Tags: Rubio | Rated | Top | Communicator | Drug Cartels | Ted Kennedy | college-degree scam

Rubio Rated GOP’s Top Communicator; Drug Cartels Deploy Iraq-Style IEDs

By    |   Sunday, 19 December 2010 09:28 PM

Insider Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Senators’ War Chests Hint at 2012 Plans
2. Professor Exposes ‘Great College-Degree Scam’
3. Marco Rubio Rated Top GOP Communicator
4. Mexican Cartels Using IEDs in Drug Wars
5. Group Protests Funds for Ted Kennedy Shrine
6. Less Than Half of U.S. Teens in ‘Intact Families’

1. Senators’ War Chests Hint at 2012 Plans

Of the 33 senators up for re-election in two years, many have not yet stated their intention to run again. But the size of their campaign accounts may offer an early indication of who is and who isn’t preparing for 2012.

“Though fundraising usually grows more intensive as Election Day approaches, large financial resources early on can signal a candidate getting primed for another election fight, whereas low totals may indicate an incumbent less interested in re-election,” notes U.S. News & World Report.

Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown tops the list of Senate incumbents with large war chests, according to the latest Federal Election Commission filings. He had just over $6 million on hand after he won Ted Kennedy’s seat in January’s special election.

Democrats Dianne Feinstein of California ($3,740,159) and Bill Nelson of Florida ($2,909,074) also have sizable war chests they could use for the 2012 election.

Indiana Republican Richard Lugar, who reportedly might face a primary battle from the right, has $2,376,679 in his campaign account.

Other senators with accounts topping $2 million are Republican Orrin Hatch of Utah ($2,323,407) and Democrat Bob Menendez of New Jersey ($2,270,508).

Senators with a $1 million-plus war chest include only two Republicans:

  • Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., $1,955,217
  • Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., $1,617,163
  • Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, $1,423,427
  • Kent Conrad, D-N.D., $1,414,464
  • Ben Nelson, D-Neb., $1,403,644
  • Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., $1,349,788
  • Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., $1,279,816
  • Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, $1,206,314
  • Bob Corker, R-Tenn., $1,001,651

At the bottom of the list are Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., with $111,311; Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii ($75,838); Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas ($52,054); and Herb Kohl, D-Wis. ($26,725).

Editor's Note:

2. Professor Exposes ‘Great College-Degree Scam’

While the number of American college graduates rose significantly from 1992 to 2008, 60 percent of the increased number worked in jobs that the Bureau of Labor Statistics considers relatively low skilled, a university economist disclosed.

Those are jobs where many employees have only high school diplomas or less, and less than half of the increased number of grads have filled jobs historically regarded as requiring at least a bachelor’s degree.

That’s the finding of Richard Vedder, a distinguished professor of economics at Ohio University, who is critical of President Barack Obama’s insistence that the United States needs more college graduates.

In an article for The Chronicle of Higher Education headlined “The Great College-Degree Scam,” Vedder — director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity — points out that in 1992, 28.9 million college graduates were employed, and 5.1 million — about 17 percent — were in jobs the BLS termed “noncollege level jobs.”

But in 2008, total college graduate employment was 49.3 million, and 17.4 million — 35 percent — were in jobs classified as requiring less than a bachelor’s degree.

As an example, Vedder notes that in 1992, there were 119,000 waiters and waitresses with college degrees. By 2008, the number had increased to 318,000. The total number of waiters and waitresses rose by 1 million during that period, and 20 percent of those new jobs were filled by college students.

“The push to increase the number of college graduates seems horribly misguided from a strict economic/vocational perspective,” writes Vedder, who is also an adjunct scholar with the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research.

“It is precisely that perspective that is emphasized by those, starting with President Obama, who insist that we need to have more college graduates.”

Vedder says his findings suggest “a horrible decline in the productivity of American education.” In many cases it now takes 18 years of schooling (including kindergarten and five years of college) to get an education to do a job that a generation or two ago was filled by a person with 12 or 13 years of education.

Vedder concludes: “We are deceiving our young population to mindlessly pursue college degrees when very often that is advice that is increasingly questionable.”

Editor's Note:

3. Marco Rubio Rated Top GOP Communicator

Marco Rubio, Haley Barbour, and Mike Huckabee are the Republicans most likely to defeat President Obama in 2012, according to a new analysis of their communications skills.

Former ABC and CNN journalist Brad Phillips — president of Phillips Media Relations, a media training firm — rated more than a dozen likely GOP candidates, plus Obama, on the seven traits he says all winning presidential candidates have had since 1980.

“Most pundits analyze a general election by looking at the same old measurements, such as unemployment data, consumer confidence, and early polling,” Phillips said.

“But they always miss a reliable predicator: The more gifted media spokesperson has won every presidential election since the beginning of the 24/7 media age in 1980.”

The candidates were evaluated on these seven criteria, Phillips said on his Mr. Media Training website:

  • The candidate with the clearest message has always won (since 1980).
  • The candidate who articulated the clearer vision has always won.
  • The sunnier candidate with the more optimistic message has always won.
  • The candidate whose message is best aligned with constituent concerns has always won.
  • The more charismatic candidate has always won.
  • The candidate who appeared most comfortable in his skin has always won.
  • The candidate who uses the most plain-spoken language has almost always won.

Based on these criteria and a review of television interviews, Phillips gives Obama an A for his communications skills in October 2008, but only a C for his skills now.

Incoming Florida Sen. Rubio gets an A, while Mississippi Gov. Barbour and former Arkansas Gov. Huckabee rate an A-minus.

Phillips gives New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie a B-plus, South Dakota Sen. John Thune a B, and gives a B-minus to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate, rates a C-plus from Phillips, as does South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul gets only a D-plus, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is rated a D.

“Although we tend to complain about the length of presidential campaigns, the reality is that nonstop media exposure to candidates gives us a good sense of who they are,” Phillips said.

“That’s important, because many voters, especially the crucial independents, base their votes on their personal comfort level with a candidate, not specific policy positions.”

Editor's Note:

4. Mexican Cartels Using IEDs in Drug Wars

Mexican drug cartels battling security forces are using the same kind of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that insurgents have been employing against coalition forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“Mexico in the last 90 days has experienced at least three vehicle-borne explosive devices against their security forces, which look very similar to the model that we saw in Iraq and continue to see,” said Lt. Gen. Michael Oates, director of the Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO).

JIEDDO is a Department of Defense endeavor to reduce or eliminate the effects of all forms of IEDs used against U.S. and coalition forces.

In its 2009 annual report, JIEDDO warned that Mexican drug cartels “may increase the use of IED TTPs [tactics, techniques, and procedures] to respond to increased law enforcement pressure.”

Speaking at the Foreign Press Center in Washington, D.C., Oates said IEDs are “being used throughout the world to impact stable governments. We track about three to four hundred incidents a month occurring outside of Iraq and Afghanistan, where people are using improvised explosive devices against law enforcement or against military security forces.”

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia use IEDs in their fight against the government, according to Oates.

The explosive devices are “easily concealable. They’re inexpensive. And they are terribly devastating, in some cases against the civilian population,” he said.

This year IEDs have caused nearly 60 percent of the casualties suffered by coalition forces in Afghanistan, AFP reported.

The potential for their increased use in Mexico is troublesome. As the Insider Report disclosed two weeks ago, the death toll in Mexico’s cartel-related drug wars has exceeded 10,000 for this year, with nearly half of the murders occurring in the U.S.-Mexico border region.

Editor's Note:

5. Group Protests Funds for Ted Kennedy Shrine

A plan to spend $8 million of Defense Department funds on a “shrine” to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy is drawing howls of protest from a conservative Christian organization.

The Traditional Values Coalition (TVC), which claims to represent more than 43,000 churches nationwide, is asking supporters to e-mail their senators urging the removal of the $8 million appropriation for the Edward M. Kennedy Institute in Boston.

The earmark, submitted by Sen. John Kerry and Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts, was placed in the omnibus spending plan legislators discussed during the past week.

TVC Executive Director Andrea Lafferty said in a statement: “Just when Americans started to hope that the liberal leadership in the Senate had learned its lesson last November, they do something which is so blatantly hypocritical and offensive.

"Few legislators despised the U.S. military more than the late Sen. Edward Kennedy. So where does the Senate include funding for the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate to the tune of $8 million? It is part of an appropriation for the Department of Defense!”

Lafferty previously worked in the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations. She was Deputy Director of Government Affairs for the 1990 Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations, serving as liaison to Cabinet officials and members of Congress.

She added: "Proponents of the Kennedy shrine describe it as part museum and part think-tank. Think tank! Will the Edward M. Kennedy Institute teach young Americans that the only issue in driving an automobile successfully lies in not spilling any of your drink?”

Editor's Note:

6. Less Than Half of U.S. Teens in ‘Intact Families’

Only 45 percent of American teenagers have spent their childhood with an intact family, with both their birth mother and biological father legally married to each other since before or around the time of the teen’s birth, a new report discloses.

The other 55 percent live in single-parent families, stepfamilies, or with adoptive or foster parents, according to the report from the Family Research Council’s Marriage and Religion Research Institute.

“Increased rates of divorce and childbearing outside of marriage have turned growing up in a stable, two-parent family into an exception, rather than the rule, for young Americans,” states the report, titled “The U.S. Index of Belonging and Rejection.”

The report, based on U.S. Census Bureau figures, found a wide disparity in the percentage of intact families among different ethnic groups: 62 percent of Asian-American teens live with both married parents, as do 54 percent of white teens, 40 percent of Hispanic youth, 24 percent of American Indian and Alaskan Native teens, and just 17 percent of African-American youth.

In multiracial families, the figure is 41 percent.

There is also wide disparity in the states: 59 percent of teenagers in Utah live in married two-parent families, as do 58 percent in New Hampshire and 57 percent in Minnesota, compared to 32 percent in Mississippi and 34 percent in Louisiana. In the District of Columbia, the figure is 16 percent.

Dr. Pat Fagan, who produced the report, asserted that the “culture of rejection” affects the entire nation.

“Children in broken homes are more likely to be poor or welfare-dependent,” he said in a statement. “They enjoy less academic achievement and less social development, have more accidents and injuries, and have worse mental health and more behavioral problems.

“The culture of rejection burdens communities with higher levels of poverty, unemployment, welfare dependency, domestic abuse, child neglect, delinquency, crime and crime victimization, drug abuse, academic failure, and unmarried teen pregnancy and childbearing.”

As a result, he added, the United States “experiences increased costs in education, healthcare, mental health and the administration of justice.”

The report warns that America “will not be able to maintain its leadership role in the community of nations unless its parents take a leadership role in the communities they have built: their families.”

Editor's Note:

Editor's Notes:

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Insider ReportHeadlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Senators War Chests Hint at 2012 Plans 2. Professor Exposes Great College-Degree Scam 3. Marco Rubio Rated Top GOP Communicator 4. Mexican Cartels Using IEDs in Drug Wars 5. Group Protests Funds for...
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Sunday, 19 December 2010 09:28 PM
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