Tax Policies Have Consequences

Today’s New York Post posted an article about the impact of Mayor de Blasio’s proposed tax policies.

The article reports:

Taking a page out of Barack Obama’s playbook, de Blasio casts his push for a tax hike on those earning over $500,000 as a moral imperative.

“I believe it’s time to ask the wealthy to do a little more,” he said last year. He paints taxes as a matter of giving back, as though the money was taken from others.

The article also reports New Yorkers’ response to this idea:

One friend says 10 wealthy people have told him they are leaving and another says disgusted New Yorkers bought $1 billion in residential property in Florida since the November election. The Sunshine State confers an automatic tax cut of about 12 percent because it has no city or state income tax, nor does it have an inheritance tax.

Below is the Laffer Curve. It represents the fact that there is a point where you raise taxes to the point that revenue decreases. There are many reasons for this–people find ways to shield their money from taxes, people relocate to places with lower taxes, and people make a decision to earn less so that they will be taxes less. At any rate, there is a tipping point. It remains to be seen if New York City has reached it.

English: The standard Laffer Curve

English: The standard Laffer Curve (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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The Dangers Of An Unjust Judge

Today’s New York Post featured the story of former Judge Mark Ciavarella, a Luzerne County Pennsylvania judge, who is now serving 28 years in prison for accepting $2.2 million as a finder’s fee for the construction of a for-profit prison facility to house the teenagers he was sentencing to jail for minor infractions.

Kids for Cash is a movie that tells the story of some of the families that were impacted by the judge’s dishonesty. The trailer for the movie can be found on YouTube:

The stories of some of the children impacted by this dishonest judge can be found at the website kidsforcashthemovie.com. Please follow the link and read the stories. After you read the stories, take some time to hug your children today.

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About Those Unemployment Numbers

John Crudele at the New York Post has done a number of stories about fraud in the reporting of the unemployment numbers. He posted a story yesterday about the Congressional investigations into this fraud, including an investigation by the House Oversight Committee and Congress’ Joint Economic Committee. He adds that he is also investigating. He is currently waiting for the Commerce Department to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request he has filed for e-mails and text messages between people in the Philadelphia Census office.

The article reports:

At the core of all these investigations is solid evidence that at least one surveyor — a guy named Julius Buckmon, working out of the Philadelphia Census office but polling in Washington, DC — submitted fake household surveys that were used in compiling the Labor Department’s unemployment rate.

Because of the scientific nature of the Labor Department survey, Buckmon’s actions alone would have affected the responses of some 500,000 households.

But as I’ve been reporting, the scam was allegedly much larger than that and included other surveyors (or enumerators as they are called) over many years. And supervisors at least two levels up are said to have known about — and covered up — the scandal.

What the investigators are looking for is that the unemployment numbers were falsified so that they would drop just before the 2012 election. In fact, the unemployment rate did drop before the election.

This is a chart from trading economics.com:

United States Unemployment Rate

Before you get too excited over the fact that unemployment may be dropping, you need to take a look at the labor force participation rate. When people stop looking for jobs, they are no longer counted as unemployed. Therefore, as the number of people who are working drops, the unemployment rate drops. That is not the way it should be, but it is the way it is. The chart below from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows what has happened to our labor force participation rate since 2009:

laborparticipationrate2014Regardless of whether or not there is fraud involved, our current unemployment numbers are very misleading. Please follow the link above to the New York Post to hear the rest of the story. There is a smoking gun. Unfortunately, the person in charge at the time is claiming that he never saw it.

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I Hope This Headline Is True

John Podhoretz posted an article at the New York Post today with the headline, “Congressional Budget Office sends death blow to ObamaCare.”

The article reports the contents of the CBO report:

The one-two punch: Virtually as many Americans will lack health coverage in 10 years as before the law was passed — but 2 million fewer will be working than if the law hadn’t passed.

One killer detail comes on Page 111, where the report projects: “As a result of the ACA, between 6 million and 7 million fewer people will have employment-based insurance coverage each year from 2016 through 2024 than would be the case in the absence of the ACA.”

The irony of the whole ObamaCare program is the fact that ObamaCare was supposedly designed to provide health insurance to some 30 million Americans who are currently without health insurance. The CBO report predicts that in 2024, under ObamaCare, 31 million Americans will be without health insurance. If you consider ObamaCare as  the ‘War on the Uninsured’ in America, it appears that it will be about as successful as the War on Poverty in America.

The article also reports:

If that’s not startling enough, there’s also the telling projection about ObamaCare’s impact on employment — “a decline in the number of full-time-equivalent workers of about 2.0 million in 2017, rising to about 2.5 million in 2024.”

Overall employment will rise, the report says, but not steady, secure, long-term assured employment. The possibility of securing government-provided health-care without employment will give people a new incentive to avoid it. “The estimated reduction stems almost entirely from a net decline in the amount of labor that workers choose to supply,” the report says.

Indeed, overall, between 2017 and 2024, the actual amount of work done in this country will decline by as much as 2 percent.

It really is time to come up with an alternative to ObamaCare. I only hope Congress is up to the task.

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The Only Solution To This Is An Educated Voter Willing To Speak Out

Yesterday the New York Post reported that a leak from the IRS investigation states that the FBI does not expect to file criminal charges in the IRS targeting of conservative groups. As someone who had my taxes audited for the first time ever as a result of the URS targeting conservatives, I object. I really object.

The actions taken by the Obama Administration through the IRS were aimed at limiting free speech during an election cycle. The Obama Administration is currently busy writing a series of laws to make sure conservative free speech will also be squelched in the upcoming election.

Freedomworks reported on January 6th:

“While you were all celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends, the Obama Administration was quietly releasing a new set of draconian IRS regulations that would make it virtually impossible for tea parties that want to participate in the political process to do their business. They’re going after conservative groups, they’re going after libertarian groups, and they’re going after citizen groups that want to organize people based on the values of the constitution; based on the ideas of freedom and have an impact on the political conversation.”

The article further explains:

“If that sounds familiar, what they’re doing is formalizing the same persecution, the same targeting that we saw coming out of the IRS leading up to the 2012 election. We need to do something about this. The time frame is very short; they are trying to jam this through the process. If we don’t make our voices heard, they are going to get away with it.”

Concerned citizens can access the IRS comment page through the website www.IRSTarget.com.

The IRS’s deadline for public responses is February 27, 2014.

If you want your freedom of speech in the future, now is the time to make some noise. Our freedom of speech is truly in danger.

 

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About Those Jobs Numbers

John Crudele at the New York Post has posted a few articles raising questions about how the Obama Administration is calculating unemployment numbers. He posted one yesterday. Mr. Crudele has pointed out that unemployment numbers are coming from the Census Bureau and that in 2010 one of its enumerators was caught fabricating interviews.

The article reports:

The Census Department surveys that went into the November jobless rate actually took place during the week that included Nov. 5 instead of the normal Nov. 12 week.

The Labor Department did put in a note about the survey week change in its November report.

But it should also have included another line that said: “The data for the unemployment rate may have been compromised. Lots of people are looking into the matter right now. We’ll get back to you on whether you should believe these numbers or not.”

John Hinderaker posted a story about the jobs numbers at Power Line today.

The article at Power Line includes the following chart:

120613-600x375

The chart shows what has happened to the labor participation rate since 2008–it dropped like a rock and stayed there.

The article at Power Line quotes James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute:

    1. There are still 1.1 million fewer employed Americans today than right before the recession started, despite a potential labor force that’s 14 million larger. And there are 3.6 million fewer full-time workers than back in 2007.

    2. The employment rate, the share of Americans with a job, is 58.6% — exactly where it was in November 2009.

    3. If the labor force participation rate were where it was a year ago, the jobless rate would be 7.9%, not 7% (and 11.3% if the LFPR were at prerecession levels, though closer to 9% if demographics-adjusted).

The article at Power Line concludes:

Back in the heady days of 2008 and 2009, the Democrats were universally confident that the economy would improve dramatically, as it always does after a recession, regardless of the policies the Democrats followed. All they would need to do was take credit when the time came. The bitter lesson of the last five years is that federal policies do matter. The American economy is diverse and resilient, but if our government’s policies are stupid enough, they can blight the prospects of an entire generation.

If you were planning to break out the champagne because of the 7 per cent unemployment rate, you might want to hold off for a little bit. If you want to turn this around, think before you vote.

 

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Changing The Numbers To Fit The Situation

Remember when 5 percent unemployment under George W. Bush meant that we were in horrible economic straits? Remember when gas prices hit $3.00 a gallon under George W. Bush and it was the end of the American economy as we knew it? Anyone else long for those days?

We are being told that the unemployment rate is currently hovering around 7 percent. We are also watching the labor participation rate fall to 62.8 percent (Investor’s Business Daily). This puts the true unemployment rate at about 11.8 percent.

Investor’s Business Daily reports:

When the economy fell into recession in December 2007, the jobless rate was 5% and the labor force participation rate was 66%. As job losses surged, unemployment doubled to 10% in October 2009, a few months after the recession officially ended. The jobless rate slowly began to edge down, but held at 9% or above for nearly two years, and above 8% for nearly three years.

But the drop largely reflected job market weakness rather than strength. During this time, labor force participation steadily fell. In October 2009, when official unemployment peaked, participation was 65%. A year later it was 64.4%. Now, more than four years into the expansion, it’s 62.8%, the lowest in 35 years.

But wait–there’s more. The New York Post reported yesterday that Congress will begin an investigation on how unemployment numbers have been calculated and released particularly during the run-up to the 2012 election.

The article at the New York Post reports:

Last week I reported exclusively that someone at the Census Bureau’s Philadelphia region had been screwing around with employment data. And that person, after he was caught in 2010, claimed he was told to do so by a supervisor two levels up the chain of command.

On top of that, a reliable source whom I haven’t identified said the falsification of employment data by Census was widespread and ongoing, especially around the time of the 2012 election.

In 2009, before the 2010 census was taken, the White House changed the rules on how the census would be reported. The Census Bureau would report to senior White House aides. I will admit that at the time I thought this would result in some population statistics being altered to increase the number of votes in blue states and decrease the number of votes in red states. It didn’t occur to me at the time that these numbers could also be used to skew unemployment data.

The New York Post continues:

Back in 2010, I started getting reports that the Census Bureau had some very unusual hiring practices. Census takers and supervisors — at risk of heavy fines — were reporting to me that large numbers of people were being hired only to be fired shortly afterward. And then rehired.

I theorized at the time that Census was trying to make the job-creation totals look better nationwide in those bleak months leading up to the midterm congressional elections.

This employment policy seemed too coordinated. The regional higher-ups at Census couldn’t be doing this on their own; there had to be a grander plan.

I still don’t know what was going on.

But then I heard about the falsification in Philly. This time, however, it wasn’t the employment numbers that were being doodled with. This time it was the unemployment data, which are gathered at the Census Bureau and handed over raw to the Labor Department.

Please follow the link and read the entire story. Unfortunately most of the media is unaware of this or ignoring it. As voters, all of us need to be aware of what is taking place here.

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Why In The World Should We Support These People???

Today’s New York Post posted an article about a recent beheading by the Syrian rebels.

The article reports:

A group of Al Qaeda-linked Syrian rebels beheaded a fighter then triumphantly waved his head in the air as a trophy — only to discover the poor guy was actually one of their own, London’s The Telegraph reports.

…The rebel group apologized for the gruesome case of mistaken identity on Thursday , asking for “understanding and forgiveness.”

There was no remorse at all about beheading someone–the remorse was that they beheaded one of their own. Is this the level of civilization that we need to encourage or fund?

 

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This Is No Way To Fund Pet Projects

Yesterday The New York Post reported that money will be taken out of the food stamp program to fund Michelle Obama’s pet project, Let’s Move.

The article reports:

On Nov. 1, sizable cuts were gouged into the federal food-stamp program (or, as it’s now called, SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), which feeds 47.6 million people, or nearly one in six Americans. In the city, 1.9 million folks get the bulk of their Jell-O and Campbell’s Soup from stamps.

But news has spread among the poor, like leafy green vegetables, that it wasn’t heartless Republicans who triggered the cuts.

Rather, some of the food-stamp cash was snatched to pay for Michelle Obama’s pet project, Let’s Move. What?

It’s come to this. Some 76 million meals a year will vanish from this city — poof! — partly because the president diverted money from SNAP to the first lady’s signature program, part of her Let’s Move anti-obesity initiative — the bean-sprout-heavy, $4.5 billion Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.

This project will not create healthy, hunger-free kids. Instead it will create more hungry kids. Another problem with the Let’s Move project is that the school children don’t like Michelle Obama’s healthy lunches. It seems to me that it would be a good idea to mix healthy lunches with things children like to eat for a successful program. However, in no way is it appropriate to take money away from a program that provides children with meals at home that they will eat and invest that money into lunches they will not eat at school.

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Not All Cultures Are Created Equal

On Saturday, the New York Post posted an article by Phyllis Chesler entitled, “My life of hell in an Afghan harem.” It is the story of an American college student who marries a man from Kabul, Afghanistan, and travels with him to Afghanistan. After marrying him at age 20, she travels through Europe with him and then on to Afghanistan. When she arrives in Afghanistan, an airport official takes away her American passport. That is pretty much the end of her rights as a person. Because she has given up her passport, she cannot prove that she is an American, and thus is not entitled to protection by the American Embassy.

Because of the lack of sanitary drinking water, Ms. Chesler soon contracted dysentery and later hepatitis. Her father-in-law eventually sends her back to America as she is slowing recovering from hepatitis. Needless to say, she is more than grateful to get back to America.

The article concludes:

I’ve never told this story in detail before, but felt that I must now. Because I hear some westerners preach the tortured cultural relativism that excuses the mistreatment of women in the name of Islam. Because I see the burqa on the streets of Paris and New York and feel that Afghanistan has followed me back to America.

I call myself a feminist — but not just any feminist. My kind of feminism was forged in the fires of Afghanistan. There I received an education — an expensive, almost deadly one — but a valuable one, too.

I understand firsthand how deep-seated the hatred of women is in that culture. I see how endemic indigenous barbarism and cruelty is and unlike many other intellectuals and feminists, I don’t try to romanticize or rationalize it.

I got out, and I will never return.

Her story is a striking example of what Sharia Law means for a culture. All Americans need to make sure Sharia Law never comes to America.

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A New Take On The McDouble Cheeseburger

On Saturday, the New York Post posted an article about the McDouble Cheeseburger sold at McDonald’s.

 

English: A close shot of the McDouble, a chees...

English: A close shot of the McDouble, a cheeseburger from McDonald’s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The article quotes the Freakonomics blog run by economics writer Stephen Dubner and professor Steven Leavitt:

 

What is “the cheapest, most nutritious and bountiful food that has ever existed in human history” Hint: It has 390 calories. It contains 23g, or half a daily serving, of protein, plus 7% of daily fiber, 20% of daily calcium and so on.

 

Also, you can get it in 14,000 locations in the US and it usually costs $1. Presenting one of the unsung wonders of modern life, the McDonald’s McDouble cheeseburger.

You will note that the article failed to mention the amount of fat involved, but I guess you can’t have everything.

But there is another very interesting bit of information in the article. We have all heard of the horrors of fast food–blaming it for the obesity problem in America. Well, not so fast. A 2008 study out of Berkeley and Northwestern stated that people who eat out tend to eat less at home on that day to compensate–the net gain is actually only about 24 calories a day.

Not everyone is willing to admit that the existence of McDonald’s might actually serve a purpose. The article reports:

The outraged replies to the notion of McDouble supremacy — if it’s not the cheapest, most nutritious and most bountiful food in human history, it has to be pretty close — comes from the usual coalition of class snobs, locavore foodies and militant anti-corporate types. I say usual because these people are forever proclaiming their support for the poor and for higher minimum wages that would supposedly benefit McDonald’s workers. But they’re completely heartless when it comes to the other side of the equation: cost.

Driving up McDonald’s wage costs would drive up the price of burgers for millions of poor people. “So what?” say activists. Maybe that’ll drive people to farmers markets.

Fast food consumption, on occasion, is not a horrible thing. I will admit that I prefer Wendy’s to McDonald’s, but neither one in moderation is evil. There are more horrible things in life than fast food.

 

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Your Tax Dollars At Work

America is a very generous country. We feed people all over the world and do everything we can to make sure that people in this country do not go hungry. However, sometimes the controls on our generosity are not what they should be.

On Sunday, the New York Post reported that many of the people receiving food stamps in New York are using them to buy food to ship to relatives in their home countries.

The article reports:

Welfare recipients are buying groceries with their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards and packing them in giant barrels for the trip overseas, The Post found.

The practice is so common that hundreds of 45- to 55-gallon cardboard and plastic barrels line the walls of supermarkets in almost every Caribbean corner of the city.

The feds say the moveable feasts go against the intent of the $86 billion welfare program for impoverished Americans.

No kidding. I don’t want to see anyone starve anywhere. However, we have programs that ship dollars and food overseas. In many cases, the politics of the receiving country prevent the food and aid from going to the people who need it most. That is something that needs to be dealt with, but it is a separate issue. Why are American taxpayers paying for people to ship food out of the country?

The article reports:

The United States spent $522.7 million on foreign aid to the Caribbean last fiscal year, government data show.

Still, New Yorkers say they ship the food because staples available in the States are superior and less costly than what their families can get abroad.

“Everybody does it,” said a worker at an Associated Supermarket in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn. “They pay for it any way they can. A lot of people pay with EBT.”

Customers pay cash for the barrels, usually about $40, and typically ship them filled with $500 to $2,000 worth of rice, beans, pasta, canned milk and sausages.

Workers at the Pioneer Supermarket on Parkside Avenue and the Key Food on Flatbush Avenue confirmed the practice.

If Congress were actually looking for places to cut the federal budget, they might want to take a look at the food stamp program.

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Behind The Scenes In The Student Loan Battle

Today’s Wall Street Journal posted an editorial about the current debate over student loan interest rates.

Today the Senate voted on student-loan subsidies. The news just reported that an attempt to roll back the interest rate increase has failed a procedural hurdle. One proposal suggests that the interest rate on the loans be tied to the 10-year Treasury rate. The advantage of this idea is that the taxpayers do not have to guarantee the lower rate to borrowers while the cost of the loans to the government goes up.

The Congressional Budget Office recently estimated taxpayer losses on student loans to be $95 billion over the next ten years. Remember that the government takeover of student loans was part of ObamaCare. (see rightwinggranny.com)

The article in the Wall Street Journal reports:

Liberals apologize for the price hikes imposed by their friends in the faculty lounge by pretending that universities are starved for revenue. Rep. Frank Pallone (D., N.J.) claimed on MSNBC on Saturday that “the federal government is not making the investment in higher education.” Perhaps he’s forgotten that annual Pell grant spending of $34 billion has roughly doubled in the Obama era, or that Uncle Sugar now originates more than $100 billion in annual loans.

In October 2011, I wrote in rightwinggranny.com:

The article also points out that under the proposed changes, the government would be entirely responsible for college loans. Students would borrow directly from the government and pay the government back. What happens when students default? The taxpayers pick up the tab. Aside from the fact that the benefits to the students of this program are minuscule, we need less government in all aspects of our lives–not more.

In a New York Post article quoted in the above article, John Podhoretz wrote:

One federal study found that between 1982 and 2007, tuition costs rose 432 percent while family income rose only 147 percent.

As taxpayers, we are subsidizing inflationary spending on the part of higher education. There is no incentive to cut costs if you know that the money will keep pouring in and that the government will enable the students to afford the rising tuition. Until parents refuse to pay the rising tuition at some of the prestige schools, we will continue to have this problem.

The Harvard University website reports:

The complete budget at Harvard College (exclusive of transportation) for 2012-2013 is $57,950. Tuition – $37,576; Room and Board – $13,630; College Facilities Fees (for use of library and other University facilities including the Health Services) – $3,290; Minimum for extras (books, clothing, dues, recreation, etc.) – $3,454.

In some parts of America, you can buy a house for that amount.

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The Real Cost Of Owing A Ton A Money To China

Out of every dollar the American government spends, roughly 40 cents is borrowed from China. What difference does it make? In some cases a lot of difference.

On Saturday the New York Post reported that Chen Guangcheng and his family must vacate New York University housing by July 15th. Chen Guangcheng and his immediate family arrived in this country in in May of last year (see rightwinggranny.com) after seeking refuge in the American Embassy in China.

The article reports:

The move-out mandate comes as Chen plans a trip to Taiwan later this month, and grapples with worries that members of his family in China are being beaten and denied urgent medical care by authorities.

NYU’s extension of its out-by-June-30 eviction notice comes on heels of an exclusive Post report that the university, which is building a new Shanghai campus, was ousting Chen under pressure from China.

There are two aspects of this story–NYU is under pressure by the Communist Party of China to evict Chen, but there is another part of the story. Does anyone honestly think that if America was not so deeply in debt to China, that China would be exerting this pressure? Our government has been severely weakened by the debt caused by runaway spending. We need to stop overspending and rebuild our image around the world.

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Is This Really What We Intended?

The media silence on the trial of Kermit Gosnell is deafening, but how do the things he did compare with what goes on at other abortion clinics? Yesterday the New York Post posted a story (updated today) about a sting operation in a Bronx abortion clinic.

The women went in claiming to be 23 weeks pregnant (abortion is legal in New York up until 24 weeks) seeking an abortion.

The article reports:

In an exchange laden with euphemisms on both sides to conceal the gruesome nature of the discussion, the pregnant woman wondered aloud what would happen if “it” (her fetus) emerged from her intact and alive.

The employee assigned to take note of medical history reassured the woman, “We never had that for ages” (a seeming admission that a baby did survive abortion at the clinic at least once) but that should “it” “survive this,” “They would still have to put it in like a jar, a container, with solution, and send it to the lab. . . . We don’t just throw it out in the garbage.”

Oh, and this innocuous-sounding “solution” was, of course, a toxic substance suitable for killing an infant.

“Like, what if it was twitching?” asked the pregnant woman.

“The solution will make it stop,” said the clinic employee. “That’s the whole purpose of the solution . . . It will automatically stop. It won’t be able to breathe anymore.”

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The Pitfalls Of Random Acts Of Charity

It feels good to help someone who is less fortunate than yourself. We encourage our children to be generous, and we try to set a good example. However, our efforts are not always as helpful as we would like to think. I used to know a Pastor who when someone on the street asked him for money would offer to buy them lunch–that way he knew the money didn’t go toward drugs or alcohol. I don’t know the actual percentage of homeless people with drug or alcohol problems, but I suspect it’s fairly high.

Recently, a video of a New York City policemen went vital on YouTube because he bought a barefoot homeless man on the street a pair of new shoes. It was a beautiful gesture, but the story is not what it appears to be. Scott Johnson at Power Line posted ‘the rest of the story’ yesterday.

It seems that the homeless man actually did have a home–and multiple pairs of shoes. He earns a few hundred dollars a day (tax free) by walking the streets of New York City barefoot, asking for money.

The article at Power Line cites a New York Post article which concluded:

Hillman reminds us how easy it is to exploit generosity. His scam seems to have been directed at passers-by who take pity on a man who goes about Midtown pretending to be barefoot, poor and homeless. His example reminds us why it is important for the city to ensure that its own assistance is not exploited by those who don’t need it.

For in addition to the needy, New York also has a whole class of politicians and activists quick to denounce City Hall as cruel and heartless (and to sue) whenever it takes reasonable measures to weed out the deserving from the undeserving.

Scott Johnson draws a different conclusion:

I don’t think the Post quite gets the lesson offered by the Hillman saga as a case study. Despite Hillman’s exploitation of the kindness of strangers, I think his case is inherent in the welfare state. One way or another, however, it provides a case study worthy of continuing discussion.

The generosity of the policeman is commendable. The actions of the barefoot beggar are those of a con man taking advantage of the kindness of New Yorkers.

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Skewing The Definition Of Charity

I haven’t written about the death of Hugo Chavez. My only comment is, “If this man cared so much about the poor, why was he worth millions when he died?” In contrast, how much was Mother Theresa worth when she died? Just an observation…

Today’s New York Post posted a story about how the death of Hugo Chavez will impact Citizens Energy Corp, the organization founded in 1979 by Joe Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy‘s oldest son. The organization provides assistance to Massachusetts residents who need help paying for heating oil in the winter. The charity is able to do this by buying crude oil from Venezuela at below market price, selling it at the market price and using the difference to provide oil for people who need it. It really is a good idea and works well.

People should be paid fairly for their work, even when they work for a non-profit organization, but somehow I think we have forgotten that a non-profit organization is supposed to be supporting a cause of some sort and that’s where most of it’s money should go.

The article reports:

After Joe Kennedy left Congress, he returned to run Citizens Energy. That job paid him $86,311 in 2010. But the bulk of his income comes from his for-profit companies — Citizens Enterprises Corp. and Citizens Investments Ltd. — which together paid him $807,390 in salary and benefits. Kennedy’s wife, Elizabeth, raked in $346,764 from the nonprofit, where she is marketing director, and from the for-profit companies.

I would have left Congress too! Note that Elizabeth Kennedy was making more than $300,000 from the nonprofit company. I really think that is a little much.

The article concludes:

The oil started to flow in 2005 via two related nonprofits. Citizens Programs Corp., a charitable foundation, takes in the heating oil — $59 million worth in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011. It immediately sells the supply to an undisclosed “prearranged buyer,” according to its tax returns. The proceeds are used to buy 100 gallons of heating oil for 200,000 needy households in 25 states and Washington, DC.

The distribution is done through Citizens Energy, which receives a $5 million management fee from Citizens Programs.

Citizens Programs uses some of its oil riches — $4 million in fiscal year 2011 — to pay for its ubiquitous advertising program. Running a call center and the “Joe-4-Oil” hot line costs $1.3 million.

A spokesman for the groups refused to answer questions about the operation.

Kennedy also funnels cash to his family’s own causes, including the Robert F. Kennedy Center in DC.

I think Joe Kennedy’s commitment to helping the poor stay warm in the winter is wonderful. The cost of living is high in Massachusetts, and a lot of people have been helped by Citizens Energy Corp. I just wonder about the details of how the money was spent.

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Don’t Mess With My Pizza Order

Yesterday the New York Post posted an article about some of the consequences of Mayor Bloomberg‘s ban on serving or selling sugary drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces. That ban means that when you call your local pizzeria for a delivery, that delivery cannot include the standard 2-liter bottle of Coke (which you can legally buy in the grocery store).

The article reports:

Typically, a pizzeria charges $3 for a 2-liter bottle of Coke. But under the ban, customers would have to buy six 12-ounce cans at a total cost of $7.50 to get an equivalent amount of soda.

There is some serious food for thought in the fact that you can no longer get a 2-liter bottle of soda with your pizza. First of all, how many people are going to eat the pizza? If the entire pizza is going to be eaten by only one person, the large bottle of soda is the least of his worries. If the pizza is going to be shared, can we also assume that the soda is going to be shared? Therefore, how can the city know that any one person eating the pizza and drinking the soda will actually get more than 16 ounces of the soda? Therefore, the law probably should not apply.

The article further reports:

Families will get pinched at kid-friendly party places, which will have to chuck their plastic pitchers because most hold 60 ounces — even though such containers are clearly intended for more than one person.

Changes will be made at the Frames bowling alley in Times Square, where 26-ounce pitchers are served at kids’ parties, said manager Ayman Kamel.

“We’re going to try to get creative,” he said, noting drinks with 100 percent juice are exempt from the ban.

“We’re figuring out a way to have freshly squeezed juice for the birthday parties. We might have to raise the price about a dollar or so.”

At this risk of totally skewing the issue, what happens to bars that provide pitchers of beer to tables of patrons? Is beer subject to the same restrictions as soda? Does beer have sugar? Do the carbs in beer count as sugar? Has anyone ever been arrested for driving under the influence of Coca-Cola?

This ban is an exercise in stupidity and unintended consequences and needs to be repealed.

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Do Parents Have The Right To Know That The School Is Giving Their Children Drugs ?

The New York Post posted an article on Saturday (updated today) about a program in the New York City schools that provides high school girls with birth control pills–including Plan B (the morning-after pill).

The article reports:

Last September, the city revealed it had started giving out Plan B and other birth control in the nurses’ offices of 13 high schools. At the time, officials said 567 girls had gotten Plan B.

But the birth-control blitz was much bigger than the city had acknowledged. About 40 separate “school-based health centers” doled out 12,721 doses of Plan B in 2011-12, up from 10,720 in 2010-11 and 5,039 in 2009-10, according to the newly released data.

 About 22,400 students sought reproductive care from January 2009 through last school year, records show. Under state law, minors don’t need parental OKs to get contraceptives.

The article further reports:

The city says about 6,300 NYC girls under age 17 had unplanned pregnancies last year, and more than half had abortions. Of those who give birth, the city says, about 70 percent drop out of school, making their futures bleak.

Just for the record, the age of consent for sex in New York is seventeen. That means that the schools are giving out birth control to children who are not legally supposed to be having sex. So let me get this straight. There won’t be salt on my table at a restaurant in New York City because Mayor Bloomberg says it is bad for me. No restaurant can use transfat to fry food in New York City, and ‘big gulp’ sodas are illegal in New York City because Mayor Bloomberg says they are bad for me, but my daughter can obtain birth control or the morning after pill without my consent our without consulting me about any medical conditions that she may have.

The world has truly turned upside down.

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Bad News From Algeria

The Associated Press is reporting tonight that hostage crisis at the natural gas complex in Algeria has ended with the deaths of all 32 of the the terrorists involved, and unfortunately the deaths of at least 23 hostages. Algeria has a history of dealing with terrorists with military action rather than negotiations.

The article reports:

Immediately after the assault, French President Francois Hollande gave his backing to Algeria’s tough tactics, saying they were “the most adapted response to the crisis.”

“There could be no negotiations” with terrorists, the French media quoted him as saying in the central French city of Tulle.

Hollande said the hostages were “shamefully murdered” by their captors, and he linked the event to France’s military operation against al-Qaida-backed rebels in neighboring Mali. “If there was any need to justify our action against terrorism, we would have here, again, an additional argument,” he said.

There are a few things to remember here. One is that kidnapping and hostage taking is one way the terrorists raise money for their activities. If you follow the link above and read the entire article, you will realize that the terrorists had no qualms about killing any westerner they happened to take prisoner. Another thing to remember is that President Morsi of Egypt (and the Muslim Brotherhood) is pressuring the United States to release the blind sheik.

It was reported in the New York Post today that:

Trapped terrorists made a bizarre offer to end the 3-day-old Sahara showdown: We’ll trade the blind sheik for US hostages.

The lives of two Americans seized in a brazen attack on a remote Algerian gas plant would be spared in return for the release from federal prisons of Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman and a fellow terrorist.

Terrorism needs to become unprofitable and socially unacceptable. Unfortunately that will not happen until the civilized world unites against it. The United Nations is useless in combating terrorism because the Islamic states have formed a voting bloc that prevents the United Nations from acting (also because of the anti-Semitism that seems to have found its way into the United Nations).

As much as I regret the loss of innocent lives, I think the Algerian military handled the situation well. To me, the best example of a successful hostage rescue is the Israeli Defense Forces raid on Entebbe on July 4, 1976. The Israelis did their homework–they knew the layout of the airport and they managed to rescue the hostages with a minimum number of casualties. That example needs to be studied. I understand that there were certain aspects of that raid that could not be duplicated, but we need to learn from our successes.

My condolences to the families of those lost this weekend.

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Banning Something That May Not Be The Problem

Today’s New York Post posted an article about a disagreement between two scientists over the dangers of salt.

The article reports:

“We cannot extrapolate that lowering sodium consumption would reduce cardiovascular risk or premature death,” declared Dr. Sean C. Lucan of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in this month’s American Journal of Public Health.

Meanwhile, New York City declared war on salt in 2010.

The article reports:

The city launched its salt plan in 2010, with the goal of a 25 percent reduction of salt in packaged foods and restaurants by 2014.

Dr. Lucan has called the war on salt misguided and potentially dangerous. Dr. Lucan points out that as salt is removed from foods, it will be replaced by other things which may be less healthy.

The article reports:

Lowering salt, Lucan notes in his article, “may also decrease insulin sensitivity, alter lipids, and stimulate a variety of neurohormonal pathways detrimental to the cardiovascular system.”

Sodium is simply a marker of unhealthy food, Lucan said, adding that the real target should be refined carbohydrates and highly processed foods — and the city’s war on that front also falls short.

“Refined carbohydrates are a greater enemy,” he warned in the journal. “If sugar-sweetened beverages are a public-health problem, then why aren’t sugar-laden cookies?”

Good grief! Why can’t we all just be free to eat what we want and suffer the consequences?

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What Has America Become ?

Today’s New York Post is reporting that the four State Department officials who resigned in the wake of the Benghazi attacks really didn’t resign–one has a new job and the other three took a short leave of absence.

The article reports:

Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton “has accepted Eric Boswell’s decision to resign as assistant secretary for diplomatic security, effective immediately.” What Nuland omitted was that Boswell gave up only the presidential appointment as assistant secretary, not his other portfolios.

The other officials — Deputy Assistant Secretaries Charlene Lamb and Raymond Maxwell, and a third who has not been identified — were found to have shown “performance inadequacies” but not “willful misconduct,” Pickering said, so they would not face discipline.

It is so sad to see what has happened to America. The political class now rules at the expense of the people, at the expense of the concept of responsibility, and at the expense of honor.Enhanced by Zemanta

Why We Can’t Trust Congress With Taxpayer Money

Today’s New York Post posted an article about the bill for Hurricane Sandy relief now before Congress. President Obama has requested $60.4 billion in relief for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.

The article reports:

The pork-barrel feast includes more than $8 million to buy cars and equipment for the Homeland Security and Justice departments. It also includes a whopping $150 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to dole out to fisheries in Alaska and $2 million for the Smithsonian Institution to repair museum roofs in DC.

An eye-popping $13 billion would go to “mitigation” projects to prepare for future storms.

Other big-ticket items in the bill include $207 million for the VA Manhattan Medical Center; $41 million to fix up eight military bases along the storm’s path, including Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; $4 million for repairs at Kennedy Space Center in Florida; $3.3 million for the Plum Island Animal Disease Center and $1.1 million to repair national cemeteries.

We truly need to take away the credit card away from Congress. The problem is that the money that the victims of Hurricane Sandy need will be held up if the bill is carefully scrutinized, but the taxpayers will be fleeced if the bill is not examined carefully and the pork spending removed. What we really need is a few grown-ups in Washington.

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I Guess Maybe Killing Osama Bin Laden Didn’t Solve The Terrorism Problem

Thanks to the fantastic work of the FBI, New York City avoided a serious terrorist attack Wednesday. The New York Post posted the story yesterday and updated it today.

Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, first arrived in the US in January on a student visa, though his sole purpose was to carry out a terror attack, according to the criminal complaint.

The New York Post reports:

Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, 21, allegedly wanted to kill scores of people, wreak havoc on the US economy and stop the presidential election when he parked on Liberty Street around 8 a.m. and repeatedly dialed into the cellphone detonator from a nearby hotel room.

But all he did was set off an indicator in the van that proved he tried to set off the explosion. He was promptly arrested, with his grand plans up in smoke.

 “I don’t want something that’s like small. I just want something big,” Nafis, 21, told an undercover agent during a recorded August meeting in Central Park.

“Something very big. Very very very very big, that will shake the whole country . . . that will make us one step closer to run the whole world. I want to do something that brothers coming after us can be inspired by us.”

The al Qaeda-obsessed terrorist — who was living with relatives in Queens — also recorded a video addressed to Americans right before he tried to detonate the bomb.

“We will not stop until we attain victory or martyrdom,” he said in the video, in which he covered his face, wore sunglasses and disguised his voice.

Thank you FBI for saving the lives of many New Yorkers. Please read the article at the New York Post for the rest of the story.

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Doctor’s Comments on ObamaCare

Today’s New York Post posted an article today about a survey done among Doctors asking for their opinion of Obamacare.

These are some of the comments reported in the article:

Under ObamaCare, we’re being asked to provide the same high-tech service with more restrictions and regulations to more patients and to be paid less for doing so.

Do you honestly think that a cardiologist who is being paid $280 by Medicare for performing and interpreting the same echocardiogram he was paid $560 for two years ago is happy?

How do you think he will feel if the test he trained for many years to learn is suddenly ruled excessive by ObamaCare’s new Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board?

The article reports that 55 percent of doctors surveyed said they’d repeal and replace ObamaCare, as Romney says he would, compared to only 40 percent who said they’d implement and improve it.

I think we need to listen to the people who will be impacted by ObamaCare if it is not repealed, and we need to remember that we as patients will also be impacted in a negative way.

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