Jan 2013, Congressional Votes

Recent House Votes
Sandy Recovery Supplemental – Substitute Amendment – Vote Agreed to (327-91, 14 Not Voting)

After agreeing unanimously to the FEMA reforms, the House dove into the much thornier issue of providing actual money for Sandy victims. Conservatives on the GOP side have been arguing for months that any new spending for disaster aid should be offset by cuts elsewhere in the budget. This fact at least partly explains Speaker John Boehner’s decision to cancel anticipated action before the end of the 112th Congress. The several weeks’ delay allowed Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers of Kentucky and fellow appropriator Rodney Frelinghuysen of Sandy-affected New Jersey to come up with legislative language and procedure that could win enough support for passage. Their proposal divided the aid into two tranches, one covering only the most immediate needs, to be offered as a substitute amendment by Rogers, and the second to take care of longer-term needs for coastal New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Conservative Republican Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina was allowed to offer an amendment to the Rogers language that would have offset its costs – about $17 billion – with a 1.6 percent cut across the rest of the federal budget. Mulvaney’s amendment was rejected – though over two thirds of Republicans voting supported it – and Rogers’s $17 billion language then passed with strong bipartisan support.

Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr. voted YES……send e-mail or see bio

Sandy Recovery Supplemental – Long-term Recovery Aid – Vote Agreed to (228-192, 12 Not Voting)

The Frelinghuysen amendment in support of long-term recovery efforts proved much more controversial and more difficult to pass. It provided an additional $33 billion on top of the $17 billion in the Rogers amendment. In addition to the question of spending offsets, many Republicans questioned whether the type of mitigation efforts supported by the Frelinghuysen language belonged in a disaster aid bill. That type of spending, they argue, ought to be debated as part of the regular budgetary and appropriations process. Several amendments to Frelinghuysen were adopted, among them a rescission of funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Roll Call 16) and a restriction on the use of funds in the bill to acquire new federal land (Roll Call 21). Ultimately the Frelinghuysen language was adopted, but with the support of only 38 Republicans, mostly those from the affected states and other regions that have relied on federal support for disaster recovery in the past, such as the Gulf Coast.

Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr. voted YES……send e-mail or see bio

Sandy Recovery Supplemental – Final Passage – Vote Passed (241-180, 11 Not Voting)

The final package voted on the by House consisted of the Rogers and Frelinghuysen amendments and the disaster aid reforms. Ultimately the bill provides around $50.5 billion to the areas affected by the storm. Almost all of that total is designated “emergency spending,” meaning it falls outside of budgetary caps established for this fiscal year by the 2011 debt ceiling agreement. The final bill did pick up a few more Republican votes, but it would not have come close to passage without near-unanimous Democratic support. The issue of whether to offset disaster aid appears certain to resurface again. Rep. Mulvaney, while lamenting defeat of his amendment, said he was nonetheless “encouraged” to receive 162 votes.

Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr. voted YES……send e-mail or see bio

Disaster Aid Reform – Vote Passed (403-0, 26 Not Voting)

The House engaged in a multiple-step process last week in order to finally pass the bulk of an assistance package for victims of Hurricane Sandy (after passing a bill two weeks ago increasing the National Flood Insurance Program’s borrowing authority). The first step was passing this bill designed to introduce efficiencies to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) disaster recovery procedures. Among other things, the bill would streamline environmental reviews, reduce debris removal costs, and allow FEMA to make limited repairs to housing structures if that would be less costly than providing trailers. It would also direct FEMA to provide Congress with recommendations for reducing future recovery costs.

Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr. voted Not Voting……send e-mail or see bio

Upcoming Votes
Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013 – H.R.152

The Senate is expected to take up the House-passed disaster aid package this week.

To ensure the complete and timely payment of the obligations of the United States Government until May 19, 2013, and for other purposes – H.R.325

Republicans appear to have given up their strategy of using the debt ceiling to extract concessions from President Obama on spending and entitlements. That does not mean they plan simply to raise it, however. Their new gambit, expected to be on the floor Wednesday, would actually suspend the ceiling until May 19. Simultaneously, it would introduce a requirement that if either house of Congress does not pass a budget resolution by April 15 (as technically required by law), members of that house would not be paid until 1) a budget is passed or 2) the end of the 113th Congress, whichever occurs first.

66 amendments to cut the budget

By Phyllis Schlafly
So Refreshing — Congress Doing Its Job

Republican members of the House, goaded on by tea partiers, have made a good start in fulfilling their promise to cut $100 billion out of current spending of taxpayers’ money. The House approved 66 amendments, most on roll-call votes, to H.R. 1, the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act for FY 2011.

Here is a sampling of those 66 amendments, which are only a drop in the bucket for dealing with the federal deficit, but they reveal some of the nonsense now imbedded in the federal budget. Democrats predicted that House members at home during the Washington’s Birthday recess would discover that constituents are angry about cuts, but congressmen report getting more kudos than complaints because the American people have wised up to the fact that government spending does not create jobs.

Amendment No. 8, sponsored by Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., and passed 231-191, prohibits the use of any funds in the act to design, renovate, construct or rent any United Nations headquarters. The UN was projected to spend $1.9 billion to make its headquarters even more luxurious than it already is.

Amendment No. 11, sponsored by Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., and passed 240 to 185, prohibits any of the act’s funds from being used by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America or its affiliates. This big vote reflects the 2010 election of many more pro-lifers and public opinion moving against taxpayer funding of abortions.

Amendment No. 79, sponsored by Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and passed 241 to 184, prohibits the use of any of the act’s funds to pay the salary of any Department of Health and Human Services employee who develops or promulgates regulations or guidance about ObamaCare’s health insurance exchanges. The public is still opposed to the mandates and the costs of ObamaCare.

Amendment No. 83, sponsored by Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo., and passed 246 to 182, prohibits the IRS from using appropriated funds to enforce ObamaCare’s individual mandate to buy insurance. This vote probably reflects the news that the IRS is hiring 1,054 new agents to enforce the individual mandates and to fine Americans who don’t obey.

Amendment No. 84, sponsored by Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., and passed 239 to 185, cuts out of the Environmental Protection Agency’s appropriation the $8.5 million budgeted for the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Registry, which was preparing to operate cap-and-trade. Pompeo said, “This data is the very foundation of the EPA’s effort to pursue its radical anti-jobs agenda.”

Amendment No. 100, sponsored by Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., and passed 268-163, wipes out an appropriation of $42,600,000 for the U.S. Institute of Peace and transfers it to the Spending Reduction Account. U.S. taxpayers have already sunk $720 million into this boondoggle and gave its bureaucrats an office building near the State Department.

Amendment No. 149, sponsored by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., and passed 244 to 149, prohibits giving any of the act’s funds to the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. That’s a welcome strike against global warming propaganda.

Amendment No. 154, sponsored by Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, and passed 235 to 187, prohibits any of the act’s funds from carrying out provisions of the Education Jobs Fund, that mandates that only Texas must certify that stimulus funds will be used to supplement and not supplant state funding of education programs. How’s that for telling one state how to spend its own money?

Amendment No. 196, sponsored by Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., and passed 217 to 209, reduces the appropriation for the National Endowment for the Arts by $20 million and transfers the money to the Spending Reduction Account. Too bad the House didn’t totally defund the NEA, since it has carried on years of offensive attacks on our culture.

Amendment No. 204, sponsored by Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., and passed 249 to 175, prohibits any of the act’s funds from being used for salaries and expenses for President Obama’s “czars,” who have not been confirmed by the Senate. It’s probably a tossup whether this, or defunding the redecoration of U.N. buildings, gets the popularity prize with Americans.

Amendment No. 208, sponsored by Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla. and passed 247 to 175, prohibits any of the act’s funds from being used for the Presidential Election Campaign Fund or the Presidential Primary Matching Payment Account. U.S. taxpayers have been increasingly registering their disapproval of this expenditure on their annual income tax returns.

Amendment No. 267, sponsored by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, and passed 241 to 187, prohibits the act’s funds from being used to implement ObamaCare this year, saving about $2.8 billion.

Amendment No. 404, sponsored by Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., and passed 244 to 181, prohibits any of the act’s funds from being used by the Federal Communications Commission to implement so-called “network neutrality.” Americans don’t want the government taking over supervision of the Internet.

ACORN Operative Moves To DNC

article

A longtime ACORN operative is about to take over the reins of the Democratic National Committee as its executive director – just in time to begin initial preparations for President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign.

The activist in question is Patrick Gaspard. He currently holds the title of White House political affairs director, the same title Karl Rove held in President Bush’s administration.

Gaspard comes from the same world of radical left-wing community organizing that shaped Barack Obama. Gaspard is well schooled in the brutal, street-smart organizing tactics taught by the late Saul Alinsky, author of Rules for Radicals. He’s the hatchet man Obama sent to New York over a year ago to strong-arm then-Gov. David Paterson into dropping his reelection campaign. As executive director running the DNC’s day-to-day operations Gaspard will oversee Organizing for America, a project of the DNC supposedly modeled on Alinskyite organizing principles. (Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine will remain as general chairman of the DNC.)

Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo to Haitian parents, very little is known about this Rasputin-like power behind the throne. Gaspard shuns publicity and is extremely reluctant to speak to the media on the record. Look him up on Nexis and you will find virtually nothing about this otherwise influential counselor to the leader of the free world.

But his colleagues hold him in high esteem. “Patrick is the best political mind of his generation in New York and maybe the nation,” according to Kevin Sheekey, a lieutenant of New York mayor Michael Bloomberg. “I wouldn’t dispute that,” added David Axelrod, a senior advisor in the Obama White House.

Gaspard came to the White House from ACORN’s favorite labor organization, Service Employees International Union. (SEIU Locals 100 and 880 were until recently official affiliates of ACORN.) He had been executive vice president for political and legislative affairs for SEIU Local 1199 United Healthcare Workers East, which claims to be the largest union local on the planet “representing more than 300,000 members and retirees in New York, Maryland, the District of Columbia and Massachusetts.”

Gaspard was previously revealed to be political director for ACORN’s New York branch. Although the source of this information, ACORN founder Wade Rathke, has since feigned senility and claimed he was mistaken, other evidence points to Gaspard’s involvement with the nation’s most notorious activist group.

ACORN chief organizer Bertha Lewis’s Rolodex contains an extensive entry for Gaspard, the most detailed entry of the hundreds of individuals listed. A letter published in 2001 by the Nation magazine was co-authored by Lewis and Gaspard. Gaspard indicated in the letter he was working for the socialist Working Families Party at the time, a New York political party created by Lewis and ACORN. ACORN noted on its website that in 1998 “ACORN members spearhead[ed] formation of the Working Families Party, the first community-labor party with official ballot status in New York state in more than 50 years.” ACORN and the party share office space in Brooklyn.

Internal ACORN documents show that Gaspard gave ACORN $40,000 from 2007 through 2009. That’s a huge tithe for someone who made $111,894 in 2007 and who has a wife and two children. The $111,894 figure comes from SEIU 1199’s tax return.

As previously reported, the state of Nevada is preparing for the trial of ACORN which is currently scheduled for April 25. ACORN, the nonprofit entity that controls an empire of activism, in charged with conspiracy to commit voter fraud. Voter fraud, sometimes called electoral fraud, is a blanket term encompassing a host of election-related improprieties. State officials said previously that bankruptcy would not prevent them from moving forward with the case.

ACORN executive Amy Adele Busefink was given a two-year suspended prison term earlier this month for her role in the conspiracy. The case involved a scheme to provide illegal financial bonuses to voter registration canvassers for exceeding their daily quotas. Nevada law forbids the practice on the theory that such bonuses provide an incentive for canvassers to file bogus registrations.

Across America state chapters of ACORN, which stands for Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, have been incorporating themselves separately in order to carry on ACORN’s work. ACORN is reorganizing and will reemerge again soon under a new name, according to ACORN historian and housing activist John Atlas, who wrote the 2010 book “Seeds of Change.”

Matthew Vadum is a senior editor at Capital Research Center, a Washington, D.C. think tank that studies the politics of philanthropy with a special focus on left-wing advocacy groups. An award-winning investigative reporter, Vadum’s book on ACORN and its infiltration of the Obama administration will be published in mid-2011.

Matthew Vadum writes for The Daily Caller

Is This Our America Anymore?

by Pat Buchanan from Townhall.com

Buried in the Oct. 30, 2010 Washington Post was a bland headline: “Report Points to Faster Recovery in Jobs for Immigrants.”

The story, however, contained social dynamite that explains the rage of Americans who are smeared as nativists and xenophobes for demanding a timeout on immigration.

In the April-May-June quarter, foreign-born workers in the U.S. gained 656,000 jobs. And native-born Americans lost 1.2 million.

From July 1, 2009, to June 30, 2010, foreign-born Hispanics gained 98,000 construction jobs. Native-born Hispanics lost 133,000. Black and white U.S. construction workers lost 511,000 jobs.

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, from Jan. 1, 2000, to Jan. 1, 2010, 13.1 million immigrants, legal and illegal, entered the United States, a decade in which America lost 1 million jobs.

From 2008 and 2009, the figures are startling. In 24 months, 2.4 million immigrants, legal and illegal, arrived, as U.S. citizens were losing 8.6 million jobs.

Query: Why are we importing a million-plus workers a year when 17 million Americans can’t find work? Whose country is this?

Why do we not declare a moratorium on all immigration, until our unemployment rate falls to 6 or 5 percent? Charity begins at home. Ought we not take care of our own jobless first before we invite in strangers to take their jobs?

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, each year between 300,000 and 400,000 “anchor babies” are born to illegal aliens. These newborns are entitled to citizenship, free health care and education, welfare and food stamps

Their parents — almost all are poor or working class — rarely pay any state or federal income tax.

How long can we keep granting citizenship and full social welfare benefits to the children of people who break our laws and break into our country or overstay their visas? How long can we keep bringing in workers to take jobs when our unemployment rate hovers around 10 percent?

Again, according to the Pew Center, the number of anchor babies here now is about 4 million. Add to that 3 million to 4 million born each decade, and it will not be long before Colorado, Nevada, Arizona and Texas resemble California, which is on the brink of default.

If no action is taken, the Republican Party will soon be unable, even in wave elections, to win the presidency, as it won nothing and indeed lost state legislative seats in California in 2010.

The border will disappear, and America will be a geographical expression, not a country anymore.

Legal scholar William Quirk describes a new phenomenon in the invasion of America: “maternity tourism.” Pregnant Asian women pay $15,000 to agents to ensure they are in the United States when their child is born so that they can return home secure in the knowledge he or she will be a U.S. citizen with the right to a U.S.-taxpayer subsidized education in college.

Though the nation has awakened to the threat to social cohesion and national solvency, Harry Reid is still attempting to ram through a lame-duck Senate an amnesty for illegal aliens up to age 30 who claim they were brought here before they were 16, have a high school diploma or GED and state that they intend to go to college within six years.

An estimated 2.1 million illegal aliens would be amnestied, put on a path to citizenship, and be eligible for student loans and more.

According to Alabama’s Jeff Sessions, ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee:
“Aliens granted amnesty by the DREAM Act will have the legal right to petition for entry of their family members, including their adult brothers and sisters and the parents who illegally brought or sent them to the United States, once they become naturalized U.S. citizens. In less than a decade, this reality could easily double or triple the 2.1 million green cards that will be immediately distributed as a result of the DREAM Act.”

Lawbreaking would be rewarded. Chain migration would continue. A permanent powerful magnet would be provided to all foreigners to sneak into the United States and be sure to bring the kids.

As Rep. Dana Rohrabacher argues, one effect of the DREAM Act will be to move illegals applying to college ahead of many Americans, as 80 percent of illegals are Hispanics and eligible for affirmative action.

U.S. soldiers coming home from Afghanistan will “sit in back,” as Obama puts it, when competing against amnestied illegals.

Several days ago, UCLA’s Kent Wong addressed a pro-amnesty rally in Los Angeles’ MacArthur Park. Wong turned the race card face up.

When Reid’s bill passes, said Wong, “the young people of the DREAM Act movement will go on to accomplish and do great things. … You will go on to become lawyers, teachers, doctors and members of the U.S. Congress to replace those old white men … .”

If the DREAM Act passes, Wong is right about whose time has come and gone. May the tea party take names at the call of the roll.

When Uncle Sam’s in Charge, No One Claims Responsibility

by Ashley Herzog, a Townhall columnist

At first, Gene Cranick tried to control the fire behind his rural Tennessee home with a garden hose. But as the flames approached the house, he decided to call 911.

Firefighters from a nearby town, South Fulton, responded immediately, fully equipped to stop the blaze and save Cranick’s house and four pets. But there was a problem: the Cranicks hadn’t paid a $75 fee to South Fulton for fire protection. Upon learning this, the firemen retracted their hoses and watched the house go up in flames. They only acted when a fee-paying neighbor’s field began to burn.

Inexcusable? Yes. Liberal blogs erupted in outrage at the story—not because a fully equipped fire department had let a house burn to the ground, but because the incident is “just a preview of what would come in…the America envisioned by the tea party,” as Keith Olbermann put it.

Let’s look at that.

Liberal blogs implied that this outrage occurred because South Fulton’s fire department is privatized and profit-driven. It’s not. This fire department is government-funded and government-operated. Because the Cranicks live outside city limits, the South Fulton government charged them a fee for fire protection.

This was the government’s fault.

Only government breeds the kind of stupefied incompetence that would lead firefighters to watch a house burn—because they are, technically, playing by the rules. Paulette Cranick admitted as much, telling the AP, “You can’t blame them if they have to do what the boss says to do.”

We can rest assured that no one will be fired for the incident, much less punished. Government workers never are.

Earlier this year, a 50-year-old black man in Pittsburgh called 911 nine times over two days, complaining of stomach pains. But the ambulance drivers kept getting lost, and “poor communication” (government-speak for incompetence) prevented responders from realizing how many times he’d called. When the man’s girlfriend dialed 911 a tenth time, he was dead.

“We should have gotten there. It’s that simple,” Public Safety Director Michael Hus said.

No one was ever fired for the incident.

In 2006, New York Times reporter David Rosenbaum was mugged and hit over the head in Washington, DC. The ambulance drivers got lost looking for him. When they finally responded, they took him to a hospital on the other side of the city—and completely missed his head injury. Thanks to this oversight, Rosenbaum died after being neglected at the emergency room.

The Deputy Mayor for public safety told The Washington Post that “no one involved in the incident had been fired.”

Of course they weren’t. Government employees have endless layers of job protections that prevent them from ever being held accountable. In fact, South Fulton mayor David Crocker refused to apologize for his fire department’s actions.

“Anybody that’s not in the city of South Fulton, it’s a service we offer, either they accept it or they don’t,” he said.

At least if the fire department responding to the Cranick’s house was privately operated, the firemen would be out of work today. Their boss would be doing a public apology tour—probably before filing for bankruptcy.

But when the government’s in charge, no one ever claims responsibility. Instead, they point to the bureaucratic rulebook: “Your house burned down? Ain’t my problem. I followed the rules.”

If you think this is bad, just wait until government employees control the hospitals. Maybe they’ll handle a patient with gunshot wounds the way they handled the fire at the Cranick’s: “He doesn’t have the right identification. Send him to the back of the line.”

Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, Redux

by Tony Blankley
We are now beginning to enter the Kansas-Nebraska Act stage of the socialist crisis of the Republic. At our constitutional founding, the evil of slavery had been crudely evaded. In 1820, the Missouri Compromise was enacted that prohibited the abomination north of 36/30 degrees latitude (about the middle of Missouri).

But with the western push of the frontier, a new compromise was needed. So the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 decreed that the “popular sovereignty” of each territory should decide whether they would be slave or free states. But then, adherents of both the abomination and freedom migrated to Kansas to struggle — with their bodily presence — for their respective causes. First there was politics.

Then the political rhetoric turned violent. Then real violence ensued. Kansas became known as Bleeding Kansas.

John Brown, most famously, applied unjustified, murderous violence for his righteous cause of ending slavery and was hanged, but the Civil War ensued because, as Lincoln sagely explained:

“A House divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure; permanently half slave and half free.

I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.

It will become all one thing or all the other.

Either the opponents of slavery, will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.”

Now we enter our History’s second stage in the struggle against the abomination of socialism. Just as slavery had been contained in the South, so entitlement socialism has, until this week, been more or less contained in service to only the poor and the elderly — and even in those programs (for the elderly) on the principle of beneficiaries paying monthly premiums for the benefits they will later get (Medicare/ Social Security). Only the poor under Medicaid received benefit without premium payment.

But now, just as the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 broke through the slave state limitation to the South, the Democratic Party’s 2010 health care law has broken socialism’s boundary of being so limited. Now, the chains of socialism are to be clamped on to the able-bodied middle class — not merely the already presumed helpless poor and old who have paid their insurance premiums.

Even the New York Times — after the vote — admits what the bigger goal has been all along. In Wednesday’s edition (“In Health Care Bill, Obama Attacks Wealth Inequality” by David Leonhardt), they point out: “Beyond the health reform’s effect on the medical system, it is the centerpiece of his deliberate effort to end what historians have called the age of Reagan. … Speaking to an ebullient audience of Democratic legislators and White House aides at the bill-signing ceremony on Tuesday, Mr. Obama claimed that health reform would ‘mark a new season in America.’…. Above all, the central question that both the Reagan and Obama administrations have tried to answer — what is the proper balance between the market and the government? — remains unresolved. But the bill signed on Tuesday certainly shifts our place on that spectrum.”

I thank The New York Times for that honest statement of historic fact.

For example, the new law takes away from insurance companies the right to charge for insurance based on actuarial risk — which is the essence of insurance. Now they will charge what the politicians tell them to charge — and pay such benefits as the politicians order them to pay. They may, for a while, make money, but that will be at the sufferance of the politicians. One may call this mere regulation, but it is regulation to such a degree that it constitutes effective ownership of the insurance company.

The former equity holders in such companies are now merely nominal owners. Also, the new law provides for taxes on investment income to pay for socialized health care, sucking out the lifeblood of our economy to the deathbeds of the destitute.

When these intrusions are combined with 1) the nationalization of GM and Chrysler, 2) the partial nationalization of the banks, 3) the establishment of trillion-dollar taxpayer-funded slush funds (stimulus package and TARP) and 4) the planned 10-year, $10 trillion of further government debt (which steals from our children and grandchildren dollars yet unmade by them to pay foreign debt holders), the center of gravity of our economy moves from the private sector to the public sector.

And just as the free states could not tolerate the spread of slavery into their midst, so, too, free middle-class America — if it still has its historic character — will not tolerate the yoke of socialism put upon our necks.

First, the unambiguous will of the majority has been defied by the vote of Congress last Sunday.

Come November, we shall see whether the system can still turn the popular will into the constitutionally permissible legislative will of the majority. If it can, all will be well and the crisis will end. Rallying the vote between now and November is roughly equivalent to the early stage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act period — people started migrating to Kansas to support their convictions.

But come November, if the majority still opposes the socializing of health care delivery and the other central government intrusions, and yet the corrupt bargains and constitutional distortions of Washington deny that will its just expression — then, for the second time in our history, we enter that dangerous period where the House resolves its temporary division. Let us devoutly pray –and commit to ourselves — that this time freedom shall be reacquired … peaceably.

from Tony Blankley, Townhall.com

Does this Stimulate you?

Hannity’s 102 worst ways the government is spending your tax dollars:
Grand Total: $4,891,645,229

102: Protecting a Michigan insect collection from other insects ($187,632)

101: Highway beautified by fish art in Washington ($10,000)

100: University studying hookup behavior of female college coeds in New York ($219,000)

99: Police department getting 92 blackberries for supervisors in Rhode Island ($95,000)

98: Upgrades to seldom-used river cruise boat in Oklahoma ($1.8 million)

97: Precast concrete toilet buildings for Mark Twain National Forest in Montana ($462,000)

96: University studying whether mice become disoriented when they consume alcohol in Florida ($8,408)

95: Foreign bus wheel polishers for California ($259,000)

94: Recovering crab pots lost at sea in Oregon ($700,000)

93: Developing a program to develop “machine-generated humor” in Illinois ($712,883)

92: Colorado museum where stimulus was signed (and already has $90 million in the bank) gets geothermal stimulus grant ($2.6 million)

91: Grant to the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance to support the traditional arts apprenticeship program, gathering and festival ($30,000)

90: Studying methamphetamines and the female rat sex drive in Maryland ($30,000)

89: Studying mating decisions of cactus bugs in Florida ($325,394)

88: Studying why deleting a gene can create sex reversal in people, but not in mice in Minnesota ($190,000)

87: College hires director for a project on genetic control of sensory hair cell membrane channels in zebrafish in California ($327,337)

86: New jumbo recycling bins with microchips embedded inside to track participation in Ohio ($500,000)

85: Oregon Federal Building’s “green” renovation at nearly the price of a brand new building ($133 million)

84: Massachusetts middle school getting money to build a solar array on its roof ($150,000)

83: Road widening that could have been millions of dollars cheaper if Lousiana hadn’t opted to replace a bridge that may not have needed replacing ($60 million)

82: Cleanup effort of a Washington nuclear waste site that already got $12 billion from the DOE ($1.9 billion)

81: Six woodlands water taxis getting a new home in Texas ($750,000)

80: Maryland group gets money to develop “real life” stories that underscore job and infrastructure-related research findings ($363,760)

79: Studying social networks like Facebook in North Carolina ($498,000)

78:18 North Carolina teacher coaches to heighten math and reading performance ($4.4 million)

77: Retrofitting light switches with motion sensors for one company in Arizona ($800,000)

76: Removing graffiti along 100 miles of flood-control ditches in California ($837,000)

75: Bicycle lanes, shared lane signs and bike racks in Pennsylvania ($105,000)

74: Privately-owned steakhouse rehabilitating its restaurant space in Missouri ($75,000)

73: National dinner cruise boat company in Illinois outfitting vessels with surveillance systems to protect against terrorists ($1 million)

72: Producing and transporting peanuts and peanut butter in North Carolina ($900,000)

71: Refurnishing and delivering picnic tables in Iowa ($30,000)

70: Digital television converter box coupon program in D.C. ($650 million)

69: Elevating and relocating 3,000 feet of track for the Napa Valley Wine Train in California ($54 million)

68: Hosting events for Earth Day, the summer solstice etc. in Minnesota ($50,000)

67: Expanding ocean aquaculture in Hawaii ($99,960)

66: Raising railroad tracks 18 inches in Oregon because the residents of one small town were tired of taking a detour around them ($4.2 million)

65: Professors and employees of Iowa state universities voluntarily taking early retirement ($43 million)

64: Minnesota theatre named after Che Guevara putting on “socially conscious” puppet shows ($25,000)

63: Replacing a basketball court lighting system with a more energy efficient one in Arizona ($20,000)

62: Repainting and adding a security camera to one bridge in Oregon ($3.5 million)

61: Missouri bridge project that already was full-funded with state money ($8 million)

60: New hospital parking garage in New York that will employ less people ($19.5 million)

59: University in North Carolina studying why adults with ADHD smoke more ($400,000)

58: Low-income housing residents in one Minnesota city receiving free laptops, WiFi and iPod Touches to “educate” them in technology ($5 million)

57: University in California sending students to Africa to study why Africans vote they the way they do in their elections ($200,000)

56: Researching the impact of air pollution combined with a high-fat diet on obesity development in Ohio ($225,000)

55: Studying how male and female birds care for their offspring and how it compares to how humans care for their children in Oklahoma ($90,000)

54: University in Pennsylvania researching fossils in Argentina (over $1 million)

53: University in Tennessee studying how black holes form (over $1 million)

52: University in Oklahoma sending 3 researchers to Alaska to study grandparents and how they pass on knowledge to younger generations ($1.5 million)

51: Grant application from a Pennsylvania university for a researcher named in the Climate-gate scandal (Rep. Darrell Issa is calling on the president to freeze the grant) ($500,000)

50: Studying the impact of global warming on wildflowers in a Colorado ghost town ($500,000)

49: Bridge built over railroad crossing so 168 Nebraska town residents don’t have to wait for the trains to pass ($7 million)

48: Renovating an old hotel into a visitors center in Kentucky ($300,000)

47: Removing overgrown weeds in a Rhode Island park ($250,000)

46: Renovating 5 seldom-used ports of entry on the U.S.-Canada border in Montana ($77 million)

45: Testing how to control private home appliances in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts from an off-site computer ($800,000)

44: Repainting a rarely-used bridge in North Carolina ($3.1 million)

43: Renovating a desolate Wisconsin bridge that averages 10 cars a day ($426,000)

42: 4 new buses for New Hampshire ($2 million)

41: Repaving a 1-mile stretch of Atlanta road that had parts of it already repaved in 2007 ($490,000)

40: Florida beauty school tuition ($2.3 million)

39: Extending a bike path to the Minnesota Twins stadium ($500,000)

38: Beautification of Los Angeles’ Sunset Boulevard ($1.1 million)

37: Colorado Dragon Boat Festival ($10,000)

36: Developing the next generation of supersonic corporate jets in Maryland that could cost $80 million dollars each ($4.7 million)

35: New spring training facilities for the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies ($30 million)

34: Demolishing 35 old laboratories in New Mexico ($212 million)

33: Putting free WiFi, Internet kiosks and interactive history lessons in 2 Texas rest stops ($13.8 million)

32: Replacing a single boat motor on a government boat in D.C. ($10,500)

31: Developing the next generation of football gloves in Pennsylvania ($150,000)

30: Pedestrian bridge to nowhere in West Virginia ($80,000)

29: Replacing all signage on 5 miles of road in Rhode Island ($4,403,205)

28: Installing a geothermal energy system to heat the “incredible shrinking mall” in Tennessee ($5 million)

27: University in Minnesota studying how to get the homeless to stop smoking ($230,000)

26: Large woody habitat rehabilitation project in Wisconsin ($16,800)

25: Replacing escalators in the parking garage of one D.C. metro station ($4.3 million)

24: Building an airstrip in a community most Alaskans have never even heard of ($14,707,949)

23: Bike and pedestrian paths connecting Camden, N.J. to Philadelphia, Penn. when there’s already a bridge that connects them ($23 million)

22: Sending 10 university undergrads each year from North Carolina to Costa Rica to study the rainforests ($564,000)

21: Road signs touting stimulus funds at work in Ohio ($1 million)

20: Researching how paying attention improves performance of difficult tasks in Connecticut ($850,000)

19: Kentucky Transportation Department awarding contracts to companies associated with a road contractor accused of bribing the previous state transportation secretary ($24 million)

18: Amtrak losing $32 per passenger nationally but rewarded with windfall ($1.3 billion)

17: Widening an Arizona interstate even though the company that won the contract has a history of tax fraud and pollution ($21.8 million)

16: Replace existing dumbwaiters in New York ($351,807)

15: Deer underpass in Wyoming ($1,239,693)

14: Arizona universities examining the division of labor in ant colonies (combined $950,000)

13: Fire station without firefighters in Nevada ($2 million)

12: “Clown” theatrical production in Pennsylvania ($25,000)

11: Maryland town gets money but doesn’t know what to do with it ($25,000)

10: Investing in nation-wide wind power (but majority of money has gone to foreign companies) ($2 billion)

9: Resurfacing a tennis court in Montana ($50,000)

8: University in Indiana studying why young men do not like to wear condoms ($221,355)

7: Funds for Massachusetts roadway construction to companies that have defrauded taxpayers, polluted the environment and have paid tens of thousands of dollars in fines for violating workplace safety laws (millions)

6: Sending 11 students and 4 teachers from an Arkansas university to the U.N. climate change convention in Copenhagen, using almost 54,000 lbs of carbon dioxide from air travel alone ($50,000)

5: Storytelling festival in Utah ($15,000)

4: Door mats to the Department of the Army in Texas ($14,675)

3: University in New York researching young adults who drink malt liquor and smoke pot ($389,357)

2: Solar panels for climbing gym in Colorado ($157,800)

1: Grant for one Massachusetts university for “robobees” (miniature flying robot bees) ($2 million)

Grand Total: $4,891,645,229

Where Are Our Local Leaders?

State budget cuts hit us locally very hard.  Decatur County is facing a drop in state funds of at least $500,000.  This, of course, is in addition to the drop in sales tax revenue which hits both the city and county government.  Bainbridge College is facing a $1.5 million cut eliminating jobs and educational programs.

Now, only days after saying they thought our revenue collections would be flat, the Governor reports on Monday that net revenue collections for the month of February 2010 decreased 9.9% over last year. (ytd 12.7%)


There is no confusion that the problem is our economy with 7 million jobs lost over the last couple of years.  There is no quick fix to the great recession, budget shortfalls and 20% unemployment (in reality).


There is no debate that business creating jobs is the solution. Is a $500 credit for new hires fixing anything? No, but it looks like the politicians are doing something.


Businesses can not expand and hire if they have no idea of future costs.  As Congress “debates” (read bribe and strong arm) how they will overcome over 70% of the US citizens that want the Health Care bill scraped, business sits on the sideline waiting.


As “green jobs” and a “green transformation” is discussed (read a huge increase in the cost of energy), business sits on the side.  As new taxes on business are discussed, business sits on the sideline.


I would suggest that our “jobless recovery” can not become a real recovery until the federal government gets out of the way.  Since we know they will not do what is best, to adjourn for the year, they need to be convinced to stop the madness.


Cal Thomas writes
The president would achieve real success by cutting taxes, eliminating unnecessary regulations and liberating the free enterprise system to do what it does best: create products and services people will buy so that companies will hire people.


That has always been the formula that has produced a strong American economy. Government produces little that people want to buy. Government mostly takes from those who produce. Government can spread wealth, as this president is attempting to do — but it can’t create wealth. So by spreading wealth rather than allowing wealth to be created, the result is less wealth to spread.


The economic power of America is in Americans, not in government.


We can achieve true Health Care Reform, but we all know this present bill is not going to achieve reform.


Who can stop the madness?
Well, people’s outrage has them almost stopped, but bribes and strong armed tactics may ultimately win out and destroy our economy for the next 10 years.


I believe it is time for our local leaders to step up and, crudely stated, grow some.


How many City Councils and County Commissions have passed resolutions against the present Health Care Bill, the one that has put our economy in limbo? I’d guess none.


And where are our local Chambers of Commerce?  They should be leading this charge as an organization.


Contrary to doing what the vast majority of our local leaders know they should do, they just might need something from Congressman Sanford Bishop in the future.  Hello? Either the federal government won’t have any money, or you will be under their thumb anyway.


The old saying is so true, politics is local.  Well I say let’s make it local and demand our local leaders take a stand.



More about the state budget
The decline in revenue is resulting in a FY 2010 budget shortfall of an additional $1.4 billion, for a total FY 2010 budget shortfall of $4.6 billion.  The FY 2012 budget deficit is projected at $1.94 billion.  (According to GBPI)


Georgia’s FY 2011 $18 billion budget breaks down like this, so where do you think the major cuts will come?  Taxes anyone?


General Funds General Funds
and Recovery Act Funds
Education 54.6% 53.1%
Health/Medicare 17.3% 20.1%
Public Safety 9.9% 9.9%
Human Services 2.9% 2.7%
Transportation 4.2% 3.9%
Debt Service 7.0% 6.5%
All Other Govt 4.1% 3.8%

Contact information for Congressman Sanford D. Bishop
Washington, D.C. Office, Phone: (202) 225-3631
Albany Office, Phone: (229) 439-8067
Columbus Office, Phone: (706) 320-9477
Thomasville Office, Phone: (229) 226-7789


BTW,
Decatur County Schools will be out for furlough days this Thursday and Friday, March 11 and 12.

Debt Panel’s 800-lb. Gorilla

By Brian Johnson
A degree in education and urban planning, training in the tactics of “radical activism,” two million drones of workers continuing the free-flowing million dollar stream of union dues, an open criminal review into potential illegal lobbying activities by the U.S. Attorney-these are the qualifications of Andrew Stern, the newest edition to President Obama’s “Debt Panel.”

The bipartisan debt panel is tasked with the goal of cutting the growing federal deficit. The 18-member group consists of economists, major leaders of industry, Republican and Democrat members of Congress, and Mr. Stern, the president of the largest union in the U.S., the Service Employee International Union (SEIU)-who is under criminal review.

In November 2009, the Alliance for Worker Freedom and Americans for Tax Reform requested the acting United States Attorney Channing Phillips investigate Mr. Stern. Specifically to determine whether Mr. Stern was engaged in unregistered lobbying, violating the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA), 2 U.S.C. 1601, et seq. Mr. Stern was a registered lobbyist for SEIU through January of 2007 until early campaign speeches by the President indicating his unwillingness to work with registered lobbyists, forced him to terminate his registration. Evidence suggests that Mr. Stern continues to lobby extensively after he terminated his registered status, and in 2009 devoted enough time to lobbying and covered activities by the LDA that he should have re-registered.

According the LDA, a “lobbyist” is someone who spends more than 20 percent of his time in a calendar quarter talking with, writing to, preparing and meeting with two or more “covered” officials in Congress or the White House. In effect, if Mr. Stern spent on average one day per five-day workweek in a calendar quarter, approximately 13 days total, engaged in the aforementioned activities, he is a lobbyist and should register.

During the first calendar quarter of 2009, according to White House logs, Mr. Stern spent 11 days lobbying and over 22 days between Jan. 20-Sept. 15, 2009. During the second quarter, Mr. Stern visited the White House 10 times on 9 different days. Additionally, Mr. Stern has used Twitter to personally announce his lobbying activities.

On June 17, Mr. Stern Tweeted, “Great discussion last 2 days with many Senators…” On May 18 he said, “At Springsteen concert. Lots of fundraisers in box, good free choice meeting with Senators today.” Mr. Stern even announced he was lobbying on June 24 saying, “Lobbying with Mayor Bloomberg on healthcare. Leaving Senator Snowe.” Again on April 29 he admitted he met with Sen. Specter and Secretary Sebelius.

The evidence overwhelmingly suggests Mr. Stern is indeed violating the LDA by continuing to lobby illegally. Failure to register under the LDA is a criminal violation of the Act, which provides for civil penalties of up to $200,000 and up to five years in prison.

While the Secretary of the Senate has confirmed they have closed their file, the U.S. Attorney’s office confirmed they are currently reviewing the matter, as reported by Ed Barnes at FoxNews.com:

Keith Morgan, the assistant U.S. attorney handling the case, blamed the delay on the unique way the complaint came to his office, which handles thousands of lobbyist complaints every year.

“Most of the referrals we get come directly from the House or the Senate,” Morgan said. “This one is rather unique,” he said, referring to the conservative groups’ involvement, “and we are still taking a look at it.” He said there is no time frame for a decision to be made.

When the accusations were first made in November, the SEIU issued a written statement calling them meritless, adding that it was their “final” comment on the matter. Kawana Lloyd, spokeswoman for Stern, did not return calls seeking additional comment this week.

However there is a larger issue here than the LDA and an open criminal review.

Registered lobbyists must disclose financial contributions to candidates and Political Action Committee’s (PACs) Mr. Stern, by purposely not re-registering, does not. Additionally, those registered must also comply with the Congressional “gift ban” which forbids lobbyists from providing “covered” members anything with a monetary value over $20 unless a previous gifting relationship can be proven (marriage, etc). By not registering, Mr. Stern can provide vacations, trips, and gifts of an endless amount without having to publicly disclose.

This is exactly the type of activity President Obama pledged to fight—so why is Mr. Stern there?

This year’s employment data reveals organized labor’s route back to power. Private-sector union membership has reached an all-time low at 7.2 percent, down 834,000 from their 2008 level. With more industries taking note of the hard lesson learned by the American auto industry, it is expected this number will continue to decrease. However the unions’ silver lining lies with the drones of government employees filling our ever-expanding bureaucracy. And, for the first time in history, over 50 percent of all union members now work for the government at some level. With an increased incentive for bigger government, based purely on self-preservation, unions are ramping up their political activism.

Mr. Stern will use this position to push policies that skew the market towards private sector unions in an attempt to revive what is a dying movement.

Transparency and accountability are gone. Whatever hope left that President Obama was going to change things in Washington just got locked out the room—leaving the President and Mr. Stern on the other side of the door.

Brian M. Johnson is Executive Director of the Alliance for Worker Freedom, and the author of the 2009 Index of Worker Freedom.

From The Daily Caller