Tuesday, May 29, 2012

NBC Worried About Romney Hanging Around With NBC Star Donald Trump


News Buster.com ^ | May 29, 2012 | Kyle Drennan



In an astonishing display of hypocrisy, NBC News repeatedly decried Mitt Romney using celebrity businessman Donald Trump to fundraise for his campaign. This is the same Donald Trump who hosts NBC reality shows The Apprentice and The Celebrity Apprentice and who routinely appears on the Today show to promote those programs, including just last week.

On Tuesday's Today, correspondent Peter Alexander declared that Trump "causes heartburn for some in the Republican Party because of his insistence on renewing questions about where the President was born." He later wrapped up his report by parroting Obama campaign talking points: "The Obama campaign accusing Romney of failing to stand up against what they call the extreme voices in the Republican Party. And the Obama campaign says that includes Donald Trump."

On Sunday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Mike Viqueira touted how: "Some Republicans say the decision is a mistake." A sound bite followed of columnist George Will arguing: "The cost of appearing with this bloviating ignoramus is obvious, it seems to me."

On Sunday's Meet the Press, host David Gregory invited liberal columnist E.J. Dionne to bash the GOP for daring to associate with Trump: "How much damage here, E.J., is there getting so close to the flame if you're Governor Romney, seeking an endorsement and a – and an ally that I think a lot of people have never quite understood?"

Dionne proceeded to rant:
Well, I think that if Governor Romney doesn't put out some very, very, very clear statement that he distances himself from this birther stuff, I don't know why he is hanging around with Donald Trump. But Governor Romney has not distanced himself from the right-wing on anything. He hasn't taken a step back from this new extremism in the Republican Party....I think that Mitt Romney has to step back from this at some point and he hasn't done it yet.
So when is NBC planning to "step back" from Trump? On May 21, Trump appeared on Today with comedian Arsenio Hall, winner of the latest season of The Celebrity Apprentice. Fill-in co-host Lester Holt helped promote the show by asking Trump what other celebrities he would like to have as contestants.

NBC has no problem using Trump to get ratings and make money.
Here is a full transcript of Alexander's May 29 report:

ANN CURRY: Mitt Romney's expected to officially lock up the Republican presidential nomination today as voters head to the polls in Texas. And tonight he'll be in Las Vegas for a fundraiser hosted by Donald Trump. NBC's Peter Alexander has the latest on the race and he joins us now. Hey, Peter, good morning.
PETER ALEXANDER: Ann, good morning to you. With a win in today's Texas primary, Mitt Romney will accomplish something that his father never did and something that no one in the Mormon church has ever done. He will clinch the Republican nomination, just in time for the grueling summer months of campaigning to begin.
Today the campaign revs up again, after both the President and Mitt Romney paused to pay their respects to America's veterans. In Texas, voters go to the polls expected to give Romney the delegates he needs to clinch the Republican nomination. How will he celebrate? At a pair of fundraisers in Las Vegas, side by side with Romney's highest profile celebrity advocate, Donald Trump. The campaign has been soliciting donations by offering a chance to "Dine With the Donald." Trump causes heartburn for some in the Republican Party because of his insistence on renewing questions about where the President was born. Monday night Romney said he doesn't agree with all of the people who support him.
MITT ROMNEY: I need to get 50.1 percent or more, and I'm appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people.
ALEXANDER: Romney recently reflected on the last several months of his campaign in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, saying this comment...
ROMNEY: I like being able to fire people.
ALEXANDER: ...is the one mistake that makes him, in his words, "want to kick myself in the seat of my pants." Romney says he likes the game of politics because it's "like a sport for old guys." But the 65-year-old noted he keeps a journal on his iPad.
It's the first presidential race since 1944 where neither candidate is a military veteran. But both men recognize the importance of the veteran vote. Romney marked Memorial Day alongside one of the nation's most respected veterans, John McCain.
ROMNEY: Senator McCain, a national treasure. Thank you for being here and honoring all of our veterans.
ALEXANDER: The President, also surrounded by veterans, tried to emphasize his commitment to America's troops as more of them returned home.
BARACK OBAMA: You shouldn't have to fight for a roof over your head when you've fought on behalf of the country that you love.
ALEXANDER: And this morning the campaigns are going after each other once again. The Obama campaign accusing Romney of failing to stand up against what they call the extreme voices in the Republican Party. And the Obama campaign says that includes Donald Trump. Meanwhile, the Romney campaign is accusing the President of being hostile toward job creators. Ann, the summer campaign is just getting under way.
CURRY: Exactly, Peter Alexander. Thank you so much.

Many hospitals, doctors offer cash discount for medical bills!


LA Times ^ | 27 May 2012 | Chad Terhune



The lowest price is usually available only if patients don't use their health insurance. In one case, blood tests that cost an insured patient $415 would have been $95 in cash.
A Long Beach hospital charged Jo Ann Snyder $6,707 for a CT scan of her abdomen and pelvis after colon surgery. But because she had health insurance with Blue Shield of California, her share was much less: $2,336.
Then Snyder tripped across one of the little-known secrets of healthcare: If she hadn't used her insurance, her bill would have been even lower, just $1,054.
"I couldn't believe it," said Snyder, a 57-year-old hair salon manager. "I was really upset that I got charged so much and Blue Shield allowed that. You expect them to work harder for you and negotiate a better deal."
Unknown to most consumers, many hospitals and physicians offer steep discounts for cash-paying patients regardless of income. But there's a catch: Typically you can get the lowest price only if you don't use your health insurance.

That disparity in pricing is coming under fire from people like Snyder, who say it's unfair for patients who pay hefty insurance premiums and deductibles to be penalized with higher rates for treatment.

The difference in price can be stunning. Los Alamitos Medical Center, for instance, lists a CT scan of the abdomen on a state website for $4,423. Blue Shield says its negotiated rate at the hospital is about $2,400.

When The Times called for a cash price, the hospital said it was $250.


(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...

Farrakhan: Soon Whites ‘Will Be the Minority’ In the Country They ‘Took’


The Blaze ^ | 5/29/2012



The day before Memorial Day, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan lamented that Mexico had lost territory to America due to the Mexican-American War and disparaged American military action around the globe.

The poorly-timed rant took place in San Diego in front of a partially Hispanic audience. The oft controversial minister began by disparaging “White Mexicans” of Spanish decent before announcing that “Africans were in that part of the World [Mexico] maybe before [Mexicans] got there.” The minister lamented that illegal Mexicans are called “aliens” and declared that Americans “ought to be praising the Mexicans because we living on land that was once theirs.”

Farrakhan went on to declare that he was “sad that Mexico lost California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado” after the Mexican-American War “trickery.” This led to the minister generalizing about the American people as “a people that make war and blame the person they makin’ war on and then take your land.”

However, The minister sounded overjoyed that minority births outnumber white births in America, according to recent US Census reports. Given the news, Farrakhan noted that white people will soon “be the minority in their own country that they took from the native people.” He also projected that minorities will soon “become governor of every state.

3 Years After Taxpayer Bailout, Bank of America Ships Jobs Overseas[Philippines]


Mother Jones ^ | 29 May 2012 | Josh Harkinson



Your account information will now be accessible to call center workers in the Philippines.

Bank of America, which last fall announced plans to lay off 30,000 workers, is about to go on a hiring spree—overseas.

America's second-largest bank is relocating its business-support operations to the Philippines, according to a high-ranking Filipino government official recently quoted in the Filipino press. The move, which includes a portion of the bank's customer service unit, comes less than three years after Bank of America received a $45 billion federal bailout.

Roman Romulo, deputy majority leader of the Philippine House of Representatives, bragged to the Manila Standard Today earlier this month that the Philippines "has secured its place as the world's fastest-growing outsourcing hub." Romulo pointed out that BofA is the last of the "big four" US banks to move their business-support network to his island nation, where the average family makes $4,700 a year.
A spokesman for Bank of America, Mark Pipitone, was unable to provide additional information about the bank's offshoring plans on Friday. "We have employees and operations where we can ensure that we best serve our customers and clients," he told me in an email.
The bank's outsourcing comes amid rising concerns about the security of customers' financial data in the hands of foreign contractors. In March, undercover reporters for England's Sunday Times met in India with "IT consultants" who claimed they were call center workers and offered to sell them credit card and medical information for 500,000 Britons—including account holders at major banks such as HSBC.
To prevent similar scandals from rocking the Philippines, Romulo is pushing a law that would require Filipino companies to "protect the integrity and confidentiality of any personal information collected from their clients, in compliance with international privacy standards," according to the Filipino television network ABS/CBN News.
US banks already are operating call centers in the Philippines, "despite the fact that they haven't actually passed this rudimentary legislation," says Shane Larson, legislative director for the Communication Workers of America (CWA), which represents 150,000 American call center workers. The Indian government is ahead of the Philippines in passing data privacy laws, notes the union, but those laws specifically exempt the call center industry. And that could lead to problems: In a 2005 survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, 85 percent of the Indian outsourcing companies that responded said they had experienced information security breaches in the previous year.
In a 2010 report on the offshoring of technical jobs, New York's Department of Labor concluded that data security in the medical and financial fields is "of critical concern" and that "other nations' legal systems (especially in developing countries such as India) require reform to match that of the US with respect to privacy and computer security."
Needless to say, the outsourcing is bad news for an already hurting US call center industry, which has shed some 500,000 jobs during the past four years—about 10 percent of the total. The CWA hopes to reverse this trend by pushing the US Call Center and Consumer Protection Act, a bill that would make any company that outsources call center jobs ineligible for federal loans and grants.
In recent years, local governments in the deindustrializing Midwest have tried to boost their economies by luring call centers with generous tax breaks and economic incentives. T-Mobile, for instance, accepted more than $61 million in state and local recruitment subsidies to locate call center jobs here. But it recently announced it would close seven American call centers, putting around 2,000 people out of work—even as it continues to operate centers in the Philippines and Honduras. (The CWA called the company out in a recent report titled "Why Shipping Call Center Jobs Overseas Hurts Us Back Home.")
In addition to the "frustrations" of dealing with customer-service workers halfway around the globe, "there is the bigger picture of how opaque the process is, and, as a result, some of the security questions that are raised," says Larson of the CWA. "I think Americans deserve to know to whom they are speaking and to where their information is going."

How Come?

It’s Open Season: planning for the 2012 blowout!


skipmaclure.us ^ | May 29 2012 | Skip MacLure



After the 2010 blowout that sent so many deserving DeMarxists into retirement, I wrote that it was just the beginning. Conventional wisdom has it that the millions of conservative patriots throughout this country that came together to make this historic upset possible couldn’t make it happen again… conventional wisdom for the badly battered DeMarxists and their RINO allies, anyway. The rest of us weren’t convinced.

We watched the high tide of American disgust sweep across the communist-dominated Congress with grim satisfaction. Patriot groups across the nation immediately began consolidating conservative gains and planning for the next 2012 blowout. Yes, blow out. That’s what I said. I know I’m bucking most of the pundits by saying this.

All of the leftist Maobama propaganda machine can’t prop him up any longer. Despite all the fraudulent accounting practices, the illegal and patently unconstitutional acts of the present administration and its rubber-stamp sycophants of the DeMarxists in Congress, and the ever-compliant weasels of the Lame Stream Media, despite everything they can do and have done… they can’t make the sale to the American people.
So now we have the anointed one trying to repackage and sell the same worn out Marxist dogma that we’ve heard non-stop for sixty or more years. He’s having to sell it at rummage sale prices to an electorate that is now thoroughly familiar with him and his disastrous economic and foreign policy debacles.
Led by the lap dogs of the media, to which the administration is inextricably linked, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t glue Obama together again. The American people, so often sold short and sold out by America’s political class, have had more than enough time to weigh Obama’s policies and reject the Marxist-Leninist world view espoused by him and his party. It’s high time we put these ideologues in the spotlight of truth and let the voice of Constitutional liberty and freedom be heard.
Yes, I think it’s quite possible that Barack Hussein Obama and his minions will get blown out in a landslide election in November. It’s becoming more apparent by the day. We won’t stop there. We won’t stop until we’ve rooted out the evil which has infiltrated the body politic of America. It’s open season on the enemies of freedom… on both sides of the aisle.
Join us in this historic effort.
Semper Vigilans, Semper Fidelis
© Skip MacLure 2012

Down With Small Business


Wall Street Journal ^ | May 29, 2012



European leaders failed to make much headway in solving the euro crisis at their informal summit in Brussels last week. But they did agree on one thing: more government lending for small businesses, in the form of increased credit from the European Investment Bank. Such support has become the politically correct way for governments to help entrepreneurs without seeming to be on the side of "big business."
Now, we're all for small business. But from the perspective of job creation on a national scale, the best small businesses are those that grow into big ones—the proverbial garage start-up that becomes a blue chip. And this, for all the pieties about helping small business, is a problem European leaders haven't solved.

Take Spain, where unemployment runs north of 24%. Nearly 40% of private workers in Spain are employed by "micro companies," with fewer than 10 employees. That's against average EU micro-employment of 29.7%, and 11% in the U.S. Spain has also captured the single-largest chunk of European Investment Bank financing for small businesses since 2008—15.8% of the total. This month alone, the EIB announced €400 million in new loans for small and mid-size Spanish firms. And in December Bankia said it would roll a €1 billion taxpayer-backed liquidity injection into small- and mid-cap loans within two years.

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...

Healthcare Under The SEIU


Shout Bits Blog ^ | 05/29/12 | Shout Bits



The SEIU, a major public sector union with strong ties to the Obama Administration, holds its annual conference today in Denver, CO. Best known for its role in orchestrating the violent Occupy Wall Street movement, the SEIU will march many well-heeled protestors carrying '99%' signs through Denver. The SEIU mission this year is to do for healthcare what it did for education – organize and squeeze out the money.
Public education in the US is a borderline case of child abuse. Despite a doubling in real (i.e. inflation adjusted) per pupil spending on K-12 education over the past 40 years, students' actual academic achievement has remained flat or worse. Indeed, the cities that spend the most per pupil, such as D.C, New York, and LA, are among the very worst at teaching children to read, write, and be proficient at lower math. It is as if the unions that run prisons in those states bribe the teachers to do as poor a job as possible.
At the center of this national tragedy is the SEIU, and their next target is the local doctor's office. Private sector unionism is all but non-existent, relegated to a few bastions of manufacturing, but the public sector with its union-Democrat complex remains fertile territory for the SEIU. With the private sector rejecting unions, the best way to expand unions is to expand government, and nothing promises to expand government more than Obamacare.
In the run-up to Obamacare, then SEIU president Andy Stern visited the White House 22 times, more than any other person. Pres. Obama's goal is a single payer (i.e. socialized) medicine system, which he preaches to unions. Nearly 12 percent of the US private sector works in health care, so Mr. Stern's interest in government run health care is understandable, as is today's focus on health care in Denver.
Obamacare is not just a tool for the government to tell people how to live, it is part of a plan to permanently empower Democrats who receive nearly all the unions' political donations. Obamacare's perverse incentives to underinsure until a need arises will bankrupt private sector insurers and force a single payer system, and the winners under socialized medicine will be the unions. Once health care workers are de-facto government employees, unionization will be a snap. Anyone who is dissatisfied with the quality of service from public teachers, the TSA, or even the US Postal Service should be very afraid for the quality of his health care under the SEIU.
Unless the Supreme Court throws out Obamacare entirely, the primary issue for next year must be its repeal. Nothing cast a bigger shadow of uncertainty over the employment outlook. Nothing is more threatening to the US economy. Nothing is a more politically potent tool for the Democrats. Once Obamacare takes full effect, it will be as impossible to repeal as Social Security and Medicare. There will be only one chance to save the very lives of sick people from the SEIU's political machine.
Shout Bits can be found on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ShoutBits

Spending Under Obama Far Above Historical Average!


ATR ^ | 2012-05-29 | Mattie Duppler



Earlier [last] week, MarketWatch’s Rex Nutting claimed President Obama has not increased federal spending dramatically. Despite four years of evidence to the contrary, Nutting posits that the whole “misunderstanding” comes from widespread naiveté of the federal budgeting process—in fact, federal spending has grown 27 percent in just the last four years alone.

To start, Nutting claims that since the 2009 Fiscal Year began in October of 2008, President Bush is responsible for the “major spending decisions in the 2009 fiscal year.”
Really? For someone who spent an entire article bloviating on his budget acuity, Nutting has evidently not been paying attention to how federal spending actually works.
First, Nutting’s thesis relies on how the federal budget should work, rather than how it actually does work. As we trudge into the third straight year in which Democrats have refused to pass a budget, it is obvious that just because Congress is required to pass a budget before the beginning of the fiscal year doesn’t mean it does.
Budgets are hardly worth the paper on which they are written. It is the accompanying appropriation legislation that puts meat on its bones. Nutting glosses over the fact that the final appropriations package for FY2009 wasn’t signed until March 2009…by President Obama himself.
Secondly, Nutting’s account redacts the accomplishments so loudly lauded by the White House in its first year: Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which increased discretionary spending by 84 percent, the $410 billion omnibus bill he signed into law in the spring of 2009 and expansion of the TARP bailouts.
Attributing Obama’s first year to Bush allows Nutting to claim an “annualized increase” of only .4 percent under the current administration. Allowing Obama to take credit for his “stimulus” plan, the appropriations package and expansion of TARP, even the Washington Post estimates the annual rate of growth under President Obama to be 5.2 percent.
However, year-over-year spending comparisons don’t tell the whole story. The legacy of the Obama Administration is the growth in the overall size of government; how it crowds out private enterprise and increases burdens on families and businesses. In total, spending has increased by 27 percent since Obama came into office.
Historically, federal spending has averaged 21 percent of GDP. Under the Bush Administration, spending averaged 19.6 percent. In Obama’s first four years alone, spending has averaged 24.4 percent of GDP. Looking at the President’s most recent budget, spending does not fall, as Nutter claims, but increases – the President plans to spend $47 trillion over the next ten years, keeping spending at 23 percent in perpetuity.
None of this is to say that the Bush administration was the image of fiscal restraint. President Bush put us on the train for big government; the Obama Administration has accelerated it to breakneck speeds, and is headed off the tracks.
Read more: http://atr.org/spending-under-obama-far-above-historical-a6913#ixzz1wHLzqgMu

If You Are Ashamed To Stand By Your Colors...


Conservative Outcry ^ | 5/29/12

Posted on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 1:27:20 PM by evilrooster
Chris Hayes’ recent discomfort with the word hero reminded me of an anonymous quote from the civil war:
If you are ashamed to stand by your colors, you had better seek another flag.
How dare he use fallen soldiers as a prop to highlight his anti-war sentiments! If Chris has trouble supporting those who insure his freedom, maybe he should…[fill in the blank].
I’m well aware that he recanted his statement (text below). But, but in light of what we’ve seen lately from our media, I find his apology disingenuous at best.
On Sunday, in discussing the uses of the word "hero" to describe those members of the armed forces who have given their lives, I don't think I lived up to the standards of rigor, respect and empathy for those affected by the issues we discuss that I've set for myself. I am deeply sorry for that.
As many have rightly pointed out, it's very easy for me, a TV host, to opine about the people who fight our wars, having never dodged a bullet or guarded a post or walked a mile in their boots. Of course, that is true of the overwhelming majority of our nation's citizens as a whole. One of the points made during Sunday's show was just how removed most Americans are from the wars we fight, how small a percentage of our population is asked to shoulder the entire burden and how easy it becomes to never read the names of those who are wounded and fight and die, to not ask questions about the direction of our strategy in Afghanistan, and to assuage our own collective guilt about this disconnect with a pro-forma ritual that we observe briefly before returning to our barbecues.
But in seeking to discuss the civilian-military divide and the social distance between those who fight and those who don't, I ended up reinforcing it, conforming to a stereotype of aremoved pundit whose views are not anchored in the very real and very wrenching experience of this long decade of war. And for that I am truly sorry.
As I mentioned in our last post, there are some things you just don’t do. MSNBC realized that and circled the wagons, but I find it hard to believe Hayes’ initial revelation represented nothing less than his true feelings.
It may come as a surprise to Chris that there are many within the ranks that feel the same as he does about the war or wars in this case. But, they signed on to do a job, and that job entails serving at the pleasure of their civilian leadership. While many of our military men and women may disagree with the policies of their government, the job requires that they serve anyway. That’s what sets America apart from others in this world. And, quite frankly, it doesn’t work otherwise.
So take your criticism Chris, and direct it where it belongs, the elected men and women who direct policy of the United States. While many may question your use of the media to express your feelings, they cannot take away right to do so.
But, leave the Military out of it. Their actions represent nothing more than what is required of them by their civilian leadership.
A hero is nothing more than a person performing his duties regardless of fear. And by that standard, all of our service men and women are heroes, not only the fallen
To think any differently is unpatriotic, and brings us back to the quote at the beginning of this piece.

Spending lies run into facts (Congress leads on spending, and Democrats gained control in 2006)


Washington Times ^ | 05/29/2012 | Richard Rahn



Many in the political class, including President Obama and many members of Congress, have an interest in confusing, rather than enlightening, the public. The effort to misinform about the growth in spending and the impact of government spending on job creation reached a new level last week when the president claimed he was the most restrained spender since President Eisenhower and that spending was up only a little more than 1 percent (over what?).
Presidents do not set spending levels, but they do influence them. Congress has the responsibility under the Constitution to tax and spend, and not one dollar can be spent legally by the government without the permission of Congress. Congress is elected in November of even-numbered years. The members take office in January of the following year. The federal fiscal year runs from Oct. 1 until Sept. 30 of the next year, and therein lies the opportunity for obfuscation.
In 2006, the Democrats won control of both houses of Congress. By the time the new Congress was seated in late January 2007, approximately a third of the 2007 fiscal year was already over. For those of you who dislike numbers, just skip the next paragraph, which details who is responsible for the approximately 43 percent increase in federal spending in the past six years.
The last Republican budget, in 2006, was $2.66 trillion (20.1 percent of gross domestic product, or GDP). The first full Democratic budget was $2.98 trillion, in 2008 (20.8 percent of GDP). The last full Democratic budget was $3.6 trillion for 2011 (24.1 percent of GDP). The Republicans took control of the House of Representatives in 2010 and were seated in January 2011, and hence the first budget they needed to approve was the 2012 budget ($3.8 trillion or 24.3 percent of GDP).
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...

Obama Wants to Redistribute Our Sovereignty with the Law of the Sea Treaty


Red State ^ | 5/28/2012 | Jake Walker



One of the problems we find in politics these days is the rash of bills with rather Orwellian titles. The best example in recent years is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (you know, Obamacare). But fortunately, some things have titles that are all too appropriate. The Law of the Sea Treaty is one of them, which is rather fittingly known as LOST. Michelle Malkin, writing for the National Review, describes just what it is:

The persistent transnationalists who drafted LOST favor creation of a massive United Nations bureaucracy that would draw ocean boundaries, impose environmental regulations, and restrict business on the high seas. They’ve tinkered with the document obsessively since the late Sixties, enlisted Presidents Clinton and Bush, and recruited soon-to-depart GOP Sen. Dick Lugar to their crusade. Ignore the mushy save-the-planet rhetoric. Here’s the bottom line: Crucial national-security decisions about our naval and drilling operations would be subject to the vote of 162 other signatories, including Cuba, China, and Russia.
The current treaty at issue has been in existence since 1982, and as she notes, President Reagan, in another display of his wisdom, rejected it. However, that hasn’t stopped it from periodically rising from the dead over the years.
Now, it seems to be back again. It’s bad enough that Obama wants to redistribute our wealth. Now, he wants to redistribute our sovereignty. Though the Wall Street Journal reports it apparently won’t be subjected to a vote in the Senate until after the election (you can’t do anything controversial in an election year, after all), that won’t stop the Democrats from trying to line up support for it.
Luckily, we’ve got allies in the Senate. Orrin Hatch and John Cornyn second Mrs. Malkin’s economic concerns. Meanwhile, Senators Inhofe, Sessions, and Wicker explain the national security implications of the treaty, chief of which is the fact that it impedes our Navy from doing essentially the same thing the treaty proposes–protecting the high seas and international shipping lanes.For an in depth breakdown of the treaty, The National Center for Public Policy Research’s David Ridenour has posted one here. You can read the treaty for yourself here.
We’ve got to stop this. Economically, we can’t afford it, and our national security can’t bear it. Get in touch with your Senators and tell them not to support this treaty. We need just one third of the Senate plus one to defeat it. We can do this, especially if we take back the Senate this November.

Sex-Selective Abortion Thrives in America, Courtesy Planned Parenthood!


Live Action ^ | May 29, 2012 | Live Action Web Team



Chilling Undercover Video Sheds Light on Growing Trend

LINK TO WATCH VIDEO

AUSTIN, May 29 – Today, Live Action released a new undercover video showing a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Austin, TX encouraging a woman to obtain a late-term abortion because she was purportedly carrying a girl and wanted to have a boy. The video is first in a new series titled “Gendercide: Sex-Selection in America,” exposing the practice of sex-selective abortion in the United States and how Planned Parenthood and the rest of the abortion industry facilitate the selective elimination of baby girls in the womb.

“I see that you’re saying that you want to terminate if it’s a girl, so are you just wanting to continue the pregnancy in the meantime?” a counselor named “Rebecca” offers the woman, who is purportedly still in her first trimester and cannot be certain about the gender. “The abortion covers you up until 23 weeks,” explains Rebecca, “and usually at 5 months is usually (sic) when they detect, you know, whether or not it’s a boy or a girl.” Doctors agree that the later in term a doctor performs an abortion, the greater the risk of complications.

The Planned Parenthood staffer suggests that the woman get on Medicaid in order to pay for an ultrasound to determine the gender of her baby, even though she plans to use the knowledge for an elective abortion. She also tells the woman to “just continue and try again” for the desired gender after aborting a girl, and adds, “Good luck, and I hope that you do get your boy.”
“The search-and-destroy targeting of baby girls through prenatal testing and abortion is a pandemic that is spreading across the globe,” notes Lila Rose, founder and president of Live Action. “Research proves that sex-selective abortion has now come to America. The abortion industry, led by Planned Parenthood, is a willing participant.”
Six studies in the past four years indicate that there are thousands of “missing girls” in the U.S., many from sex-selective abortion. The U.K., India, Australia, and other countries ban sex-selective abortion, but the U.S., save for three states, does not. On Wednesday, Congress will debate the Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act (PRENDA), which would ban sex-selective abortions nationally.
“Planned Parenthood and their ruthless abortion-first mentality is the real ‘war on women’,” says Rose. “Sex-selective abortion is gender discrimination with lethal consequences for little girls.”
The complete, unedited video and transcript can be viewed at www.ProtectOurGirls.com, a hub of research and information on sex-selective abortions.
Live Action is a youth led movement dedicated to building a culture of life and ending the human rights abuse of abortion. They use new media to educate the public about the humanity of the unborn and investigative journalism to expose threats against the vulnerable and defenseless. More information at LiveAction.org.
For further information, please contact Dan Wilson or Jameson Cunningham with Shirley & Banister Public Affairs at (703) 739-5920 or (800) 536-5920. ###

Where's the lawman to run Obama out of town?


WND ^ | 5-28-12 | Drew Zahn



On the dusty streets of Tombstone, Ariz., on a weekend the city devotes to legendary western lawman Wyatt Earp, a former policy adviser to Margaret Thatcher told Americans it’s time to put their faith in another man who wears the star, Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

The U.K.’s Lord Christopher Monckton, known internationally for his climate-change skepticism, is calling on those still skeptical about Barack Obama’s eligibility to be president to put their money where their mouth is and back Arpaio’s ongoing Cold Case Posse investigation into the current occupant of the Oval Office.

(Excerpt) Read more at wnd.com ...

Yes, the IRS Can Use Liens and Incarceration to Enforce ObamaCare’s Individual Mandate!


Townhall.com ^ | May 29, 2012 | Michael F. Cannon



Here’s a poor, unsuccessful letter I sent to the editor of the Washington Post:
A recent article [“Could the health-care law work without the individual mandate?”, Mar. 28, A8] claims the IRS “will be barred from using … collection tools such as placing liens or threatening incarceration” to enforce compliance with the requirement that Americans obtain health insurance. Not so.
Suppose the IRS assesses me a $1,000 penalty for failing to obtain health insurance. It is true that the law prohibits the IRS from using liens or incarceration to collect that $1,000. But, money being fungible, the IRS may simply deem my first $1,000 of income-tax withholding to be payment of that penalty. As a result, I would owe an additional $1,000 in income tax at the end of the year, and the IRS could come after me with every tool at its disposal, including liens and incarceration.
Repeat after Me: There Is No Health Reform but ObamaCare
Here’s a poor, unsuccessful letter I sent to the editor of Politico:
An item in Politico’s health care newsletter Pulse [“Today: Christie Vetoes Exchange Or Else,” May 10] told readers that, because I oppose ObamaCare, I am a “health reform foe.”
Is that what Politico gleans from my conversations with its reporters about the need for health care reform, and how I would go about it? From the hundreds of articles and opeds and speeches and blog posts in which I detail my preferred reforms? And from the book I coauthored about how to reform health care? Is it Politico’s editorial policy that one cannot support health reform without supporting ObamaCare?
Other news organizations, moreover, avoid describing ObamaCare as “reform,” a term that connotes improvement. Is it Politico’s editorial policy to convey to readers that ObamaCare is an improvement?

How to Recognize a Government Contractor, or a Federal Takeover

Here’s a poor, unsuccessful letter I sent to the editor of the Washington Post:
GOP stalls on insurance marketplaces” [May 12] reports that “the conservative firm Leavitt Partners…is working with a number of states on their plans” to create the government bureaucracies that the new health care law calls insurance “exchanges.”
The article should have informed readers that this “conservative firm” (whatever that means) is a for-profit government contractor that makes money by helping states create those exchanges, and is acting against the advice of the nation’s leading conservative think tank. The Heritage Foundation counsels states not to create exchanges, and to send all related funds back to Washington.
Finally, the article claims states can avoid a “federal takeover” by creating an exchange. On the contrary, the law requires state-run exchanges to obey all federal edicts, just as a federal exchange would. The federal takeover has already happened. States that create their own exchanges merely pay for the privilege of losing their sovereignty.

Wall Street Math


Townhall.com ^ | May 29, 2012 | Doug French



There's plenty of blame for the financial crisis being spread around. Those on the left say Wall Street wasn't regulated enough, while those on the right claim government mandates required lenders to make bad loans. The argument is made that the Federal Reserve was too loose, while the other side says Bernanke wasn't loose enough. Some blame greed. Others blame Wall Street's investment products. And then there's mathematics.
Wall Street has become a numbers game played at high speed by powerful computers trading complex derivatives utilizing even more complex mathematical modeling. Writing for the Huffington Post, Théo Le Bret asks the reader to
Take the Black-Scholes equation, used to estimate the value of a derivative: it is actually no more than a partial differential equation of the financial derivative's value, as a function of four variables, including time and "volatility" of the underlying asset (the derivative being a 'bet' on the future value of the asset). Differential equations are well-known to physicists, since such fundamental properties of nature as the wave equation or Schrodinger's equation for quantum mechanics are given in the form of differential equations, and in physics their solutions seem to be very reliable: so why is this not always the case in finance?
Mr. Le Bret quotes Albert Einstein for his answer: "as far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality."
Murray Rothbard put it another way:
In physics, the facts of nature are given to us. They may be broken down into their simple elements in the laboratory and their movements observed. On the other hand, we do not know the laws explaining the movements of physical particles; they are unmotivated.
Rothbard goes on to make the point that human action is motivated and thus economics is built on the basis of axioms. We can then deduce laws from these axioms, but, as Rothbard explains, "there are no simple elements of 'facts' in human action; the events of history are complex phenomena, which cannot 'test' anything."
Using the models that work so well for physicists, mathematicians on Wall Street got it spectacularly wrong in the mortgage and derivatives markets, just as mathematical economists can never predict the future with any accuracy. Motivated human behavior cannot be modeled.
But the mathematicians or "quants" underscore all of Wall Street's financial engineering, a process that takes a few pieces of paper and folds their attributes together to make new products, most times hoping to avoid taxes and regulation. Author Brendan Moynihan describes this engineering in his book Financial Origami: How the Wall Street Model Broke.
Origami is the traditional Japanese art of paper folding wherein amazing shapes and animals are created with just a few simple folds to a piece of paper. Moynihan cleverly extends the metaphor to the financial arena, pointing out that stocks, bonds, and insurance are pieces of paper simply folded by the Wall Street sales force into swaps, options, futures, derivatives of derivatives, and the like.
The author is adept at describing derivatives in terms a person can understand. Health-insurance premiums are a call option to have the insurance company pay for our medical care. Auto insurance premiums are like put options, allowing the insured to sell (put) his or her car, if it's totaled, to the insurer at blue-book value.
Nobel Prize winners have played a big hand in the creation of derivatives. Milton Friedman's paper on the need for futures markets in currencies paved the way for that market in 1971. But as Moynihan points out, it was Nixon's shutting of the gold window that created the need to mitigate currency and inflation risk.
Nobel Laureate Myron Scholes was cocreator of the Black-Scholes-Merton option-pricing model. He and cowinner Robert Merton used their model to blow-up Long Term Capital Management.
But it was little-known economist David X. Li's paper in the Journal of Fixed Income that would provide the intellectual foundation for Wall Street's flurry into mortgages. "On Default Correlation: A Copula Function Approach" became "the academic study used to support Wall Street's turning subprime mortgage pools into AAA-rated securities," writes Moynihan. "By the time it was over, the Street would create 64,000 AAA-rated securities, even though only 12 companies in the world had that rating."
Robert Stowe England, in his book Black Box Casino: How Wall Street's Risky Shadow Banking Crashed Global Finance, says Li's model "relied on the price history of credit default swaps against a given asset to determine the degree of correlation rather than rely on historical loan performance data."
"People got very excited about the Gaussian copula because of its mathematical elegance," says Nassim Nicholas Taleb, "but the thing never worked." Taleb, the author of The Black Swan, claims any attempt to measure correlation based on past history to be "charlatanism."
Subprime mortgages were bundled to become collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs), which are a form of collateralized debt obligation(CDO). CDOs weren't new; the first rated CDO was assembled by Michael Milken in 1987. But instead of a mixture of investment-grade and junk corporate bonds, in the housing bubble, CDOs were rated AAA based upon Li's work.
Mr. England wryly points out, "A cynic might say that the CDO was invented to create a place to dump lower credit quality or junk bonds and hide them among better credits."
England quotes Michael Lewis, author of The Big Short: "The CDO was, in effect, a credit laundering service for the residents of Lower Middle Class America." For Wall Street it was a machine that "turned lead into gold."
Wall Street's CDO mania served to pump up investment-bank leverage. England explains that if level-3 securities were included (level-3 assets, which include CDOs, cannot be valued by using observable measures, such as market prices and models) then Bear Stearns sported leverage of 262 to 1 just before the crash. Lehman was close behind at 225, Morgan Stanley at 222, Citigroup at 212, and Goldman Sachs was levered at 200 to 1.
Leverage like that requires either perfection or eventual government bailout for survival.
The CDO market created the need for a way to bet against the CDOs and the credit-default-swap (CDS) market was born. Bundling the CDS together created synthetic CDOs. "With synthetic CDOs, Wall Street crossed over to The Matrix," writes England, "a world where reality is simulated by computers."
It's England's view that the CDO market "was the casino where the bets were placed. Wall Street became bigger and chancier than Las Vegas and Atlantic City combined — and more." According to Richard Zabel, the total notional value of the entire CDS market was $45 trillion by the end of 2007, at the same time the bond and structured vehicle markets totaled only $25 trillion.
So the speculative portion of the CDS market was at least $20 trillion with speculators betting on the possibility of a credit event for securities not owned by either party. England does not see this as a good thing. It's Mr. England's view that credit default swaps concentrated risk in certain financial institutions, instead of disbursing risk.
In "Credit Default Swaps from the Viewpoint of Libertarian Property Rights and Contract Credit Default Swaps Theory," published in Libertarian Papers, authors Thorsten Polleit and Jonathan Mariano contend, "The truth is that CDS provide investors with an efficient and effective instrument for exposing economically unsound and unsustainable fiat money regimes and the economic production structure it creates."
Polleit and Mariano explain that credit default swaps make a borrower's credit risk tradable. CDS is like an insurance policy written against the potential of a negative credit event. These derivatives, while being demonized by many observers, serve to increase "the disciplinary pressure on borrowers who are about to build up unsustainable debt levels to consolidate; or it makes borrowers who have become financially overstretched go into default."
Mr. England concludes his book saying, "We need a way forward to a safer, sounder financial system where the power of sunlight on financial institutions and markets helps enable free market discipline to work its invisible hand for the good of all."
Polleit and Mariano explain that it is the CDS market that provides that sunlight.
The panic of 2008 was the inevitable collapse of an increasingly rickety fiat-money and banking system — a system where the central bank attempts to direct and manipulate the nation's investment and production with an eye to maximize employment. In a speech delivered to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Jim Grant told the central bankers that interest rates should convey information. "But the only information conveyed in a manipulated yield curve is what the Fed wants."
Wall Street's math wizards convinced the Masters of the Universe that their numbers don't lie, believing they could model the Federal Reserve's house-of-mirrors market. Maybe the numbers don't lie, but the assumptions do.
Advising about mathematical economics, Rothbard wrote, "ignore the fancy welter of equations and look for the assumptions underneath. Invariably they are few in number, simple, and wrong." The same could be said for Dr. Li's model and Scholes's model before him.
Until the era of unstable fiat-money regimes ends, the search for scapegoats will continue — because the crashes will never end.

Many Obama's


National Review ^ | 5/29/2012 | Victor Davis Hanson



As the campaign heats up, one problem is that we continue to meet lots of different Barack Obamas — to such a degree that we don’t know which, if any, is really president.

I think the president believes that private-equity firms harm the economy and that their CEOs are at best indifferent and sometimes unsympathetic to the struggle of average Americans. I say “I think” because Obama has himself collected millions of dollars from such profit-driven firms, and uses their grandees to raise cash for his reelection. Cynical, hypocritical, or unaware? You decide.

I think the president is in favor of publicly funded campaign financing but against super PACs; but again I say “I think” because Obama renounced the former and embraced the latter. Are Guantanamo, renditions, tribunals, and preventive detention constitutional necessities or threats to our security? Some of Obama’s personalities have said they are bad; others apparently believe them to be good.

One Barack Obama crisscrosses the country warning us that a sinister elite has robbed from the common good and must atone for destroying the economy. Another Barry Obama hits the golf links in unapologetically aristocratic fashion and prefers Martha’s Vineyard for his vacation. So I am confused about the evil 1 percent. Obama 1 feels they have shorted the country and must now pay their fair share, while Obama 2 feels they are vital allies in helping the poor by attending his $40,000-a-plate campaign dinners.

Barry Obama respects those who make billions from Berkshire Hathaway, Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Facebook, but Barack Obama does not respect those who make billions from oil, farming, and construction. Is Wall Street the source of our national problems or the source of the president’s political salvation? There is an Obama who runs against a prep-schooled mansion-living member of the elite; there is another Obama who was a prep-schooled mansion-living member of the elite.

I thought one Obama swore to us that borrowing $5 trillion was vital — Keynesian pump priming, stimulus, averting 8 percent–plus unemployment, and all that. But now another Obama claims that his serial $1 trillion deficits are proof not of “growth” of the sort that improved GDP and reduced unemployment, but rather of fiscal discipline that stopped reckless Republican spending. So Obama over the last four years brought both austerity that checked wild Bush spending, and also Keynesian growth that snapped us out of the Bush lethargy? Spending is saving? Record deficits are record fiscal restraint?

Lots of Obamas keep talking about civility and bringing us together; but lots more Obamas talk about punishing our enemies, emphasizing racial differences, and formally organizing supporters by racial groupings. An angelic Obama lectures about the end of red-state/blue-state divides; a less saintly Obama refers to xenophobic clingers, typical white persons, stereotypers, and arresters of children on their way to ice-cream parlors.

I recall that once upon a time Obama derided fossil fuels, bragging that “millions of new green jobs” would accrue from subsidizing wind and solar power and “bankrupting” coal companies, as energy prices would accordingly “skyrocket.” But then once upon another time, Obama bragged that on his watch we are pumping more oil than ever before, apparently because private firms ignored his pleas and drilled despite his efforts to shut down leasing on public lands. So we are to credit Obama for stopping oil leasing on public lands, which forced greater production on private lands, while being impressed that he lost billions subsidizing doomed solar and wind companies? When the government fails to promote new energy, that constitutes success because those outside the government then must do more? Do the various Obamas represent both the good but failed intention and the bad successful one?

Unfortunately, the paradoxes involve more than just the usual flipflopping of all politicians. They strike to the heart of who is, and is not, Barack Hussein Obama.

The fringe Birthers made outlandish claims for years that Obama was not born in the United States and therefore was not eligible to be president. But suddenly, after nearly four years of his presidency, we discover that for over a decade and a half Obama’s own publicity bio listed him as Kenyan-born. Why and how did this happen — given that authors customarily write their own autobiographies and have annual opportunities to edit them? Did Obama think that to fudge an identity might make his book on a mixed-race heritage more saleable in 1991, and then himself more exotic as a state legislator and senator in the ensuing 16 years — but for some reason not as a presidential candidate?

What is real and what is not? The Obama “composite” girlfriend who sort of existed and sort of did not? Was there one Obama named Barry and another who became Barack, one with the middle name Hussein that was taboo to utter in the campaign of 2008 and another with the middle name Hussein that after January 20, 2009, was supposed to resonate in the Muslim world?

One Obama was the constitutional-law professor at the prestigious University of Chicago; another was a part-time lecturer who never published and was rarely seen or heard at the law school. One Obama was a brilliant Harvard Law Review editor; another never wrote an article. One Obama had the highest IQ of any entering president and was indeed the smartest man we ever elected commander-in-chief; another Obama proved it by not releasing his college transcripts. One Obama is the fittest and most energetic of recent presidents; another Obama is the most secretive and reluctant about proving it through the customary releasing of medical records.

To be fair, Barack Obama wrote a memoir explaining how he had no identity, given the absence of his father, the serial trips of his mother, and his need not to be biracial, but sometimes black, sometimes white, in the manner that he had to be and not to be part of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s Chicago community, and to vote present in the Illinois state legislature in order to be for and against what you must be for and against. Dr. Barack and Mr. Obama can both dutifully attend worship services “every Sunday” at Trinity United Church of Christ and emulate the pastor’s writing and speaking — and yet only occasionally drop in, to get married and to hear sonorous platitudes about self-help and healing.

Is Obama just the usual chameleon politician? Or is Obama emblematic of postmodern America, where there is no truth, but, like an Elizabeth Warren or a Ward Churchill, we legitimately are who we declare we are — and then again are not what we are when we choose not to be? Or is Barack Obama not a metaphor for much of anything other than the fact that it is harder to be president of the United States than to be at Harvard or Chicago Law School, the Illinois legislature or the U.S. Senate, where everyone declared that you did everything by doing not much at all?

Consumer confidence plunges in May (No one feels the "recovery")


MSN ^ | 5/29/2012 | ap



Americans' confidence in the economy in May had its biggest drop in eight months as consumers fretted about slow hiring, a big stock market drop and the global economy, says a private research group.
The Conference Board says its Consumer Confidence Index now stands at 64.9, down from a revised 68.7 in April. It was the biggest drop since October 2011.

Economists were expecting a reading of 70, according to a FactSet poll of analysts. The current level is below February's 71.6, which is the highest level it's been in a year.

(Excerpt) Read more at money.msn.com ...

The 'Geezers' Are Right This Time!



A Commentary By Froma Harrop

Alan Simpson let loose at a group of Californians who charged in a brochure that he and Erskine Bowles were "using the deficit to gut our Social Security." The former Republican senator from Wyoming sent the California Association of Retired Americans a characteristically colorful response, which I quote: "What a wretched group of seniors you must be to use the faces of the very people (the young) that we are trying to save, while the 'greedy geezers' like you use them as a tool and a front for your nefarious bunch of crap."

I can't not like Simpson, but he is wrong this time, and the activists are right. The plan named for him and former Clinton Chief of Staff Bowles bravely confronted soaring deficits with balanced spending cuts and tax hikes. Upon its release, the tax-a-phobic Grover Norquist called Simpson "old and grumpy." Simpson fired back with "old Grover Norquist and his happy band of goofy warriors, all they do is make money off of people." And I, too, have made past reference to "greedy geezers."

But Simpson-Bowles had no business dragging Social Security into the operating room, and here's why: Social Security is an independent, self-funding program. It is not welfare. The workers and their employers pay for all of it.

About 25 years ago, Social Security taxes were raised above that needed to support current retirees and the surplus put in a trust fund. The goal was to create a buffer to keep the program healthy as the number of retirees grew and lived longer. Left alone, Social Security can pay all promised benefits for the next 20 years, and can continue doing so with some minor adjustments, such as raising the cap on income subject to payroll taxes.
Conservatives and "centrists" who call for compromise on the Social Security Trust Fund still don't get it, so let's bang the gong again: The trust fund represents real money taken out of workers' pockets, and the money it loaned the Treasury is really owed.
Simpson-Bowles did fine calling for a curb on projected entitlement spending. That, of course, includes Medicare, the health-insurance plan for the elderly. Unlike Social Security, Medicare is not self-supporting. Medicare payroll taxes and payments by beneficiaries cover only some of it.
The Social Security Trust Fund is a big piece of change, and by declaring the Treasury securities sitting in it "worthless pieces of paper," our right-wing politicians can throw the obligations overboard in the service of more tax cuts for the rich -- with the added bonus of killing off a program they never liked much. Often citing some scuzzy accounting methods applied to the surplus, they tell us, "Whoops, the money has been spent."
Well, duh, all the money the Treasury borrows has been spent. That's why it borrows money. Every bond it issues to investors across the globe represents a debt. And if the Treasury hadn't been able to borrow that money from the trust fund, it would have had to borrow more from the public.
Then-Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan was asked in 2001 whether the trust fund investments were real or not. His response: "The crucial question: Are they ultimate claims on real resources? And the answer is yes."
The California Association of Retired Americans was overenthusiastic but correct in its assertion that Simpson-Bowles envisioned using Social Security to balance budgets that the program is not supposed to be part of. They were perhaps unfair to imply that the intention was to gut Social Security. Some politicians might like that, but the more realistic explanation is that many simply don't know what they're doing.

Obama’s Truth Teams: ‘Fight Back, Report an Attack’


The Blaze ^ | May 26, 12



Back in February, The Blaze reported on Obama’s “Truth Teams,” described on the official site as “a network of [President Obama's] supporters who are committed to responding to unfounded attacks and defending the President’s record.”
“When you’re faced with someone who misrepresents the truth, you can find all the facts you need right here—along with ways to share the message with whoever needs to hear it,” the site continues.
(Related: Obama Campaign Launches ‘Truth Teams’)
However, after consistent ridicule (particularly over the “Attack Watch” section of the site), the Truth Teams started flying lower on the political radar.
Now, it seems, they are re-joining the fray.
(Excerpt) Read more at theblaze.com ...

Migratory Sabotage: Obama Administration Paying for Illegal Immigration Into Israel


Atlas Shrugs ^ | 5/28/12 | Pamela Geller



Yet another salvo in Obama's war against Israel: the Obama Administration is giving the UN funds for illegal African immigrants into Israel, who suddenly open up businesses there while Jewish-owned businesses are being shut down. It seems as if Obama will stop at nothing to undermine the Jewish State. Who among Obama's antisemitic cronies is profiting from this fresh betrayal of our only real ally in the Middle East?
Here is some background on what is going on: Israel Can't Solve Africa's Problems - Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary
Israel, much to its surprise, has found itself being swamped by unwelcome African migrants who have poured over the border with Egypt. The idea that tiny Israel should be considered the solution for African poverty is absurd. There are currently approximately 70,000 illegal African immigrants in Israel. In such a small country, that's a large burden for Israelis to carry.
If Americans are upset about undocumented immigrants in the U.S., the uproar in Israel isn't hard to understand. It's also true that, unlike the nations they pass through on their way to Israel, the Jewish state has treated newcomers with compassion.
Those who are quick to accuse Israel of racism should remember that it went to great trouble and expense to facilitate the mass immigration of tens of thousands of black Jews from Ethiopia in the past generation.
The Jewish tradition of caring for the homeless and the stranger has created a large degree of sympathy for the African migrants in Israel. But while it was possible for the country to take in the initial small numbers, now that the rate is up to 1,000 new illegals a month, the situation has gotten out of hand. Israel simply hasn't the ability to care for or employ that many people who have no
(Excerpt) Read more at atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com ...

DC school decides Trayvon Martin case trumps ABCs


The Daily Caller ^ | May 28, 2012 | Fmr. Congressman Bob Barr (R-GA)



The demonization of George Zimmerman and the deification of Trayvon Martin continues.
There is little doubt in the eyes of the media and a certain element in American society that George Zimmerman, the man now formally charged with the murder of Trayvon Martin, is guilty. Much like the Queen of Hearts in Lewis Carroll’s fable, Alice in Wonderland, many would just as soon sentence Zimmerman first and try him later, if at all.
This attitude clearly was on display in the protests that erupted after the shooting made national news several weeks ago. It seemed virtually everyone was determined to rush to judgment, trying Zimmerman in the media long before he could ever have his day in the courtroom. The Florida prosecutor responsible for bringing the murder charge against Zimmerman based her decision on some of the flimsiest evidence and legal analysis I have ever seen. Whether this defendant will be able to receive a fair trial is a very real question at this point.
The latest absurd development involving the case occurred last Friday, when Malcolm X Elementary School in the District of Columbia hosted “Trayvon Martin Day.” According to the local ABC News affiliate in D.C., the school gave Arizona Iced Tea to every parent and Skittles to each child — items that Martin allegedly had purchased just before the incident with Zimmerman that resulted in his death. If the school had more money, it probably would have handed out “hoodies” like the one Martin apparently was wearing the night he was killed.
School administrators and other supporters of Trayvon Martin Day explained that students can learn valuable lessons from the incident that occurred between Zimmerman and Martin on February 26th in Sanford, Florida. Those who came up with this bizarre idea either know exactly what happened during that incident — how else could they know what valuable lessons the incident can impart to their students in the District of Columbia — or are simply using the incident for some other agenda, like so many other observers and organizations are doing. Somehow, I doubt it’s the former.
J. Harrison-Coleman, the school’s principal, issued as silly a defense of the incident as one might expect. She told WJLA TV, “We want to send a message to stop the bullying and bring about a happy spirit.” Perhaps the program honoring Trayvon Martin was accompanied by a chorus of “Kumbaya” to help foster a “happy spirit.” Unsurprisingly, the District of Columbia public school system is backing the decision, because it “recognize[s] the value of getting parents and community members together to discuss problems students may face.”
Of course, “getting parents and community members together to discuss problems students may face” is not necessarily a bad idea. The question is, to discuss what problems? Some manufactured problem about an already highly politicized legal case in Florida? How about getting parents and teachers together to discuss the problems District of Columbia students face in the job market, because of the poor quality of education they receive in the D.C. public school system, which ranks among the worst in the nation by most objective standards?
While the students at Malcolm X surely enjoyed their Skittles, the sweetness they bring will be long outlasted by the bitterness the students will live with later for having been educated in a public school system more concerned with politics and racial division than with educating the young students that it is charged with educating.

'Personality Genes' May Help Account for Longevity!


ScienceDaily ^ | May 24, 2012 | NA



"It's in their genes" is a common refrain from scientists when asked about factors that allow centenarians to reach age 100 and beyond. Up until now, research has focused on genetic variations that offer a physiological advantage such as high levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol. But researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology of Yeshiva University have found that personality traits like being outgoing, optimistic, easygoing, and enjoying laughter as well as staying engaged in activities may also be part of the longevity genes mix.

The findings, published online May 21 in the journal Aging, come from Einstein's Longevity Genes Project, which includes over 500 Ashkenazi Jews over the age of 95, and 700 of their offspring. Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jews were selected because they are genetically homogeneous, making it easier to spot genetic differences within the study population.
Previous studies have indicated that personality arises from underlying genetic mechanisms that may directly affect health. The present study of 243 of the centenarians (average age 97.6 years, 75 percent women) was aimed at detecting genetically-based personality characteristics by developing a brief measure (the Personality Outlook Profile Scale, or POPS) of personality in centenarians.
"When I started working with centenarians, I thought we'd find that they survived so long in part because they were mean and ornery," said Nir Barzilai, M.D., the Ingeborg and Ira Leon Rennert Chair of Aging Research, director of Einstein's Institute for Aging Research and co-corresponding author of the study. "But when we assessed the personalities of these 243 centenarians, we found qualities that clearly reflect a positive attitude towards life. Most were outgoing, optimistic and easygoing. They considered laughter an important part of life and had a large social network. They expressed emotions openly rather than bottling them up." In...
(Excerpt) Read more at sciencedaily.com ...

Budget

More Time

Not-Mit-Alternative

The High Road

How Would You...

Bain Waste

Media

FACE COVER

The Monster Mash

Pants on Fire

Right Wing Garbage

Pro-Queer Marriage

The Pigs

My Daddy Served

Obama Raps Romney

New Street Name

The Party Hardy

Cheekbones

Representing Who?

Vacations Costs

The Worst

Making Good Time

Piffle

(Free-Market, Job-Creating) Wall Street ditches Obama, backs Romney


cnn money ^ | 5/29/2012 | Charles Riley



Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned -- but what about a Wall Street titan?

Deep-pocketed financiers have abandoned President Obama and are flocking to Mitt Romney in droves, providing more donations to his campaign than any other industry except retired workers. (And that's not really an industry.)

Individuals who work in the securities and investment industry have given the Romney campaign $8.5 million through the end of April, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

Over the same time period, Obama has brought in only $3 million from securities and investment workers, and the industry is only the campaign's fifth largest source of funds.

"They have basically ditched Obama," said John Dunbar, the managing editor for politics at the Center for Public Integrity. "Romney is just a much friendlier candidate if you are a banker."

(Excerpt) Read more at money.cnn.com ...


St. Crispin’s Day
By William Shakespeare (1564-1616)


If we are marked to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live
The fewer men the greater share of honour.
God’s will! I pray thee wish not one man more.

AP

By Jove, I am not covetous for gold, more.
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear,
Such outward things dwell not in my desires:
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England:
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more, methinks, would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made
And crowns for convoy put into his purse:
We would not die in that man’s company,
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call’d the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is named
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbors,
And say “Tomorrow is Saint Crispian:”
Then he will strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say “These wounds I had on Crispin’s day.”
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember’d,
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now abed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon St. Crispin’s day.


Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/editorials/the_dead_we_honor_glltsk94FUpb8t7qLMfOUL#ixzz1wD7C7FnM

Let's Drop the College-For-Everyone Crusade


RCM ^ | 05/29/2012 | Robert Samuelson



The college-for-all crusade has outlived its usefulness. Time to ditch it. Like the crusade to make all Americans homeowners, it's now doing more harm than good. It looms as the largest mistake in educational policy since World War II, even though higher education's expansion also ranks as one of America's great postwar triumphs.
Consider. In 1940, fewer than 5 percent of Americans had a college degree. Going to college was "a privilege reserved for the brightest or the most affluent" high-school graduates, wrote Diane Ravitch in her history of U.S. education, "The Troubled Crusade." No more. At last count, roughly 40 percent of Americans had some sort of college degree: about 30 percent a bachelor's degree from a four-year institution; the rest associate degrees from community colleges.
Starting with the GI Bill in 1944, governments at all levels promoted college. From 1947 to 1980, enrollments jumped from 2.3 million to 12.1 million. In the 1940s, private colleges and universities accounted for about half. By the 1980s, state schools - offering heavily subsidized tuitions - represented nearly four-fifths. Aside from a democratic impulse, the surge reflected "the shift in the occupational structure to professional, technical, clerical and managerial work," noted Ravitch. The economy demanded higher skills; college led to better-paying jobs.
College became the ticket to the middle class, the be-all-and-end-all of K-12 education. If you didn't go to college, you'd failed. Improving "access" - having more students go to college - drove public policy.
We overdid it. The obsessive faith in college has backfired.
For starters, we've dumbed down college. The easiest way to enroll and retain more students is to lower requirements. Even so, dropout rates are high; at four-year schools, fewer than 60 percent of freshmen graduate within six years. Many others aren't learning much.
In a recent book, "Academically Adrift," sociologists Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa report that 45 percent of college students hadn't significantly improved their critical thinking and writing skills after two years; after four years, the proportion was still 36 percent. Their study was based on a test taken by 2,400 students at 24 schools requiring them to synthesize and evaluate a block of facts. The authors blame the poor results on lax academic standards. Surveyed, one-third of the same students said that they studied alone five or fewer hours a week; half said they had no course the prior semester requiring 20 pages of writing.
Still, most of these students finished college, though many are debt-ridden. Persistence counts. The larger - and overlooked - consequence of the college obsession is to undermine high schools. The primacy of the college-prep track marginalizes millions of students for whom it's disconnected from "real life" and unrelated to their needs. School bores and bothers them. Teaching them is hard, because they're not motivated. But they also make teaching the rest harder. Their disaffection and periodic disruptions drain teachers' time and energy. The climate for learning is poisoned.
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Obama personally oversees Al-Qaeda 'kill list' report...better grow a pair!


Yahoo ^



Barack Obama has personally overseen a top-secret process for determining which Al-Qaeda suspects should be placed on a "kill list," the New York Times reported Tuesday.

The Times, citing dozens of top officials and former advisers, said the administration had developed what it termed the "kill list" as part of a stepped-up drone war against Al-Qaeda and its affiliates in Pakistan and Yemen.

"He is determined that he will make these decisions about how far and wide these operations will go," it quoted National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon as saying.

"His view is that he's responsible for the position of the United States in the world... He's determined to keep the tether pretty short."

The Times described the top-secret process, which begins with some 100 counter-terrorism officials sifting through biographies and "nominating" suspects in Yemen and Somalia to be added to the kill list during a secure video conference run by the Pentagon.
The CIA carries out a separate process for suspects in Pakistan, it said.
The nominations then go to Obama, who signs off on every strike in Yemen and Somalia and also on especially complex and risky strikes in Pakistan -- about a third of the total, the Times said.
Obama personally approves the killing of top suspects, such as Qaeda preacher Anwar al-Awlaqi -- a US citizen -- who was killed by a US drone strike in Yemen last year.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...