Today in Liberty: Obama disapproval hits 59%, NLRB backs college sports unions

“It’s through no fault of the Internet, because people are not educated on how to use the Internet.” — Harry Reid on why the administration extended Obamacare enrollment

— Obama’s disapproval rating climbs again: Already at a dangerously level, President Obama’s disapproval rating is approaching uncharted territory, nearly hitting 60%. “According to the AP-GFK survey released Wednesday, 59 percent disapprove of Obama’s job performance while 41 percent approve,” The Hill reports. “A similar poll released by the news outlet in January found 45 percent approved of him while 53 percent disapproved.” The rise in disapproval is attributed to his handling of the Ukraine situation, but his agenda is being panned across the board. “Obama gets lowest marks for his handling of the federal budget, immigration and the economy,” the Associated Press explains. “Support for Obama’s education policies, which had been a strong point, dipped into negative territory this month, too.”

— TROLOLOLOLOLOL: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) trolled President Obama, who is visiting the Vatican, with a hilarious early morning tweet.

Rand Paul to Obama

— Harry Reid blames the media for Democrats’ Obamacare problems: It couldn’t be that people are pissed off about losing their health plans, breaking a promise that President Obama made, or higher insurance premiums. Nope. It’s all the media’s fault. “I know the media is just focused on ObamaCare but that’s not what the public’s focused on,” Reid told reporters. “You look at all the surveys, ObamaCare comes out sixth, seventh, eighth.” The most recent Gallup survey found that healthcare-related issues were fourth on the list of Americans top concerns, behind jobs, dissatisfaction with Congress, and the economy.

— Obamacare autopsy: FreedomWorks released Broken Promises: The ObamaCare Story (PDF) yesterday, a 32-page report that seeks to hold Democrats accountable for the promises they made about the law. “Democrats have made a lot of promises to the American people, but today the results are in,” said Patrick Hedger, a policy analyst at FreedomWorks, in a statement. “Democrats rammed this law through Congress, then hid from its realities behind a 2014 implementation date. Now that the law has proved to be disastrous, they’re hiding again behind internet memes and insulting overtures to young Americans like ‘Brosurance’ and pajama boy. FreedomWorks plans to fight through the noise by arming activists with the facts, rather than talking down to people.”

— NLRB backs college football unions: The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled yesterday that Northwestern football players can unionize. “In a potentially game-changing moment for college athletics, the Chicago district of the National Labor Relations Board ruled on Wednesday that Northwestern football players qualify as employees of the university and can unionize,” ESPN reports. “Giving college athletes employee status and allowing them to unionize, critics have argued, could hurt college sports in numerous ways — including by raising the prospects of strikes by disgruntled players or lockouts by athletic departments.” This could be bad news for college football programs, especially smaller ones that don’t have a lot of money.

— GOProud announces 2014 endorsements: GOProud, an organization that supports limited government and gay marriage, has announced its first wave of endorsements for the 2014 cycle. “GOProud endorses candidates whose work reflects the three conservative tenets of our mission statement – free markets, limited government, and a respect for individual rights; core principles that benefit the lives of all Americans, gay or straight,” said Matthew Bechstein, co-director of GOProud. “These candidates represent a modern conservative approach to the tough issues Americans face today, and we are proud to lend them our full support. We know they will continue to make us proud throughout their careers in public service.” The candidates include five Republican nonincumbents —including Terri Lynn Land, who is running for Michigan’s open Senate seat, and Richard Tisei (MA-06) and Carl DeMaio (CA-52). GOProud also endorsed Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) in her bid for reelection.

— Rand Paul also does endorsements: The Kentucky Republican endorsed two House candidates this week, John Dennis (CA-12) and Igor Birman (CA-7). Dennis is running against Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in a solidly Democratic district. Birman, however, has a real shot of knocking off Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA). “I am proud to endorse Igor Birman in his candidacy to be the next Congressman from California’s 7th District. As someone who has lived in the former Soviet Union, Igor understands the importance of fighting for individual freedoms and limited government,” said Paul. “When Igor gets to Washington, I have no doubt that he will stand with me as a strong and passionate defender of liberty. Our nation needs Igor in the halls of Congress and I will do all I can to help get his voice to the floor of the US House of Representatives.” Birman was advanced this week to “Contender” status in the NRCC’s “Young Guns” program.

— Everything is terrible: Tax Hike Mike Huckabee visited Washington yesterday to, among other things, meet with House Republicans about a 2016 presidential campaign. “According to two sources close to Huckabee, the former governor received a ‘warm welcome’ from ‘an enthusiastic crowd,’ which consisted of 73 GOP House members,” CNN reports.”The sources say that the 2016 presidential race and the possibility of another Huckabee candidacy were the topics of conversation during the meeting, and that the larger than expected crowd encouraged Huckabee.” Sorry, but the guy is a serial tax hiker and nanny statist. Jonah Goldberg rightly described him as a “right-wing progressive.” Nope. Nope. NOPE.

— MSNBC’s failed business model: Cable news networks are all losing viewership and revenue, but MSNBC really seems to be taking it on the chin. “MSNBC suffered harder loses in 2013 — in terms of both viewership and revenue — than either of its competitors at Fox News and CNN, according to Nielsen data featured in a new Pew Research report. Prime-time viewership declined by a staggering 24 percent (nearly twice the loss sustained by CNN and four-times that sustained by Fox News). Daytime viewership fell by 15 percent, even as it rose at both of the other networks,” Politico notes. “On the revenue side, MSNBC was projected to decline by 2 percent, while both CNN and Fox News were projected to experience growth of 2 percent and 5 percent, respectively. MSNBC was expected to bring in $475 million in revenue: less than half what CNN will make and roughly one-quarter of what Fox News will make.” To sum up MSNBC’s problems, George Bush isn’t around anymore and President Obama has, well, fallen flat.

— Agribusiness donated over 8.5 million to Farm Bill supporters: This isn’t surprising. Special interests typically shower politicians with money when there’s a debate over a measure that they want. But Matthew Mitchell of the Mercatus Center highlights just how much money agribusiness gave to Farm Bill supporters in just the first three quarters of 2013. “Members who voted for the bill drew in substantially more political contributions from various agricultural interest groups than those who voted against it, receiving more than four times as much throughout the period analyzed,” Mitchell notes. “Political contributions from these groups spiked in the second quarter, when several key votes were cast in both chambers.”

Agribusiness donations

— What if Cuba’s regime falls?: What would be the Obama administration’s response to a fall of the Castro regime in Cuba? It’s a question worth asking. Daniel Serwer ponders the potential dangers of this scenario at Politico Magazine. “Geography and family ties mean that the United States has a stake in preventing Cuba from becoming a failed state. A cut-off of money from Venezuela, the demise of the Castros or an international recession could precipitate collapse and set off a chaotic transition that spews people, drugs and arms throughout the Caribbean. From this perspective, the embargo has been ineffective at best, harmful at worst,” Serwer writes. “We should be encouraging the already energetic capitalist turn in Cuba’s economy with visits and business ties, not discouraging it. American policy should promote entrepreneurialism, keep the island stable and move it slowly but definitively in a more open political direction, which it is already doing on the economic front. Preventing a Cuban collapse, not causing one, should be our goal.” No one is pulling for the Castro regime, but a practical approach, like normalizing relations with Cuba, is in the best interest of the United States.

— Just be glad you don’t live in North Korea: Because every male college student is required to have their haircut like Kim Jong-un, the communist country’s dictator, and female students have to copy the style of his wife. The horror stories that have come out of North Korea are no laughing matter, however. This particular story, though it may be odd and fun to joke about, just shows the extent to which totalitarianism robs individuals of their liberties, even something as basic as choosing their own haircut.

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