Thursday, August 15, 2013

Obama’s unconstitutional steps worse than Nixon’s

Washington Post ^ | August 14, 2013 | George Will

President Obama’s increasingly grandiose claims for presidential power are inversely proportional to his shriveling presidency. Desperation fuels arrogance as, barely 200 days into the 1,462 days of his second term, his pantry of excuses for failure is bare, his domestic agenda is nonexistent and his foreign policy of empty rhetorical deadlines and red lines is floundering. And at last week’s news conference he offered inconvenience as a justification for illegality.
Explaining his decision to unilaterally rewrite the Affordable Care Act (ACA), he said: “I didn’t simply choose to” ignore the statutory requirement for beginning in 2014 the employer mandate to provide employees with health care. No, “this was in consultation with businesses.”
He continued: “In a normal political environment, it would have been easier for me to simply call up the speaker and say, you know what, this is a tweak that doesn’t go to the essence of the law. . . . It looks like there may be some better ways to do this, let’s make a technical change to the law. That would be the normal thing that I would prefer to do. But we’re not in a normal atmosphere around here when it comes to Obamacare. We did have the executive authority to do so, and we did so.”
Serving as props in the scripted charade of White House news conferences, journalists did not ask the pertinent question: “Where does the Constitution confer upon presidents the ‘executive authority’ to ignore the separation of powers by revising laws?” The question could have elicited an Obama rarity: brevity. Because there is no such authority...
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Terrified by 'government shutdown,' Republicans surrender on ObamaCare and everything else!

Cain TV ^ | August 15, 2013 | Dan Calabrese

This has infuriated me since the Republicans took control of the House in 2011, and it infuriates me still, but at least the dynamic that's causing it to happen is becoming more clear.
In theory, the Obama/Reid/Pelosi spending machine should have experienced a major check when John Boehner became speaker, because the federal government can't spend a dime of money unless the House authorizes it. Should have changed everything, right? With Republicans in the majority in the House, they would refuse to authorize the Democrats' out-of-control spending and force responsible budgeting. That's why we voted for a Republican majority, right?
One year turns into two, which turns into three, and nothing changes. Spending stays at the very out-of-control level it visited for the first time when Obama, Reid and Pelosi passed the 2009 "stimulus" they pretended was a one-time emergency measure, only to add that $862 billion to the budget baseline in every year since. Boehner, Cantor, Ryan and crew would put a stop to that, yes?
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Hillary Clinton: More deserving of occupying a stockade in Leavenworth than holding political office!

The D.C. Clothesline ^ | 8/15/2013 | Chad Miller

Jerry Zeifman, a lifelong Democrat, supervised the work of 27-year-old staff attorney Hillary Rodham on the committee. Hillary got a job working on the Watergate investigation at the behest of her former law professor, Burke Marshall, who was also Sen. Ted Kennedy’s chief counsel in the Chappaquiddick affair. When the investigation was over, Zeifman fired Hillary from the committee staff and refused to give her a letter of recommendation.

Why? “Because she was a liar,” Zeifman said in an interview last week. “She was an unethical, dishonest lawyer. She conspired to violate the Constitution, the rules of the House, the rules of the committee and the rules of confidentiality.”
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Will Obamacare rollout be smooth sailing or a ‘train wreck’?

McClatchy ^ | Aug 13, 2013 | By Tony Pugh

WASHINGTON — Just seven weeks before the new state insurance marketplaces are set to open under the Affordable Care Act, it’s unclear whether the long-anticipated October rollout will be a smooth operation or the "train wreck" that some have predicted.
Systems testing for the marketplaces is months behind schedule, according to recent government reports. So are funding and training for navigators, the outreach and enrollment workers who’ll help people choose marketplace health plans.
In a final bit of down-to-the-wire drama, the data hub, which routes information from the marketplaces to various federal databases, might not get its final stamp of approval until Sept. 30, the day before people begin using the marketplaces to enroll for health coverage next year under Obamacare.
That timeline leaves the Obama administration and its information technology contractors virtually no margin for error as they fine-tune the system.
Any unforeseen setbacks or complications at that late date might postpone the October grand opening, which would be the most embarrassing public relations stumble yet for President Barack Obama’s signature health law.
"I think there is a possibility that there could be a delay...
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Novel Therapies to Gut Obamacare ^ | August 15, 2013 | Charles Payne

I discovered OncoMed this week doing searches for new ideas and while we haven't featured the stock yet it's a very compelling story. Targeted approaches to curing cancer became all the rage about a decade ago and while their work has been tedious, success is around the corner. I thought about this company and the uphill battle Republicans face in delaying or defunding the new healthcare law. The real challenge is to find a way to cull out the bad parts and keep the good, except there's so much more of the former.
Our Mission
 OncoMed Pharmaceuticals (OMED)is a development-stage biotechnology company dedicated to improving cancer treatment by discovering and developing monoclonal antibodies and other agents that target the biologic pathways critical to tumor initiating cells, also known as "cancer stem cells". We are leveraging our understanding of these tumor initiating cells to discover and develop novel therapeutics that could provide important alternatives for the treatment of cancer.
To starve or to delay, that is the question, and it's gnawing at Republicans seeking ways to derail full implementation of Obamacare which is on the eve of its next phase. For a long time I thought it was more rhetoric than reality, this is President Obama's signature accomplishment, after all. But as each day goes by I'm beginning to think there could be a huge groundswell of opposition from all directions. The plan is already having negative consequences on our economy, as there is no doubt in my mind immediate disbandment would add two percentage points to GDP growth. As it stands 2013 has become the year of the Part Time Job and even those are scarce.
I think the general public will turn on this unlikeable law because the big boys that were demonized to sell this in the first place are getting more and more breaks.
First, it was big business and the so-called employer mandate getting a pass on the penalty (tax) of not providing coverage even as individuals will still face such levies.
Now, we've learned limits on out-of-pocket expenses like deductibles and co-pays are going to be skipped for at least a year. The idea was individuals would be capped at $6,350 and families at $12,700 in such costs. Those numbers seem large except when you're suffering from cancer, heart ailments or multiple sclerosis and other ailments that send you to the doctor just about weekly. So, now we have big businesses getting a break and insurance companies getting yet another break, and there are hints unions have some special passes coming real soon, too.
I guess targeting this thing would be like peeling the outer layer of a watermelon and considering the rest the "cancer stem cell."
Maybe it can be de-funded, delayed or just junked.

Obamacare Threatens Charitable Hospitals ^ | August 15, 2013 | Jerry Newcombe

It's a good thing our current administration wasn't around in the 4th century when St. Basil of Caesarea invented what writer George Grant calls "the first non-ambulatory hospital" in history, i.e., a medical facility with beds.
Pouring forth the love of Jesus Christ, the good saint who lived in the Mediterranean port city northwest of Jerusalem is credited with this humanitarian development of the institution of the hospital. Roberto Margotta, author of The Story of Medicine, says of Basil's hospital, that the "rule of love" prevailed, with the "care and comfort of the sick."
The longest lasting hospital that still operates (no pun intended) is Hotel Dieu (i.e., God Hospital) in Paris founded in the year of our Lord 600. It borders Notre Dame Cathedral.
In the New World, the oldest, still-operating medical facility is Jesus of Nazareth Hospital in Mexico City, founded in 1524.
In many other places and times, Christians of various stripes started all sorts of hospitals and health clinics. That's true across the globe. Even to this day, many hospitals show their Christian origin in their very name. Good Samaritan. Holy Cross. Christ. Baptist. Bethesda. St. Mary’s.
Some hospitals are named after St. Luke (e.g., St. Luke Presbyterian, Rush St. Luke) because the author of the third Gospel and Acts was a doctor. He was even Paul’s doctor.
Many people of good will, regardless of their religious convictions (or the lack thereof), are involved in the healing of the sick. Christian charity (that is, voluntary love for the Lord and for others) was what historically motivated so many of the great developments in organized health care in the first place, and that remains true to some degree today.
It's disturbing, then, to learn that the government's takeover of the health care system will likely punish charity hospitals in the future. In short, Obamacare could be bad for our health.
A headline in the Daily Caller notes, "Obamacare installs new scrutiny, fines for charitable hospitals that treat uninsured people" (8/8/13). Patrick Hawley reports: "Charitable hospitals that treat uninsured Americans will be subjected to new levels of scrutiny of their nonprofit status and could face sizable new fines under Obamacare."
The fines could be as stiff as $50,000 "if they fail to meet bureaucrats’ standards," he writes.
Hawley adds, "A new provision in Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code, which takes effect under Obamacare, sets new standards of review and installs new financial penalties for tax-exempt charitable hospitals, which devote a minimum amount of their expenses to treat uninsured poor people. Approximately 60 percent of American hospitals are currently nonprofit."
I thought Obamacare was supposedly about providing health care for the poor and uninsured. It seems to me this is more about government control than it is about helping people.
Dr. David Stevens is the president of the Christian Medical and Dental Associations, located in Bristol, Tennessee. They represent about 16,500 members and are in contact regularly with over 30,000 physicians and dentists. I’ve interviewed him a few times for radio and TV.
He once told me, "All three of my children work with a health care ministry in inner-city Memphis. They’re motivated by their faith, and they sacrifice every day, not only at their work place; but they live [there], right with the people that they serve because of their faith."
But enter Obamacare with its stifling regulations in the health care field, and such good works could be ultimately discouraged to satisfy the bureaucracy.
Dr. Stevens observes: "...if ever we needed Christians in health care, it’s now; but unfortunately, we’re putting a system into place that ultimately could drive them out of health care." For example, if laws forced them to violate their conscience.
He laments, "That’s scary, especially as we look at the bioethical issues we’re facing on physician-assisted suicide, embryonic stem cell research, abortion, and the list just goes on and on---where having a doctor that shares your Christian worldview is going to become more and more important in beginning-of-life care and in end-of-life care."
Stevens adds, "We need health care reform, but we need to attack the real problem---out-of- control costs---not open the doors for millions and millions of more people at this point to enter the system and increase costs even more. We need to deal with access, but if we can get costs under control, it’s going to be cheaper for everyone, the insured now and those that can be insured when the cost is lower."
Driving conscientious Christians out of health care is the worst thing that could happen to that field, yet it seems that Obamacare regulations could end up doing just that. Ironically, at the same time many are losing their jobs because of Obamacare and may need charitable health care.
I remember in the comedy record, "The First Family" in the early 1960s, where comedian Vaughn Meader did a masterful job imitating JFK. At a mock press conference, a reporter asks "JFK" what his solution would be to the coming social security crisis. Meader's reply as JFK was, "Try to stay young." Applying the same humorous logic to today: What's the solution to health care crisis, should Obamacare go fully into effect? "Don’t get sick."
Sadly, more government bureaucracy in the health care field may ultimately drive out that spirit which gave birth to much of it in the first place.

No Surprise: The Money-Obsessed Clintons Underpay Employees at Their Slush Fund

Rush ^ | August 15, 2013 | Rush Limbaugh


RUSH: Yesterday we had the story in the New York Times about the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Library and Massage Parlor, and it was a New York Times story, and it raised a number of questions, and those questions were dealt with and analyzed on this program. One of the points made was this foundation is running incredibly high deficits while bringing in millions and millions of dollars in donations. I connected the dots, and I came to the conclusion that one of the points of the story was that somebody is making out pretty well here in the middle of philanthropy.

 Philanthropy, usually people don't get rich. And then, as to review, I talked about how the Clintons run around, and have been for the longest time, bragging about how wealthy they are. Which, by the way, I was always brought up and raised to never talk about things like that, and certainly not to brag about it. It was a big deal in our house growing up. Nobody, whether they were wealthy or not, you didn't talk about that. And the Clintons, for the longest time, actually since Clinton left office, every time the idea of a tax increase comes up. (Clinton impression) "Hey, that's fine with me. I'm in that upper tax bracket now. I don't need that tax cut. I don't need it. Hillary and I are doing just fine now. Thanks."

We even put together a parody, Bill Clinton hosting a game show called "I'm Richer Than You Are." And Hillary does the same thing. So, lo and behold, right on schedule, the writer of the story shows up on MSNBC last night. The author of the story shows up and says, "Well, once again, Limbaugh is factually challenged." He said the truth of the matter is that the people that work at the Clinton Foundation and the Library and Massage Parlor are profoundly underpaid. I said, "Wait a minute, now. Who was talking about the employees getting rich?" It doesn't surprise me the Clintons don't pay anybody anything.

You know this Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer at Facebook, the babe who wrote the book Lean Back, Lean Forward, Round Heels, whatever it was. She wrote this book advising women. Somebody found a job posting to work with her as an intern, and it highlighted unpaid, for many months. The job description is intern. It was deep, it was detailed. Now, here's a woman who just made $90 million selling some Facebook stock, and who knows what she made with her book, and she's got a job posting for an unpaid intern.

Liberals don't pay anybody anything. And I never said it was the employees that were getting rich at the Clinton Foundation and Library and Massage Parlor. I was pretty clear that it was the Clintons getting rich off the Clinton Global Initiative. But the Times writer goes on MSNBC, "Once again, Limbaugh doesn't know what he's talking about."


RUSH: I think, folks, if the employees aren't making any money at the Clinton Foundation, Library and Massage Parlor... Look, they're raising gobs of dollars, millions and millions of dollars. The Times makes this clear. And they're running deficits. There's some perfunctory inclusion of the good works and the charitable donations that the Clinton Foundation's engaged in, but most charitable foundations are not running deficits. They keep the nut, the principal on hand so that they've always got a basis of growth or for growth.

They don't start giving away more money than they've got. It defeats the whole purpose, and it just keeps the fundraising cycle going, which is fundamentally crucial to people like the Democrats. I've always said that Democrats love to portray themselves, liberals love to portray themselves as not interested in money. They're into good works. They're good people. They're into charity and helping people, and they're not concerned with earning a lot of money. They're not concerned with becoming the evil rich. And they are. They are obsessed with it, and the Clintons are perhaps two of the greatest examples of that.

Back in the 1980s, there's Clinton making 25 grand as the governor of Arkansas. Hillary's the breadwinner at a hundred grand at the Rose Law Firm and everybody they're hanging around is uber-wealthy. Whitewater was a get rich quick scheme. Back in the 80s the allegation made against the rich was, "They didn't earn it. They're cheating people, or they're doing get rich quick schemes and they're fooling people, but none of it was legit." And the Clintons wanted to get in on that. But these people are obsessed with it. Now the Clintons are uber-wealthy and they brag about it and they let everybody know.

A lot of liberals are obsessed with money, and you know how they do it? They live off the donations of others to the nonprofits or other groups that they run. I mean, you've got a decent number of liberal Democrat entrepreneurs. It's always been a puzzlement to me, by the way, how a robustly successful, self-reliant entrepreneur is a Democrat, but I think it's tied to power and cronyism and so forth. But a lot of 'em, a lot of 'em just get rich off the donations of others to the organizations they run, from a nonprofit to a for-profit to a what have you.

If you have money like this rolling in to the tune of millions of dollars, and you can't point out all the great work you're doing, where is the money going? If you're telling me that the employees aren't making any money at the Clinton Global Initiative, where's the money going? It makes the thing even more fishy. Then we're treated to this idea that they don't care about money and they don't care about having a lot of money and they don't care about being rich, and they're obsessed with it just like everybody else is. Whitewater was all about trying to make money by foreclosing on the mortgages of seasoned citizens.

The Clintons and McDougal and the gang, they were foreclosing on people who missed one payment. It was classic. But, of course, as liberal Democrats, this is not possible. They couldn't possibly do anything like that. They love people. They give things to people. They give other people's money to people. They don't like money. They don't care about money. It's one of the greatest scams going, that liberals don't like money. My point is, I never said that the employees were getting rich, as was characterized on MSNBC last night.


RUSH: One more thing about this New York Times story yesterday on the Clinton Global Initiative. I just want to reiterate a point that I made toward the tail end of the discussion, because when something like that happens, we start saying, "Why?" You know, why would the New York Times dump on the Clintons? Well, they wouldn't. So are they dumping on the Clintons with this story, does this represent a change? And that's highly doubtful. The left is gonna circle the wagons, and no matter who the nominee, they're gonna protect every Democrat and every liberal. They're not gonna turn one of them loose. It isn't going to happen. They don't even turn their failures loose, like Jimmy Carter. They buck 'em up. They send 'em up to the head of the class. So it couldn't have been that.

I'll tell you what this was. That story on the Clinton Global Initiative was to get it out of the way so that when scandal about it erupts during Hillary's candidacy for the presidency in 2016, they can say, "Oh, that's an old story. That's been dealt with. There's nothing to see there. That happened two years ago. And here I am, I'm still on the verge of winning the nomination. There's nothing to that." That's why that story ran, and that's why that reporter is out there on damage control in the way he thinks people like me are mischaracterizing it.

Jesse Jackson Jr. still eligible for government pension, disability pay!

abc local ^ | 8-14-13 | Chuck Goudie 

Ex-congressman Jackson is eligible to receive $8,700 dollars per month in disability pay due to his bipolar condition and could receive a partial federal pension of $45,000 per year once he reaches 65. While on the city council, Sandi Jackson had automatic pension contributions of more than $50,000 withdrawn from her pay, even though she chose not to be a member of the city pension fund.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Lexicon Shift Alert: global warming gets another name change (Carbon Pollution ??)

Watts Up With That? ^ | August 15, 2013 | by Anthony Watts

Back in 2010, I pointed out that White House science adviser John Holdren had made a shift in naming conventions for the twice renamed “global warming”.
The lexicon shift in 2010
It seems that another shift in the lexicon has occurred, again at the White House. Organizing for Action, President Obama’s campaign machine declared Tuesday that there was a new name.
The Washington Times picked up on this shift, and I’ve updated the graphic to reflect the new name.  There’s also a poll to choose/predict the next name after this one.
The doomed planet movement has been losing momentum. Inconvenient scientific findings have confirmed the lack of any significant warming of dear old Earth over the past 16 years. It’s hard to scare people into action when nothing bad is happening. That’s why the White House has changed its vocabulary again — first “global warming” was changed to “climate change” — and now the correct name of the scam is “carbon pollution.” It’s a way to paint carbon dioxide as if it were black soot billowing out of industrial smokestacks. Carbon dioxide is actually what humans exhale, and it’s food for plants.
Read more:
Its seems that since global warming has stalled, and scientists are puzzled by it, plus major players in science are poo-pooing the “climate disruption/extreme weather angle, they had no choice but to make a lexicon shift.
Here is the updated graphic to reflect the lexicon shift. Feel free to share far and wide:
What should the next name be? Take the poll, you can also add your own answer. Be sure to post your new answer in comments. (I’ll add some of the best ones manually)
[NOTE: for some reason the poll won't display other answers from voters in the voting or the results, so I disabled it - A]
The next name for "global warming"?
Climate RambunctiousnessWeather, but now with taxesClimageddonClimate flaccidityWetterBlitzkrieg (top choice at Skeptical Science)Slow roasted goodnessPeak WeatherD.E.A.T.H. Destructive Earth Annihilating Temperature Hellification (Lucia)Post Traumatic Weather SyndromeClimate JihadObamaclimatecare (Chris NJSnowfan)Climate Gone WildDana's InfernoIrritable Climate SyndromeFrankenclimate
h/t to Small Dead Animals for some of the names

Obamacare is coming, and so are the con artists

cnbc ^ | Aug 15, 2013 | By: Herb Weisbaum

As the debate rages over who benefits from the Affordable Care Act, one thing is becoming clear: The controversial program is a dream come true for rip-off artists.
Consumer experts warn that the program has created a huge opportunity for swindling people by stealing their money and their sensitive personal information.
"Any time you roll out a big government program like this, confusion is inevitable," said Lois Greisman, an associate director in the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission. "This confusion creates a tremendous opportunity for the fraudster."
Scammers have been at it for more than a year now, but consumer advocates and security experts warn that the problem will worsen as we get closer to Oct. 1. That's when the millions of uninsured Americans can use a health insurance exchange, set-up by their state or by the federal government, to shop for coverage.
"I believe the incidents are going to skyrocket as that date approaches," said Eva Velasquez, president and CEO of the nonprofit Identity Theft Resource Center. "And even people who are smart and savvy could get taken, so we are very concerned about the potential for some serious financial harm."
"There are fake exchanges already up and running on the Internet," said Monica Lindeen, Montana's Commissioner of Securities and Insurance. "If you do a search and type in 'exchange,' you'll find all sorts of websites that claim to be in the exchange when they are not."
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

On climate change, Obama, EPA plan action without Congress

Washington Times ^ | Aug 14, 2013 | By Valerie Richardson

BOULDER, Colo. | EPA chief Gina McCarthy said Wednesday that the Obama administration is finished waiting for Congress to act on climate change and plans to bypass the legislative branch in developing a federal response. Ms. McCarthy, who was confirmed last month as Environmental Protection Agency administrator, cited President Obama’s June 25 speech at Georgetown University, in which he unveiled his Climate Action Plan and vowed to make combatting climate change a priority of his second term.
Mr. Obama gave “what I really think is a most remarkable speech by a president of the United States,” said Ms. McCarthy in remarks at the University of Colorado Boulder.
“Essentially, he said that it is time to act,” she said. “And he said he wasn’t going to wait for Congress, but that he had administrative authorities and that it was time to start utilizing those more effectively and in a more concerted way.”
She insisted that reducing greenhouse-gas emissions could be accomplished without harming economic growth, calling the tension between the two priorities a “false choice.”
“We’re going to do this this year, next year, the following year, until people understand these are not scary things to do, these are actions we can all do, they’re actions that benefit everybody, that will grow the economy, and they’re actions that will protect the health and safety of individuals,” Ms. McCarthy said.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...


Breitbart ^ | Aug 15, 2013 | By Wynton Hall

On Thursday, CNN senior reporter John King said that the Obama Administration’s most recent delay of a key Obamacare provision that was supposed to limit consumers’ out-of-pocket expenses on deductibles and co-pays could prove seismic come the 2014 midterm elections.
“This one particularly though could have a huge political impact,” said CNN reporter John King. “Because as you mention, hidden in bureaucratic language, the end result is that when these changes kick in, the Administration promised for most Americans your costs would go down. Now it is saying, at least in the short term, your costs could be higher than you anticipated.”
In 2009, President Barack Obama promised voters that his Obamacare healthcare scheme would lower costs to consumers.
“We will place a limit on how much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses, because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they get sick,” said Obama.
But a little-noticed ruling slipped into the Labor Department’s website said the cost caps would be delayed until 2015--a date that critics say is designed to protect vulnerable Democrats from angry voters in the 2014 midterm elections.
Analysts say the consumer cost caps on out-of-pocket expenses will necessarily mean skyrocketing healthcare costs for Americans, as high costs for sicker citizens are shifted to healthier Americans who pay less for health insurance.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Carbon Dioxide: The Gas of Life!

Paul Driessen
Recommend this article 
It’s amazing that minuscule bacteria can cause life-threatening diseases and infections –- and miraculous that tiny doses of vaccines and antibiotics can safeguard us against these deadly scourges. It is equally incredible that, at the planetary level, carbon dioxide is a miracle molecule for plants -– and the “gas of life” for most living creatures on Earth.
In units of volume, CO2’s concentration is typically presented as 400 parts per million (400 ppm). Translated, that’s just 0.04% of Earth’s atmosphere -– the equivalent of 40 cents out of one thousand dollars, or 1.4 inches on a football field. Even atmospheric argon is 23 times more abundant: 9,300 ppm. Moreover, the 400 ppm in 2013 is 120 ppm more than the 280 ppm carbon dioxide level of 1800, and that two-century increase is equivalent to a mere 12 cents out of $1,000, or one half-inch on a football field.
Eliminate carbon dioxide, and terrestrial plants would die, as would lake and ocean phytoplankton, grasses, kelp and other water plants. After that, animal and human life would disappear. Even reducing CO2 levels too much – back to pre-industrial levels, for example – would have terrible consequences.
Over the past two centuries, our planet finally began to emerge from the Little Ice Age that had cooled the Earth and driven Viking settlers out of Greenland. Warming oceans slowly released some of the carbon dioxide stored in their waters. Industrial Revolution factories and growing human populations burned more wood and fossil fuels, baked more bread, and brewed more beer, adding still more CO2 to the atmosphere. Much more of the miracle molecule came from volcanoes and subsea vents, forest fires, biofuel use, decaying plants and animals, and “exhaust” from living, breathing animals and humans.
What a difference that extra 120 ppm has made for plants, and for animals and humans that depend on them. The more carbon dioxide there is in the atmosphere, the more it is absorbed by plants of every description –- and the faster and better they grow, even under adverse conditions like limited water, extremely hot air temperatures, or infestations of insects, weeds and other pests. As trees, grasses, algae and crops grow more rapidly and become healthier and more robust, animals and humans enjoy better nutrition on a planet that is greener and greener.

The Good Sense of Voter ID

By The Editors

It is either the case that African Americans, young people, old people, and poor people labor under some onerous yet curiously undetectable burden that keeps them from obtaining free, government-issued photo IDs, or it is the case that Hillary Clinton, the NAACP, et al. are full of bunk when they claim that voter-ID laws such as the one just adopted in North Carolina amount to “disenfranchisement.”
The evidence strongly suggests the presence of ambient bunk levels approaching toxicity.  In general, Americans are very handy when it comes to acquiring free things issued by the government, and none of the groups that Democrats list as targets for “disenfranchisement” has shown itself disproportionately unskillful in doing so. The oldsters manage to sign themselves up for Social Security and Medicare, and anybody who has observed the effect the word “free” has on a group of young people must look askance at suggestions that they cannot be expected to stand in line a bit for something they want. The truth of the situation was more accurately described by Representative G. K. Butterfield, a North Carolina Democrat who in the course of denouncing the new voter-ID requirement told PBS: “Many people will not do that. They will choose not to vote.”
They will choose not to vote. That is rather a different thing from what transpired under the prefectship of Jim Crow. But even that milder formulation fails to honestly describe Democrats’ objections to the new election rules in North Carolina, which in addition to requiring photo identification reduce the number of early-voting days to ten and disallow the practice of same-day registration. The phrase essential to understanding Democratic objections to clean-election reforms is: “walking-around money.”

It is a time-honored practice in machine-run political jurisdictions — most prevalent in but not limited to Democrat-run cities — to task local political fixers (call them “community organizers”) with delivering the votes of a particular ward to a particular party. Doing so is vexatious and thirsty work, thus the payment of “walking-around money,” which is putatively for operational expenses but is used in effect to purchase votes. Go down to the local homeless shelter, day-labor corner, or wino encampment, pull up with vans, and distribute such benefits as may be motivational in exchange for the effort of the denizens therein to cast their ballots. In the 2000 presidential campaign, the practice was so aggressive that a Milwaukee homeless shelter had to chase away Gore operatives attempting to bribe their wards with cigarettes.
Long early-voting periods and same-day registration facilitate this process. Even the most able political machine can round up only so many people on Election Day, and those who are available for such rounding up often are not registered voters. Under the new rules, North Carolina will reduce the number of days for early voting from 17 to ten, which in our view is ten days too many, and there will be more early-voting locations, which will be open longer hours, resulting in no decrease in the total amount of time available for early voting. But even this non-reduction in early-voting hours is seen as aggression by the Democrats, even more so than the photo-ID rule.
But the photo-ID requirement is important, too, inasmuch as it is a worthwhile thing to be able to ensure that people showing up to vote are who they say they are. Guerrilla filmmaker James O’Keefe famously talked a District of Columbia voting clerk into giving him a ballot for one Eric Holder. As our John Fund has doggedly documented, the voting fraud that Democrats claim is so rare as to be practically exotic in fact happens all the time. Examples abound: A Democratic election volunteer during the hotly contested 2012 Ohio election voted twice. Al Franken very likely sits in the U.S. Senate as the result of votes cast by more than 1,000 ineligible Minnesota voters: In an election decided by 312 votes, 177 people already have been convicted — not just charged, but convicted — of fraud in that election. In Pennsylvania, election engineers were filmed coming out of a prison with boxes of ballots (it is illegal for incarcerated felons to vote in the state). Other examples abound.
Voter-ID laws will help reduce this, but more needs to be done.
Democrats, on the other hand, are inclined to do less, and are engaged in extraordinarily irresponsible rhetoric on this issue. North Carolina’s intentions here seem to be honorable, and a large majority of the state’s voters support the new rules. Which they should: According to state records, 97 percent of those who voted in the 2012 election had DMV-issued identification cards. The very least charitable take on the North Carolina reforms is that Republicans are hoping to block a set of dishonorable election practices exploited more heavily by Democrats. Hillary Clinton will have to wait a bit for her Profile in Courage.
These changes have been made possible in part by a Supreme Court decision that relieved several states of federal oversight of their election rules under the Voting Rights Act, a practice that dates back to the 1960s. The Obama administration already has said that it will seek other avenues by which to impose its will on Texas elections, and North Carolina may yet end up in the crosshairs, too. Given the behavior of Eric Holder’s Justice Department in the matter of the integrity of elections, and given that the administration is still trying to explain away the fact that the IRS has been using its terrifying powers to harass and intimidate the administration’s political enemies, the American people are justified if they are skeptical of President Obama’s intentions in this matter.
The phrase “don’t make a federal case out of it” used to be used as a lighthearted rejoinder to overreaction, but here the literal sense of the phrase is called for. If there are substantial obstacles to securing state-issued photo identification for those 3 percent or so of North Carolina voters who do not have them, then the proper response is to remove those obstacles rather than to block intelligent election reform. Republican legislators in the state already have offered to use their legislative staffs to help voters who might have trouble getting photo IDs, and the state is ready to spend such money as it takes to ensure that inability to pay any related fees will not prevent those without means from getting their IDs—which will also help them to do things like open bank accounts, travel, and visit their elected officials in the public buildings where they work, which generally require identification. Those things may in the long run prove even more important than casting a vote, important as that is.
In North Carolina, voting now will require approximately the same amount of security clearance as purchasing certain cough medicines or, indeed, purchasing the state’s most famous agricultural product. If good sense is bad news for the Democrats, there’s a lesson in that, too.

Rand Paul: No evidence black voters blocked!

Politico ^ | August 15, 2013 | Tal Kopan

Sen. Rand Paul told a Louisville, Ky., audience Wednesday that there is no evidence that African-Americans are being excluded from voting, according to a report.
Speaking at the Louisville Forum, Paul said while the government should still intervene if an individual’s rights are violated, the Voting Rights Act shouldn’t focus on past instances of discrimination, according to WFPL radio.
“The interesting thing about voting patterns now is in this last election, African-Americans voted at a higher percentage than whites in almost every one of the states that were under the special provisions of the federal government,” he said. “So really, I don’t think there is objective evidence that we’re precluding African-Americans from voting any longer.”
Paul told the audience that he supports voter ID legislation, and comparing such laws to Jim Crow-era legislation is a disservice to the civil rights movement.
“I don’t see a problem with showing your driver’s license to vote,” he said. “I also think that some people are a little bit stuck in the past when they want to compare this. There was a time in the South when African-Americans were absolutely prohibited from voting by selective applications of bizarre and absurd literacy tests. And that was an abomination, that’s why we needed the Voting Rights Act, but that’s not showing your ID.”
Paul’s comments come on the heels of increased attention on voting laws after the Supreme Court struck down part of the Voting Rights Act that held certain states under a pre-approval requirement for voting law changes. On Monday, North Carolina’s governor signed a voter ID law with sweeping changes to the state’s voting laws that was immediately challenged in federal court by civil rights groups, who claim the bill will restrict minority and protected classes from voting.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Average cost to raise a kid: $241,080!

  @melhicken August 14, 2013: 7:28 PM ET

cost of raising kids
How much will it cost to raise your child? Click on the image above to find out.

From day care to the monthly grocery bill, the cost of raising a child is climbing at a rate that many families can't keep up with.

It will cost an estimated $241,080 for a middle-income couple to raise a child born last year for 18 years, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released Wednesday. That's up almost 3% from 2011 and doesn't even include the cost of college.
At the same time, wages aren't keeping up. The country's median annual household income has fallenby more than $4,000 since 2000, after adjusting for inflation, and many of the jobs lost during the recent recession have been replaced with lower-wage positions.
The USDA's latest estimates include expenses for housing, food, transportation, clothing, health care, education and child care, as well as miscellaneous expenses, such as toys and computers.
The biggest price tag is for families in the urban Northeast earning $105,360 or more. They will spend $446,100, much more than the national average, according to the report.Meanwhile, families earning less than $61,590 a year in rural areas will spend the least, at $143,160.
How to cut off the kids
While expenses in all categories rose in 2012, health care, education and child care spending increased the most.
Health care spending made up around $20,000, or around 8%, of the USDA's estimated child-rearing expenses for a child born in 2012. Meanwhile, child care and education expenses represented nearly 18% of the total costs for middle-income parents.
Since 2000, the cost of child care has increased twice as fast as the median income of families with children, according to the most recent report from Child Care Aware of America. In 2011, the average cost of full-time center-based care for an infant ranged from about $4,600 a year in Mississippi to more than $15,000 in Massachusetts.
"Many families are priced out of licensed child care services," said Lynette Fraga, executive director of the nonprofit group. "If they are priced out, then the health and safety of those children are at risk."
Amanda Holdsworth, who lives outside of Detroit with her husband and 22-month-old daughter, pay more than $1,000 a month for their daughter's day care center -- or nearly 15% of their monthly income. The costs are so high that they think twice about having a second child.
"To think about paying two day care rates, it's shocking," she said.
Another factor hurting families: rising transportation and food costs. Gas prices almost doubled between 2000 and 2012, even after adjusting for inflation, according to AAA. Meanwhile, food costs have spiked.
Turlock, Calif., resident Jason Hicks, a father of 10- and 13-year old sons, said his family has seen their monthly grocery bill grow from $500 to $800 in the past few years.
"As prices are going up and our kids are reaching teenage years, it's compounded quite quickly," he said.
There are ways to ease the cost burdens, said Stuart Ritter, a T. Rowe Price financial planner who teaches a money management class for new parents. Many employers, for example, offer tax-advantaged accounts that let parents pay for health and child care expenses with before-tax dollars.
"I have to reassure everybody there are other people who successfully have children," he said. "I personally have three. People figure out ways to make this work." To top of page