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Best older posts for new blog readers
Where OWS gets its computers
Website on Fixing Social Security
I have not had time to review, do not endorse, but put it up for those interested. ~Bob.
mother, Stacie Grimm, was overjoyed to be pregnant with a child, but during her pregnancy, she was diagnosed with neck and head cancer. Instead of having an abortion or taking medication harmful to her baby, she rejected chemotherapy treatment in order to save her child, instead of herself. (This was a woman the world can ill spare. ~Bob.) Oklahoma
Legend Thomas Sowell On The Occupy Cry Babies
Random Thoughts By Thomas Sowell
Yes, I got the idea for my “random thoughts” pieces from Dr. Sowell’s much better pieces. ~Bob. Excerpt: Random thoughts on the passing scene: Like so many people, in so many countries, who started out to "spread the wealth," Barack Obama has ended up spreading poverty. Have you ever heard anyone as incoherent as the people staging protests across the country? Taxpayers ought to be protesting against having their money spent to educate people who end up unable to say anything beyond repeating political catch phrases. … People who live within their means are increasingly being forced to pay for people who didn't live within their means -- whether individual home buyers here or whole nations in
Just for women: 23 Truths about Firearms
I like to this as a public service for women who live near the cities where the entitlement riots will start. ~Bob.
Obama Media Coverage More Negative Than Any GOP Candidate: Pew Study
Excerpt: Some of the GOP candidates for president are not getting the best press, but a recent Pew study shows that President Obama is getting worse coverage than anyone else. The study, which looked at stories from 1,500 news outlets from the past 23 weeks, found that negative assessments of President Obama outweighed positive assessments by almost 4:1. The stories, which largely focused on the economic crisis, brought him the second-highest level of negative press, as well as the lowest amount of positive press. This means that, overall, his net coverage is the most negative of any candidate. That's a very steep drop from the early days of Obama's presidency, when Pew found him receiving 42 percent positive coverage. (Slanting the News 101 lesson of the day: when conducting a poll that covers a time-frame, pick the time-frame that favors your desired outcome (“See how mean we’ve been to Obama?”). For extra credit, notice Pew only found 42% favorable coverage at the beginning of Obama’s Presidency. I wonder WHICH 1500 “news outlets” they chose to include and if they are the same at both time extremes. Maybe they’d tell us in response to a FOIA; oh, that’s right, they’re a private organization and aren’t subject to FOIA. Ron P.)
BREAKING: An IPCC backchannel ‘cloud’ was apparently established to hide IPCC deliberations from FOIA.
Excerpt: CEI has learned of a UN plan recently put in place to hide official correspondence on non-governmental accounts, which correspondence a federal inspector general has already confirmed are subject to FOIA. This ‘cloud’ serves as a dead-drop of sorts for discussions by
U.S. government employees over the next report being produced by the scandal-plagued IPCC, which is funded with millions of taxpayer dollars. As our FOIA request details, the UN informed participants that it was motivated by embarrassing releases of earlier discussions (“ClimateGate” key among them), and to circumvent the problem that national government transparency laws were posing the group. CEI reminds OSTP that this practice was described as “creat[ing] non-governmental accounts for official business”, “using the nongovernmental accounts specifically to avoid creating a record of the communications”, in a recent analogous situation involving lobbyist Jack Abramoff. CEI expects similar congressional and media outrage at this similar practice to evade the applicable record-keeping laws. This effort has apparently been conducted with participation — thereby direct assistance and enabling — by the Obama White House which, shortly after taking office, seized for Holdren’s office the lead role on IPCC work from the Department of Commerce. The plan to secretly create a FOIA-free zone was then implemented. (The current presumption is that the “cloud” is the storage of this information in/on a server NOT belonging to or located at any government facility in an attempt to evade the FOIA reporting requirements. So, Rep. Waxman, in light of the Abramoff affair, is this bad or not? If not, why not? Ron P.) U.S.
Democrats’ declining enthusiasm
Excerpt: As the 2012 election draws closer, Democrats are getting less — not more — enthusiastic about the prospect of voting for president. In a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll just more than four in 10 (42 percent) Democrats said they were either “extremely” or “very” enthusiastic about the 2012 vote. Those numbers compare unfavorably to Democratic enthusiasm number in CNN surveys from the spring and summer, when 56 percent and 55 percent of Democrats, respectively, described themselves as either “extremely” or “very” enthusiastic about voting next year. By contrast, the level of Republican enthusiasm has been high and steady for months. In a March CNN survey, 64 percent said they were “extremely” or “very” enthusiastic about voting in 2012; an equal 64 percent said the same in the October survey.
When the Best Is Mediocre
Bad at math. Quick, let’s pass a $50B stimulus for the teachers’ unions, borrowed from
! That’ll work this time. ~Bob. Excerpt: While the American public education system garners more and more negative criticism, the wealthy and politically influential elite seem relatively complacent with the situation. This is probably because the school districts of their comfortable suburban neighborhoods, when compared with their high-population urban counterparts, appear exceptional. However, because China America's students are increasingly competing with students outside the for economic opportunities, this comparison is no longer valuable, and may even prove dangerous. By providing comfort to movers and shakers around the nation about the state of the public education system, this false comparison discourages the drastic reforms that are necessary to allow American students to catch up with their peers internationally, say Jay P. Greene, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and economist Josh B. McGee. A recent Global Report Card, produced by researchers studying math and reading performance amongst developed nations between 2004 and 2007, returned the following results: Ninety-four percent of all United States school districts have average math achievement below the 67th percentile for developed nations. Similarly, 68 percent have average student math achievement that is below the 50th percentile compared with that of the average student in other developed countries. Not one of the largest 20 school districts (which collectively contain 5.2 million students or 10 percent of the nation's total) is above the 50th percentile in math relative to other developed countries. The researchers focused on math results first because they are the easiest to quantify and compare, and second because they serve as a more reliable indicator of future economic performance. While there are undoubtedly some small pockets of success that did extremely well relative to international competitors, these success stories are rare. Rather, the message that ought to be taken away from the results of this report card are that American students are falling behind and that there are a decreasing number of places that even the country's elites can flee to in order to guarantee their children an internationally competitive education. U.S.
Don’t Count Oil Out
Note to Al Gore. You could turn
into a subsistence economy with no power, killing 95% of the population, and world carbon emissions would still rise. Short version? You’re an idiot—or a greedy cynic getting rich off gullible people. ~Bob. Excerpt: It’s easy to pick the dominant environmental issue of the last decade. It has been the issue of climate change and what—if anything—the countries of the world can do to limit, or reduce, carbon dioxide emissions. But during that same decade, global carbon dioxide emissions rose by 28.5 percent to some 33 billion tons. And by 2030, the International Energy Agency expects global carbon dioxide emissions to rise by another 21 percent to about 40 billion tons. Carbon dioxide emissions will continue rising because hundreds of millions of people in places like America Vietnam, Malaysia, and South Korea—and, of course, China and —are transitioning to a modern lifestyle, complete with cars, TVs, and other manufactured goods. As they do so, they are using more energy. Specifically, they are using more hydrocarbons—coal, oil, and natural gas. And while lots of idealistic environmentalists and some policymakers argue that we should quit using carbon-based fuels and move to a global economy powered by nothing but renewables, the hard reality is that hydrocarbons are here to stay. There are three reasons why hydrocarbons will continue to dominate the global energy mix for decades to come: cost, the slow pace of energy transitions, and scale. India
Five reasons why Obama really is freaking out business
On the plus side, the unemployed have smaller carbon footprints. Say, you don’t think…~Bob. Excerpt: It’s understandable why many left-of-center economics columnists—such as Paul Krugman of the New York Times, Ezra Klein of the Washington Post, and Kevin Drum of Mother Jones—simply hate the idea that policy uncertainty may be a huge drag on business and the economy. It’s the Obama administration, after all, that wants to raise taxes during an anemic recovery, has no long-term debt plan, and thinks the economy is under-regulated. And to be sure, policy uncertainty isn’t the only economic problem facing
or hurting business sentiment. But it’s likely a significant one. Here’s why: 1. Uncertainty Index. University of Chicago business professor Steven Davis has constructed a “policy uncertainty” index based on a) the frequency of newspaper references to economic policy uncertainty, b) the number of federal tax code provisions set to expire in future years, and c) the extent of forecaster disagreement over future inflation and federal government purchases. His goal is to investigate the claim that “businesses and households are uncertain about future taxes, spending levels, regulations, health-care reform, and interest rates. In turn, this uncertainty leads them to postpone spending on investment and consumption goods and to slow hiring, impeding the recovery.” Looking at a variety of events including the stimulus and debt ceiling debates, America concludes “policy related uncertainty played a role in the slow growth and fitful recovery” of the past few years. Davis
: Creation Myth: Governments are worse than no good at “creating jobs.” Reading
Excerpt: Solyndra’s $535 million failure was not an unlucky one-off. According to Environmental Protection Agency numbers cited by Investor’s Business Daily in August, the Recovery Act’s $7.2 billion in “clean tech” money had “created or retained” a pathetic 7,140 jobs, at a cost of about $1 million each. According to the Department of Energy’s inspector general, one reason for this paltry payoff is the wage and regulatory provisions of the Davis-Bacon Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Buy American Act. In sum: The government scooped up hundreds of billions from taxpayers, redistributed it in the name of creating jobs, then attached a series of requirements that made job creation much more expensive and therefore unlikely. The predictably miserable results (go to reason.com and conduct searches on “green jobs” and “multiplier” to see just how predictable they were) should have, but did not, shame a broad swath of the political class into a long-overdue facing of facts: Governments the world over are worse than no good at “creating jobs.” That much is clear when we compare the job creationists’ rhetoric to their results. Every day on the campaign trail, then-candidate Obama promised to create 5 million “green jobs” during the next 10 years. In January 2009, the White House predicted that the stimulus it was finalizing would create up to 4.1 million jobs.
Excerpt: Government spending in the
grew little during the 19th century relative to national income, with the federal government spending about 3 percent of national income in 1900. Most of the federal government's spending went for national defense and a few public goods. Today, the federal government spends approximately 30 percent of national income, with more than half dedicated to transfers from one group to another, not for public goods. Why has government continued to grow? The answer is that private interests and transforming ideologies propel this trend, say J.R. Clark, of the United States University of Tennessee at , and Dwight R. Lee, of Southern Methodist University. Private interests, recognizing the significant financial pool of the government, have increasingly appealed for targeted support since the late 19th century. While interest members represent only a fraction of the voting electorate, patterns in voting behavior underlie their success in gaining profitable policy. Collective action problems prevent the voting public from applying reverse pressure. Even if a voter does take political action, psychological studies show that citizens who are not members of the private interest are easily manipulated to support the group. In addition to private interests, the transformation of governing ideologies has facilitated the growth of government. The watershed moment in this regard was combination of the Great Depression and World War II. The expansive fiscal policies of Franklin Roosevelt were unprecedented in the Chattanooga , but because the New Deal was credited with helping to end the Great Depression, the government's role as economic manager was solidified. This paradigm shift opened the door to additional governmental responsibilities and laid the foundation for the size of government that exists today. There is the possibility, however, that these two trends can be overwhelmed and reversed, decreasing the size of government. Someday, the costs of inaction will outweigh the benefits of apathy and the voting public will overcome its collective action problem. The resulting mass ideological shift will check private interests and reverse the direction of government growth. (You could create a graph showing when Federal expenditures reach, say, 110% of national income. Of course, the Republic will collapse long before the half-way point. ~Bob.) United States
Can Obama hold on to African American voters in 2012?
Excerpt: For several months, radio host Tom Joyner has pleaded with his 8 million listeners to get in line behind the first black president. “Stick together, black people,” says Joyner, whose R&B morning show reaches one in four African American adults. (Perfectly reasonable. I’m sure that if a white talk show host urged, “Stick together, white people,” MSNBC and the Washington Post would find nothing offensive in it. Funny how there are a lot more racist white Republicans for Cain, then there were open-minded blacks for McCain. ~Bob.)
Overseer promised skeptical agents ‘most fun’ with ATF
Excerpt: The central characters in the failed “Fast and Furious” firearms investigation were 19 men and one woman, all legal residents of the
, accused of laying down hundreds of thousands of dollars in illicit cash at Phoenix-area gun shops to buy an arsenal of high-powered weapons for Mexican drug smugglers. Between September 2009 and December 2010, congressional investigators said, they purchased or aided in the purchase of more than 2,000 AK-47 assault weapons, Barrett .50-caliber sniper rifles, FN 5.7mm semi-automatic pistols and other assorted rifles, shotguns and handguns that later were “walked” into Mexico. About half the weapons remain unaccounted for. They paid cash, as much as $900,000, and with each purchase they signed their names on Form 4473, a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) document, swearing under the threat of committing a felony that they were not purchasing the weapons for someone else — that they were not “straw buyers.” But they were, and the ATF knew it. U.S.
Deliberate Obstruction from NLRB in Boeing Case
Excerpt: Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to the National Labor Relations Board on Monday, October 17th, stating that the NLRB is deliberately withholding documents from the committee regarding the NRLB case against the Boeing Company.
Wall Street is the
Excerpt: A new USA Today/Gallup poll shows that when it comes to assigning blame for the country's economic woes, more Americans point the finger at Washington, not Wall Street. Yet for weeks, the so-called
Occupy Wall Street
protesters have camped out in the heart of 's financial district--and have raised their voices in cities across the country and around the world--decrying the capitalist system as the root of all evil. On Sunday, these anti-capitalist protesters got a helping hand from none other than the President of the America . Barack Obama was all too glad to lend support to the protests--which have at times been marked by shows of violence and lawlessness--saying during a speech dedicating the Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial that King would have supported the movement. And yesterday, a White House official said that during his latest "jobs" bus tour, the President would be speaking to the "the interests of the 99 percent of Americans"--echoing the protesters' "99 percent" slogan. United States
Spelling lesson from The Patriot Post
The last four letters in the word American are "I can". The last four letters in the word Republican are "I can". The last four letters in the word Democrats are "rats". End of lesson. Test to follow in November, 2012. On an unrelated, November is rodent extermination month.
Old, but worth remembering
Who Gives and Who Doesn't?
Excerpt: There are a million ways to give to charity. Toy drives, food drives, school supply drives…telethons, walkathons, and dance-athons. But just who is doing the giving? Three quarters of American families donate to charity, giving $1,800 each, on average. Of course, if three quarters give, that means that one quarter don't give at all. So what distinguishes those who give from those who don't? It turns out there are many myths about that. … It turns out that this idea that liberals give more…is a myth. Of the top 25 states where people give an above average percent of their income, 24 were red states in the last presidential election. Arthur Brooks, the author of "Who Really Cares," says that "when you look at the data, it turns out the conservatives give about 30 percent more." He adds, "And incidentally, conservative-headed families make slightly less money." And he says the differences in giving goes beyond money, pointing out that conservatives are 18 percent more likely to donate blood. He says this difference is not about politics, but about the different way conservatives and liberals view government. "You find that people who believe it's the government's job to make incomes more equal, are far less likely to give their money away," Brooks says. In fact, people who disagree with the statement, "The government has a basic responsibility to take care of the people who can't take care of themselves," are 27 percent more likely to give to charity.
Another scandal you probably are not hearing about.
Excerpt: The drive by media is funny when it comes to scandals. If it has to report a scandal where the main player is a Democrat, the party affiliation is either never mentioned or pushed down to the bottom of the story. On the other hand, when the scandal involves a Republican, not only is the story featured, but the party affiliation is mentioned five times in the first paragraph. Now there is a major scandal in
involving vote fraud, but the drive by media has been mostly silent on it. From Fox News: The chairman of the St. Joseph County Democratic Party has resigned amid a scandal that reveals hundreds of signatures on petitions for Barack Obamaand Hillary Clinton to appear on the state's 2008 primary ballot were faked. Butch Morgan announced his resignation in a statement Monday, saying, "After consulting with the Indiana Democratic State Party, I am stepping down as chairman of the St. Joseph County Democratic Party and as chairman of the Second District Democratic Party, effective today." (They are not “funny.” There are biased propaganda arms of the statist/progressive movement, do as little to hurt that as possible. ~Bob.) Indiana
Excerpt: Hey, remember Rick Perry? Apparently Floridians don’t. Pollster Matt Towery: “Our last poll of
was when Rick Perry was red hot, right after he first joined the race some weeks ago. He now barely has a heartbeat.” At Hot Air, AllahPundit is incredulous: “When I saw Perry’s topline number of three percent, I figured the ‘Ponzi scheme’ talk must have sent Florida ’s seniors running screaming into the night. Not so. He’s actually doing (marginally) worse with other age demographics in this poll, and in the last poll he did reasonably well with the 65+ crowd, finishing second to Romney in that group with almost 23 percent. Florida
The Conservative Case Against Mitt Romney
Excerpt: It's no accident that Mitt Romney has done so well during this election cycle. He has excellent name recognition, he's extremely well organized, he's a great fundraiser, he's become a polished debater, and he's not gaffe prone. His business experience doesn't hurt either, although it is worth noting that the only reason he's able to brag that he's not a "career politician" is because he lost to Ted Kennedy for the Senate and probably would have lost in 2008 had he run for governor of
again. All that being said, there's a reason why Mitt Romney has been unable to walk away with the nomination despite all of those advantages. It's because Mitt is a deeply flawed candidate. Yes, he would certainly be better than Obama (and I will vote for him if he gets the nomination), but this IS NOT someone conservatives should want as their nominee. Massachusetts
The Contradictions of Harold Koh: The former Yale Law dean who hounded the Bush administration over its interrogation policies is now justifying drone strikes.
Short version. Conservative pouring water on terrorists to get info to stop murder: bad. Liberals ordering you smeared over the landscape as a red mush: good. ~Bob. We forget it now, but there was a day, not so very long ago, when members of our most prestigious law schools and law firms feared that the government's war on terror posed a graver threat to
than did al Qaeda. Those were the dark days before Barack Obama moved into the Oval Office. Whether the issue was the detention of terrorists, the interrogation of terrorists, or the idea that we were even at war with terrorists, one man—John Yoo, formerly of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel—was held singularly culpable. No one expressed these concerns more vehemently than a former professor of Mr. Yoo's, Harold Koh, then dean of the America . What exercised Mr. Koh wasn't merely that Mr. Yoo's office had sanctioned waterboarding; it was the theory of executive authority behind his war advice. This theory Mr. Koh opposed with vigor, deporting himself in the manner of an Old Testament prophet. Yale Law School
Fracking gets a clean bill of health
Excerpt: Back in April, anti-drilling Chicken Littles gleefully cackled and clucked about a massive “blowout” at a
Pennsylvania natural-gas well and speculated that “thousands of gallons of frack fluid” were poisoning water wells and contaminating a tributary of the Susquehanna River, which flows into Chesapeake Bay. The Maryland attorney general threatened to sue the drilling company, with ’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, chiming in. Well, there must be plenty of rejoicing over saved salamanders now that a report has found “no environmental impact” from the New York , PA, gas-well malfunction, which accidentally released well fluids. Luther Township
The Occupiers’ World Awaits by David P. McGinley
Excerpt: My most heartfelt wish for the mindless minions currently "Occupy[ing] Wall Street" is that someday, hopefully soon, they get to live in a world based upon their dim-witted delusions. Actually, though, if these collectivist cretins are indeed serious, that world is already here. It's called the Democratic People's
Republic of Korea (aka communist ). In North Korea , there are no evil corporations or banks to ruin Occupiers' lives, because another pair of collectivist cretins, Kim Il-sung and his creepy son Kim Jung-il, got rid of them long ago. In fact, along with ridding North Korea of everything other than the glorious state, the Kim Klan has either already met most of the Occupier's nattering demands or simply made them superfluous. North Korea
Boneheaded Economics: Magical thinking about jobs from liberal Democrats.
It’s not just the Occupy Wall Street rabble who are promoting unorthodox ideas (to put it kindly) about our economic plight and how to create jobs. They have friends in
. A few examples: Barbara Lee, a House member from Washington , is upset about computerized checkout lines at grocery stores. She avoids lines with no flesh-and-blood checker. “I refuse to do that,” Lee said at a House Appropriations Committee hearing, “I know that’s a job or two or three that’s gone.” Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. of California is up in arms about the iPad, which he declared on the House floor recently is “now probably responsible for eliminating thousands of jobs.” Alas, “what becomes of bookstores and librarians and all the jobs associated with paper?” Quite soon, he said, “such jobs will simply not exist.” House minority leader Nancy Pelosi has her own remedy for the jobs dearth: Extend unemployment benefits. “It injects demand into the economy,” she insists. “It creates jobs faster than almost any other initiative you can name.” It has the “double benefit” of putting money in the pockets of the jobless and acting as a “job creator.” Illinois
Introducing Tom Dewey to Barack Obama
Excerpt: By this time, we’re all aware that union thugs, including nurses and school teachers, not only went AWOL from their jobs, but caused over seven million dollars in damage to
Wisconsin’s state capitol when they stormed and tried to bully Governor Walker and the state legislators into capitulating to their outlandish demands. What you may not have heard about is that hundreds of goons from the Longshoreman’s Union descended on the Port of Longview (Washington), broke down gates, smashed windows, overpowered security guards, damaged railroad cars, cut brake lines and dumped carloads of grain, in a jurisdictional dispute with a different union. Speaking of union thugs, Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa welcomed Chairman Obama to a Labor Day celebration by calling on his members to take out Tea Party members. I don’t believe he was suggesting an evening of dinner and slow dancing. Madison
Excerpt: I support Occupy Wall Street. And not in the ironic way that I’m sure many would assume upon reading that sentence. I literally support their protest and their desire to influence the political discourse. In fact, I want them to influence the political discourse. I want them push their ideas and have them heard by politicians whose hearts beat for the same reasons. I want those kindred spirits to run on campaigns that promise to fulfill all the objectives that Occupy Wall Street is demanding, and I want them to push for legislation and laws that will accomplish them. The reason I want all of these things is because Occupy Wall Street is a purely ideological movement that, in many ways, is the antithesis of the Tea Party. For too long, the Tea Party has stood alone, holding signs in the streets and being told to sit down and shut up by the power structure of
Having an ideological movement that pushes the narrative of half of the country, or at least half of our elected officials, further left is exactly what this country needs to rid us of a scourge that has plagued our political landscape for far too long. Moderates. 9An independent is someone who wants to take the politics out of politics. –the late Senator John F. Parker, Republican Floor Leader of the Massachusetts Senate.) Washington, D.C.
Poverty causes jihad, except when it doesn't: 60% of jihad suspects in
are from comfortable, middle-class backgrounds Britain
Excerpt: A complication for the shell game known as "underlying causes." It is a politically correct article of faith that Islamic supremacism and violent jihad must stem from something other than Islamic texts, teachings, and traditions, and poverty and lack of education are popular diversions. Failing those, the report cited below, which was apparently found in the abandoned British ambassador's residence in
(oops), looks for others. What remains unanswered amid those conjectures is why the response to those difficulties in life, including bereavement and loneliness, leads so often to violent "radicalization" for Muslims in Britain, as opposed to, say, members of the Anglican Communion from far-flung corners of the world. Tripoli
Report: Thieves steal truck with Obama's podium, audio equipment
If they hurt the TelePrompTer, they can expect a drone strike! ~Bob. Excerpt: A truck carrying audio equipment, podiums and other equipment for President Obama's three-day bus tour was stolen in
, NBC affiliate WWBT reports. The truck was reportedly stolen in Virginia Henrico County, near , and unnamed sources told WWBT it was carrying about $200,000 worth of sound equipment, several podiums and presidential seals. The truck was reportedly recovered Monday afternoon in the parking lot of a Holiday Inn Express, and it's unclear whether anything was stolen, or whether the thieves were aware they were stealing the president's equipment. Richmond, Va.
Obama’s Big Green Mess
Excerpt: We wondered whether the mainstream media would start connecting the dots on Solyndra and Barack Obama’s failed “green jobs” stimulus. ABC News has done a great job reporting on the scandal itself, including its connection to an Obama campaign bundler and the remarkable manner in which taxpayer funds were subordinated to George Kaiser’s investment by the Department of Energy — in direct contravention of Congressional mandates protecting taxpayer-funded loan guarantees. The first major media outlet to view Solyndra in the larger context of stimulus failure turns out to be Newsweek — and Eleanor Clift, surprisingly.
Corn-fueled politics: EPA mandate destroys car engines, voids warranties
Excerpt: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants to shove more ethanol into your gas tank. Obama administration bureaucrats have signed off on a crony-capitalist scheme to boost the corn content of gasoline from 10 percent to 15 percent. This serves absolutely no purpose beyond enriching farm-state agribusiness giants. In fact, it may even result in the voiding of millions of new-car warranties. Earlier this year, the EPA rammed through its decision to “allow” the use of the E15 blend of ethanol and gasoline for cars built after 2001 and approved pump labeling standards. Ethanol apologists will point to this deceptive phrasing to claim that this is not a mandate. Don’t be fooled. Since EPA granted the same waiver for the 10 percent ethanol blend, E10, some 30 years ago, corn-free gasoline has become nearly impossible to find. According to the pure-gas.org website, there are 4,294 stations offering unadulterated gasoline, but this is mostly off-brand options in rural locations. The other 98 percent of the country’s fuel is tainted with corn. The EPA insists newer cars will have no problem with 15 percent ethanol, but Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., Wisconsin Republican, wasn’t willing to take the agency’s word for it. He asked automobile manufacturers to confirm whether higher ethanol blends could be safely used in their products. A dozen carmakers raised serious concerns. For example, a representative for Honda North America pointed out, “There appears to be the potential for engine failure.” If that happens, the company does not want to be on the hook. “Honda products were designed, built and certified to operate on E10 and below,” Honda vice president Edward B. Cohen wrote. “Use of higher blends could compromise the vehicle’s warranty.” (It is well-known, that ethanol from corn is a net negative in terms of the economy and the environment. Worse, acreage devoted to ethanol has raised food costs and has arguably contributed to some instances of hunger in some poor countries. This is stupid policy in every way and crassly political. Obama wants to hang on to the
electoral votes he won in '08. --Cordially, Larry Greenberg) Iowa
Interesting: Hard-Wired Hypocrisy in Our Divided Minds
Excerpt: The science of evolutionary psychology has flourished in recent years by asking "why" as well as "how" questions about animal and human behavior, and answering them with historical explanations. For example, why are most male mammals keen on promiscuity, while most female mammals are keen on picking high-status mates? Because—given that fertilization takes seconds, while gestation and lactation take years—mammals are often descended from philandering males or females that chose resource-holding mates, but not so often from promiscuous females or choosy males. Evolutionary psychologists are now turning their attention to more culturally variable cognitive conundrums. Hypocrisy and self-deception, for example. Last year Robert Kurzban of the
published a book called "Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite," and this month Robert Trivers will publish a complementary explanation of self-deception in his book "The Folly of Fools." (Could this be why so many people who behave conservatively profess and vote liberal? --Cordially, Larry Greenberg) University of Pennsylvania
Congressional Working Group Releases Investigative Report on Unsustainable CLASS Act
They told him so. ~Bob. Excerpt: The bicameral Repeal CLASS Working Group today issued “CLASS’ Untold Story: Taxpayers, Employers, and States on the Hook for Flawed Entitlement Program,” a report detailing the insolvency of a massive new entitlement program included in the new health care law called the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act. Documents obtained through a bicameral Congressional investigation reveal that the Obama Administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was acutely aware that the program was unsustainable and suppressed this information from Congressional leaders and the American people prior to the passage of the law, all in the effort to achieve phony savings to offset the bill’s massive spending and taxpayer-funded price tag. The Repeal CLASS Working Group is comprised of Republican leadership in both the House and Senate charged with overseeing implementation of the new health care law.
GOP looks at international tax revamp
This would create jobs—so Democrats will oppose it. ~Bob. Excerpt: Republicans are working on a plan that would dramatically revamp how corporations are taxed on profits made outside the
, United States
sources have told The Hill. Sources say GOP lawmakers on the
and Means Committee are working on a draft proposal that would shift the to a so-called "territorial" tax system, in which companies would basically only be taxed on profits made within American borders. The idea behind the system is to encourage multinational companies to bring back their money to the U.S. , where supporters of the change say the money could be invested. Proponents also argue the move would make U.S. companies more globally competitive, particularly since most industrialized countries have tax systems in which companies are only taxed in the country where it is earned. U.S.
Police Worry as Wall Street Protesters Pine for World Series Spotlight
Excerpt: The Occupy Wall Street movement may make a move this week on the World Series. Facebook chatter from the protesters suggests they are casting their eyes on Busch Stadium, coveting the national media spotlight surrounding the series. (Oh, please do. We can play spots of Pelosi saying ‘bless them” with spots of this. ~Bob.)
Too funny: Hey, Man. I’m Fighting For The Oppressed. With My $5,500 Laptop.
Excerpt: Well, at least some good will come of the smell-fest down at
. The whiney, entitled brats at Occupy Wall Street are learning about the real world for the first time in their cushy lives. It seems someone is taking that whole “redistribution” thing literally. Who’d have thought that a crowd of people demanding the seizure of wealth from banks, corporations, and the wealthy might also have a few thieves? I’m shocked, shocked to find theft occurring in a group that has hijacked private property it refuses to leave. I can’t imagine that a crowd that demands free higher education and the forgiveness of tens of thousands in student debt would also think of someone’s Mac or an iPhone as equally as communal as a college education. That’s right. Amid the throngs of radicals calling for the forceful taking of other people’s wealth, there are people who think they’re entitled to other protesters’ stuff. SHOCKING. Maybe the collective will hold a meeting and uptwinkle the motion to create a safe place, with locks and stuff, to put valuables. They might call it the “Occupy Wall Street Communal Storage Facility” and assign guards, create a system where people can tag their stuff so the operators of the facility will know where to retrieve the valuables should the owner of said valuables want to use them. Wait. That’s called a bank! Zuccotti Park
5 reasons why income inequality is a myth — and
Occupy Wall Street
Excerpt: Sorry, the story just doesn’t hold together. According to left-wing think tanks, columnist and bloggers—and, of course, the Occupy Wall Street radicals—the top 1 percent have been exploiting the 99 percent for decades. The rich have been getting richer at the expense of the middle class and poor. Really? Just think for a second: If inequality had really exploded during the past 30 to 40 years, why did American politics simultaneously move rightward toward a greater embrace of free-market capitalism? Shouldn’t just the opposite have happened as beleaguered workers united and demanded a vastly expanded social safety net and sharply higher taxes on the rich? What happened to presidents Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, and Kerry? Even Barack Obama ran for president as a market friendly, third-way technocrat. Nope, the story doesn’t hold together because the financial facts don’t support it. And here’s why: 1. In a 2009 paper,
economist Robert Gordon found the supposed sharp rise in American inequality to be “exaggerated both in magnitude and timing.” Here is the conundrum: Family income is supposed to rise right along with productivity. But median real household income—as reported by the Census Bureau—grew just 0.49 percent per year between 1979 and 2007 even as worker productivity grew four times faster at 1.95 percent per year. The wide gap between the two measures, if accurate, would suggest wealthy households rather than middle-class families grabbed most of the income gains from faster productivity. But Gordon explained that this “compares apples with oranges, and then oranges with bananas.” When various statistical quirks are harmonized between the two economic measures, Gordon found middle-class income growth to be much faster and the “conceptually consistent gap between income and productivity growth is only 0.16 percent per year.” That’s barely one‐tenth of the original gap of 1.46 percent. In other words, income gains were shared fairly equally. Northwestern University
We are the 53!
From Aspiration to Stagnation:
has underlying problems that no one’s jobs plan will fix. America
Excerpt: Troubled economic times breed jobs plans. In good times, no one puts forward comprehensive proposals to invigorate the economy. But we live in bad times, so we have lots of plans: Herman Cain’s fun-sounding 9-9-9 plan, Romney’s 59-point MBA-class-syllabus plan, the Huntsman Wall Journal editors plan, President Obama’s “Pass This Newest Stimulus Bill!” plan, and other plans from pundits, congressional candidates, and more — all indicators of a stressed economy. What if we could wave a wand and immediately enact the best elements of the best plans? Would
bounce back? At one level, the answer is undoubtedly “yes.” Growth-oriented tax rates, entitlement reform, regulatory relief, and real health-care reform would lead to increased investment and new jobs. At another level, though, the answer is “maybe not.” America
WaPo Fact Checker: Harry Reid’s claim that the GOP won’t ‘do anything that’s constructive’
Excerpt: Reid may disagree with the GOP stance on tax increases, but it is misleading to suggest that Republicans have willy-nilly blocked legislation of importance to the president. Three Pinocchios.
Windmills stopped at night after bat death
Holy Green Jobs, Batman—turn off the wind! ~Bob. Excerpt: Thirty-five windmills at a western
wind farm have been silenced at night since a bat that belongs to an endangered species was found dead under one of the turbines. The Tribune-Democrat of Pennsylvania Johnstown is reporting the farm shut down the windmills overnight after the bat was found Sept. 26. The farm in question was built by Games Energy USA and covers parts of Portage, Washington, and Cresson Townships in Cambria County, and part of Blair County, about 60 miles east of Pittsburgh. Indiana