TheDC Morning: Haley Barbour could begin scrambling for the White House any day now

Mike Riggs Contributor
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1.) Opening a factory in a right-to-work state is illegal, says NLRB — The National Labor Relations Board has told Boeing that the airline giant must stop expanding its operations in South Carolina, a right-to-work state, and build more factories in Washington, where the strikes flow like wine and union organizers instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. “In its complaint, the labor board said that Boeing’s decision to transfer a second production line for its new 787 Dreamliner passenger plane to South Carolina was motivated by an unlawful desire to retaliate against union workers for their past strikes in Washington and to discourage future strikes,” reports the New York Times. As evidence, the NLRB pointed to internal Boeing communications in which company executives discussed their desire to build planes, and also, the frequency with which their Washington plane builders refused to do that. “Boeing has every right under both federal law and its collective bargaining agreement to build additional U.S. production capacity outside of the Puget Sound region,” a Boeing rep told the Times. To which the NLRB responded, “We…recognize the rights of employers to make business decisions based on their economic interests, but they must do so within the law.”

2.) After sending gift-wrapped .50 caliber rifles and AK-47s into Mexico, ATF officials experienced a ‘sense of urgency’ — While the Justice Department continues to stonewall an investigation into Project Gunrunner, a program that encouraged the sale of assault and high-caliber rifles from American gun dealers to Mexican cartels, let’s review what we already know, courtesy of TheDC’s Matt Boyle. For starters, two AK-47s bought in an American gun store, and electronically tracked by keystone-coppish ATF agents, were found near the dead and bullet-riddled body of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. Documents released by Issa’s office reveal “people involved in Project Gunrunner, including the gun stores who participated, were fearful about the impact of allowing such powerful weapons into the hands of criminals, even if they were being tracked.” Thirdly, and perhaps most revealing, even ATF agents were worried about the program. One of them, David Voth, wrote to his colleagues in April 2010, “Our subjects purchased 359 firearms during the month of March alone, to include numerous Barrett .50 caliber rifles. We have a sense of urgency with regards to this investigation.” Oh, and there’s this: House investigators believe the decision to send gift-wrapped military grade munitions to Mexican cartels was made by a high-ranking DOJ official. Urgency, indeed.

3.) Chris Christie praises Arne Duncan as ‘ally’
— New Jersey Governor Chris Christie praised Education Secretary Arne Duncan yesterday as an ally in the War on Stupid, reports Reuters. “He has been a great ally to try to reform education for kids across America,” Christie said after a private talk with Duncan, adding that the Chicago schools chief is an “extraordinary leader on this issue.” Upon hearing the news, Randi Weingarten boiled a pet rabbit.

4.) The Medical Industrial Complex splits over Obama’s new pain pill policy — “The Obama administration unveiled a new initiative to combat prescription drug abuse Tuesday, but some pain specialists say the plan – like the drugs it targets – fails to address the real issue,” reports TheDC’s Kelsey Sheehy. The American Medical Association, for instance, is skeptical that having doctors undergo special training by the pharmaceutical companies that are paying them to prescribe pain pills will solve the problem. While this policy is but one of four prongs on Obama’s pillfork, doctors say that more attention should be given to “physical therapy, psychology and mind-body therapy.” The American Pharmaceutical Association, however, is ready to play ball. “As the medication experts, pharmacists stand ready to inform and educate the public about the medications they are taking,” the group said in response to a rule that would require pharmacists to explain some basic facts about the drugs they sell by the metric buttload.

5.) Haley Barbour could begin scrambling for the White House any day now — Haley Barbour could soon do what he said he would do around this time months ago any day now, say Republican insiders. “In March, Barbour told Iowans he would make an announcement by the end of April. Wednesday, an Iowa Republican insider affirmed to The Daily Caller a Barbour campaign could launch any day,” reports TheDC’s Amanda Carey. “Barbour has made extensive calls to a number of operatives over the past few weeks,” an insider told Carey, “leading me to believe it’s only a matter of time before something is up and running here.” According to a source close to Barbour, the Mississippi governor may or may not be doing what he said he might or might not do right when he said he was going to do it (or not). “Haley has said he will make his decision on the race by the end of April. Nothing has changed.”

6.) Pentagon befuddled by O’s request for a ‘low-cost regime-change plan for Libya’ — “After 26 months in office, President Obama still has not forged a smoothly working national security team that can both nimbly pounce on military crises and deftly manage festering problems,” reports the Huffington Post. What explains the rift? “The White House wanted the Pentagon to come up with a low-cost regime-change plan for Libya. Ideally, this strategy would have toppled Col. Muammar Gaddafi without bogging the U.S. down in another inconclusive foreign adventure. The military kept insisting that no such option existed.”

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