Archive for December, 2010
December 8th, 2010 at 5:32 pm
House GOP Picks Chairmen

Here’s chairmen list for next year’s House committees:

AgricultureFrank D. Lucas of Oklahoma
AppropriationsHarold Rogers of Kentucky
Armed ServicesHoward P. “Buck” McKeon of California
BudgetPaul Ryan of Wisconsin
Education and LaborJohn Kline of Minnesota
Energy and CommerceFred Upton of Michigan
Financial ServicesSpencer Bachus of Alabama
Foreign Affairs Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida
Homeland SecurityPeter T. King of New York
JudiciaryLamar S. Smith of Texas
Natural ResourcesDoc Hastings of Washington
Oversight and Government ReformDarrell Issa of California
Science and TechnologyRalph M. Hall of Texas
Small BusinessSam Graves of Missouri
Transportation and InfrastructureJohn L. Mica of Florida
VeteransJeff Miller of Florida
Ways and MeansDave Camp of Michigan

Of particular interest will be how Hal Rogers of Appropriations and Fred Upton of Energy & Commerce handle federal spending and repealing ObamaCare, issues that fall under their committees’ jurisdictions.

H/T: New York Times

December 8th, 2010 at 5:17 pm
Savvy Move by Palin Not to Seek RNC Chair

Sarah Palin’s decision not to seek the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee is smart politics.  Palin rightly notes that the job is mainly fundraising, something that doesn’t get the Mama Grizzly’s blood moving quite like making speeches and endorsements.

Good for Palin.  She’s right about the RNC job, which should go to someone with a proven track record for raising money and get out the vote support from all branches of the Republican Party.  Of course, it would be great to see a conservative at the helm, but it probably should be someone who is much more adept at party building than movement leading.

December 8th, 2010 at 4:56 pm
“Climategate” Part II? Obama’s GAO Admits Error in Targeting For-Profit Colleges
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Remember “Climategate,” which exposed the flawed and doctored data behind global warming alarmists’ partisan agenda?

We may have a new equivalent with the Obama Administration’s persecution of for-profit colleges.  A “Collegegate,” if you will.

CFIF has detailed the Education Department’s unjustified demonization of for-profit colleges, which provide working Americans the opportunity to improve their educations, obtain critical job skills and make themselves more marketable amid a tight employment market.  We also detailed how Senators Tom Coburn (R – Oklahoma) and Richard Burr (R – North Carolina) have inquired into allegations that the Education Department “may have leaked the proposed regulations to parties supporting the Administration’s position and investors who stand to benefit from the failure of the proprietary school sector.”

Now, compounding the shamefulness of this federal persecution, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has just admitted that its August 4, 2010 report alleging undercover recruiting violations was defective.  This is significant, because only 1% of GAO reports receive revisions, suggesting substantial error in this particular instance.  Predictably, the GAO says that it stands by it’s “central finding,” but so did the United Nations and other global warming activists following the Climategate disclosures.  The implications are serious enough that Senator Mike Enzi (R – Wyoming) has written GAO chief Gene Dodaro regarding “a number of troubling questions” that “undermine many of the allegations” that the GAO has leveled in its campaign against for-profit colleges.

So on top of a transparently partisan Obama Administration attack against career colleges and allegations of insider trading, we now have the federal government admitting that its supposed “sting” report was defective.  It’s time to get to the bottom of this debacle, which is already humiliating for the Obama Administration.  It appears as though it’s only about to get worse…

December 7th, 2010 at 11:37 pm
Obama’s Tax Defense Includes Little-Noticed National Security Gaffe
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From President Obama’s remarks earlier today defending his deal with Congressional Republicans to prevent tax increases:

I’ve said before that I felt that the middle-class tax cuts were being held hostage to the high-end tax cuts. I think it’s tempting not to negotiate with hostage-takers, unless the hostage gets harmed. Then people will question the wisdom of that strategy. In this case, the hostage was the American people, and I was not willing to see them get harmed.

Not quite “we refuse to negotiate with terrorists.” Let’s hope the press conference wasn’t airing on Al-Jazeera.

December 7th, 2010 at 5:47 pm
Ramirez Cartoon: “Cut Spending”
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

December 7th, 2010 at 1:10 pm
Kathy Griffin (a.k.a. the Female Carrot Top) Mocks Palin’s Weight, Gets Booed By Marines
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Credit to comedian Kathy Griffin for performing in a VH1 salute to the troops at Miramar Marine base, but even more credit to the Marines who booed loudly once she viciously attacked Sarah Palin’s daughter Bristol.

Referring to Bristol’s strong performance on “Dancing with the Stars,” Griffin said, “She’s the only contestant in the history of the show to actually gain weight.”  Despite the Marines’ hostile response, Griffin persisted by saying, “She’s like the white Precious,” referring to the morbidly obese Academy Award nominee in last year’s film.

Fortunately for Griffin, the Marines were too polite to grab the microphone and say, “Bristol Palin isn’t the white Precious, but you are the female Carrot Top.”

December 6th, 2010 at 10:20 pm
Unintended Juxtaposition of the Day — Hugo Chavez Edition
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Courtesy of a story from UK Reuters:

President Hugo Chavez blamed “criminal” capitalism on Sunday for global climate phenomena including incessant rains that have brought chaos to Venezuela, killing 32 people and leaving 70,000 homeless.

Worst hit is the coastal area of the South American OPEC member nation where millions live in precarious hillside shantytowns and mudslides have been toppling rickety houses.

Hmmm, an oil-rich nation with millions living in shantytowns? How often do you think that happens in capitalist societies, Senor Chavez?

December 6th, 2010 at 9:22 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Obama’s Unemployment Black Eye
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

December 4th, 2010 at 12:52 am
Obama Debt Commission Teeing Up Reform of Great Society?

Yuval Levin notices an interesting trend in the various plans coming out of the Obama Debt Commission.  When the proposals are added together there seems to be a consensus building towards overhauling federal healthcare entitlement spending.  If done correctly, it could be a moment for conservatives to inject market principles like choice and opportunity into the system.

There is growing agreement in American politics that the challenge of our time is cleaning up the horrible mess created by the Great Society—the mess that is our approach to domestic discretionary spending but above all the mess that is our health-care entitlement system. That is the essence of our debt and deficit problems.

The question is whether we can deal with that mess by keeping the basic structure of the Great Society entitlements while trimming significantly elsewhere and massively raising taxes, or whether we must deal with it by fundamentally reforming those Great Society entitlements while trimming significantly elsewhere and spreading the tax burden more widely but less heavily to encourage growth and innovation. The latter is fairly obviously the answer to that question—given demographic and economic realities, and given the kind of country the American public wants to live in—but it will take a little time before that really sinks in. It is a very good thing, though, that the question is now being asked.

Reforming (or rather, transforming) the Great Society into a fiscally sustainable, free market-guided, consumer-driven system would be the kind of bipartisan project worthy of the era President Barack Obama and his congressional counterparts find themselves.  Solving that puzzle would establish the president’s sought for legacy while enacting the kind of policy changes the Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and other conservative intellectuals champion.

H/T: National Review Online

December 4th, 2010 at 12:10 am
Obama Labor Department Announces Business Harassment Strategy

There are two kinds of licensed professionals you don’t want to see the word “creative” describe: accountants and lawyers.  Unfortunately, the top lawyer at the Obama Labor Department just released a to-do list that could double as a well-conceived strategy memo for business-hating bureaucrats concerned they may not have enough power.

In Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund’s recent article the solicitor at Labor proposes the following actions to increase the regulatory burden on private enterprise:

  • Identify a public affairs liaison in each Regional Office to send stronger, clearer messages to the regulated community about DOL’s emphasis on litigation.
  • Engage in enterprise-wide enforcement. (A euphemism where multiple sites of a business are visited by surprise on the same day by more than one enforcement agent.)
  • Engage in greater use of injunctive relief (i.e. litigation and court orders), while also identifying and pursuing test cases to “stretch the meaning of the law.”

With the workforce experiencing 9.8% unemployment, this kind of strategy – and heaven forbid, enforcement – will only make matters far worse.

December 3rd, 2010 at 8:21 pm
World Cup Score: Russia 1; U.S. 0

Not even former President Bill Clinton could sway the hearts and wallets of the voters who shunned the United States in favor of Russia and Qatar to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.  Apparently, the ad-lib prone ex-president deviated from the script, plugging his eponymous global initiative instead of making America’s case for hosting the world’s most popular sporting event.

Instead, that honor will be enjoyed by Vladimir Putin’s Russia and the desert Muslim emirate of Qatar.  Coming on the heels of the Olympic Committee’s rejection of the Obama Administration’s push to bring the Summer Games to Chicago that means the two most recent Democratic presidents (by definition, acceptable citizens in the international community) have failed to turn their supposed popularity into victories for their countries.
Oh well; wait ‘til next, next decade…

December 3rd, 2010 at 11:42 am
This Week’s Liberty Update
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Center For Individual Freedom - Liberty Update

This week’s edition of the Liberty Update, CFIF’s weekly e-newsletter, is out. Below is a summary of its contents:

Senik:  A Landmark Presidency No More? Obama’s Historical Legacy May be Smaller Than He Thinks
Lee:  Cancun Climatologists: Americans Should Impose “Rationing System” and “Halt Economic Growth”
Ellis:  WikiLeaks Exposes Liberal Double Standard on Whistle Blowers

Freedom Minute Video:  North Korea: Right Back Where We STARTed From
Podcast:  Washington Examiner Chief Congressional Correspondent Discusses Lame Duck Session and Incoming Freshmen
Jester’s Courtroom:  Bear Slapped

Editorial Cartoons:  Latest Cartoons of Michael Ramirez
Quiz:  Question of the Week
Notable Quotes:  Quotes of the Week

If you are not already signed up to receive CFIF’s Liberty Update by e-mail, sign up here.

December 3rd, 2010 at 9:55 am
Video – North Korea: Right Back Where We STARTed From
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In this week’s Freedom Minute, CFIF’s Renee Giachino explains why the Senate should reject ratification of the new START Treaty and how the president should focus instead on disarming dangerous rogue nations like North Korea.

December 3rd, 2010 at 9:13 am
Obamanomics Failing: Unemployment Rises Again to 9.8%
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Moments ago, the Labor Department announced that the nation’s unemployment rate, which had stagnated at 9.6% for three consecutive months, actually rose to 9.8%.

Alarmingly, this means that unemployment has now stood above 9% for 19 consecutive months, a post-World War II record.  Analysts had predicted 150,000 new jobs for October, but it turned out that only 39,000 were added, far below the number necessary to reduce the unemployment rate.

No American should take pleasure in others’ blight, but we simply must face the fact that the Obama-Reid-Pelosi Keynesian economic agenda has failed, and a course correction is critical.  In the 20 months since Obama signed the budget-busting $1 trillion “stimulus,” unemployment has only risen from 8.4% to 9.8%.  In contrast, in the 20 months following the effective date of the Reagan tax cuts, unemployment plummeted from 10.4% to 7.3%.  The facts speak for themselves.  It’s time for remedial free market action.

December 3rd, 2010 at 8:41 am
Podcast: Veteran Congressional Correspondent Discusses Lame Duck Session and Incoming Freshmen
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Susan Ferrechio, Chief Congressional Correspondent for the Washington Examiner, shares her thoughts on the final weeks of the current Congress and what is in store for the 80 new Republicans entering the House.

Listen to the interview here.

December 2nd, 2010 at 5:49 pm
New Gallup Survey: 82% Rate Their Health Care “Good” or “Excellent”
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Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel famously said that we mustn’t allow a “crisis to go to waste” in foisting such things as ObamaCare upon an unwilling nation.  But what if there’s no “crisis” in the first place?

This month, Gallup released a scientific survey that is a critical component in any health care policy discussion.  In what must come as a devastating shock for those who defend ObamaCare, an astonishing 82% of Americans rate their health care as “good” or “excellent.”  Some 40% place their health care in the “excellent” category, which exceeds the previous high of 38% and the long-term average of 34%.  Even those who don’t possess health insurance (which must be distinguished from actual health care) rate their health care “good” or “excellent” by a 53% majority.

Clearly, there is no health care “crisis,” only a lot of ObamaCare “waste.”

December 2nd, 2010 at 2:08 pm
Ramirez Cartoon: The White House and WikiLeaks
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

December 2nd, 2010 at 1:54 am
Jerry’s Choice

Jerry Brown, the once-and-future governor of California, has precious little time to shore up his legacy.  Next month, he’ll retake office and be at the center of the nation’s worst state government budget crisis.  Most think he’s in the pocket of the public employee unions who spent millions supporting his campaign.  California’s Victor Davis Hanson posits a different possibility.

If the liberal Brown were to now take on out-of-control public spending, he would be immune to the charges of callousness that destroyed multimillionaire outgoing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and would have likewise smeared Republican billionaire gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman had she won. Perhaps given that California already has the highest sales, income and gas taxes in the nation, Brown could shrug and say that any more tax increases would set off an even greater stampede out of the state.

And at 72, the once overly ambitious Brown — who ran for the presidency three times — can forget about leapfrogging into the White House. The question now is Brown’s final legacy, not his next career move. We know from the implosion of the European Union that unchecked big government inevitably leads to public insolvency. But does it also ensure, Brown might ask, moral bankruptcy?

In a postmodern world of omnipresent cheap consumer goods and all sorts of government-subsidized cradle-to-grave perks, can “small is beautiful” Jerry Brown teach Californians not just that too much stuff is no longer affordable or sustainable, but, at a deeper level, that our out-of-control excesses, appetites and dependencies are no longer good for our souls?

Before he chose politics Jerry Brown spent time in a seminary discerning whether he had a vocation to the priesthood.  If he wants to be remembered as one of the state’s greatest leaders perhaps he would do well to remember that being fiscally responsible isn’t just good politics, it’s also good morals.

December 2nd, 2010 at 12:18 am
Harry Reid Testing Voters With DREAM Act Stunt

Leave it to a Las Vegan to gamble on a high stakes vote with almost no pay-off.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is reportedly going to schedule a “test vote” on the DREAM Act to see if he can cajole enough senators into supporting the legislative mechanism that swaps American citizenship for a college degree or military service.  Not a bad deal if you’re an illegal alien looking for a way to stay, right?

The cynical part about Reid’s stunt is that making senators take a record vote on the DREAM Act won’t pass it.  It’s a “test” vote because it only gauges the amount of support the bill might have if it gets to final passage.  However, if Reid gets close to the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster, he may think he’s passed the “test” and go for final passage.  Since (most) politicians are loathe to vote for something before voting against it, Reid may think he has enough “aye” votes to be close.

That, or he’s trying to convince Latino voters he did everything he could, but just fell short.  Either way, it’s desperate.

December 1st, 2010 at 4:56 pm
Too Long Without a Chris Christie Update?
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I thought so too. Check out the Trenton Thunder as he takes a shot at the self-interested bureaucrats attempting to stymie his plans for education reform in the Garden State: