Saturday, February 18, 2012

op ed review 2/18

THIS WEEK’S NEWS

Gallup released new information on Monday showing that the unemployment rate has managed to creep back up to 9.0 percent.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/watercooler/2012/feb/14/picket-gallup-shows-us-unemployment-9/

After three years with unemployment topping 8 percent, the U.S. has seen the longest period of high unemployment since the Great Depression, the Congressional Budget Office noted in a report issued today.

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/02/16/cbo-longest-period-of-high-unemployment-since-great-depression

The federal debt has increased by $4.47 trillion since President Barack Obama released his first federal budget on Feb. 26, 2009. That first budget was entitled, “A New Era of Responsibility.”

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/debt-has-climbed-447t-obama-released-first-budget-calling-new-era-responsibility

Deficit spending during Obama’s four years in the White House (based on his own figures) will be an estimated $5.170 trillion — or $5,170,000,000,000.00. To help put that colossal sum of money into perspective, this works out to just over $17,000 per person — or about $70,000 for a family of four.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/painful-cost-obama_629745.html

President Obama now is admitting he was in way over his head when he was elected in 2008. Instead of learning from President Bush’s failed stimulus of $150 billion in 2008, President Obama went with a stimulus 5 times as large. It failed in 2009 and in 2010. In fact, the economy was adding jobs just as this stimulus kicked in and slowed the growth.

http://blogs.dailymail.com/donsurber/archives/51555

Obama: “(At least) I've Made It Easier To Navigate Government Websites”

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2012/02/14/obama_on_change_ive_made_it_easier_to_navigate_government_websites_.html

Obama style border protection: “President Obama's immigration enforcement officials prevented 13,000 dangerous hair dryers from entering the country (illegally), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) trumpeted today.”

http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/dhs-cbp-stops-thousands-unsafe-hair-dryers/376786

President Obama has ordered the Pentagon to consider cutting U.S. strategic nuclear forces to as low as 300 deployed warheads—below the number believed to be in China’s arsenal and far fewer than current Russian strategic warhead stocks.

http://freebeacon.com/nuking-our-nukes/

“Obama touts South Carolina Boeing plant that his NLRB sued”

http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/obama-touts-sc-boeing-plant-nlrb-sued/381216

54% of Catholics voted for President Obama in 2008. Now, things are different. The Rasmussen Poll found his approval among Catholics plummeted to 40% approval, 59% disapproval. “Republican hopeful Mitt Romney currently leads the president among Catholic voters by a 52% to 35% margin,”

http://blogs.dailymail.com/donsurber/archives/51519

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday morning that the government should require self-insured religious institutions, such as the Catholic church in Washington, D.C., to directly pay for contraception and abortifacients.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/pelosi-catholic-church-should-directly-pay-free-birth-control-pills_629923.html

A KING 5/SurveyUSA poll of the Washington State Governor’s race shows Republican Rob McKenna in a 10-point lead over Democratic congressman Jay Inslee, a lead that includes a healthy advantage in the central Puget Sound.

http://www.nwdailymarker.com/2012/02/second-poll-of-the-week-shows-mckenna-extending-lead-in-governors-race/

Opponents seeking to overturn Washington’s newly signed same-sex marriage legislation may not have the governor or the Legislature on their side, but they do have history. It’s a matter of record that voters always have rejected gay marriage whenever the issue has appeared on state ballots. Days after Gov. Chris Gregoire, a Democrat, signed a bill making Washington the seventh state to recognize same-sex marriage, opponents this week launched campaigns for two proposed ballot measures aimed at overturning the law. The first measure is a referendum to repeal the gay-marriage law. The other is an initiative that defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/feb/16/washington-ballot-best-chance-for-foes-of-same-sex/

More than half of births to American women under 30 occur outside marriage. “This is the liberals' ultimate dream: A nation of Omamas waiting for Obama to take care of them and their litters.” One group still largely resists the trend: college graduates, who overwhelmingly marry before having children.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/18/us/for-women-under-30-most-births-occur-outside-marriage.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha2

Massachusetts hospitals are poised to receive a $3.5 billion windfall in federal funding over the next 10 years thanks to a little-known provision Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) inserted into the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act, also known as “Obamacare.” The increased funding—$367 million a year in the form of Medicare reimbursement payments, according to the Federal Register—would not only come at the expense of hospitals in the 49 other states, it would also directly benefit an organization that has given generously to Kerry’s campaign.

http://freebeacon.com/the-kerry-kickback/

How politics works: “$3.9B in Federal funds flow to clean-energy firms with Obama administration ties”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/venture-capitalists-play-key-role-in-obamas-energy-department/2011/12/30/gIQA05raER_story.html

Filmmaker Michael Moore glorified the United Kingdom’s National Health Service in his 2007 documentary ”Sicko,” making a cult film argument that socialized medicine works. But Prime Minister David Cameron, the Tory MP who heads a coalition government in England, is apparently not a Moore fan: He is working to partially privatize the NHS, beginning a massive outsourcing of medical services to private health care providers throughout the U.K.

http://times247.com/articles/cameron-britain-should-begin-privatizing-healthcare

The Virginia House of Delegates approved legislation that would define life as beginning at conception.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/feb/14/va-house-passes-conception-life-mandatory-ultrasou/

More than 24 million voter-registration records in the United States— about one in eight — are inaccurate, out-of-date or duplicates. Nearly 2.8 million people are registered in two or more states, and perhaps 1.8 million registered voters are dead.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/story/2012-02-10/pew-study-inaccurate-voter-registration-rolls/53083406/1

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THIS WEEK’S FEATURED COLUMN

Ann Coulter 2/15

One theory for why Barack Obama pushed the contraception mandate right now is that it helps Rick Santorum. Others theorize it's because Obama is an anti-religious bigot with a left-wing agenda. Reasonable minds can disagree on this.

But it may end up helping Mitt Romney by reminding people that the "individual mandate" is the least of the problems with ObamaCare. (The "individual mandate" is simply the legal argument for why ObamaCare is unconstitutional in a country that has accepted Social Security and Medicare as constitutional.)

This isn't a Catholic issue or even a religious issue. Conservatives are falling into the Democrats' trap by denouncing it as such. It's a freedom issue. (Or, as Democrats call it, "the F-word.")

If liberals like it, it's subsidized; if they don't, it's prohibited. And now they can impose their left-wing authoritarianism on the entire country by calling their mandates and prohibitions "insurance."

Liberal fundamentalists say: I don't see why anyone needs to hunt; I don't know why anyone needs to eat meat; I don't see why anyone needs to bathe every day; I don't know why anyone minds looking at urine in a low-flow toilet; I don't know why anyone needs an incandescent light bulb ...

….I don't know why anyone needs an abortion, free contraception……non-farming farmers or a $1 million pension for Anthony Weiner.
But I'm forced to subsidize all of that. And now we're all going to be forced to subsidize the entire wish list of the Berkeley City Council, recast as "health insurance."

Insurance is not supposed to be for normal expenses in the ordinary course of events, such as multivitamins, house painting or oil changes. Insurance is for unexpected catastrophes: fires, accidents, cancer.
The basic idea is to spread the risk of unforeseen disasters. Filling up your gas tank, for example, is not an unforeseen disaster (though it's getting to be under Obama).

So why is birth control covered by insurance? Birth control pills aren't that expensive -- generics are about $20 a month -- nor is the need for them a bolt out of the blue. Why not have health insurance cover manicures, back massages, carrot cake and nannies?

Liberals huffily ask why it's so important to the Catholic Church not to pay for insurance plans that cover birth control, but the better question is: Why is it so important to liberals to force them to?
The answer is: They want the government giving official sanction to birth control and, later, abortion. That comes next. They want it for same reason gays want gay marriage -- it's purely symbolic.

Following Betty Friedan, gender feminists believe the pill is so central to what we are as a nation that it must be paid for by all, i.e. by insurance. The argument for fully subsidized abortions will be: We don't vote on a basic human right!
Whether or not it's a "right," it's not an area for "insurance." Abortion is an elective procedure. No families are going bankrupt because they had to pay for an abortion -- which costs about as much as a haircut for John Edwards or Bill Clinton. Can't we limit the health insurance we are all required by federal law to purchase to financially ruinous, actual medical problems?

No, that is not in the cards. Just as liberals have turned the Constitution into a vehicle for achieving all the left-wing policies they could never get Americans to vote for, now they are going to use "insurance" for the same purpose. Their new method doesn't even require them to get votes from five justices on the Supreme Court.
The secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, will do it all on her own.

Anything close to the beating heart of feminism is about to become a mandatory part of insurance coverage: fertility treatments, chemical sensitivities, a year's leave of absence for fathers after the birth of a child, attention deficit disorder, massages, aromatherapy, watching MSNBC, sex change operations, gender reassignment surgery, gender re-reassignment surgery.

And then, once every single insurance plan in the country is required by federal law to cover one million liberal causes having nothing to do with medical problems, Democrats will be happy to let us purchase health insurance across state lines. Sure, buy your insurance from Utah or Kentucky. Every insurance plan in the country, by federal law, will be identical.

The contraception diktat is only the beginning of the government controlling your life under ObamaCare. There are approximately 100,000 more decisions the HHS Secretary will have to make under ObamaCare that you will not be able to appeal… As we have seen, Sebelius is not a go-with-the-flow kind of secretary. She is a doctrinaire feminist who thinks it's important to make a statement by ordering something that has only a tangential connection to health care but will have the effect of costing everyone more money.
Are you getting why this isn't a Catholic issue? So what if some "compromise" is reached that makes the Catholic bishops happy? They supported ObamaCare to begin with! They ought to be forced to live with the consequences of the totalitarian regime they helped foist on the rest of us.

Maybe they'll get a waiver from the contraception mandate on religious grounds -- just like unions and Obama-friendly corporations got waivers on the grounds that they realized ObamaCare would suck and they didn't want to be a part of it.
What about the rest of us? You know, the ones who didn't support ObamaCare? We still have to live under the thumb of a nutcase gender-feminist with unlimited authority to ban whatever she doesn't like, subsidize whatever she does like and call it "insurance."

Edited from a longer column, read it here:
http://www.anncoulter.com/

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FROM OTHER COLUMNS

"[I]t would be a mockery of the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment if, for example, the Catholic Church were required by law to freely provide such 'health care services' ... as contraception, sterilization and pharmacological abortion -- to which Catholicism is doctrinally opposed as a grave contravention of its teachings about the sanctity of life. Ah. But there would be no such Free Exercise violation if the institutions so mandated are deemed, by regulatory fiat, not religious. And thus, the word came forth from [Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen] Sebelius decreeing the exact criteria required.... Criterion 1: A 'religious institution' must have 'the inculcation of religious values as its purpose.' But that's not the purpose of Catholic charities; it's to give succor to the poor. That's not the purpose of Catholic hospitals; it's to give succor to the sick. Therefore, they don't qualify as 'religious' -- and therefore can be required, among other things, to provide free morning-after abortifacients. Criterion 2: Any exempt institution must be one that 'primarily employs' and 'primarily serves persons who share its religious tenets.' Catholic soup kitchens do not demand religious IDs from either the hungry they feed or the custodians they employ. Catholic charities and hospitals -- even Catholic schools -- do not turn away Hindu or Jew. Their vocation is universal, precisely the kind of universal love-thy-neighbor vocation that is the very definition of religiosity as celebrated by the Gospel of Obama. ... The contradiction is glaring, the hypocrisy breathtaking. But that's not why Obama offered a hasty compromise on Friday. It's because the firestorm of protest was becoming a threat to his re-election. Sure, health care, good works and religion are important. But re-election is divine."

-Charles Krauthammer

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GLOBALONEY

Now Al Gore wants to re-invent "unsustainable" capitalism.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/16/sustainablecapitalism-idUSL5E8DG45E20120216

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LEFTIST WATCH

Protesters at the “Occupy CPAC” event, organized by the AFL-CIO and Occupy DC to target the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, were unaware of what they were protesting against Friday afternoon. The Daily Caller spoke to several protesters outside of the conference venue and many said they had no idea what the Conservative Political Action Conference was, or what they were supposed to be opposing. http://dailycaller.com/2012/02/10/occupy-cpac-protesters-have-no-idea-what-cpac-is-video/

The were paid by the unions $60/day to protest.

http://dailycaller.com/2012/02/10/occupy-cpac-protesters-paid-60-for-the-day/

“Atheists To Hold Massive Rally On National Mall Next Month”

http://washington.cbslocal.com/2012/02/17/we-are-stronger-atheists-to-hold-massive-rally-on-national-mall-next-month/

The Angry Left is mobilizing to tilt the GOP nominating process in Rick Santorum's favor. Why? I'll let them explain…

http://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2012/02/16/leftists_launch_operation_chaos_effort_to_boost_santorum

During the opening monologue on Friday's Real Time with Bill Maher, host Maher derided Rick Santorum as "the little creep that could" because of the GOP presidential candidate's recent electoral victories. He also mocked the concern conservatives have about abortion by cracking that Mitt Romney had come to CPAC with a "fetus in a jar" to try to outdo Santorum with the audience.

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/brad-wilmouth/2012/02/11/maher-slams-santorum-little-creep-could-romney-arrived-fetus-jar

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ISLAM

An Iraqi woman in Arizona has been accused of beating her teenage daughter and padlocking her to a bed after she was seen speaking to a young man. She told police she wanted to punish the girl for violating her 'culture'.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2099695/Iraqi-mother-beat-daughter-19-locked-bed-seen-speaking-boy.html

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to bring down Northwest flight 253 over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009 with an underwear bomb, said he was "proud to kill in the name of Allah" before he was sentenced to multiple life sentences in a Detroit courtroom.

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/underwear-bomber-abdulmutallab-sentenced-life-prison/story?id=15681576&nwltr=blotter_featureHed#.Tz2wzFGOfYR

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THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE

Mitt Romney won two Republican presidential straw polls, victories he hopes will put his campaign back on track and help him regain momentum after losing three nominating contests last week. The Republican party of Maine declared Romney the winner of a presidential survey of voters attending the state’s local caucuses. And Romney also came out on top in a poll of activists attending the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/mitt-romney-wins-cpac-straw-poll/2012/02/11/gIQAj3Sp6Q_story.html

Michigan Gov. Snyder has endorsed Mitt Romney for president.

http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/16/10427583-appearing-with-romney-michigan-governor-endorses-son-of-state

But Rick Santorum has overtaken Mitt Romney in the race for the GOP primary vote in Michigan, a state long considered a lock for Romney that has become a make-or-break test for his campaign.

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/polls/210259-two-polls-find-santorum-leading-in-michigan

Santorum: "I am not a libertarian, and I fight very strongly against libertarian influence within the Republican Party and the conservative movement."

http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/article/santorum-severely-wrong/374156

“There seems to be an orchestrated effort emerging to undermine Sen. Marco Rubio.

http://dailycaller.com/2012/02/16/the-campaign-to-undermine-marco-rubio/#ixzz1mZu60Wc0

If Sarah Palin had been on the ballot for the straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference, there is little doubt she would have won. The former Alaska governor received far-and-away the most spirited and enthusiastic reception at this convention of about 10,000 conservative activists. She drew the audience to its feet more than a dozen times during her keynote address on Saturday. The cheers for Palin were so loud that they drowned out her remarks again and again. Conference organizers had to set up three overflow rooms to accommodate the throngs of supporters eager to hear her words.

http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/210125-palin-shines-brightest-at-cpac?utm_campaign=thehill&utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Palin called on conservatives to unify behind the eventual Republican presidential nominee to help right a “sinking ship” captained by President Obama. “Don’t let them divide us — we must stand as conservatives with common sense, with a servant’s heart, for the good of our party, but more important for the sake of our country — we must stand united whoever our nominee is,” said Mrs. Palin, who delivered the keynote speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington. “We must replace Obama at the ballot box. He is sinking our ship of state. When a ship is going down, the last thing you need is a community organizer just reorganizing the deck chairs.”

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/feb/11/palin-conservatives-must-rally-defeat-obama/

Mitt Romney is faltering with white working-class voters crucial to his party’s drive to capture the White House, even as he tries to fend off Rick Santorum, who wields strong blue-collar appeal.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/feb/16/romney-struggling-attract-white-working-class/

Newt’s faltering campaign is about to get another shot in the arm from casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57380147-503544/gingrich-to-get-another-$10-million-from-casino-backer-sources/?tag=contentMain;contentBody

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ARTICLES

Michael Novak: “The most evil thing about the Obama administration’s recent violation of the separation of church and state is its deceptiveness. With his order requiring inclusion of contraception and abortifacient drugs in insurance coverage, the president is smuggling the hidden premises of NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and other supporters of abortion into U.S. law, and doing so untruthfully. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) instruction attacking religious institutions such as hospitals, universities, and programs for the poor rests on four hidden premises………(2) The second deception is that sterilization, contraception, abortifacients — and by logical extension, at the proper hour, abortion — are not matters of private choice, but matters of women’s health. This definition is then expanded into an enforceable right to women’s health. This supposed right is then expanded into a duty upon others to pay for the private choices and values systems of some women. In other words, this is naked coercion in its most deceptive form, and an illicit and twisted use of rights talk.

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/291299/obamarsquos-deceptive-hidden-premises-michael-novak

“The Real Contraception Question”

http://www.nysun.com/editorials/the-real-contraception-question/87702/

It seems that Obama, in a classic act of hubris, has created the means of his own destruction…..he has struck what was surely intended to be a lethal blow against the oldest organization on earth -- an organization with something on the order of a billion members, with a cadre of hundreds of thousands of highly trained and dedicated personnel, and a history of overcoming political threats that make Obama look like a kindergartner. I'm referring, of course, to the Catholic Church.

http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/02/whom_the_gods_would_destroy.html

When Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association (NRA), spoke at CPAC on February 10th, he predicted that if Barack Obama wins a second term it will usher in an all-out attack on the Second Amendment. In so many words, he said the same people who brought us Fast and Furious, “a criminal enterprise” for which there has yet to be prosecutions, will use four more years to gut constitutional protections on the right to keep and bear arms. And anyone who wonders what this assault on the Second Amendment would look like need look no further than Illinois, where a judge that President Obama appointed has just ruled that we have the right to keep arms, but not to bear them.

http://dailycaller.com/2012/02/13/oops-obama-judicial-appointee-says-we-have-right-to-keep-arms-but-not-to-bear-them/

Lloyd Marcus: “Our 40th president's birthday earlier this month caused me to reflect upon how Ronald Reagan impacted my life. In 1981, I was a young singer/songwriter, clueless about politics, when Ronald Reagan won the presidency. An event planner asked me to perform at an inaugural ball. Reporters asked, "Why are you here and why do you like Reagan?" I could not help noticing the baffled looks on their faces upon hearing my reply. "I like Reagan because every time I hear this man speak, I feel good about my country and myself."

I later learned that as a black person, I was supposed to hate Reagan. Democrats said Reagan's talk about welfare reform was "code" for his racism and hatred of blacks. As I said, I was young and clueless regarding politics, codes, and such. And yet, in my gut, I knew that Reagan was a good man.”

http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/02/fond_memories_of_ronnie.html#ixzz1mBXv2Guc

AMERICANS love to laugh at ridiculous regulations. A Florida law requires vending-machine labels to urge the public to file a report if the label is not there. The Federal Railroad Administration insists that all trains must be painted with an “F” at the front, so you can tell which end is which. Bureaucratic busybodies in Bethesda, Maryland, have shut down children’s lemonade stands because the enterprising young moppets did not have trading licenses. The list goes hilariously on. But red tape in America is no laughing matter. The problem is not the rules that are self-evidently absurd. It is the ones that sound reasonable on their own but impose a huge burden collectively. America is meant to be the home of laissez-faire. Unlike Europeans, whose lives have long been circumscribed by meddling governments and diktats from Brussels, Americans are supposed to be free to choose, for better or for worse. Yet for some time America has been straying from this ideal.

http://www.economist.com/node/21547789

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NOTEWORTHY WEBSITES

What a comeback! Eleven months after the tsunami ravaged Japan, a series of pictures reveals the incredible progress being made to clear up the devastation

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2099811/Eleven-months-tsunami-earthquake-ravaged-Japan-new-pictures-incredible-progress-multi-billion-pound-clear-up.html

Two performances, 47 years apart.

http://www.flixxy.com/the-diamonds-little-darlin-1957-2004.htm

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WISE WORDS

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State."

-Thomas Jefferson

"I ... place economy among the first and most important of republican virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared. ... Taxation follows that, and in its turn wretchedness and oppression. ... We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude."

-Thomas Jefferson

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