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Archive for July, 2012

Today’s Gimme, Gimme, Gimme Society

Just. Plain. Infuriating. 

Nearly 1 in 5 New Jersey households that received emergency food stamps after Tropical Storm Irene crashed into the state last year were ineligible for the benefits, a review found, the result of a mix of mistakes, confusion and fraud as some rushed to cash in what was a new program for the state.

Add this example to the long list of wasted dollars by government on a society that believes it’s entitled to other people’s money. And remember it the next time a liberal tells you that taxes must be raised because there’s just not enough money to take care of all our needs. Hogwash.

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Could It Be That A Government Program Will Actually Be Killed?

The Cary town council looks to be on its way to killing the controversial red light camera program. It’s not often we see a government program cancelled.

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Save The Candlestick Makers!

Demand for services from the U.S. Postal Service has tanked and projections show the customer exodus will continue. No surprise then that the USPS  is losing an estimated $25 million per day. Despite this reality, some members of Congress are thwarting efforts to cut service, which means they’re engaging in an unwise effort to save the candlestick maker from the light bulb. 

The Postal Service originally sought to close low-revenue post offices in rural areas to save money but after public opposition agreed to keep 13,000 open with shorter operating hours. The Postal Service also is delaying the closing of many mail processing centers, originally set to begin this spring. The estimated annual savings of $2.1 billion won’t be realized until the full cuts are completed in late 2014.

The postal uncertainty offers opportunities for banks, which can save up to one-third of the cost of processing checks if payments are made electronically. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. (C) and Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) have been urging electronic transactions.

“This could be a watershed event to motivate consumers and businesses to stop writing checks,” said Rodney Gardner, head of global receivables at Bank of America, who recently reviewed the topic at a conference with insurance companies.

The Postal Service, which releases third-quarter financial results next week, has projected a record $14.1 billion loss for the year. It expects to avoid bankruptcy in October only by defaulting on the two health prepayments, totaling $11.1 billion. It faces a cash crunch again next year.

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Media Reports Say Democrats Will Put Gay Marriage In Party Platform

National Journal is sourcing another publication with the story that the national Democratic Party will put its support of gay marriage in the party’s platform to be adopted at the Charlotte convention.

In May, North Carolinians overwhelmingly passed the Marriage Amendment — 61% to 39% — which puts into North Carolina’s constitution a traditional definition of marriage — one man and one woman.

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Mayor Bloomberg Wants To Be Your Daddy

Apparently this isn’t a joke. Large, sugary sodas aren’t the only item Mayor Bloomberg has decided we shouldn’t be drinking. Now it’s baby formula.

Starting Sept. 3, the city will keep tabs on the number of bottles that participating hospitals stock and use — the most restrictive pro-breast-milk program in the nation.

Under the city Health Department’s voluntary Latch On NYC initiative, 27 of the city’s 40 hospitals have also agreed to give up swag bags sporting formula-company logos, toss out formula-branded tchotchkes like lanyards and mugs, and document a medical reason for every bottle that a newborn receives.

If you’re not alarmed yet at this government intervention, you should be. This is just the kind of thing Chapel Hill and/or Orange County is likely to endorse.

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Newsweek’s cover for next week?

As you all know by now, Newsweek this week featured a Mitt Romney cover with “The Wimp Factor” as the headline. It’s a replay of an old hit job on President George H. W. Bush in 1992. This is an example of the media making up a meme and pushing it out there for their liberal fellow travelers to jump on and push into the consciousness of the low-attention voter.

Below is my version of a Newsweek cover story that is just as valid, and even more justified given what we’ve learned about the women in Obama’s life. But you’ll never see this one on your newsstands.

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers, and thanks, Glenn!

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Some Common Sense In The Classroom

USA Today reports that some school districts are imposing dress codes on teachers. One would think this wouldn’t be necessary, but unfortunately — particularly with women — modesty  and self restraint are a thing of the past. Tattoos and piercings are becoming more of an issue as well. Common sense tells us that teachers are role models. Kids pay attention and model what they see and hear. What’s more, a classroom is a teacher’s office — in other words, a classroom is a business environment. Finally, some school districts are realizing it and doing something about.

 

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Taxpayers On The Hook For 60% Of Stadiums In Last 20 Years

As the headline to this Businessweek story says: It Pays To Move. The Rams may head back to Los Angeles and in the story, there is unsettling financial data about the role of public money in these stadium scenarios. Turns out, taxpayers have been on the hook for 60% of the bill.

Since the NFL’s exodus from Los Angeles, 28 of the league’s 32 franchises have built new stadiums or renovated old ones at a cost of more than $10 billion, with taxpayers covering $6 billion of the total, according to a tally by economists Robert Baade and Victor Matheson. And that doesn’t include Minnesota, where the Vikings were a candidate to move to L.A. until May, when the state and the city of Minneapolis agreed to pitch in $498 million toward a new $975 million stadium.

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Federal Judge Stands Up For Religious Freedom

At least one federal judge sees that the Obamacare assault on religious freedom is a major red flag. Hercules Industries is a private heating/air conditioning company owned by Catholics, who self-insure. The Obamacare mandate would require the owners to provide insurance coverage for procedures and items that violate their religious beliefs. If they don’t, they must pay fines, which could put them out of business. The judge gave them a preliminary injunction.

Hannah Smith, senior counsel at the Becket Fund — which is challenging the contraception mandate in a separate lawsuit — hailed the ruling. “Judge Kane’s ruling today in favor of a religious for-profit plaintiff challenging the coercive HHS mandate got the law right,” she said in a statement. “Religious liberty rights don’t stop at the store-front door. This decision portends the demise of the current Administration’s attempts to drive religious activity from the public square and confine it within the four walls of a church.”


 

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The misuse of transparency

At first glance, transparency would seem to be an unqualified good in government, almost synonymous, in fact, with “good” government. Journalists have always loved transparency because it allows them to report all the seemingly boring stuff of government that can hide so many misdeeds.

But there’s another side of transparency in this brave new world of big, nanny-state government, where officeholders and bureaucrats rule by ideology and the quasi religion of progressivism. In a sane world, government has no business concerning itself with people’s ideas, beliefs, and political affiliations.

Nevertheless, the current federal administration and its political fellow travelers in public office nationwide have shown a disturbing tendency to use the power of government to punish enemies.

Already, we’ve had businessmen who oppose our president being subjected to IRS audits. And more recently we’ve had a fast-food restaurant chain owner threatened by the Democratic mayors of two large cities with unequal and unconstitutional treatment by government agencies. Corporate CEOs and donors to conservative groups and causes, have become targets of harassment from left-wing groups.

Following in these questionable footsteps, we now have North Carolina’s Democratic state treasurer seeking information that is none of her business from corporations in whose stock she has invested, or is considering investing, the taxpayers’ money:

State Treasurer Janet Cowell is pushing to require Nike Inc. and other large corporations to make their political contributions more transparent, a move that has drawn skepticism.

In addition to seeking political disclosure from Nike, Cowell, a Democrat, also has joined efforts to get further disclosure of political spending by Devon Energy and Halliburton. The state’s pension funds hold substantial investments in the three companies — roughly $50 million in Nike alone.

“In light of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, the treasurer believes that companies involved in political activities should disclose their political spending and board oversight policies to make sure these expenses are in the best interest of shareholders,” Julia Vail, a spokeswoman for Cowell, said in an email statement.

Given recent history, the public has good reason to be suspicious of Cowell’s interest in the political activities of corporations. The abuse of information gained in the name of transparency in the past three years by left-wing groups and Democratic officeholders hardly warrants us giving her the benefit of the doubt.

Though a state treasurer may, by some gossamer thread of logic, think of herself as a shareholder in a corporation, it is only in the hothouse of left liberalism now predominating among liberal officeholders that a state treasurer would presume to tell a corporation what’s in the best interest of its shareholders.

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