Saturday, January 25, 2014

op ed review 1/26

Record 20% of Households on Food Stamps in 2013

Crack-smoking Toronto Mayor´s Favorability Now Nine Points Above Barack Obama´s

Liberal icon urges Obama impeachment  “The most destructive, dangerous president we've ever had….Apparently he doesn’t give one damn about the separation of powers…Never before in our history has a president done these things…..This is the worst state, I think, the country has ever been in.”

The Supreme Court on Friday shielded the Little Sisters of the Poor and other nonprofit religious groups from complying, for now, with the Obama administration’s rule that they provide free contraceptives in the health insurance they offer employees.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) will deliver the Republican Party’s response to the president’s State of the Union Address next week.

Obama comes after his enemies:  Conservative filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza, whose documentary 2016: Obama's America took a critical look at President Obama and was a surprise hit in 2012, will be arrested in New York on Friday for allegedly violating campaign-finance laws.

The militants who gathered on the night of Sept. 11, 2012, to torch and kill inside the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, were a who’s who of the modern al Qaeda movement, newly declassified documents show.

President Obama blames racism on his declining popularity.
Aaron Goldstein:  “My dislike of President Obama isn’t a matter of the color of his skin, but rather because of the content of his character or lack thereof…….Indeed, why should anyone dislike Obama because of his race when there are so many other good reasons to dislike him?”

“…growing numbers of people are calling themselves independents. The Republican Party stands to suffer the most from the movement away from staunch party loyalty, but Democrats also are affected.”

President Obama will meet with Pope Francis next month, and hopes the Pontiff will prove useful to his political agenda.. "The president looks forward to discussing with Pope Francis their shared commitment to fighting poverty and growing inequality”.  “Maybe President Obama can show the Pope some photos from his luxury vacations, or his wife´s protracted holiday.”
“Obamas and Bidens spent $295,437 on just one vacation weekend.  And that’s mostly just for security, not Air Force One or other official costs.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and former vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) will speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in March.  Also, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has been invited to speak and is close to being confirmed. CPAC is an annual gathering of thousands of conservatives in Washington, D.C., aimed at unifying the movement and connecting leaders with grassroots activists.

Contractor CGI didn’t perform well with the Obamacare website contract5, so they’re fired.  The latest no-bid Obamacare website contract will go to a company whose former top analytic researcher developed the voter-tracking computer strategies that led Obama to victory in 2012.

President Obama’s latest claims about marijuana are contradicted by research and official positions of his own Office of National Drug Control Policy, which is part of the White House.  And Mr. Obama’s words have anti-drug leaders worried about negative repercussions among youth. Mr. Obama claimed to The New Yorker magazine that marijuana is no worse than cigarettes or alcohol and he promoted state efforts by Colorado and Washington to legalize marijuana, which remains illegal under federal law. Former contressman Patrick Kennedy:  “I think the president needs to speak to his NIH director in charge of drug abuse….[She] would tell the president that, in fact, today’s modern, genetically modified marijuana, much higher in THC levels, far surpasses the marijuana that the president acknowledges smoking when he was a young person.”

Hacking expert David Kennedy says he cracked in 4 minutes

Lawmakers are not ignoring the March for Life, scheduled at high noon Wednesday on the National Mall, and currently the largest pro-life demonstration on the planet, according to organizers. “In a rare feat for the nation’s capital, representatives from both sides of the aisle will come together,” the organizers say, pointing out that keynote speakers include House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Rep. Dan Lipinski, Illinois Democrat.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments about forced unionization among government workers in a case that could greatly curtail powerful labor groups.

When officials at the Department of Health and Human Services announced the most recent Obamacare enrollment figures earlier this week, they focused on one brag point amidst otherwise discouraging news….According to government tallies, 44.5 million people called or visited state and federal websites they said, presumably indicating broad interest in the new benefit. But we also know that only 2.2 million people have signed up for Obamacare.

“Older people do not decline mentally with age, it just takes them longer to recall facts because they have more information in their brains, scientists believe.”

Walter Williams:  Politics and the Minimum Wage  1/8

There's little debate among academic economists about the effect of minimum wages. University of California, Irvine economist David Neumark has examined more than 100 major academic studies on the minimum wage. He reports that 85 percent of the studies "find a negative employment effect on low-skilled workers." A 1976 American Economic Association survey found that 90 percent of its members agreed that increasing the minimum wage raises unemployment among young and unskilled workers. A 1990 survey reported in the American Economic Review (1992) found that 80 percent of economists agreed with the statement that increases in the minimum wage cause unemployment among the youth and low-skilled. If you're searching for a consensus in a field of study, most of the time you can examine the field's introductory and intermediate college textbooks. Economics textbooks that mention the minimum wage say that it increases unemployment for the least skilled worker. The only significant debate about the minimum wage is the magnitude of its effect. Some studies argue that a 10 percent increase in the minimum wage will cause a 1 percent increase in unemployment, whereas others predict a higher increase.

How about the politics of the minimum wage? In the political arena, one dumps on people who can't dump back on him. Minimum wages have their greatest unemployment impact on the least skilled worker. After all, who's going to pay a worker an hourly wage of $10 if that worker is so unfortunate as to have skills that enable him to produce only $5 worth of value per hour? Who are these workers? For the most part, they are low-skilled teens or young adults, most of whom are poorly educated blacks and Latinos. The unemployment statistics in our urban areas confirm this prediction, with teen unemployment rates as high as 50 percent.

The politics of the minimum wage are simple. No congressman or president owes his office to the poorly educated black and Latino youth vote. Moreover, the victims of the minimum wage do not know why they suffer high unemployment, and neither do most of their "benefactors." Minimum wage beneficiaries are highly organized, and they do have the necessary political clout to get Congress to price their low-skilled competition out of the market so they can demand higher wages. Concerned about the devastating unemployment effects of the minimum wage, Republican politicians have long resisted increases in the minimum wage, but that makes no political sense. The reason is the beneficiaries of preventing increases in the minimum wage don't vote Republican no matter what; where's the political quid pro quo?

Higher-skilled and union workers are not the only beneficiaries of higher minimum wages. Among other beneficiaries are manufacturers who produce substitutes for workers. A recent example of this is Wawa's experiment with customers using touch screens as substitutes for counter clerks. A customer at the convenience store selects his order from a touch screen. He takes a printed slip to the cashier to pay for it while it's being filled. I imagine that soon the customer's interaction with the cashier will be eliminated with a swipe of a credit card. Raising the minimum wage and other employment costs speeds up the automation process. I'm old enough to remember attendants at gasoline stations and theater ushers, who are virtually absent today. It's not because today's Americans like to smell gasoline fumes and stumble down the aisles in the dark to find their seat. The minimum wage law has eliminated such jobs.

Finally, there's a nastier side to support for minimum wage laws, documented in my book "Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?" During South Africa's apartheid era, racist labor unions were the country's major supporters of minimum wage laws for blacks. Their stated intention was to protect white workers from having to compete with lower-wage black workers. Our nation's first minimum wage law, the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931, had racist motivation. Among the widespread racist sentiment was that of American Federation of Labor President William Green, who complained, "Colored labor is being sought to demoralize wage rates."

Phyllis Schlafly has a different take on this:  “Minimum Wage and Welfare: the Tradeoff”  “…raising the minimum wage may actually be worth considering if it has the side benefit of cutting the gigantic total of our hidden welfare programs.”

“Sex and drugs have replaced building for the future; abortion and the welfare state have replaced consequences. In the end, this philosophy will lead to the dominance of the state. … [H]ow can we solve all of this? Not through the law – the law follows culture. The only way to restore an American future is to restore the social and religious institutions that fostered genuine American values. This means fighting back against the tyranny of those who conveniently proclaim to ‘live and let live’ while simultaneously demanding that Americans with traditional values shut the hell up.”
                    -Ben Shapiro

“A recent survey of employers asked if they would fire workers if the minimum wage were raised. Two-thirds of the employers said that they would not. That was good enough for a minimum wage advocate. Unfortunately, the consequences of minimum wage laws cannot be predicted on the basis of employers' statements of their intentions. Nor can the consequences of a minimum wage law be determined, even after the fact, by polling employers on what they did. The problem with polls, in dealing with an empirical question like this, is that you can only poll survivors.”
                   -Thomas Sowell

“During the first cold-weather Super Bowl, Fox Sports will use an infrared camera that will show how players' body temperatures change throughout the game. And MSNBC will have a simulcast, blaming the changes on global warming.”
                   -Fred Thompson

“10 Books That Screwed Up the World: And 5 Others That Didn't Help”  by Benjamin Wiker. You've heard of the "Great Books"?  These are their evil opposites. From Machiavelli's The Prince to Karl Marx's The Communist Manifesto to Alfred Kinsey's Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, these "influential" books have led to war, genocide, totalitarian oppression, family breakdown, and disastrous social experiments. And yet these authors' bad ideas are still popular and pervasive--in fact, they might influence your own thinking without your realizing it. Here with the antidote is Professor Benjamin Wiker.

Are you dazed and confused by Barack Obama, the nominal Democrat, whose conduct as president since 2009 has seen him sink from nearly 70 percent to 40 percent or less in the national polling, from which he has seemed to learn nothing, but still marches on? Fear not, the doctor is in: Fred Siegel of the Manhattan Institute, whose latest book, “The Revolt Against The Masses: How Liberalism Has Undermined the Middle Class”, explains all you wanted to know about Obama, and much else.

What a lost prison manuscript reveals about the real Nelson Mandela.   An example:  “Unquestionably, my sympathies lay with Cuba [during the 1962 missile crisis]. The ability of a small state to defend its independence demonstrates in no uncertain terms the superiority of socialism over capitalism.”

Are we facing a dangerous period of global cooling? That´s not a question that many have been asking. But reports that there has been a sharp reduction in sunspot activity raises that possibility. It has happened before….. The result of the “Maunder Minimum” of sunspots was a so-called Little Ice Age,

One of the latest badges of greenie virtue is the mini-car. Supposedly, if you drive one of these little contraptions, you demonstrate your concern for Mother Gaia and help diminish the risk that catastrophic global warming will engulf low lying coastal areas and fry the rest of us in temperatures that will be a couple of degrees higher in the next hundred years. In this worldview, people who drive around in SUVs are carelessly risking the very future of humanity……what about the risk of serious injury when one of these tiny vehicles encounters an obstacle?

As the battle between the grassroots and the establishment sides of the Republican Party rages on, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is taking a very public stance on the side of the establishment.  “I Embrace Being a Chamber of Commerce Republican”

As House Republican leaders prepare an immigration proposal that could go much further towards amnesty than their prior public stances, conservative lawmakers are quietly plotting to push back.

“In the latest indication of a growing libertarian wing of the GOP, the Republican National Committee passed a resolution Friday calling for an investigation into the “gross infringement” of Americans’ rights by National Security Agency programs that were revealed by Edward Snowden.”

Libertarian wing of GOP gains strength in Congress

Think it´s hard to enroll in ObamaCare? Try getting out of it. Missouri resident Lesli Hill learned the hard way that terminating an Affordable Care Act plan can be far more difficult than navigating the website to buy one. She spent six weeks being bounced from operator to operator, calling the help line, using the online chat, blasting out emails to anyone who would listen, before ultimately driving to Kansas City last week to enlist her insurance company´s help. Only then was she able to break through the bureaucratic logjam, and cancel her policy.

“This isn’t your grandparents’ rally”  Every January for the past 40 years, a large group of anti-abortion advocates has gathered on the National Mall and then marched to the Supreme Court to mark the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Organizers say their participants in the past few years have numbered from 200,000 to 400,000, a large part of whom are young people, and yet they remain perplexed why one of the largest demonstrations in Washington, D.C., gets little of the attention they feel it is due.
This week ABC and NBC allocated a total of 46 seconds covering the event; CBS failed to even mention it. The big three did, however, spend 4 minutes and 41 seconds covering the National Zoo's baby panda

Quite a few gathered in Olympia as well.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has effectively declared that anyone who holds a pro-life position should leave the state.

To the delight of dorm rooms everywhere, President Obama has all but endorsed marijuana legalization. "I don't think it is more dangerous than alcohol."   He called the Colorado and Washington legalization experiments "important for society," while offering no comment on the federal Controlled Substances Act that he has an obligation to enforce equally across the country.
It may be awhile before national corporations blatantly target the stoner market with mainstream advertising campaigns, but many companies have found a way to infiltrate the late-night psyche of the cannabis cult insurgence by producing commercials with subliminal messages aimed at turning the marijuana munchies into big business.

“Another scary debt chart.”

"[T]he best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. Repeal that [welfare] law, and you will soon see a change in their manners. ... [T]he more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer. More will be done for their happiness by inuring them to provide for themselves, than could be done by dividing all your estates among them."
                  -Benjamin Franklin (1766)

"If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the Divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws."
                 -Noah Webster

Leno:  According to a new study, smog is drifting across the Pacific Ocean from China and polluting our West Coast. Can't we make anything in this country anymore?..... President Obama is getting serious about this NSA spying scandal. He told the nation that the NSA will not be used "for the purpose of suppressing or burdening criticism or dissent." You see, that's what the IRS is for. That’s their job.

Fallon: Yesterday the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks advanced to the big game, which means this year’s Super Bowl will have teams from the two states where recreational marijuana is legal. Or as pizza delivery men put it, "Pray for us."

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