2010-05-12T00:05:48.465-04:00After 6 years and 11 months and over 3,700 posts hosted at http://www.nationalcenter.org/Blog.html, Amy Ridenour's National Center Blog is moving today to a new domain at http://www.conservativeblog.org.
2010-05-04T22:41:36.703-04:00Hot Air is reporting that President Obama is using the word “teabaggers” now.
2010-04-30T19:04:51.391-04:00David Ridenour at 2010 GE shareholder meetingGeneral Electric's plan to shed a majority stake in NBC Universal may be an attempt to repair GE's tarnished image with conservatives and moderates.At the General Electric shareholder meeting in Houston Wednesday, I asked GE CEO Jeff Immelt about the growing public perception that General Electric is committed to a particular ideology, which isn't in the long-term interest of shareholders.As an example, I noted that MSNBC, part of GE's NBC Universal, runs programming that is offensive to a substantial portion of the population. Keith Olbermann has called the Tea Party movement the "Tea Klux Klan" and has said the Republican Party wants to re-impose Jim Crow Laws.Whatever your political outlook, I said, this doesn't make sense for GE - offending a substantial number of GE customers or would-be customers. I noted also that a large number of GE shareholders, including those gathered, sympathize with what the Tea Parties are trying to do or are members of the Republican Party.I then noted that the Gallup organization has consistently shown that the number of people who self-identify as conservative outnumber those who self-identify as liberal 2 to 1. This, I said, is further supported by the fact that Fox News Channel has been far more successful than MSNBC, consistently getting more than double the viewers.I then asked him to explain GE's thinking in going after the 21% of the population that is liberal rather than 79% of the population that isn't, but Fox is, with NBC's programming. I also asked what he was doing to address the perception - especially among conservatives -- that GE stands against them.Quite a bit of applause followed.Immelt didn't answer but went to the next question.Later, I asked the questions again, noting he hadn't even attempted to answer my questions.He said that GE has never attempted to influence the programming for its news or public affairs programs.I asked: What about CNBC?That goes for CNBC, too, he said.I then interjected that its been widely reported that GE did just that (see New York Post article here) to curb criticism of President Obama's agenda.Again, he asserted GE never attempts to influence programming.Then he suggested that it was a moot point anyway because GE had divested itself of NBC Universal.I responded, GE will still have a 49% stake.Immelt then thanked me and moved on to the next questioner.More questions about NBC Universal - both on its politics and on the proposed sale --followed.What was particularly interesting is that on at least three occasions, including once during my question, Immelt said GE was divesting itself of NBC Universal - a point that is factually incorrect.When asked by one shareholder how much control GE will have over the NBC Universal joint venture with Comcast, he said "effectively none."GE will have a 49% stake in the company, have representation on the board of directors and yet have zero influence over the decisions?Laughable.This has all the markings of a company that wants to continue to influence NBC Universal programming (by serving on the board) and yet avoid accountability.When Rachel Maddow says Tea Party activists can't hear what they're cheering for because their white hoods muffle the sound (yes, she said that), and Immelt is called on it in the future, he simply will blame Comcast.The company has burned a lot of bridges with conservatives, not only through NBC Universal, but its support for cap-and-trade legislation, participation in TARP, and lobbying for stimulus dollars.That's likely one of the reasons GE is reducing its stake in NBC Universal - this also may be the reasoning behind its gift of $15 million to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and becoming a presenting sponsor of Reagan's centennial celebration.The political winds are changing... and all the GE-built wind turbines in the world can't change that.E-mail comments to email@example.com. | Subscribe to feed. | Follow the National Center for Public Policy Research on [...]
2010-04-28T13:47:34.900-04:00President Obama told a crowd in Ottumwa, Iowa:
Now,suddenly, if you don't have your papers, and you took your kid out to get ice cream, you're going to get harassed -- that's something that could potentially happen... That's not the right way to go.A lie, actually, unless you steal the ice cream or commit some other crime while doing so, and are here illegally, in which case, you have every reason to expect the federal government Obama heads to "harass" you as well.
2010-04-21T23:38:37.782-04:00National Center for Public Policy Research staff members Tom Borelli, Deneen Borelli and Justin Danhof will be attending the annual stockholder meetings of Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson Thursday to directly ask the corporations' CEOs why they bankrolled lobbying and ad campaigns supporting the passage of ObamaCare.
2010-04-21T22:21:24.381-04:00Los Angeles Roman Catholic Cardinal Roger Mahony says the premise underlying an Arizona immigration bill is not only "false," but also "nonsense," thus distinguishing it from other bills with premises that are true but nonsense, and other legislation that is false but sensible.
...make it a crime to be in the state illegally and require law enforcement officers to check the legal status of those they suspect are undocumented. The legislation would also bar people from soliciting work or hiring workers under certain circumstances, a provision aimed at the day-labor trade.Mohony implies this law is comparable to children being required to call 911 to report the immigration status of illegal-alien parents, and says "I can't imagine Arizonans now reverting to German Nazi and Russian Communist techniques whereby people are required to turn one another in to the authorities on any suspicion of documentation."
2010-04-20T10:01:37.431-04:00From USATODAY.com, a reprinted CNBC report by Shelly K. Schwartz beginning:
Medical marijuana is casting a cloud of confusion over Corporate America.Do the editors and CNBC and USA Today not know that there is a difference between something being legal and having a "right" to do it, including at work?
Pot is legal in 14 states as a prescription painkiller, leaving employers struggling to reconcile zero-tolerance drug policies with a patient's right to get high...
2010-04-20T10:04:16.150-04:00Today's New Republic has what seems an unnecessary story: "Why Elena Kagan Has Earned the Respect of Conservatives, Like Me."
2010-04-15T20:18:16.139-04:00National Center for Public Policy Research Executive Director David Almasi standing to the right (at least, from this angle) of his wife, Nancy, at the FreedomWorks Tax Day Tea Party in Washington, D.C.
2010-04-15T19:55:49.855-04:00Like her husband Tom, Project 21 full-time fellow Deneen Borelli made it to the big screen at the FreedomWorks-sponsored DC Tax Day Tea Party tonight.
2010-04-15T19:08:24.164-04:00Normal people look at this picture and see patriots. The left looks at this picture and sees racist reprobates.
2010-04-15T18:19:03.360-04:00The Washington, D.C. Tax Day Tea Party is just getting underway, and David Almasi is emailing me pictures to share on the blog...
2010-04-15T18:14:20.651-04:00Our Free Enterprise Project director has made it to the big screen...
2010-04-14T11:13:42.086-04:00Writing on Redstate today, blogger Erick Erickson is recommending that believers in limited government turn away from participation in Tea Parties in favor of other policy-oriented activities.
2010-04-14T00:37:14.266-04:00Regarding President Obama's mystery soccer game, I think a mountain is being made of a molehill (see RedState, Right Wing News and American Thinker among, presumably, others).
The soccer fields you describe are at Fort Reno (that's the tower in the background of your photo). And, by fortunate coincidence I drove right by the fields Saturday morning. While I can't confirm the President's presence, I can confirm the following: 1) There were most definitely soccer games underway on the brand new soccer fields; 2) There were multiple DC Police cars in attendance with officers directing traffic (not normal); and, 3) At least a half-dozen black Chevy Suburbans were parked on the street, surrounded by a significant contingent of grey-suited men talking into their lapels.I don't know DavidB and can't independently verify what he says he saw Saturday morning, but he's certainly right that "the only things 'high' in the area are incomes and property values." In fact, in chasing Obama there, however unfruitfully, some well-paid members of the press pool would have been returning nearly to their own neighborhood.
So, if Obama didn't make it to the game, they sure were prepared for him. And I'm baffled by your description of this neighborhood as a "high crime" area. I live three blocks from Fort Reno and work barely a block away. Ever see a Whole Foods in a "high crime" area? There's one a block from that soccer field. Ask around about Northwest Washington and you'll soon discover that the only things "high" in the area are incomes and property values. Surely Mr. Obama's real offenses against the Republic are sufficiently obvious that we don't have to divine secret meaning from back-page accounts of his weekend activities. Oh, and I'll be walking home from work tonight, right down Chesapeake Street, in the dark, alone, unarmed...
2010-04-12T19:51:27.346-04:00How many taxpayers would love to have a bank account that "automatically refills itself and has no spending limit attached," as Congress does?
Members of Congress and their staff racked up almost $15 million worth of foreign travel in 2009, but Congress didn't have to pay the tab.Lots more here.
Under a Korean War-era law governing Congressional foreign travel, Congress doesn't pay for its own trips abroad, and there is no apparent limit on what the government can spend for Members' hotels, taxicabs and room service.
When a Congressional committee holds a field hearing in Wisconsin or a Member of Congress flies to a conference in Arkansas with a few staff members, those travel costs are paid for out of the annual budgets of either the committee's or the Member's office.
But when a Congressional delegation travels overseas, the accommodations are made by the State Department and billed back to a government account that automatically refills itself and has no spending limit attached.
The travel account dates back to a 1950s law that allowed the U.S. government to hold excess "foreign currency" in accounts around the world and use those balances to pay on-the-ground expenses of visiting Congressional delegations.
For years, the Treasury Department used revenues from sales of grain abroad or the income from foreign assistance loans to pay for Congressional travel, but in 1977 the U.S. comptroller general ruled that practice out of bounds.
So Congress amended the provision in 1978 to establish that "whenever local currencies owned by the United States are not otherwise available" to pay for local travel costs, "the Treasury shall purchase such local currencies as may be necessary for such purposes, using any funds in the treasury not otherwise appropriated."
Translation: The government can use whatever funds it has lying around to pay the travel costs of Congressional delegations overseas.
This language creates two conditions that are rare in federal budgeting. First, it establishes a "permanent appropriation," meaning Congress does not have to approve spending for its own travel each year, as it does for other Congressional budget items such as office supplies and salaries. Second, the program has no dollar limit...
2010-04-11T17:16:29.003-04:00Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has issued a fraud alert - apparently, the passing of ObamaCare has unleashed a torrent of miscreants peddling fake insurance policies. The Associated Press reports: After Obama signed the law March 23, a proliferation of scams involving bogus health-insurance policies has been reported. Some hustlers are going door-to-door, claiming there's a limited open-enrollment period to buy health insurance now. Not so. Moreover, even after new marketplaces open for business in 2014, door-to-door salespeople are unlikely to be part of the outreach. Scam artists also have set up toll-free lines. Secretary Sebelius has gall indeed to issue a fraud warning - the entire ObamaCare edifice is itself a fraud, perpetrated on the American people by a duplicitous governing class. Almost nothing that the administration has promised about the health bill is true. To take but a few glaring examples:The Claim - ObamaCare will reduce the deficit. The President even hailed his bill as "the most significant step" toward deficit reduction in years."The Truth - Administration officials and Congressional leaders were given cover for this ruse by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which estimated that the bill as written would reduce the deficit by over $100 billion for the first decade.However, that estimate assumes that cost control provisions, such as the nearly half a trillion in Medicare cuts, will actually materialize - which hardly anyone believes. As former CBO director Douglas Holtz-Eakin writes in the New York Times, the CBO "is required to take written legislation at face value and not second-guess the plausibility of what it is handed. So fantasy in, fantasy out." Holtz-Eakin concludes that "if you strip out all the gimmicks and budgetary games [from the health care bill] and rework the calculus, a wholly different picture emerges: The health care reform legislation would raise, not lower, federal deficits, by $562 billion."The Claim - ObamaCare will "bend the cost curve down," reducing health spending in the United States and saving us money.The Truth - Oops. Obama's own Medicare actuary Richard Foster warned that ObamaCare would bend the cost curve up, increasing health spending nationally by $222 billion over ten years.The Claim - ObamaCare will reduce health insurance premiums.The Truth - By what economic logic does flooding the insurance pool with a new wave of sick individuals who cannot be turned away lower insurance premiums? Fantastical logic, of course. As the Associated Press recently reported, according to their analysis, under the new health care regime: "Beginning in 2014, most Americans will be required to buy insurance or pay a tax penalty. That's when premiums for young adults seeking coverage on the individual market would likely climb by 17 percent on average." The effect? "The higher costs will pinch many people in their 20s and early 30s who are struggling to start or advance their careers with the highest unemployment rate in 26 years." You don't say. Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation concurs, saying that under ObamaCare, "There's no question premiums are still going to keep going up...it would be miraculous if premiums actually went down relative to where they are today."In addition to serial and flagrantly false fiscal promises, the very method of ObamaCare's passing - bribery and backroom deals with lobbyists and special interest groups - undermines the adm[...]
2010-04-09T19:15:48.529-04:00Too bad I can't draw, because David sent over a nice caption for a Bart Stupak retirement political cartoon:
2010-04-09T19:21:53.956-04:00Bart Stupak: Good riddance to a dangerous Congressman.Most of you will suppose I'm referencing Bart Stupak's double-cross of the pro-life movement, but that's not the only thing. In the late 1990s, Stupak tried to have this institution charged with a federal crime for publishing materials inconvenient to the left on health care issues.Up to then, I had naively supposed prosecutors didn't investigate policy disagreements in America.The issue in question was Section 4507 of the 1997 Balanced Budget Act, which prohibited Medicare patients from contracting privately with medical doctors unless the doctor opted out of the Medicare system for at least two years, among other requirements.Here's how Steve Forbes described it in the American Enterprise Institute's magazine (11/1/97):...buried in the 1,200-page budget bill is a nasty, little-known provision, Section 4507, that begins to write socialized medicine into law. Starting January 1, 1998, American doctors will effectively be prohibited from treating elderly patients on a private basis outside of the Medicare program.The government health care bureaucracy had already been using its regulatory powers to forbid doctors who accept Medicare patients from also treating senior citizens who choose to pay out of-pocket. Republicans originally tried to insert into the budget agreement a provision that would overturn this regulation, but President Clinton protested and the Republicans caved in.Since over 90 percent of doctors accept Medicare patients, this law makes it nearly impossible for seniors to find a doctor who will also treat them on a private basis, outside Medicare's rules and regulations. Only doctors in the very wealthiest areas will be available to seniors hoping to engage in private health care between consenting adults. Astonishingly, even Britain, mother of socialized medicine, allows patients to contract privately with physicians. Senator Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) is leading the charge to repeal Section 4507. He points out that the current law is the equivalent of forbidding everyone enrolled in Social Security from also investing his own money privately with stockbrokers: Such a law "would be met with disbelief and derision," yet it is no different from what the new Medicare law does.To seniors, especially those not living in big cities, this had the effect of making some medical procedures unavailable to them unless they travelled long distances, as in small towns there might not be a single doctor providing the services they desired who also was willing to forgo treating anyone receiving Medicare for two years.To conservatives, this provision was a step forward for government control of medicine and a violation of the civil rights of senior citizens.To liberals, including the Clinton Administration, it was a way to restrict private involvement in health care. They further argued that doctors would overcharge vulnerable seniors for services, and that it would be better for seniors to be denied certain services entirely than to risk being overcharged privately.Section 4507 received scant public attention when the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 was adopted, but seniors soon began to report difficulties. Simple and inexpensive tests sought by people with diabetes or concern that they might have diabetes, for example, were not in all circumstances covered by Medicare, and now seniors could not get them unless they found a doctor wh[...]