Another Obama Appointee Blocked By Filibuster

Nov 12, 2013, 7:33 pm EDT

Senate Republicans have successfully blocked the confirmation of another of President Barack Obama’s picks for a top appeals court today, sparking outrage and calls for Senate rules changes among the chamber’s Democrats.

Obama had tabbed Georgetown law professor Cornelia T. L. Pillard to fill a spot on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, seen by many as the second-most important United States court behind the Supreme Court. Republicans, however, initiated a filibuster to prevent voting on her confirmation, and a 56-41 vote to end debate fell short of the 60 votes needed.

While some Republicans are opposed to her record on issues like abortion, many said the issue wasn’t with her, but with the position itself. Two other Obama nominees for the court, Caitlin Halligan and Patricia Millett, have also been filibustered, with Republicans saying they simply don’t need any more judges on that court. Read 

Republican Pretends to Be Black to Win Election

Nov 12, 2013, 1:55 pm EDT
Republican Pretends to Be Black to Win Election

A white Republican won an election after leading voters to believe he was black through his ads.

Khou.com reports that Dave Wilson beat 24-year incumbent Bruce Austin at a Houston district election by posting ads that implied he was black. The voters of the district are mostly black Democrats and most people thought that the Republican had no chance of winning but his misleading political campaign somehow worked as he beat Austin by the narrow margin of 26 votes.

Wilson’s fliers had photographs of smiling African-American faces that he downloaded from the Internet and used to promote his campaign. Austin was outraged by Wilson’s deception, saying he doesn’t think “it’s good for both democracy and the whole concept of fair play.” Austin is demanding a recount but chances are that the white Republican will serve the district for the next six years. Read 

Senator’s Son Killed in Plane Crash

Nov 12, 2013, 12:41 pm EDT

Dr. Perry Inhofe, son of U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe, was killed in a plane crash on Sunday.

Perry, 52, died when a plane he was piloting crashed near a Tulsa suburb at around 4 p.m. He was an orthopedic surgeon who worked at Central States Orthopedics in Tulsa, Colorado. He learned to fly from his father and had recently taught his 16-year-old son, Cole, to fly. The plane that crashed was a 974 Mitsubishi MU-2B-25. This model of plane has been placed under increased observation by the FAA in recent years due it being involved in an increased number of accidents, reports the Times Union.

“Dr. Perry Inhofe was a man of great integrity, skilled as a surgeon, and an example for all of us,” Dewey Bartlett, the mayor of Tulsa, told The Chicago Tribune. Read 

Obamacare Exchanges Enroll Less Than 50K, Goal Was 800K by Now

Nov 12, 2013, 9:53 am EDT

An initial estimate of the enrollment numbers for President Barack Obama’s new health insurance exchanges is out … and they aren’t good.

According to Avalere Health, 12 state-run insurance exchanges have managed to enroll just about 49,100 people between their launch on  Oct. 1. and Nov. 10. That’s a fraction of the 800,000 nationwide enrollments the Obama administration had expected during the first two months after the exchanges launched, Bloomberg notes.

Avalere’s data doesn’t include enrollment numbers from the federal website covering 36 states, or the state-run exchanges in Massachusetts, California and Oregon. Read 

Republican Senators Release DC Health Care Exchange Numbers

Nov 8, 2013, 4:29 pm EDT

While the official numbers for health insurance registrations through HealthCare.gov have not been released, everyone pretty much agrees the numbers will be low.

A clue as to how low they might be emerged today, when Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Chuck Grassley of Iowa released the registration numbers for the D.C exchange.

How many people in D.C. have registered for health insurance through HealthCare.gov? Just five. Read 

Tax Refund Identity Theft Is a ‘Growing Epidemic’

Nov 8, 2013, 1:42 pm EDT

Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), a U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) watchdog, has described tax refund identity theft as “a growing epidemic.”

According to TIGTA, more Americans had their identities stolen in tax refund crimes during the first half of 2013 than in all of 2012. The watchdog group says that about 1.6 million Americans had their identities stolen in the first half of this year. This is up from the 1.2 million stolen during 2012. TIGTA also says that while the number of identify theft claims have risen, the government has lost less money to these crimes in the past few years. Potential fraudulent tax refunds were the cause of the government losing $3.6 billion in 2011. This is down from 2010, when the government lost $5.2 billion to these types of crimes. More and more identity thieves are starting to work from outside the country and the IRS claims that these “scammers” are using “constantly evolving tactics” to commit identity theft, reports Reuters.

The IRS has a team of 3,000 employees that work on identity theft issues. Read 

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