Archive for August, 2011

Obama: Heads Congress does what I want, tails I do it anyway

Over at Human Events, Jim Hoft had the same reaction I did to the Obama administration’s announcement Friday that it will only selectively enforce our immigration laws.

That is, Hoft remembered all the way back to…when was it? Oh yes: a whole 25 days earlier, when President Obama said this to La Raza activists:

THE PRESIDENT: Now, I swore an oath to uphold the laws on the books, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know very well the real pain and heartbreak that deportations cause. I share your concerns and I understand them. And I promise you, we are responding to your concerns and working every day to make sure we are enforcing flawed laws in the most humane and best possible way. Now, I know some people want me to bypass Congress and change the laws on my own. (Applause.) And believe me, right now dealing with Congress –

AUDIENCE: Yes, you can! Yes, you can! Yes, you can! Yes, you can! Yes, you can!

THE PRESIDENT: Believe me — believe me, the idea of doing things on my own is …

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2012 Tuesday: Why the lagging candidates will hang on

Two medium-size items in this week’s edition of 2012 Tuesday:

Since Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the GOP presidential race, there’s been a lot of speculation as to who will be next to end his campaign, and when.

I’m not sure about the “who,” but there’s a pretty good chance that the “when” won’t be until after Jan. 1, 2012. Why? Federal matching funds.

Even primary candidates who flame out are eligible for federal funds to match contributions of up to $250 by any individual — up to a maximum level in the tens of millions of dollars. The spending limit, which started at $10 million in 1974, is adjusted for inflation each election cycle and in 2008 stood at $42.05 million. Primary candidates are eligible to receive up to one-half of that limit, so for 2012 a candidate could in theory receive well over $20 million.

Here are two relevant sections from a Federal Election Commission brochure about matching funds First:

Even if they no longer campaign actively in primary elections, …

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New Georgia congressional maps look more cohesive to me

A few thoughts on the proposed congressional maps for Georgia released Monday:

Ga congressional map

Obviously, the two big moves are U.S. Rep. John Barrow, a Democrat, being drawn out of Chatham County and into a more Republican-leaning district; and the new 14th district being in Northwest Georgia, leaving an empty seat in Gov. Nathan Deal’s native Hall County. The empty seat also covers the homes of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Speaker David Ralston. Neither of them is expected to run for it, but their presence should make next year’s campaign — especially the endorsements and fund raising — very interesting.

Barrow may draw a challenge from Senate Pro Tem Tommie Williams. If so, that would leave two of the three men who have been wrestling for control of the state Senate (Cagle and Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers). If that ends some of that chamber’s dysfunction, that’s all for the better. Two members of the state House, Ben Harbin and Lee Anderson, told my AJC colleagues that they’re …

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Virginia keeps tax rates steady, Maryland raises them. Guess which one’s in surplus first?

Jim Geraghty at National Review Online brings us an interesting contrast between the two states that border Washington, D.C.:

Just days after Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell announced a $544 million surplus, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley told county leaders Saturday that Maryland may need to increase taxes to solve a $1 billion budget gap next year.

What makes the contrast even more striking is the fact that McDonnell previously balanced an inherited $4.2 billion budget deficit that then Gov. Tim Kaine said could only be closed with a $2 billion tax increase while O’Malley has already signed the largest tax increase in Maryland history during his first term.

Both states benefit from the hiring spree and rare layoffs in the federal government, but the unemployment rate in Virginia is 6.1 percent while the unemployment rate in Maryland is 7.2 percent. (links original)

O’Malley made a direct comparison between his approach and that of the “obstructionist, economic saboteurs in …

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Witnessing (maybe) the final days of Gadhafi’s brutal rule

The remarkable Arab Spring has taken yet another remarkable turn. This time it’s in Tripoli, where rebels entered Libya’s capital city with shocking ease and, for the moment, appear poised to take control of the city and nation from Moammar Gadhafi. From the Associated Press:

Tanks opened fire at rebels trying to storm Moammar Gadhafi’s main compound in Tripoli on Monday, although the whereabouts of the longtime Libyan leader remained unknown a day after a lightning advance by opposition fighters who poured into Tripoli capital with surprising ease.

The international community meanwhile called on the longtime leader to step down as euphoric residents celebrated in the Green Square, the symbolic heart of the Gadhafi regime. NATO promised to continue airstrikes until all pro-Gadhafi forces surrender or return to barracks.

Rebel spokesman Mohammed Abdel-Rahman, who was in Tripoli, cautioned that pockets of resistance remained and that as long as Gadhafi remains on the run the …

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Three cheap ways for Obama to spur job growth

“We should not have to choose,” President Barack Obama said this past week, “between getting our fiscal house in order and jobs and growth.”

If that sounds unobjectionable, that’s because it’s another of those “false choices” Obama imagines to be filling the minds of everyone else in America.

But the solution is not more public spending now and higher taxes later to pay for it.

Corporate balance sheets are flush with cash. Banks have the problem of a “reverse run”: Instead of a rush of withdrawals, they have too much money coming in (which are recorded as liabilities and raise their deposit-insurance costs).

Private money is available. But capital has gone on strike.

The way to get jobs and growth without adding to the debt is not to seize it through taxes or government borrowing and force it into the economy. Washington has tried that.

What hasn’t been tried lately is encouraging private actors to put their money to work on their own volition. Here are three low- or no-cost …

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And we let these people shape the race to be the world’s most powerful person . . .

In Iowa, this is what now passes for a sports trophy:

The Cyhawk Trophy, awarded by the Iowa Corn Growers Association and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board

The new Cyhawk Trophy, awarded by the Iowa Corn Growers Association and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board

That’s an ear of corn the man is handing the boy, not a football. Not exactly Paul Bunyan’s Axe or the Little Brown Jug.

I’d say it was Depression-era art if the woman wasn’t wearing pants instead of a dress.

Wait, I just checked the Dow again. It is Depression-era art.

But look on the bright side — just two more weeks till the college football season starts!

– By Kyle Wingfield

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Poll Position: Room for one of these four in GOP field?

Was Rick Perry the last Republican to get into the 2012 race?

No sooner had the Texas governor formally thrown his 10-gallon hat in the ring than speculation began that a couple of big names were rethinking their earlier decisions to stay out.

Most notably, former Bush political adviser Karl Rove named New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as possibilities. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani continues to leave the door open for another run. And, of course, no discussion of possible candidates is complete with mentioning Sarah Palin.

Who would be the best late addition to the GOP 2012 field?

  • None of the above (92 Votes)
  • Chris Christie (63 Votes)
  • Paul Ryan (34 Votes)
  • Sarah Palin (32 Votes)
  • Rudy Giuliani (16 Votes)

Total Voters: 237

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Of these four, Ryan seems to be the closest to making a decision. While only a member of the House of Representatives, which hasn’t had one of its own jump directly to the …

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ICYMI: What we got right and wrong after 9/11, a big blow to Obamacare, real Texas growth and fake public spending

Catching you up on what you might have missed during the past week:

  • The 9/11 tenth anniversary is approaching, with reflections and remembrances coming more and more frequently. Here are two very good ones on very different topics: First, what we got right in the war on terror; and second, why art — novels, movies, musicians — failed us after the attacks.
  • An explanation for why the 11th Circuit’s carefully researched and thoroughly argued ruling last week, striking down the individual mandate in Obamacare but leaving the rest of the law intact, makes this case the most important of those which could reach the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • A pair of pieces explaining why Richard Nixon’s wage and price controls, introduced 40 years ago this week, were bad policy that still echo today.
  • A review of a book that argues there’s little scientific basis for “the damaging cult of pristine wilderness and the false ideology of the balance of nature.”
  • Two pieces taking on common criticisms of the …

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Redistricting spurs re-examination of Georgia’s many counties

The General Assembly’s redistricting session has reignited the issue of Milton County. The proposed maps for the state House and Senate would shift the majority in each chamber’s Fulton delegation to Republicans, many of whom want to re-carve that erstwhile county out of North Fulton.

It will be an intense debate during the next two or three years — the minimum time it would take for new districts to first be used in an election, then play a role in putting Milton County back on the map.

But as I sat through a Tuesday legislative hearing, I was also struck by Georgia’s smallest counties.

Georgia, as you may know, has 159 counties, second only to Texas. We have 180 state House seats. Yet dozens of our counties are too small to qualify for their own House district.

The average district, after the 2010 census put Georgia’s population at just less than 9.7 million, will have 53,820 people.

Only 39 of our counties are so populous. The other 120 counties together contain just …

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