Archives for September 2011
President Barack Obama will send his latest gimmick - the $447 billion stimulus plan - to Congress today in hopes that they will quickly take it up and pass it:
President Obama will again press Congress to pass his American Jobs Act during a Rose Garden event on Monday morning.
A White House official said that the president will send his legislation to Capitol Hill on Monday evening when Congress comes back in session.
On Monday, Obama will hold an event in the Rose Garden, an official said, where he “will call on Congress to pass the bill, which contains the kinds of proposals to grow the economy and create jobs that have been supported by both parties in the past.”
Republicans will at least consider the bill, but have asked the White House to split the proposals up instead of a single piece of legislation; perhaps a sign that they may like at least some parts of it, including much needed free trade agreements.
However, Republicans are skeptical of more infrastructure spending since the 2009 stimulus bill was such a failure and they are unconvinced that the payroll tax cut and tax breaks for employers are going to do much to boost the economy. The concerns on infrustructure are well-founded, as Veronique de Rugy noted last week. And it may sound unorthodox for the GOP to oppose a tax cut, but an editorial at USA Today explains why it’s a reasoned approach:
GOP hopefuls will square off tonight for the second time in a week, this time at a debate sponsored by CNN and the Tea Party Express in Tampa, Florida. We’re likely to see fireworks similar to what we saw on Thursday. Rick Perry, who is considered to be the frontrunner, will no doubt be a target again by Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Michele Bachmann join the parade. President Barack Obama is sure to take criticism, and rightly so, over his latest stimulus gimmick.
Before we dive into the power rankings, here is a look at the latest polling in the race.
Rick Perry (even): Perry has become a punching bag for other candidates near the front of the race. Romney is knocking him over Social Security, Paul is taking him to task for being a former Democrat that backed Al Gore and supported HillaryCare and a pro-Bachmann group plans to run ads against him over immigration. Polls indicate that he is still the frontrunner, but he needs to improve in debates and hope at the ramp up attacks don’t stick.
Ten years ago today, 19 terrorists killed nearly 3,000 people after hijacking airplanes and flying them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Realizing their fate, Passengers on United Flight 93 fought back, preventing an attack on the Capitol in Washington. Their plane would crash in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. As soon as Americans realized what happened, we knew we were at war.
I was 20 years-old at the time of the attacks. My plans for the day were to pick up a couple of records that had been released that day and head into work for a shift I’d picked up for a friend. After a quick phone conversation with my girlfriend at the time (she was a student at UGA), I got on the web. She sent me a IMs almost immediately telling me to turn on the TV. If I remember correctly, the South Tower had just been hit. When I wasn’t working or sleeping for the next two weeks, I was watching coverage of the aftermath of the attacks.
That day caused me to be more vocal about my political beliefs, and much of what has happened since then has helped them evolve; particularly on foreign policy, privacy and personal liberty.
I prefer to stay away from political statements involving 9/11 today. It’s a day of somber remembrance, not one – at least for me – to debate policy. There will be plenty of time for that later. Remember to take a moment out of your day to remember the victims of these terrible attacks.
Via the Daily Caller’s video producer Sean W. Malone comes this new mini-documentary reflecting on the horrors of 9/11, and an examination of how America and the world reacted in terms of public policy. The video features Daily Caller editor-in-chief Tucker Carlson, Cato Institute vice president for defense and foreign policy studies Christopher A. Preble, Cato research fellow in defense and homeland security studies Benjamin H. Friedman, Heritage Foundation’s director of the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies James Carafano, Rep. Allen West (R-Fla. 22nd), and Antiwar.com’s development director Angela Keaton.
National security policy, like all other forms of public policy, involves an innumerable series of trade-offs. We should be applying the same rigorous cost-benefit analyses to the Pentagon and DHS budgets that we do to social welfare programs.
The best line in the whole video comes from Tucker Carlson, who quips,
As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 approaches this Sunday, I cannot help but feel it will be a commemoration of not one, not two, but at least three different tragedies that have befallen the American people. The first is the obvious tragedy of the attacks themselves, which took thousands of lives in an act of barbarism and insanity. The second tragedy is what happened to the American consciousness afterwards. And the third is what our children understand about it.
I read earlier this week about a poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The results were disquieting, to say the least. Some of the highlights:
- 71% of Americans favor surveillance cameras in public
- 47% support the government reading emails outside the US without a warrant
- 30% support the government monitoring emails within the country
- 58% support random searches involving full-body scans or patdowns at airports
- 35% support racial or ethnic profiling at airports
- 55% support the government snooping into financial transactions without a warrant
- 47% support a national ID card to show to authorities on demand (a “Show-Me” Card, if you ever watched Fringe)
- 64% believe it is “Sometimes necessary to sacrifice some rights and freedoms” in order to fight the war on terror
- 53% think you can’t be too careful dealing with people (which is a slight improvement from 2002, I suppose, which was 58%, but…)
- 54% would, between counterterrorism and civil liberties, come down on the side of civil liberties
Like I said, disquieting. All but the last should be far lower; the last should be far higher. Only 54% would go for civil liberties? That means 46% would put counterterrorism operations above what it actually means to be an American?
So, in case you missed it, there was a debate Wednesday night. It seems that everyone’s favorite target, predictably, was front runner Rick Perry. When you’re the frontrunner, that’s just what’s going to happen. While much of the attention was on Mitt Romney’s back and forth throughout the debate, there were some points worth discussing.
For one, Michele Bachmann’s campaign has been centered around her desire to repeal ObamaCare. Not a bad plank to have, at least in the GOP primary. Bachmann took issue with both Perry’s and Romney’s comments that they would issue an executive order to deal with ObamaCare. As reported on The Hill:
Bachmann reiterated her promise to repeal Obama’s healthcare law, a centerpiece of her campaign, and said that Romney and Perry’s promises to sign executive orders upon taking office to dismantle the law were inadequate.
“With all due respect to the governors, issuing an executive order will not overturn this massive law,” she said.
On this, she’s 100% correct. An executive order is an easy fix, but it’s not the right one. An executive order can be over turned with…wait for it…another executive order. That’s all it would take. The next Democratic president would put ObamaCare in place with a stroke of his pen. And that’s assuming that the executive order doesn’t get blocked by Congress who can overturn executive orders within a certain period of time.
Another interesting point was when Ron Paul took aim at Perry’s past as a Democrat. Again, from The Hill:
New Jersey has launched a new law aimed at combating school bullying. The measure includes classes to teach “the difference between telling and tattling” and an expanded ability to report bullies, among other things. Though well intended, the law is not being reviewed favorably by all:
But while many parents and educators welcome the efforts to curb bullying both on campus and online, some superintendents and school board members across New Jersey say the new law, which takes effect Sept. 1, reaches much too far, and complain that they have been given no additional resources to meet its mandates.
The law, known as the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, is considered the toughest legislation against bullying in the nation. Propelled by public outcry over the suicide of a Rutgers University freshman, Tyler Clementi, nearly a year ago, it demands that all public schools adopt comprehensive antibullying policies (there are 18 pages of “required components”), increase staff training and adhere to tight deadlines for reporting episodes.
Each school must designate an antibullying specialist to investigate complaints; each district must, in turn, have an antibullying coordinator; and the State Education Department will evaluate every effort, posting grades on its Web site. Superintendents said that educators who failed to comply could lose their licenses.
“I think this has gone well overboard,” Richard G. Bozza, executive director of the New Jersey Association of School Administrators, said. “Now we have to police the community 24 hours a day. Where are the people and the resources to do this?”
Climate change is always a touchy subject. I have been advocating the position that it’s real, but a natural cycle. Others argue that it’s man made. However, there’s another theory that hasn’t been getting much play,and it probably should. That theory is that climate change may be the result of subatomic particles hitting the Earth.
In April 1990, Al Gore published an open letter in the New York Times “To Skeptics on Global Warming” in which he compared them to medieval flat-Earthers. He soon became vice president and his conviction that climate change was dominated by man-made emissions went mainstream. Western governments embarked on a new era of anti-emission regulation and poured billions into research that might justify it. As far as the average Western politician was concerned, the debate was over.
But a few physicists weren’t worrying about Al Gore in the 1990s. They were theorizing about another possible factor in climate change: charged subatomic particles from outer space, or “cosmic rays,” whose atmospheric levels appear to rise and fall with the weakness or strength of solar winds that deflect them from the earth. These shifts might significantly impact the type and quantity of clouds covering the earth, providing a clue to one of the least-understood but most important questions about climate. Heavenly bodies might be driving long-term weather trends.
Yesterday, the Fourth District Court of Appeals dismissed two challenges against the constitutionality of ObamaCare, including the case filed by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, due to the plantiffs’ lack of standing:
The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals said Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) does not have a legal right to sue over the law’s requirement that most people buy insurance. The court vacated a lower court’s ruling in the case and instructed the lower court to dismiss the suit.
The 4th Circuit’s long-awaited decision isn’t a huge surprise: those who attended oral arguments in the suits said the judges seemed skeptical of the mandate’s critics, especially Cuccinelli. All three of the judges who heard the case were appointed by Democratic presidents, and two were appointed by Obama.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said that the will appeal the ruling, not that it’s necessary since ObamaCare will windup before the Supreme Court anyway thanks to the ruling last month in the Atlanta-based Eleventh Circuit, which rejected the Commerce Clause argument.
Over at Cato, Ilya Shapiro, who done some great work on the legal issues of ObamaCare and following it through the court system, believes that the ruling will speed up the Supreme Court taking up the challenge:
If you we’re expecting something different out of Barack Obama than the same talking points and misguided economic policies that have kept the economy limping along these past couple years, you were no doubt disappointed with his campaign speech address to Congress last night.
Despite the failure of the stimulus bill passed in 2009, Obama, whose poll numbers have declined on the economy, is now demanding for Congress to pass a $447 billion spending package of rehashed policies, which he believes will somehow create jobs when they didn’t before:
Addressing a Congress partially controlled by Republicans highly skeptical of much of his program, and a nation weary of waiting for recovery, Obama did not say how many jobs would be created if lawmakers were to pass all elements of his plan. But he cast speedy congressional action as critical to injecting jobs into what has thus far been a jobless recovery.
“This is the American Jobs Act. It will lead to new jobs for construction workers, teachers, veterans, first responders, young people and the long-term unemployed. It will provide tax credits to companies that hire new workers, tax relief for small business owners, and tax cuts for the middle-class,” Obama told lawmakers. “And here’s the other thing I want the American people to know: the American Jobs Act will not add to the deficit. It will be paid for.”