Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Boehner-Obama Deals Produce $2.5T New Debt in 2 Years; $21,817 Per Household

CNS News ^ | March 7, 2013 | Terrence P Jeffrey

(CNSNews.com) - The federal debt has increased $2.5 trillion over the past two years, during a time when federal spending has been governed by a series of deals cut between Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Democratic President Barack Obama.
Boehner became speaker on Jan. 5, 2011, when the 112th Congress began its first session. At that time, the federal government was operating under a continuing resolution (CR) passed on Dec. 21, 2010 by the previous Congress.
On March 1, 2011, Boehner and Obama made their first spending deal to provide funding for the government after the then-current CR expired on the March 4, 2011. Since then, consistent with Congress's constitutional authority over spending, all federal spending has been conducted under legislation approved by the Republican-controlled House and agreed to by the Democrat-controlled Senate and President Obama.
At the close of business on March 4, 2011, when the first Boehner-Obama spending deal took effect, the federal debt was $14,182,627,184,881.03, according to the U.S. Treasury. As of the close of business on March 6, 2013, when the Republican-controlled House passed its latest CR, the federal debt was $16,692,238,790,019.20.
That means the federal government's debt has increased $2,509,611,605,138.17 since the first Boehner-Obama deal took effect.
There are now approximately 115,031,000 households in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The $2,509,611,605,138.17 increase in the debt since the first Boehner-Obama equals about $21,817 per household.
That means under Boehner-Obama spending deals, federal debt per household has been increasing at a pace of about $10,909 per year.

Federal Reserve: ObamaCare Leading to Layoffs

http://www.unitedliberty.org ^ | march 8, 2013 | Jason Pye

During testimony before the House Budget Committee in February 2011, Doug Elemendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office, told Rep. John Campbell (R-CA) that ObamaCare would reduce employment by some 800,000 by 2021. The effects of the law on the job market was a point that many policy analysts were making before its passage.
Unfortunately, the Obama Administration and Democrats in Congress weren’t listening. And now, the Federal Reserve has released a report noting that ObamaCare is leading many businesses to layoff workers:
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday released an edition of its so-called “beige book,” that said the 2010 healthcare law is being cited as a reason for layoffs and a slowdown in hiring.

“Employers in several Districts cited the unknown effects of the Affordable Care Act as reasons for planned layoffs and reluctance to hire more staff,” said the March 6 beige book, which examines economic conditions across various Federal Reserve districts across the country.
(Excerpt) Read more at unitedliberty.org ...

What Obama Is Doing to the Job Market

Townhall.com ^ | March 9, 20013 | John C. Goodman

Firms are awash with cash, but they're not hiring. What's going on? One place to look for an explanation is the policies of the Obama administration.
President Obama's proposal to increase the minimum wage and the health insurance employer mandate are combining to destroy job opportunities for young, unskilled workers in cities and towns across the country.
The minimum wage, currently set at $7.25 an hour, will jump to $9 an hour and be indexed going forward if the president gets his way. The Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) is already the law of the land and its effects are being felt right now, even though the employer mandate doesn't go into effect until next January.
With respect to the new health law, the Congressional Budget Office estimates the cost of the minimum benefit package that everyone will be required to have will be $4,750 for individuals and $12,250 for families. That translates into a minimum health benefit of $2.28 an hour for full time single workers and about $3 an hour for someone working 30 hours a week. For family coverage, the cost is $5.89 an hour for a 40-hour-a week employee and $7.85 an hour for a 30-hour-a-week employee.
These are not small changes. They can double the cost of labor in some cases.
The law does not specify how much of the premium must be paid by the employer versus the employee. But there is a government requirement that the employee's share cannot exceed 9.5% of wages for low- and moderate-income workers and an industry rule of thumb that employers must pick up at least 50% of the tab. The economic effects are the same, however, regardless of who writes the checks.
Employers have four ways to reduce this burden: (1) the mandate doesn't apply to firms with fewer than 50 workers, (2) the mandate doesn't apply to employees who work fewer than 30 hours, (3) the employer doesn't have to offer or subsidize family coverage and (4) rather than provide health insurance, the employer can pay a $2,000 per (full-time) worker fine.
There are going to be lots of firms that fail to grow beyond 49 employees. But be warned: If an individual owns, say, two or three fast food franchises, the IRS has signaled that it will treat their combined operations as a single business. Also, in calculating the number of full time workers, the IRS is going to count "full-time equivalents." That means that two workers, each working 15 hours a week, will count as the equivalent of one full-time (30 hour) worker.
As noted, employers are already reacting to ObamaCare. In fact, there was a huge shift to part-time employment in the fast food industry beginning in January. The reason: ObamaCare will employ a 12 month "look back." In deciding whether a worker is full-time or part-time next January (when the mandate becomes effective) the government will look at the average weekly hours worked in the previous year.
I believe this change is economy wide. As Catherine Rampel noted at The New York Times economics blog the other day: Compared with December 2007, when the recession officially began, there are 5.8 million fewer Americans working full time. In that same period, there has been an increase of 2.8 million working part time.
One fast food restaurant owner I talked with (owning 100 franchises) told me that the average work week for their employees has been reduced to 25 hours this year — compared to 38 hours last year.
Employees may be able to work part-time at two different restaurants — both of which avoid the mandate by switching to part-time labor. On the other hand, they may just choose to work fewer hours. The reason: When the effects of the tax law are added to the effects of ObamaCare, a moderate income family will face a 41 percent marginal tax rate.
As a Wall Street Journal editorial calculated the other day, letting part-time workers work more hours can be expensive. If a 29 hour-a-week employee works one more hour for 50 weeks that will trigger a $2,000 fine. Dividing the fine by the additional hours of work, that works out to a $40 an hour penalty.
Bottom line: employment opportunities are being curtailed by the imposition of ObamaCare. Things will be even worse if a 24 percent increase in the cash minimum wage is heaped on top of it.
Economists have traditionally believed that an increase in the minimum wage (as well as mandated benefits) causes unemployment. However, a study by David Card and Alan Krueger found very little employment effect in the fast food industry in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
You wonder if economists ever talk to employers when they do these studies, however. Because of labor law and tax law, employment in the fast food industry has already been pared to the bone. When I was young, every restaurant had waiters and waitresses who brought food to your table. But this service has been priced out of the market in fast food by past increases in the minimum wage. Fast food restaurants are getting by with the absolute minimum amount of labor they need to supply their products.
If government imposes higher labor costs on this industry, the restaurants will try to make it up by raising their prices. However, if the customers won't pay the higher price — as may be the case in poorer neighborhoods — the restaurant will have to close.
Moreover, in order for prices to rise in one market there must be a corresponding decline in other markets. For the economy as a whole, employers can't raise prices on the average with no change in the money supply.

Record High 89.3 Million People “Not In The Labor Force”

political outcast ^ | 3-8-13 | philip hodges

The unemployment rate may have fallen from 7.9% in February to 7.7% in January, but the number of people not in the labor force has set a record all-time high. The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines those not in the labor force as those who are unemployed and no longer looking for work, including those who retired on schedule or retired early. CNS News reported the numbers:
“The number of Americans designated as ‘not in the labor force’ in February was 89,304,000, a record high, up from 89,008,000 in January, according to the Department of Labor. This means that the number of Americans not in the labor force increased 296,000 between January and February.”
(Excerpt) Read more at politicaloutcast.com ...
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Court curbs laptop searches at U.S. border [Slaps BIG Sis hard]

Wash Times ^ | Friday, March 8, 2013 | Stephen Dinan

A federal appeals court on Friday said the Border Patrol cannot confiscate or download every laptop or electronic device brought into the U.S., ruling that people have an expectation their data are private and that the government must have “reasonable suspicion” before it starts to do any intensive snooping.
In a broad ruling, the court also said merely putting password protection on information is not enough to trigger the government’s “reasonable suspicion” to conduct a more intrusive search — but can be taken into account along with other factors.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges said it was a “watershed care” that gets at what kinds of limits the government must observe when it comes to technology and privacy...
“It is little comfort to assume that the government — for now — does not have the time or resources to seize and search the millions of devices that accompany the millions of travelers who cross our borders. It is the potential unfettered dragnet effect that is troublesome,” Judge McKeown wrote.
Writing in dissent, Judge Milan D. Smith Jr. said the ruling creates a morass for border inspections and amounts to “leaving our borders open to electronically savvy terrorists and criminals who may hereafter carry their equipment and data across our borders with little fear of detection.”
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...

Obama Adulterates Marriage and Federalism

Townhall.com | March 9, 2013 | Janet M. LaRue

“Marriage, it doesn’t mean anything.” That’s what Barack Obama told wife Michelle while they were dating, according to her 2008 interview in The New Yorker. Marriage won’t mean anything if Obama has his way with the Supreme Court.

As a suitor of voters, Obama expressed his “sacred” version in response to a question from Pastor Rick Warren just before the 2008 election:


“I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian -- for me -- for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God's in the mix.”

Obama has had more marriage evolutions than Liz Taylor. You can review them on Politico.com.

At Obama’s direction and input, the U.S. Solicitor General has filed an amicus brief in the Court in Hollingsworth v. Perry. The brief supports homosexual couples who arechallenging the constitutionality of “Proposition 8,” which defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Prop 8 is a California ballot proposition and amendment to the California Constitution approved by more than seven million Californians in 2008, otherwise known as democracy.

Obama’s brief challenges what has been dubbed “the eight-state solution.” For better or for worse, California and seven other states, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, and Rhode Island, have granted the substantive rights and responsibilities of marriage to same-sex couples, calling them either civil unions or domestic partnerships.

Perhaps they followed the lead of Obama, the fickle constitutional professor, when he told the Windy City Times in 2004:


I am not a supporter of gay marriage as it has been thrown about, primarily just as a strategic issue. I think that marriage, in the minds of a lot of voters, has a religious connotation. I know that’s true in the African-American community, for example.”

Obama specifically endorsed “strong civil unions,” not “a weak version” in a 2007 primary debate.

California’s law is the “strong version,” granting “all of the rights and responsibilities of marriage” to same-sex “domestic partners.” Even so, Obama is telling the Court that this is precisely what’s wrong with it. Follow the spin.

The voters’ failure, according to Obama’s brief, was in granting same-sex domestic partners all of the benefits without calling it marriage:


“Proposition 8’s denial of marriage to same-sex couples, particularly where California at the same time grants same-sex partners all the substantive rights of marriage, violates equal protection. The Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection embodies a defining constitutional ideal that “all persons similarly situated should be treated alike.”

Obama doesn’t explain how a sterile coupling of two men are “similarly situated” to a husband and wife becoming one by naturally consummating their marriage.

Obama still says that marriage law should be decided by the states, unless, of course, they decide wrongly. It’s Obama’s version of federalism. Just substitute the votes of five lawyers on the Supreme Court for seven million Californians.

Obama explained his elusive evolution on marriage to the White House press corps last Friday:


“As everybody here knows, last year, upon a long period of reflection, I concluded that we cannot discriminate against same-sex couples when it comes to marriage; that the basic principle that America is founded on -- the idea that we're all created equal -- applies to everybody, regardless of sexual orientation, as well as race or gender or religion or ethnicity.

“And I think that the same evolution that I've gone through is an evolution that the country as a whole has gone through. And I think it is a profoundly positive thing.”

With 41 states disagreeing with him about marriage, only a progressive could see his evolved view as “a profoundly positive thing.” It helps explain why he doesn’t think he has a spending problem.

Obama believes that “impermissible prejudice” by seven million Californians of all races, creeds, and walks of life is the only plausible explanation for Prop 8. To soften his slur, he says their prejudice is not necessarily motivated by “ill will.” Perhaps they’re simply insensitive, irrational xenophobes who haven’t evolved:


‘‘Prejudice, we are beginning to understand, rises not from malice or hostile animus alone. It may result as well from insensitivity caused by simple want of careful, rational reflection or from some instinctive mechanism to guard against people who appear to be different in some respects from ourselves.”

The brief doesn’t challenge state laws such as Texas, which ban same-sex “marriage,” civil unions and domestic partnerships. If he has his way in Perry, Obama will accuse these states in a future case of violating equal protection and the liberty rights of same-sex couples under the due process clause of the 14h Amendment.

The Court will hear oral arguments in Perry at the end of March along with a challenge to the federal “Defense of Marriage Act” in U.S. v. Windsor. The decisions will be issued by the end of June.

Regardless, marriage is what it is?the God-ordained union of one man and one woman, upon which depends the continuation of humankind. Two men or two women do not a marriage make any more than O2H makes water.

As Obama once said: “God’s in the mix.”

God doesn’t evolve. Neither does the Constitution unless amended by We the People.

Federal workers owe $3.5 billion in back taxes!

MSN ^ | 3/08/13 | STEPHEN OHLEMACHER

WASHINGTON (AP) - The number of federal workers and retirees who owed delinquent income taxes jumped by nearly 12 percent in 2011, the Internal Revenue Service said Friday.

Nearly 312,000 federal workers and retirees owed more than $3.5 billion in back taxes as of Sept. 30, 2011, the agency said. The year before, about 279,000 workers and retirees owed $3.4 billion.

Overall, the 9.8 million workers included in the data had a delinquency rate of 3.2 percent. That's better than the general public. The IRS says the delinquency rate for the general public was 8.2 percent.
(Excerpt) Read more at money.msn.com ...

Is America in Danger of a Federal Takeover of Our Elections?

The New American ^ | Mar. 8, 2013 | Kurt Hyde

The Obama administration has appointed a bipartisan presidential commission with the stated purpose of recommending changes in election procedures supposedly to streamline our elections. No fewer than five bills to increase federal control over American elections have been filed in the 113th Congress. Even a cursory review of the five bills already proposed reveals an unconstitutional federal power grab over American elections. If these measures are passed, they would also result in a drastic reduction in the remaining electoral safeguards left in at least some of the states.
The bills submitted so far:
• HR 50 — Streamlined and Improved Methods at Polling Locations and Early Voting Act of 2013 (SIMPLE) submitted by George Miller (D-Calif.).
This bill would force the states to implement early voting.
• HR 280 — Same Day Registration Act of 2013 submitted by Keith Ellison (D-Minn.).
This bill would force the states to implement same-day voter registration.
• HR 281 — Voter Access Protection Act of 2013 submitted by Keith Ellison (D-Minn.).
This bill would repeal all state laws that require photo ID for voting.
• HR 289 — Value Our Time Elections Act of 2013 (VOTE) submitted by James Moran (D-Va.).
This 50-page bill would expand the already unconstitutional Election Assistance Commission (EAC) gradually making it the federal bureaucracy that runs America’s elections.
It would force the states to implement Internet voter registration and even allow digital signatures in voter registrations. It would also mandate that the states implement automatic voter registration, which is dangerously on the path to universal voter registration.
(Excerpt) Read more at thenewamerican.com ...

High-capacity MOF shows clean fuel promise


Yuandi Li


Vehicles powered by natural gas are cleaner than those running on petrol, and are of increasing interest to those living in countries that have to import oil. But the high pressures at which gas must be stored require expensive materials and distribution infrastructures, as well as radically different vehicle designs.
Metal organic frameworks (MOFs) could be the answer to the problem. These materials – which comprise metal ions connected by organic linkers – are able to store high quantities of gas at lower pressures than are required by traditional gas cylinders, for example. But their low capacity and the scale on which they can be synthesised have prevented their practical use so far.
However, a collaboration between US scientists could change this. Omar Farha, Randall Snurr and Joseph Hupp at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and Taner Yildirim of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Maryland have synthesised a MOF in gram-scale quantities that has 67% of the deliverable storage density of gas cylinders, but at only a quarter of the pressure.
‘What this [reduction in pressure] is going to do is reduce the compression cost ,’ explains Farha. ‘The infrastructure will become cheaper – you won’t need compressors to compress natural gas up to 250 bar.’
Farha’s research team designed the material, dubbed NU-125, by considering the criteria that were needed. The proposed structure consisted of copper ions connected by new hexa-carboxylic acid linkers, which provides greater porosity than MOFs made with conventional linkers. A computer simulation was then used to confirm that the material could deliver the required properties before scaling up and synthesis was carried out.
The researchers tested the material’s stability by repeated adsorption–desorption cycling over the course of a month, which revealed no degradation in performance. Isotherms were also measured on larger scales, using a gram of the MOF, and the physical properties found to be the same. ‘This suggests the material can be activated very well,’ comments Farha.
Russell Morris, of the University of St Andrew’s, UK, praises the researchers’ achievements: ‘I think the capacity is pretty much getting near to being enough,’ he says, but warns that the researchers need to explore the effects of impurities and stability over longer periods. Farha agrees, revealing this is the group’s next step, along with optimisation of the deliverable gas capacity even further.

Palin's Cry: Cling to Your God, Guns, Constitution

The Winter Haven News Chief ^ | March 9, 2013 | Mary Toothman

LAKELAND | Former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin was fired up about God and country when she spoke Friday at Southeastern University in Lakeland. And she was dressed for the part.
The 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate visited the Sunshine State at the request of the organizers of the school's seventh annual leadership forum. She was quite a presence on the stage, in a lipstick-red suit and fierce high heels.
Her passionate talk was peppered with such vibrant cries as "Cling to your God, your guns, your Constitution!" and pleas for the next generation to change the country's moral fiber. "That will make our foundation crumble if we choose to ignore it," she said.
Not one to tiptoe around sensitive topics, Palin got right to the point on reasons she said the country is in crisis.
"Today, look around, and don't you wonder sometimes if, as a nation, we have forgotten God altogether? This is a crucial question," she said.
Palin said the school asked her to talk about hope and resilience. She said she would but "not that Washington, D.C., ‘hopey-changey' blah, blah, blah stuff, but real hope."
Mostly, the 49-year-old hammered such topics as the corruption of Washington, D.C. — "It's a hotbed of cronyism" — and federal spending — "The federal government is bloated, corrupt and out-of-control."(continued)
(Excerpt) Read more at newschief.com ...

BUBBA AND BILLY BOB


Bubba and Billy Bob are walking down the street in Dallas , and they see a sign on a store which reads, "Suits $5.00 each! , shirts $2.00 each, trousers $2.50 each. 

Bubba says to his pal, " Billy Bob , look here! We could buy a whole gob of these, take 'em back to A&M, sell 'em to our friends, and make a
fortune. Just let me do the talkin' 'cause if they hear your grammar,
they might think we're ignorant and won't wanna sell that stuff to us. So I'll talk in a slow Texas drawl so's they don't know we is from A&M ."

They go in and Bubba says with his best fake Texas drawl, "I'll take 50 of them suits at $5.00 each, 100 of them there shirts at $2.00 each, 50 pairs of them there trousers at $2.50 each. I'll back up my pickup and..."

The owner of the shop interrupts, "Ya'll from Texas A&M, ain't ya?"

"Well...yeah," says a surprised Bubba...."How come you knowed that?"

"Because this is a dry cleaners"