure of inflation to Social Security.

Senior Democrats, meanwhile, threw cold water on a competing proposal to scale back deductions that disproportionately benefit upper-income taxpayers while keeping the top tax rates at their present level.

On Tuesday, former Clinton administration Treasury secretary Robert Rubin wrote in the New York Times that closing loopholes and deductions would not be an acceptable solution to the nation’s fiscal challenges. And Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who is set to become chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said she “has not seen how the math works to let you come up with the additional revenue.”

In a meeting Tuesday, Obama offered no specific assurances to liberal leaders about what a final deal might look like and what entitlement programs might face cuts. But Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association and a participant in the session, said Obama did not have to make such assurances.

“He hasn’t wavered through the whole campaign,” Van Roekel said. “He’s been consistent on [his] message, and I don’t think he’ll change it now.”

Obama’s presser was focused mostly on the Bush Tax Cuts.

But despite his softer rhetoric, Obama made no concessions on his demand for higher taxes on the top 2 percent. He argued that the majority of the American voters supported his position on taxes, which he campaigned strongly on. “I’m concerned about not finding us in a situation where the wealthy aren’t paying more or aren’t paying as much as they should,” he said.

He added, moreover, it would be “very difficult to see how we make up that trillion dollars” of revenue that would be lost if the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy were extended. Outside economists have confirmed as much: It’s not easy to use deductions and exemptions for the wealthy to generate much tax revenue without hitting the middle class or going after tax breaks like the employer deduction for health care that many lawmakers believe are off-limits.

1:55 pm: Obama said that dealing with the Bush tax cuts by making sure that middle-class taxes don’t rise would make major headway in dealing with the threat of the fiscal cliff. “Half of the danger to our economy is removed by that single step,” he said.

Reform to the tax code and to Social Security and Medicare may be forthcoming in long term debt talks.

Obama met on Tuesday with allies from labor and liberal groups, and invited a group of CEOs to the White House for a mid-afternoon session, also to focus on the threat posed to the economic recovery by the combination of tax increases and spending cuts.

At the news conference, he laid out a two-step process for an overall compromise — immediate extension of all the expiring tax cuts except the top rate, followed by a comprehensive agreement in 2013 to overhaul the tax code and the government’s big benefits programs, which include Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Obama signed legislation two years ago extending the Bush tax cuts in their entirety after saying he wouldn’t.

Asked why this time will be different, he said, “what I said at the time was what I meant, which is that this was a one-time proposition.”

Now, he said, legislation that keeps most of the cuts in place but not those for the upper-income earners would be “actually removing half the fiscal cliff.”

Asked if he viewed it as a deal-breaker if Republicans refused to allow the top tax rate to revert to 39.6 percent from the current 35 percent, he said, “I just want to emphasize I am open to new ideas if the Republican counterparts or some Democrats have a great idea for us to raise revenue, maintain progressivity, make sure the middle class isn’t getting hit, reduces our deficit.’”

White House press secretary Jay Carney said the president would bring to the table a proposal for $1.6 trillion in new taxes on business and the wealthy when he begins discussions with congressional Republicans, a figure that Obama outlined in his most recent budget plan. The targeted revenue is twice the amount Obama discussed with Republican leaders during debt talks during the summer of 2011.

All of these articles indicate that Obama has walked away from his 2011 offers as leaked earlier this week.  The obvious fight will come as the so-called fiscal cliff issues begin to appear at the beginning of the year.  Most of these issues come into play if the sequestration deal kicks in.   This time the President has not lead with a compromise deal.  We’ll see what happens as the lame duck congress winds down and the beginning of the year approaches.