Friday, March 30, 2012

Time to end the war on coal

By Rebekah Rast
Forty-five percent of America’s energy needs are met by a single industry — coal.

And it is this industry that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Energy and President Obama himself continues to burden with heavy regulations, rules and guidelines.

Though 90 percent of coal consumed in the U.S. is used for electricity, the power is also used for making steel, paper and cement.

As this administration continues to lay burdensome rules on this industry, attempting to push coal out of the energy sector completely, where is America expected to make up for losing almost 50 percent of its electric energy source? Not to mention the other affected industries that are also dependent on coal?

Those questions are likely to remain unanswered as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues writing even more rules and regulations that negatively affect the coal industry.

The latest set of rules stem from concerns reached in 2009.  It was then the EPA decided greenhouse gas pollution poses a huge risk to human health and well being.  Interestingly, these rules to cap carbon emissions on power plants, affect all future power plants — those being built 12 months from now and beyond.
But while the EPA worries about regulating the air of future America, coal power plants will have a big problem complying with these rules.
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Flexible Enough

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A vote of no confidence?

By Robert Romano
What one would have given to be a fly on the wall as the House voted March 29 on the Republican Study Committee (RSC) alternative budget proposal, which ultimately found a majority of the House Republicans voting in favor of ditching the proposal favored by leadership.

By a vote of 136 to 104, Republicans clearly favored the alternate measure proposed by Rep. Scott Garrett and Rep. Jim Jordan over the plan that had been proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan.

The major difference between the two was the RSC would get the budget to balance in five years, whereas the Ryan plan would not do so until 2040. This was after Republicans pledged in 2010 to “put us on a path to balance the budget and pay down the debt.”

Surprisingly, just 49 out of 94 freshmen Republican representatives voted in favor of the RSC plan. GOP veterans actually voted in favor of the proposal at a higher rate than did the freshmen, with 87 in favor and 59 opposed, providing the margin for the RSC’s symbolic victory.

Nonetheless this could be viewed internally — and externally to anyone who cares to pay attention — as a vote of no confidence in the more tepid Ryan approach.
Get full story here.

One Big Question Remains In Trayvon Martin Case: How’s It Affecting Skittles?

by Jon Bershad
Ever since the horrible case of Trayvon Martin’s shooting first broke, it’s been clear that was opening a Pandora’s Box of touchy subjects and hard questions for the nation. Instantly, we were thrown into a veritable field of conversational landmines such as racial profiling, gun control, and police malfeasance. But, now that our calm and collected media figures have totally wrapped all those subjects up cleanly instead of just yelling at each other like idiots (right?), one final question remains; Is Skittles making too much money off a dead child?

As everyone knows, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was gunned down because George Zimmerman thought he looked “suspicious” when, in actuality, he was just carrying Skittles, Arizona Iced Tea, and wearing a hoodie (or, as Geraldo Rivera calls it, “Satan’s Shroud”). As tons of rallies have occurred throughout the country, those calling for Martin to have justice have shown their support by buying tons of iced tea and the fruity candy. Tasting the defiant rainbow, as it were.

It’s a fairly beautiful message; showing solidarity as well as reminding people just how young Martin was when he was taken from this earth. However, when you continuously buy products as a political message, that product’s parent company starts to make a lot of money. And that’s started to make people a little uneasy.

Yesterday, The New York Times brought the question to the forefront in an article entitled “For Skittles, Death Brings Both Profit and Risk,” which, honestly, would be an awesome new slogan for the candy. In it, they point out that the sales of the candy have skyrocketed which has led supporters to ask that Wrigley, the candy’s parent company, give some of the money back to charity.

This has put the company in a bind. Do they risk angering the Martin supporters who are buying tons of their product or do those risk other people who are really mad about the case but are totally not racist and just happen to think that that guy who shot the black kid might not be such a bad dude. Seriously. When President Obama can ignite a national debate just by making the controversial statement that “Hey, a young boy dying is tragic,” it’s clear how ridiculously fraught this subject has become.

Wrigley released a statement about a week ago. Watch them attempt this high wire act:
“We are deeply saddened by the news of Trayvon Martin’s death and express our sincere condolences to his family and friends. We also respect their privacy and feel it inappropriate to get involved or comment further as we would never wish for our actions to be perceived as an attempt of commercial gain following this tragedy.”
Unsurprisingly, that settled little. Things have continued to keep getting worse and worse for Wrigley and Arizona.

These things happen whenever a brand name product becomes a symbol. It’s similar to that time it came out that the Guy Fawkes masks favored by Anonymous protesters were owned by Time Warner. It’s just an unwinnable situation. Supporters don’t want to give up their powerful symbol, one that people have rallied around, but they also don’t want to keep helping some faceless corporation.
The whole thing is pretty ridiculous. After all, it’s fairly amazing that the conversation about a horrible killing has somehow morphed into a conversation about candy sales. Still, it’s much better than when this was all about politics. Sheesh.

Wikileaked: Bin Laden Body Not Buried At Sea

The body of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden was not buried at sea, according to leaked emails of intelligence firm Stratfor, as revealed by WikiLeaks.

Stratfor’s vice-president for intelligence, Fred Burton, believes the body was “bound for Dover, [Delaware] on [a] CIA plane” and then “onward to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Bethesda [Maryland],” an email says.

The official version is that the body of Al-Qaeda’s top man, who was killed by a US raid in Pakistan on May 2, 2011, was buried at an undisclosed location at sea in a proper Muslim ceremony.

“If body dumped at sea, which I doubt, the touch is very Adolph Eichman like. The Tribe did the same thing with the Nazi’s ashes,” Burton commented in another email. Eichman was one of the masterminds of the Holocaust by Nazi Germany. He was captured by Mossad agents in Argentina and, tried in Israel, found guilty and executed in 1962. His body was cremated and his ashes were scattered at sea over the Mediterranean.
“Eichmann was seen alive for many months on trial before being sentenced to death and executed. No one wanted a monument to him so they cremated him. But i dont know anyone who claimed he wasnt eicjhman [sic]. No comparison with suddenly burying him at sea without any chance to view him which i doubt happened [sic],” Stratfor CEO George Friedman replied.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

New Questions About Evidence Used to Convict Grandmother in Shaken Baby Case

by ProPublica, and Joseph Shapiro, NPR

Shirley Ree Smith lives with her daughter Tomeka in Alexandria, Minn., a quaint town of approximately 11,000 people located about midway between Fargo and Minneapolis. They share a small, tidy apartment with Tomeka’s children, Marquis and Yondale, both teenagers. Tomeka’s daughter, Yolanda, attends college in Nevada.

On a recent afternoon, Smith greeted Yondale as he came home from school carrying a battered skateboard. She cooks for her grandsons, helps them with their homework, and generally keeps an eye out for them while Tomeka is away at work.

She knows their time together could end at any moment.

Smith moved to Alexandria while in the midst of an extraordinary legal struggle. Fifteen years ago a jury convicted her of shaking another grandson, 7-week-old Etzel Glass, to death.  At the time, Smith and her family were living in Van Nuys, Calif.

From the beginning, Smith has maintained her innocence. In 2006, after a decade in prison, a federal appellate court overturned Smith’s conviction and freed her. Late last year, however, the U.S. Supreme Court moved to reinstate the conviction, and today, she faces a possible return to state prison. She has petitioned California Gov. Jerry Brown for clemency, asking him to commute her sentence.

For now, she lives in a kind of legal limbo. We spoke to her last week, and ProPublica’s A.C. Thompson asked her what it was like to live each day without knowing whether she’ll be returned to a cell to continue serving a term of 15 years to life.

Watch "Free, But Not Really Free" on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

But a deep divide exists within the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner that could influence the governor’s decision. A senior pathologist in the coroner’s office has sharply questioned the forensic evidence used to convict Smith, identifying what he says are a host of flaws in the case.

Los Angeles prosecutors constructed the case against Smith largely on the findings of medical experts working for the county coroner. During an autopsy, forensic pathologists discovered a small amount of bleeding on the infant’s brain and in his optic nerves. They concluded the death was a homicide.
But documents obtained by ProPublica, FRONTLINE and NPR show that in January, the coroner’s office asked several staff doctors to take a second look at the infant’s death.

The new report by the pathologist, Dr. James Ribe, details eight “diagnostic problems” with the coroner’s 1996 ruling that the child had died from violent shaking or a forceful blow to the head. Ribe wrote that he saw little evidence that the infant had been attacked, noting “the complete absence of bodily trauma, such as face trauma, grab marks, bruises, rib fractures, or neck trauma.” Other doctors in the office reassessed the case and stood by the homicide ruling.

In Ribe’s view, the injuries to the child’s brain were relatively minor and could have been caused by the birth process. He also noted that the baby’s lungs were speckled with tiny blood spots called petechiae, which are often linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and suffocation, and pointed out that Glass had been sleeping face down on an “unsafe sleep surface” — a couch cushion — on the night of his death.

The “bottom line,” wrote Ribe, is “there was head trauma, but we don’t know when it happened or how it happened. We don’t know if it’s related to the cause of death. The conservative approach would be to acknowledge these unknowns. The cause of death should be diagnosed as undetermined.”
Reached by phone, Ribe declined to comment.

Dr. Eugene Carpenter, who supervised the original autopsy, remains certain that Glass’s death was a homicide. He stood by his original assessment, stating that Glass died as a result of abuse. Dr. Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran, the chief medical examiner-coroner, largely concurred, writing that the baby was the victim of abuse that injured his brain and may also have been intentionally suffocated.

The Los Angeles Department of Coroner would not address the conflicting views about the case.
Smith told us that if the coroner’s office took a more thorough look at the case back in 1996 it’s possible that she would never have gone to prison.

Watch "It's a Good Thing" on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

In the decade and a half since Smith was convicted, much has changed in the world of forensics. The National Academy of Sciences in 2009 issued a lengthy report highlighting flaws in the country’s coroner and medical examiner system and criticizing the techniques used in law enforcement crime labs.

Among doctors there’s an increasing awareness of ailments and conditions that can mimic the typical symptoms of child abuse — bleeding and bruising. The leading textbook on pediatric head injuries now includes two chapters on these mimics; they range from sickle cell anemia to congenital brain malformations to unintentional damage caused by the use of forceps or vacuums during birth.

Smith’s conviction was always based on a novel theory outside the usual pattern of shaken baby syndrome cases, which are typically marked by a triad of symptoms: bleeding on the brain and in the retinas, and swelling of the brain. Glass had only one of these symptoms, a tablespoon or two of blood, pooled on top of his brain.

During the trial, Carpenter told jurors that while the bleeding wasn’t enough to kill the baby, Glass was shaken or slammed so forcefully that his brain stem was fatally — but invisibly — damaged, shutting his whole body down instantly. “There is no evidence” of the brain stem injury, Carpenter testified, “and there is no evidence expected to be found in a shaken infant that dies quickly because the body does not have time to react to the injury.”

The jury convicted Smith of felony child endangerment — a form of second-degree murder — and she spent the next decade of her life dwelling in a California women’s prison.

But Carpenter’s testimony didn’t sway the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which in 2006 overturned Smith’s conviction. The court found “there was simply no demonstrable support for shaking as the cause of death.” Smith’s incarceration, added the court, had “very likely been a miscarriage of justice.”
Smith told us she greeted the decision with relief.

Watch "Finally Justice Was Served" on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

But when the initial joy wore off, Smith had difficulty resuming her life in the free world. Her collision with the criminal justice system carried lingering psychological effects, leaving her feeling “lost” and fearful, she said. After a stint in a cheap hotel on Los Angeles’s skid row and a bout of homelessness, Smith eventually moved to the Midwest, where Tomeka and her surviving grandchildren were living.

Her legal struggle, however, continued. The California attorney general appealed the case, and late last year, a divided U.S. Supreme Court reversed the 9th Circuit [PDF].  “The Court of Appeals in this case substituted its judgment for that of a California jury on the question whether the prosecution’s or the defense’s expert witnesses more per­suasively explained the cause of a death,” wrote the court in an unsigned opinion.

At the high court’s direction, the 9th Circuit reinstated Smith’s conviction in February of this year.
That move prompted Smith’s lawyers Michael Brennan, a law professor at the University of Southern California, and his co-counsel, Dennis Riordan, to petition Brown to commute Smith’s sentence to the 10 years she has served, rather than returning her to a prison cell.

In a letter to the governor, the attorneys note that prosecutors recently asked pediatrician Carol Berkowitz to review the evidence. The doctor’s report contradicts Carpenter’s theory that Glass died nearly instantly after someone abused him — and highlights the lack of scientific consensus among medical experts when it comes to sudden infant fatalities.

Tomeka Smith — Glass’s mother — is adamant that nobody abused her child. “Our family is so loving it’s ridiculous,” she said in an interview, adding that she has complete faith in her mother.
“My mother never spanked me, she never cursed me, she never yelled at me,” Tomeka Smith recalled. “There’s no possible way she could’ve done what they say. If I had any doubt about that, I would’ve wanted her prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Video Editor: Michael H. Amundson; Camera: Michael H. Amundson; Megan McGough

Teen girls brutal soccer attack earns assault charge

An investigation is underway after video shows a teenage girl being assaulted during a high school soccer match.

The attack happened during a soccer game between Chester High School and Lewisville High School on Monday evening around 5:30 p.m.

The video, which was shot by WBTV's partner CN2 News, shows a player from Lewisville tripping and falling to the ground.

The player, later identified as 18-year-old Annette McCullough who is a senior at Lewisville, then gets off the ground and punches a nearby Chester High school player. The teen victim is then dragged to the ground by her hair, while McCullough continues to punch her in the face, the video shows.

The attack lasted around ten seconds before a woman is able to separate the two players. The video shows McCullough punching the victim at least eleven times.

A referee then escorts McCullough off the field.

Chester County Sheriff Richard Smith told WBTV that deputies were called to Lewisville High School to the report of an assault. McCullough is being charged with simple assault, according to the incident report from the Sheriff's Office.

Referees will review the video with the South Carolina High School League to see if any punishments will be handed down.

"Some incidental contact ended in one girl going down and she just got up and started pummeling," referee Alan Parker said after the game. It's unfortunate, it really is. Contact is a part of soccer, but when you retaliate like that, obviously, there is no place in the game for that."

Parker, who has been coaching, playing and refereeing for many years, says it isn't uncommon to see a scuffle, but this was different.

"Occasionally you have players that go at it, on the field together, but in this case it was just one girl pummeling the other girl," he said. "And she didn't stop which is even more egregious."

The victim's mother, Juanita, says she was shocked by what she saw on the field.

"I think it is nonsense that girls can't come and play soccer without getting assaulted over nonsense, that's just how I feel about it," she said. "She's gonna have to go to the doctor and have some tests."

The Sheriff's report states that the victim had several "swollen knots behind her right ear" and a mark on her neck, but was not bleeding.

Juanita said that she believes McCullough needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and believes the senior should be banned from playing soccer in the league.

Lewisville High School's assistant head coach Paul Atkerson said that the team will deal with the incident.

"I know it will not be tolerated on this team and here in Lewisville," he said. "This is something that should not have happened, it should not have happened at all."

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

ACLU Says FBI Gathered Info on Legal Activities of Muslims

By Allan Lengel

The ACLU says FBI documents show that the San Francisco FBI gathered intelligence on American Muslim religious organizations on their “constitutionally protected beliefs and activities, without any suspicion of wrongdoing.

The ACLU said in a story posted on its website that the FBI gathered the info from 2004 through at least 2008 through its “mosque outreach” program.
The FBI documents “also show that the FBI categorized information about American Muslims’ First Amendment-protected and other entirely innocuous activities, as well as mosque locations, as ‘positive intelligence’ and disseminated it to agencies outside the FBI.”

The ACLU said the result was that the FBI cast a cloud of suspicion over innocent groups and individuals.

FBI Says Pitts. Man Tried to Steal Identity of Microsoft Co-Founder

Paul Allen/60 minutes By Allan Lengel
By Allan Lengel

If you’re going to steal someone’s identity, you might as well grab it from a billionaire.

That’s what Brandon Lee Price figured. He just didn’t figure he’d get caught.

Bloomberg news reports that the AWOL soldier called Citibank in January and asked the bank to change the address of Microsolf co-founder Paul Allen from Seattle to Pittsburgh.

A few days later, he told the bank that he had lost his ATM card and asked that a new one be sent to his Pittsburgh home, Bloomberg reported.

The news outlet reported that he attempted to use the card to get a $15,000 Western Union transaction and to make a $658.81 payment on an Armed Forces Bank loan, Bloomberg reported. Only the loan payment made it through without detection.

Embarrassment: Fed Judge Dismisses All Conspiracy Charges Against Michigan Militia

Hutaree members/southern poverty law center photo

By Allan Lengel

DETROIT — From the get-go, defense attorneys had insisted the high-profile  federal case in downtown Detroit against Michigan militia members was extremely weak. And they predicted it would result in an embarrassment for the government.

They were right.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts dismissed conspiracy charges against all seven defendants of the Hutaree militia, concluding, as the defense had suggested all along, that there was not enough evidence that the group plotted to revolt against the government and kill a cop and commit other violence, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Gun charges against two members remained in a case developed by the FBI through an undercover agent and informant.

“We’re just grateful to Judge Roberts for having the courage to do the right thing …very few judges have that kind of courage,” said one defense attorney Michael Rataj,according to the Free Press. “There was no case. There was no conspiracy.”

In his opinion, according to the Free Press, Roberts wrote: “The evidence is not sufficient for a rational factfinder to find that defendants came to a concrete agreement to forcibly oppose the authority of the government of the United States as charged in the indictment.”
To read more click here.

The ‘new’ normal, part 2

By Bill Wilson

In the first part of “The ‘new’ normal,” we analyzed the dilemma faced by fiscal reformers seeking to make budgetary cuts or even balance budgets in advanced economies that have active central banks.

Namely, if central banks around the world can just engage in unadulterated monetary expansion to enable profligate governments to perpetually refinance new and existing debt obligations — hardly a new practice — what need is there to ever cut spending?

Beyond that, we previously noted that even though too much debt can inhibit economic growth, and that a debt-induced funding crisis can even bring a society to its knees as in Greece, the world central bank cartel possesses a trump card.

So dependent are governments (and other financial institutions) on this unlimited financing scheme that, if the printing presses were shut off, it would likely crash the world financial system as governments and banks defaulted on their borrowings. That is because the large bulk of debts, particularly by governments, are never paid. They are simply rolled over via refinancing.

In addition, financial elites argue that cutting government spending and borrowing would have a deflationary effect, increasing unemployment, causing a recession or worse.

This creates something of an impasse to adopting responsible fiscal reforms in Washington, D.C. and other capitals the world over.

But since that is more or less the state of affairs — the world central bank cartel, after all, is in a position to dictate such terms — the onus is therefore on fiscal reformers to show why spending should be cut anyway, and that sound money should be restored. The fiscal reformer’s case is very much a prescriptive one to make, whereas those in favor of unlimited, perpetual deficit-spending and never repaying the national debt need only argue for the status quo.

Why act?

The first reason for action is because it is necessary — before it is too late. The greatest threats to the current system are black swan, worst-case scenarios. For example, 1) the increasing possibility of widespread rejection of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency because our debt load is too great; 2) that oil and other commodities will no longer be settled and priced in dollars, causing rampant inflation domestically; or 3) China and other foreign creditors actively dump their U.S. treasuries holdings in an attempt to crash the market for U.S. debt and dollar-denominated assets.

Any one of those events occurring would likely cause the other two to take place, and therefore pose considerable downside risks. The death of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency would significantly increase the costs of servicing U.S. debt privately, and lead to much higher prices (i.e. hyperinflation) here in the U.S.
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Predictions of Obamacare’s Demise by Liberal Media Premature

By John Vinci

As originally published at
Yesterday, Jeffrey Toobin, a liberal legal analyst for CNN, was rebuked by Senator Harry Reid for predicting that, based on yesterday’s oral arguments, the Supreme Court would rule against Obamacare’s Individual Mandate. But despite early predictions of the Individual Mandate’s demise, a closer look at the oral arguments shows that such analysis is premature.

It is generally agreed that in order to win this case, the respondents (opponents of the law)[1] will have to win over the four conservatives on the bench, Justices Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito, as well as, the court’s perennial swing vote, Justice Kennedy.

Each of them would have to agree with the law’s opponents on both of two issues:

1. The Individual Mandate is not constitutional because it violates Congress’s Commerce Clause powers.
2. The Individual Mandate is not a tax and thus is not constitutionally justified under Congress’s power to tax.

Yesterday’s oral arguments were almost entirely centered on the Commerce Clause.[2]

The Obama Administration argued that, similar to a 1942 case called Wickard v. Filburn,[3] the individual mandate is a necessary part of a larger economic system.

Wickard is the foundation of the modern understanding of the Commerce Clause that says that Congress is permitted to regulate those things that have a substantial effect on interstate commerce. In Wickard the Supreme Court ruled that a Congress could go as far as to prohibit a farmer from growing wheat for his own personal use even though that wheat would never enter the intrastate market let alone the interstate market. The court reasoned that the aggregate effects of all who grow their own wheat could substantially affect interstate commerce. And thus, the Supreme Court expanded the powers of Congress under the Constitution.

To the surprise of the liberal news media, Kennedy and the conservatives on the Court expressed skepticism in their multiple pointed questions to Donald Verrilli, Jr., the Obama Administration’s Solicitor General. Chief among their questions was, since we have a government of enumerated powers, what limits Congress’s commerce power?

The respondents’ key argument is that Congress has never used its commerce power to regulate inactivity (not purchasing health insurance), and that if Congress can regulate both economic activity and inactivity, there’s no end what it can do.

Scalia and Kennedy, both thought to be potential swing votes in this case, wanted to know what limiting principle the Obama Administration would apply.[4] Said Scalia,

…[T]he Federal Government is not supposed to be a government that has all powers; … it's supposed to be a government of limited powers. [5]

The Obama Administration further argues that regardless of Congress’s authority under its commerce powers, it independently has the power to institute an individual mandate under its taxing powers. This is a troubling problem for opponents of the law should the Court hold that the Mandate is a tax.
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Freshman Mulvaney’s attempt to bring fiscal sanity to D.C.

By Rick Manning

As originally published at
On the same week that Washington’s political punditry runs wild with analysis on the Supreme Court’s oral arguments on the constitutionality of ObamaCare, and the rest of the country is busily checking their NCAA basketball tournament brackets, the House of Representatives will debate three visions for the fiscal course of our nation.

Incredibly, it is more than likely that this fundamental argument about our nation’s very future will not even make a wave in the public discourse.

It is anticipated that the House of Representatives will vote on the president’s fiscal 2013 budget proposal, which never balances the budget and which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reports will leave the nation $6.4 trillion more in debt in the next 10 years. Even as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) vows to continue his ostrich-like policy of not bringing up the president’s plan, or even attempting to pass any budget, the House will give the Obama budget the consideration it deserves.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WIs.) will also be offering his budget, which includes some modest up-front deficit reduction and even more modest Medicare reforms. Ryan’s proposed budget will bring the federal budget to balance in 2040. Yes, if everything goes exactly as scripted in Ryan’s budget, today’s 18-year-olds can look forward to a federal balanced budget when they turn 46.
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Monday, March 26, 2012

2012 Charity Cala

Dr. Boyce: George Zimmerman Says He Cries for Trayvon? Greeeaattt

It has been recently reported that George Zimmerman, the man who shot Trayvon Martin, couldn’t stop crying after shooting Trayvon. The revelation surfaced after one of Zimmerman’s defenders went public to talk about the angst and inner turmoil being experienced by the man who has become public enemy number one.

When I heard about the inconvenience Zimmerman has experienced as a result of Trayvon’s death, my head cocked to the side like a dog being told to read Webster’s dictionary.  There is nothing that irritates me more than when someone does something stupid and then expects others to feel sorry for them.  I go through this with some of my own relatives, and it’s always annoyed me:  You’re the big man when it comes to doing what you want to do, but act like a two-year old when it’s time to deal with the consequences.

Guess what Mr. Zimmerman?  The number of tears you’ve shed after the death of Trayvon Martin pales in comparison to the number of tears being shed by his mother.   Also, billions of tears being shed by millions of people would not have come to pass had a self-appointed, pseudo law enforcement officer not chosen to terrorize an innocent, unarmed civilian, chase him down like an animal and shoot him in cold blood.  So, sorry my friend, the world only hopes to increase the depth of your misery, not to alleviate it.

If Zimmerman were truly remorseful for what he did to Trayvon Martin, he would do the right thing and turn himself in to police.  The New Black Panther Party has released “Wanted Dead or Alive” posters for George Zimmerman.  Should one of these men “accidentally” bump into Zimmerman, identify him as looking suspicious, chase him down and shoot him, I’m sure they would be in handcuffs faster than you can say the words “Florida loves to lock up black people.”

The bottom line is that George Zimmerman, the man who was clearly told not to go after Martin by the 911 operator, had no authority to be asking Martin any questions that night.  He certainly had no right to threaten him with a gun, follow him or ask him why he was in that neighborhood.   Zimmerman’s irresponsible behavior on the night that Trayvon was killed has left a toxic stain in race relations that may not wash away for decades.   Zimmerman can go cry over that.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Two years of Obamacare and ‘We're still trying to find out what's in it.’

By John Vinci
As originally published at
Today is the second anniversary of the passage of Obamacare. And by our count there are now over one hundred Obamacare regulatory implementation documents that span over 10,000 pages and contain nearly 2.5 million words.[1] You'd think that 2.5 million words would be enough to tell us exactly how Obamacare will work and operate.

Not so, says Governor Gary Herbert of Utah.

We still don’t know
Utah was proud of the market-based healthcare reforms it had made prior to Obamacare. It was one of two states to have implemented an insurance exchange before Obamacare.

But now Utah is working hard to figure out how their reforms will work within the context of Obamacare.

Last fall, Gov. Herbert's administration sent a 58-page document to the Obama Administration outlining questions that Utah still has about how Obamacare will be implemented at the state level. Herbert said that even the Obama Administration’s newly released 1,039 pages of regulations within the prior week, "still don't answer the questions we've been asking."[2]

For Governor Herbert, these regulations only "add to the confusion and uncertainty in the marketplace which inhibits our ability to [act on] healthcare reform."[3]

And these regulations are just the beginning.
Get full story here.

Eat Health Car

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Hunting for scapegoats won’t lower pump prices

By Paul Driessen

When President Obama took office, regular gasoline cost $1.85 a gallon. Now it’s hit $4.00 per gallon in many cities, and some analysts predict it could reach $5.00 or more this summer. Filling your tank could soon slam you for $75-$90.

Winter was warm. Our economy remains weak. People are driving less, in cars that get better mileage, even with mandatory 10 percent low-mileage ethanol. Gasoline is plentiful.

Misinformed politicians and pundits say prices should be falling. Our pain at the pump is due to greedy speculators, they claim, and greedier oil companies that are exporting oil and refined products.

Their explanation is superficially plausible — but wrong.
Energy Information Administration (EIA) data show that 76 percent of what we pay for gasoline is determined by world crude oil prices; 12 percent is federal and state taxes; 6 percent is refining; and 6 percent is marketing and distribution. The price that refiners pay for crude is set by global markets.
World prices are driven by supply and demand, and unstable global politics. That means today’s prices are significantly affected by expectations and fears about tomorrow.

A major factor is Asia’s growing appetite for oil — coupled with America’s refusal to produce more of its own petroleum. Prices are also whipsawed by uncertainty over potential supply disruptions, due to drilling accidents and warfare in Nigeria; disputes over Syria, Yemen and Israeli-Palestinian territories; erroneous reports of a pipeline explosion in Saudi Arabia; concern about attacks on Middle East oil pipelines and processing centers; and new Western sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program and the mullahs’ threats to close the Straits of Hormuz.

Moreover, oil is priced in U.S. dollars, and the Federal Reserve’s easy money, low interest policies – combined with massive U.S. indebtedness — have weakened the dollar’s value. It now costs refineries more dollars to buy a barrel of crude than it did three years ago.

Amid this uncertainty and unrest, speculators try to forecast future prices and price shocks, pay less today for crude oil that could cost more four weeks hence, and get the best possible price for clients who need reliable supplies. When they’re wrong, speculators end up buying high, selling low and losing money.
Oil speculators play a vital role, just as they do in corn and other commodities futures markets.
Get full story here.

Ryan budget balanced in 2040 too austere?

By Robert Romano

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the budget proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, and to be voted on by the House of Representatives, would be balanced by 2040.

By his own numbers, the only time the budget would even be cut is in 2013 and 2014, and then by $94 billion and $54 billion. After that, spending would increase every single year under a new baseline.
A rather modest proposal, considering the current fiscal predicament the nation is in, where the $15.57 trillion national debt is now larger than the entire economy.

That has not prevented critics from blasting the Ryan proposal as being too austere. For example the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein charges that his deficit reduction plan targets the poor.

Klein complains about cuts to so-called “mandatory” programs, which under Ryan’s budget are reduced by $100 billion — less than 3 percent of the total present budget — over the next five years.

That’s really not that much. One could find more cuts than that in those types of programs without looking too hard.

For example, returning to just 26 weeks of unemployment benefits would save $80 billion. Going back to 2008 spending levels on Medicaid and food stamps would save $75 billion and $40 billion respectively. Eliminating the earned income and making work pay tax credits would save another $64 billion.

All together, that’s over $260 billion of cuts that could be enacted in a single year without severely disrupting much of anything. These were, after all, spending levels everyone was comfortable with just 3 years ago.
In fact, one could go even further to address the seemingly insurmountable fiscal situation we face. But to do so, we muster the political will that presently is sorely lacking — and may remain so until we face a severe crisis.

We must not wait for a debt apocalypse to act. Presently, the sustainability of our fiscal trajectory depends almost entirely on the U.S. dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency, and our central bank’s ability to monetize the debt.
Get full story here.

'Runaway planets’ hurled from galaxies at 30 million mph ‘Runaway planets’ hurled from galaxies at 30

Now that’s a wild ride!
Astronomers have discovered that the incredible gravitational strength of supermassive black holes can tear planets away from their star systems and hurl them through space at incredible speeds — as fast as 30 million mph.

They noted that this is “a few percent” of the speed of light, a theoretical constant of 186,000 miles per second or about 670 million mph.

Called hypervelocity planets, the speedy worlds vastly outrace runaway stars that scientists found flying out of our galaxy seven years ago at the tortoise-like pace of just 1.5 million miles per hour.
“These warp-speed planets would be some of the fastest objects in our Galaxy. If you lived on one of them, you’d be in for a wild ride from the center of the galaxy to the Universe at large,” said astrophysicist Avi Loeb of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
“You’d be in for a wild ride from the center of the galaxy to the Universe at large.”
- Astrophysicist Avi Loeb

For this study, the researchers simulated a double-star system that wanders too close to the supermassive black hole at the galactic center. They had already known that the black hole’s gravitational forces could rip the stars apart — sending one away at high speed while the other is captured into orbit around the black hole.

But what would happen if each star had a planet or two orbiting nearby?

The researchers found that the star ejected outward could carry its planets along for the ride. The second star, as it’s captured by the black hole, could have its planets torn away and flung into the icy blackness of interstellar space at tremendous speeds.

A typical hypervelocity planet would slingshot outward at 7 to 10 million miles per hour. However, a small fraction of them could gain much higher speeds under ideal conditions.

“Other than subatomic particles, I don’t know of anything leaving our galaxy as fast as these runaway planets,” added lead author Idan Ginsburg of Dartmouth College.

Current instruments can’t detect a lone hypervelocity planet since they are dim, distant, and very rare. However, astronomers could spot a planet orbiting a hypervelocity star by watching for the star to dim slightly when the planet crosses its face in a transit.

For a hypervelocity star to carry a planet with it, that planet would have to be in a tight orbit. Therefore, the chances of seeing a transit would be relatively high, around 50 percent.

“With one-in-two odds of seeing a transit, if a hypervelocity star had a planet, it makes a lot of sense to watch for them,” said Ginsburg.

Eventually, such worlds will escape the Milky Way and travel through the intergalactic void.
“Travel agencies advertising journeys on hypervelocity planets might appeal to particularly adventurous individuals,” added Loeb.
Article source: Rover

U.S. soldier to face 17 counts of murder in Afghan case

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U.S. army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales will be charged with 17 counts of murder, assault and a string of other offences in the massacre of Afghan villagers as they slept, a U.S. official says.

The charges signed against Bales include 17 counts of murder, six counts of attempted murder and six counts of aggravated assault as well as dereliction of duty and other violations of military law, the official said on condition of anonymity because the charges had not been announced.

The 38-year-old soldier and father of two who lives in Lake Tapps, Wash., is charged with going on a shooting rampage in two villages near his southern Afghanistan military post in the early hours of March 11, gunning down nine Afghan children and eight adults and burning some of the victims’ bodies.
The charges are to be read to Bales on Friday. He is being held in a military prison at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas and faces trial under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

The killings were yet another blow to U.S.-Afghan relations, following a series of missteps, including the accidental burning of Qur’ans, which prompted violent protests and revenge killings American troops in the war zone.

Accused was on 4th tour of duty

The brutal shooting rampage also prompted renewed debate in the United States about health care for the troops, who have experienced record suicide rates and high rates of post-traumatic stress and brain injuries during repeated deployments over a decade of the

Obama: My son would look like Trayvon

Obama says soul-searching needed in Trayvon Martin death NEW: President Obama calls for thorough investigation of Trayvon Martin shooting NEW: Nation must do some soul-searching over shooting, Obama says The black teenager was not armed when he was killed last month More than 1.3 million people have signed petition seeking justice in the case For more on the investigation into the Florida teen’s shooting death, watch “Trayvon Martin Killing” at 7 ET Saturday night on CNN. Sanford, Florida (CNN) — President Barack Obama waded into the growing national controversy of the killing of an unarmed black teenager in Florida, saying the nation should do some “soul-searching to figure out how something like this happens.” “I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this and that everybody pulls together, federal state and local, to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened.” Obama said Trayvon Martin’s death particularly resonated with him as an African-American parent. “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,” Obama said in brief remarks outside the White House

Read more:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Florida Student Becomes Violent in Class Over Trayvon Martin Incident

A woman who has apparently had enough with senseless violence in her home state of Florida, attacks her teacher and fellow students in class.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Some questions for Timothy Geithner on Greece

By Bill Wilson

Today, on March 20, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will be testifying the House Financial Services committee on the state of the international financial system.

This is an opportune moment for members to ask tough questions about U.S. taxpayers’ role in propping troubled sovereigns in Europe via the International Monetary Fund (IMF), especially with the Fund’s newly approved to $36.7 billion of loans to Greece. This will raise taxpayers’ stake in Greece to $13 billion, and Europe as a whole to $20.9 billion.

Particularly, in light of recent amendments 22 U.S.C. 286 et seq. in H.R. 4173, the Dodd-Frank financial legislation, the IMF’s U.S. executive director Meg Lundsager needed to have developed an evaluation for lending further resources to Greece. The law requires such an evaluation take place prior to approval, as Greece’s debt was well in excess of its GDP, and needed to show the Hellenic nation would not default on its new loans.

In addition, the law requires the Secretary to “report in writing” within 30 days of the loan’s approval to your committee “assessing the likelihood that loans made pursuant to such proposals will be repaid in full”.
This is particularly important because Greece just defaulted on about €105 billion debt ($138 billion) of its €340 billion debt ($447 billion). Of course, not even that saves the Secretary from having to provide the evaluation to Congress, because Greece’s remaining €235 billion debt ($309 billion) most certainly still exceeds its GDP, which for 2011 was €215 billion ($283 billion).

So far, it is not known whether this evaluation occurred or not. The House committee chaired by Rep. Spencer Bachus is charged with ensuring that the Secretary has complied with the law in full, a thorough evaluation was prepared prior to the loan’s approval, and that said analysis is delivered to Congress in a timely fashion.
Get full story here.

The thin veneer of democracy

By Rick Manning

America’s democratic republic depends upon the basic belief by the governed that those who represent them were elected through fair and honest elections.

While the losing side in an election contest can be disappointed, if they know that they lost “fair and square” then that disappointment is tempered by thoughts of what they could have done better, or how they might work harder in the next go-around.

However, if the voter and opposition party believe that the outcome is as straight as San Francisco’s Lombard Street, the very heart of democracy is ripped out.

Voter fraud is as old as the very act of voting has existed, and history is replete with examples of dubious election outcomes ranging from Kennedy’s victory over Nixon in 1960 to the Bloody 8th Congressional District in Indiana in 1984, where Republican Rick McIntyre won a recount by 484 votes only to have the results overturned by the Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, to the Washington state governors race in 2004, when Christine Gregoire’s team forced multiple recounts until they finally got into the lead and could secure the victory.

And who could forget local Florida officials desperately trying to interpret voter intentions and hanging chads in the 2000 Bush v. Gore election.

Through all of these isolated instances, however, the basic principle that voting counted and the outcomes were not pre-determined has held by a thread.

In other countries this is not the case. In 1984, while travelling in Mexico, my tour guide asked what I did for a living. I replied in my best Spanish, that I ran political campaigns for a living. The tour guide, steeped in Mexican politics, replied, “Why bother, it is all fixed. They should just give the money to the farmers.”
Get full story here.

Feds to investigate shooting death of FL teen (VIDEO)

ORLANDO – 7:09 a.m. – Following protests calling for the arrest of a Florida neighborhood watch captain who fatally shot an unarmed black teen, the U.S.Justice Department says it will investigate the case.
George Zimmerman, 28, claims he shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last month in self-defense during a confrontation in a gated community. Police have described Zimmerman as white; his family says he is Hispanic and not racist.

Zimmerman spotted Martin as he was patrolling his neighborhood last month and called the police emergency dispatcher to report a suspicious person. Against the advice of the dispatcher, Zimmerman then followed Martin, who was walking home from a convenience store with a bag of candy in his pocket.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The lynching of Trayvon Martin

By now I suspect that you’ve heard about the murder of 17 year-old Trayvon Martin. But in case you haven’t here are the details.
17-year-old Florida teenager Trayvon Martin

17-year-old Florida teenager Trayvon Martin
From The Washington Post
Seventeen year-old Trayvon Martin, who was visiting relatives in a gated community in Sanford, Fla., on February 17 was on his way back to their house from 7-Eleven with an iced tea and a bag of Skittles. That’s when he caught the eye of (28 year-old) George Zimmerman, a crime watch volunteer who called 911.

“Hey, we’ve had some break-ins in my neighborhood and there’s a real suspicious guy,” Zimmerman tells police before giving the address of where he is. “This guy looks like he’s up to no good or he’s on drugs or something.”

“These [expletive], they always get away,” Zimmerman says before getting out of his car to pursue Trayvon.

“Are you following him?” the police ask.

“Yes,” Zimmerman says. The officer on the phone tells him, “We don’t need you to do that.” But he did. In another 911 call, you can hear screaming for help and the fatal gunshot. Zimmerman brought a 9 mm handgun to the altercation. A scuffle ensued. Trayvon was fatally shot in the chest. His mother told the Associated Press yesterday, “(Zimmerman) was chasing him, he was following him, and my son was afraid. He didn’t know who this stranger was.”
Murderer George Zimmerman
Murderer George Zimmerman

George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin. But since the shooting the Sanford police department has interviewed Zimmerman at least three times and have declined to arrest him and the local DA has so far not charged him with any crime. And that’s what makes this more than simply a cold blooded murder, that makes it a lynching.

This Zimmerman apparently thought that a Black child walking in his neighborhood was suspicious. And now the police apparently are taking the side of Zimmerman. When a citizen kills another that’s murder but when law enforcement refuses to seek justice for the victim then it becomes a lynching.
And we all know that had Zimmerman been Black and Martin been a White teen, Zimmerman would be under the jail by now.

My hope is that very soon the U.S. Justice Department will intervene and arrest Zimmerman. And if they don’t do it soon I can very easily see this situation getting seriously out of hand. People want justice and when the system denies them it they sometimes find other ways of getting justice.

Report: Peyton Manning Picks Denver Broncos, Tim Tebow Likely To Be Traded

Peyton Manning will be the next quarterback of the Denver Broncos.
DENVER (FNN Media) — Peyton Manning will be the next quarterback of the Denver Broncos.
Barring an unforeseen snag, Manning and the Broncos will reach an agreement according to ESPN.
In addition, the Broncos will try to trade Tim Tebow.

As recently as this weekend Manning worked out for the Tennessee Titans, who were impressed with his showing. A false report leaked online this weekend that Manning was apparently ready to choose the Titans and a press conference was going to be called.

All the while, Manning’s agent, Tom Condon, had already been talking contract with Denver.
ESPN says reaching the contract is merely a formality.

Condon and Broncos VP John Elway discussed the parameters of a five-year, $95 million deal when Manning visited the team earlier this month.

One week later, as they visited in North Carolina, Elway told Manning’s camp that they wanted to finalize the contract.

The Broncos don’t appear to have many concerns over Manning’s health after he passed a team-administered physical earlier this month.

Still, the Broncos want language in the contract that protects them in case Manning is unable to return to the field.

The former Indianapolis Colts quarterback was released earlier this year after he missed all of last season following multiple neck surgeries.

Still, neither the Broncos nor Manning expect any hangups in finalizing the deal.
Manning has instructed Condon not to negotiate with the San Francisco 49ers and Tennessee Titans, the other two finalists to land him.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Best Man at Militia Wedding Ended Up Being FBI Informant

Hutaree members/southern poverty law center photo
By Allan Lengel

DETROIT — Next time you might want to think twice before you have a guy named “Jersey Steve” as the best man at your wedding.

The Detroit Free Press reports that ring leader David Stone Sr. of the Hutaree militia in Michigan grew so fond of his friendship with a trucker named “Jersey Steve” that he named him the best man at his wedding.

On Monday, Jersey Steve, aka Steven Haug, who was an FBI informant, testified in the federal trial in downtown Detroit of Stone, his wife, two sons and three others, the Free Press reported.
The group is accused of plotting to overthrow the government with guns and bombs.
Defense attorneys have claimed there’s nothing to the charges.
To read more click here.

Boston Mobster Whitey Bulger May Have Written Memoirs

By Allan Lengel

Well, William Shakespeare he may not be.

But apparently Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger — accused of killing 19 people — was into writing.
The Boston Globe reports that he may have written two memoirs that the feds may use against him in trial, now set for November. He’s charged with racketeering and killing 19 people.

“It is unclear at this juncture whether (Bulger) authored this document,” prosecutors wrote, according to the Globe.

The Globe reported that the feds seized a memoir “My Life in the Iris Mafia Wars” in 1995 at his South Boston residence.

And last year, when they arrested Bulger, 82, and his girlfriend Catherine Greig, 60, in Santa Monica, Calif., the feds seized a second document “which appears to be autobiographical,” the Globe reported.
To read more click here.

FBI Wants Google’s Help in Accessing Pimp’s Phone

By Allan Lengel

Technology is once again bumping up against law enforcement.

PC Magazine is reporting that the FBI has issued a warrant to get Google to give it a Gmail account and password and other info so it can tap into the Android cell phone of an alleged pimp suspected of playing a role in a human trafficking investigation.

PC reported that agents in the San Diego office seized a Samsung phone from suspected pimp Dante Dears on Jan. 17, but were unable to get past the lock on it.
To read more click here.

Woman Wore FBI Wire to Help Bring Down Ex-Ill. Gov Blago

Blagojevich/file photo
By Craig Wall
FOX Chicago News
CHICAGO — Pam Davis said convicted former governor Rod Blagojevich has lost his sense of reality.
“I feel a sense of vindication that justice has finally been served,” Davis said. “It’s taken more than eight years, but I do think truth prevailed.”

It has been a long journey for Davis, who has been waiting for this day, waiting for the end of what has been along road for her. She provided the evidence that lead to the FBI’s investigation of Blagojevich.

“The first couple of months I did not have suspicions that it went all the way up to the governor,” Davis said. “But shortly after the second month of working with the FBI, I began to get a sense that this was much more complex and that they tentacles from these individual that were scheming to make money off good works probably did go up to the governor.”
To read the full story click here.

Mobster Whitey Bulger’s Girlfriend Pleads; Admits Using 11 Aliases While on the Run

IMF approves another $36.7 billion to prop up Greece, ALG responds

March 15, 2012, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today condemned a decision by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which the U.S. funds, to lend another $36.7 billion to bail out Greece and the banks that foolishly lent her the money:
“To date, the IMF has given Greece and European banks $26.8 billion in kick-the-can refinance loans. Now the IMF, which the U.S. funds, is bailing out the banks that bet poorly on her debt with another $36.7 billion. Our stake was already $13.5 billion of American taxpayer money being used propping up Greece, Portugal and Ireland.

“With this latest loan, the U.S. stake will rise to mpre than $20 billion spent on bailing out Europe. That does not count additional lending that is taking place by the Federal Reserve to prop up the European financial system. To put the $20 billion spent on Europe into perspective, in the 2010 all 50 states got a bailout from the Pelosi-Reid Congress of $26.1 billion. We’ve sunk 12.7 times more into Greece, Portugal and Ireland per capita than individual states received on average in their last bailout. This is positively outrageous.

“Making matters worse, the U.S. has a prominent seat at the IMF, which could have been used to prevent this bailout. There has been no word on how the U.S. representative voted yet.
“Either, we voted yes, putting the lie to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner who just in February said ‘it’s unlikely you’re going to see the major shareholders of the IMF be prepared to have the IMF play a larger response’ in Greece. Or, perhaps we voted no, in which case it proves the U.S. has surrendered fiscal sovereignty to the international central bank cartel.

“Now is the time to pass legislation proposed by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Sen. Jim DeMint that would rescind $108 billion additional funding to the IMF it received in 2009 when Democrats had a majority in both houses of Congress. American taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize the foolish lending practices of foreign banks. That money needs to be taken back, before it is flushed down the toilet of European socialism.”
Get permalink here.

Your tax dollars went to lobbying for higher taxes

By Adam Bitely

Did you know that the Federal Government was spending taxpayer dollars on organizations that would lobby local governments to tax sugar and soda? Were you also aware that such activity is illegal?
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says she was aware of the lobbying activities but was not aware that is was illegal. A recent report from The Daily Caller showed that $230 million had flowed in obesity prevention grants to 30 states as part of the Communities Putting Prevention to Work Initiative. The program was established as part of the 2009 “stimulus” bill.

The report from The Daily Caller brought attention to the fact that some of the $230 million found its way to influence peddlers who lobby local governments for higher soda and sugar taxes.

As stated in Title 18 of the U.S. Code, Section 1913:

“No part of the money appropriated by any enactment of Congress shall, in the absence of express authorization by Congress, be used directly or indirectly to pay for any personal service, advertisement, telegram, telephone, letter, printed or written matter, or other device, intended or designed to influence in any manner a Member of Congress, a jurisdiction, or an official of any government, to favor, adopt, or oppose, by vote or otherwise, any legislation, law, ratification, policy or appropriation …”

Clearly, HHS Secretary Sebelius and the rest of the bureaucrats involved in this matter are not familiar with the U.S. Code. Sebelius told the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health that because the lobbying was taking place on the local level of government that there was no wrongdoing but announced that the practice is now prohibited saying, “The original language that has been part of the law that we have administered and had our grantees administering, applied to grantees lobbying the federal government.”
When the government is spending trillions of dollars by an untold number of bureaucrats this type of activity is bound to happen. Yes, it was illegal, but in a system so large and vast, it is not surprising that the Obama Administration turned their heads, looked the other way, and hoped no one noticed.
Get full story here.

Game Change: Important New Reflections

By David Bozeman

One of the last things America needs is a rehash of the 2008 campaign, but the truth demands constant vigilance. The lies of today easily evolve into the common misperceptions of tomorrow, and if a movement will not defend its own leaders, who will?

Recently, this space discussed the marketing of Game Change, HBO's account of Campaign 2008, focusing on the selection of Sarah Palin for vice president. The producers are selling it as a serious examination of our political selection process. But this writer missed the trees for the forest. The devil is in the details. It is not the smug, self-satisfied tone of the filmmakers and stars that justify the disgust of every American who esteems truth as the gold standard of political discourse. Simply, the film is a blatant piece of anti-conservative propaganda.

We can all forget the title or plot of a movie, but individual scenes can linger on, coloring our perceptions of specific subjects for a lifetime. Some Hollywood producers are more insidious than politicians — the cover of “art” offers a much broader framework for spreading liberal propaganda than a mere stump speech or daily news soundbite.

The following are the most pertinent scenes from Game Change, though far too many remain to recount here.

Before the opening credits are over, we see that one of the film's producers is Tom Hanks. Yes, the amiable guy next door and Obama fundraiser of the highest order. His efforts alone don't preclude an objective look at Governor Palin, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
Get full story here.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Today's News NJ: presents Japan One Year Later

 Watch Video:

In the last decade, Japan’s Ministry of Education has responded to market imperatives and a need for managers with specialized skills by increasing the number of graduate programs. But Japan's new professional and graduate programs have experienced chronic under-enrollment -- basically, no one is showing up to class. Now the Ministry of Education is playing catch-up to market these educational programs to a very truant bunch of students.

It is not hard to determine why Japan’s graduate classrooms sit empty. For one thing, the promise that graduate programs offer does little to remove the stigma associated with continuing education courses. Traditional definitions of success lead many professionals to fear that they will be perceived as less competent if they pursue education after they have entered a professional career. In the past, Japanese companies have also based career advancement on seniority. An extra one or two years in school has often meant falling behind less educated counterparts who move faster up the corporate ranks.

As Japan approaches the first anniversary of the crisis that transformed the nation, global attention will undoubtedly focus on the progress that the country has made in resurrecting its physical infrastructure. Restoring homes, roads, hospitals and schools, and mitigating the damage of the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl certainly deserve our attention and reflection. Still, it is important to remember that solving the social and economic problems that Japan faced before the crisis are just as critical.

The unique skills that graduate programs offer will play a vital roll in managing Japan's long-term recovery. If students and professionals continue to avoid higher education, Japan will find itself ill-equipped to maintain its revival. Considering how many people have been displaced and how much there is yet to be rebuilt, it may be worthwhile for the Ministry of Education to encourage distance learning or online graduate programs. Because online schools are more cost-efficient, offer the ability to reach a larger audience across vast distances, and provide the opportunity to study while working full-time -- thereby avoiding the stigma of a late entry into the workforce -- they may be the perfect tool in ensuring that once Japan's physical recovery is complete, the nation will have an educated workforce capable of leading an economic recovery.

 Watch Video:

To learn more about Japan's recovery and to see the photos that inspired the hand drawn illustrations in the video above, check out:
To get involved in Japan's recovery, donate to:

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Very Touching: NFL Star Arian Foster Gets Emotional About His Past Financial Hardships During A Press Conference! [Video]

During a press conference to announce his five-year, $43.5 million contract extension with the NFL’s Houston Texans, running back Arian Foster got emotional as a told a story about his past financial hardships during childhood.

Foster broke down in tears while revealing a story of when his mother had to pawn her wedding ring in order to have enough money to buy food for his family one night.

Check out Foster’s emotional press conference below:

Here is another video we found about Foster’s past financial hardships during childhood and how he made it to the NFL.