Saturday, December 8, 2012

Surprise, Surprise: Report Finds Homeland Security Wasting Money

In his oversight report, “Safety at Any Price: Assessing the Impact of Homeland Security Spending in U.S. Cities,” Senator Tom Coburn (R–OK) highlights several examples of cities using homeland security grants for ill-advised expenses. Senator Coburn’s report is an important one and a must read for the media and policymakers.
My hometown of Columbus, Ohio, is singled out for wasting terrorism funds on an underwater robot. In case you didn’t know, Columbus isn’t known for its large bodies of water, and not one tunnel in Central Ohio goes underneath water, so who knows what terrorist threat Mayor Michael Coleman sees in our shallow rivers.
Coburn, however, gets a couple of vital things wrong that would have made his report even more powerful. First, contrary to his report, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) did not fail “to issue preparedness goals, intended to shape the use of [Urban Areas Securities Initiative] funds, until last year—nine years after the program was created.” Secondly, DHS did not fail to establish “defined performance metrics to assess the effectiveness of federal expenditures made to date.”
As I detail in my 2009 book Homeland Security and Federalism: Protecting America from Outside the Beltway, DHS released the Initial National Preparedness Goal in April 2005, with the National Preparedness Guidelines (the successor document to the Initial National Preparedness Goal) in September 2007. The most recent National Preparedness Goal issued in September 2011 is just a warmed-over version of the older documents. The fact that these earlier documents existed makes Coburn’s points all the more troubling.

Union Thugs Hit New Low, Protest Cancer Research Event In NYC

Disgruntled union workers put their fight against Cablevision over the fight against cancer at a Times Square protest last night.
About 50 members of the Communications Workers of America Local 1109 disrupted a benefit for cancer research at the Hard Rock Cafe, carrying signs and blaring music as attendees streamed in.
Cablevision CEO James Dolan, whose rock band performed at the event, told The Post that the workers’ actions are “despicable.”
“They think being disruptive for their personal gain is more important than beating pancreatic cancer,” he said. “Their values are twisted. I’m surprised at the depth of their lowness. Everyone who deals with them should take note. It’s shameful.”
TIN EARS: Cablevision’s James Dolan performs at the Times Square Hard Rock Cafe yesterday at a benefit to fight pancreatic cancer, as union members protest outside.
NY Post: Brian Zak
TIN EARS: Cablevision’s James Dolan performs at the Times Square Hard Rock Cafe yesterday at a benefit to fight pancreatic cancer, as union members protest outside.
Dan Brinzac
James Dolan
The benefit was expected to raise $1.75 million for the Lustgarten Foundation, which funds pancreatic-cancer research.
The foundation is named for Cablevision exec Marc Lustgarten, who died of pancreatic cancer in 1999. Cablevision pays all the foundation’s administrative costs, and the foundation says that all the money raised last night will go to research.
The union, which is in drawn-out contract talks with Cablevision, labeled Dolan a “Grinch” for stalling negotiations with 280 company technicians and dispatchers in Brooklyn.

Wasserman Schultz Takes Parting Shot at Jim DeMint, Tea Party

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz appeared on Current TV and took a parting shot at Sen. Jim DeMint, saying he gave up in the Senate because he was alone with his Tea Party "extremism."
I think Senator DeMint clearly sees that the Tea Party is not a growth industry. I mean, he had an election that just passed that did not see the ranks of Tea Party members expand the Senate candidates that he expected to be very likery to join him in the Senate were rejected in red states by the voters who simply know that extremism is just not the way that we need to go forward in getting our economy turned around, in reducing our deficit, in creating jobs. 
So I think, when Jim DeMint looked around, he looked and saw a future where he would be standing by himself very often, and likely facing dwindling, even greater dwindling number of Tea Party advocates and allies. I think he headed for the doors, because he thinks that probably, as he said, the only way he's significant impact is through a think tank. 
Sen. DeMint announced he will be leaving the Senate to become President of the Heritage Foundation.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cheney Takes Flamethrower To Obama

Former Vice President Dick Cheney was honored tonight at the Hudson Institute’s 2012 Herman Khan Award Dinner at the Pierre Hotel in New York City.  Cheney was introduced by Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who spoke in detail about Cheney’s life and accomplishments, joking about how Cheney twice flunked out of Yale, and joking about Cheney’s hunting incident.  In his remarks Cheney was harshly critical of President Obama and the administration’s policy in the Mideast.  He said he’s very, very concerned about what he sees developing day by day.  He detailed the history of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, and what has been done to fight terror and said the Middle East is a very, very dangerous part of the world. 
He said that when he hears our president announce that we got Bin Laden and we can “pivot” to Asia he is on the one hand “appalled” and on the other hand fears for future developments.  Cheney said that that entire part of the world appears to be moving in a direction fundamentally hostile to U.S. interests, and that the U.S. is increasingly unable to influence events in that part of the world, seemingly because we’re “headed for the exit.”  He was critical of reductions in Afghanistan, and mentioned President Obama’s trip to Cairo where he “apologized” for the U.S. reaction after 9/11.  Cheney referenced the serious economic problems in the U.S but said he is concerned about the Middle East. 
He said our allies no longer trust us and our enemies no longer fear us.  He was highly critical of President Obama on Syria and basically said he has grave doubts the president will take any actions besides hope.  He continued to say the national security threat is as serious as the economic one, and said that enormous damage is being done to the U.S. military with cuts.  Toward the end of his remarks he said we can be absolutely certain that there are people out there planning to attack us, only with deadlier weapons than 19 hijackers and boxcutters.
Via: Fox News

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Schumer: Jobless Benefits ‘The Best Stimulus There Is’

( – Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that extending long-term unemployment benefits would be the “best stimulus there is” for the economy, saying it would create the most jobs for the money.
“At the end of last year, there were 5 million people receiving emergency UI [unemployment insurance]. This year, there are only 2 million. It’s working,” Schumer said at a press conference Thursday.
“We’re all talking about a stimulus. How do we get the economy moving? This is the best stimulus there is.”
Schumer and fellow Senate Democrats called for yet another extension of benefits for the long-term unemployed before the current benefit extension expires at the end of the year.
Recently, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that a full-year extension of the benefits would cost $30 billion and create approximately 300,000 full-time equivalent jobs.
CBO’s estimate is not saying that extending benefits will create 300,000 new positions or that 300,000 additional people will be hired, but that the demand created when the unemployed spend their benefit checks will in turn pay for enough work-hours to equal 300,000 full time jobs. The actual job creation figures could be far lower.

370k New Jobless Claims; Gallup Reports Unemployment Jump to 8.3%

After a few post-Hurricane Sandy weeks of new jobless claims hitting over 400,000, it looks as though we've settled back into the new and accepted normal of new claims landing somewhere in the 360,000 to 390,000 range. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this week saw 370,000 new claims filed.

Keep in mind, though, that it's only in Barack Obama's America that we've learned to celebrate any number under 400,000. We're nowhere near the point where our economy creates enough jobs to keep up with those lost every week. But because the media will never allow Obama to fail at anything, only 370,000 new unemployment claims is an occasion for pom-poms and much dancing around the golden calf.
Meanwhile, Gallup is reporting that unemployment spiked last month from 7.0% to 7.8%. Adjusted seasonally, the rate is 8.3%. This is the sharpest one-month increase Gallup's seen in two years:
It is unclear what caused the increase in the unemployment rate in November, although some experts speculate that it was caused by jobs lost as a result of superstorm Sandy. It is also possible that lackluster holiday hiring is to blame.
Silly Gallup; floating the idea that a spike in unemployment was caused by slow holiday hiring… What a waste of time. Thanks for playing, but the media will tell us what the "truth" is and the "truth" will be that lackluster hiring wasn't our Lightbringer's fault. It was the fault of a hurricane that was the result of Global Warming that was the result of American capitalism that was the result of not enough socialism that was the result of the Founding Fathers owning slaves.
Tomorrow, we'll get the November job creation numbers. Those too are expected to be disappointing… Due to a hurricane that wouldn’t have happened were it not for Christopher Columbus.
Via: Breitbart
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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Opinion: Why A Budget Deal Could Push Unemployment Above 10 Percent

Friday, forecasters expect the Labor Department to report the economy added 80,000 jobs in November—substantially less than the 171,000 added the prior month. As budgets talks are progressing disappointing jobs reports could likely continue into the New Year.

Factors contributing to a slowdown in jobs creation include temporary displacements caused by Hurricane Sandy and business worries that President Obama and Congressional Republicans will not reach a compromise to avert the fiscal cliff. However, looming larger has been a slowdown in growth of consumer spending in recent months, and the continuing nagging effects of the trade deficit on economic activity.

The economy must add more than 349,000 jobs each month for three years to lower unemployment to 6 percent and that is not likely with current policies.

Convincing millions of American adults they don’t need or want a job has been Washington’s most effective jobs program.

Most analysts see the unemployment rate inching up to 8.0 percent, while a few see it remaining steady. The wildcard is the number of adults actually working or seeking jobs—the measure of the labor force used to calculate the unemployment rate.

Labor force participation is lower today than when President Obama took office and the recovery began, and factoring in discouraged adults and others working part-time that would prefer full time work, the unemployment rate is 14.6 percent.

Convincing millions more adults they don’t need or want a job has been Washington’s most effective jobs program, despite trillions in new stimulus spending, industrial policies, targeted tax cuts, and social programs intended to boost demand.

Via Fox News

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I apologize to America's young people, whose dashed dreams and dim employment prospects I had laughed at, believing these to be a direct result of their voting for Obama. 

On closer examination, it turns out that young voters, aged 18-29, overwhelmingly supported Romney. But only the white ones. 

According to Pew Research, 54 percent of white voters under 30 voted for Romney and only 41 percent for Obama. That's the same percentage Reagan got from the entire white population in 1980. Even the Lena Dunham demographic -- white women under 30 -- slightly favored Romney. 

Reagan got just 43 percent of young voters in 1980 -- and that was when whites were 88 percent of the electorate. Only 58 percent of today's under-30 vote is white and it's shrinking daily. 

What the youth vote shows is not that young people are nitwits who deserve lives of misery and joblessness, as I had previously believed, but that America is hitting the tipping point on our immigration policy. 

The youth vote is a snapshot of elections to come if nothing is done to reverse the deluge of unskilled immigrants pouring into the country as a result of Ted Kennedy's 1965 immigration act. Eighty-five percent of legal immigrants since 1968 have come from the Third World. A majority of them are in need of government assistance. 

Whites are 76 percent of the electorate over the age of 30 and only 58 percent of the electorate under 30. Obama won the "youth vote" because it is the knife's edge of a demographic shift, not because he offered the kids free tuition and contraception (which they don't need because it's hard to have sex when you're living with your parents at 27). 

Via: Ann Coulter

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Obama Consults with MSNBC Hosts Sharpton, Maddow on Tax Rates

President Barack Obama met with several MSNBC hosts this afternoon at the White House to discuss tax rates, according to Huffington Post reporter Jennifer Bendery. The reporter wondered if an "MSNBC love fest" was going on at the White House.
Here's Bendery's reporting, in a series of tweets:

Via: Weekly Standard

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Opinion: Obama’s Fiscal-Cliff Christmas

TAUBE: President responsible for year-end crisis

Who is trying to push the United States off the “fiscal cliff”? Many left-wing commentators predictably have placed the blame squarely on the Republicans. Yet a much stronger case can be made that the fault lies with President Obama.

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner announced an astonishing proposal last week that called for a $1.6 trillion increase in taxes. This particular figure is double what most GOP politicians likely would be willing to accept when push comes to shove. If the GOP is still having trouble accepting roughly 50 percent of that amount, how on earth does Mr. Obama expect it ever to agree to this staggering new number?

Incredibly, it doesn’t stop there. Mr. Obama wants to increase the top income tax rate from 35 percent to 39.6 percent — exactly what it was during Bill Clinton’s presidency. In other words, it’s a good ol’ “soak the rich” campaign from a tax-and-spend liberal sitting in the Oval Office. There also reportedly will be $200 billion spent on so-called “economic growth” measures (to pay, ultimately, for Mr. Obama’s various spending increases over the next four years, no doubt) and $50 billion on infrastructure projects that likely will never see the light of day.

Mr. Obama also has suggested about $400 billion in cuts to health programs. Big deal. Early estimates for the total cost of implementing Obamacare, the president’s massive state-run health care plan, are in the neighborhood of $1 trillion. That’s why the GOP asked for a total of $600 billion in health savings this week — to offset more of these fiscally imprudent White House proposals.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sessions: Obama's 'Secret' Plan 'Increases Spending by More than $1 Trillion'

Senator Jeff Sessions, the ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, is releasing a statement this evening that claims President Barack Obama's "secret" plan "increases spending by more than $1 trillion above the current baseline."
"In other words," Sessions adds, "spending will increase $1 trillion above the already projected growth after enactment of the Budget Control Act as part of the last debt deal. It achieves not one dollar in net spending reduction or debt reduction, and it continues the country on a dangerously unsustainable debt path."
The senator's comments come in response to a series of interviews Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner conducted on the Sunday morning talk shows. The top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee is also basing his remarks on reports of details of President Obama's proposal, which he narrows down to these bullet points:
The President proposes growth over and above the BCA baseline, which already calls for spending growth every single year. Specifically, President calls for:
· More than $170 billion in stimulus spending, including $26 billion for extended unemployment benefits, $50 billion for transportation spending, and $90 billion for an extension of the payroll holiday (which is considered on-budget spending)
· The elimination of the $1.2 trillion sequester (half of the spending cuts exchanged in 2011 for the $2.1 trillion in previous debt limit increase) without corresponding spending cuts, resulting in a $1.2 trillion spending increase
· The unpaid-for ‘doc fix’ or Medicare reimbursements ($394 billion)
· Only $600 billion in mandatory ‘savings’ primarily achieved through further reductions in provider payments beyond those in the President’s health law, which do nothing to enhance the long-term sustainability of entitlement spending
Via: Weekly Standard

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EPA Continues Crackdown On Glass Manufacturing

The Environmental Protection Agency continued its crackdown on the glass manufacturing sector Monday.
The nation’s largest glass-container manufacturer has agreed to spend an estimated $37.5 million on reducing pollutant emissions after reaching a settlement with the EPA and the Department of Justice. The settlement was the fourth to result from EPA’s initiative to regulate glass manufacturers, which began in 2011.
Owens-Brockway Glass Container, headquartered in Perrysburg, Ohio, and a subsidiary of Owens-Illinois (O-I), must also pay a combined $1.45 million to the federal government and the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Equality.
“This agreement will significantly reduce the amount of air pollution, known to cause a variety of environmental and health problems, from the nation’s largest manufacturer of glass containers,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice. “The settlement, the latest in a series of agreements with the glass manufacturing sector, addresses major sources of pollution at facilities located in four states and will mean cleaner air for the people living in those communities.”

Sunday, December 2, 2012

THE BIG FAIL: Putting The Pedal To The Metal

Geithner Takes The Wheel From Thelma And Louise In Flirting With Going Off The Fiscal Cliff

the_big_failToday, Secretary Of The Treasury Tim Geithner Couldn’t Promise That Obama And The Democrats Wouldn’t Send The Nation Off The Fiscal Cliff. FOX’s CHRIS WALLACE: “Last question, can you promise that we will not go over the cliff?” TREASURY SECRETARY TIMOTHY GEITHNER: “No, I can’t promise that. That’s a decision that lies in the hands of the Republicans that are now opposing increases in tax rates. If they recognize the reality that we can’t afford to extend those tax rates, then we have the basis for an agreement that will be very good for the American people.
” WALLACE: “And the president bears no responsibility? It’s all up to the Republicans?” GEITHNER: “Chris, ask yourself this question: why does it make sense for the country to force tax increases on all Americans because a small group of Republicans want to extend tax rates for two percent of Americans? Why does that make any sense? There’s no reason why that should happen. We can’t afford those tax rates. That’s like the deep tragic lesson of the last decade. We can’t afford them, so we’re not going to get through it – we’re not going to the end now without a recognition from Republicans of that basic reality. And that’s going to be the responsible thing to do. And my judgment is they are going to do it because there’s no alternative to that.” (Fox’s ” Fox News Sunday,” 12/2/12)

THE BIG FAIL: Obama’s Campaign Towards The Fiscal Cliff

The Election Is Over, But Obama Is On The Campaign Trail In Pennsylvania Nearly A Month Before The Thelma And Louise Democrats Plunge Us Over The Cliff

Today, Obama Will Be In Pennsylvania For A “Campaign-Style” Event Meant To Increase Pressure On Congress To Reach A Deal On The Fiscal Cliff. “Administration officials said Obama will hit the road this week for a campaign-style series of events with ordinary Americans, including a visit to a toy manufacturer in suburban Philadelphia on Friday. That trip and others will be aimed at increasing pressure on Congress to reach an agreement on heading off a series of automatic spending cuts and tax increases that are scheduled to begin in January.” (David Nakamura and Zachary A. Goldfarb, “Obama Public Relations Effort Aims To Avoid ‘Fiscal Cliff,’” The Washington Post , 11/27/12)


“Call Them The Cliff Jumpers. A Growing Bloc Of Emboldened Liberals Say They’re Not Afraid To Watch Defense Spending Get Gouged And Taxes Go Up On Every American If A Budget Deal Doesn’t Satisfy Their Priorities.” (Seung Min Kim, “Fiscal Cliff: Will They Jump?,” Politico, 11/25/12)
The Washington Post Headline: “Democrats Threaten To Go Over ‘Fiscal Cliff’ If GOP Fails To Raise Taxes.” (Lori Montgomery, “Democrats Threaten To Go Over ‘Fiscal Cliff’ If GOP Fails To Raise Taxes,” The Washington Pos t , 7/15/12)
The Washington Post ‘s Greg Sargent Reports That White House Meetings About The Fiscal Cliff Have Conveyed A Willingness “To Go Over The Fiscal Cliff If Necessary.”“I’m told that representatives of major unions and progressive groups met privately this morning with senior Obama administration officials at the White House – and were pleased with what they heard. Things can always change at a moment’s notice. But attendees at this meeting came away convinced – for now – that the White House firmly believes it has the leverage in the fiscal cliff talks, and has no intention of budging on the demand for higher tax rates from the rich or on other core priorities. Indeed, one person at the meeting – which included people from the AFLCIO, AFSCME, SEIU, MoveOn and others – came away convinced that the White House would ultimately prove willing to go over the fiscal cliff if necessary, rather than give ground on core demands, though this is not by any means a desired option and isn’t being discussed as a strategic possibility.” (Greg Sargent, “Reasons To Be Encouraged About Fiscal Cliff’s Endgame,” The Washington Post ‘s The Plum Line , 11/23/12)

Pelosi Won’t Support First Amendment Rights Of Catholic Hospital In Her District

( -- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who is Catholic, indicated on Friday that she supports forcing St. Mary’s Medical Center, the oldest continuously operating hospital in her San Francisco-based congressional district, to provide health plans to its workers that cover sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs free of charge even though the Catholic faith says this Catholic hospital may not do so because these things are intrinsically immoral.
"We are committed to furthering the healing ministry of Jesus," says the hospital's mission statement.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius--who, like Pelosi, is Catholic--issued the sterilization-contraception-abortifacient mandate as a regulation under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, AKA Obamacare.
The Catholic bishops of the United States have repeatedly argued, including in numerous lawsuits, that the regulation violates the First-Amendment-guaranteed right to the free exercise of religion by Catholics and Catholic institutions.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama touted the regulation in many stump speeches during the recent campaign, saying that health plans would now be required to provide women with cost-free contraception.
The Catholic bishops of the United States unanimously endorsed a statement in June declaring the regulation an "unjust and illegal mandate." Many of the bishops had letters read to parishioners at Sunday Masses saying of the regulation: "We cannot--we will not--comply with this unjust law."
Bill Cox, head of the health care alliance that oversees St. Mary's, said the mandate is an "egregious encroachment by the federal government on the constitutionally protected authority of the church."
At the Capitol on Friday, asked Pelosi: “Should St. Mary’s hospital, which is a Catholic institution in San Francisco, should it be required by the administration to provide its workers with a health plan that covers sterilization and contraception and abortifacients and [other] things that it disagrees with?”
Pelosi said, “I support the action taken by the president--the compromise, I think, is a reasonable one.”

Study: American Households Hit 43-Year Low In Net Worth

WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – The median net worth of American households has dropped to a 43-year low as the lower and middle classes appear poorer and less stable than they have been since 1969.
According to a recent study by New York University economics professor Edward N. Wolff, median net worth is at the decades-low figure of $57,000 (in 2010 dollars). And as the numbers in his study reflect, the situation only appears worse when all the statistics are taken as a whole.
According to Wolff, between 1983 and 2010, the percentage of households with less than $10,000 in assets (using constant 1995 dollars) rose from 29.7 percent to 37.1 percent. The “less than $10,000″ figure includes the numerous households that have no assets at all, or “negative assets,” which is otherwise known as “debt.”
According to a new NYU study, middle and lower-class household net worth has fallen to a 43-year low. (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)Over that same period of time, the wealthiest 1 percent of American households increased their average wealth by 71 percent.
As noted by Daily Finance, from 1983 to 2010 the share of total wealth held by the richest 10 percent of American households increased from 68.2 percent to 76.7 percent. Meanwhile, all the rest of Americans lost financial ground.
An August Pew Research Center study found that many in the middle-class are divided on how they believe his gap widened.

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