Saturday, August 25, 2012

Morning Media: August 25, 2012

Happy Saturday, everyone! It's time to check out some of yesterday's best media.

First, here is Allen West on extremism in the Democratic party:



Bill Clinton knows all about respecting women:



Want to know why "Tax the Rich" won't solve our deficit problem? Here's why:



And finally, a humorous look at another gaffe from the Obama team:

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Final Five: August 24, 2012



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Tonight's Crazy Story:
Vending Machines Talk To, Entertain Users
A new vending machine in the U.K. will give you a free cup of coffee if you complete the task it gives you.


Topic One: ObamaCare
What can insurance exchanges in Europe teach us about ObamaCare? "But experience in the Netherlands and Switzerland, where insurance exchanges are part of health care reforms that have been ongoing for some time, provides two cautionary lessons. The first is that competitive insurance markets will not contain costs without reforms of the health care purchasing market. In theory, health insurers should negotiate with health care providers on price, volume, and quality of care. Innovative payment methods should result in the purchasing of efficient care. In the United States, there has been little discussion about strengthening the purchasing market, although the ACA intends to promote provider competition by requiring yearly publishing of standard charges for items and services. Experience from the Netherlands and Switzerland shows that such efforts are not enough. Purchasing-market reforms in those countries are a work in progress, but the results so far in terms of cost containment and quality improvement have been negligible.

The Dutch and Swiss reforms provide a second cautionary lesson for state exchanges. States at the forefront of creating exchanges are just now considering risk-adjustment mechanisms to reduce insurers' incentives to attract healthier enrollees and avoid sick people. The Dutch and Swiss experience indicates how critical a good risk-adjustment formula is. Until January, the Swiss risk-adjustment system had been relatively crude and ineffective: there were large premium differences both within and among cantons. Switzerland has just added prior hospitalization as an adjustment factor, and adjustments for patients' medical conditions will follow. The Dutch have a more sophisticated formula based on 20 years' experience, which thus far has discouraged insurers from engaging in risk selection."


Government unsuccessful fighting health care fraud: "The true annual cost of fraud and abuse in health care is not known. In fiscal year 2011 Medicare spent $565 billion on behalf of its 48.7 million beneficiaries, while federal and state Medicaid agencies served 70 million people at a combined cost of $428 billion. CMS estimated that in fiscal year 2010 these two programs made more than $65 billion in "improper federal payments," defined as payments that should not have been made or were made in an incorrect amount. Adding in improper payments made by state Medicaid programs boosts the total by about $10 billion annually."

What can a restaurant teach us about health care? "Like Gawande, I too have been fascinated by the efficiency with which restaurant chains function. I’ve also talked to managers and owners about how they do it. My conclusion: a modern hospital might indeed function like The Cheesecake Factory. That it doesn’t is not the fault of doctors wedded to tradition or unimaginative hospital managers. It’s the fault of public policy. Let’s return to my question: What public policy changes would we need to enact to make The Cheesecake Factory resemble a typical hospital? To begin with, we need to eliminate out-of-pocket payment for restaurant food. To get that done, we need laws that encourage, or perhaps even require, restaurant food insurance. There can be many such insurers and each negotiates prices with the restaurants."

Akin, Cutter, and the Media

I have been silent on the controversy surrounding Todd Akin's recent comments on abortion and rape, primarily because this is a matter that should be handled by the residents of Missouri. However, Todd Akin's comments and the response they have received illustrate a larger problem that Republicans face: the blatant bias in the media.

I am in complete agreement with Akin's stance on abortion, but I am not in agreement with the way Akin defended it. Instead of pointing out that abortion in the case of rape reserves the harshest punishment (death) for an innocent victim or that banning abortion with an exception for rape will likely lead to an increase in rape accusations in order to gain access to an abortion, he chose to lie about "facts" he heard from a doctor.

If he could identify a doctor who believes these facts (no matter how far fetched the doctor's research might be), I might be defending Todd Akin. However, Akin has not been able to back up the claims he made. Our federal government is in the mess it is in because of spineless politicians who will say whatever is necessary to get elected. Akin's comments make me think that he is just another politician trying to win more power, not a principle-based American who will go to Washington and stand for what is right. If he were running in Kentucky, I would be calling for him to step aside.

However, Akin is not the only political figure to be caught in a lie during the past week. On Wednesday morning, Obama's deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter, appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe and said the following:
...and over the past, you know, 27 months we’ve created 4.5 million private sector jobs. That’s more jobs than in the Bush recovery, in the Reagan recovery, there’s obviously more we need to do, and as I said to Mika at the beginning of the program, I think that unemployed worker probably sees one person in this race trying to move the country forward and that’s the president...

More jobs than the Reagan recovery? In September 1983 alone, Reagan's recovery created 1.1 million jobs, one-quarter of the most generous figure the Obama administration can quote. Reagan finished his first term with over 5 million more jobs than when he started, while Obama has yet to reach the break-even point.

However, there is something even more appalling than Cutter's quote. While the media jumped all over Akin's comments and created a national firestorm, the same media has been silent about Cutter's remarks. I first heard about Cutter's remarks when people began tweeting about them, and it was not until tonight that some fairly-prominent conservative news sites wrote about it.

Both Akin and Cutter blatantly lied about their "facts", yet only the Republican in the race has been called on it by the mainstream media. Akin has apologized for his comments repeatedly (as he should), but Cutter has yet to make a correction for her lies. While it is impossible to live without knowing the truth about Akin's statement, MSNBC's ten viewers probably now believe that we are living in the greatest recovery in American history. As radio host and Breitbart editor Dana Loesch stated at FreePAC last month, "The media is supposed to be our watch dog, not Barack Obama's lap dog." Todd Akin was not the only political figure to lie last week; he just happened to be a Republican.

The D.C. Daily: August 24, 2012


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House and Senate

Subject to the provisions of S. Con. Res. 59, both houses of Congress have adjourned until 2:00 PM on Monday, September 10, 2012.


Executive Agencies
(You can view the entire Federal Register here.)

Significant Proposed Rules:

Significant Final Rules:
There were no significant final rules printed today.

Presidential Documents:
There were no Presidential documents printed today.


Supreme Court
The Court has now completed its work for the October 2011 term. The Court will hold the first oral arguments of the October 2012 term on Monday, October 1.

Morning Media: August 24, 2012

Good morning, everyone! It's time to take a look at some of yesterday's best media.

Let's start the morning by watching Anderson Cooper actually question Debbie Wasserman-Schultz about her fundraising email:



Next up, a great video from Free Market America:



And finally, here are two different cartoons portraying the difference between what the media says is important and what the people think are important:



Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Final Five: August 23, 2012



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Tonight's Crazy Story:
HI Woman Just Misses Record Half-Ton Marlin Catch
A 5-foot-9, 160 pound woman caught a record-breaking fish, but she will not set the record or win the tournament in which she was competing because she received help reeling in the fish.


Topic One: Health Reform
The difficulty of reforming Medicare: "I wouldn't quite say it's "outrageous" that seniors are exempt from the changes brought on by the reforms in Paul Ryan's plan. Regardless of what they paid in, the federal government sold them on certain expectations about what sorts of benefits would be available, and it's not entirely unreasonable to design a reform plan that phases in changes over a period of time in order to facilitate planning. But it's certainly true that a reform plan that started immediately would be far more effective, that seniors often seem deluded about the value of the contributions versus their benefits, and that the majority of politicians in both parties have proven stubbornly unwilling to prepare the public for the challenges of reform."

The British health system: "In April, the British Medical Journal published “How the NHS Measures Up to Other Health Systems,” a report about two studies conducted by the New York–based Commonwealth Fund that compared the health-care systems of 14 advanced countries. On the 20 measures of comparison, Britain’s famous (or infamous) centralized system, the National Health Service, performed well in 13, indifferently in two, and badly in five. Was this a cause for national rejoicing?

"If popular satisfaction is the aim of a health-care system, the answer must be yes. According to the report, the British were the most satisfied with their health care of all the populations surveyed; they were the most confident that in the event of illness, they would receive the best and most up-to-date treatment; and they were the least anxious that their personal finances would prevent them from receiving proper treatment. One could doubtless raise objections to these measures of comparison, but let us for the sake of argument take the results at face value. Subjective satisfaction and relief of anxiety are not minor achievements. Indeed, though the free market’s ability to satisfy more needs and desires than any other system is usually cited as one of its principal advantages, here was an apparent instance of the contrary: a nonmarket health-care system that yielded the most satisfaction."

I Choose The "Go Back Team"

I visited the Obama campaign webpage yesterday just to see the latest lies and distortions being posted. I was greeted by a new welcome page calling the Romney-Ryan team the "Go Back Team" (as opposed to the "Forward" team of Obama-Biden). While this distinction is obviously meant to cast the Republican team in a negative light, there may not be anything that better describes the choice we face on November 6 than these two phrases.

"Go Back" is no more a negative term than "Forward" is a positive one. When I lived in northern Indiana, I traveled to Chicago almost every weekend. As I would take the Ridge Road exit onto Interstate 94, I was presented with the option of taking I-94 West to Chicago or I-94 East to Detroit. If I mistakenly took the Detroit exit, would "Forward" be the best option? Wouldn't it be better to get off the road and "Go Back" toward Chicago?

In America's case, Barack Obama has taken us on the exit to socialism. I don't want to continue "Forward"; I want to "Go Back".

I want to go back to a time where the Constitution is revered, not ignored.

I want to go back to a time where a stagnant economy is not normal.

I want to go back to a time where work is rewarded and laziness is punished, not the other way around.

I want to go back to a time where unemployment is 5%, not 8%.

I want to go back to a time where my healthcare decisions are handled by my doctor and me, not bureaucrats in Washington.

I want to go back to a time where dissent is not greeted by cries of racism, sexism, etc.

I want to go back to a time where those who build a business are rewarded for their work, not told that they are not giving enough of their business to the government.

I want to go back to a time where our soldiers are hailed as heroes, not shamed as "baby killers".

I want to go back to a time where both houses of Congress complete their legally-required responsibility to pass a budget.

I want to go back to a time where taxpayers are not required to cover the costs of failed businesses.

I want to go back to a time where the flag is a symbol of freedom, not a symbol of shame.

I want to go back to a time where our leaders view America as the greatest nation on Earth, not a mistake to apologize for.

I want to go back to a time where our founding fathers are treated with respect, not slandered with lies.

I want to go back to a time where our children are educated, not indoctrinated.

I want to go back to a time where we have freedom of religion, not repression of religion.

America is on the road to destruction, and "Forward" is not the right solution. On November 6th, I will gladly cast my vote for the "Go Back" team.

The D.C. Daily: August 23, 2012


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House and Senate

Subject to the provisions of S. Con. Res. 59, both houses of Congress have adjourned until 2:00 PM on Monday, September 10, 2012.


Executive Agencies
(You can view the entire Federal Register here.)

Significant Proposed Rules:
There were no significant proposed rules printed today.

Significant Final Rules:

Presidential Documents:
There were no Presidential documents printed today.


Supreme Court
The Court has now completed its work for the October 2011 term. The Court will hold the first oral arguments of the October 2012 term on Monday, October 1.

Morning Media: August 23, 2012

Good morning, everyone! It's time to take a look at some of yesterday's best media.

First, a new Romney ad explains why "free health care" is not free:



Next, we see an interesting interpretation on Obama's "open book" comments:



And finally, here's one event sure to provoke terror among Democratic campaign strategists:

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Final Five: August 22, 2012



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Tonight's Crazy Story:
This Is Why You Shouldn't Attempt to 'Restore' a Rare Painting You Weren't Asked to Fix
An elderly woman in her 80s attempted to restore a painting hung at a nearby church, but she had to confess that her work got out of hand.


Topic One: The SPR
A SPR release will not help oil prices: "Washington is attempting to use the reserves for political purposes with hopes of artificially affecting crude prices. But this won't work over the long run for four reasons:

"First, an SPR is not designed to work this way. Such draw downs will not have the intended effect because they are not in response to a genuine market lack of supply. The availability of excess oil, in itself, will not determine prices.

"Second, the amount necessary to affect prices over any extended time period is well beyond the ability of a political manipulation. Take last year's unsuccessful exercise, for example. The total amount of 60 million barrels was the commitment for an entire month. However, that translated into about 18 hours of global oil consumption.

"Third, the market compensates for the additional supply rather quickly. Unless policy makers are prepared to continue the draw downs, there is no effect. This is always the problem with policy moves that are not in response to genuine causes.

"Finally, should the use of SPR barrels continue for any length of time, the reserves would need to be replaced. That requires purchases directly from oil companies. The market then draws its attention away from the draw downs and toward the buying of oil for replenishment as the base point for determining price. The attempt then would fail anyway and priced would move back up, based this time on what was actually paid for the oil moving back into the SPR - rendering the entire approach a grand waste of time."

Pro-Choice or Pro-Abortion

For years, the media has portrayed the two sides of the abortion debate as "pro-life" and "pro-choice". I dislike the latter term because I believe it inaccurately portrays the debate. To present the abortion issue as a debate between "pro-life" and "pro-choice" gives the appearance that those who stand for life must stand against choice. Are there some people who are truly pro-choice? Yes, but the majority of people who claim the pro-choice label could be more accurately defined as "pro-abortion". They do not simply want to give people the right to choose; they want to force us to accept abortion, and in many cases, force us to pay for it.

No one typifies the term "pro-abortion" more than Barack Obama. He has been quiet on the abortion issue during his time as President, but during his time in the U.S. Senate and Illinois State Senate, Mr. Vote-Present found plenty of time to cast his votes in defense of abortion.

Obama supported cloning research on leftover embryos from in vitro fertilization and opposed a law that prohibited states from engaging in research that would destroy an embryo. Obama stated in The Audacity of Hope that he would side with Stephen Breyer in favor of allowing late-term abortions. He supports abortion on demand and opposes mandatory parental notification laws. As an Illinois senator, Obama even stood alone in opposing legislation that would have protected the right to life for babies who survived a late-term abortion.

It would be bad enough if Obama's views were simply his own, but Obama's views go even further. Barack Obama does not just want to defend a person's "right" to have an abortion, but he wants to make every American support that "right" financially. Obama has supported public funding of abortion, and the regulations stemming from his health care deform law will force insurance companies to pay for abortions using the money you pay for your health insurance.

Barack Obama is certainly not pro-choice. He wants to force all Americans to accept the practice of abortion--even late-term abortion--as legitimate, and even worse, he is already preparing to force us to pay for abortion, even when it violates our religious beliefs. NARAL, a political group that supports abortion rights, promoted Obama on its front page and highlighted his thirteen-for-thirteen voting record in support of abortion. Given that the remainder of his voting record--especially on controversial issues--consists of a large number of "present" votes, Obama's wholehearted votes in favor of abortion tell us where and how strongly he stands on this issue. Barack Obama is not pro-choice; he is solidly pro-abortion.

The American media has turned the term "pro-choice" into a term where choice simply refers to abortion. However, there are other choices that take place long before the decision to have an abortion. Barring a rape, two people made a choice to engage in sexual activity. In many cases, those people also made a choice not to use any form of contraception. However, when it comes time to face the unwanted consequences (or "punishment", as Obama puts it) of their choices, people want to claim a "right" to choose to murder their unborn child. It is time that we define the terms properly: the abortion debate is not a matter of life or choice, it is a matter of life or death.

The D.C. Daily: August 22, 2012


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House and Senate

Subject to the provisions of S. Con. Res. 59, both houses of Congress have adjourned until 2:00 PM on Monday, September 10, 2012.


Executive Agencies
(You can view the entire Federal Register here.)

Significant Proposed Rules:
There were no significant proposed rules printed today.

Significant Final Rules:

Presidential Documents:
There were no Presidential documents printed today.


Supreme Court
The Court has now completed its work for the October 2011 term. The Court will hold the first oral arguments of the October 2012 term on Monday, October 1.

Morning Media: August 22, 2012

Good morning, everyone! It is time to take a quick look at some of yesterday's best media.

I think this is quite possibly the best Zonation Alfonzo Rachel has ever done:



Lou Dobbs breaks out the chalkboard to explain why Social Security is in trouble:



For once, the media found a shooting to cover up instead of report. Wonder if politics played any role?



Reuters took this strange picture. What happened to our President's head?



And finally, here is an interesting graphic showing the developments in internet technology over the past ten years:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Final Five: August 21, 2012



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Tonight's Crazy Story:
The Most Stolen Car in America Is...
...definitely not what you would think. It's not a sports car, and it's approaching 20 years old.


Topic One: Facing the Facts
Romney and Ryan are forcing us to face the facts: "Congressman Paul Ryan is best known for his budget, the Ryan Roadmap, which ties together the two sides of our fiscal-crisis coin: First, the major entitlements of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid will soon be bankrupt and unable to provide for millions of beneficiaries. And second, our growing $16 trillion debt will result in an unprecedented economic disaster if not balanced and then paid off.

"President Barack Obama and his Democrats are replying with the inexcusably-irresponsible argument that overhauling entitlements and balancing the budget are cruel and unnecessary. They cry that this will harm seniors and deprive people of needed benefits, willfully ignoring the reality—with can be proved beyond doubt on a napkin using fifth-grade math skills—that the status quo cannot and will not continue."

What Has Obama Fixed?

I came across the graphic below on Facebook today, and I thought it deserved taking the time to correct the facts about Obama's record.



Let's take the issues in order:

Worst recession in 25 years - Recession is over
Technically, this is correct. As defined, the recession is over and we are now in a period of recovery. However, the recovery has been very weak, which goes against the usual trend of larger recoveries following larger recessions. Furthermore, we are now at the point where economists begin warning about the next recession, but we have yet to enter the expansion period. While the recession may be over, we are still far from having made a complete recovery.

13 straight months of job losses - 27 straight months of job increases
Creating 100,000 or 200,000 jobs per month barely keeps up with the increase in population. Furthermore, the number of people who have begun receiving disability benefits is greater than the number of jobs created. While it is good that we are creating jobs, America should be doing much better than it is.

Record job losses with more to come - Over 4 million private sector recovered
During the first nine months of Obama's presidency, almost four million jobs were lost. Now, the job gains have helped recover most (but not all) of those job losses. George Bush left the presidency with almost 1.1 million more jobs than when he took office. Obama only has five more months to try to get back to the break-even point.

Unemployment going up - Unemployment going down
Allow me to put this in terms that Barack Obama can understand: unemployment numbers work like golf scores. You want a lower number. Going from 8.2% to 8.3% (as it did in July) is not going down. Staying at 8.2% (as it did in June) is not going down. Going from 8.1% to 8.2% (as it did in April) is not going down. Furthermore, the fall in the workforce participation rate to its lowest point ever recorded should produce declining unemployment, and the fact that it is going up only means that it should be even higher than reported.

Dow Jones Ind. down to $8,000 - Dow Jones Ind. over $13,000
To make an accurate comparison of stock market values at two points, one must also consider the rate of inflation. Through the Fed's two programs of quantitative easing, the dollar has been devalued and inflation has soared. If we printed enough money, we could make the Dow hit $1 million, but we would be paying $200 for a bottle of water.

DJI plummeted 35% in 2008 - DJI has regained all lost value and more
See above. Also, the DJI closed at 14,164.53 on October 9, 2007, and its current value is 13,281.42 (as of 9:51 AM on August 21, 2012), so it is false to even claim that it has recovered all lost value.

$1.4T deficit - $1.3T deficit
Whatever happened to that pledge to cut the deficit in half by the end of your first term? The key here is not the number, but the word "deficit". No CEO would survive four years at a company if he or she only reduced the company's operating loss by less than 10%. Furthermore, the President's own budget plan makes no attempt to reach a balanced budget. We don't need more deficits, no matter how much smaller they are; we need surpluses.

GM & Chrysler on the brink of extinction - GM & Chrysler profitable
Then, why is GM headed for bankruptcy again?

Two wars - One war and an exit strategy
More accurately: one war, numerous conflicts, and a Middle East falling into the hands of radical Islamists.

Osama bin Laden on the loose - Obama bin Laden DEAD!
The one item on this list for which Obama truly deserves praise.

The D.C. Daily: August 21, 2012


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House and Senate

Subject to the provisions of S. Con. Res. 59, both houses of Congress have adjourned until 2:00 PM on Monday, September 10, 2012.


Executive Agencies
(You can view the entire Federal Register here.)

Significant Proposed Rules:

Significant Final Rules:
There were no significant final rules printed today.

Presidential Documents:


Supreme Court
The Court has now completed its work for the October 2011 term. The Court will hold the first oral arguments of the October 2012 term on Monday, October 1.

Morning Media: August 21, 2012

Good morning, everyone! It is time to take a quick look at some of yesterday's best media.

Texas Senate candidate Ted Cruz reminds Washington Post writer EJ Dionne about the fate of Obama's budget (a 'side issue', according to Dionne):



Next, Obama reminds us of the need for openness among the Presidential candidates...except himself:



Finally, this great graphic explains the difference between conservatives and liberals:

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Final Five: August 20, 2012



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Tonight's Crazy Story:
NYC Brothers Promote Toilet-Paper Ads
Two brothers from a suburb of NYC are planning to introduce a new type of toilet paper...with advertising.


Topic One: Federal Spending
Why Romney's tax returns do not matter: "We're more intrigued by how much Romney makes than with how much Obama spends. While we're obsessed with Romney's tax returns, there's no interest in a General Accounting Office report detailing $100 billion in federal government waste and duplication that has been gathering dust for two years while Congress pretends it can't cut a single dollar.

"America doesn't have a tax problem, or a tax fairness problem. Not when the top 5 percent of earners shoulder 60 percent of the income tax burden and the bottom 49 percent pay 0 percent. America has a spending problem. The government spends one-third more each year than it takes in. Nothing in Romney's tax returns will offer insights into how to fix that."


Obama has grown our foreign debt: "One of the important components of our federal debt in the share of debt owned by foreign countries. We like to view ourselves as the pride of the world, but there’s not much pride in countries like China and Mexico owning our debt. Terence Jeffrey of CNS News reports that our foreign debt has hit a new record of $5.2923 trillion, a gain of 72.3% since Obama took office. Talk about “outsourcing jobs,” Barack. Obama is outsourcing the indebtedness of our children and grandchildren to foreign countries. Our foreign debt is now equal to more than one-third of the entire U.S. economy. China owns $1.164 trillion of our debt, while Japan is the second largest stakeholder at $1.119 trillion."

Related Stories: MIA on fiscal policy || Government is bankrupt || What's so bad about the Ryan budget?

The D.C. Daily: August 20, 2012


Would you like to receive the DC Daily in your inbox every morning. Click here to sign up for our e-mail list.

House and Senate

Subject to the provisions of S. Con. Res. 59, both houses of Congress have adjourned until 2:00 PM on Monday, September 10, 2012.


Executive Agencies
(You can view the entire Federal Register here.)

Significant Proposed Rules:

Significant Final Rules:
There were no significant final rules printed today.

Presidential Documents:
There were no Presidential documents printed today.


Supreme Court
The Court has now completed its work for the October 2011 term. The Court will hold the first oral arguments of the October 2012 term on Monday, October 1.

Morning Media: August 20, 2012

Longtime readers of this site will remember the Mid-Week Media posts that I did every Wednesday. I have decided to change it into a daily post called Morning Media. Each morning at 6:00 AM, I will post some of the best videos, cartoons, graphics, etc. from the previous day.

First, Paul Ryan's mom joined her son on the campaign trail in Florida this weekend, and the Romney-Ryan campaign put together this web ad from his speech:



Rudy Giuliani discussed the recent Biden gaffes:



Speaking of the Biden gaffes, Karl Rove's SuperPAC put out this ad in support of Joe Biden:



And finally, we've had Robin Hood and Romney Hood, now meet Obama Hood: