On Monday, four members of an anti-fracking group wound up in jail for using bicycle locks and glue to fasten themselves to gas pumps at a petrol station in Great Lever, England. The group sacrificed themselves in order to protest the hydraulic fracking activities of Total, a French petroleum company.
But, to their embarrassment, the group sacrificed themselves to the wrong petrol station, which was no longer owned by Total. The petrol station was owned by Certas Energy, who neglected to take down the signs after buying the station.
The petrol station’s manager, Reezwan Patel commented that some protesters were peaceful, but that those who shackled themselves to the pumps “were stupid and have cost us a lot of money.” He added that, “We had to close for six hours, so with the loss of customers and the damage to the pumps, it could be a couple of thousand pounds we have lost.”
The four activists were not only ridiculed by Reezwan but also were excoriated by the local environmental group, the Bolton Green Party. The party chairman, Alan Johnson exclaimed, “I was very annoyed, and I have to stress that these people have nothing to do with our protest. We were there to protest peacefully, and warn people about the dangers of fracking, and these people have put themselves, and others, in danger with what they did.”
Throughout Bolton, a borough of Greater Manchester, anti-fracking groups have been rallying to protest hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” in the UK. Fracking is controversial because of the potential risks the process may have on the environment and the water supply.
In January 2011, the clock was running out on a lame-duck Illinois state legislature that wanted to raise taxes. Democrats had lost seats in the recent election, and with some of their own members opposed to the increase, they were about to lose the numbers they needed to make it happen.
The 66 percent income tax hike passed by just one vote in the state Senate and three votes in the state House.
The point of the tax hike, Gov. Pat Quinn told reporters, was to retire the $4.5 billion in IOUs the state had accumulated – late payments to state vendors, contractors, doctors seeing Medicaid patients, and anyone else foolish enough to do business with the Deadbeat State.
Nearly three years and $26 billion in additional taxes later, guess what’s happened? That’s right, Illinois is now $9 billion behind on its payments, the Illinois Policy Institute notes:
[I]llinois’ unpaid bills are slated to reach $9 billion during the Christmas season this year… By the end of the current fiscal year, lawmakers will have collected a total of $25.7 billion in new revenue from the 2011 tax hike. Despite this massive inflow of new cash, Illinois’ unpaid bills are higher today than they were when lawmakers passed the 2011 tax hike.
Yes, it’s easy to laugh at Illinois – and Illinois deserves the mockery – and its low bond rating, and anything else you can throw at it. But if you wonder why conservatives generally oppose tax increases as a way of balancing budgets, here’s the easy answer: If you give these guys extra money, you know exactly what they’re going to do with it.
Anyone who thinks forcing kids to wear helmets to play soccer is the last word in authoritarian absurdity is directed to Moscow on the Colorado, where a sample of the public overwhelmingly approved of mandatory safety helmets for pedestrians:
People at the University of Texas at Austin agreed to sign a petition that would compel the City of Austin to enforce a law requiring pedestrians to wear safety helmets.
The tongue-in-cheek operation by Alex Jones’ Infowars.com staff was called C.H.U.M.P.S. (Compelled Helmet Use for the Misfortunate Public). Participants were told the law would also require special walking lanes so people could walk while texting and freely run into things. No one would get hurt because everyone is wearing helmets.
Sadly, most people didn’t realize it was a joke. They were even told the plan would be used to lower insurance prices under Obamacare.
“We talked to 20 people and 14 of them signed the petition to pass a law to make the general population wear helmets when you walk down the street,” said talk show host Alex Jones said in a video report.
Hats off to Jones. Despite the loose screws that can sometimes be heard rattling around in his skull, this prank was worthy of Mark Dice.
The lesson to take away:
Infowars.com writer Paul Joseph Watson noted that the helmet petition shows “the majority of the general public will accept almost any nanny state measure no matter how ludicrous.”
This has been repeatedly confirmed by New Yorkers’ passive submission beneath the heel of Nanny Bloomberg.
California is challenging the historic status of American citizenship with measures to permit noncitizens to sit on juries and monitor polls for elections in which they cannot vote and to open the practice of law even to those here illegally. It is the leading edge of a national trend that includes granting drivers’ licenses and in-state tuition to illegal immigrants in some states and that suggests legal residency could evolve into an appealing option should immigration legislation fail to produce a path to citizenship.
With 3.5 million noncitizens who are legal permanent residents in California, some view the changes as an acknowledgment of who is living here and the need to require some public service of them. But the new laws raise profound questions about which rights and responsibilities rightly belong to citizens over residents.
“What is more basic to our society than being able to judge your fellow citizens?” asked Jessica A. Levinson, a professor at Loyola Law School, referring to jury service. “We’re absolutely going to the bedrock of things here and stretching what we used to think of as limits.”
One new state law allows legal permanent residents to monitor polls during elections, help translate instructions and offer other assistance to voting citizens. And immigrants who were brought into the country illegally by their parents will be able to practice law here, something no other states allow.
In many ways, the new measures underscore the lock Democrats have over the State Capitol, where they hold an overwhelming majority in both houses. Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, signed the poll worker legislation this month and has indicated his approval of the other bills. Many of the changes, including granting drivers’ licenses to unauthorized immigrants, passed with overwhelming support and the backing of several Republicans.
State legislatures across the country approved a host of new immigrant-friendly measures this year, a striking change from just three years ago, when many states appeared poised to follow Arizona’s lead to enact strict laws aimed at curbing illegal immigration. More than a dozen states now grant illegal immigrants in-state college tuition, and nine states and the District of Columbia also allow them to obtain drivers’ licenses.
With an estimated 2.5 million illegal immigrants living in California – more than in any other state in the country – some say the state has no choice but to find additional ways to integrate immigrants.
“It’s a recognition that how people are living and working in their community might trump their formal legal status,” said Hiroshi Motomura, an immigration law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. “There is an argument that in parts of California a jury without a legal permanent resident is not really a jury of peers. Some view citizenship as the final consecration of complete integration, but this says, ‘Let’s take who we have and get them to participate in our civil institutions.’ ”
Early this month, the State Supreme Court suggested during a hearing that lawmakers could create a law to address the case of Sergio Garcia, who was brought to the United States illegally as a child. Mr. Garcia had met every other requirement to become a licensed lawyer. Within days, legislation was approved to allow immigrants who were brought here illegally as minors to obtain law licenses, with just three opposing votes.
But the bill to allow noncitizens to sit on juries has proved more controversial. Several newspaper editorials have urged Mr. Brown to veto it.
Rocky Chávez, a Republican assemblyman from northern San Diego County, said that allowing noncitizens to serve on a jury would make it harder to uphold American standards of law.
“What we call domestic violence is appropriate in other countries, so the question becomes, ‘How do we enforce our own social norms?’ ” Mr. Chávez said. He added that granting more privileges would weaken immigrants’ desires to become citizens. “Once we erase all these distinctions, what’s next? What is going to convince someone it is essential to get citizenship?”
Departing from their role regarding other bills affecting immigrants, advocacy groups largely stayed out of the debate over the jury duty bill, which was sponsored by Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, a Bay Area Democrat who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
“Being a juror really has nothing to do with being a citizen,” Mr. Wieckowski said. “You don’t release your prejudices or histories just because you take an oath of citizenship, and you don’t lose the ability to listen to testimony impartially just because you haven’t taken that oath either.”
He said that roughly 15 percent of people who received a jury duty summons never showed up and that the legislation would make it easier to impanel juries. Mr. Wieckowski said that he expected the governor to sign the bill and that the changes would quickly become accepted.
“It’s the same thing that happened with gay marriage: people got past their initial prejudices and realized it was just discrimination,” he said.
Supporters say that expanding the pool of those eligible to serve on juries and work the polls would serve citizens as well as immigrants. Several counties in California are required to print ballots and voting instructions in languages other than English. In Los Angeles County, ballots are available in Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic, Armenian, Tagalog and Vietnamese.
But advocates say that the printed instructions are often insufficient and that many people are turned away from the polls because they simply cannot communicate. Expanding the pool of potential poll workers to include legal permanent residents will allow more citizens to vote, they say.
Critics say that the Legislature is going too far and that the legislation will probably face legal challenges.
“It seems they stay up late dreaming up ways they can reward illegal immigration and create either new benefits or new protections for illegal immigrants,” said Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which backs stricter federal laws. “The overriding objective of the California Legislature is to further blur the distinction between citizen and immigrant, legal and not.”
State legislators and advocates had for years sought a law to allow unauthorized immigrants to obtain drivers’ licenses. Earlier legislation to create licenses for them had been vetoed by the previous governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Governor Brown signaled during his 2010 election that he would do the same.
But this year, a Republican co-sponsor signed on to the bill, and Mr. Brown quietly assured supporters that he would sign it as long as it included a marking to distinguish such a license from the existing driver’s license.
Assemblyman Luis A. Alejo, a Democrat and a sponsor of the bill, traced his involvement back to protests against the 1994 state ballot initiative that would have strictly limited access to public services for immigrants here illegally.
“Twenty years ago, that drove activists like me to get serious about school, and now we’re able to lead these pro-immigrant rights legislation, which is the total opposite of what was happening then,” Mr. Alejo said. “What was really controversial then is the reality now.”
Requests for gun permits are set to double this year after the massacre last year at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“People think [officials] are trying to take their guns away from them.”
Russia Today reported:
Requests for gun permits in Newtown, Connecticut are set to double this year, as residents fear for a loss of their Second Amendment rights in wake of the massacre there last December that killed 28 people, mostly children.
Local police have already received more than 200 gun permit requests in 2013, and applications aren’t expected to stop anytime soon even as last year’s tragedy at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School remains fresh in the minds of many.
Authorities in Newtown have reported a spike in gun permit requests, and announced that at the current rate these requests will far surpass last year’s. Newtown police have already received 211 gun permit requests this year, and there are more than four months left for this number to increase. Last year, police received 171 requests from January through December. In 2011, they only received 99.
“People think [officials] are trying to take their guns away from them,” Mike DeLuca, co-owner at a gun shop called MD Shooting Sports, told the New York Daily News, sharing the fears expressed by customers seeking gun permit applications. “They want to have a right to own a gun and protect themselves.”
Ever since a gunman killed 26 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School last December, Democratic lawmakers and White House officials have emphasized the importance of stricter gun control laws, and even tried to ban military-grade assault weapons. But gun activists have long expressed fear that their Second Amendment rights will be violated, and the response to the Newtown massacre prompted many of them to stock up on weapons.
1.) He’s a manly individual, unlike the real Obama.
2.) He’s good at his job, unlike the real Obama.
3.) He’s got a growing fan base, unlike the real Obama.
4.) He’s technically qualified to be president, unlike the real Obama.
5.) He’s not hiding the fact that he’s just been pretending to be black, unlike the real Obama.
The debate over a bill requiring women to undergo an ultrasound procedure before being permitted to have an abortion resulted in an explosive shouting match on the floor of the Wisconsin Senate Wednesday.
State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D) began by reading various letters from her constituents complaining about the adverse affects the proposed legislation may have on women and victims of rape.
Vinehout’s argument was rebutted by her Republican colleague state Sen. Mary Lazich, who pointed out that victims of rape and incest are exempted in the anti-abortion legislation. She dismissed Vinehout’s argument as “theatrics.”
Lazich went on to argue that families are entitled to “full information” about their decisions before deciding to abort a baby.
“They make that decision, it’s over! It’s over in a few minutes,” she said. “And then later on they can live with the fact that they terminated their pregnancy and it was the best thing for them or they killed their child and they made a horrific decision and they regret it and they wish they never would have done it.”
Following Lazich’s comments, Senate President Mike Ellis ( R) called for a vote on the bill despite efforts by Senate Democrats to extend the debate. The move resulted in chaos on the Senate floor.
“It’s non-debatable! Call the roll!” Ellis shouted over lawmakers while pounding his gavel. “You’re out of order!”
“You’re out of order!” another Wisconsin senator shot back.
“You’re interrupting a roll call! Sit down right now!” a visibly furious Ellis hollered.
“I understand you’re afraid of this debate,” Larson said, his microphone turned off.
Watch the video via Mediaite:
The bill passed 17-15 with all Republicans in support and Democrats against. It now heads to the Assembly, which was expected to pass it on Thursday. Gov. Scott Walker said Tuesday he would sign it into law.
Wednesday’s unusual early morning debate in the Senate, which began shortly after 8 a.m., came about after Democrats used a procedural move to block a final vote after hours of debate on Tuesday. Only two senators, one Democrat and one Republican, were able to speak Wednesday before Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, cut off debate after about 30 minutes.
Governor Rick Scott vetoed House Bill 235, which would have provided “temporary” drivers licenses to illegal immigrants categorized under the “Deferred Action Status” by an executive order from President Obama.
The bill which was authored by Rep. Randolph Bracy, D-Orlando cleared the House with a vote of 115-2 and the Senate, with a vote of 36-0. HB 235 would have let the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles accept as a person’s approved application for “deferred action status” which was defined in an Executive Order by President Obama. Governor Scott explained his veto in a cover letter to Florida Secretary of State Kenneth Detzner. Excerpts from Scott’s letter include:
“Florida is home to immigrants of many nationalities, who add to the cultural fabric of our great state, and whose productivity and hard work have contributed to our economic turnaround. Still, our nation struggles with immigration issues every day, as Americans seek to reconcile the fact that at one point our families were immigrants who came, as many do today, to work and live the American dream with the fact that the federal government has failed at enforcing the nation’s laws on this topic…
Deferred action status is simply a policy of the Obama Administration, absent Congressional direction, designed to dictate removal action decisions using DHS agency discretion. It was never passed by Congress, nor is it a promulgated rule…
Given that deferred action status does not confer substantive rights or lawful status upon an individual, Florida is best served by relying on current state law. Already, Florida law allows those with a federal employment authorization card, without regard to their deferred action status, to obtain a temporary Florida driver license…
Although the Legislature may have been well intentioned in seeking to expedite the process to obtain a temporary driver license, it should not have been done by relying on a federal government policy adopted without legal basis.
For the reasons stated above, I withhold my approval of House Bill 235, and do hereby veto the same.”
Roy Costner IV, a former public school student from South Carolina, stunned the audience at his high school graduation last weekend when he ripped up his previously-approved valedictorian speech, going on, instead, to speak about God – and then deliver the Lord’s prayer.
The act, which drew loud applause, was taken in opposition to the School District of Pickens County’s decision to axe prayers from graduation events, Christian News reports. Officials said that they had recently received complaints from atheist activists and church-state separatists, leading to the removal of invocations from all school events.
But that didn’t stop Costner.
The Liberty High School ceremony is already making its way into national headlines, as the valedictorian’s actions and the subsequent cheers this past Saturday were caught on video.
As he spoke, Costner went from merely mentioning “the Lord” to jumping right into the well-known prayer.
“Those that we look up to, they have helped carve and mold us into the young adults that we are today. I’m so glad that both of my parents led me to the Lord at a young age,” he said. “And I think most of you will understand when I say -”
And that’s when he commenced the popular invocation.
“Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name,” Costner continued. “Thy Kingdom come…”
Throughout the entirety of the prayer, cheers and clapping raged. The school district, which, as stated, was already facing scrutiny over graduation prayers earlier this year, has no plans to punish the former student for his actions (after all, he’s no longer under their authority, so what retribution could he receive?).
Some in attendance praised the speech as bold, while it’s likely that atheist activists and other church-state separatists will be less-than-contented by the inclusion of prayer.
“I think it took a lot of courage to do that,” one attendee said of Costner’s decision. “People were [supportive] that he stood up for what he believed in.”
Students, according to the district, must have their speeches approved before delivering them at graduation. While Costner began speaking from his secular script, he eventually deviated and invoked his faith.
I have been saying that this ‘Gang of Ocho’ immigration reform bill would be dead in the water the minute the liberal faction in the U.S. Senate began to do President Obama’s bidding of imposing their liberal views on the legislation.
Rubio had been warned that this would happen, and it has. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has filed two amendments that acknowledge same-sex marriage. Rubio recently said that that if his bill was amended with such a measure, he would not support the bill anymore.
This move by the Democrats gives Rubio that immigration reform life raft he needed.
This is the immigration excrement that the liberal Democrats in the Senate and President Obama wanted Rubio to step into all along. Democrats like Schumer would get Rubio to stick his head out on this issue, basically making him there token Julio.
Then they would insert legislation like Leahy’s same-sex amendment, in hopes that Rubio would back out of the bipartisan bill, effectively dinging him as being against Hispanics and immigration reform.
The only thing Rubio can do now is back out, take the hit, and go back to the drawing board. Rubio, who caused himself significant political damage for standing with Schumer, Durbin, McCain and others on immigration reform, will have a lot of damage control to do with his base after all of the immigration dust settles.
Here is what Buzzfeed just reported:
”For immigration reform to be truly comprehensive, it must include protections for all families,” Leahy said in a statement. “We must end the discrimination that gay and lesbian families face in our immigration law.”
Among Leahy’s amendments is one that would include the Uniting American Families Act – a bill that would create a new category of “permanent partners” to enable a U.S. citizen in a same-sex couple to sponsor a foreign partner – in the larger immigration reform legislation. This amendment had been discussed and was to be filed.
A second amendment, according to a news release from Leahy’s office, “provides equal protection to lawfully married bi-national same sex couples that other spouses receive under existing immigration law.” The provision asserts that a person would be considered a married spouse under the Immigration and Nationality Act if the marriage “is valid in the state in which the marriage was entered into” or, if “entered into outside of any state,” was valid where entered into and would be valid in a state.
Lavi Soloway, an immigration rights lawyer who represents same-sex couples and co-founded The DOMA Project, told BuzzFeed the second amendment was “nothing short of a strategic master stroke.”
Explaining, he said, “It would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act so that all marriages of gay and lesbian binational couples would be recognized for immigration purposes only, thus creating the first ever ‘carve out’ or exception to DOMA under federal law.” – Buzzfeed
The White House is coming under pressure from liberal Democrats in the House and Senate to press for a minimum wage hike as high as $10.10.
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) argues President Obama “missed the mark” in calling to raise the minimum wage to $9 in his State of the Union address, and his staff met with White House staff last week to argue for a higher number.
The veteran senator, who will retire at the end of this Congress, is working with Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) on legislation that would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 over three years and then index future increases to inflation.
“Well, we’re going to introduce our own bill on it,” Harkin told The Hill on Tuesday. “I’m going to be in discussions with them because I think they missed the mark, but people make mistakes.”
Besides Harkin and Miller – a confidant of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) – Democrats backing a higher minimum wage hike include Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) and Rep. Charles Rangel (N.Y.).
Obama’s own push to raise the minimum wage faces significant hurdles in Congress.
The Republican-controlled House is unlikely to pick up the measure, meaning action will depend on the Senate’s Democratic majority.
“We should be focused on policies that create jobs, not ones that make it harder for folks to enter the workforce, so a minimum wage bill will not likely proceed in the House,” one senior GOP aide said.
Some conservative Democrats could also have reservations about raising the minimum wage, given opposition from the business community.
The criticism from Harkin and other liberals shows Obama must also worry about his left flank. Harkin, the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, will play a key role in the debate because his panel has jurisdiction on the issue, and it could be difficult to bring a bill to the floor without his support.
The minimum wage now stands at $7.25 per hour, but Obama argued in his State of the Union address that raising it to $9 was necessary to ensure a better future for poor people struggling to make it to the middle class.
Raising the minimum wage to $9 by the end of 2015 would be roughly a 25 percent change.
Those arguing for a higher minimum wage say the hike is necessary to keep up with inflation.
In 1968, they point out, the minimum wage was $1.60 – which would be about $10.56 in 2013 dollars. But past minimum wages have also been below the current minimum wage in terms of their spending power. In 1938, when it was first introduced, the minimum wage was $0.25 or about $4.07 in 2013 dollars.
Congress last hiked the minimum wage in 2007, from $5.15 to $7.25 per hour.
Harkin argues Obama himself called for a $9.50 minimum wage in his 2008 presidential campaign.
He and Miller plan to unveil their bill in a matter of weeks, according to aides. Harkin also says he’s begun negotiating with the White House about where to set the rate. Harkin aides insisted the senator would not budge from introducing a minimum wage increase bill at $10.10 an hour.
“It will be introduced at $10.10,” one of these aides said.
Rangel, who co-sponsored a bill in 2012 to raise the minimum wage to $10, said he was thankful that Obama is making an increase a priority, but that the number could be higher.
“No, no, no,” Rangel said when asked if $9 an hour was sufficient to raise the minimum wage. “But this is so much better than not having his support.”
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) voted against raising the minimum wage to $7.25 and argued after Obama’s State of the Union address that the hike would cut into job growth.
“Listen, I’ve been dealing with the minimum wage issue for the last 28 years that I’ve been in elective office,” Boehner said a day after Obama’s address. “And when you raise the price of employment, guess what happens? You get less of it.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said that while he’d prefer a $10.10 minimum wage, Obama settled on $9 because that appeared politically feasible.
“I would like for it to be but I don’t think it will be,” Cleaver said when asked if he would like an increase of $10.10. “I think it’s going to be tough to do $7.50, and we got to do it anyway.”
The Senate approved Chuck Hagel’s nomination for Defense secretary Tuesday, ending a contentious battle that exposed deep divisions over the president’s Pentagon pick.
After Republicans blocked the nomination earlier this month, they ultimately allowed for an up-or-down vote on Tuesday. The margin was historically close, with 58 senators supporting him and 41 opposing in the end.
Though Hagel is himself a former Republican senator, the resistance to his nomination showed an unusual level of distrust among many senators toward the man chosen to lead the Defense Department – at a time when the country is trying to wind down the Afghanistan war, while assessing emerging threats from Iran, Syria and elsewhere in the turbulent Middle East and North Africa.
Republicans had earlier held up the nomination largely over demands for more information from the Obama administration on the Sept. 11 Libya attacks.
But they also raised serious and recurring concerns about Hagel’s record of past statements and votes on everything from Israel to Iran to nuclear weapons.
Sen. John McCain, a leading Republican, clashed with his onetime friend over his opposition to President George W. Bush’s decision to send an extra 30,000 troops to Iraq in 2007 at a point when the war seemed in danger of being lost. Hagel, who voted to authorize military force in Iraq, later opposed the conflict, comparing it to Vietnam and arguing that it shifted the focus from Afghanistan.
McCain called Hagel unqualified for the Pentagon job even though he once described him as fit for a Cabinet post.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid asked what the delaying tactics had done for “my Republican colleagues.”
“Twelve days later, nothing. Nothing has changed,” the Democrat said on the Senate floor. “Sen. Hagel’s exemplary record of service to his country remains untarnished.”
Reid blamed partisanship over Obama’s second-term national security team for the delay. Both Reid and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, a Democrat, warned that it was imperative to act just days before automatic, across-the-board budget cuts hit the Pentagon.
Hagel will succeed Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and join Obama’s retooled national security team. Hagel’s nomination bitterly split the Senate, with Republicans turning on their former party colleague and Democrats standing by Obama’s nominee.
Republicans also challenged Hagel about a May 2012 study that he co-authored for the advocacy group Global Zero, which called for an 80 percent reduction of U.S. nuclear weapons and the eventual elimination of all the world’s nuclear arms.
The group argued that with the Cold War over, the United States can reduce its total nuclear arsenal to 900 without sacrificing security. Currently, the U.S. and Russia have about 5,000 warheads each, either deployed or in reserve. Both countries are on track to reduce their deployed strategic warheads to 1,550 by 2018, the number set in the New START treaty that the Senate ratified in December 2010.
In an echo of the 2012 presidential campaign, Hagel faced an onslaught of criticism by well-funded, Republican-leaning outside groups that labeled the former senator “anti-Israel” and pressured senators to oppose the nomination. The groups ran television and print ads criticizing Hagel.
Opponents were particularly incensed by Hagel’s use of the term “Jewish lobby” to refer to pro-Israel groups. He apologized, saying he should have used another term and should not have said those groups have intimidated members of the Senate into favoring actions contrary to U.S. interests.
The nominee spent weeks reaching out to members of the Senate, meeting individually with lawmakers to address their concerns and seeking to reassure them about his policies.
Hagel’s halting and inconsistent performance during some eight hours of testimony at this confirmation hearing last month undercut his cause, but it wasn’t a fatal blow.
There was no erosion in Democratic support for the president’s choice and Hagel already had the backing of three Republicans – Sens. Thad Cochran, Mike Johanns and Richard Shelby. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., also switched to support Hagel in the final vote.
…………………………..WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?