Friday, April 20, 2012

Earth Day Plans

Note: For anyone in the EPA, this post is satire. No such earth day plans will occur on my property.

Anyone up for an earth day celebration this Sunday? Here are my plans:

First, we will find a forest and cut down several trees. We will make sure to use only gas-powered chainsaws to cut them down.

After cutting down the trees, we will use a power washer to wash all the houses in the neighborhood. If this has not used enough water, we will then power wash the streets, stop signs, etc.

After completing the power washing, we will take a tour of the area (for no reason at all) using an old, non-energy-efficient bus.

After we return from the tour, we will burn two tires. If anyone else has any extra tires sitting around, we can burn more than two.

After the tire burning, we will eat dinner using styrofoam plates and cups and plastic silverware. Dinner will be prepared using disposable serving platters.

After dinner, we will roast s'mores at a campfire. In order to ensure that there is enough light at the campsite, we will all turn our car headlights on and leave the cars running.

Please also note that no recycling will be allowed during this Sunday's earth day celebration.

D.C. Daily: April 20, 2013

Senate
Yesterday's Action


Yesterday, the Senate passed two measures by unanimous consent: H.R. 1021, the "Temporary Bankruptcy Judgeships Extension Act of 2011", and S. Res. 430, recognizing the 75th anniversary of the founding of Ducks Unlimited.

The Senate then moved to further consider the motion to proceed to consideration of S. 1925, the "Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act". An agreement was reached providing for further consideration of the motion at 12:00 PM on Monday, April 23.

The Senate considered S. 1789, the "21st Century Postal Service Act". An agreement was reached regarding consideration of amendments and the bill. The amendments will be considered in order as listed in the Congressional Register and will be subject to a 60 vote threshold for approval. Finally, following consideration of all amendments, the Senate will then vote on passage of the bill, also subject to the 60 vote threshold.

Finally, the Senate agreed to provide for consideration of the motion to proceed to consideration of S.J. Res. 36, providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the National Labor Relations Board relating to representation election procedures. The Senate will hold four hours of debate on the bill on Monday, April 23 and Tuesday, April 24, and a vote on the motion will occur at 2:15 PM on Tuesday, April 24.

Today's Schedule

The Senate will not meet today. The next meeting of the Senate is scheduled for 12:00 PM on Monday, April 23.



House
Yesterday's Action


After consideration of amendments, the House passed H.R. 9, the "Small Business Tax Cut Act", by a vote of 235 yeas to 173 nays.

Today's Schedule

The House will not meet today. The next meeting of the House is scheduled for 12:00 PM on Monday, April 23.



All information taken from the Congressional Register

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Final Five: April 19, 2012

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

Tonight's Crazy Story:
Steal a Cup of Sand from Augusta National and Prepare to be Arrested
A man was arrested after slipping under the ropes and attempting to fill a cup with sand at Augusta National during The Masters. He was charged with disorderly conduct and released on a $285 bond.


Topic One: The $5 Trillion President
So we passed $5 trillion in debt under President Obama this week, and the mainstream media raised awareness of our unsustainable path by ... doing nothing. From CNSNews.com: "In the 39 months since Barack Obama took the oath of office as president of the United States, the federal government’s debt has increased by $5,027,761,476,484.56. Although he has served less than a term, Obama is now the first American president to see the federal government's debt increase by more than $5 trillion during his time in office. During the full eight years that George W. Bush served as president, the federal government's debt increased by $4,899,100,310,608.44."

The new Debt Bomb app: "Debt Bomb's assumptions start with the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office's projections of deficits over the next decade. Debt Bomb raises your assumed taxes to shrink the deficits. You enter basic information such as your age, income, spouse's income, number of children, and state of residence. You can show your income increasing with inflation, or changing over the next decade. Debt Bomb estimates average taxes for your household under two scenarios: a balanced budget, and a deficit of no more than 2 percent of GDP. Take two 25-year olds, a married couple earning $30,000 a year each in Massachusetts with no children. Their average taxes in 2011 would have been about $13,700. If the budget were balanced through tax increases, they would owe $18,900, or 38 percent more. If the deficit were on a sustainable 2 percent path, their average taxes would rise by $4,000, or 29 percent."


Time for a Laugh:
"Japanese researchers have successfully grown hair on a bald mouse. The researchers are ecstatic, and the mouse is relieved he doesn't have to keep wearing that stupid toupee."
-Conan O'Brien


Topic Two: The Buffett Rule
It's all about perception: "If the Buffet rule affects very few people, does little to reduce the deficit, and adds a new layer of complexity to the tax system, why bother with it? The answer is that it affects the perceived fairness of the system which, in turn, affects the willingness of the middle class to pay their fair share. Eventually, to plug a gargantuan deficit hole, we are going to need major sacrifices from the middle class as well as from the wealthy as part of a comprehensive overhaul of the tax system and restrained growth of entitlements. But a precondition for that broader sacrifice is some sense on the part of the public that the deck is not stacked against them, that everyone does play by the same rules, that millionaires don't receive favored treatment while programs for the middle class and the poor are being slashed."

Buffett Baloney: "The President wants us to believe that by raising taxes he can both grow the economy and slash the deficit. Whatever it was that Obama learned in Community Organizing 101, it apparently had nothing to do with basic economics. The President has decided that rather than explain the dismal failure of his economic policies over the last 3-plus years, he'd rather play class warfare. So, he's been clanging the gong for what he calls the Buffett Rule -- a 30% minimum tax on all income for individuals that make a million dollars per year regardless of the source."

Moving toward fairness: "Lately, President Obama has been talking a lot about “fairness.” He wants to make our society more “fair.” I was raised a bit differently than the president, so I’ve been struggling with this concept. My parents always told me that in life, as in poker, I had to play the cards I was dealt. Whenever I complained that something was unfair, my parents would respond, “Whoever said life was fair?” This concept — that life itself was unfair — was even part of my religious upbringing. The 10th Commandment says, “Thou shalt not covet anything that is thy neighbor’s.” Obviously, if everyone had exactly the same stuff, there would be no reason to covet anything, and thus no point in having such a commandment. So even God recognized that life was unfair. But here’s the president saying he wants to make life more fair. So I, as a patriotic American, would like to offer some suggestions toward attaining that goal."


Debt Watch:
$15,660,736,663,887.96
( As of Wednesday, April 18, 2012 )

Change: -$837,568,711
Your share as a citizen: $50,097.58
Share per household: $137,091.09
Debt since Obama inauguration: $5,033,859,614,975


Topic Three: Energy
The real oil manipulators: "Multiple ironies abound in Obama's lecture about "market" forces. Besides Obama's own influence on the price of oil, the Fed artificially holding interest rates low is "not the way the market should work" either. The very idea that 10 alleged wizards can sit in a room eight times a year and divine the proper interest rate to steer the economy is preposterous. Indeed that is precisely "not the way the market should work" and in fact cannot possibly work. Proof is easy to find. We have had bubble after bubble after bubble, each with increasing amplitude, each with bank bailouts, each causing greater and greater income disparity, and ultimately culminating in the biggest housing bust in history."

Obama's fraudulent investments: "Obama has coined a new and fraudulent meaning for "invest." It is when government takes and spends someone else's money. In that same speech at Palm Beach Gardens, Obama boasted that "we expanded clean energy investments like no previous administration." ... To complement the new meaning he has given the word "invest," Obama has also given a new meaning to the word "spend." It is when government allows someone to keep their own money. In his weekly address on Saturday, Obama said "we can't afford to keep spending more money on tax cuts."


Tweet of the Day:
David Burge (@iowahawkblog):
For all those times I claimed Obama wasn't qualified to run as Dog Catcher, I take it all back. #sorry


Topic Four: Racism and Conservatism
Andrew Klavan on why you cannot be a racist and a conservative: "Thus, as we see, it is not racist in itself to point out, say, that black people commit an inordinate amount of the violent crime in this country. (My terrific City Journal colleague Heather Mac Donald does this regularly and, far from thinking to fire her, her editors value her highly, as do I.) Facts are facts. What is racist, however, according to Webster, is the belief that high crime rates among blacks — or any other psychocultural outcomes — are somehow biologically determined; that you can tell who will win or lose the game of Life by the color of his skin. I do not believe you can be a true, thinking, coherent conservative and a philosophical racist at the same time. "


Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"Let us therefore animate and encourage each other, and show the world that a free man, contending for his liberty on his own ground, is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth."

-George Washington


Topic Five: North Korea as the Victim
The victim narrative: "Although North Korea started the Korean War, ever since it got beaten its propagandists have advanced the narrative that North Korea is a victim of injustice and perfidy by the UN, US and the Allies. The victim narrative justifies the North's failure to honor its commitments by wrapping itself in self-righteousness, false legality and blaming outsiders for ill will, lack of sincerity, violations of dignity, hostile acts and so on. In this narcissistic narrative only North Korea is honorable and upright. The repertoire of wrongs has been canned for decades. The triteness of the lexicon is a strong sign of continuity. The victim narrative is essential in keeping an abused population docile and loyal to an undeserving leadership. Now that the North has established that it has been wronged, it is free from any past agreements and thus can detonate a nuclear device, for example, when and as it chooses. If a device is not detonated, it almost certainly means the scientists failed again, rather than some act of responsible self-restraint by the ruling cabal."


Tomorrow in History
April 20, 1836 - An act of Congress creates the Wisconsin Territories.


Grab Bag - Interesting and Important Stories to Conclude Your Evening:
Justice for Trayvon...only

Boehner: Obama shirking his responsibility to lead

You can't get rich relying on the poor

ObamaCare's 10 most expensive taxes and fees

Measuring progress, Obama style

The federal budget in one graphic



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D.C. Daily: April 19, 2012

Senate
Yesterday's Action


Yesterday, the Senate agreed to three measures by unanimous consent: S. Res. 406, commending the achievements and recognizing the importance of the Alliance to Save Energy on the 35th anniversary of the incorporation of the Alliance, S. Res. 425, designating April 23, 2012, as "National Adopt a Library Day", and S. Res. 426, congratulating the Lady Bears of Baylor University on winning the 2012 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship.

The Senate then moved to further consider the motion to proceed to consideration of S. 1925, the "Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act". An agreement was reached providing for further consideration of the motion at 9:30 AM on Thursday, April 19.

Finally, the Senate considered S. 1789, the "21st Century Postal Service Act". An agreement was reached to establish a filing deadline for second-degree amendments at 11:00 AM on Thursday, April 19, and that cloture votes for the Reid (for Lieberman) Modified Amendment No. 2000 and for the bill occur at 2:15 PM on Thursday, April 19.

Today's Schedule

Today, the Senate will meet at 9:30 AM to continue consideration of the motion to proceed to consideration of S. 1925, the "Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act". At 2:15 PM, the Senate will will vote on the motion to invoke cloture on Reid (for Lieberman) Modified Amendment No. 2000 to S. 1789, the "21st Century Postal Service Act" and if cloture is not invoked, the Senate will then vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the bill.



House
Yesterday's Action


The House approved H.R. 4348, to provide an extension of Federal-aid highway, highway safety, motor carrier safety, transit, and other programs funded out of the Highway Trust Fund pending enactment of a multiyear law reauthorizing such programs, by a vote of 293 yeas to 127 nays. The House also agreed to H.R. 2453, the "Mark Twain Commemorative Coin Act", with a vote of 408 yeas to 4 nays.

In committee meetings, the Homeland Security Committee held markup on H.R. 3674, the "PRECISE Act of 2011", and ordered the bill reported.

Today's Schedule

The House will meet today at 9:00 AM to consider H.R. 9, the "Small Business Tax Cut Act", subject to a rule.



All information taken from the Congressional Register

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Final Five: April 18, 2012

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
April 18, 2012

Featured Article:
CBO Confirms It: Obamacare Creates an Unstable Disequilibrium in Insurance Subsidies
Don't worry about the title; read the rest of the article. A very informative read about the likelihood of employers finding ways around labor laws in order to put lower-income employees on the exchanges while keeping higher-income employees on their insurance plans.


Tonight's Crazy Story:
Feds' Puzzle: How to Remove Frozen Cows from Colo. Cabin?
How do you get rid of dead cows frozen solid inside a cabin on federal land high in the Rocky Mountains? That's the question the feds must figure out after discovering six cows frozen inside a Forest Service cabin in Conundrum Hot Springs.


Topic One: The Buffett Rule
The unanswerable question: "Why now? That’s the one question about the present push for the “Buffett Rule” that President Obama can’t answer – at least not without exposing his own proposal as the shabbiest, sleaziest sort of partisan posing. If the president cared sincerely about “tax fairness,” or the importance of millionaires paying a “proper” percentage of their income to the government, then why did he do nothing to address these issues during his first three years in the White House? This challenge applies with special force to the two years 2009 and 2010, when Barack Obama enjoyed overwhelming Democratic majorities in both House and Senate. Had he suggested the Buffett Rule in, say, April of 2010, the Hope-and-Change intoxicated Congress of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid would have passed it without delay, claiming at least partial progress in fulfilling Obama’s often-repeated campaign promise to raise taxes on the rich. But the president never fought for anything like the Buffett Rule when he easily could have prevailed in the battle, so what changed in the intervening months to make a tax adjustment they never even debated two years ago seem suddenly urgent and important?"

High taxes will never soak the rich: "But as Americans pay their taxes by today’s deadline, we might note that trying to get more money from upper-income taxpayers is like playing whack-a-mole. So long as tax rates are high, rich people will figure out ways to protect their income. It doesn’t take a tax genius; any rich person can make a phone call or hit a few computer keys and shift his or her investments to tax-free municipal bonds. It’s not good for the economy when capital gets diverted to help finance the excess spending of Detroit or California, but it’s an effective way of stiff-arming the IRS."


Time for a Laugh:
"The IRS is very into social media now. They have five different Twitter accounts. And while you may not be following them, they are definitely following you. The IRS also has four Facebook pages and zero friends on all of those."
-Jimmy Kimmel


Topic Two: Spending Policy
Tax-and-waste: "Literally, it is under the threat of jail time and the point of a gun that our hard-earned money is taken from us. And this is how you thank us. And President Obama demands that American workers must pay more to Washington. Yet, like the vast majority of government-firsters, Mr. Obama took full advantage of every tax deduction and legal loophole he could find in the tax code to pay as little taxes as possible. So much for paying his “fair share."

Spending cuts stimulate the economy: "New research suggests that legislators should cut spending and enact growth-inducing policies. The reasoning? According to the study, spending cuts can positively affect economic growth and are the only historically reliable way to lower deficits and debt. The authors of the study, Alberto Alesina and Francesco Giavazzi, write that “spending-based consolidations [spending cuts] accompanied by the right polices tend to be less recessionary or even have a positive impact on growth.” (emphasis added) These findings confirm what was certainly true in past U.S. recessions. Alesina and Giavazzi also add that “only spending-based adjustments have eventually led to a permanent consolidation of the budget, as measured by the stabilization—if not the reduction—of debt-to-GDP ratios.” No ordinary person needs a study to know that when government spends less of our money it will be better for the economy, and that less spending means less debt."


Debt Watch:
$15,661,574,232,598.82
( As of Monday, April 16, 2012 )

Change: +$6,935,707,201
Your share as a citizen: $50,100.26
Share per household: $137,098.42
Debt since Obama inauguration: $5,034,697,183,686


Topic Three: Gas Prices
Can Obama control gas prices? "Any rational business, upon being told that a new competitor is planning to enter into competition with them, will first reduce prices. Why? Well, it's obviously not to match the prices of a potential competitor who isn't even in business yet. The purpose is to demonstrate to the new kid on the block that (a) because of their much higher sales volume, the older business can still function at lower unit prices and (b) if the new kid wants to compete, he will have to sell at these new, lower prices, and suffer the lower operating margins associated with those lower prices. ... This being true, there would be an immediate and dramatic reduction in the worldwide price of oil if President Obama opened up for serious drilling the American territories both offshore and onshore, as well as the Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) and everywhere else where we might conceivably find oil. Within 24 hours after such an announcement, the price of crude would start to drop as current oil-producing countries tried to pre-empt any new activity by making it less attractive financially."

The Fed's influence on gas prices: "The meteoric rise in gas prices is not a matter of energy policy. It is not a matter of environmental policy. It is not a matter of commodities futures regulatory policy. It is a matter of monetary policy. In the last three years, the Federal Reserve has pumped trillions of dollars into the economy. The result is an economic phenomenon called inflation. History has shown that when there is a lot of money in circulation, prices tend to rise, and not just gasoline -- milk, cereal and ground beef have all gone up in price recently. Monetary policy is determined by the Federal Reserve Bank. At a February 2011 Congressional hearing, Representative Ron Paul asked Fed chief Ben Bernanke one question: "What is your definition of the dollar?" Mr. Bernanke did not know."


Tweet of the Day:
Ken Gardner (@kesgardner):
Irony: David Axelrod is slamming Gallup over recent bad polls for Obama. During 2008, Gallup consistently overestimated Obama support.


Topic Four: ObamaCare
The difference in subsidies between tax-advantaged employer plans and exchange benefits (It is actually a very good read once you get past the title): "What CBO’s latest report does not attempt to address is the likelihood that this kind of inequity will be allowed to exist for very long in federal law. Because, make no mistake, if CBO is right and migration out of employer plans is minimal, that will mean low-wage households with employer-based insurance will be getting far less support from their government than others who have the same incomes but get their insurance through the exchanges. And the differences wouldn’t be trivial but would amount to many thousands of dollars every year. So, even if CBO is right and the rules are strong enough to prevent segregation of the workforce by income, how long is that kind of disparate treatment of similar households going to be tolerated by politicians? The history of new federal entitlement programs is that spending is almost always higher in reality than it was projected to be at enactment because, once the government sets the rules for eligibility, more people than expected come out of the woodwork and adjust as necessary to get on the program and take advantage of the government’s new offer of financial help. Based on CBO’s latest analysis of the future of job-based health insurance, there’s no reason to believe Obamacare will be any different."

Is health care commerce or a right? "If health care is not commerce, what else might it be? Maybe it is a right. ... You do not pay to have the rights to speak freely, to travel without a permit, to congregate, practice religion, or possess a firearm. You pay to use these rights. ... To have a right to "free" health care, one that involves no commerce, requires the government to enslave providers and to steal (take without payment) products made by private companies. That is the precise opposite of what the U.S. stands for. Health care in our country is and must be commerce."


Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do?"

-Alexander Hamilton


Topic Five: The Global Tax Scheme
John Ransom on Biden's "global minimum tax" idea: "The most expensive tax in the history of the world has been proposed by the Obama administration and to hear them tell the story, you’d think the rest of us should be grateful. “We want to create a global minimum tax,” said vice president Joe Biden, “because American taxpayers shouldn’t be providing a larger subsidy for investing abroad than investing at home.” A global minimum tax is a tax on all profits made by nominally US companies that operate overseas. They operate overseas for various reasons, but one big reason is because corporate taxes are higher in the US than overseas. And to fix high corporate taxes in the US, the Obama administration proposes even HIGHER TAXES on corporations."


Tomorrow in History
April 19, 1995 - The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA, is bombed, killing 168.


Grab Bag - Interesting and Important Stories to Conclude Your Evening:
Beware Bo: Obama once ate dog

Banks now even bigger, despite pledge to end "too big to fail"

Obama's problem: his record

Senate promises to continue illegal activity

Educated immigrants now heading home after graduation

Compliance with Dodd-Frank costs 24 million hours

How work e-mail has ruined leisure time



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D.C. Daily: April 18, 2012

Senate
Yesterday's Action


Yesterday, the Senate passed four resolutions by unanimous consent: S. Res. 420, designating April 5, 2012, as "Gold Star Wives Day", S. Res. 421, designating April 20 through 22, 2012, as "Global Youth Service Day", S. Res. 422, commending and congratulating the University of Kentucky men's basketball team for winning the Division I national championship, and S. Res. 423, congratulating Western Washington University for winning the 2012 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II Men's Basketball Championship.

The Senate also considered the motion to proceed to consideration of S. 1789, the "21st Century Postal Service Act of 2011". By a vote of 74 yeas to 22 nays, the Senate approved a motion for cloture on the motion to proceed to consideration, and then approved the motion to proceed to consideration of the bill by unanimous consent.

The Senate also began consideration of the motion to proceed to consideration of S. 1925, the "Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2011". An agreement was reached to provide for further consideration of this measure today.

Today's Schedule

Today, the Senate will meet at 9:30 AM to continue consideration of the motion to proceed to consideration of S. 1925, the "Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2011". Also, the Senate has established a filing deadline for first-degree amendments to S. 1789, the "21st Century Postal Service Act".



House
Yesterday's Action


Yesterday, the House agreed to pass two measures under suspension of the rules: H.R. 1815, the "Lena Horne Recognition Act", and H.R. 4089, the "Sportsmen's Heritage Act of 2012", with votes of 410 yeas to 2 nays and 274 yeas to 146 nays, respectively.

Today's Schedule

Today, the House will meet at 10:00 AM to consider H.R. 4348, the "Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012, Part II", subject to a rule.

In committee meetings today, the Homeland Security Committee will hold markup on H.R. 3674, the "PRECISE Act of 2011". The Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold markup on four measures: H.R. 538, the "Federal Customer Service Enhancement Act", H.R. 3609, the "Taxpayers Right to Know Act", H.R. 4257, the "Federal Information Security Amendments Act of 2012", H.R. 4363, providing the authority to offer phased retirement to federal employees, and H.R. 4364, reforming the law governing the pay of recess appointees. The Veterans' Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs, will hold markup on three bills: H.R. 4114, the "Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2012", H.R. 2377, the "RAPID Claims Act", and H.R. 4142, the "American Heroes COLA Act".

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Final Five: April 17, 2012

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
April 17, 2012

Featured Article:
Tax (Disappearing) Freedom Day
Today might be Tax Freedom Day, but it does not mean that we are working for ourselves the rest of the year. Tom Blumer takes it further to develop the "We Finally Have Our Lives Back" Day.


Tonight's Crazy Story:
Alabama's 2011 BCS Championship Trophy Accidentally Smashed
It was less than 100 days ago that Alabama defeated LSU to claim the BCS national championship. Unfortunately, Alabama's crystal football trophy was shattered this weekend in an accident involving a team member's parent.


Topic One: Tax Day
If you have not completed and mailed your tax returns, I hope that you have either applied for an extension or know of a nearby post office that is open until midnight on tax day. Pundits celebrated tax day in the only way they know how: writing about it! In addition to being the day that we all balance our books with the IRS, today was also "Tax Freedom Day", the day that the average American has made enough money to cover the taxes for the entire year.

Heritage asks what this day will feel like in 2013: "In addition to today being Tax Day, it’s also, coincidentally, “Tax Freedom Day” — meaning that it has taken from January 1 until now for Americans to earn enough money to pay this year’s federal, state, and local tax bill — 29.2% of all our income. In other words, for the first 111 days of the year, everything you earned went straight to Uncle Sam. Compare that to back in 1900, when Americans paid only 5.9% of their income in taxes and Tax Freedom Day came on January 22. The Tax Foundation reports that because of higher federal income and corporate tax collections, Tax Freedom Day came four days later this year than last. And the bad news is that unless Washington takes action, it will take working Americans 11 more days to meet next year’s tax burden. That’s all due to Taxmageddon — a slew of expiring tax cuts and new tax increases that will hit Americans on January 1, 2013, amounting to a $494 billion tax hike. Heritage’s Curtis Dubay reports that American households can expect to face an average tax increase of $3,800 and that 70 percent of Taxmageddon’s impact will fall directly on low-income and middle-income families, leaving them with $346 billion less to spend."

Tom Blumer at PJ Media takes it one step further and calculates the "We Finally Have Our Lives Back" day: "The foundation notes that “if the federal government raised taxes enough to close the budget deficit — an additional $1.014 trillion — Tax Freedom Day would come on May 14 instead of April 17.” This year’s deficit really appears more likely to come in at about $1.2 trillion — if we’re lucky. The reported deficits in February and March were both higher than the year-ago figures for the same months. ... It would also not be out of line to add the costs of government regulation to the TFD calendar, simply because you’re not working for yourself when you’re engaging in state-required busywork, paperwork, and other forms of compliance. The Competitive Enterprise Institute cited a paper in its 2011 “Ten Thousand Commandments” publication claiming that “an evaluation of the U.S. federal regulatory enterprise … (found that) annual regulatory compliance costs hit $1.752 trillion in 2008.” No one can possibly believe that these costs have gone down in the past three years. Add in the cost of state and local regs, and the current figure for the annual cost of all forms of regulatory compliance and subservience is surely at least $2 trillion. That tacks on another 53 days, taking us well past the half-year mark to about July 11, which perhaps should be tagged as “We Finally Have Our Lives Back” Day. The proposition that we live in a genuinely free country becomes more questionable with each passing year."


Time for a Laugh:
"At the St. Louis Zoo, Newt Gingrich got too close to one of the animals and was bit on the hand by a penguin. If you're named after a lizard, you have to assume birds are going to try to eat you."
-Jimmy Kimmel


Topic Two: Israel Relations
Duel Dilemmas: "As commander in chief and first diplomat, Obama holds all the cards. If Iran is accommodating, the sanctions he has imposed will be seen as successful. If Iran balks in negotiations, he can impose new sanctions. If Iran walks out of the talks, he can issue ultimata. If Israel attacks Iran, he can come to Israel's defense and finish the job of destroying Iran's nuclear facilities. If done close to the election, this would assure Obama's re-election. The "October surprise" of 2012. What are Iran's interests and options? Tehran cannot want war with the United States. For whatever the damage done to U.S. interests, the destruction of Iran's air, naval and missile forces and nuclear program would be total. The smartest course for Iran to pursue is to demonstrate to the West that she is reasonable and anxious to prove she has no present or future intention of building atomic weapons."

However, while the talks occurred, Israel aired a report detailing their capability to strike Iran: "But what is it that the IDF let the reporter see? It could be a gigantic bluff meant to prod the Iranians in the talks now underway with the P5+1 nations - a not so subtle message that a rain of ruin from the air is coming and they can do little to stop it. Then again, the Israelis may have allowed the report to air for domestic purposes. A lot of Israelis don't think their military has the capability to strike Iran effectively. A report like this may change a few minds in that regard. For whatever reason, the TV report shows that preparations are probably complete for an attack and all that is needed is a "go" from Prime Minister Netanyahu. Whether that order will be given is pretty much up to the Iranians now."


Debt Watch:
$15,654,638,525,397.64
( As of Monday, April 16, 2012 )

Change: +$38,912,488,075
Your share as a citizen: $50,078.07
Share per household: $137,037.70
Debt since Obama inauguration: $5,027,761,476,485


Topic Three: The Zimmerman Case
Media Malpractice: "As for the Martin case, last week George Zimmerman was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. The right thing to do is reserve judgment until the evidence emerges in a court of law. One hopes that the media haven’t poisoned the well such that Zimmerman can’t get a fair trial. Meanwhile, it’s worth remembering America has a black president, and the country has seen undeniable racial progress. Given the political leanings and professional standards of America’s newsrooms, it’s increasingly implausible to say the media have."

On Zimmerman's lack of a grand jury hearing: "It may well be for the best that the case will be heard in a full adversarial proceeding in open court, for no matter how it turns out, the killing has already turned out to be one of the most important criminal cases in American history. All the more reason, though, that this is precisely the kind of situation in which the right of the grand jury is at a premium. The way things are going it wouldn’t surprise us were the case of Florida v. George Zimmerman to illuminate the logic of incorporating the grand jury right to all persons held to answer for an infamous crime, even if they are being held not by the federal government but by one of the states."


Tweet of the Day:
Weird Report (@WeirdReport):
Warren Buffett said he should have to pay more taxes. IRS audits him. He hires 3 attorneys to fight paying more taxes. #BuffettRule.


Topic Four: Romney's Strategy
Romney lagging on foreign policy: "Since launching his bid for the White House last year, Mitt Romney has taken a far more passive approach to combating President Obama on foreign policy than he has to contrasting their economic approaches. In his speeches, the GOP's all-but-certain standard-bearer regularly berates the president for the state of the economy. ... But when it comes to foreign policy, the tack has been more reactive and piecemeal. When international incidents occur -- such as North Korea’s failed rocket launch on Friday -- the Romney campaign cobbles together statements accusing Obama of failed leadership."

Is touting business experience risky for Romney? "The president's lines echoed attacks used against Fiorina and Whitman — who were painted by Democrats as out of touch because of their wealth and top-flight business careers. On countless occasions, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) mentioned Fiorina's yachts almost in the same breath as the layoffs Fiorina had ordered as Hewlett-Packard Co.'s chief executive. In the race for governor, Jerry Brown repeatedly accused Whitman, the billionaire and former EBay chief executive, of trying to buy the election, and her professional performance was dissected throughout. ... Boxer pollster Mark Mellman noted that, as with Romney, voters initially were receptive to the business experience of both women, particularly Fiorina's arc of working her way up from the secretarial pool to run HP. But that perception changed as Boxer's campaign pummeled her with television ads that juxtaposed outsourcing and layoffs under her watch at HP with her lifestyle."

Meanwhile, the hunt for a VP is officially on: "The first unwritten notion about the “veepstakes” is that the American vice presidency is like a bronze medal or a day-old doughnut: Sure, you might enjoy having it. But it is considered unseemly to want it. The dance is expected to begin in earnest now that Mitt Romney is the de facto Republican nominee. On Monday, the candidate said he has named Beth Myers, a longtime senior adviser, to lead his running-mate search committee, even though he acknowledged that it is “way too early to begin narrowing down who the potential vice-presidential nominees might be.” The selection of a running mate is a vitally important political calculation for any presidential nominee: It can help swing a key state or voting demographic or reassure voters that a capable second is ready to take over in an emergency."


Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man by which a government can be held to the priciples of its Constitution."

-Thomas Jefferson


Topic Five: ObamaCare's Cost
$1.16 Trillion over 10 years: "How much will Obamacare -- call it the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act if you like -- cost over the next 10 years? More than you've been led to believe, reports Charles Blahous of George Mason University's Mercatus Center. To be specific, he projects it will add $1,160 billion to net federal spending over the next 10 years and at least $340 billion to federal budget deficits in that time. Blahous was appointed by Barack Obama as one of two public trustees of the Social Security and Medicare programs. He worked on these issues in George W. Bush's administration and submitted his Mercatus paper for anonymous peer review."

The best reaction to summaries this news can be described by the first word of the headline: "Ouch!"


Tomorrow in History
April 18, 1908 - The city of San Francisco is mostly destroyed by a earthquake and the resulting fire.


Grab Bag - Interesting and Important Stories to Conclude Your Evening:
Those making over $50,000 pay 93.3% of all taxes

Walker leads Barrett by 5 in latest poll

150 Afghan schoolgirls poisoned

The laziest Senate in years

Promoting competition in government

Kenya getting more US government money

The 7 most disturbing moments of the Obama presidency

The education trap

Americans renouncing citizenship at tax time

2000 more green-energy layoffs

People line up for Obama money



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D.C. Daily: April 17, 2012

Senate

Yesterday, the Senate resumed consideration of the motion to proceed to consideration of S. 2230, the "Paying A Fair Share Act". With a vote of 51 yeas to 45 nays, the Senate rejected the motion to close debate on the motion (a three-fifths vote was required.) The Senate then resumed consideration of the motion to proceed to consideration of S. 1789, the "21st Century Postal Service Act of 2011". An agreement was reached to reconsider the vote by which cloture was not invoked. Finally, the Senate confirmed the nomination of Stephanie Dawn Thacker to be United States Circuit Judge for the Fourth Circuit by a vote of 91 yeas to 3 nays.

Today, the Senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to consideration of S. 1789, the "21st Century Postal Service Act of 2011". A vote on cloture on the motion is expected to occur at approximately 11:10 AM.


House

Yesterday, the House voted to suspend the rules and pass two measures: H.R. 3001, the "Raoul Wallenberg Centennial Celebration Act" and H.R. 4040, to provide for the award of a gold medal on behalf of Congress to Jack Nicklaus in recognition of his service to the Nation in promoting excellence and good sportsmanship in golf.

Today, the House will consider one measure subject to a rule: H.R. 4089, the "Sportsmen's Heritage Act of 2012".

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Final Five: April 16, 2012

The Final Five: Bedtime Stories for Conservatives
April 16, 2012

Tonight's Crazy Story:
Sheriff's Captain Accused of Freeing Inmate for Golf Outing
A captain in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's office freed an inmate for a few hours so that the thief, who was also a pro golfer, could assist him with his golf swing.


Topic One: Talk Without Action?
b Obama has made some tough-sounding comments recently, but with his history of talk without action, one has to wonder whether he will follow through. First, regarding North Korea, the administration said that further provocations will not be tolerated. "A senior U.S. diplomat said Monday that the United States and its allies were determined to prevent any further provocations from North Korea following the failure of its rocket launching last week. The comment from Kurt M. Campbell, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, came as signs emerged from Pyongyang that despite its embarrassing rocket failure, North Korea has retained the officials believed to be in charge of the North’s missile and nuclear programs."

On Iran: "President Obama responded sharply yesterday to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim the P5+1 talks with Iran constituted a Western “freebie” to the Islamist regime because it gave it five more weeks to continue to enrich uranium. Speaking during his visit to Colombia, the president let loose with another barrage of tough talk about his intentions to halt Iran’s nuclear program. Warning “the clock is ticking” for Iran, he directly addressed criticism of the talks by saying he wouldn’t allow it to turn into a “stalling process” and that far more draconian sanctions would be put into place against the regime if it didn’t take advantage of the diplomatic process. That’s reassuring rhetoric, but the problem with America’s policy on the Iranian nuclear issue remains the same as it has always been: the disconnect between President Obama’s public rhetoric and the process by which U.S. diplomatic efforts has allowed Tehran to do the stalling that he claims he opposes."

And finally, regarding the Secret Service scandal this weekend: "President Obama, in his first public remarks on the prostitution scandal involving members of the Secret Service, said Sunday that he will be "angry" if the reported allegations against the agents turn out to be true. He said Secret Service personnel, like the rest of any U.S. delegation abroad, must "observe the highest standards. We're here on behalf of our people and that means that we conduct ourselves with the utmost dignity and probity. And obviously what's been reported doesn't match up with those standards," Obama said, on the closing day of his visit to Colombia."

Unfortunately, given the failure of Obama to follow through on much of his "talk" during the past three years, I am not expecting him to follow through on these either.


Time for a Laugh:
"President Obama released his tax returns. It turns out he made $900,000 less in 2011 then he did in 2010. You know what that means? Even Obama is doing worse under President Obama."
-Jay Leno


Topic Two: Energy
Fake energy from a fake president: "It’s important to note that the poor performance of the solar industry came at a time when government financial support has been at an all-time high world-wide. It only goes to show that politics and public policy are poor substitutes for free market economics. Expect the solar industry to continue to crash and burn as government money continues to dry up along with public support. Because there is no amount of money fakery that can cover the mess our fake president has made of his fake pet industry: solar power." But there is good news: this government-backed green energy company has not gone bankrupt (yet), but had to admit that there was no market for its stock. Uh oh.

Oil and our own worst enemy: "The West, particularly the U.S., is facing a formidable enemy in radical Islam. But sometimes, we are our own worst enemy. It seems our leaders’ decisions, and our national will, sometimes oppose our best interests. The most egregious case in recent days was President Obama’s hot mic incident. Last Monday, Obama was overheard asking Russian President Dmitry Medvedev for “space” on the contested issue of the missile defense. After he wins re-election, Obama implied, he would offer the Russians “more flexibility” in negotiations. Presumably, once he’s elected for the final time, he won’t be accountable to the American people and can negotiate away our defensive strength. Another case of “cutting of our nose to spite our face” was the Obama administration’s recent rejection of the Keystone Pipeline."


Debt Watch:
$15,615,726,037,322.66
( As of Friday, April 13, 2012 )

Change: +$731,269,480
Your share as a citizen: $49,960.45
Share per household: $136,697.07
Debt since Obama inauguration: $4,988,848,988,410


Topic Three: The TSA
Kip Hawley, former TSA head, on how to improve transportation security: "More than a decade after 9/11, it is a national embarrassment that our airport security system remains so hopelessly bureaucratic and disconnected from the people whom it is meant to protect. Preventing terrorist attacks on air travel demands flexibility and the constant reassessment of threats. It also demands strong public support, which the current system has plainly failed to achieve. The crux of the problem, as I learned in my years at the helm, is our wrongheaded approach to risk. In attempting to eliminate all risk from flying, we have made air travel an unending nightmare for U.S. passengers and visitors from overseas, while at the same time creating a security system that is brittle where it needs to be supple."

Hawley goes on to list two of the TSA's problems. First, "the TSA's mission is to prevent a catastrophic attack on the transportation system, not to ensure that every single passenger can avoid harm while traveling. Much of the friction in the system today results from rules that are direct responses to how we were attacked on 9/11." He continues with his second problem: "the TSA's job is to manage risk, not to enforce regulations. Terrorists are adaptive, and we need to be adaptive, too. Regulations are always playing catch-up, because terrorists design their plots around the loopholes."

The TSA, like most government agencies, has become a reactionary body: it reacts to threats after they have occurred. Box cutter knives were no longer allowed on planes after 9/11. We take our shoes off at the airport because of the shoe bomber. Large amounts of liquids were outlawed because of another incident. The TSA (or security systems in place prior to the TSA) failed to prevent any of these incidents: it only reacted to the incidents after the plot was discovered.


Tweet of the Day:
Jerome Hudson (@JeromeEHudson) started a new topic on Twitter with this simple tweet: "---------> #ObamaBookTitles <---------". For a list of some of the best responses, see Topic Five below.


Topic Four: $10 Million for Everyone
Sheila Bair explains the problems with the Fed's easy money policy by extrapolating it to everyone: "For several years now, the Fed has been making money available to the financial sector at near-zero interest rates. Big banks and hedge funds, among others, have taken this cheap money and invested it in securities with high yields. This type of profit-making, called the “carry trade,” has been enormously profitable for them. So why not let everyone participate? Under my plan, each American household could borrow $10 million from the Fed at zero interest. The more conservative among us can take that money and buy 10-year Treasury bonds. At the current 2 percent annual interest rate, we can pocket a nice $200,000 a year to live on. The more adventuresome can buy 10-year Greek debt at 21 percent, for an annual income of $2.1 million. Or if Greece is a little too risky for you, go with Portugal, at about 12 percent, or $1.2 million dollars a year. (No sense in getting greedy.)"

Obviously, this plan would work, but it would not produce the results that everyone would expect. Sure, we could all make $200,000 per year, but inflation would skyrocket to the point where the $200,000 would be worth almost nothing.


Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."

-Thomas Jefferson


Topic Five: #ObamaBookTitles
Yesterday, the hashtag #ObamaBookTitles became popular among conservatives on Twitter, as they suggested titles for Obama's next book. Here are some of the best:
JVerdugo777: "Telempromter for dummies"
jzoehiggs: "Lord of the Lies"
KatyinIndy: "The Audacity of Hope: Running for a 2nd Term"
DavidLimbaugh: "Spenders in the Hands of an Angry God"
CynthiaCHeath: "Honey I Shrunk The Economy"
gman949: "More people died in Ted Kennedy's car than voted for my budget"
kesgardner: "The Debt Driven Life"
DavidLimbaugh: "Twenty Million Mortgages Under the Sea"
Joseph Story KRMullins1964: "Yes We Can, But We Didn't!"
ThePantau: "The 7 Habits of Highly Ineffective Presidents"
NewsNinja2012: "How To Sit In A Church Pew for over 20 years and Hear Nothing"
Libertarian_ish: "Brave New World Order"
VintagePrecious: "A Penny Saved is a Penny Confiscated"


Tomorrow in History
April 17, 1492 - Spain and Christopher Columbus sign the Capitulations of Santa Fe for his voyage to Asia to acquire spices.


Grab Bag - Interesting and Important Stories to Conclude Your Evening:
Steyn: Obama's only plan is class warfare

Why unions want higher taxes

How we spend $1 trillion fighting poverty...and fail

Norwegian shooter claims "self defense"

How accountants file their taxes

Lamborghini turns into a Chevy Volt

How Krugman would ruin Apple



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D.C. Daily: April 16, 2012

Congress is returning today from its two-week recess, which means it is time for the D.C. Daily to return as well!

The House will meet today at 2:00 PM. Four bills are expected to be considered today under suspension of the rules: H.R. 3001, the "Raoul Wallenberg Centennial Celebration Act", H.R. 1815, the "Lena Horne Recognition Act", H.R. 4040, to provide for the award of a gold medal on behalf of Congress to Jack Nicklaus in recognition of his service to the Nation in promoting excellence and good sportsmanship in golf, and H.R. 2453, the "Mark Twain Commemorative Coin Act".

The Senate will also meet today at 2:00 PM. The Senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to consideration of S. 2230, the "Paying a Fair Share Act of 2012". At 4:30 PM, the Senate will consider the nomination of Stephanie Dawn Thacker to be United States Circuit Judge for the Fourth Circuit. A vote on the Thacker nomination is expected to occur at approximately 5:30 PM, followed by a vote for cloture on the motion to proceed to consideration of S. 2230.