Tuesday, November 13, 2012

D.C. Daily: November 13, 2012

Both houses return today from their month-long recess for the campaign season. The Senate will convene at 2:00 PM and will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to consideration of S. 3525, the "Sportsmen's Act of 2012". At 5:30 PM, the Senate will take a roll call vote on the motion (cloture on the motion to proceed to consideration of the bill was invoked prior to the recess on September 21.)

The House will also convene at 2:00 PM. The House will consider four bills under suspension:
  • H.R. 6190, the "Asthma Inhalers Relief Act of 2012".
  • H.R. 6371, the "Streamlining Claims Processing for Federal Contractor Employees Act".
  • S. 1956, the "European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act of 2011".
  • H.R. 6586, to extend the application of certain space launch liability provisions through 2014.
The House Rules Committee will meet today to consider H.R. 6156, the "Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal Act of 2012".

Morning Media: November 13, 2012

Bill Whittle returns to the site with a great Afterburner, analyzing what the reelection of Obama really means:



Chris Matthews explains his love for Sandy:



And we finally have an explanation for the end of the Mayan calendar:

Monday, November 12, 2012

Destroying Freedom: Teachers and Facebook

I am starting a new series of posts today titled "Destroying Freedom". These posts will highlight ways that our freedoms are being taken away from us. This will not be a feature that appears every day, but it will appear as I find stories regarding the topic.

Today's topic deals with a teacher's post on Facebook. After last week's election, Sharon Aceta, a teacher at Rawlinson Road Middle School in Rock Hill, South Carolina, posted this on her personal Facebook page:
Congrats Obama. As one of my students sang down the hallway, 'We get to keep our fooood stamps'...which I pay for because they can't budget their money...and really, neither can you.
Aceta was suspended for one day for a violation of the school's social media policy, but school officials say she will probably not face any additional disciplinary action.

h/t The Huffington Post


My take:
Places of employment have the right to institute policies for their employees, and the employees can choose to live with the policies or seek employment elsewhere. However, a public school is a government-run institution which is expected to abide by the provisions laid out in the US Constitution and the South Carolina Constitution.

Too often, policies in any workplace (not just government-run organizations) fail to keep up with emerging technologies. A "social media policy" would have been unthinkable just a few years ago, but it is a reality in just about every workplace today. In many cases, these policies are intentionally left vague so that they can--at a person's discretion--cover a large variety of potential problems.

Did this teacher violate a social media policy? Without seeing the policy, it is difficult to tell. However, even if she did violate a specific written policy, I do not believe that a teacher should be punished for an expression of her political views. Freedom of speech is a right guaranteed by both constitutions, and it should only be restricted when the speech has the potential to do harm. A person may disagree with the views expressed in the post, but the post does no harm to the students or the school. (If she had mentioned a particular student by name, I would agree that there are potential privacy violations present, but since no name was mentioned, this would not apply.)

Furthermore, it is difficult to find anything false in her post. First, what her students are singing down the hallway may not be verifiable, but I heard similar statements from students who rode my bus. Second, if she pays taxes, a portion of her tax money goes to the food stamp program, so she is paying for the food stamps. Third, it is simple to verify that Obama cannot budget the government's money: the Senate (controlled by his own party) has refused to pass a budget for over three years, and Obama's last two budgets have been so ridiculous that they were defeated by unanimous votes. The only item mentioned the could potentially be false is the claim that the people on food stamps cannot budget their money. While this is probably true in most cases, there may be a few people who do make an effort to stick to a budget but have fallen on hard times.

If a teacher is posting her political opinion with a statement that is not blatantly false and does no harm to the school or her students, the school has no basis on which to suspend her. Educational institutions supposedly pride themselves in promoting diversity and free thinking, but it appears that diversity of political thought is frowned upon in education. Yes, some (including the Huffington Post article's author) may view this post as "offensive", but there is no Constitutional "right to not be offended". There is, however, a right to free speech, and that right should be defended by our government, not infringed upon.

Morning Media: November 12, 2012

Yesterday was Veterans Day. The always eloquent Allen West offered this tribute to our veterans:



Student Obama is asking for more time to finish his homework:



And finally, one more tribute to our veterans:

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Morning Update: October 3, 2012

The Morning Update
The Daily Intelligence Briefing for Conservatives
October 3, 2012


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Election Countdown:
34 days

Today's Crazy Story:
Man Carjacks Driver To Get Pregnant Girlfriend To Hospital
If your car breaks down as you are taking your wife or girlfriend to the hospital, please remember that a carjacking may not be the best way to secure alternate transportation.

On the Hill:
Both houses of Congress are out of session for the final month of campaigning. In the absence of an adjournment resolution, both houses will meet on Tuesdays and Fridays in pro forma sessions.

In the News:
The Debate: Obviously, the big news tonight is the first of three Presidential debates. This American Thinker article explains the truth: the media will spin the debate result to an Obama win no matter what actually transpires in Colorado. My favorite quote: "If Obama were to show up in a clown suit and flip-flops, the media narrative would be that his unconventional attire was a daring and brilliant move designed to challenge the status quo and to reveal his human side, or possibly a laudable effort to make politics more interesting to children." Will anger help Romney win the debate? Or will focusing on the economy be a better tactic?

Taxes: Why does Warren Buffett pay a lower rate than his secretary? It is due to his capital gains income, which is taxed at a lower 15% rate. Thomas Sowell explains why these gains should be handled differently. In addition to Sowell's points, I would also add the impact of inflation on investments. A $10,000 investment in 2002 sold for $12,500 today would not have even kept pace with inflation, but the $2,500 "gain" would be taxed. The lower capital gains rate helps offset the loss due to inflation.

ObamaCare: One way for Romney to distinguish ObamaCare from RomneyCare would be to point out the enforcement mechanism: the IRS. Using what is probably the most-hated government agency could have an effect, but it would likely be a small one. Meanwhile, ObamaCare also taxes us through many indirect taxes, such as the device tax. We may not pay these taxes directly, but we will pay them through increased costs. Finally, Mississippi is facing some grim numbers as it considers the Medicaid expansion. For most--if not all--states, the numbers are probably very similar.

Libya: Is the media starting to notice the White House's incompetence on Libya? If there is still any doubt, take a look at the Jon Stewart video linked in the media section. This administration has been paralyzed by its attempts to do election-year damage control, and its actions have only made Obama look even more foolish. Today, we read that the Obama administration refused requests for additional security in Bengazhi. This sounds like a major failure--and perhaps it is--but we must also be careful not to Monday morning quarterback the situation. Yes, we had breakdowns in the way we handled the situation, but we also had breakdowns before 9/11. Obama certainly did not handle himself like a leader, but we must also avoid heaping extra blame when it does not belong.

Time for a Laugh:
"It's autumn, and a sure sign of fall — the New York Jets have gone into hibernation. Coach Rex Ryan said he's going to give the team two days off this week to rest up. I saw the game Sunday. I think he gave them that day off too.
- David Letterman

At the Court:
The court will hear two cases tomorrow: Johnson v. Williams and Arkansas Game & Fish Commission v. United States.

Tweet of the Day:
Joshua TreviƱo (@jstrevino): In the third full year of his Presidency, Barack Obama is finally being vetted by .... Tucker Carlson and Univision. Okay then.

Debt Watch:
$16,159,487,013,300.35
Up $93,245,605,914.46
(As of October 1, 2012)


Media:
Video of the Day:
Jon Stewart: 'Do they even talk to each other?'

Cartoon of the Day:
Charts at the UN

A Word from our Founders:
"A little matter will move a party, but it must be something great that moves a nation."
- Thomas Paine

Grab Bag:
Union battle moves to California
Weather Channel to name blizzards
Feds purchasing Illinois prison for Guantanamo inmates
Obama disregarding law on sequestration promise
Chicago: the segregation capital
Supreme Court taking a new look at affirmative action
Milk prices could double in January
Romney doesn't appreciate garbage man Romney said he appreicated
The full Univision report on Fast & Furious
NFL owners give to Romney by 3-to-1, then get attacked by TNR

Today in History:
October 3, 1952 - The United Kingdom becomes the third nation to successfully test a nuclear weapon.


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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Morning Update: October 2, 2012

The Morning Update
The Daily Intelligence Briefing for Conservatives
October 2, 2012


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Election Countdown:
35 days

Today's Crazy Story:
Kentucky Restaurant Shut Down After Road Kill Found in Kitchen
A restaurant in Williamsburg, Kentucky, was shut down after employees were seen wheeling a dead deer into the restaurant.

On the Hill:
Both houses of Congress are out of session for the final month of campaigning. In the absence of an adjournment resolution, both houses will meet on Tuesdays and Fridays in pro forma sessions.

In the News:
Fast and Furious: Univision ran an investigative report on Fast & Furious, but the mainstream media ignored it. Even though the American government was unable to track these weapons, Univision had no problem tracing 57 additional weapons to Mexican crime scenes.

The Polls: Take a quick look at the polls and you would feel relatively confident of an Obama victory come November. However, analyze the polls a little deeper and you get a different story. For example, the latest CNN poll shows a 50-47 advantage for Obama, but this is with an 8-point advantage for Democrats. Yet, the "record turnout" of the Democratic base in 2008 only produced a 7-point advantage for Obama. A North Carolina poll shows Obama pulling even with Romney, if you give Democrats an extra 3-percent advantage in the turnout model. Essentially, in order to produce the results these polls are giving, Democrats would have to beat their record-breaking turnout of 2008. Furthermore, polls can only measure the views of those who answer them, and only 9 percent of households dialed are even willing to respond. Since Democrats are generally more willing to answer exit polls, it would make sense that they would also be more likely to answer telephone polls. All of this paints a much better picture than the media wants.

The Middle East: Romney has a new WSJ Op-Ed outlining his plan for the Middle East. "But this Middle East policy will be undermined unless we restore the three sinews of our influence: our economic strength, our military strength and the strength of our values. That will require a very different set of policies from those President Obama is pursuing."

Taxes: Even among proponents of a flat tax, the mortgage interest deduction is one common deduction mentioned as a deduction that should remain (along with the charitable contribution deduction.) However, WND founder Joseph Farah's column discusses why this deduction is a bad idea. However, there is also a hidden Obama tax: inflation. " And when President Obama states he has lowered middle class taxes remember his inflation caused by his reckless overspending has more than offset that in the devalued money you have in your pocket and the prices you pay at the pump and grocery store."

Time for a Laugh:
"A new study in Norway says divorce rates are far higher when men help with the housework and much lower when women do all the chores. How many guys are going to jump on this study? "Honey, I'd like to help with the housework but our marriage is more important."
- Jay Leno

At the Court:
The court will hear two cases tomorrow: Kloeckner v. Solis and United States v. Bormes.

Tweet of the Day:
Erik Telford (@BlameTelford): Pretty sure my donations to Romney campaign have only covered the costs of the several direct mail pieces they send me each day.

Debt Watch:
$16,066,241,407,385.89
Up $51,110,382,823.35
(As of September 28, 2012)


Media:
Video of the Day:
A new ad from American Crossroads details Obama's failed leadership on the Middle East.

Cartoon of the Day:
'Red lines' refer to different things for Obama and Netanyahu.

A Word from our Founders:
"A feeble executive implies a feeble execution of the government. A feeble execution is but another phrase for a bad execution; and a government ill executed, whatever may be its theory, must be, in practice, a bad government."
- Alexander Hamilton

Grab Bag:
Which candidate should you support? Take USA Today's candidate match game
Is Kim Jong Un about to try free markets?
FBI: Membership in a terrorist group is irrelevant
The regulatory burden: $488 billion
Man accuses Atlanta parking officer of ticketing his car for a Romney sticker
USDA met with Mexican officials 30 times to promote food stamps
600,000 manufacturing jobs unfilled for lack of skills
How medical licensing laws harm patients and doctors
Is college a lousy investment?

Today in History:
October 2, 1789 - George Washington sends twelve amendments to the states for ratification. The ten that would be ratified would become known as the Bill of Rights.


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Monday, October 1, 2012

Obama Gets Big Endorsement

In an interview that aired Sunday, Obama received a big endorsement: from Hugo Chavez. The Venezuelan dictator, who also serves as the head of Venezuela's United Socialist Party, announced in the interview, "If I were American, I’d vote for Obama."

Perhaps this endorsement would be more enlightening if we took a look at some highlights from Chavez's career:
  • He founded a revolutionary movement within the military with the goal of establishing a leftist government.
  • He considers Fidel Castro to be like a father to him.
  • He has established public rights to healthcare, housing, and food (guaranteed by the government, of course).
  • He abolished term limits on all public officials, and he now says he would like to rule until 2030.
  • He defended the regimes of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya and Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
  • While he claims he is not a Marxist, he frequently quotes other Marxist writers.
In other words, he sounds just like Obama's type of guy.

Morning Update: October 1, 2012

Good morning, everyone! After much consideration, I have decided to merge several features of the blog into one update, which will be called the Morning Update (at least for now.) This will combine the Final Five, D.C. Daily, and Morning Media posts. I will be experimenting with some different formats over the next several days, so please be patient! If you have any suggestions or feedback, please write to admin@defenseoffreedomblog.com.

The Morning Update
October 1, 2012


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Election Countdown:
36 days

Today's Crazy Story:
Iranian News Agency duped by The Onion
The Onion, a satirical news site, ran a fake story claiming that a Gallup poll showed more Americans would prefer to go to a baseball game with Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than Barack Obama. Iran's Fars news agency picked up the story and ran it like it was real.

On the Hill:
Both houses of Congress are out of session for the final month of campaigning. In the absence of an adjournment resolution, both houses will meet on Tuesdays and Fridays in pro forma sessions.

In the News:
Libya: What did Obama know and when did he know it? That is the question no one at the White House has any interest in answering. It now appears that the White House internally called the Libya attack terrorism within 24 hours while they continued to argue that it was "spontaneous" publicly. New York Rep. Peter King pointed out that calling the attack terrorism goes against what the administration has said about Al Qaeda. Is he claiming that the Obama administration played politics with Libya? Say it isn't so! Meanwhile, the FBI is still unable to get to the crime scene in Libya because of security fears.

Election: Some good news for Republicans over the weekend. First, Democrat voter registration is down compared to 2008. Next, an AP/GfK poll says that 31% of likely voters identify with the tea party. Hugh Hewitt has analysis of the polling data here. And on the heels of the infamous Obamaphone lady rant, we have this news that the number of these phones have doubled. The cell phone is such an important staple of life; it must be provided free.

Israel and Iran: Seth Mandel at Commentary has a new piece up on Israel's plans to strike Iran. I think the saddest line of this piece is: "...the sources admit to Perry that Israel won’t tell the U.S. what plans, if any, they’ve drawn up for such an attack—obviously aware that the Obama administration will leak that information eventually..." A great article at American Thinker debunks Iran's claims that it's nuclear program is peaceful: Iran is sitting on an immense source of energy, so why would it need more?

Voting Rights: Voter ID is back in the public discussion. Jonathan Tobin breaks down Michelle Obama's latest comments on the subject. The right to vote is not the "most important civil rights issue" in our nation right now. Furthermore, Michigan took an "unprecedented" step on voting rights that now has the ACLU up in arms: it added a question to determine if that person is actually qualified to vote. Now, the ACLU is suing to have the citizenship question removed.

Time for a Laugh:
"A new survey shows how much time we waste every day. For example, we waste seven minutes in line waiting for coffee, 28 minutes getting through airport security, and four years waiting for President Obama to do something about the economy.
- Jay Leno

At the Court:
The Supreme Court begins the new term tomorrow. The court is expected to release orders from the September 24 conference, followed by hearing two cases: Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum and Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, Florida.

Tweet of the Day:
Ken Gardner (@kesgardner): Is Benghazi acceptable? Fast and Furious? Solyndra? The Obamacare waivers to Obama donors and supporters? If not, vote for Mitt.

Debt Watch:
$16,015,131,024,562.54
Down $706,273,069.83
(As of September 27, 2012)


Media:
Video of the Day:
Special Report does a 9-minute summary of the timeline of the Benghazi attacks.

Cartoon of the Day:
Michael Ramirez relates politics and the NFL referees.

A Word from our Founders:
"A constitution founded on these principles introduces knowledge among the people, and inspires them with a conscious dignity becoming freemen; a general emulation takes place, which causes good humor, sociability, good manners, and good morals to be general.
- John Adams

Grab Bag:
Republican parents star in ads
The courts and Islam
Obama e-card asks mom to pay $18k for birth control
Obama cabinet ignoring 95% of disclosure laws
TSA officer admits theft is commonplace
Obama administration asks contractors to avoid blaming layoffs on sequestration
Counters too tall? You can't do business
The gimmicks of deficit reduction
80% of Americans believe everyone should pay some income tax

Today in History:
October 1, 2012 - Ford puts the Model T on the market at a retail price of $825.


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Monday, August 27, 2012

The Final Five: August 27, 2012



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Tonight's Crazy Story:
Town Set to Open Mysterious Century-Old Package
A small package given by a former mayor to the Norwegian town of Otta was opened this past weekend. With breathless anticipation, the town's officials opened the package to find: some newspapers, financial reports, and a couple letters from the United States. While the items are being analyzed by historians, it certainly was not worthy of the hype that surrounded the opening of the package.


Topic One: The Economy
How Obama hurt the middle class: "Indeed, as a result of Barack Obama’s failure to stem the economic bleeding, the Federal Reserve reported earlier in the summer that the recession erased two decades’ worth of our collective wealth. There have been 42 straight months where the unemployment rate has exceeded 8%. Offering four more years of economic woe is anything but “Forward.” It’s no secret the prolonged recession has most hurt the very people President Obama ostensibly intended to help with his ill-conceived government “investments,” the middle class. The middle class, i.e. those making between $39,000 and $118,000 (according to the Pew Research Center), has borne the brunt of the bad economy. As the above numbers demonstrate, three years after the recession technically ended (August 2009), the recession continues to ravage the middle class."

Balancing the budget is simple: "Now that new numbers have been released by the Congressional Budget Office, it’s time once again for me to show how easy it is to balance the budget with modest spending restraint (though please remember our goal should be smaller government, not fiscal balance). I first did this back in September 2010, and showed that we could balance the budget in 10 years if federal spending was limited so it grew by 2 percent annually. I repeated the exercise in January 2011 after new CBO numbers were released, and re-confirmed that a spending cap of 2 percent would eliminate red ink in just 10 years. In August of that year, following the release of the CBO Update, I showed again that the budget could be balanced by limiting spending so it climbed by 2 percent per year. Most recently, back in January after CBO produced the new Economic and Budget Outlook, I crunched the numbers again and showed how a spending cap of 2 percent would balance the budget."

The bankrupt leading the bankrupt: "The Golden State, which once represented the promise of America, is mired in swampland of broken promises, graft, political stupidity and liberal fantasy. And if California represents the very best government that liberals can give us- and it likely does- then this country had better take a deep breath and step away from progressive math. Because, it just doesn’t add up."

The D.C. Daily: August 27, 2012


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House and Senate

Subject to the provisions of S. Con. Res. 59, both houses of Congress have adjourned until 2:00 PM on Monday, September 10, 2012.


Executive Agencies
(You can view the entire Federal Register here.)

Significant Proposed Rules:
There were no significant proposed rules printed today.
Significant Final Rules:
There were no significant final rules printed today.

Presidential Documents:
There were no Presidential documents printed today.


Supreme Court
The Court has now completed its work for the October 2011 term. The Court will hold the first oral arguments of the October 2012 term on Monday, October 1.

Morning Media: August 27, 2012

Good morning, everyone! Time to take a look at some of yesterday's best media!

Here is Charles Krauthammer discussing Obama's debt:



I have no idea if this is real or photoshopped, but it raises a good point either way:



And finally, whoever created this banner needs to go back to school:

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Morning Media: August 25, 2012

Happy Saturday, everyone! It's time to check out some of yesterday's best media.

First, here is Allen West on extremism in the Democratic party:



Bill Clinton knows all about respecting women:



Want to know why "Tax the Rich" won't solve our deficit problem? Here's why:



And finally, a humorous look at another gaffe from the Obama team:

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Final Five: August 24, 2012



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Tonight's Crazy Story:
Vending Machines Talk To, Entertain Users
A new vending machine in the U.K. will give you a free cup of coffee if you complete the task it gives you.


Topic One: ObamaCare
What can insurance exchanges in Europe teach us about ObamaCare? "But experience in the Netherlands and Switzerland, where insurance exchanges are part of health care reforms that have been ongoing for some time, provides two cautionary lessons. The first is that competitive insurance markets will not contain costs without reforms of the health care purchasing market. In theory, health insurers should negotiate with health care providers on price, volume, and quality of care. Innovative payment methods should result in the purchasing of efficient care. In the United States, there has been little discussion about strengthening the purchasing market, although the ACA intends to promote provider competition by requiring yearly publishing of standard charges for items and services. Experience from the Netherlands and Switzerland shows that such efforts are not enough. Purchasing-market reforms in those countries are a work in progress, but the results so far in terms of cost containment and quality improvement have been negligible.

The Dutch and Swiss reforms provide a second cautionary lesson for state exchanges. States at the forefront of creating exchanges are just now considering risk-adjustment mechanisms to reduce insurers' incentives to attract healthier enrollees and avoid sick people. The Dutch and Swiss experience indicates how critical a good risk-adjustment formula is. Until January, the Swiss risk-adjustment system had been relatively crude and ineffective: there were large premium differences both within and among cantons. Switzerland has just added prior hospitalization as an adjustment factor, and adjustments for patients' medical conditions will follow. The Dutch have a more sophisticated formula based on 20 years' experience, which thus far has discouraged insurers from engaging in risk selection."


Government unsuccessful fighting health care fraud: "The true annual cost of fraud and abuse in health care is not known. In fiscal year 2011 Medicare spent $565 billion on behalf of its 48.7 million beneficiaries, while federal and state Medicaid agencies served 70 million people at a combined cost of $428 billion. CMS estimated that in fiscal year 2010 these two programs made more than $65 billion in "improper federal payments," defined as payments that should not have been made or were made in an incorrect amount. Adding in improper payments made by state Medicaid programs boosts the total by about $10 billion annually."

What can a restaurant teach us about health care? "Like Gawande, I too have been fascinated by the efficiency with which restaurant chains function. I’ve also talked to managers and owners about how they do it. My conclusion: a modern hospital might indeed function like The Cheesecake Factory. That it doesn’t is not the fault of doctors wedded to tradition or unimaginative hospital managers. It’s the fault of public policy. Let’s return to my question: What public policy changes would we need to enact to make The Cheesecake Factory resemble a typical hospital? To begin with, we need to eliminate out-of-pocket payment for restaurant food. To get that done, we need laws that encourage, or perhaps even require, restaurant food insurance. There can be many such insurers and each negotiates prices with the restaurants."

Akin, Cutter, and the Media

I have been silent on the controversy surrounding Todd Akin's recent comments on abortion and rape, primarily because this is a matter that should be handled by the residents of Missouri. However, Todd Akin's comments and the response they have received illustrate a larger problem that Republicans face: the blatant bias in the media.

I am in complete agreement with Akin's stance on abortion, but I am not in agreement with the way Akin defended it. Instead of pointing out that abortion in the case of rape reserves the harshest punishment (death) for an innocent victim or that banning abortion with an exception for rape will likely lead to an increase in rape accusations in order to gain access to an abortion, he chose to lie about "facts" he heard from a doctor.

If he could identify a doctor who believes these facts (no matter how far fetched the doctor's research might be), I might be defending Todd Akin. However, Akin has not been able to back up the claims he made. Our federal government is in the mess it is in because of spineless politicians who will say whatever is necessary to get elected. Akin's comments make me think that he is just another politician trying to win more power, not a principle-based American who will go to Washington and stand for what is right. If he were running in Kentucky, I would be calling for him to step aside.

However, Akin is not the only political figure to be caught in a lie during the past week. On Wednesday morning, Obama's deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter, appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe and said the following:
...and over the past, you know, 27 months we’ve created 4.5 million private sector jobs. That’s more jobs than in the Bush recovery, in the Reagan recovery, there’s obviously more we need to do, and as I said to Mika at the beginning of the program, I think that unemployed worker probably sees one person in this race trying to move the country forward and that’s the president...

More jobs than the Reagan recovery? In September 1983 alone, Reagan's recovery created 1.1 million jobs, one-quarter of the most generous figure the Obama administration can quote. Reagan finished his first term with over 5 million more jobs than when he started, while Obama has yet to reach the break-even point.

However, there is something even more appalling than Cutter's quote. While the media jumped all over Akin's comments and created a national firestorm, the same media has been silent about Cutter's remarks. I first heard about Cutter's remarks when people began tweeting about them, and it was not until tonight that some fairly-prominent conservative news sites wrote about it.

Both Akin and Cutter blatantly lied about their "facts", yet only the Republican in the race has been called on it by the mainstream media. Akin has apologized for his comments repeatedly (as he should), but Cutter has yet to make a correction for her lies. While it is impossible to live without knowing the truth about Akin's statement, MSNBC's ten viewers probably now believe that we are living in the greatest recovery in American history. As radio host and Breitbart editor Dana Loesch stated at FreePAC last month, "The media is supposed to be our watch dog, not Barack Obama's lap dog." Todd Akin was not the only political figure to lie last week; he just happened to be a Republican.

The D.C. Daily: August 24, 2012


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House and Senate

Subject to the provisions of S. Con. Res. 59, both houses of Congress have adjourned until 2:00 PM on Monday, September 10, 2012.


Executive Agencies
(You can view the entire Federal Register here.)

Significant Proposed Rules:

Significant Final Rules:
There were no significant final rules printed today.

Presidential Documents:
There were no Presidential documents printed today.


Supreme Court
The Court has now completed its work for the October 2011 term. The Court will hold the first oral arguments of the October 2012 term on Monday, October 1.

Morning Media: August 24, 2012

Good morning, everyone! It's time to take a look at some of yesterday's best media.

Let's start the morning by watching Anderson Cooper actually question Debbie Wasserman-Schultz about her fundraising email:



Next up, a great video from Free Market America:



And finally, here are two different cartoons portraying the difference between what the media says is important and what the people think are important:



Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Final Five: August 23, 2012



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Tonight's Crazy Story:
HI Woman Just Misses Record Half-Ton Marlin Catch
A 5-foot-9, 160 pound woman caught a record-breaking fish, but she will not set the record or win the tournament in which she was competing because she received help reeling in the fish.


Topic One: Health Reform
The difficulty of reforming Medicare: "I wouldn't quite say it's "outrageous" that seniors are exempt from the changes brought on by the reforms in Paul Ryan's plan. Regardless of what they paid in, the federal government sold them on certain expectations about what sorts of benefits would be available, and it's not entirely unreasonable to design a reform plan that phases in changes over a period of time in order to facilitate planning. But it's certainly true that a reform plan that started immediately would be far more effective, that seniors often seem deluded about the value of the contributions versus their benefits, and that the majority of politicians in both parties have proven stubbornly unwilling to prepare the public for the challenges of reform."

The British health system: "In April, the British Medical Journal published “How the NHS Measures Up to Other Health Systems,” a report about two studies conducted by the New York–based Commonwealth Fund that compared the health-care systems of 14 advanced countries. On the 20 measures of comparison, Britain’s famous (or infamous) centralized system, the National Health Service, performed well in 13, indifferently in two, and badly in five. Was this a cause for national rejoicing?

"If popular satisfaction is the aim of a health-care system, the answer must be yes. According to the report, the British were the most satisfied with their health care of all the populations surveyed; they were the most confident that in the event of illness, they would receive the best and most up-to-date treatment; and they were the least anxious that their personal finances would prevent them from receiving proper treatment. One could doubtless raise objections to these measures of comparison, but let us for the sake of argument take the results at face value. Subjective satisfaction and relief of anxiety are not minor achievements. Indeed, though the free market’s ability to satisfy more needs and desires than any other system is usually cited as one of its principal advantages, here was an apparent instance of the contrary: a nonmarket health-care system that yielded the most satisfaction."

I Choose The "Go Back Team"

I visited the Obama campaign webpage yesterday just to see the latest lies and distortions being posted. I was greeted by a new welcome page calling the Romney-Ryan team the "Go Back Team" (as opposed to the "Forward" team of Obama-Biden). While this distinction is obviously meant to cast the Republican team in a negative light, there may not be anything that better describes the choice we face on November 6 than these two phrases.

"Go Back" is no more a negative term than "Forward" is a positive one. When I lived in northern Indiana, I traveled to Chicago almost every weekend. As I would take the Ridge Road exit onto Interstate 94, I was presented with the option of taking I-94 West to Chicago or I-94 East to Detroit. If I mistakenly took the Detroit exit, would "Forward" be the best option? Wouldn't it be better to get off the road and "Go Back" toward Chicago?

In America's case, Barack Obama has taken us on the exit to socialism. I don't want to continue "Forward"; I want to "Go Back".

I want to go back to a time where the Constitution is revered, not ignored.

I want to go back to a time where a stagnant economy is not normal.

I want to go back to a time where work is rewarded and laziness is punished, not the other way around.

I want to go back to a time where unemployment is 5%, not 8%.

I want to go back to a time where my healthcare decisions are handled by my doctor and me, not bureaucrats in Washington.

I want to go back to a time where dissent is not greeted by cries of racism, sexism, etc.

I want to go back to a time where those who build a business are rewarded for their work, not told that they are not giving enough of their business to the government.

I want to go back to a time where our soldiers are hailed as heroes, not shamed as "baby killers".

I want to go back to a time where both houses of Congress complete their legally-required responsibility to pass a budget.

I want to go back to a time where taxpayers are not required to cover the costs of failed businesses.

I want to go back to a time where the flag is a symbol of freedom, not a symbol of shame.

I want to go back to a time where our leaders view America as the greatest nation on Earth, not a mistake to apologize for.

I want to go back to a time where our founding fathers are treated with respect, not slandered with lies.

I want to go back to a time where our children are educated, not indoctrinated.

I want to go back to a time where we have freedom of religion, not repression of religion.

America is on the road to destruction, and "Forward" is not the right solution. On November 6th, I will gladly cast my vote for the "Go Back" team.

The D.C. Daily: August 23, 2012


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House and Senate

Subject to the provisions of S. Con. Res. 59, both houses of Congress have adjourned until 2:00 PM on Monday, September 10, 2012.


Executive Agencies
(You can view the entire Federal Register here.)

Significant Proposed Rules:
There were no significant proposed rules printed today.

Significant Final Rules:

Presidential Documents:
There were no Presidential documents printed today.


Supreme Court
The Court has now completed its work for the October 2011 term. The Court will hold the first oral arguments of the October 2012 term on Monday, October 1.

Morning Media: August 23, 2012

Good morning, everyone! It's time to take a look at some of yesterday's best media.

First, a new Romney ad explains why "free health care" is not free:



Next, we see an interesting interpretation on Obama's "open book" comments:



And finally, here's one event sure to provoke terror among Democratic campaign strategists:

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Final Five: August 22, 2012



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Tonight's Crazy Story:
This Is Why You Shouldn't Attempt to 'Restore' a Rare Painting You Weren't Asked to Fix
An elderly woman in her 80s attempted to restore a painting hung at a nearby church, but she had to confess that her work got out of hand.


Topic One: The SPR
A SPR release will not help oil prices: "Washington is attempting to use the reserves for political purposes with hopes of artificially affecting crude prices. But this won't work over the long run for four reasons:

"First, an SPR is not designed to work this way. Such draw downs will not have the intended effect because they are not in response to a genuine market lack of supply. The availability of excess oil, in itself, will not determine prices.

"Second, the amount necessary to affect prices over any extended time period is well beyond the ability of a political manipulation. Take last year's unsuccessful exercise, for example. The total amount of 60 million barrels was the commitment for an entire month. However, that translated into about 18 hours of global oil consumption.

"Third, the market compensates for the additional supply rather quickly. Unless policy makers are prepared to continue the draw downs, there is no effect. This is always the problem with policy moves that are not in response to genuine causes.

"Finally, should the use of SPR barrels continue for any length of time, the reserves would need to be replaced. That requires purchases directly from oil companies. The market then draws its attention away from the draw downs and toward the buying of oil for replenishment as the base point for determining price. The attempt then would fail anyway and priced would move back up, based this time on what was actually paid for the oil moving back into the SPR - rendering the entire approach a grand waste of time."

Pro-Choice or Pro-Abortion

For years, the media has portrayed the two sides of the abortion debate as "pro-life" and "pro-choice". I dislike the latter term because I believe it inaccurately portrays the debate. To present the abortion issue as a debate between "pro-life" and "pro-choice" gives the appearance that those who stand for life must stand against choice. Are there some people who are truly pro-choice? Yes, but the majority of people who claim the pro-choice label could be more accurately defined as "pro-abortion". They do not simply want to give people the right to choose; they want to force us to accept abortion, and in many cases, force us to pay for it.

No one typifies the term "pro-abortion" more than Barack Obama. He has been quiet on the abortion issue during his time as President, but during his time in the U.S. Senate and Illinois State Senate, Mr. Vote-Present found plenty of time to cast his votes in defense of abortion.

Obama supported cloning research on leftover embryos from in vitro fertilization and opposed a law that prohibited states from engaging in research that would destroy an embryo. Obama stated in The Audacity of Hope that he would side with Stephen Breyer in favor of allowing late-term abortions. He supports abortion on demand and opposes mandatory parental notification laws. As an Illinois senator, Obama even stood alone in opposing legislation that would have protected the right to life for babies who survived a late-term abortion.

It would be bad enough if Obama's views were simply his own, but Obama's views go even further. Barack Obama does not just want to defend a person's "right" to have an abortion, but he wants to make every American support that "right" financially. Obama has supported public funding of abortion, and the regulations stemming from his health care deform law will force insurance companies to pay for abortions using the money you pay for your health insurance.

Barack Obama is certainly not pro-choice. He wants to force all Americans to accept the practice of abortion--even late-term abortion--as legitimate, and even worse, he is already preparing to force us to pay for abortion, even when it violates our religious beliefs. NARAL, a political group that supports abortion rights, promoted Obama on its front page and highlighted his thirteen-for-thirteen voting record in support of abortion. Given that the remainder of his voting record--especially on controversial issues--consists of a large number of "present" votes, Obama's wholehearted votes in favor of abortion tell us where and how strongly he stands on this issue. Barack Obama is not pro-choice; he is solidly pro-abortion.

The American media has turned the term "pro-choice" into a term where choice simply refers to abortion. However, there are other choices that take place long before the decision to have an abortion. Barring a rape, two people made a choice to engage in sexual activity. In many cases, those people also made a choice not to use any form of contraception. However, when it comes time to face the unwanted consequences (or "punishment", as Obama puts it) of their choices, people want to claim a "right" to choose to murder their unborn child. It is time that we define the terms properly: the abortion debate is not a matter of life or choice, it is a matter of life or death.

The D.C. Daily: August 22, 2012


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House and Senate

Subject to the provisions of S. Con. Res. 59, both houses of Congress have adjourned until 2:00 PM on Monday, September 10, 2012.


Executive Agencies
(You can view the entire Federal Register here.)

Significant Proposed Rules:
There were no significant proposed rules printed today.

Significant Final Rules:

Presidential Documents:
There were no Presidential documents printed today.


Supreme Court
The Court has now completed its work for the October 2011 term. The Court will hold the first oral arguments of the October 2012 term on Monday, October 1.

Morning Media: August 22, 2012

Good morning, everyone! It is time to take a quick look at some of yesterday's best media.

I think this is quite possibly the best Zonation Alfonzo Rachel has ever done:



Lou Dobbs breaks out the chalkboard to explain why Social Security is in trouble:



For once, the media found a shooting to cover up instead of report. Wonder if politics played any role?



Reuters took this strange picture. What happened to our President's head?



And finally, here is an interesting graphic showing the developments in internet technology over the past ten years:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Final Five: August 21, 2012



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Tonight's Crazy Story:
The Most Stolen Car in America Is...
...definitely not what you would think. It's not a sports car, and it's approaching 20 years old.


Topic One: Facing the Facts
Romney and Ryan are forcing us to face the facts: "Congressman Paul Ryan is best known for his budget, the Ryan Roadmap, which ties together the two sides of our fiscal-crisis coin: First, the major entitlements of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid will soon be bankrupt and unable to provide for millions of beneficiaries. And second, our growing $16 trillion debt will result in an unprecedented economic disaster if not balanced and then paid off.

"President Barack Obama and his Democrats are replying with the inexcusably-irresponsible argument that overhauling entitlements and balancing the budget are cruel and unnecessary. They cry that this will harm seniors and deprive people of needed benefits, willfully ignoring the reality—with can be proved beyond doubt on a napkin using fifth-grade math skills—that the status quo cannot and will not continue."

What Has Obama Fixed?

I came across the graphic below on Facebook today, and I thought it deserved taking the time to correct the facts about Obama's record.



Let's take the issues in order:

Worst recession in 25 years - Recession is over
Technically, this is correct. As defined, the recession is over and we are now in a period of recovery. However, the recovery has been very weak, which goes against the usual trend of larger recoveries following larger recessions. Furthermore, we are now at the point where economists begin warning about the next recession, but we have yet to enter the expansion period. While the recession may be over, we are still far from having made a complete recovery.

13 straight months of job losses - 27 straight months of job increases
Creating 100,000 or 200,000 jobs per month barely keeps up with the increase in population. Furthermore, the number of people who have begun receiving disability benefits is greater than the number of jobs created. While it is good that we are creating jobs, America should be doing much better than it is.

Record job losses with more to come - Over 4 million private sector recovered
During the first nine months of Obama's presidency, almost four million jobs were lost. Now, the job gains have helped recover most (but not all) of those job losses. George Bush left the presidency with almost 1.1 million more jobs than when he took office. Obama only has five more months to try to get back to the break-even point.

Unemployment going up - Unemployment going down
Allow me to put this in terms that Barack Obama can understand: unemployment numbers work like golf scores. You want a lower number. Going from 8.2% to 8.3% (as it did in July) is not going down. Staying at 8.2% (as it did in June) is not going down. Going from 8.1% to 8.2% (as it did in April) is not going down. Furthermore, the fall in the workforce participation rate to its lowest point ever recorded should produce declining unemployment, and the fact that it is going up only means that it should be even higher than reported.

Dow Jones Ind. down to $8,000 - Dow Jones Ind. over $13,000
To make an accurate comparison of stock market values at two points, one must also consider the rate of inflation. Through the Fed's two programs of quantitative easing, the dollar has been devalued and inflation has soared. If we printed enough money, we could make the Dow hit $1 million, but we would be paying $200 for a bottle of water.

DJI plummeted 35% in 2008 - DJI has regained all lost value and more
See above. Also, the DJI closed at 14,164.53 on October 9, 2007, and its current value is 13,281.42 (as of 9:51 AM on August 21, 2012), so it is false to even claim that it has recovered all lost value.

$1.4T deficit - $1.3T deficit
Whatever happened to that pledge to cut the deficit in half by the end of your first term? The key here is not the number, but the word "deficit". No CEO would survive four years at a company if he or she only reduced the company's operating loss by less than 10%. Furthermore, the President's own budget plan makes no attempt to reach a balanced budget. We don't need more deficits, no matter how much smaller they are; we need surpluses.

GM & Chrysler on the brink of extinction - GM & Chrysler profitable
Then, why is GM headed for bankruptcy again?

Two wars - One war and an exit strategy
More accurately: one war, numerous conflicts, and a Middle East falling into the hands of radical Islamists.

Osama bin Laden on the loose - Obama bin Laden DEAD!
The one item on this list for which Obama truly deserves praise.

The D.C. Daily: August 21, 2012


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House and Senate

Subject to the provisions of S. Con. Res. 59, both houses of Congress have adjourned until 2:00 PM on Monday, September 10, 2012.


Executive Agencies
(You can view the entire Federal Register here.)

Significant Proposed Rules:

Significant Final Rules:
There were no significant final rules printed today.

Presidential Documents:


Supreme Court
The Court has now completed its work for the October 2011 term. The Court will hold the first oral arguments of the October 2012 term on Monday, October 1.

Morning Media: August 21, 2012

Good morning, everyone! It is time to take a quick look at some of yesterday's best media.

Texas Senate candidate Ted Cruz reminds Washington Post writer EJ Dionne about the fate of Obama's budget (a 'side issue', according to Dionne):



Next, Obama reminds us of the need for openness among the Presidential candidates...except himself:



Finally, this great graphic explains the difference between conservatives and liberals:

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Final Five: August 20, 2012



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Tonight's Crazy Story:
NYC Brothers Promote Toilet-Paper Ads
Two brothers from a suburb of NYC are planning to introduce a new type of toilet paper...with advertising.


Topic One: Federal Spending
Why Romney's tax returns do not matter: "We're more intrigued by how much Romney makes than with how much Obama spends. While we're obsessed with Romney's tax returns, there's no interest in a General Accounting Office report detailing $100 billion in federal government waste and duplication that has been gathering dust for two years while Congress pretends it can't cut a single dollar.

"America doesn't have a tax problem, or a tax fairness problem. Not when the top 5 percent of earners shoulder 60 percent of the income tax burden and the bottom 49 percent pay 0 percent. America has a spending problem. The government spends one-third more each year than it takes in. Nothing in Romney's tax returns will offer insights into how to fix that."


Obama has grown our foreign debt: "One of the important components of our federal debt in the share of debt owned by foreign countries. We like to view ourselves as the pride of the world, but there’s not much pride in countries like China and Mexico owning our debt. Terence Jeffrey of CNS News reports that our foreign debt has hit a new record of $5.2923 trillion, a gain of 72.3% since Obama took office. Talk about “outsourcing jobs,” Barack. Obama is outsourcing the indebtedness of our children and grandchildren to foreign countries. Our foreign debt is now equal to more than one-third of the entire U.S. economy. China owns $1.164 trillion of our debt, while Japan is the second largest stakeholder at $1.119 trillion."

Related Stories: MIA on fiscal policy || Government is bankrupt || What's so bad about the Ryan budget?

The D.C. Daily: August 20, 2012


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House and Senate

Subject to the provisions of S. Con. Res. 59, both houses of Congress have adjourned until 2:00 PM on Monday, September 10, 2012.


Executive Agencies
(You can view the entire Federal Register here.)

Significant Proposed Rules:

Significant Final Rules:
There were no significant final rules printed today.

Presidential Documents:
There were no Presidential documents printed today.


Supreme Court
The Court has now completed its work for the October 2011 term. The Court will hold the first oral arguments of the October 2012 term on Monday, October 1.

Morning Media: August 20, 2012

Longtime readers of this site will remember the Mid-Week Media posts that I did every Wednesday. I have decided to change it into a daily post called Morning Media. Each morning at 6:00 AM, I will post some of the best videos, cartoons, graphics, etc. from the previous day.

First, Paul Ryan's mom joined her son on the campaign trail in Florida this weekend, and the Romney-Ryan campaign put together this web ad from his speech:



Rudy Giuliani discussed the recent Biden gaffes:



Speaking of the Biden gaffes, Karl Rove's SuperPAC put out this ad in support of Joe Biden:



And finally, we've had Robin Hood and Romney Hood, now meet Obama Hood:

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Final Five: August 18, 2012



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Tonight's Crazy Story:
Air France: Out of Gas? Ask Passengers to Pitch In
Crew on an Air France plane diverted to Syria asked passengers if they had the money to purchase extra fuel to finish the trip.


Topic One: Food Stamp Folly
Why our entitlement programs are in trouble: "Total federal and state spending on means-tested welfare more than doubled between 2000 and 2011 -- from $431 billion to $927 billion. Around one third of the population now receives some type of means-tested welfare aid. Average cost: $9,000 per recipient. And there’s no end in sight. Except that, sooner or later, there has to be. As Margaret Thatcher once quipped of socialism, “sooner or later, you run out of other people’s money.” A day of reckoning can be postponed for a while, but not delayed indefinitely.

“The president’s budget calls for ruinous and unsustainable budget deficits,” Rector says. “An important step in reducing future unsustainable federal deficits would be to return total welfare spending to pre-recession levels.” But unless lawmakers get serious about addressing this threat, it won’t happen. The national debt is more than $16 trillion -- and climbing.

"To make matters worse, all this debt is truly for naught because the programs that it’s financing do little to reduce poverty. If anything, they encourage it, because they don’t follow the reform model of the ‘90s: reduce dependence by requiring work as a condition for receiving aid. Recipients can do nothing all day and still get their taxpayer-funded checks."

The D.C. Daily: August 18, 2012


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House and Senate

Subject to the provisions of S. Con. Res. 59, both houses of Congress have adjourned until 2:00 PM on Monday, September 10, 2012.


Executive Agencies
(You can view the entire Federal Register here.)

Significant Proposed Rules:

Significant Final Rules:
There were no significant final rules printed today.

Presidential Documents:
There were no Presidential documents printed today.


Supreme Court
The Court has now completed its work for the October 2011 term. The Court will hold the first oral arguments of the October 2012 term on Monday, October 1.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Final Five: August 16, 2012



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Tonight's Crazy Story:
Man Accused of Stealing Marijuana From Police Station
A man stole a bag of marijuana being stored as evidence from a police station...with an officer in the room.


Topic One: Bad Bailouts
The farce of the auto bailout 'success': "For anyone who understands the nature of GM's "success," and of Obama's previous attempts to prop up American companies like Solyndra against Chinese competitors, this campaign rhetoric is somewhat dispiriting. It serves as a troubling confirmation that Obama has learned absolutely nothing from three and a half years of trying unsuccessfully to reshape and reinvigorate the American economy through bailouts and subsidies. Obama's industrial plan continues apace, oblivious to the losses and failures it has created so far.

"Within days of Obama's statement came the news that taxpayers are now expected to lose $25 billion on the automotive industry's $85 billion rescue. This represents an upward revision from the previous estimate of $22 billion, yet it nonetheless assumes that GM is valued at $22 per share as it was in late May. GM has since suffered a 40 percent decline in profits year-over-year, a 3 percentage point loss of U.S. market share year-over-year for the month of July and brutal press for its flailing attempts to expand in Europe. The current GM share price is just above $20, so the latest estimate is almost certainly too low already.

"The true lesson of the GM and Chrysler bailouts is not that they succeeded, but that one can force even the worst company or industry to succeed temporarily by dedicating enough of taxpayers' hard-earned money to the task."


Related Story: GM headed for bankruptcy

The D.C. Daily: August 16, 2012


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House and Senate

Subject to the provisions of S. Con. Res. 59, both houses of Congress have adjourned until 2:00 PM on Monday, September 10, 2012.


Executive Agencies
(You can view the entire Federal Register here.)

Significant Proposed Rules:

Significant Final Rules:

Presidential Documents:
  • Executive Order 13623: establishing a policy for preventing and responding to gender-based violence globally.
  • Presidential Notice: continuing the national emergency established by the Export Administration Act of 1979 for one year.


Supreme Court
The Court has now completed its work for the October 2011 term. The Court will hold the first oral arguments of the October 2012 term on Monday, October 1.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Final Five: August 15, 2012



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Tonight's Crazy Story:
Cresskill Considers Drive-Thru Ban
Cresskill, NJ, is considering a ban on all drive-thrus--including those at the pharmacy and bank--because of traffic problems.


Topic One: Ryan and Medicare
Obama demagagues the Ryan plan: "Obama thinks he will be able to demonize Ryan because of his plan to reform Medicare by making its cost structure sustainable for generations to come.

"His plan... would end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher system, shifting thousands of dollars in healthcare costs to seniors," Obama said in a statement Saturday.

"Like a lot of attacks Obama has leveled at Romney, this one is untrue, but you can expect the attacks to get even more vicious in the weeks to come. The Washington Post cites one Democratic ad that depicts Ryan "as physically pushing a senior citizen in a wheelchair off a cliff."


Related Stories: Romney campaign goes on the offensive on Medicare || Unhorrified women, senior citizens, and youth cheer Ryan in Colorado

Bill of Rights or Bill of Restrictions

As debate over whether to ratify the new constitution raged across the thirteen states, one criticism was that it lacked of a bill of rights. In many states, ratification was only secured upon the promise that a bill of rights would be added as soon as the new government took office. After taking office, the First Congress proposed twelve amendments, and ten of them were ratified to become the Bill of Rights. (In 1992, one of the two amendments that had not been previously ratified reached the three-quarters threshold and became the twenty-seventh amendment, but it is not usually considered as part of the Bill of Rights. The other proposed amendment remains unratified.)

The the Bill of Rights is very specific as to whose Rights it protects. It is not protecting the rights of government; it is protecting the rights of the people. As it grants right to the people (and some to the states), it becomes a bill of restrictions to the government. The first amendment bars Congress from infringing on rights of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petitioning. The second amendment prevents infringement of the right to bear arms. The third keeps the military from forcing people to allow soldiers to live in their homes. Through all ten amendments, we see that freedom is given to the people and restrictions are given to the government.

Over time, however, Congress and the courts have turned the Bill of Rights into a bill of restrictions on the people. The first amendment begins, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...” This phrase has been used repeatedly to argue that the mention of religion in any form is prohibited. Mentioning God's impact on your life in a graduation speech does not involve Congress in any way, but this amendment has been used to restrict religion in our schools. Instead of granting people the right to exercise their religion free from government interference, this phrase of the first amendment is now being used to restrict both free exercise of religion and free speech.

Freedom of speech has also been turned into a restriction. Throughout America's history, the freedom of speech has been protected by the government except in cases where it created actual harm. Defamation and the commonly cited example of “yelling fire in a crowded theater” qualify as cases where actual harm can be inflicted by speech, and this type of speech should be restricted. However, some people are now asking the government to outlaw “hate speech.” This type of speech, while it may be offensive and incorrect, does not cause actual harm. While this type of speech should be tolerated, it should not be illegal either. Attempts by the government to restrict freedom of speech should not be allowed in this instance; however, just because someone has the right to say something does not mean that they should say it. If they do engage in that type of speech, individuals still have some recourse. If the person is a business owner, we can refuse to patronize their business. If the person has a radio or television show, we can refuse to watch the show. Even if it is just someone who lives down the street from you, we can use our right to free speech to oppose their speech. As a society, we are looking to government to solve these problems instead of letting the freedom of choice solve them.

There are plenty of other rights that are being violated by our government. Freedom of the press was threatened recently when the White House wanted to allow an interview with the “press pool” (a collection of news agencies that share costs of covering political events), but refused to allow one member network to be a part of it. The White House did back down under pressure from other media outlets. The freedom to assemble is threatened by an endless permit process just to hold a public meeting. Permits should be necessary for some types of assemblies, such as those that need large amounts of space or that will close streets. However, groups should be allowed to hold meetings on their own property free of public restrictions. The freedom from unwarranted search and seizure is violated every time we go to an airport and have to be groped by federal agents before boarding a plane.

The authors of the constitution gave the people the Bill of Rights and restricted the rights of government. Unfortunately, the government today is turning the Bill of rights into restrictions on the people. The limitations on these rights were placed upon the federal government, not upon the people. However, the government is now using our rights to restrict our rights. Freedom is being threatened, and if we do not reverse course, “the land of the free” will soon become “the land of the restricted.”