Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.
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President George H. W. Bush: 1924-2018

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.…[more]

December 06, 2018 • 12:58 pm

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Jester's CourtroomLegal tales stranger than stranger than fiction: Ridiculous and sometimes funny lawsuits plaguing our courts.
With EPA Nominee Scott Pruitt, Trump Continues String of Encouraging Picks Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, December 22 2016
What Mr. Pruitt does seek is to restore the EPA to its proper role of administering legitimate environmental laws within constitutional and statutory bounds, rather than leverage it as a tool to placate environmental extremists regardless of the costs imposed upon American consumers, businesses and workers.

This week, departing First Lady Michelle Obama invited derision when she lamented to Oprah Winfrey, "We feel the difference now.  See, now we are feeling what not having hope feels like." 

Uncharacteristically for a First Lady, Mrs. Obama had campaigned desperately on behalf of Hillary Clinton, so perhaps her negativity should come as no surprise.  Although she represents liberals' widespread post-election despair, however, other Americans apparently disagree. 

For example, a Rasmussen Reports survey released this week found that, "Following Donald Trump's election as president, Americans are more optimistic about the future than they have been in over four years.  A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 47% of likely U.S. voters now believe that America's best days are in the future, while 33% say they are in the past." 

To place that in perspective, in the weeks following Barack Obama's 2012 reelection, the same Rasmussen survey found that only 35% of respondents believed that America's best days were in the future, compared to 49% who said our best days were in the past.  And in the middle of Obama's second term in 2014, just 34% of Americans said our best days were in the future while 51% said they were in the past. 

As another example, Gallup announced this week that Americans' economic confidence jumped to a nine-year high following Donald Trump's election: 

Americans' confidence in the economy remains higher than at any point since January 2008, with Gallup's U.S. economic confidence index averaging +8 for the week ending December 11.  This score is unchanged from the prior week, which marked a record high in the nine-year trend...  Rarely has Gallup found such a dramatic shift in Americans' economic confidence over the past nine years as it has in the past month. 

Again for perspective, Gallup's index stood at -11 immediately prior to Trump's election. 

In yet another illustrative survey, Gallup also reported that optimism among small business owners, who create the majority of new jobs in America, has reached its highest point in eight years: 

Small-business owners' optimism improved to its highest level in eight years after the 2016 presidential election...  Small-business owners have become substantially more positive after the November election, returning to a level of optimism not seen since early 2008, although still not at the levels of optimism recorded in 2007 and earlier.  The majority of owners believe the new president and Congress will focus on issues of importance to small businesses.  Owners are particularly interested in having the nation's leaders address taxes, healthcare and regulations.  (emphasis added)

Reflecting that sudden sense of optimism, U.S. markets have successively ascended to new record highs since Trump's election. 

To understand all of this, look no further than Trump's cabinet and regulatory agency selections.  In particular, consider Scott Pruitt, Trump's choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

Over the past eight years, perhaps no regulatory agency better illustrates the rogue, unpredictable, job-killing, economically destructive, extra-legal bureaucratic overreach of the Obama Administration than the EPA.  Unable to accomplish its goals through the proper legislative process, the EPA has all too often resorted to imposing its extremist agenda via regulations unsupported by law. 

Its arrogance reached such extremes that it even triggered a unanimous rebuke from a U.S. Supreme Court typically divided sharply along ideological lines.  On multiple occasions, the Supreme Court and other courts rejected EPA efforts to regulate American citizens and businesses without any legal authority for doing so.  Current EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy even professed an explicit goal of killing the domestic market for coal, and along with it the jobs in impoverished areas of the country within that industry. 

Enter Mr. Pruitt, who as Oklahoma Attorney General successfully sued the EPA and other abusive Obama Administration agencies during his tenure. 

To be sure, Mr. Pruitt acknowledges that the EPA can play a positive role in safeguarding the nation's air, land and water quality.  He is not the extremist of liberal caricature, and seeks not to abolish the EPA entirely or somehow rescind the nation's environmental laws wholesale. 

What Mr. Pruitt does seek is to restore the EPA to its proper role of administering legitimate environmental laws within constitutional and statutory bounds, rather than leverage it as a tool to placate environmental extremists regardless of the costs imposed upon American consumers, businesses and workers.  In addition to restoring the EPA to its proper role within the federal government vis-a-vis the legislative and judicial branches, Mr. Pruitt also understands as well as anyone the need to return it to its proper role vis-a-vis sovereign individual states.  That was precisely the focus of his efforts to check EPA abuse while serving as Attorney General of Oklahoma. 

All of which helps explain the sudden optimism among markets, entrepreneurs and American citizens. 

Voters elected Donald Trump because they demanded sensible change in the nation's course, not business as usual.  In nominating Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA, Trump has chosen a leader who exemplifies that sentiment perfectly. 

Question of the Week   
The son of which one of the following U.S. politicians currently serves as a Marine aviator aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush?
More Questions
Quote of the Day   
 
"December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.The United States was at peace with that Nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its Government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese…[more]
 
 
—President Franklin D. Roosevelt, December 8, 1941, in an Address to Congress Asking That a State of War Be Declared Between the United States and Japan
— President Franklin D. Roosevelt, December 8, 1941, in an Address to Congress Asking That a State of War Be Declared Between the United States and Japan
 
Liberty Poll   

For family Christmas giving this year, are you spending more than usual, about the same as usual, or less than usual?