Friday, May 25, 2012

The Final Five: May 25, 2012



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Tonight's Crazy Story:
Iowa Man With Zebra, Parrot Arrested for DUI In Bar Lot
From USA Today: "So, this man with a zebra and parrot walks out of a bar -- No, it's not the set-up for a joke, but an intoxicatingly true story out of Dubuque, Iowa, according to news reports from the Hawkeye State."


Topic One: A Model of Austerity
The renewal of Vallejo, California, could serve as a model for austerity: "The first couple of years were ugly. After this working-class port city became the largest in America to declare bankruptcy in 2008, crime and prostitution surged as the police force was thinned by 40 percent. Firehouses were shuttered, and funding for libraries and senior centers was slashed. Foreclosures multiplied and home prices plummeted."

"But then this city of 116,000 began to reinvent itself. It started using technology to fill personnel gaps, rallying residents to volunteer to provide public services and offering local voters the chance to decide how money would be spent — in return for an increase in the sales tax. For the first time in five years, the city expects to have enough money to do such things as fill potholes, clear weeds, trim trees and repair tennis courts."

"The nation's cities are weak links in the U.S. economy and, if they collapse in large numbers, it could knock the country's recovery off course. Cuts at the federal level are being pushed down to the states, which in turn are passing the problems to their cities."

"The strains are especially great in California, which was at the epicenter of the housing market meltdown and the deep recession that followed. Even before revenue slowed, the state was facing unique constraints on public finances because its laws make it difficult to raise taxes."


Time for a Laugh:
"It's been a rough week for Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg has lost so much money in the market that President Obama is going to have him replace Ben Bernanke."
-Jay Leno


Topic Two: Another ObamaCare Debacle
Bob Beauprez analyzes another ObamaCare estimate that was way off: "The Affordable Care Act – aka: ObamaCare – contained an "incentive" for Small Business Owners who did not provide health care insurance for their employees to add the benefit. Like much of the rest of the legislation that the Democrats just had to pass so we could find out what was in it, that provision appears to be yet another bust."

"With their rose-colored glasses on the Obama Administration projected that 4 million small business owners would take the bait and start providing health care insurance benefits for their workers. The government run Small Business Administration's estimate was a tad more conservative suggesting that 2.6 million businesses would get in the game."

"According to Internal Revenue Service records, however, a mere 170,300 small businesses signed up in all of 2010 according to Investor's Business Daily – just barely 4% of the White House's estimate."

"The General Accounting Office auditors, GAO, reviewed the paltry performance and succinctly determined the incentive was far too small and the compliance regulations far too complex for the vast majority of small businesses to deal with. "Small-business owners generally do not want to spend the time or money to gather the necessary information to calculate the credit, given that the credit will likely be insubstantial," according to the GAO report."


Debt Watch:
$15,712,446,368,243.65
( As of Thursday, May 24, 2012 )

Change: -$1,851,247,412
Your share as a citizen: $50,249.58
Share per household: $137,543.74
Debt since Obama inauguration: $5,085,569,319,331


Topic Three: Vote Fraud Deniers
Why you cannot win an argument with a vote fraud denier: "Make no mistake, the voter fraud deniers and election integrity opponents aren’t interested in compromise. They seek only victory. Victory means stopping every single proposal that involves ensuring lawful elections. No amount of compromise will ever satisfy them. They will still resort to attacks against proponents of election integrity who just finished compromising with them."

"I heard that the governor feared an NAACP rally against him on the steps of the statehouse. These days, given how far the NAACP has fallen, Republicans couldn’t ask for better press. Nearly eighty percent of Americans agree with voter ID and election integrity. It’s time the GOP start enthusiastically riding that tailwind."

"The next question is whether Virginia will now repeat the mistakes of Texas and South Carolina and offer up a sacrifice to Eric Holder’s DOJ instead of going straight to federal court for approval under the Voting Rights Act. Will Virginia Republicans underestimate their enemies and assume that no rational person would be against the Virginia law? Will Virginia Republicans underestimate the potential for mischief and lawlessless of the United States Department of Justice? Stay tuned."


Tweet of the Day:
Paul Combs (@PAC43): "Like so many people, in so many countries, who started out to "spread the wealth," Barack Obama has ended up spreading poverty."


Topic Four: All-You-Can-Eat Economics
Adam Ozimek explains the similarities between all-you-can-eat buffets and health insurance: "What do health insurance and all-you-can-eat buffets have in common? The economic theory of adverse selection tells us that neither should exist."

"When someone offers all-you-can-eat to any customers, those that show up should be ones for whom the amount that they can eat is worth more than the price they expect to pay. After all, if the buffet costs $10 no matter how much you eat then those who eat the most will get the most value out of it. But the average amount consumed can’t exceed the price, otherwise the restaurant will lose money and go out of business. So if the average amount consumed is $16 worth of food, then the restaurant will have to raise the price to above $16. But this means those who more than $10 but less than $16 worth of food will no longer find it worthwhile to eat there, so they will stop going, and the average customer left will be those who eat more than $16 worth."

"This process continues, until there is only one guy left going to the buffet, and he eats $300 worth of fish and is charged exactly $300 for it. In effect, this theory says that all-you-can-eat buffets should not exist. And yet they do, and for the most part the adverse selection problem does not cause problems. Except, it seems, for Bill Witsh."


Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves ... and include all men capable of bearing arms."

-Richard Henry Lee


Topic Five: Sink the LOST Treaty
Ed Feulner explains why the LOST treaty is not good for America: "According to its advocates, we need LOST for a variety of reasons. One of them concerns the oil and gas resources located in the outer limits of our continental shelf. The treaty’s proponents say we can obtain legal title to it only by signing on to the treaty."

"If the United States does not ratify this treaty, our ability to claim the vast extended Continental Shelf off Alaska will be seriously impeded,” Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) has said. Without LOST, we’re told, we won’t be able to develop the hydrocarbon resources beneath the Extended Continental Shelf in areas such as the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic Ocean."

"Sounds pretty dire -- and, at a time of fluctuating prices for gasoline and other forms of energy, alarming. Fortunately, it isn’t true."

"Under international law and long-standing U.S. policy, we already have access to these areas. Presidents dating back to Harry Truman have issued proclamations -- and Congress has passed laws -- establishing America’s maritime laws and boundaries. And no one has challenged them."


Tomorrow in History
May 26, 1896 - Charles Dow publishes the Dow Jones Industrial Average for the first time.


Grab Bag - Interesting and Important Stories to Conclude Your Evening:
Senate Dems approve higher fees for your pre-flight groping

Obamish: the new language

Muslim Brotherhood leads Egyptian Presidential vote

Four problems with the Energy subsidy push

Fordo site has higher nuclear traces

An Obama college document finally surfaces

National Dems leaving Wisconsin recall

5 ways public schools prepare us for prison life



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D.C. Daily: May 25, 2012

Senate
Yesterday's Action:
During business yesterday, the Senate took the following actions:
  • Passed S. 3187, the "Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act", by a vote of 96 yeas to 1 nay.
  • Passed H.R. 5740, the "National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act".
  • Passed S. 414, the "International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act".
  • Passed S. 739, to authorize the Architect of the Capitol to establish battery recharging stations for privately owned vehicles in parking areas under the jurisdiction of the Senate at no net cost to the Federal Government.
  • Passed H.R. 2947, to provide for the release of the reversionary interest held by the United States in certain land conveyed by the United States in 1950 for the establishment of an airport in Cook County, Minnesota.
  • Passed H.R. 3992, to allow otherwise eligible Israeli nationals to receive E-2 nonimmigrant visas if similarly situated United States nationals are eligible for similar nonimmigrant status in Israel.
  • Passed S. Res. 455, designating June 27, 2012, as "National Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Day".
  • Passed S. Res. 475, relating to the death of the Honorable E. James Abdnor, former United States Senator and Congressman from the State of South Dakota.
  • Rejected S. 2343, the "Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act of 2012", after a vote of 51 yeas to 43 nays. (Pursuant to the agreement of Wednesday, May 23, 60 votes were required for passage.)
  • Considered S. 3220, the "Paycheck Fairness Act". A motion was entered to close debate, and a vote on cloture will occur on Tuesday, June 5.

Today's Schedule:
The Senate will meet today at 2:30 PM for a pro forma session. The Senate will return to conduct business on Monday, June 4.


House
Yesterday's Action:
The House was not in session yesterday.

on Friday, May 25 Today's Schedule:
The House will meet today at 10:00 AM in a pro forma session. The House will return to conduct business on Wednesday, May 30.


Executive Agencies
Significant Proposed Rules:
No significant rules were proposed today.

Significant Final Rules:
No significant final rules were printed today.


Supreme Court
The court has concluded scheduled oral arguments for the October 2011 term. However, the court is still meeting to finalize decisions on cases it heard during the preceeding term. The court's next session of oral arguments is scheduled to begin on Monday, October 1, 2012.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Final Five: May 24, 2012



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Tonight's Crazy Story:
Police: Pa. Officer Broke Into House, Did Laundry
A police officer broke into an empty house next door in order to do his laundry.


Topic One: Spending, Deficits, and Debt
Obama is NOT a big spender: "At a fundraising event in Denver Wednesday night, Obama insisted that he is “running to pay down our debt in way that’s balanced and responsible,” saying that he inherited a $1 trillion deficit and has signed $2 trillion in spending cuts into law to deal with it. “Since I’ve been president, federal spending has risen at the lowest pace in nearly 60 years,” the president said."

It reminds me of this WaPo piece by Ezra Klein, where Klein argued that the legislation Obama signed into law only added $938 billion to the deficit. It is definitely true that policies enacted by his predecessors have impacted spending during the Obama administration. However, the important question is: What has Obama done about it? He has proposed two consecutive budgets that have failed to garner a single vote in Congress. He has failed to call on the Senate to propose a budget of its own, something the Senate is required by law to do. He has failed to cut spending for unnecessary programs (like the infamous Cowboy Poetry Festival). Yes, Obama's policies may have only added $938 billion to the debt, but his inaction has allowed the other $4.15 billion to be added on his watch. No CEO can succeed by claiming that the company's financial loss was the result of the policies of his predecessor; the board will demand to know why the new executive's policies have not fixed the problem.


Time for a Laugh:
"It's easy to be critical of the United States, and people love to try to take us down. But I want to tell you something. Here in the United States of America we produce more three-day weekends than any other country in the world."
-David Letterman


Topic Two: Obama[Doesn't]Care
Health care costs rising faster than inflation...even with ObamaCare: "When Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi tried to brainwash the American people into thinking that they needed the Affordable Care Act, they promised that it would drive health care costs down and make it more affordable for everyone. In a new report released by the Health Care Cost Institute, the cost to employers for their employee health coverage increased by 3.3% in 2010. The inflation rate for the US for 2010 was only 1.5%, less than half the rate of increase of health care."

One in four uninsured will be illegal immigrants: "The health law, if upheld by the Supreme Court, will help up to 33 million Americans get coverage over the next decade. Around 26 million to 27 million will remain uncovered. And roughly one in four of the uninsured will be illegal immigrants, the Urban Institute has estimated. And as more tax dollars go toward subsidizing low- and middle-income Americans so they can get health coverage, advocates for immigrants say it may be increasingly difficult to care for the undocumented, who are excluded from the law’s coverage expansion and the new insurance exchanges."

The New York Times ran an article today discussing how individual health insurance policies are falling short of the standards set in the Affordable Care Act, and then claiming that the law is doing good by requiring higher standards. "The study was published online Wednesday in Health Affairs, an academic journal. “It really shows why the reforms in the Affordable Care Act are so necessary,” said Sara R. Collins, a vice president of the Commonwealth Fund, a New York research foundation that financed the study." Perhaps some people are not choosing to buy less expensive policies because of the cost, but because they do not need all the extra coverage the ACA requires.


Debt Watch:
$15,714,297,615,655.65
( As of Wednesday, May 23, 2012 )

Change: -$6,920,991,791
Your share as a citizen: $50,255.50
Share per household: $137,559.95
Debt since Obama inauguration: $5,087,420,566,743


Topic Three: Walker's Case
Scott Walker makes his case: "Before I took office, Wisconsin was in the midst of a fiscal and economic crisis. In the three years leading up to the 2010 election Wisconsin lost more than 150,000 jobs under the failed policies of former Gov. Jim Doyle and a Democrat-led Legislature. We had a chronic multibillion-dollar structural deficit and the hardworking taxpayers of Wisconsin were saddled with one of the highest tax burdens in the nation. We could not wait to make the necessary changes to the way government was run in order to bring us back from the brink of insolvency. When I ran for governor in 2010 I made a series of bold promises to the people of Wisconsin. I told them that I would help businesses create 250,000 jobs before the end of my first term. I pledged to rein in out-of-control spending and I gave my word that I would treat the taxpayer’s money as my own."

The collective bargaining act is saving taxpayers money: "Act 10, which curbed collective bargaining for most unionized public employees, in the whole has saved taxpayers more than $1 billion, according to The Economic Impacts of the Wisconsin Budget Repair Act. The study is slated for release this week by Beacon Hill Institute, a prominent free market think tank. What the analysis found is that without the law, which in part requires covered public employees to contribute more to their benefits and holds wage increases to the rate of inflation, Badger State governments would have been forced to raise taxes or make deep job cuts to meet budget expenses."

Democrats resorting to lies in their attempt to defeat Walker? "They thought it would help Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, running as the Democrat against Governor Scott Walker in the Wisconsin Recall. If the headlines said Milwaukee had lowered its violent crime rate under Barrett’s leadership, well then he must be a real leader. So that’s what the headline said. Only problem was it is a lie. Crime has not gotten better. State and local officials are demanding an audit of the Milwaukee Police Department’s crime numbers."


Tweet of the Day:
@cmdeb: Obama is so likeable that people are voting for no one/prison inmates instead.


Topic Four: The 60% Candidate
After narrowly defeating Keith Judd in the West Virginia primary earlier this month, Obama faced two more primaries this week where failed to obtain 60% of the vote. In Arkansas, attorney John Wolfe lost to Obama in a two-way race, 58-42. However, in an even worse showing in Kentucky, Obama managed to collect 59 percent of the vote, but this was a one-person race where Obama was only running against "Uncommitted". (Apparently, 41 percent of Kentucky Democrats would rather have no President than Obama.)

Real Clear Politics gives three reasons why these poor primary performances matter: "1) This is beginning to function as an unprecedented primary challenge to Obama. 2) It may matter a lot in swing states that border these states. 3) It’s a critical problem for the "Emerging Democratic Majority" thesis." (You can read the explanation of each of these points at the link.)

Of course, any time there is bad news for the President, you can count on someone (in this case, the Washington Post) to run something like this: "Those headlines have drawn a collective eyeroll from Democrats — and many others who closely follow national politics — who ascribe the underperformance by the incumbent to a very simple thing: racism. No, none of these Democrats are willing to put their name to that allegation — either generally or for this story. But, it is, without question the prevalent viewpoint they hold privately. They argue that conservative white Democrats — particularly those in the South and Appalachia — don’t want to vote for an African American for president and, therefore, are willing to cast a ballot for almost anyone else up to and including an incarcerated felon. (Keith Judd, we are looking at you.)"


Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"When the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised by an artful man, who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually."

-George Mason


Topic Five: Memories of Freedom
Judge Andrew Napolitano thinks about a time when we had more freedom than we do today: "What if Memorial Day reminds us of times when we had more freedom? What if freedom is dying right under our eyes? What if the memory of the past is more fulfilling than the reality of the present?"

"What if the federal government could write any law, regulate any behavior and tax any event, no matter what the Constitution authorized? What if the majority in Congress rejects the idea of limited government and views the Constitution as granting it blanket power to do whatever it can get away with? What if the constitutional prohibition on the government's taking of life, liberty or property without due process of law is only for show and is not for real?"

"What if, on Memorial Day, we remember times that were more free than today? What if, on Memorial Day, when we think of those who died for our freedom, we end up recognizing that the freedom they died for is dying? What if it becomes fashionable for the government to ignore the Constitution? What if the Constitution dies because the government stops following it? What if, next Memorial Day, freedom is just a memory?"

"What do we do about it?"


Tomorrow in History
May 25, 1953 - The United States conducts its first and only nuclear artillery test.


Grab Bag - Interesting and Important Stories to Conclude Your Evening:
Romney's busy "Day One"

White House website offers financial literacy lessons

Romney: Don't borrow from China to pay PBS

State Dept. hacks Yemen Al Qaeda site

TwitGlitch: Twitter won't tweet two-word phrases starting with "get"

CIA makes analysis less useful

Infographic on Obama spending



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D.C. Daily: May 24, 2012

Senate
Yesterday's Action:
During business yesterday, the Senate took the following actions:
  • Passed S. 2367, the "21st Century Language Act".
  • Passed H.R. 4097, the "John F. Kennedy Center Reauthorization Act".
  • Began consideration of S. 3187, the "Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act". The Senate reached an agreement regarding consideration of amendments and of the bill.
  • Agreed to consider S. 2343, the "Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act of 2012".

Today's Schedule:
The Senate will meet today at 9:30 AM. The Senate is expected to resume consideration of S. 3187, the "Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act". At 2:00 PM, the Senate will take a series of votes on amendments and then on passage of the bill. Following those votes, the Senate will consider S. 2343, the "Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act of 2012", with votes on one amendment and then on passage of the bill.


House
Yesterday's Action:
The House was not in session yesterday.

Today's Schedule:
The House will not meet today. The next meeting of the House is scheduled for 10:00 AM on Friday, May 25. The House will return to conduct business on Wednesday, May 30.


Executive Agencies
Significant Proposed Rules:

Significant Final Rules:
  • Federal Aviation Administration: correcting a final rule published on November 15, 2010, which required design approval holders of certain existing airplanes and all applicants for type certificates of future transport category airplanes to establish a limit of validity of the engineering data that supports the structural maintenance program. (Effective 5/24/12)
  • Food and Drug Administration: correcting a final rule that appeared in the Federal Register of May 3, 2012, which provides manufacturers of biological products greater flexibility, as appropriate, and encourages use of the most appropriate and state-of-the-art test methods for assuring the safety of biological products.


Supreme Court
The court has concluded scheduled oral arguments for the October 2011 term. However, the court is still meeting to finalize decisions on cases it heard during the preceeding term. The court's next session of oral arguments is scheduled to begin on Monday, October 1, 2012.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Final Five: May 23, 2012



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Tonight's Crazy Story:
Dad Saves Boy Before Car Plunges Down Cliff -- And Gets Pair of Traffic Tickets
A father who jumped out of his car to keep his son from running off an embankment and then watched his car go over the embankment received a pair of traffic tickets following the accident. See what charges the police decided to file against him.


Topic One: Iran and Israel
The folly of sanctions: "What is so striking about all of these well-meaning efforts is their apparent foundation on the conviction that the Iranian leadership makes cost-benefit calculations the way Westerners do. Collectively, these authors are world leaders who represent some of the finest minds and real-world experience of their generation. And yet, their conviction that "[i]t is still in Iran's interest to change course and address international concerns regarding possible military aspects of its nuclear program" betrays a disturbing tendency to presume that the Iranian regime somehow shares with them a common perspective about the objectives of governance and the conduct of foreign affairs. This is mirror-imaging of the most dangerous kind."

"Because the stringent sanctions imposed on Iran by the international community demonstrably "are having a tangible impact" and causing serious damage to the Iranian economy, judgments are made that, at some point, the Iranian leadership will conclude that it is either unable or unwilling to continue its drive for a deliverable nuclear weapons capability. While measures such as recommend by the WSJ op-ed team -- denial of access to the international banking system, shipping, and insurance coverage -- indeed could bring the Iranian economy to its knees if globally enforced, it is also just as likely that anticipation of such increasingly stringent measures would galvanize the Iranian regime to accelerate completion of its nuclear weapons program."


Time for a Laugh:
"While attending meetings in Chicago this week, President Obama stayed at a hotel instead of his own house. It was annoying. When he asked for a wake-up call, they just showed him the latest poll numbers."
-Jimmy Fallon


Topic Two: Budget Planning
Sen. Lee's budget makes sense: "Lee’s [budget] is a strong blueprint for restraining and ultimately reducing our nation’s massive debt, cutting Washington’s out-of-control spending and above all restoring our nation’s economic prosperity. It’s the only way we can make sure future generations aren’t saddled with debt that keeps them from having the same opportunity of achieving the American Dream. The reaction from those who want to continue the status quo is predictable. They will demagogue Sen. Lee and other conservatives of wanting to throw grandma over the cliff. How blind -- and irresponsible. If we fail to act, then spending under programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will balloon unchecked. Eventually, the nation will effectively go bankrupt. The truth is that the president’s health reform law magnified the financial problem while already ending Medicare as we know it. Instead of making promises Congress has no chance of keeping Governmenteven with massive tax hikes, Social Security and Medicare should provide seniors with a reasonable, affordable and predicable benefit that protects seniors from the threat of living in poverty."

Could publicly-owned oil be the solution to our debt problem? "Anu Mittal, director of natural resources and the environment for the General Accounting Office, recently testified before Congress that the oil reserves in the Green River Formation, spanning much of the Rocky Mountain Region, are greater than all the rest of the world's reserves combined -- perhaps three trillion barrels, with about half the oil on federal land and with half of the oil extractable at current prices. The federal royalty by a rough estimate would be over $9 trillion. As I pointed out last October, Harold Hamm, a billionaire who made his fortune finding where oil can be profitably extracted, believes that the federal royalties from the Bakken Fields in North Dakota and Montana could equal $18 trillion, which could also pay off the national debt. Of course, tapping the United States' natural resources is the opposite of what Obama is doing. Oil and gas production on federal lands has dropped by 40% under the dreary marriage of environmentalism, puerile elitism, and Marxism which is Obamanomics."


Debt Watch:
$15,721,218,607,447.09
( As of Tuesday, May 22, 2012 )

Change: +$5,757,444,958
Your share as a citizen: $50,277.63
Share per household: $137,620.53
Debt since Obama inauguration: $5,094,341,558,534


Topic Three: Health Care Deform
$20 Million to propagandize ObamaCare? "Relax you majority of Americans who oppose Obamacare. President Barack Obama (D) and the Congress that passed the president's namesake law heard you. That's the good news. The bad news is--and not that this is a surprise--they didn't care, don't care, won't care. Realizing that citizens would not want this legislation even before it was passed and people found out what was in it, the law's architects cleverly mandated a "national multimedia education campaign," for it. In other words propaganda - a clever public relations campaign. So, adding to the US's $15,000,000,000,000 debt while fulfilling the mandate The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services just tossed $20,000,000 to the high powered and...surprise!...politically connected, financially generous Porter Novelli communications firm to do the deed according to Comments Comments which picked up the news from PR Week."

Why ObamaCare won't work: "The Affordable Care Act is embracing the provisions that many states tried, and then rushed to escape. It imposes guaranteed issue, so that patients with any pre-existing condition must be granted coverage any time they apply. It also limits differences in premiums according to age to a three-to-one range. That would force insurers to raise premiums for 20-year olds by at least 50%, and lower them for 60-year olds to far below their actual costs, forcing the young and healthy to subsidize older, sicker Americans. That goal may sound laudable, but it won't work. The Affordable Care Act professes to ensure that all Americans buy insurance, but undermines its own goals by setting penalties so low that the young and healthy, and many middle-aged and healthy, will not buy coverage. The penalties start at 2014 at either $95 a year, or 1% of income, whichever is higher. They reach a maximum of 2.5% of income in 2016. Those small penalties may be irrelevant anyway. The measure also provides that anyone who can't find a policy priced at 8.5% of their income or less is exempted from buying insurance."

Exchanges offer the potential for corruption: "Health insurance companies wanting to participate in the state exchanges mandated by President Obama’s health care law could have to compete under the table for political influence to gain access to the taxpayer-subsidized marketplace, as indicated by recent events in Missouri. If a state selectively contracts participation in its exchange, artificially limiting the number of companies allowed in, there is potential for corruption, says Edmund Haislmaier, senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation."


Tweet of the Day:
@cmdeb: Obama is so likeable that people are voting for no one/prison inmates instead.


Topic Four: The Lesson of Greece
Greece wants two mulligans: "Greece wants two mulligans -- like a golfer demanding second chance, a do-over tee shot, times two. The immediate and obvious mulligan is a new national election. The teed-off Greek electorate teed up on May 6, but fractious voters produced a scattershot result. No single party achieved a parliamentary majority. The leaders of Greece's three largest political parties subsequently failed to form a coalition government. ... The second mulligan, The Big Greek Mulligan, is another matter entirely. What Greece really wants is a complete eurozone do-over -- a restart, from scratch, with all debts forgiven. Syriza-ista fantasists may actually believe this dream mulligan is possible. New Democracy and PASOK political realists know it won't happen but miracles -- miracles do happen, don't they?"

Ten ways the Greek people can save themselves: "The tragedy that is Greek democracy has entered its final act. Nothing can save the Greek government. Nothing can save the Greek banks. Nothing can keep Greece on the euro. But the Greek people still have the power to save themselves. Last summer, I penned a column in Forbes titled "Give Greece What It Deserves: Communism." It generated an outpouring of bile from offended Greeks, many of whom blamed everyone but themselves for their troubles. The most recent Greek elections ignited another round of hateful accusations, along with the question, "What would you do to solve the problem?"

America is becoming more like Europe: "Let's get serious, because there is a real issue here, namely that the runaway, reckless stimulus is part of an Obama agenda Europeanizing America and bringing us ever closer to a disastrous tipping point. It would be one in which our program bloat, romance with debt, smothering regulation and other governmental excesses get even more out of hand, creating a mess resembling what we now see most vividly in Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland."


Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"Americans [have] the right and advantage of being armed, unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust their people with arms."

-Samuel Adams


Topic Five: Which Type of Capitalism?
Jonah Goldberg presents the differences between the "social market" of Europe and the free market of America, and says it is time for a debate on which course we follow: "Under normal circumstances, the U.S. economy creates tens of millions of jobs every year and destroys tens of millions, with net new jobs. In a typical year, up to 50 million Americans change jobs, often happily. They get hired away, promoted, etc."

"This process partly explains why America's capitalism has been so much more dynamic than Europe's. In the social market, once you have a job, you cling to it because you may never get another. European governments make it much easier to cling to that job by punishing businesses that fire people. The unhappy byproduct of such "compassion" is that businesses are also far more reluctant to hire people because each new hire is a potential long-term liability."

"Yes, Romney created jobs while he was creating value and wealth at Bain; he also destroyed jobs. Both are necessary in a dynamic market that improves the prospects for most Americans through economic growth. Some suffer from the process. But I would argue more people suffer under the social market. Which system is better is, indeed, a worthy -- and overdue -- debate."


Tomorrow in History
May 24, 1844 - Samuel Morse sends the first telegraph from the Old Supreme Court Building to his assistant, Alfred Vail, in Baltimore. The message: "What hath God wrought" (a quote from Numbers 23:23).


Grab Bag - Interesting and Important Stories to Conclude Your Evening:
Black panthers say they are "owed" favors by Holder

How to make polls look better for Obama

The 30 worst months for employment in the last 25 years all have one thing in common

Blaming Bush

CBO says ending Bush tax cuts will push us off "fiscal cliff"

A Facebook lesson for Obama

Kansas's attempt to stop vote fraud

Obama campaign releases "Dashboard" social Network



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D.C. Daily: May 23, 2012

Senate
Yesterday's Action:
During business yesterday, the Senate took the following actions:
  • Considered the motion to proceed to consideration of S. 3187, the "Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act". An agreement was reached that the motion to proceed to consideration be agreed to at 11:00 AM on Wednesday, May 23.

Today's Schedule:
The Senate will meet today at 9:30 AM. The Senate is expected to resume consideration of the motion to proceed to consideration of S. 3187, the "Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act". At 11:00 AM, the Senate will agree to the motion to proceed to consideration and begin consideration of the bill.


House
Yesterday's Action:
The House met yesterday in a pro forma session.

Today's Schedule:
The House will not meet today. The next meeting of the House is scheduled for 10:00 AM on Friday, May 25. The House will return to conduct business on Wednesday, May 30.


Executive Agencies
Significant Proposed Rules:
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: establishing a new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 136 to require electronic stability control (ESC) systems on truck tractors and certain buses. (Comment period ends 8/21/12)

Significant Final Rules:
  • Commodity Futures Trading Commission: further defining the terms “swap dealer,” “security-based swap dealer,” “major swap participant,” “major security-based swap participant,” and “eligible contract participant.”
  • Transportation Security Administration: establishes user fees for certain security threat assessments (STAs) performed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).


Supreme Court
The court has concluded scheduled oral arguments for the October 2011 term. However, the court is still meeting to finalize decisions on cases it heard during the preceeding term. The court's next session of oral arguments is scheduled to begin on Monday, October 1, 2012.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Final Five: May 22, 2012



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Tonight's Crazy Story:
Europe Soccer Games Get "Oracle Hog" to Predict Wins
In 2010, Paul the Octopus garnered attention for his accurate predictions of eight World Cup soccer matches. Now, organizers of the European Championships this summer hope than a Ukrainian pig will take the place of the deceased Paul.


Topic One: The Education Crisis
Why we should not throw more money at the problem: "Teachers’ unions have long used scare tactics and blatant misrepresentations to convince taxpaying parents that there is a direct correlation between money and quality in K-12 education. While money is certainly a factor, it is not nearly the factor that teachers’ unions claim. Their contention that more money means better quality has no basis in fact. Just the opposite is true. Data over a 40-year period show that increased funding for public education has not improved student achievement at all. Proof that the problems widely associated with public education in America have little to do with money is readily available to any unbiased stakeholder who cares to see it. One of the best ways to test the correlation between money spent and student achievement is to compare the annual per pupil spending of the United States against that of other countries, especially those whose students consistently outperform American students on standardized tests."

Parents are more satisfied with charter schools: "An experimental idea just 20 years ago, charter schools have now become a popular educational option. Since Ray Budde first defined the term “charter school” at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst in 1988, more than 5,600 such schools have opened, serving more than 2 million students today. The need for choice in public education became increasingly evident over the past 40 years. ... Thus, it’s no surprise researchers found, in a 2010 Department of Education (DOE) study, that parents of charter school students are more satisfied with their children’s schools and rate them more highly than parents of students in traditional public schools."

Why education matters: "Education is a good predictor of which areas continue to have high unemployment rates. In April, the 25 states with the lowest share of high-school dropouts among adults older than 25 averaged a jobless rate of 6.3 percent. The 25 states with the highest shares of high-school dropouts averaged 8.2 percent unemployment."


Time for a Laugh:
"President Obama gave the commencement speech at Barnard College the other day. He told graduates their future is bright unless they want jobs."
-Jay Leno


Topic Two: Arab Spring Update
Islamists warn they will not tolerate a secular victory in Egypt: "Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan, while still mayor of Istanbul, famously quipped, “Democracy is like a streetcar. When you come to your stop, you get off.” Alas, as Martin Kramer has so often warned, it appears that Egypt Islamists are taking the same tact. On May 19, Islamic Jihad Organization member Shaykh Usamah Qasim took to the pages of Al-Misri al-Yawm to warn that Islamists would not tolerate a victory by any of the non-Islamist candidates."

FOX News has a nation-by-nation update of the Arab Spring. While the update gives a decent outlook for Tunisia and Egypt, the same cannot be said for many other nations, such as Libya and Syria.


Debt Watch:
$15,715,461,162,489.22
( As of Monday, May 21, 2012 )

Change: +$3,254,505,278
Your share as a citizen: $50,259.22
Share per household: $137,570.13
Debt since Obama inauguration: $5,088,584,113,576


Topic Three: The European Lesson
Strangling yourself to death: "Today Europe is choking on excess spending, taxation and regulation and a flood of cheap money. Its feckless politicians won’t cut spending nearly enough. Worse, they saddle their countries with ever more growth-killing taxation. Europe is following the path it did in the early 1930s. This time, thankfully, we haven’t blown up the international trade system as we did back then. It’s not only Greece and other European countries that are falling apart. The media have paid little attention to the fact that the third-largest economy in the world today, Japan, has been strangling its economy since the early 1990s. FORBES columnist Nathan Lewis, a noted economist and money manager, recalled recently that when asked about Japan’s prospects seven years ago he blurted out: “They will tax themselves to death.” And that is precisely what Tokyo continues to do."

Europe awaking from its utopian dreams: "Unfeasibly enormous social security and entitlement promises were made on the basis that the free market would always provide. Nobody bothered to ask what would happen when the market faltered or fluctuated (as genuinely free markets do) or when the sense of entitlement outgrew the wealth that could be created. The problem is not unique to Europe. They are facing the same question in the US, where benefits programmes – particularly social security (the US federal pensions system) and Medicare – have become as untouchable, and as financially unsustainable, as they are here. How long will freedom survive in the face of mass rage at the loss of the economic security that has come to be seen as a basic human right? People were told that they could have lifelong protection from want without any restrictions on their liberty or their economic self-determination. So now the cake has been well and truly eaten and had. The EU is going to have to admit sooner or later that this fantasy has run its course."


Tweet of the Day:
@Kerryepp: If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one. If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.


Topic Four: The Fairness Czar
Debra Saunders argues that Obama is acting as a "Fairness Czar": "Monday, a reporter asked Obama about Booker's remarks and the role of private equity. The president explained that the goal of private investment is to "maximize profits," whereas a president's job is to make sure that everyone has "a fair shot" and that everyone pays his or her "fair share" of taxes."

"That's the problem with Obama; he thinks he's the fairness czar. He didn't say that a president is supposed to create an environment that nurtures business success. He said a president is supposed to make sure that nobody walks away with too much."

"When you're president, Obama said, "your job is to think about those workers who get laid off and how are we paying for their retraining." Obama's war is a war on private money. He thinks his job is to create job training programs, not create an environment that creates real jobs."


Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"The balance of power is the scale of peace. The same balance would be preserved were all the world not destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside."

-Thomas Paine


Topic Five: The Rational Fear
Dennis Prager explains why rational people should fear big government more than big business: "No rational person can deny that big governments have caused almost all the great evils of the last century, arguably the bloodiest in history. Who killed the 20-30 million Soviet citizens in the Gulag Archipelago -- big government or big business? Hint: There were no private businesses in the Soviet Union. Who deliberately caused 75 million Chinese to starve to death -- big government or big business? Hint: See previous hint. Did Coca Cola kill five million Ukrainians? Did Big Oil slaughter a quarter of the Cambodian population? Would there have been a Holocaust without the huge Nazi state?"

"Whatever bad big corporations have done is dwarfed by the monstrous crimes -- the mass enslavement of people, the deprivation of the most basic human rights, not to mention the mass murder and torture and genocide -- committed by big governments."

"How can anyone who thinks rationally believe that big corporations rather than big governments pose the greatest threat to humanity? The answer is that it takes a mind distorted by leftist dogma. If there is another explanation, I do not know what it is."


Tomorrow in History
May 23, 1788 - South Carolina becomes the eighth state to ratify the US Constitution.


Grab Bag - Interesting and Important Stories to Conclude Your Evening:
Sleep apnea can increase cancer risk

Booker is the latest Obama supporter with a gaffe

California experiments with new election system

Obama reaches $1 billion raised

The Julia Crow era

More than 3 tons of marijuana found off California coast



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D.C. Daily: May 22, 2012

Senate
Yesterday's Action:
During business yesterday, the Senate took the following actions:
  • Passed H.R. 1905, the "Iran Threat Reduction Act of 2011", after agreeing to two amendments.
  • Passed S. Res. 468, expressing the sense of the Senate with respect to childhood stroke and recognizing May as "National Pediatric Stroke Awareness Month".
  • Passed S. Res. 469, honoring the entrepreneurial spirit of small business concerns in the United States during National Small Business Week, which begins on May 20, 2012.
  • Agreed to proceed to consideration of S. 3187, the "Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act" at 2:15 PM on Tuesday, May 22.
  • Confirmed the nomination of Paul J. Watford to be Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit, by a vote of 61 yeas to 34 nays.

Today's Schedule:
The Senate will meet today at 10:00 AM. The Senate is expected to resume consideration of the motion to proceed to consideration of S. 3187, the "Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act". At 2:15 PM, the Senate will agree to the motion to proceed to consideration and begin consideration of the bill.


House
Yesterday's Action:
The House was not in session yesterday.

Today's Schedule:
The House will meet in a pro forma session at 10:00 AM today. The House will return to conduct business on Wednesday, May 30.


Executive Agencies
Significant Proposed Rules:
No significant rules were proposed today.

Significant Final Rules:
  • Defense Acquisition Regulations System: amending the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) to implement a section of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011.


Supreme Court
The court has concluded scheduled oral arguments for the October 2011 term. However, the court is still meeting to finalize decisions on cases it heard during the preceeding term. The court's next session of oral arguments is scheduled to begin on Monday, October 1, 2012.

Yesterday, the court issued three decisions:
  • Astrue v. Capato: The court overturned a decision from the Third Circuit by a unanimous vote, ruling that a person is only entitled to Social Security survivor benefits if that person was supported by the deceased individual during his or her lifetime.
  • Taniguchi v. Kan Pacific Saipan, Ltd.: The court overturned a decision from the Ninth Circuit by a 6-3 vote, ruling that the phrase "compensation of interpreters" refers to oral interpretation and not to document translation.
  • Holder v. Gutierrez: The court overturned a decision from the Ninth Circuit by a unanimous vote, ruling that an alien seeking cancellation of removal must have permanent resident status for at least five years and have at least seven years of continuous lawful residence in the United States and cannot rely on parent's years of continuous residence or permanent status.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Final Five: May 21, 2012



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Tonight's Crazy Story:
Eight Girls Pull Best Yearbook Prank Ever
Although I don't know if this qualifies as the "best ever", eight high school seniors with the same last name used the yearbook quote to give a very important message. Broken up under the eight girls' names was the sentence: "We know what you're thinking and no we're not related." Fortunately, the yearbook staff got the names in the proper alphabetical order.


Topic One: Obama - The First Birther
Who is Obama, really? "There are a lot of questions to be asked about Barack Obama. Why are his college records sealed? Why can’t we see a certified copy of his birth certificate? Why are his medical records sealed? I’ve been told that his Social Security registration was issued by Connecticut, which would be odd, but cannot check because that too is sealed. Obama worked as a lawyer, but we don’t know who he worked for because his client list is sealed. Why is it that Michelle Obama can no longer practice as an attorney? We know the fact but not the reason. As I say, last time around, general infatuation guaranteed that Obama got more or less a free pass from the legacy media. I suspect there will be much more curiosity as the summer progresses and we get into the campaign. For one thing, the nimbus of inviolability around Obama has been seriously breached. He is no longer the pristine knight come to lower the oceans, fix the economy, and “fundamentally transform” the United States of America into a green paradise where everyone suckles happily at the federal mammary gland except the evil coal producers who are miserable bankrupts. No, I suspect that even The Washington Post, even The New York Times, will have to take a peek or two under the covers of the tale of this international man of mystery."

Did Obama claim Kenyan birth to enroll in college as a foreign student? "What if, we thought, as others have suggested, the reason Obama’s school records have not surfaced is that he enrolled, at one of those institutions at least, as a foreign student — a Kenyan? But why would he choose to do that? Well, maybe for a grant, a subvention, a scholarship that was available uniquely to students from Africa or similar locales. ... As time went on, of course, college drifted away and politics reared its head. The Kenyan identity became less necessary, even a liability, so it was dropped. I don’t know about you — but this makes sense to me. It also fits with the tomb-like silence around his college years."

Is Kenya just a little town in Hawaii? "Oh, I’m sure she “mistakenly thought,” as my buddy Neal said, “that Obama was from Kentucky, misspelled it, and it got auto-corrected to ‘Kenya,’ and no one caught the error before it went to press.” I bet she got fired and has never, ever done any work that relates to Obama since … or am I wrong about that? Now, for detractors who are saying, “Well, Barack should have spotted the typo [the only glaring typo, by the way, on the entire brochure] and demanded his agency correct it.” All I’ve got to say is that you cannot expect a Harvard Law student to be busied with checking this type of minutiae as he was hard at it with macro issues, such as studying critical race theory, black liberation theology and Rules for Radicals. It’s only low-level authors like me who’ve got the time to check for blunders, and thank God I did because on my most recent book my publicist—another woman—said I was originally from Tanzania instead of Texas."


Time for a Laugh:
"On the first day of trading, Facebook shares rose less than expected. We were promised that Facebook would take off like a rocket. Apparently it's a North Korean rocket."
-Jay Leno


Topic Two: Winning on the Road
Any athlete at just about any level will tell you that securing wins "on the road" is a huge boost to a team's chances of victory. This weekend, Scott Walker secured a big win in his recall election right in his opponent's backyard. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel endorsed Walker over his opponent, Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett. The paper wrote: "Strip away such purple rhetoric, and you find that Barrett, like Walker, is a capable and honorable public servant. But this election isn't about Tom Barrett. It's about Scott Walker. Even if you disagree with Walker's policies, does that justify cutting short his term as governor? And if so, where does such logic lead? To more recall elections? More turmoil? It's time to end the bickering and get back to the business of the state. We've had our differences with the governor, but he deserves a chance to complete his term. We recommended him in 2010. We see no reason to change that recommendation. We urge voters to support Walker in the June 5 recall election."

American Thinker analyzes the endorsement: "There is a move afoot in Wisconsin to tighten circumstances under which a politician could be recalled. That would be a welcome change from the Democrat's ongoing efforts to overturn election results where they came out on the short end. Tom Barrett's campaign was in trouble even before his hometown newspaper decided to support the other guy. The MJS endorsement of Walker is an embarrassment that Barrett will have a hard time living down."


Debt Watch:
$15,712,206,657,211.05
( As of Friday, May 18, 2012 )

Change: -$616,478,515
Your share as a citizen: $50,248.81
Share per household: $137,541.64
Debt since Obama inauguration: $5,085,329,608,298


Topic Three: Government Waste
Why does a library with four computers need a $22,600 router? Because the government is willing to buy it one. "The state of West Virginia is using $24 million in federal economic stimulus money to put high-powered Internet computer routers in small libraries, elementary schools and health clinics, even though the pricey equipment is designed to serve major research universities, medical centers and large corporations, a Gazette-Mail investigation has found. The state purchased 1,064 routers two years ago, after receiving a $126 million federal stimulus grant to expand high-speed Internet across West Virginia."

Meanwhile, members of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the associated District Courts are headed to Maui for a judicial conference, which means that this excursion will be taxpayer-financed. And while we are on the topic of spending money, how about an extra $18 billion for job training programs, where participants sat on a bus, were trained for jobs that did not exist, or paid for "training" for long-time employees. And if that isn't enough, liberals are calling the subsidy for public broadcasting "tiny", ringing in at a mere $445 million. In their defense, it is "tiny" when compared to the $70 billion given for "climate change".


Tweet of the Day:
@OrwellForce: BREAKING: New evidence shows that the WI recall race doesn't matter. That evidence is polls that show Walker winning.


Topic Four: The Bullet Train to Nowhere
Jerry Brown is determined to press forward with his high-speed rail project: "California's budget deficit has grown by $7 billion in the last four months. Uh oh. The good news in this debacle is that the state's fiscal woes will make it nearly impossible to complete Governor Jerry Brown's runaway high-speed rail train. The bad news is that the Governor is going to try anyway."

HotAir says that the project has gone from bad to worse: "Earlier this year, Ed noted that some observers felt that the financing for this effort was looking “increasingly risky.” This weekend the Wall Street Journal reports that our earlier estimation was in error. The financing isn’t “risky” at all… it’s an unmitigated disaster." Later, the article compares this project to another failed transportation project: "This boondoggle looks like it will go down in history as an idea that makes the Big Dig look fiscally prudent by comparison."


Food for Thought - A Quote from our Founders
"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes."

-Thomas Jefferson


Topic Five: Indebted Campaigns
On the blog today, I noted the irony of the Gingrich and Santorum campaigns asking for assistance in paying off their debts: "I find it very ironic (even hypocritical) that we have former Republican presidential candidates who campaigned on the idea that we need to cut spending, balance the budget, and reduce the national debt, but Santorum is now asking for help to pay off his $2.3 million dollar debt and Newt has more than doubled that amount of debt, currently $4.8 million. If they found it this difficult to balance the budget for their campaigns, I have a hard time believing that they would have balanced the budget as President."

The irony is that these campaigns spent money they did not have so that they could run a campaign that claimed they would not spend money they did not have. If a person cannot manage his personal finances or his campaign's finances properly, then that person has no business railing against the government's inability to manage its finances. Our debt problem does not end at the steps of the capital: it is a problem that is also pervasive through our individual finances. Not all debt is bad, but debt that does not finance financial growth should be avoided at all costs. This is true for not only our government, but also an individual's campaigns.


Tomorrow in History
May 22, 1819 - The SS Savannah leaves port in Savannah, Georgia, on its way to becoming the first steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean. It would arrive in Liverpool, England, on June 20.


Grab Bag - Interesting and Important Stories to Conclude Your Evening:
Are public opinion surveys becoming unreliable?

On Warren and the Cherokee

The Olympic torch goes out

Obama's key to lower unemployment: Hopelessness

The "Check President" light is on

2 arrested in anti-NATO protests

Simple, transparent, and fair tax reform

What would privatized roads look like?

Why is the government confiscating milk?



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Indebted Campaigns

I will write more on this in tonight's Final Five, but I wanted to make a simple point right now. I find it very ironic (even hypocritical) that we have former Republican presidential candidates who campaigned on the idea that we need to cut spending, balance the budget, and reduce the national debt, but Santorum is now asking for help to pay off his $2.3 million dollar debt and Newt has more than doubled that amount of debt, currently $4.8 million. If they found it this difficult to balance the budget for their campaigns, I have a hard time believing that they would have balanced the budget as President.

D.C. Daily: May 21, 2012

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

Today's Schedule:
The Senate will meet today at 2:00 PM. The Senate is expected to resume consideration of the motion to proceed to consideration of S. 3187, the "Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act". At 4:30 PM, the Senate will consider the nomination of Paul J. Watford to be Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit. A vote on cloture for the nomination is expected to occur at approximately 5:30 PM. If the motion to invoke cloture is not successful, the Senate will then vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to consideration of S. 3187.


House
Friday's Action:
During business, the House took the following actions:
  • Passed H.R. 4310, the "National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013", by a vote of 299 yeas to 120 nays, following consideration of proposed amendments.
  • Agreed to two motions to instruct conferees on 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.
  • Agreed to the Senate amendment to H.R. 4849, the "Sequoia and King Canyon National Parks Backcountry Access Act".

Today's Schedule:
The House is currently in recess for a district work period. The House will meet in a pro forma session at 10:00 AM on Tuesday, May 21. The House will return to conduct business on Wednesday, May 30.


Executive Agencies
Significant Proposed Rules:
  • Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service: reopening the comment period to revise the conditions for the importation of live bovines and products derived from bovines with regard to bovine spongiform encephalopathy. (Comment period ends 8/20/12)
  • Federal Aviation Administration: amending the regulations for repair stations by revising the system of ratings, the repair station certification requirements, and the regulations on repair stations providing maintenance for air carriers. (Comment period ends 8/20/12)

Significant Final Rules:
  • Environmental Protection Agency: establishing the air quality thresholds that define the classifications assigned to all nonattainment areas for the 2008 ozone national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS). (Effective 7/20/12).

Other Documents:
  • Presidential Notice: continuing for 1 year the national emergency with respect to the stabilization of Iraq.


Supreme Court
The court has concluded scheduled oral arguments for the October 2011 term. However, the court is still meeting to finalize decisions on cases it heard during the preceeding term. The court's next session of oral arguments is scheduled to begin on Monday, October 1, 2012.