'Smile Test' Predicts Obama Defeat; Hoekstra Gains on Stabenow

Sunday, 27 Nov 2011 04:02 PM

By Special From Newsmax's Most Informed Sources

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Hoekstra Gaining on Stabenow in Michigan
2. 'Smile Factor' Could Sink Obama in 2012
3. Bill O'Reilly Donates to Ludacris' Foundation
4. Top U.S. Aid Recipients Back Iran at U.N.
5. Sen. Gillibrand's 'Stock Crock' Assailed
6. We Heard: Peter Thiel, Arlen Specter, Syria
 

1. Hoekstra Gaining on Stabenow in Michigan

Former Republican Rep. Pete Hoekstra has sent out a fundraising email with the encouraging news that two-term Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan is below 50 percent in a new poll.

The WXYZ-TV/Detroit Free Press survey shows Stabenow with 48 percent of the vote. Hoekstra, who is seeking the GOP nomination to unseat her in 2012, garners 42 percent, up from 38 percent in an August poll.

"A devastating new poll shows Sen. Stabenow is below 50 percent — a crucial threshold for any incumbent," Hoekstra says in his email.

"With Debbie at 48 percent and us at 42 percent, I guarantee you that Obama, Debbie and the rest of the big government peddlers in Washington are getting very, very nervous.

"They're running scared. We're running strong."

The poll also found that 52 percent of voters have a negative view of the job Stabenow has done, and only 41 percent have a positive view.

"Breaking through the 50 percent threshold is very important because, if you're going into Election Day under 50 percent, most of the independent voters either go to the challenger or stay home," said EPIC-MRA pollster Bernie Porn, who conducted the survey.

Hoekstra was first elected to the House in 2002 and did not run for re-election in 2010. In the Michigan Senate race, he leads all other declared Republican candidates by a wide polling margin.

"This is the most important race in the country," Hoekstra's email declares.

"This race decides the fate of every major program Obama and Harry Reid want to pass in the Senate. This seat will set the tone for 2012 and beyond."

Editor's Note:



2. 'Smile Factor' Could Sink Obama in 2012

When candidates square off in presidential elections, history shows that the winners are those whose smiles convey a positive message that inspires rather than irritates voters, communications consultant Jon Kraushar maintains.

He cites research by UCLA Professor Albert Mehrabian indicating that non-verbal communication — including a speaker's smile — can be even more important than what is actually said.

And that could bode ill for President Barack Obama's re-election chances in 2012, according to Kraushar.

In an article for Fox News, Kraushar examined the "smile factor" in several recent elections:

In 2008, Obama's grin and his "hope and change" message trumped John McCain's grimacing warnings about the economy.

In 2004 and 2000, George W. Bush's smirk and cocky smile overshadowed the "terminally serious and insufferably pompous" John Kerry and Al Gore, Kraushar observed.

Bill Clinton's "jaunty smile" and confidence defeated the "scowling" Bob Dole in 1996 and the "strained" smile of George H.W. Bush four years earlier.

But Bush's "frenetic grin" was positively endearing in 1988 against the "mechanical smile and robotic messaging" of Michael Dukakis.

Ronald Reagan's smile and sparkling eyes were unbeatable in 1980 and 1984 against the "dourness" of Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale.

"In a presidential contest, whoever appears more upbeat is victorious over whoever seems more uptight," according to Kraushar.

As for the 2012 election, he writes: "Today, President Obama looks and sounds uptight. An air of desperation has crept into his face, eyes and body language.

"To beat Obama in the general election, Republicans must select a candidate with both a verbal and non-verbal message that by comparison with Obama's, packs the power of a smile — and puts a smile on the faces of a majority of voters."

Editor's Note:



3. Bill O'Reilly Donates to Ludacris' Foundation

Two longtime adversaries, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly and rapper Ludacris, had a face-to-face confrontation at a recent White House event — with a most unexpected outcome.

O'Reilly actually promised to contribute to the Ludacris Foundation — and made good on his vow.

Ludacris (born Christopher Brian Bridges) is co-founder of Disturbing the Peace, an imprint of Def Jam Records.

Back in August 2002, O'Reilly called for Americans to boycott Pepsi products because Ludacris was featured in a 30-second TV ad for Pepsi. O'Reilly said Ludacris' lyrics glamorize a "life of guns, violence, drugs and disrespect of women." Pepsi pulled the ad from the air.

The White House confrontation saw Ludacris "catching [O'Reilly] off guard and getting into a heated argument," according to a report on BET.com, the website of Black Entertainment Television.

Ludacris described the incident in an interview with Sway Calloway on SiriusXM satellite radio.

"Long story short, there's nothing he could do," Ludacris said. "I think he talks about certain people but he never thinks he's going to meet these people in person, let alone [at] the type of events and the circles that he's in.

"He started talking to me about he heard about a lot of the charity work I've done with the Ludacris Foundation. He was like, 'I think that maybe I should make a donation.' This is how he got me to calm down. I was like, 'Well what do I need to do to make that happen immediately?'"

The Ludacris Foundation seeks to aid and inspire young people.

Ludacris confirmed that O'Reilly did make a donation, but wouldn't disclose the amount.

Editor's Note:



4. Top U.S. Aid Recipients Back Iran at U.N.

Of the 10 nations that received the most American foreign aid in fiscal 2011, only one voted for a U.S.-backed draft resolution condemning Iran for human rights abuses.

The resolution, introduced by Canada, cited Iran for abuses including torture, excessive use of the death penalty — including public executions and the executions of minors —violent suppression of political opponents, and discrimination against women and religious minorities.

The resolution passed by a vote of 86 to 32. But among the top 10 recipients of U.S. aid, only Israel voted in favor of the resolution.

Afghanistan and Pakistan, the two biggest aid recipients this year, voted against the resolution. Six other big recipients — Egypt, Jordan, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, and South Africa — abstained, and Iraq did not vote.

Some countries that declined to support the resolution indicated that they did so due to their opposition to "country-specific" resolutions — critical resolutions focusing on a single country.

But Hillel Neuer, executive director of the monitoring group U.N. Watch, accused those nations of double standards, CNS News reported.

"These countries are being completely hypocritical because they are the same ones who annually sponsor or support 20 one-sided resolutions against Israel in the U.N. General Assembly, having made a virtual cottage industry of passing 'country-specific' resolutions against the Jewish state," he said.

Arab and Muslim countries generally did not support the resolution. But interestingly, Libya and Tunisia — which have new administrations following uprisings in the Arab Spring — both voted in favor of the resolution.

Among the countries opposing it were Russia, China, and India.

Editor's Note:



5. Sen. Gillibrand's 'Stock Crock' Assailed

Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's bill to end insider trading by members of Congress is so full of loopholes that it would do almost nothing to stop lawmakers and their families from profiting on stock deals.

A bill first proposed by New York Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter, the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, languished for years without legislative action.

But then on Nov. 13, "60 Minutes" aired a report showing that members of Congress from both parties — including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — had evidently profited from stock trades made on the basis of insider knowledge, a practice that is essentially legal for members of Congress.

In the days that followed, 61 House members stepped forward to co-sponsor the STOCK Act, and Sen. Gillibrand — who was appointed to fill Hillary Clinton's seat in New York after she accepted the secretary of state post — led a group of nine senators in introducing a version of the STOCK Act in the Senate, the Buffalo News reported.

Under the Gillibrand proposal, members and employees of Congress would be prohibited from buying or selling securities or commodity futures based on inside knowledge.

But in an article headlined "Gillibrand's Stock Crock," the New York Post cited experts who point out that the act does not specifically bar lawmakers and their employees from sharing information with their spouses and family members, meaning they could pass on inside information that those family members could use to make trades.

Alan Ziobrowski, a real estate professor at Georgia State University, criticized a provision of the bill giving legislators 90 days to report trades.

"Stock trades need to be reported in real time," he told the Post.

"After 90 days, these reports will simply end up in the bowels of Congress where they will probably be forgotten."

The Post article goes on to disclose that Gillibrand's husband, Jonathan, made more than 250 stock transactions in 2008 — when the mortgage crisis was at its height and Gillibrand was a member of the U.S. House. Those included investments in home-building stocks — he used options that allowed him to bet that their prices would go down so he could turn a profit.

Editor's Note:



6. We Heard: Peter Thiel, Arlen Specter, Syria

THAT billionaire entrepreneur Peter Thiel is offering young Americans $100,000 NOT to go to college.

For the second year, the Thiel Foundation will give the money to 20 deserving recipients born after Dec. 31, 1991, to launch their own entrepreneurial efforts, the Washington Post reports.

"Our first class of fellows is busy working on difficult challenges to improve the lives of people across the world, and we're looking forward to helping 20 more people skip college and start changing the world," said Thiel, an early investor in Facebook and co-founder of PayPal.

Those accepted into the program will have two years to develop their ideas with help from the Thiel Foundation.

THAT former Sen. Arlen Specter will host a new Sunday morning TV program on government-funded public broadcasting.

The pilot for his show "The Whole Truth" is scheduled to air on Maryland Public Television in January.

"We hope to put on many, many additional programs," said Specter, who was first elected to the Senate as a Republican in 1980 but switched to the Democratic Party in 2009. He lost his re-election bid in 2010.

Sen. Evan Bayh will be a guest on the first show and the topic will be the Supreme Court's decision in the Citizens United case.

THAT Syria, under fire for a brutal suppression of anti-government protesters that has cost more than 3,500 lives, nevertheless has been reappointed to a United Nations committee dealing with — incredibly — human rights.

Syria remains a member of the 29-member Committee on Conventions and Recommendations, which examines human rights violations within UNESCO's areas of concern, including education, science, and communications.

The United States recently froze funding of UNESCO (U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) over its decision to admit "Palestine" as a member.

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., said: "The selection of Syria to serve on a UNESCO committee responsible for human rights is an affront to those suffering at the hand of tyrants all around the world."

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Editor's Note:



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