Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A normal person’s perspective on the Sequester...Or How I Came to Love the Sequester

Flopping Aces ^ | 02-26-13 | Vince

Everett Dirksen famously said “A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you're talking real money.” If his billion here and billion there added up to $44 billion then he’d have been talking about the Sequester that seems to be everywhere in the news today.

For those not familiar with the Sequester, it is the mandatory cut in federal spending set to take place on March 1st. President Obama essentially warned that the country would likely come to a screeching halt if the mandated cuts actually occurred. Among the damage would be: thousands of teachers and firefighters losing their jobs, 800,000 Defense job losses, nursing home cuts, cuts to Medicare, airports close, hundreds of thousands would miss out on flu vaccinations and cancer screening. Apparently the Myans were just off by a couple of months.

Back to the real money… $44 billion is a lot of money. That’s the kind of money Mark Zuckerberg looks at and goes “Wow”. When you imagine that the Sequester is going to cut that much from the federal budget that seems like a lot… until it’s not.

In 2012 the federal government spent $3.538 trillion. If nothing is done and the Sequester kicks in, in 2013 the federal government will spend $3.553… yes, that’s right, $15 billion more! Somehow, President Obama is trying to suggest that if the country does not figure out how to dodge this $44 billion Sequester bullet, the foundations of our society are going to come crumbling down upon our shoulders. (The total 2013 "cut" includes the aforementioned $44 billion plus $41 billion cut in future years but attributed to 2013.)

That simply makes no sense.

To put this in some perspective, imagine that instead of talking about trillion dollar federal budgets here, we use numbers in the form of your paycheck. Let’s imagine that your family had an income of $50,000 in 2012. While it might have been a challenging year, that’s up 15% from the $43,600 you earned in 2009. (Remember, we’re using government spending as the measure here. If we were instead using actual household income numbers, the $43,600 you earned in 2009 would have instead shrunk to $41,500 by 2012 rather than growing to $50,000). In 2013 you are expecting a .4% raise, taking your income up to $50,211.

Given those numbers, are you going to spend a week knocking on your neighbor’s homes telling them they have to demand the homeowner’s association roll back the dues because you only received a $211 raise this year? Are you going to call your relatives and tell them that you are going broke and that you may lose your house because you only got a $211 raise this year? Are you going to go to your boss and tell him that you’re probably going to have to stop working if he doesn’t give you another $500?

Probably not.

(excerpt) Read more at floppingaces.net...

Testimony: DHS No Longer Uses Control of Border as Measure of Border Patrol!

CNS News ^ | 2/26/13 | Terence P. Jeffrey

(CNSNews.com) - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security no longer uses control of the actual border as a measure of how well the Border Patrol is doing its job, according to written testimony released today by the Government Accountability Office.
The GAO said that by the end of fiscal 2010, the Border Patrol had been able secure “operational control” of only 44 percent of the U.S.-Mexico border. Then, with 56 percent of the border not under “operation control,” DHS simply stopped using “operational control” as a measure of the Border Patrol’s performance.
Since then, DHS has counted the number of illegal border crossers the Border Patrol apprehends, and used this count as an “interim” measure of whether the Border Patrol is accomplishing its mission.
According to GAO, this “interim” measure limits DHS’s accountability and Congress’s ability to conduct oversight of the department.
“At the end of fiscal year 2010, DHS reported achieving varying levels of operational control of 873 (44 percent) of the nearly 2,000 southwest border miles,” Rebecca Gambler, the GAO’s director of Homeland Security and Justice Issues told the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on the Border.
“In fiscal year 2011, citing a need to establish new goals and measures that reflect a more quantitative methodology and an evolving vision for border control, DHS transitioned to using the number of apprehensions on the southwest border as an interim goal and measure,” Gambler said. “As GAO previously testified, this interim measure, which reports on program activity levels and not program results, limits DHS and congressional oversight and accountability.”
Starting in 2004, Congress provided the Border Patrol with a significant increase in resources, which until 2010 were focused on actually securing the physical border of the United States.
(Excerpt) Read more at youtube.com ...

A Presidency Without… Guts

By Jim Geraghty

February 26, 2013 11:08 A.M.

So the secondhand tale of House Speaker John Boehner’s assessment that President Obama “can’t make a decision. He’s got balls made out of marshmallows” … has a certain precedent, as Exurban Jon reminds me:

“If Hillary gave him [Obama] one of her balls, they’d both have two,” Democratic strategist James Carville told the Christian Science Monitor at a breakfast on Thursday morning.
The editorial board of the Washington Post uses nicer language, but reaches the same conclusion:
… why is Mr. Obama not leading the way to a solution? From the start, and increasingly in his second term, Mr. Obama has presented entitlement reform as something he would do grudgingly, as a favor to the opposition, when he should be explaining to the American people — and to his party — why it is an urgent national need. Obama priorities such as health and energy research, preschool education and job training: Those come from the discretionary budget.
Why? Because it would mean telling his party and his supporters things they don’t want to hear. And he doesn’t have the, er… stomach for it.

Scientists Claim 72 Is the New 30

GM Visuals | Blend Images | Getty Images

Human longevity has improved so rapidly over the past century that 72 is the new 30, scientists say.
Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany, said progress in lowering the odds of death at all ages has been so rapid since 1900 that life expectancy has risen faster than it did in the previous 200 millennia since modern man began to evolve from hominid species.
The pace of increase in life expectancy has left industrialized economies unprepared for the cost of providing retirement income to so many for so long.
The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, looked at Swedish and Japanese men – two countries with the longest life expectancy today. It concluded that their counterparts in 1800 would have had lifespans that were closer to those of the earliest hunter-gatherer humans than they would to adult men in both countries today.
Those primitive hunter gatherers, at age 30, had the same odds of dying as a modern Swedish or Japanese man would face at 72.


A young woman went to her Grandmother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling.

Her Grandmother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans.

She let them sit and boil without saying a word. In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her Granddaughter, she asked, "Tell me, what do you see?"

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.

She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft and mushy. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hardened egg. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee.

The daughter smiled as she tasted its deep flavor and inhaled its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, "What's the point, Grandma?"

Her Grandmother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity - boiling water - but each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin, outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water they had changed the water.

"Which are you?" she asked her Granddaughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?"

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong? But with pain and adversity, do I wilt and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a fluid spirit but, after death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart? Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water - the very circumstance that brings the adversity, the pain, the hardship – into something quite wonderful. When the water gets hot, it releases it's fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better, and change the situation around you for the better.

When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another level? How do you handle adversity?


~ Author Unknown

America's Red State Growth Corridors (The Low-tax, energy-rich regions in the heartland)

Wall Street Journal ^ | 02/26/2013 | JOEL KOTKIN

In the wake of the 2012 presidential election, some political commentators have written political obituaries of the "red" or conservative-leaning states, envisioning a brave new world dominated by fashionably blue bastions in the Northeast or California. But political fortunes are notoriously fickle, while economic trends tend to be more enduring.
These trends point to a U.S. economic future dominated by four growth corridors that are generally less dense, more affordable, and markedly more conservative and pro-business: the Great Plains, the Intermountain West, the Third Coast (spanning the Gulf states from Texas to Florida), and the Southeastern industrial belt.
Overall, these corridors account for 45% of the nation's land mass and 30% of its population. Between 2001 and 2011, job growth in the Great Plains, the Intermountain West and the Third Coast was between 7% and 8%—nearly 10 times the job growth rate for the rest of the country. Only the Southeastern industrial belt tracked close to the national average.
Historically, these regions were little more than resource colonies or low-wage labor sites for richer, more technically advanced areas. By promoting policies that encourage enterprise and spark economic growth, they're catching up.
Such policies have been pursued not only by Republicans but also by Democrats who don't share their national party's notion that business should serve as a cash cow to fund ever more expensive social-welfare, cultural or environmental programs. While California, Illinois, New York, Massachusetts and Minnesota have either enacted or pursued higher income taxes, many corridor states have no income taxes or are planning, like Kansas and Louisiana, to lower or even eliminate them.
The result is that corridor states took 11 of the top 15 spots in Chief Executive magazine's 2012 review of best state business climates. California, New York, Illinois and Massachusetts were at the bottom.
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...

Designated Second Amendment Safe Zone

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President Obama’s sequester strategy: Divide and conquer!

Politico ^

President Obama’s sequester strategy: Divide and conquer By: Carrie Budoff Brown February 26, 2013 04:42 AM EST
President Barack Obama broke Republicans once on taxes — and his risky strategy for winning the sequester fight assumes he’ll do it again.
He will divide, isolate and defeat Republicans using all the powers of his office and all his skills as a political campaigner. As Americans grow frustrated with the cuts, Republicans will reject their party’s no-tax mantra and demand that Congress end the standoff, even if it means raising some new revenue – just the way Obama is demanding.
Obama’s trying to speed this result, by releasing state by state details of the pain and suffering the sequester will cause, all meant to get Republicans to cave. And he’s got the biggest megaphone, hammering this message over and over in a way the divided Republican party cannot.
Except that message could cut both ways.
What if the public agrees that yes, there is a lot of pain and suffering – and turns to Obama wondering, why didn’t you do more to prevent it? That’s what makes some Democrats nervous about the White House’s supreme level of confidence.
Democratic lawmakers, who are unclear about the end game, could succumb to the same public offensive that Obama has been ginning up against Republicans and start demanding that the White House cut its losses and move on to other important second-term initiatives. A GOP proposal to give flexibility to the agency heads on deciding how to administer the cuts could start looking attractive to Democrats as a way out.
(Excerpt) Read more at politico.com ...

Dr. Ben Carson Continues His Wisdom Tour

Townhall.com ^ | February 25, 2013 | Armstrong Williams

Dr. Ben Carson, Presidential Medal of Freedom winner and legendary neurosurgeon, is now in the spotlight for his keynote address to the National Prayer Breakfast on February 7. It’s not brain surgery to figure out why.
Most notable was his criticism of Obamacare, one of the worst federal laws in decades, and one which, before its complete implementation, is already destroying our economy on a massive scale. Dr. Carson, relying on decades of medical experience, proposed health savings accounts for every American, which would fix two enormous problems in our system today: (1) regressive intergenerational transfers of wealth, and (2) half of our country not having a skin in the game, not having invested in their own futures. HSAs would incentivize efficiency, which is completely lacking in today’s broken health care system. Our country is being bankrupted by the health care industry, and Dr. Carson has a solution that needs to be taken seriously.
Dr. Carson came under fire for these remarks; people called them political, or partisan. What is wrong with a physician sharing his perspective on health policy? Is it partisan just because this is President Barack Obama we’re dealing with, whom the media has seemingly vowed to protect at any cost? Dr. Carson’s wisdom should be heeded by policymakers in Washington on both sides of the aisle.
Rush Limbaugh, in his typically bombastic style, warned afterward, as interest grew in Dr. Carson’s ideas,that “The Obama campaign team is gonna get into gear if this guy keeps talking, and they're gonna try to find ways to smear him and ruin his life and do to him what they did to Romney. That's all they can do. They can't beat him in the arena of ideas and superior intellect.”
It is a shame that Dr. Carson’s speech was considered only for its public policy content. The speech is full of wisdom on other topics, such as education, speech codes,and the importance of tithing.
I was intrigued by his discussion of tithing, and its relation to our 70,000-page tax code. Tithing is such a fair way to tax people is because it's proportional. As soon as you move away from proportional taxing, ideology takes over. As a result, ideology is—quite frankly—arbitrary and depends upon the latest trendy or fashionable prejudices. A growing number of people seriously think that the rich should pay more, while some feel they should pay less. One could legitimately make the argument that if the top one percent pay 37% of the income taxes and the top 5% pay 59%, this clearly demonstrates their tax base should be lower. The top 5% don't make 59% of the income and yet they pay 59% of the taxes. Therefore it is simple and fair to make the argument that they are being over taxed.Simplification is the only true and fair solution.
If you pay God 10% of your wealth, why should you pay the government more than that? Unlike our tax code, tithing is simple, and it is fair.
Tithing represents 10% of one's increase. A proportional tax system does not have to reside at 10%. It can be higher or lower depending on the needs of the government. Because it would be applied proportionally to the entire population, the government would be unlikely to raise taxes to a very high level, for it would effect everyone and not just a small group of voters. This is a clear advantage of a proportional tax rate, that everyone participates. A country where half of the population pay no income taxes, but are allowed to vote to make the other people pay more taxes, makes absolutely no sense.
When everybody has skin in the game, then everyone will be responsible: imagine if when you ate ice cream, somebody else got fat! That’s how our tax and spend government works: 51% of the people vote for spending paid for by the other 49%.
Dr. Carson says that he has not ruled out a run for office if “the Lord grabbed me by the collar and made” him do it. Whether or not he does, I think that our leaders in Washington need to listen to this man, and at least take a half hour to listen to his Prayer Breakfast speech. It is a large dose of common sense, something that has been lacking in Washington for many years.
I am proud to call Dr. Carson my friend, and, like just about everyone else, I hope to hear more such speeches from him in the future. I also strongly encourage you to read more about Dr. Ben Carson, especially his latest NY Times best selling book "America the Beautiful," which he wrote with his wife Candy, and which details the scholarship program that they have been running for fifteen years. I’m hoping that we’ll get a sequel sometime soon.

What happened to the Golden State?

Washington Examiner ^ | February 24, 2013 | Conn Carroll

California is no longer a model that other states want to or should emulate. It currently has the nation's third highest unemployment rate, its highest poverty rate and more than one-third of the nation's welfare recipients.
To make a long story short, the same political constituencies that have made Brown's Democratic Party invincible at the ballot box have also made the state unable to compete economically.
These unions also make it impossible to improve how government services are delivered to taxpayers. As a result, while California once had the most admired education system in the nation, it now ranks near the bottom in almost every measured educational category.
The state's powerful environmental lobby has secured a slew of green energy regulations, including strict clean air rules, the nation's first carbon cap-and-trade program and an ambitious renewable energy mandate. As a result, energy prices have shot up, consumers now have less to spend on everything else they need to survive, and many manufacturers can't stay profitable in the state
Over the next four days, The Washington Examiner will look at what ails California, and how it got to its current state of failure. We will look at the state's out-of-control budget and debt, the powerful union interests driving it, the decline of its education system, the failure of its "clean energy" initiatives and the environmental regulations that are wrecking the economy in many regions of the state.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonexaminer.com ...

Here are the United States’ 20 Most Miserable Cities of 2013:

Forbes magazine released its dubious 2013 list of the most miserable cities in the United States of America. With the new list for the new year came a new city listed at the top of the list as Detroit, Michigan replaces last year’s most miserable city of Miami, Florida. The magazine cites Detroit’s high unemployment, violent crimes, shrinking population, and its financial crisis as reasons for giving the city the title.

The list created by Forbes involves the scrutiny of the country’s largest urban areas which are then ranked via factors such as the city’s crime rates, foreclosures, taxes, home prices, commute times, weather, and decreasing populations.

Here are the United States’ 20 Most Miserable Cities of 2013:

  1. Detroit, Michigan
  2. Flint, Michigan
  3. Rockford, Illinois
  4. Chicago, Illinois
  5. Modesto, California
  6. Vallejo, California
  7. Warren, Michigan
  8. Stockton, California
  9. Lake County, Illinois
  10. New York City, New York
  11. Toledo, Ohio
  12. St. Louis, Missouri
  13. Camden, New Jersey
  14. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  15. Atlantic City, New Jersey
  16. Atlanta, Georgia
  17. Cleveland, Ohio
  18. Poughkeepsie, New York
  19. Gary, Indiana
  20. Youngstown, Ohio

NRA Uses Justice Memo to Accuse Obama on Guns

NewsMax ^ | February 24, 2013 | Stafff

The National Rifle Association is using a Justice Department memo it obtained to argue in ads that the Obama administration believes its gun control plans won't work unless the government seizes firearms and requires national gun registration — ideas the White House has not proposed and does not support.
The NRA's assertion and its obtaining of the memo in the first place underscore the no-holds-barred battle under way as Washington's fight over gun restrictions heats up.
The memo, under the name of one of the Justice Department's leading crime researchers, critiques the effectiveness of gun control proposals, including some of President Barack Obama's. A Justice Department official called the memo an unfinished review of gun violence research and said it does not represent administration policy.
Urgent: Should Obama Ban Guns? Vote in Poll UrgentShould Obama Ban Guns? Vote in Poll
The memo says requiring background checks for more gun purchases could help, but also could lead to more illicit weapons sales. It says banning assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines produced in the future but exempting those already owned by the public, as Obama has proposed, would have limited impact because people now own so many of those items.
It also says that even total elimination of assault weapons would have little overall effect on gun killings because assault weapons account for a limited proportion of those crimes.
The nine-page document says the success of universal background checks would depend in part on "requiring gun registration," and says gun buybacks would not be effective "unless massive and coupled with a ban."
The administration has not proposed gun registration, buybacks or banning all firearms. But gun registration and ownership curbs are hot-button issues for the NRA and other gun-rights groups, which strenuously oppose the ideas.
(Excerpt) Read more at newsmax.com ...

How the Left Dupes Conservative Voters

American Thinker ^ | February 19, 2013 | J. R. Dunn

Too little serious conservative analysis of the 2012 presidential campaign has yet appeared. This is understandable. The results of the election were disheartening to the point of shock. The campaign defied all historical precedent, all commonsense interpretation...
In 2006, after two elections spent banging their heads against Bush's early popularity, the Democrats hit on the tactic of running Blue Dogs -- Democrats with a few surface conservative characteristics. One of the most important from an electoral standpoint was a good rating with the NRA, something possessed by a number of candidates, among them James Webb of Virginia. Although the NRA was questioned over this, it refused to modify its policy of endorsing highly-rated candidates and ended up doing exactly what the Democrats hoped: funneling voters toward an entire squadron of Trojan horse candidates. Numerous voters to whom gun rights were dominant voted according to their usual practice for candidates supported by the NRA, despite the fact that this new run of Blue Dogs opposed everything else they might believe. It was a case of missing the forest in favor of a single tree. While the candidate in question might well be a hunter or an avid gun collector, his election accomplished nothing beyond providing numbers and support for a party adamantly opposed to both the NRA and gun owners everywhere...
But then appeared Todd Akin, an engineer with a spotty and unimpressive political record. No sooner had Akin announced than a parade of TV ads appeared accusing him of being the "most conservative candidate", far more so than his rivals. The odd thing was that these were paid for by the Democratic Party. Opposing parties do not usually run ads involving one another's primaries. Yet the Democrats spent something on the order of $1.5 to $2 million on...
(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...

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The Train

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All the Coal, None of the Carbon- Almost

Townhall.com ^ | February 25, 2013 | Bob Beauprez

It looks like the radical environmental left may have to find a new favorite dirty four letter word.

 Scientists at Ohio State University have announced the discovery of a new process that takes the energy from coal without burning it – "and removes virtually all of the pollution."

The technology, known as Coal-Direct Chemical Looping (CCDL), captures more than 99 percent of coal's carbon dioxide emissions based on laboratory research. The team of scientists led by Liang-Shih Fan, professor of chemical engineering and director of the Clean Coal Research Laboratory at Ohio State University, has been working on this and other clean coal technologies for 15 years with funding by the Department of Energy.

Almost as amazing as the discovery itself, Prof. Fan's research project has survived three different Presidential Administrations with vastly different energy policies.

Carbon-dioxide has long been targeted by global warming alarmists.

According to the EPA, coal-fired power plants produced about one-third of the nation's annual total emissions of carbon dioxide. As the villain-of-choice for the Obama Administration, restrictive air-quality emission standards were purposely crafted to achieve the President's objective to "bankrupt" coal-fired plants faced with the cost-prohibitive and technologically impossible task of achieving the new standards.

But, this new technology virtually eliminates pollutants and "could reduce the cost of carbon dioxide capture by more than half if implemented on a commercial scale," according to the OSU research team.

Coal has been a staple of American energy production for centuries in large part because it is so plentiful throughout much of the U.S. Today, the U.S. has more than 25 percent of the world's known "reserves" of coal, and vastly more of total coal "resources," as explained by the Institute for Energy Research

American Coal. The United States has enough recoverable coal reserves to last at least another 250 years, with reserves that are over one-and-one-half times greater than our nearest competitor, Russia, and over twice that of China. America’s known reserves alone constitute 27 percent of the entire world’s coal supply.

While known reserves are high, actual US coal resources are much higher than current estimates. Why? Because “reserves” represent coal that is readily evident as a result of ongoing mine operations, while “resources” include all those areas known to contain coal but have yet to be actually quantified by direct exposure due to the mining process. In-place U.S. coal resources (the entire estimated volume that is within the earth) totals 10 trillion short tons, and would last over 9000 years at today’s consumption levels. Alaska is estimated to hold more coal than the entire lower 48 states. (While the EIA’s estimate of recoverable coal reserves in Alaska is 2.8 billion short tons, geological estimates by the US Geological Survey put the in-place figure at over 6 trillion short tons.)

Combined, all these US coal resources may contain the energy equivalent of 35 trillion barrels of oil. While such figures are speculative and incorporate some coal resources that may not be economically viable with today’s technology, the future is full of promise. The US’s coal resources are clearly vast.

The OSU discovery was funded by a DOE research grant of just $5 million – less than 1 percent of the amount that was squandered on the now bankrupt Solyndra solar energy start-up company in California. Further, the total investment in Professor Fan's research hardly amounts to a rounding-error of the $80 billion set aside in Barack Obama's 2009 Economic Stimulus legislation for "green energy projects" – many of which have already collapsed.

In addition to efforts to regulate coal out of existence, the Obama Administration earned the infamous distinction of "the most anti-oil and gas record in U.S. history." During the last four years, the Administration has issued moratoriums, delayed permitting, cancelled leases, and limited access to federal lands for energy production. More recently, the Interior Department and EPA have begun aggressively pursuing new regulations on hydraulic fracturing technology (fracking) that has exponentially expanded recoverable resources and reduced consumer energy costs.

The OSU discovery exposes the fallacy of radical left and particularly the Obama Administration. They believe people are the problem, when in fact people will invariably find the smart, safe, and efficient solutions to the challenges we face.

At a time when North American energy independence in a real possibility due to our vast resources coupled with scientific advancements like fracking and encouraging discoveries like coal-direct chemical looping, our government and all citizens should be supporting – not trying to destroy – all options for safe, efficient energy production.

In GOD We Trust

Watch this, then ask, how did we get here?

This guy's video on youtube has been so popular that Obama called him personally. He said he was very disturbed with the video and invited him to the White House. Obama also said he wanted the White House to handle the Press and not to talk about the video or the White House visit. That's very interesting.
Watch it now before it's pulled from youtube. This may be the best six minutes invested in your future