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Archive for March, 2013

The Unserious Senate Budget

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 20th, 2013 11:08 pm by HL

The Unserious Senate Budget
Rep. Tom Price, RealClearPolitics
For years now, House Republicans have proposed responsible budgets, only to debate our actual written plan against speeches and abstract platitudes from the Democrat Party. That is why we appreciate the fact that Senate Democrats have finally presented a budget after four years of sitting on the sidelines "“ four straight years of not submitting a budget. Sadly, what they appear to have done is to dust off their tired old tax, borrow and spend agenda that has produced today's stagnant economy and millions of Americans still without work.First and foremost, the Senate…

Rand Paul Joins the Conversation on Immigration
Beth Reinhard, NJ
Behold the junior senator and tea-party hero from Kentucky, best known for citing the U.S. Constitution, Spanish writer Miguel de Unamuno, Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, and Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez.On Tuesday, Sen. Rand Paul threw his support behind legalizing the millions of undocumented immigrants in the U.S., signaling his determination to expand his following beyond the tea party movement as he positions himself for a 2016 presidential campaign. Just two years ago, Paul was pushing to end birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants. 

America’s War Legacy: Unemployment
Greg Jaffe, Washington Post
In TULSA — This is what the end of a decade of war looked like in Oklahoma a few weeks ago: ex-soldiers in cheap new business suits; human resources managers with salesman smiles and stacks of glossy fliers; a former Marine speaking to a television news crew about the “tough times” and “nightmares” he has had since coming home. Capt. Mike Bolton moved through the hundreds gathered at the convention center with a black binder of 41 résumés. It was yet another veterans’ job fair. How many had he been to…

Rush Is Right on Gay Marriage
Marc Ambinder, The Week
I don't believe the hype.  Yes, gay marriage is increasingly popular. To my own eyes, it's astoundingly popular, and I'm very happy that it's popular. Nearly 60 percent of Americans now support it. The Supreme Court will hear arguments on March 26-27 on a series of cases that will probably make it a lot easier for gay people to actually get married everywhere.  Nearly 8 in 10 Americans under 30 support gay marriage. Nearly every Republican I talk to supports it, too, which makes it hard for me to conceive of a world where the GOPers who…


The Education Blob That Ate Children

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 19th, 2013 11:08 pm by HL

The Education Blob That Ate Children
John Stossel, FOX Business
Shortly after I did my first TV special on education, “Stupid in America,” hundreds of union teachers showed up outside my office to yell at me. They were angry because I said union rules were a big reason American kids don't learn.The union is a big reason kids don't like school and learn less. Union contracts limit flexibility, limit promotion of good teachers, waste money and make it hard for principals to fire even terrible teachers.But I was wrong to imply that the union is the biggest problem. In states with weak unions, K-12 schools stagnate, too.Education reformers…

Power Shift: Energy Boom Dawning in America
Patti Domm, CNBC
Randy Foutch calls it a renaissance, but when you listen to the veteran Texas oilman and others describe America's nascent energy boom, it sounds more like a miracle. Politicians have been warning for decades that the U.S. must wean itself from foreign energy, but just a few years ago their words seemed like so much wishful thinking: The U.S. was facing what seemed like ever-rising oil prices and was importing about 60 percent of its supply. Natural gas inventories were shrinking, and the country was considering importing a liquified form from the Middle East.

Obama’s Plans for the Suburbs–& How to Stop Them
Stanley Kurtz, NRO
Last Friday’s headlines focused on President Obama’s address at Argonne National Laboratory, where he proposed to spend $2 billion on an energy-security trust fund for renewable fuel research. Obama boldly pledged “to shift our cars entirely . . . off oil.”How exactly is he planning to do that? Research will have an effect over time, but “entirely off oil” is either a greatly exaggerated or a very incomplete account of the administration’s energy plans. 


How Beer Gave Us Civilization

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 17th, 2013 11:08 pm by HL

How Beer Gave Us Civilization
Jeffrey Kahn, New York Times Magazine
HUMAN beings are social animals. But just as important, we are socially constrained as well.We can probably thank the latter trait for keeping our fledgling species alive at the dawn of man. Five core social instincts, I have argued, gave structure and strength to our primeval herds. They kept us safely codependent with our fellow clan members, assigned us a rank in the pecking order, made sure we all did our chores, discouraged us from offending others, and removed us from this social coil when we became a drag on shared resources.Thus could our ancient forebears cooperate, prosper, multiply…

At CPAC, a Truce on Culture Wars
Elahe Izadi, National Journal
At the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference, then-Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels famously discussed his support of a “social truce,” for putting issues like abortion and gay marriage on the back burner in favor of focusing on the economy and fiscal issues.That didn't go over so well with conservatives back then. But two years later at CPAC, the former governor's controversial advice has been largely adopted, even if disagreements on hot-button social issues are simmering just below the surface.

My Unrecognizable Democratic Party
Ted Van Dyk, Wall Street Journal
As a lifelong Democrat, I have a mental picture these days of my president, smiling broadly, at the wheel of a speeding convertible. His passengers are Democratic elected officials and candidates. Ahead of them, concealed by a bend in the road, is a concrete barrier. They didn't have to take that route. Other Democratic presidents have won bipartisan support for proposals as liberal in their time as some of Mr. Obama's are now. Why does this administration seem so determined to head toward a potential crash and burn?Enlarge ImageEven after the embarrassing playout of the…

Living Under a Royal Presidency
Jack Kelly, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
For the first time in more than half a century, “the average American is both earning less and worth less than four years earlier,” The New York Times reported last June. Total household net worth is nearly 7 percent below what it had been in 2007, the Federal Reserve estimated then. Per capita income in 2008 was $40,947. It rose to $41,560 in 2011 (1.5 percent). But because inflation rose more than that, purchasing power declined.What have been hard times for most Americans have been boom times for the federal government. Since FY 2008, spending has risen 25 percent.And good times…

Instead of Madness, We’ve Got March Sadness
Dave Kindred, Wash Post


Mysterious Murder of a Gay, Black Politician

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 16th, 2013 11:08 pm by HL

Mysterious Murder of a Gay, Black Politician
Ben Terris, National Journal
“The devil is running rampantly,” pastor Jimmy Glasper thunders. “Seeking who he may devour.”Glasper is telling the New Jerusalem Baptist church that we live in devastating times. The congregants shout affirmations. They have recent proof.Marco McMillian had belonged to the church, and this was the first Sunday service after police found his body in late February. 

Keystone Pipeline Is a No-Brainer
Jonah Goldberg, Los Angeles Times
While many have long seen America as the global bad boy, everybody likes Canada. If Uncle Sam tucks his pack of Marlboros under his T-shirt sleeve and plays by his own rules, the Canadian moose "” or whatever their Uncle Sam equivalent is "” always wears his blue blazer and school tie and does his chores without being asked. Canada is a global citizen, a good neighbor, a northern Puerto Rico with an EU sensibility that earns its gold stars from the United Nations every day.This fact should have relevance below the 49th parallel. Right now, we're all…

Detroit and Our Decadent “Progressives”
Walter Russell Mead, Am Interest
Michigan made it official this week: Detroit can no longer survive without adult supervision. Michigan's governor named Kevyn Orr, a DC bankruptcy lawyer, to handle the city's affairs on an emergency basis as the deep blue city makes a last ditch effort to avoid the biggest municipal bankruptcy in American history. 

New Shepherd, Same Wandering Flock
Mary Eberstadt, Time
On the surface, as the global thumbs-up from excited Christians goes to show, the surprise election of former Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, a.k.a. Pope Francis, signals some bold new directions for the Catholic Church. Geographically, the choice moves the center of gravity away from Europe and into the New World. As a matter of public relations, it re-directs attention away from the Ameri-centric and Euro-centric sex scandals (mercifully, many would say).


Francis: Pope of the Americas

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 15th, 2013 11:08 pm by HL

Francis: Pope of the Americas
Howard Chua-Eoan, Time
Habemus Papam Franciscum came the tweet, the first official word from the @Pontifex account, after the white smoke curled from the copper chimney watched by hundreds of thousands in St. Peter's Square, by millions and millions on every imaginable 21st century technology around the world. And there it was, old and new, past and present, the arrival of a Pope who for the first time hails from "the most unequal part of the world," as he once called Latin America, who cooked his own dinners and rode the bus and took his regnal name from the sainted champion of the least…

Wolf Whisperer in the Vatican
Timothy Egan, New York Times
The world is full of Roman Catholics who long ago stopped following the dogma, doctrine and medieval sexual dictates of the church. But they never lost faith in Francesco, the merchant’s son who spoke to wolves, slept on dirt floors and dined with lepers.That the new pope would take the name of Francis, in honor of the saint from the Umbrian town of Assisi, is the most radical first move by a pontiff in some time. The 12th century mystic is the nature saint, patron of the environment, the poor, the dispossessed. He did not believe in owning money or property, let alone shoes. And…

President Obama Accelerates His Irrelevancy
Chris Stirewalt, FOX News
“I actually just want to govern — at least for a couple of years.”– President Obama speaking to donors to his permanent campaign organization at Washington's St. Regis Hotel.How much will it cost for President Obama to fly to his hometown of Chicago on Friday to give a speech at a research lab about the need for increased federal spending on projects to fight climate change?Certainly more than the estimated $74,000 in estimated savings from closing the White House to public tours. Ten times more? Perhaps, given the tremendous cost of presidential travel. 

Senate Dems’ Long-Awaited Budget Fizzles
Philip Klein, DC Examiner
Is this what we waited four years for?There was a lot of buildup to the first budget released by Senate Democrats since 2009, but the actual document didn’t even meet low expectations.After blasting House Republicans for being overly intransigent and unwilling to compromise, Senate Democrats unveiled a budget that not only raises taxes by nearly $1 trillion by closing unspecified loopholes, but it actually increases spending on a net basis.


A New Pope on a Pilgrim’s Path

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 14th, 2013 11:08 pm by HL

A New Pope on a Pilgrim’s Path
Daniel Johnson, Wall Street Journal
The election of Pope Francis may prove to be not only a turning point for the Catholic Church, but for all humanity. For the first time in a millennium, the most venerable institution on earth will be led by a man from outside Europe, the Argentine son of an Italian.Jorge Mario Bergoglio told the multitudes after the announcement of his elevation on Wednesday that he would lead them on “the path of love”—a reference, surely, to Francis of Assisi, the great 13th-century saint from whom he has borrowed his pontifical name. The daring novelty and profound symbolism of the new…

Should the Right Replace the “C-Word”?
Roger Simon, PJ Media
When, over a decade ago now, I first veered away from the liberal-progressive orthodoxy, I lived in dread (okay, that's too strong a word "” maybe trepidation) that I would be branded a "conservative."Who wanted to be that?

Obama Pushes Dems for Budget Concessions
Mike Lillis, The Hill
President Obama asked House Democrats on Thursday to give him the political room to make concessions to Republicans on entitlements as part of a deficit-reduction deal.


Pope Francis: A New Center of Gravity

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 13th, 2013 11:08 pm by HL

Pope Francis: A New Center of Gravity
E.J. Dionne, Washington Post
WASHINGTON — In winning election as Pope Francis, Jorge Mario Bergoglio defied the papal pundits, even though they should have seen him coming. His rise marks the decisive shift within Roman Catholicism toward Latin America and the developing world. In theological terms, he represents continuity, yet he is the first non-European pope in more than 1,000 years, and also the first Jesuit.He is a doctrinal conservative who battled gay marriage in Argentina and fellow Jesuits who were more liberal. But he also rebuked priests who denied baptism to children born out of wedlock and has spoken…

Silly People Try to Ban Progress
John Stossel, FOX Business
Celebrities are now upset about fracking, the injection of chemicals into the ground to crack rocks to release oil and gas. With everyone saying they want alternatives to foreign oil, I'd think celebrities would love fracking.I'd be wrong. Lady Gaga, Yoko Ono and their group, Artists Against Fracking, don't feel the love. Yoko sang, “Don't frack me!” on TV.Stopping fracking is the latest cause of the silly people. They succeeded in getting scientifically ignorant politicians to ban fracking in New York, Maryland and Vermont.Hollywood gave an Oscar to…

America’s Decline: It’s the Trade Deficit
James Hoffa, Detroit News
As a proud American, it's difficult to watch vital government programs cut mindlessly because of sequestration.And as a proud Michiganian, it's painful to anticipate Detroit's emergency financial manager because of the city's troubles.I'm afraid sequestration won't solve America's fiscal problems any more than a takeover will put an end to Detroit's difficulties. 

A New Pope on a Pilgrim’s Path
Daniel Johnson, Wall Street Journal
The election of Pope Francis may prove to be not only a turning point for the Catholic Church, but for all humanity. For the first time in a millennium, the most venerable institution on earth will be led by a man from outside Europe, the Argentine son of an Italian.Jorge Mario Bergoglio told the multitudes after the announcement of his elevation on Wednesday that he would lead them on “the path of love”—a reference, surely, to Francis of Assisi, the great 13th-century saint from whom he has borrowed his pontifical name. The daring novelty and profound symbolism of the new…

The New Pope: Bergoglio of Argentina
Rachel Donadio, New York Times
VATICAN CITY "” With a puff of white smoke from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel and to the cheers of thousands of rain-soaked faithful, a gathering of Catholic cardinals picked a new pope from among their midst on Wednesday. The name of the new pope, the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church, by tradition would not be revealed until he appeared on a balcony on the front of St. Peter's Basilica. "Habemus papam!," members of the crowd shouted in Latin, waving umbrellas and flags. "We have a pope!""It was like waiting…


Frack to the Future

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 12th, 2013 11:08 pm by HL

Frack to the Future
John Stossel, FOX Business
Celebrities are now upset about fracking, the injection of chemicals into the ground to crack rocks to release oil and gas. With everyone saying they want alternatives to foreign oil, I'd think celebrities would love fracking.I'd be wrong. Lady Gaga, Yoko Ono and their group, Artists Against Fracking, don't feel the love. Yoko sang, “Don't frack me!” on TV.Stopping fracking is the latest cause of the silly people. They succeeded in getting scientifically ignorant politicians to ban fracking in New York, Maryland and Vermont.Hollywood gave an Oscar to…

18-Year-Olds Are Too Young to Be in Porn
Charles Lane, Washington Post
Melissa King’s trial-by-Internet seems to be ending. Last week the media were all over the story of the former Miss Delaware Teen USA, said to be “disgraced” by the revelation of an adult video she allegedly made in 2012, shortly after her 18th birthday. A hard-core Web site reportedly paid her $1,500. King forfeited her title — and endured worldwide ogling, ridicule and moralizing. “[M]any wonder if the girl next door was someone else entirely behind closed doors,” ABC News intoned.

Soda Ban and the Government Leviathan
Jonathan Tobin, Commentary
In recent decades, the judiciary has been at the forefront of efforts to expand the power of government and to restrict the rights of the individual citizen. But today at least one judge has struck a blow against the nanny state and its billionaire advocate. Justice Milton A. Tingling of the New York State Supreme Court handed down a ruling today that prevents the city of New York from putting into effect Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s law banning the sale of certain sizes of sugared drinks. While Bloomberg’s administration plans to appeal the decision, for now the effort to…

The Rampant Sexualization of America’s Children
Dr. Keith Ablow, FOX
Ashley Benson, 23, knows what sells to America's 12-year-old girls: sex, including threesomes. Together with Seventeen magazine, the actress is promoting her new movie “Spring Breakers” on the magazine's cover, despite the fact that the movie is being hyped elsewhere for its steamy sex scene between Benson, actress Vanessa Hudgens, 24, and actor James Franco. The movie is rated R for strong sexual content, language, nudity, drug use and violence.  Seventeen targets an audience of females, aged 12 to 19.There is a psychological sea change occurring in American…


Crack Down on Corporate Welfare

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 10th, 2013 11:08 pm by HL

Crack Down on Corporate Welfare

Corralling Mobsters, But Not Big Banks
Gretchen Morgenson, NY Times
EVERYONE knows about the mobsters and terrorists that Mary Jo White successfully put behind bars during her nine years as United States attorney for the Southern District of New York. Less well-known is Ms. White’s record bringing cases against large financial institutions during her stint as the top criminal prosecutor in New York. Ms. White, who has been nominated to become the chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, ran the Justice Department’s unit in the Southern District, which includes Manhattan, from 1993 until January 2002. She is expected…

Sen. Paul Shames Obama, Fires Up Conservatives

CPAC Can Learn a Lot From Chris Christie
Roger Stone, The Stone Zone
“Politics” said former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean “is the art of inclusion.” The decision by the American Conservative Union, sponsor of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference not to invite current New Jersey Governor Chris Christie demonstrates some conservatives and Republicans haven't learned that lesson. This is the same stupid thinking that blocked Ron Paul from having his name put in nomination at it's 2012 Convention and refused to acknowledge or even count the votes of delegates who cast their votes for the veteran Republican…


Bob Woodward’s Dark Days

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on March 10th, 2013 12:08 am by HL

Bob Woodward’s Dark Days
Max Holland, Newsweek
For the past week Washington has found itself debating Bob Woodward. The occasion: his very public argument with White House senior official Gene Sperling, in which Woodward left the impression that Sperling had somehow tried to intimidate him"”only to see this accusation undermined by the release of an email exchange in which the pair sounded rather conciliatory.Bob Woodward at his home in Georgetown. (Andrew Cutraro/Redux)Almost all the commentary about this flap fits neatly under the heading, "What the Hell Happened to Bob Woodward?" But posing that…

Government Shoots Itself in the Foot
George Will, Washington Post
Rodney Francis is insufficiently ambitious. The pastor of the Washington Tabernacle Baptist Church in St. Louis has entered the fray over guns, violence and humanity’s fallen nature with a plan for a “buyback” of children’s toy guns. And toy swords and other make-believe weapons. There is, however, a loophole in the pastor’s panacea. He neglects the problem of ominously nibbled and menacingly brandished breakfast pastries.

No to Keystone. Yes to Crazy
Thomas Friedman, New York Times
I HOPE the president turns down the Keystone XL oil pipeline. (Who wants the U.S. to facilitate the dirtiest extraction of the dirtiest crude from tar sands in Canada’s far north?) But I don’t think he will. So I hope that Bill McKibben and his 350.org coalition go crazy. I’m talking chain-themselves-to-the-White-House-fence-stop-traffic-at-the-Capitol kind of crazy, because I think if we all make enough noise about this, we might be able to trade a lousy Keystone pipeline for some really good systemic responses to climate change. We don’t get such an…

McCain, Graham Need to End the Super-Hawk Crap
Ace, Ace of Spades
I still consider myself a hawk. But I don't consider myself a super-hawk. Post-9/11, I became a super-hawk. I'm not one any longer. John McCain and Lindsey Graham are still pushing a super-hawk line that the public widely rejects.