Saturday, November 5, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up: Cain, OWS, and Halloween Candy

The Republican primary has dominated the news this week, as allegations of sexual harassment by Herman Cain were been brought to light, and the PR was botched by the Cain campaign. I wrote more about what the Cain campaign needs to do on Friday. Unless the Cain campaign can show that it can manage a PR situation like this, Cain will have no chance of getting my vote in the primary.

Also during the past weekend, New York got hit with one of the worst October snowstorms ever. I must admit that Occupy Wall Street had more courage than I thought. I figured that the majority of the protesters would be gone the moment the cold weather hit, but the protests lived on despite the inches of snow.

The President continued his, "Presidential" road trip. First, it was "pass this bill" but now it is "we can't wait." He has decided to govern by executive order instead trying to pass ideas through Congress. Apparently, he is once again giving into the temptation to go around Congress. Perhaps a few visits to Dictators Anonymous would help.

Now, a round-up of some of the week's best:

Video of the Week:
Jimmy Kimmel asked parents to hide their kids' Halloween candy, tell them that they ate it all, videotape the response, and post it on Youtube. While most of the kids just start crying, and one needs some anger management classes, the last video is hilarious.

Perhaps the parents should have told the kids that they had to give them 50% of the candy for taxes instead.

Best Tweets of the Week
(Tweets compiled by Politico)

Homer J. Simpson: I hear President Obama has a program for underwater mortgage holders, which is great because I just broke the upstairs toilet.

Emily Miller: I can never remember whether Bachmann or Huntsman has two Ns at the end. Also that both are missing a letter in their first names.

Fred Thompson: "The View" offers to host GOP debate. So ... two hours of the candidates waving their arms around and talking over each other? #tcot

Jim Manley: cnn is telling me right now that khardashian wedding was just for money and tv ratings. am crushed. i assumed they wed for love

Jay Leno: "I’m looking forward to Halloween. Finally we’ll get to see people wearing NBA uniforms." #LenoMono

DC Debbie: Herman Cain Halloween candy distribution plan: 9 pieces of candy to the first 9 children who stop by his house in the first 9 minutes.

Cartoon of the Week:
Bill Clinton had some advice for Herman Cain.

Debt Watch:
This week, the government spent an additional $89.40 of money that you don't have, bringing your total share of the national debt to $48,077.08.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Final Five: November 4, 2011

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
November 4, 2011

Tonight's Crazy Story
Find out what one mom did to receive a letter claiming she will be charged with criminal trespassing if she steps foot on the property at 8 McDonald's restaurants.

Tonight's Final Five:

Jonah Goldberg explains that only a fool would trade America's problems for China's problems. However, a foolish Obama envies China for its governmental control.

Gabriel Malor explains the Romney vs. not Romney development in the race, and what it means for each of the candidates.

Taking a laugh a little
"An international group of researchers found exercise can help prevent weight gain. Good work, scientists. Now, back to AIDS."
-Jimmy Kimmel, 11/3/11

Now Back to The Final Five

Shadi Hamid explains why--despite approval ratings fluctuating between 15 and 30 percent--the Muslim Brotherhood's organization and political might will likely give it victory in Egypt's elections.

Obama told a group at a fundraiser that unless he wins, America will go into an era of "self-reliance." Frank Fleming explains why that would mean more freedom in America.

Edward Glaeser explains the bad policies holding back job creation in America, and what the Obama administration can do to fix it.

Tomorrow in History: November 5
November 5, 1872 - Susan B. Anthony becomes the first woman to vote. She would later be fined $100 for casting her ballot in this election.

Food For Thought - A Bedtime Snack
"Among the features peculiar to the political system of the United States, is the perfect equality of rights which it secures to every religious sect."
-James Madison

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Cain's Critical Moment

I have not taken time to comment here on the Herman Cain sexual harassment story, mainly because I have not felt there was much to say. However, as new developments in the story continue to break, I want to quickly comment that I believe this is the critical moment for the Herman Cain campaign.

The issue is not the allegations; it is the way the campaign has handled its response. First, the Cain campaign was asked by Politico for comment ten days before the story broke. They had ten days to prepare for this story to break, which was certain to break eventually. However, it seems that the Cain campaign did not prepare a response to the story, and that is where the problems really started.

First, Cain acted like he had no idea about the allegations. Then, he said he was aware of allegations, but they were false, and there had been no settlement. Next, we find out that there was a settlement; it just wasn't a settlement by Herman Cain's definition. We are told the settlement was a severance package with 2 or 3 months' pay. However, we later learned that it was actually one year's salary in at least one of the cases. Now, a third woman has come forward claiming that she was also sexually harassed by Cain. Even worse, the official Cain response seems to be to point a finger at who leaked the story, instead of addressing the validity of the allegations. However, in pointing his finger at the Perry camp, he opened a new can of worms: admitting that he remembered the allegations when he ran for Georgia's senate seat in 2004, but stating then that it was one accuser, not two.

A settlement would certainly have been somewhat understandable given Herman Cain's situation, regardless of his guilt or innocence. If the accuser was willing to settle for one year's salary, it would likely have been more secure for the National Restaurant Association to settle for that amount rather than risk losing more in front of a jury and take the PR hit that would come with a court case. Regardless of Herman Cain's guilt or innocence, I think the American people would have been happy if Cain released a statement along these lines:
Recently, the media has brought to light some allegations that were made against me during my time as President of the National Restaurant Association. While it is true that these allegations were made, I maintained my innocence then and I continue to do so today. However, on the advice of the attorneys involved in the case, it was decided that the best option would be to settle the claims for a severance package instead of allowing the claims to go to court. I regret that my name would be associated with such a claim, and I have taken steps in my personal and professional life to reduce the chances of being accused of such behavior in the future.

A simple, one-paragraph statement such as this would likely have put the issue away quickly. Even if the allegations were true and Cain chose to admit them and accept responsibility for his actions, I believe that the majority of the American people would appreciate his honesty and accept his apology. However, flip-flopping more than John Kerry did in 2004 has left the American people with a poor image of his credibility. Each day this story drags on, I will be left to wonder whether Cain will reverse tomorrow what he said today.

I believe the next week will be critical for the Herman Cain campaign. The latest polls, taken after the story broke, are not showing much decline, and there are reports that Cain's fundraising has increased this week. If Cain's team can quickly do damage control, Cain's numbers might not be affected. However, if new details force Herman Cain to change his story yet again, it could very quickly derail his campaign. Telling the truth may cause a small drop in Herman Cain's support, but Cain's constant flip-flopping to make his story fit the facts will only cause a much greater exodus of votes. If Cain is going to save his campaign, he must do it soon, and he can only do it by being honest with the American people.

WordBites: November 4, 2011

WordBites - November 3, 2011
"Soundbites, except with words!"

When Mississippi voters go to the polls next week, they will consider an issue that will limit the government's power of eminent domain. This power allows the government to purchase private land at a reasonable price if it is in the public's interest. While this is often used for public projects (such as roads), it has recently been used to take land for private development. The Mississippi proposal would institute a 10 year waiting period on these transfers.

Moving to Cuba, Cuban media is reporting that beginning November 10, private citizens will be able to sell and purchase real estate. It is ironic that Cuba is becoming more like America, while America is becoming more like Cuba.

Moving to the United Nations, the U.N. is lobbying its member nations for approximately $3 billion to build a new office tower in New York and renovate a building in Geneva. This comes on the heels of a $2 billion renovation of the current New York office building. Meanwhile, despite all the money given since the U.N.'s creation, the world still has problems.

In Europe, a CNN report has shown that tax evasion is much more common in the southern European countries than in their counterparts to the north. However, the article only briefly mentions the fact that the southern European nations have higher levels of debt--and therefore, higher tax rates--than those in northern Europe. Is it possible that these might be connected?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Final Five: November 3, 2011

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
November 3, 2011

Tonight's Crazy Story
Do you have friggartriskaidekaphobia? Or maybe chrometophobia? Or mabye somniphobia? FOX News compiled a list of of the 13 oddest phobias.

Tonight's Final Five:

Peter Wehner analyzes the media coverage of Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party. He concludes that the mainstream media's coverage of both events simply shows their left-leaning bias.

Peter Wallison explains the history behind the financial crisis in Europe. At the core of the problem: a set of rules known as the Basel rules.

Taking a laugh a little
"Congratulations to Joe Biden, whose daughter just got engaged to an ear, nose, and throat doctor. She met the doctor through her father. They met in the doctor's office while he was trying to get the vice president's foot out of his mouth."
-Jay Leno, 11/2/11

Now Back to The Final Five

Ben Shapiro explains why Washington is worried about an Israeli strike in Iran and why the US is apparently uninterested in doing anything about it.

David Harsanyi explains the fallacy of the "99%" argument: one person becoming richer does not make anyone else poorer. He goes on to argue that capitalism, not socialism, is the source of financial opportunity.

Obama pledged to run the most open and transparent administration in history. However, recent Justice Department rules instruct administration officials to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests as if the records requested do not exist. Jacob Sullum analyzes the effects of this plan.

Tomorrow in History: November 4
November 4, 1994 - The first conference focusing on the commercial potential of the World Wide Web is held in San Francisco.

Food For Thought - A Bedtime Snack
"I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer."
-Benjamin Franklin

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The Misplaced Anger at Occupy Wall Street

One of the themes coming from the Occupy Wall Street protesters centers around student loan debt. Increasing numbers of students are graduating college with debt, only to find themselves without a job and unable to pay the bill. While these students are upset at the banks who loaned them the money, received a bailout, and then still expect to be repaid, there are other groups more responsible for their plight: the colleges, the government, and the media.  Meanwhile, while the Obama administration has proposed new rules that are likely to help calm the anger of these students, the new rules only serve to perpetuate a system that victimizes the students and makes the college professors and administrators rich.

Colleges, government, and media have worked together to make college almost a necessity for a good job. The media has portrayed college as the only way to get a good-paying job, and the government helped establish the student loan system in order to make college possible. Colleges boast about their job placement rates, and the proliferation of college degrees make those without one feel inferior when walking into an interview.

While these forces have pushed more and more into college, college tuition has skyrocketed during the past few decades. During my time in college (2003-2007), tuition increased at a double-digit rate almost every year. For my senior year, students were excited when the tuition hike was a “meager” eight percent. However, the year following my graduation, tuition rose seventeen percent. Making the problem worse is the fact that these rates compound each other, meaning that tuition actually rose almost twenty-seven percent in those two years alone. This problem is not unique to my university. For the current academic year, ABC News reports that college tuition rates for public schools across the nation have increased by an average of 8.3 percent. Even eighteen years of planning by parents could not adequately prepare for the way tuition has skyrocketed recently.

The government has enabled this to take place without a student uprising. The vast majority of students do not pay for their college education out of their own pockets. There are numerous grants and scholarships available, and if those do not cover the cost, the student can get loans to cover whatever amount remains. People were upset when the cost of gas suddenly skyrocketed because the money was coming from their own pockets immediately. However, students are less aware of the cost of tuition because they do not have to actually pay the bill until they graduate and the loans start coming due. Colleges have taken this as a free pass to raise tuition at a faster rate than gas prices, and the continued push for more people to get a college degree means that a few students leaving in protest of tuition rates will just open the door for more students on their waiting list to be admitted.

College graduates are also learning a hard lesson in the economic principle of supply and demand. As more people earn their college degrees, the value of a degree has dropped. At one time, a college degree almost certainly meant a decent job. However, as more people have earned degrees, there are not enough of these so-called "decent" jobs, and college graduates now have to compete for them. Demand for college-educated individuals may have remained steady or even increased in recent years, but the large increase in supply is allowing companies to offer lower salaries to these individuals.

Government intervention has allowed this entire system to take place. No 18-year-old would be able to walk into a bank and obtain a loan of sometimes as much as $100,000 with no credit and no job. Yet the government has made it financially profitable for banks to offer these loans. Yes, this means that the banks' motive is money, but that is the same reason that motivated Steve Jobs—who is praised by much of the Occupy Wall Street crowd—to develop the iPhone and iPad. However, as more students come to the realization that they have been victimized by America's current higher education system, they are looking to the banks as the source of the problem. The problems in the student loan industry are not the fault of the banks. Students signed an agreement with the bank, and the bank is simply expecting that the students keep their end of the agreement. Meanwhile, the students look at the recent bank bailouts as more evidence that the corporate banks are the problem.

The students who have joined Occupy Wall Street to protest the current education system do have the right to be upset, but their anger has been misdirected at the banks. Instead, they should direct their anger at the colleges who have established the exuberant tuition rates that have left them in debt while making the professors and administration rich. They should direct their anger at the media that convinced them a college degree was the only way to a good-paying job.  Finally, they should direct their anger at a government that set up a system that has allowed the colleges to get away with extreme tuition hikes. However, it is the banks that ultimately come calling to collect, the students see the banks as the main culprits in the system.

America does not need the Obama-led student loan modification and forgiveness system: America needs an overhaul of the entire higher education and student loan system that has enriched professors and indebted students. Occupying Wall Street is right to be angry, but they are directing their anger at the wrong group, and that is allowing those who benefit the most from this system to continue this system unchanged.

WordBites: November 3, 2011

WordBites - November 3, 2011
"Soundbites, except with words!"

In election news, it appears that the new slogan of the Obama campaign is going to be "it would have been worse." When asked if Americans are better off than they were three years ago, the President responded by saying, "Well, you know, I think we are better off now than we would have been if I hadn’t taken all the steps that we took." This line of argument can be used no matter what the circumstances and it cannot be proven wrong, since it is impossible to know how our economy would be without Obama's plan.

Meanwhile, one of Obam a's programs from his first stimulus package, a $500 million green jobs program, has spent $111 million training 18,000 people who remain unemployed. The Labor Department awards almost all of the $500 million, but companies have only reported spending around $163 million of it. The program reports that 26,000 people were trained with this money, but only 8,000 of them have found jobs.

Moving to news from the Supreme Court, the court will hear arguments next week concerning whether police need a warrant to attach a GPS device to your car. Using this technology, the police can monitor your location all the time without the expense of paying an officer around the clock. However, critics say that this amounts to a violation of the fourth amendment, and they also claim that the GPS can only track a car, not a particular person.

In technology news, Microsoft's web browser Internet Explorer has dropped below 50 percent usage for the first time in over a decade. Internet Explorer maintained its majority in the field of desktop browsing, but the prevalence of mobile browsing devices has cost IE its overall majority.

In global news, Tunisian women have taken to the streets to defend their rights following the Islamic party's victory in the country's recent elections. However, the interim prime minister has promised that women's rights are a "red line" for all parties, and The Islamist Ennahda Party has also promised that it would protect the rights of women.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Final Five: November 2, 2011

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
November 2, 2011

Tonight's Crazy Story
One boy had a plan to keep his Halloween candy from thieves. A 9 mm handgun came out when a woman joked about taking his candy.

Tonight's Final Five:

The Blaze shares a graph by the Greater Boston Tea Party explaining the differences between Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party. (Note: I generally link to original sources, but because of the small size of the graphic, I have linked to the Blaze's story, which provides a text version with the graphic, instead of just the graphic available the original source. A link to the Tea Party page is available with the story at The Blaze.)

Ben Boychuk describes the rally that took place in an attempt to "take back" the LA teacher's union. As the district attempts to gain concessions from the union on a variety of issues, the teachers are fighting back to try to keep the poor status quo.

Taking a laugh a little
"The U.S. is sending a surveillance blimp to Afghanistan. We just have to hope the Taliban doesn’t have that new anti-surveillance technology: Eyes."
-Jimmy Fallon, 10/31/11

Now Back to The Final Five

Obama's failure to improve America has resulted in his exchanging slogans of "change" for requests for "patience." Julianna Goldman explains why Obama's new slogan is, as he stated in Iowa recently, "We never said change would happen overnight."

Jonah Goldberg analyzes the result of a Commentary Magazine survey asking forty-one people to explain why they were optimistic or pessimistic about the economy. Goldberg then goes on to explain why he is more optimistic about the economy now than he was three years ago.

Charles Wolf, Jr. explains why Keynes was wrong about government spending: his ideas fail to take into account the depressive result of increased government spending.

Tomorrow in History: November 3
November 3, 1964 - For the first time, residents of the nation's capital are allowed to vote in a presidential election.

Food For Thought - A Bedtime Snack
"Cherish, therefore, the spirit of our people, and keep alive their attention. Do not be too severe upon their errors, but reclaim them by enlightening them. If once they become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress, and Assemblies, Judges, and Governors, shall all become wolves."
-Thomas Jefferson

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In Defense of the Electoral College

Politico is reporting that a new Gallup poll out last week shows that nearly two-thirds of Americans want to eliminate the electoral college and elect the president by popular vote. While it may seem that the electoral college is a strange way to elect a president, it is an important part of history and it needs to remain.

First, the electoral college reminds us of the influence that states have in the federal government. The Constitution, as originally written, guaranteed only a vote for representative. Senators were elected by the state legislatures and the president was selected by the electoral college. However, even in the selection of electors, there was no guarantee of a vote: each state is free to choose its electors in whatever manner it sees fit. Currently, every state has chosen to select its electors through a popular vote system, but there are two different methods used to decide the electors. 48 states choose their electors through the “winner take all” system, where the candidate with the most votes receives all of the state's electoral votes. However, Nebraska and Maine have chosen to split the votes up by congressional district, with the overall winner receiving two extra electors. The states lost much of their influence when the seventeenth amendment was passed, which called for election of senators by the people. By changing to a popular vote system, America will lose even more of the influence that the states were given in our federal government.

Second, the electoral college forces candidates to campaign outside of the more populated areas. If the presidential election were held by popular vote, candidates would devote the majority of their resources to the more-populated coastal areas and less of their resources to the less-populated center of the country. However, the electoral college forces candidates to devote much of their resources to the “battleground” states, many of which are less-populated areas. Even for those living in a state that is considered secure for one party, a nearby state with closer polling would at least bring the candidates closer to you. A great example of this occurred in 2004. A poll in the state of Hawaii, a traditional Democratic stronghold, started showing Bush catching up to Kerry. This led to both of the vice presidential candidates—Dick Cheney and John Edwards—spending a few days in Hawaii campaigning (what a tough job that must have been!). Hawaii would have been ignored in a popular vote system due to its small population, but it got visits seven years ago under the electoral college system.

Third, the electoral college increases everyone's voting power. In 2000, the eyes of the nation focused on the close race in the state of Florida. Al Gore was leading in the popular vote by around 500,000 votes, but the electoral college showed Gore with a 20 vote lead before Florida's 25 electoral votes were counted. The state of Florida was eventually decided in Bush's favor by 537 votes, giving him the victory despite his loss in the popular vote. The situation that ensued showed that in Florida that year, every vote was important. Had 538 Bush supporters decided to stay home from the polls that year, Al Gore would have been our 43rd President. If the election were decided by popular vote, we might have avoided the situation that followed election day, but voters—especially those in Florida—would have had less importance toward the final result. It would have taken 500,000 votes to change the election instead of just 537.

In a society that has high regard for the idea of “one person, one vote,” it might seem strange to advocate for electing a president on the opinion of 538 people instead of the opinion of every American. However, the historical importance of the electoral college, its impact on where candidates will campaign, and the way it increases our voting power provide good enough reason to keep it.

WordBites: November 2, 2011

WordBites - November 2, 2011
"Soundbites, except with words!"

One of the leaders of the last panel charged with developing a plan to reduce the deficit has warned the latest panel charged with the same task not to "fail the country." This warning comes as reports state that the committee members are having trouble reaching the goal of $1.2 million over the next decade.

In the latest blow to ObamaCare, a new survey by McKinsey & Company shows that three out of ten employers currently offering health insurance plan to drop that insurance and force the employees to purchase insurance on the state exchanges. This shows that once insurance is available through the exchanges, employers believe that it might be better to pay the $2000/employee fine for not having health insurance than to pay the increased cost of health insurance under the new law.

Moving to the Capitol, a New York Times/CBS poll has showed some news that will likely worry your Congressman. According to the poll, only 33 percent of Americans believe their Congressman deserves reelection, and only 6 percent said the same for "most members of Congress."

If you have ever wondered why you hate the sound of nails on a chalkboard so much, you might have your answer. Two European researchers have determined that the answer lies with psychology and the design of our ear canal. Even more surprising, the researchers believe that this study may actually have a practical purpose!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Final Five: November 1, 2011

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
November 1, 2011

Tonight's Crazy Story
Yes, you read the title right. See what happens when someone who can't go without her cell phone gets a text during her own wedding.

Tonight's Final Five:

Matthew Franck explains why tenure is one of the biggest problems in higher education.

Wayne Root uses a kids game to explain the way Obama governs.

Taking a laugh a little
"President Obama invited trick-or-treaters to the White House Saturday night and they had a very scary party. They sat in a circle, turned off all the lights and the kids read the president his poll numbers."
-Jay Leno, 10/31/11

Now Back to The Final Five

While the US hailed the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt as freedom rallies, the truth is that religious freedom is actually on the decline in the Middle East. Elliot Abrams analyzes the recent plight of Christians in this part of the world.

Senate Bill 107 will dictate a federal policy on how the court can decide medical malpractice cases. Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II argues that this is a decision that would be better left for the states to decide.

Following World War II, the United States became the world leader because of its reliance on the free market. However, John Taylor argues the destruction of the free market system has slowed America's growth, and as a result, the United States is losing its position as the world leader.

Tomorrow in History: November 2
November 2, 1920 - KDKA radio station begins broadcasting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The first item broadcast was the result of the 1920 Presidential election.

Food For Thought - A Bedtime Snack
"A universal peace, it is to be feared, is in the catalogue of events, which will never exist but in the imaginations of visionary philosophers, or in the breasts of benevolent enthusiasts."
-James Madison

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Congressional Update: November 1, 2011

This update is taken from the e-mail newsletter of Congressman Geoff Davis (R-KY). If you would like to receive his e-mail updates, you may sign up here.

Last Week on the House Floor
Last week, the House was in session Monday through Thursday, during which the following bills passed the House:
  • H.R. 320, Distinguished Flying Cross National Memorial Act
  • H.R. 1160, McKinney Lake National Fish Hatchery Conveyance Act
  • H.R. 2447, To grant the congressional gold medal to the Montford Point Marines
  • H.R. 1904, Southeast Arizona Land Exchange and Conservation Act
  • H.R. 2527, National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act
  • H.R. 2576, To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify the calculation of modified adjusted gross income for purposes of determining eligibility for certain healthcare-related programs
  • H.R. 674, To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the imposition of 3% withholding on certain payments made to vendors by government entities

Anticipated Action on the House Floor This Week
This week, the House will be in session Tuesday through Friday. The House is expected to vote on the following bills:
  • H.R. 1002, Wireless Tax Fairness Act of 2011
  • H.Con.Res. 13, Reaffirming "In God We Trust" as the official motto of the United States and supporting and encouraging the public display of the national motto in all public buildings, public schools, and other government institutions
  • S. 1280, Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act of 2011
  • H.R. 2061, Civilian Service Recognition Act of 2011
  • H.R.1070, Small Company Capital Formation Act of 2011
  • H.R. 1965, To amend the securities laws to establish certain thresholds for shareholder registration, and for other purposes
  • S. 894, The Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2011
  • H.R. 2940, Access to Capital for Job Creators Act
  • H.R. 2930, Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act

You can read bills, summaries by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service and keep up-to-date on their progress as they move through the legislative process by visiting and typing in the bill number.

We CAN Wait, Mr. President

One of the President's recent mantras is the idea that “we can't wait.” The President has moved to institute new policies by executive order rather than law because it would take too long to get his ideas through Congress. This comes on the heels of his recent “pass this bill right away” speeches he gave after proposing the American Jobs Act. However, the truth is that, despite the President's claims, we can wait.

We can wait because the Constitution requires waiting for Congress. When the Constitution was written, it took days and even weeks for Congressmen to get to a session of Congress. Despite this, there is no provision in the Constitution allowing the President to do Congress's job while it is in recess. The President can call a special session, but in America's early days, it would have taken several weeks to assemble Congress for a special session.

We can wait because the Constitution establishes a slow process. Legislation must complete at least three steps before it can take effect: passage in both houses and then consideration by the President. Each of these steps takes time, and the expectation was that each of these steps would require debate and discussion. There was no expectation for Congress to pass a bill “right away.” In fact, there was no expectation for the President to be introducing legislation at all. However, Congress was expected to take its time in considering and revising legislation before passing it and sending it to the President.

We can wait because Obama's proposals will not solve the problems we face. America does not face a lending problem; it faces an unemployment problem. Most people who are underwater in their homes will not benefit from a modification. Foreclosures happen because the homeowner has become unable to make payments, and the value of the home has no effect on the owner's payment ability. Solving the unemployment problem will help the housing problem, but this “solution” will not help solve either problem.

The President contends that immediate action is necessary, but the truth is that we can wait, and we need to wait. This problem was not caused by one party, and it will not be solved by one party. Instead of submitting a bill to Congress and then making changes by himself when the bill fails to pass, the President and Congress should work together to solve the problems that led to this crisis. We can wait, Mr. President, because honest discussion and debate will be the best way to solve our economic woes.

WordBites: November 1, 2011

WordBites - November 1, 2011
"Soundbites, except with words!"

File this one in the "deja vu" category: Beacon Power Corporation has filed for bankruptcy after receiving a $43 million loan guarantee. The money was expected to cover the creation of "flywheels" to store electricity. However, the company's CEO stated that the company was facing difficulty in attracting additional investors.

On the subject of spending money, the US is spending $20 million to fund the creation of a Pakistani version of Sesame Street. The program's goals are to improve education and racial tolerance in the country.

In the latest move from the White House, The President has signed his fifth new executive order in a week, telling the FDA to take steps to reduce drug shortages. The executive order will require drug manufacturers to notify the FDA if they anticipate a shortage of any drug within six months.

We may not have a Republican nominee to face President Obama yet, but that is not stopping the Commission on Presidential Debates from announcing next year's debate schedule. Denver, CO, Hempsted, NY, and Boca Raton, FL will all host presidential debates, while Danville, KY will host the vice presidential debate. However, given all of the Republican debates (and the upcoming ones already scheduled), I must say that 4 sounds like a very small number.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Final Five: October 31, 2011

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
October 31, 2011

Tonight's Crazy Story
FOX News compares the path technology has taken over the past 30 years. See the evolution of the cell phone, the tablet computer, and more.

Tonight's Final Five:

The recession of 2008-2009 predictably caused a decline in household income. However, the recovery has made it ... worse? A graph and stats from the Wall Street Journal show how median income has declined has posted even greater declines since June 2009.

John Steele Gordon explains the one-sided arguments liberals make about the middle class and the wealthy. When we purchase a product, we decide the product is worth more to us than the money; thus making us more wealthy.

Taking a laugh a little
"President Obama had dinner with a U.S. postal worker who won a contest to meet him. The mailman was like, 'Wow, someone who takes longer to deliver than I do!'"
-Jimmy Fallon, 10/28/11

Now Back to The Final Five

Michael Rubin argues that the Arab Spring might provide the opposite of what those who fought for it desired. While the people rallied for freedom, the election of an Islamist party to rule in Tunisia raises concerns that the people--especially the women--might lose more freedom than they gain.

Robert Tracinski argues that Occupy Wall Street is just a re-enactment of the 1960s, but "as with all such re-enactments, it's on a much smaller and less impressive scale than the original." Is there something that everyone can learn from these protests?

Social Security and Medicare are America's two largest expenses. Daniel Horowitz says that it is time our public officials to tell the truth about Medicare, and then make a plan to actually fix it.

Tomorrow in History: October 29
November 1, 1800 - John Adams moves into the finished Executive Mansion, a building which would later be renamed the White House.

Food For Thought - A Bedtime Snack
"Citizens by birth or choice of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations."
-George Washington

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OWS and Extreme Freeloading

Although I have never watched it, I am familiar with the show “Extreme Couponing,” where people show their methods for using coupons to get great deals. However, after two recent news stories, I am convinced we need a new show called “Extreme Freeloading,” and the pilot episode needs to feature Occupy Wall Street.

In the first news story, Occupy Wall Street has taken in $483,663, and has a cash balance of $416,921 (as of October 20). I would never donate to Occupy Wall Street since I disagree with the stands the protesters are taking. However, if people want to give money to the protesters, I will defend their right to give money to whatever cause or organization they support. It was the second article that really made me think.

On Saturday, Occupy Wall Street's website listed a new post, titled “Urgent: Winter Donation Needs”. The post asked for donations of winter supplies to help the protesters. Once again, I have no problem with people donating items to these protesters if they desire. However, it seems to me that had the protesters used their iPhone or iPad to take a quick look at the weather, spending some of that $400,000 on some winter gear would not receive too much opposition at the Occupy Wall Street finance committee.

If this were truly a sudden, grassroots protest, I would have no problem with the protesters asking for donations and the people who have donated to them. However, it is ironic for the protesters to be asking for “urgent” donations of winter supplies when they have plenty of money available to secure these supplies. It definitely appears that these protesters are just trying to freeload more off of others so that they can sit around complaining about banks receiving free money from the government.

WordBites: October 31, 2011

WordBites - October 31, 2011
"Soundbites, except with words!"

It's not a great way to get a free cruise, but five people received a free trip back to New York on a cruise ship after their boat went down in the Atlantic Ocean. A shout-out is in order for the brave crew members who rescued the five people.

Yesterday, the world's population passed the seven billion mark. However, not even this can come without controversy, as it is seen by supporters of population control as an opportunity to argue that the world is becoming overpopulated. Next mark: 8 billion, expected in 2025.

In national news, the White House has announced that it will review all Energy Department loans in the wake of the Solyndra scandal. The White House is promising that it will take a look at the conditions under which these loan guarantees are granted. (On a side note, why did it take two months for someone to think, "Maybe we should look into why we loaned money to a company that was going bankrupt"?)