Archive for December, 2011

December 31, 2011

Obama’s Karma is bad… Plug-In Hybrids a Fire Hazard

Fisker Automotive is recalling all 239 of its 2012 Karma luxury plug-in hybrid cars because of a fire hazard, according to a report filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Prices on the 2012 model start at $103,000, including the destination charge.

In a report filed recently on the agency’s Web site, Fisker said some hose clamps were not properly positioned, which could allow a coolant leak. “If coolant enters the battery compartment an electrical short could possibly occur, causing a thermal event within the battery, including a possible fire in the worse case,” the company told the safety agency.

via Fisker Recalling 239 Karma Plug-In Hybrids for Fire Hazard – NYTimes.com.

December 31, 2011

Equality: Two Perspectives

President PopModal.com

To the Conservative, each individual is unique and therefore can never be equal. We are millions of people making millions of choices. To the Liberal, equality is paramount, uniqueness must be extinguished and the individual must subordinate to the state, thus making equality a paradox.

The paradox? A Utopian model demands a small group of elite, that consider themselves superior to the proletariat, deserves the penthouse apartment overlooking the kingdom.

December 30, 2011

Gingrich sees Sarah Palin as Vice President, Cabinet Secretary

Gingrich/Palin ticket?

Newt Gingrich said that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin would be among the candidates that he would consider when considering a potential running mate, adding that the former GOP vice presidential nominee would be an ideal candidate for secretary of Energy.

Gingrich, speaking Wednesday during a conference call with conservative voters hosted by Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, was asked by one of the attendees whether he would consider Palin as a running mate.

“She is certainly one of the people you would look at. I am a great admirer of hers and she was a remarkable reform governor of Alaska, she’s somebody who I think brings a great deal to the possibility of helping in government and that would be one of the possibilities,” Gingrich said, according to Right Wing Watch.

He went on to suggest that Palin might be ideal for a position in his Cabinet.

“There are also some very important Cabinet positions that she could fill very, very well,” Gingrich said. “I can’t imagine anybody who would do a better job of driving us to an energy solution than Gov. Palin, for example. Tell her that she would certainly be on the list of one of the people we would consider.”

Palin had toyed for months with running for the presidency before ultimately announcing late this summer to stay out of the GOP race.

via Gingrich sees Sarah Palin as vice president, Cabinet secretary – The Hill’s Blog Briefing Room.

December 30, 2011

Social Security Lies

Privatize Social Security "Make the Poor Wealthy"

Privatize Social Security "Make the Poor Wealthy"

Here’s what the 1936 government pamphlet on Social Security said, “After the first 3 years – that is to say, beginning in 1940 – you will pay, and your employer will pay, 1.5 cents for each dollar you earn, up to $3,000 a year. . . beginning in 1943, you will pay 2 cents, and so will your employer, for every dollar you earn for the next 3 years. . . . And finally, beginning in 1949, twelve years from now, you and your employer will each pay 3 cents on each dollar you earn, up to $3,000 a year.” Here’s Congress’s lying promise: “That is the most you will ever pay.”

Having read the government pamphlet, I consulted Webster’s Dictionary. The definition for the word ever contains descriptions like: “at all times,” “always,” and “at any time.” Had Congress lived up to its promise, our maximum Social Security tax this year would be $90 instead of over $6,000. The Social Security Act of 1935 would have never been enacted had Americans back then known that we’d be subject to a $6,000 tax.

Another lie in the Social Security pamphlet is, “Beginning November 24, 1936, the United States government will set up a Social Security account for you. . . . The checks will come to you as a right.” Americans were led to believe Social Security was like a retirement account and money placed in it was our property. President Clinton and Vice-President Gore and their sycophants want you to continue to believe that. The fact of the matter is you have no property right whatsoever to your Social Security “contributions.”

You say, “Williams, that’s crazy; what do you mean?” In a U.S. Supreme Court case, Helvering v. Davis (1937), the Court held that Social Security was not an insurance program saying, “The proceeds of both employee and employer taxes are to be paid into the treasury like any other internal revenue generally, and are not earmarked in anyway.” In another Supreme Court case, Fleming v. Nestor (1960), the Court said, “To engraft upon Social Security system a concept of “accrued property rights” would deprive it of the flexibility and boldness in adjustment to ever-changing conditions which it demands.” Again, the Court rejected any comparison of Social Security with insurance or an annuity. Now the Social Security Administration belatedly is trying to clean up its history of deception. Its web site (www.ssa.gov/history/nestor.html)says, “Entitlement to Social Security benefits is not [a] contractual right.” Adding, “There has been a temptation throughout the program’s history for some people to suppose that their FICA payroll taxes entitle them to a benefit in a legal, contractual sense. Congress clearly had no such limitation in mind when crafting the law.” That’s Social Security Administration’s dishonest blame evasion. After all it was they who said, “The checks will come to you as a right.”

What to do? First, let’s commend George Bush for having the guts to touch the “third rail” of American politics by warning the American people that Social Security is a national disaster waiting to happen in just 20 or 30 years. His proposal to allow workers to take two or three percent of their FICA taxes and invest them in an approved private investment vehicle is a good first step. A bolder step would be to honor our current Social Security obligations and allow any person who chooses to do so to opt out of the program altogether and privately manage their retirement needs. That, of course, would retire funding Social Security obligations out of general revenues for a period, requiring large spending cuts elsewhere. But each year we’d be moving towards a permanent solution.

Walter E. Williams

c23-00

May 22, 2000

via Social Security Lies.

December 29, 2011

Visitors from Outer Space and Their Strange Ideas About Education Reform

There are those among us who think that teachers unions, collective bargaining and peer assistance review are the way to a better education for kids. They look like earthlings, but in fact are extraterrestrial

President California Teachers Empowerment Network

As the year draws to a close, newspapers, magazines and blogs are filled with best of and worst of lists that deal with everything imaginable. The Hoover Institution’s Koret Task Force got on the bandwagon early and posted Best and Worst in American Education, 2011 in November. All solid stuff. Can a reformer not be happy about the Parent Trigger being raked over the coals, yet surviving, or that many of Michelle Rhee’s reforms are still in place despite leaving her post as D.C. Schools Chancellor after a major push from the American Federation of Teachers? On the worst list, the Task Force includes the Atlanta teacher cheating scandal and the union-orchestrated overturn of Ohio’s recent anti-collective bargaining law.

Then lo and behold, we received a dispatch from Planet Ravitch on December 23rd. (Most people are not aware that shortly after astronomers ruled that Pluto was not a planet in 2006, a new planet would be identified. And it is inhabited!) The people who live on this celestial body (named after Diane Ravitch, a former reformer who turned into a champion of the failing status quo) are afflicted with a dyslexic-like condition: they have the entire education reform picture exactly backwards. The way to true reform is to hold their ideas up to a mirror with the resulting image revealing the best way to proceed.

Washington Post education “reporter” and blogger Valerie Strauss, whom Whitney Tilson rightfully refers to as Diane Ravitch’s mouthpiece, gave over her space last week to fellow Ravitchian Richard Kahlenberg. According to his bio, he is, among other things,

“…an authority on teachers’ unions, private school vouchers, charter schools, turnaround school efforts, and inequality in higher education.”

An authority on teachers unions? Maybe on Planet Ravitch, but he made a bad mistake when in Education Next he engaged especially wise earthling Jay Greene on unions and collective bargaining.

As you would expect, Kahlenberg gets everything backwards in his post. On his worst of list, he accused Terry Moe, author of Special Interest, a brilliant study of the teachers unions, of making “little sense.” (Kahlenberg apparently can’t tell the difference between a teacher and a teachers union.) Additionally, he is dismayed over the proliferation of charter schools because, according to his cherry picked data, most are mediocre. He fails to mention that charter schools have been the saving grace for many inner city kids who have escaped from the union dominated zip code schools they had been forced to attend. While proclaiming to have children’s best interests at heart, he is clearly more concerned that “some charter schools…save money by offering teachers no pensions whatsoever.

On the plus side, Kahlenberg – surprise! – likes the teachers unions. For example, he writes,

 “…the very positive role they can play on national policy was underlined in December, when the National Education Association announced an effort to establish 100 new peer assistance and review programs to better train and, if necessary, weed out ineffective teachers.

The only problem is that peer assistance programs have been a flop wherever they have been tried. And NEA’s weeding process does not stand much of a chance of seeing the light of day because for it to work at all, it will have to be implemented by union locals. It’s hard to imagine local union bosses talking this one up to the rank and file.

Not surprisingly, Kahlenberg is a fan of collective bargaining, which may benefit mediocre and poor teachers but does very little for the good ones. Moreover, it has been damaging the education process (and therefore children) for about a half-century now. Collective bargaining agreements are nothing more than a top down, collectivist way to ensure that teachers have to do the least amount of work in idealized working conditions with no accountability for the most money. As Jay Greene states,

“Until the ability of teachers unions to engage in collective bargaining is restrained, we should expect unions to continue to use it to advance the interests of their adult members over those of children, their families, and taxpayers.”

In any event, the good news as we look toward 2012 is that for Kahlenberg, Strauss, Ravitch and their fellow aliens, their day has come and gone. We live in a time when change is happening. In July, due to major reform efforts in statehouses all over the country, the Wall Street Journal proclaimed 2011 The Year of School Choice. As Bob Bowdon, director of The Cartel so aptly put it,

“Large entrenched bureaucracies like public education have something in common with aircraft carriers: they never turn around quickly. What’s important is the direction they’re moving, and in this regard the education news is good. Of the 180 degree reversal that’s needed for public schools, we’ve only turned three or four degrees so far, but all the recent trends are taking us in a better direction. The turnaround has begun.”

Happy New Year everyone!!

Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues.

December 29, 2011

PopModal – Research Educate Entertain

Why would Obama want to dig a ditch to China?
Why would Obama want to dig a ditch to China?

PopModal Videos – Research Educate Entertain.

December 27, 2011

Entertainment Corporations are Lobbying to Entertain us by force. SOPA is the end of us, say bloggers –

PopModal will be targeted for extinction.

EDITORS NOTE: It is not to hard to suppose, by the nature of Congress’s action on this matter, how out of touch they are with the American people. Both Liberal and Conservative citizen grassroot activists agree that this bill should not even be up for a vote.

This is where I personally feel the cozy nature of special interests with Big Government are usurping the Constitution of the United States. If the entertainment industry feels so threatened by the internet then they should stop entertaining us. They should stop trying to entertain us by force. People, do not assume the corporate CEO’s of the entertainment business are creative thinkers , they are not. They did not start the companies they run, they just perpetuate them. They are not Steve Jobs, who was a creative thinker and beat them at their own game. Now these pseudo fascists think the only way to make a profit is to force people to buy their products. God save us if they succeed.

Read this article on what damages to our freedom and liberty these measures would do while destroying the internet.

Visit this website to learn how you can contact your Rep in Congress and let them know how you feel about theses bils.

Jeffers M. Dodge

—————

By TIM MAK | 12/27/11 12:37 PM EST

The conservative and liberal blogospheres are unifying behind opposition to Congress’s Stop Online Piracy Act, with right-leaning bloggers aruging their very existence could be wiped out if the anti-piracy bill passes.

“If either the U.S. Senate’s Protect IP Act (PIPA) & the U.S. House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) become law, political blogs such as Red Mass Group [conservative] & Blue Mass Group [liberal] will cease to exist,” wrote a blogger at Red Mass Group.

Some have asserted that the controversial measures would criminalize pages and blogs that link to foreign websites dedicated to online piracy. In particular, this has concerned search engines like Google, which could face massive liability if some form of the bill passes, some say.

“Of course, restrictions of results provided by Internet search engines amount to just that: prior restraint of their free expression of future results. Google and others, under SOPA, are told what they can or can’t publish before they publish it. Kill. The. Bill,” conservative blogger Neil Stevens argued at RedState.

Liberals had their own spin on it, cheering on the fact that corporate support for SOPA was starting to subside.

In particular, GoDaddy, a domain registration firm, suffered a spectacularly bad round of PR when it came out in support of the measures. But after a grass-roots campaign to boycott the firm, driven by Reddit, an online community, and others, GoDaddy reversed course and renounced its support.

“Some good news on the SOPA front: Its corporate base of supporters is starting to crumble,” David Dayden wrote at Firedoglake. “GoDaddy is not alone. Scores of law firms are requesting their names be removed from the Judiciary Committee’s official list of SOPA supporters.”

In the blogosphere, the trajectory of the bill seemed set — that it is destined for failure if the pressure of the online community is kept up.

“The dynamic is clear. Once SOPA — and its Senate counterpart, Protecting IP Act, or PIPA — became high-profile among the Internet community, the lazy endorsements from companies and various hangers-on became toxic. And now, those supporters are scrambling, hollowing out the actual support for the bill. Suddenly, a bill with ‘widespread’ corporate support doesn’t have much support at all,” Dayden said.

Conservatives took a slightly different tact, though with similar disdain for the anti-piracy measures.

Indeed, blogger Erick Erickson said that he would encourage a primary for any Republican who supports the bill.

“I love Marsha Blackburn. She is a delightful lady and a solidly conservative member of Congress. And I am pledging right now that I will do everything in my power to defeat her in her 2012 reelection bid” due to her co-sponsorship for SOPA, Erickson wrote at RedState. “Congress has proven it does not understand the Internet. Perhaps they will understand brute strength against them at the ballot box. If members of Congress do not pull their name from co-sponsorship of SOPA, the left and right should pledge to defeat each and every one of them.”

via SOPA is the end of us, say bloggers – Tim Mak – POLITICO.com.

December 26, 2011

Sen. Harry Reid’s Unicorns: Fact Checking A Whopper

There are 236,883 tax filers with incomes of a million dollars or more. By Harry Reid’s count, only one percent, or 2,361 of them, are business owners, and a tiny fraction of them create jobs. I do not know what Harry means when he says “a tiny fraction of a tiny fraction.” If we let 5 percent represent Harry’s “tiny fraction,” we are left with 118 businesses owners who earn a million or more and create jobs. Yes, they are only slightly less rare than unicorns, if Harry is to be believed.

This leaves 236,765 million-dollar-plus tax payers, most of whom are “hedge fund managers and wealthy lawyers” who “don’t create jobs and don’t need tax breaks.”

My Google search for Harry Reid’s quarter million hedge fund managers and wealthy lawyers came up empty handed. I could identify at most sixteen thousand “wealthy lawyers and hedge fund managers,” not Harry Reid’s quarter million.

Well, Harry Reid’s numbers leave much to be desired, but maybe he is right that millionaire business owners do not create jobs.

What does the IRS have to say about this? Millionaire tax filers earn a total taxable income of $623 billion, on which they pay the highest average rate (30 percent) of any tax bracket. (Either Warren Buffet’s secretary has an incompetent tax accountant or Buffet has some pretty juicy tax breaks. I think the latter is more likely). A 1.9 percent tax surcharge on million-dollar-earners would yield $11 billion, assuming those shifty millionaires take no evasive action to avoid the tax.

via Sen. Harry Reid’s Unicorns: Fact Checking A Whopper – Forbes.

December 26, 2011

The “Let’s Brainwash American Children Club” Has a New Member

Venerable Scholastic has joined progressive educators and teachers unions in an effort to indoctrinate and radicalize American school children.

President California Teachers Empowerment Network

Scholastic, a student magazine that has been in business for over 90 years, has caught the progressive fever. (H/T Mary Grabar.) This malady affects common sense and good judgment and leads the afflicted to report news from a biased, progressive viewpoint.

In its December issue, Scholastic, which purports to “believe that all sides of the issues of our times should be fairly discussed — with deep respect for facts and logical thinking,” gets all gooey-eyed about the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon, mentioning that OWS concerns itself with “protesters,” “voicing concerns,” “Americans wanting more opportunity to share in company’s prosperity,” and “workers that they feel that they can never get ahead.” To be sure, some of these types are present at OWS events.

But, Scholastic omits a few inconvenient details, like the fact that the OWS camps have been a magnet for Communists, anarchists, street hustlers, and common criminals and have been breeding grounds for murder, rape, vandalism, robbery and anti-Jewish sentiment. The filth left by many of these criminals — I mean protesters — has taxed municipal sanitation systems at great cost to taxpayers. As of December 9th, there were 417 incidents in all. You would think that Scholastic could have managed to mention that all is not sweetness and light in OWSland.

How did Scholastic treat the Tea Partiers? Not so well. Tina Korbe at Hot Air quotes from the October 2010 Scholastic,

“Tea Party candidates also had some surprise wins in primary elections, which determine who will represent their political parties on the November ballot. Christine O’Donnell, a candidate for Vice President Joseph Biden’s Senate seat in Delaware, was backed by the Tea Party. She has since become known as the candidate who has had to declare publicly that she is ‘not a witch.’

“In Nevada, Sharron Angle, a Tea Party-backed Republican candidate, has become a real threat to U.S. Senator Harry Reid, who currently serves as the Senate Majority Leader. Reid called out the big guns to go up against his opponent. Former President Bill Clinton was recently in Nevada campaigning for him and warning voters against casting their ballots in anger.

“’If any time in your life you make an important decision when you’re mad, there’s an 80 per cent chance you’re going to make a mistake,’ Clinton said at a rally for Reid. ‘I don’t want people to abandon their anger. I want them to channel it so they can think clearly.’”

So, the OWSers have “concerns” but the Tea Partiers are “angry.” Christine O’Donnell is reduced to her unfortunate “Not a witch” comment, but Harry “Taxes are voluntary” Reed gets only positive words. (Just a personal note – I have been to many Tea Parties and have spoken at a couple and never saw or heard about any rapes robberies, assaults, vandalism or Jew hatred. And the area the Tea Party was held was in pristine condition after those involved held their event and went home.)

We would be lucky if it were just a student magazine like Scholastic that is spreading the bowdlerized OWS message to kids, but this is just not the case. Just a few examples of other offenders are the people behind the Facebook page Teach • Occupy Wall Street which claims,

“Teach Occupy Wall Street is for educators to share ideas, lesson plans, resources, website, youtubes, classroom practice etc. as we teach about the Occupy Wall Street movement. It is important for teachers to model civic courage to their students — the notion that we should act as if we live in a real democracy. One way to do that is to engage students in deep thinking about what is going on in the world around them. Spread the word. Teach OWS!”

Where to begin? “…we should act as if we live in a real democracy.” Don’t these “educators” know that our founders gave us not a democracy but a republic? Benjamin Franklin put the reason for this succinctly, “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.”

Then there are the teachers unions that have done their best to take advantage of the class warfare sentiment inherent in the OWS movement, whose motto could very well be “I’m poor because you’re rich.” As I wrote back in October,

“A couple of weeks ago, United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten made sympathetic statements about the Occupy Wall Street movement. Now the California Teachers Association has jumped in with a full endorsement and suggestions on its website as to how teachers and others can get involved in OWS activities.

“Stunning in its mendacity, CTA issued a press release (H/T Mike Antonucci) which announced its “support of the nationwide ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement for tax fairness and against corporate greed.” It goes on to say, ‘…a stable tax structure begins with everyone paying their fair share.’”

Additionally, when OWS fever was peaking last month, teachers actually called in sick and encouraged their students to join them in solidarity with other protesters on the frontlines.

At the end of the day, school children are being manipulated, lied to and taught a one-sided, distorted view of the world. From the mainstream media, many of their teachers and their unions and “educational” magazines, kids are getting hit foursquare with highly politicized, progressive propaganda. Its purveyors have no interest in education or the truth, only presenting the “facts” that fit their worldview. It’s disgusting and everyone involved in this enterprise should be ashamed of themselves.

Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, is the president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network – a non-partisan, non-political group dedicated to providing teachers with reliable and balanced information about professional affiliations and positions on educational issues.

December 26, 2011

A Message from the California Republican Party Chairman: Redistricing Bombshell & 3 Things You Can Do Before New Years

Total vindication.

That’s the only reasonable response to the bombshell report released today by ProPublica, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalism website, titled “How Democrats Fooled California’s Redistricting Commission.” The report systematically lays out the corrupt manipulation of what should have been an open and transparent process.

Once you’ve read through the report, I want you to do three things:

  1. Pat yourself on the back for knowing you helped do the right thing by supporting the CRP’s referendum efforts.
  2. Call your local talk radio station and/or write your local newspaper and demand an immediate investigation.
  3. Forward this report to your friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter ASAP.

Here’s what the San Jose Mercury News reported about the redistricting scandal today:

“California’s congressional Democrats ran a secret effort earlier this year to manipulate the work of the independent citizen’s panel that drew the state’s new political districts, foiling the intent of reformers who sought to remove the redistricting process from the control of party bosses.

“Democrats met behind closed doors at the party’s Washington, D.C. headquarters, hired consultants, drew their ideal districts and presented maps to the panel through proxies who never disclosed their party ties or “public interest” groups created specifically for the purpose. In many cases, the panel responded by doing just what the Democrats wanted.”

You can read the entire article HERE. Here’s my official response:

“The ProPublica report vindicates my repeated contention that the redistricting process was hijacked. That report, however, is just the tip of the iceberg. The corruption of the process went far beyond what was disclosed in that report. No fair minded person can now say the process or the result was fair.  I am calling for an immediate and thorough investigation, by Congressional and State authorities, to get to the bottom of this obviously corrupted process.  Beyond that, the Congressional and Senate lines as drawn by the Commission should not be used in any way for the upcoming elections.”

Once again. “That report…is just the tip of the iceberg.”

You know that I’ve been petitioning the Redistricting Commission, from the very beginning, to conduct itself with openness and fairness, just like California voters asked when they voted in favor of Prop 11 and 20. In March, I recommended that the commission hire bi-partisan line drawing experts and Voting Rights Act counsel to assist them with re-drawing legislative lines to avoid the commission being cast as a partisan one. Instead, they chose to ignore my advice and hired Q2 Data and Research, a firm widely known for its ties to Democrats. Please read the letter I sent to the commissioners regarding this decision.

I also chronicled the Commission proceedings with pieces on Flash Report and Fox and Hounds Daily, which points out the high level of partisanship involved with the selection of Q2 Data and Research.

Shortly thereafter, it was revealed by Cal Watch Dog that one of the commissioners, Dr. Gabianno T. Aguirre, had made multiple political campaign contributions to Democratic candidates and has a special “web of connections” with a special interest group that submitted its own redistricting proposals to the commission. Again, a clear violation of the Redistricting Commission’s rules.

I called for him to step down as his involvement compromised the commission’s integrity. Those calls fell on deaf ears, and Dr. Aguirre was allowed to maintain his position on the Commission.

In the Sacramento Bee, I stated that the Citizens Redistricting Commission ‘failed to consistently apply the criteria mandated by law when drawing the Assembly, Senate, congressional, and Board of Equalization maps.

Now it’s time for you to step up and let your voice be heard. Once again, we need to work together to demand accountability in all phases of government, even from non-partisan commissions who got fooled by the Democrats. Make calls, write letters, let your network know about this bombshell report.  Thanks again for all your hard work and service!

Tom Del Beccaro

CRP Chairman

via Redistricing Bombshell & 3 Things You Can Do Before New Years.

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