Did Republicans succeed in steering the first presidential Twitter Town Hall to questions that would put President Obama on the spot?
There are reports that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Hill Republicans tried, apparently with little success.
But at one point, Twitter co-founder and moderator Jack Dorsey said this:
“Speaking of start-ups, there’s a ton of questions about small businesses and how they affect job creation. This one comes from Neal: ‘Small biz create jobs. What incentives are you willing to support to improve small business growth?’ ”
Obama finessed the question. But “a ton of questions”? Can the hard-working small-business owners, the drivers of the economy, folks such as the boutique trial lawyers, the personal injury lawyers, the doctors, the accountants, the dentists and the bodega owners, really afford to waste time in midday tweeting questions to Obama?
Then we recalled an e-mail we got at the beginning of the town hall from Brian Patrick, strategic communications director for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), citing a Wall Street Journal blast at Obama’s efforts for small businesses and with a subject line: “#AskObama: What about small business?”
We e-mailed to ask, but the modest Patrick said he couldn’t claim credit for Neal’s question.
Still . . .
“Join a Bipartisan Delegation to SCOTLAND,” said the e-mailed invite Wednesday afternoon from Reps. John J. Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.) and Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), the co-chairmen of the House Friends of Scotland Congressional Caucus.
Fact-finding in mid-August in lovely Scotland vs. sweltering here in River City? Oh, YES!
Seems the caucus “is searching for several more Members interested in joining a small and bipartisan Congressional delegation [codel] to visit Scotland August 13-20th,” the e-mail said.
Shouldn’t be that hard a search. We’ve got the golf clubs ready for loading on that business-class military jet. And this time there’s scarcely a pretense that work will be committed.
“The final itinerary will be developed over the coming weeks and includes meetings with Government Ministers, members of the Scottish Parliament and key representatives of Scotland’s business sectors,” the invite says.
Certainly no heavy lifting there, just chatting a bit with the Scots. And surely there’ll be a moment or two devoted to seeing some castles, sipping excellent single-malt Scotch and a delightful ride on the Bo’ness and Kinneil steam railway.
“Space is very limited” on the plane, we were warned. “Please contact . . . my office as soon as possible,” Duncan advised. Do not tarry. St. Andrews, the Loch Ness monster and the Speyside distillery await. There aren’t likely to be many better trips this summer.
Ah, codels, the last great bipartisan conspiracy.
Senator and private pilot James Inhofe (R-Okla.), despite getting a bare slap on the wrist — rather than a license suspension — for landing his Cessna 340 last fall on a closed runway at a small South Texas airport and scaring the daylights out of workers doing maintenance, has blasted the Federal Aviation Administration for “agency overreach.”
The FAA ordered what Inhofe told us in February was some “painless” remedial training in lieu of any enforcement action. Inhofe praised the FAA and said “I could not have been treated better” by the agency.
He insisted, however, that he did nothing wrong and pledged to introduce legislation to give pilots greater rights.
And this week, he introduced the Pilot’s Bill of Rights. “I was never fully appreciative of the feeling of desperation until it happened to me,” he said, according to the Tulsa World.
The bill provides, among other things, that pilots be able to appeal FAA enforcement actions directly to federal district court and that the FAA turn over “all relevant evidence 30 days prior to a decision to proceed with an enforcement action.”
“If a person is going to be accused of something, he has to know what he is being accused of,” Inhofe said.
Well, as we reported in October, it was pretty clear what Inhofe, 76, was accused of: ignoring huge (60 feet long by 10 feet wide) yellow X’s on the runway showing that it was closed. Workers were painting and doing general maintenance as he zipped over and by them and their trucks.
A recorded call to the FAA from the crew’s supervisor said Inhofe “sky-hopped” over the men and trucks and “scared the crap out of us.” Inhofe told the Tulsa World that part of the reason for the legislation was the difficulty he had getting the audiotapes of the call.
Inhofe didn’t use that same runway upon departing. He allegedly didn’t use any runway but chose instead to use a taxiway, which apparently is also frowned upon.
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee managed to make some news four months ago by taking a shot at the president’s four years of childhood in Indonesia.
“Most of us grew up going to Boy Scout meetings,” Huckabee said, “and, you know, our communities were filled with Rotary clubs, not madrassas.”
Turns out Indonesia has nearly 100 Rotary clubs and more than twice as many boy scouts as the United States, according to an article in the current Washington Monthly. (Obama noted his scouting membership in “Dreams From My Father.”)
Many social organizations such as the Lions and Kiwanis are shrinking in this country but growing rapidly abroad, according to the article, “The Lions of Lagos, the Rotarians of Rawalpindi,” by John Gravois. Now there are “twice as many Rotary clubs in the Indian state of Kerala, for instance, than there are in Kansas. And the troubled island nation of Bahrain may have more Toastmasters per capita than any other country in the world.”
The worldwide growth of these groups, Gravois writes, may bode well in terms of projecting U.S. values abroad.
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