Sunday, June 2, 2013

When Do Americans Get Answers?

 Real Clear Politics ^ | June 1, 2013 | Reince Priebus

Where does the buck stop in the Obama administration? Will anyone take responsibility for the IRS scandal? When will we hear the whole truth? And will the president ever admit to creating a culture of hostility toward conservative groups?
Does President Obama think his endless attacks on conservative groups had no effect on the IRS’s thinking? Did the IRS take years of name calling as a sign that these groups deserved to be harassed? After the president and his allies called the groups “terrorists” and “tea-baggers,” did the IRS think targeting them was what the president wanted? Were they egged on by the letters from Democrat Senators Schumer, Whitehouse, and Baucus calling for the IRS to scrutinize conservative groups?
Doesn’t the administration recognize the IRS could’ve taken cues from people at the top?
If this wasn’t politically motivated, why weren’t liberal groups targeted? Why did the IRS wait until after the 2012 election to admit their actions? Isn’t it interesting that none of President Obama’s supporters were targeted?
Why did the IRS give confidential information about conservative groups to ProPublica—and not liberal groups? And what other records were released???
How do we know this won’t happen again? Can we really trust the IRS to implement Obamacare? Is this bureaucracy competent enough to apply the law fairly and even-handedly? Will the agency that played politics with our taxes play politics with our healthcare? Should Americans feel confident that their health records won’t be released? Can we rest assured that the IRS won’t use their new powers to push a political agenda? Will President Obama bother to address this concern?
Why have these questions gone unanswered? Why can’t we get the facts? Is this really the “most transparent administration in history”?
Priebus is the chairman of the Republican National Committee.

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Identical twin studies prove homosexuality is not genetic (nurture not nature)

Holland Davis ^ | May-13-2013 | Mark Ellis 

Eight major studies of identical twins in Australia, the U.S., and Scandinavia during the last two decades all arrive at the same conclusion: gays were not born that way.
“At best genetics is a minor factor,” says Dr. Neil Whitehead, PhD. Whitehead worked for the New Zealand government as a scientific researcher for 24 years, then spent four years working for the United Nations and International Atomic Energy Agency. Most recently, he serves as a consultant to Japanese universities about the effects of radiation exposure. His PhD is in biochemistry and statistics.
Identical twins have the same genes or DNA. They are nurtured in equal prenatal conditions. If homosexuality is caused by genetics or prenatal conditions and one twin is gay, the co-twin should also be gay.
“Because they have identical DNA, it ought to be 100%,” Dr. Whitehead notes. But the studies reveal something else. “If an identical twin has same-sex attraction the chances the co-twin has it are only about 11% for men and 14% for women.”
Because identical twins are always genetically identical, homosexuality cannot be genetically dictated. “No-one is born gay,” he notes. “The predominant things that create homosexuality in one identical twin and not in the other have to be post-birth factors.”
Dr. Whitehead believes same-sex attraction (SSA) is caused by “non-shared factors,” things happening to one twin but not the other, or a personal response to an event by one of the twins and not the other.
For example, one twin might have exposure to pornography or sexual abuse, but not the other. One twin may interpret and respond to their family or classroom environment differently than the other. “These individual and idiosyncratic responses to random events and to common environmental factors predominate,” he says.
The first very large, reliable study of identical twins was conducted in Australia in 1991, followed by a large U.S. study about 1997. Then Australia and the U.S. conducted more twin studies in 2000, followed by several studies in Scandinavia, according to Dr. Whitehead.
“Twin registers are the foundation of modern twin studies. They are now very large, and exist in many countries. A gigantic European twin register with a projected 600,000 members is being organized, but one of the largest in use is in Australia, with more than 25,000 twins on the books.”
A significant twin study among adolescents shows an even weaker genetic correlation. In 2002 Bearman and Brueckner studied tens of thousands of adolescent students in the U.S. The same-sex attraction concordance between identical twins was only 7.7% for males and 5.3% for females—lower than the 11% and 14% in the Australian study by Bailey et al conducted in 2000.
In the identical twin studies, Dr. Whitehead has been struck by how fluid and changeable sexual identity can be.
“Neutral academic surveys show there is substantial change. About half of the homosexual/bisexual population (in a non-therapeutic environment) moves towards heterosexuality over a lifetime. About 3% of the present heterosexual population once firmly believed themselves to be homosexual or bisexual.”
“Sexual orientation is not set in concrete,” he notes.
Even more remarkable, most of the changes occur without counseling or therapy. “These changes are not therapeutically induced, but happen ‘naturally’ in life, some very quickly,” Dr. Whitehead observes. “Most changes in sexual orientation are towards exclusive heterosexuality.”
Numbers of people who have changed towards exclusive heterosexuality are greater than current numbers of bisexuals and homosexuals combined. In other words, ex-gays outnumber actual gays.
The fluidity is even more pronounced among adolescents, as Bearman and Brueckner’s study demonstrated. “They found that from 16 to 17-years-old, if a person had a romantic attraction to the same sex, almost all had switched one year later.”
“The authors were pro-gay and they commented that the only stability was among the heterosexuals, who stayed the same year after year. Adolescents are a special case—generally changing their attractions from year to year.”
Still, many misconceptions persist in the popular culture. Namely, that homosexuality is genetic – so hard-wired into one’s identity that it can’t be changed. “The academics who work in the field are not happy with the portrayals by the media on the subject,” Dr. Whitehead notes. “But they prefer to stick with their academic research and not get involved in the activist side.”

MSNBC ratings “unexpectedly” take a turn (for the worse)

Hotair ^ | 06/01/2013 | Jazz Shaw 

Our friend Jim Geraghty stumbles across some numbers which may serve to take the collective temperature of the electorate more than any poll coming out of the political analysis factory. (This was also featured in the Morning Jolt, in case you’re not signed up for it yet.) In the midst of a prolonged media strike on various “wacko birds” and a general theme that conservatives were once again in trouble, there seems to be a distinct lack of interest in politics on the part of the Obama faithful.
Read the complete rankings, May 2013 versus May 2012, via Nielsen:
Total Day
FNC: 1,246,000 total viewers, up 24 percent (236,000 in 25-54, down 5 percent)
CNN: 465,000 total viewers, up 61 percent (161,000 in 25-54, up 92 percent)
MSNBC: 346,000 total viewers, down 10 percent (115,000 in 25-54, down 7 percent)
HLN: 494,000 total viewers, up 111 percent (175,000 in 25-54, up 90 percent)
FNC: 1,973,000 total viewers, up 17 percent (308,000 in 25-54, down 6 percent)
CNN: 660,000 total viewers, up 70 percent (225,000 in 25-54, up 97 percent)
MSNBC: 539,000 total viewers, down 20 percent (175,000 in 25-54, down 19 percent)
HLN: 624,000 total viewers, up 91 percent (209,000 in 25-54, up 97 percent)
There are a number of nuggets to look at here, none of which seem to fit with current media gossip lines. Fox is up again, though not by a larger margin than you might expect. CNN Headline News was up massively, but as Geraghty points out, it was largely due to their wall to wall coverage of the Jodi Arias trial which kept all the gossip columnists riveted for months. CNN was the butt of many jokes for their jumping the gun on a number of stories, particularly the Boston bombing, but they still managed a staggering jump in their numbers. (Could that be because Jake Tapper joined the crew and lent some credibility to the network in the middle ground between the day shift and the evening?)
But who did that leave to soak up the losses? Yes… MSNBC. Particularly their evening, personality driven, opinion shows.
The soft start for All In With Chris Hayes has not helped. Hayes, down 32 percent in total viewers from The Ed Show last May, has offered a poor lead-in for MSNBC’s primetime flagship, The Rachel Maddow Show, at 9 p.m. The show delivered its lowest-rated month since it debuted in September 2008 (717,000 total viewers) and its second lowest with adults 25-54 (210,000). Maddow was topped by typical time slot victor Sean Hannity and CNN’s Piers Morgan.
I’m not sure which is worse… losing to Piers Morgan or to a spinal inversion therapy infomercial, which probably garnered about the same ratings. But viewer habits can sometimes tell us more than a snapshot delivered by a polling firm which relies on people willing to sit through a phone survey during an off cycle year. As Jim notes, even some of the most liberal bloggers are taking on a decidedly Eeyore tone and wondering if the boat is springing a leak.

Ratings aren’t a perfect indicator either, of course, but it does seem to follow a pattern. Mid-term elections tend to produce low turnout for younger voters and the majority of liberal activist blocks. Or maybe the scandals in DC actually are taking a toll and disillusion is setting in. Either way, we’ll need a few more cycles to see if this is a trend or an aberration.

Rick Perry faces backlash over jobs raids

The Politico ^ | June 1, 2013 | Katie Glueck 

Gov. Rick Perry’s high-profile efforts to lure jobs to Texas from other states may be good business and smart politics back home, but they’re infuriating to prominent Democrats around the country.
And now at least one Republican business leader says Perry’s taking the Lone Star swagger a little too far.
Perry’s forceful recruitment campaigns, featuring radio and magazine ads as well as personal appearances, promise low-tax, pro-growth policies in Texas —and they also trash the business climate in places like California (“…I hear building a business in California is next to impossible”) and Illinois (“…an environment that, intentionally or not, is designed for you to fail.”)
Those attacks hit where it hurts and have touched off an angry political backlash against Perry outside the Texas borders, with Democrats mocking his attempts to steal jobs as clownish - and warning the Republican governor to keep his hands off. In a memorable put-down, Gov. Jerry Brown said Perry’s incursions into California were about as effective as breaking wind.
But other observers say Perry knows exactly what he’s doing.
“At the end of the day, no matter how any of the [states] respond, people are left with two distinct messages: That guy down in Texas has got big brass balls and he’s creating a lot of jobs,” Mark McKinnon, a political strategist with deep Texas ties, told POLITICO. “It’s brilliant marketing and very smart politics.”
McKinnon also noted, “Of course it breaks all the rules of inter-state diplomacy and protocol.”
Perry has stepped up jobs raids into the blue states of Illinois and California this year, efforts that come as he looks to announce his next political step after the Texas legislative session concludes. His current gubernatorial term is up in 2014, and he hasn’t ruled out a 2016 presidential run.
The governor’s bids to encourage companies to relocate — critics call it “poaching” — are the most aggressive in the nation, according to experts.
“It’s irresistible to a lot of governors, but Perry has been the leader,” said Mark Muro, a senior fellow and director of policy for the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institute. “This is not necessarily the best way for state executives to spend time, but it’s hard to resist. It’s politically attractive, the chief executive is seen as, quote, ‘trying to do something.’ Any successful relocation offers the tried-and-true moment of the ribbon cutting, so it’s pretty intoxicating stuff.”
Illinois – President Barack Obama’s home state - has been in the sights of several Republican governors, including Chris Christie of New Jersey, Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Rick Scott of Florida. They have all tried to lure Illinois companies to move and set up shop in what the GOP chief executives bill as their lower-tax, lower-regulation states. But even Scott acknowledged — in a letter to members of the Illinois business community — that Texas is leading the way. He noted that the Sunshine State is “nipping at the heels of Texas every day, as we approach the number one spot.”
Some of those who have been on the receiving end say that Perry raises eyebrows as much for his grating style as for the substance of his pitch.
“The biggest difference with Perry was, he was kind of like a Roman emperor coming into town with horns blowing in front of his arrival, his parade,” Doug Whitley, the president and CEO of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, told POLITICO.
Whitley, a Republican who said he “generally [doesn’t] have any negative comments to make about” Perry, was referring to an April trip the governor took to Chicago, where he also addressed a conference.
“It was unusual in the fact that he spent some money to buy radio air time to announce his arrival…I thought it was a bit over-the-top,” Whitley added. “Other governors tend to do it with a little less fanfare but no less desire to make a positive impression in the Illinois business community.”
Perry has led numerous economic missions to other states since arriving in the governor’s mansion in 2000. But in February, he took his pitch to a new level with an ad buy on California radio, asserting the superiority of the Texas business scene and belittling the economic climate in California. “Building a business is tough, but I hear building a business in California is next to impossible,” Perry said in the ad.
The media blitz in California was also followed by an “economic development trip” to the Golden State, where Perry met with business leaders in the high tech, financial, film and other industries. Perry’s moves sparked an irate Gov. Jerry Brown (D-Calif.) to dismiss the Texas governor’s efforts as “barely a fart.”
Perry got a similarly hostile reception with his trip to Chicago to meet with financial leaders. He ushered in his visit with a similar message, once again, that not only promoted Texas but slammed Illinois. “If you’re a business owner in Illinois, I want to express my admiration for your ability to survive in an environment that, intentionally or not, is designed for you to fail,” Perry charged a full-page ad in Crain’s Chicago Business. The text continued, “There is an escape route to economic freedom… a route to Texas.”
Perry hasn’t left unscathed the blue-state bastion of New York, either.
“I’m thinking that Gov. Cuomo would not admit that he’d want to be a Texan,” Perry said in January of the Democratic governor, who has sought to take a business-friendly approach. “But if he were truthful, you could say that the economic climate that has allowed the state to grow and create jobs, he’d dearly love to be able to stand up and say, ‘We did this in New York.’ But he can’t.”
Whether he is successful in luring the jobs or not, observers say that playing hardball with big Democratic states and the officials who run them is all upside for Perry.
“Guys like Jerry Brown…and guys like Andrew Cuomo, in New York, are kind of a punch line to voters outside their home states,” said GOP strategist Rick Wilson, a proponent of Perry’s jobs recruitment. “It’s a great contrast.”
Democratic governors and lawmakers have been merciless in their attacks on Perry.
“I hope when he comes he remembers all three of his reasons” for coming to town, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel retorted, according to — a reference to the embarrassing moment a presidential debate in 2012 when Perry could only remember two of the three agencies he wanted to eliminate.
“Governor Perry is not the first, nor will he be the last, to covet Chicago’s workers and companies. We are ready for the challenge,” Emanuel told POLITICO in an email.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said he didn’t feel threatened by Perry’s efforts to entice jobs away - but he laid down a warning anyway.
“Listen, Gov. Perry’s always welcome to come to Illinois and spend some money,” the Senate majority whip told POLITICO with a laugh. “But he better not take our businesses away.”
And Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) couldn’t resist a few digs.
“He can come to my state anytime, he should learn a lot from my state,” Boxer told POLITICO. “We’re compassionate people, we want to make sure all our people get health care - unlike him. I hope he comes again because I’ll show him around all the alternative energy we do, and how we value our children and have after-school programs.”
The assertive approach is nothing personal, Perry’s office says.
“Our point has always been about competition,” Perry spokeswoman Lucy Nashed said. “We do what we do because we want to be out there, we want to be getting jobs to move to Texas, We want to also have the environment here to create jobs…it’s been the governor’s belief that we have to do this because we’ve got Louisiana on the east, New Mexico, Oklahoma all doing the same stuff.”
In Texas, Perry’s out-of-state business recruitment also has prompted a debate.
“I think Republicans like it, I think they like hearing you pound your chest about the remarkable jobs climate in Texas,” said longtime Texas GOP strategist Todd Olsen.
But Democrats sound more conflicted.
“My loyalty is always going to be with Texas, OK, there’s no question about that,” said Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa. “But I can’t, in any sense of the word, justify the conduct of this guy that calls himself the governor of Texas. He is just constantly making a fool out of himself by that conduct, it ends up making people believe, like people from California, that Texans are like him, which is far from the truth.”
Rep. Pete Gallego (D-Texas), who says that he and the governor have “historically not been particularly close,” suggested Perry could take a lighter touch to his jobs effort — but the gist of his message speaks to Texans on both sides of the aisle.
“I think Texans are all very, regardless of their political stripes, are all very proud to be Texans, they’re Texans first and I think that makes us fairly unique,” he said. “So it’s always good to see statewide elected officials going out and marketing Texas. The question is how we do it. Do you do it by raising hackles or do you do it in another manner? And, you know, Gov. Perry’s personality is such that he certainly tends to like the press and his ability to generate it, so I think that is very Rick Perry.”
Whitley, the Chicago Republican, also chalked up the controversy surrounding Perry’s visit in part to his Texas-sized persona.
“It can be done with a little more finesse and grace than he chose to use,” Whitley said. “But, hey, he’s from Texas.”

Medicine Time

The End


The First