Sunday, April 28, 2013

'Ready To Die For My New Country': Gaining Quick Citizenship In Combat Boots ["Security Risk"]

NBCNews ^ | Bill Briggs

'Ready To Die For My New Country': Gaining Quick Citizenship In Combat Boots
Oumama Kabli, center, celebrates becoming a U.S. citizen during a naturalization ceremony on April 15 at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Kabli, 19, is a private in the Army National Guard and entitled to become a citizen without the normal five-year residency requirement because of her military service.
By Bill Briggs This story is part of NBC News’ series “Immigration Nation,” an in-depth examination of immigration in America. A wartime edict to entice immigrants to join the military in exchange for rapid naturalization has created 83,000 new American citizens. But one critic worries the initiative will become permanent — or perhaps even expand — essentially outsourcing more U.S. combat jobs and, he argues, injecting the armed forces with an increased security risk.
Launched via a 2002 executive order by President George W. Bush, the program lets green-card holders who enlist in the U.S. armed services bypass the typical five-year residency rule and apply immediately for citizenship at no fee. More than 10 percent of such naturalization ceremonies have taken place in 28 countries abroad, including 3,412 in Iraq, 2,102 in Japan and 1,134 in South Korea, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS, which administers the process.
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Critics see conflict of interest as Obama admin advises doctors on prescriptions ^ | april 27, 2013 | patrick howley

The Obama administration’s “academic detailing” program — through which representatives from the federal government help doctors select prescription drugs for their patients — is coming under harsh behind-the-scenes criticism from corporate executives including the CEO of Pfizer, who is trying to have the project disbanded.
The academic detailing project, created by President Obama’s 2009 stimulus program, sends federal government consultants to doctors’ offices and pharmacies to provide “evidence-based research findings” that can be used to help doctors and pharmacists choose prescription drugs for their clients.
Academic detailing consultants visit doctors at approximately 1,300 primary care clinician sites and 200 hospitals and health systems in targeted areas around the country.
“Trained clinician consultants visit physicians, pharmacists, nurses, other clinicians, and health care system decisionmakers nationwide to share unbiased, noncommercial information about medications and other therapeutic options with the goal of improving patient care,” according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Department of Health and Human Services agency responsible for overseeing the program.
Critics view the academic detailing project as a conflict-of-interest because it allows the federal government — which has an incentive under Obamacare to keep health care costs low — to guide doctors toward choosing cheaper generic drugs for their patients.
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Even Big Labor Unions Drop Support For Obamacare ^ | april 26, 2013

As ObamaCare rolls out, some of its biggest backers from labor to D.C. lawmakers are having second thoughts. It's a sign that the idea of ending this national nightmare isn't about to go away.
Late last week, the 22,000-member United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers dropped a bombshell on the Obama administration, not only withdrawing its support for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but also demanding its repeal.
The reason: ObamaCare subsidizes low-paid non-union workers in small companies that don't insure their employees, while leaving union shops with ObamaCare's higher health care costs and a 40% tax on Cadillac plans by 2018. That's a "death warrant" for unions, as the Atlantic's Megan McArdle noted.
"These provisions jeopardize our multiemployer health plans, have the potential to cause a loss of work for our members, create an unfair bidding advantage for those contractors who do not provide health coverage to their workers and, in the worst case, may cause our members and their families to lose the benefits they currently enjoy as participants in multiemployer health plans," said union President Kinsey Robinson.
It's the latest shoe to drop in the Great Buyers' Remorse of ObamaCare's biggest backers.
The call from the roofers was hardly the first shot fired on this terrible piece of legislation.
Last January, Sheet Metal Worker Local 85 in Atlanta asked for new subsidies for lower-paid union members.
This past August, the Communication Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers went on strike against Verizon over health care cutbacks that came as a result of the ObamaCare Cadillac tax, which Verizon has to prepare for now.
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The Post-Welfare State Family: The original cradle-to-grave institution

The Weekly Standard ^ | The May 6, 2013 Issue | Mary Eberstadt

Among various unwanted truths that grown-ups of the Western world have to contend with these days, here’s one that doesn’t get nearly the traction it deserves: The days of the modern welfare state look to be numbered.
Yet it’s true. Even the most redistributive president in history can’t change the laws of arithmetic. As can be seen most recently in Jonathan V. Last’s book What to Expect When No One’s Expecting, the song of demographic unsustainability remains the same on both sides of the Atlantic. From Nicosia to Athens, London to Washington, D.C., the benefits promised to seniors and others before Western people stopped having babies will be shouldered in the years to come by a shrinking cadre of younger taxpayers. Nor is the discrepancy just some accounting shortfall to be finessed. As British psychiatrist and pundit Theodore Dalrymple once noted, this crisis is system-wide, “civilizational.”
Two weeks ago, for instance, two news items independently offered clear windows onto different parts of the scene. In the New York Times, a harrowing front page story entitled “More Children in Greece Start To Go Hungry” showed what can happen when an economy in free-fall meets the highest unemployment rates in Europe (27 percent): More Greek youngsters underfed and malnourished; garbage-picking outside elementary schools; and an overall level of “food insecurity” that, according to one expert, rivals that in parts of Africa. And though “experts” can be expected to overstate, Greece, it helps to remember, is a country in the EU.
On the same day, in the Washington Post, columnist George Will used recent work by Hudson Institute scholar Christopher DeMuth to examine the political sausage factory that could push America toward a Grecian future.....
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The Problem

Should flower shop be required to serve a gay wedding?

The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin ^ | April 27, 2013 | Bruce Ramsey. The Seattle Times

I am troubled by Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s crackdown on florist Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, for refusing to make a flower arrangement for a same-sex wedding.
#I’m not arguing here against gay marriage. I voted for it. I’m not even sure that Stutzman has a legal right to refuse the business. Ferguson says that under Washington’s anti-discrimination statute, she doesn’t, and probably he’s right. She might, however, have a superior right under the state constitution, depending on how you interpret it.
#The constitution has nothing in it about freedom from private discrimination. But Article 1, Section 11 does say, “Absolute freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment, belief and worship shall be guaranteed to every individual ...”
#This doesn’t refer to commerce, but in 1889, when it was written, nobody questioned a person’s right not to deal with someone in a matter of commerce. America made an exception to that principle in the 1960s to end racial segregation in the South, where African-Americans could often not eat at lunch counters or rent rooms in motels. Those practices put blacks at a social and economic disadvantage that visibly harmed the race. This pervasive disadvantage was the reason for setting aside the long-standing principle that any business owner could say “no” to a transaction.
#We’ve extended the nondiscrimination principle for 50 years and now arrive at its nether regions. With gay marriage there have been a handful of publicized cases of discrimination — by a wedding photographer in New Mexico, the baker of wedding cakes in Oregon, and now this wedding florist in the Tri Cities. Most of these cases have been about wedding ceremonies. Should a gay couple’s extra hassle in finding wedding professionals matter to the state?(continued)
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