masthead-highres

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Project 21 Wins Dubious Honor

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By David Almasi:
Project 21 was awarded the "House Negroes of the Day" award from the radical black web site The Field Negro [Caution: the site contains language and graphics some may consider offensive] on February 16.

The black conservatives of Project 21 were branded "house Negroes" by blogger Wain Bennett, an attorney in Philadelphia who fancies himself a "citizen of the world." In calling someone of whom he disapproves a "house Negro" and himself and others he favors "field Negroes," Bennett harkens back to slave-era slang that is used today as an insult along the lines of "Uncle Tom." It refers to those in bondage who sought to curry the slaveowner's favor and be allowed to work supposedly better jobs in the house.

The award is not supposed to be something to be celebrated.

In bestowing the award, Bennett explained:
Taking the position that blacks and Latinos were trying to politicize the census reports, and supporting Judd Gregg on the issue is house Negro behavior.
Actually, Project 21 Chairman Mychal Massie expressed concern that the White House may be politicizing the very important and constitutionally-mandated job of counting people in the United States. White House Chief-of-Staff Rahm Emanuel, who previously spoke about the partisan nature of political redistricting that is a by-product of the Census, told USA Today in 2006 that partisanship after the 2010 Census would be "on steroids."

Now Emanuel may be signing off on the mechanics of the Census process. If a fair census process is impeded by manipulation of data rather than a thorough counting, voting districts could be awarded on false pretenses.

This growing constitutional concern - and not a concern about blacks or Latinos - fueled Massie's comments and apparently led, in part, to Commerce Secretary-designate Judd Gregg withdrawal of his name from consideration.

Traditionally, the bulk of the Census is run out of the Commerce Department.

As Mychal said in the press release that brought Bennett’s ire:
One of the principal jobs of the Commerce Secretary is to conduct a census every 10 years that will decide voting districts and in part creates a new political playing field. Senator Gregg seems to have recognized that the White House wants to usurp this power and rightly wanted nothing to do with it. Senator Gregg's act should be seen as a wake-up call to America that strong oversight is needed over the census process lest it be abused for partisan gain.
As protecting the Constitution from potential partisan abuse is what brought about this name-calling episode, Bennett's attempted disrespect is being taken as an honor by Mychal Massie and other members of Project 21.
This post was written by National Center for Public Policy Research Executive Director David Almasi. To send comments to the author, write him at [email protected]. Please state if a letter is not for publication or if you prefer that it be published anonymously.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:41 PM

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Never Trust Wikipedia

On the Abigail Adams page, 2/25/09:
A cairn — a mound of rough stones — crowns the nearby Penn Hill from which she and her son, John Quincy, watched the Battle of Bunker Hill and the burning of Charlestown. At that time she was minding the children of Dr. Joseph Warren, President of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, who was killed in the battle.
Link from there to the Joseph Warren page, 2/25/09, which says:
At the time of Warren's death, his children were staying with his fiancee, Mercy Scollay.
So where were his kids when hero, patriot and Founding Father Dr. Joseph Warren was killed? Beats me. Teach U.S. History says they were staying with his mother.

P.S. A little freaky. After writing the post above, but before posting it, I ran across this post on the Boston 1775 blog that not only compares the Wikipedia entries for Abigail Adams and Joseph Warren on the question of where the Warren children were staying during the Battle of Bunker Hill, but then also cites Teach U.S. History, as I did. If I hadn't just written the post myself, I'd suspect myself of plagiarism! But my point holds, anyway, as Boston 1775 debunked Wikipedia's Abigail Adams entry vis-a-vis the Warren children on August 2008, and yet, months later, the Wikipedia entries still have this unresolved conflict.

What's even freakier is that I subscribed to the Boston 1775 blog on my Google Reader RSS reader early this morning, having never heard of it before today, yet I didn't find this post about Warren via my RSS reader.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:15 PM

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Government Agency Head to Get Arrested by the Government in Order to Protest Government Policy?

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Snapshot of Hansen video at capitolclimateaction.org, 2/25/09


Note in this blog post by environmentalist Bill McKibben the announcement that James Hansen, who directs an agency of the U.S. government, is planning to get arrested in order "to give [Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress] the political space they need to act on their convictions."

McKibben believes those convictions include banning the burning of coal, which provides about half of our electricity, and other radical acts related to combatting the alleged threat of human-caused global warming. Evidently, these guys believe that a few radicals getting arrested will convince Congress to wreck what's left of the economy on purpose.

My sense is that, despite a fairly high percentage of duffuses among Congressional Democrats, they aren't dumb enough to intentionally sabotage economic recovery while spending hundreds of billions that they told the public are being spent to "stimulate" the economy.

There's a reason, you know, that President Obama has signaled to Congress that he will be perfectly happy to wait until 2010 for an anti-global warming bill. My guess is that perfect timing for him is soon enough to appease the left in the 2012 Democrat primary, and late enough that the economic pain of such legislation won't be felt until after the November 2012 election.

But somehow, all that seems almost a side issue, compared to the spectacle that is a government agency head getting arrested by government employees in order to pressure the government to do something it supposedly wants to do anyway.

I'm not sure this really is a government. It looks more like a bad circus.

Hat tip: Prometheus.

Addendum, 2/25/09: See Hansen, on videotape, inviting the public to participate in what organizers apparently hope will be the "largest mass civil disobedience for the climate in U.S. history." [Snapshot shown above]

Hansen doesn't claim to be speaking for NASA's Goddard Institute in this video, but it seems inappropriate at best for a government agency head to urge his fellow citizens to break the law. If federal agency heads don't respect the law, why should the rest of us?

Possibly old-fashioned concepts like obeying the law, along with paying for our own mortgages, went out with the Bush Administration.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:45 AM

Saturday, February 21, 2009

From the Department of Unbelievably Stupid Remarks

ABC "Nightline" reporter Terry Moran, as quoted by Scott Whitlock of Newsbusters:
I like to say that, in some ways, Barack Obama is the first President since George Washington to be taking a step down into the Oval Office.
Says Whitlock in response:
For those who have forgotten, George Washington defeated the strongest military power in the world. Barack Obama was a community organizer.
Good line, Scott!
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 7:39 PM

I've Seen More Detail in an Elementary School Book Report

Is it just me, or is the White House's Recovery.gov "Your Money at Work" website vapid and uninformative?

I know it's early, but there's already a lot more information available about where the "stimulus" funds are going than one can glean from this website, which reads like a campaign brochure. That is, nice and pretty sounding, but no specific details. Dressing up the incredibly general line items into just eight expense categories for an expenditure of $787 billion dollars is insulting enough, without giving us the choice of viewing the eight items in balloon or tabular form.

Does the White House think we are so dense, we need two ways of looking at eight line items to be sure we've grasped it?

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:41 PM

Friday, February 20, 2009

Egg on Faces of Al Gore and Ban Ki-Moon


Roger Pielke, Jr. of the Promethus Blog spotted a little egg on the faces of ex-V.P. Al Gore and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon the other day.

I wouldn't be surprised if he noticed before they did.

It seems the esteemed gentlemen submitted an op-ed to Britain's Financial Times without fact-checking it first (or, more likely, telling the lackey who fact-checks to fact-check the lackey who writes).

The op-ed claims: "In the US, there are now more jobs in the wind industry than in the entire coal industry."

Roger asked:
First, is this in fact true?

Second, if it is true, how can it be that wind can ever be cost competitive with coal? Consider that coal, according to the US EIA was responsible for generating 155,000 thousand megawatt-hours of energy production in November, 2008. Wind was responsible for 1,300 thousand megawatt hours. This means that the US saw about 120 times as much energy produced from coal as wind. If it takes more employees to generate 0.8% of the energy as coal produces, how can it ever be cost competitive?

Something does not add up. Someone please explain this.
Somebody did.

It seems that, for the wind industry totals, the esteemed gentlemen counted every job involved in supplying equipment to the wind industry, including component manufacturing, legal services, marketing, etc., and for the coal industry, the men counted only miners.

So if you hear this shibboleth, beware.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:47 PM

Thursday, February 19, 2009

New York Times Editorial Covers Up Book Ban

A New York Times editorial published this week has been excoriated by Walter Olson, proprietor of the popular "Overlawyered" blog and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and justly so.

The subject is the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA), a law that went into effect earlier this month and which even now is causing libraries, thrift shops and used book stores to throw away large volumes of used children's clothes and toys and any children's books published before 1985.

Don't take it from me:
If you browse through the racks of children's clothing at area Goodwill stores, you'll notice half the supply is gone - all because of a new law being implemented by the federal government Tuesday morning.
-KPTM FOX 42 News, Omaha, 2/9/09 (Hat tip for the link: Ace of Spades.)

...our realistic choices are:
1. Shut down our children's section, or
2. Ban kids 12 and younger from the library.
-Librarian, Idaho (Hat tip for the link: Ace of Spades.)

Chip Gibson, president and publisher of Random House Children’s Books... 'This is a potential calamity like nothing I’ve ever seen. The implications are quite literally unimaginable,' he said, noting that children’s books could be removed from schools, libraries and stores; nonprofit groups like First Book would lose donations; and retailers, printers, and publishers could ultimately go out of business. 'Books are safe. This is like testing milk for lead. It has to be stopped.'
-Talkback on Publishers Weekly, 1/12/09 (Hat tip for the link: Overlawyered.com.)

'The economy is tough enough right now, and now I'm not allowed to sell dirt bikes?'
-Hitching Post Motorsports (MN) sales manager Andy Buddensiek, as quoted by KARE 11 News, Twin Cities. The Motorcycle Industry Council estimates that $100 million dollars worth of motorbike inventory may have been frozen nationwide. As sales of adult ATVs are unaffected, some worry that children will ride adult ATVs that are too difficult for them to properly handle. (Hat tip for the link: Overlawyered.com.)

...unless the law is modified... handmade children's products will no longer be legal in the U.S.
-Handmade Toy Alliance (Hat tip for the link: Overlawyered.com.)
There are many, many more specific examples of damage this law is doing on Overlawyered.com, some of which are heart-rending.

Here's what the New York Times published:
Unfortunately, the commission has yet to implement important aspects of the new law. The delay has caused confusion and allowed opponents to foment needless fears that the law could injure smaller enterprises like libraries, resale shops and handmade toy businesses. (Emphasis added)
Needless???

Walter Olson at Overlawyered put it this way, in part:
...The Times editorialists warn against “needless fears” that the law “could injure” smaller enterprises. Got that? Not only will they not be driven out of business, they won’t even be “injured”. So small enterprises from coast to coast are just imagining things if they plead desperately for places like the Times to notice that they have already closed down, or will have to do so in the foreseeable future, or have lost thousands of dollars in unsalable inventories. Motorbike dealerships around the country are just imagining things if they think they’re staring at massive losses from the inability to sell their products, even though news-side talent at the New York Times has in fact covered their story well — coverage which the editorial studiously ignores.

For as long as anyone can remember, the New York Times has unthinkingly taken its line on supposed consumer-safety issues from organized groups like Public Citizen and Consumers Union. In this case, the result of such reliance has been to render the nation’s leading newspaper a laughingstock.
It appears the New York Times' belief that regulations have no harmful economic or social benefits is so calcified, it didn't even examine the question of whether anyone was being harmed by CPSIA before declaring news of such harm as being the product of mere "needless fears."

Meanwhile, a significant part of our nation's cultural heritage (children's books published before 1985) is literally been thrown in the dumpster, and many small businesses and charities and the people they serve are being hurt. Some are being hurt quite a lot.

Shame on the New York Times for putting its passion for regulation ahead of the truth.

Cross-posted on Newsbusters

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 7:52 PM

Why Did the Obama Administration...

...put a provision in the stimulus bill that creates a board that can stop investigations of alleged wrongdoing within federal agencies?

Byron York looks into the matter here.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 7:15 AM

Obama’s Secrets

Worth a read: Warner Todd Houston on President Obama keeping secrets (already!), and bloggers -- not the MSM -- digging them up.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:50 AM

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pictures of an Anti-Obama Protest

Go here.

Hat tip: @StephenDeLucia and @outloudopinion on Twitter.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 7:13 PM

First They Banned All the Books

Though in this particular revolution, it appears they are starting with children's books published before 1985.

Possibly that's to get us used to the idea.

To be fair, though, Congress didn't only vote to ban books. The legislation behind this, the Consumer Product Safety Modernization Act of 2008, also eviscerates a significant chunk of our nation's cultural heritage, kills jobs (see the links below for stories about what this is doing to some small businesses), and hurts charities.

(If you hadn't yet heard that used bookstores, thrift shops and other establishments have begun throwing out large numbers of children's books, as well as children's clothes, toys and other goods, read this article by the Manhattan Institute's Walter Olson, and then head over to his superlative website, Overlawyered.com, for more details and updates.)

I checked to see if our fearless leader voted for this bill, but he blew off the vote entirely. His chief-of-staff Rahm Emmanuel, then an Illinois Congressman, was an original co-sponsor in the House, and Rep. Bobby Rush, also of Illinois, was the main sponsor.

In the Senate, the only "no" votes were: Allard (R-CO), Barrasso (R-WY), Bunning (R-KY), Burr (R-NC), Coburn (R-OK), Cochran (R-MS), Corker (R-TN), DeMint (R-SC), Ensign (R-NV), Enzi (R-WY), Kyl (R-AZ), Vitter (R-LA) and Wicker (R-MS).)

Folks, this is what big government gets you. Brace yourselves for more.

P.S. If you sell used clothes on EBay, yard sales, etc., beware. The penalty for breaking this law is fines up to $100,000, prison time, or both. You don't have to harm anyone to go to prison.

Hat tip: Ace of Spades.



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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:53 PM

Obama's Enemies List

Mark Hyman's op-ed, "Obama's Enemies List," on the American Spectator website today is a very scary must-read.

I don't believe Hyman exaggerates his case.  I wish I did.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:01 AM

Profiting from Global Warming

Don't miss Senior Fellow Tom Borelli's op-ed in today's Washington Examiner. It begins:
When the housing bubble burst, it exposed an unseemly alliance between special interests and the financial sector. Activists wanted homes for all at any cost, and lenders were happy to oblige despite the inherent risk.

Although the economic devastation this bubble wrought is still not under control, a similar toxic alliance is working on the next one: The green bubble.

Failing companies such as AIG, General Electric and General Motors, already propped up with tax dollars, have partnered with radical environmentalists in a scheme their CEOs believe will allow them to profit on fears about global warming...
Read the rest here.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:57 AM

Watch the Borellis Live Online on Fox's "Strategy Room" Wednesday

By David Almasi:
Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli is scheduled to discuss ACORN and the so-called "stimulus" bill and other current events as part of the group discussion on the Fox News Channel's online "Strategy Room" program on Wednesday, February 18 between 9:00 am and 10:00 am eastern.

Tom Borelli, the director of the National Center's Free Enterprise Project, is set to be participating in the"Strategy Room" discussion later on the same day - 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm eastern - to discuss the detrimental economic effects of "cap-and-trade" regulatory policy and breaking news.

To access the live Internet broadcast, click here and then click the "STREAM THIS NOW" headline in the center or the page under the photo.

To learn more about Fox's "Strategy Room" Internet talk show, click here to see an article about the program that appeared in this past Monday's New York Times.
This post was written by National Center for Public Policy Research Executive Director David Almasi. To send comments to the author, write him at [email protected]. Please state if a letter is not for publication or if you prefer that it be published anonymously.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:34 AM

Saturday, February 14, 2009

What Happened to the Big Hurry?

The Democratic leaders were in such a big hurry to get the stimulus bill passed, they couldn't even wait 48 hours (as the members of the House of Representatives requested) to hold the vote. Yet, Emily Pierce reported Friday night for RollCall:
...the Senate gave final approval to a $787 billion economic stimulus bill on a 60-38 vote at 10:46 p.m. Friday. President Barack Obama plans to sign the landmark recovery package into law on Monday.
Too much of a hurry to let the House and Senate read the bill -- or even look it over much -- before voting. Not in enough hurry, though, for the President to lift a pen before Monday.

Addendum, 2/14/09: Now Obama's waiting until Tuesday.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:44 AM

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Left is Afraid of America - the Rush to Vote on the Stimulus is the Proof

Rep. Jerrry Lewis (R-CA) just spoke on the House floor to say that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office had just scored the so-called stimulus bill, releasing its report a few minutes past noon (a little more than an hour ago).

Lewis reports that the CBO says less than half the spending in this bill will occur over the next two years, and 11 percent of it will occur this year.

Given these numbers, how can it possibly be imperative to our economic recovery (to avoid a "permanent recession," in President Obama's infamous phrase, as if such a thing is even possible) for the Congress to vote on all of this spending immediately? Unless something nefarious is going on, at the very least, even those who believe this bill is needed for stimulus purposes should be willing to defer debate and passage of three-quarters or more of the spending in this legislation so legislators can read and refine it.

But they aren't. Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and the others who lead the left in our nation's capitol are unwilling to wait -- even to wait 48 hours as the House of Representatives unanimously urged -- because they are afraid. Afraid of permanent recession? No, they are afraid the American people will find out what's in this bill.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:26 PM

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Take a Look

Cash Register 99.99Image by zizzybaloobah

John Hinderaker at Power Line has posted a chart showing the federal deficit (or surplus) as a percentage of GDP from 1965 to now, including an estimate of what the 2009 deficit will be if the stimulus bill is adopted.

You really should go take a look.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:48 PM

At Stimulus Press Conference, Dem Senators Laugh When Susan Collins Lauds Bipartisanship



In a YouTube video apparently uploaded by the Senator's own office, Senator Susan Collins refers to the $789 "stimulus" spending bill as "fiscally-responsible":
Today we have shown that, working together, we can address the enormous economic crisis affecting our country. I am particularly pleased that we have produced an agreement that has a top line of $789 billion dollars. That is less than either the House- or Senate-passed bills. It is a fiscally-responsible number that reflects our efforts to truly focus this bill on programs and policies and tax relief that will help turn our economy around, create jobs and provide relief to the families of our country.

I am also very pleased that we were able to increase the amount of funding for infrastructure. That is the most powerful component in this bill to create jobs. Overall, there is about a hundred and fifty billion dollars in infrastructure this bill when you add together transportation, environmental, broadband, and other projects.
Note that, 40 seconds into the video, just an instant after Senator Collins says "working together," the three Democratic Senators standing directly behind Collins crack up.

I have to agree with the Democrat Senators that any pretense of bipartisanship on bill this one was a joke -- a $789 billion dollar sick joke on the American people that definitely is not, Senator Collins, in any way, "fiscally responsible."

And, say what you will about Senator Specter (really, please do!), in this video he at least has the presence of mind to look absolutely grim.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:16 AM

Facebook Bans Anti-Stimulus Petition; Implies It May Be Porn

Facebook, Inc.

Edwin Mora of CNSNews.com is reporting this morning that the social networking site Facebook has removed a conservative group's anti-stimulus petition from its website:
Facebook, one of the Internet’s top social networking sites, has kicked out a conservative group’s Web site --“NoStimulus.com” -- from its paid advertising space.

NoStimulus.com, which is promoting a petition to stop President Obama’s economic stimulus bill, is sponsored by the nonprofit conservative group Americans for Prosperity.

Phil Kerpen, national policy director for Americans for Prosperity, said the paid ad had been running for days on Facebook with no problem.

“They had already screened it and approved it,” says Kerpen.

The petition featured in NoStimulus.com allows for those who oppose the stimulus bill to voice their objections, which are then sent to their respective lawmakers...
Amazingly, according to CNSNews.com, Facebook told Americans for Prosperity that one of the reasons it withdrew the ad was because it allegedly violated Facebook's Rule 8, which says "that ads may not 'contain, facilitate or promote 'adult' content or content that is 'offensive, profane, vulgar, obscene or inappropriate' or 'defamatory, libelous, slanderous and/or unlawful.'"

Since, this week anyway, Americans are still allowed to express an opinion on legislation, one must assume Facebook thinks opposing the stimulus is pornographic or potentially libelous. (I'm going with pornographic, since it is metaphysically impossible to libel Congress.)

During the first hour of her syndicated radio show today, Laura Ingraham is citing projects Facebook does allow. Among them: "F--- the Troops" (yes, the American troops) and projects supporting the release of terrorists from Gitmo.

Good going, Facebook. Guess you must have thought you had too many satisfied members.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:48 AM

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Amazing Video of Senators on Health Care Provisions of Stimulus





Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has posted some amazing video from Youtube (shown above) of Fox News anchors interviewing Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) on the health care provisions on the trillion dollar stimulus bill nobody's read.

Anchors Megyn Kelly and Bill Hemmer did a great job with these interviews; holding each Senator to account when it was painfully obvious that neither Senator knew what was in the bill they each were about to vote for. Kudos to each of the anchors.

Can't say the same for the Senators.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:16 PM

Project 21's Deneen Borelli Joins Discussion on Fox's "Strategy Room" Friday - Watch Live Online

By David Almasi:
Project 21 fellow Deneen Borelli will discuss the so-called "stimulus" bill and other current events as part of the group discussion on the Fox News Channel's on-line "Strategy Room" program on Friday, February 13 between 9:00am and 10:00am eastern.

To access the live Internet broadcast, click here and then click the "STREAM THIS NOW" headline in the center or the page under the photo.
This post was written by National Center for Public Policy Research Executive Director David Almasi. To send comments to the author, write him at [email protected]. Please state if a letter is not for publication or if you prefer that it be published anonymously.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:38 PM

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Scandal that is the EPA

Writing on National Review Online, Henry I. Miller excoriates the Environmental Protection Agency.

Here's just a sample:
...The EPA has long been more concerned with public relations than public health. An EPA scheme that was exposed in 2005 planned to divert research funds to pay outside public-relations consultants up to $5 million over five years to improve the website of its Office of Research and Development, conduct focus groups on how to polish the office’s image, and produce ghostwritten articles praising the agency “for publication in scholarly journals and magazines.”

It’s no surprise that EPA must buy good press. The agency is relentlessly inept and corrupt, and motivated by radical ideology rather than a genuine desire to protect the environment. It serves not the public interest, but the most extreme and doctrinaire environmentalists.

The EPA’s payola scheme is similar to the agency’s longstanding practice of buying influence by doling out hundreds of millions of dollars each year to non-profit organizations—money that, according to the inspector general and Government Accountability Office, is dispersed with no public notice, competition, or accountability. Specifically, they documented systematic malfeasance by regulators, including: (1) making grants to grantees who were unable to carry out the terms of the grants; (2) favoring an exclusive clique of grantees without opening the grants to competition; (3) funding “environmental” grants for activities that lack any apparent environmental benefit; and (4) failing to ensure that grantees performed the objectives identified in the grants.

Misconduct, mendacity, and conflicts of interest are just business as usual at the EPA...
With all the other governmental disasters going on, scandals that are business-as-usual at the EPA can fly under the radar. Kudos to Henry Miller for shedding light on this subject.

Read it all here.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:44 AM

Brian M. Riedl: Stimulus Bill Should Not Bail Out States

Brian M. Riedl says it is a bad idea for Congress to bail out what he terms "irresponsible states" in the stimulus bill:
...Congress already sends $467 billion a year to state and local government--up 29 percent after inflation since 2000. This is well beyond what is needed to reimburse states for federal mandates (and Washington has imposed few new unfunded mandates on the states since 1996). The feds continue to give heavy subsidies to state health, education, and transportation programs. But apparently that is not enough.

States depend on volatile tax sources such as income taxes, so common sense suggests building rainy day funds during booms to cushion the inevitable recessions. And yet states keep responding to temporary revenue surges with permanent new spending programs. Between 1994 and 2001, states flush with new revenues shunned rainy day funds and instead expanded their general fund budgets by 6.2 percent a year.

All booms eventually end, and these free-spending states left themselves totally unprepared for the 2002-2003 economic slowdown. Yet instead of sufficiently paring back their bloated budgets, the states demanded--and received--a $30 billion bailout from Washington in 2003.

Bailing out someone who has behaved irresponsibly encourages future misbehavior. And that is just what happened: After the 2003 bailout, states went right back to spending--with annual budget hikes averaging 7.2 percent over the next four years.(Some also built up their rainy day funds, but not enough.)...
There's a good bit more here.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:38 AM

"Stimulus" to Stimulate ACORN

Project 21 says there are at least three provisions in the so-called "stimulus" bill that could funnel money to the radical left-wing activist group ACORN:
Black Activist Slams "Stimulus" Spending Making Billions Available to ACORN

Contact: David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x11 or [email protected]

In the nearly trillion dollars in spending contained in the so-called "stimulus" bill the U.S. Senate is now considering are programs that could go into coffers of the left-wing group ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now).

"It's outrageous that potentially billions of taxpayer dollars may end up aiding a group instrumental in causing the economic crisis in the first place," said Deneen Borelli, a fellow with the Project 21 black leadership network.

ACORN became infamous during the 2008 presidential campaign when it's involvement in fraudulent voter registration efforts and ties to the presidential campaign of Barack Obama were revealed. ACORN lobbying and intimidation tactics targeting financial institutions are also blamed for helping to create the current mortgage crisis.

In an analysis of the Senate bill by Matthew Vadum of the Capital Research Center on the web site of The American Spectator, there are at least three provisions in the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009" that could be used to funnel money to ACORN:
* Title XII would make $1 billion available for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG). Vadum writes: "The [CDBG] program gives [local politicians] wide latitude... to use federal dollars on local projects that they wouldn't dream of spending their own local tax dollars on. ACORN loves CDBG because it is adept at lobbying for CDBG funds."

* The Self-Help and Assisted Homeownership Opportunity Program would provide $10 million for rehabilitating low-income housing.

* The 4.19 billion Neighborhood Stabilization Program would help with foreclosure relief. $3.44 billion would be available to states, localities and nonprofit groups such as ACORN, while $750 million would be available to exclusively to groups.
ACORN has been linked to multiple vote fraud investigations. 63 percent of voter registrations submitted by ACORN in St. Louis in 2003 were determined to be invalid. In Washington last year, only six of 1,800 voter registrations filed in Seattle were valid. Washington Secretary of State Scott Reed called the incident "the worst case of voter-registration fraud" in state history.

Additionally, in a New York Post commentary on the mortgage crisis, University of Texas at Dallas economics professor Stan Liebowitz wrote: "From the current hand-wringing, you'd think that the banks came up with the idea of looser underwriting standards on their own, with regulators just asleep on the job. In fact, it was the regulators who relaxed these standards - at the behest of community groups and 'progressive' political forces" such as ACORN.

Project 21's Borelli added: "Just imagine the havoc ACORN could accomplish with as much as $5 billion in taxpayer money. It's obvious that giving ACORN billions of dollars will do nothing to stimulate the economy - but it will guarantee left-wing political success. It seems like little more than a political payoff, and it is just plain wrong."

Vadum's analysis of the Senate bill can be found at http://spectator.org/archives/2009/01/27/acorns-stimulus.

Project 21, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992.  For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x11 or [email protected], or visit Project 21's website at www.project21.org/P21Index.html
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:32 AM

Saturday, February 07, 2009

How the Media Covers Global Warming: A Case Study

I love Antarctica!Image by Lyubov via Flickr

When University of Washington Professor Eric Steig announced in a news conference and paper published in the January 22 edition of the journal Nature that he and several colleagues had removed one of many thorns in the sides of climate alarmists -- in this case, evidence that Antarctica is cooling -- he received extensive worldwide attention in the mainstream press.

But when a noteworthy error was found in Stieg's research less than two weeks after it's publication, of the mainstream press, only an opinion column in the London Telegraph and a blog associated with the Australian Herald Sun carried the news.

The Stieg paper's release was covered by 27 newspapers, including the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times, by CNN, by the Associated Press, by NPR and quite a few others (see reviews of the coverage at the end of this post).

After independent analyst Steve McIntyre discovered a noteworthy error in the data, and released his results on his influential blog Climate Audit beginning on February 1, based on a Nexis search I conducted February 6, none of these outlets chose to inform their readers.

Here's how the Stieg research showing supposed warming was received by the mainstream press:

NPR covered it twice (a January 21 package by Richard Harris and a January 23 Ira Flatow interview of Steig), with no hard questions either time (Flatow called Steig's paper "probably historic").

A January 22 piece in the Seattle Times by science reporter Sandi Doughton contained this little editorial:
By bringing Antarctica in from the cold, the new study could undermine the small cadre of global-warming skeptics who still argue that the planet is not getting hotter, or that humans are not to blame. Many have used the apparent cooling in Antarctica to attack global climate models and point out perceived weaknesses in the scientific consensus that emissions from automobiles and factories are beginning to change global climate.

A January 22 New York Times piece by Kenneth Chang presented the report along with quotes from scientists who thought it by and large likely accurate. One scientist was quoted saying, "But the idea of a long-term cooling is pretty clearly debunked." No one urging caution about Stieg's results was quoted.

CNN.com's report began:

Antarctica is warming in line with the rest of the world, according to a new study on climate change in Antarctica.

Rather than being the last bastion to resist global warming, U.S. research has found that for the past 50 years much of the continent of Antarctica has been getting warmer.

For years common belief among scientists studying climate change was that a large part of Antarctica, the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, has been getting colder while the rest of the world has warmed.

However the new research from the University of Washington has found that warming in West Antarctica exceeded one-tenth of a degree Celsius per decade for the past 50 years, which more than offsets the cooling in East Antarctica...

The CNN.com piece ended with quotes from Stieg.

The AP's Seth Borenstein's January 21 wire report began "Antarctica, the only place that had oddly seemed immune from climate change, is warming after all, according to a new study," and included a quote from global warming activist scientist and study co-author Michael Mann, saying the study refuted the views of climate "contrarians." Borenstein did, however, include two quotes from other scientists who raised questions about the study.

The Los Angeles Times' Thomas H. Maugh II began with an editorial:

Scientists have long believed that Antarctica has been bucking the global warming trend, but that is not the case, new research shows.

East Antarctica, as assorted studies have shown, has been cooling recently, but the remainder of the continent is warming at a rate that offsets the cooling, according to satellite and ground data.

Global-warming skeptics have pointed to the presumed cooling of the continent as evidence that researchers' computer projections of climate change are in error, but the new findings reported Thursday appear to refute their criticisms...

Maugh's readers weren't told that any scientists had doubts.

The San Francisco Chronicle went still further into alarmism. Science editor David Perlman told his readers flatly that "the issue [of Antarctic warming] has apparently been resolved." The piece was headlined: "All of Antarctica Appears to Be Warming."

The Guardian titled its piece, "Scientists Solve Enigma of Antarctic 'Cooling,'" summarized it by claiming "Research 'kills off' climate skeptic argument by showing average temperature across the continent has risen over the last 50 years." The Guardian included no alternative points of view.

Co-authors of Stieg's paper included David Schneider of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Scott Rutherford of Roger Williams University, Michael Mann of Penn State, Josefino Comiso of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and Drew Shindell of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Followers of the global warming issue will easily recognize Michael Mann as the proponent of the since-disgraced "hockey stick" global warming graph and an activist global warming activist and the Goddard Institute as run by one of the world's most infamous global warming alarmists, James Hansen. Stieg himself is a contributor to the ardently pro-alarmist and environmentalist-supported PR blog RealClimate. Despite this, none of the mainstream press stories I reviewed mentioned the activism activities of authors.


On the other side of the question, here are samples from Andrew Booker's op-ed column in the UK Telegraph critical of Stieg:

...So it predictably made headlines across the world last week when a new study, from a team led by Professor Eric Steig, claimed to prove that the Antarctic has been heating up after all. As on similar occasions in the past, all the usual supporters of the cause were called in to whoop up its historic importance. The paper was published in Nature and heavily promoted by the BBC. This, crowed journalists such as Newsweek's Sharon Begley, would really be one in the eye for the "deniers" and "contrarians."

and

One of the first to express astonishment [about the Stieg paper] was Dr Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist with the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and a convinced believer in global warming, who wryly observed "it is hard to make data where none exists." A disbelieving Ross Hayes, an atmospheric scientist who has often visited the Antarctic for NASA, sent Professor Steig a caustic email ending: "with statistics you can make numbers go to any conclusion you want. It saddens me to see members of the scientific community do this for media coverage."

As Noel Sheppard reports on NewsBusters.org, 54% of American voters say the media makes global warming appear worse than it really is. Who can be surprised?


Cross-posted at Newsbusters.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:03 AM

Friday, February 06, 2009

Project 21's Deneen Borelli on WWOR-TV This Sunday

WWOR-TV

By David Almasi:
Project 21 fellow Deneen Borelli will discuss black history and politics this Sunday (February 8) on WWOR, the New York-area television superstation.

Deneen will be a guest on the "Real Talk" program that will be broadcast at 12:30 pm eastern. She will be discussing, among other things, what it means to be a black conservative and her feelings about the progress of the new Obama Administration. She is joined on the program by the Reverend Forrest Pritchette of Seton Hall University and host Brenda Blackmon.

Outside of the New York City media market, WWOR can be found on the Dish TV satellite system on channel 238. Additionally, WWOR is carried on many local cable systems - sometimes under the name MyNetworkTV.
This post was written by National Center for Public Policy Research Executive Director David Almasi. To send comments to the author, write him at [email protected]. Please state if a letter is not for publication or if you prefer that it be published anonymously.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 7:12 PM

Tom Borelli Discusses the Stimulus on WBAL-Baltimore Saturday Morning - Listen Live From Anywhere!

WBAL (AM)Image via Wikipedia

By David Almasi:
Tom Borelli, PhD, director of the National Center's Free Enterprise Project, will be a guest of Bruce Elliott on WBAL-Baltimore at 8:35 am eastern on Saturday (February 7) to discuss the Senate's so-called economic stimulus legislation.

In a press release earlier this week, Tom said about the legislation:
In reality it's a left-wing spending plan masquerading as economic stimulus. Only about 5 percent of the current bill will be used for infrastructure costs while millions of dollars are earmarked for other pet projects, such as renovations for the Department of Commerce headquarters, digital television coupons, the National Endowment for the Arts and the liberal group ACORN...

The plan is really a rewards program for the left-wing groups that got Obama elected. The only thing stimulating about this plan is the anger it's arousing among Americans.
In the Baltimore-Washington area, WBAL can be found at 1090 AM.

You can also listen to Tom from anywhere in America by going to the WBAL web site and clicking the "Listen Live" tab that can be found at the top left of the page.
This post was written by National Center for Public Policy Research Executive Director David Almasi. To send comments to the author, write him at [email protected]. Please state if a letter is not for publication or if you prefer that it be published anonymously.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 7:11 PM

Tom Borelli on Fox News Channel's "Glenn Beck" Discussing GE

Glenn Beck (TV program)Image via Wikipedia

By David Almasi:
Tom Borelli, PhD, director of the National Center's Free Enterprise Project, appeared on the Fox News Channel's "Glenn Beck" program today at 5:00 pm eastern to discuss the appointment of General Electric CEO Jeffery Immelt to a new presidential advisory panel.

President Barack Obama today announced members of his new Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Immelt is one of the members. Tom has been a leading critic of Immelt's corporate advocacy for environmental causes at the peril of consumers, stockholders and employees.

In 2007, Tom named Immelt one of the top five worst corporate CEOs, noting:
...Immelt's global warming strategy is causing a series of unintended consequences. For example, the incandescent light bulb - a GE product and invention of its founder Thomas Edison - will be phased out by federal law.

Over the past year, GE lobbyists had to fight hard to defeat outright bans of incandescent bulbs and buy time to restructure its lighting business that currently relies more on traditional bulbs.

GE's coal business is also feeling the heat from concerns over global warming. While it has invested heavily in Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC), a technology that captures carbon dioxide from coal-fired electricity plants, environmentalists have another plan - just ban the use of coal.

This year, environmental activists have been successful in blocking the construction of a number of coal-fired power plants including 8 of 11 plants in Texas. The termination of the Texas power plants resulted in the cancellation of orders for GE's steam turbines worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Tom's full commentary can be found here.
This post was written by National Center for Public Policy Research Executive Director David Almasi. To send comments to the author, write him at [email protected]. Please state if a letter is not for publication or if you prefer that it be published anonymously.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 5:27 PM

Tom Borelli is on Glenn Beck Right Now

Senior Fellow Tom Borelli is a guest on the Fox News Channel's Glenn Beck program right now, talking about the GE corporation's left-wing activities.

Catch him on Fox now, if you can.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 5:12 PM

"Scaring People is Not Leadership... Having Lunch is Not Leading... Doing TV Interviews is Not Leading"

If you've heard about Senator Lindsey Graham's comments yesterday about President Obama being "AWOL" on the stimulus debate and how the entire stimulus process "stinks," but haven't seen it, the Ocean State Republican Blog has the video.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:35 PM

"Stimulus" Interview Podcasts Available

Both Tom Borelli, senior fellow of the National Center for Public Policy Research and co-director of our Free Enterprise Project, and and Mychal Massie, chairman of Project 21, have been doing a good bit of local and national radio on our behalf on the so-called "stimulus" plan.

I've got links to podcasts to two of the national radio interviews conducted of Tom this week. These links permit you listen to all or part of these interviews at your convenience:
* The G. Gordon Liddy broadcast, February 5. The show's podcast page is here; a link to the actual feed of Tom being interviewed by Gordon Liddy is here.

* Radio America's Dateline Washington, Greg Corombus, host, February 4. Podcast page here; direct link to MP3 podcast file here.
If I acquire podcast links to any of the other immediate past or future broadcast media interviews our folks do on the stimulus, I'll try to add them, schedule permitting. Unfortunately, most shows, even major ones, do not make interview podcasts available.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:00 PM

Ak'Bar Shabazz: States and Localities Should Be Wary of Federal Strings

Columnist and spokesman Ak'Bar Shabazz of Project 21 says states and localities should be very wary that huge federal infusions of cash don't bring with them a decline in local autonomy.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:16 PM

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Open Letter to the U.S. Senate on the So-Called Stimulus

Along with other individuals from a variety of organizations, I signed the following letter, distributed today to members on the Senate, urging them not to spend hundreds of billions of dollars in a so-called stimulus plan. The plan has been rushed; it is wasteful, and it won't work.

In my view, a true plan to stimulate the economy would cut taxes, trim regulations where possible and help make energy more accessible and thus, more affordable.

The text of the letter and the list of signers follows:
February 4th, 2009

To the Members of the U.S. Senate:

We the undersigned public interest organizations, representing millions of members and supporters nationwide, hereby call upon you to reject the $819 billion spending bill that passed the House of Representatives last week.

This legislation will total some $1.2 trillion when interest is calculated over the next decade, and represents an unsustainable growth of government.

In addition, the Congressional Budget Office calculates that the budget deficit will already be $1.2 trillion for 2009. On January 3rd, the Washington Post reported that the deficit could total as much as $2 trillion. In part, it depends on how badly the recession hits the U.S., but also on how much productive capital the government takes out of the broader economy.

The irresponsible expansion of the budget to bail out state governments from their own budget deficits, expand Medicaid, boost education spending, food stamps and unemployment benefits, build federal buildings, provide more for public housing, construct climate change supercomputers, erect trade barriers overseas, create refundable tax credits, and make special interest payouts will not stimulate sustainable economic growth.

Instead, the astronomical growth of government spending, coupled with further monetary easing and protectionism, will discourage investment, savings, and capital creation, because in the longer term it means higher taxes, higher interest rates, and inflation. It will destroy jobs in the private sector, thus increasing individual dependency on government.

Importantly, it will steep American taxpayers ever deeper into a spiral of debt, now nearly $10.7 trillion. That includes $4.3 trillion owed in the form of unfunded obligations to Social Security, Medicare, and other commitments, and $6.4 trillion held privately, $3 trillion of which is held overseas. 40 percent of the debt held privately comes due this year. The only way for the government to pay it is to borrow yet more money.

As a result, the federal government is running the serious risk that it will default on its financial obligations, as the nation's creditors during the current economic downturn may be unable to continue sustaining the uncontrolled growth of spending, leaving the nation in financial ruin.

America needs a plan now to begin paying down the national debt, not an ill-conceived scheme that will make that task impossible for our children and our children's children. The nation needs to tighten its belt, and learn how to live on less credit, less borrowing, and less debt.

This is a change that must occur at the individual level, at the county level, the state level, and the national level. It is not a change that should begin by doubling down on a hasty, careless gamble.

In addition, permanent tax cuts that change incentives are much more effective than temporary targeted tax incentives and spending. What economists call the "permanent income hypothesis" shows that individuals and businesses only change their spending and investment habits significantly when they expect policy changes to be permanent. It takes more than one-year, for instance, to build a factory, and businesses may not do so if they think that tax incentives are only temporary.

Preventing tax increases on individual income, capital gains and dividends, changing the tax code to allow full-cost, first-year expensing for business equipment rather than the arbitrary IRS depreciation schedule, and lowering the U.S. corporate tax rate, among the highest in the world, would yield much more bang for the buck in ensuring a rapid economic recovery than the current package of massive spending with a sliver of targeted tax cuts.

Again, on behalf of our members nationwide, we the undersigned urge you to reject the $819 billion spending bill now being considered. Instead, we ask you to promulgate a real plan for change, to finally set the nation's fiscal house in order, to provide permanent tax relief to businesses and individuals, to free the American people from the boom-to-bust economic cycle, and to at last retire the national debt.

Sincerely,

Fred L. Smith, Jr.
President
Competitive Enterprise Institute

Gary Aldrich
Chairman
CNP Action, Inc.

William Wilson
President
Americans for Limited Government

Mark Williamson
Founder and President
Federal Intercessors

Thomas McClusky
VP for Government Affairs
Family Research Council

David N. Bossie
President
Citizens United

James L. Martin
President
60 Plus Association

Duane Parde
President
National Taxpayers Union

Mark Chmura
Executive Director
Americans for the Preservation of Liberty

Thomas Schatz
President
Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

Dr. William Greene
President
RightMarch.com

Ken Blackwell
Chairman
Coalition for a Conservative Majority

John Berlau
Director
Center for Investors and Entrepreneurs

Ron Shuping
Executive Vice President of Programming
The Inspiration Networks

Alex-St. James
Chairman
African American Republican Leadership Council

Cliff Kincaid
President
America's Survival, Inc.

Richard Falknor
Chairman
Maryland Center-Right Coalition

Amy Ridenour
President
National Center for Public Policy Research
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:35 PM

Another Government-Run Medicine Cautionary Tale: Man Dies After 14 Hospitals Refuse to Admit Him

From FOXNews.com, another cautionary tale about the perils of the shortages that accompany government-run medicine in every nation that ha tried it:
Japanese Man Dies After 14 Hospitals Refuse to Admit Him

A 69-year-old Japanese man injured in a traffic accident died after paramedics spent more than an hour negotiating with 14 hospitals before finding one to admit him, a fire department official said Wednesday.

The man, whose bicycle collided with a motorcycle in the western city of Itami, waited at the scene in an ambulance because the hospitals said they could not accept him, citing a lack of specialists, equipment, beds and staff, according to Mitsuhisa Ikemoto.

It was the latest in a string of recent cases in Japan in which patients were denied treatment, underscoring the country's health care woes that include a shortage of doctors.

...Ikemoto said the victim might have survived if a hospital would have accepted him more quickly. "I wish hospitals are more willing to take patients, but they have their own reasons, too," he said.

...The motorcyclist involved in the Jan. 20 accident was hurt too and was also denied medical care by two hospitals before one accepted him, Ikemoto said. He was recovering from his injuries.

More than 14,000 emergency patients were rejected at least three times by Japanese hospitals before getting treatment in 2007, according to the latest government survey. In the worst case, a woman in her 70s with a breathing problem was rejected 49 times in Tokyo.
Read the rest here.

For more on health care, the dangers of government-run health care and related issues, please visit The National Center for Public Policy Research's health care and retirement security task forces pages here.

Hat tip: @Infidelsarecool on Twitter.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:42 PM

Drop the Green Earmarks from the "Stimulus"

Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli says the green earmarks in the so-called "stimulus" plan are wasteful and should be dropped:
$8.6 Billion of Stimulus Plan Earmarked for Pet Causes of Environmental Activists Should Be Jettisoned

Contact: David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x11 or [email protected]

At least $8.6 billion of President Obama’s proposed $1.2 trillion stimulus plan is meant to fund dubious special interest policy initiatives of environmental activists and should immediately be jettisoned, says Deneen Borelli, full-time Fellow with the Project 21 national black leadership network.

"It's outrageous that taxpayer money is slated to be used to fund the agenda of environmental special interest groups. These special interest groups are using global warming alarmism to fund dubious projects while discouraging the use of fossil fuels," says Borelli. "If liberal lawmakers really cared about stimulating the economy, they would remove rules and regulations that block the development of more fossil fuels. This would provide good-paying jobs and lower energy costs for Americans. Instead, they appear only interested in using their combined force of money, power and influence to fleece taxpayers of their money and their freedom."

Among the green earmarks in the bill legislation cited by Borelli:

* A $2 billion expenditure for "near zero emissions powerplant(s)." This money apparently will be used to revive the FutureGen coal-fired power plan in Mattoon, Illinois. Federal funding for FutureGen was cut off by the Department of Energy in 2008 due in part to excessive construction costs. Reviving funding has been a goal of Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), and is included despite past criticism of coal-based power generation by President Obama, Vice President Biden and Energy Secretary Stephen Chu.

* $600 million set aside to purchase new hybrid vehicles for federal employees. While there is no documented need for the replacement of vehicles in the federal motor pool, hybrid vehicles have been criticized for performance, cost, safety and the environmental risks created through the production and disposal of their batteries.

* In a December 6, 2008 address, then-President-elect Obama called for a "massive effort" for “replacing old heating systems and installing efficient light bulbs" in federal buildings. The stimulus bill would earmark $6 billion to address this by, among other actions, changing the use of conventional incandescent light bulbs to riskier compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), which pose a risk of mercury poisoning if broken.

Borelli added: "Lawmakers are cramming a feel-good energy and environmental agenda into this so-called stimulus bill. Investing in FutureGen, hybrid vehicles and light bulbs will only stimulate the special interest groups that are inflating the 'green bubble' that could be the next thing to threaten our nation's economic stability."

Project 21, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992.  For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x11 or [email protected], or visit Project 21's website at www.project21.org/P21Index.html
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:24 PM

Free Enterprise Project Director Tom Borelli on the Stimulus Plan

Statement by Tom Borelli, PhD, director of the Free Enterprise Project of the National Center for Public Policy Research on the stimulus plan:
The adage 'haste makes waste' applies to Obama's massive stimulus plan. In response to our economic crisis the liberal majority is rushing to spend taxpayer money without regard to the consequences of its plan. We've seen this movie before - when Congress panics, taxpayers suffer. Just a few months ago, billions were spent on TARP with little effect on the economy.

In reality it's a left-wing spending plan masquerading as economic stimulus. Only about 5 percent of the current bill will be used for infrastructure costs while millions of dollars are earmarked for other pet projects, such as renovations for the Department of Commerce headquarters, digital television coupons, the National Endowment for the Arts and the liberal group ACORN.

Even worse, according to the Congressional Budget Office, most of the infrastructure projects for roads and bridges will not happen for two years or more. This spending will not provide immediate help to our floundering economy.

The plan is really a rewards program for the left-wing groups that got Obama elected. The only thing stimulating about this plan is the anger it's arousing among Americans.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:08 PM

Maiden Speech of a New Senator: Will History Erase Our Debt?

Freshman Senator Mike Johanns (R), a former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and Nebraska governor elected last November, gave his maiden speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate just now on the topic of President Obama's controversial stimulus plan.

A choice quote from the speech, as jotted down quickly by me:
It's as if some thought we could just use a credit card, and history itself would somehow forgive the debt.
Senator Johanns made other good points I was not able to get down, but I wouldn't be surprised if his office soon posts the text of his remarks on his Senate web page, which can be found here, and, of course, it will appear later in the Congressional Record.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:03 PM

Well Said, Tom Coburn

From Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), on the stimulus plan:
We got into this mess by spending and investing money that didn’t exist. We won’t get out of this mess by doing more of the same.
Dr. Coburn also said:
...the American people will be nauseated by the numerous and shameless special interest projects that have been slipped into this bill in spite of President Obama’s call to keep this bill free of earmarks. Including a $246 million earmark to bailout Hollywood when Hollywood just enjoyed its biggest January ever is insulting to the millions of American families who are struggling to make ends meet. This bill also contains the biggest earmark in history – a $2 billion handout to the not-ready-for-prime-time ‘FutureGen’ near-zero-emission power plant in Matoon, Illinois that has been called ‘prohibitively expensive’ by the Washington Post and is not supported by scientists at MIT..."
There's a lot more. Read it all here.

Hat tip: Michelle Malkin
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:07 PM

What is Senator Dodd Hiding?

Ed Morrissey asks some good questions.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:44 AM

Did Secretary of Labor Nominee Rep. Hilda Solis Break Multiple House Rules?

Hans A. von Spakovsky, writing for the Weekly Standard, raises uncomfortable questions for Secretary of Labor nominee Rep. Hilda Solis.

Hat tip: Rory Cooper in The Foundry.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:47 AM

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Black Organization's Leader Slams So-Called Stimulus Earmarks

Project 21 Chairman Mychal Massie is staunchly against the stimulus proposal:

Black Organization's Leader Slams So-Called Stimulus Earmarks


For Release: Immediate

Contact: David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x11 or [email protected]

Washington, D.C.: Responding to GAO estimates that the full cost of the so-called "stimulus" legislation under consideration now on Capitol Hill could reach $1.2 trillion over 10 years, Chairman Mychal Massie of the Project 21 black leadership network is condemning this collection of earmarks, saying it is less about economic growth and more about growing government at the expense of future generations.

"The pretense that passage of this bill will in some way stimulate the economy is an attempt to obfuscate and deceive on a scale not witnessed since Satan suggested Eve try an apple," said Massie. "There seems to be very little in this abominable bill to stimulate our economy. It looks like more of the same congressional pillage and payback that voters have rejected in the past. How is spending $75 million on stop-smoking programs going to jump-start our economy? How is giving Hollywood $246 million in tax breaks for buying film going to create jobs for laid-off autoworkers? How will spending $200 million to lease alternative energy vehicles keep open small businesses in my area, much less protect us all from terrorists? Senators have yet to explain these things as they rush to a vote."

According to the office of Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), egregious spending provisions include a combined $1 billion for construction and renovation of buildings for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Public Health Service and National Institutes of Health, $150 million for Smithsonian Institution museum facilities and $400 million more to the CDC for sexually-transmitted disease screening and prevention programs.

Taxpayer money also is earmarked for "youth" job programs for "youths" aged 21-24 and federal home "winterization" assistance for households 200 percent above the poverty level.

"It is refreshing that President Obama has chosen to speak out in favor of people being self-reliant, but the Senate's so-called stimulus bill flies in the face of his encouraging words," added Massie. "These earmarks - planned or not - will only make people more reliant on the government while putting us all further in debt. We must keep in mind that proponents of this legislation are many of the same people who have long aided and abetted the culture of financial corruption and malfeasance that put us in this crisis. Now, they propose to correct it by mortgaging the future of our children and grandchildren."

Project 21, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992.  For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x11 or [email protected], or visit Project 21's website at www.project21.org/P21Index.html.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:05 PM

Monday, February 02, 2009

Obama, Durbin and Kerry Call for Investigations of Alleged Tax Cheating

Remember the ultra-mini Blackwater tax scandal of 2007? In it, liberal Senators Barack Obama, John Kerry and Dick Durbin kicked up a fuss because Blackwater treated security guards it employed in Iraq as independent contractors (making them responsible for paying their own taxes) rather than as employees whose income and payroll taxes were deducted from their paychecks.

Obama and Durbin sent a letter to Bush Administration Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson complaining that misclassification of employees as independent contractors contributes to the "tax gap" (that is, the difference between the amount of taxes legally owned to the federal government versus the amount collected), and seeking a full investigation into Blackwater.

Fast forward 15 months.

After sticking behind a Treasury Secretary nominee with "tax gap" problems of his own, Barack Obama is pushing for an HHS Secretary, Tom Daschle, who somehow managed to leave $83,333 in consulting income off his 2007 tax return, deducted $14,963 in non-existent charitable contributions from his 2007 tax return, and accepted $73,031 worth of car and driver services in 2005, $89,129 worth in 2006 and $93,096 worth in 2007 without it occurring to him over three solid years that these benefits are taxable income.

And then there's the unresolved question of possible tax liability for luxury travel paid for by others.

Of the Daschle nomination, John Kerry is saying "there is a completely understandable, absolutely acceptable and rational explanation for what happened here."

(Blackwater had a stronger case than does Daschle, but never mind.)

For his part, Dick Durbin is assuring the country, "If all you knew about Tom Daschle was that he used to be a Senator, and he made a mistake and had to pay over $100,000 in back taxes, you have a right to be skeptical, even cynical. But if you know Tom Daschle, you know better."

Where is the concern for the "tax gap" now?
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:24 PM

Hundreds Gather for Global Warming Protest

Save us! Save us! they cried.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:35 AM

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Yet Another Way Governments are Killing Jobs

Coyote Blog writes about cases in which local governments have forced people who want to start new businesses to prove their new business is "justified by the marketplace," that is, won't harm their likely competitors too much.

Hat tip: @WalterOlson.
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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:39 AM

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