Chainsaws and generators–that is the sound of my neighborhood today. Hurricane Irene (by then Tropical Storm Irene) left minimal damage and took out our electricity. I am currently at my daughter’s office in a neighboring town using her internet and electricity. Until my little Massachusetts town regains electric power, posts will be sporatic if at all. I hope everyone who reads this blog got through the storm safely. Expect to hear more from me shortly.
This is a picture from a website called egotvonline.com. I cannot say for sure that it is not photoshopped, but it is a very interesting picture. The picture was supposedly taken in Puerto Rico after hurricane Irene. The person who posted the picture explains in the caption that this is one of the reasons you do not go swimming in the flood waters after a hurricane. Can you imagine being trapped in your car and seeing a shark swim by?
On Thursday, the Detroit Free Press posted an article about Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, also known as the underwear bomber, who has asked to be released from prison because, as he states, “all Muslims should only be ruled by the law of the Quran.” That is a very interesting statement when you look at it.
The article reports:
Abdulmutallab, who has insisted on representing himself, is scheduled to go to trial Oct. 4 on charges he tried to blow up a passenger airliner with 279 passengers and 11 crew members on Christmas Day 2009 with a bomb in his underwear.
Authorities have said that Abdulmutallab is an al-Qaida operative trained in Yemen for the suicide mission, which was foiled when a passenger subdued Abdulmutallab. He is facing numerous criminal charges, including conspiracy to commit terrorism.
One of the tenets of the law of the Quran is jihad. The Hadiths (sayings of Mohammed) and interpretations of the Quran command Muslims to carry out jihad until all of the Dar al-Harb (the House of War, where shariah law is not enforced) is brought under the domination of Dar al-Islam (the House of Islam, where shariah law is enforced). In other words, Abdulmutallab was obeying shariah law when he tried to blow up that airplane. Under shariah law, he is not only not guilty of a crime, he is to be commended.
It will be interesting to watch this case unfold. What was needed here was the military trial of a terrorist. This man is a soldier in the war against the infidels. Unfortunately, under the Obama administration, he will be tried in a civilian court.
Theoretically the idea of all countries working together to make the world a better place is a really good idea. Unfortunately, it loses something when you put it into practice. My current case in point–the debate over greenhouse gas emissions.
Breitbart.com reported yesterday that Brazil, South Africa, India and China have asked industrialized nations to step up their commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at a key UN climate summit later this year. China’s climate change minister Xie Zhenua called for greater cooperation from industrialized countries. Well, wait a minute. This is ridiculous. This is like having a race with someone who when you take the lead says, “Stop, I need a chance to pass you so I can win.” Why are China and India not considered industrialized countries?
The article reports:
Former president George W. Bush said Kyoto was fatally flawed because it does not require developing giants, already major polluters, to take on similar constraints.
European countries are generally on track for their emissions reductions, but Canada is poised to miss its target by a wide margin.
At the same time, emissions by China, India, Indonesia and Brazil have rocketed — nations bound by Kyoto account for less than 30 percent of global CO2 emissions, which hit record levels in 2010.
Japan, Canada and Russia have said they will not sign up for a new round of carbon-cutting vows.
The European Union (EU) says it will only do so if other nations — including emerging giants such as China and India, which do not have binding targets — beef up efforts in a parallel negotiating arena.
Developing countries, though, insist the Protocol be renewed in its current form.
Of course the developing countries want the Protocol renewed in its current form–it puts no restrictions on them, just on everyone else.
In September of 2010, a website called Alttransport.com reported:
For the first time this decade global CO2 emissions decreased 1.3 percent in 2009, according to a study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. But that drop was offseted by a significant rise in emissions in China and India by 9 and 6 percent.
While the drop is a reason to celebrate, the decrease in emissions is linked to the slow global economy. China and India, on the other hand, have had two of the fastest growing economies — with India’s growth rate at about 8.6 percent and China’s at 10.3 percent.
On Friday, the Seattle Post Intelligencer reported that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran, publicly stated that when the state of Palestine is created, there will no longer be room for Israel in the Middle East.
The article reports:
“Do not assume you will be boosted with a (U.N.) recognition of a Palestinian state,” Ahmadinejad said, addressing Israel. “There is no room for you in the region.”
I don’t know what it will take for the world to realize the peril that Israel is in, or possibly for the world to care about the peril Israel is in, but comments like this do not foster the growth of peace in the region.
President Ahmadinejad’s remarks were made at a Tehran ceremony marking Quds Day. Quds is the Arabic word for Jerusalem.
The article also reported:
Tens of thousands attended the Quds Day rally in Tehran. State TV said millions of Iranians participated in the rallies in cities and towns across Iran.
There is something to remember here. Because of the prolonged war that went on between Iran and Iraq, more than two-thirds of the population of Iran is under the age of 30. A large portion of that population is pro-western and resents the restrictions the ayatollahs have put upon them. Demonstrators are often paid by the government or told to show up, they are rarely spontaneous. After the Iranian revolution, the changes began slowly–first requiring women teachers in universities to wear the hijab, later barring women from teaching at all. The hope of peace in the Middle East is the overthrow of the current Iranian regime–they are the prime sponsor and financier of terrorism around the world. Unless that regime is overthrown, we can expect to see the regime continue its attempt to create the worldwide caliphate it has been talking about since 1979.
Last night a candlelight vigil was held in Milford, Massachusetts, for Matthew Denice, who was riding his motorcycle last Saturday when he was stuck and killed by an illegal immigrant.
An article in the Worcester Telegram reports:
Nicholas Guaman, 34, of Milford, a native of Ecuador, allegedly was driving drunk when the vehicle he was driving struck and killed Mr. Denice, dragging him a quarter of a mile. Mr. Guaman has been charged with motor vehicle homicide and is being investigated and held on a detainer by federal immigration officials.
Earlier yesterday, outside the county jail in West Boylston where Mr. Guaman is being held on $100,000 cash bail, Worcester County Sheriff Lewis G. Evangelidis announced he had signed an application to join the Secure Communities Act program, bypassing Gov. Deval L. Patrick’s reluctance to enroll the state in the federal program.
The police estimated that 2,000 to 2,500 people, not including those in a motorcycle procession attended the vigil. Matthew Denice was a recent graduate of Framingham State University. A week before his death, Matthew Denice had begun working for The Coding Source.
It is truly a shame that this young man is dead. It is time to look closely not only at immigration laws but at drunk driving laws. This was an avoidable tragedy.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website reports the following about the Lacey Act:
The Lacey Act combats trafficking in “illegal” wildlife, fish, and plants. The 2008 Farm Bill (the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008), effective May 22, 2008, amended the Lacey Act by expanding its protection to a broader range of plants and plant products. The Lacey Act now, among other things, makes it unlawful, beginning December 15, 2008, to import certain plants and plant products without an import declaration. This page will serve as a clearinghouse for all information related to the implementation of the Lacey Act declaration requirement and will be updated promptly as new information becomes available.
That sounds pretty harmless; however, it is not.
Today’s Wall Street Journal reports on some rather unexpected consequences of that amendment process.
The article reports:
Federal agents swooped in on Gibson Guitar Wednesday, raiding factories and offices in Memphis and Nashville, seizing several pallets of wood, electronic files and guitars. The Feds are keeping mum, but in a statement yesterday Gibson’s chairman and CEO, Henry Juszkiewicz, defended his company’s manufacturing policies, accusing the Justice Department of bullying the company. “The wood the government seized Wednesday is from a Forest Stewardship Council certified supplier,” he said, suggesting the Feds are using the aggressive enforcement of overly broad laws to make the company cry uncle.
Good grief. The long arm of the law has gotten totally out of control. The article further reports:
If you are the lucky owner of a 1920s Martin guitar, it may well be made, in part, of Brazilian rosewood. Cross an international border with an instrument made of that now-restricted wood, and you better have correct and complete documentation proving the age of the instrument. Otherwise, you could lose it to a zealous customs agent—not to mention face fines and prosecution.
At a time when the unemployment rate hovers around 9 percent, the federal government is hassling a guitar manufacturer and musicians with classic instruments. What a total waste of time.
When the healthcare bill was being debated, President Obama told us, “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.” Well, I hope you weren’t counting on that.
Byron York at the Washington Examiner reports:
Now, it should surprise no one that more and more companies are exploring the possibility of dropping their employee health coverage in 2014. A new study from the benefits-consulting firm Towers Watson finds that nearly 10 percent of midsized to large companies are seriously considering doing just that, and another 20 percent are thinking about it. Still others don’t know. “Many are uncertain how they will respond to the looming impact of state-based insurance exchanges in 2014,” says Towers Watson.
The new healthcare system is designed to push people into healthcare exchanges, receiving healthcare subsidized by the government. This is the step toward the single-payer plan that Democrats in Congress was not able to pass. As private healthcare is phased out, government healthcare will be the only option.
The article reports:
The bottom line is that the new system appears designed to push more and more people into the exchanges, with more and more people receiving health coverage subsidized by the government. For the cynical, it might even appear that is what Obama and his Democratic allies wanted all along. Remember that Obama said, during a January 2008 debate that, “If I were designing a system from scratch, I would set up a single-payer system.” He couldn’t pass a single-payer system, or even a public-option system, even when he had filibuster-proof majorities in Congress. But he could enact a system that will take a slower route in that direction.
We need a Republican president and congress in 2012. Their first order of business should be to repeal Obamacare. Otherwise we will have government run healthcare with a year.
CNS News reported today on some of the unintended consequences of the Palestinian Authority’s decision to go to the United Nations next month and ask to be recognized as a state. The article points out that since 1975 the United Nations has recognized the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the “sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.” If the United Nations recognizes the Palestinian Authority as a state, the Palestinians’ representation will change from the PLO to a “state of Palestine.” All Palestinians living outside the boundaries of the “state of Palestine” will no longer be represented at the United Nations.
The article further points out:
Goodwin-Gill (Oxford University professor of public international law Guy Goodwin-Gill, an expert on refugee issues) also cited problems relating to the ability of the P.A. to assume greater powers. (Established under the Oslo Accords as an interim body to administer the self-rule areas, the P.A. is not empowered to conduct foreign affairs, a role that was left to the PLO.)
The academic said in the brief that the P.A. is a subsidiary entity set up by the PLO with “limited legislative and executive competence, limited territorial jurisdiction, and limited personal jurisdiction over Palestinians not present in the areas for which it has been accorded responsibility.”
There is another issue–Palestinian representation in Washington, D.C. The article points out:
The PLO has been permitted to maintain an office in Washington since 1994. Because of the PLO’s long history of involvement in terrorism, presidential waivers have been required by law every six months to allow its continued operation.
“Would that waiver henceforth be permitted, or be exercised?” Abrams wondered. “But if the PLO office is closed, would the United States accredit an embassy for the State of Palestine? Obviously not, as it would be the American position that there is no State of Palestine, not yet anyway.”
I don’t support a Palestinian state until the Palestinians agree to the existence of Israel. I also don’t believe that the Palestinians are entitled to any part of Jerusalem–Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel since King David–it should not be given away. The difficulties in creating a Palestinian state show that the idea has not been well thought out and might have results that are not good for anyone.
Yesterday Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article about union bosses being dissatisfied with the progress of unions under Democrat administrations.
The article reports:
The growing rift between labor and their Democratic allies was on full display Thursday, as AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told reporters that labor groups are planning to scale back their involvement with the Democratic Party in advance of the 2012 elections.
Going forward, Trumka said, the labor movement will build up its own political structures and organizations rather than contribute to and depend on the Democratic Party’s political operation. …
Labor has traditionally been a major contributor to Democratic candidates and causes around the country. Trumka said that their outside effort will help keep union-backed candidates more accountable for promises made on the campaign trail.
“Let’s assume we spent $100 in the last election,” he said, explaining the union’s position.
“The day after Election Day, we were no stronger than we were the day before,” said Trumka. “If we had spent that [$100] on creating a structure for working people that would be there year round, then we are stronger.”
What is this really about? The unions have spent a tremendous amount of money supporting Democrat candidates. Unions accounted for three of the top five high-spending outside groups in the 2010 election cycle. Needless to say, they were not as successful as they had hoped. Because of problems with union pension funds, unions need labor-friendly politicians in power to keep them going. Unions depend on growth in membership to keep funding their pension plans so that the members who have paid in over the years will get paid the pensions they were promised. According to the Pension Protection Act of 2006, pension plans whose funding levels are below 80 per cent are considered endangered, and plans whose funding levels are below 65 per cent are considered in critical condition.
It was reported in rightwinggranny.com on March 2, 2010:
“The SEIU National Industry pension fund is right at the 65% mark. The Newspaper Guild’s plan is at 62.8%, which is interesting in that newspapers seem uninterested in reporting on the problem. Sheet Metal Workers National is only funded to 38%.”
This is a ponzi scheme. Unless the unions drastically increase their membership in the very near future, their pension funds will run out of money. It will be interesting to see exactly what the unions do in 2012. Strong union support of candidates who are not traditional Democrats could create a huge problem for the Democrats in national and local elections.
Senator Marco Rubio was elected in 2010 to represent Florida in the Senate. He was born in Miami to parents who had fled the dictatorship of Fidel Castro after the Cuban revolution. Senator Rubio’s recent speech at the Reagan Library is an amazing mix of wisdom and common sense.
Power Line posted the following excerpt:
[W]e must begin by embracing certain principles that are absolutely true. Number one – the free enterprise system does not create poverty. The free enterprise system does not leave people behind. People are poor and people are left behind because they do not have access to the free enterprise system because something in their lives or in their community has denied them access to the free enterprise system. All over the world this truism is expressing itself every single day. Every nation on the Earth that embraces market economics and the free enterprise system is pulling millions of its people out of poverty. The free enterprise system creates prosperity, not denies it.
The second truism that we must understand is that poverty does not create our social problems, our social problems create our poverty. Let me give you an example. All across this country, at this very moment, there are children who are born into and are living with five strikes against them, already, through no fault of their own. They’re born into substandard housing in dangerous neighborhoods, to broken families, being raised by their grandmothers because they never knew their father and their mom is either working two jobs to make ends meet or just not home. These kids are going to struggle to succeed unless something dramatic happens in their life.
These truisms are important because they lead the public policies that define the proper role of government. On the prosperity side, the number one objective of our economic policy, in fact the singular objective of our economic policy from a government perspective is simple – it’s growth. It’s not distribution of wealth, it’s not picking winners and losers. The goal of our public policy should be growth. Growth in our economy, the creation of jobs, and of opportunity, of equality of opportunity through our governmental policies.
Now often when I give these speeches, members of the media and others get frustrated because there is nothing new or novel in it. We don’t have to reinvent this. It’s worked before and it will work again and they are simple things. Like a tax code that’s fair, predictable, easy to comply with. Like a regulatory framework that doesn’t exist to justify the existence of the regulators, that doesn’t exist to accomplish through regulation and rulemaking what they couldn’t accomplish through the Congress.
And it is the proper role of government to invest in infrastructure. Yes, government should build roads and bridges, but it should do so as part of economic development as part of infrastructure. Not as a jobs program.
And government should invest in our people at the state level. Education is important, critically important. We must educate and train our children to compete and succeed in the 21st century. Our kids are not going to grow up to compete with children in Alabama or Mississippi. They’re going to grow up to compete with kids in India, and China, all over the world; children who are learning to compete and succeed in the 21st century themselves.
These are proper roles of government within the framework of creating an environment where economic security and prosperity is possible.
The concepts in the speech need to be shouted during the current debate about our budget deficits. The first is the idea that free enterprise does not create poverty–it provides a vehicle for people to escape poverty, and the second is that poverty does not create our social problems–it is the result of those problems.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan understood what the war on poverty would do to America when Lyndon Johnson began the program:
The steady expansion of welfare programs can be taken as a measure of the steady disintegration of the Negro family structure over the past generation in the United States.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan
It’s time to examine how we spend money to fight poverty in America. Free money is not a solution to poverty. Free money destroys self-esteem and ambition–both of which are needed to overcome poverty.
This is a picture of the Blue Heron Farm Estate, where President Obama and his family are vacationing. The picture is from the Huffington Post.
Yesterday the U.K. Daily Mail posted an article about the travel expenses of Michele Obama since President Obama took office.
The article reports:
White House sources today claimed that the First Lady has spent $10million of U.S. taxpayers’ money on vacations alone in the past year.
There is nothing wrong with the President or his wife taking a vacation or with part of that vacation being paid for by taxpayers, but there seems to be a certain tone-deafness to the world that the rest of America is living in. Many families have not gone on vacation this year because of financial pressures–loss of jobs, high price of gasoline, high price of food, etc.
The article reports:
The Blue Heron Farm estate, where the Obama family are currently staying, rents for about $50,000 a week.
According to U.S. News and World Report, the Coast Guard is required to keep ships floating near the property, the presidential helicopter and jet remain at the ready and security agents will be on 24-hour duty.
I understand that there are security concerns when the President travels or is on vacation, but this seems a bit excessive to me. I truly believe that the first family of America is acting like someone who just won the lottery and has money to spend for the first time in his life, and I know that is not the case. I hope in the future, the first family will be more considerate of the taxpayers’ pocketbooks.
Yesterday Investors.com posted an article about presidential candidate Rick Perry. Governor Perry is being attacked by a fairly wide variety of people, and it is kind of interesting to watch. Investors.com had some ideas as to why Governor Perry is seen as a threat by so many people.
The article reports:
Politico reports that “if Perry ends up as the Republican nominee for president, deep-pocketed trial lawyers intend to play a central role in the campaign to defeat him.” Reporter Alexander Burns writes that “among litigators, there is no presidential candidate who inspires the same level of hatred — and fear — as Perry, an avowed opponent of the plaintiffs’ bar who has presided over several rounds of tort reform as governor.”
The article also points out that President Obama has publicly declared that he does not support caps on malpractice lawsuits. I’m sure it is just a coincidence that lawyers are the third largest contributors to Democrat party campaigns.
The article reminds us:
As Marc Ambinder pointed out in the Atlantic last year, “Seven of the last 11 major-party presidential candidates (Obama, Bush 43, Clinton, Gore, Kerry, Bush 41, Dukakis), including all of the winners sans Ronald Reagan, have possessed an undergraduate or graduate degree from Harvard or Yale.”
Governor Perry is an implied threat to the grip the Ivy League has had on the White House in recent years. The article also cites examples of success in the business world by non-Ivy League businessmen such as Jack Welch of General Electric.
The article concludes:
Non-Ivy Leaguers such as Reagan and Welch often seem to be better at recognizing problems and bringing real change for the better. Maybe that’s why our elites are showing so much fear of an Aggie like Perry.
This is going to be an interesting election campaign. The question is, “Can a man from a less-than-privileged background become President?”
I realize that many of the people reading this article are going to disagree with it. That’s ok. This site is called rightwinggranny. I am an old-fashioned grandmother, and I remember when things were different than they are today. So please exercise your right to be upset–I will exercise my right to post the article.
Hot Air posted an article yesterday reporting the following:
B4U-Act is a 501(c)(3) organization in Maryland that was established “to publicly promote services and resources for self-identified individuals (adults and adolescents) who are sexually attracted to children and seek such assistance, to educate mental health providers regarding the approaches helpful for such individuals, to develop a pool of providers in Maryland who agree to serve these individuals and abide by B4U-ACT’s Principles and Perspectives of Practice, and to educate the citizens of Maryland regarding issues faced by these individuals,” according to the group’s website.
…Last week, the group hosted a scientific symposium to discuss a proposed new definition of pedophilia in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association. Presenters expressed a wide range of views — but the thrust of the B4U-Act movement appears to be, ultimately, to decriminalize pedophilia.
This follows an article at Hot Air last week about a Vogue photography spread recently showing a 10-year old in provocative poses. This writer at Hot Air was concerned that the photo spread might somehow make the idea of sexual attraction to minors acceptable.
I would like to point out that In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder. The American Psychological Association Council of Representatives followed in 1975. Up until that point, homosexuality was considered something to be treated and not publicly acceptable as a lifestyle. Now, the aim of the gay rights movement is to make homosexual unions totally acceptable and the same as heterosexual marriage. Let me say at this point that I am not opposed to civil unions among homosexuals, but I also believe that marriage as a church sacrament needs to be protected. The right of a Pastor in a Bible-believing church to refuse to perform a gay marriage on the basis of his religious beliefs needs to be protected. If a Pastor has a different view, he should be allowed to perform the wedding, but I am afraid that if gay marriage becomes the law of the land, the first Pastor will be prosecuted for discrimination.
Now that there is an effort to decriminalize pedophilia, are we looking at a time when children will not be protected from adults preying on them? Does this mean that there will no longer be public lists of sex offenders? Does this put more children at risk?
On Tuesday, Joey Vento died at the age of 71. Joey Vento is the founder of Geno’s steaks in Philadelphia. He received national attention when he placed signs at his cheesesteak restaurant requiring customers to order in English. I have been to Geno’s steaks and was touched by the number of posters on the wall expressing support of those who have served or are serving in America’s military.
The Huffington Post reports:
According to Geno’s website, Vento learned the cheesesteak business from his father, who had opened Jim’s Steaks in the early 1940s. The site says Vento opened Geno’s in 1966 “with $6 in his pocket, two boxes of steaks and some hot dogs.”
He came up with the name after seeing a broken door in the back of his store upon which a neighborhood boy named Gino had painted his name, and he changed it to Geno’s to not conflict with a food chain of the era, the site says. The south Philadelphia location, however, was a given, because “he figured that if he was going to sell a steak, he had to be where they were already eating them.”
His story is an inspiration to anyone with a dream.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:
Mayor Nutter issued a statement that recalled Vento as “a colorful, larger-than-life Philadelphian who loved his city and excelled as a businessman. Mr. Vento had strongly held views that were matched by a commendable desire to give back to his community.”
When the split three-member human relations commission ruled that Vento’s sign did not convey a message that service would be refused to non-English speakers, Vento was pleased.
“It’s a good victory,” he said, and added: “The bottom line is that I didn’t do anything wrong.” Vento always insisted he served everyone, no matter what their language.
Some commentators and websites portrayed Vento as the heroic victim of political correctness. Vento was grateful for the publicity.
“They made me famous throughout the world,” Vento said at the time. “I’m way ahead of the game. I became a hero. I’ve got to thank them for that.”
Joey was a colorful character who cared about his community and the people around him. He was known for helping the people in his community when they were in need. He will be missed.
The American Spectator reported today that there is a shortage of essential cancer drugs due to some changes in policy at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The article reports:
The shortfall is the result of stricter FDA regulation, government price controls on already discounted but complex drugs, and policies that discourage the use of new medications. Companies, facing lower prices, tighter regulation and increasing government control over what drugs will be used and when, are exiting the U.S. market and investing in product development in China and India where, sadly, it is easier and cheaper to produce next-generation medicines.
As usual, government interference in the free marked is having a negative impact on the lives of Americans.
The article further points out::
Provenge, the first cancer vaccine, stalled at the FDA for years. Once approved, it faced 18 months of additional delay while the Obama administration figured out whether to pay for it. The gauntlet cancer patients face with Provenge is being extended to everyone waiting for a medical breakthrough under Obamacare. Before a medical innovation can be used or paid for, the government will now demand additional research demonstrating that a new product will be more effective and cheaper than existing technologies. Since most new products come from small start-ups with limited cash, such a requirement means life-saving innovations will not be available at all.
There will always be some risk associated with a new drug, but is it better to let people die than to take a reasonable risk?
This is the same government that decided that in order to save money, women under the age of fifty should not get mammograms. Since breast cancer can occur at any time and tends to be more aggressive in women in their thirties, this is the kind of decision that will result in women dying. I know a number of women who had breast cancer in their thirties and forties. They would never have discovered the cancer in time if the government policies of no mammograms until age fifty had been in effect.
Let the government do government things and the medical community do medical things. All Americans are negatively impacted when the government attempts to micromanage healthcare.
Yesterday’s New York Times reported yesterday that when President Obama released oil from the Department of Energy’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve in June, he enlisted foreign ships to move the oil.
The article reports:
The domestic ship owners say that 46 times the administration has waived the Jones Act, a 90-year-old law requiring purely domestic cargo to move on United States-flagged ships except under extraordinary circumstances. Only once this summer has oil from the reserve moved on American barges.
Even as unemployment hovered over 9 percent, the administration approved dozens of applications to transport nearly 30 million barrels of domestic crude oil within the borders of the United States on tankers employing foreign crews and flying the flags of the Marshall Islands, Panama and other countries.
Government officials defended their actions by saying that America did not have large enough vessels to move the oil quickly in large quantities. It would have cost more and taken longer to use American ships. American maritime operators stated that they feel that the oil could have been broken down into smaller lots and shipped on American ships.
The Obama administration may have meant well when it released oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, but it missed an opportunity to give jobs to Americans who need them.
Yesterday the Washington Examiner posted an editorial about the need for more aggressive action by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in reining in some of the power grabs by the Obama administration. President Obama has frequently used bureaucratic decrees to initiate policies rejected by Congress and the public.
Representative Fred Upton (R-Mich) heads the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Representative Upton has requested documents from the Department of Energy concerning its $535 million loan guarantee to Solyndra Corp. So far the Energy Department and the Office of Management Budget have defied a congressional subpoena and refused to turn over documents.
Representative Darrell Issa heads the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Representative Issa has asked the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for documents concerning their actions when Boeing attempted to open a plant in South Carolina (a right-to-work state).
So far, many of the documents that have been requested have not been produced by the Obama administration. It is time for the Republicans in the House of Representatives to develop a spine and insist that these documents be made available to the appropriate committees.
Lincoln Brown posted an article at Townhall.com today about the impact of the lack of common sense in the Endangered Species Act.
Mr. Brown points out:
Despite the good faith efforts of wildlife officials in the State of Utah, members of the public, and even that evil moustache twirler known as the Energy Industry to improve Sage Grouse habitat, the bird may find itself listed as endangered in other states.
The unfortunate aspect of that is if it is listed as endangered in oh say Wyoming, it then becomes endangered everywhere, no matter what mitigation steps have been taken to upgrades its quality of life in Utah.
I had a conversation with one our county commissioners last week. As it turns out,. Sage Grouse and three obscure plants are just tip of the iceberg. I have been told that over the next few years, we can expect another 500 new species to become endangered over the next few years.
I am not in favor of putting animals at risk for extinction, but I would like to see some common sense in establishing what animals are endangered and exactly where they are endangered. Mr. Brown points out that in the western part of our country the Fur Fins and Feathers group routinely moves groups of animals around to balance animal populations. Bison, antelope and bighorn sheep are routinely located from areas that are overpopulated to areas the are underpopulated. It’s called common sense.
The danger in the lack of common sense in the Endangered Species Act is that the misuse of the act may prevent America from using natural resources that can be used without endangering any animals. We need to protect animals that are truly in danger, but we do not need to endanger Americans in the process.
Earlier this year, there were town hall meetings in various locations around Massachusetts to discuss the Secure Communities law, which the state had the option of putting into effect. Basically the law was simple–if someone was arrested for a crime, the police would check their immigration status. In early June, I reported that Governor Patrick had decided to opt out of the program.
Today Boston.com reported a story that can be considered the result of that decision. On Saturday, Milford Massachusetts resident Matthew Denice, 23, was killed when his motorcycle was hit by a truck driven by Nicolas Guaman and dragged a quarter of a mile. The charges against Guarman include vehicular homicide while under the influence, failure to stop for police, unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, and reckless conduct creating risk to a child.
The article reports:
The arrest of Guaman and reports that he previously faced criminal charges raised concern about why he had not already been reported to immigration authorities, and highlighted the ongoing debate over a federal initiative to identify illegal immigrants.
Milford police arrested Guaman in 2008 on charges of assault and battery on a police officer and at least one public employee and of breaking and entering, according to the police and the Worcester district attorney’s office. The case was continued without a finding for one year. Police said he also faced a few minor traffic charges dating to 2007, but the district attorney’s office could not confirm that information.
Under the Secure Communities program, Mr. Guaman’s status as an illegal alien would have been determined after his first arrest and he might have been deported. Matthew Denice would still be alive. I think it’s time to rethink whether Massachusetts should take part in the Secure Communities program.
People opposed to cutting government spending always threaten that if the cuts are made, very visible necessities will abruptly disappear. It’s an argument that goes on all the time all over the country. No one every says, “If we cut spending, five employees whose jobs overlap with five other employees will be terminated.” Well, it is the silly season in Washington, and the truth is on vacation.
Byron York at the Daily Caller posted an article yesterday pointing out that our budget problems have to do with spending–not entitlements.
The article points out:
There’s no doubt federal spending has exploded in recent years. In fiscal 2007, the last year before things went haywire, the government took in $2.568 trillion in revenues and spent $2.728 trillion, for a deficit of $160 billion. In 2011, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates, the government will take in $2.230 trillion and spend $3.629 trillion, for a deficit of $1.399 trillion.
The bottom line is that with baby boomers aging, entitlements will one day be a major budget problem. But today’s deficit crisis is not one of entitlements. It was created by out-of-control spending on everything other than entitlements. The recent debt-ceiling agreement is supposed to put the brakes on that kind of spending, but leaders have so far been maddeningly vague on how they’ll do it.
This issue could be an important one in the coming presidential race. Should Republicans base their platform on entitlement reform, or should they focus on the here and now — specifically, on undoing the damage done by Obama and his Democratic allies? In coming months, the answer will likely become clear: entitlements someday, but first things first.
There will be an increase in government expenditures as the baby boomers retire. Restructuring Social Security is probably a good idea–but it has to be done in a way that keeps faith with the people who have paid into the program all of their working lives. Social Security should never be ‘means tested’–that would make it another welfare program. The people who paid into it should receive benefits from it. Remember that those who may be financially well off probably paid more into Social Security than those who made less during their lifetimes. Therefore, to ‘means test’ the program would simply make it a wealth redistribution program–not what it was originally intended to be. A large part of the problem with Social Security is the fact that Congress has spent all of the money. There is a part of me that wants to force Congress to reimburse the Social Security fund with their retirement money. It seems only fair.
The establishment Republican party does not want Rick Perry to run against President Obama in 2012–that is illustrated by the recent buzz about Paul Ryan or whether Sarah Palin would run. The Democrat party (and the liberal media) do not want Rick Perry to run–that is illustrated by recent attacks on both Texas and Rick Perry. For example, on August 22, Paul Krugman wrote an article in the New York Times about the low wages in Texas and the fact that job growth should have been better than it was.
First, the debate over the alleged Texas miracle is not over whether Texas is in fact a miserable failure. All the critics need to show is that Texas is not in fact the miracle Perry claims. And it isn’t.
Second, defenders of the miracle claims seem remarkably unwilling to confront the key argument. People like me point out that Texas has not, in fact, been immune to the recession. Since there’s a long-term shift of population and jobs to Texas, you’d expect job growth in Texas to be higher than in the rest of the country even in a recession, and the key question is whether that growth has been sufficiently high to keep up with population — and it hasn’t.
It’s a better bet that almost 1.9 million people have fled New York and Massachusetts over the last decade because they couldn’t find a job in those states, and that many of them came to Texas because there were jobs here for them because of our model of governance incorporating low taxes and spending, a predictable, low level of regulation, and a sound civil justice system—with minimal federal interference.
From this perspective, the Texas Miracle is that Texas’ unemployment rate is only 8.2% after a net inflow of 781,542 job seekers and their families have come here looking for work. Not to mention the demand for work created by international migration and normal population growth. While New York’s 8% unemployment rate come after 1.5 million people left the state.
The Texas Model has led to strong economic growth for our state, and it can do the same for the entire country.
What are these attacks about? Under Rick Perry, the State of Texas has instituted tort reform. The state has also recently passed a law that requires the loser in a lawsuit to pay the court costs. Needless to say, this prevents a lot of unnecessary lawsuits and makes less work for lawyers.
These are the three top groups that contributed to the Democrat party in 2010:
Candidate Committees $58,923,992
Lawyers/Law Firms $29,914,538
Rick Perry is a threat to both the Republican establishment and the Democrat party. His election would put tort reform nationwide on the table and might even result in a more reasonable court system.
Today’s Los Angeles Times is reporting that Jerry Leiber, the lyricist of the team of Leiber and Stoller’s, died yesterday in Los Angeles. Leiber and Stoller wrote most of the songs we remember from the 1950’s. Their songs were recorded by Elvis, the Coasters, Peggy Lee, the Drifters, the Beatles, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, Fats Domino, the Everly Brothers, Barbra Streisand, the Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin and others.
The most recorded Leiber and Stoller song is “Kansas City.” The story of Leiber and Stoller is the story of the early days of rock ‘n roll.
The article reports:
Besides writing and producing their own songs, the duo produced other artists’ music on Leiber-Stoller labels — Spark (with Lester Sill), Red Bird and others — and broke ground by becoming the first independent record producers at a major label, Atlantic Records.
Graham in his book on the duo points out that radio was mostly regional and TV had just started coming into American living rooms when Leiber and Stoller started writing for Ray Charles, Joe Turner and other black artists. It was only when Presley covered “Hound Dog” in 1956 that their music began crossing over into the mainstream, paving the way for rock ‘n’ roll to dominate the youth culture.
Please follow the link to the article and read the story of Elvis Presley’s recording of “Hound Dog.” It captures the essence of the time.
We have lost half of the duo that wrote the soundtrack of the life of anyone over the age of 60.
The Foundry at Heritage.org posted a draft of the proposed constitution of the new government in Libya.
Article I of the General Provisions states:
Libya is an independent Democratic State wherein the people are the source of authorities. The city of Tripoli shall be the capital of the State. Islam is the Religion of the State and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Sharia). Arabic is its official language while preserving the linguistic and cultural rights of all components of the Libyan society. The State shall guarantee for non-Moslems the freedom of practising religious rights and shall guarantee respect for their systems of personal status.
There is a problem with this paragraph. Sharia Law demands the death penalty for anyone who converts from Muslim to Christianity. Sharia Law demands that non-Muslims convert to Islam or do not have full rights as citizens. Sharia Law does not allow for freedom of religion.
Article 6 includes the sentence:
Libyans are brothers and their official relationship shall be based on law rather than tribal, proud or personal loyalty. Libyans shall be equal before the law. They shall enjoy equal civil and political rights, shall have the same opportunities, and be subject to the same public duties and obligations, without discrimination due to religion, belief, race, language, wealth, kinship or political opinions or social status.
The State shall guarantee for woman all opportunities which shall allow her to participate entirely and actively in political, economic and social spheres.
The above two paragraphs are in total contradiction to Sharia Law. As I said, this is a draft of the proposed constitution. Other than the Sharia Law part, it looks really good. The problem is that the Sharia Law part may override all the other parts and turn the country into another Iran.
On Saturday, CNN reported that American hikers Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer have been sentenced to eight years in an Iranian prison.
CNN details the sentence:
…five years for espionage — specifically “cooperating with the American intelligence service” — and three years for illegal entry, IRINN reported, quoting an “informed” judiciary source.
The third hiker, Sarah Shroud, was released on $500,000 bail in September 2010.
CBN News reports:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she is “deeply disappointed” with the sentence.
CBN also reported that the families of the hikers had hoped that the hikers would be released during the Islamic month of Ramadan, when pardons are often granted.
This must be heartbreaking for their families. The Iranian government has also stated that the case of Sarah Shroud is still considered open. Essentially a ransom was paid for her release. This situation illustrates the dangers of weak leadership in America. When the staff of the American Embassy was taken prisoner in Iran in 1979, the newspapers in America reminded us every day that there were hostages in Iran. Where are those newspaper articles now? These are Iranian hostages and America needs to be saying more than that they are ‘deeply disappointed.’ We need leadership in this country that will be strong enough to discourage foreign countries from kidnapping Americans who inadvertently cross an unmarked border.