Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April 5, 2011

Republican Presidential Hopefuls Tell SBA List: Defund Planned Parenthood | SBA-List
"This week, the Susan B. Anthony List contacted Republican presidential hopefuls to ask them where they stand on defunding Planned Parenthood. Several hopefuls, including Rep. Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, and Sen. Rick Santorum, had already publicly spoken out in support of defunding America's largest abortion provider, which receives a third of its income from taxpayers' pockets.Gov. Haley Barbour, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Gov. Sarah Palin, and  Gov. Tim Pawlenty also provided statements to the SBA List."
Apparently, Gov. Romney did not respond to SBA's request for a statement.   

If you can spare five minutes, it's worth listening to Rep. Mike Pence's speech on the House floor about the "Pence Amendment" which would end federal funding of Planned Parenthood.  A few disturbing facts:

"In 2009, the group made only 977 adoption referrals and cared for only 7,021 prenatal clients, but performed a record 332,278 abortions. In other words, a pregnant woman entering a Planned Parenthood clinic was 42 times more likely to have an abortion than to either receive prenatal care or be referred for adoption. Planned Parenthood recently made plain the centrality of abortion to its mission by mandating that every one of its affiliates have at least one clinic that performs abortions within the next two years… 
According to its most recent annual report, the organization raked in $1.1 billion in total revenue. Of that amount, $363.2 million came from taxpayers in the form of government grants and contracts."

  • The US Government subsidizes the production of corn-based ethanol, as a substitute/supplement for gasoline.
  • To maintain a demand, the US Government pushes for standard gasoline mixtures containing 10% ethanol.  This will supposedly decrease pollution and increase efficiency.
  • Corn is then turned into ethanol wholesale.
  • Corn-based food prices rise.  That includes critters that eat corn, by the way.
  • This results in higher food prices domestically.  This decreases efficiency.
  • This also results in more food insecurity globally.
  • Corn-based ethanol, being subsidized, crowds out other ethanol fuels.  If this is confusing: please, reference Gresham’s Law, and generalize from its specific example.
  • Ethanol, being less energy efficient than gasoline - which is why we weren’t using it to begin with - ends up causing effective inflation, as it costs more to go the same distance in your car.  This also increases pollution.
  • In short, 10% ethanol gasoline results in more pollution and less efficiency.
  • Therefore, the only solution… is to raise the amount of ethanol in gasoline to 15%.

    We are not digging ourselves out of this mess anytime soon!  What a disaster!

    Or maybe we should all move to N. Dakota (HT: Glenna)...

    • Lowest unemployment rate among the 50 states. North Dakota's 3.8 percent unemployment rate is less than half the national rate.
    • Statewide GDP growth of 3.9 percent ranked third in the nation in 2009 behind Oklahoma and Wyoming (2010's figures are not yet available.)
    • Best job growth last year. A Gallup survey reported that North Dakota businesses had the best ratio of hiring to firing among the 50 states.
    • Stable housing market
    • Low violent crime rate. The incidence of violent crime per 100,000 residents in North Dakota in 2008 (latest available data) was the fourth lowest in the country and nearly 60 percent lower than the national average.
    • Lowest credit card default rate

    N. Dakota is also ranked as the third happiest state and in order to deal with a recent budget surplus, the state rolled back property and income taxes $400 million! I'd be happy about that!


    Here's a really depressing food stamp graph that needs no commentary:

    Snap%201 Food Stamp Graph... gulp


    "Ruling in ACSTO v. Winn today, the United States Supreme upheld Arizona's k-12 scholarship tax credit program. Under this program, individuals receive a tax cut if they donate to a non-profit scholarship fund that gives out private school tuition aid."
    In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that tax credits Arizonians receive for donations to a state scholarship program could continue because the respondants had not been injured: 
    "tax credits and governmental expenditures do not both implicate individual taxpayers in sectarian activities. A dissenter whose tax dollars are “extracted and spent” knows that he has in some small measure been made to contribute to an establishment in violation of conscience.... [By contrast,] awarding some citizens a tax credit allows other citizens to retain control over their own funds in accordance with their own consciences."
    This is a huge victory for school choice in Arizona and will likely pave the way for similar programs in other states, possibly even Ohio.  

    The Arizona School Choice Trust  is an innovative program which awards scholarships, currently $5400/year, to low income students to attend the public or private school of their choice.  It is funded by taxpayer's (in effect) designating a portion of their annual tax liability to the program. Individuals can receive dollar-for-dollar tax credits up to $500 per year ($1000/married couples) for donations made to the ASCT.  Corporations can donate up to 100% of their tax liability to the program and receive a dollar-for-dollar credit.  

    Last year the ASCT awarded  over 600 scholarships to low income children, empowering these families with choices that were previously out of reach. 


    A few days ago I shared the story of a  dog that was rescued three weeks after the tsunami on a flotilla of wreckage at sea.  More happiness from this story: the dog, Ban, has been reunited with his owner.  She saw the story of his rescue on television and immediately recognized him and sent word to the shelter.  Watch the joyous reunion....

    Finally, in case you've been in a cave or away from all media for the past week and haven't seen the Eagle Nest Cam, here you go:

    Live Streaming by Ustream.TV
    I have been addicted to this drama, day and night, keeping it up on my computer all the time because I don't want to miss the hatching of the all-important third egg.  Currently there are two hatchlings in the nest and if you've been watching, you'll know that #2 is a bit weaker than it's sibling and #1 is kind of a bully.  The parents have loaded the nest with food stores, including a rabbit, at fish, a crow, a large mammal of some sort (maybe a prairie dog?), and a smaller rodent (maybe a rat).  It's starting to look a little creepy up there.  Yesterday the camera operator zoomed in on a crow that was lurking in the distance, leering at those vulnerable chicks.  Next thing you know, crow is on the menu.  Oh, the drama!  

    I am amazed by these dutiful parents who are taking turns tending the nest, feeding the hatchlings and incubating the remaining egg 24-7.  Their work will intensify as these hatchlings grow and begin demanding more food and hobbling around the nest, especially if #3 joins the brood.   

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