Thursday, March 31, 2011

Oil Terrorism : New Fears Rise?

Interesting take on oil terrorism. Is it Time to Use the Strategic Petroleum Reserve? Source: Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren, "Should We Use the Strategic Petroleum Reserve?" Forbes, March 21, 2011. Rep. Ed Markey has proposed a bill directing the Department of Energy to sell 30 million barrels of crude oil -- about 4 percent of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve's (SPR) stockpile -- over the next six months, say Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren, senior fellows at the Cato Institute. Opponents of an SPR release argue that the reserve should be shut-in until a true supply disruption hits the market. The argument to hold on to SPR's crude until a much larger supply disruption hits would seem compelling, but there's so much oil in the SPR at present, we don't need to be miserly. Oil economist Timothy Considine examines a scenario in which the world experiences a five million barrel per day loss of non-Saudi crude and responds with an SPR release of 90 million barrels per month for the first three months, 60 million barrels per month for the next two months and 30 million barrels during the sixth month. He concludes that slightly more than two-thirds of the price increase would be avoided. But this scenario would drain only 58 percent of the SPR, so smaller releases here and there do not seriously jeopardize our ability to respond to "the big one." But does the federal government really need to be in the commodities business? Most people forget that the SPR was not established in order to stabilize prices during supply disruptions, but in response to the Saudi oil embargo in the fall of 1973 -- an embargo that was blamed for fuel shortages and gas lines. But subsequent analysis by economists demonstrated that Saudi oil found its way onto the world oil market; albeit indirectly. Thus the entire narrative about the embargo and the need to protect ourselves against foreign policy blackmail was never true. Nor is it true today, say Taylor and Van Doren.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Blogger Having Problems : Please Stand By

As you must have noticed, the site has no paragraphs to break up the message for easier reading. I have contacted Blogger, as have many others, asking them to fix this problem. Thank you for your patience. The Slickster!

March Madness Paid For by Taxpayers!

Taxpayers Subsidize March Madness Source: Steven Malanga, "How Taxpayers Subsidize March Madness," Real Clear Markets, March 23, 2011. The schools participating in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men's basketball tournament nonprofit status is ostensibly designed to support their educational purpose. But the major sports programs of Division I schools make liberal use of that nonprofit status to burnish their bottom lines at the expense of the taxpayer, says Steven Malanga, editor for RealClearMarkets and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Big-time college athletics have available another source of income not shared by pro sports, namely tax-deductible contributions by boosters to programs. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that nearly 21 percent of revenues from NCAA Division IA programs come from contributions presumably enabled by our tax code. The CBO added, however, that these donations to major college sports programs increasingly "seem to be...primarily commercial," not charitable, in nature. They are 'donations' in which donors receive a host of tangible benefits, from eligibility to purchase tickets to programs that sell out 100 percent of their tickets every year, to preferential seating for donors. The endowments that athletic departments build up through these contributions provide the linchpin for even more fiscal maneuvering in the form of what the CBO calls higher education's "indirect" tax arbitrage. Here's how it works: Universities and colleges are eligible to use tax-exempt debt to finance many of their capital projects, including building sports facilities. Universities engaged in these construction projects often have big endowments but still prefer to use tax-free debt to finance building. They gather donations, invest them in taxable securities that produce a higher rate of return than the interest the schools must pay out on their muni borrowing, and then they bank the difference. While it is illegal to use to proceeds from low-cost muni debt to invest directly in higher yielding taxable securities, building a university field house becomes an opportunity to skim off a few extra dollars in so-called indirect arbitrage, courtesy of the taxpayer. The exemptions get harder to justify when the moneymakers like football and basketball at the Division I level seem increasingly to be functioning as minor leagues for pro leagues rather than as paths to diplomas, says Malanga.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Free Speech Under Attack by Progressives

Look no further than this interesting note from Politico on just what the liberal Marxists progressives, in this case Media Matters, are doing to kill free speech. But make no mistake, Politico is part of the left in this country as well, even though they may not be as far left as Media Matters. Interesting enough to note is, Media Matters is funded by taxpayers, controlled by George Soros, certain tax exception, as a 'nonpartisan' contributor to the news. I can't remember what section number they are, but as this piece from Politico shows, they are anything but nonpartisan. Remember as well, NPR, and how mainstream they are and using tax dollars to trash Conservatives? POLITICO 44 “The strategy that we had had toward Fox was basically a strategy of containment,” said Brock, Media Matters’ chairman and founder and a former conservative journalist, adding that the group’s main aim had been to challenge the factual claims of the channel and to attempt to prevent them from reaching the mainstream media. The new strategy, he said, is a “war on Fox.” In an interview and a 2010 planning memo shared with POLITICO, Brock listed the fronts on which Media Matters — which he said is operating on a $10 million-plus annual budget — is working to chip away at Fox and its parent company, News Corp. They include its bread-and-butter distribution of embarrassing clips and attempts to rebut Fox points, as well as a series of under-the-radar tactics. Media Matters, Brock said, is assembling opposition research files not only on Fox’s top executives but on a series of midlevel officials. It has hired an activist who has led a successful campaign to press advertisers to avoid Glenn Beck’s show. The group is assembling a legal team to help people who have clashed with Fox to file lawsuits for defamation, invasion of privacy or other causes. And it has hired two experienced reporters, Joe Strupp and Alexander Zaitchik, to dig into Fox’s operation to help assemble a book on the network, due out in 2012 from Vintage/Anchor. (In the interest of full disclosure, Media Matters last month also issued a report criticizing “Fox and Friends” co-host Steve Doocy’s criticism of this reporter’s blog.) Brock said Media Matters also plans to run a broad campaign against Fox’s parent company, News Corp., an effort which most likely will involve opening a United Kingdom arm in London to attack the company’s interests there. The group hired an executive from to work on developing campaigns among News Corp. shareholders and also is looking for ways to turn regulators in the U.S., U.K., and elsewhere against the network. The group will “focus on [News Corp. CEO Rupert] Murdoch and trying to disrupt his commercial interests — whether that be here or looking at what’s going on in London right now,” Brock said, referring to News Corp.’s — apparently successful — move to take a majority stake in the satellite broadcaster BSkyB.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Obama Seeks to Fundamentally Change America

What the Obama administration is doing to our country is something that history will record as unprecedented in it's total destruction of American society. Will we survive this calamity - of course - but we need to stand up and be counted - if we don't, someone else, that doesn't believe in the American dream, will take your number and use it against you. The result will be you becoming a zero!

Obama Rhetoric "Just Words" : Decoder Ring Needed

Remember the 'decoder rings' from years back found in cereal boxes - they were used to decode top secrets sent from secret agents. Maybe a lot of you are to young to remember these cool rings, but I remember them and trilled to see how they worked. To my disappointment, they didn't work. Now the 'decoder ring' that arrived in the mail from Obama to decode his rhetoric, again, to my disappointment, doesn't work. GET YOUR RING YET? "I promise 100% transparency in my administration." "I promise NO NEW TAXES on a family making less than $250K a year." "I will allow 5 days of public comment before I sign any bills." "I will remove earmarks for PORK projects before I sign any bill." "I will end Income Tax for seniors making less than $50K a year." "I'll put the Health Care negotiations on CSPAN so everyone can see who is at the table!" "I'll have no lobbyists in my administration." No matter how hard I've tried to figure out the secret to Obama's "Just Words", even using my special decoder ring, the answers remain a secret.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Doctors Opt Out of ObamaCare Plan : 70% Unhappy

The number of physicians that have stated their views on the new law, the pressure to do more for less, has risen to over 70%.

The question remains, how many aging doctors will leave the profession rather than work for nothing. In modern terms this is called 'take the money and run'. What it really means is they will take what ever money they have saved and retire or just quit.

Concern over Physician Supply for Medicaid Patients
Source: Peter J. Cunningham, "State Variation in Primary Care Physician Supply: Implications for Health Reform Medicaid Expansions," Center for Studying Health System Change, March

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), Medicaid enrollment is expected to grow by 16 million people by 2019, an increase of more than 25 percent. Given the unwillingness of many primary care physicians (PCPs) to treat new Medicaid patients, policymakers and others are concerned about adequate primary care capacity to meet the increased demand, according to a new study by the Center for Studying Health System Change.

States with the smallest number of PCPs per capita overall -- generally in the South and Mountain West -- potentially will see the largest percentage increases in Medicaid enrollment.
In contrast, states with the largest number of PCPs per capita -- primarily in the Northeast -- will see more modest increases in Medicaid enrollment.

Moreover, geographic differences in PCP acceptance of new Medicaid patients reflect differences in overall PCP supply, not geographic differences in PCPs' willingness to treat Medicaid patients.
The law also increases Medicaid reimbursement rates for certain services provided by primary care physicians to 100 percent of Medicare rates in 2013 and 2014. However, the reimbursement increases are likely to have the greatest impact in states that already have a large number of PCPs accepting Medicaid patients. In fact, the percent increase of PCPs accepting Medicaid patients in these states is likely to exceed the percent increase of new Medicaid enrollees.

The reimbursement increases will have much less impact in states with a relatively small number of PCPs accepting Medicaid patients now because many of these states already reimburse primary care at rates close to or exceeding 100 percent of Medicare.

As a result, growth in Medicaid enrollment in these states will greatly outpace growth in the number of primary care physicians willing to treat new Medicaid patients.

Economic Growth to Save Social Security

A growing economy is the best way to save social security in some form, even if it means everyone will have to do with less.

Aging Population Is Biggest Challenge for Federal Budget
Source: Andrew G. Biggs, "The Case against Raising the Social Security Tax Max," American Enterprise Institute, March 2011.

With Social Security deficits increasing and the U.S. population aging, policymakers today face a choice. If they raise Social Security's maximum taxable wage -- a common proposal -- individuals will respond by working and saving less, which weakens the economy and does not fix the problem.

Instead, we should reduce Social Security benefits for middle- and high-income earners to encourage more working and saving -- and free up the government to focus on the daunting challenges of Medicare and Medicaid, says Andrew G. Biggs, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

The largest fiscal challenge for the federal budget over the next several decades is the aging of the U.S. population, which will drive up costs for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
In an aging society, smaller populations of working-age individuals must be productive enough to support ever-increasing numbers of retirees.

If society can sufficiently increase economic output, it can support those retirees without reducing the standard of living for working-age Americans. In short, a strong and growing economy is the only way entitlement reform can avoid being a zero-sum game between young and old.

Given the challenges of an aging population, it is essential that public policy encourage individuals to work more, meaning more hours of the week and more weeks of the year; save more, meaning higher participation in employer-sponsored pension plans and increased contribution levels; and retire later, meaning putting off retirement after 62, when most Americans currently claim Social Security benefits. These steps will boost the economy and help finance the Social Security program, alongside the even more daunting challenges of Medicare and Medicaid, says Biggs.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Food Safety A Given? : A Science of Guesses

Food safety is what we determine by how it tastes at any given time or place. Most of us don't believe food is unsafe, ever, we don't care for the most part - no one questions the food at a restaurant or from the store, we just cook it the way we like it. This is true even after we hear outbreaks of food poisoning where hundreds are sick.

Interesting enough, it never seems to happen at home, or maybe we never hear about people dying, or just getting sick, from food poisoning that was prepared at home. hmmmmm Strange? Yeah maybe, but the media might just to preoccupied with other things or doctors don't find it significant enough to make a fuss about it!

Is Food Safety Based on Science?
Source: Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young and Maxime Bilet, "The Complex Origins of Food Safety Rules --Yes, You Are Overcooking Your Food," Scientific American, March 13, 2011.

You might think that scientific evidence would constitute the "last word" when food safety rules are made, but in fact it's only the beginning. Policymakers take many other factors into consideration, including tradition, cultural trends, political expediency and pressure from industry. This approach sometimes imposes arbitrary and scientifically indefensible restrictions that limit food choices, confuse the public and prevent cooks from preparing the highest-quality meals, says Scientific American.

To complicate matters, some guesswork and compromise are inevitable in setting safety standards. Take, for example, the way in which health officials decide how much the pathogen count should be reduced when heating food.

Killing 90 percent of the pathogens within a specific food, for example, is called a 1D reduction (where D stands for "decimal," or factor of 10).
Killing 99 percent of the pathogens is referred to as a 2D reduction, killing 99.99 percent is termed a 4D reduction, and so forth.
Cooks achieve these reductions by maintaining food at a given temperature for a corresponding length of time.

The practical impact of an elevated D level is a longer cooking time at a particular temperature.
What D level should regulators choose to ensure food safety? If the food contains no pathogens to begin with, then it's not necessary to kill pathogens to any D level. Highly contaminated food, on the other hand, might need processing to reach a very high D level.

Right away, you can see that decisions about pathogen-reduction levels are inherently arbitrary because they require guessing the initial level of contamination. That guess can be supported by the results of scientific studies measuring the number of foodborne pathogens present under the various conditions that cooks encounter. But it's still a guess.

All food safety standards deal in probabilities. Reaching a higher standard (i.e., cooking food longer or at a higher temperature) will make the food less likely to be unsafe, and targeting a lower standard will make it a bit more likely. But there are no guarantees and no absolutes, says Scientific American.

Boarder Fence Not Fair to Democrat Voters

Why build a fence on the Southern boarder, it wouldn't be fair - the fence would just stop Democrat voters from getting to the poles to vote.

"Hourly cost of whatever it is we're doing in Libya: about $4 million. Total cost of building one mile of border fence, as undertaken by our horribly inefficient, bloated, largely incompetent federal government: about $2 million. So, every 30 minutes we're in Libya is one mile of border fence we could have built: Assuming the mission is accomplished in each case, which investment would make us safer?" --columnist Kevin D. Williamson

Congressional Reform Act of 2011 : Now or Never?

I usually don't pass things around on this site, but this sure seems to be something that we all can agree on - reform our government, or better yet, return to good government that got us the greatest country in the world in the first place.

Take a minute to read this, and then decide what is the direction we should head in to get our country back on track.

Congressional Reform Act of 2011

The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971...before computers, before e-mail, before cell phones, etc.

Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land...all because of public pressure.

In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.

Congressional Reform Act of 2011
1. Term Limits.
12 years only, one of the possible options below..
A. Two Six-year Senate terms
B. Six Two-year House terms
C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms
2. No Tenure / No Pension.
A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.
3. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.
All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.
4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12.
The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.
Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.
If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S. ) to receive the message. Maybe it is time.

THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS!!!!! If you agree with the above, pass it on. If not, just delete.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

HealthCare Reform Means Personal Responsibility

WOW! - here is a revelation - the public must assume more responsibility for their own health care needs. Howard is correct here in that 'one size fits all' health care is not reasonable or workable.

To believe so only slip you into the ranks of the 'untouchable' liberal progressives that legislate from Disney Land rather than from 'literalville'.

Affordable Care Act Will Inevitably Face More Reforms
Source: Paul Howard, "Reforming the Reforms: Why the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Will Require Substantial Reform," Manhattan Institute, March 17, 2011.

Given the sharp and unpredictable fiscal risks that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) imposes on the federal budget, a second round of reforms is inevitable. The only question is whether they will be enacted before the United States faces a fiscal crisis or in the midst of one. The sooner real reforms are implemented, the less painful they will be, says Paul Howard, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

What approach should a future Congress and President take to put the U.S. health care system on a sustainable path without forcing draconian cuts in patient access or strangling medical innovation?

Tax reform should be the first order of business.

Health insurance markets should also receive a powerful dose of competition: either through pure interstate insurance sales or through an optional federal charter for health insurance.

Well-funded and well-designed high risk pools could provide a solution for the chronically ill who cannot currently afford insurance at market rates, without distorting the entire market through community rating and guaranteed issue regulations.

The states should be encouraged to experiment with additional innovations -- reforms in Utah, Massachusetts and elsewhere should be allowed to flower or fail before the entire nation is committed to one state's work in progress.

Finally, we should face the reality that there is no administrative "silver bullet" for fixing health care. Every wealthy country is faced by the triple challenge of aging populations, rapidly advancing health care technology and a shrinking workforce to pay for it.

Individuals will need to assume more responsibility for their own health and plan for long-term health care expenses that will accrue with a substantially lengthened lifespan. As a society, our assumptions about health and work will have to adapt to these new realities, says Howard.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Electric Cars in Our Future : A Distant Future

How long do you think it will take for the far left progressive eco-fascists to understand that we do not have the technology to run our country on solar panels or wind mills, much less Ethanol. But maybe it's not about understanding what is best or workable in the free market, maybe it's about ideology.

Environmentalism is about a single minded need to control the lives of us that can't grasp the big picture when it comes to scaling back our country to the early 1800's where most of us lived in poverty but the land was mostly uninhabited.

Just like Ethanol, the electric car is not in our immediate future and to try and force it on the majority of the population by a very small minority of eco-fanatics will only end up causing financial destruction to our way of life.

Making Electric Cars Feasible
Source: Peter W. Huber, "Broadband Electricity and the Free-Market Path to Electric Cars," Manhattan Institute, March 2011.

Batteries big enough to give an electric car significant range remain heavy and expensive. Many policymakers seem to be staking the electric car's future on the development of much cheaper batteries.

More capital investment in the relatively low-voltage lines, transformers and terminal equipment that distribute power to city blocks, high-rises and suburban neighborhoods is a direct substitute for much of the additional capital investment that must otherwise be funneled into the electric car.

This "last mile" grid investment will likely play a much larger role in delivering electric miles cheaply, reliably and conveniently, says Peter W. Huber, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

Market forces have propelled the progressive electrification of factories, offices and homes for over a century.

Electric motors and associated systems that convey and control the electricity they need, powered by onboard diesel generators, have likewise displaced mechanical alternatives in locomotives and monster trucks.

High-power semiconductors developed in the 1980s are now being deployed inside cars to electrify water and oil pumps, radiator-cooling fans, brakes, throttles, steering systems, shock absorbers and engine valves.

These trends all point toward the last great leap, the one already taken by locomotives and monster trucks: electric drivetrains will knock out the gearbox, driveshaft, differential and related hardware.

The free market path to getting grid electricity to our wheels hinges on giving every company that already owns, or cares to invest in, any part of the electron pipeline -- electric utilities certainly included -- the freedom and flexibility to invest new capital, set prices, recover costs and earn profits commensurate with the risks, while working closely with car companies, car owners, municipalities, employers, mall owners, parking garages, individual homeowners and others, says Huber.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Merit Pay is Free Market Dynamics

Does merit pay work? Of course it does, and why not if it works in industry, why not in schools. After all, teachers are human and have the same wants and desires as the people that have other occupations.

Call it the carrot and stick phenomenon or what ever you want, but in the end, it isn't lost on the teachers that if they produce positive results, they get more money. If they don't, they get fired! It's the free market at it's best. A product that works sells every time.

Does Merit Pay Work?
Source: Sarena Goodman and Lesley Turner, "Does Whole-School Performance Pay Improve Student Learning?" Education Next, Spring 2011.

Recently, the New York City Department of Education (DOE) conducted a policy experiment to test whether giving merit pay to all teachers at an effective school could increase student achievement. The city's School-Wide Performance Bonus Program, launched in 2007 and endorsed by both the DOE and the teachers union, was implemented in a randomly selected subset of the city's most disadvantaged schools.

The analysis presented by Sarena Goodman and Lesley Turner, Ph.D. candidates in Columbia University's Department of Economics, is based on data from the first two years of the bonus program.

The effectiveness of school-wide bonus programs may depend on the number of teachers with tested students in a school. For schools in the bottom quartile of the number of teachers with tested students, that is, schools with approximately 10 or fewer such teachers in elementary and K-8 schools and five or fewer in middle schools, school-wide merit pay did lead to improved student achievement.

Goodman and Turner estimate that the New York City bonus program had a positive effect on student math achievement in these schools in both program years, although the estimated effect in the second year fell just short of conventional levels of statistical significance.

Conversely, this analysis also indicates that the program may have slightly lowered student achievement in schools with larger teaching staffs.

Math achievement gains attributable to the bonus program in schools with smaller teaching staffs were modest in size but meaningful.

For merit pay to improve student outcomes, teachers must face strong incentives to improve their performance.

Goodman and Turner's study indicates that school-wide bonus programs may be able to provide those incentives in schools with relatively small teaching staffs. They may also be appropriate for schools characterized by a high degree of staff cohesion, in which teachers work collaboratively to improve student learning and it is difficult to isolate the performance of a single teacher.

Media Success Depends on Free Markets AND Truth

Little wonder the major media are failing - they are control by progressives that believe the only way to gain control of the public is through government regulation, not producing a good product such as telling the truth.

We are all aware of how telling the truth, that is producing a good product, is a successful strategy despite an regulatory nightmare in Washington, witness FOX
News and talk radio.

A Free Market in the Media Industry
Source: Bruce M. Owen, "The FCC and the Unfree Market for TV Program Rights," Free State Foundation, March 2011.

Media companies buy or produce "content" such as television and radio programs, comic strips or news coverage. The problem, of course, is that the TV program market is not free and competitive, partly because of rules promulgated by Congress or by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) itself.

These rights yield no productive value for the economy, but merely transfer profits from one industry group to another in a way that is costly to consumers. The rules create rather than correct a market failure, says Bruce M. Owen, director of the public policy program at Stanford University.

The problem is that industries faced with acute pressure from competition and technological changes often seek assistance from the government. By its nature, the demand for protection originates from the established firms who aim to stop or at least attenuate inroads by new entrants and new technologies.

New entrants and technologies threaten established firms precisely because they offer more or better services and lower prices to consumers. Government protection for the established suppliers often works by depriving consumers of such benefits.

Protection for established firms is therefore likely to be harmful to the public, keeping prices high and slowing the availability of new products and services.

Many FCC rules and regulations arise from these impulses to manage competition, though they are often papered over with attempts at public interest rhetoric. Let a competitive market in TV programming operate free of regulatory intervention. But first, create a truly free market by repealing artificial and unproductive legacy rights, which are no longer needed -- if ever they were -- in today's competitive communications marketplace, says Owen.

Monday, March 21, 2011

DOJ Biased Intent Revealed : Orwell's Animal Fram?

The Department of Justice seems to take a biased stand on all Constitutional litigation's no matter what the circumstances. One has to wonder what is happening to our justice system. Is it about justice or just more politics?

This article will help the reader come to some conclusions as to who is serious about justice and who isn't.

(author unknown)
Just Where Does the DOJ Stand?
The viral video sensation showing a bullying incident at an Australian school has brought the issue of bullying back into the spotlight. Here in the United States, the Obama administration has made school bullying a federal issue. Last week, President Barack Obama addressed an anti-bullying conference with First Lady Michelle Obama at his side.

The administration's anti-bullying campaign has been ongoing since the beginning of Mr. Obama's term. The Department of Justice announced in December 2010 its intention to hold liable school districts that fail to protect students that are bullied.DOJ’s website states:

The Civil Rights Division and the entire Justice Department are committed to ending bullying and harassment in schools, and the video highlights the Department’s authority to enforce federal laws that protect students from discrimination and harassment at school because of their race, national origin, disability, religion, and sex, including harassment based on nonconformity with gender stereotypes.

The statement later says:

The enforcement of the Equal Protection Clause, Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 in school districts is a top priority of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Additional information is available at the Civil Rights Division’s Educational Opportunities Section website at

Here is the catch. DOJ will only investigate bullying cases if the victim is considered protected under the 1964 Civil Rights legislation. In essence, only discrimination against a victim’s race, sex, national origin, disability, or religion will be considered by DOJ. The overweight straight white male who is verbally and/or physically harassed because of his size can consider himself invisible to the Justice Department. Apparently, the Justice Department is going by George Orwell’s famous Animal Farm ending: “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

“We can only take action where we have legal authority,” wrote DOJ spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa in a December 2010 e-mail to The Washington Times Water Cooler. She continues: “As stated in the website below, we are statutorily authorized to initiate suits under Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974, and under Title III of the American with Disabilities Act. More information on the Civil Rights Act, Equal Educational Opportunities Act, and the ADA can be found here: "

The Justice Department’s anti-bullying initiative is tantamount to bringing hate crime legislation to the public school system. Obviously, not only is the heterosexual white male student out of luck but inner city minority students lose out in this deal too. If a schoolyard bully is a straight black male and his target is another straight black male where does that leave the victim in the eyes of Attorney General Eric Holder? What about two female students of the same sexual orientation and race?

Is the victim in the latter situation considered to be less equal in the eyes of Obama’s Justice Department than a minority student who is picked on by a heterosexual white male student with no disabilities?Unfortunately, the Justice Department is politicizing its priorities yet again. One must wonder why the administration believes it should be micro managing local school districts bullying problems. When the Justice Department is more interested in making ideological statements through seemingly sugar coated campaigns, no one should feel protected.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Weather Extremes Found As Natural Events

Will this new evidence have any effect on the 'warmers' - nah! To try and debate global warming, or anything that is even remotely similar, energy, finance or foreign policy, with the progressive left Democrats, is totally useless. They are, for all tense and purposes, brain dead to reason or common sense.

As someone intoned that is wiser than I, " liberalism, progressivism, is indefensible by rational argument", but the lack of rational thought never stopped the liberal from their
psychotic rants. To test the theory, bring up the subject of drilling for oil in ANWR and then step to watch the melt down!

Extreme Weather: What Role Do Humans Play?
Source: Patrick J. Michaels, "Overplaying the Human Contribution to Recent Weather Extremes,", March 10, 2011.

Tying weather extremes to global warming, or using them as "proof" that warming does not exist, is a popular rhetorical flourish by politicos of all stripes. But a string of soon-to-be-published papers in the scientific literature finds that despite all hue and cry about global warming and recent extreme weather events, natural climate variability is to blame, says Patrick J. Michaels, a senior fellow with the Cato Institute.

The first chink in the armor came back in the fall of 2010, when scientists from the Physical Sciences Division of the Earth System Research Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration presented the results of their preliminary investigation.

They concluded that "despite this strong evidence for a warming planet, greenhouse gas forcing fails to explain the 2010 heat wave over western Russia. The natural process of atmospheric blocking, and the climate impacts induced by such blocking, are the principal cause for this heat wave."

What about the past two winters?

In a soon-to-be-released paper to appear in Geophysical Research Letters, a team of scientists from the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts help untangle the causes of the unusual atmospheric circulation patterns that gave rise to the harsh winter of 2009-2010 on both sides of the Atlantic.

They find: "neither SST [sea surface temperature] nor sea ice anomalies explain the negative phase of the NAO [North Atlantic Oscillation] during the 2009/10 winter."

The point is that natural variability can and does produce extreme events on every time scale, from days (e.g., individual storms), weeks (e.g., the Russian heat wave), and months (e.g., the winter of 2009-2010). Folks would do well to keep this in mind next time global warming is being posited for the weather disaster du jour, says Michaels.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Budget Cuts Okay for Now : New Budget More Needed

Okay - I wonder who will step up to the plate and take a swing at the problem? Will it be the TeaParty guys or the 'old school' die-hards sitting on their collective hands?

This article has a good point, but I believe attacking the problem with a meat clever isn't the right way to go at this point in time given the cuts now are for the budget for last year. But if Paul Ryan doesn't hit the ground running with his new budget with substantial cuts for 2012, I will very disappointed in him and very angry with the government as being totally dysfunctional.

Columnist Arnold Ahlert
"In Washington, D.C., America is witnessing one of the grossest spectacles of fiscal incompetency, coupled with denial, ever perpetrated by a political party. And that's the Republicans. Democrats have made it clear that they will accept nothing less than the destruction of the republic, if that's what it take to prove progressivism is 'successful.'

Over the top? Consider this: the highest cut in the federal budget proposed by the Irresponsible Republicans is $61 billion. The Democrat Destroyers say such a cut is way over the top. Last month, in 28 days, our government spent $223 billion of money we don't have. That's nearly four times more than the cuts proposed by the Irresponsibles, every one of which will be fought tooth and nail by the Destroyers. Any questions?

I have one. At what point does this eyes-wide-open effort to bankrupt America reach the boiling point with the American public? If someone came into your house and 'borrowed' a little over seven hundred bucks -- per family member -- I bet most Americans would be pretty upset. Well try dividing $233 billion in borrowed money by 300 million Americans, and guess what: that's precisely what the Obama administration added to every citizen's share of the debt -- in one month." --

Mortage Market Without Fixed Rate Loans

The cost to the taxpayer to fix Fanny and Freddie will be enormous, and as usual, congress will demand this nonsense continue. Maybe some common sense will prevail given the new members in government, TeaParty members, are keeping on eye on who put them in charge and who demanding they do the right thing. Get rid of Fannie and Freddie.

The fix rate loans are not needed and therefore government back guarantees a waste of money - 30 year fixed rates costs us billions.

Housing Market Doesn't Need 30-Year Fixed Loans
Source: Mark A. Calabria, "Housing Market Will Be Fine Without 30-Year Fixed Loans," Investor's Business Daily, March 16, 2011.

As Congress begins debating the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, proponents of keeping the taxpayer on the hook for the mortgage market argue that without such support the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage would disappear. The advantages of the 30-year mortgage have, however, been grossly exaggerated. Subsidizing it should not serve as an excuse for continuing to put the taxpayer at significant risk, says Mark Calabria, director of financial regulation studies at the Cato Institute.

First, we should recognize that the 30-year fixed isn't going anywhere. The "jumbo" mortgage market offers a 30-year fixed without a government guarantee. In fact, fixed-rate mortgages have historically been around half of the jumbo market. Of course it is more expensive -- but more expensive to the borrower does not mean more expensive to society.

The difference between 30-year jumbo and conforming loans has been about 30 to 40 basis points. In the absence of a federal guarantee, rates would likely go up somewhere between 10 and 30 basis points. That smallish jump would not have any impact on homeownership rates and is hardly an amount worth putting our entire financial system at risk.

While the current system has given borrowers some stability in their monthly mortgage payment, it has done so by exposing households, as taxpayers, to massive, hard-to-predict contingent liabilities.

There has been no bigger "hidden fees" or "payment shock" in the mortgage market than the cost of the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, says Calabria.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Government in Education : Waste and Failure

Again, when the government becomes involved, waste and failure are end results.

Effects of Federal Intervention in Education
Source: Jennifer A. Marshall, "Effects of the Federal Role and Intervention in Education," Heritage Foundation, March 15, 2011.

Major federal intervention into local schools began with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). Since then, a half-century of continually expanding, ever-shifting federal intervention into local schools has failed to improve American academic achievement, says Jennifer A. Marshall, director of domestic policy at the Heritage Foundation.

But it has caused an enormous compliance burden, dissipating dollars and human capital that could have been more effectively directed to achieve educational excellence.

The damage should be calculated not only in terms of decades of wasted fiscal and human resources and on-going opportunity costs. We must also take stock of how federal intervention has created a dysfunctional governance system that undermines direct accountability to parents and taxpayers, while at the same time encouraging bureaucratic expansion and empowering special interests.

Specifically, we should count the following costs of compliance with federal policy:

The proliferation of federal programs and increased federal prescription to leverage "systemic reform" have created a confusing policy maze that only a limited set of experts can navigate.

The growth of state bureaucracies to administer and comply with federal programs has given rise to a "client mentality" that undermines effective educational governance and accountability that ought to be directed toward parents and other taxpayers.

The administrative set-asides and red tape associated with federal programs diminishes education dollars as they pass through multiple layers of bureaucracy.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Walter E. Williams is Right! Greatest Generation Stand and Deliver

Walter is right. It will be a test of wills to see if the 'greatest generation' will actually put aside their need for federal hand outs and vote for a new and prosperous America in 2012.

It's time to 'stand and deliver'!

Walter E. Williams There is a distinct group of Americans who bear a large burden for today's runaway government. You ask, 'Who are they?' It's the so-called 'greatest generation.'

When those Americans were born, federal spending as a percentage of GDP was about 3 percent, as it was from 1787 to 1920 except during war. No one denies the sacrifices made and the true greatness of a generation of Americans who suffered through our worst depression, conquered the meanest tyrants during World War II and later managed to produce a level of wealth and prosperity heretofore unknown to mankind.

But this generation of Americans also laid the political foundation for the greatest betrayal of our nation's core founding principle: limited federal government exercising only constitutionally enumerated powers. It was on their watch that the foundation was laid for today's massive federal spending that tops 25 percent of GDP. A good part of that generation is still alive. Before they depart, they might do their share to help us have a federal government exercising only constitutionally enumerated powers."

North Dakota Didn't Get the Message : America is Dead

Oh, no - what do we have here? A state that's making ago of it with fossil fuels, a right-to-work law and a great educational system. All the things that the liberal left progressives and eco-fascists hate!

But wait, maybe when this gets to the White House, they will send out the union thugs to try and smash the system. After all, this is America and to have a state that's prosperous in the face of an over whelming attack from the left to destroy the American dream, must be stopped as this 'can do' spirit might spread to other states.

Whoops, too late, Wisconsin and Ohio are already on the move toward prosperity.

North Dakota Is Doing It Right
Source: Joel Kotkin, "Why North Dakota Is Booming," New Geography, March 14, 2011.

North Dakota is booming, says Joel Kotkin, executive editor of
Unemployment is 3.8 percent, and according to a Gallup survey last month, North Dakota has the best job market in the country. The state's population is up nearly 5 percent since 2000.

The biggest impetus for the good times lies with energy development.

Around 650 wells were drilled last year in North Dakota, and the state Department of Mineral Resources envisions another 5,500 new wells over the next two decades. Between 2005 and 2009, oil industry revenues have tripled to $12.7 billion from $4.2 billion, creating more than 13,000 jobs. The state also enjoys prodigious coal supplies and has even moved heavily into wind-generated electricity, now ranking ninth in the country.

While the overall numbers are still small compared to those of bigger states, North Dakota now outperforms the nation in everything from the percentage of college graduates under the age of 45 to per-capita numbers of engineering and science graduates. Median household income in 2009 was $49,450, up from $42,235 in 2000. That 17 percent increase over the last decade was three times the rate of Massachusetts and more than 10 times that of California.

What accounts for the state's success? Dakotans didn't bet the farm, so to speak, on solar cells, high-density housing or high-speed rail. Taxes are moderate and North Dakota is a right-to-work state, which makes it attractive to new employers, especially in manufacturing. But the state's real key to success is doing the first things first -- such as producing energy, food and specialized manufactured goods for which there is a growing, worldwide market.

This is what creates the employment and wealth that can support environmental protection and higher education.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Progressives Continue to Waste Taxpayers Millions

Again, government has screwed up the works. Along with the eco-fascists in and outside of our government, the Bay area is stuck with a stink that has doubled the costs, or more, against the savings the insane leftists said would occur by using the 'eco-friendly toilets'.

Why does anyone ever listen to these brain dead progressive socialist monsters!

Eco-Friendly Toilets Cause a Stink
Source: "Whiff of a Green Scandal: San Francisco Pours $14m of Bleach into Sea -- After Eco-Friendly Toilets Cause a Stink," Daily Mail (U.K.), March 1, 2011.

San Francisco is paying a high price for promoting eco-friendly low-flow toilets, says the Daily Mail (U.K.).

Twenty million gallons of water a year are being saved, but because the small amount of water is not pushing the waste away fast enough there is a stinky whiff in parts of the city. Now authorities are set to undermine the toilets' green credentials by flushing $14 million worth of bleach to solve the problem.

Public Utilities Commission spokesman Tyrone Jue admitted that skimping on toilet water had caused more sludge to back up inside the sewer pipes. It has created a rotten-egg stench near AT&T Park -- home to the San Francisco Giants -- and other parts of the Bay Area, especially during the summer months.

The city has agreed a three-year deal for concentrated bleach to disinfect treated water before it is pumped into San Francisco Bay and to sanitize tap water.

The city has already spent $100 million over the past five years to upgrade its sewer system and sewage plants, in part to overcome the odor problem.

Unions Must Face Reality - Life Without Dues

Hello Wisconsin - when the union bullies say isn't about the money, it's about freedom of speech, they are lying - it's all about the money! Union money and the lack there of to support the Democrats that promise more of it in the future.

Now, under Scott Walker, the 'Golden Goose' that's laid the eggs has just had it's head chopped off, so naturally there will be a lot of commotion until the money has finally drained out and reality sets in. No more money to feed the monster, no more fantasies of the 'easy life'. Oh, No - reality!

columnist Steve McCann
"For many on the Left the real fear is that for the first times in their lives they would have to find a job in the private sector they so vilify. Therefore the real interest of these radicals [regarding Wisconsin] is not the so-called denial of the 'right' to collective bargaining but that by eliminating compulsory union dues ... a major source of funding for their groups will be eliminated. ...

The Left, despite their protestations that they always have the best interests of the people at heart, have only their own interests at heart. It is their individual income stream and their massive egos which must be fed, and there is not enough private funding to do so. Therefore it must come from the public coffers whether directly from government programs or indirectly through compulsory public sector union dues.

It has taken a national and various state financial crises to pull back the curtain so the American public can view the corruption and greed in the full light of day. The Left ... will not go gently into that good night; but no longer will they operate with such impunity as their influence wanes and funds dry-up." --

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

State Failure linked to Gov. Domination of Culture

When the free market in employed, and government is not allowed to interfere, the outcome is always positive. This study shows just how informal institutions like churches, fraternal organizations and the like will have a positive impact on the success of state governments.

The Role of Culture in State Failure
Source: Claudio D. Shikida, Ari Francisco de Araujo Jr., and Pedro H. C. Sant'Anna, "Why Some States Fail: The Role of Culture," Cato Journal, Winter 2011.

There are many studies on the relationship between economic development and institutions. This research emphasizes the importance of the relationship between culture (informal institutions) and the quality of public goods supplied by the government, using a measure of state failure: the Failed States Index.

The results suggest that culture is more important than formal institutions in explaining differences in the degree to which states fail, according to Claudio D. Shikida and Ari Francisco de Araujo Jr., of Ibmec Minas Gerais, Brazil, and Pedro H. C. Sant'Anna, of Universidad Carlos III, Madrid.

In other words, a more promarket culture is one of the determinants of better governance.
That fact can be regarded as evidence that more open societies tend to produce governments that are more efficient in the provision of public goods.

There are many aspects to be explored in the analysis of the role of institutions in human actions, as well as in how such actions are reflected in economic outcomes. In this sense, the evidence presented shows that policymakers should pay attention to the impact of different institutions (mostly to those of informal ones) on state quality.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Bank Stability Insurance : Too Much Security

Interesting assessment of the banking ideology and how to take another look at how we got into the mess that we are in now. It's like parents that over protect the child - when it comes to making good decisions in the real world, the child fails. The parents didn't allow the child to discover that bad decisions have consequences.

This makes a lot of sense, less security, fewer guarantees against failure, smaller safety net helps adventure capital become more successful.

Deposit Insurance and Bank Stability
Source: Kam Hon Chu, "Deposit Insurance and Banking Stability," Cato Journal, Winter 2011.

Many financial systems were plagued by bank runs or subject to the risk of contagion when the recent financial tsunami unfolded. In response, policymakers and regulators in many countries have implemented various drastic regulatory measures to rescue the financial systems from meltdowns and to avert deep economic downturns. Such measures vary from country to country, but they generally include government takeovers of banks or capital injections, quantitative easing techniques, provisions of liquidity by lax lender-of-last resort lending, lower discount rates and more generous deposit insurance, says Kam Ho Chu, an associate professor of economics at the Memorial University of Newfoundland.

By applying contingency table analysis to 52 countries over the period 1996-2007, the empirical results of this study show clearly that:

Low deposit insurance coverage outperforms both high and full coverage in maintaining banking stability.

The findings also suggest that the higher the deposit insurance coverage, the more severe the banking crisis is.

Higher coverage tends to undermine market discipline and aggravate the moral hazard problem associated with deposit insurance. The recent measures or proposals in many countries to raise deposit insurance coverage or even to offer full coverage should not be espoused.

As a matter of political expedience, they are imposed by governments as temporary measures to curb bank runs and to alleviate the sharp pains due to the financial tsunami. Their effectiveness in promoting banking stability in the long term should not be taken for granted.

More important, higher or full deposit insurance coverage is incompatible with the Basel II regulatory framework that consists of three pillars -- capital adequacy, supervisory review process and market discipline -- because excessive coverage undermines market discipline. Needless to say, a three-legged stool is bound to collapse when one of its legs is weakened, says Chu.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

In almost every instance, free market solutions work to solve problems in our society. The converse is when government gets involved, there is nothing but problems and failure. So logically, what is the point to increasing the size of government? Why would we do this knowing we are asking for more failure?

Common sense dictates less government involvement in our lives and more free markets to solves most of our problems.

Market Solutions to Health Reform
Source: D. Eric Schansberg, "Envisioning a Free Market in Health Care," Cato Journal, Winter 2011.

Government has become increasingly active in regulating and financing health care over the last 40 years -- increasing health care spending from 25 percent to more than 50 percent of overall spending. This increased intervention has led to higher, not lower, health care costs. The tendency to underestimate the costs of government intervention introduces a serious problem for advocates of more government control of health care, says D. Eric Schansberg, a professor of economics at Indiana University Southeast.

So, what would it look like to have less government involvement in health care? Schansberg recommends, among other things :

End, or at least reduce, the subsidy for health insurance obtained by workers through their employers.

Eliminate payroll taxes on health savings account (HSA) contributions, allow HSAs to be used to pay insurance premiums and allow contributions to HSAs after age 65.

Dramatically reduce insurance regulation.

And repeal or replace labor regulations that unduly restrict the provision of health care services by trained medical personnel who are not doctors.

It is increasingly obvious that government solutions to health care are not effective. People often find market outcomes appealing. Proponents of free markets in health care should work to make the most persuasive case for real reform and to achieve incremental reforms where possible, says Schansberg.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Energy efficiency is a good thing, everyone will agree with this. Conservation of any kind will have the support of most citizens. But what most people won't agree on is just how to get these efficiencies to come into play.

Given the political correctness that prevails in our country, most people will keep silent rather than endure the scorn of the minority when it comes to right and wrong, common sense alternatives in the decisions arena.

Luckily for most of us, this has mostly come to an end. We know the tipping point has been reached where we all have to stand and deliver or we lose the very things that we cherish the most, the American dream, the freedom to choose our destiny.

Energy Efficiency Can Backfire
Source: John Tierney, "When Energy Efficiency Sullies the Environment," March 7, 2011.

We've come far since the carefree days of 1996, when Consumer Reports tested some midpriced top-loader washing machines and reported that "any washing machine will get clothes clean." In this year's report, no top-loading machine got top marks for cleaning. The best performers were front-loaders costing on average more than $1,000. Even after adjusting for inflation, that's still $350 more than the top-loaders of 1996. What happened to yesterday's top-loaders? asks the New York Times.

To comply with federal energy-efficiency requirements, manufacturers made changes like reducing the quantity of hot water. The result was a bunch of what Consumer Reports called "washday wash-outs," which left some clothes "nearly as stained after washing as they were when we put them in."

You might think that dirtier clothes are a small price to pay to save the planet. But a growing number of economists say that the environmental benefits of energy efficiency have been oversold. Paradoxically, there could even be more emissions as a result of some improvements in energy efficiency, these economists say.

The problem is known as the energy rebound effect.

While there's no doubt that fuel-efficient cars burn less gasoline per mile, the lower cost at the pump tends to encourage extra driving.

There's also an indirect rebound effect as drivers use the money they save on gasoline to buy other things that produce greenhouse emissions, like new electronic gadgets or vacation trips on fuel-burning planes.

Some of the biggest rebound effects occur when new economic activity results from energy-efficient technologies that reduce the cost of making products like steel or generating electricity.
In some cases, the overall result can be what's called "backfire": more energy use than would have occurred without the improved efficiency.

Wisconsin/Ohio/Indiana Suffer for Decades of Bad Decisions

Anyone that has taken any kind of accounting class knows that you can make the books come out just about anyway you want them to. In the case of states' accounting methods to balance their books, they have used all sorts of methods to postpone hard decisions that would reflect poorly on present administrations.

In the past, many governors have done what ever it took to avoid labor unrest, even to the determent to the state itself. But now, with so many states that have gone broke, it's time they have to pay the piper. Postponing the inevitable is over.

Well, the future is here and hard decisions can't be put off any longer. In states like Wisconsin, Ohio and others, the painful results of decades of bad decisions are on full display for all to see.

States' Accounting Practices Unsustainable
Source: Veronique de Rugy, "The State Pension Time Bomb," Reason Magazine, April 2011.

Nearly every state offers defined-benefit pension plans for public employees. Financed through a mix of employee and employer contributions along with the investment returns on pension funds, a defined-benefit plan represents a contractual obligation to dole out a set amount in annual payments for as long as the recipient lives, regardless of whether there are sufficient assets in the fund at the time of the employee's retirement.

One would think this obligation to pay no matter what would have led states to invest conservatively and plan ahead. Instead, they have been following accounting rules that pretty much guarantee the funds will be unsustainable, says Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center.

First, by law, states are not required to pony up regular contributions to pension systems. Many states have deferred pension payments and used their share of the contribution to increase spending in other areas.

Second, government accounting standards systematically underestimate fund liabilities, which in turn encourages pension deferrals. States calculate the value of pension liabilities based on the returns they expect from investing pension assets; onaverage, the states assume an unrealistically high 8 percent annual return on pension investments.

Once the pension plans run out of money, the payments will have to come out of general funds, meaning taxpayers' pockets. If states want to avert that, they need to push through reforms as soon as possible. A first step would be to switch to accounting methods that show the true market value of their liabilities, says de Rugy.

Lutherans/Catholics/Venison : Born to Grill

Okay, chill out people and enjoy a little good humor!

Subject: Born a Lutheran!

Each Friday night after work, Ole would fire up his outdoor grill on the shore of Stalker Lake and cook a venison steak. But, since all of Ole's neighbors were Catholic... and since it was Lent, they were forbidden from eating meat on Friday.

The delicious aroma from the grilled venison steaks drifted all the way to Fergus Falls, and was causing such a problem for the Catholic faithful that they finally talked to their priest.

The priest came to visit Ole, and suggested that he become a Catholic. After several classes and much study, Ole attended Mass..... and as the priest sprinkled holy water over him, he said, "You were born a Lutheran, and raised a Lutheran but now you are a Catholic."

Ole's neighbors were relieved. But, when Friday night arrived, the wonderful aroma of grilled venison once again filled the neighborhood.

The priest was called immediately by the neighbors and as he rushed into Ole's yard, clutching a rosary and prepared to scold him, he stopped and watched in amazement.

There stood Ole, clutching a small bottle of holy water which he carefully sprinkled over the grilling meat and chanted: "You vuz born a deer, you vuz raised a deer, but now you is a walleye"

Obama Compared to Past Presidents : What IF -

I know many people are beginning to wonder just who this president really is, given what he has said and what he has done. Below is just a few things that he accomplished in the first two years of his occupation of the oval office and how, if compared to past presidents, they would have been treated by the press and the liberal progressive left Democrats.

And as we all know, some presidents are better then others, but still treated differently by the press and historians.

These comparisons are well taken, even if you are a believer, sitting in the front pew of the church of Obama drinking the coolaide.

(Author unknown) Some of you will appreciate this and some of you will not. I do not offer an apology for this mailing, because all of it is true.

If any other of our presidents had doubled the national debt, which had taken more than two centuries to accumulate, in one year, would you have approved?

If any other of our presidents had then proposed to double the debt again within 10 years, would you have approved?

If any other of our presidents had criticized a state law that he admitted he never even read, would you think that he is just an ignorant hot head?

If any other of our presidents joined the country of Mexico and sued a state in the United States to force that state to continue to allow illegal immigration, would you question his patriotism and wonder who's side he was on?

If any other of our presidents had pronounced the Marine Corps like Marine Corpse, would you think him an idiot?

If any other of our presidents had put 87,000 workers out of work by arbitrarily placing a moratorium on offshore oil drilling on companies that have one of the best safety records of any industry because one foreign company had an accident, would you have agreed?

If any other of our presidents had used a forged document as the basis of the moratorium that would render 87000 American workers unemployed would you support him?

If any other of our presidents had been the first President to need a Tele-Prompter installed to be able to get through a press conference, would you have laughed and said this is more proof of how inept he is on his own and is really controlled by smarter men behind the scenes?

If any other of our presidents had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to take the First Lady to a play in NYC, would you have approved?

If any other of our presidents had reduced your retirement plan holdings of GM stock by 90% and given the unions a majority stake in GM, would you have approved?

If any other of our presidents had made a joke at the expense of the Special Olympic Athletes, would you have approved?

If any other of our presidents had given Gordon Brown a set of inexpensive and incorrectly formatted DVDs, when Gordon Brown had given him a thoughtful and historically significant gift, would you have approved?

If any other of our presidents had given the Queen of England an iPod containing videos of his speeches, would you have thought it a proud moment for America?

If any other of our presidents had said that the United States had 57 states, would the press have gone silent?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Public Union Compensation Reform : Taxpayers Win

Reform is the key word here - most states know that laying off works only delays the problem of getting the states budget under control. Wisconsin and other states are doing the heavy lifting even though the unions totally disregard the problem.

For unions, it's about the money they need sustain the Democrats during elections as this is where the unions get their power and money.

Reforming Public Employee Compensation
Source: Josh Barro, "Options for State and Local Governments to Manage Employee Costs," Manhattan Institute, March 2011.

State and local governments all across the country are under financial strain, and lawmakers of both parties are looking to cut spending and balance budgets while maintaining vital services. To make ends meet, cuts must be made where the money is -- and since state and local governments spend nearly half their budgets on employee salaries and benefits, public-employee compensation costs will be front and center in budget discussions all over the country, says Josh Barro, the Walter B. Wriston Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

Benefits paid or owed to public-employee unions are not the sole source of fiscal trouble in the states. But employee compensation accounts for nearly half of state and local spending, making reforms to compensation a necessary part of the solution.

We have seen this over the last two years, with state and local elected officials from both political parties showing a new willingness to seek cost control in employee compensation. Their hands are being forced by budget realities.

Not recommended here is one strategy that has been frequently proposed in state capitols and city halls: layoffs. This is not to say that layoffs are always inappropriate; they may be the best choice for some governments, especially those with an unusually large workforce relative to population. But layoffs are usually the most disruptive way to reduce employee compensation costs, as they reduce the quality of public services and de-stimulate the economy, says Barro.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Transportation Costs Unmanageable Under Union Boot

Just listen to any complaint from city managers about making reductions in expenditures on mass transit due to ridership being down, and what you hear is they have to spend more on labor even though the ridership stays the same of falls off.

This article spells out just how difficult the federal transit programs have made budgeting for city and state managers for mass transportation.

Federal Transit Program Is Wasteful
Source: Wendell Cox, "Federal Transit Programs: Spending More and More for Less and Less," Heritage Foundation, March 2, 2011.

The federal transit program and the transit systems that it subsidizes are among the most wasteful enterprises in the American economy, and reforming them should be among Congress's top priorities, says Wendell Cox, a visiting fellow in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation.

The problems with transit extend well beyond low load factors and costly rail projects. Since 1982, state and local taxpayers spent more than $750 billion (in 2009 dollars) in subsidies. Yet transit's market share dropped by more than one-third during that period.

Part of the problem is a labor cost structure driven by perverse incentives for cost maximization rather than cost effectiveness.

Brookings Institution economist Clifford Winston cites the fact that dismissed transit employees may be eligible for up to six years of severance pay under requirements of federal law. Transferring services to less costly private contractors could trigger these six-year severance payments for the displaced public employees.

Besides the fact that virtually no other workers in the nation have such benefits, the prospect of such payments is enough to discourage even the most courageous transit manager from seeking operating efficiencies.

None of this is to suggest that transit does not have a valuable role to play in urban transportation. Transit costs should be no higher than necessary, and transit improvements should cost no more than necessary. Yet the record over at least the past 40 years has been one of expenditures rising much faster than ridership, says Cox.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

College Students : Mostly Time Wasted

This is just more proof of what I have been saying ever since I left college, and is most people that attend higher education do not belong there, including me. I should have attended a technical school of some kind as most of my skills tend toward building things or repairing things.

I was aware of this the whole time I was in higher education - all ten years!! Yet, I couldn't leave the 'good life' behind and actually begin to make something of myself. When I finally did, it was such an eye-opener I thought, 'what a wasted ten years'.

In truth, it wasn't entirely wasted - I did learn a lot of stuff about the world and secured some life long relationships that I wouldn't found other wise. So, all wasn't lost but still it was time that could have been better sent.

Are College Students Learning?
Source: Bob Herbert, "College the Easy Way," New York Times, March 4, 2011.

The cost of college has skyrocketed and a four-year degree has become an ever more essential cornerstone to a middle-class standard of living. But what are America's kids actually learning in college? For an awful lot of students, the answer appears to be not much, according to the new book "Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses."

The authors, Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, cite empirical work showing that the average amount of time spent studying by college students has dropped by more than 50 percent since the early 1960s. But a lack of academic focus has not had much of an effect on grade point averages or the ability of the undergraduates to obtain their degrees, says the New York Times.
Thirty-six percent of the students said they studied alone less than five hours a week.

Nevertheless, their transcripts showed a collective grade point average of 3.16.
Professor Arum says, "It's not the students, really -- they share some of the blame -- but the colleges and universities have set up a system so that there are ways to navigate through it without taking difficult courses and still get the credential."

The book is based on a study, led by Professor Arum, that followed more than 2,300 students at a broad range of schools from the fall of 2005 to the spring of 2009. The study showed that in their first two years of college, 45 percent of the students made no significant improvement in skills related to critical thinking, complex reasoning and communication.

After the full four years, 36 percent still had not substantially improved those skills.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

China Worsed In Carbon Emissions : Who Knew?

I wonder what the eco-fascists will say now about 'man made global warming' and just who is responsible? Even the EPA is coming out of the closet with a report that states the US, without joining the Kyoto agreement, is now below China in emissions.

As U.S. Carbon Dioxide Emissions Fall, Global Emissions Increase
Source: James M. Taylor, "New EPA Data Show Futility Of U.S. Carbon Dioxide Restrictions," Forbes, February 24, 2011.

Global carbon dioxide emissions may be rapidly rising, but the United States is not to blame, according to newly released data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

U.S. carbon dioxide emissions declined 6 percent in 2009 and are now 8 percent below 2000 levels, the EPA reports. Global emissions, by contrast, have risen more than 25 percent since 2000, says James M. Taylor, a senior fellow for environment policy at the Heartland Institute.

Underdeveloped nations, which are not required to make emissions cuts under the Kyoto Protocol, accounted for virtually all of the global increase in carbon dioxide emissions since 2000.

In fact, China, which is exempt from Kyoto Protocol emissions cuts, accounted for roughly half the global increase.

In 2005 China was the second-largest emitter of carbon dioxide, trailing slightly behind the United States.
By 2009, however, China accounted for 24 percent of global emissions, compared to just 17 percent for the United States.

Free Enterprise Wins the Day : Humor!

Here is chance to shed the stress of the main stream media and the disdain of your friends for being Conservative. heh

A friend of mine just started his own business. He manufactures land mines that look like prayer mats.

It's doing well.

He says prophets are going through the roof !

Monday, March 07, 2011

Federal/Local November Mandate : STOP SPENDING!

Conservatives that were elected in last November's election are expected to stop the spending at all levels of government. That is the mandate that voters gave them. The voters told the Democrats, liberal progressives, that they expected more from them but got less so they threw them out in unprecedented numbers all across the country.

The message was clear from the voters, stop the spending, get our financial house in order before it's too late.

STOP! STOP! STOP! Did the Democrats get the message from last November? hmmmm

Federal Spending Expecting to Increase Dramatically
Source: Veronique de Rugy, "Wasteful Spending Does Not Stop at Earmarks and Overpayments," Mercatus Center, February 17, 2011.

Fraud, waste and abuse in the form of improper federal payments are undoubtedly problems worthy of congressional attention. However, improper federal payments are only a small component of government waste in this country, says Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow with the Mercatus Center.

Federal entities estimate improper payments totaled $125.4 billion in fiscal year 2010, about 5.5 percent of the $2.3 trillion in reported outlays for the related programs. This $125 billion in overt waste, however, pales in comparison to the pervasive waste that exists in current spending patterns, and the economic damage caused by misallocation of capital and the creation of perverse incentives such as moral hazard.

In fiscal year 2010, the federal government spent $3.6 trillion dollars, or 24.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), well above the historical average. The consequence of this spending was $1.3 trillion in budget deficits. A large part of this overspending was improper spending or spending that never should have happened at all.

According to the Congressional Budget Office's alternative scenario budget projection -- the scenario under which widely expected policy changes occur, including legislators' concessions to interest groups such as physicians and senior citizens -- at its current trajectory, spending will increase to 25.9 percent of GDP in 2020 and to 32.2 percent in 2030.

The harsh reality is that if the country does not deviate from its current path, the majority of future federal spending will finance the spending of the past.

Three types of systemic spending waste that must be addressed, says de Rugy:

Federal spending on functions that should be reserved for the states.
Federal spending on functions that should be reserved for the private sector.
Federal spending on things that government has no business doing in the first place.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Doctors Order More Tests : Greed OR Defence?

Here's the question - do you believe we need 'tort reform' or are doctors just doing the extra testing just to make more money?

Surgeons Order Imaging Tests for Defensive Purposes
Source: "Healthcare Spending: Study Shows High Imaging Costs for Defensive Purposes," American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons, February 16, 2011.

For many years now, some physicians have ordered specific diagnostic procedures that are of little or no benefit to a patient, largely to protect themselves from a lawsuit. Until now, however, efforts to actually measure defensive medicine practices have been limited primarily to surveys sent to physicians. In a new study from the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), however, researchers look at the actual practice decisions of physicians regarding defensive imaging.

The study found that 19 percent of the imaging tests ordered were for defensive purposes.
Defensive imaging was responsible for $113,369 of $325,309 (34.8 percent) of total imaging charges for this patient cohort, based on Medicare dollars.

The overall cost of these tests was 35 percent of all imaging ordered because the most common test was an MRI, an imaging test which costs more than a regular X-ray.

Researchers found that surgeons were more likely to practice defensively if they had been in practice for more than 15 years, says the AAOS.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Green Energy Useless In UK/Scotland : Jobs Lost!

Why is it, we in America, can't us the mistakes of others to make good decisions for ourselves? That the UK has invested so much money in 'green energy' and has shown, beyond a doubt, it was huge mistake, we, in America, continue to forge ahead with more investment in renewable energy, money we can't afford.

Wind, solar and biofuels are at best a 'fart in a hurricane' when comes to the energy needs of this country. And yet we can't seem to stem the urge to restrict the production of natural gas, oil exploration, nuclear development and tapping our huge resources of coal, all sources of energy that our current economy demands for expansion.

At what point will we decide maybe we are headed in the wrong direction?

Report Details Impact of Government Support for Renewable Energy
Source: Richard Marsh and Tom Miers, "Worth the Candle?" Verso Economics, March 2011.

A new report from Verso Economics examines the costs and benefits of government policy to support the renewable energy industry in Scotland and the United Kingdom (England, Wales and Northern Ireland).

The report's key finding is that for every job created in the United Kingdom in renewable energy, 3.7 jobs are lost. In Scotland there is no net benefit from government support for the sector, and probably a small net loss of jobs, says Verso Economics.

The main policy tool used to promote renewable energy generation is the Renewables Obligation, which effectively raises the market price paid for electricity from renewable sources.
This scheme costs electricity consumers £1.1 billion (about $1.8 billion) in the United Kingdom and around £100 million (about $163 million) in Scotland in 2009-2010.

In addition, both the U.K. and Scottish Governments have introduced a wide range of grants and subsidies for the renewables industry. These are estimated at £188 million (about $306 million) U.K.-wide and an additional £22 million (about $36 million) in Scotland in 2009-2010. The renewable energy sector imposes other indirect costs on the economy, mainly from its impact on the local environment and landscape.

In total, measurable policies to promote renewable energy cost £1.4 billion (about $2.3 billion) U.K.-wide and £168 million (about $274 million) in Scotland in 2009-2010.

Friday, March 04, 2011

ObamaCare Costs Double CBO Estimates

States will have to determine just what they will spend their tax revenue on in the coming years, will it be roads, bridges, education or health care.

It can only be one or the other. In reality, it will be health care - all other items in the budget will just fade away.

New Report Details Medicaid Cost under New Health Law
Source: "Joint Congressional Committee Report Details New Health Law's Fiscal Burden on Fragile State Budgets, Sustainability of Medicaid Program," House Energy and Commerce Committee, March 1, 2011.

The health law will cost state taxpayers at least $118.04 billion through 2023 -- more than double the Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) recent estimate of $60 billion through 2021, according to a new report from the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in March 2010 was the largest expansion of the entitlement program since its inception more than 45 years ago. Half of those obtaining health care coverage under the new law will get it through Medicaid. The committee report provides a state-by-state analysis of the financial impact the new health care law will have on states and demonstrates the unsustainable fiscal burden this new law will foist upon taxpayers.

California, for example, will spend at least another $19.4 billion on Medicaid.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission estimates that Texas will be forced to spend another $27 billion, which is more than the program's entire annual budget today.
Kentucky will get hit with $675 million in news costs to Medicaid, and Idaho found that the law would grow its Medicaid program by nearly 50 percent.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Biofuels Outlook Are Shortrange Handicapped

For at least this generation and maybe the next, fossil fuel will rule the day - to believe biofuels will be a major energy source any time soon is a "green" fantasy.

The real problem is the politics of 'green' energy - Ethanol, solar, wind and biofuels need a lot more research and development. And, of course, without huge infusion of subsides from the taxpayer, they wouldn't be a factor at all, they wouldn't exist at all! But it doesn't end just with the purchase of these odd balls for the taxpayer, the maintenance costs will crush entire communities.

Then, what is needed here is to stop the subsides that are killing family budgets by higher taxes and destroying jobs, which means vote out, in 2012, all legislators that advocate subsides for alternative fuels. If they can't exist without a subside, then they don't deserve to exits at all.

Benefits of Biofuels and Electric Vehicles Questionable
Source: Amy Kaleita, "Car-tastrophe: How Federal Policy Can Help, Not Hinder, the Greening of the Automobile," Pacific Research Institute, February 14, 2011.

Cars remain the primary mode of personal transportation for much of America and account for a large proportion of greenhouse gas emissions. However, promoting electric vehicles like the new Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf could actually cause more harm than the perceived good it provides, says Amy Kaleita, a senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute.

Both biofuels and electric vehicles are highly incentivized by federal actions; yet, the environmental benefits of both remain questionable. Policymakers must look beyond tailpipe emissions and consider economic sustainability, performance and functionality, and overall environmental health.

Dr. Kaleita's research debunks several myths fueling the push for more biofuels and electric vehicles. It shows: Many biofuels, namely those sourced from corn and soybeans, can have significant negative environmental impact.

Electric cars are only beneficial when the electricity is generated on-board or when the car is charged with electricity generated from no- to low-carbon sources.

Plug-in hybrids are only cost-competitive and more environmentally sound than other options when they are short-range vehicles charged every 20 miles or less.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Corporate Tax Rates in US : Roadblock to Success!

Corporate tax increases year after year is showing to be a major road block for small businesses and large corporations. As much as the progressives hate the word ' profit' it is what drives the market to expand. This simple concept is totally lost on the liberal left socialist progressive that can only see corporations as 'deep pockets' just waiting to be emptied.

The fact that the big corporation know what the liberals are after and protect themselves by heading out of the country, means nothing - as long as they can extract every last drop of money that they can while they are here is good enough.

The problem, of course, what will the socialist do when all the corporations are tapped out?

Corporate Tax Rate Is Major Barrier to Economic Growth
Source: Duanjie Chen and Jack Mintz, "New Estimates of Effective Corporate Tax Rates on Business Investment," Cato Institute, February 2011.

The U.S. effective corporate tax rate on new investment was 34.6 percent in 2010, which was the highest rate in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the fifth-highest rate among 83 countries.

"Effective" tax rates take into account statutory rates plus tax-base items that affect taxes paid on new investment, such as depreciation deductions, inventory allowances and interest deductions. The average OECD rate was 18.6 percent and the average rate for 83 countries was 17.7 percent, according to a new report from the Cato Institute by Duanjie Chen and Jack Mintz of the University of Calgary, School of Public Policy.

A growing number of policymakers are recognizing that the U.S. corporate tax system is a major barrier to economic growth. The aim of corporate tax reforms should be to create a system that has a competitive rate and is neutral between different business activities.

A sharp reduction to the federal corporate rate of 10 percentage points or more combined with tax base reforms would help generate higher growth and ultimately more jobs and income.
Such reforms would likely lose the government little, if any, revenue over the long run.

State governments also play an important role in business tax policy. Unfortunately, the average state corporate tax rate has not been cut in at least three decades, despite major reductions around the world since then. Furthermore, state retail sales taxes impose substantial burdens on capital purchases, which undermine investment and productivity. Thus, sales taxes should be reformed to remove taxation on business inputs.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Unemployment End Game : Dependency On Others

Extending unemployment compensation by this administration isn't about giving workers more time to find jobs in this bad economy, it's about building dependency, it's about building a large base of people that believe they can't find work that equals their skills. The longer they are idle, the harder it is to except the idea that maybe they are not as skilled as they thought, making the unemployed sink further into self protected fantasies about their future ability to find meaningful work.

The end game is to seek others at the labor temple or unemployment line, that are wondering in the same make-believe job market that is set against them by large corporations that demand skills that are unrealistic, designed to crush the worker, the average guy just trying to feed his family.

Where to turn now is to the government that promises everything but can't deliver anything except more checks. This government is all to willing to make sure that the idle stay idle and vote for those that make promises of a bright future for everyone, all you have to do is just hang on for a little longer.

Dependency will become a way of life.

But as the saying goes, 'when other peoples money runs out', the long term unemployed will find the empty mail box catastrophic.

Extended Unemployment Benefits Present Policy Concerns
Source: James Sherk, "Extended Unemployment Insurance Benefits," Heritage Foundation,

States provide unemployment insurance (UI) benefits to involuntarily unemployed workers. UI benefits typically replace 35 percent to 40 percent of a worker's weekly income. Normally, states provide UI benefits for up to 26 weeks. Workers in states with high unemployment rates may collect extended benefits for an additional 13 weeks for a total of 39 weeks. The federal government and the states normally split the cost of these extended benefits.

Congress has modified the UI program so that workers in states with high unemployment now qualify for a maximum of 99 weeks of UI benefits -- almost two years, says James Sherk, a senior policy analyst in labor economics at the Heritage Foundation.
There are however policy concerns, says Sherk.

Higher unemployment: By reducing the need to look for new work, extended UI benefits cause some unemployed workers to take longer to find new work.

Longer unemployment: The consequences of extended unemployment benefits are some of the most conclusively established results in labor economic research. Extending either the amount or the duration of UI benefits increases the length of time that workers remain unemployed.

Reduces other income: Families respond to unemployment benefits by reducing other income. Wives' earnings fall by between 36 cents and 73 cents for each dollar of UI benefits married men receive.
February 22, 2011.