“the ratio of male-to-female under- graduates in the United States was about at parity from 1900 to 1930.”
I found an interesting fact while reading Jonathan Last’s new book What to Expect When No One’s Expecting: America’s Coming Demographic Disaster. It seems that women pursuing college in earlier times was equal to that of men attending:
Although the fact is not widely known, the ratio of male-to-female under- graduates in the United States was about at parity from 1900 to 1930. Male enrollments began to increase relative to female enrollments in the 1930s and later as GIs returned from World War II. A highpoint of gender imbalance in college attendance was reached in 1947 when undergraduate men outnumbered women 2.3 to 1. But starting then and continuing until the present in an almost unbroken trend, female college enrollments have increased relative to male enrollments.
We always hear from feminists and others that women were short-changed forever in the US in terms of education, but apparently, they were attending college in equal numbers to men earlier in our history. However, you rarely hear this mentioned.
U.S. and state officials are intensifying efforts to hold colleges accountable for what happens after graduation, a sign of frustration with sky-high tuition costs and student-loan debt.
Sens. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) and Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) are expected to reintroduce this week legislation that would require states to make more accessible the average salaries of colleges’ graduates. The figures could help prospective students compare salaries by college and major to assess the best return on their investment.
Seems silly, given the fact that so many of the almost-guaranteed employment universities are also the most expensive. And there’s more good news-it’s really well thought out.
The Wyden-Rubio bill doesn’t spell out exactly how this information has to be assembled. The goal is that students and parents could use the U.S. Department of Education website to query data from all 50 states. But the bill relies on states to knit together wage data submitted by employers with information on graduates submitted by colleges.
What’s also missing is a way to measure the actual efforts of graduates to get work that reflects well on their institutions. The presumption that everyone is hitting the streets and giving it their best shots seems a bit far fetched.
Repeal is off the table. That’s what Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) has concluded. As Jennifer Haberkorn and Jason Millman of Politico reported on February 5:
I think it’s a decision that the governor [Brian Sandoval] had to make and the governor alone had to make it,” Heller said. “I do support the decision he made, which he believes is best for the state of Nevada.” But it’s not like all politics are suddenly being cast aside. Conservative health policy wonks have picked apart the GOP governors’ decisions to implement the health law, and The Wall Street Journal editorial page this week labeled them the “Obamacare Flippers.”
So far, most states led by Democratic governors have chosen to run their own health insurance exchange and expand Medicaid to cover many more low-income and working-poor individuals and families.
Only three Republican governors are pursuing state-run exchanges: Nevada, New Mexico and Idaho. And so far, five Republican governors are pursuing a Medicaid expansion: Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Ohio and North Dakota. Almost half of the nation’s governors remain undecided on the Medicaid expansion — including a few big states such as Michigan and Florida.
Utah may do a partial implementation — having an exchange that serves small businesses, but letting the feds create one for individuals.
The GOP governors all made clear that they didn’t make the decisions lightly. “In deciding to expand Medicaid, I weighed every possible outcome and impact,” [Gov. Susana]Martinez [R-NM] said. “Ultimately, this decision comes down to what is best for New Mexicans.”
Their biggest fear is that the federal government is going to cut back on the funding they promised — 100 percent for the first three years, gradually scaling back to 90 percent. Like many other governors, Martinez warned she’d drop the expansion if the feds retreat. “If the federal reimbursement rate for Medicaid expansion is cut, we must protect our kids and protect our budget by ensuring that the most recent additions to the Medicaid program are the first ones moved off,” she said.
New Mexico, along with Nevada and Arizona, were the first three Republican-led states to support the Medicaid expansion, and they have striking similarities. The states have high rates of uninsured people and large Hispanic populations, which strongly supported Obama in 2012.
Gov. John Kasich of Ohio is another defector, who decided to agree to the terms of the Medicaid expansion in Obama’s health care law. As Philip Klein of the Washington Examiner wrote on February 4, “his [Kasich's] decision, a huge victory for the White House that will provide cover for more Republican governors to do the same, serves as a great case study on how difficult it is to impede the growth of government.”
Klein noted how Kasich liked to say that he was a member of the Tea Party before it existed, but those sentiments weren’t present today when he announced that this expansion is good for Ohioans. In fact, Klein noted that this move by the governor was “political cowardice” for not being able to rein in public sector unions. He faces re-election in 2014. I think we see where his motivations came from with this shift.
I’m thinking conservatives need to revisit Avik Roy’s column on Medicaid he wrote for Forbes in March of 2011. It’s a program he called “a humanitarian catastrophe.” Why?
University of Virginia that found that surgical patients on Medicaid are 13 percent more likely to die than those without insurance of any kind. The study evaluated 893,658 major surgical operations from around the country from 2003 to 2007, andnormalized the results for age, gender, income, geographic region, operation, and 30 background diseases.
Despite all of these adjustments, surgical patients on Medicaid were nearly twice as likely to die before leaving the hospital than those with private insurance.
Patients on Medicare were 45% more likely to die than those with private insurance; the uninsured were 74% more likely; and Medicaid patients 93% more likely. That is to say, despite the fact that we will soon spend more than $500 billion a year on Medicaid, Medicaid beneficiaries, on average, fared worse than those with no insurance at all.
This is, simply put, the greatest scandal in America. Bigger than Madoff, bigger than the Wall Street bailout, bigger even than the plight of the uninsured.
For all of TARP’s flaws, the government actually made money—$22 billion—bailing out the banks. For Medicaid, in contrast, we spend nearly half a trillion dollars every year to provide the poor with worse care than is gained by the uninsured.
So, some Republicans are cool with expanding a policy that kills more people than it saves. It’s one of the most costliest provisions in the Affordable Care Act, and a few Republican governors are signing on for the ride. Nevertheless, the reality that he simply don’t have the money for it will soon percolate through – and the Tea Party will be waiting.
Well, the Gang of Eight just found themselves a new ally: the Christian right. With forecasts showing that this immigration package could die in the Republican House, religious leaders seem to have had enough with the legislative stagnation on this issue. They’re backing reform, and mobilizing the grassroots to contact conservative politicians to assure them that a vote for the reform package won’t spell the end of their careers. As Anna Palmer of Politico wrote yesterday:
They’re [the Christian right] talking to their congregations from the pulpit. They’re urging lawmakers in private meetings to support reform. And they’re even calling for change publicly. The efforts have dramatically changed the dynamics of the debate, so much so that Republicans anxious to vote yes on a deal might have the political cover to do it.
“I think it is night and day, particularly among social conservatives,” Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Ralph Reed told POLITICO of the support for immigration reform. Reed’s group released a letter Tuesday that outlines broad goals for reform, like keeping families together, reforming the visa system and securing the border. High profile leaders are also weighing in. Mathew Staver, vice president of Liberty University, the college started by former TV minister Jerry Falwell, is on board. Focus on the Family, which for years has focused on issues like opposing abortion rights and gay marriage, is supporting immigration reform for the first time in its history — even using its radio broadcast that reaches millions to push its message.
“The issues had been so demagogued for the last five or six years, it was hopeless to get seriously into this,” said Tom Minnery or Focus on the Family. “It seems the time is better. The time has changed…That’s why we’ve become more active.” Social conservatives are directly targeting GOP offices and trying to show that they can give cover to lawmakers in the South, West and Midwest, who are worried about facing retaliation at the ballot box in 2014.
“Many of the most hostile critics got beat, a fact not lost on the other House members,” said Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, referring to Republicans who have lost their seats since 2006. “I think there’s a bigger coalition in the House for immigration reform than people think.”
Palmer added that this shift within social conservative circles is due to Sen. Rubio’s lobbying for reform, and the fact that many churches are seeing an increase of Hispanics within their congregations. Chuck Todd on Meet the Press last Sunday asked Ralph Reed, Chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, if social conservatives would get behind this initiative. Obviously, they have, but Reed responded saying:
[P]eople of faith are commanded by scripture, both New and Old Testament, to welcome the foreigner, and show compassion for the immigrant. But there’s a corollary responsibility. And that is the immigrant, from ancient times with the Israelites, all the way to today, is to obey the law, and show respect for the customs of the nation in which they resided. So, for example, you’ve got a million people, who are spouses – or children – of people who are here legally. Seeking a Green Card. Two hundred thousand of those are minor children. We don’t believe, Chuck [Todd], that somebody, who violated our laws, as their first step on the road to becoming an American should take precedent over those minor children entering the country.
Furthermore, Reed wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal in November of last year stating that social conservatism is where the Republican Party will grow with Hispanics and minorities. Why?
If the GOP is serious about reaching out to minorities, social issues are rich soil for finding common ground. Most minority voters are either evangelicals or Catholics. In Ohio in 2004, George W. Bush won 16% of the African-American vote, in part due to his support for traditional marriage. When California voters ratified a traditional-marriage amendment in 2008, support from African-American and Hispanic voters provided the margin of victory.
U.S. Hispanics aren’t monolithic. There are Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Venezuelans and Hondurans, among others. But one of the most reliable predictors of Hispanic voting behavior is religiosity. Roughly 20% of Hispanics are evangelicals (their number increases by 600,000 per year), and 37% of Hispanic voters self-identify as social conservatives. These voters made up a disproportionate share when George W. Bush won 44% of the Hispanic vote in 2004.
To win their support, Republicans must favor a secure border without sounding anti-immigrant. They should welcome those who come to this country legally and play by the rules, while stressing education reform, economic opportunity and lower taxes and regulation on minority-owned businesses.
This should be an interesting development. However, do social conservatives know that the byproduct of this backing this deal is increasing Obamacare by $700 billion over the next ten years?
Yes, this story has been marinating for quite some time, but a new ad from American Crossroads depicts her as a left-wing, carpetbagging opportunist, who could unseat incumbent Republican Mitch McConnell in what could be the “biggest upset ever for a celebrity politician.”
This week’s announcement that Ashley Judd and husband Dario Franchitti called it quits after 11 years of marriage had one surprising effect: Proof, claimed some pundits, that the 44-year-old actress is preparing a 2014 race against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
I’m old enough to remember when a fresh divorce signaled that a potential candidate wouldn’t be entering a political race. Progress!
Furthermore, Roxanne Roberts and Amy Argetsinger noted that:
• McConnell isn’t beloved in his home state, but the savvy fifth-term senator has a huge war chest and an established political team on the ground. Judd has never run for elected office.
• Judd hasn’t lived in Kentucky since college; she now calls Tennessee home. (She was a delegate from that state at the 2012 DNC convention.) Aside from reestablishing residency, she’ll face charges of being a carpetbagger. (Not a problem for Hillary Clinton in New York, but a huge factor in Bob Kerrey’s losing bid in Nebraska.)
• She’s a progressive liberal. Kentucky is historically a conservative state. Currently, both senators and five of the six representatives are Republicans.
• She’s an actress best known for her pretty face and hot body. Actors (Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sono Bono, Al Franken) successfully transitioned from showbiz to politics. Actresses (Roseanne Barr and . . .) not so much.
Additionally, The Post compiled a history of celebrity politicians, and showed how history isn’t on Judd’s side.
The three biggest such political wins of the last 15 years all featured the celebrity winning with less than half of the vote in an unusual race.
* Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), a former “Saturday Night Live” cast member, ran in a very good year for Democrats in 2008 and also had a three-way race, with independent candidate and former senator Dean Barkley pulling 15 percent of the vote. Franken won with just less than 42 percent of the vote.
* Action movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) won his first term as governor of California in a 2003 recall election that was essentially a two-month sprint and featured dozens of candidates and an odd format. He took less than 49 percent of the vote.
* Jesse Ventura (I), a professional wrestler and actor, won a three-way race for Minnesota governor in 1998 with just 37 percent of the vote.
While she’s been outspoken on certain issues, Judd doesn’t have the kind of hands-on political experience of a Reagan, a Lodge or a Murphy. And it’s hard to see her benefiting from the kind of field that Franken, Schwarzenegger and Ventura had, because third parties don’t often field candidates in Kentucky — much less viable ones.
So, maybe Judd should just continue to make movies and television shows about ex-CIA agents trying to find their children. Bring back Missing!
The American Enterprise Institute runs the numbers on Washington DC’s now defunct Opportunity Scholarship Program. That program allowed numerous black kids in the district to escape the city’s failing schools and attend private schools. Their grades went up. Their graduation rates went up.
The District of Columbia Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP) produced $2.62 in benefits for every dollar spent on it. In other words, the return on public investment for the private-school voucher program during its early years was 162 percent.
Until Barack Obama unilaterally killed the program in 2009. Republicans got it restarted in the 2011 budget deal. But Obama killed it again this year.
The OSP didn’t take a single dollar from the DC school system. It was an expense outside the school system’s costs, and schools from which the OSP kids escaped still received the money as if those students were still in public schools. So that wasn’t the problem.
The return on investment was extraordinary — 162%. So that wasn’t the problem.
Obama has not been shy about spending money elsewhere. The national debt has gone up more than $5 trillion on his watch. His government has spent taxpayer money advertising for food stamps, and under his watch the government’s free cell phone program has grown explosively.
He can’t blame partisanship. The Democrats, his own party, controlled Congress when it passed his 2009 budget, which killed the program.
So what’s the president’s problem with this program? Does he have something against inner city black kids attending good schools? Is it really all about satisfying the teachers unions, which steadfastly oppose school choice? From an outside point of view, it sure looks like Barack Obama rates the teachers unions’ wishes far above the needs of DC’s disadvantaged students.
Hillary Clinton’s New Website
So for those who do not think she is running in 2016, the royal HRC left the State Department this past Friday, and only two work days later, her website is up and running. Politico reports:
Hillary Clinton has found her post-State Department home on the World Wide Web.
HillaryClintonOffice.com is bare-bones so-far, sporting only a picture of the former Secretary of State and a contact form. According to registration data, the site was created Jan. 31, and was last edited Sunday. The URL was registered through GoDaddy.com.
Clinton’s 2008 campaign site, HillaryClinton.com, now links to HillaryClintonOffice.com.
Clinton has remained coy about her post-Cabinet plans, but has said she plans to continue to advocate for women and girls, and pledged to be an outside advocate for the State Department in her valedictory address to department employees.
Here is the screen grab and caption from Politico.
Now Hillary Watch 2016 fans might want to sign up just to see what Team HRC is up to while HRC does “a lot of sleeping.” (Her words about what she will be doing after stepping down from the State Department.)
To that I say, “Dream on,” to any Republican who does not believe HRC will be the 2016 Democrat candidate for president. And while dreaming, the GOP had better prepare for HRC to hit the campaign trail in 2014 supporting Democrat candidates who will “work with her.” Certainly HRC will be the rock star fundraiser in 2014, even more perhaps than President BHO or former President WJC.
The Super Bowl has come and gone (nice job Ravens!), but the commercial commentary is still fresh. We had a GoDaddy.com commercial that made many of us vomit in our mouths. Taco Bell made a commercial that showed the geriatric brigade can still party all night. However, there’s always criticism that the commercials are sexist. Even worse, they glamorize sexual assault. Yes, that’s what I read on a Facebook comment last night. Yes, Audi was definitely trying to convey that message in their prom ad.
Here’s the synopsis courtesy of The Huffington Post.
Faced with the unhappy prospect of attending his senior prom alone, a teenager’s night is totally transformed when his sympathetic dad lends him the keys to a shiny black Audi S6. Cruising to the dance, the teen’s confidence blooms, leading to an impassioned kiss with the pretty prom queen… and an inflamed black eye, courtesy of the prom king.
It’s not really a big deal. However, for feminists, like Amanda Marcotte, who writes for Slate’s Double X blog and led the cyber-lynch mob against the Duke Lacrosse players falsely accused of rape, it was an egregious offense.
The whole “women just need a little force and then they’ll like it” trope is, of course, classic rape culture. Oh, I can hear the squeals of protest. “He didn’t RAPE her, you overly sensitive feminazi whine whine whine”. (Indeed, there’s already huge amounts of whining from dudes who are attached to the fantasy that forcing yourself of a woman will be met with her approval.) But of course, kissing actually is an intimate act and forcibly kissing a woman, while not illegal, will scare the s–t out of her. So, if you think of women as people, then how they actually feel being grabbed and forced into a kiss should matter.
Also, if you consider some forms of forced intimacy “cute” and others to be terrible violations of the person they’re forced on, that sure does muddy the waters! At what point does forcing yourself on a woman stop being cute and start being criminal? When you move on from forcing your tongue down her throat to forcing your hands down her pants? Obviously, the lines start to blur and that’s why it becomes so easy to start talking about how forcibly penetrating women isn’t “rape-rape” but some kind of “gray rape” because blah blah anything-excuse-to-ignore-lack-of-consent.
What’s worse is that the ad didn’t need to have non-consent in it. All they needed to do was have him come in, have her look at him, have their eyes meet and suddenly she’s melting and he walks up, consent obtained, and they make out. It would have been even more effective, since it would have suggested his new virility is visible to others. Instead, they go with “she might resist at first, but women secretly love being forced”.
The worst part, of course, is that it went over so many people’s heads that this was what it was. Which says a lot about why it is that when women are groped, cat-called, or creeped on, so many people tell her that it’s her job to shut up about her dislike of it and be flattered instead.
In the same post detailing the Audi ad, the comments section seemed to reflect what Marcotte was saying, with angry women saying that it’s sexual assault.
Joe Mathis of the Philly Post also said the ad was “rapey.”
• The young woman who receives the kiss chose to be at prom with someone else.
• Our “hero” forcibly turns her around and jams his mouth to hers almost before she can identify him, and certainly without any permission being sought or given. What’s more, this is a demonstration of his new, Audi-fueled power.
• He leaves prom without her—suggesting that she still chooses to be at prom with somebody else.
Another scenario is that they were dating, they broke up before prom, and now he’s trying to win her back. The point is we don’t know the backstory. If she didn’t know him, she probably would have slapped him, which would’ve been appropriate. However, it’s a sixty-second ad. It details a teenager who got the shaft at prom, but was able to drive his dad’s awesome Audi – which gave him the confidence to kiss the girl of his dreams/ex-girlfriend/soon-to-be girlfriend/good friend/really good friend. Take your pick.
To most Americans, it was just an ad. For most young people, it was the thought of owning an Audi that probably resonated. For the rest of the audience, it was time to use the bathroom, get more beer, and make sure the nachos were ready.
Nevertheless, we have another episode showing how feminism is devoid of humor, and fraught with negativity. They have to be the shrill, humorless, dregs on our society because they need to convey the narrative that men are evil, and want to rape everything. That’s how they keep their progressive roots well-nourished. If you continue to view the world as a miserable place, it will then resemble something like a post-apocalyptic Mad Max landscape.
However, it’s not all left-wingers. Touré, who is a 9/11 truther, liked the ad. For a man, who thanked “God and country…that abortion was there to save him”, he liked the pro-sexual assault ad Audi dished out. Will the angry left call him out to retract his endorsement of sexual assault? Furthermore, since feminists are suppose to view things through an egalitarian lens, I don’t hear then equally denouncing the Calvin Klein ad, which is abjectly sexist towards men. Yeah, I hate going down this road, but here we are, again.
If you slam commercials that are sexist towards women (allegedly), but salivate over the Calvin Klein ad, you’re a hypocrite. Full stop.
I’m not saying that “forced” intimacy, or anything, is good. It’s wrong, moronic, and sometimes illegal. What happened in the ad wasn’t sexual assault. It wasn’t rape. It was a kid being stupid by kissing a girl (possible a friend), getting decked for it, and driving off. The horror! The horror!
This dialogue about how this ad was the root of all evil, which ruined the Ravens win is just another reason for men to stay away from women, so they don’t have to deal with all the drama. All the more reason for men not to marry, and I don’t blame my gender for doing so. If I had to hear about how every single Super Bowl commercial, or anything in life, is misogynistic and sexist – and I’m part of the problem – please send me the divorce papers.
The Super Bowl is a sports event. Everyone relax. And feminists – you’re making it so much easier for guys to just stay home watch porn, play video games, and avoid you like the plague. Maybe you want that, but I need to tell you that you’ve already succeeded on that front. All I can say is that I don’t watch the Super Bowl to critique the commercials.
My rant is over. I’m going to finish the last act of Taming of The Shrew. Shakespeare is such a good playwright.
Love this Audi Prom ad.
— Touré (@Toure) February 3, 2013
Last month, Sarah Palin opted not to renew her contract as a Fox News contributor. Will she be returning to politics? Incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Begich is in the Republican cross-hairs for 2014, and what would animate the base more than Sen. Sarah Palin from Alaska? It would – or should – give conservatives confidence that they’ll have a fighter on the Hill, and would be a morale booster (we sure need a lot of those lately) for the movement. I know it’s VERY early, and anything can happen, but Conservative Intelligence Briefing is showing Palin polling strong in the ’14 Alaskan Senate race with conservatives. However, when it comes to the general election, she has some obstacles, like incumbent Republican Governor Sean Parnell – but there’s plenty of time to make up for lost ground.
In a Republican Senate primary, Governor Sean Parnell leads former Governor Sarah Palin 32%-27%. Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell and 2010 Senate nominee Joe Miller follow at 14% and 12% respectively.
Republicans who consider themselves “Very Conservative” give Palin the edge over Parnell 26%-25%. Parnell’s strength is fueled by “Somewhat Conservative” voters who pick him over Palin 39%-25%.
Palin’s standing is not the result of her being unpopular with Alaska Republicans. Fifty-six percent of Republicans hold a favorable opinion of her, while 38% say unfavorable. The problem for Palin is that Sean Parnell has a 74% favorable image with Republicans, 16% say unfavorable.
Joe Miller has a net -9% unfavorable image rating (36%-47%) with Republicans. Mead Treadwell boasts a solid 42% favorable, 19% unfavorable image among Republicans.
Among all voters, Parnell (50% favorable, 38% unfavorable) and Treadwell (32% favorable, 27% unfavorable) have net positive image ratings. Palin (34% favorable, 60% unfavorable) and Miller (21%-56%) have net negative image ratings.
In head-to-head matchups against Democratic Senator Mark Begich, Parnell is the only Republican who starts out with a lead (Parnell 46%, Begich 40%). Parnell’s strength is among younger voters 18-to-35 and 36-to-45 years old who pick Parnell 43%-38% and 51%-36% respectively.
Parnell leads among Taxes & Spending voters (52%-37%), National Debt voters (70%-17%) and Oil & Natural Gas voters (49%-37%) while Begich leads with Health Care voters (66%-19%) and Economy voters (45%-41%). The two are tied among Jobs voters (41%-41%).
Palin trails Begich 40%-47%. Palin wins among Men (46%-42%) but trails Begich with Women (51%-36%). Begich enjoys stronger support among Democrats (90%) than Palin does among Republicans (68%). Independent and third party voters prefer Begich (52%-34%).
The poll was majority female, and split – roughly – 30%, 14%, and 54% between Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. A 30/14/54 poll, with a R+12 advantage. However, given the amount of Independents, this election could be decided by unaffiliated voters, who are typically for less government, lower taxes, and feel the debt/deficit are serious issues that need to be tackled. There is no information about how these independents lean politically, but in terms of ideology, roughly 21% of the respondents described themselves as very conservative, 32% were somewhat conservative, 32% were moderate, and 10% were liberal. So, ideologically the field is ripe for a Republican to unseat Begich.
However, while conservatives may fawn over Palin, she plays to the base, which could be a problem shifting independent/moderate support away from Begich. Additionally, Gov. Sean Parnell’s bastion of support with younger voters could be part of the process that bridges the gap between the youth and the Republican Party, which would also be an interesting narrative to own. Alaskan Republican governor leads the way in millenial outreach. It’s catchy.
If Palin were to run, she would have to focus on the youth, improving her image with moderate/independent voters, and engaging women. Neighborhood canvassing, phone banks, and heavily utilization social media with millenials are essential. However, Palin knows this from her 2006 Republican gubernatorial primary campaign that booted incumbent Gov. Frank Murkowski. However, at the time, Murkowski’s approval rating was at an ignominious 19%. Begich’s numbers aren’t that low.
Regardless, if Palin decides to run, expect intervention on behalf of the newly created Conservative Victory Project, which will give Parnell, or whoever is competitive with Sarah, political cover. The 2014 Alaska Senate race is a good distance away, but it’s already looking pretty exciting. In fact, it’s going to be exciting nationwide.
Yeah, we’re so much more enlightened than those Puritans with their witch hysteria.
FLORENCE, AZ – A high school student in Florence said he has been suspended because of a picture of a gun.
Daniel McClaine Jr., a freshman at Poston Butte High School, said he saved the picture as his desktop background on his school-issued computer.
A teacher noticed it and turned him in.
The picture shows an AK-47 on top of a flag.
McClaine said the school initially suspended him for three days Friday.
The kid put the photo on his computer as wallpaper. He didn’t pass it around or threaten anyone. It was wallpaper. The kid doesn’t even own the gun in the pic, which is an AK-47. He’s interested in joining the military after high school, and thought the pic was cool.
The parents protested and eventually the school knocked the suspension down. Daniel gets to return to school today. The suspension was given because the teacher and all administrators involved took the school’s policy prohibiting “sending or displaying offensive messages or pictures” on school-issued computers to an insane extreme. It. Was. A. Wallpaper.
If teachers today saw some of the stuff I drew on folders and book covers as a kid, I’m not sure I would have ever graduated.
Remember when Obama used to slam Americans for Prosperity? AFP surely does, and released this new video showing the administration’s overt hypocrisy when they created Organizing for America. It’s part of a longer record of Obama going against his liberal sensibilities in order to win.
First, Obama slams super pacs, and then starts his own. He talked about how bad outsourcing is damaging the American economy, and it’s the Republicans who are peddling this shift, even though some of his top donors, like Jeffrey Katzenberg of DreamWorks, sent animation jobs over to India. In a post I wrote for Hot Air last summer:
according to William Bigelow of Breitbart.com, “Obama’s second largest fundraiser [at the time] is John Rogers, the CEO of investment giant Ariel Capital Management. He has raised more than $1.5 million for Obama’s reelection campaign. Bully for him, except for one thing: Ariel Capital Management owns a $48.6 million stake in Accenture, which just happens to be, according to the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals, the nation’s ‘best’ outsourcer.”
He claimed that GM is back in action during the 2012 campaign, even though they’re shipping their jobs overseas as well. Paul Roderick Gregory of Forbes wrote back in August of last year that:
according to Obama, GM does everything right. It offers high-paying jobs to American workers. It invests at home. GM put American manufacturing back in the high-tech race on American soil. The new GM is good for America, and America is good for GM, as a former GM chairman declared in 1953. GM is back where it should be.
We need to look no further than General Motors’ own figures to learn that GM outsources almost two thirds of its jobs overseas. Less than one in five GM vehicles are manufactured in the United States.
To be exact: GM’s December 31, 2011 annual reportshows General Motors of North America accounting for 98,000 of the 207,000 GM jobs worldwide. But 12,000 of these jobs are in Canada and 11,500 are in Mexico. Accordingly, GM has 74,500 jobs in the United States and 122,500 abroad, even after Obama’s touted surge in Detroit jobs. Almost two thirds of GM’s jobs are in other countries.
GM’s outsourcing is not a slip. GM clearly states that foreign investment and outsourcing of jobs are an integral parts of its growth strategy.
Grace D. Lieblein, President and CEO of GM Mexico, for example, proudly announced in a GM Mexico press release:
“75 years ago, General Motors came to our country with a dream to fulfill: turning Mexico into a prosperous nation for the benefit of millions of families. Today, after 75 years into the adventure, we have achieved goals that seemed unattainable, thanks to the efforts and dedication of Mexican talent. During the 75 years GM Mexico has been in operation, the subsidiary has produced 7 million vehicles, 20 million engines, and 4 million transmissions. GM Mexico employs 11,500 direct and about 90,000 indirect employees.”
So it now appears that GM’s goal is to make Mexico prosperous, not the good old US of A! In the same press release, GM heralds its upcoming billion dollar investments in its Mexican plants (versus a $100 million investment in Rochester, New York).
Now, with this new venture into tax-exempt/non-profit land, it’s just shameless. Talk is cheap in politics, and it’s something my generation needs to become cognizant of – as they begin to slowly wake up from the Obama nightmare in the next four years. As AFP’s Director of Public Relations, Levi Russell aptly said:
Sadly most of us have gotten used to politicians saying one thing and doing the opposite – but sometimes even jaded cynics like myself encounter a level of hypocrisy so overt, it’s impossible to ignore. That moment happened this month when Team Obama reorganized as a 501-C4 called Organizing for Action.
While I certainly don’t begrudge Obama for making use of such an organization and taking donations from whoever he wishes, the hypocrisy of doing so is jaw-dropping given the President practically made a part-time job out of bashing groups like Americans for Prosperity and others for… being organized as a 501-C4. The entire Left and many in the media got in on the action, even coining scary sounding monikers like ‘dark money’ to further the Obama rhetoric.
The cognitive dissonance required to now fully embrace this structure gives me a headache just thinking about it. But then again, I’m a conservative and I like things to make sense.”
Oh, and speaking of corporate influences, Ken Vogel at Politico reported last month that:
In its first days, Organizing for Action has closely affiliated itself with insider liberal organizations funded by mega-donors like George Soros and corporations such as Lockheed Martin, Citi and Duke Energy. And it has quietly sought support from the same rich donors who backed Obama’s campaigns, asking for help from Democratic donors and bundlers in town for the Inauguration at a closed-door corporate-sponsored confab that featured Bill Clinton as the keynote speaker.
In fact, invitations for the Saturday meeting at the Newseum where Organizing for Action was unveiled for the liberal big-money set came from Obama’s National Finance Committee (one member of which gave a transferable ticket to POLITICO), as well as the Presidential Inaugural Committee, the Center for American Progress and Media Matters.
Dubbed the “Road Ahead” meeting, the conference was sponsored by a White House-allied trade association called Business Forward, which is funded by major corporations including Microsoft, Walmart and PG&E – each of which sent senior executives to participate in a panel on how to boost American economic competitiveness.
Jim Messina, Obama’s 2012 campaign manager and the Organizing for Action national chairman, and OfA Director Jon Carson, pleaded with invited big donors to support the new group. “We need you. This president needs you,” Messina said, adding Organizing for Action was “building a national advisory board filled with people in this room.”
Carson told the donors, who were treated to cocktails and light hors d’oeuvres after the day’s sessions, “there’s going to be a place for each and every one of you.”
Grassroots activists? They got their own pitch the next day at a bigger, no-invitation-necessary gathering called the “Obama Campaign Legacy Conference” held at the Washington Hilton. There, Carson told reporters that OfA would “absolutely” be funded mostly by grassroots donors like those Obama highlighted in his campaign, rather than big corporate donors.
When Obamacare is fully implemented by 2014, legal immigrants can apply for benefits. As Sarah Kliff of Washington Post’s WonkBlog posted yesterday:
The health-care law does offer new coverage options for legal immigrants. They, like American citizens, are eligible for subsidized health insurance coverage if they earn less than 400 percent of the poverty line ($44,680 for an individual).
Legal immigrants can also qualify for Medicaid coverage after five years of legal residence in the United States. This was true prior to the Affordable Care Act, but will likely become more meaningful when many states expand their Medicaid programs up to 133 percent of the federal poverty line.
Legal immigrants will also be subject to the mandated purchase of health insurance coverage at the start of next year.
However, if this new immigration reform package manages to be signed into law, the illegal immigrants, who are exempted from the individual mandate, would be eligible for benefits. As Kliff noted:
if immigration reform were to shrink the undocumented population – or eliminate it altogether – new paths to coverage would open up – and that uninsured population would likely shrink. The Congressional Research Service estimates that 80 percent (17.5 million people) of non-citizens would, due to their income level, qualify for some part of the insurance expansion.
Keep in mind, CRS data does not break out documented and undocumented non-citizens; this graph includes both groups. Still, it’s a helpful guide to think about the income levels of this population.
The yellow chunk of the pie chart shows everyone earning less than 133 percent of the poverty line. These are people who would qualify for the Medicaid expansion, although would be subject to a five-year waiting period (during that time, however, they would have the option to buy insurance using federal subsidies).
The blue slice, 46.3 percent of the non-citizen population, would qualify for federal subsidies to purchase private insurance coverage. The last part of the population, represented in red, would not qualify for assistance – not due to their immigration status, but because of their higher income. They would still, however, have access to their state health insurance exchange. Right now, undocumented immigrants are specifically barred from buying coverage there (as part of the purchasing process, Homeland Security will verify citizenship status).
This means more money for programs, like Medicare, which will soon be rendered useless by Mr. Arithmetic. Phlip Klein at The Washington Examiner wrote on January 29 that his:
…very rough estimate based on existing CBO analysis is that an expansion of Obamacare on that scale could easily cost several hundred billion dollars over a decade – maybe more than a half trillion. The reason why it’s difficult to make a projection is that it’s hard to say who would qualify for Medicaid and who would qualify for subsidies. Also, given that the subsidies vary by income level, it’s hard to say (beyond educated guessing) where on the scale this newly eligible population would fall and thus how generous their subsidies would be. Also, it’s hard to say how many of them would have incomes low enough to qualify for existing Medicaid benefits anyway, which they would have been able to claim with or without Obamacare.
Having made these caveats, here are some ways of looking at what it could cost to insure newly eligible immigrants under various assumptions. After the Supreme Court’s Obamacare decision, the CBO estimated that the law would cover an additional 11 million people on Medicaid (at a cost of $643 billion from 2013 through 2022) and 25 million through the exchanges (at a cost of just over $1 trillion over the same period). So, for every additional 1 million people on Medicaid, the federal government will be spending about $58 billion over the next decade and for every 1 million people on the exchange, taxpayers would be spending about $41 billion. Projecting this out for 8 million new beneficiaries would give a range of $328 billion to $464 billion. This would be conservative, however, because the current 10-year CBO estimate includes fiscal year 2013, though the law isn’t going to be implemented until 2014 – thus the actual 10-year cost is understated.
Again,we have another instance that shows there are no free lunches in American public policy. Someone gets screwed over to benefit a specific group. It’s simple economics. In this case, it’s the American taxpayer, who is already buckling under the weight of the state.
Jessica Stanton at The Daily Caller wrote today about the huge generational gap on the right to own so-called assault weapons.
A vast majority of young adults under the age of 34 believe that Americans have a right to own an “assault weapon,” according to a new Reason-Rupe poll released Thursday. Seventy percent of 18-24 year-olds and 58 percent of 24-34 year-olds indicated the government “should allow the private ownership of assault weapons.” But a majority of older Americans disagree, with 57 percent of 55-64 year-olds and 61 percent of people over the age of 65 asserting that “assault weapons should be prohibited.
Overall, 51 percent said “assault weapons” should be allowed, including 68 percent of Republicans, 57 percent of independents and 33 percent of Democrats. Forty-four percent indicated that people “should be prohibited” from owning such weapons.
The poll sampled 1,000 adults and was conducted via telephone from Jan. 17 to 21. Notably, 40 percent of respondents self-identified as independents, versus 36 percent and 22 percent who identified with the Democratic or Republican Party, respectively. The poll has a margin of error of a plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.
Additionally, concerning how unaffiliated people lean politically in this poll, 30% split for the Republicans, 35% for the Democrats, and 20% for Independents. Furthermore, when Reason combined all the participants by party identification Democrat and Democrat-leaning independents was 49%, Independent was 9%, and Republican and Republican-leaning independents was 37%. Seven percent were unsure. So, the total split is 49/37/9. Even in a D+12 poll, 51% agree that Americans should be able to own an “assault” weapon.
The March for Life, which occurred last Friday, may be over, but this front in America’s culture war is far from over. EWTN estimated that 500,000 marchers arrived in Washington to voice their support for life, especially as 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the United States. The passing of Obamacare and the HHS mandate has also animated social conservatives, who vociferously oppose the federal mandate on health providers and business owners to provide contraception.
The number of young people of were impossible to ignore, especially young women, which makes me suspect that a lot of pro-abortionists have never seen a pro-life rally – ever. I was able to speak with Maureen Ferguson, wife of ex-Congressman Mike Ferguson (R-NJ), who is the Senior Policy Advisor for The Catholic Association. When I asked her about the HHS Mandate, she said:
The Church has about 43 different lawsuits filed, and there have been favorable opinions coming down from many of them. There are also a lot of private businesses that are fighting; in particular the most noteworthy is the Hobby Lobby case, in which they’re facing fines of $1.3 million a day. And they’re standing firm and refusing to comply. We don’t know how that’s going to play out now. They’re looking at their plan year, and trying to avoid the fines for as long as they can, but Justice Sonia Sotomayor declined to hear their emergency appeal, so we’re watching these lawsuits closely. As I said, there’s over 100 of them, and they’re a combination of religiously affiliated charities, schools, hospitals – that are facing this August 1st deadline – and deciding now how to deal with this issue, as they get their plans ready for the next year. And then there’s a whole category of private business lawsuits.
When asked if The Catholic Associatuon was working with the Catholic League, which defends the rights of Catholics in America, Ferguson added:
They [The Catholic League] do a lot of great work. We don’t necessarily coordinate with them. They have a different niche, but they do a lot of great work – the Beckett Fund for religious freedom. They have a great team of lawyers, who are spearheading a lot of these cases. Alliance Defending Freedom also has an army of lawyers working on this – so we’re not lawyers – our purpose is to be a voice for faithful Catholics and the public square doing what we can to support the bishops as laypeople.
However, outreach is a huge project conservative Catholics. Roughly half of the Catholics in the United States voted for President Obama in 2012, and it seems the conservative movement – as a whole – is lost in the wilderness in this area of communication. This issue overlaps with Hispanic outreach since they’re a community that skews conservative on social issues – but voted overwhelmingly for President Obama. Dr. Grazie Christie, who accompanied Ms. Ferguson, is an Advisory Board member for The Catholic Association said that, “culturally, the Hispanic community is pro-life and pro-family – and that’s a huge part of our life – our everyday life. And it is a struggle. It’s a struggle to get that across.”
So, how does The Catholic Association get their message across? What forms of social media are the utilizing to engage the next generation of Catholics? Ferguson said:
I would say Facebook and Twitter – we have a twenty-something odd staff that handles all that – I’m a little too old to handle all that, but yeah I would say Facebook and Twitter. And you know, obviously, we support the bishops, the Holy Father – and the Holy Father, Pope Benedict, was just talking about this issue – that we need to make use of social media for the good because he said, it’s not just the virtual world, this is the real world we’re living in, and we have to communicate, especially to young people using social media.
Given that ABC, NBC, and CBS devoted two-and-a-half hours on the Manti Te’o fiasco and just seventeen seconds to March for Life, conservative Catholics need to continue engaging the youth if they’re to gain the edge in this fight for life.
As we recover from our catastrophic defeat in 2012, we have liberals and progressives, especially in the media, telling what’s wrong with us – and what we need to do in order to change. Yes, like we’re going to take advice from our enemies. ”We’re too extreme, conservatives, or radical on social issues” is one critique that comes within our own ranks, which National Review’s Jonah Goldberg touched upon in his January 18 column. Former DNC chair Howard Dean even said that “the culture war is over” – and liberals won. However, he did say that most young people are conservative due to government spending and largesse. Regardless, our progressive neighbors now run the table in the electoral college – with twenty decidedly blue states over our twelve red ones.
According to Gallup:
There were more solidly blue states than solidly red states in the U.S. in 2012, by a margin of 20 to 12. After the District of Columbia, the most Democratic-leaning states in 2012 were Hawaii, Maryland, Rhode Island, New York, and Massachusetts — where Democrats held at least 20-percentage-point advantages in party identification. Republicans enjoyed this lopsided an advantage in Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho.
Connecticut, Vermont, Illinois, and Delaware round out the top 10 most Democratic states. Thus, eight of the top 10 are located in the East.
The top 10 Republican states have a very different geographic profile, with three of the states located in the Midwest (North Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas), two in the South (Alabama and Oklahoma), and five in the West…these state and regional patterns closely mirror President Barack Obama’s state-level job approval ratings in 2012.
Fourteen states met the threshold for “solid Democratic” states in 2012, adding Michigan and Minnesota to the 12 that met that threshold in 2011. The Democrats had a net loss of one Democratic-leaning state, losing West Virginia and Kentucky (in addition to Michigan and Minnesota), but picking up Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Oregon. Thus, overall, 20 states were in the Democratic column in 2012, up from 19 in 2011, but still significantly fewer than Gallup found in 2008 and 2009.
In 2012, Republicans lost a total of five GOP-advantage states, including four Republican-leaning states (Indiana, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Texas) and one solid Republican state (South Dakota). While down from a total of 17 states in 2011, the Republicans’ current 12 remains higher than in 2008 through 2010.
Yes, we all know we have a demographic challenge ahead of us. However, some on the right, like Charles Krauthammer, aren’t convinced since we’re historically a right-of-center nation, which he reiterated at the National Review Institute Summit last week. However, we do need to engage young people more, and utilize social media to do it. Romney’s investment on that end in his 2012 race was nothing short of laughable, with Obama outspending him 10:1 – which lead to this.
Now, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are some areas that are suspicious with Gallup’s analysis. First, Obama didn’t win any of West Virginia’s fifty-five counties, yet it’s listed as competitive. The last time West Virginians voted Democratic was in 1996. Furthermore, they have Oklahoma listed as leaning Republican based on voter ID, but the state has more registered Democrats than Republicans. Oklahoma’s evangelical base is why they tend to vote Republican in national elections, and why Rick Sanotrum did well in the 2012 primary there.
Above all, to list Texas as competitive, or leaning blue, is a bit premature. The Texas state legislature is Republican dominated, and Hispanics tend to vote conservative in elections. As Sean Higgins at The Washington Examiner noted after the 2012 elections:
[O]ne local pollster, Austin-based Mark [sic] Baselice… told the Texas Tribune:
While Romney and Cruz got lopsided support from white voters, as the presidential ticket did nationally, pre-election surveys by Mike Baselice suggest Romney did 12 to 15 percentage points better with Hispanics in Texas than in California. Obama’s big share of the Latino vote in California more closely mirrors his performance in battleground states.
After comparing surveys from California and Texas, Baselice also said Hispanics self-identify as moderate and conservative at significantly higher rates in Texas. In California, 37 percent of Hispanics call themselves conservative, 30 percent say they’re moderate and 33 percent embrace the liberal label.
In Texas, 46 percent of Hispanics say they are conservative, 36 percent are moderate and 18 percent say they are liberal, Baselice said.
California exit polls gave Romney 27 percent of the Latino vote, about what he got nationally. If Baselice is correct, that means Romney got between 39-42 percent of the Latino vote in Texas. That’s badly down from President Bush’s 49 percent of the Latino vote in 2004. It is up from the 35 percent share of the Latino vote McCain got in Texas in 2008 though, suggesting the GOP is not tumbling off a cliff with that group in the state. At least not yet.
In both 2004 and 2008, the Latino share of the vote in Texas was 20 percent. I couldn’t find any data on the Latino share of the electorate in 2012. Presumably it has grown, though without exit polls it is hard to say.
“Hispanics vote more Republican in Texas than they seem to do elsewhere. We have a long history of that,” Baselice said. “It’s a more conservative state. People are raised in a different environment and exposed to different things here.”
With the “Gang of Eight” announcing their immigration reform package yesterday, I’m sure many American found the deal sensible, rational, and fair. It’s a bipartisan deal, which pleases the independent segments of the electorate, and has Sen. Marco Rubio endorsing it wholeheartedly. Immigration keeps the United States economically vibrant, unlike Europe, which has become older, grayer, and more Islamized. We should welcome immigrants, but not at the cost of undermining our economic interests – which is what NumbersUSA, an organization dedicated to common sense immigration reform, is trying to tell members of Congress. I was able to speak with Rosemary Jenks, NumbersUSA’s Director of Government Relations, about the new proposal last night.
On NumbersUSA’s website, they lay out the details of the package:
1. Create a tough but fair path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants currently living in the United States that is contingent upon securing our borders and tracking whether legal immigrants have left the country when required;
2. Reform our legal immigration system to better recognize the importance of characteristics that will help build the American economy and strengthen American families;
3. Create an effective employment verification system that will prevent identity theft and end the hiring of future unauthorized workers; and,
4. Establish an improved process for admitting future workers to serve our nation’s workforce needs, while simultaneously protecting all workers.
It doesn’t sound like snake oil, but anything from government that sounds too good to be true – tends to be that way. Case in point, the passing of Obamacare. However, to low-information voters, or those who aren’t privy to immigration data, it represents, as Jenks said:
…part of the problem with the immigration debate because when you see an outline of a proposal, and you don’t know a whole lot about the issue, it tends to look pretty reasonable. It’s only when you get into the details that things start to fall apart. So, you know for example – the bottom line is that this proposal is virtually identical to the proposal from the Gang of Eight in 2007. And I actually like Sen. Sessions’s title for them better, which is “masters of the universe.” They basically have been meeting behind closed doors. They don’t allow anyone else into the meetings – anyone who might disagree with them – and then they come out with this grand announcement, and assume that everyone will fall in line and vote for it. But the problem is that this proposal is not well thought out in terms of what’s best for America. And part of the reason for that is that involved in their little secret meetings, and closed-door negotiations, are groups like the AFL-CIO, the Chamber of Commerce, and organized religion, the ethnic advocacy groups – special interest groups have all had their say, but the one group that’s always left out of these negotiations is the America people. So, here we go again – starting this whole process, and we’re looking at essentially the same proposals with the same meaningless so-called triggers that aren’t actually triggers – and massive amnesty.
Closed-door negotiations? It’s a bit ironic that comprehensive immigration reform that intends to keep us an open, immigrant friendly nation needs to be fleshed out in secret meetings. However, what shocked me was the involvement of the AFL-CIO. The Democratic wing that’s beholden to union interests have usually opposed illegal immigration since they allow, for example, contractors to underbid union contracts. Why are they for amnesty? Jenks explains that:
basically, the unions have an interest in amnesty because immigrants, legal or illegal, is the only growing population of union-dues paying members. If they want to continue their dues, the need to legalize the illegal population to keep them here, keep them unionized, and keep them paying dues. So in exchange for that amnesty, they’ve made a deal with the Chamber of Commerce, in which the unions give up on guest workers – to get amnesty – and the Chamber gives them amnesty to get guest workers. So, everybody wins, except the American worker.
However, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) did say, at the close of the press conference yesterday, that the proposal will tie immigration the influx of legal immigration to the nation’s unemployment rate. However, Jenks wasn’t convinced that this item in the package will be taken seriously.
Well, the fact that they’re talking about giving expedited amnesty to AG workers [agricultural workers] and to dreamers – and then some kind of extended amnesty to all of the rest of the eleven million illegal aliens in the country, despite the fact that we have 7.9% unemployment tells me whatever they have in mind for the future is certainly not going to happen because they’ve already vastly exceeded the ability of our economy to employ these people. We’ve already got twenty million Americans who can’t find full-time jobs. So, we’re going to add eleven million more?
The growth industries in the U.S. economy are mostly highly skilled, high-tech occupations. So, why would we then be giving a massive amnesty –expedited amnesty – to AG workers, and creating a new guest worker program for low-skilled labor? It doesn’t make sense. We should be reforming our legal immigration system to meet the needs of the 21st century. Instead of doing that, they’re basically just packing on a whole bunch of new programs that will continue to flood the labor market, primarily the low-skill labor market, and increase the competition for our own most vulnerable workers. And who’s going to pay for it? The taxpayers.
Yet, Brad Plumer posted on The Washington Post’s WonkBlog yesterday – and said that illegal immigration has “slowed since 2007.” So, what’s the big deal? Isn’t that a positive indicator?
there has been – it appears – through some Census data – that the number of new illegal aliens coming into the United States slowed somewhat during the recession, but there’s also evidence that the number has started to pick up again. It’s entirely possible that’s because of all this talk of amnesty – but the bottom line is illegal immigration is going to be affected by some small degree by economic changes in the United States. But the fact is that the illegal population has stayed at about an estimated eleven million. It hasn’t actually dropped. We still have a huge problem, and you can’t stop illegal immigration by redefining it as legal. That’s not a long-term solution.
What alternative policy does NumbersUSA endorse to solve this crisis? Jenks said that since its inception, NumbersUSA has supported the proposals laid out from the 1995 U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, which was chaired by former Texas Congresswoman Barbara Jordan. Jordan, a Democrat, and her commission had these key points in their report.
- a scale back of family chain-migration by implementing a prioritization of family relationships to determine who will be admitted through family-based immigration. Spouses and minor children of US citizens would continue to be admitted as first priority;
- elimination of other family-based admission categories, including:
- Adult, unmarried sons and daughters of U.S. citizens;
- Adult, married sons and daughters of U.S. citizens;
- Adult, unmarried sons and daughters of legal permanent residents; and
- Siblings of U.S. citizens.
- a focus on the admission of highly-skilled individuals to support the national interest by bringing to the U.S. individuals whose skills would benefit our society. Recommended the elimination of the admission of unskilled workers and elimination of the diversity visa lottery;
- immigration admissions level of 550,000 per year, to be divided as follows:
- Nuclear family immigration 400,000;
- Skill-based immigration 100,000;
- Refugee resettlement 50,000.
- Stressed deportation is crucial. Credibility in immigration policy can be summed up in one sentence: those who should get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave.
Without a doubt, amnesty will be unpalatable to Republicans in the House. As a naturalized citizen, who immigrated via adoption from South Korea, I want America to remain an open nation. However, there are rules. It’s unfair to the legal immigrants to be cast aside because millions of illegals broke the law. They’ve waited patiently, and now they’re about to be cut in line. There’s something unethical about it, but we shall see how conservatives react to this new amnesty push – even with the stringent standards attached to the pathway to citizenship.
Fresh from delivering his State of the State address, Texas Gov. Rick Perry spent more than half an hour on a conference call with state bloggers. Perry hailed bloggers as “pioneers of the new media” as he described his take on current issues.
Texas’ longest-serving governor could go down in Texas history as the education-reform governor. Perry led off the conference call noting that he is spearheading a pair of reforms that may transform education in the Lone Star State. At the elementary and high school level, Perry is calling for expanding public school and voucher programs. These will provide necessary competition for traditional schools. At the university level, Perry is pushing state universities to enact a four-year tuition freeze. This, he said, will help students and families budget the costs of a university education. “Citizens of the state are really responding to it,” he said. “Universities should become customer centric. The onus is on the universities to make classes affordable.”
He noted that some will be skeptical of his tuition-freeze just as they have been of his call for universities to create $10,000 four-year degrees. Despite the skepticism, he said, 13 universities in Texas now have $10,000 degrees in place. “It’s the wave of the future,” he said. “Folks who resist will go the way of the buggy whip industry.”
With tax relief on his mind, Gov. Perry also touted a new state website that allows Texans the opportunity to direct where Texas can cut its spending to save money. While other states are struggling with budget shortfalls due to overpromising government services, Texas has a $12 billion surplus. Most of that will remain in the state’s rainy day fund, but Perry wants to send $1.8 billion of it back to the state’s taxpayers. The website will let taxpayers help determine where to make the cuts.
On a lighter note, I asked Perry about President Obama’s claim to be an avid skeet shooter. Gov. Perry is a lifelong firearms owner and skeet shooter. He said that he has to take the president at his word, but noted that the only photo of him shooting skeet turned out to be a fake. Gov. Perry said he would be happy to challenge Obama to a skeet shooting contest, but “he’s a busy man.”
Back in December of 2012, Georgetown law professor Louis Michael Seidman decided it was time trash the U.S. Constitution. He had to because “the American system of government is broken, and we’re to blame.” Why? It’s due to “our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.” Yes, the obedience that the president, vice-president, every member of Congress, and the military take upon entering duty, or a new term.
Our obsession with the Constitution has saddled us with a dysfunctional political system, kept us from debating the merits of divisive issues and inflamed our public discourse. Instead of arguing about what is to be done, we argue about what James Madison might have wanted done 225 years ago.
I take it he doesn’t like the part where Madison wrote that the federal government’s powers were “few and defined.” Regardless, it’s a progressive rant against our government, and its institutions. Seidman, although I’m not privy to his political views, feels that gridlock is a bad thing. He asks, “Why should a lame-duck House, 27 members of which were defeated for re-election, have a stranglehold on our economy? Why does a grotesquely malapportioned Senate get to decide the nation’s fate?” He uses past American history of “constitutional disobedience” to justify his position to destroy our founding document.
Yesterday, CBS Sunday Morning provided a platform for Professor Seidman to continue his evisceration of the Constitution.
MICHAEL LOUIS SEIDMAN: I’ve got a simple idea: Let’s give up on the Constitution. I know, it sounds radical, but it’s really not. Constitutional disobedience is as American as apple pie. For example, most of our greatest Presidents — Jefferson, Lincoln, Wilson, and both Roosevelts — had doubts about the Constitution, and many of them disobeyed it when it got in their way.
To be clear, I don’t think we should give up on everything in the Constitution. The Constitution has many important and inspiring provisions, but we should obey these because they are important and inspiring, not because a bunch of people who are now long-dead favored them two centuries ago. Unfortunately, the Constitution also contains some provisions that are not so inspiring. For example, one allows a presidential candidate who is rejected by a majority of the American people to assume office. Suppose that Barack Obama really wasn’t a natural-born citizen. So what? Constitutional obedience has a pernicious impact on our political culture. Take the recent debate about gun control. None of my friends can believe it, but I happen to be skeptical of most forms of gun control. I understand, though, that’s not everyone’s view, and I’m eager to talk with people who disagree.
But what happens when the issue gets Constitutional-ized? Then we turn the question over to lawyers, and lawyers do with it what lawyers do. So instead of talking about whether gun control makes sense in our country, we talk about what people thought of it two centuries ago. Worse yet, talking about gun control in terms of constitutional obligation needlessly raises the temperature of political discussion. Instead of a question on policy, about which reasonable people can disagree, it becomes a test of one’s commitment to our foundational document and, so, to America itself.
This is our country. We live in it, and we have a right to the kind of country we want. We would not allow the French or the United Nations to rule us, and neither should we allow people who died over two centuries ago and knew nothing of our country as it exists today. If we are to take back our own country, we have to start making decisions for ourselves, and stop deferring to an ancient and outdated document.
Granted, he doesn’t thinks it’s all bad. He feels that “freedom of speech and religion, equal protection of the laws and protections against governmental deprivation of life, liberty or property are important, whether or not they are in the Constitution. We should continue to follow those requirements out of respect, not obligation.”
The rights codified in our Constitution were the ones that tyrants suspended. Those were the ones our Founding Fathers felt needed to be addressed first and foremost. The right to speech, assembly, a fair trial by your peers, and the right to bear arms. Mr. Seidman fails to recognize is that our system is suppose to work slowly, even in times of crisis. In fact, when 90% of good government is when it does absolutely nothing. Mr. Seidman also fails to mention, as George Will likes to reference, a single thing that the American people clamored for in a long, and protracted way, that they did not eventually get. Why? It’s because everything they asked for, the government eventually gave to them. How is that a sign of dysfunction? It may have taken years, or a civil war, but black civil rights, the women’s right to vote, the abolition of slavery, and end of the Vietnam War were all accomplished by an animated citizenry. That’s not to say they weren’t a thorn in the government’s side, but these ends were met safely – and that’s how our system works. Our Founders wanted a safe government, not an efficient one. It’s something liberals and progressives need to recognize.
Yes, there have been instances of “constitutional disobedience,” but it doesn’t make it right.
(H/T Breitbart TV)
- Switching Sides — A Speech, by Roger L Simon. Turning right at Hollywood & Vine.
- Allen West: Fiscal Economic Freedom Crucial for the Next Generation (Video), by Next Generation. Click to watch video.
- Register … or Rebel: How Many New Yorkers Will Defy New Law? By Bob Owens. Already, signs that Governor Cuomo and his allies underestimated the pushback.
- Dear Sister Wives Star Kody Brown: Love Should Be Exclusive, not Divided, by Paula Bolyard. The truth about polygamy.
- Hey, Parents: Meet Neo-Soviet NYU, Princeton Professor Steven Cohen, by Kim Zigfeld. Vladimir Putin has a great supporter within U.S. higher education.
- 4 Rules For a More Grown-Up Cable News Culture, by Kathy Shaidle. How to fix that cannibalistic, corrosive drone known as cable news? Toss out that old Rolodex, for one thing.
According to Joel B. Pollak, the president goes shooting ‘all the time.’ In an interview with Franklin Foer and Chris Hughes for The New Republic, President Obama said it was a way to “bridge the gap” between the urban vs. rural dichotomy, which has only been accentuated with NYC’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun push in the aftermath of the Newtown tragedy.
FRANKLIN FOER: Have you ever fired a gun?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yes, in fact, up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time.
FOER: The whole family?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Not the girls, but oftentimes guests of mine go up there. And I have a profound respect for the traditions of hunting that trace back in this country for generations. And I think those who dismiss that out of hand make a big mistake.
Part of being able to move this forward is understanding the reality of guns in urban areas are very different from the realities of guns in rural areas. And if you grew up and your dad gave you a hunting rifle when you were ten, and you went out and spent the day with him and your uncles, and that became part of your family’s traditions, you can see why you’d be pretty protective of that.
So it’s trying to bridge those gaps that I think is going to be part of the biggest task over the next several months. And that means that advocates of gun control have to do a little more listening than they do sometimes.
Mr. President, if you want to bridge those gaps, tell liberal mayors of big cities to back off. If they’re the point of the lance in your strategy to institute more gun law, then you’ll only divide the country further, and lose more political capital.
…if Obama did, indeed, mean to refer to himself, it would not be the first time he has boasted of his sporting knowledge or prowess–often without the evidence to back him up.
He has long claimed to be a fan of the Chicago White Sox, for example, but could not name a single White Sox player when asked, and incorrectly referred to the name of their home stadium as “Cominskey Field.” His basketball skills are also somewhat oversold: NBA commissioner David Stern said President Obama is “not as good as he thinks he is.”
In his infamous bowling stunt during the Democratic primary in 2008, then-Sen. Obama bowled a 37, rolling his first ball straight into the gutter as the cameras rolled. Later, in an appearance on The Tonight Show, Obama mocked his performance as being worthy of the “Special Olympics,” a remark for which he was criticized and later apologized
Obama’s shooting claim is evidently meant to assuage critics of his gun control proposals by reassuring them that he shares their enthusiasm for Second Amendment rights–not just sport shooting, but hunting in particular.
Yet supporters of gun rights insist that the Second Amendment is about far more than hunting or even self-defense.
As Breitbart News Editor-at-Large Ben Shapiro told Piers Morgan during their debate earlier this month: “The basis of the second amendment is not really about self defense and it’s not about hunting. It’s about resistance to government tyranny. That’s what the founders said and that’s what the right believe in this country.”
- Where Did Piers Morgan Come From, Anyway? By Mike McNally. He’s new to you, but my fellow Brit has been a craven opportunist for decades.
- San Francisco 1978: Dianne Feinstein and Gun Control, by Michael Walsh. I covered the riot that Feinstein used to springboard her national career for the San Francisco Examiner.
- Roe v. Wade: Tragic Anniversary, by Hans von Spakovsky. Each year, my brother helps others travel to the March For Life.
- Understanding the Educational Mess We’re In, by David Solway. We have reached a point where the past has more to teach us than the present.
- How Badly Does Salon Hate President Obama? By Ed Driscoll. If you’re still a 9/11 Truther in 2013, then you must believe that Barack Obama is in on the cover-up.
- The So-Called Assault Weapons on My Rifle Range, by Bob Owens. It may come as a surprise to some to learn that the AR-15 is the best-selling, most common centerfire rifle in the United States.
- ‘Less Lethal’: Good Intentions, Dangerous Results, by Mike McDaniel. These weapons are appropriate in precious few situations.
- Syria, Not Iran: Obama’s Primary Middle East Crisis in 2013, by Barry Rubin. Later this year, the Syrian civil war will test him. Expect failure.
- Feinstein Rolls Out Assault Weapons Ban as Biden Stumbles Over Its Purpose, by Bridget Johnson. Veep touts the awesomeness of shotguns over assault weapons: “If you want to keep people away in an earthquake, buy some shotgun shells.”
We couldn’t possibly celebrate the 40th birthday of Roe v. Wade without liberals, and pro-abortionists, declaring their love for legalized abortion. Yes, I understand abortion is an issue with fifty shades of grey, but just as liberals like to put the Bill of Rights on a graduated scale, which allows them to push for the abolition of the Second Amendment; they put life on a similar scale. They have to since it’s the only way they can be intellectually honest in a debate, albeit while looking like idiots.
Salon.com’s Mary Elizabeth Williams did just that in her January 23 piece, where she holds the view that “all life is not equal.”
Here’s the complicated reality in which we live: All life is not equal. That’s a difficult thing for liberals like me to talk about, lest we wind up looking like death-panel-loving, kill-your-grandma-and-your-precious-baby storm troopers. Yet a fetus can be a human life without having the same rights as the woman in whose body it resides. She’s the boss. Her life and what is right for her circumstances and her health should automatically trump the rights of the non-autonomous entity inside of her. Always.
My belief that life begins at conception is mine to cling to. And if you believe that it begins at birth, or somewhere around the second trimester, or when the kid finally goes to college, that’s a conversation we can have, one that I hope would be respectful and empathetic and fearless. We can’t have it if those of us who believe that human life exists in utero are afraid we’re somehow going to flub it for the cause. In an Op-Ed on “Why I’m Pro-Choice” in the Michigan Daily this week, Emma Maniere stated, quite perfectly, that “Some argue that abortion takes lives, but I know that abortion saves lives, too.” She understands that it saves lives not just in the most medically literal way, but in the roads that women who have choice then get to go down, in the possibilities for them and for their families. And I would put the life of a mother over the life of a fetus every single time — even if I still need to acknowledge my conviction that the fetus is indeed a life. A life worth sacrificing.
So, Williams admits that a fetus is a human life, but “so what” if we kill it. Is she saying that some babies need to die? Granted, if a pregnancy threatens the life of the mother, then an exception can be made, but Williams is talking about healthy pregnancies. The mother is the “boss,” and she can do whatever she wants, regardless if her health is threatened or not. Remember, “all life isn’t equal.” That is quite a depraved moral compass, and it never ceases to amaze me how liberals always have a top-down model for everything.
However, NRO’s Katrina Trinko penned a much more eloquent critique yesterday.
By this same logic, isn’t infanticide also fine and dandy? After all, if we’re talking about autonomy, kids aren’t exactly independent as soon as they are born. No infant can take care of themselves. And even later on in childhood, children rely heavily on the adults in their life to provide shelter, food, and emotional support. What about kids and adults who become disabled in life? What about quadriplegics? They’re not going to be able to take care of themselves. Is it okay if we just off the lot of them? Heck, what about needy friends who seem to be falling apart unless we talk to them regularly and console them? Okay to just shoot a couple of them so that we don’t have the burden? Should we ship the grandparents that spent all their money and are now financially dependent on us to the local executioner?
Yes, if the fetus is a life — and a human being — and not a clump of cells, that makes a huge difference. No one would ask a woman to respect the rights of a clump of cells. But it is valid to ask her, difficult as it is to have an unwanted pregnancy, to realize that the death of the child — the child who was totally innocent and has done nothing except be conceived — is not an appropriate way to handle this.
Team Obama may want to reconsider their frivolous pursuit in stemming the speed of so-called global warming. On January 23, PR Newswire wrote that, “a group of 20 ex-NASA scientists have concluded that the science used to support the man-made climate change hypothesis is not settled and no convincing physical evidence exists to support catastrophic climate change forecasts.”
H. Leighton Steward, chairman of CO2isGreen.org as well as the educational non-profit, PlantsNeedCO2.org, makes the following comments regarding the TRCS posting, which can be found at www.therightclimatestuff.com:
- The science of what is causing global climate change or warming is clearly not settled and never has been.
- There is no convincing physical evidence to support the man-made climate change hypothesis. The standard test of a hypothesis is whether it is supported by real observations, which seems to have been ignored by climate alarmists.
- Claims made by proponents of catastrophic man-made warming are dominantly supported by non-validated computer models and the output of these models should not be relied upon by policy-makers. Some TRCS team members have been making critical decisions using complex computer models for decades.
- There is no immediate threat of catastrophic global warming even if some warming occurs. The sea level is not going to suddenly begin a steep acceleration of its 18,000-year rate of rise. Global sea level rise is not currently accelerating despite what climate change alarmists claim.
- The U.S. Government has overreacted to a possible catastrophic warming. The probable negative impacts to the economy, jobs and an increased cost of food, transportation and utilities will be severe and hurt the poor and middle class the most. Real experiments show that Earth’s habitats and ecosystems could be damaged if CO2 levels are actually reduced. Environmentalists have been grossly misled to believe CO2 is a pollutant.
- Empirical evidence shows that Earth is currently “greening” significantly due to additional CO2 and a modest warming.
- Money saved by abandoning a premature rush to lower CO2 emissions could be better spent by continuing research on alternative energies that are not currently competitive or reliable.
After Michigan adopted right-to-work legislation last December, the state’s largest teachers union has instructed its officials to sue their own members for dues. As conservatives have long known, unions are about power, not workers’ rights. This development is a prime example of that fact.
Bill McMorris of The Washington Free Beacon wrote on January 23 that:
Steven Cook, president of the Michigan Education Association, circulated an email to local unions officials and staff instructing them to monitor revenue streams in light of the right-to-work laws, which are set to go into effect on March 27, 2013. The law allows workers to opt out of union membership unless they have an existing contract with their employer.
“We will use any legal means at our disposal to collect the dues owed under signed membership forms from any members who withhold dues prior to terminating their membership in August,” Cook wrote.
The tone of the message shocked labor reform activists.
“The level to which the MEA appears to be willing to go after its own members—the same ones whose interest they claim to represent—is amazing,” said Mike Van Beek, director of education policy at the Mackinac Center. “When it comes to their revenue, we know where their priorities stand.”
The email is on legally sound footing, however. Nor would it be the first time the MEA has pursued legal action against teachers. The union’s Grand Rapids chapter sued a teacher who refused to pay dues in 2008 because the labor group refused to make concessions during the financial crisis.
McMorris cited Glenn Taubman, an attorney for The National Right-to-Work Legal Defense Foundation saying “the leaked memo gives a ‘rare glimpse’ into union strategy and its mindset in the wake of successful labor reforms in Michigan as well as Wisconsin and Indiana…they’re finally sensing that they lost politically, they lost legally, and that there’s no support for compulsory unionism among the public, legislature, or courts.” He’s alluding to Indiana’s victory against union challenges to their right-to-work legislation.
It’s great to see unions representing their members’ interests by suing them if they don’t pay up. Then again, they have to since they’re at risk of losing a lot of revenue for political campaigns. It seems that union thuggery, which has screwed over millions of taxpayers, is about to eat their own. Pass the popcorn!
Sure, students living in the nation’s capital don’t need to know how our government works.
The D.C. State Board of Education is proposing changes to graduation requirements from the system that would actually get rid of the current requirement that students take a U.S. government class, my colleague Emma Brown reported here. If approved, they would have to rely on the information they received in elementary and middle school.
Which is next to none.
On the last administration of the National Assessment of Educational Progress in civics, in 2010, only 24 percent of high school seniors scored on the proficient level, with knowledge deficiencies in areas including the U.S. Constitution, civil rights, immigration laws, and the court system. As for the eighth graders, less than half could identify the purpose of the Bill of Rights. When those scores came out last year, former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said that “we have a crisis on our hands when it comes to civics education.”
Solution: Just do away with it. Then future adults won’t know what the Constitution says or what constitutes a violation of it.
Despite Obama’s call to seize the moment together, he took a few jabs a Republicans, which signals that we may have a different president to deal with in his second term. As Jill Lawrence of National Journal wrote on January 21:
In defining his vision of forward, Obama did not spare conservatives. Here are some of his more pointed remarks:
- “The commitments we make to each other,” such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, strengthen people rather than sap their initiative. “They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great,” he said. Those were direct rebuttals of claims by conservatives, topped by the Republican ticket he defeated.
- “Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science,” but the nation must respond to the threat of climate change. That was a reminder of the antiscience strain of the GOP. “We will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God,” he said, invoking a stewardship principle popularized by some evangelical Christians.
- “We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries.” It was a defense of his administration’s investments in clean energy, in the face of GOP attacks on the failed investment in Solyndra and picking winners and losers in general.
- “Enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war.” That was aimed at George W. Bush’s foreign policy and Republicans who want to extend the 11-year U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.
- “Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.” An attempt to pin those lines on voting restrictions imposed by Republican legislatures.
As Obama described his bag of goodies for his progressive base, it’s all the more important that we concentrate on winning the 2014 midterms.
When the Supreme Court decided to uphold the constitutionality of Obamacare last June, conservative commentator George Will became the target of Mark Levin’s rage, when he wrote:
Conservatives won a substantial victory Thursday. The physics of American politics — actions provoking reactions — continues to move the crucial debate, about the nature of the American regime, toward conservatism. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has served this cause.
The health-care legislation’s expansion of the federal government’s purview has improved our civic health by rekindling interest in what this expansion threatens — the Framers’ design for limited government. Conservatives distraught about the survival of the individual mandate are missing the considerable consolation prize they won when the Supreme Court rejected a constitutional rationale for the mandate — Congress’s rationale — that was pregnant with rampant statism.
Levin rebuffed such observations, and said that this is “the dumbest George Will article, certainly among them, that I have ever read” Jeff Poor of The Daily Caller, who penned this story, added that Levin said
…conservatives are so used to losing — particularly conservatives inside the beltway that have been here for decades — then when we really, really lose, they claim that we’ve won. I don’t know if this is a psychological thing — I don’t know.
Well gee, they might as well start rounding us up because that will rekindle the effort that the framers started, too,” Levin declared. “This is so asinine that I’m stunned. This is as stunning to me as the John Roberts opinion.”
However, in Will’s January 18 piece, he noted that Chief Justice Roberts may have sealed the bill’s fate into the ash heap of history. Citing Thomas A. Lambert’s piece on Cato’s Regulation, Will wrote that the problems will come between the “community rating” and “guaranteed issue” provisions in ACA.
The former forbids insurance companies from denying coverage because of a person’s preexisting health condition. The latter, says Lambert, requires insurers to price premiums “solely on the basis of age, smoker status, and geographic area, without charging higher premiums to sick people or those susceptible to sickness.”
The point of the penalty to enforce the mandate was to prevent healthy people — particularly healthy young people — from declining to purchase insurance, or dropping their insurance, which would leave an insured pool of mostly old and infirm people. This would cause the cost of insurance premiums to soar, making it more and more sensible for the healthy to pay the ACA tax, which is much less than the price of insurance.
Roberts noted that a person earning $35,000 a year would pay a $60 monthly tax and someone earning $100,000 would pay $200. But the cost of a qualifying insurance policy is projected to be $400 a month. Clearly, it would be sensible to pay $60 or $200 rather than $400, because if one becomes ill, “guaranteed issue” assures coverage and “community rating” means that one’s illness will not result in higher insurance rates.
Alas,we see liberal dynamics at work. They create a bill that puts the “tax” so low that no one will be forced to buy health insurance. This comically undercuts the whole goal of not having elderly and patients that are highly susceptibility to illness dominating the insurance market, which drives up premiums.
Congress can’t increase the “tax,” for the purpose of keeping ACA intact. In fact, it must be kept at it current rates since Chief Justice Roberts said, “by statute, it can never be more.” The only way to keep the tax constitutional is to make it as least effective as possible, thereby, making the entire bill virtually dysfunctional.
It comes down to control. Pick any issue on the table – gun control, green energy, taxes, and health care – liberals are only set on centralizing more power in Washington. To make matters worse, they’re hyper-emotionalism incentivizes them to pursue legislation that satisfies their ideological appetites, rather than making decisions that are what’s best for the country. Will says that since liberals are:
unable to increase penalties substantially, Congress, in the context of “guaranteed issue” and “community rating,” has only one way to induce healthy people to purchase insurance. This is by the hugely expensive process of increasing premium subsidies enough to make negligible the difference between the cost of insurance to purchasers and the penalty for not purchasing. Republicans will ferociously resist exacerbating the nation’s financial crisis in order to rescue the ACA.
So, it’s the same as it ever was in liberal America.
So, how do we make ObamaCare more palatable to the American public? Do we call it something different? After all, President Obama has reclassified the War on Terror, as an “Overseas Contingency Operation.” However, FreedomWorks blogger Rusty Weiss wrote on January 11:
back in 2010, an agreement between a pro-Obamacare foundation and a society of business journalists had been questioned as a ‘cozy propaganda arrangement’. This arrangement has recently continued through sponsorship funding and training efforts that will provide journalists with “specialized education in health care reporting”.
In the summer of 2010, the Commonwealth Fund, a self-described ‘progressive’ organization, announced a $15,000 grant being awarded to the Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW). It was the third such grant awarded to the SABEW since 2007, but the first to have the express purpose of providing ‘a series of education programs focusing on aspects of the nation’s new health-care reform law.’
The organization has a history of reporting only favorable accounts of the Obamacare legislation, even being pointed to on numerous occassions by the White House.
Case in point – The SABEW has recently announced a two-day symposium on “The Business of Health Care”, being held at Reuters Headquarters in New York City. The event, sponsored by the Commonwealth Fund and featuring their brand new President, David Blumenthal as a speaker, will “offer specialized education in health care reporting” and “boost knowledge of the Affordable Care Act”.
Additionally, the symposium will be kicked off by a former member of the Obama Administration, Sherry Glied, who served under the President at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Given that “Reuters, Money Magazine, MarketWatch, the Dallas Morning News, and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel will all be represented at the symposium,” I’m sure it’ll be a fun-filled, big government love fest. More disconcertingly, it’s another episode in the annals of the decline of the Fourth Estate.
I’ve seen Facebook statuses from some of my liberal friends that go like this: First Amendment ≠ Second Amendment. No. There should be equal advocacy for honoring the entire Bill of Rights in American political discourse. Only liberals seem to put things on graduated scale. It makes things more palatable to their base to swallow, and allows them to trim the fat in order to win elections. In other words, like solving a puzzle, liberals use as many pieces as it takes to ensure victory, and disregard the rest. You can see this with the controversy surrounding Obama’s recent cabinet appointments. They’re all white men. Not to say that there’s anything wrong with that, but given that single women were instrumental in the president’s re-election; they must feel screwed. Alas, so much for the so-called “war on women.” It’s not like we didn’t tell you that this was a giant marketing ploy to scare uninformed millennials from Mitt Romney, who actually hired women (14 out of 33 senior -level appointments by the way) from his binders when he was Governor of Massachusetts. However, I digress.
With liberals, like Alex Wagner, putting the Bill of Rights on a graduated scale is the only intellectually honest way of abolishing the Second Amendment altogether. Wagner admitted to this on Bill Maher’s Real Time in 2011.
Bill Maher, HBO: “Let’s ask Alex. What would you change in the Constitution?”
Alex Wagner, Huffington Post: “Well, I’m going to be pilloried for this. I think get rid of the second Amendment, the right to bear arms. I just think in the grand scheme of the rights that we have; the right of assembly, free speech, I mean, owning a gun does not, it does not tally on the same level as those other Constitutional rights. And being more discreet about who gets to have a firearm and right to kill with a firearm, I think is something that would be in our national interest to revisit that.”
However, as Victor Davis Hanson of NRO, and PJ Media, wrote today:
To the Founders, the notion that individual citizens had recourse to weapons comparable to those of federal authorities was a strong deterrent to government infringing upon constitutionally protected freedoms — rights that cannot simply be hacked away by presidential executive orders.
That may be why the brief Second Amendment explicitly cites the desirability of a militia. By intent, it was followed by the Third Amendment, which restricts the rights of the government to quarter federal troops in citizens’ homes.
Granted, DC v. Heller refuted the “organized militia” argument liberals have used to argue for the disarmament of the American people, but it shows a continuity, relating to the theme of safety, concerning the interactions between the people and the state. The Bill of Rights was meant to ensure the safety of the people against an authoritarian state, since the first ten amendments listed were usually the ones tyrants stripped from the outset. Then again, a hyper-regulatory progressive state is something liberals have been yearning for, as they’re frustrated with the various legislative blocking mechanisms within our Constitution, and attacking the Bill of Rights will help them achieve that goal.
As an NRA member, and a proud one at that, I vociferously support the right to bear arms. I’m against a new ban on so-called assault weapons ban and high-capacity magazines. However, I would also be as animated and forceful in asserting a neo-Nazi’s right to a public rally. I’m glad law enforcement agencies cannot search my residence without a warrant, and I’m afforded due process of the law, the right not to incriminate myself, and the right to a trial by jury. I’m glad my government can’t draw and quarter me as punishment. I may love the men and women in our armed forces, but glad that I’m not forced to house them in my home. Finally, I’m glad that powers not delegated to the Constitution, or prohibited by the states, are left at the discretion of the people. The defense of the entire Bill of Rights should be unequivocal, equal, and united.
Blood has been spilled to preserve it. Liberals and progressives do a great disservice, and deserve perpetual shame, in every thinking that some rights are more important than others.
The debt war is about to begin, again. Some Republicans voted for an abysmal fiscal deal, which didn’t cut spending – and showed how compromise and bipartisanship are overrated virtues. Conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer noted that this was a “complete surrender on everything.The ratio of tax hikes to spending cuts is 40:1 rather than 1:1, or 1:2 or 1:3. So, it was a complete rout by the Democrats.” Mark Steyn was much more animated writing for the Ocean County Register on January 4.
No epiphanies in Washington: The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the latest triumphant deal includes $2 billion of cuts for fiscal year 2013. Wow! That’s what the Government of the United States borrows every 10 hours and 38 minutes. Spending two months negotiating 10 hours of savings is like driving to a supermarket three states away to save a nickel on your grocery bill.
So, with the debt ceiling fight ahead, and the sequestration battle within the next two months, what can Republicans do to regain the high ground? Keith Hennessey wrote for The Wall Street Journal today that:
[S]tep one is for House Republicans to argue for and pass a debt-limit increase combined with present and future spending cuts. Mr. Obama will reject deep spending cuts and accuse Republicans of playing dangerous games with our financial system. So what next?
The president wants a very large increase in the debt ceiling—he and his team have demanded either no limit at all, or a five-year increase, which means at least a few trillion dollars. His obvious goal is to punt the issue past the 2014 midterm election. Yet if he has to ask Congress for a new increase every few months, the spending problem his administration has exacerbated in his first term will dominate the policy agenda—when he wants to work on other issues.
That brings us to step two, which is for congressional Republicans to offer Mr. Obama a choice. He can have a long-term debt-limit increase if he agrees to cut spending, or he can have repeated, short-term increases without spending cuts. If the president continues to dodge the country’s long-term spending problem, the solution is to force him to ask Congress every few months to give him the authority to borrow more while facing questions about why he refuses to restrain spending.
Step three is the critical lever for applying public pressure to Democrats to cut spending. Congressional Republicans would explain that they will support the first alternative—a long-term debt-limit increase coupled with spending cuts. They will allow short-term debt increases to occur—but they will not support them.
This means that if Mr. Obama agrees to cut spending, he will get his long-term debt-limit increase and most Republicans would vote for it. If, however, he refuses to cut spending and instead chooses repeated short-term increases, then he and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi would have to ensure that all 197 House Democrats vote aye. House Speaker John Boehner would commit to delivering only the 20 or so Republican votes that are needed to ensure the bill passed.
Hennessey reiterated this strategy of pegging spending cuts to the debt ceiling increase to Senate Republicans, but urged them to oppose, not filibuster, the three-month increases on the debt ceiling. The goal is to show that Democrats are the ones who are solely responsible for the borrow, spend, and tax methods that are crippling the economy. Will this lead to electoral gold? It’s dubious at best, right now. I would bet that this upcoming fight to renew the assault weapons ban would have more of a bearing on the 2014 midterms, and that polls showing Americans are more concerned about the economy, as oppose to gun control, could be another area of attack. Why focus on guns, if people are clamoring about the debt and deficit? Additionally, I’m always a bit hesitant about these “wait and see” strategies.
Nevertheless, John Parkinson of ABC News wrote today that Rep. Paul Ryan told the press that:
conservatives could agree to a short-term increase to the debt limit. ”We’re discussing the possible virtue of a short-term debt limit extension so that we have a better chance of getting the Senate and the White House involved in discussions in March,” Ryan, R-Wis., revealed during an off-camera discussion with reporters tracking the retreat. “What we want to achieve at the end of the day is a two-way discussion between Democrats and Republicans and, out of that, hopefully, some progress being made on getting this deficit and debt under control – because we really do believe that our obligation is to help prevent a debt crisis from hitting this country.”
Ryan declined to detail the terms of a possible short-term extension, but said that given “the realities of divided government” challenging lawmakers, he hopes Republicans “achieve consensus on a plan to proceed so that we can make progress on controlling spending and deficits and debt.
Let’s see what happens.
Well, this could get expensive.
The Bloomberg administration and New York City’s teachers’ union said Thursday that they had failed to reach a deal on a new system for evaluating 75,000 public school teachers, putting the city into immediate danger of losing out on up to $450 million in state money and raising the possibility of cuts to staff and programs.
You’ll have to forgive the teachers’ union, they’re very new to the concept of having one’s continued employment tied to doing the job well. They’re more concerned with the nature of the evaluation system than hundreds of millions of dollars in education money.
Remember that the next time an education union whines that we’re not spending enough.
If you buy a firearm at the local sporting goods store, pawn shop, or other licensed gun seller, you have to submit to a background check. It doesn’t usually take very long, and it’s essentially filling out a form plus a phone call to the FBI’s NICS system to make sure that you’re not a felon or other person who ought not own a firearm. The screening could probably use a database upgrade and a tech upgrade to be able to handle a higher call volume, but it basically works. You also have to go through the background check if you buy a gun off the internet, at Gunbroker.com or similar site.
President Obama wants background checks expanded, so that even if you buy a gun from a private citizen who does not make their living selling firearms, you would have to submit to a background check. He and others sympathetic to increasing gun control cite a statistic that on its face sounds alarming: That 40% of all gun purchases in the US happen among private citizens and therefore outside the background check system. That’s the so-called “gun show loophole,” which gets touted even though the vast majority of sales that happen at gun shows involve licensed dealers and, therefore, background checks.
Well, John Fund took a look at the alarming 40% stat. There’s less to it than meets the eye.
The dubious statistic of guns that avoided background checks — which is actually 36 percent — comes from a small 251-person survey on gun sales two decades ago, very early in the Clinton administration. Most of the survey covered sales before the Brady Act instituted mandatory federal background checks in early 1994.
If that alone didn’t make the number invalid, the federal survey simply asked buyers if they thought they were buying from a licensed firearms dealer. While all Federal Firearm Licensees do background checks, only those perceived as being FFLs were counted. Yet, there is much evidence that survey respondents who went to the smallest FFLs, especially the “kitchen table” types, had no idea that the dealer was actually “licensed.” Many buyers seemed to think that only “brick and mortar” stores were licensed dealers, and so the survey underestimating the number of sales covered by the checks.
Another reason for the high number is that it includes guns transferred as inheritances or as gifts from family members. Even President Obama’s background proposal excludes almost all of those transfers.
If you look at guns that were bought, traded, borrowed, rented, issued as a requirement of the job, or won through raffles, 85 percent went through Federal Firearm Licensees and would have been subject to a background check. Only 15 percent would have been transferred without a background check.
More at the link. It also turns out that when the background check system flags a buyer as a potential problem, it’s almost always a case of mistaken identity. If we task non-professionals with running the checks, we may end up increasing the number of false positives.
We cannot have a mature national conversation about all of this when one side can’t even get their terminology straight and keeps resorting to bogus statistics to make their case. Anyone who knows the difference between a clip and a magazine, and who knows that no sane military would send soldiers into battle armed with the AR15 because it is not truly a military weapon, can’t take the other side’s honesty at face value. When they go on about how awful and powerful semiautomatic weapons are because their clips hold too many bullets, they sound like idiots.
Does the president know the hardships he just inflicted on his own party and administration? He’s going after guns, but what the rest of his term? He wants to tackle immigration, but as The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin wrote today – he may have sacrificed that initiative with his plans to renew the assault weapons ban.
Rubin, WaPo’s right-of-center blogger, listed eight possible developments over the coming months because “unless and until committees of jurisdiction take up some or all of them we really have no idea what is in the realm of possibility.” Hence, why conservatives are angry and fearful over this anti-gun tango occurring along the Potomac.
1. President Obama was able to put on paper very specific proposals on guns. Where are his written proposals for health-care cost reductions? For an alternative to the sequester?
2. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) promised to vote on something having to do with guns “early this year.” Why won’t he promise to pass a budget?
3. The president included nothing that would ease mandatory mental evaluations of those who appear to be dangers to themselves or others. The single common thread in these mass shootings is a mentally unbalanced perpetrator who is untreated and/or not sufficiently supervised.4. The president adopted the National Rifle Association’s suggestion for armed guards in schools.
5. There is nothing in his proposals that will cause the makers of violent video games or movies a moment of concern. Their political donations have finally paid off.
6. Democratic senators in competitive states up for reelection in 2014 ( e.g., Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Max Baucus of Montana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mark Udall of Colorado, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Tim Johnson of South Dakota and Mark Warner of Virginia) plus 43 Republicans could vote down an assault weapons ban or other stringent anti-gun measures on an up-and-down; the pro-gun senators would have more than enough for a filibuster. With that political reality the chances of significant anti-gun measures coming to the floor of the Senate are small.
7. If Democrats are serious about a full legislative fight on guns, immigration reform will slide, a result the president may or may not want.
8. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and most smart Republicans will point the press to Reid’s door. In a written statement Reid said, “Sen. McConnell will continue to defend the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding Kentuckians. While the administration acknowledged that there is much more to be done to enforce existing law, Sen. McConnell’s first test of any new legislation the majority leader decides to bring before the Senate will be on whether or not it infringes on the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.”
Rubin’s sixth point I think is the most salient, and gives a good gauge as to how a new assault weapons ban will fair in the Senate. The prognosis is dead on arrival, but that’s betting that these Democratic senators in pro-gun states (mostly) will vote to ensure their re-election. Who am I kidding? Of course, they’ll do that!
Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska has already gone on record saying that he’s “not interested” in the renewal of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. However, some Democrats not up to reelection in 2014 have voiced their opposition to the president’s anti-gun plans as well. Freshman North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat, called the crusade to institute stricter gun laws ”wrong headed.” Furthermore, as Katie Pavlich at Townhall wrote today, Sen. Heitkamp said, “there isn’t any amount of gun regulation or gun executive orders that will solve the problem of identifying people who could potentially do this [mass shootings].”
Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) prevaricated more, and said ”I can’t tell you whether I’m for this ban or for that ban.”
What’s telling is that NBC Political Director Chuck Todd noted how the president used hyper-emotionalism, rather than substance to get his points across when he unveiled his Second Amendment assault plans to the public today. Emotion can go so far, and as I’ve said before, it creates an atmosphere for bad policymaking.
Yes, I could be speaking too soon about 2014, but if this fails, which I think it will – blood will be in the water. It’s all on the Democrats. Let them self-implode, which will allow us to go in for the political kill.
So, for everyone who feels that guns are “a scourge on society,” they should probably take note that firearms accounted for less than one half of one percent of all deaths in 2011. I’m not trying to trivialize anyone’s suffering since death, in any instance, is tragic. However, we have a political class that is dead set in abolishing the Second Amendment. We’ve all heard the figures. Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine features a segment where he reads the butcher’s bill for gun crimes in Europe and Asia, which he then compares to the awful United States. Yes, it’s high. However, it’s hardly enough to push for radical new gun laws. AWR Hawkins at Breitbart wrote yesterday that:
…in 2011, the total number of gun-related deaths was 8,583.
Taken by itself, out of context, that number seems overwhelming. But taken in the context of overall deaths in America from–including natural causes–that number represents only .34 percent of all deaths for that year.
In other words, the percentage of deaths that were gun-related in 2011 does not even equal half of one percent of the 2,513,171 overall deaths for that year.
And if you really want to see how exaggerated the current anti-”assault rifle” rhetoric is, just look at 2011 numbers for the percentage of rifle-related deaths.
That figure is .012 percent of the overall deaths in America in 2011.
Meanwhile, the percentage of overall deaths that were the result of falling off things like rocks and ladders was 1 percent, or nearly three times the percentage of deaths that were gun-related: 26,631 versus 8,583.
Hawkins mockingly calls for ladder control at the end of his post. Nevertheless, this is policymaking. Are we willing to let representatives in Congress chip away at our rights because less than one half of one percent of all crimes involved a gun?
Andrea Mitchell channeled her inner Moreno in her afternoon broadcast today, when she said that the Second Amendment can be infringed because we already do it to the First. Mitchell had Gun Owners For America’s Eric Pratt on her show, and NewsBusters’ Kyle Drennan reported that this remark was “in response to Pratt explaining: “…a very important concept of inalienable rights, because whether it’s the right to vote, right to sit behind a microphone, or the right to choose how I’m going to protect myself, all those rights cannot be infringed, as the Second Amendment says.”
ERICH PRATT: Well, we don’t think that any of the things that he’s proposing would have stopped what happened in Connecticut, wouldn’t have stopped Adam Lanza from killing a victim and stealing those firearms to commit such an atrocity. If there is an area of agreement that we have with the President, he quoted from the Declaration of Independence saying that all men are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights. And that’s a very important concept of inalienable rights, because whether it’s the right to vote, right to sit behind a microphone, or the right to choose how I’m going to protect myself, all those rights cannot be infringed, as the Second Amendment says.
ANDREA MITCHELL: Well, they can be infringed, because the First Amendment is infringed, I have to obey all sorts of regulations from the FCC, there are things we can’t say in a crowded theater, so every right also carries with it responsibilities and obligations.
PRATT: What’s interesting about that, though, is we don’t gag people before they go into the theater, we punish the lawbreakers. And in the same way, we would argue punish those who abuse the right, but don’t gag law-abiding citizens before they exercise their right. We shouldn’t be registering them like sex offenders, like they are in New York. We shouldn’t be in any way impeding them if they have not committed a crime.
It sad that we have a political wing of this country who feel that the Bill of Rights is nothing more than toilet paper.