GOP Attempt to Authorize Keystone XL Pipeline Fails

Mar 8, 2012, 6:21 pm EDT

A Republican attempt to push forward an amendment that would authorize construction of the entire Keystone XL Pipeline fell short in the Senate today.

The amendment, added on to a transportation bill, needed 60 votes to pass. It received 56 in support, 42 in opposition, with two Republicans abstaining from voting. The rest of the Republican Senators and 11 Democratic Senators supported the bill.

The vote comes a little over a week after TransCanada (NYSE:TRP) announced it would build a portion of the Keystone XL Pipeline anyway. The Keystone XL Pipeline became a controversial issue when President Barack Obama, citing environmental concerns and a deadline imposed on him by Congress, rejected plans for the pipeline in Jan. 2012. Obama contacted Democratic Senators urging them to oppose the amendment, and it looks like his efforts bore fruit. Read 

Cato Institute, Koch Brothers Fighting Over Think Tank

Mar 7, 2012, 6:26 pm EDT
Cato Institute, Koch Brothers Fighting Over Think Tank

The conservative billionaires who helped found and fund one of the most influential research centers in the United States are now at odds with their creation.

Charles Koch, who helped found the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute in 1974 along with current president Edward Crane, and his brother David Koch are suing the organization to gain control of it. Both Kochs serve as members of the “shareholder” board, and have given nearly $30 million to the group since its founding.

The Kochs say that the suit is necessary to protect their legal interests in the organization. If successful, they would receive a third seat on the “shareholder” board, which would give them the power to control the majority of appointees to the board of directors, which sets the institute’s policy. Read 

Not-So-Super Tuesday for Mitt Romney

Mar 7, 2012, 8:37 am EDT
Not-So-Super Tuesday for Mitt Romney

Technically, Republican presidential hopeful Romney won Super Tuesday by accumulating the most delegates and maintained his place in the front of the pack. However, Rick Santorum’s campaign exceeded expectations and confirmed that the GOP nominating contest is far from over.

Exit polls confirm the same story we have been telling since the first primary in New Hampshire: Romney garners no enthusiasm and fails to win among evangelicals, southerners and middle-income Americans.

All eyes were on the contest between Romney and Santorum in Ohio, a state often considered a bellwether for the rest of the country. Although Romney won by the tiniest of margins, Santorum proved that he has the strong support of middle-class voters in the heartland. In Ohio, Santorum won among those that make less than $100,000 per year, evangelicals and non-college graduates. Read 

UPDATE — 26 Sponsors Have Pulled Limbaugh Advertising

Mar 6, 2012, 6:20 pm EDT
UPDATE — 26 Sponsors Have Pulled Limbaugh Advertising

The hits keep coming for conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, in the wake of his comments on Sandra Fluke, a law student who testified to Congress about contraceptives and health care coverage. After Limbaugh called her a “slut” and a “prostitute”, then apologized for his comments, advertisers still seem to be wary of being associated with Limbaugh.

Yesterday, nine advertisers announced they had withdrawn ads, bumping up to 12 by this morning. Well, there seems to have been a dramatic increase between yesterday, this morning, and this afternoon. The latest tally, according to Politico, is 26.

The companies that have pulled their advertising from The Rush Limbaugh Show are as follows: Read 

Obama’s Super Tuesday Press Conference

Mar 6, 2012, 5:53 pm EDT

Hoping to steal some attention away from arguably the biggest day of the Republican presidential primary season, President Barack Obama held his first press conference in five months today, hitting on two main themes: the housing market and the use of military force.

Obama proposed two new ideas for boosting the housing market in the wake of the foreclosure crisis. One was a reduction in refinancing fees for any loan secured by the Federal Housing Administration. The other was an agreement with banks to review foreclosures of homes previously owned by members of the military since 2006, with an eye towards reimbursing anyone who wrongfully lost their home.

On the other hand, Obama attacked GOP presidential candidates who, he said, had a “casual” view of the use of military force. Read 

My Chat With Putin’s Ex-Economic Adviser

Mar 6, 2012, 6:00 am EDT

My wife, Debbie, and I were visiting West Palm Beach’s Anne Norton Sculpture Garden with fellow attendees of the Cato Institute’s February Benefactor Summit. On the tour with us was Andrei Illarionov, whose presentation I was much looking forward to hearing the next day.

Illarionov’s speech, “American Adversaries Big and Small,” alerted attendees that the word election is not used in Russia but rather selection. And the selection of a Russian president is hardly free and fair.

In 2005, Illarionov, who had assumed office as senior economic adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2000, was the central figure in introducing the 13% flat income tax. Read 

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