Posts Tagged Thursday

In embrace of ‘Duck Dynasty’ star, 2016 hopefuls make bid for evangelicals – The Washington Post


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In embrace of ‘Duck Dynasty’ star, 2016 hopefuls make bid for evangelicals

 

By Matea GoldPublished: December 19 

Few could have predicted that the story lines of the hit A&E reality show “Duck Dynasty” and the 2016 presidential contest would converge.

But that unexpected mash-up played out Thursday as conservative politicians rushed to defend Phil Robertson, the shaggy-bearded, homespun star of the breakout series, who was suspended by the cable network after his published comments about gays stirred a storm of controversy.

 

A&E cut "Duck Dynasty" patriarch Phil Robertson from its reality show, after he said homosexuality is a sin that leads to "bestiality."

A&E cut “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson from its reality show, after he said homosexuality is a sin that leads to “bestiality.”

 

 

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), a likely White House contender whose state is home to the show about a family that runs a duck-hunting gear enterprise, called Robertson and his family “great citizens.”

“The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with,” Jindal said in a statement prominently displayed on his official Web site, adding: “I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), another probable 2016 candidate, chimed in on Facebook, writing: “If you believe in free speech or religious liberty, you should be deeply dismayed over the treatment of Phil Robertson.” And 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin wrote in a Facebook post that “those ‘intolerants’ hatin’ and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us.”

Their embrace of Robertson — who in an interview with GQ described “homosexual behavior” as sinful and compared it to bestiality and infidelity — underscored how gay rights remain a potent political issue for many religious voters on the right.

As the same-sex marriage movement has gained steam, many evangelicals and conservative Catholics feel as if they are being asked to give up deeply held beliefs — an effort they perceived in the quick suspension of the “Duck Dynasty” star after his comments were denounced by gay rights groups.

The furor is reminiscent of the protests and counter-rallies of support that swirled around the fast-food chain Chick-fil-A last year after its president said the company supported “the biblical definition of the family unit.”

Conservative Christians “feel like they’re under siege in a culture that is increasingly intolerant and discriminatory toward their views, and they don’t feel represented,” said Ralph Reed, founder of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, who noted that Robertson paraphrased from the Bible’s Book of Corinthians in his interview. “I did not get any impression at all that there was animus expressed,” Reed said

By jumping into the “Duck Dynasty” maelstrom, conservative leaders such as Jindal and Cruz sent a clear message to evangelical voters: We’re on your side.

“Make no mistake,” Reed said, “these voters are paying attention, and they are going to remember who stood up.”

The controversy played out on the very day that opposing cultural forces were on full display. New Mexico’s highest court legalized same-sex marriage, the 17th state to allow gays and lesbians to wed. And figure skater Brian Boitano announced he is gay, making him the third gay member of the U.S. delegation who will travel to Russia in February for the Winter Olympics.

The cross-currents spotlighted the schism over gay rights that persists in parts of the country.

“This shows that there clearly needs to be more engagement of the evangelical community if gay acceptance is going to become a reality,” said Gregory T. Angelo, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay rights advocacy group.

Still, other gay rights advocates noted the growing number of moderate Republican leaders who have embraced the cause of same-sex marriage. Earlier this year, more than 100 Republicans signed a legal brief urging the Supreme Court to declare that gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry.

Fred Sainz, spokesman for the gay advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, said that “the days of making gay a wedge issue are dated.”

“I think they are outliers,” he said of Jindal, Cruz and Palin, adding that he believes they jumped into the “Duck Dynasty” controversy to appeal to “a niche base.”

But that base remains a powerful force in the Republican Party, particularly when it comes to presidential primaries in states such as Iowa and South Carolina.

Conservative activists said that the national push for gay rights could mobilize evangelical voters to the polls in new numbers in 2016, particularly if they feel there is a candidate running who reflects their beliefs.

David Lane, an influential Christian activist based in California who organizes pastor conferences, said he got an e-mail Thursday morning from a top Republican activist in Iowa who credited Jindal for speaking out quickly about Robertson’s suspension.

“What Jindal is doing is absolutely tremendous, from an evangelical and pro-life Catholic standpoint,” Lane said. “Spiritually speaking, we’re in a war.”

And Robertson, the blunt-spoken reality show star, is serving as the unexpected latest flashpoint. (Notably, his comments about gays — including a graphic description of which body parts are more desirable — have garnered substantially more attention than his contention in the same GQ interview that African Americans were happier in the era of Jim Crow laws in the South, calling them “singing and happy.”)

In the interview he said: “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.”

Robertson issued a statement Thursday saying that he believes his mission is to spread the Bible’s teachings. “I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me,” he said. “We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.”

As of late afternoon Thursday, there were around 1 million mentions of the “Duck Dynasty” or Robertson on Twitter. An online petition organized by the group Faith Driven Consumer, which promotes Christian-friendly companies, had more than 50,000 signatures. And the Faith & Freedom Coalition called on its members to launch an e-mail and phone campaign to let A&E know they will boycott the network until Robertson is reinstated.

“I would expect,” Reed said, “they will need to hire additional folks to handle the phones.”

 In embrace of ‘Duck Dynasty’ star, 2016 hopefuls make bid for evangelicals – The Washington Post.

 

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On Debt Ceiling, WH Compares GOP To Terrorists – Business Insider


Senior Obama Adviser Compares House Republicans To Terrorists, Kidnappers, And Arsonists

BRETT LOGIURATO SEP. 26, 2013

Dan Pfeiffer

CNN

White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer used three vivid analogies to attack House Republicans’ laundry list of demands for raising the debt ceiling, comparing Republicans to arsonists, hostage-takers and suicide bombers.

“What we’re not for is negotiating with people with a bomb strapped to their chest,” Pfeiffer said in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper Thursday afternoon. “We’re not going to do that.”

Earlier on Thursday, House Republican leaders released a preliminary list of items they plan to attach to any bill that also raises the debt ceiling. Among other things, it includes a one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act, construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, and entitlement reforms.

But a report from The Hill later Thursday suggested that Republicans might not have the votes necessary to move that bill.

The White House took pains Thursday to emphasize President Barack Obama’s position of not negotiating over the debt ceiling. Pfeiffer did so in an especially colorful way.

“Republicans are not asking for a negotiation,” he told CNN’s Tapper. “It’s a negotiation if I’m trying to sell you my house, and we are debating the price of it. It’s not a negotiation if I show up at your house and say, ‘Give me everything inside or I’m going to burn it down.’

“Republicans have provided a laundry list of essentially ransom demands of things that were essentially the Romney agenda that voters rejected.”


On Debt Ceiling, WH Compares GOP To Terrorists – Business Insider.

 

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Fast Food Worker Strikes Against Poverty Wages Spread To 50 Cities


Fast Food Workers Launch Largest Ever Strike For Higher Wages

BY ALAN PYKE ON AUGUST 29, 2013

 

NYStrike2

 

Nine months after fast food workers in New York City walked off the job on “Black Friday,” their efforts to change the industry’s pay standards have gone national. Workers are striking in roughly 50 cities on Thursday in hopes of converting the trickle of strikes throughout the summer in cities like Seattle, St. Louis, and Milwaukee into a flood.

In addition to the nine cities that have already seen strikes this summer, places like Boston, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, and Hartford are joining the fight on Thursday. Organizers welcomed reports that one restaurant manager in Hartford plans to fire anyone who participates in the strike, saying that such illegal retaliation will only bring immediate high-profile pressure from workers and their supporters, further raising the profile of the effort to end poverty wages in food service.

Kyle King, a Burger King cashier in Boston, told the Boston Globe that he and the thousands of other workers expected to strike Thursday have to risk being fired if they want to change anything. “I don’t know what I’ll lose first,” King said, “lose my job or lose my sanity.” Thursday also brings the fast food strikes to major cities in the south for the first time. Unions are less powerful in the south, and legal protections for workers tend to be weaker in southern states.

Low-wage workers in the retail and fast food industries have been walking off the job since last year to demand a minimum wage of $15 and the right to organize into unions. The fast food industry’s profits have soared, but those gains haven’t trickled down to workers. Fast food jobs, like the other low-wage service sector jobs that have been the primary source of post-recession job growth, do not currently allow workers to support themselves financially. McDonald’s recommends that its employees find a second job and go without heat or air conditioning in order to survive on the chain’s typical wages.

As the strikes have spread, the drumbeat to raise the minimum wage has grown louder. One congressional proposal would raise the federal minimum wage to $10 an hour, which would barely catch up to the buying power the minimum wage had in 1968.

Fast food operations in other countries and a handful of chains in the U.S. that are committed to paying livable wages have shown that companies can still make healthy profits while paying substantially higher wages.

 Fast Food Worker Strikes Against Poverty Wages Spread To 50 Cities.

 

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North Carolina House Passes New Restrictions on Abortion – NYTimes.com


North Carolina House Passes New Restrictions on Abortion

Gerry Broome/Associated Press

Spectators watched the debate in the North Carolina House of Representatives on Thursday.

By ALAN BLINDER

Published: July 11, 2013

 

Legislation that would impose new restrictions on abortion clinics moved out of the North Carolina House of Representatives on Thursday in a form that would give wide power to Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration.

 

The bill became the focus of battling factions in the Republican Party this week, with a series of public legislative debates and back-room maneuvering over how to create new limits that would appeal to the governor, who is a Republican.

Mr. McCrory threatened to veto a Senate measure that would have required doctors to be present for all doses of abortion drugs and force clinics that perform abortions to meet standards similar to those of an ambulatory surgical center.

Opponents said such restrictions would force most of North Carolina’s abortion clinics to close.

Under the House proposal, which has yet to be considered by the Senate, the state’s Department of Health and Human Services would have the authority to “apply any requirement” imposed on ambulatory surgical centers to abortion clinics if the regulations do not impede access to abortion care.

The bill also requires a doctor to be present during the first dose of a drug to induce abortion.

Mr. McCrory took office in January after promising he would not support any new curbs on abortion access. After he expressed his displeasure with the Senate plan, his administration helped House lawmakers craft one he would support, members of the House said Thursday.

North Carolina is the latest state to try to tighten abortion rules by adding new mandates for practitioners.

Wisconsin’s governor last week signed into law a measure forcing abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, a requirement similar to those Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee have tried to implement since 2012. (Alabama’s, Mississippi’sand Wisconsin’s laws have been suspended by judges.) The Texas Senate will consider a similar bill Friday.

In North Carolina, Representative Ruth Samuelson, a Republican, said her proposal was about safeguarding women, not stemming access.

“This is really all about protecting the health and safety of women,” Ms. Samuelson said. “We are not out here trying to shut down every abortion clinic in North Carolina.”

But Democrats, hamstrung by Republican control of both legislative chambers and the governor’s office, worried that by ceding regulatory power to an executive department, Mr. McCrory’s administration would enjoy broad authority over the rules that govern abortions.

“This can still close clinics in North Carolina, depending on what the department decides to do,” said Representative Jean Farmer-Butterfield.

Although the legislature has supported other bills about abortion this year, the debate intensified July 2, when Senate Republicans made a surprise move and amended an unrelated bill to include their recommended restrictions and passed the measure all within 24 hours.

The Senate’s conduct drew widespread condemnation. Mr. McCrory criticized the body, and House Republicans ultimately chose to pursue their own proposal.

The vote on Thursday came after an emotional public hearing this week, part of a procedure that Ms. Samuelson said yielded “more debate and more opportunity for change and discussion and correction than if we had followed the normal process.”

But Representative Rick Glazier, a Democrat, decried the House’s version as a “rewrite by moonlight” and said it was symbolic of the legislature’s rightward tilt since Republicans took complete control of North Carolina’s government.

“To an extreme legislative majority bent on eliminating the right to choice, everything looks like a health regulation, ready to be used and abused to dismantle access to that choice,” Mr. Glazier said.

 North Carolina House Passes New Restrictions on Abortion – NYTimes.com.

 

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New Fiscal Crisis Talks Set, but Hopes Are Low – NYTimes.com


In Flurry of Activity, Only Muted Hope for Fiscal Deal

By JONATHAN WEISMAN

Published: December 27, 2012 

 

WASHINGTON — President Obama will meet with Congressional leaders on Friday, and House Republicans summoned lawmakers back for a Sunday session, in a last-ditch effort to avert a fiscal crisis brought on by automatic tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to hit next week.

T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

Senator Harry Reid arrived at the Capitol on Thursday in Washington.

 

Republicans expressed a flicker of hope Thursday that a deal could still be reached to at least avert most of the tax increases on Jan. 1, to prevent a sudden cut in payments to medical providers treating Medicare patients and to extend expiring unemployment benefits. But both parties’ leaders said time is running out.

“Here we are, five days from the New Year, and we might finally start talking,” said Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate Republican leader.

The overriding emotion Thursday, as senators convened for a rare session between Christmas and New Year’s Day, appeared to be embarrassment. The continuing impasse “demonstrates a tremendous lack of courage here in Washington to address the issues that need to be addressed — at every level,” said Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee.

Lawmakers and aides from both parties cautioned that the burst of activity could be more about making sure the other side gets the blame than any real search for a resolution before the Jan. 1 deadline. Under Senate rules, no deal could run the gantlet of procedural hurdles in time for a final vote before the deadline without all the senators agreeing not to slow progress.

“I have to be very honest,” Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, said Thursday. “I don’t know timewise how it can happen now.”

White House officials continued to put the onus on Republicans to clear a procedural path to a quick vote on a negotiated deal.

“The only way America goes over the cliff is if the Republican leaders in the House and the Senate decide to push us by blocking passage of bills to extend tax cuts or the middle class,” said the White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer. “It’s a question of their willingness to put country before party.”

Republicans said there was nothing preventing Mr. Reid from putting formal legislation on the Senate floor, and to date, no such bill has been written.

But the contours of a fallback deal did come into view Thursday, even as the will to achieve it lagged behind.

Republicans involved in the talks said both sides would probably be able to agree to extend expiring Bush-era tax cuts up to some income threshold higher than Mr. Obama’s $250,000 cutoff but lower than the $1 million sought by the House speaker, John A. Boehner. To that, leaders would probably agree to add provisions to stop thealternative minimum tax from suddenly enlarging to hit more middle class households, and possibly to extend expiring unemployment benefits.

Republicans would be far less receptive to Mr. Obama’s call to temporarily suspend across-the-board spending cuts unless such a suspension was accompanied by significant and immediate spending cuts elsewhere.

But no such deal could be reached without significant, face-to-face negotiations between the president, Senate leaders and House leaders, aides said. McConnell aides said a phone call between the president and the Senate Republican leader Wednesday night was the first outreach Mr. McConnell has had from any Democrat since Thanksgiving.

“It appears to me the action, if there is any, will be on the Senate side,” Mr. McConnell said Thursday afternoon on the Senate floor.

After a House Republican leadership conference call on Thursday, Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the majority leader, announced that House members would return to Washington on Sunday for legislative business, with votes in the evening. Lawmakers were warned that the House might be in session through Jan. 2, the day the 112th Congress disbands. The next day, the 113th Congress will convene, wiping out any unfinished work of the past two years.

Between such glimmers of hope, the talk in Washington on Thursday was anything but conciliatory. Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 House Democrat, said Republicans would use an imminent fight over raising the government’s statutory borrowing limit to fight for big spending cuts, and compared that to taking one’s own child hostage and threatening to kill it.

On the Senate floor Thursday, Mr. Reid excoriated House Republicans for failing to consider a Senate-passed measure that would extend lower tax rates on household income up to $250,000. He urged House members to return to the Capitol to put together at least a modest deal to avoid the more than a half-trillion dollars in automatic tax increases and spending cuts set to begin in January.

“The American people are waiting for the ball to drop,” Mr. Reid said, “but it’s not going to be a good drop.”

 New Fiscal Crisis Talks Set, but Hopes Are Low – NYTimes.com.

 

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How Boehner’s Plan B Vote Imploded – NationalJournal.com


How Boehner’s Plan B Vote Imploded

Updated: December 20, 2012 | 11:29 p.m.
December 20, 2012 | 8:07 p.m.

AP PHOTO/ALEX BRANDON

Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, center, departs after a House Republicans meeting on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012 in Washington. Confronted with a revolt among the rank and file, House Republicans abruptly put off a vote Thursday night on legislation allowing tax rates to rise for households earning $1 million and up.

Rep. Charlie Bass, R-N.H., overcoat in hand, was the canary in the coal mine.

He jetted out of the Capitol basement room where the House Republican Conference holed up Thursday night, walked by a handful of journalists and delivered in a flash the news that House Speaker John Boehner’s Plan B had suffered a mortal wound. Would there be a vote tonight? No, came the reply.

Plan B, the fiscal cliff tax proposal that would extend the Bush tax cuts on income for those who earn $1 million or less and that Boehner said earlier Thursday would pass, failed to win enough support in the Republican Conference. The vote was canceled and lawmakers were free to leave for Christmas. 

The details about the failure, and their scope, flowed quickly after that as Majority Leader Eric Cantor and a phalanx of staffers walked by and confirmed that the speaker’s efforts to persuade members had failed. A statement from the Speaker came quickly.

“The House did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass,” Boehner said. 

Inside the meeting, which started at 7:45 p.m., Boehner led the conference in the pledge of allegiance and then the serenity prayer and said they were going to have a short conference. 

“Then he said we’re not going to be here until after Christmas and maybe we don’t come back at all this year, and I hope you all have a merry Christmas,” said Rep. Steven LaTourette of Ohio.

Boehner did not indicate how many votes he fell short of passing the bill, nor was there any attempt to twist people’s arms, said Rep. Joe Barton of Texas.

Another member inside the room said the speaker told them: “The fate of this country shouldn’t be left up to two men negotiating in a locked room.”

Boehner tossed the fiscal cliff football to the White House and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The House has done its job, he argued in a familiar refrain.

“The House has already passed legislation to stop all of the January 1 tax rate increases and replace the sequester with responsible spending cuts that will begin to address our nation’s crippling debt. The Senate must now act,” Boehner said.

LaTourette, though, saw the situation differently and added that this wasn’t just a blow to the negotiations over taxes and spending but a mark on the party itself.

“It’s the continuing dumbing down of the Republican Party, and we are going to be seen, more and more, as a bunch of extremists that can’t even get the majority of our own people to support the policies we’re putting forward,” he said. “If you’re not a governing majority, you’re not going to be a majority very long.”

Members sat stunned by the speaker’s admission, unsure of what it meant for the fiscal cliff negotiations. The speaker pledged to call the president, said one attendee, but few members had high hopes House Republicans could cut a deal or pass legislation. 

“Well, I don’t know that there is a next step. We’re not coming back until after Christmas and maybe never,” said LaTourette, who’s retiring.

 How Boehner’s Plan B Vote Imploded – NationalJournal.com.

 

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Taking Off: Implications of China’s Second Stealth Fighter Test Flight – China Real Time Report – WSJ


Taking Off: Implications of China’s Second Stealth Fighter Test Flight

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By Andrew Erickson and Gabe Collins

China’s fighter aircraft development efforts appeared to take another leap forward after local media reported that Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) had successfully tested its J-31 stealth fighter prototype this week. Following the test flight of a Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) J-20 prototype less than two years ago, the test of the J-31 suggests China could eventually become only the second country behind the U.S. to develop two stealth fighter programs – an important development with serious potential implications for the tactical aircraft export market and well as the U.S. military.

Video and photos posted online Thursday show the J-31 prototype conducting an initial high speed taxi run and 10-minute flight test accompanied by a pair of SAC J-11BS fighters. The J-31’s maiden flight represents the second “unveiling” of a significant new fighter aircraft by SAC in less than a year, the other being the J-16, a two seat multi-role variant of the J-11B, similar to the US F-15E and the Russian Su-30MKK.

China’s defense industry can now sustain multiple overlapping advanced programs. SAC alone is currently working on four major fighter aircraft – the J-31 and the J-16 as well as the J-16’s single seat parent the J-11B and the carrier-based J-15, also based on the J-11B.

Like most modern fighter aircraft, the J-31 will likely be a multi-role combat aircraft capable of employing modern precision munitions in both air-to-air and air-to-surface roles. Despite apparent rapid advancement, however, it will take time for the fighter to reach full operational status. As Xu Guangyu of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association explains, “there is still a huge gap between China and the US’ fighter jet technologies because we are still testing both the J-20 and the J-31. It might take another couple of years before we can put them on the production line.”

Mr. Xu’s observation raises an interesting question because it is not yet clear if the J-20 and J-31 are intended to complement each other or be competitors. Some Chinese analysts like former Aviation World deputy editor Bai Wei share the view of Western counterparts that they may be complementary as part of a “high-low” mix, with the larger J-20 akin to the F-22 and the smaller J-31 akin to the U.S. F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

One factor that suggests the J-20 and J-31 could complement one another is that the J-31 could be modified for use on aircraft carriers in a way the larger J-20 is unlikely to be. Sr. Capt. Li Jie of the PLA Navy (PLAN)’s strategic think tank has been quoted in Western media as stating the J-31 prototype “might become a carrier-based fighter jet” because it is smaller and slimmer than the J-20.

Regional Impacts

The prospect of the J-20 and J-31 becoming China’s mainstay tactical strike fighters during the next decade stands to influence regional defense planning and tactical aircraft export markets. Unveiling the J-31 affirms that, save for jet engines, China’s aerospace sector is now in many ways nearly as advanced as Russia’s and suggests that Russian manufacturers will soon be unable to compete with China’s own fighter manufacturers. Beijing is already the world’s sixth-largest arms exporter, and Chinese aircraft export growth would come largely at Moscow’s expense.

This means Russia will need to shift its weapons exports from China to Chinese neighbors such as Vietnam and India. However, given the defense spending cutbacks in the U.S. and Western Europe, Russian firms will have to compete with the likes of Boeing, Lockheed Martin and BAE in a way they never had to when China (which Western defense firms are largely prohibited from selling to by an embargo) was essentially a captive market for Russian weapons exporters. Chinese e increasingly Therefore, the parallel development of the J-20 and J-31 will provide further impetus for China’s aviation industry to master mass-production of modern high-performance jet engines – its last major obstacle to being able to export tactical aircraft.

The J-31 also stands to meaningfully impact decisions on U.S. defense spending, especially if it ends up being produced in conjunction with the J-20 and they end up being complementary to one another. If the J-31 and J-20 both end up in mass production, China could ultimately achieve parity or perhaps even numerical superiority in the Asia-Pacific region in terms of late-generation fighters deployed. There is a rising probability that China’s rapid advancement in indigenous tactical aircraft design will spark a renewed debate in the U.S. over restarting production of the highly advanced but also highly expensive F-22 Raptor.

Bottom Line: China’s Military Aerospace Industry Nearing Critical Mass

It is extremely significant that China may soon join the U.S. as the only other nation to develop two “low-observable” aircraft simultaneously. China’s defense aerospace sector overall may be moving toward an architectural model in which several distinct poles of expertise develop in Shenyang, Xi’an, and Chengdu and then compete with each other on key big ticket projects. Multiple aviation industry bases with significant development and production capacity, including SAC, allow for domestic competition for key aircraft programs. This can minimize the chances of single-point failures jeopardizing development targets, increase efficiency, and maximize the chances of useful breakthroughs.

It is thus not too early to consider the possibility that China’s aviation industry, despite enduring limitations, may already enjoy some key advantages over Western counterparts. As a latecomer, China can draw on knowledge gleaned from industrial espionage, reverse engineering, and study of foreign systems, standards, and specifications, allowing it to save costs by leapfrogging rather than developing every component itself. Meanwhile, it may benefit from lack of legal obstacles to subsidization and technical diffusion through civil-military integration—a lack that Western contractors arguably benefitted from during their Cold War heyday before stricter regulations emerged in the 1980s and 1990s. China’s military aerospace industry is rapidly approaching critical mass. Continuing to add investment to this growing foundation will allow China’s aviation industry to fully harness the flashes of technical prowess shown when new aircraft like the J-31 take flight.

 Taking Off: Implications of China’s Second Stealth Fighter Test Flight – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

 

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Ryan says his letters in support of stimulus ‘should have been handled differently’ – CNN Political Ticker – CNN.com Blogs


 

Ryan says his letters in support of stimulus 'should have been handled differently'

August 16th, 2012

Ryan says his letters in support of stimulus ‘should have been handled differently’

 

 (CNN) - Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan responded Thursday to his previous statements that he had not requested stimulus funding after reports emerged that he had sent letters to federal agencies in support of stimulus grant requests made by a Wisconsin non-profit.

Ryan, who represents Wisconsin in Congress, denied that he had requested stimulus monies in an interview this week with an Ohio television station as well as in a 2010 radio interview, statements which were contradictory to the letters he wrote as well as his opposition to the stimulus program.

 

In a paper statement on Thursday, Ryan said, “After having these letters called to my attention I checked into them, and they were treated as constituent service requests in the same way matters involving Social Security or Veterans Affairs are handled.

“This is why I didn’t recall the letters earlier, he continued. “But they should have been handled differently, and I take responsibility for that. Regardless, it’s clear that the Obama stimulus did nothing to stimulate the economy, and now the President is asking to do it all over again.”

In an interview with CNN affiliate WCPO on Thursday, Ryan said, “I never asked for stimulus,” but declined to comment on reports that he did, saying he had not read one such report raised by the interviewer.

He said on a Boston-area radio station in October 2010 that he is “not one of the people who votes for something then writes to the government to ask them to send us money.”

“I did not request any stimulus money,” he said. The station, WBZ, posted audio of Ryan’s 2010 comments to its website on Thursday.

In several letters obtained by CNN from a Democratic source, Ryan wrote to Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis “writing to express my support for” grant applications submitted by organizations including the Energy Center of Wisconsin.

Energy Center communications director Leslie Post told CNN that Ryan wrote letters on behalf of two projects in which the center was involved. The center received a total of $240,000 in grants primarily for a hybrid geothermal heating project. Post said Ryan did not write letters on behalf of a third project in which the center was involved but not the primary grant recipient.

The letters, grants, and radio interview were reported this week by The Boston Globe and The Wall Street Journal.

In the letters, Ryan wrote, “I support the Energy Center of Wisconsin and its partners’ grant application for the Recovery Act – Training Program Development for Commercial Building Equipment Technicians Building Operators, and Energy Commissioning Agents/Auditors. I would appreciate it if you and the appropriate DOE would ensure that it is given your prompt and full consideration, consistent with all laws and regulations.”

The grant referred to was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 – the stimulus program which Ryan and other Republicans opposed.

Members of Congress regularly serve as advocates for those in their districts, as Ryan’s official House website explains: “One of my most important jobs as your Congressman is to assist those I represent by serving as a direct link to the federal government, helping constituents navigate the bureaucratic maze, and cutting through the red tape to obtain answers from federal agencies.”

 Ryan says his letters in support of stimulus ‘should have been handled differently’ – CNN Political Ticker – CNN.com Blogs.

 

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Romney Stares Uncomprehendingly At $1 Bill | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source


 

Romney Stares Uncomprehendingly At $1 Bill

 

POCATELLO, ID—A $1 bill somehow made its way into the hands of Mitt Romney during a campaign stop Thursday, reportedly causing the Republican presidential candidate a moment of uncomprehending fascination. “What am I looking at here? What is this?” said Romney, squinting at the bill as he turned it over and over in his hands. “It almost looks like money, but it’s missing the zeroes. Huh. Do people try to buy things with this?” Romney finally crumpled up the bill and threw it away, chuckling as he told reporters that “whoever thought that one up must be a real wiseacre.” 

Romney Stares Uncomprehendingly At $1 Bill | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source.

 

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David Duval Still Shilling Nike Golf Products Years After Contract Runs Out | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source


David Duval Still Shilling Nike Golf Products Years After Contract Runs Out

JUNE 28, 2012

CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, CO—Even though his sponsorship deal with Nike expired more than eight years ago, former world No. 1 golfer David Duval is still appearing on courses and in stores actively promoting the brand’s products to anyone who will listen, sources confirmed Thursday. “He’s in here about twice a week putting a Nike VR Pro driver in somebody’s hands and asking them to take a few swings,” said local Sports Authority manager Aaron Camacho, adding that Duval hangs around the store’s golf aisles in his full Nike gear for hours at a time. “We’ve thought about kicking him out, but he’s used and read about these products more than any of us on staff, and to tell you the truth, he’s purchased more of our Nike stuff than any other customer.” Though Nike officials have reportedly thanked Duval for his loyalty and sent him free products in an effort to persuade him to disassociate himself from the company, he continues to be seen in public wearing a threadbare Nike shirt adorned with the brand’s patch honoring the victims of 9/11.

 David Duval Still Shilling Nike Golf Products Years After Contract Runs Out | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source.

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