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Archive for November, 2012

Why Won’t NOAA Reveal To Congress How Much It Spends On Travel?

The head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is stonewalling a congressional oversight committee, which has been waiting for months for NOAA to turn over requested information about how much NOAA spends on travel each year.

Rep. Paul Broun said in a letter made public today that Lubchenco’s ignoring of a congressional request “mocks the notion of transparency.” Broun, a Georgia Republican, is chairman of the oversight subcommittee of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

“As NOAA continues to eschew its obligation to comply with requirements for compliance with congressional oversight requests, the committee’s concerns are only heightened and I must ask myself, what is NOAA trying to hide?” Bround said.

Indeed. Is this another VA-like story, or perhaps a GSA-like situation, or a Pentagon-like scenario?

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NIH: $100K To Teach Teen Girls “Condom Negotiation”

There is no end to the wasteful spending of federal dollars. Yesterday I blogged about VA’s outrageous spending of $86.5 million on conferences and travel last year — spending a key VA official admitted is wasteful. Today comes this story from the Washington Examiner about a $100,000 NIH grant to the University of Houston:

 According to the school’s release, ”Parrish notes one of the big issues for this population of adolescent girls is condom negotiation. They may have a boyfriend who says it isn’t ‘cool’ to use a condom. To prepare the girls for these types of situations, the counselors and pediatricians will teach them how to negotiate condom use with their partner. The intervention also helps empower and motivate girls to make healthier choices regarding their alcohol use, smoking and prevention of unplanned pregnancy.”

 

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No Government Program Required

If you read my posts regularly, you know of my concern that many Americans believe government has all the answers and should take responsibility for people’s lives, which delights the bureaucrats and policy-makers whose livelihoods depend on an ever expanding public sector and an ever dependent populace. I am particularly concerned about hows this government-first mindset impacts the poor and vulnerable, to whom we as individuals have a moral obligation to help. And that’s why I post stories about individuals who are taking action on their own, setting an example to help their neighbors – no government program required. Here’s one of those stories, featuring Hillsborough residents Laurie and Kevin Bragg and Kelly Akins.

The dinner is the 13th annual dinner that the Braggs, who run a charity called Feeding the People Ministries, have organized. Their first dinner was held at Kelsey’s Café, when it was located on Churton Street in downtown Hillsborough. People squeezed into the small restaurant for the free dinner, and volunteers took plates of food to the homebound.

Laurie Bragg, who has retired from being a clerk at the Orange County Courthouse, began recruiting everyone else who worked in the courthouse to help. From maintenance workers to clerks to deputies to attorneys to Superior Court judges, she recruited them all, and most all have either donated money, gifts, food or time to the Christmas dinners.

This year the volunteers from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office will be running the toy department, she said.

No government program required. Just individuals stepping up to help.

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Prickett On Evans: “She doesn’t want to hear from people who disagree with her.”

The News & Observer reports that Wake school board member Susan Evans has apologized for her childish, rude behavior toward fellow board member Deborah Prickett. At Wednesday’s public hearing about student assignment, Evans decided the best way to show she didn’t agree with Prickett was to simply silence her — literally. While Prickett was speaking, Evans reached over and yanked the microphone from Prickett’s hand – mid-sentence. There is no dispute about how Evans behaved. You can see the video here.

Prickett noted how Evans had at a board committee meeting on Tuesday suggested putting limits into policy for how long individual school board members could speak on issues. Evans complained that board meetings were running long and getting out of control, but the committee didn’t back her suggestion.

“It says to me that she doesn’t want to hear what I have to say,” Prickett said. “She doesn’t want to hear from people who disagree with her.”

Recall that Evans ran for the school board on the following platform, as detailed on her campaign website:

My name is Susan Evans.  I am running for the District 8 seat on the Board of Education because I believe it’s time to start putting students first again.   The current Board majority has been ineffective and deeply polarizing.  Our students have been waiting for better resources and expanded course offerings while the board has been playing politics.  It’s time to put aside politics and find a sensible and fiscally responsible student assignment plan so that we can move on with the business of educating our children.

I believe in the public school system. I believe in making decisions based on facts and after truly listening to community input.  I believe District 8 is a great community that deserves better representation on the Board.  I want to be your representative on the Board because I believe I can lead with integrity and build consensus that includes all parties.

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This Will Make You Wonder What’s Going On In This Country

Writing for National Review at The Corner, Charles C.W. Cooke analyzes Gallup data about how Republicans and Democrats react to certain terms. Both the chart and Cooke’s analysis are fascinating and concerning.

 

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Outrage: VA Spent $86.5 Million On Conferences And Travel Last Year

Yesterday the House Veterans Affairs Committee held a hearing to try to get answers from VA bureaucrats about the outrageous spending by the agency on conferences and travel in 2011 – $86.5 million worth. After continually being blocked by federal bureaucrats, Rep. Jeff Miller, Republican of Florida, had enough according to the Federal Times. He told the VA officials to expect more investigations.

“I had a nice conversation with Deputy Secretary [Scott] Gould yesterday on the phone, and thought we could work together, but it appears not,” Miller said. “Frankly, I’m tired of waiting for them to answer basic questions and tired of their excuses. If they don’t like getting more and more questions from us about conference spending and travel, maybe they could answer some of our questions.”

Gould conceded during the hearing that VA was lax on controlling spending, and said new safeguards have been put in place so that senior agency officials have a bigger role in approving expenses. “I apologize to veterans and this committee,” Gould said. “It is unacceptable this money was wasted.”

Outrageous. So as you work harder and harder to support yourself and your family – and as you hear the Left claim that cutting spending just isn’t possible — remember how your hard-earned tax dollars are being spent.

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They Don’t Need It, So Let’s Take It

 

More than half of America seems to think that “rich” people don’t need their money so, hey, let’s just take it from them. If higher taxes on the “rich” becomes the country’s solution to deficit and debt, then what will that tax-the-rich-more policy actually do for us?

But even if taxes on the rich did go directly to deficit reduction, it wouldn’t be enough. Earlier this month, the Congressional Budget Office put the 2012 deficit at $1.1 trillion. It noted that this was the fourth straight year of trillion-plus deficits. This year, the deficit is 7 percent of the gross domestic product. CBO projections don’t show much change in the annual deficit over the next decade. So even if the additional income taxes amounted to the $829 billion figure, the extra revenue would not eliminate the annual deficit, and it would do nothing to pay down the accumulated national debt of $16 trillion.

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Johnston County Sen. David Rouzer Concedes Race To Rep. Mike McIntyre

The recount is complete and Democratic Congressman Mike McIntyre has defeated Johnston County state Sen. David Rouzer for the 7th district seat in the U.S. House. The final margin was 654 votes. Here is Sen. Rouzer’s statement:

Now that the recount has been completed and the tally of votes is official, we can move forward satisfied that each vote was counted properly and accurately. I have called Congressman McIntyre to congratulate him on a hard-fought victory, and I wish him well as he joins a new Congress that will be dealing with very difficult issues facing our country.

During the past two weeks, I have been humbled by the outpouring of support from friends, volunteers and supporters around the district and throughout the state. To all of those who have encouraged me to run again in 2014, your sincerity means a lot. With the Christmas Season upon us, I am setting any thoughts of my political future to the side, refocusing on growing my distributorship and consulting businesses while enjoying the farm and the holidays with family and friends.

Finally, to the citizens of Johnston and Wayne County who provided me the privilege and honor to represent them in the North Carolina Senate the past four years, thank you. We have achieved a lot and our work for the betterment of this state and country will continue.”

 

And here is Rep. McIntyre’s statement, which was tweeted last night.

Victory Affirmed! The recount process is over, and the county boards of elections in the 7th district have affirmed our win! Thank you for your prayers and support! Our official press release is below: 

***********

Wilmington, N.C. — After a re-count of all the votes in North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District race, the boards of elections in all twelve counties have affirmed victory for U.S. Representative Mike McIntyre.

Congressman McIntyre stated, “I am very grateful to have the honor of serving the citizens of of Eastern North Carolina. My commitment has always been to serve the people back home. I have always sought to bring people together – Democrats, Republicans, and Independents – to do what’s best for our area. We have many challenges facing our great nation, and I will continue to seek bi-partisan solutions to help create jobs, protect Social Security and Medicare, help our small businesses, farmers, veterans, coastal communities, and always keep our nation safe and strong, and continue my very strong commitment to education! 

McIntyre continued, “I deeply appreciate the love and support of my wife and family, the work of our campaign team, and the hundreds of volunteers who gave so much dedication and determination to help lead us to victory. They poured their hearts into this effort and always kept a positive attitude about achieving victory.

Furthermore, McIntyre said, “I am very grateful for the many friends and supporters who gave of their time, talents, and treasure – and especially their prayers – that sustained our family along this long and tough campaign road. This was a total team victory, and every single person involved played an important role for which my family and I are forever grateful. Our door for public service to help all of Eastern North Carolina will be open to serve, and we will help in any way that we can.”

McIntyre concluded, “I thank Senator Rouzer for his commitment and dedication to public service, and I wish him well in his future endeavors.”

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Wake School Board Member Susan Evans Yanks Microphone From Deborah Prickett, Mid-Sentence

Move over Debra Goldman. Democratic Wake school board member Susan Evans has become the board member to watch.  Last night, when Evans didn’t like what fellow board member Deborah Prickett had to say at the  public hearing about student assignment, Evans reacted like a 10-year-old who hadn’t gotten her way on the playground. As video of the meeting shows – and as the News & Observer describes it, Evans “yanked the microphone from Prickett’s hand, saying it was an inappropriate question.”

Ah yes, the enlightened Left’s example is fascinating: When you don’t agree with someone, just shut them down.

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Changes In Party Control In State Legislatures

Governing.com has an interesting interactive map that shows the results of the 2012 elections on state legislatures across the country.

Here in North Carolina, Republicans increased their control in both chambers. With Republican Pat McCrory in the CEO’s seat, the GOP will have no trouble setting its agenda, which most likely will include tax reform, education reform, and regulatory reform. All of these will be pointed toward getting the state’s economy back on track. That doesn’t mean there won’t be disagreements within the Republican caucus over how to go about these reforms. That may well become a very interesting story line in January when the General Assembly reconvenes.

For an excellent roadmap to policies that will lead the state back to stability and, ultimately, prosperity, read John Locke Foundation President John Hood’s latest book, “Our Best Foot Forward.” Hood talks about key ideas here.

 

 

 

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