Friday, March 9, 2012

The Final Five: March 9, 2012

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
March 9, 2012

Featured Article
I made a comment to someone yesterday, "If you only have time to read one article, you should read 'Reagan was a sure loser'." That comment serves as the inspiration for this new section, where I will feature one article each night that is definitely worth your time to read.

Free Market Lessons from Contraception Fight
The problem with government interference in health care did not start with the passage of the Affordable Care Act. This article lays out three ways in which government had already interfered in the health care market and explains how fixing these problems could improve the health insurance system.


Tonight's Crazy Story:
New Mexico Robber Might Have Left Severed Finger
Missing something? A suspect in an apparent robbery left behind a treasure trove of DNA evidence, in the form of a portion of his finger.


Topic One: Gas Prices
David Limbaugh on the big lie about oil: "According to the Institute for Energy Research, we have more than 1.4 trillion barrels of oil that is technically recoverable in the United States with existing technology. The largest deposits are located offshore, in portions of Alaska and in shale deposits in the Rocky Mountain states. So the United States has more recoverable oil than the rest of the non-North American world combined. The Heritage Foundation says this is enough to fuel every passenger car in the nation for 430 years. Therefore, "it is merely semantics -- not a scientific assessment of what America has the capacity to produce -- that allows critics to claim repeatedly that America is running out of energy." Is he contending that the mocked plan of "drill, drill, and keep drilling" might actually work?

The upside down energy policy: "An axiom of economics is “if you want more of something, subsidize it; if you want less, tax it.” As near as I can tell, that pretty much sums up Barack Obama’s upside-down energy policy. He wants to punish the hydrocarbon industry that supplies 85% of our energy needs, while throwing billions at green technology ideas like bankrupt Solyndra and the newly unplugged Chevy Volt. But, exactly why he wants to inflict more pain on every single American along the way, particularly at a time when so very many are struggling is beyond me."

Yesterday, the Senate voted down an amendment that would have authorized the Keystone Pipeline. While Obama could have vetoed the bill, attaching the Keystone provision to a bill he supports would have forced him to make a tough decision. 11 Democrats joined 45 Republicans in supporting the amendment (with two Republicans absent), giving a total of 56 Senators in support, but 60 votes were required to pass the amendment. However, a message was sent to the President by this vote, especially considering that he personally lobbied Democrats to oppose the amendment.


There's Always Time for a Laugh:
"This week a Chicken McNugget that resembles President George Washington was auctioned on eBay for over $8,000. Meanwhile, a Chicken McNugget that looks like Mitt Romney was eaten by Newt Gingrich."
-Conan O'Brien


Topic Two: Contraception Coverage
Jonah Goldberg describes the lie being pushed in the contraception fight: "The lying demonization of Republicans isn't nearly so offensive, or at least surprising, as the extremist policy assumptions liberals are now using to defend Obama's "accommodation" of religious institutions. They argue, in short, that if employers and the government — i.e. taxpayers — do not provide birth control (and an abortifacient), for "free," then they are banning birth control. Taking them seriously — no easy task — Democrats are saying that there's no legitimate realm outside of government. In other words, there's no room for anybody to be personally opposed to paying for someone else's birth control. That means the people who want birth control to be a personal matter and no one else's business are demagogically fighting for a policy in which your birth control is in fact everyone's business, starting with the government's."

What does the contraception fight teach us about the free market? "These free market reforms would lower insurance costs for many consumers, allow individuals to keep their insurance when they changed jobs, and free employers from having to pay for medical services that violated their religious principles. In summary, the root cause of the current controversy is government interference in the marketplace for health insurance. And the only proper solution is to repeal those government controls and move towards a fully free market in health insurance."


Debt Watch:
$15,517,794,642,311.25
(As of Thursday, March 8, 2012 )

Change from March 7, 2012: +$19,487,949,683.25
Your share as a citizen: $49,681.70
Share per household: $135,839.20
Debt since Obama inauguration: $4,890,917,593,398.15


Topic Three: Iran
Are the US and Israel allies or enemies? "These negotiations don’t just gain time for a nuclear program about whose military intent the International Atomic Energy Agency is issuing alarming warnings. They make it extremely difficult for Israel to do anything about it (while it still can), lest Israel be universally condemned for having aborted a diplomatic solution. If the administration were serious about achievement rather than appearance, it would have warned that this was the last chance for Iran to come clean and would have demanded a short timeline. After all, President Obama insisted on deadlines for the Iraq withdrawal, the Afghan surge and Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Why leave these crucial talks open-ended when the nuclear clock is ticking?"

The real issue in Iran: "We are having the wrong debate, about the wrong questions. The right debate is about the war Iran is waging against us. The Iranian regime kills Americans whenever and wherever they can, including inside the homeland. Remember the plot to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington? If it had been “successful,” it would have killed and maimed many Americans. And that’s only the latest in a long series of attacks ever since the Ayatollah Khomeini declared war on us in 1979. I agree with the Washington Post when it says that regime change in Tehran is the only reliable way to stop the Iranian nuclear weapons project. It’s also the only way to win the war they are waging against us, in tandem with an international network that includes Syria, Russia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, and a collection of wicked actors from terrorist groups like al -Qaeda and Islamic Jihad to international drug dealers."


Tweet of the Day:
Ken Gardner (@kesgardner): Here is your periodic reminder that attracting independents does NOT mean moving center. It means showing that conservative policies work.


Topic Four: Green Energy
Obama wants more tax credits for hybrids. Remind me how we are going to pay for all this again? More debt, of course. Gone from his announcement was the goal of having one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. Perhaps that is due to the poor sales of the overhyped Chevy Volt.

Obama wants you to pay even more for cars nobody wants: "So, supporters admit that, right now, the benefits of alternative-energy vehicles don’t yet outweigh the costs to consumers. To the producers of such vehicles, I say: Tough luck. The onus is on them to produce a product that consumers actually want to purchase at a price they can afford. Tax credits might give consumers more reason to purchase the vehicles, but it won’t give the producer any incentive to look for cheaper ways to manufacture them. The president’s tax credit ensures that taxpayers will continue to pay an arbitrarily high price for the vehicles long after the market would have brought costs down."

The green energy problem hits Colorado: "Meet Loveland-based Abound Solar, the lucky winner of a $400 million federal loan guarantee from the Obama administration. Earlier this month, the thin-film cadmium Telluride solar module-maker announced layoffs of nearly 300 employees (70 percent of its workforce). In addition, the firm froze plans to build a new factory in Indiana. Abound says it will ride out bad market conditions and "hopefully" survive until the market recovers. But White House hope-a-nomics is what got Abound and taxpayers into trouble in the first place."


Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"How could a readiness for war in time of peace be safely prohibited, unless we could prohibit, in like manner, the preparations and establishments of every hostile nation?"
-James Madison


Topic Five: ObamaCare
The death spiral continues: "Last week, after Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius claimed the private insurance market was in a “death spiral” long before ObamaCare came along, I pointed out that ObamaCare itself is the paramount modern example of a high-speed death spiral. Whatever one might say about the structural deficiencies of private health insurance – which are, in no small part, due to government interference – it’s taken decades for them to reach their current state. ObamaCare, by contrast, began falling apart the minute it passed. Literally billions of dollars have been dropping from its leprous bulk with every passing month."


Tomorrow in History
March 10, 1876 - Alexander Graham Bell's words "Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you." mark the success of the first telephone call.


Grab Bag - Interesting and Important Stories to Conclude Your Evening

Obama's legacy: kicking the can down the road

Obama enjoying the roses, for now

Can the president kill you?

Government lies on inflation

Your personal share of the debt is increasing by $40 each day

GCB: Good Christians Bashed

Is a driverless car a possibility?

NAACP asks UN human rights council to condemn voter ID laws



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D.C. Daily: March 9, 2012

Senate
Yesterday's Action:
The Senate agreed to S. Res. 393, designating March 11, 2012, as "World Plumbing Day" by unanimous consent, and then proceeded to further consideration of S. 1813, "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century". The Senate approved three amendments to the bill and rejected five other amendments, with eleven amendments still under consideration.

In committee meetings, the Senate Judiciary Committee ordered S. 1002, to prohibit theft of medical products, reported. The committee also five nominations.

Today's Schedule:
The Senate will not meet today. The next meeting of the Senate is scheduled for 2:00 PM on Monday, March 12, 2012.


House
Yesterday's Action:
The House passed H.R. 3606, the "Reopening American Capital Markets to Emerging Growth Companies Act of 2011" by a vote of 390-23 after considering amendments.

In committee meetings, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee ordered three bills reported: H.R. 2903, the "FEMA Reauthorization Act of 2011"; H.R. 4097, the "John F. Kennedy Center Reauthorization Act of 2012"; and H.R. 3556, to designate the new United States courthouse in Buffalo, New York, as the "Robert H. Jackson United States Courthouse". The Ways and Means Committee ordered H.R. 452, the "Medicare Decisions Accountability Act of 2011" reported.

Today's Schedule:
The House will meet today at 2:00 PM for a pro forma session.


All information is taken from the Congressional Register.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Final Five: March 8, 2012

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
March 8, 2012

An internet outage and an evening meeting left me without the time to put anything together on Tuesday, and then I spent yesterday trying to catch up on all the news I missed Tuesday. So...in an attempt to make it up to you, I have put together a special double edition of The Final Five tonight with ten topics plus some extra other features. Enjoy!


Tonight's Crazy Story:
McWashington? Presidential McNugget sells for $8K
Your mom always told you not to play with your food. However, seeing the faces of historical figures in your food is a different matter. A Nebraska woman sold a McNugget resembling the face of George Washington on eBay for $8100.


Topic One: Iran
President Obama received the Khamenei endorsement today. According to Newsmax, "Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has welcomed comments by U.S. President Obama about the need to dampen the drumbeat of war as a diplomatic "window of opportunity", the Iranian state news agency IRNA said on Thursday." I am sure that was an endorsement that none of the Republican candidates desired. However, while Obama welcomed discussion and Khamenei approved of them, Israel remains cautious and skeptical.

Thomas Sowell on Obama's rhetoric vs. his actions: "The track record of Barack Obama's pronouncements on a wide range of issues suggests that anything he says is a message written in sand, and easily blown away by the next political winds. Remember the "shovel-ready projects" that would spring into action and jump-start the economy, once the "stimulus" money was available? Obama himself laughed at this idea a year or so later, when it was clear to all that these projects were going nowhere. Remember how his administration was going to be one with "transparency"? Yet massive spending bills were passed too fast for the Congress itself to have read them. Remember the higher ethics his administration would practice -- and yet how his own Secretary of the Treasury was appointed despite his failure to pay his taxes? If you were an Israeli, how willing would you be to risk your national survival on Obama's promise to stand by your country? If you were a leader of Iran, what would you make of what Obama said, except that an election year might not be the best time to attack Israel?"

Ben Gharagozli argues that Israel cannot "legally" attack Iran: "Absent a UN Security Council resolution, there are two scenarios in which Israel may legally attack Iran: (1) if Israel suffers an armed attack at the hands of the Iranian government; (2) under the anticipatory self-defense doctrine." He goes on to explain why Israel lacks the ability to attack under the second point. However, I would counter by arguing that threatening to "wipe Israel off the map" counts as a threat that Israel would need to defend. Since obtaining nuclear weapons would greatly assist Iran in achieving this goal, any evidence that Iran's nuclear program is being used for non-energy purposes must be considered a threat, and that would give Israel the right to attack.

Related stories: Timeline of Iran's nuclear program || IAEA Chief: Iran is not telling us everything || Romney: How to stop Iranian nuclear ambition


There's Always Time for a Laugh:
"Mitt Romney's been out on the campaign trail even though he's suffering from a terrible cold. I'm not surprised he's sick. It's very unsanitary to keep putting your foot in your mouth like that."
-Craig Ferguson


Topic Two: The Election
The freedom issue: "His 35-minute speech in Cuyahoga Falls touched an array of subjects that drew applause. But at the halfway point, when he tore into ObamaCare, his mostly working-class audience exploded into applause and cries of "Rick! Rick! Rick!" Mr. Santorum didn't get this response by discussing health-insurance exchanges and guaranteed issue. He told these people that ObamaCare "is usurping your rights. It is creating a culture of dependency. Every single American will be dependent on government, thanks to ObamaCare. There is no more important issue in this race. It magnifies all that is wrong with what this president is trying to do." His call for repeal produced the explosion. He followed with an tight description of how he understands the terms of the election: 'This race is coming down to the economy, the deficit and control of your life, which is ObamaCare.'"

Reagan was a sure loser: "Then as now, the chattering classes wondered aloud whether a candidate who could win the Republican nomination could prevail against President Carter in November. On March 1, former President Gerald Ford amplified that view when he told a New York Times reporter, "Every place I go and everything I hear, there is the growing, growing sentiment that Governor Reagan cannot win the election." Then as now, some put their hopes on a late entry, in the same way that some now pine for Jeb Bush or Mitch Daniels or Chris Christie to enter the race. In the same interview where Mr. Ford predicted that Reagan's nomination would mean a repeat of 1964, he also declared himself open to a draft if there were a genuine "urging" by the party."

Who is truly electable? "In the eleven presidential elections since the birth of modern conservatism, five GOP nominees ran as moderates –- and were perceived as moderates. All lost, with the single exception of George H. W. Bush in 1988, and he was arguably running for Ronald Reagan’s “third term.” Conversely, all six GOP candidacies which were framed and perceived as conservative won. So it is of concern that the TV’s White House-wannabes who crowned Mitt Romney the victor last October now are trying to hand him the scepter."


Tweet of the Day:
Melissa Clouthier (@MelissaTweets): Lefties, if I have a decent economy, devastate it, and then grows a tiny bit, that's not success. #ObamaFAIL


Topic Three: Gas Prices
Policy is the real problem: "In this day and age, we ought to be encouraging more transparency rather than pushing it underground. The real culprit to the high oil price caper is anyone that is limiting the exploration for new energy resources, and anyone/anything that is limiting the building of new capacity to turn those raw resources into productive energy. Mostly it comes down to the federal agencies over seeing energy, and the President of the United States that believes algea, wind and solar are competitive alternatives to what we are using today."

Chuck Norris on rising gas prices: "Forbes ran recent articles saying that the "primary reason" for the spike in oil prices is "the dollar has lost value" and that the Fed has announced an explicit goal "to devalue the dollar by 33 percent over the next 20 years." But the Obama administration doesn't bear any responsibility in the spike of gas prices? This administration is a crashing currency culprit via its disastrous recovery plan -- borrowing astronomical amounts of money from countries with which we are already in vassalage relationships (such as China), bailing out corporations that should have gone bankrupt, bamboozling the American public with Obamacare, and placing our posterity in bondage with more than $15 trillion of national debt."

Obama's contradictory gas price policies: "President Obama on Tuesday flatly dismissed the notion he’s content to see gas prices rise. “Just from a political perspective, do you think the president of the United States going into re-election wants gas prices to go up higher?” he asked. ... Obama is marching in lock-step with Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who told a House committee last week that the administration has no policy on higher gas prices — except to let them rise. Asked point-blank by Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.) if the “overall goal is to get our [gasoline] price down,” Chu responded: “No, the overall goal is to decrease our dependency on oil.” It’s simple market economics: Higher prices means lower consumption — and, hence, reduced dependency."

Related stories: Driving Americans out of cars || Obama knows what we need || New Keystone route on the way


Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate — look to his character...."
-Noah Webster


Topic Four: Contraception
Ms. Fluke, stay out of my wallet: "So here’s a deal for Ms. Fluke and her fellow travelers. I’ll agree to you doing whatever you want behind closed doors. ... But, in exchange, I want you to leave me alone, which means I don’t want to pay higher taxes OR higher insurance premiums to subsidize your birth control."

Contraception isn't free: "What's the ObamaCare contraception mandate about? For much of the media and many politicians, it's about "free contraception." ...But there's no such thing as a free birth control. Someone's paying for it. Here's the step-by-step of the mandate for the plans to which it applies, which is nearly every employer-based plan: Insurers are required to pay the cost of all birth-control pills, without copay. As the insurer's liability increases, the premium for the insurance plan increases. So employees pay higher premiums, as do employers. But because this plan applies to nearly all employers, the employers pass the cost onto employees in the form of lower pay."

I have refrained from commenting on the Limbaugh uproar; primarily because I have not had the time to research it and see what was actually said. I did spend a little bit of time looking at it today, and here is my opinion: First, there was a factual error in his statement about Fluke herself; Fluke said in her testimony that the $3000 contraception bill was for someone she knew. Second, I believe he took the situation too far with the comments on wanting to see the videos. Finally (and most importantly), he picked the wrong battle. Debating contraception will always be a losing issue for Republicans; debating religious freedom and the freedom to choose what insurance you purchase is how Republicans can win on the issue. As I have commented before, it is ironic how those who claim to be "pro-choice" (on abortion) are so opposed to choice in other arenas.

However, there is one important item to be discussed with regard to the Limbaugh comments: the double standard. "The left, by and large, can say things about their political opponents that are cruel and defamatory and mostly get away with it, while those on the right are called on the carpet. That’s not true in every case, but it’s certainly true often enough to draw a reasonable conclusion. What we have a right to expect is even-handedness rather than glaring double standards. My guess is that for many journalists and commentators, what’s happening is less a conscious bias than a sub-conscious one. When conservative women are savaged by liberal men, it’s boys will be boys/politics ain’t beanbag/sticks and stones may break my bones. But when liberal women are savaged by conservative men, it’s an assault on reason, decency and civilized standards."


It's Time for Another Laugh:
"Kim Kardashian is being sued for $5 million for endorsing a diet pill that doesn’t work. That's weird — if there's anyone who's perfect to represent "not working," it's Kim Kardashian."
-Jimmy Fallon


Topic Five: Corruption and Waste
The words "government" and "efficiency" rarely belong next to each other. In fact, wasteful government projects probably count for a larger portion of federal expenditures than any of us realize. Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn documented $6.5 billion of unnecessary spending in his "wastebook". However, a new video attempts to show one couple's attempt to get one of those porky earmarks to create a "Museum of Government Waste." "In a new Daily Caller piece, it is revealed that filmmakers Ellen and Jim Hubbard have been working diligently to try and obtain a Congressional earmark for the creation of the Museum of Government Waste (a monument to useless federal expenditures). In their new film which documents the process, aptly titled, “The Museum of Government Waste,” the Hubbards showcase their five-year journey to lobby Congress for the creation of the building."

Besides these wasteful expenditures, we also have corruption. WND Editor Joseph Farah explains how corruption is allowing Obama and his allies to loot the public treasury. How does it systematically redistribute billions in taxpayer money to sham companies, take political contributions from those companies, watch the government subsidies squandered, and pay no political price with voters? How? The secret to their success is being involved in corruption that is audacious and beyond the imaginations of most Americans, who simply cannot believe anyone would or could attempt to get away with such schemes."

Finally, if we need an example of government inefficiency, we need to look no farther than FEMA. "Remember all those horrific wildfires in Central Texas last summer that destroyed thousands of homes? There's an interesting article in today's Austin American-Statesman -- "Homes rise in Bastrop with the help of more than $4.4 million in donations" -- about how private donations and volunteer efforts (as opposed to yet-to-arrive Federal funds) are now fueling rebuilding efforts. In reading that piece, I couldn't help but recall another article in the Statesman several months ago, "City program has spent millions to improve East Austin neighborhood, but has it helped?"

Last Friday, an EF3 tornado touched down about fifteen minutes from where I live. However, the people did not wait for FEMA to come. One church opened its doors that night as a rescue shelter, and it began collecting donations from the community. However, only two days later, the church had to ask people to stop bringing donations temporarily because the church's gymnasium was too full to handle any more. I have not seen any official number reported in the media, but area residents I know have told me that hundreds of people--perhaps even one thousand--showed up the day after the storm to help residents clean up their property. In the aftermath of the storm, these people accomplished much more than FEMA or any other government agency.


Another Tweet of the Day:
Kathleen McKinley (@KatMcKinley): Rush calls one woman a slut and the left goes nuts, but a lib host says ALL conservative women need their ovaries cut off, and it's FINE.


Topic Six: US and Israel
Obama says that our relationship with Israel is "unbreakable" and "rock solid". I concur, if he means it is as "unbreakable" as a drinking glass on its way to the floor and it is as "rock solid" as lava when it first comes out of a volcano. Meanwhile, Netanyahu tells Obama that Israel must be able to defend itself. Netanyahu told Obama, "I believe that's why you appreciate, Mr. President, that Israel must reserve the right to defend itself. And after all, that's the very purpose of the Jewish state -- to restore to the Jewish people control over our destiny. And that's why my supreme responsibility as Prime Minister of Israel is to ensure that Israel remains the master of its fate."


Debt Watch:
$15,498,306,692,627.99
(As of Wednesday, March 7, 2012 )

Change from March 2, 2012: +$8,433,041,030.49
Your share as a citizen: $49,619.31
Share per household: $135,669.20
Debt since Obama inauguration: $4,871,429,643,714.89


Topic Seven: Green Energy
Why do so many green energy companies fail? "It's almost as if the only reason someone would form a "green energy" company is to try to cash in on government subsidies being blindly dished out by the U.S. Department of Energy, rather than try to establish a sustainable business!"

Does Obama tout failures? "Has anybody else noticed the disturbing correlation between Obama speaking for a product and that product failing miserably shortly thereafter? And they say this guy gives good speeches. Solyndra, Evergreen Solar, SpectraWatt -- the list of failures touted by Obama goes on and on and on. Midas was to gold as Obama is to blood-red ink. When Obama visits a factory, it becomes a "failure factory," doomed to the scrap heap of defunct businesses." With Obama's record of picking winners, I would feel comfortable gambling on sports as long as my selections are the exact opposite of the President's.

If you thought that the current administration would be excited about an overage of wind power, you are wrong. The government is now paying wind farms to NOT produce power.


One Final Joke:
"It seems a cat named Hank is running for the Senate in Virginia. You know the difference between a cat and politician? A cat doesn't pretend to care about you."
-Jay Leno


Topic Eight: Overregulation
The regulatory juggernaut: "While Republicans focus on skewering GOP presidential candidates in primaries, Team Obama’s regulatory juggernaut continues to destroy the American way of life. Small businesses, entrepreneurs, and job creators are already groaning from the weight of the many and new regulations Obama has initiated in the past three years. Even more regulations are on the way. However, many of the regulations are masked as "initiatives", where the actual regulation is buried in various appropriations bills sent to congress in the President's 2013 budget."

What will tomorrow's stupid rule be? "When I was a kid, I remember watching that Schoolhouse Rock cartoon about how a bill becomes a law. That single cartoon probably brainwashed three generations of children into believing in the checks and balances fantasy of the US federal government. The reality is what we see everywhere today– self-regulating, self-legislating executive agencies with nearly unlimited scope and authority. Even the most mundane offices within the Fish and Wildlife Service can confiscate people’s private property without any judicial oversight. These agencies can also conjure new rules out of thin air, all on their own, that have the same weight and effect as laws."


Tweet of the Day:
John Hayward (@Doc_0): I am so tired of being "denied access" to all the stuff other people aren't forced to buy for me.


Topic Nine: ObamaCare
Will the Independent Payment Advisory Board established by the Affordable Care Act to control health costs lead to rationing? Scott Gottlieb, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, testified that it will. See his responses to two questions. First, will the ability to deliver care be hurt by reduced payments mandated by the board? And second, will this lead to a form of rationing?

One of the claims behind the push for computerized medical records is the belief that it will lower costs by eliminating duplicate testing. On the surface, this claim does seem to make sense; if a doctor has access to the results of a test ordered in the emergency room, it would seem that the doctor would not need to order the same test again. However, a study showed that this is not the case. From the study: "Physicians without such access ordered imaging in 12.9 percent of visits, while physicians with access ordered imaging in 18.0 percent of visits."


Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"In a general sense, all contributions imposed by the government upon individuals for the service of the state, are called taxes, by whatever name they may be known, whether by the name of tribute, tythe, tallage, impost, duty, gabel, custom, subsidy, aid, supply, excise, or other name."
-Joseph Story


Topic Ten: Abortion
Steven Aden on ultrasound requirements and "rape": "Straining to prove this mad assertion, abortion supporters are claiming that such an ultrasound requirement will result in women being “forcibly penetrated,” and therefore, violated by the state. What’s strange is that these same people have no ethical qualms about allowing an abortionist’s scalpels and vacuum devices to be inserted into a woman as her baby is literally ripped from the womb limb by limb. And they apparently feel no angst over a pre-born child being injected with medicine that stops his or her heart so that labor can be induced and the stillborn child can be disposed of in a trash can (or a dumpster) in much the same way one would dispose of a banana peel or moldy bread."

Is abortion moving further down a slippery slope? "Nowhere is the danger of the slippery slope more evident than in the area of abortion. If an unborn child's right to life can be denied based on criteria like age, size, location, cognitive capacity or simply the wishes of the mother, then what's to stop similar criteria from nullifying the life rights of the elderly, the disabled, or even the very young? The fruits of this disturbing trend are already playing out in countries like the U.K. and Canada, where panels of bureaucrats hold the power of life and death over the terminally ill and the aged. ... It is hardly surprising, then, that some in the field of bioethics – in the abhorrent tradition of Peter Singer – have begun to embrace infanticide as a perfectly reasonable solution to the hardship and inconvenience sometimes imposed by the birth of a child."


Tomorrow in History
March 9, 1842 - California's first gold discovery occurred at Rancho San Francisco, a full six years before the gold rush.


Grab Bag - Interesting and Important Stories to Conclude Your Evening

Second amendment victory: Maryland gun owners >do not have to have a "reason" to get a permit

Hooked on free money

Critical TSA scanner flaw? Blogger shows how to get metal objects past scanner

Florida city offers free gas for tourists

You'll need 76 days to read all your privacy policies

Remedial Constitutional education

Obama: the most Biblically-hostile president

The coming pension crisis

The real obstructionists

GOP AGs allege Obama administration violated law 21 times



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Michigan's "Why Didn't We Think of That!" Moment

Amanda Clayton, a recent winner of a $1 million lottery game show, recently lost her $200 per month food stamp benefits after boasting about it on a local TV station. From FOXNews:
Amanda Clayton hit the jackpot in the "Make Me Rich!" lottery game show in October and, after electing to take a lump sum of $700,000 and allowing for taxes, was left with about $500,000, she told WDIV-TV.

The 24-year-old, who is unemployed, said she continued to receive public assistance.

"I thought that they would cut me off, but since they didn't, I thought, maybe, it was OK because I'm not working," Clayton said. "It's hard. I am struggling."

She added, "I feel that it's okay because I mean, I have no income and I have bills to pay. I have two houses."
Only in the world of Bill Gates and Mitt Romney are people with two houses considered "struggling." Now that her food stamp benefit has been cut, this poor lady might even have to sell off one of her houses in order to pay her bills.

Nevertheless, I do not blame this lady as much as I blame the politicians who create poor policy. Looking through the information on the Michigan DHS website, there is nothing that requests any information about a household's net worth. I even went through the "food stamp calculator" program and entered information based on what the article contained, and it told me that she would still be eligible for $200/month in food stamps.

In creating these types of systems, they are intentionally made inflexible in order to prevent patronage by government employees. However, this inflexibility also prohibits the government from refusing people who qualify according to the "system" but have other circumstances that make their claim ridiculous. It appears that under Michigan law, Clayton was perfectly justified in continuing to claim food stamps, but the politicians who created a system that allows these benefits to be paid should be held accountable.

D.C. Daily: March 8, 2012

Senate
Yesterday's Action:
The Senate passed three measures by unanimous consent: H.R. 4105, to apply the countervailing duty provisions of the Tariff Act of 1930 to nonmarket economy countries; S. 1855, the "Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act Reauthorization"; and S. Res. 390, honoring the life and legacy of the Honorable Donald M. Payne. The Senate then resumed consideration of S. 1813, "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century". An agreement was reached to close all further amendments to the bill, and a list of all pending amendments was read.

Today's Schedule:
The Senate will meet today at 9:30 AM to hold further consideration of S. 1813, "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century".


House
Yesterday's Action:
The House passed H.R. 2842, the "Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act" by a vote of 265-154. The House then moved to consider H.R. 3606, the "Reopening American Capital Markets to Emerging Growth Companies Act of 2011". An agreement was reached to hold further consideration of the bill today.

In committee meetings, the House Foreign Affairs Committee reported six measures: H.R. 2106, the "Syria Freedom Support Act"; H.R. 890, the "Holocaust Insurance Accountability Act of 2011"; H.R. 1410, the "Vietnam Human Rights Act of 2011"; H.R. 3783, the "Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act of 2012"; H.R. 4041, the "Export Promotion Reform Act"; and S. Con. Res. 17, a concurrent resolution expressing the sense of Congress that Taiwan should be accorded observer status in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The House Homeland Security Committee held markup and reported H.R. 2179, to amend title 49, United States Code, to direct the Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security (Transportation Security Administration) to transfer unclaimed money recovered at airport. Finally, the House Small Business Committee reported five measures: H.R. 3850, the "Government Efficiency through Small Business Contracting Act of 2012"; H.R. 3893, the "Subcontracting Transparency and Reliability Act of 2012"; H.R. 3980, the "Small Business Opportunity Act of 2012"; H.R. 4118, the "Small Business Procurement Improvement Act of 2012"; and H.R. 4121, the "Early Stage Small Business Contracting Act of 2012". The committee also agreed to the Small Business Administration's budget request for FY 2013.

Today's Schedule:
The House will meet at 10:00 AM today and will finish consideration of H.R. 3606, the "Reopening American Capital Markets to Emerging Growth Companies Act of 2011".

Two committees will hold markup on bills today. The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will consider H.R. 2903, the "FEMA Reauthorization Act of 2011"; H.R. 4097, the "John F. Kennedy Center Reauthorization Act of 2012"; H.R. 3182, to designate the United States courthouse located at 222 West 7th Avenue in Anchorage, Alaska, as the "James M. Fitzgerald United States Courthouse"; and H.R. 3556, to designate the new United States courthouse in Buffalo, New York, as the "Robert H. Jackson United States Courthouse". The Ways and Means Committee will hold markup on H.R. 452, the "Medicare Decisions Accountability Act of 2011".


All information is taken from the Congressional Register.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

D.C. Daily: March 7, 2012

Senate
Yesterday's Action:
The Senate passed two measures by unanimous consent: S. 1886, the "Counterfeit Drug Penalty Enhancement Act" and S. Res. 389, designating the first week of April 2012 as "National Asbestos Awareness Week". The Senate then resumed consideration of S. 1813, "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century". The vote for cloture on the Reid amendment failed with 52 in favor and 44 opposed. Finally, the Senate moved to consider two judicial nominations: Mary Elizabeth Phillips was confirmed as District Judge for the Western District of Missouri by a vote of 95-2 and Thomas Owen Rice was confirmed as District Judge for the Eastern District of Washington by a vote of 93-4.

Today's Schedule:
The Senate will meet today at 10:00 AM for morning business, followed by further debate on S. 1813, "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century".


House
Yesterday's Action:
Under suspension of the rules, the House agreed to H.R. 4105, to apply the countervailing duty provisions of the Tariff Act of 1930 to nonmarket economy countries. The House then began consideration of H.R. 2842, the "Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act". The House considered amendments, approved the rule associated with the bill, and then agreed to resume consideration of the bill today.

In committee meetings, the Committee on Energy and Commerce: completed markup and reported three bills: H.R. 452, the "Medicare Decisions Accountability Act of 2011"; H.R. 3309, the "Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act"; and H.R. 3310, the "Federal Communications Commission Consolidated Reporting Act". The Judiciary Committee held markup on H.R. 4119, the "Board Tunnel Prevention Act of 2012" and reported the bill unamended. The Committee on Rules approved the rule for H.R. 3606, the "Reopening American Capital Markets to Emerging Growth Companies Act of 2011".

Today's Schedule:
The House will meet at 10:00 AM today, and it is expected to consider two bills under the rules: H.R. 2842, the "Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act" and H.R. 3606, the "Reopening American Capital Markets to Emerging Growth Companies Act of 2011".


All information is taken from the Congressional Register.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Obama Vacation Scorecard

The site Mr. Conservative has a scorecard of the Obamas' vacations from the past two years. Topping the list: $1.5 million for the 2010 Hawaiian Christmas vacation.

I will attempt to explain this in a way that the President can understand:
This is like golf: a lower score is better!

D.C. Daily: March 6, 2012

Senate
Yesterday's Action:
The Senate passed S. 2153, to apply the countervailing duty provisions of the Tariff Act of 1930 to nonmarket economy countries, by unanimous consent. A further agreement was reached providing that if H.R. 4105 is identical following its passage by the House, the Senate will proceed to immediate consideration of H.R. 4105 without debate or amendments. Senators Reid, Schumer, and Alexander were appointed to the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. The Senate then resumed consideration of S. 1813, "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century". An agreement was reached regarding control of debate prior to the cloture vote.

Today's Schedule:
The Senate will meet today at 10:00 AM for morning business, followed by further debate on S. 1813, "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century". A vote to invoke cloture on Reid Amendment No. 1761 will take place at approximately 12:00 Noon. At 2:15 PM, the Senate will consider the nominations of Mary Elizabeth Phillips to be United States District Judge for the Western District of Missouri and Thomas Owen Rice to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Washington. Votes for confirmation are expected to take place sometime in the evening.

Several Senate committees will meet today, but no bills are expected to be considered.


House
Yesterday's Action:
Under suspension of the rules, the House agreed to three measures regarding the naming of post offices: H.R. 3637 (Jupiter, Florida),H.R. 3413 (Bronx, New York), and S. 1710 (Anchorage, Alaska). The House than agreed to S. Con. Res. 35 and S. Con. Res. 36, establishing the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies and authorizing the use of the rotunda and Emancipation Hall of the Capitol by the committee.

Today's Schedule:
The House will meet today at 10:00 AM. The House is expected to consider one bill under the rules: H.R. 2842, the "Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act".

There are no House committee meetings scheduled for today.


All information is taken from the Congressional Register.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Final Five: March 5, 2012

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
March 5, 2012

Tonight's Crazy Story:
“Auto Correct” Phone Mishap Forces Schools Into Lockdown
The iPhone's auto correct feature is known for changing words, but this auto correct warranted a police response. Instead of saying "gonna," the phone changed the word to "gunman" prompting a lockdown and police response at two schools before the problem was identified.


Topic One: Romney and the Mandate
Did Romney support a national individual mandate before he was against it? In this campaign, Romney has defended his own health care plan on the grounds that a state can do many things that the federal government cannot. However, a 2009 Romney Op-Ed for USA Today, written in the middle of the health care debate, shows that Romney supported the individual mandate, but not the defeated "public option."

Romney's article starts: "Health care cannot be handled the same way as the stimulus and cap-and-trade bills. With those, the president stuck to the old style of lawmaking: He threw in every special favor imaginable, ground it up and crammed it through a partisan Democratic Congress. Health care is simply too important to the economy, to employment and to America's families to be larded up and rushed through on an artificial deadline. There's a better way. And the lessons we learned in Massachusetts could help Washington find it."

In case someone forgot, Romney's article goes on to explain just how they accomplished health care reform in Massachusetts: "Our experience also demonstrates that getting every citizen insured doesn't have to break the bank. First, we established incentives for those who were uninsured to buy insurance. Using tax penalties, as we did, or tax credits, as others have proposed, encourages "free riders" to take responsibility for themselves rather than pass their medical costs on to others."

Erick Erickson summed it up best for RedState: "Friends, if Mitt Romney is the nominee, we will be unable to fight Obama on an issue that 60% of Americans agree with us on."


There's Always Time for a Laugh:
"Police officers say that because of the economy, more thieves are stealing gas from parked cars. Victims said they hadn't felt that robbed since they put the gas INTO their car."
-Jimmy Fallon


Topic Two: Israel and Iran
Does Israel trust the United States? Omri Ceren says that Obama has abandoned the promises the US has made to Israel. "The somewhat nuanced, word-parsing answer to that question goes something like: it might be true the president has kept all the commitments that he specifically has made to the Israelis, of which there have been very few, but the problem is that he has abandoned wholesale the assurances made by previous administrations, undermining the faith that the Israelis (to say nothing of our other allies) have in American assurances as such."

More on the lack of trust from Jerry Philipson: "A preemptive Israeli strike is something Obama doesn't want because it would reflect very badly on his failed policies, his lack of leadership, his inability to control or even influence events in the Middle East, his antipathy towards Israel, his sympathy for the Islamic world and his general ideological bent. That is something he cannot afford in this election year because it would cost him a large number of votes, which in turn could keep him from getting re-elected. In order to buy time and get him through the election in November Obama is going to do everything he can to convince Netanyahu and the Israelis not to launch a preemptive strike, including making promises we know he won't keep."

Related stories: Why Israel doubts Obama || Huckabee: We must act soon || Would you trust Obama to protect you?


Debt Watch:
$15,489,873,651,597.46
(As of Friday, March 2, 2012 )

Change from March 1, 2012: -$11,141,064,546.24
Your share as a citizen: $49,592.31
Share per household: $135,595.38
Debt since Obama inauguration: $4,862,996,602,684.36


Topic Three: Gas Prices
First, it was algae. Now, it's fuel efficiency. " President Obama says vehicle fuel economy standards set under his administration and better cars built by a resurgent U.S. auto industry will save money at the gas pump over the long term, a counterpoint to Republican criticism of his energy policy." However, these standards are not set to take effect until 2017. What will fuel prices do in the mean time?

Rich Lowry on the wide ranging effects of Obama's energy "plan": "We should want to replicate North Dakotas everywhere we can. Yet we deny ourselves access to oil and gas off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, off about half the Gulf Coast, and in and around Alaska. We could be sitting on as much as 1.4 trillion barrels of technically recoverable oil. That’s an enormous amount of wealth that we turn up our noses at. If nothing else, recovering our oil and gas would create thousands of the blue-collar jobs that Democrats — rightly — say we need more of. And oil companies will pay the federal government for the privilege. Imagine if Solyndra had given the feds $500 million to build its solar-panel plant in California, rather than the other way around. At the same time the Obama administration has thrown billions of dollars at green energy — the president’s latest enthusiasm is algae — it has denied the government billions of dollars of revenue from new leases."

Does Obama think gas is too cheap? "It appears the President studied economics with his textbook upside down. He proposes to raise taxes on oil companies in order to combat high gasoline prices. Or not. Maybe his textbook was right side up and he thinks gasoline prices are too low. That would be consistent with statements by his Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu. On Thursday, the President reiterated his call for higher taxes on oil companies. The President pretends increasing taxes is just removing oil industry subsidies. They are tax increases."


Tweet of the Day:
@RBPundit: There is no war on women. There's a war on religious freedom being masked by the Dem Media Complex with a non-existent war on women. #tcot


Topic Four: Tax Policy
Will Obama walk away from his middle-class tax cut promise? "What is clear is that, having been tempted to end all of the Bush tax cuts in 2009, the president would only find the idea more attractive were he to win a second term. At that point, he will never again stand before the voters, at least not as a presidential candidate. There would be nothing to stop him from flouting a campaign promise, even one as sensitive as his tax pledge. Meanwhile, after four straight years of trillion-dollar deficits, the pressure to narrow the budget shortfall would be even more intense than it was during his first term. Perhaps most important of all, killing the entire zombie army of Bush tax breaks would be far, far easier than only slaying the upper-income portions. To pull off the former, Obama literally has to do nothing—the tax breaks are slated to expire on their own. To do the latter, he would have to pass legislation extending the middle-class elements."

The Heritage Foundation has an analysis of the new taxes in the President's budget: "On top of the $128 billion in hidden taxes, the President takes credit for tax cuts when he really doesn’t deserve it. Dubay reports that the budget includes $317 billion in pre-existing tax cutting policies, including the payroll tax holiday ($31 billion), the American Opportunity Tax Credit ($137 billion), the Research and Experimentation Credit ($109 billion), the group of tax-reducing policies known as the “tax extenders” ($34 billion), along with a handful of other provisions totaling $6 billion — even though these policies were already part of the tax code. In other words, the President wants to get all the credit, while dodging the blame. Take away those wrongly counted cuts and the President actually wants to raise taxes by more than $2 trillion!"


Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"That, as a republic is the best of governments, so that particular arrangements of the powers of society, or, in other words, that form of government which is best contrived to secure an impartial and exact execution of the laws, is the best of republics."
-John Adams


Topic Five: American Exceptionalism
A PJ Media column explains what American exceptionalism means: "Just recently, President Obama said to NBC, “Well, it turns out our Founders designed a system that makes it more difficult to bring about change than I would like sometimes.” That’s the difference. That’s the exceptionalism. The United States was founded on the idea that it ought to be difficult to allow the government to “do things on our behalf.” All of the Founders knew — from Washington and Franklin, to Paine and Jefferson, to Henry and Hancock, to John and Sam Adams — that rights must pertain to the individual, not the group, and that they must protect these individuals from the man-made entity we call “government.” The government cannot prevent your right to speech, religion, assembly, and so forth."

Steve McCann has a slightly different (but still valid) take, and says that Obama is bringing about the end of American exceptionalism: "Barack Obama and his regime have accomplished much of what they set out to do -- namely, the transformation of American society and an end to the pre-eminent status of the United States. They have had a singleness of purpose and allegiance first and foremost to a confused and muddled ideology and not country. When the leadership of a great nation exhibits this trait, the consequences can be catastrophic. The product of a lifetime of leftist indoctrination, Barack Obama has, as the basic foundation of his disorganized and uncertain belief system, a conviction that the United States has been the epitome of oppression and arrogance throughout its history."


Tomorrow in History
March 6, 1981 - Walter Cronkite signs off of CBS Evening News for the final time.


Grab Bag - Interesting and Important Stories to Conclude Your Evening

Volt production stopped; 1300 workers laid off

Breitbart's Obama tapes to be released within ten days

The real reason for "Angry Birds"

Is Mitt Romney 2012's John Kerry?

No news, just ESPN

Hypocrisy? PETA kills stray animals

Obama campaign hires former Charlie Sheen social media rep



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D.C. Daily: March 5, 2012

Senate
Friday's Action:
The Senate held further debate on S. 1813, "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century". An agreement was reached regarding the Reid Amendment, and a vote for cloture on consideration of the amendment will occur at 12:00 PM on Tuesday, March 6.

Today's Schedule:
The Senate will meet today at 2:00 PM to conduct further debate on S. 1813, "Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century". There are no Senate committee meetings scheduled for today.


House
Friday's Action:
The House was not in session on Friday.

Today's Schedule:
The House will meet today at 12:00 PM. The schedule was not released to the Congressional Record.

Several bills will be under consideration during committee meetings today. The Committee on Energy and Commerce will hold markup on H.R. 452, the "Medicare Decisions Accountability Act of 2011", H.R. 3309, the "Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act", and H.R. 3310, the "Federal Communications Commission Consolidated Reporting Act". The Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Courts, Commercial and Administrative Law, will hold a hearing on H.R. 3534, the "Security In Bonding Act of 2011". The Committee on Rules will hold a hearing on H.R. 2842, the "Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development and Rural Jobs Act of 2011".


All information is taken from the Congressional Register.