INFOGRAPHIC: TSA Waste — Grope & Pillage

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The Child(ish) Slavery of the Nanny State

“[Tyrannical] power is absolute, minute, regular, provident and mild. It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing. For their happiness such a government willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?” ~Alexis de Tocqueville

In America today, we would be hard pressed to think of a single aspect of our lives politicians and government bureaucrats not only have their hands in, but are in clear up to their elbows. The busybody police of the ever expanding nanny-state have concluded that we, as mere mortals, are far too foolish to make important decisions on our own. Instead, we, the children of the benevolent federal leviathan, must have the minutiae of our daily lives dictated to us in ways large and small.

From the content of school lunches to the salt content in restaurant food, to the volume of water that can go down our toilet in a single flush, or the amount of water that may come out of a shower head each minute, whether we can use an incandescent light bulb, the average miles per gallon new cars must achieve, to mandating the contents of insurance policies…the list is literally endless.

Was federal housing policy to blame for the financial crisis?

We hear a lot from our friends on the Left about the cause of the 2008 financial crisis. The often claim that capitalism and “predatory lending” deserve a large share of the blame. But in a new video from Reason, Peter Wallison, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a member of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC), explains how federal housing policy was the main cause of the turmoil that led to the Great Recession.

While the official report from the FCIC blamed deregulation of the financial sector, Wallison wrote a lengthy dissent noting, according to Reason, that “there were about 28 million high-risk mortgages in the U.S. in 2008; roughly 70 percent of those mortgages were owned by government-sponosored enterprises such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”

Watch the video with Wallison below. It’s well worth your time:

Romney takes the wrong side in the Utah Senate race

As you probably know, FreedomWorks and other grassroots organizations have been targeting Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) in his bid for re-election. While FreedomWorks hasn’t formally endorsed a candidate in the race (others running include State Sen. Dan Liljenquist, a tea party favorite), they did recently come out with a web ad slamming Hatch for voting for $7.5 trillion — half the size of the national debt — during his time in Washington.

But Mitt Romney, who is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for president, has jumped in the middle of the Senate race in Utah by endorsing Hatch and cutting a minute long ad where he claims that the state can “count on Sen. Orrin Hatch in the fight to lower taxes, to balance the budget and to repeal the federal government takeover of health care”:

Obama’s approval drops as gas prices jump

We’ve noted over the last few days that rising gas price could pose a problem for President Barack Obama, whose energy policy has left a lot to be desired. This was emphasized by a recent poll from Gallup showing that 65% of Americans held Obama partly responsible for higher gas prices.

But a new Washington Post/ABC News poll showing that Obama’s approval ratings have gone down as gas has gone up, further driving home the vulnerability on the issue:

Disapproval of President Obama’s handling of the economy is heading higher — alongside gasoline prices — as a record number of Americans now give the president “strongly” negative reviews on the 2012 presidential campaign’s most important issue, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Increasingly pessimistic views of Obama’s performance on the economy — and on the federal budget deficit — come despite a steadily brightening employment picture and other signs of economic improvement, and they highlight the political sensitivity of rising gas prices.
Gas prices are a main culprit: Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they disapprove of the way the president is handling the situation at the pump, where rising prices have already hit hard. Just 26 percent approve of his work on the issue, his lowest rating in the poll. Most Americans say higher prices are already taking a toll on family finances, and nearly half say they think that prices will continue to rise, and stay high.

Impeaching Obama? Impeach Congress

If you live inside the beltway, you may have heard that Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) has put forward a bill that would make any instance of the executive using the military without going through Congress an impeachable offense:

In a House Resolution introduced last week, Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-NC) put forward use of the military by the executive branch without explicit authorization from Congress as an impeachable offense: one which some conservatives believe President Barack Obama has already committed.

The bill’s author, Rep. Jones, was once a Democrat who switched parties before seeking congressional office in the 90s. He endorsed former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) for president in 2008, and has been one of the Republican Party’s loudest critics of the presidency’s warmaking powers.

“When you talk about war, political parties don’t matter,” he told The New York Times last year.

While not directly calling for impeachment, the bill would declare “that it is the sense of Congress that, except in response to an actual or imminent attack against the territory of the United States, the use of offensive military force by a president without prior and clear authorization of an act of Congress violates Congress’s exclusive power to declare war… and therefore constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution.”

In other words, the bill would, in effect, serve as a trigger mechanism for impeachment proceedings.

It’s going to be a close one tonight in Alabama and Mississippi

Coming off of a good Super Tuesday, Mitt Romney hopes to further entrench himself at the frontrunner for the Republican nomination tonight as Alabama and Mississippi voters head to the polls to cast their ballots. But various surveys in these two Southern states show that it’ll be a close race, one that has Romney running right along Rick Santorum in Newt Gingrich.

Santorum had a good weekend, picking up an overwhelming win in Kansas, while Romney won Wyoming and some United States territories. For Gingrich, however, tonight’s primaries are a “must win” if he hopes to avoid more calls to drop out of the race. And the latest polls out of Alabama and Mississippi certainly do show the former Speaker hanging with the rest of the field.

Here are the final numbers out of the two states, provided by Public Policy Polling. As noted above, it’s going to go down to the wire in Alabama:

  • Mitt Romney: 31%
  • Newt Gingrich: 30%
  • Rick Santotrum: 29%
  • Ron Paul: 8%

And Gingrich holds a small lead in Mississippi, though within the margin of error, over Romney with Santorum six back:

Occupy Wall Street almost out of money

Don’t look now, but Occupy Wall Street’s 15 minutes of fame isn’t just fading quickly. The Associated Press reports that they’re also low on money:

A finance report shows the group that galvanized the nationwide movement against economic inequality six months ago had about $45,000 left in its main account.

That’s for the week of March 2. Weekly donations plummeted to about $1,600.

The report on the group’s General Assembly website says at “the current rate of expenditure” the Occupiers will be “out of money in THREE WEEKS.”

Yeah, this is me not caring. Don’t get me wrong. They had a couple of legitimate points in their message, such as the TARP bailout being a bad deal for taxpayers and criticism of the government. But their solutions to were terrible because they would’ve place further reliance on the government and would have used force to take more from taxpayers through taxation.

The grievances that Occupy Wall Street put forward certainly do deserve a spot in the marketplace of ideas in the public discussion, but I reject them almost entirely. But my personal experiences with them make me, on the whole, take them much less seriously.

Pat Robertson: Marijuana should be treated like alcohol

Pat Robertson, the televangelist and host of The 700 Club, made waves last week when he said that marijuana should be legalized and treated like alcohol and also expressed his support for ballot measures in states that would decriminalize its usage:

[Robertson] first became a self-proclaimed “hero of the hippie culture” in 2010 when he called for ending mandatory prison sentences for marijuana possession convictions.

“I just think it’s shocking how many of these young people wind up in prison and they get turned into hardcore criminals because they had a possession of a very small amount of a controlled substance,” Robertson said on his show March 1. “The whole thing is crazy. We’ve said, ‘Well, we’re conservatives, we’re tough on crime.’ That’s baloney.”
“I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol,” Robertson was quoted by the newspaper as saying. “If people can go into a liquor store and buy a bottle of alcohol and drink it at home legally, then why do we say that the use of this other substance is somehow criminal?”

Robertson said he “absolutely” supports ballot measures in Colorado and Washington state that would allow people older than 21 to possess a small amount of marijuana and allow for commercial pot sales. Both measures, if passed by voters, would place the states at odds with federal law, which bans marijuana use of all kinds.

Another polls shows high gas prices could hurt Obama

On Friday, I noted that polls indicated that Americans are growed incresingly concerned with high gas prices, which may influence their votes, at the same time President Barack Obama lobbied Congress to kill the Keystone XL pipeline. This fact is highlighted by a new survey from Gallup that shows that his do-nothing approach to gas prices may be a factor in the fall:

Concern over the price of fuel has taken on an increasingly important role in the campaign cycle, and a new poll shows 65 percent of Americans hold President Obama and Congress responsible for rising gas prices.

A majority of both Republicans and Democrats said they believe Obama and Congress can “do things to keep price of gas from rising,” according to a new poll by Gallup.
Thirty-one percent surveyed said they believe the rising price of gas is “largely beyond their control.” But 85 percent of those surveyed pushed for Obama and Congress to take some immediate action to control the rising price of gas, indicating a high level of concern.

President Obama has paid lip-service on the rising cost of gas, but he’ll no doubt target oil companies as the villian, much like many of his fellow Democrats want to do with their so-called “Reasonable Profits Board.” He’ll likely target their tax breaks once again, though those tax breaks aren’t at all significant, and want to give more money for alternative energy sources that already receive substantial breaks.

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