Who could be called today during the Speaker Hubbard? The Governor, a former Governor, legislators, lobbyists, the head of the state’s health agency, business leaders and even the “Yella Fella” guy.
Regardless of outcome, what an embarrassment….
Ars Technica reported on Monday that House version of the NASA funding bill for the next fiscal year will contain a complete change in the space agency’s space exploration strategy. The bill will defund NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission, which proposes to snatch a boulder from an asteroid and deploy in in lunar orbit to be visited later by astronauts. Instead, the bill will mandate that the space agency begin plans to return to the lunar surface in advance of the Journey to Mars.
The bill has to pass the full House and then be reconciled with the Senate version that does not mention a return to the moon. NASA and President Barack Obama will surely resist the idea. But a new president and new NASA administrator will be in office within the next year.
The language in the bill seeks to rectify what many view as one of the worst policy mistakes of the Obama presidency. When the administration cancelled the Bush-era Constellation program, a return to the moon was explicitly ruled out by President Obama. In a now notorious speech delivered on April 15, 2010, the president was direct in his opposition to the idea.
“Now, I understand that some believe that we should attempt a return to the surface of the Moon first, as previously planned. But I just have to say pretty bluntly here: We’ve been there before. Buzz (Aldrin) has been there. There’s a lot more of space to explore, and a lot more to learn when we do.”
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden subsequently opposed the idea of a pivot back to the moon, suggesting that yet another change of direction would doom the space agency’s hopes for deep space exploration for the foreseeable future.
Why is Congress directing this action?
A new poll shows Americans age 40 and older overwhelmingly support paid time off from work to care for either a child or a seriously ill family member.
The poll, by the Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, showed 72 percent of Americans 40 and above support paid family leave.
Currently the federal Family and Medical Leave Act allows most workers to take up to 12 weeks off from work to care for a newborn or adopted child or a spouse, child or parent who is seriously ill family member.
However the law does not require employers to pay workers for their time away from the job.
Past efforts in the Congress to require paid family leave have failed.
If there is a better indicator of how boned we are, this is it.
The AP reports only three states have some form of paid leave currently but that 19 other states are currently considering it.
Alabama is not among that 19.
While Democrats in the poll were more likely to support paid leave, there was also support for the move expressed by those who identified themselves as Republicans.
Is the selection process to name valedictorians and salutatorians unhealthy? School administrators in Wake County, North Carolina think so.
Leada Gore reported that principals will no longer be allowed to name valedictorians or salutatorians – the titles given to the two seniors with the highest grade-point averages – after 2018.
“We have heard from many, many schools that the competition has become very unhealthy,” school board Chairman Tom Benton told the News & Observer. “Students were not collaborating with each other the way that we would like them to. Their choice of courses was being guided by their GPA and not their future education plans.”
Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert McDonald on Monday ignited a political firestorm when he downplayed the wait times for veterans at clinics by likening it to lines at Disneyland.
“The days to an appointment is really not what we should be measuring. What we should be measuring is the veteran’s satisfaction,” McDonald told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor media breakfast.
“What really counts is how does the veteran feel about their encounter with the VA,” he said.
“When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line?” he asked. “What’s important is what’s your satisfaction with the experience.
“And that’s really the kind of measure I want to move to,” he added.
The theme park comparison drew condemnation from Republicans, including Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), a Navy veteran who is up for reelection this year.
“The frustration, fear and helplessness our veterans feel waiting for months to get the health care they need is nothing compared to a day at Disneyland and the secretary should be embarrassed for making such a comparison,” said Kirk.
“The Secretary should apologize for his tone deaf comments and show more respect for the men and women he is supposed to be serving.”
The scandal over VA appointment wait times first erupted in 2014 after CNN revealed that veterans were waiting months and even years before getting care, with some dying before an appointment. Former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, a four-star retired Army general, resigned over the controversy.
Republicans piled on McDonald after his comments Monday.
This guy is SO fired.
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) torched Department of Veterans Affairs Director Robert McDonald on Facebook for saying the VA does not need to calculate the wait times of those it serves.
“When you got to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? Or what’s important? What’s important is, what’s your satisfaction with the experience?” Director McDonald said on Monday. “And what I would like to move to, eventually, is that kind of measure.”
Shelby, like many of his colleagues on Capitol Hill, was not amused by McDonald’s statements.
“This comment was completely inappropriate, and it underscores the problems with the Department,” Shelby said in a post on his Facebook Page.
The VA has been under constant attack during the Obama Administration for administering poor care at a snail’s pace to those who have served in the military. One head of the department has already been fired and Congress has been investigating the matter for the past few years.
“I am disappointed that Secretary McDonald would make such a comment, especially when VA wait times have reportedly resulted in veteran deaths,” Shelby said.
Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions said Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton is the “most anti-Second Amendment” candidate the country has seen.
Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Sessions, R, said Clinton’s views of firearms could have lasting implications moving forward, especially in regards to the Supreme Court and the District of Columbia vs. Heller decision, a 2008 case that affirmed an individual’s right to possess a firearm.
“If she gets in, she will appoint somebody who changes (Heller), and what that means is it’s no longer a personal right to have a gun, but every city, county and state can completely ban firearms in America,” Sessions said.
“This would be the greatest reduction of Second Amendment rights since the founding of the Republic.”
Hillary Clinton’s campaign said on Monday that she will not participate in a California debate against Bernie Sanders before the state’s primary on June 7.
The two campaigns had agreed to additional debates beyond the slate of events that had been scheduled by the Democratic National Committee. The Sanders campaign had hoped to schedule a final debate in California and Fox News had agreed to host in San Francisco.
In a statement, Clinton’s communications director Jennifer Palmieri confirmed that they do not intend to participate. Instead, Palmieri indicated that Clinton would prefer to instead continue her pivot to the general election fight against Donald Trump, the likely Republican nominee.
“We have declined Fox News’ invitation to participate in a debate in California,” Palmieri said. “As we have said previously, we plan to compete hard in the remaining primary states, particularly California, while turning our attention to the threat a Donald Trump presidency poses.”
“We believe that Hillary Clinton’s time is best spent campaigning and meeting directly with voters across California and preparing for a general election campaign that will ensure the White House remains in Democratic hands,” she added.
Most recently, in an interview that aired on Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press, Clinton said she hadn’t thought about a potential debate with Sanders.
Fox News’ Vice President and Washington Managing Editor Bill Sammon expressed disappointment that Clinton had backed out of the event.
“Naturally, Fox News is disappointed that Secretary Clinton has declined our debate invitation, especially given that the race is still contested and she had previously agreed to a final debate before the California primary,” Sammon said.
She sang a different tune in 2008…
Obamacare plan customers should brace for sticker shock when the administration posts insurers’ preliminary rate requests for 2017 this week.
Health plans are asking for sharp price increases, after suffering big losses on exchanges in the last two years. Regulators caution that these are preliminary requests and final rates could a lot different.
Insurers cite rising drug costs and patients who utilize a lot of medical services for the price-hike requests, which range from 17 percent in New York, and more than 20 percent in Virginia, to 30 percent rate increase requests from Oregon’s largest insurers.
Masked thieves smashed and tunneled their way into a Hoover store earlier this morning, stealing at least $100,000 worth of electronics.
The break-in happened at Best Buy in Riverchase Village. Hoover investigators believe the suspects could be part of a larger group that has targeted other Best Buy stores in other southeastern states.
The theft happened between 2 a.m. and 4:30 a.m., said Hoover police spokesman Capt. Gregg Rector. It appears the band of thieves – at least three of them – first tried to gain entry through the roof.
They tried to cut a hole in the roof with some kind of cutting tools, Rector said, but either failed or changed their minds. Next, they went to the side of the brick building and made another attempt but hit some kind of barrier. Finally, they went to a third location, also on the building’s side, and breached the wall, making a hole big enough for them to climb through.
Rector said investigators believe they had sledgehammers as well as the cutting tool. Though the building does have a security system, the alarm did not sound, Rector said.
Once inside, the suspects took laptops, iPads and iPods, as well as other devices. Rector said they don’t have a complete inventory, but the loss is expected to exceed $100,000. There is video of the break-in, but authorities have not yet been able to identify them, in part because of the masks.
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