Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Pop The Hood!

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NBC Editing

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Purple Heart

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No Shadow

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The "isms"

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Scissor Team

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Obama's Aim

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Nugent to Piers Morgan: 'You're the Perfect Poster Boy to Stand Up for Things That Make No Sense'!

Newsbusters.org ^ | February 04, 2013 | Noel Sheppard

CNN's resident gun control advocate Piers Morgan faced off with Ted Nugent Monday, and as was expected, the bullets were flying.

By the end of the first segment, Nugent told his arrogant adversary, "You're the perfect poster boy to stand up for the things that make no sense at all to common sense people" (video at link with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):

PIERS MORGAN, HOST: I don't understand, and I want you to tell me, in the least inflammatory way possible, why outside of hog hunting, which I get is a problem in Texas, anybody needs one of those [an AR-15]? And if the answer isn't convincing, why the least we couldn't do to those poor families who lost people to that weapon is not just remove those from the equation?
TED NUGENT: Well, a number of things. First of all, I've been monitoring your gun debates. Go ahead and take it to the bank, you will never understand. I really don't believe you'll ever grasp…
MORGAN: What don't I understand?
NUGENT: You don’t understand that it's a simple inanimate tool that tens of millions of American families own that have never caused a problem, never had an accident, and will never commit a crime. You have these aberrations that are such a minute percentage. So my prayers are as strong as anyone…
MORGAN: 100,000 Americans get hit by gunfire, Ted. It’s not a minor aberration.
NUGENT: Let me stop you there, because I’ve been hearing you say this, and you are so full of crap. Listen to me, that statistic includes bad guys shot by cops and intruders shot by homeowners. So that figure is bogus. So you have to…
MORGAN: That’s the figure, 100,000.
NUGENT: Not, it's not an accurate figure.
MORGAN: 100,000 Americans get hit by gunfire a year.
NUGENT: Those include bad guys getting shot by cops, Piers.
MORGAN: 18,000 of those kill themselves with guns.
NUGENT: Japan has a higher suicide rate and they’re not allowed to get down wind of a gun. Your turn.
MORGAN: How many people got murdered by guns in Japan in the last two or three years each year?
NUGENT: We’re not talking about guns, we’re talking about the act of murder. Do you care about murders or do you only care about murders with guns?
MORGAN: I care about all deaths.
NUGENT: I don't think you do. I think you care about guns. I think you're obsessed with guns. 99.99 percent of the gun owners of America are wonderful people that you are hanging around with here today, perfectly safe, perfectly harmless, wonderful, loving, generous, giving, caring people. Would you leave us the hell alone? Go after the nut jobs, go after the murderers, because I don't know any. We need to lock up the bad guys, and when people show dangerous, murderous intent, which everyone one of these mass murderers showed, all their neighbors, their family, their teachers, their fellow students, they all knew they were crazy. But Piers, we didn't stop them because we're worried about hurting their feelings. We have a madman problem in America where they're running around. We have a felony recidivism problem in America. Let's focus on that together and leave the rest of us alone.
MORGAN: A, I won't leave you alone because this is a debate that has to be had in America.
NUGENT: And we appreciate that because you're the perfect poster boy to stand up for the things that make no sense at all to common sense people.

The Unconventional Ted Cruz: He's doing precisely what he promised on the campaign trail.

National Review ^ | 02/05/2013 | Andrew Stiles

Ted Cruz (R., Texas) has been a United States senator for only 34 days, but already he is making his mark on national politics. His conspicuous presence and aggressive tone have thrilled his conservative cheerleaders, while inducing fits of rage in liberal detractors and Joe Scarborough.

In the past week alone, Cruz has tangled with veteran Democratic spin-master Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) on Meet the Press, sent a tongue-in-cheek letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, introduced legislation to fully repeal Obamacare, and recorded “no” votes on major items, including Hurricane Sandy relief, raising the debt ceiling, filibuster reform, and the confirmation of John Kerry for secretary of state. He also made headlines with his aggressive interrogation of prospective defense secretary Chuck Hagel.

Additionally, Cruz’s quick rise to prominence appears to have offended the sensibilities of the political press. During Hagel’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee last week, I overheard multiple groans from other journalists covering the event whenever Cruz began a pointed line of questioning. On Twitter, they noted their exasperation in more colorful ways.

If anything, the 41-year-old Texan has made clear he does not intend to abide by the conventional playbook for new members: Keep your head down, keep your mouth shut, and learn the ropes before inserting yourself into the national conversation.
That’s not Cruz’s style. More important, it’s not what he campaigned on. “If I go to Washington and just have a good voting record, I will consider myself a failure,” then-candidate Cruz said on the campaign trail in 2012. Last week, in an interview with conservative radio host Mark Levin, Cruz expressed disbelief at “how shocked people are when you actually do what you said you would do.” “In most of America that’s to be expected, and yet oddly enough in Washington, D.C., that seems to be unusual,” he said.
Republicans are delighted that Cruz, whom many regard as a skilled advocate for conservatism, has decided to play such an active role right off the bat. “Any member who has a point of view on a topic should not feel shy about expressing that,” says one Republican Senate aide. “For someone as talented as Ted Cruz, it’s vital that we have eloquent conservatives out there arguing for our side.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) sang Cruz’s praises in an interview with National Review Online, calling the freshman senator “one of the smartest, most articulate guys you’ll ever meet.” “He’s ready for prime time on day one, which is pretty unusual for somebody who just got sworn in,” McConnell says. “He’s a deadly weapon.” He is also “good company,” according to McConnell, who recently accompanied Cruz on a delegation to Israel and Afghanistan.
Republican leaders have already sought to deploy Cruz’s talents in critical areas. In addition to being tapped for coveted slots on the Judiciary and Armed Services Committees, Cruz was named vice chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, where he is likely to play a key role in selecting and advising candidates in the 2014 midterm election.
Senate conservatives are similarly pleased to count Cruz among their ranks. “For the forces of those who favor limited government, Senator Cruz is a powerful addition,” says a conservative GOP Senate aide. “Based on our numbers, and the youth of many of these members, we’re going to have a much stronger voice in the public debate.”
Cruz may consider a solid conservative voting record to be a meaningless metric for success, but he has already established one for himself. The Washington Times noted that Cruz has been on the losing end of all eleven votes he has taken so far this year, a record the Texan is perfectly content with.
For example, he voted against the $50 billion Sandy-relief bill, which he decried as a pork-laden mistake. “Hurricane Sandy inflicted devastating damage on the East Coast, and Congress appropriately responded with hurricane relief,” he said in a statement. “Unfortunately, cynical politicians in Washington could not resist loading up this relief bill with billions in new spending utterly unrelated to Sandy.”
He was one of only three senators to vote against John Kerry’s confirmation to be the next secretary of state, citing the Massachusetts Democrat’s “longstanding less-than-vigorous defense of U.S. national-security issues and, in particular, his long record of supporting treaties and international tribunals that have undermined U.S. sovereignty.”
Cruz was also one of the first Republican lawmakers to voice skepticism about the Senate framework on immigration reform, citing “deep concerns” about the proposed pathway to citizenship. “To allow those who came here illegally to be placed on such a path is both inconsistent with rule of law and profoundly unfair to the millions of legal immigrants who waited years, if not decades, to come to America legally,” he said.
Cruz’s position has put him at odds with Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), who helped draft the framework. The political relationship between the two Hispanic Republicans will certainly be something to watch over the coming months.
Cruz has sought to shape the political discourse in other ways, beyond the confines of Capitol Hill. Last week, he issued a colorful retort to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s call for mass-scale divestment from firearms manufacturers.
Cruz sent a letter to the CEOs of gun makers Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger & Co, as well as to leaders of Bank of America and TD Bank, financial institutions that Emanuel specifically urged to cease their relationships with the firearms companies. He slammed the mayor’s actions and urged the companies to bring their business to his home state.
“In Texas, we have a more modest view of government,” Cruz wrote. “We do not accept the notion that government officials should behave as bullies, trying to harass or pressure private companies into enlisting in a political lobbying campaign.”
Matt Mackowiak, a Texas-based Republican consultant, praises Cruz as “someone who really understands the outside game,” who spends his weekends “aggressively” traveling the state and meeting with constituents and grassroots organizations. It’s only a matter of time, Mackowiak says, before Cruz masters the inside game and “starts to have a real impact.”
Cruz supporters see him as a natural heir to former senator and soon-to-be Heritage Foundation president Jim DeMint (R., S.C.), one of Cruz’s earliest backers. “DeMint changed the whole paradigm in the Senate, shook it up in way that you can be a freshman and have a national profile and be aggressive and still be effective,” Mackowiak says.
Like DeMint, Cruz has already become a favorite target of the establishment press. The New York Times penned an editorial on January 20 urging Republican leaders to “marginalize lawmakers like Mr. Cruz,” which began: “Ted Cruz, the newly elected Tea Party senator from Texas, embodies the rigidity the public grew to loathe in Congress’s last term.”
The mainstream press was particularly incensed by last week’s Hagel hearing, where Cruz pressed Hagel to explain remarks he made in a 2009 appearance on Al Jazeera. The senator’s staff had rolled a big-screen television into the hearing room to play clips of the appearance, in which Hagel concurred with a number of controversial statements from Al Jazeera viewers — that the United States is “the world’s bully,” and that Israel has been (referring to a specific past event) complicit in a “sickening slaughter.”
Cruz’s blunt approach, and perhaps unorthodox tactics, became a lightning rod for liberal critics, especially after many of them had all but given up defending Hagel, whose performance was widely panned on both sides. Cruz was derided for his “bogus attack” on Hagel, for “hectoring” the nominee, for turning the hearing “into a clown show,” and even for channeling the spirit of Joe McCarthy.
For conservatives, that may be one of the surest signs that Cruz is doing something right.
— Andrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review.

Bill Ayers: Leftist can use schools to promote their radical agenda!

EAGnews.org ^ | February 4, 2013 | Kyle Olson

“If we want change to come, we would do well not to look at the sites of power we have no access to – the White House, even the Congress, the Pentagon – these are not the sites we have access to.

“But lo and behold, we have absolute access to the community, the school, the neighborhood, the street, the classroom, the workplace, the shop, the farm – why are we ignoring that and saying ‘I hope Obama makes peace.’ Forget about it. He’s not going to do anything if you don’t do something. Our job is movement building.”

(Excerpt) Read more at eagnews.org ...

The New White Negro - What it means that family breakdown is now biracial

Washington Monthly ^ | Jan/Feb 2013 | Isabel Sawhill

(The report) .... cited a series of staggering statistics showing high rates of divorce, unwed childbearing, and single motherhood among black families. “The white family has achieved a high degree of stability and is maintaining that stability,” the report said. “By contrast, the family structure of lower class Negroes is highly unstable, and in many urban centers is approaching complete breakdown.”
Nearly fifty years later, the picture is even more grim—and the statistics can no longer be organized neatly by race. In fact, Moynihan’s bracing profile of the collapsing black family in the 1960s looks remarkably similar to a profile of the average white family today. White households have similar—or worse—statistics of divorce, unwed childbearing, and single motherhood as the black households cited by Moynihan in his report. In 2000, the percentage of white children living with a single parent was identical to the percentage of black children living with a single parent in 1960: 22 percent.
(snip) That earthquake has not affected all American families the same way. While the Moynihan report focused on disparities between white and black, increasingly it is class, and not just race, that matters for family structure. Although blacks as a group are still less likely to marry than whites, gaps in family formation patterns by class have increased for both races, with the sharpest declines in marriage rates occurring among the least educated of both races. .....
These differences in family formation are a problem not only for those concerned with “family values” per se, but also for those concerned with upward mobility in a society that values equal opportunity for its children. ...
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonmonthly.com ...

Discovery Opens Door to a Fountain of Youth

Scientific Computing ^ | 2/5/13

Older and fitter? New findings from a UC Berkeley-led study could have implications for the development of treatments for age-related degenerative diseases.

A new study led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, represents a major advance in the understanding of the molecular mechanisms behind aging while providing new hope for the development of targeted treatments for age-related degenerative diseases.
Researchers were able to turn back the molecular clock by infusing the blood stem cells of old mice with a longevity gene and rejuvenating the aged stem cells’ regenerative potential. The findings were published online on January 31, 2013), in the journal Cell Reports.
The biologists found that SIRT3, one among a class of proteins known as sirtuins, plays an important role in helping aged blood stem cells cope with stress. When they infused the blood stem cells of old mice with SIRT3, the treatment boosted the formation of new blood cells, evidence of a reversal in the age-related decline in the old stem cells’ function.
“We already know that sirtuins regulate aging, but our study is really the first one demonstrating that sirtuins can reverse aging-associated degeneration, and I think that’s very exciting,” said study principal investigator Danica Chen, UC Berkeley assistant professor of nutritional science and toxicology. “This opens the door to potential treatments for age-related degenerative diseases.”
Chen noted that over the past 10 to 20 years, there have been breakthroughs in scientists’ understanding of aging. Instead of an uncontrolled, random process, aging is now considered highly regulated as development, opening it up to possible manipulation.
“A molecular fountain of youth”

“Studies have already shown that even a single gene mutation can lead to lifespan extension,” said Chen. “The question is whether we can
understand the process well enough so that we can actually develop a molecular fountain of youth. Can we actually reverse aging? This is something we’re hoping to understand and accomplish.”
Chen worked with David Scadden, director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.
Sirtuins have taken the spotlight in this quest as the importance of this family of proteins to the aging process becomes increasingly clear. Notably, SIRT3 is found in a cell’s mitochondria, a cell compartment that helps control growth and death, and previous studies have shown that the SIRT3 gene is activated during calorie restriction, which has been shown to extend lifespan in various species.
To gauge the effects of aging, the researchers studied the function of adult stem cells. The adult stem cells are responsible for maintaining and repairing tissue, a function that breaks down with age. They focused on hematopoietic, or blood, stem cells because of their ability to completely reconstitute the blood system, the capability that underlies successful bone marrow transplantation.
The researchers first observed the blood system of mice that had the gene for SIRT3 disabled. Surprisingly, among young mice, the absence of SIRT3 made no difference. It was only when time crept up on the mice that things changed. By the ripe old age of two, the SIRT3-deficient mice had significantly fewer blood stem cells and decreased ability to regenerate new blood cells compared with regular mice of the same age.
What is behind the age gap? It appears that in young cells, the blood stem cells are functioning well and have relatively low levels of oxidative stress, which is the burden on the body that results from the harmful byproducts of metabolism. At this youthful stage, the body’s normal anti-oxidant defenses can easily deal with the low stress levels, so differences in SIRT3 are less important.
“When we get older, our system doesn’t work as well, and we either generate more oxidative stress or we can’t remove it as well, so levels build up,” said Chen. “Under this condition, our normal anti-oxidative system can’t take care of us, so that’s when we need SIRT3 to kick in to boost the anti-oxidant system. However, SIRT3 levels also drop with age. So, over time, the system is overwhelmed.”
Old mice, new blood

To see if boosting SIRT3 levels could make a difference, the researchers increased the levels of SIRT3 in the blood stem cells of aged mice. That experiment rejuvenated the aged blood stem cells, leading to improved production of blood cells.
It remains to be seen whether over-expression of SIRT3 can actually prolong life, but Chen pointed out that extending lifespan is not the only goal for this area of research. “A major goal of the aging field is to utilize knowledge of genetic regulation to treat age-related diseases,” she said.
Study co-lead author Katharine Brown, who conducted the research as a UC Berkeley Ph.D. student in Chen’s lab, said SIRT3 has some potential in this regard.
“Other researchers have demonstrated that SIRT3 acts as a tumor suppressor,” said Brown. “This is promising because, ideally, one would want a rejuvenative therapy where you could increase a protein’s expression without increasing the risk of diseases like cancer.”
The other co-lead author of this study is Stephanie Xie, a post-doctoral fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Regenerative Medicine at the time of the study. Xie is now a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Toronto.
A number of funding sources supported this study, including the Searle Scholars Program, the National Institutes of Health and the Siebel Stem Cell Institute

Toyota and Nissan Shift From Electric Vehicles; Death Knell for Chevy Volt?

NLPC ^ | February 5, 2013 | Mark Modica

According to Toyota Vice Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada, "Because of its shortcomings - driving range, cost and recharging time - the electric vehicle is not a viable replacement for most conventional cars; we need something entirely new." Uchiyamada is considered the "father of the Prius."
An article by Reuter's exposes the limitations of EVs and focuses on Toyota's, along with Nissan's, change in strategy, which is now moving away from EVs. Even the most ideological and extreme green energy proponents and backers of the Chevy Volt will have to open their eyes to the sad truth uncovered by the latest report.
The truth is that the technology of lithium-ion based, pure electric vehicles is not the most efficient manner to power motor vehicles. This is something that has been said before by many credible sources. In fact, I previously reported that auto industry executives and engineers voiced similar concerns . Even General Motors' executive director of powertrain-engine engineering, Sam Winegarden, once presented evidence that lithium-ion batteries, used in electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf and GM's plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt, were ranked close to zero compared to gasoline and diesel fuels, which delivered the most energy for the least amount of weight and cost to the consumer. Now, Uchiyamada becomes the most credible source to weigh in and attention should be paid to his opinion.
The recent Reuter's article states the obvious, "The reality is that consumers continue to show little interest in electric vehicles, or EVs, which dominated U.S. streets in the first decade of the 20th century before being displaced by gasoline-powered cars." Also, "Despite the promise of 'green' transportation - and despite billions of dollars in investment, most recently by Nissan Motor Co - EVs continue to be plagued by many of the problems that eventually scuttled electrics in the 1910s and more recently in the 1990s. Those include high cost, short driving range and lack of charging stations." It is important to note that the criticisms are aimed at plug-in EVs and not hybrids like the Toyota Prius.
American taxpayers and voters should open their eyes to the insane waste of taxpayer money on a pursuit by the Obama Administration to electrify the US auto fleet before considering whether or not this is the most efficient manner in which to wean America off of fossil fuels. The criticisms (i.e. reality) are coming from non-biased sources, not from right wing extremists or oil proponents. Why is the truth so hard to see? Why aren't Republican representatives questioning the green farce? How many billions of dollars need to be wasted on the green folly before the truth is exposed? No one in government is fighting to end the madness, even though a recent congressional budget office report showed that EVs are costing taxpayers billions of dollars with little benefit.
January's dismal sales figures for the Chevy Volt confirm the lack of interest by consumers in costly plug-in vehicles and some Chevy dealers have pulled the plug on the car . General Motors has been dishonest regarding demand for the vehicle and has had to manufacture demand with incentivized leases. Taxpayers pay $7,500 in federal subsidies on each plug-in EV sold (or leased) and sales are still swooning. Nissan has thrown away almost $6,000 on incentives on its competing Leaf, and the car sells even less than the Volt! What is it going to take to get the picture?
The saddest part of the green boondoggle story is that our own government is responsible for the wasteful focus on plug-in vehicles. General Motors still has Obama-appointed management that will not back off on the plug-in EV technology. In fact, they are doubling down on the losing hand. But Mitsuhiko Yamashita, Nissan executive vice president, sheds light on the true driving force behind the EV madness. Reuter's quotes Yamashita as he blames rising government fuel efficiency standards, "It is not possible to meet (future) regulations unless vehicles are electrified."
So, there you have it. Our government forces automakers to build cars that few want in a misguided strategy that has cost taxpayers billions of dollars backing a technology that was unproven and now admittedly not the best alternative to gas-powered vehicles. Auto manufacturers are not trying to make money selling the cars, nor are they even concerned with the low sales, with the exception of GM which has staked its reputation on the Volt and has had political motivations. The automakers don't have to sell a lot of these cars to meet rising government standards; they only have to offer them, which does nothing to actually help the environment or oil dependence. Now how stupid is that?
Mark Modica is an NLPC Associate Fellow.

Sebelius: ObamaCare is the law of the land, so you might as well help us implement it

Hotair ^ | 02/05/2013 | Erika Johnsen

Or, in other words: Just give in already to the power of the all-knowing and all-powerful bureaucracy. Trust us.
Last June, the Supreme Court ruled that ObamaCare’s Medicaid mandate (requiring that states expand their programs and provide specified health care to all citizens whose income falls below a certain threshold, or else face losing all prior federal funding) was an unconstitutional “gun to the head” for states’ administrations and budgets, and confirmed their right to opt out without penalty — but that doesn’t mean the Obama administration isn’t applying every type of political pressure and fiscal inducement they can to coerce states into getting on board. As HHS Secretary Sebelius noted yesterday,
President Obama’s health care law is “here to stay,” but cannot fulfill its promise if states do not expand Medicaid and the uninsured do not take advantage of the benefits designed to put coverage within reach of millions more Americans, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Monday.
Addressing the National Health Policy Conference in downtown Washington, Mrs. Sebelius said the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 remains the “law of the land” after the Supreme Court upheld its key provisions in June and Mr. Obama won re-election in November, but several moving parts must sync up before the reforms can be fully effective.
“So my challenge to all of you today, and actually my plea to all of you … is help us speed up the rate of change,” she said.
Ten GOP-led states have already rejected the Obama administration’s bribe to pick up 100 percent of the Medicaid expansion’s tab for the first three years before eventually scaling down to 90 percent by the end of the decade, but twenty other states are still undecided. The red states that have decided to expand Medicaid include New Mexico, North Dakota, Nevada, and Arizona (for which the WSJ has a good explanation of the carrot-and-stick strategy being deployed by the Obama administration). On Monday, Gov. John Kasich of Ohio announced that he would become the fifth Republican governor to give in to the pressure, to the ire of many conservatives:
Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), who opposed President Barack Obama’s health care reform law, wants to take advantage of Obamacare funding to expand his state’s Medicaid program to more poor people, he announced in his budget proposal Monday.
Kasich is now the fifth GOP governor to back the Medicaid expansion, joining Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and fellow GOP leaders in Nevada, New Mexico and North Dakota in agreeing to a key component of Obama’s efforts to extend health coverage to as many as 17 million people through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program over a decade. Including Ohio, the chief executives of 20 states and the District of Columbia are now on board with the Medicaid expansion. …
“We are going to extend Medicaid for the working poor and for those who are jobless trying to find work,” Kasich said at a news conference in Columbus Monday that was broadcast online. “It makes great sense for the state of Ohio because it will allow us to provide greater care with our own dollars.”
As Philip Klein points out in light of the Ohio governor’s decision, it’s getting even harder to stay afloat in a big-government ocean trying to drown you into submission:
Whatever justifications Kasich may give, the actual explanation for his embrace of the Medicaid expansion is political cowardice. Chastened by his failed attempt at public sector union reform and Obama’s victory in the state, Kasich is up for reelection next year. And he’s afraid to stand up to the inevitable onslaught of attacks from Democrats who would charge that he was refusing to accept free money to bring health care to poor Ohioans. The end result is that a politician who ran for office claiming to have been “in the Tea Party before there was a Tea Party” is now actively embracing a policy that the Tea Party movement was born to oppose.
This should serve as a sober reminder to conservatives that no matter how big of a disaster Obamacare is when it’s implemented in 2014, the nation is almost certainly stuck with it. More broadly, it’s a demonstration of how difficult it is to defeat big government.
A feat made especially difficult when said big government is blithely glossing over wherever it is all of this new money is supposed to come from while also steadfastly refusing to acknowledge that our entitlement spending is absolutely the main culprit behind our $16 trillion debt and neglecting to correct the populist impression that ObamaCare is going to provide “free healthcare.” What a nightmare.

Fighting fat with fat: Stem cell discovery identifies potential obesity treatment

http://medicalxpress.com ^ | Feb 05, 2013 | Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Ottawa scientists have discovered a trigger that turns muscle stem cells into brown fat, a form of good fat that could play a critical role in the fight against obesity. The findings from Dr. Michael Rudnicki's lab, based at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, were published today in the prestigious journal Cell Metabolism.
"This discovery significantly advances our ability to harness this good fat in the battle against bad fat and all the associated health risks that come with being overweight and obese," says Dr. Rudnicki, a senior scientist and director for the Regenerative Medicine Program and Sprott Centre for Stem Cell Research at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. He is also a Canada Research Chair in Molecular Genetics and professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. Globally, obesity is the fifth leading risk for death, with an estimated 2.8 million people dying every year from the effects of being overweight or obese, according to the World Health Organization.
The Public Health Agency of Canada estimates that 25% of Canadian adults are obese. In 2007, Dr. Rudnicki led a team that was the first to prove the existence of adult skeletal muscle stem cells. In the paper published today, Dr. Rudnicki now shows (again for the first time) that these adult muscle stem cells not only have the ability to produce muscle fibres, but also to become brown fat. Brown fat is an energy-burning tissue that is important to the body's ability to keep warm and regulate temperature. In addition, more brown fat is associated with less obesity. Perhaps more importantly, the paper identifies how adult muscle stem cells become brown fat. The key is a small gene regulator called microRNA-133, or miR-133. When miR-133 is present, the stem cells turn into muscle fibre; when reduced, the stem cells become brown fat.
Dr. Rudnicki's lab showed that adult mice injected with an agent to reduce miR-133, called an antisense oligonucleotide or ASO, produced more brown fat, were protected from obesity and had an improved ability to process glucose. In addition, the local injection into the hind leg muscle led to increased energy production throughout the body—an effect observed after four months. Using an ASO to treat disease by reducing the levels of specific microRNAs is a method that is already in human clinical trials.
However, a potential treatment using miR-133 to combat obesity is still years away. "While we are very excited by this breakthrough, we acknowledge that it's a first step," says Dr. Rudnicki. "There are still many questions to be answered, such as: Will it help adults who are already obese to lose weight? How should it be administered? How long do the effects last? Are there adverse effects we have not observed yet?"
More information: The full article, "MicroRNA-133 Controls Brown Adipose Determination in Skeletal Muscle Satellite Cells by Targeting Prdm16," was published by Cell Metabolism online ahead of print on February 5, 2013.
Journal reference: Cell Metabolism
Provided by Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Seven million will lose insurance under Obama health law!

Washington Times ^ | 2/5/13 | Steven Dinan

President Obama's health care law will push 7 million people out of their job-based insurance coverage — nearly twice the previous estimate, according to the latest estimates from the Congressional Budget Office released Tuesday.
CBO said that this year's tax cuts have changed the incentives for businesses and made it less attractive to pay for insurance, meaning fewer will decide to do so. Instead, they'll choose to pay a penalty to the government, totaling $13 billion in higher fees over the next decade.
But the non-partisan agency also expects fewer people to have to pay individual penalties to the IRS than it earlier projects, because of a better method for calculating incomes that found more people will be exempt.
Overall, the new health provisions are expected to cost the government $1.165 trillion over the next decade — the same as last year's projection.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...

Krugman: U.S. Needs Death Panels, Sales Taxes

Breitbart's Big Government ^ | February 5, 2013 | Joel Griffith

Nobel Prize winning “economist” Paul Krugman spoke at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in Washington, D.C. last week. During the Q&A session following the lecture, an audience member asked him about the rising national debt.
Earlier in the evening, Krugman had already vocalized his satisfaction at President Obama’s apparent lack of concern over the exploding cumulative deficit. However, in a moment of brutal honesty, the esteemed Princeton professor revealed his long term prognosis. According to the professor,
"Eventually we do have a problem. That the population is getting older, health care costs are rising…there is this question of how we’re going to pay for the programs. The year 2025, the year 2030, something is going to have to give…. …. We’re going to need more revenue…Surely it will require some sort of middle class taxes as well.. We won’t be able to pay for the kind of government the society will want without some increase in taxes… on the middle class, maybe a value added tax…And we’re also going to have to make decisions about health care, doc pay for health care that has no demonstrated medical benefits . So the snarky version…which I shouldn’t even say because it will get me in trouble is death panels and sales taxes is how we do this...."
(Excerpt) Read more at breitbart.com ...

Study Proves – Watching CNN and MSNBC Makes You Stupid!

Flopping Aces ^ | 02-05-13 | Brother Bob

obama_media bias
This is another one of those subjects I wanted to write about a few months ago but it fell on my back burner. Every so often we see some new study that "proves" that Fox News viewers are stupid. The latest one that came out a few weeks ago proved that your average Fox News viewer has an average IQ of 80. PJ Media's Charlie Martin proceeded to dissect this study, first by contacting its author. The author didn't give a full name, worked for some fictitious organization, used a bizarre methodology, and could not reveal who had commissioned the study nor is he going to release the study's actual results. You can read both sides' arguments in the two links above.
The study that caught my interest initially was the subject of an article by Ben Adler over at The Nation last May that was an entertaining read to say the least. It starts off by saying that the people over at "Fox News think they are despised by real journalists only because they are conservative and most journalists are liberal." He then states that this is nonsense and proceeds to inform us that this is accuse their viewers are uninformed, as evidenced by a study done over at Fairleigh Dickenson Univeristy. Adler follows up by sharing some of the conclusions, and out of curiosity I did something radical and extremist - I looked at the study itself to see the source data behind these conclusions.
Naturally, Fox News viewers fared the worst. But then I looked closer at the breakdowns - the two lowest scoring groups were "Democrats Who Watch Fox News" and "Republicans Who watch MSNBC". That should have sent up some flags, as someone of one ideology who listens to opposing views is probably going to be better informed than his peers who don't. My guess is that these were some yahoos who were messing with the poll, and I'd be curious to see what the results looked like if they were excluded (raw numbers for how many people were in each category weren't included). When you look at the overall Democrat vs. Republican in general the results were unsurprising. The gap was a lot closer, with each side scoring a little bit higher in different areas. Democrats fared a little better with the foreign policy questions, as I would expect considering NPR's overseas coverage is a lot better than that of Fox News, in my opinion. And the GOP subjects did better on domestic politics, also unsurprising since two of the questions were regarding the Republican primaries. Personally I don't think the primary questions were good to use either, since they give a small advantage to Republicans who would be more likely to be following these events in the news.
And at the end of Adler's post there are six other studies that further prove the ignorance of Fox News viewers. Here is how each of them reach that conclusion:
1) The first one is on Global Warming, and unfortunately Adler's link no longer works, but I think that the study he references is here. Basically, your "intelligence" is determined whether or not you believe in a religious cult whose beliefs are are built on lies and are impervious to scientific methodology.
2) How well do you understand the Obamacare? The Kaiser Family Foundation found out. Democrats scored better, but that's because some of the survey's answers are just flat wrong. One question where the "correct" answer is a negative to the statement that Obamacare will "Allow a government panel to make decisions about end-of-life care for people on Medicare." Obama getting embarrassed over that got that piece of language stripped out, but IPAB remains. Yes, I'm getting into semantics, but any panel that has the power to reject certain drugs or procedures that could be used by someone on Medicare fits this description. Another is that "Cut benefits that were previously provided to all people on Medicare". I'd call cutting $700B from a program to fund Obamacare a cut. And spare me that it's being "paid for" by lowering reimbursement to doctors. Lower pay means fewer doctors accepting patients, and longer waits with the ones who still will.
3) Next, MSNBC chimes in on Health Care: Here's another way to look at the misinformation: In our poll, 72% of self-identified FOX News viewers believe the health-care plan will give coverage to illegal immigrants, 79% of them say it will lead to a government takeover, 69% think that it will use taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions, and 75% believe that it will allow the government to make decisions about when to stop providing care for the elderly.
The question on illegal immigrants was an interesting one, and had similar results in the Kaiser poll. To be honest I had no idea either way, and as much as I followed the debate I didn't recall hearing anything way on this specific point. Does anyone else remember this? As for the government takeover? Check. That's going to be the eventual outcome be as private insurers are regulated out of business. Of course, if you read how they worded the question above how do you survey people about predicting the future? And the abortion question? Planned Parenthood already gets taxpayer dollars, so it may not be a good question as to whether or not direct abortions are part of this bill. One other piece of the abortion question is getting a bit into semantics, but that's why some drugs that businesses are being forced to cover are called "abortifacients".
4) Ohio State chimes in that Fox News is spreading misinformation about the Ground Zero Mosque in New York and the people behind it.. You know, the facts behind the Ground Zero Mosque.
5) PIPA weighed in on the Iraq War, and I have to admit that the lefties have us on this one. The gist of the survey was around Iraq having ties to 9/11, WMD's being found, whether or not Saddam had ties to Al-Queda and world perception. The only question I have a bone to pick with is the Al-Queda one, as some respondents might have mistaken it for ties terrorists in general, which Saddam certainly had. But aside from that I thought that of all of the surveys listed here this one had the best worded questions and details behind its methodology. I am surprised with this one's results, as I watched Fox News back then quite a bit more than I do today and listened to Sean Hannity's radio show (He has had a prime time show on Fox News for many years) during my then afternoon commute and don't remember any of these misperceptions being preached, but the opinions are what they are.
Just so there's no misunderstanding I still fully support taking out Saddam, but the reasons are too much of a tangent for this post. If you want to read in depth on the subject try Doug Feith's book, or you can look here for a quicker summary. And no matter how good an argument one makes against the war, you're never going to convince me that with everything else going on in the Middle East that Saddam still being around would be better, or that Iraq and Iran in a nuclear arms race would be a good idea.
6) World Public Opinion.org looked at misinformation around the 2010 election. They have an bone to pick with the Citizens United ruling - apparently Viacom, Disney, Comcast and the New York Times Corp. are the only corporations that are entitled to free speech. The first part of the survey is pretty useless, citing numbers of Americans who felt that they witnessed misinformation in ads prior to the election. I call this useless because my basic definition of misinformation is "An opinion expressed that you don't agree with", and yes this cuts across both sides of the aisle.What were the questions that the public got wrong? There were too many questions to address each one, but here are some highlights:
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that by the third quarter of 2010, the stimulus legislation had increased the number of full-time equivalent jobs by between two and five million. Other economists concurred that it had a positive effect on growth for the economy. However, most voters did not seem to have this information.
That's great, as we can see every job that the government "created", but how many did they destroy? Any first year economics student knows that every dollar spent or borrowed is a dollar not used toward private consumption or investment. And which "Other economists" agreed on the positive effect? Data-challenged preachers like Paul Krugman? Forgive us for not joining you in celebrating the high unemployment, low growth, and soaring deficits we've enjoyed under the Obama Presidency.
(excerpt) Read more at floppingaces.net...

NBC EXCLUSIVE: Justice Department Memo Reveals Legal Case for Drone Strikes on Americans!

NBC News ^ | Monday, February 4, 2013 | Michael Isikoff

A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” -- even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.
The 16-page memo, a copy of which was obtained by NBC News, provides new details about the legal reasoning behind one of the Obama administration’s most secretive and controversial polices: its dramatically increased use of drone strikes against al-Qaida suspects, including those aimed at American citizens, such as the September 2011 strike in Yemen that killed alleged al-Qaida operatives Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan. Both were U.S. citizens who had never been indicted by the U.S. government nor charged with any crimes.
But the confidential Justice Department “white paper” introduces a more expansive definition of self-defense or imminent attack than described by Brennan or Holder in their public speeches. It refers, for example, to what it calls a “broader concept of imminence” than actual intelligence about any ongoing plot against the U.S. homeland.
“A lawful killing in self-defense is not an assassination,” the white paper reads. “In the Department’s view, a lethal operation conducted against a U.S. citizen whose conduct poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States would be a legitimate act of national self-defense that would not violate the assassination ban. Similarly, the use of lethal force, consistent with the laws of war, against an individual who is a legitimate military target would be lawful and would not violate the assassination ban.”
(Excerpt) Read more at openchannel.nbcnews.com ...

Texas 6th graders assigned to design flag for new socialist nation!

http://www.examiner.com ^ | february 4, 2013 | joe newby

Sixth-grade children in many Texas public schools are being tasked with designing flags for a new socialist nation as part of the state's curriculum, EAG News reported Monday.
"Notice socialist/communist nations use symbolism on their flags representing various aspects of their economic system. Imagine a new socialist nation is creating a flag and you have been put in charge of creating a flag," says a lesson plan being used as part of CSCOPE, the curriculum being used by over 70 percent of Texas school districts.
"Use symbolism to represent aspects of socialism/communism on your flag. What kind of symbolism/colors would you use?" the lesson plan asks.
According to the Associated Press, witnesses told the Texas Senate Education Committee last week that the program promotes liberal values they described as "anti-Christian at best and openly socialist at worst."
"Does that sound like we're sympathizing with those types of countries?" Sen. Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood) asked regarding the flag assignment. He later said that he found it “very egregious as a Texas and an American.”
"Committee Chairman Dan Patrick, R-Houston, called it 'a mess.' One witness compared the system to 'mind control,' and an algebra teacher wept as he described quitting because he felt he was 'aiding and abetting a crime' by using CSCOPE in his classroom," the AP reported.
An article at Texas CSCOPE Review was even harsher in its criticism, accusing Obama of "teaching our children how wonderful socialism is and that communism is even better."
(Excerpt) Read more at examiner.com ...

Texas Gov. Perry blasts CA in new radio ad

San Diego Union-Tribune ^ | 2/4/2013 | Jonathan Horn

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is continuing his effort to lure businesses away from San Diego by taking to the airwaves.

Fueled by the November passage of Proposition 30, which raised sales and some income taxes, Perry has voiced an ad that will run on six radio stations in the state - including KCQB 1170 in San Diego - inviting people to go east.
(Excerpt) Read more at utsandiego.com ...

California: Sitting atop black gold, forgoing for the green?

Hot Air ^ | February 4, 2013 | Erika Johnsen

While touting his ostensible “all of the above” energy plan and working the campaign trail not so very long ago, President Obama would justify his many expensive green-energy plans by repeatedly saying something along the lines of, “America consumes 20 percent of the world’s oil, but only has two percent of its reserves” — which is about as bogus a statistic as it gets. America only having two percent of the world’s oil relies on measures of its proven reserves, i.e., the amount of oil that has both been discovered and is technologically and economically feasible to extract, remaining static.
New technology means that oil deposits the world over are suddenly a lot more available for cost-effective human productivity, and while certain states have taken advantage of the effectively growing oil-and-gas abundance — North Dakota has been raking it in by tapping into the Bakken shale formation — California is sittin’ pretty atop a formation four times the size of that one. The NYT reports:
These wells are tapping crude directly from what is called the Monterey Shale, which could represent the future of California’s oil industry — and a potential arena for conflict between drillers and the state’s powerful environmental interests. …
Comprising two-thirds of the United States’s total estimated shale oil reserves and covering 1,750 square miles from Southern to Central California, the Monterey Shale could turn California into the nation’s top oil-producing state and yield the kind of riches that far smaller shale oil deposits have showered on North Dakota and Texas.
For decades, oilmen have been unable to extricate the Monterey Shale’s crude because of its complex geological formation, which makes extraction quite expensive. But as the oil industry’s technological advances succeed in unlocking oil from increasingly difficult locations...
(Excerpt) Read more at hotair.com ...

Boy Scouts Reaffirm Gay Ban After 2-Year Review

The Blaze ^ | July 17, 2012 | Jason Howerton

NEW YORK (AP) — After a confidential two-year review, the Boy Scouts of America on Tuesday emphatically reaffirmed its policy of excluding gays, ruling out any changes despite relentless protest campaigns by some critics.
An 11-member special committee, formed discreetly by top Scout leaders in 2010, “came to the conclusion that this policy is absolutely the best policy for the Boy Scouts,” the organization’ national spokesman, Deron Smith, told The Associated Press.
Smith said the committee, comprised of professional scout executives and adult volunteers, was unanimous in its conclusion – preserving a long-standing policy that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 and has remained controversial ever since.
As a result of the committee’s decision, the Scouts’ national executive board will take no further action on a recently submitted resolution asking for reconsideration of the membership policy.
Boy Scouts of America Chief Executive Bob Mazzuca (Source: scouting.org)
The Scouts’ chief executive, Bob Mazzuca, contended that most Scout families support the policy, which applies to both leaders and Scouts.
“The vast majority of the parents of youth we serve value their right to address issues of same-sex orientation within their family, with spiritual advisers and at the appropriate time and in the right setting,” Mazzuca said. “We fully understand that no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society.”
The president of the largest U.S. gay-rights group, Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign, depicted the Scouts’ decision as “a missed opportunity of colossal proportions.”
“With the country moving toward inclusion, the leaders of the Boy Scouts of America have instead sent a message to young people that only some of them are valued,” he said. “They’ve chosen to teach division and intolerance.”
The Scouts did not identify the members of the special committee that studied the issue, but said in a statement that they represented “a diversity of perspectives and opinions.”
“The review included forthright and candid conversation and extensive research and evaluations – both from within Scouting and from outside of the organization,” the statement said.
The announcement suggests that hurdles may be high for a couple of members of the national executive board – Ernst & Young CEO James Turley and AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson – who have recently indicated they would try to work from within to change the policy. Both of their companies have been commended by gay-rights groups for gay-friendly employment policies.
Stephenson is on track to become president of the Scouts’ national board in 2014, and will likely face continued pressure from gay-rights groups to try to end the exclusion policy. Asked for comment on Tuesday about the Scouts’ decision to keep the policy, AT&T did not refer to Stephenson’s situation specifically.
“We don’t agree with every policy of every organization we support, nor would we expect them to agree with us on everything,” the company said. “Our belief is that change at any organization must come from within to be successful and sustainable.”
A statement from the executive committee of the Scouts’ national executive board alluded to the Turley-Stephenson developments.
“Scouting believes that good people can personally disagree on this topic and still work together to achieve the life-changing benefits to youth through Scouting,” the statement said. “While not all board members may personally agree with this policy, and may choose a different direction for their own organizations, BSA leadership agrees this is the best policy for the organization.”
Since 2000, the Boy Scouts have been targeted with numerous protest campaigns and run afoul of some local nondiscrimination laws because of the membership policy.
One ongoing protest campaign involves Jennifer Tyrrell, the Ohio mother of a 7-year-old Cub Scout who was ousted as a Scout den mother because she is lesbian.
Change.org, an online forum supporting activist causes, says more than 300,000 people have signed its petition urging the Scouts to reinstate Tyrrell and abandon the exclusion policy. The petition is to be delivered to the Scouts’ national headquarters in Irving, Texas, on Wednesday.

Strict Gun Laws in Chicago Can’t Stem Fatal Shots

NewYorkTimes ^ | January 29, 2013 | MONICA DAVEY

CHICAGO — Not a single gun shop can be found in this city because they are outlawed. Handguns were banned in Chicago for decades, too, until 2010, when the United States Supreme Court ruled that was going too far, leading city leaders to settle for restrictions some describe as the closest they could get legally to a ban without a ban. Despite a continuing legal fight, Illinois remains the only state in the nation with no provision to let private citizens carry guns in public.

And yet Chicago, a city with no civilian gun ranges and bans on both assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, finds itself laboring to stem a flood of gun violence that contributed to more than 500 homicides last year and at least 40 killings already in 2013, including a fatal shooting of a 15-year-old girl on Tuesday.
Lately, the police say they are discovering far more guns on the streets of Chicago than in the nation’s two more populous cities, Los Angeles and New York. They seized 7,400 guns here in crimes or unpermitted uses last year (compared with 3,285 in New York City), and have confiscated 574 guns just since Jan. 1 — 124 of them last week alone.
“Our gun strategy is only as strong as it is comprehensive, and it is constantly being undermined by events and occurrences happening outside the city — gun shows in surrounding counties, weak gun laws in neighboring states like Indiana and the inability to track purchasing,” Mr. Emanuel said. “This must change.”
“Chicago is not an island,” said David Spielfogel, senior adviser to Mr. Emanuel. “We’re only as strong as the weakest gun law in surrounding states.”
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...

The Diaper We Know as Obamanomics

Townhall.com ^ | February 5, 2013 | John Ransom

Yes, it’s that time of year again.
It’s time to hold our nose and check the diaper that we have all come to know as Obamanomics.
While rightly this review should have been completed closer to the first of the year, there were too many events in the offing that were likely to impact the economy to take a stab at the broad outlines of an economic outlook nearer New Year’s Eve.
But now that congress and the president have agreed to get the tax increase off the table that they didn’t dare pass while campaigning, clear the children from the room, because this economic forecast won’t be pretty.
In short, the DC diaper is pretty full and, with a bit more pressure, the bubble it’s created could blow in 2013.
During the campaign Obama consulted with his chief economist, talk-show host David Letterman, and promised that he wouldn’t try to pay down the deficit “solely on the backs of the middle class.”
Well promise kept: Not only has Obama raised taxes on everyone, from every income spectrum- poor, middle class and rich- he also has made clear that he won’t make any attempt to pay down the deficit.
Who said Letterman wasn't funny anymore?
In recent negotiations on the debt ceiling he told John Boehner "I'm getting tired of hearing you say that," when Boehner brought up the government’s chronic spending problem.
“When it comes to federal spending,” writes Investor’s Business Daily, “Obama is like the alcoholic who says that the only drinking problem he has is when he can't get a drink.”
While Obama’s own bi-partisan commission has warned that the country will have to keep borrowing to sustain the current level of spending even if the economy reverts to historical growth patterns- which it won’t anytime soon- Democrats are confidently preparing a new assault on taxpayers.
That’s because Obama’s going to spend the increased tax dollars he just got from you and me on more stuff that won’t work, like “climate change” legislation. It will be disguised as a “green jobs” program, of course. But, let’s be honest, even if Obama instituted a 100 percent tax on fossil fuels, the earth’s temperature is not going to be effected by the tax, even allowing that global warming models are correct, which I don’t.
After all, the models were probably created by economists.
Jobs won’t be growing out of the burgeoning “green” energy industry- or other government measures- because we know from past history that new industries aren’t formed at the direction of the government, but rather by demand.
Jimmy Carter put solar panels on the White House at a time when energy spending made up a larger portion of our GDP, and what good did it do?
So let’s just agree right now that the best thing that the government can do for our economy would be to do no harm; and that Obama at least doesn’t seem inclined to lay off the economy and let it self-mend.
Big government is not the economy’s friend this year.
Taxes, regulations and more intervention will take its toll. And that means slower growth, if any growth at all, as anyone outside of the Wall Street-Washington corridor would admit.
A recent Gallup poll says that business owners are worried about taxes and regulations, while consumer confidence is down as a result of the last tax increase.
So, prepare for the double whammy of less spending by both businesses and consumers.
One clue on the downward direction of the economy can be gleaned by looking at what economists are saying.
The flagship franchise for economists, um, The Economist magazine, is saying that America’s economy is looking better for 2013.
Uh-oh: You all know what that means. Things are going to be really bad.
“The financial crisis and recession ended more than three years ago!” they write. “The housing market is firmly on the mend! Employment is growing! The euro zone, though feeble, is no longer about to collapse! And the threat of home-grown crisis appeared to recede when Republicans in the House forbore to use the threat of default to extract spending cuts!”
In fairness, I added the exclamation points at the end of each sentence. But you get the idea: Yeah, I laughed too.
Of course, they don’t present any actual data to support the thesis that things are looking up, but what the hay, these are economists we are talking about. What they don’t know, they can make up.
NBCNews reports that half of all business economists polled recently “now expect real gross domestic product — the value of all goods and services produced in the United States — to grow between 2 and 4 percent in 2013. That's up from 36 percent of respondents who felt the same way three months earlier.”
And just in time, the Washington Post reports that economists say “Trust us. We aren’t driven by ideology.”
Besides some cheap humor aimed at economists and liberal journalists, there is a real point here.
Or own favorite economist, Dan Mitchell of Cato, points out that economists have a poor track record at predicting what the economy will do in the future.
“It’s not that economists are totally useless” says Mitchell. “It’s just that they don’t do a very good job when they venture into the field of macroeconomics, as Russ Roberts succinctly explained. And they look especially foolish when they try to engage in forecasting.”
We all look a bad at forecasting. But economists look especially bad at it.
The gray line below represents economists’ forecasts for a fictional land where recessions never happen, and the red line represents the economy that you and I actually have to live in every day.

But going past some of these more humorous and superficial reasons for economic pessimism, let’s look at some data points:
Thee VIX
Also known as the Volatility Index or the Fear Index, the VIX is trading near lows at $13.04. That means that there isn’t a ton of fear in the market. That is often misunderstood by some people- even (gasp!) economists- to mean that things are just swell.
A case in point is that The Economist says that when Obama was elected in 2009 the VIX stood at 46, but “[a]t the start of his second term, by contrast, the Dow hit a five-year high, while a widely followed index of investor fear called the VIX reached a near-six-year low.”
The low on the VIX is not good news, however with all due respect to economists.
Let’s see it in action in The Economist’s own example.
When Obama was inaugurated in 2009 and the VIX was at 46 the Dow was at 8,000 on the way to 6,600. The VIX settled eventually to a high of around 49. Since then, the Dow has added 6,000 points. And the VIX has moved downward.
VIX high means time to buy, VIX low means time to blow.
In other words, when the VIX is this low, it can only go higher, generally speaking- which means something bad is about to happen ast the VIX trades near $13.
The fact that The Economist, the franchise publication for, um, economists, doesn’t know this, should worry you- especially if you rely on their optimistic assessments of the economy to make investment decisions. And yes: These are the guys who plan bailouts and QEs and Dodd-Frank and actuarial tables for Social Security and all the other stuff Washington can think up that doesn’t work.
Gas Prices
Gas prices have not helped our economy under Obama.
Whether you are liberal or conservative you have to agree that the administration isn’t friendly to fossil fuel supply. That may seem incidental, but oil prices don’t go down when a cartel controls those prices and the largest economy in the world signals that they like high prices. It’s not just the fact that administration officials say that high oil prices are desirable; it’s that financial markets find them desirable too.
While the stock market has been a general beneficiary of the Fed’s printing-press largess, oil markets have loved Ben Bernanke as well. Frankly there are too few places to invest, but the petro markets have been a nice source of reliable returns for investors.
Prices make lows in the winter and then go up in the summer generally.

The problem is that, according to our friends at Political Calculations, there seems to be some correlation between high gas prices and high unemployment. While they say the correlation is far from perfect, “Going by the elevated motor gasoline prices that have come to characterize Barack Obama's years as U.S. President, it appears that the U.S. unemployment rate will skyrocket up to 11% early in 2013 if the correlation between gasoline prices and the unemployment rate two years later continues to hold.”
While unemployment may not get as high as 11 percent, it’s troubling that spot oil prices for West Texas Intermediate remain stubbornly high in a sluggish worldwide economy. Because that means that the gas prices that have fallen recently are sure to rebound shortly.
We used to be able to count on getting gas price relief as the economy cooled. But with trillions in liquid money looking for a place to park, that’s no longer the case.
High prices at the pump mean businesses have less money for labor.
We used to know this in our country without someone saying it out loud.
Corporate Dividends
Here too I’m a big believer in the work that Political Calculations has done on the predictive power between dividend futures data and the S&P 500.
In short, PC uses dividend futures data to calculate with a great degree of accuracy what the S&P 500 will do several quarters out.

And here’s the worrisome part: “In December 2012,” writes PC, “93 U.S. companies announced that they would be cutting their regular dividends going forward, also a new record. The previous record of 81 companies announcing dividend cuts in a single month was set in March 2009, as the U.S. stock market was hitting bottom during the ‘Great Recession’.”
While it’s uncertain if the cuts are due primarily to changes in tax policy or the desire by companies to hold on to earnings, the cuts in the number of companies paying dividends is worrying. Clearly as companies accelerated dividend payments in the 4th quarter of 2012, it helped the stock market.
I think the obverse will happen as we move into future quarters.


While there has been some de-coupling of Wall Street from GDP over Obama’s term, I don’t see that lasting very much longer. Frankly, Obama doesn’t care anymore about being the “economic” president who cares about trivial things like jobs. Now that he’s been reelected, he’ll pursue policies regardless of the outcome on Main Street and Wall Street. The results won’t be pretty.
GDP again will come in under 2 percent for 2013 and we will likely see several quarters of contraction.
Trust me: I’m not an economist. I’m just foolish enough to forecast like one.

How to BLOCK OBAMACARE in Your State

Reaganite Republican ^ | 05 January 2013 | Reaganite Republican

Here in the darkest days -so far- of the nightmarish Obama era, it seems the monstrous statist power-and-tax-grab known as 'Obamacare' is here to stay... or is it?

Judge Roberts might have sold us down the river, but there's still plenty of fight left in conservatives. And it's not just us right-wingers-clingers either: fact is, Dear Leader's unwanted and unloved quasi-nationalization of the US healthcare industry has never enjoyed majority public support in this country- same as the day they rammed it through. At least half the electorate still wants it repealed.

We all know we're being screwed here, yet Americans aren't the type to lay back and learn to enjoy it: with states' rights as a last line-of-defense remaining in the Obamacare battle, the healthcare scheme needs the (voluntary) establishment of state-operated insurance exchanges to work. Alas, only 15 states have said they're willing to do so, and without them, this dog won't hunt.

The widespread state-level resistance seems have caught the White House by surprise, so why not twist the knife in your own state- and help finish off this big, dumb Frankenstein?

A new site -BlockExchanges.com- aims to consolidate efforts to keep Obamacare exchanges from being established in each of our states, which in turn would force Congress to either re-write or repeal the entire law...

So, what are health care exchanges, and why are we so concerned about stopping them?

Exchanges are the bureaucratic mechanism for enacting ObamaCare in the states, an online marketplace where individuals must shop for their government-approved insurance plan. They are also the clearinghouse through which the government will distribute the premium subsidies to help people purchase their regulated insurance. The exchanges are also required to collect the data that allows the government to enforce the “employer mandate”, the penalty employers must pay if they do not insure their employees.

But most importantly, the health care exchanges are voluntary to the states, and without them ObamaCare cannot function.

This is because of a flaw in the bill itself, the “Affordable Care Act”, which only authorizes a state-created exchange to distribute the subsidies. Without the subsidies, there is no incentive to participate in ObamaCare at all.

This leaves states with the critical option – do they participate in ObamaCare and subject their residents to the massive cost increases and government control of their health care, or do they opt out and force the government to reopen the health care law?

The answer should be clear – if enough states opt out of the exchanges, we still have the chance to dismantle ObamaCare. The states should stand their ground, and for the federal government to deal with the mess they have created...

They've got an 'Action Map' over there where you can find the current status of exchange implementation in your state,
check it out and do what you need to do- this could be big.


The Karl Rove Cartel Will Now Pick Your Rhinos

Last Resistance ^ | Feburary 4, 2013 | John DeMayo

By now all Americans—regardless of their political ideology, especially conservatives—should be fed up with the government failures produced by political operatives and big money’s influence in our elections. Election after election, powerbrokers like the infamous political Republican strategist Karl Rove and his campaign money machine are working to deprive Americans of the fundamental concept of choice in our elections. If Mr. Rove continues to have his way, conservative Americans will only be allowed to vote for candidates of his choosing in the foreseeable future.

Super Pac “American Crossroads”—founded in part by Karl Rove—has branched out on a new political influence peddling venture call “The Conservative Victory Project”. “The Conservative Victory Project” will operate independently of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and “American Crossroads”. It is being funded by big Republican campaign contributors frustrated by American Crossroads failure to aggressively inject their money and influence into Republican vs. Republican contests. According to reports “the Conservative Victory Project” unlike “American Crossroads” will be disclosing all of it donors. How refreshing, if true.
(Excerpt) Read more at lastresistance.com ...