Rush To Rand: ‘You’re A Hero’ (+audio)

Talk radio icon Rush Limbaugh today called Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., a hero for facing off against the Obama administration and surviving. Limbaugh told Paul today: “Nobody in the Republican Party has dared take this president on. You did last night, and you’re alive today to talk about it, and nobody’s calling you names.

“You are, in certain ways, a hero to a lot of people today, and I hope this kind of thing continues.”

Limbaugh noted Paul has received criticism, but he called the filibuster “a seminal event last night that could change the direction that we are all heading, particularly in terms of educating and informing the American people about what actually is happening in their country.”

Paul’s filibustered President Obama’s nomination for CIA director. His move was declared a victory today when Attorney General Eric Holder issued a terse response to the question the senator raised during nearly 13 hours of talking on the Senate floor.

“It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: ‘Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?’ The answer to that question is no,” Holder responded.

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Former Bush Adviser Continues Crusade Against Palin, Conservatives

Photo Credit: BreitbartFormer George W. Bush chief political strategist Matt Dowd continued to try to diminish Sarah Palin and conservatives by once again making false claims about the former Alaska governor.

On Sunday’s “ABC’s This Week,” Dowd assailed CPAC for, in his mind, lessening its credibility by inviting conservatives like Palin and not liberal Republicans favored by the northeastern elite like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

“CPAC, to me, has totally diminished its credibility as an organization,” Dowd said. “And you invite Sarah Palin, who wasn’t competent enough to keep a Fox News contract? But she’s invited to the CPAC meeting?”

Dowd falsely claimed that Palin was not competent enough to be on Fox, whereas Palin turned down Fox’s offer to renew her contract. His remark was not only a dig at Palin but also a shot at Fox, implying the news network that has dominated the cable news ratings employs people with subpar levels of intelligence who do not meet the lofty standards of the Aspen Institute or Harvard’s Institute of Politics. His comments also imply that he feels the conservatives who came out in droves to elect Bush twice–which is the only reason he has his media perch and anyone has even heard of him–are dumb as well.

Other writers purporting to represent the right, like Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post’s token conservative, also have chimed in, writing any gathering that includes Palin while not inviting GOProud and Christie “isn’t worth attending.” Conservative writer Jeffrey Lord assailed these elitist Republicans who feel entitled to make CPAC “a big tent” instead of the “conservative tent” that it is supposed to be.

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The Power of One Man’s Conviction

photo credit: rand paul for us senate 2010What was it about Rand Paul’s filibuster that has captivated conservatives all over the country and reinvigorated their desire to fight for our Constitutional Republic? The irony is that the drone issue was not even one of the most popular issues among many conservatives until last night. I suspect that many conservatives don’t necessarily agree with some of Paul’s assertions about targeting terrorists like Al-Awlaki overseas, although we are all (everyone except for McCain and Graham) concerned about targeting Americans on American soil. Yet he has become an overnight sensation, not just among his core libertarian base, but among the broad conservative movement.

Conservatives have been starving for a fighter; longing for someone who will do something drastic, engage in a media savvy fight against an imperialistic president who has no respect for checks and balances and an invidious disregard for the separation of powers.

We have witnessed this president shred the Constitution and implement his radical agenda by administrative fiat. We the People stand by flummoxed and frustrated at the lack of courage among Republicans to counter the president with anything more magnanimous than a press release. We have seen him abrogate our immigration laws, grant administrative amnesty, and let criminal aliens out of jail. Yet nobody has used their position and identified a point of leverage at which to take a stand and draw extended scrutiny to the issue or any other breach of authority.

Finally, when administration officials began asserting that the president might even have the power to launch drone strikes on American soil, Senator Paul decided he would hold up a major nomination to command the attention of the entire country. Many of us sat back and watched the impassioned speeches from Paul and the stirring words of Ted Cruz. We wondered why we had not witnessed this sort of spirited opposition during Obamacare.

Yet that is exactly the point. Most of these senators are new to Washington. They have charted a new path forward, one that is not paved with backroom deals but with forthright demonstrations of courage and commitment to the principles that buoyed them into office. Instead of cutting a deal to invoke cloture and having Brennan’s nomination sail to confirmation, Paul has united a fractious Republican Party against this – that is everyone except for Obama’s dinner companion Lindsey Graham.

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Iran Was Holding Bin Laden Son-In-Law Abu Ghaith, US Officials Say

Photo Credit: Getty ImagesU.S. officials say Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, captured last month in Turkey and now in New York, has spent most of the last decade in Iran, in some sort of confinement.

Back in late 2001, as U.S. troops and Afghan tribal forces were dismantling the Taliban control of Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden made a decision.

He sent his operators, people like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Abu Zubaydah to the cities of Pakistan where they were to hide out and plan further attacks against the US. All of the key players were captured or killed, with the exception of Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaida’s No. 2 who remains at large, having survived at least three Predator attacks.

At the same time, bin Laden sent his top managers, al-Qaida’s Management Council, to Iran, arming them with money to bribe their way across the border, according to multiple US and Iranian officials. Bin Laden apparently hoped that the Iranians would see the group not as Sunni terrorists but as “an enemy of my enemy,” as one senior U.S. official put it.

Among those who made their way into Iran were Saif al-Adel, al-Qaida’s military director; bin Laden’s son Saad; and Abu Ghaith, the group’s communications director … and also bin Laden’s son-in-law. At one point not long after its arrival, this group, numbering in the hundreds with family members and bodyguards, was captured by Iranian authorities. Although senior U.S. officials have told NBC News they did not know the conditions of their confinement — “it was the blackest of black boxes,” one former senior U.S. official told NBC News — Iranian officials said the group was “in jail.”

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Officials: 80 Percent Of Recent NYC High School Graduates Cannot Read (+video)

Photo Credit: CBS New YorkIt’s an education bombshell. Nearly 80 percent of New York City high school graduates need to relearn basic skills before they can enter the City University’s community college system.

The number of kids behind the 8-ball is the highest in years, CBS 2′s Marcia Kramer reported Thursday.

When they graduated from city high schools, students in a special remedial program at the Borough of Manhattan Community College couldn’t make the grade.

They had to re-learn basic skills — reading, writing and math — first before they could begin college courses. They are part of a disturbing statistic.

Officials told CBS 2′s Kramer that nearly 80 percent of those who graduate from city high schools arrived at City University’s community college system without having mastered the skills to do college-level work.

Watch video here:

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Wolf Says NASA Prompted Hiring Of Person Linked To Chinese Espionage; May Be Dozens More In Agency

Photo Credit: APOfficials at NASA’s Langley Research Center permitted a contractor to hire a Chinese national affiliated with an organization designated by U.S. national security agencies as an “entity of concern,” and then allowed the individual access to classified information, according to Rep. Frank Wolf.

The as-yet unidentified individual was permitted to take that information back home to China, according to Wolf, the Virginia Republican who is chairman of a House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees NASA.

Wolf said during a Capitol Hill news conference today that “at least several dozen other Chinese nationals,” are employed at Langley, and he charged that they are employed in a manner to “circumvent” congressional bans on Chinese involvement at NASA facilities.

Wolf said he has talked with FBI Director Robert Mueller and the Neil H. MacBride, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia about the alleged national security violations at Langley, which is located in Hampton, Virginia.

He said he first heard the allegations from numerous whistleblowers who were career NASA employes and met with them about two weeks ago. He said he turned over information and documents to the FBI.

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U.S. Says U.N. Sanctions ‘Will Bite’ After North Korea Threatens Nuclear Attack

Photo Credit: CNNThe U.N. Security Council unanimously passed tougher sanctions against North Korea Thursday targeting the secretive nation’s nuclear program hours after Pyongyang threatened a possible “preemptive nuclear attack.”

“These sanctions will bite, and bite hard,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said after the vote. China, North Korea’s key ally, could have used its veto power to block the sanctions. Instead, after weeks of negotiating, it signed on to the final draft.

“China is a country of principle,” China’s U.N. Ambassador Li Baodong said. “We are firmly committed to safeguarding peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.”

Leading up to the vote, Pyongyang ratcheted up its bellicose rhetoric. A spokesman for the North Korean foreign ministry suggested the United States “is set to light a fuse for a nuclear war.”

As a result, North Korea “will exercise the right to a preemptive nuclear attack to destroy the strongholds of the aggressors and to defend the supreme interests of the country,” the country said in a statement carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency.

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Coburn Offers FAA Easy Alternatives To Closing Towers, Cutting Air Traffic Controllers

Photo Credit: Daily CallerIn the latest installment of Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn’s letter-writing campaign for administration sanity in implementing the sequester, the Republican is taking on the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) spending cut priorities.

In a letter to Department of Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood, Coburn called on the FAA to cancel upcoming conferences, stop nonessential hiring or reform low-priority programs before cutting elements that could harm flight safety.

“The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced today that it will close 173 air traffic control towers, effective April 7, and could furlough nearly 47,000 employees, ‘including all management and non-management employees working within the Air Traffic Organization,’” Coburn wrote in the letter, dispatched Wednesday. “All of the 173 towers closing April 7 are privately run under contracts. The department’s inspector general, however, reported that these same contract towers are both cheaper and safer than towers operated by the FAA.”

Under sequestration, the FAA is expected to cut $600 million — or just 4 percent of the agency’s nearly $16 billion budget for fiscal year 2012.

According Coburn, if a reduction in conference expenditures can stop “even one day of furlough for one air traffic controller,” then the FAA should be moving forward with it.

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Video: Ted Cruz Grills Eric Holder

Senator Cruz grills Attorney General Eric Holder on drones, enforcement of federal law, and more.

It is refreshing to see someone actually try to hold this administration accountable. And the Attorney General’s obfuscation illustrates why we need folks like Ted Cruz on the Hill.

Watch Cruz have to ask repeatedly to get a straight answer from the Attorney General.

ABC Poll: Americans Are Totally Fine With Spending Cuts

Photo Credit: Intel PhotosPresident Obama and company have been beating the drum about the supposed coming disasters of sequestration, but Americans aren’t buying it. Proof: a poll out from ABC news today reveals that the vast majority of Americans are just fine with budget cuts. At the same time, most are not in favor of military cuts, indicating they’d like to see the money come from other places. Some of the numbers:

The public by nearly 2-1, 61-33 percent, supports cutting the overall budget along the lines of the sequester that took effect last Friday. But by nearly an identical margin, Americans in this ABC News/Washington Post poll oppose an eight percent across-the-board cut in military spending.

These views come before the $85 billion in cuts this year have taken hold, leaving open the question of how the public will respond once the reductions hit home. Nonetheless, the results suggest that warnings about the nation’s military readiness have resonated, while the public is more skeptical about the damage the sequester poses to federal programs more generally.

Support for a five percent reduction in federal spending crosses party lines in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates; it includes 57 percent of Democrats, six in 10 independents and three-quarters of Republicans. Shaving eight percent off the military budget, on the other hand, is opposed by 73 percent of Republicans and 63 percent of independents, with Democrats split down the middle.

Now, before we all start celebrating, there are a few matters of note. The ABC article also points out that, in a similar poll conducted during the height of fiscal cliff hysteria, Americans were largely opposed to cuts to some of the most expensive programs we run (including Social Security).

Read more from this story HERE.