Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Final Five: March 24, 2012

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
March 24, 2012

Tonight's Crazy Story:
Radio Caller Charged After Allegedly Bragging How She Faked PTSD to Avoid Jury Duty on Air
If you just committed a felony, it would probably be a good idea to not call into a local radio show and brag about it. When a Denver woman called a local radio station and described how she faked mental illness to get out of jury duty, an investigator from the District Attorney's office was listening.

Topic One: Arguments Against ObamaCare
Many good articles are being written on the Constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Steven Engel writes about the economic case: "As over 100 economists successfully argued before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, the voluntarily uninsured -- the young, healthy and not poor who choose to forgo coverage -- do not shift costs in our health care system. The lower Court rightly found that "the primary persons regulated by the individual mandate are not cost shifters but healthy individuals who forgo purchasing insurance." According to the economists' analysis of Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) data, only one-half of 1 percent of total health spending can be attributed to the targets of the individual mandate. The real purpose of the mandate is not to recover uncompensated costs, but to force younger, healthier individuals to subsidize the health insurance of others."

A WSJ editorial explains the liberty argument against ObamaCare: "The argument against the individual mandate—the requirement that everyone buy health insurance or pay a penalty—is carefully anchored in constitutional precedent and American history. The Commerce Clause that the government invokes to defend such regulation has always applied to commercial and economic transactions, not to individuals as members of society. This distinction is crucial. The health-care and health-insurance markets are classic interstate commerce. The federal government can regulate broadly—though not without limit—and it has. It could even mandate that people use insurance to purchase the services of doctors and hospitals, because then it would be regulating market participation. But with ObamaCare the government is asserting for the first time that it can compel people to enter those markets, and only then to regulate how they consume health care and health insurance."

The overregulation argument: "The Hydra was a mythical swamp beast whose multiple heads grew back after being severed. Obamacare is a real Washington monster whose countless hidden bureaucracies keep sprouting forth even after they're rooted out. As soon as combatants lop off one of the law's unconstitutional agencies, another takes its place."

There's Always Time for a Laugh:
"March Madness started again today with the start of the round known as the Sweet 16. President Obama's bracket was in the top 2 percent of everyone who makes picks on I guess it helps when you can send the CIA in to scout the teams."
-Jimmy Kimmel

Topic Two: The Ryan Budget
Ross Kaminsky gives the Ryan Budget a glowing review for The American Spectator: "The House Republican budget contrasts mightily, in approach and in the numbers, with President Obama's recent budget, which could be entitled "The Path to Bankruptcy and Dependency," and with the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate's budget which, as Rep. Ryan subtly reminds us, does not exist. But it also throws down a gauntlet to Republican presidential candidates, pressing them to emphasize pro-growth economic policies more clearly and more aggressively. The focus on foundational principles is neither idle talk nor only of academic interest to Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) whose "expression of…principles, vision, and philosophy of governing" is captured in the budget document. It is a philosophy and a budget that aim to put the U.S. back on track toward fiscal sanity and toward the uniquely American vision of limited government at limited cost."

Veronique de Rugy expresses a much more critical viewpoint at National Review Online: "The overwhelming response coming out of the free-market movement is that the proposed Ryan plan is great. And parts of that plan are good. But I thought the only way I can add something productive to this conversation is by pointing out how this plan isn’t doing nearly enough to reduce the size of government and make our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren better. I apologize in advance to all of you who think that we should only be encouraging Chairman Ryan who, after all, is one of the very few members of Congress who has had the courage to talk about reforming Medicare. But I think this is not the time to compromise. Considering the situation we are in today, the size of government, the level of our debt, the continuous violations of our economic and personal freedoms, free-market advocates should be breathing fire everyday and fight for truly smaller government. This plan isn’t enough."

As de Rugy mentions, Ryan certainly should be commended for being the only one expressing a plan to reform entitlements. However, it needs to go much farther. We need a plan that will balance the budget today, not years from now. We need a plan that reforms all entitlements, not just the one closest to insolvency. We need to put everything on the table, including defense. (What good will our military do if our enemies can attack us economically through their debt holdings?) Every American knows that the first step in getting out of debt is to cut up the credit cards, but our government refuses to stop its deficit spending.

Debt Watch:
(As of Thursday, March 22, 2012 )

Change: +$10,477,329,929
Your share as a citizen: $49,881.08
Share per household: $136,427.28
Debt since Obama inauguration: $4,958,028,845,214

Topic Three: Voter ID
Kenneth Klukowski on protecting voter integrity: "Protecting the integrity of the ballot box is essential to our democracy. Laws requiring voters to show identification at the polls are commonsense measures to prevent fraud and corruption, and ensure that each year's election returns accurately reflect the will of the people. Yet President Obama's administration and political allies are pursuing a dual-track approach to vilify such tools, in a crass political ploy to aid the president's reelection. In 2008, the Supreme Court held in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board that Indiana's voter-ID law is constitutional. The Court noted that the challengers could not produce a single voter disenfranchised by that law. Now thirty-two states have voter-ID laws to protect their electoral process."

Why oppose voter ID laws? Conservative Byte explains: "IF A PERSON CAN’T MAKE SUCH A SIMPLE EFFORT AS TAKING THE TIME TO GO DOWN TO GET A PHOTO ID, THEY DON’T DESERVE TO VOTE. They would be evidencing that they don’t have enough civic responsibility or intelligence to adequately figure out the right people to vote for. But I don’t think that’s the case. That is, the only reason that I can see to fight against requiring a photo ID (although it will never be stated this way by the left) is because it will detract efforts to commit fraud with the voting counts … just like it was done in 2008 with dead people voting; incarcerated people voting; the same person voting multiple times and in multiple states; votes being paid for; people voting for other people; people being rounded up in busses and being told to vote a certain way just because of how the elections were being presented to them; voter intimidation (like the Black Panthers did in Philadelphia); etc."

Tweet of the Day:
Ken Gardner (@kesgardner): Really, in a better political culture the Dems would pay a SEVERE price for refusing to tell us how much they want to spend on what. #tcot

Topic Four: Green(-Wasting) Energy
$10.8 Million subsidy per job? "President Obama will tout investments in “renewable” energy Wednesday at the local Copper Mountain Solar 1 plant, although the plant has only five full-time employees. The plant, owned by San Diego-based energy company Sempra, was built in late 2010 at a cost of $141 million. Funding included $42 million in federal-government tax credits and $12 million in tax-rebate commitments from the state of Nevada. Construction of the plant involved over 300 part-time jobs, but currently only five full-time employees operate the plant, a Sempra spokeswoman confirmed. That comes out to $10.8 million in tax-dollar subsidies per employee."

Obama's algae racket: "Pond scum stinks. And so do the Obama administration's enormous, taxpayer-funded "investments" in politically connected biofuel companies. While the president embarks on a green rehabilitation tour this week to quell growing public outrage about big green boondoggles, the White House continues to cultivate a cozy algae racket. Obama's promotion of algae as a fuel source at a campaign speech in Miami last month caught the nation's attention. But algae companies have been banking on administration support from Day One. In December 2008, when the White House announced the nomination of Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the CEO of Florida-based biofuels startup Algenol, Paul Woods, exulted to Time magazine: "You see this smile on my face? It's not going away. Everyone is really excited by this."

Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
Not a founding father, but a true and excellent quote nonetheless. "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies."
-Groucho Marx

Topic Five: Iran
Obama announced exemptions for the Iran sanctions this week, but Jonathan Tobin asks if this shows Obama's real intentions: "The danger here is not only that Iran doesn’t believe that President Obama has the guts to risk raising oil prices in an election year and thus will continue to defy international efforts to get it to back down. Though the waivers allow the administration some flexibility in implementation of the sanctions, the fear is that when push comes to shove, the president will lack the nerve to punish nations that still prefer to do business with Tehran. The waivers may also encourage the Iranians to use the promise of negotiations to string the West along without them ever having to give up their nukes. As with everything else about the administration’s Iran policy, the key issue here is trust. The Treasury Department has already issued thousands of exemptions to American companies who want to do business with Iran in violation of the law. So long as Obama and Clinton can keep talking tough, they may assume that the public will be unaware of the fact that the crippling sanctions Congress imposed on them are full of holes."

Does Iran think Obama is bluffing? "Iranian leaders also believe that since Israel would now have to act alone, it will not risk thousands of missiles from many fronts raining down on Tel Aviv and ultimately will also accept a nuclear Iran. Most of all, they believe that once Iran is nuclear-armed, the West will be checkmated, as the cost of any confrontation at that time would be the destruction of the world. The leaders of the Islamic regime have often said, "While the West loves life, martyrdom is an honor for us." Therein lies the dilemma for the West: bear the economic and human costs of destroying Iran's nuclear facilities now, or accept a nuclear-armed Iran that is bent on paving the way for the return of the 12th Imam Mahdi and the global dominance of Islam."

Tomorrow in History
March 25, 1995 - The first wiki, WikiWikiWeb, is made public by Ward Cunningham.

Grab Bag - Interesting and Important Stories to Conclude Your Evening

Tax reform means tax equality

Muslim Brotherhood flip-flops, will enter Presidential race

Texas city manager lays himself off

Will online learning ruin education?

Parents better at combating obesity

Why shouting "racism" doesn't work anymore

Internet: the great truth detector

Why some political gaffes matter, and others don't

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Friday, March 23, 2012

D.C. Daily: March 23, 2012

Yesterday's Action:
During morning business, the Senate agreed to two measures: H. Con. Res. 108, permitting the use of the rotunda of the Capitol for a ceremony as part of the commemoration of the days of remembrance of victims of the Holocaust, S. Res. 404, recognizing the life and work of war correspondent Marie Colvin and other courageous journalists in war zones, and S. Res. 405, authorizing the taking of a photograph in the Chamber of the United States Senate.

After voting on two amendments, the Senate agreed to H.R. 3606, the "Reopening American Capital Markets to Emerging Growth Companies Act", with 73 yeas and 26 nays. The Senate also agreed to concur with the House amendment on S. 2038, the "Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act", by a vote of 96-3. The Senate also agreed to three nominations: David Nuffer to be District Judge for the District of Utah, Ronnie Abrams to be District Judge for the Southern District of New York, and Rudolph Contreras to be District Judge for the District of Columbia.

Today's Schedule:
The Senate will not meet today. The next scheduled meeting of the Senate is set for 2:00 PM on Monday, March 26.

Yesterday's Action:
The House passed H.R. 5, the "Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare Act" by a vote of 223 yeas, 181 nays.

Today's Schedule:
The House will not meet today. The next scheduled meeting of the House is set for 12:00 PM on Monday, March 26.

All information is taken from the Congressional Register.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Final Five; March 22, 2012

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
March 22, 2012

Due to a hectic schedule today, tonight's Final Five will contain one story per topic. I will return to the usual format for tomorrow's edition.

Tonight's Crazy Story:
101-year-old Woman Sets World Paragliding Record
Mary Hardison of Ogden, Utah, will enter the record books as the "Oldest Female to Paraglide Tandem".

Topic One: The Walker Recall
Walker maintains optimism: "Despite the oncoming onslaught, Walker maintains his sunny disposition. He continues to take to the airwaves in defense of his platform, though he avoids all shows other than Morning Joe on MSNBC, “the network of my recall election,” he jokes.

He grounds his optimism in the belief that he’s doing the right thing. “I honestly believe that when we prevail, we’ll send a powerful message not only to our state house in Madison, we’ll send it to every state house in America,” Walker says. “We’ll send a message everywhere that if you do the right thing, if you stand up and take on the tough challenges, not only will you prevail, but there will be good fellow citizens there willing to stand with you.”

Once asked by a friend whether he wondered if he shouldn’t have so gone so far with his budget reforms, Walker replied, “If I hadn’t gone so far, I wouldn’t have fixed it. I’ve never been afraid to lose.” And given how important the example Wisconsin sets will be, he insists, “We can’t fail."

There's Always Time for a Laugh:
"According to a new book, President Obama blames Fox News for his political problems and losing voters. How could Fox News lose voters? If you're watching Fox News, you're probably not voting for him in the first place."
-Jay Leno

Topic Two: ObamaCare Turns Two
The quiet birthday of ObamaCare: "When health-care reform was passed, we were promised that it would do three things: 1) provide health-insurance coverage for all Americans; 2) reduce insurance costs for individuals, businesses, and government; and 3) increase the quality of health care and the value received for each dollar of health-care spending. At the same time, the president and the law’s supporters in Congress promised that the legislation would not increase the federal-budget deficit or unduly burden the economy. And it would do all these things while letting those of us who were happy with our current health insurance keep it unchanged. Two years in, we can see that none of these things is true.

For example, we now know that, contrary to claims made when the bill passed, the law will not come close to achieving universal coverage. In fact, as time goes by, it looks as if the bill will cover fewer and fewer people than advertised. According to a report from the Congressional Budget Office released last week, Obamacare will leave 27 million Americans uninsured by 2022. This represents an increase of 2–4 million uninsured over previous reports. Moreover, it should be noted that, of the 23 million Americans who will gain coverage under Obamacare, 17 million will not be covered by real insurance, but will simply be dumped into the Medicaid system, with all its problems of access and quality. Thus, only about 20 million Americans will receive actual insurance coverage under Obamacare. That’s certainly an improvement over the status quo, but it’s also a far cry from universal coverage — and not much bang for the buck, given Obamacare’s ever-rising cost.

At the same time, the legislation is a major failure when it comes to controlling costs. While we were once told that health-care reform would “bend the cost curve down,” we now know that Obamacare will actually increase U.S. health-care spending. This should come as no surprise: If you are going to provide more benefits to more people, it is going to cost you more money. The law contained few efforts to actually contain health-care costs, and the CBO now reports that many of the programs it did contain, such as disease management and care coordination, will not actually reduce costs. As the CBO noted, “in nearly every program involving disease management and care coordination, spending was either unchanged or increased relative to the spending that would have occurred in the absence of the program, when the fees paid to the participating organization were considered."

Debt Watch:
(As of Wednesday, March 21, 2012 )

Change: -$8,955,281,951
Your share as a citizen: $49,847.55
Share per household: $136,335.56
Debt since Obama inauguration: $4,947,551,515,285

Topic Three: The Economy
The economy is (or should be) the primary issue: ""It's the economy, stupid" is the infamous mantra conceived by political consultant James Carville that underscored the main issue driving the 1992 presidential race. A few months later, Bill Clinton replaced George H.W. Bush (41) as president, and it was the focus on the economy that got him there.

It was shocking this week to hear Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, one of the Republican presidential candidates say, "The issue in this race is not the economy."

This statement by Santorum is not in tune with likely voters. While it is not the only issue, Rasmussen Reports noted earlier this month that it is the number one issue for likely voters by twenty percent. Likely voters listed the economy as very important (82 percent). The other items listed as very important that topped 50 percent of the likely voters were: health care (62 percent), government ethics and corruption (61 percent), taxes (60 percent), energy policy (54 percent), education (54 percent), and social security (53 percent), based on two national surveys of likely voters from February 22 -- 23 and February 26 -- 27, 2012, margin of sampling error plus-or-minus 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.

Possibly the Santorum team has been lulled by President Obama's administration into believing that everything is OK on the economic front. Just this month, the administration touted an unemployment rate of 8.3 percent and the addition of 227 thousand non-farm jobs. The simple truth is that there is a lower percentage of people participating in the labor force than there was a year ago. If the labor force participation rate had remained constant, then the unemployment rate would have been 8.7 percent in February, with 13.6 million people out of work."

Tweet of the Day:
@DrewMTips: Today in ObamaWorld: He's taking credit for a pipeline he had nothing to do with & claiming he had nothing to do w/a loan his admin approved

Topic Four: The Ryan Budget and The Election
Is the Ryan Budget setting the stage for the general election: "The Republican presidential candidates seem more amenable. Their fiscal and budget proposals have been somewhat sketchy, and their numbers may not add up. But they are also talking about Medicare reforms and changes in the tax code that would broaden the base and cut rates.

Mitt Romney in particular seems to be deferring to Ryan. He has modified his 59-point economic program with pledges to seek tax and entitlement reform. Ryan was scheduled to meet with him yesterday after his AEI speech.

Romney would be wise to listen. Ryan knows far more about the budget than any of the presidential candidates. He combines deep policy knowledge with sure political instincts -- a combination rare in politicians, especially Republicans."

Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"It is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth — and listen to the song of that siren, till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those, who having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it might cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it."
-Patrick Henry

Topic Five: Energy
Obama's faith-based energy policy: "A president, so Obama claims, has little control over gas prices. New domestic supplies of oil would not come on the market for years. Americans consume a quarter of the world's oil supplies while possessing only 2 percent of global reserves. In a global oil market, additional American drilling would not make that much of a price difference. All of these claims are either flat wrong or misleading."

"Presidents can affect gas prices, at least in the long term, by exercising budgetary discipline resulting in a currency that buys more oil per dollar, by approving or rejecting federal oil leases, and by adding or curbing regulations that affect oil exploration and development. In all of these cases, Obama has supported policies that contribute to higher gas prices."

Tomorrow in History
March 23, 1933 - The German Reichstag passes the Enabling Act of 1933, making Adolf Hitler dictator of Germany.

Grab Bag - Interesting and Important Stories to Conclude Your Evening

"One State Under God" license plates on sale in Texas

"Hope" didn't work out so well in Egypt, either

Minnesota man jailed for not finishing siding on his home

Wasserman Schultz denies saying what she said on national TV

Stony Brook University eliminating most religious holidays

Supreme Court restricts EPA rights

What a surprise! Fluke wants to run for office

Obama says Chinese solar subsidies are bad?

Ron Paul equates the Secret Service to welfare

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D.C. Daily: March 22, 2012

Yesterday's Action:
During morning business, the Senate agreed to S.Res. 403, to authorize testimony, document production, and legal representation in United States v. Richard F. "Dickie" Scruggs. The Senate resumed consideration of H.R. 3606, the "Reopening American Capital Markets to Emerging Growth Companies Act". A motion for cloture on the bill was approved by the senate with 76 yeas and 22 nays. An agreement was reached to begin a series of votes on amendments and on the final bill at 12:30 PM.

Today's Schedule:
The Senate will meet today at 9:30 AM. After morning business, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 3606, the "Reopening American Capital Markets to Emerging Growth Companies Act". The Senate will then resume consideration of the House Message to accompany S. 2038, the "Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act" and also the nominations of David Nuffer to be District Judge for the District of Utah, Ronnie Abrams to be District Judge for the Southern District of New York, and Rudolph Contreras to be District Judge for the District of Columbia.

Yesterday's Action:
The House agree to two measures: H. Con. Res. 108, permitting the use of the rotunda of the Capitol for a ceremony as part of the commemoration of the days of remembrance of victims of the Holocaust, and H.R. 886, the "United States Marshals Service 225th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act". The House than began consideration of H.R. 5, the "Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare Act". The rule for consideration of the bill was approved, and an agreement was later reached to resume consideration on March 22.

Today's Schedule:
The House will meet today at 10:00 AM to consider H.R. 5, the "Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare Act", subject to a rule.

All information is taken from the Congressional Register.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Final Five: March 21, 2012

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
March 21, 2012

Featured Article
7 Principles of Real Health Care Reform
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell spells out seven principles for improving our health care system without ObamaCare.

Tonight's Crazy Story:
Marvin Linius Simmons Accused of Robbing Banks with Nuclear Bomb
One man went all-out in an attempt to rob two banks by threatening to detonate a nuclear bomb if the bank did not hand over the money.

Topic One: Iran
Obama's policy will bring war with Iran: "President Barack Obama hasn’t changed but the situation has, in part due to his actions. Obama will do everything possible to escape confrontation with Iran, but events, reinforced by his own statements and of course by Iranian behavior, will one day, if he is still in office, force him in that direction. Obama is not a capable enough statesman to grab the hem of the mantle of God, but he has managed — to coin a phrase — to entangle himself helplessly into it."

Alan Dershowitz on why deterrence is not an option: "Let us pause for a moment to understand precisely what a policy of deterrence entails. Any such policy is based on the promise that if one side launches a nuclear attack, the other side will retaliate with an equally devastating nuclear attack, thus assuring the destruction of both societies and the deaths of millions of innocent civilians. The first question therefore is whether the United States would actually be willing to retaliate against a nuclear attack on Israel by dropping nuclear bombs on Tehran, killing millions of its civilian inhabitants. The second question is whether any civilized country — the United States or Israel — should be willing to kill millions of Iranian civilians because their leaders made a decision to use nuclear weapons against Israel or the United States. The third question — and the one never asked by advocates of deterrence — is whether it would be legal under the laws of war to target millions of civilians in a retaliatory nuclear attack."

What will the cost of our inaction be? "Whatever the risks of Israeli action, we must never lost sight of the disastrous consequences of inaction—namely the almost certain acquisition of nuclear weapons by the world’s No. 1 state sponsor of terrorism. That is a frightening thought that should put the fallout from any military action into perspective. Ehud Barak, Israel’s most decorated living soldier and a man who knows a thing or two about warfare, says, “A war is no picnic,” but he believes the consequences of action—which are certain to be far greater for Israel than for the U.S.—will be manageable: “There will not be 100,000 dead or 10,000 dead or 1,000 dead. The state of Israel will not be destroyed.” The other possibility is that if Iran does acquire nukes, then the destruction of Israel becomes a much more imaginable possibility."

There's Always Time for a Laugh:
"This Wednesday Mitt Romney goes one-on-one in a debate against the one man who stands in the way of his nomination: Mitt Romney. Massachusetts moderate squares off with die-hard conservative Romney on the issues."
-Jimmy Kimmel

Topic Two: The Ryan Budget
The release of the FY 2013 House budget yesterday was met with mixed reviews, and that is just from conservatives. Mercatus breaks down the significant portions, giving it a poor review on discretionary spending, social security, and sustainability while complementing its approach to medicare and taxes. Jim DeMint says he may not support the House budget. "The whole point here is to show we can reasonably balance the budget within a five-year period. This idea that we have to look 30 years out to balance the budget is not only unnecessary, but it’s improbable."

However, other conservatives have come out in support of the budget plan. Peter Wehner calls it an "extraordinary document. "The first is that Ryan’s budget does what Americans generally, and the pundit class in particular, says politicians don’t do. It tackles head on the issue of entitlements. It offers a real path to re-limiting government (over the next 10 years it cuts more than $5 trillion dollars from President Obama’s budget). It makes the “hard choices” that elected officials often avoid. To be specific, Mr. Ryan’s budget proposes structural reforms to Medicare, the highly popular program that is driving us toward fiscal ruin. The Ryan budget faces up to, rather than denies or ignores, certain mathematical and demographic realities."

Democrats have been even more critical of the Ryan budget plan. Jonathan Cohn says that it will "take health insurance away from tens of millions of people, while effectively eliminating the federal government except for entitlements and defense spending." Another criticism from Think Progress is that "under Ryan’s budget, private plans will be able to cherry-pick the healthiest beneficiaries from traditional Medicare and leave sicker applicants to the government." Anyone have a guess as to when the next round of "pushing granny off the cliff" videos will commence? Is the Ryan budget perfect? Certainly not. I would prefer a budget that balances much more quickly than any plans currently on the table (balanced budget within three years), seriously reforms or eliminates all entitlement programs (including eliminating TANF and food stamps), and proposes real reform to the budget process in order to keep the nation's finances on track (including a balanced budget amendment, line-item veto amendment, impoundment powers for the President, and requirements placed upon our representatives in order to ensure they carry out their budgetary responsibilities). However, this budget is certainly a start towards those goals, and passing it would not preclude the possibility of improving it in future years. Furthermore, it is much better than any plans currently proposed with the exception of the Senate budget proposal by DeMint, Lee, and Paul.

Debt Watch:
(As of Tuesday, March 20, 2012 )

Change: +$9,145,478,044
Your share as a citizen: $49,876.21
Share per household: $136,413.95
Debt since Obama inauguration: $4,956,506,797,236

Topic Three: Skyrocketing Debt
Democrats in the Senate are upset that the Ryan budget plan further lowers spending limits agreed to during the debt ceiling debate last year. The Ryan budget lowers the spending limit by less than two percent, from $1.047 trillion to $1.028 trillion. Bohener responded by saying that the spending limit set last year was like a credit card limit: you do not have to spend the entire amount, but you cannot spend more than that.

Meanwhile, the Obama deficit solution is the Buffett Rule, which will lower the deficit by .06%. John Hinderaker explains, with the help of a graph: "But how far would the Buffett Rule go toward solving America’s fiscal problems? Today the Joint Committee on Taxation reported that implementing the rule would raise only $31 billion over the next 11 years. How much of the federal budget would that cover? The JCT did the math, and the result demonstrates the fecklessness of Obama’s approach to budget issues: of the $47,913 trillion (!) the Congressional Budget Office now projects in federal spending over the next 11 years, the Buffett Rule’s $31 billion amounts to a whopping 6/100ths of one percent." Ultimately, one has to ask if Obama actually cares about the debt. However, given the lack of concrete deficit-reduction ideas from those vying to replace him, one also wonders if any Republicans care either.

However, the states are beginning to fight back by proposing a debt relief amendment to the Constitution. If the legislatures of two-thirds of the states agree to call for a convention to propose amendments, a national convention can be held to replace Congress's role in the amendment process. Some would argue that the convention could become a "rogue convention" and propose a variety of amendments. However, there are two reasons why that argument fails. First, any amendments proposed would still have to be ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures so the amendment would require overwhelming support in order to pass. Second, would a convention of citizens meeting meeting for a few days to propose ways to improve the function of the federal government really be a bad idea? I would contend that our government might be better off if we held such a convention every few years.

Tweet of the Day:
David Burge (@iowahawkblog): You know what else will destroy Medicare as we know it? Medicare as we know it.

Topic Four: Executive Control
Obama's signing of the National Defense Resources Preparedness Executive Order last Friday has raised quite a few concerns. This order gives the President the power to allocate resources to be used for defense purposes in the event of a serious emergency that necessitates martial law. Put simply, private property rights would no longer matter, and everything you own could be taken by the government in the name of "defense".

Joe Herring writes at American Thinker: "The Executive order issued by Obama on 3/16 is largely a restatement of the 1994 Clinton order with a few functional changes. It moves the authority for implementing the provisions of the DPA from the director of FEMA to the Department of Homeland Security, which did not exist at the time of Clinton's presidency. There have been pedestrian additions of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, to the purview of the secretary of energy (as well as a curiously specific redefinition of bottled water as a "food resource" rather than a water resource), but nothing is particularly out of step with the order Obama's EO supersedes. So what is the problem? Well, considering that the authority of the DPA has never been meaningfully exercised, and that the pre-emption of authority claimed by the Clinton-era EO 12919 has been similarly dormant, why would the Obama administration choose this particular time to update an obscure and unused authority?"

However, The Daily Caller says that we do not need to be so concerned: "I also don’t see anything in the executive order that establishes a new legal authority of any kind. Not only is the language old hat, but it spells out which laws the White House is relying on for its authority. So this is all pretty thin soup. If we can’t trust the president — any president — to look at what’s going on and make his cabinet secretaries play nice, we have bigger problems than who’s going to control the next corn crop if Putin starts punching in launch codes instead of his ATM password."

The overall conclusion I draw is this: in the right hands, this power will lie dormant, but in the wrong hands, this power can be used to subvert the Constitution. Unfortunately, I find it hard to trust a President that has subverted the Constitution on so many issues to allow this one to lie dormant, especially when he has taken the time to specifically reaffirm his powers.

Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"The dignity and stability of government in all its branches, the morals of the people, and every blessing of society depend so much upon an upright and skillful administration of justice, that the judicial power ought to be distinct from both the legislative and executive, and independent upon both, that so it may be a check upon both, and both should be checks upon that."
-John Adams

Topic Five: Principles of Health Reform
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has an opinion piece up at Politico that spells out seven principles for positive health reform. Here are his seven principles:

1. Health care reform should emphasize health.
2. Responsibility is best fostered through individual incentives and not an oppressive federal mandate that violates the economic freedoms of Americans.
3. Health care reform should enable Medicaid to restore and maintain the economic independence as well as health status of the neediest Americans.
4. Health care reform should increase design flexibility in Medicaid and the private insurance market to improve coverage choices.
5. Health care reform should align delivery system incentives to improve the value of patient care.
6. Health care reform should foster state innovation to improve health care systems.
7. Health care reform should address unsustainable spending at the family, state and federal levels to ease the debt burden that threatens our future.

Tomorrow in History
March 22, 1894 - The first playoff game for the NHL's Stanley Cup begins.

Grab Bag - Interesting and Important Stories to Conclude Your Evening

Mitt Romney flip-flops...on Arizona Senate candidates

"Most transparent administration" receives a C- for transparency

Ten audacious plans from the last 500 years

Will flaming cars be the next big revolution in auto racing?

Does carrying a gun change your thinking?

Can federalism solve problems?

Stimulus dollars went disproportionally to blue states?

STOCK Act halted by Congress

Obama lied: 99% of women have not used contraceptives because 13.9% of women have never had sex

For the first time in my adult life, I...agree with Michelle Obama

Will texting make the phone obsolete?

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Mid-Week Media: ObamaCar, The Ryan Budget, Uniting the Nation, Off-Roading, and Affordable Innovations

It's Wednesday, so that means it is time to take a look at some of the best media from the past week:

Here is a fake British comedy sketch showing what would happen if ObamaCare regulations were imposed on car insurance:

The House Budget Committee and Paul Ryan put together this video on its new budget:

The "Great Uniter" hard at work dividing the nation:

Someone got off "The (Off-)Road(ing) We've Traveled":

"All of the Above", except C, D, E, F, and G:

Examples of affordable government innovation:

Some perspective on real atrocities:

D.C. Daily: March 21, 2012

Yesterday's Action:
The Senate resumed consideration of H.R. 3606, the "Reopening American Capital Markets to Emerging Growth Companies Act". Two votes on cloture for amendments failed with 54 yeas, 45 nays and 55 yeas, 44 nays. An agreement was then reached to resume consideration of the bill on Wednesday, March 21.

The Senate then moved to consider S. 2038, the "Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act", as amended by the House. After receiving amendments, the Senate agreed to hold a vote on cloture of the Reid motion to concur in the amendment of the House to the bill on Thursday, March 22.

Today's Schedule:
The Senate will meet today at 9:30 AM. After morning business, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 3606, the "Reopening American Capital Markets to Emerging Growth Companies Act". The Senate will return to morning business from 2:30 PM until 3:00 PM to acknowledge Senator Mikulski as the long woman in Congress.

Yesterday's Action:
The House passed one measure under suspension of the rules: H.R. 665, the "Excess Federal Building and Property Disposal Act", with 403 yeas and 0 nays. The House then considered H.R. 2087, to remove restrictions from a parcel of land situated in the Atlantic District, Accomack County, Virginia. Following consideration of amendments the bill was passed with 240 yeas to 164 nays.

In committee meetings, the Judiciary Committee completed markup and ordered reported two bills: H.R. 3534, the "Security in Bonding Act of 2011"; and H.R. 4078, the "Regulatory Freeze for Jobs Act of 2012".

Today's Schedule:
The House will meet today at 10:00 AM to consider H.R. 5, the "Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, Timely Healthcare Act", subject to a rule.

All information is taken from the Congressional Register.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Final Five: March 20, 2012

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
March 20, 2012

Featured Article
US Regulations and Laws Inhibit Growth
Jeff Carter explains exactly how difficult it is for companies to maneuver through the maze of government restrictions when doing business. Follow DJ company as it works through the legal ramifications at each stage of growth.

Tonight's Crazy Story:
TV Cameraman Accidentally Crushes Celebrity Bunny
A two-week old bunny born without ears seemed destined to be the next animal celebrity until a cameraman stepped on him.

Topic One: ObamaCare
We are now less than one week from the start of the Supreme Court's consideration of the Affordable Care Act, and as expected, there is no shortage of analyses of the expected outcome. Cal Thomas calls it "The Main Event": "We should know by June how the likely slim majority will rule. Much of our future depends on the Court's decision because it goes to the heart of what the government can be allowed to impose on a free people. If the high court doesn't invalidate the individual mandate, there will be no stopping government from threatening our most valuable possession: liberty."

While I would like to see the entire law eliminated, my expectation is much more reasonable. The court will likely want to stay out of the political realm (especially in an election year), and this case will only highlight the divide on the court. I expect the court will come to one of the following conclusions. First, they could rule that the individual mandate is a tax that falls under the Anti-Injunction Act. In this case, they would be forced to defer judgment on the mandate until after the first person has been forced to pay the "tax". This will allow them to avoid the mandate all together and hope that the law is either repealed by Congress or not challenged again. Second, the court could decide to strike down the individual mandate, but leave the issue of separability up to Congress. Congress would then be responsible for deciding which issues of ObamaCare are separable and which are not.

Nearly 67% of Americans--and 48% of Democrats--believe that at least the individual mandate should be struck down. However, Democrats are repeating the same lines they used when the bill passed in 2010: "the more they find out about it, the more they'll like it." Maybe the Democrats need to get their friends in the media on the education issue right away, because it seems like not many care for this law.

There's Always Time for a Laugh:
"The new iPad went on sale this week. The picture's so fantastic, you can see with amazing clarity just how obsolete the iPad you got for Christmas is."
-Jay Leno

Topic Two: Gas Prices
Prices have dropped slightly in the past two days, but they still remain high for Mid-March. Meanwhile, Obama has begun cranking up the excuse machine. "During his Saturday radio address, Mr. Obama vilified Big Oil and urged Congress to end its annual tax breaks worth $4 billion: “Your member of Congress should be fighting for you, not for big financial firms. Not for big oil companies.” Killing the tax deductions would only make gas even costlier as companies pass along the costs to consumers."

Obama is fast to blame others but slow to do anything himself: "A major factor is Asia’s growing appetite for oil – coupled with America’s refusal to produce more of its own petroleum. Prices are also whipsawed by uncertainty over potential supply disruptions, due to drilling accidents and warfare in Nigeria; disputes over Syria, Yemen and Israeli-Palestinian territories; erroneous reports of a pipeline explosion in Saudi Arabia; concern about attacks on Middle East oil pipelines and processing centers; and new Western sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program and the mullahs’ threats to close the Straits of Hormuz. Moreover, oil is priced in US dollars, and the Federal Reserve’s easy money, low interest policies – combined with massive US indebtedness – have weakened the dollar’s value."

But look: President Obama is about to visit an oil field! Does this mean he has had a change of heart on oil, or is he just looking for votes?

Debt Watch:
(As of Monday, March 19, 2012 )

Change: +$7,667,538,358.95
Your share as a citizen: $49,862.41
Share per household: $136,333.90
Debt since Obama inauguration: $4,947,361,319,191.79

Topic Three: The Ryan Budget
Paul Ryan introduced the House FY 2013 budget today. It is an improvement on the Path to Prosperity proposed last year and it is much better than the Senate's budgets from the past few years. (For a copy of last year's Senate budget, click here.) Ryan wrote a WSJ op-ed today, and I would like to highlight some of the points of his plan here:

"Like last year, our budget delivers real spending discipline. It does this not through indiscriminate cuts that endanger our military, but by ending the epidemic of crony politics and government overreach that has weakened confidence in the nation's institutions and its economy. And it strengthens the safety net by returning power to the states, which are in the best position to tailor assistance to their specific populations."

"More important, it tackles the drivers of our debt and averts the fiscal crisis ahead. This year, our nation's publicly held debt is projected to reach 73% of the economy—a dangerously high level that, according to leading economists, puts the nation at risk of a panicked run on its finances."

"We propose to reduce the corporate tax rate of 35%, which will soon be the highest rate in the developed world, to a much more competitive 25%. Our budget also shifts to a "territorial" tax system to end the practice of hitting businesses with extra taxes when they invest profits earned abroad in jobs and factories here at home."

"We reject calls to raise taxes, but revenue nevertheless remains steady under our budget because we close special-interest loopholes. More important, our reforms will grow the economy—and the faster the economy grows, the more revenue the government will have to meet its priorities and start paying down the debt."

Tweet of the Day:
@CuffyMeh: Biden: Obama's new plan to build half of the Keystone pipeline is the most audacious plan in the past 250 years.

Topic Four: Overregulation
Are US regulations stifling growth? Read this piece by Jeff Carter: "Throughout the whole value creation process from start to finish, the heavy hand of big government is involved. Once the company goes public, the hard left wing circles like vultures to a carcass and begins feeding on it. At each step of the way, the company is economically has adverse economic incentives placed in its path. At the critical point of whether to go public or stay private, it’s not the economics of the marketplace that determine the outcome, but the artificial standards put in place by regulation from government."

"These regulations kill capital formation, which limits job creation. They kill company growth, which limits job creation and GDP. They kill exchanges, which limits transparency. They kill the ability of average Americans to invest their capital in start up companies, but more importantly in more mature, less risky, public companies, which limits the amount of wealth that can be created. Once companies do go public, the trading rules administered by the SEC slant the playing field in favor of the big banks and the playing field isn’t level for the average investor, which causes investors to sit in cash when they should be investing."

William Issac, former FDIC head, agrees: "The Obamacare bill, the Dodd-Frank bill, all of these things could have waited until another day. What we really needed to do is focus on the economy and how to create jobs." He goes on to say, "I think we are all scared to death about the future."

Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"The citizens of the United States of America have the right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were by the indulgence of one class of citizens that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support."
-George Washington

Topic Five: Walker's Victory
The unions handed Scott Walker a big victory in Wisconsin last week. The Milwaukee School District was initially exempt from Wisconsin's union bill. However, with the school district in financial trouble, the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association finally relented and asked the legislature to approve legislation allowing the district to implement concessions along the lines of Walker's reforms.

The American Spectator has more on this subject: "However, no matter how badly reforms are necessary, other union leaders are not happy with the Milwaukee teachers union for essentially admitting that Gov. Walker was right, especially before the recall election. On Tuesday, teacher union leaders who are heavily involved in the recall fired off a letter to Milwaukee teacher union (MTEA) leaders Bob Peterson and Sid Hatch. It made their political concerns crystal clear."

Tomorrow in History
March 21, 1965 - 3200 people join Martin Luther King, Jr. for the third civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

Grab Bag - Interesting and Important Stories to Conclude Your Evening

Wall Street donors turning against Obama

Obama blamed problems on FOX News

5 reasons socialism is inferior to capitalism

How to wreck a New York neighborhood

The party of capitalism or the party of corporatism

Washington's wealth is expanding

Inequity in Obamaville

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D.C. Daily: March 20, 2012

Yesterday's Action:
The Senate resumed consideration of H.R. 3606, the "Reopening American Capital Markets to Emerging Growth Companies Act". An agreement was reached for further consideration of the bill at 11:00 AM on Tuesday, March 20.

Today's Schedule:
After morning business, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 3606, the "Reopening American Capital Markets to Emerging Growth Companies Act". The Senate is expected to take a votes for cloture on two amendments and on the bill.

Yesterday's Action:
The House passed two measures under suspension of the rules: H.R. 4086, the "Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity Clarification Act" and H.R. 3992, to allow otherwise eligible Israeli nationals to receive E-2 nonimmigrant visas.

Today's Schedule:
The House will meet today at 10:00 AM. The House is expected to consider H.R. 665, the "Excess Federal Building and Property Disposal Act", under suspension of the rules and H.R. 2087, to remove restrictions from a parcel of land situated in the Atlantic District, Accomack County, Virginia, subject to a rule.

All information is taken from the Congressional Register.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Final Five: March 19, 2012

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
March 19, 2012

Featured Article
Yes He Does! 5 Ways Obama Controls Gas Prices
Katie Kieffer lists five ways that Obama does control gas prices: 1) The Department of Insider Trading, 2) Obama keeps his alternative to oil, clean-tech, expensive, 3) Obama blocked Keystone XL, 4) Obama keeps his “boot on the throat” of big oil, and 5) Obama fans Middle East tensions, raising market uncertainty.

Tonight's Crazy Story:
NYC Woman Discovers She Is 'Married' To Multiple Men After Identity Theft
Your wedding day is supposed to be the best day of your life...when it comes. For one woman, that required some changes after the County Clerk's office denied her license after a records search showed that she had been "married" twice.

Topic One: ObamaCare
Four inconvenient truths about ObamaCare: "A Congressional Budget Office report issued this week says that 3 million to 5 million people could move from employer-based health care plans to government-based programs as the Affordable Care Act takes effect. And in the worst-case scenario, it could be as many as 20 million. For Obama, it’s an inconvenient truth at a really inconvenient time — coming less than two weeks before the Supreme Court begins oral arguments on the law and just as the administration touts the law’s early benefits on its second anniversary. And it’s not the only hard truth Obama and the law’s supporters are facing. No matter what they said about rising health care costs, those costs aren’t actually going to go down under health care reform. The talk about the law paying for itself is just educated guesswork. And people aren’t actually liking the law more as they learn more about it — and some polls show they are just getting more confused." Moe Lane comments on the article at RedState.

Both sides are preparing for oral arguments before the Supreme Court next week. The individual mandate will be the central piece of this debate, but also critical will be the Anti-Injunction Act. If the Supreme Court finds in favor of the government on this issue, it would render itself useless to rule until probably 2017. A person could not file a court case on the issue until 2015, when the first taxes would be paid. Then the case would have to make it through the courts all the way to the Supreme Court, which would then have to agree to hear the case, schedule arguments, hold arguments, meet and decide the case, and then issue its ruling. It is unlikely that a case filed in 2015 would even come before the court for consideration until sometime in the summer of 2016, and arguments would likely be scheduled for late 2016 or early 2017, with a ruling coming sometime before the court recesses for the summer. A favorable ruling on the Anti-Injunction Act combined with a Democrat victory for either the House, Senate, or Presidency would be the easiest way to keep ObamaCare on track for its 2014 implementation.

Meanwhile, the administration is shifting its defense of the Affordable Care Act's mandate, arguing that it falls under the Constitution's "necessary and proper" clause. "The shift moves the focus of Justice’s argument from the Commerce Clause of the Constitution to the Necessary and Proper Clause, which says Congress can make laws that are necessary for carrying out its other powers....The brief argues requiring insurance companies to cover everyone and banning them from charging sick people higher prices are regulations that the Constitution clearly protects. The mandate, Justice argues, is a “necessary and proper” way to carry out those regulations without causing the cost of insurance to skyrocket."

However, Jason Sagall sums up the core of the argument by saying that it centers around the "right to be left alone": "The Supreme Court should see through the smoke and mirrors presented by the Obama defense. And it must, indeed, enforce the government's commerce power, to rule against the insurance mandate for penalizing individuals in a clear and direct manner for making choices in their economic activity that others wildly construe as infringing on their own lives. But will the justices fully grasp what our founders knew would be fundamentally at stake? If an individual is not left free to act – or refrain from action – with his own mind as his guide, then he is not free to think."

Finally, American Thinker has a "pop quiz" on healthcare. How much do you really know about the new law?

There's Always Time for a Laugh:
"You know what's kind of ironic? This will be the fourth St. Patrick's Day of Obama's presidency. He still hasn't created a green job. What happened to those?"
-Jay Leno

Topic Two: Gas Problems
Obama has constantly tried to avoid the pain-at-the-pump problem by claiming that the prices is outside his control. However, a Townhall column today lists five ways Obama does have control over prices. "Obama claims he doesn’t manipulate gas prices. He told Fox News this month: "You think the president of the United States going into reelection wants gas prices to go up higher? Is that—is there anybody here who thinks that makes a lot of sense?” I say: “Yes, Mr. President, that makes a lot of sense. Your regulations and unconstitutional executive orders have caused the price of gas to skyrocket. So, you do control gas prices. Want examples? I’ll give you five.”

The only reason anyone in the administration or the media even care about the price of gas is because of the election. In past Obama years, the media has ignored the problem of rising prices. (Compare to the Bush years, where the media showed every press conference of a Democrat standing in front of a gas station demanding that Bush pull out his magic wand and lower the price.) RedState takes a look back to 2009, when the Obama administration discouraged the overproduction of oil. From a letter by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner: "The Administration believes that oil and gas preferences distort markets by encouraging more investment in the oil and gas industry than would occur under a neutral system. To the extent the credit (sic) encourages overproduction of oil, it is detrimental to long-term energy security and is also inconsistent with the Administration’s policy of reducing carbon emissions and encouraging the use of renewable energy sources through a cap-and-trade program. Moreover, the credit (sic) must ultimately be financed with taxes that result in underinvestment in other, potentially more productive, areas of the economy. The President campaigned on the idea that, if we are to finally reduce our dependence on foreign oil, we need to set aside old political battles and instead make the investments in new clean energy technology that will create good jobs here at home."

It is blindingly obvious that Obama is interested in every type of energy imaginable except oil. He is willing to back risky loans to companies like Solyndra, even though documents show that the companies cannot be successful even with this financial help. Instead of discussing the gas price problem, he wants to talk about putting algae in our cars. And as Erick Erickson satirically points out, he would even support unicorn farts as the next green fuel. "His solution to fueling our cars amounts to using unicorn farts as gas — which has just as much a chance of happening as the mythic battery powered cross country run. The facts are pretty simple. As a matter of both science and reality, battery technology is neither good enough nor cheap enough to supply American needs relating to transportation. Even were there batteries available for vehicles, the cost of conversion for the tens of millions of cars on the road right now would be cost prohibitive and increasing fuel standards, resulting in smaller and smaller cars, penalize families."

Debt Watch:
(As of Friday, March 16, 2012 )

Change: +$1,760,937,977.95
Your share as a citizen: $49,837.86
Share per household: $136,266.78
Debt since Obama inauguration: $4,939,693,780,832.84

Topic Three: Voter ID
The Obama Justice Department's recent opposition to Texas's voting law brought the issue back to the top of the headlines last weekend. Ultimately, though, it comes down to this: Obama knows he is facing a tough reelection fight, and he needs all the help he can get even if it means fraud. "Vetoing state laws governing voting procedures shows a dangerous pattern of abuse by these officials, and could dramatically increase fraud and undermine the integrity and legitimacy of elected officials. It leads to a feeling amongst voters that these same officials want fraudulent votes to re-elect their very unpopular boss, Barack Obama. For a republican form of government to function properly, the citizenry must have confidence in the unbiased and impartiality of the voting mechanism. In a society such as our own which verifies the identity of citizens millions of times per day for such mundane activities as buying groceries with a credit or EBT cards, it hard to understand why officials would object to verifying the identity of voters at the polls. The only real reason why they might object to identification requirements is to perpetuate the ability of unsavory elements in society the ability to vote multiple times in multiple jurisdictions, allow non-citizens to vote, or to have persons voting for non-existent voters, such as the dead."

Rick Perry says that the Justice Department's action is a violation of state sovereignty: "In today’s world, having a photo ID, whether it’s to get on an airplane or whether it’s to cash a check or it’s to check a library book out, is pretty standard fare. The only thing that I can put out is that there’s obviously those that would like to fraudulently impact elections, and therefore they are against having a photo ID. Otherwise, it makes all the sense in the world. We’ve put in place ways for people to get those IDs." However, an Obama administration that has used ObamaCare to trample on individual rights and religious freedom probably is not going to give any concern to state's rights either.

Tweet of the Day:
David Limbaugh (@DavidLimbaugh): Santo is a religious fanatic? God help us if a candidate who professes Christianity is actually a Christian. How dangerous to the Republic

Topic Four: The Election
Some Romney supporters support him only because they feel he is the only candidate that can defeat Obama in November. Thomas Sowell explains why Romney is really the front runner: "The biggest single reason why Governor Romney is the front runner is that he has had the overwhelming advantage in money spent and in "boots on the ground" running his campaign in states across the country. Romney has outspent each of his rivals -- and all of his rivals put together. His campaign organization has been operating for years, and it has put his name on the ballot everywhere, while neither Santorum nor Gingrich had a big enough organization to get on the ballot in an important state like Virginia. In the general election, President Obama will have all the advantages against Romney that Romney currently has against his Republican rivals. Barack Obama will have boots on the ground everywhere -- not just members of the Democratic Party organization but thousands of labor union members as well."

However, Santorum has a tough road ahead before he gets to his home state of Pennsylvania because of the delegate math. "[Hillary Clinton] won that primary over Barack Obama. Yet experts warned in advance that the Keystone race didn't matter: The state’s delegates would split, Obama would continue to gain in numbers, and Clinton had no clear path to “out-delegate” him. Santorum faces that problem today, according to Josh Putnam, a delegate expert and political scientist at Davidson College. He said last Tuesday’s Southern primaries got Santorum no closer to Romney in delegates or in the ability to win the GOP nomination. “Any night where Santorum doesn't cut into Romney's delegate lead -- and cut into it significantly – is a win for Romney,” he said."

Republicans have begun looking back to deadlocked conventions in order to determine how to handle a possible deadlock this year. "They would embark on an unscripted, contentious and televised drama that has not played out in 36 years, a period in which both major party conventions have become slickly produced and highly choreographed pep rallies kicking off the general election campaign. With that in mind, campaign and party lawyers are dusting off their party rule books, running through decades-old procedural arcana and studying the most recent convention-floor fight, between Ronald Reagan and President Gerald R. Ford in 1976."

Some argue that a deadlocked convention would be bad for the GOP. While I do understand some of the negative aspects of it, I would also contend that it could have its benefits. The Obama smear team would have to split their research efforts among the candidates remaining in the race, and the possibility that a dark horse candidate could emerge makes it possible that the GOP could catch the Democrats slightly off guard on strategy. Furthermore, a convention fight would force Romney to defend to delegates across the nation why he should be considered a conservative, and it would force Santorum and Gingrich to defend how they can defeat Obama in November. This type of process was the norm until just a few decades ago, so I see no reason why Republicans should shy away from the possibility of going into the convention without a nominee.

Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"The Grecians and Romans were strongly possessed of the spirit of liberty but not the principle, for at the time they were determined not to be slaves themselves, they employed their power to enslave the rest of mankind."
-Thomas Paine

Topic Five: Fast & Furious
Can a suspected criminal be trusted to run an investigation into his own actions? That is the question lawmakers are asking the Justice Department. "Two top Republican lawmakers are questioning the independence of the Obama administration investigator tasked with probing Operation Fast and Furious, saying it appears her office is choosing not to interview high-level political employees in the Justice Department. An administration lawyer investigating the Justice Department is about as ridiculous as allowing "unabomber" Ted Kaczynski to conduct the investigation for the Oklahoma City Bombings.

Does a recent Eric Holder video shed light on Fast & Furious? "Remember when Holder, Hillary and their boss, as well as lesser luminaries, were trumpeting the obviously false charge that 90% of the guns being used by the Mexican drug cartels in their violent and bloody wars originated in the United States? Was that an attempt to brainwash the American public into acceptance of more restrictive gun laws? Was the whole Fast & Furious program the basis upon which to build such a anti-gun, brainwashing campaign? Watch the video; it's obvious that the man who wields such vast power now certainly has no hesitation about using the tactic of brainwashing to accomplish his goals. The more we learn, the more we understand that the scope and real purpose of Operation Fast & Furious is vast and obvious." The Holder video is available at Breitbart TV.

Tomorrow in History
March 20, 1852 - Harriet Beecher Stowe's book Uncle Tom's Cabin is published.

Grab Bag - Interesting and Important Stories to Conclude Your Evening

Chamber of Commerce challenges NLRB appointments

Women in the Arab Spring

The smell of Obama's policies is released

What happens if someone nukes D.C.

Personal responsibility vs. government control

On the Senate budget (or lack thereof)

In times of war or emergency, the President can control everything

Iraq is a testament to Obama's Bush's leadership

Why won't capitalists stand for capitalism?

Guess what is Al Qaeda's least favorite news network?

No state gets an A for opposing corruption

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Minnesota Politicians and Drunk Driving

Minnesota is considering legislation that would allow their state's politicians to be arrested for drunk driving. From FOX News:
The Minnesota Legislature is expected to vote this week to rescind a get-out-of-jail-free card for state lawmakers who are arrested for drunken driving.

The provision, found in the state constitution, allows lawmakers "privilege from arrest" when they are pulled over by police. According to Article IV, Section 10, of the Minnesota Constitution, "the members of each house in all cases except treason, felony and breach of the peace, shall be privileged from arrest during the session of their respective houses and in going to or returning from the same."

"Back in the 1800s, when our Founding Fathers wrote the constitution, there was a natural fear of political retribution for certain votes and freedoms of speech, that our Founding Fathers wrote this in our constitution for that purpose," said Concordia University political science professor Jayne Jones.

Jones, who has been leading her class through the process as it pushes the Legislature to act, first approached the topic after state Rep. Mark Buesgens was captured on a police dashcam in September 2010 taking a sobriety test. That was three years after state Senate President Jim Metzen received a driving while impaired citation in South St. Paul hours after gaveling the session to a close.

I am normally a very strong believer in immunity for lawmakers. I do not want my legislator arrested or detained and forced to miss a vote on an important bill, especially if the detainment or arrest is politically motivated. However, there are two important differences with this issue. First, drunk driving is a serious matter that can kill others. If I were a lawmaker, I would not want to face the family of a constituent who was killed by a drunk-driving legislator and know that I cast a vote against a bill that might have prevented that accident. Second, if a lawmaker is impaired by alcohol to the point that it affects his or her driving, do we really want that person voting on bills? Perhaps it was "drunk legislating" and "drunk voting" that got us ObamaCare and the CFPB.

I am not familiar with the specifics of the Minnesota bill, and I would definitely want protections enacted in order to ensure that it cannot be abused for political purposes. One such restriction would be a requirement that a breathalyzer test be above the legal limit. However, with the proper limitations, this is a sensible bill that will protect the people of Minnesota.

D.C. Daily: March 19, 2012

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

Today's Schedule:
After morning business, the Senate will resume consideration of H.R. 3606, the "Reopening American Capital Markets to Emerging Growth Companies Act".

Friday's Action:
The House met in an pro forma session Friday.

Today's Schedule:
The House will meet today at 4:00 PM. The program for today was not released to the Congressional Record.

All information is taken from the Congressional Register.