Tuesday, August 6, 2013

George W. Bush and Wackos in Congress

I just read the news that George W. Bush had heart surgery this morning. While it sounds like it was a routine procedure, heart surgery is never something to take lightly. My prayers go out to him for a quick recovery.

However, I do wonder how long it will be before this gets turned into a promo for Obamacare by one of the left's wackos in Congress. "George Bush had a blockage discovered during a routine physical exam. Now, thanks to Obamacare, you get free preventative care that will help you discover health problems you might have."

Monday, June 10, 2013

Show Your Need, NSA

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting, liberals forced gun owners to explain why they needed particular types of weapons (i.e. assault rifles and 30-round magazines). The most famous of these statements was New York Governor Andrew Cuomo screaming, "Forget the extremists! It's simple! No one hunts with an assault rifle! No one needs ten bullets to kill a deer!" (If you missed the clip, you can see it at the beginning of this video.)

Fine!

If we are going to establish need as the necessary factor for obtaining a particular item, I can defend my position on assault rifles much better than the NSA can defend its position on my phone records.

Ladies and gentlemen of the NSA, can you please explain WHY you MUST have my phone records, Google searches, etc. in order to keep me safe?

You claim that it allows quick access to the phone records of those suspected of terrorism. However, I find it hard to believe that, with the authority of the United States Government behind you, you would have a difficult time obtaining these from the company with a specific warrant.

Furthermore, can you please define the word "terrorist", since the number two political official reportedly claimed that the politicians that represent my values were acting like terrorists. Will my phone records be subjected to additional scrutiny because of my political beliefs (like what happened at the IRS)?

If we are going to establish need as the prerequisite for possession, then it is time that liberals be forced to play by their own rules.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The NSA Data Center in Perspective

According to a Fox News report, the new NSA data center in Utah will be able to store 5 Zettabytes of information. To put that in perspective:

Most hard drives today are measured in Gigabytes, but the Terabyte (approximately 1000 Gigabytes) is becoming more common. Currently, the largest drives are in the range of 2-3 Terabytes.

If you take a 1 Terabyte hard drive:
  • 1 Petabyte would consist of approximately 1000 of these drives.
  • 1 Exabyte would consist of approximately 1000 Petabytes, or 1 million drives.
  • 1 Zettabyte would consist of approximately 1000 Exabytes, or 1 billion drives.

In 2011, Seagate said that the average size of a hard drive that it shipped was 590 GB. If we assume that the average size of a hard drive is probably somewhere in the 700 GB range today, this facility would contain enough storage for 7,142,857,143 average drives. In other words, there will be enough space to hold a hard drive for every person in the world today, with a few left over. (The most recent world population estimate was 7.09 billion.)

Now, what exactly do they plan to store here? Oh, wait...maybe this, this, this, this, and a whole lot more.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May 29 Opinion Roundup

INCOME INEQUALITY
When the Rich Get Richer, Taxes Go Lower
(Dylan Matthews, Washington Post)
"In a new paper with Facundo Alvaredo and Anthony Atkinson, Piketty and Saez look at how these different countries changed their tax policies as inequality grew. The answer, perhaps unsurprisingly, is that countries where inequality grew the most also saw the biggest cuts in top marginal tax rates for wealthy earners."

GREEN [WASTING] CARS
If Tesla Would Stop Selling Cars, We’d All Save Some Money
(Patrick J. Michaels, CATO Institute)
"The public is still on the hook for Tesla, and will be for the foreseeable future. First, there’s the $7500 taxback bonus that every buyer gets and every taxpayer pays. Then there are generous state subsidies ($2500 in California, $4000 in Illinois—the bluer the state, the more the taxpayers get gouged), all paid to people forking out $63K (plus taxes) for the base version, to roughly $100K for the really quick one. The latest round of Tesla wonderment came when it reported its first quarterly profit earlier this month. TSLA stock darned near doubled in a week. Musk then borrowed $150 million from Goldman Sachs (shocking!) and floated a cool billion in new stock and long-term debt. That’s how we—the taxpayers—were repaid."

SPORTS ON WELFARE
Sports Welfare Dies Hard
(Patrick Hruby, Sports on Earth)
"The NFL's non-profit status -- and Coburn's dead-in-the-water effort to nix it -- is illustrative. The league, its teams and various subsidiaries earn roughly $9 billion in revenue per season. They will collect a guaranteed $27 billion in television money over the next decade. They exist to make money. They are very, very good at their jobs. Under federal law, however, the league office is classified as a tax-exempt 501(c)6 organization - essentially, a nonprofit business league -- just like your local chamber of commerce."

OBAMACARE
The Obamacare Insurance Exchange Train Is Already Coming Off The Rails
(Sally Pipes, Forbes)
"But an Obamacare train wreck isn’t a distant possibility. It’s actively happening. Delays, wasteful spending, and cost overruns have already popped up. And it’s becoming increasingly likely that the exchanges won’t be ready by October 1, when they’re supposed to open for enrollment. Mass confusion and excessive costs will result."

GAS PRICES
Gas Myths
(John Stossel, Townhall)
"Even if gas costs $4 per gallon, we should thank Big Oil. Think what they have to do to bring us gas. Oil must be sucked out of the ground, sometimes from war zones or deep beneath oceans. The drills now bend and dig sideways through as much as 7 miles of earth. What they discover must be pumped through billion-dollar pipelines and often put in monstrously expensive tankers to ship across the ocean. Then it's refined into several types of gasoline, transported in trucks that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Finally, your local gas station must spend a fortune on safety devices to make sure we don't blow ourselves up while filling the tank. And it still costs less per ounce than the bottled water sold at gas stations. If government sold gas, it would cost $40 per gallon. And there would be shortages!"

EDUCATION
How Higher Education Can Be the Worst Investment Ever
(Tara Clarke, Money Morning)
"But nowadays, you would have to be delusional to assume that an investment in higher education will definitely pay off. After spending copious amounts of time and money on a college degree, the graduate unemployment rate is a now staggering 14%. What's more, even those who have gotten a job often settle for work that's hardly commensurate with their newly-minted education. That has helped to create a trillion dollar student loan bubble, with the average debt per student up 70% since 2004. It calls into question whether or not a college degree is worth the investment these days."


QUICK HITS

Small business will be allowed to self-insure

Hezbollah fighting for Assad in Syria

Immigration could spoil Rubio's presidential chances

Americans on disability could form the eighth-largest state

Teacher faces dismissal for teaching bill of rights

Jim Bunning's Revenge

DHS can't locate hundreds of dangerous illegals

IRS spent 11 million on unused electronics

Milwaukee school holds cross-dressing day

How your doctor will tell the government all about you

Licenses for journalists? It could be closer than you think

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Note From Jim

Greetings, fellow tea-party terrorists!

After much consideration, I have decided to change the focus and use of this blog (again). I have begun the process of starting a new technology business, and I anticipate that the business will take a large portion of my time. Due to the new work that I will be doing, I will no longer be writing large amounts of new content. I will continue to post links to great opinion pieces and news articles as I am able, and I plan to continue some of the daily features I started. Those who subscribe to the nFocus email will receive daily updates of the links I post.

For now, here is my planned post schedule:

6 AM - Morning Media
10 AM - D.C. Daily
8 PM - Newspaper Roundup
Links to opinion pieces will be posted as I find them throughout the day

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

nFocus: February 12, 2013

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It Makes a Difference

While testifying at the Benghazi hearings about three weeks ago, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the incredulous statement, “What difference does it make?” while responding to questioning about the administration's initial claim that the attacks were the result of a protest due to a video. Whether it was a protest due to a video, a few guys taking a walk, or—as we learned when the truth came out—a terrorist attack, makes a huge difference.

First, it makes a difference to the man sitting in prison right now due to the administration's cover-up. While he may have violated the terms of his parole in making the video, the truth is that his actions would most likely have gone unnoticed were it not for the Benghazi attacks. The government did to him what was done to Al Capone: unable to arrest him for the reasons they desired, they found something else that could be used to arrest him. I am sure that this man would like the administration to explain why his video was made the scapegoat for these attacks.

Second, it makes a difference to the families of the dead Americans. If this was a spontaneous protest, then the administration would have been unable to prepare for it, but if this were a coordinated attack that we had knowledge could be coming, then there is no excuse for the lack of security and response. The families of the four Americans killed in Benghazi deserve to know whether or not their loved ones died as a result of the negligence of our government.

Third, it makes a difference to those who desire the truth. Our government lied to us in the days following the attacks. At the same time that the government was claiming that the attacks were the result of the video protest, they had evidence that this was a terrorist attack. If they have lied to us about this, what else have they lied about? Furthermore, why are they answering questions about the attacks with statements like “What difference does it make?” rather than telling the truth? Unanswered questions like these are what cause many to question the government.

How the government portrayed the attacks in Benghazi does make a difference. It makes a difference to one jailed filmmaker, it makes a difference to the families of those killed, and it makes a difference to anyone who wants our government to tell the truth. With responses like these, the Obama administration is stonewalling any attempt to get at the truth about Benghazi. It will be up to us to try and determine why.

Friday, February 8, 2013

nFocus: February 8, 2013

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Immigration Reform: Too Many Unanswered Questions

Imagine a time when Republicans and Democrats have agreed to an immigration plan that will secure the border, grant legal status to illegal immigrants, and crack down on employers who hire them. If you think this is a current event, you're wrong. I'm talking about the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act passed by the 99th Congress and signed into law by Ronald Reagan. The 1986 reform shows us that the current proposals before Congress will not solve our immigration problems; it will only add to them.

Since the 1986 plan, border security has not improved. In 1986, amnesty was approved with a promise of border security, but no one followed through on the promise. In fact, more illegal immigrants are coming across our border today than in 1986. According to the Office of Immigration Statistics, there was an average of just over 200,000 people coming across the border in 1986; in 2010, that number stood at well over 300,000.

The present “bipartisan” plan also includes a promise of border security, and unlike the 1986 plan, implementation of the amnesty program would supposedly hinge on the border being secure. However, we are left with an unanswered question: what exactly is a secure border? The question would most likely be left to the committee that is supposed to determine when the border has been secured.

This committee raises a second unanswered question: who will be on the committee, and how will they be appointed? It is highly unlikely that Democrats would support a plan that would require Joe Arpaio and Jan Brewer to approve, and it is equally unlikely that Republicans would support a plan requiring the approval of Janet Napolitano and Chuck Schumer. Until we know exactly how this committee will be appointed, it is impossible to know if the committee will actually do its job or serve as a farce to satisfy enough Republicans to pass the bill.

Without securing the border, we are not finding an immigration solution; we are finding a temporary fix. The 1986 bill was supposed to solve our immigration problems, but 27 years later, we are faced with the same problem on a larger scale. Without knowing the specifics of the border enforcement provisions, it is impossible to know if this is a worthwhile bill or another useless congressional can-kicking exercise.

D.C. Daily: February 8, 2013

Senate

The Senate met yesterday and took the following actions:
  • Passed H. Con. Res. 11, providing for a joint session of Congress to receive a message from the President.
  • Passed S. Res. 27, designating the week of February 4 through 8, 2013, as "National School Counseling Week".
  • Resumed consideration of S. 47, the "Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013". During consideration, the Senate rejected one proposed amendment to the bill.

The Senate will not meet today. The next scheduled meeting of the Senate will be on Monday, February 11.


House of Representatives

The House was not in session yesterday.

The House will meet today at 11:00 AM in a pro forma session.

Morning Media: February 8, 2013

First, Robert Arial provides a description of exactly what Obama is shooting. View at Townhall

Second, Dr. Benjamin Carson gave this amazing speech at the National Prayer Breakfast. It is almost 30 minutes long, but it is well worth your time to watch. View at YouTube

Next, another longer video (about 17 minutes) shows what the President should have said at his inauguration. View at RightScoop

And finally, adding the cat ruined Monopoly. View at Townhall

Thursday, February 7, 2013

D.C. Daily: February 7, 2013

Senate

The Senate was not in session yesterday.

The Senate will meet today at 9:30 AM. The Senate will resume consideration of S. 47, the "Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013".


House of Representatives

The House met yesterday and passed H.R. 444, the "Require a PLAN Act", by a vote of 253 yeas to 167 nays.

The House will not meet today. The next scheduled meeting of the House will be on Friday, February 8.

Morning Media: February 7, 2013

First, Chuck Asay shows the problem of anti-gun education. View at Townhall

Next, Robert Ariail shows what happens when Popeye ate some bad spinach. View at Townhall

And finally, CBS in New York City did a report on the growing number of flash mob robberies. View at RightScoop

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

D.C. Daily: February 6, 2013

Senate

The Senate was not in session yesterday.

The Senate will not meet today. The next meeting of the Senate will be on Thursday, February 7.


House of Representatives

The House met yesterday and began consideration of H.R. 444, the "Require a PLAN Act", after approving H. Res. 48, the rule providing for consideration of the measure.

The House will meet today at 9:00 AM. The House is expected to resume consideration of H.R. 444, the "Require a PLAN Act", subject to the rule passed yesterday.

Morning Media: February 6, 2013

First, Henry Payne explains why the groundhog failed to see his shadow. View at Townhall

Second, Steve Kelley shows Obama's hypocrisy on guns and weapons. View at Townhall

Third, Bob Gorrell has an idea on the immigration debate. View at Townhall

And finally, a father of a student at Sandy Hook gave this speech to a board investigating the tragedy. View at RightScoop

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

nFocus: February 5, 2013

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The Withheld Secret

A little over one month ago, the government stood in gridlock as politicians once again argued over the current income tax rates. Ironically, only thirty-four days after we came to a solution on the “fiscal cliff”, the tax rates that were the primary source of contention turned one hundred years old. On February 3, 1913, the income tax became a part of our Constitution, and by extension, the life of every American.

The income tax in 1913 was imposed on those making over $20,000 per year ($440,000 in today's money), and it began at a whopping 1%. The highest rate, reserved for those with incomes over $11 million in today's money, was 7%. At the time of its enactment, the tax affected approximately 7% of Americans. However, within thirty years, the higest rate was 94%, and the tax affected all Americans.

How were taxes allowed to get so high so quickly? We barely notice our income tax today because most people never see their income tax money. During World War II, Roosevelt proposed reinstating income tax withholding. (Withholding had been included in the original 1913 tax plan but was dropped three years later.) Under this plan, money to pay our income tax is removed from our paychecks before we see it. At a designated point (currently April 15), we must then submit paperwork to the federal government which shows our income and documents any extra tax we owe or requests a refund for taxes overpaid through withholding.

This system has reduced the awareness most Americans have about the taxes they pay. The Treasury Department, in The History of the U.S. Tax System, states that the income tax “greatly reduced the taxpayer's awareness of the amount of tax being collected.” How much did you actually pay in federal income taxes last year? Most people would have no clue. However, they can usually tell you how much they owed or received as a refund. By creating the withholding system, government has masked the true impact of high taxes.

Even worse, it has created a system where most people actually get excited when they realize that they overpaid the government and will receive that money back. This system can have a huge impact on your finances without you even realizing it. If a person receives a tax refund of $100 per year from age 18-62, that person will have received a total of $4,500 back from the government. However, if the same person took $8.33 per month (which is $100 per year) and invested it with a 6% annual return, that person would have almost $23,000 by the age of 62. For this ficticious person, the income tax comes with a $18,500 cost.

Combined with the complexity of our tax code, income tax withholding has destroyed any knowledge about the actual amount of taxes we pay to the federal government. In fact, despite our President's assertions to the contrary, a poll conducted by The Hill showed that 75% of Americans believe that current tax rates are too high. While other polls showed majority support for Obama's “tax the rich” idea, The Hill asked about specific rates and reported that “precisely 75 percent said the right level for top earners was 30 percent or below.” At the time, tax rates for the highest earners were 35%, and for this year, the rate will be 39.6%.

Americans have no clue how much they or anyone else pays in income taxes. Until we can get Americans to start paying attention to their check stubs and tax statements, they will never understand the true impact of income taxes.

D.C. Daily: February 5, 2013

Senate

The Senate met yesterday and passed the following measures:
  • S. 227, the "Embassy Security Funds Transfer Act of 2013".
The Senate also began consideration of S. 47, the "Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013", after agreeing to the motion to proceed by a vote of 85 yeas to 8 nays.

The Senate will not meet today. The next meeting of the Senate will be on Thursday, February 7.


House of Representatives

The House met yesterday and passed the following measures:
  • H.R. 297, the "Children's Hospital GME Support Reauthorization Act of 2013".
  • H.R. 225, the "National Pediatric Research Network Act of 2013


The House will meet today at 10:00 AM. The House is expected to consider H.R. 444, the "Require a PLAN Act", subject to a rule.

Morning Media: February 5, 2012

First, Gary Varvel shows where the path to citizenship leads. View at Townhall

Second, someone brought the economy to Obama's garage. Will he find the right solution? View at Townhall

Next, this great video explains the entitlement state. View at Conservative Videos

And finally, this commercial for the Dodge Ram was the most-tweeted commercial and has already reached 1 million views. View at YouTube

Monday, February 4, 2013

D.C. Daily: February 4, 2013

Senate

The Senate was not in session on Friday.

The Senate will meet today at 2:00 PM. The Senate will resume consideration of the motion to proceed to consideration of S. 47, the "Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013", with a vote on the motion to occur at 5:30 PM.


House of Representatives

The House met Friday in a pro forma session.

The House will meet today at 2:00 PM. The House is expected to consider three bills under suspension:
  • H.R. 297, the "Children's Hospital GME Support Reauthorization Act of 2013".
  • H.R. 235, the "Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act of 2013".
  • H.R. 225, the "National Pediatric Research Network Act of 2013

Morning Media: February 4, 2013

First, Obama's "all of the above" energy policy excludes a few items. View at The Weekly Standard

Second, the President's Jobs Council is looking for a new job. View at Townhall

Third, while immigrants are headed to California, someone else is running out of it. View at Townhall

And finally, Sandra Fluke was attempting to stay relevant by appearing in front of the (small) MSNBC audience to claim that opposing the contraception mandate is the same as opposing leukemia coverage or blood transfusions. View at Conservative Videos

Friday, February 1, 2013

nFocus: February 1, 2013

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Educational Socialism

Full Disclosure: I am currently employed in school transportation for a public school system.

If we need an example for the future of our healthcare system, we need to look no farther than our education system. Like our healthcare deform, the federal role in education was expanded with the promise of providing results at a reasonable cost, and like every nation that has attempted nationalized healthcare, our educational system has resulted in a system that demands greater amounts of money with fewer positive results. In essence, American education has become a microcosm of socialism.

The opportunity to obtain a high school diploma is a right guaranteed by every state. However, receiving that education in a quality school is not a right. Instead, the quality of your education is determined by the location of your home. Children who reside in a richer area are able to attend schools that can afford to hire the best teachers and provide increased opportunities. Those who live in a poorer area are forced to attend schools that will generally have to take whatever teachers the richer districts turn down. (Certainly, not all teachers in poorer districts are of a lesser quality, but since they cannot afford to pay at the same rate, many of the teachers are.)

Furthermore, just like a socialist economy, choice is virtually eliminated. Parents who live in a district with a failing school are often forced to either send their children to that school, pay the tuition rates at a private school, or homeschool (with a considerable cost for homeschooling materials). With tuition or homeschooling costs being too expensive for many parents, approximately 85% of American students attend public schools.

Without competition, poorly performing schools have no incentive to improve. If Congress passed a bill mandating the purchase of a particular cell phone model at a set price based on your state of residence, what incentive would Apple, Samsung, or Motorola have in producing better phones? They have a guaranteed customer base and no opportunity for expansion into new markets. Eventually, these companies would focus on producing their phones as cheaply as possible in order to maximize their profits. They have no incentive to improve their product quality or develop new features because doing so would result in added expense that would yield no added reward.

Unfortunately, our fictitious cell phone example is a reality for our public schools. Without major competition (since, in most cases, the only competition comes at a much greater expense), schools have no incentive to improve and innovate. Leadership knows that it will continue to collect a check from the state regardless of performance. Without competition, these schools have little incentive to succeed.

Recent innovations in education have helped to alleviate this problem in some districts. Private school vouchers and charter schools have allowed parents some degree of choice in the educational process, and one of the positive points of Bush's No Child Left Behind law was the implementation of school choice for those enrolled in failing schools. These have started to create a competitive environment for schools which could eventually require them to improve if they are to survive.

Nowhere have these innovations been more successful than in New Orleans. Following the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, the school district covering Orleans Parish needed assistance in getting schools ready for students. The district turned to outside groups to create charter schools in place of many of the public schools. As of 2010, all of the 46 charter schools and 23 traditional public schools had open-enrollment policies. The results have been positive: more than half of the failing schools are now passing, and the gap between the district and the rest of the state has also been cut in half. (See The Daily Beast for more on the success in New Orleans.)

Socialism either has failed or is failing in every nation where it has been tried, including the recent move toward socialism in America. Yet the model of socialism has been embraced by our public schools, and it is also failing. If we are going to improve American education, we must start by basing it on the model that built the American economy into the greatest economic force the world has known: the free market. Until we change our educational model, any other attempts at reform will be futile.

D.C. Daily: February 1, 2013

Senate

During business yesterday, the Senate passed the following measures:
  • S. Res. 24, commemorating the 10-year anniversary of the loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia.
  • S. Res. 25, honoring Gonzaga University on its 125th anniversary.
  • H.R. 325, the "No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013", after rejecting four proposed amendments and a motion to commit.
The Senate also began consideration of the motion to proceed to consideration of S. 47, the "Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013". The Senate agreed to vote on the motion to proceed to consideration of the bill at 5:30 PM on Monday, February 4.

The Senate will not meet today. The next scheduled meeting of the Senate will be on Monday, February 4.


House of Representatives

The House was not in session yesterday.

The House will meet today at 11:00 AM in a pro forma session.

Morning Media: February 1, 2013

First, Steve Breen solves the Super Bowl Chicken Wing problem. View at Townhall

Next, this Homeland Security Department release describes how to oppose an active shooter, but carrying a firearm is not included. View at Conservative Videos

And finally, Bill Whittle responds to Hillary Clinton's "What difference does it make?" comment. View at YouTube

Thursday, January 31, 2013

D.C. Daily: January 31, 2013

Senate

During business yesterday, the Senate passed the following measures:
  • S. Res. 13, congratulating the members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. for 100 years of service to communities.
  • S. Res. 22, recognizing the goals of Catholic Schools Week and honoring the valuable contributions of Catholic schools in the United States.

The Senate will meet today at 9:30 AM. The Senate will begin consideration of H.R. 325, the "No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013", with a series of votes on amendments and passage of the bill.


House of Representatives

The House was not in session yesterday.

The House will not meet today. The next scheduled meeting of the House is on Friday, February 1.

Morning Media: January 31, 2013

First, Steve Kelley explains what Obama means when he "goes shooting". View at Townhall

On the same subject, Glenn McCoy has a slightly different take. View at Townhall

Next, Dick Morris explains the GOP's con game in Washington. View at Hope for America

And finally, Ted Cruz took the Senate to task for operating in a "fact-free zone" on gun control. View at RightScoop

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

D.C. Daily: January 30, 2013

Senate

During business yesterday, the Senate passed the following measures:
  • S. Res. 14, designating January 2013 as "National Stalking Awareness Month".
  • S. Res. 20, designating Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
  • Confirmed the nomination of John Kerry to be Secretary of State, by a vote of 94 yeas to 3 nays, with 1 voting present.
The Senate will meet today at 9:30 AM. The only item presently on the Senate's agenda is the farewell address of Senator John Kerry at 2:30 PM.


House of Representatives

The House met yesterday in pro forma session.

The House will not meet today. The next scheduled meeting of the House is on Friday, February 1.

Morning Media: January 30, 2013

First, Steve Breen has reaction to the immigration proposals. View at Townhall

Next, we have Greg Gutfeld's reaction to the Obama/Clinton interview. View at Hope for America

And finally, immigrant Henson Ong has a warning on gun control. View at YouTube

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

nFocus: January 29, 2012

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Before We Deal with Entitlements...

America has a problem. Amazingly, the source of this problem is not in Washington, D.C., nor is it in the 50 state capitols of this country. This problem lies in the hearts of American citizens. All across this country, Americans have developed an attitude that has convinced them that they are entitled to something. While government benefits are certainly one part of this entitlement mentality, this way of thinking stretches far beyond just food stamps and welfare.

America's entitlement mentality starts with a piece of plastic just larger than six square inches. As of November 2012, 47% of American households carried a balance on their credit cards. For these households, the average debt carried stands at over $15,000. Credit cards are currently the third-largest source of debt, following only mortgages and student loans.

Certainly, there are some Americans who are forced to use credit cards in order to put food on their table or keep the electricity running, and I can understand why these people would be willing to go into credit card debt rather than let their kids go hungry or cold. However, those who have an iPhone and iPad while carrying thousands of dollars in credit card debt need to evaluate their priorities.

This problem has destroyed the connection between the cost of an item and the item itself. No longer are hours of hard work and savings required in order to get that iPhone or iPad; we can buy it now and pay for it later. Plus, when we are making minimum payments instead of paying up front, we fail to see the true cost of what we are purchasing. Advertisers have understood this for years: it sounds much more appealing to advertise a product's cost as “five easy payments of $19.99” than to inform people that the entire product costs $99.95.

After so many items have been charged, it is impossible to even know what one is paying for. No one ever stops to think, “Is this for the iPad I bought two years ago, the new Droid I bought for my son last year, or for the latte I picked up from Starbucks last month?” It simply becomes the “credit card bill” and the money for it gets paid every month without much thought. Instead of costing $500, the iPad comes “free”, and you just keep making your monthly payment on the credit card.

If our nation is ever going to solve the problem of entitlements, we must have a change in the attitude of the American people. We must restore the connection between the cost of an item and the item itself. The connection between who pays for the food stamps and the food itself has been destroyed just as much as the connection between the credit card bill and the iPad.

Before we can solve our entitlement problem, we must deal with the underlying mentality that expects to receive something for free. Credit cards do have a useful purpose in our society, but when misused, they contribute to this growing entitlement mentality. In order to solve this problem, we must educate our children to see the value in the items we own, and we must teach them to recognize the true cost of those items. Only then will we be prepared to deal with entitlements.

D.C. Daily: January 29, 2013

Senate

During business yesterday, the Senate passed the following measures:
  • H.R. 152, the "Disaster Relief Appropriations Act".
  • S. Res. 9, designating January 2013 as "National Mentoring Month".
  • S. Res. 19, congratulating the University of Alabama Crimson Tide for winning the 2012 Bowl Championship Series National Championship.

The Senate will meet today at 10:00 AM. The Senate is expected to begin consideration of the nomination of John Kerry to be Secretary of State.


House of Representatives

The House will meet today at 1:00 PM in a pro forma session.

Morning Media: January 29, 2013

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


First, Michael Ramirez shows the hypocrisy of the media's coverage of Obama's agenda. View at Townhall

Second, a journalist asked Mayor Bloomberg if he planned to disarm his security detail. The response was to harass the questioner. View at YouTube

Monday, January 28, 2013

D.C. Daily: January 28, 2013

Senate

The Senate will meet today at 2:00 PM. The Senate is expected to consider one measure:
  • H.R. 152, the "Disaster Relief Appropriations Act".



House of Representatives

The House will not meet today. The next scheduled meeting of the House will be on Tuesday, January 29.

Morning Media: January 28, 2013

Happy Monday! It's time to take a look at some of the weekend's best media.

First, Bob Gorrell has another note for the President. View at Townhall

Second, Jerry Holbert shows Obama's enlightening idea. View at Townhall

Next, did you know that you can be shot by an unloaded gun? One city councilwoman in California thought so, and her statements even made the news. View at Conservative Videos

And finally, Wild Bill explains the hypocrisy of liberals on gun control and abortion. View at YouTube

Friday, January 25, 2013

nFocus: January 25, 2013

Tonight's edition of nFocus has been emailed. If you did not receive it, you can view it by clicking on the link below. View nFocus

If you would like to receive nFocus in your inbox (published on Tuesdays and Fridays), click here to sign up.

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.

D.C. Daily: January 25, 2013

Senate

The Senate met yesterday and passed the following measures:
  • Passed S. Res. 15, to improve procedures for the consideration of legislation and nominations in the Senate, by a vote of 78 yeas to 16 nays.
  • Passed S. Res. 16, amending the Standing Rules of the Senate, by a vote of 86 yeas to 9 nays.


The Senate will not meet today. The next meeting of the Senate is scheduled for 2:00 PM on Monday, January 28.


House of Representatives

The House will meet today at 2:00 PM in a pro forma session.

Morning Media: January 25, 2013

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


First, Gary Varvel shows how some former Presidents responded to Hillary's "What difference does it make? comment. View at Townhall

Next, Glenn McCoy has a sad look at abortion. View at Townhall

Next, Greg Gutfeld lays out a hypothetical Benghazi situation in which Bush is the President and the media actually exposes the truth about the story. View at Hope for America

And finally, listen to this video and see if you can guess who the video is describing. View at YouTube

Thursday, January 24, 2013

D.C. Daily: January 24, 2013

Senate

The Senate met yesterday, but it did not conduct any significant business.

The Senate will meet today at 9:30 AM, but is not expected to conduct any significant business.


House of Representatives

The House met yesterday and passed one measure:
  • H.R. 325, the "No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013".


The House will not meet today.

Morning Media: January 24, 2013

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


First, Nate Beeler describes Obama's second-term plans. View at Townhall

Second, Newsweek continues the "Obama-as-deity" kick. View at RightScoop

Next, Allen West explains the purpose of his new job at PJTV. View at RightScoop

And finally, this short video shows how a lock and key work. View at YouTube

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

D.C. Daily: January 23, 2013

Senate

The Senate met yesterday, but it did not conduct any significant business.

The Senate will meet today at 9:30 AM, but is not expected to conduct any significant business.


House of Representatives

The House met yesterday and passed one measure under suspension:
  • H.R. 307, the "Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013".


The House will meet at 9:00 AM today. The House is expected to consider one bill subject to a rule:
    • H.R. 325, the "No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013".
  • Morning Media: January 23, 2013

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


    First, Lisa Benson shows Obama's second dancing partner at the inaugural ball. View at Townhall

    Next, Gary Varvel shows some people who were not celebrating the anniversary of Roe v. Wade yesterday. View at Townhall

    And finally, the Susan B. Anthony List put out this excellent video on the human center in the abortion debate. View at YouTube

    Tuesday, January 22, 2013

    nFocus: January 22, 2013

    Tonight's edition of nFocus has been emailed. If you did not receive it, you can view it by clicking on the link below. View nFocus

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    The Flexible Term

    If we want to figure out what Obama's goals for the second term will be, we need to look no further than what he told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last March: After my election, I have more flexibility. While many people believe that Obama's reelection, combined with a Republican House and a Democratic Senate, will result in the deadlock of the past two years, this statement from Obama shows that he will be looking to use his flexibility to accomplish his goals. This statement may have been intended to apply to Russian-American foreign policy, but it will apply to the entire second term. What does this mean for the future?

    First, Obama will use his flexibility to expand his power. To date, Obama has used the executive order at a rate consistent with his predecessors. George W. Bush issued 291 (144 per term average), Bill Clinton issued 364 (182 per term average), George H.W. Bush issued 166 in his one term, and Ronald Reagan issued 381 (190 per term average). Through the end of 2012, Obama had issued 144 executive orders, but his first term total will be higher after signing the 23 gun control orders presented to him last week.

    However, Obama now has more flexibility. With congressional gridlock likely to tie up Congress for at least the next two years, we can expect that Obama will sign more executive orders in order to get his way. Since the election, we have already heard rumors that Obama would use executive orders to institute some type of gun control and to abolish or raise the debt ceiling. These may have been random ideas spouted off by one person, but they also may have been intentionally thrown into the public sphere to gauge what the American people may support. If Congress refuses to rubber stamp the President's ideas, we can expect that many of them will become the subject of executive orders.

    Second, Obama will use his flexibility to further expand the regulatory state. During his first term, the Obama administration issued regulations costing over $500 billion. This is an unseen and unapproved tax that we are forced to pay. The Federal Register has become so long and complex that it is expensive and still almost impossible for a person or company to know for sure that they are in total compliance.

    And now, Obama has more flexibility. Working alongside Obama's executive orders, agencies can exercise virtually unchecked powers. Making this even worse is the fact that Congress has granted them much of their power. In the Affordable Care Act, the Secretary “shall” determine over 700 regulations, the Secretary “may” determine over 200 more, and the Secretary “determines” another 139 regulations. This is not only poor lawmaking, but it gives unchecked power for these executive agencies to abuse.

    Third, Obama will use his flexibility to further push the liberal agenda. Obama's first term may eventually look moderate compared to his second. During his first term, Obama guided the passage of a Keynesian stimulus package, health care reform, financial reform, and tax hikes on most Americans. During his first four years, Obama accomplished many things to make liberals proud.

    But now, Obama has more flexibility. It has been less than one month since Congress silently authorized an income tax increase on the richest Americans and a payroll increase on over three-quarters of Americans. Now, Democrats are already clamoring for more tax hikes. Obama has yet to deliver on his promise of immigration reform or to close Guantanamo Bay. Without the threat of another election, I would expect Obama to deliver on many of his broken first-term promises.

    Moving away from the center in the second term is a characteristic of many Presidents. However, Obama has repeatedly stated that he wants to transform America, and the fact that his final election is now past will give him the flexibility to push for that transformation. If Obama has accomplished so much for the liberal movement in the first term, I shudder to think what he will do in the second.

    D.C. Daily: January 22, 2013

    Senate

    The Senate will meet at 10:00 AM today. The Senate is not expected to conduct any significant business today.


    House of Representatives

    The House will meet at 10:00 AM today. The House is expected to consider one bill under suspension:
    • H.R. 307, the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013.
  • Morning Media: January 22, 2013

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


    First, Chip Bok has a citizen's arrest of Harry Reid. View at Townhall

    Second, Michael Ramirez describes Obama's attitude toward Al Qaeda. View at Townhall

    And finally, Nick Gillespie interviewed Shapeways CEO Peter Weijmarshausen about the future of 3-D printing. It was a very interesting discussion about the future of technology. View at Reason.tv

    Monday, January 21, 2013

    D.C. Daily: January 21, 2013

    The House and Senate will be back in session today in order to participate in the Inauguration ceremonies. Neither house will conduct business today.

    Morning Media: January 21, 2013

    Happy Monday! It's time to take a look at some of the weekend's best media.

    To start, Glenn McCoy provides a look at Obama and gun laws. View at Townhall Next, our President explains his reasons for wanting to protect the children. View at Townhall

    Next, could America face tyranny? Luke Rudkowski interviews pedestrians on the streets of New York City about the possibility. View at ConservativeVideos.com

    And finally, Bill Whittle explains the Second Amendment's purpose in history and now. View at YouTube

    Friday, January 18, 2013

    nFocus: January 18, 2013

    Tonight's edition of nFocus has been emailed. If you did not receive it, you can view it by clicking on the link below. View nFocus

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    Fixing Our Debt Requires Fixing Our Bills

    Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on the Defense of Freedom Blog on December 22, 2011.

    Every doctor knows that in order to effectively treat a patient, the doctor must find the root cause instead of treating the symptoms. For example, if a patient comes into the office complaining of diarrhea, any qualified doctor would try to find the cause of it instead of sending the patient home with prescription-grade version of Imodium. The same is true in psychology: a wise psychologist will attempt to go back through a person's life until that person comes to terms with other issues that are causing the depression or other psychological problems the patient is facing. In fact, we could go through a long list of examples in just about any field of work where an employee must get past the simple list of symptoms and find the root cause.

    This is the issue currently facing the United States. Our leaders are focused on trying to solve the symptom of high debt, but both parties are wrong about the root cause. One party says that we can solve the debt problem by raising taxes. However, there are not too many Warren Buffetts in the world who feel they are not paying enough in taxes. The other party says that we can solve the debt problem by cutting spending. While there are certainly areas where spending needs to be cut, this is also not the real root of the problem. Now you are probably thinking, "If the problem is not taxes and it is not spending, what else can it be?" The answer is simple: bills.

    Consider this plausible family scenario. A family of four finds that their income has dropped significantly because everyone at the husband's workplace has been forced to take a salary reduction in order to avoid layoffs. The husband comes home, calls the family together, and tells them that they will have to cut back on their spending. The family does significantly cut back their spending: family trips are kept to a minimum, they eat out once per month instead of once per week, they cut out the cable and internet, husband and wife agree to share one cell phone instead of paying for two phones, and instead of making trips to museums and zoos, they rent educational videos that teach similar topics. However, despite making cuts in just about every area possible, the family finds that it is still a struggle to make ends meet because some of their biggest expenditures just cannot be cut. Their mortgage payment or rent continues to stay at the same rate, the electric bill can be cut a little by conserving energy, but that may only reduce the bill by five or ten percent, and their credit card bills only drop significantly when they are able to make significant payments on the principle, which they have not done for some time. Finally, the family comes to the conclusion that they cannot afford to simply cut spending; they must make a major restructuring of their lives and move to a smaller house in order to reduce their bills.

    Similar to our fictional family, the government has areas where it can cut back on spending. We can debate the ups and downs of where to cut spending, but the truth is that the so-called discretionary spending amounts to less than one-third of the government's total outlays. The remaining amount comes in the form of bills which must be paid by the government. Some of these bills include the interest on our debt, Social Security payments, Medicare payments, and the public welfare programs the government has established. While an act of Congress could reduce most of these payments (excluding the interest on the debt), we must also honor the commitments we have made to those who are depending on programs such as Social Security. Furthermore, it is unlikely that any leader in government would have the courage to propose something like a 10% reduction in Social Security payments, and anyone who did propose such a plan would likely be demonized in the media to such an extent that he or she would never be reelected.

    In order to fix our debt problem, we must begin a major restructuring of these bills. America's entitlement programs are on a path toward bankruptcy. The Social Security program is already paying out more than it brings in, and Medicare will soon reach that point, as well. Other programs are seeing more people added to the rolls, and they are already "underwater" since they do not have a tax that directly supports them. The only way that our nation can deal with its bills is to restructure these programs to guarantee solvency.

    However, this restructuring is not a popular idea in Washington. Any time someone proposes changing the way one of the entitlement programs operates, America becomes inundated with ads attacking the proposal and its supporters. Furthermore, the "solution" proposed to halt Medicare spending was to cut payments to doctors, a plan that will only serve to reduce the number of doctors accepting Medicare. Instead of implementing measures that hurt Americans, we must face the truth and implement real reform.

    Without entitlement reform, America will not be able to survive financially. 40% of our spending is already financed through debt instead of taxes, and cutting discretionary spending will do little to solve the debt problem. Mandatory spending (entitlements and interest) almost results in spending all of America's revenue before discretionary spending is even considered, and without reform, this is only going to increase. While America certainly needs to control its discretionary spending, the debt problem will not be solved until America takes the necessary steps to reduce its mandatory bills.

    Morning Media: January 18, 2013

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


    First, Lisa Benson depicts Uncle Sam being held hostage by the debt bomb. View at Townhall

    Next, Steve Kelly describes Obama's "fair shot" hypocrisy. It applies to taxes, but not guns. View at Townhall

    And finally, here is the story of a law-abiding citizen who was killed by magazine limits. View at YouTube

    Thursday, January 17, 2013

    Morning Media: January 17, 2013

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


    First, we have Glenn Foden showing us exactly how Obama and Biden are upholding the second amendment. View at Townhall

    Next, Michael Ramirez has a photo of the latest shooting victim: the Constitution. View at Townhall

    The NRA put out this ad showing the hypocrisy on the left regarding the NRA's call for more armed guards in schools. View at YouTube

    And finally, I found this video on Monday, and I have held onto it until now because I was unsure about whether or not I should post it. I generally shun conspiracy theories (even when I believe they may be correct) unless there is enough evidence to back up the theory. However, in this case, I believe that there is enough evidence presented (and backed up) to make us question whether the media is telling the whole story on the Sandy Hook shooting. I am not saying that I think the shooting did not happen; nor am I saying that I think the shooting was a government conspiracy. However, if you watch this video with an open mind, you are forced to ask yourself the question, "Would the people in charge of this country allow this to happen in order to push gun control?" The answer is up to you. View at YouTube

    Wednesday, January 16, 2013

    D.C. Daily: January 16, 2013

    Editor's Note: Since both houses of Congress will not be conducting business until next week, the D.C. Daily will not be published on Thursday and Friday.

    Senate

    Pursuant to S. Con. Res. 3, the Senate stands adjourned until Monday, January 21, 2013.


    House of Representatives

    During business yesterday, the House took the following actions:
    • Completed a reading of the U.S. Constitution.
    • Passed >H.R. 152, the "Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013", by a vote of 241 yeas to 180 nays.

    The House will not meet today. The next scheduled meeting of the House is a pro forma session scheduled for 3:00 PM on Friday, January 18.

    Morning Media: January 16, 2013

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


    First, Michael Ramirez shows Al Gore's "green" hypocrisy. View at Townhall

    Second, Chip Bok describes Obama's plan to deal with the debt problem. View at Townhall Next, we have a Senator who calls raising the debt limit a "sad state of affairs." It just happens to be Senator Obama from 2006. Listen now at RightScoop

    And finally, Project Veritas (the organization behind the dead voter videos during the election) put out this video of Journal News reporters (and a few others) declining to put up a "gun free zone" sign on their property. View at YouTube

    Tuesday, January 15, 2013

    nFocus: January 15, 2013

    Tonight's edition of nFocus has been emailed. If you did not receive it, you can view it by clicking on the link below. View nFocus

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    Demand a Different Plan

    “Columbine. Virginia Tech. Tucson. Aurora. Fort Hood. Oak Creek. Newtown. Newtown. Newtown. Newtown. How many more? How many more? How many more colleges? How many more classrooms? How many more movie theaters? How many more houses of faith? How many more street corners?”

    In the aftermath of the Newtown shooting, a group of celebrities created a video Public Service Announcement to call for more gun control. Starting with the script above, the emotional video brings to mind some of the worst mass shootings in recent history. However, their conclusion—the need for more gun laws—is incorrect. Perhaps it is time for a new PSA, starting with this list:

    Oklahoma City. Colorado Springs. San Antonio. Grundy, Virginia. The shootings in these towns failed to garner as much attention because they were stopped by citizens carrying legal weapons.”

    In every mass shooting, there are two categories of people: the victims and the killer(s). The victims obey the law and simply want to go about their business without interference. The killer or killers, however, have a disregard for human life and the laws that protect that life.

    Those in the second category are not harmed by gun laws. If we confiscate guns or implement stricter measures of control, which of those two groups will be most likely to obey the new gun laws? Will a person already willing to commit the illegal act of murder be stopped by a law outlawing a gun? Or will the person simply look to other sources for guns (the black market) or find another means to perpetrate the act (knives, hammers, etc.)? In fact, excepting only the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords in Tucson, every mass shooting in America in the past 20 years has occurred in a place where guns were already illegal. If these killers will not obey our gun laws already on the books, why will they obey stricter gun laws?

    However, those in the first category are harmed by gun laws. Without the ability to carry a weapon, Sandy Hook Principal Dawn Hochsprung and teacher Victoria Soto had no means to defend themselves and their students. Without a weapon, Jon Blunk, a five-year veteran of the navy who was reenlisting in the hopes of becoming a Navy SEAL, could only jump on top of his girlfriend to protect her while his body absorbed the fatal bullets during the Aurora shooting. In each shooting, the problem is not that the law-breaking murderer had access to a gun; it is that the law-abiding victims did not have access to one.

    In his speech two days after the Newtown shooting, President Obama stated, ”If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that -- then surely we have an obligation to try.” He is right, and there is a step we can take: we can restore the rights of our law-abiding citizens to carry their guns everywhere. We will never stop people from taking up a firearm and attempting an act of violence, but with the right laws, we can allow citizens to stop that violence before it hurts more victims.

    D.C. Daily: January 15, 2013

    Senate

    Pursuant to S. Con. Res. 3, the Senate stands adjourned until Monday, January 21, 2013.


    House of Representatives

    During business yesterday, the House took the following actions:
    • Passed H.R. 219, the "Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013", by a vote of 403 yeas to 0 nays.
    • Agreed to H. Res. 21, to provide for the attendance of the House at the Inaugural Ceremonies of the President and Vice President of the United States, by unanimous consent.
    • Agreed to H. Res. 22, electing electing Members to certain standing committees of the House of Representatives, by unanimous consent.

    The House will meet today at 10:00 AM. The House is expected to consider the following bill:
    • H.R. 152, the "Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013", subject to a rule.

    Morning Media: January 15, 2013

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


    First, Steve Breen takes a look at what is in the target of the national gun debate. View at Townhall

    Second, Michael Ramirez gives Hollywood an Oscar for promoting violence. View at Townhall

    Next, a Toby Toons cartoon explains the source of Obama's Second Amendment views. View at Breitbart

    Moving to audio, Mark Levin interviewed Ted Cruz, and the subject of "Washington Monument games" came up. Listen now at RightScoop

    And finally, Rush Limbaugh explains why matching payroll taxes serves to reduce your salary. Listen now at RightScoop

    Monday, January 14, 2013

    D.C. Daily: January 14, 2013

    Senate

    Pursuant to S. Con. Res. 3, the Senate stands adjourned until Monday, January 21, 2013.


    House

    The House will meet today at 2:00 PM. The House is expected to consider one bill under suspension of the rules:
    • The Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013 (The bill will be introduced during today's session, so the bill number and text are not available at this time.)

    Morning Media: January 14, 2013

    Good morning! It's time to take a look at some of the best media from this weekend.


    First, Michael Ramirez provides a depiction of the "trillion dollar coin". View at Townhall

    Next up, Nate Beeler takes a look at some proposals to avoid the debt ceiling. View at Townhall

    And finally, Australians have a warning for us about gun control. View at YouTube

    Saturday, January 12, 2013

    Obama's Political ADD

    Is it just me, or does our President seem to suffer from some sort of political ADD? Obama continually promises to focus on jobs, but then he runs off and focuses on other political items. Yes, Obama started out his presidency by passing the Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a measure which was supposed to produce jobs. However, he quickly moved his focus to passing ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank. After these bills were enacted, he then proceeded to focus on tax rates, foreign policy, and new environmental standards. Missing from this list is any type of a jobs plan. If we look at Obama's rhetoric, he seems to care deeply about jobs, but like many other areas, Obama's actions do not line up with his talk.

    The blog Conservative Samizdat lists at least seven times that Obama promised to “pivot” to jobs, but despite these pivots, Obama has yet to get a serious jobs proposal passed. While it is true that he submitted one to Congress in late 2011 and had it rejected, he did nothing in the previous two years while he had a majority in the House and a filibuster-proof supermajority in the Senate. Furthermore, Obama created a jobs council chaired by General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt, but he was too “busy” to meet with them for the first six months of 2012.

    Meanwhile, the economy continued to stagnate and unemployment remained high. In fact, the final report of Obama's first term (released last week) showed unemployment at exactly the same level as his first report (released February 2009). When pushing for passage of the $787 billion stimulus package in 2009, the administration released a chart showing unemployment projections with and without the stimulus. Unfortunately, unemployment has not met either projection, and the gap between actual unemployment and the projected numbers continues to grow.

    By even the Obama administration's own numbers, the stimulus was a massive failure. According to the chart, unemployment should have peaked in the third quarter of 2009. Unemployment peaked just after that point (10.0% in October 2009), but it remained within one-half of one percent of that high for most of the next year. In fact, thirteen months after that peak, unemployment stood at 9.8%. Presently, the unemployment rate is almost sixty percent higher than the administration's own projections say that it should be.

    When Obama says that he wants to focus on jobs, we must remember the truth: jobs are far from being the President's top priority. Currently, it appears that the President's top priority is gun control. Biden promised that it would be done by the end of the month, and his “task force” is already set to make its recommendations. (Is it just me, or does this seem fast to anyone else?) After gun control, we will have to deal with the fallout from the fiscal cliff deal: the debt ceiling, sequestration, and the threat of a government shutdown. Despite whatever rhetoric the President may give, I would not expect any action on jobs anytime soon.

    nFocus: January 11, 2013

    Tonight's edition of nFocus has been emailed. If you did not receive it, you can view it by clicking on the link below. View nFocus

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    Tuesday, January 8, 2013

    Blame the Right People

    Like many other conservatives, I was immensely disappointed with the fiscal cliff deal reached in Washington this week. However, if we are going to solve our problems in Washington, we must ensure that we blame the right people for the debacle that became this fiscal cliff “solution”. I do not believe that blame should lie with the Republicans in either chamber that voted for the bill; it belongs with the Republican leadership that refused to fight for anything better.

    When it came time for Congress to vote, Republicans were faced with a dilemma. They could either pass the current bill, raising the tax rates for some people, or they could defeat the bill and allow everyone's taxes to rise. Some contend that Republicans should have defeated the bill and fought for something better, but a defeat would give President Obama his dream outcome: raising taxes on everyone while being able to lay blame for the increase at the feet of the Republicans. Had we allowed taxes to rise for longer than a few days, I find it doubtful that we would have come to any meaningful compromise.

    However, the need for a compromise did not mean that our leadership needed to coalesce to every White House demand. Compromise is defined as “a settlement of differences by mutual concessions...” Looking at the main points of the deal, I see very little concession from the Democrats. The most obvious is the lower rates for those making between $250-400K (or $250-450K for married couples), but some say that the Democrats were prepared to concede this before the negotiations began. Outside of this one area, Democrats had to concede very little in this agreement.

    At the same time, Republicans conceded on the majority of the issues addressed. Spending cuts were not addressed. The sequester cuts were put off for two months (instead of the year that the Democrats wanted). Taxes were raised on the wealthy. The payroll tax holiday was not extended, raising taxes for the majority of Americans. And the bill was so full of pork that—despite the tax increases—the CBO scored it as losing money. That is not a compromise; that is rolling over and playing dead.

    With debt ceiling talks approaching, we must quickly recognize that the problems in the fiscal cliff debacle were not the Republicans who supported the final bill; the problems were Republican leaders who gave in to every White House demand. Going forward, conservatives must fight for openness instead of the secret backroom dealing that took place on the fiscal cliff. We must fight for recognition of our ideas by our leaders. And we must fight for representation on the committees and in the meetings that will decide compromises of this nature. If we continue to allow John Boehner and Mitch McConnell to negotiate for us, we will continue to get more of these raw deals.

    nFocus: January 8, 2013

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    Tuesday, January 1, 2013

    nFocus: January 1, 2013

    Tonight's edition of nFocus has been emailed. If you did not receive it, you can view it by clicking on the link below. View nFocus