NCDP Clips for Thursday, February 7, 2013


NBC NEWS – Panetta on Benghazi attack: Pentagon ‘did all that we could do’
As Republicans continue their long-running effort to find out more about the security failures that led to the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, began testifying Thursday morning before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The two men will discuss how the Pentagon might have prepared for such an attack and why U.S. forces weren’t positioned closely enough to Benghazi to deter the attack and rescue US personnel.
In the Sept. 11 assault on the facility, Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods and Sean Smith, were killed.

USA TODAY – Panetta testifies in Senate about Benghazi attack
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told a Senate panel Thursday that "lack of adequate warning" prevented the U.S. military from immediately responding to the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya last year.
Four Americans, including U.S. ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, died in the Sept. 11 attack at the U.S. mission in Benghazi.
Panetta said there was no specific intelligence of an imminent attack on Benghazi. The consulate was among 281 other sites that had been threatened in the months leading up to the attack.

CBS NEWS – WH to brief senators on drones before CIA hearing
President Barack Obama’s choice to head the CIA faces a Senate Intelligence Committee confirmation hearing just hours after lawmakers are expected to receive a classified report providing the rationale for drone strikes targeting Americans working with al Qaeda overseas.
John Brennan, the White House counterterrorism chief and Obama’s nominee to run the nation’s spy agency, helped manage the drone program. The confirmation hearing Thursday sets the stage for a public airing of some of the most controversial programs in the covert war on al Qaeda, from the deadly drone strikes to the CIA’s use of interrogation techniques like waterboarding during President George W. Bush’s administration.


CHARLOTTE OBSERVER – New NC child development director opposes pre-K
The woman appointed to lead child development and early education in North Carolina once led an organization opposed to preschool programs.
WRAL-TV in Raleigh reports ( Dianna Lightfoot was recently president of the National Physicians Center for Family Resources, an agency that advocates against "institutional" preschool programs. An open letter on its website says there’s research to suggest early childhood education programs may be inferior to early learning opportunities at home.
Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos announced Lightfoot’s appointment Tuesday.

WRAL – State’s new Pre-K chief opposes pre-K
Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos announced Tuesday that Dianna Lightfoot has been appointed the state’s new director of Child Development and Early Education.
The Division of Child Development and Early Education, or DCDEE, oversees the state’s child-care program as well as NC Pre-K, which was moved into Health and Human Services from the Department of Public Instruction last session.

NEWS & OBSERVER – Oops! New DHHS dress code hadn’t been cleared with the boss yet
The state Department of Health and Human Services’ first department-wide dress code — which went out on Monday to the agency’s 17,000 or so employees, and was published in Dome online Tuesday and in print Wednesday — actually hadn’t been cleared with the boss yet.
The policy is on hold while new DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos gets a chance to review it. The head of human resources, who sent out the Monday memo, had to send another memo Wednesday morning apologizing for not clearing it with Wos first.


NEWS & OBSERVER – Bill would give McCrory, legislature control of some state boards
The state’s GOP-dominated legislature and Republican governor would have a free hand to sweep out all the members of several key boards and commissions and replace them with their own appointments, under a bill advanced Tuesday.
The legislation surfaced unexpectedly in the Senate Rules Committee attached to an innocuous bill eliminating certain boards and commissions for efficiencies. Over objections from Democrats, the committee approved provisions to replace and in some cases downsize the membership on the state Utilities Commission, the Industrial Commission, the Coastal Resources Commission and others.

BEAUFORT OBSERVER – S 10 would overhaul many state boards and commissions
Republicans ran last election on streamlining government, specifically eliminating duplication and un-necessary entities that no longer serve a useful purpose. Senate Bill 10, with Bill Cook as one of the co-sponsors seeks to do just that. You can read the bill by clicking here. The bill passed second reading in the Senate on Wednesday (2-6-13) and by the time you read this it will probably have passed third reading in the Senate and be in the House for consideration.

FAYETTEVILLE OBSERVER – Bill in N.C. General Assembly would create new vocational high school diplomas
A bill working its way through the General Assembly would create new high school graduation requirements focused on vocational training intended to help students not headed to college find jobs.
The measure backed by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory sailed through a legislative committee Wednesday without opposition and appears headed for a quick vote in the Senate. The bill directs education officials to develop curricula with an increased emphasis on career and technical courses. High school diplomas will carry new seals endorsing the graduate as "career ready," "college ready" or both, depending on the courses they complete.

VIRGINIA PILOT – N.C. Senate proposes ‘Opossum Right-to-Work Act’
With North Carolina’s legislature taking up a bill involving the fate of captive marsupials, two lawmakers figured they might as well have fun.
The "Opossum Right-to-Work Act" introduced Wednesday in the state Senate is identical to a House bill introduced earlier this week—except for the tongue-in-cheek title.
The measure gives the state Wildlife Resources Commission the explicit authority to permit the organizer of a New Year’s Eve Possum Drop to display a wild-caught animal. By tradition, the trapped opossum is suspended in a tinsel-covered box and gently lowered to the ground at midnight, then released.

SALISBURY POST – Home of NC legislature celebrates 50 years
Some called the Legislative Building an architectural marvel, while others recalled getting lost in its maze of hallways.
But all lawmakers and other elected officials still celebrated Wednesday at observances for the 50th anniversary of the day the House and Senate officially moved into the Legislative Building. Lawmakers had served for more than a century in the old Capitol before moving in 1963.


THE WASHINGTON POST – Are Republicans rebranding or rethinking?
E.J. DIONNE – Rebranding is trendy in the Republican Party.
Rep. Eric Cantor gave a major speech Tuesday to advance the effort. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal wants the GOP to stop being the “stupid party.” Karl Rove is setting up a political action committee (it’s what he does these days) to defeat right-wing crazies who cost the party Senate seats.
But there’s a big difference between rebranding and pursuing a different approach to governing.

CHARLOTTE OBSERVER – Time to pass violence against women bill
You’d think the words “violence against women” would be enough to get Congress to put partisanship aside and reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. It hasn’t. Maybe some names will help.
• Jan. 1, 2012, Isidra Sarabio, 30, was shot and killed by her estranged husband Eladio Hernandez-Pelaez, 54, in Concord. He then killed himself.
• On May 6 of last year, 33-year-old Emanee Womack was allegedly beaten to death by her boyfriend, 31-year-old Sharrandon Adams, in Charlotte. Adams had been charged eight times in the last 15 years with assaulting women.
• And just two months ago, Leasa Harper Smith, 41, was reportedly killed by her boyfriend David Leonard, 65, in Nash County.


Clay Pittman
Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party
Twitter: @ClayPittman