The One O’Clock Review of the News

political-newsKey news articles, opinion pieces, and reports to improve our understanding of the political landscape:

Scheme to Dedicate Sales Tax Revenue to Preserve Open Land Seems to Be Early Favorite

With backing from a much-respected former Republican lawmaker and most of the environmental community, a consensus appears to be emerging to dedicate $200 million a year in state sales tax revenue to preserve open space and farmland.

NJ Tries to Avoid Fiscal Potholes as Drivers Switch to Alternate-Fuel Cars

The state yesterday began addressing how it will pay to maintain its roads and bridges if residents begin to switch at a more rapid pace to alternative-fuel vehicles. But don’t expect any answers anytime soon.

The issue poses difficult choices for policymakers. How should users of alternative-fueled vehicles be taxed to support the transportation infrastructure without imposing costs that discourage consumers from buying those cars, which generally are already more expensive than conventional vehicles?  Click here to continue reading this story.

Menendez: Flights to Caribbean ‘Fell Through the Cracks’

Embattled Sen. Robert Menendez told CNN on Monday that his failure to reimburse almost $60,000 in flights on a political donor’s plane was an oversight and that he righted the mistake “when it came to my attention.”

The New Jersey lawmaker said the flights to the Dominican Republican on the private plane of his friend and campaign donor Dr. Salomon Melgen took place while he was traveling extensively as chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “It unfortunately fell through the cracks,” Menendez said.

He added: “I personally paid for them in order to meet my obligations. … When it came to my attention, I did what was right.”  Click here to continue reading this story.

New Jersey: Lautenberg Raised $11,000 in 4th Quarter of 2012

Democratic Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg raised just more than $11,000 in the final three months of 2012 — a paltry total for any incumbent preparing to seek re-election.

Lautenberg, who has not said yet whether he will seek a sixth term, reported $182,000 in the bank, according to his year-end fundraising report filed with the Federal Election Commission last week.

Lautenberg is one of the wealthiest members of Congress and has previously self-funded his own re-election to the tune of seven figures. The New Jersey Democrat also posted meager fundraising at the start of his last race in the 2008 cycle, but he loaned $1 million to seed his campaign in December 2006.  Click here to continue reading this story.

The Senate Must Reject Hagel

The Senate’s “advice and consent” role doesn’t require it to rubber-stamp a presidential appointee for secretary of defense who senators believe would weaken America in this increasingly dangerous world.

Notwithstanding former Sen. Chuck Hagel’s diminished view of the post — “I won’t be in a policymaking position” — the secretary of defense is an exceedingly important position and must be filled with someone who understands the complexity and gravity of the threats we face.

In his testimony at his confirmation hearing, Hagel demonstrated a remarkable unwillingness to clarify his past statements, a stunning misapprehension of the identity, intentions and capabilities of our enemies, and a disturbing ignorance of the critical subject matter on which he would be advising the president. For example, he was unaware that the sequester cuts come out of the Budget Control Act.  Click here to continue reading this story.

Texas 6th Graders Design Flags for a New Socialist Nation

You know America’s changing when leftists have even infiltrated Texas schools, finds.

According to the website, a lesson plan for 6th graders in government schools reads as follows:

Notice socialist/communist nations use symbolism on their flags representing various aspects of their economic system. Imagine a new socialist nation is creating a flag and you have been put in charge of creating a flag. Use symbolism to represent aspects of socialism/communism on your flag. What kind of symbolism/colors would you use?

Texas legislators looked none too kindly on this revelation as they questioned the curriculum’s creators at a recent hearing.

The Star-Telegram reports:  Click here to continue reading this story.

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