Friday, April 13, 2012

The Final Five: April 13, 2012

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
April 13, 2012

Featured Article:
Federal Tax Rates & A Fair Share
The Political Math Blog published a great graphic showing who is not paying their "fair share". (HINT: It's not the "1%")

Tonight's Crazy Story:
John Calipari Receives Typo-Plagued Key to the City
Can you spot the two errors in the key to Pikeville, Kentucky, John Calipari received?

Topic One: ObamaCare
ObamaCare's funny math: "Now, Social Security and Medicare trustee Charles Blahous has come forward with a new report detailing another of Obamacare's accounting frauds. Blahous charges that $470 billion of the law's Medicare cuts are used to both: 1) add money to Medicare's Trust Fund and 2) fund new subsidies for buying health insurance. If this "double-counting" is eliminated, Blahous argues, Obamacare would add, not subtract, at least $346 billion to deficits over the next 10 years. ... Medicare's financing system is complicated, so think of the issue this way: Imagine that you are a family diligently saving $200 every month for college. Someone comes along and tells you that your kids will never get into college unless you also spend $200 on tutoring now. "But won't this cost me $400 total?" you ask. "No," they tell you, "Just write yourself a $200 IOU every month to cover what you were saving before." When it comes time to pay for your child's tuition, no college will to accept your IOUs as legal tender. This is the problem Obama's accountants hoped no one would notice."

FreedomWorks's Dean Clancy on what could replace the individual mandate: "I think it’s quite possible the individual mandate will rise from the grave in a new form. And I’m worried that both political parties, for their own reasons, will conspire to make this happen. Specifically, what I’m worried about is a coalescence of the Left and Right around the idea of giving everybody a new universal health insurance tax credit, coupled with a policy called auto-enrollment. There would be no mandate, formally speaking, but the effect would be similar. I call it a soft mandate, and it’s arguably as bad as the mandate. ... But the point of all this is that if you have a tax credit, you are in effect creating what I would call a kind of soft mandate. How is that? Well, if the tax credit is, let’s say, $5,000, then if you didn’t take the credit, you would in effect be paying a $5,000 tax penalty. It’s a carrot rather than a stick, but the effect is similar to a mandate. And that’s probably tolerable, because it is optional. But what if you combined that with auto-enrollment? Now you’re really putting a lot of pressure on people to get covered. And that’s why I think the Democrats are going to seize on this idea, which will probably be presented as a Republican idea: tax credits plus auto-enrollment. "

Time for a Laugh:
"There's certainly nothing fun about paying taxes. But you have to remember that all the money goes to a good cause, like paying the salaries of the meter maids who give parking tickets, keep welfare checks flowing to the Octomom — important things like that."
-Jimmy Kimmel

Topic Two: Taxes
Political Math has a great chart showing how progressive the US income tax system is. "I love this chart because I think it summarizes so many important things very easily. We can immediately get the scope of how much the top 1% makes, (it's a lot) but also easily see that they pay more as a % of the tax burden than they make as a % of the national income. We can see that the US tax system is actually fairly progressive, with the top 20-10% paying the closest to a "fair share" (if by fair you mean every dollar made is taxed at an equal proportion to all income as a whole). Warren Buffett is an anecdote, but one that has been repeated so often that many people think that the rich, as a whole, don't pay very much in taxes. This chart shows that this is entirely untrue. When viewed through the lens of effective taxation (which is a very appropriate lens to use) the top 1% of income earners pay a much higher rate on their income than any other income group."

Technology and income inequality: "I would add one more reason why income inequality has grown in recent decades, and it’s not a small one: technology. Whenever a major new technology develops, it causes a marked and sudden inflorescence of new fortunes that greatly exceed the old fortunes. This happened with railroads (Vanderbilt, Gould, Harriman, Hill, etc.), steel (Carnegie, Phipps, Frick, Schwab, etc.), automobiles (Ford, Dodge, Sloan, Kettering, Mott, etc.), petroleum (Rockefeller, Flagler, Archbold, etc.) For each of those megafortunes, there were hundreds of others whose possessors were merely very rich, not Forbes-400 rich. The microprocessor is the most profound technology since the steam engine and has, therefore, created an inflorescence of fortunes such as has never been seen before. Of the 400 people on the Forbes List for 2011, no fewer than 48 of them are categorized as having fortunes based on “technology.” Many other fortunes on the list, such as those of the Walton family, which founded Walmart, would not have been possible without the microprocessor. And again, for every one of these billion dollar new fortunes, there are dozens of multi-million dollar ones and million dollar ones. The wealth creation caused by the microprocessor is astonishing."

Debt Watch:
( As of Thursday, April 12, 2012 )

Change: -$3,098,275,663
Your share as a citizen: $49,958.11
Share per household: $136,690.67
Debt since Obama inauguration: $4,988,117,718,930

Topic Three: The "Veepstakes"
With Romney almost certainly the nominee, greater attention has been given to who will be his running mate. Josh Kraushaar breaks it down in unique fashion: setting up an NCAA Tournament-style bracket split into four major characteristics and giving a top four seed for each one. Here are his characteristics and seeds (with links to the Wikipedia pages for each of them):

Hispanics: 1) Marco Rubio, 2) Susana Martinez, 3) Brian Sandoval, 4) Luis Fortuno
Women: 1) Kelly Ayotte, 2) Susana Martinez, 3) Nikki Haley, 4) Condoleezza Rice
Safe Governing Pick: 1) Rob Portman, 2) Bob McDonnell, 3) Tim Pawlenty, 4) John Thune
Conservative Leaders: 1) Paul Ryan, 2) Bobby Jindal, 3) Chris Christie, 4) Pat Toomey

Tweet of the Day:
Anna Rand (@OBAMA_CZAR):
If Hilary Rosen's comments "weren't meant to be personal", than what were they?

Topic Four: Energy Policy
Green jobs growth slower than expected: "Three weeks ago, President Barack Obama stood in front of a sea of gleaming solar panels in Boulder City, Nevada, to celebrate his administration's efforts to promote "green energy." Stretching row upon row into the desert, the Copper Mountain Solar Project not far from Las Vegas provided an impressive backdrop for the president. Built on public land, the facility is the largest of its kind in the United States. Its 1 million solar panels provide enough energy to power 17,000 homes. And it employs just 10 people."

The Keystone fight comes up again: "House Republican leadership will take another crack at forcing approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline on legislation extending federal transportation funding for another 90 days. "American families and small businesses are struggling with high gas prices, and President Obama’s policies are only making things worse,” a House GOP leadership aide said. "This bill will pave the way for a House-Senate conference to discuss both reforming how taxpayer dollars are spent on federal infrastructure programs, and also meaningful solutions that would address high gas prices and create jobs by permanently removing government barriers to American energy production."

Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"In the next place, the state governments are, by the very theory of the constitution, essential constituent parts of the general government. They can exist without the latter, but the latter cannot exist without them."

-Joseph Story

Topic Five: The Zimmerman Charges
It appears I was not the only person thinking that the Zimmerman charges were being overblown. Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz had some criticism for the prosecutor as well: "Maybe her plan is to use the judge here as a get-out-of-tough-cases card? She probably knows she can’t get Zimmerman on murder two, but she also doesn’t want to be the one to have to break that to the public. She also doesn’t want to have to try to prosecute him on murder two if the evidence isn’t there, which would be a risk if the grand jury did indict him. So instead she’s taking the middle path: Go directly to the judge with a weak charging instrument and rely on him/her to throw it out. Then come back with a new affidavit listing a lesser charge — manslaughter or murder three — and say that she has no choice but to prosecute Zimmerman under that because the court stymied her on murder two. I’ll be curious to see what the fact pattern in those affidavits looks like because, frankly, if it’s as thin as the excerpt I posted up top, I’m not sure she’ll get the court to sign off on those charges either."

Tomorrow in History
April 14, 1828 - Noah Webster copyrights his American Dictionary of the English Language, which contains a record (at the time) of 70,000 entries.

Grab Bag - Interesting and Important Stories to Conclude Your Evening:
The Palestinian "No"

What are the Muslim brotherhood's intentions in Egypt?

Guess who is paying for Warren Buffett's healthcare

Why welfare does not equal a ticket out of poverty

Anti-Semitic "eviction" notices posted at Florida college

The Tea Party is not over

Did Obama pay a lower tax rate than his secretary?

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Final Five: April 12, 2012

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
April 12, 2012

Featured Article:
Obama's "Fairness" Fiction
David Harsanyi explains the lies the Obama administration is telling about "fairness."

Tonight's Crazy Story:
Alligator Visits Louisiana Motel, Bites Guest
A guest at a Louisiana Super 8 was bitten by a six-foot alligator that showed up at the door.

Topic One: The Buffett Rule
The Fairness Farce: "We can never know exactly how the economy will react to policy, but it's the parameters of the conversation -- based largely on fiction -- that are probably the most harmful part of this distraction. Despite the implicit message of the president, wealthy people are not wealthy because they are taking something from the poor or from government. And they don't stop anyone else from being wealthy. And the wealthy did not create our debt; government did. Government -- this administration in particular but all of them in general -- is, by nature, risk-averse and never deals with the consequences of its failed "investments." It is the un-entrepreneur. Really, should the head of an organization that annually spends $1.6 trillion it doesn't have be setting the parameters for a discussion on "fairness"?"

The Buffett Rule only complicates the tax code: "Three years into his presidency, Obama has not introduced a plan for comprehensive tax reform — arguably the most important vehicle for fixing the nation’s finances and boosting long-term economic growth. His opponents haven’t done much better, but that doesn’t excuse the president’s failures: appointing the Simpson-Bowles commission and then disregarding its findings, offering a plan for business tax reform only, and issuing a series of platitudes. The Buffett Rule, rather than overhauling the tax code, would simply add another layer."

Obama is backpedaling on his assertion that this would help the debt: "The policy goal is to impose an effective minimum tax of 30% on the income of anyone who makes more than $1 million a year. When President Obama first proposed this new minimum tax he declared that the rule "could raise enough money" so that we "stabilize our debt and deficits for the next decade." Then he added: "This is not politics; this is math." Well, remedial math maybe. The Obama Treasury's own numbers confirm that the tax would raise at most $5 billion a year—or less than 0.5% of the $1.2 trillion fiscal 2012 budget deficit and over the next decade a mere 0.1% of the $45.43 trillion the federal government will spend. When asked about those revenue projections, White House aide Jason Furman backpedaled from Mr. Obama's rationale by explaining that the tax was never intended "to bring the deficit down and the debt under control."

Time for a Laugh:
"Harvard Law School will soon offer a class called "Understanding Obama" — while Barnum & Bailey Clown College will offer a class called "Understanding Biden."
-Jimmy Fallon

Topic Two: Voter ID
Joseph Farah on Democrats and Voter ID: "As we’ve seen in recent decades, there is far less chance that blacks will be turned away from polls because of their race than whites. When the New Black Panthers stationed armed thugs in front of polling places in Philadelphia to intimidate white voters, Eric Holder refused to prosecute the perpetrators. So clearly, Obama and Holder and the Democrats don’t have a problem with racial discrimination at the polls, as long as they perceive that racial discrimination as beneficial to their own empowerment. It’s time to think about these things carefully, because they are the kinds of changes that can transform America from the oldest constitutional republic in the world to a Third World-style banana republic. And that’s just what a second term Barack Obama in the White House will mean."

The politics of Voter ID: "But despite all these examples which are not protested by the Looney Left as being racist and ageist, President Obama and his cronies single out one activity they believe is, if you require photo-ID: voting. But Mr. Obama has not proposed creating yet another Big Government program to provide the elderly, the poor, and minorities with free or subsidized photo-ID’s so they might participate in any or all of the activities I mentioned above. Instead, his solution to the voting issue is to recklessly resist improving ballot security by opposing efforts to implement and enforce photo-ID at the polls. And that, of course, makes no sense whatsoever… unless he and his mafia-style political machine were counting on a vast majority of illegal ballots in 2012 being cast for him. In that case, doing everything in his power to stop voter-ID solutions in their tracks makes perfect, but terrible, sense."

Debt Watch:
( As of Wednesday, April 11, 2012 )

Change: -$8,744,553,189
Your share as a citizen: $49,968.00
Share per household: $136,717.75
Debt since Obama inauguration: $4,991,210,994,593

Topic Three: ObamaCare
Another ObamaCare analogy, this time with the legal industry: "It makes one think: If the lawyers are designing the health-care system, shouldn’t they be forced to operate under regulations similar to those they’re imposing? How, for example, do lawyers get paid? Today, they negotiate fees with clients. That hardly seems fair. In health care, doctors don’t negotiate fees with patients, they get paid according to an opaque schedule determined by health plans. Lawyers should do the same. The solution is “legal insurance”. After all, who amongst us knows when we’ll need a lawyer? It is often an unpredictable expense, and yet the “market” seems to have failed to provide such insurance. Government must intervene."

The embodiment fiscal disaster: "The health law’s deficit reduction was a major selling point in its passage. But Blahous concludes that “the government’s fiscal predicament is now significantly worse than before the law was enacted.” Now that this cloak has been stripped away, the U.S. Supreme Court has one more reason to conclude it would do the country and the taxpayer a huge favor by striking ObamaCare off the books and sending Congress back to work to stitch together a real health reform law."

Tweet of the Day:
Frank J. Fleming (@IMAO_):
Obama should release a statement telling the North Koreans that was a really good try. Last thing they need is more self-esteem issues.

Topic Four: Energy
A great video explaining Obama's anti-energy energy policy: "In the video below, PJTV's Alexis Garcia and I discuss how Obama's energy policy- which is unique in the sense that it is hostile to the actual production of energy- is fundamentally harming the US economy, at the cost of trillions in GDP and ten million jobs." Well worth the seven minutes it takes to watch!

The problem for green cars: only 35% of owners want another one. "The heavily promoted hybrids accounted for only 2.4% of new car sale in 2011. The problem is that even if gas prices stay at $5/gallon it can take years and even decades for buyers to recover the much higher cost of the hybrid compared to the cost of the increasingly fuel efficient conventionally powered alternatives on the market."

Battery problems have plagued the Chevy Volt and some other hybrid cars, but now a Lithium-Ion battery has exploded at a GM facility. Of course, GM says that this is unrelated to the problems of the Chevy Volt. Anyone see a connection here?

Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is argument of tyrants. It is the creed of slaves."

-William Pitt

Topic Five: Trayvon Talk
George Zimmerman, the man who admits to shooting Trayvon Martin, was charged with second-degree murder yesterday. Given the high-profile nature of this case, this is not a surprise. If Zimmerman were not charged, the prosecutor would likely face a barrage of racism claims the next time she was running for election to any office.

Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, this will likely turn into a reprise of the Casey Anthony case. The media reaction has forced the prosecutor to bring charges based on very shaky evidence, the evidence points to wrongdoing, but it is not enough to actually warrant a conviction, and the jury will do its job and find that the prosecution has not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt. The media will then be "shocked" at the verdict, and Zimmerman will become a free man, but his name will be tarnished forever. Only Zimmerman knows what truly happened that night. He may be completely innocent, or he may be guilty of a murder motivated by racist hate. However, the media's handling of the case is turning this into a circus which will make it much more difficult for everyone involved.

Tomorrow in History
April 13, 1902 - James C. Penney opens his first store in Kemmerer, Wyoming.

Grab Bag - Interesting and Important Stories to Conclude Your Evening: Work one hour, get five days in Hawaii

Is CISPA good policy or SOPA lite?

How to get that Obama money

Are we too close to our electronics?

Are conservatives warmongers?

EPA fines school bus contractor $438K

Law firm falls for Nigerian scam...then sues bank

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Final Five: April 11, 2012

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
April 11, 2012

Featured Article:
The Fiscal Consequences of the Affordable Care Act
A study published by the Mercatus Center shows that ObamaCare may ultimately end up helping the deficit slightly, but it will do much worse than if we had left the previous laws in place.

Tonight's Crazy Story:
British Child Hunting for Easter Eggs Finds Hand Grenade
A child at a British Easter egg hunt found something much more dangerous than candy: a grenade.

Topic One: It's Romney Time
I finished the Final Five early yesterday afternoon, so I did not revise it in order to cover the news of Santorum's campaign suspension. Without Santorum, there is only one remaining Republican with a credible chance to win. His withdrawal was likely motivated by two factors: his daughter's health and the increasing likelihood that he would lose his home state of Pennsylvania. While some of Santorum's supporters may go to Gingrich, I think most of them realize that Santorum's withdrawal only confirms that Romney is the inevitable nominee.

Rush Limbaugh discussed Santorum's withdrawal yesterday: "To many people this was extremely frustrating for -- well, a host of reasons, but if you go back and look at what happened in the 2010 midterms, that was a landslide victory. And it wasn't centered around a candidate. It was centered around an idea. And the idea was that conservatism and limited government and individual liberty and freedom were what make this country great and what will save this country. And so the Tea Party came to life, people who had never been in politics before, people who had never been to a town hall meeting were appalled, aghast, frightened what they saw happening to the country via the policies of Obama. So they started getting involved. A name for them was created called the Tea Party. They started showing up at town hall meetings, and they became the animating force of the Republican Party. They didn't have a leader. They were made up of political amateurs. And when the 2010 midterms came along, the Democrat Party suffered a landslide defeat almost unprecedented. Now, it was never reported that way because obviously the media is not gonna tell the truth about the shellacking the Democrats got, but they lost over 700 elected offices, from the federal level, through the state, down the town, community, township, wherever. It was a shellacking."

Limbaugh continued: "It was then thus expected that a Republican presidential nominee would arise from this vast movement and give a leadership face to the Tea Party in the person of whoever would adopt those policies and garner that support. And then that person would go on to become the nominee and then continue on the basis of ideas and ideology the same things that secured this massive landslide victory in the midterms in 2010 into the general election for president this year. But that didn't happen. Instead, the Republican establishment made no effort to secure the support of the Tea Party and instead stayed within itself and opted to secure the nomination with a strategy that emphasized moderate candidates over conservative candidates. I can't tell you how that frustrated a lot of people who had such high hopes. People really had, because of the Tea Party and its success in 2010, the greatest of hopes and expectations that that would continue into the presidential year and be another shellacking all the way from top to bottom of the ballot with victory in the White House. And now that hasn't happened. So there is great disappointment."

Ultimately, I do not think that the actual candidate matters. Obama will likely win if the economy rebounds, and any of the Republicans could have won if it did not. However, there was no perfect candidate. Even my initial top choice, Rick Perry, was not a complete conservative. I have believed since the start of this campaign that if the Republican nominee wins, it will be up to conservatives to keep the fire burning underneath the new President. As a whole, the Tea Party movement has failed to do this with the 2010 freshman class, and that is why Congress continues to be dominated by moderates. Conservatives now need to focus on keeping Romney accountable to the conservative base of the party that elected him.

Time for a Laugh:
"Today was opening day at Dodger Stadium. Actually it was a little different this year. Instead of throwing out the first pitch, they threw out the last owner."
-Jay Leno

Topic Two: ObamaCare
A new study is out from the Mercatus Center analyzing the effect of the Affordable Care Act on the government's finances. The picture doesn't look too bad until we consider that the law must be compared to laws in place prior to the ACA's passage. "The ACA unambiguously worsens federal finances. As the accompanying graph shows, under a variety of possible assumptions (all based on the analyses of CBO and CMS), our annual deficits will be much larger because of the ACA than they would have been under prior law. ... The top two lines on the graph show that the law appears to have a helpful effect on the federal budget under a particular government scorekeeping convention. This is true both as originally scored by CBO and as adjusted for last year’s suspension of one of the law’s provisions, the CLASS program. The bottom three lines, however, show that the ACA greatly worsens the situation relative to actual previous law. Under each of optimistic, mixed-outcome, and pessimistic assumptions concerning the future implementation of ACA’s various provisions, the law would add between $340 and $530 billion to federal deficits over the next decade. Under the pessimistic scenario – by no means a worst-case scenario, but one assuming that Congress acts in the future according to historical precedent – the law would add over $100 billion annually to federal deficits by 2021. This suggests that it would add more than $1 trillion to deficits in its second decade."

What does ObamaCare say about the President's legacy? "Because while the administration has set a new mark for really bad ideas, none so far has been as bad as Obamacare. Here’s legislation that won’t do what it was supposed to do- cut spending; that was passed before Congress read it and debated it; and that will probably be tossed out by the Supreme Court. And losing in court might be Obama’s best option in the opinion of Democrats. In other words, we hired a guy for president whose biggest accomplishment so far could be getting the one thing he did (Obamacare) reversed- and that reversal will be a big relief to you, him and to me according to his supporters. And you thought not passing a budget was bad?"

Are car insurance and health insurance similar? "Car crashes, third party personal property damage, and the other things insured are very expensive, but rather rare compared to the millions of cars on the road. But tire replacements—and other maintenance costs like servicing and oil changes—are not risks. Rather, they are inevitable costs of owning a car. So, covering these things is not the proper role for insurance. There is a place for saving money for these costs, but it’s the responsibility of the owners. However, let’s suppose that the Government forced insurance companies to cover these non-risks. It’s not too far- fetched—leftist politicians (from both parties) act oh-so-compassionately by forcing others to cover the costs of their “compassion.”. Politicians might even try to pretend that compulsory new tire coverage is a safety measure."

Debt Watch:
( As of Tuesday, April 10, 2012 )

Change: +$5,386,862,562
Your share as a citizen: $49,995.98
Share per household: $136,794.30
Debt since Obama inauguration: $4,999,955,547,782

Topic Three: Double Standards and Race
The political parties and race throughout history: "The bosses of socialism, which is in essence no more than a scam to seize and to hold power, have utter indifference to real racism (e.g., having Klansman Robert Byrd as Democrat Senate Floor Leader) and a deep interest in the permanent poverty and misery of those who irrationally view statist collectivism as their only hope. Democrats have long been addicted to machine politics, which requires its constituencies to be clumps of votes and not human souls. This addiction requires the perpetual enslavement of black America, although with a different and more generous master. Republicans have been consistent on race relations from the very beginning, and this reflects the fact that moral principles cannot change to meet the needs of political power. Many black Americans know this and have rebelled against it, but the party of the slave whip does not surrender easily, and the party of emancipation too often apologizes for sins never committed."

Klavan on the media's double standard: "There’s a double standard — but that’s okay! You see, NBC News is allowed to lie and get away with it because they’re good. Breitbart couldn’t even tell the truth without catching hell because he was bad. See the difference? It’s subtle I know — in fact, it’s so subtle you may have to be a big time literary theorist and legal scholar to understand it. So let’s turn for an explanation to big time literary theorist and legal scholar Stanley Fish. Recently (as my colleague Michael Walsh pointed out to me) Stanley Fish wrote an article for the New York Times explaining why there was a firestorm when Rush Limbaugh made an inappropriate remark about a woman whereas Bill Maher and Ed Schultz made even worse sexist remarks but remained relatively unscathed. “Schultz and Maher are the good guys; they are on the side of truth and justice,” Stanley Fish and his mighty mind explained. “Rush Limbaugh is the bad guy; he is on the side of every nefarious force that threatens our democracy.” There you have it. It’s okay when leftists are evil because they’re good; but it’s evil when patriots are good because they’re evil."

Tweet of the Day:
Phil Kerpen (@kerpen):
Better Buffett rule: Get Warren to pay the billion he owes in back taxes.

Topic Four: Europe and Debt
There were two thought-provoking graphs put out yesterday by the Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee. The first shows American debt alongside European debt, showing that the entire debt of the Eurozone nations is only $12.7 trillion, as compared to our $15.1 trillion. Furthermore, it is impossible to say that the reason is population, because the Eurozone nations top us in population 332 million to 313 million. Furthermore, on a per capita basis, our debt is also higher than any European nation's debt, including Spain, Italy, and Greece.

What shape is the European economy in right now? Take Spain: "Investors...may also worry that the plan will compound Spain’s real problem: a recession that has already inflicted 23 percent unemployment. The trouble in Spain also suggests that investors are skeptical about the financial “firewall” Germany and other wealthy European countries have promised to erect. German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently agreed to a temporary boost in the European rescue fund’s lending capacity from about $700 billion to almost $930 billion. But that is still less than the $1.3 trillion that Angel Gurria, secretary general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, recently recommended. If Spain, the fourth-largest economy in Europe, really does need a bailout, even that amount might not be enough."

What about Greece? "Greece is in default and its economy in painful contraction. Where does it go now? One siren call is to follow the path of Argentina, which is advising Greece that it should do what that country did a little over a decade ago: Tell creditors to take a hike. Argentina repudiated its international debts and offered a punitive settlement to its lenders, saying, in effect, take our offer or you’ll get nothing. Unburdened by international debt, Argentina had a few years of high growth. After its May elections Greece will be tempted to do the same as Argentina. But that would be a catastrophic mistake. Argentina benefited from the commodities boom brought on by the weak U.S. dollar. Greece has no such fallback. Moreover, Argentina is, once again, an economic basket case."

Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every part of Europe. Hither have they fled, not from the tender embraces of the mother, but from the cruelty of the monster; and it is so far true of England, that the same tyranny which drove the first emigrants from home, pursues their descendants still."

-Thomas Paine

Topic Five: Wisconsin Recall
Neil Boortz says that Walker is safe: "You’re right in wanting a little analysis here to go along with my prediction, and I’m only happy to oblige. The problem the Wisconsin unions have in bringing about a successful recall election is rooted in the very way they managed to get enough petitions signed to bring about the election in the first place. It’s also the reason unions want their unionization-by-intimidation (card check) law so badly. Fact is, the union activists collected a good number of those signatures on those petitions through intimidation -- and those who were intimidated can’t wait to express their true feelings on election day. To expand on the reason Walker has nothing to worry about, let’s focus on the methodology behind union elections and labor leaders’ dreams of card check. Unions, you see, are sick to death of pesky little contrivances known as “secret ballots.” How DARE anyone make any attempt to hide behind a cloak of anonymity when deciding whether or not they want to join a union? Stand out here like a man and let the world see how you feel! No secret ballots! Besides, eliminating the secret ballot makes it oh-so-much easier for union goons to retaliate against you if you dare to vote against them!"

While I would disagree with calling him completely safe, Boortz does raise a good point. People who were intimidated into signing petitions will likely show up at the polls and support Walker. Furthermore, even among Walker's true opponents, it is much easier to place your name on a petition as you are walking into a grocery store than it is to actually show up at the polling place and vote. Finally, Walker also sits as the incumbent in this race. He will get to watch as the Democrats fight amongst themselves for the right to face him, and then he will run against the winner only one month later. In what is shaping up to be an ugly primary battle, the attacks will likely be fresh in the minds of the voters as they head to the polls. Victory is not certain for Walker, and I would contend that he cannot relax, but the advantage is definitely in his favor.

Tomorrow in History
April 12, 1861 - Confederate forces fire on Fort Sumter, marking the first shots of the Civil War.

Grab Bag - Interesting and Important Stories to Conclude Your Evening: Our scolder-in-chief, hard at work

Obama's budget shows his vision

TSA gets privacy, passengers get groped

Judicial activism and the democratic process

New regulations to require 7% disabled workforce for government contracts

Obama without the teleprompter

How conservatives can win in 2016

$5 million for cow manure research?

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Mid-Week Media: Hope to Hypocricy, Liberal ID, ObamaCare Wreck, Budget Homework, and "Change"

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

The RNC put out this ad titled, "Obama 2012: From 'Hope' to 'Hypocricy'":

PJTV put out this video on liberal groups that demand ID to enter their building, but oppose ID to vote:

Will the wreck of ObamaCare be salvageable?

This puts our government's spending in perspective:

Could the court force the Senate to meet the legal obligation it has failed to meet for three years?

And finally, it appears that Obama's campaign slogan is undergoing some "change":

Guillen and the First Amendment

By now, most of you have probably heard that Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen was suspended for five games for comments he made supporting Fidel Castro. (If you have not heard the story, you can read more from FOX News here.)

The majority of reactions I have seen (especially through social media) have commented on a supposed violation of Guillen's first amendment rights. One person wrote, "I hope he sues under the 1st amendment, we are a free country after all".

This illustrates how ignorant our country has become about our Constitutional rights and freedoms. The freedom of speech provision gives a person the right to say anything he or she wants to say, but it does not mean that person can say anything without consequence. The first amendment's limitations only apply to Congress. If the Miami Marlins or Major League Baseball feel that Guillen's statements are detrimental to the team or the league, they have the right to take action against him.

In a world where a person's reputation actually meant something, the limitation on free speech was the public shame that would come from the backlash due to ridiculous or idiotic comments. Even today, that limitation applies to a certain extent. The members of Westboro Baptist Church may have the right to protest at funerals for our military members and other high-profile celebrities, but very few people take anyone at the church seriously due to their actions. The Marlins are rightfully justified for taking action against statements that will likely offend many of their fans, and hopefully, Guillen will learn that the right to free speech only applies in the eyes of the law and not in the eyes of the employer.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Final Five: April 10, 2012

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
April 10, 2012

Featured Article:
The Origins of Entitlement
Would FDR approve of Social Security as it is today? Few know that FDR actually rejected a proposal to establish a "pay-as-you-go" system for Social Security and required that contributions be saved to pay future benefits.

Tonight's Crazy Story:
Man Gives False Name To Idaho Police -- But Real One Was Tattooed On Forearm
It is never a bright idea to give a fake name to the police, but allowing the officer to see your real name tattooed on your arm after you've given him the fake name is even worse.

Topic One: Jobs Numbers
March jobs numbers were out last Friday: the economy added 120,000 jobs and the unemployment rate fell to 8.2%. More jobs and decreasing unemployment sounds good, but it is only half of the story. Mike Shedlock explains why the picture is still bleak: "In the last year, the civilian population rose by 3,604,000. Yet the labor force only rose by 1,315,000. Those not in the labor force rose by 2,289,000. The Civilian Labor Force fell by 164,000. Those "Not in Labor Force" increased by 310,000. If you are not in the labor force, you are not counted as unemployed. Those "Not in Labor Force" is at a new record high of 87,897,000. ... Were it not for people dropping out of the labor force, the unemployment rate would be well over 11%."

The failure of Obamanomics: "It may come as a surprise to Americans who've been fed a steady diet of stories claiming a ripping recovery is either here or on the way, but this remains the worst jobs recovery since the Depression. The White House and Democrats tout that unemployment has fallen from a high of 10% during the recession to "just" 8.2% in April. But that's deceptive, to say the least. Since official data no longer count many jobless people, some analysts use a variety of alternative unemployment measures to see what's really going on. And what they see isn't pretty. Even the Bureau of Labor Statistics has its own measure that gives a better reading than the so-called "headline" number. It's called U-5, and it includes not just the unemployed, but discouraged workers and those "marginally attached" to the labor force. What's it say? That unemployment, in contrast to the official government rate of 8.2%, is more like 9.6%."

Related Stories: From hope to hopelessness || Job creation best in states with GOP Governors

Time for a Laugh:
"Keith Olbermann is suing his former employer, Current TV, for $70 million. That comes out to $10 million per viewer."
-Jay Leno

Topic Two: Government Obesity
Postal Expert Michael Schuyler on the inflexibility of the USPS [PDF Download]: "If international best practices were followed here, Congress would step back from micromanagement and quickly repeal various requirements that drive up the Postal Service’s costs but are not closely related to its core mission of mail acceptance and delivery. Congress would also be more receptive when the Service seeks to make changes that would have small negative effects on service quality but produce substantial cost savings. This does not mean USPS should act without oversight. Congress and the PRC should closely monitor the Service’s actions to ensure the Service both upholds the USO and does not abuse its statutory monopoly by treating mail users unfairly."

Public employee unions and the public treasury: "California’s public sector workers have the highest average compensation of public sector workers in any state, and they also have one of the highest rates of unionization. It’s not a coincidence that the state is having severe budget problems and that it finds spending restraint very difficult to achieve. ... In California, for example, there are more than 9,000 retired public sector workers with annual pensions of more than $100,000 a year. Oftentimes these high pensions result from government workers abusing the system; for example, the last year of an employee’s salary may be artificially inflated to garner a larger annual pension, a technique known as “pension spiking.” Journalists often do not ask tough questions of groups such as firefighters and police because of the valuable contributions of those groups to local governments. But Greenhut analyzes these groups asspecial interests like any other, pushing for private gain and advantage. Yes, fire and police jobs can be dangerous, he says, but numerous private sector jobs are even more dangerous, and they don’t get the sweetheart deals on pensions and other benefits that public sector workers do."

Would FDR approve of Social Security as it is today? "When Roosevelt proposed Social Security in 1935, he envisioned a contributory pension plan. Workers' payroll taxes ("contributions") would be saved and used to pay their retirement benefits. Initially, before workers had time to pay into the system, there would be temporary subsidies. But Roosevelt rejected Social Security as a "pay-as-you-go" system that channeled the taxes of today's workers to pay today's retirees. That, he believed, would saddle future generations with huge debts -- or higher taxes -- as the number of retirees expanded. Discovering that the original draft proposal wasn't a contributory pension, Roosevelt ordered it rewritten and complained to Frances Perkins, his labor secretary: "This is the same old dole under another name. It is almost dishonest to build up an accumulated deficit for the Congress ... to meet."

Related Stories: The Gospel according to Democrats || The $537,767 Superintendent || Spending money to promote spending money

Debt Watch:
( As of Monday, April 9, 2012 )

Change: +$3,723,190,054
Your share as a citizen: $49,978.75
Share per household: $136,747.14
Debt since Obama inauguration: $4,994,568,685,220

Topic Three: Voter ID
Project Veritas was at it again: this time at the Washington DC primary. A young, white man walked into Eric Holder's polling place, gave Holder's name and address, and was offered a ballot to vote. However, Holder's Justice Department is downplaying the incident. A DOJ spokesperson said, "About the only time we get concrete evidence of voter fraud is when someone pulls a stunt like this." Perhaps it never occurred to anyone there that dead voters are no longer around to complain about someone using their identity to cast a second (or third, fourth, etc.) vote.

Holder's corruption on ID laws: "Political correctness causes people to adopt absurd and indefensible positions, which is precisely how we should characterize efforts to resist voter ID laws. Obama, Holder and the Democratic Party establishment don't even bother to counter the irrefutable argument that proof of ID is essential to reduce voter fraud. Instead, they just throw out the slanderous allegation that the GOP is trying to suppress the minority vote, which itself is born of the same type of categorical judgment about groups of people that lies at the heart of the sin of racism."

Related Stories: If ID is not required for voting, why required it for alcohol? || The lack of actual examples of voter ID disenfranchisement

Tweet of the Day:
David Limbaugh (@DavidLimbaugh):
If Romney picks me to run the Dodd-Frank CFPB I'll go all the way and pay off the mortgages of the 1 percenters.

Topic Four: Exploding Debt
What will Obama's budget plan bring us? How about $73,000 per American in debt within 10 years. Furthermore, many of the administration's estimates have turned out to be gross underestimates of our actual spending rate. For example, the debt negotiations last year were supposed to result in the establishment of a ceiling that would last us until 2013, but at our current rate, we will reach that ceiling just after the election. If the Obama administration is projecting $73,000 in debt by 2022, it is quite likely that the actual figure would be much greater. Even Geithner admits that the current path is unsustainable, but he says that we "can't just cut things."

John Hinderaker criticizes Obama's comments on the Ryan budget: "You certainly don’t hear it said about Obama’s budget. His FY 2012 budget was voted down 97-0 in the Senate, and his FY 2013 budget was voted down 414-0 in the House. The Senate’s Democratic leadership is trying to prevent it from coming up for a vote in that body, lest it be skunked again. But Obama has no intention of offering a serious budget proposal; he is 100% politics, 0% policy." The Senate has ignored the law in not bringing a proposal to the floor and Obama's budgets have failed to garner a single vote in either house, but the Ryan budget is bad policy (in Obama's eyes), so it must be worse than his plan.

Related Stories: The debt deadlock || Debt interest hits $104 billion for first half of FY 2012

Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"No country upon earth ever had it more in its power to attain these blessings than United America. Wondrously strange, then, and much to be regretted indeed would it be, were we to neglect the means and to depart from the road which Providence has pointed us to so plainly; I cannot believe it will ever come to pass."

-George Washington

Topic Five: Obama and Freedom
Fred Hiatt on Obama's defense of freedom: "More than three years into his term, it’s possible to assess where the promotion of democracy and freedom ranks in President Obama’s foreign policy: not high. It’s also possible to venture a theory as to why that’s so. This was a matter of uncertainty before his election. Not surprisingly, Obama was eager to separate himself from his predecessor’s “Freedom Agenda,” which had been oversold and yoked to an unpopular war in Iraq. Obama talked more about “dignity” than “democracy” and warned that self-government couldn’t be imposed. But he also portrayed himself as faithful to a tradition of American support for democracy."

Nowhere is Obama's disregard for American freedom more evident than in the contraception mandate. Rick Warren says that it is a complete affront to the freedom of religion: "Warren told interviewer Jake Tapper that he is not satisfied with the administration’s compromise on a requirement that religious-affiliated organizations provide contraception coverage to employees, and said religious freedom is at stake. “The issue here is not about women’s health,” Warren said. “There is a greater principle, and that is do you have the right to decide what your faith practices?"

Tomorrow in History
April 10, 1970 - Apollo 13 is launched.

Grab Bag - Interesting and Important Stories to Conclude Your Evening: MSNBC reports satire as news

The typical Obama administration reaction: blame Bush

Illinois needs another $54 billion

Five ways Obama has decimated the economy

Is there any business Obama can keep his nose out of

Obama approved tax cuts

Obama's uncle gets his license back early from a drunk-driving suspension so he can get to his job at a liquor store

Free markets--not entitlements--help people out of poverty

Hybrids don't save much money

Only in America...

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