masthead-highres

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Last Titanic Survivor Has Left Us



Millvina Dean, the last survivor of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, has died.

In 1996, I blogged about the death of the last Titanic survivor with a memory of the sinking of the ship. The tragic story of the family of Lillian Asplund has stuck with me ever since.

Miss Dean's father went down with the ship, but her brother and mother survived. She was two months old when the ship sank.

Rest in peace.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:23 PM

Friday, May 29, 2009

Nothing Gets By CNN

SotomayorGoogleNews052909a.jpg


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:01 PM

Outrage of the Day: "Subsidymagination"

Writing in the Washington Examiner, columnist Timothy Carney exposes General Electric's penchant for lobbying the federal government to force us to pay for its products.

Carney writes:
GE is not simply taking advantage of subsidies that exist -- the company lobbies, with its $18 million-a-year lobbying outfit, to create or protect these subsidies. On greenhouse emissions restrictions, GE is leading the pro-regulation charge.

But these "green" profits for GE don't come out of nowhere. Regulations force businesses to buy GE's products. Subsidies incentivize them to buy GE's products. In either case, regular people foot the bill -- either through higher prices for electricity, shipping, and manufactured goods, or through higher taxes.
Pathetically but hilariously, Carney quotes the head of GE's "Ecomagination" scam, Steven Fludder, trying to pass off GE's lobby-robbery of taxpayers with a little spin:
I'd prefer not to think of words like 'subsidies' and that type of a construct. I think it is more supporting the creation of scale.
We'd prefer not to think of words like "subsidies," too, Mr. Fludder, if only parasites like General Electric and others who prefer not to earn their bread through honest trade would just mend their ways.

The column quotes Steve Milloy, who co-directs the National Center for Public Policy Research's Free Enterprise Project, which has written extensively about GE's brand of game-the-system legal extortion on its FreeEnterpriser blog, crediting him with coining the term "subsidymagination." (Steve is also the author of the excellent new book about the harm environmental lobbyists due to ordinary folk, Green Hell, and he runs JunkScience.com.)

In the Washington Times today, Jerry Seper writes about a decision by political appointees at the Justice Department to overrule career lawyers, who wanted to prosecute men who allegedly stood outside a Philadelphia voting booth and intimidated voters with a stick.

I think of General Electric as the genteel lobbyist version of the men with sticks. We don't want to buy their products, but if we don't, the men with sticks -- Congress and the regulators backed by the tax men -- will see to it that we do.

I don't believe Obama's appointees are on our side on this one, either.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:32 AM

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Obama's Solar Powered Dishonesty

Speaking Wednesday at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, President Obama bragged that a federal-government owned solar electric plant at the base saves taxpayers $1 million a year:
...right now, we're standing near the largest solar electric plant of its kind in the entire Western Hemisphere -- the entire Western Hemisphere. More than 72,000 solar panels built on part of an old landfill provide 25 percent of the electricity for the 12,000 people who live and work here at Nellis. That's the equivalent of powering about 13,200 homes during the day.

It's a project that took about half a year to complete, created 200 jobs, and will save the United States Air Force, which is the largest consumer of energy in the federal government, nearly $1 million -- $1 million a year.
My first thought: But what did it cost to build?

Courtesy of DRJ at Patterico, we have an answer: Over $100 million.

The plant opened 18 months ago, so President Obama's statement won't be true for 97 1/2 years.

Assuming no tax funds are spent on maintenance by then.

The only positive thing I can say here is that the President's statement probably wasn't technically a lie, because he most likely literally had no idea what he was talking about.

But what's his staff's excuse?


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:05 AM

Chrysler Dealership Closings: They're Calling it "DealerGate"

Did the Obama White House pressure Chrysler to close some dealerships for political reasons?

Mark Tapscott, editorial page editor of the Washington Examiner, examines the question here (blog post) and here (newspaper column).

Others on the story include Josh Painter at RedState; Sammy Benoit at Yid with Lid; Doug Ross @ Journal and more.

A Gateway Pundit post on this tonight leads with: "After Weeding Out GOP-Linked Dealers, Chrysler Looking To Open New Dealerships."

This article sticks out in my mind: "After Surviving Katrina, a Local Car Dealer Becomes a Casualty of the Economy." Nothing overtly political in that story, but it's worth a read for the angle of the guy who pulled up his bootstraps to get a dealership in the first place, only to be hit by Katrina and spend years recovering, now to suffer a killing blow from his government.

Paul Ibrahim notes, accurately, I believe: "Regardless of whether these specific allegations are true, one would be foolish to believe that government makes decisions based on business judgment as opposed to political considerations."

Hat tips: Yid With Lid and Say Anything.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:46 AM

"Airy Fairy Thinking"

Our sister blog, the Free Enterpriser, has a two minute and 41 second really great video take-down of cap-and-trade.

Take less than three minutes for a fast-paced tutorial by Karry Kudlow of CNBC's Kudlow Report.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:26 AM

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Black Leader Says Sotomayor Nomination Perfect Catalyst for Debate About Judicial Activism

Project 21's Mychal Massie has thoughts on the Sonia Sotomayor Supreme Court nomination.

Among other things, he says the Sotomayor nomination is the perfect catalyst to begin a national debate on the appropriateness of "judicial activism," when judges essentially cut lawmakers out of the legislative process and try to rule from the bench.

More here.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:12 PM

What Happens When You Tie Half Your Brain Behind Your Back?

Now we know what can happen when Rush Limbaugh ties half his brain behind his back...

...he gets co-oped by an organization that stands for much of what he and his listeners stand against.

Rush Limbaugh recently did two radio spots for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), helping drive traffic to the organization's website and, presumably, donations to its coffers.

Limbaugh, who frequently boasts that he can beat liberals in a debate with half his brain tied behind his back, apparently overlooked the fact that HSUS is a radical animal rights group. Think People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, only they keep their clothes on.

Here are a few select quotes from HSUS leaders, past and present...
"Human beings aren't superior, we're just different..." - Dr. Michael W. Fox, former HSUS Scientific Director

"Our goal is to get sport hunting in the same category as cock fighting and dog fighting. Our opponents say that hunting is a tradition. We say traditions can change." - Wayne Pacelle, HSUS CEO

"...In promoting the rights of animals, we are doing so in a world where animals do not have equal status... The human species... will never concede equality to animals and will, I predict, resist with increasing vehemence all attempts to endow them with such." - John A. Hoyt, former HSUS president

"...We are going to use the ballot box and the democratic process to stop all hunting in the United States... We will take it species by species... state by state." - Wayne Pacelle, HSUS CEO
Perhaps Limbaugh confused HSUS with local Humane Societies, which are completely independent entities and tend to be less political, providing shelters and spay and neutering programs.

Confusion can occur when oxygen to your brain is cut off for extended periods.

Just ask Colin Powell.

This post was written by National Center for Public Policy Research Vice President David Ridenour. 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 David A. Ridenour at 8:10 AM

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ban Ki-moon Rejects Waxman-Markey as Insufficient

The Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade global warming bill would "reduce aggregate GDP by $7.4 trillion, kill 844,00 jobs and raise the energy bill paid by a typical family by about $1,500 annually" (based on a study by the Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis).

Is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon concerned about the impact this supposedly anti-global warming legislation* would have on working Americans?

No, he says working Americans aren't being hurt enough.

* The bill, if adopted and if it worked perfectly -- both very large assumptions -- would have negligible impact upon the climate, if any.


Hat tip: Dr. Benny Peiser.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:23 AM

Exercise Your Freedom

In his independent column for WorldNetDaily, Project 21 Chairman Mychal Massie reminds us:
Our fallen military did their part; now it is time for us to do ours. They didn't just pay the price for malevolent marplots and anarchists -- they also paid a price for us. It is time we not only realized it, but started acting like it too. It is time for us to stop wringing our hands, whining and lamenting that we don't know what to do -- and get to work taking back our country.

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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:37 AM

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Airheaded Headline of the Day

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Courtesy of a screen shot of my Google News homepage, I present yet another airheaded news media headline.

Truly, has any head of state ever gone to war and claimed it was without cause?

The real meat of the sentence the headline refers to ("I will only send you into harm's way when it is absolutely necessary, and with the strategy, the well-defined goals, the equipment and the support that you need to get the job done...") has to do with winning once the troops have been sent.

That's the pledge we will hold him to.

I guess the news media didn't think that was the important part.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 3:08 PM

The Problems of Time and Newsweek

Michael Kinsey has quite a takedown of the "new" Newsweek in the old New Republic, but he's very clear on one point: he dislikes Time more.

In my view, the only thing that would save either Time or Newsweek in the long run is really top-flight, undercovering-new-facts reporting on fast-breaking issues. People don't need news recaps any more. They have little reason to pay for access to opinion columns, or cutsey, gossipy short pieces.

The problem is the magazines face is that this kind of reporting is hard to do. Hard to research, hard to write, hard to edit. And even if the owners of either Time or Newsweek agreed with me and were willing to try the business model I suggest, it is unclear that the modern mainstream media has enough true journalists available to staff and maintain the truly high-quality newsroom that would be required.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 5:53 AM

Friday, May 22, 2009

Guess the Date

When was this written?
The ...investigation of the Speaker of the House has been an opportunity to direct public attention to several issues that conservatives have considered key. Among these: the unprecedentedly heavy-handed tactics of the majority in Congress...; the frequently-disastrous self-serving involvement of Members of Congress into foreign affairs...; the leaking of classified information for partisan gain...; the unfair targeting of conservatives only in politically-motivated "ethics" probes.
If you guessed May 22, 1989, you are correct.

It could almost be written today, couldn't it?

The paragraph comes from an in-house report I wrote on May 22, 1989 regarding National Center for Public Policy Research activities to bring public attention to the ethics problems of Speaker of the House Jim Wright of Texas. I found the report while searching some old files for something else entirely and couldn't resist posting part of it after I realized the date was twenty years ago exactly today.

WrightRally042089

I was amused by the following paragraph:
Our second activity was a "Clean the House" rally "in demand of a full and fair investigation of Speaker Wright" held at the Democratic National Committee on April 20... The Democrats were not pleased. An internal DNC memo circulated to all staff inside the headquarters in advance of the rally instructed DNC staffers to ignore the rally and forbade them from looking out the windows overlooking the rally site. Some staffers disobeyed, however, and threw a large stack of copies of photographs of Republican Members of Congress and leading conservatives (Oliver North, Jerry Falwell) from the DNC roof onto the rally.
I no longer recall, but as we all had carried brooms at the rally, I guess we swept them up.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:37 PM

The Associated Press Has Lied

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The Associated Press has lied.

This AP article claims President Obama signed H.R. 627, the Credit Card Holders' Bill of Rights Act of 2009, into law today, May 22. The legislation had formally been adopted by Congress on May 20.

The AP must have lied.

While running for president, Barack Obama promised to give "the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days before signing any non-emergency legislation."


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:10 PM

Outrage of the Day: Gay Pride in the Green Zone

In Al Kamen's May 22 Washington Post column, he reports the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad will be holding it's first-ever "Gay Pride Theme Party" at a Green Zone pub called Baghdaddy's on May 29.

Embassy staff, invited through what Kamen said was an "All Hands Alerts" e-mail, are encouraged to dress in drag and/or as their favorite gay icon. Suggestions on the poster include Cher, Elton John and the recently-deceased Bea Arthur.

It's not the event itself that is outrageous, but where it is being allowed. Baghdad.

Having a high-profile homosexual event in the capital of an Islamic country calls the diplomatic tact of the Obama Administration - already marred by inappropriate gifts to heads of state and embarrassing mistakes in translation - into question yet again.

This is suprising on one hand because Islamic law and homosexuality are at odds with one another. It's surprising on the other hand because the other things that offend Muslims are the subject of harsh restrictions and punishments. For example:
* For soldiers fighting the war on terrorism, General Order No. 1 from Central Command prohibits "proselytizing of any faith, religion or practice." When Al Jazeera ran footage from a documentary showing some soldiers in Afghanistan wanting to give out copies of the New Testament printed in the Dari and Pashto languages, officials said the Bibles shown in the footage were collected by military chaplins and later destroyed - allegedly burned - to prevent their distribution.

* People wishing to send things to American servicemembers stationed in the Islamic world are warned that "Host countries mostly prohibit the entry of alcoholic beverages of any kind, narcotics, munitions, pork and pork by-products, pornography and material contrary to the Islamic religion."

* A Marine was pulled from duty in 2008 when he was found to be handing out Christian-themed coins to civilians in Iraq.

* Women reporters in the Middle East have always faced restrictions because of their gender (remember when Ashleigh Banfield cut her hair and dyed it brunette to report from Afghanistan?). The Obama Administration is no different in handling this issue. For his recent tour of Europe and the Middle East, women reporters covering Obama were told to not wear nail polish, to wear closed-toe shoes and not bare their shoulders, among other things.
But a gay pride party is OK? Expect this to provide yet another lesson for the Obama team about putting the prerogatives of their special-interest supporters above traditional business practices.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

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 David W. Almasi at 4:35 PM

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Do As I Say...

...not as I do.

(With apologies to National Center for Public Policy Research board member Peter Schweizer for stealing the title of his book.)

Hat tip: Climate Depot.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 5:38 PM

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I Don't Watch Chris Matthews, But...

...based on this Jeff Poor post over at Newsbusters, I'm guessing that he's never studied the global warming issue well though to engage a guest in a serious conversation about it.

There's a great deal that's interesting to discuss about global warming, even (perhaps, especially) among two people who disagree about it. Asking a guest if they are a "Luddite, a troglodyte" because of the are skeptical that humankind is causing severe global warming isn't one of them.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:55 PM

No Way It's Torture, Says Mychal Massie

No way it's torture, says Project 21 Chairman Mychal Massie in his latest independent column for WorldNetDaily.

Some excerpts (I particularly like the line about Senator John Kerry):
It is a misnomer to call the techniques employed in the extraction of information from terrorists "enhanced" anything. They should simply be called "basic interrogation techniques."

The word enhanced, by definition, means to augment with improved, advanced or sophisticated features. Therein lies my complaint in part. Forced nakedness, sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, prolonged isolation, sensory bombardment (e.g., prolonged loud music and/or bright lights), scriptural desecration, simulated drowning, i.e., waterboarding, and stressful positions are not enhanced or extreme, nor are they torture.

Torture would be a battery with cables connected to one's more personal or sensitive areas. Torture would be being placed in a stressful position that caused bones to break or legs and arms to pop out of their sockets. Torture is pliers to fingers, hammers to toes, and the removal of teeth by blunt force trauma. Rough interrogation is being beaten until the person is bloodied and permanently disfigured beyond recognition.

Keeping someone awake is not torture, nor is it sophisticated. Keeping bright lights on in a room with the temperature turned up is not torture. It is being made uncomfortable...

...Neither time nor space allows me to explain fully the difference, but the plaintive cries and pleadings that the Geneva Conventions were somehow violated are scurrilous. Captured terrorists are being treated with more respect than they deserve – certainly more than Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and John Murtha, D-Pa., have shown our military personnel. In my mind, John Kerry, D-Mass., has treated our military more inhumanely with his specious accusations than the pouring of water on someone to help them remember information could ever be.

This isn't about whether Nancy Pelosi lied about being briefed. It's a reasonable belief that she did. It isn't about mistreatment of captured terrorists. It is about saving the lives of American military personnel and American citizens. It is about the disruption of terrorist activity and the incapacitation of terrorists...

...Political correctness and politically correct verbiage has sullied and redefined everything it has been applied to – and EIT is a further example. With that said, when does America's treatment of the captured get the recognition it deserves as the most humane in the history of warfare?...
Read it all here.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:52 PM

Outrage of the Day: Congressmen and Businesses Supporting Economic Suicide Pact

In a press release today, the National Center for Public Policy Research makes the point that the Waxman-Markey "American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009" (HR 2454) is akin to an economic suicide pact:
Cap and Trade Bill Economic Suicide for Taxpayers and Businesses, says National Center for Public Policy Research

Contact: Judy Kent at (703) 759-7476 or [email protected]


Get ready to be taxed even more, America!

Memorial Day is the target date set by Democrats Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Ed Markey (D-MA) for passage of a cap-and-trade bill that promises economic hardship for all. The Waxman-Markey "American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009" (HR 2454) would raise taxes on American families by nearly $3,100 a year, lead to huge job losses, and dramatically raise the energy expenditures of American households.

Under a cap-and-trade policy, companies would be forced to raise energy prices. This would unleash a series of adverse economic consequences and hardships for Americans, as numerous studies dictate.
* The Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis determined that Waxman-Markey would reduce aggregate GDP by $7.4 trillion, kill 844,00 jobs and raise the energy bill paid by a typical family by about $1,500 annually.

* A study by the National Association of Manufacturers projected that emissions caps, similar to those previously rejected by the U.S. Senate calling for a 63% cut in emissions by 2050, would reduce GDP by up to $269 billion and cost 850,000 jobs.

* A study conducted by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology determined the restrictions could raise gasoline prices by 29%, electricity prices by 55% and natural gas prices by 15% by 2015.

* A 2007 report by the Congressional Budget Office examining the costs of cutting carbon emissions just 15% noted that customers "would face persistently higher prices for products such as electricity and gasoline. Those price increases would be regressive in that poorer households would bear a larger burden relative to their income than wealthier households would."
Given these dire consequences, some may be surprised that some of the nation's largest corporations are lobbying for this bill. Companies participating in the United States Climate Action Partnership, a lobbying group of over thirty corporations and environmental activist organizations, are trying to profit from a government-mandated "cap and trade" anti-global warming policy by selling so-called carbon credits from reductions in greenhouse gases.

During last week's ConocoPhillips shareholders meeting, Tom Borelli, Ph.D, director of the Free Enterprise Project at the National Center for Public Policy Research confronted ConocoPhillips Chairman James Mulva about ConocoPhillips' involvement in the USCAP. Mulva responded by saying he wanted to be at the table when energy policy decisions were being made. [An audio recording of the exchange is available online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uZVcyBfi2M ].

"ConocoPhillips CEO James Mulva has also not done his homework," said Borelli. ConocoPhillips has made a significant investment in Canadian oil sands, which release about three times the amount of carbon dioxide as traditional oil. Since cap-and-trade will increase the cost of carbon emissions, Mulva is lobbying to increase the cost of his investment. In addition, his USCAP partner the Natural Resources Defense Council is taking legal action to block the processing of the oil sands at a ConocoPhillips refinery."

"Pursuing legislation that will raise energy prices in the middle of a recession is economic suicide. It exposes the inability of these CEOs to connect the dots between economic growth and their future earnings," Borelli warns. He told Mulva that ConocoPhillips has done a poor job of promoting the "social good" the Company has done in terms of jobs, tax revenues and energy production.

Instead, "USCAP's support of President Obama's energy policy for what they deem as the 'social good,' illustrates the perils of corporatism - and is eerily similar of the warning in Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, which described the unraveling of capitalism," says Deneen Borelli, a full-time Fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research-sponsored African-American leadership network Project 21.

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a free-market communications and research foundation established in 1982 and located on Capitol Hill. It receives support from over 80,000 individual contributors. Under 2 percent of its revenue is received from corporations.



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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:00 AM

And We're Supposed to Believe Their Positions are Based on Principle?

Ross Kaminsky, writing for the National Taxpayers Union Government Bytes blog, laughingly notes which eight corporate members of the pro-cap-and-trade U.S. Climate Action Partnership once were members of the anti-global warming-regulation Global Climate Coalition.

The Government Bytes post is an excellent resource in other ways as well.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:42 AM

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Extremely Cold Conditions Are Due to Global Warming

The I Hate the Media blog covers the amusing story of the "ecological explorers" who had to give up their expedition to the North Pole intended to draw attention to global warming, due to unexpectedly cold temperatures.

Richard Henry Lee at American Thinker has a good story on this, too.

I hope activists stop these ill-fated treks. It's amusing to laugh about them after everyone is safe and warm, but these trips are not safe.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:11 PM

Outrage of the Day: 9th Circuit Harms U.S. Security

Writing in the Washington Examiner, National Center for Public Policy Research board member Horace Cooper has harsh words for a recent 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision on "extraordinary rendition."

Horace writes:
A recent ruling by a three judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals allowing the ACLU's lawsuit against "extraordinary rendition" to go forward was reckless and lawless. Tragically, the price for aiding the ACLU may well be the loss of American lives.

This case (Mohamed, et al., v. Jeppesen Dataplan, et al) started in 2007 when the ACLU and five non-citizens filed suit claiming that the five men were unlawfully captured and tortured as part of a "clandestine" CIA program for interrogating suspected terrorists.

...This case demonstrates the limits of courts when it comes to assessing policy matters, particularly those associated with national security. Judges have no particular skills in evaluating either the benefits or the consequences of their rulings on national security and as lifetime appointees they are well insulated from the consequences of their rulings.

...When this case came before U.S. District Judge James Ware, he dismissed this case once its implications for national security became clear. The Justice Department had invoked the "state secrets" doctrine and former CIA Director Michael V. Hayden's warned that if this case were to go forward it could cause "exceptionally grave" danger to U.S. national security.

It is well settled that when the "subject matter of a lawsuit is a matter of state secret," the suit must be dismissed without regard to the question of evidence. And as the Supreme Court has recognized for over a 100 years, any lawsuit predicated on "alleged espionage agreements" also require a per se or automatic dismissal. This case involved both elements. But in overturning Judge Ware, the Ninth Circuit decision flies head long against these precedents.

...This decision was particularly distressing as it disregarded the assertion of the "State Secrets" privilege by both the Bush and Obama Justice Departments.

Furthermore, this decision is sharply at odds with the national-security reality that Americans face: We are in a worldwide war with terrorists who seek to destroy our country and our way of life. They have attacked us at sea and on land, at home and abroad. And recent disclosures by the Obama Administration about a thwarted attack on Los Angeles a few years ago reveal that our enemies haven’t stopped their efforts to harm us.

Make no mistake the precedent of allowing these alleged victims of the United States government's "extraordinary rendition" program to misuse the Federal Court system even though the CIA is not a party to the lawsuit is lawless as well as dangerous.

Publicly exposing vital secrets will aid terrorists and others who threaten our nation’s security. Unfortunately, this ruling, by denying the seriousness of the threat, will only make the effort to save American lives more difficult.
Read it all here.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:55 PM

Ridiculous

Peter Roff's May 18 U.S. News & World Report blog post about President Obama's speech at Notre Dame quotes the President saying the following about global warming:
Your generation must decide how to save God's creation from a changing climate that threatens to destroy it [emphasis added].
Ridiculous lines such as this should never emerge from a professional speechwriting shop, let alone a presidential one.

If the global warming alarmists ever wonder why polls show declining public concern about global warming, they would do well to consider their use of unbelievable, over-the-top rhetoric as one of the culprits.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:23 PM

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Locker Room Talk

The John Locke Foundation's Locker Room blog has video of some rare on-camera locker room talk by a Member of Congress talking about Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), energy, and the proposed cap-and-trade bill.

Worth a look if you are handicapping Congressional prospects for cap-and-trade.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:31 PM

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Folly of Cap and Trade

Tom Borelli of our Free Enterprise Project is warning against the folly of adopting cap and trade in a column in the recent issue of Power magazine:
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 by tax dollars, have partnered with radical environmentalists in a scheme their CEOs believe will allow them to profit on fears about global warming...
Read it all here.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:09 AM

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Boneless Goose

The "central activity" of the Obama Administration "is corruption," says George Will today.

The column begins:
Anyone, said T.S. Eliot, could carve a goose, were it not for the bones. And anyone could govern as boldly as his whims decreed, were it not for the skeletal structure that keeps civil society civil -- the rule of law. The Obama administration is bold. It also is careless regarding constitutional values and is acquiring a tincture of lawlessness...
Read it all here.

Hat tip: Drudge Report.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:33 AM

Quote of Note

"For liberal elites, belief in gun control and global warming has taken on the character of religious faith. We have sinned (by hoarding guns or driving sport utility vehicles), we must atone (by turning in our guns or recycling), we must repent (by supporting gun control or cap-and-trade schemes). You may notice that the 'we' in question is usually the great mass of ordinary American citizens."

-Michael Barone, "On Guns and Climate, the Elites are Out of Touch," Washington Examiner, May 10, 2009


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:17 AM

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I Say Yes

If a former Playboy centerfold decides that she cannot, "in good conscious" [sic] associate with you, is it a compliment?


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:57 PM

Open Letter to Senator Barbara Boxer

Dear Senator Boxer:

I read with interest your letter urging people to send an e-mail to President Obama urging him to select a woman for the U.S. Supreme Court.

I don't often agree with you, but I think you are half right this time. The President should definitely pick either a woman or a man.

But I'm concerned that your position overlooks the fight against another terrible form of discrimination.

You wrote:
Women make up 51% of our nation's population.

Yet only 17% of the seats in Congress are held by women. Only 3% of corporate CEOs are women. And just one out of nine Supreme Court justices is a woman.
Women have been discriminated against, and continue to be discriminated against, so the President should choose a woman for the Supreme Court. That's your position in a nutshell, right?

Have you considered that you may not be going far enough?

Let's face it, Senator. It isn't just women who are discriminated against. It's older women.

Older women are definitely discriminated against more than younger, more beautiful women.

If the President is going to use his Supreme Court pick to take a stand against discrimination, the President shouldn't just pick a woman for the Supreme Court. He should pick one of the women who are discriminated against the most.

That is, an older woman.

And the older the woman he chooses, the stronger a statement he'll make.

So please join me in urging the President to nominate someone really old to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The older the better.

Like 98 or so.

The noble fight against sexism and ageism requires no less.

With all due respect,

Amy Ridenour


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:38 PM

Outrage of the Day: The Max Baucus Proposal to Tax Our Health Insurance Benefits

The left says its move to expand the federal government's role in health care is spurred by a desire to make sure all Americans have health insurance coverage.

But Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, is now suggesting that Americans should pay income taxes on the health insurance they receive from employers, with proceeds from the tax earmarked to pay for an expansion of government-run health care.

If you tax something, you get less of it.

So if your goal is to see to it that the amount of health insurance coverage Americans have is increased, the last thing you should do is impose taxes on health insurance benefits.

As Max Baucus is hardly an insignificant player in the left's effort to impose government-run health care, his proposal raises the question: When it comes to health insurance, is the left's real goal to expand the government's role while reducing the private one?


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:00 AM

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Misbehaving for Money: Something Wanda Sykes, Perez Hilton and Donald Trump Have in Common

When comedian Wanda Sykes, heretofore largely anonymous, got the gig to be the professional funny person at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, she could have been funny (she knows how). Everyone would have laughed (it was an easy crowd), she would have received compliments afterward (and presumably some more bookings), and that would have been that.

Alternatively, she could do something outrageous, be all over the news for a few days, and get even more bookings and interviews and make a lot more money.

When professional gossip Perez Hilton had the chance to be a judge at the Miss USA pageant, he could have asked the sort of question pageant judges ask, or limited himself to questions appropriate to a show with untold numbers of children in the audience, or even restrained himself from behaving intolerantly and abominably (and to the detriment of the political cause he claims to champion) after receiving the answer he solicited and presumably expected. Because he did not, he received extensive national publicity, which, I expect, has benefited him financially and professionally.

When Donald Trump saw that personnel employed by the beauty pageant he owns were behaving grotesquely, he could have issued a few orders and knocked 90 percent of this story off the front pages. Because he made a different choice, the news media is abuzz with the fact that he will hold a press conference in the morning, and he'll no doubt be all over the news tomorrow. Ratings for his pageant will be up next year, not because greater numbers will tune in to admire the young ladies for their grace and beauty, but for the same reason people slow down on the highway to look at a car wreck. But Donald Trump will receive more publicity, and he will earn more money.

The behavior of Wanda Sykes, Perez Hilton, Donald Trump and others who intentionally behave less than graciously for money and profit is not admirable. If we wish to see less of it, we should turn our eyes away.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:20 AM

Monday, May 11, 2009

Outrage of the Day: Lobbying the President to Ignore His Oath of Office

Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness reports that anti-Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell activists are pressuring President Barack Obama to issue an order telling the Defense Department to stop enforcing that law.

The oath of office President Obama, and all U.S. Presidents, took, says: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

The faithful execution of the executive office requires a President to treat our laws with respect. (If he who is in charge of enforcing the laws does not respect them, why should the rest of us?) If the President doe not agree with a law, his proper course it to urge the legislature to repeal or alter it.

Alternatively, he could resign his position as executive and present himself to the people as a candidate for the legislature.

As President Obama, when a Senator, did not push for legislation to repeal Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell, it may be that he is not reluctant to enforce it, and the activists who lobby him are wasting their time. This should be irrelevant, however. The President's job is enforcing the law; the legislature's job is creating them.

The activists, if they must lobby at all, should be lobbying the Congress to change the law, not the President to ignore it.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 10:51 PM

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Tom Borelli to Appear on Fox Business Network 8 AM Monday


Tom Borelli, co-director (with Steve Milloy) of the National Center for Public Policy Research's Free Enterprise Project, will appear on the Fox Business Network at 8 AM Monday, May 11.

The topics will include executive compensation and shareholder activism.

Video above is taken from a prior appearance by Tom on the Fox Business Network, discussing shareholder activism and proposed legislation to deal with alleged global warming.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:49 PM

Friday, May 08, 2009

Watch Deneen Borelli Live Online on Fox's "Strategy Room" Monday, May 11

Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli is scheduled to appear on the Fox News Channel's online "Strategy Room" program on Monday, May 11 between 9:00 AM and 10:00 AM eastern.

Deneen expects to raise the issue of the seemingly high wall of separation between church and state erected by the Obama White House. This discussion would include the covering of religious symbols during Obama's recent speech at Georgetown University and his lack of active participation in the National Day of Prayer. It will also likely include discussion of his upcoming planned commencement address at Notre Dame that has outraged many Catholics and social conservatives.

In comments on the issue that have been submitted to the "Fox Forum," Deneen wrote:
Judging by his actions, it seems President Obama's true spiritual devotion lies more with to politics than religion. Religious institutions apparently only present a prominent forum for him to enhance his reputation.

...Given Obama's track record, it's not surprising that his possibly most direct religious statement as president thus far has been his declaration that "we are not a nation of Christians."
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].

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Posted by David W. Almasi at 6:56 PM

GE Apparently Concludes ObamaCare Would Spend Less on Diagnostic Health Care Equipment Than Private Insurers Do

In "Is GE Dancing to the White House Piper?," Washington Examiner writer Timothy Carney says GE is altering its business strategy to take into account President Obama's government-run health care plan:
President Obama is calling for a greater government role in health care. He has proposed allowing all Americans onto a government-run plan that would compete with private insurers, and he has also proposed government cost-containment measures. This could be worrisome to GE, which makes expensive diagnostic equipment.
Ironically, while Obama's plans to regulate Americans' energy use could benefit GE financially, the President's desire to push Americans into government-run health care could hurt the company. GE apparently has concluded that government-run health care programs will spend less on the diagnostic equipment GE makes than do private insurers.

Evidently, it isn't just right-wing extremists such as ourselves who believe private insurers shell out more for patients' welfare than government-run systems do.

P.S. It's on a different subject, but consider signing our petition to GE.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:44 PM

Outrage of the Day: Erasing England's Religion and Culture

Between 1291 and 1294, twelve "Eleanor Crosses" were erected by the government of England to mark the spot where the funeral cortege of the queen of England, ueen Eleanor of Castile, stopped for each night of its 12-day trip from Lincoln, where she died, to Westminster Abbey, where she was buried.

In 1856, Queen Victoria created the Victoria Cross as Britain's highest recognition for valor in the face of the enemy.

In 1940, King George VI established the George Cross as an award, primarily for civilians, for 'acts of the greatest heroism or of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger."

In 1969, Queen Elizabeth II created the Trinity Cross to recognize distinguished service in one of Britain's former colonies.

But now, in Britain, the London Times reports that five British law lords have determined that the creation of the Trinity Cross honor, because of its Christian reference, breaches "the right to equality and the right to freedom of conscience and belief."

The British government now is looking into whether this judgement will apply to other British decorations and honors, potentially overthrowing at least 718 years of English religion, tradition and culture.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:39 AM

Useless Knowledge

Evidently, on or about 10:22 AM GMT on June 10, 2009, the language of English will acquire its one millionth word.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:41 AM

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Money Manager Castigates President, and Good for Him

By way of the Zero Hedge blog, by way of New York magazine, The Lid blog reprints a nice tough letter from money management executive Clifford S. Asness about President Obama's recent attack on hedge fund managers.

An excerpt of the letter (the full version of which you can find on all three websites above):
The President has just harshly castigated hedge fund managers for being unwilling to take his administration's bid for their Chrysler bonds. He called them "speculators" who were "refusing to sacrifice like everyone else" and who wanted "to hold out for the prospect of an unjustified taxpayer-funded bailout."

...Here's a shock. When hedge funds, pension funds, mutual funds, and individuals, including very sweet grandmothers, lend their money they expect to get it back. However, they know, or should know, they take the risk of not being paid back. But if such a bad event happens it usually does not result in a complete loss. A firm in bankruptcy still has assets. It's not always a pretty process. Bankruptcy court is about figuring out how to most fairly divvy up the remaining assets based on who is owed what and whose contracts come first. The process already has built-in partial protections for employees and pensions, and can set lenders' contracts aside in order to help the company survive, all of which are the rules of the game lenders know before they lend. But, without this recovery process nobody would lend to risky borrowers. Essentially, lenders accept less than shareholders (means bonds return less than stocks) in good times only because they get more than shareholders in bad times.

The above is how it works in America, or how it's supposed to work. The President and his team sought to avoid having Chrysler go through this process, proposing their own plan for re-organizing the company and partially paying off Chrysler's creditors. Some bond holders thought this plan unfair. Specifically, they thought it unfairly favored the United Auto Workers, and unfairly paid bondholders less than they would get in bankruptcy court. So, they said no to the plan and decided, as is their right, to take their chances in the bankruptcy process. But, as his quotes above show, the President thought they were being unpatriotic or worse.

Let's be clear, it is the job and obligation of all investment managers, including hedge fund managers, to get their clients the most return they can. They are allowed to be charitable with their own money, and many are spectacularly so, but if they give away their clients' money to share in the "sacrifice", they are stealing. Clients of hedge funds include, among others, pension funds of all kinds of workers, unionized and not. The managers have a fiduciary obligation to look after their clients' money as best they can, not to support the President, nor to oppose him, nor otherwise advance their personal political views. That's how the system works. If you hired an investment professional and he could preserve more of your money in a financial disaster, but instead he decided to spend it on the UAW so you could "share in the sacrifice", you would not be happy...

...Let's also mention only in passing the irony of this same President begging hedge funds to borrow more to purchase other troubled securities. That he expects them to do so when he has already shown what happens if they ask for their money to be repaid fairly would be amusing if not so dangerous. That hedge funds might not participate in these programs because of fear of getting sucked into some toxic demagoguery that ends in arbitrary punishment for trying to work with the Treasury is distressing...
By the way, New York magazine reports that Mr. Asness supported Mr. Obama during the last election.

Hat tip: Mychal Massie.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 5:15 PM

George McGovern and George Meany Are Right

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, former Senator George McGovern comes out against the mandatory arbitration provisions in the card check bill.

He says, "George Meany, president of the AFL-CIO for nearly 30 years before retiring in 1979, had it right in condemning mandatory arbitration as 'an abrogation of freedom.'"

You know the liberals in power are way, way out there when George McGovern quotes George Meany to criticize them.

Hat tip: Patrick Ruffini on Twitter.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:37 AM

Harry Reid's Dumb Move

I was amazed to see that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid apparently has reneged on his pledge to Arlen Specter that Specter could keep his seniority if he switched from Republican to Democrat, which Specter has, of course, since done.

Writing for U.S. News & World Report, my old friend Peter Roff says the Democrats are making the wrong political calculation.

I think he's right. In a big way.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 8:15 AM

Liberalism Has Consequences

Liberal Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) has a problem with the House of Representatives' cafeteria.

The prices are going up too fast, she says.

Turns out that's because, when the liberals took over, they mandated "all-natural foods" and "a union staff."

Reality bites.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 2:05 AM

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Unbelievable

Left-of-center parties really do gravitate toward totalitarianism.

This post was written by National Center for Public Policy Research Vice President David Ridenour. To send comments, 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 David A. Ridenour at 8:07 AM

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Top Myths About Global Warming

Andrew Bolt's 10 Top Myths About Global Warming is an enjoyable read if you are sick of people trying to scare you.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 6:48 AM

Monday, May 04, 2009

Supporting Cap-and-Trade "Almost Demented"

"Charlie Munger, the second in command behind Warren Buffet at Berkshire Hathaway, says in an interview on CNBC that it's 'almost demented' to pass cap-and-trade given the state of our economy."

So reports Tom Borelli, director of the National Center for Public Policy Research's Free Enterprise Project, on our sister blog, the Free Enterpriser.

For more, including a link to the video, read Tom's "Berkshire's Munger: Cap & Trade Won't Work," here.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:36 PM

Watch Deneen Borelli Live Online on Fox's "Strategy Room" Tuesday

DBStrategyRoom021309.jpgBy David Almasi:
Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli is scheduled to speak about current events and breaking news as part of the group discussion on the Fox News Channel's online "Strategy Room" program on Tuesday, May 5 between 9:00 and 10:00 AM 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.

To learn more about Fox's "Strategy Room" Internet talk show, click here to see an article about the program that appeared in the 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 9:27 PM

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Some People Never Learn

You'd think, having played a not inconsiderable role in the attempted (and still expected) homicide of one or more U.S. domestic automakers, the U.S. labor movement would be reflective and at least a little bit chastened.

But no.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 9:17 PM

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Hurray...

...for Charles Krauthammer.

Again.

Read his latest here.


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 12:38 PM

Chrysler: Orwell's Animal Farm

Animal FarmImage via Wikipedia

Doesn't Barack Obama write any of his own material?

His statement on Chrysler Thursday could have been taken from the pages of George Orwell's Animal Farm.

Barack Obama apparently believes all animals are created equal, but some are more equal than others.

Obama blamed Chrysler's chapter 11 bankruptcy on some of the company's creditors who he says are unwilling to make the same sacrifices as everyone else.

"Some demanded twice the return that other lenders were getting," Obama said in his statement.

Since the return on investment for all Chrysler's creditors is negative, perhaps he should have taken them up on their very generous offer to get twice as much of it. Note to Obama: If you don't understand the basic concept of return, perhaps you shouldn't be in charge of "investing" our tax dollars.

Obama -- who bears a striking resemblance to Animal Farm's Napoleon -- wasn't asking Chrysler's financial sector creditors to make sacrifices like everyone else. He was demanding that they assume a disproportionate share of the sacrifice.

Obama's plan called for these creditors to forgive 67% of the debt owed them (or about $4.6 billion) in exchange for a 10% stake in Chrysler. The United Auto Workers, on the other hand, would forgive about 48% of the money owed to their retirees health care trust (or $4.2 billion) in exchange for a 55% stake in the company.

Even among the financial institutions owed money, not all animals are equal on Obama's farm.

JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, which together hold about 70% of Chrysler's debt to such institutions, all backed Obama's plan. All four firms -- perhaps not surprisingly -- have received significant federal Troubled Asset Relief Program funds. The 20 lenders balking at the deal have not received TARP funds.

The parallels with Animal Farm don't end there.

In Animal Farm, Napoleon takes control over the farm after farmer Jones so completely mismanages the farm that it experiences severe financial difficulties and proves incapable of caring for the farm's animals adequately.

Once in power, Napoleon didn't tolerate opposition. When a rival advanced an alternative plan for the farm, Napoleon had him driven out spreading false rumors that his rival was secretly trying to sabotage the farm.

I think that pretty much sums up Obama's press conference yesterday.

This post was written by National Center for Public Policy Research Vice President David Ridenour. 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 David A. Ridenour at 8:29 AM

Friday, May 01, 2009

So President Obama is to Have a Supreme Court Pick

Here's hoping he feels the need to pick a black Latino Native American gay transgendered Wiccan, and the only one he can find is 96 years old.

(And healthy enough to live to be 100.)


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:21 AM

Outrage of the Day: Businesses Seeking Handouts

Writing on the Free Enterpriser, Tom Borelli describes another way GE and some business partners are hoping to score $4.5 billion in taxpayers' dollars.

Are taxpayers safe from anyone?


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Posted by Amy Ridenour at 1:13 AM

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