The climate change bill that was scheduled to be marked up in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is facing growing opposition not only from Republicans but also from some Senate Democrats.
The "cap and trade" bill is sponsored by Democratic Senators Barbara Boxer of California and John Kerry of Massachusetts, and would require U.S. manufacturers, utilities and refineries to reduce their carbon pollution output 20 percent by 2020, from 2005 levels.
However, many lawmakers have expressed concerns about the possible impact of the bill on their regions’ utilities and consumers.
Democratic Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska told CNBC that he believed that "at the end of the day, the people who turn the switch on at home will be disadvantaged."
Meanwhile, a more powerful opposition is coming from the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee Max Baucus of Montana who said that while "we cannot afford the unmitigated impacts of climate change … we also cannot afford the unmitigated effects of legislation."
The developments come against the backdrop of calls from President Obama for the Senate to pass climate change legislation.
Speaking at the DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center in Arcadia, Florida, the president also warned that "the closer we get to this new energy future … the more we’re going to hear from special interests and lobbyists in Washington whose interests are contrary to the interests of the American people."
Although many expected Tuesday’s elections to clearly express the voters’ disapproval of the direction the country is taking under the Democrats, the message sent by voters appears to be more nuanced.
On the one hand, the conservative Republican Bob McDonnell’s victory in the gubernatorial race in Virginia and moderate Republican Chris Christie win in New Jersey may be seen as a triumph for a party that appeared to be in disarray after two national electoral defeats in 2006 and 2008.
However, in the closely watched special election in New York’s 23rd congressional district, the conservative candidate — endorsed by such GOP heavyweights as Sarah Palin and Dick Armey as well as by Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck — was defeated by retired Air Force Captain Bill Owens, a Democrat.
In the run up to the vote, the liberal Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava withdrew under pressure from the party’s right wing, a development some interpreted as indicative of an ongoing feud between the far right and moderates for control of the party.
On Wednesday, GOP leaders sought to diminish the meaning of Hoffman’s defeat, with Republican Party chairman Michael Steele stressing the local nature of the election and suggesting the gubernatorial races were a better indicator of the party’s success.
However, President Obama’s campaign chairman David Plouffe suggested the Republicans were still divided as conservatives keep pushing for "purging moderates from the party," something the voters appear to disapprove of it.
Following up on a promise made several weeks ago, The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), the National Rifle Association (NRA) and five local residents filed a lawsuit late last week challenging a new Seattle parks regulation that bans firearms.
The new parks and recreation administrative policy prohibits firearms in parks, community centers and other city-owned buildings, but the plaintiffs argue that it violates Washington State’s long-standing preemption statute, adopted more than 25 years ago.
"It essentially impairs the right of law-abiding citizens to bear arms for personal protection, which is explicitly protected by Article 1, Section 24 of the state constitution," says SAF executive vice president Alan M. Gottlieb.
He also expressed his satisfaction that the NRA has joined in the lawsuit, saying "our successful collaboration in the past stopped illegal gun confiscations in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina and nullified an illegal gun ban in the city of San Francisco."
The two organizations are joined by the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and the Washington Arms Collectors and filed their lawsuit in the Superior Court of Washington State in King County.
*What Barack Obama should do. A Straight Talk salute to Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, for the best suggestion I’ve heard regarding Obama’s acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize. Here’s what she said: “What he ought to do, frankly, is send the mother of a fallen American soldier to accept the prize on behalf of the U.S. military, to remind the Nobel committee that each one of them sleeps soundly at night because of the greatest peace-keeping force in the world today.” Right on, Liz. Too bad there’s not a chance in a million he’ll do it.
*And what our president shouldn’t have done. I’ll admit this could be a very long list. But I’m thinking specifically of his decision to renege on a commitment to attend ceremonies in Germany next week, marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. This was one of the greatest symbolic victories of freedom over communism in my lifetime. I’m sorry and a bit ashamed that our president thought going to Copenhagen to lobby for the Olympics in Chicago was more worthy of his time.
*The biggest deficit in 60 years. The U.S. Treasury Department reported that the budget deficit for fiscal 2009, which ended Sept. 30, hit the astronomical total of $1.4 trillion. The number is the most red ink we’ve incurred since World War II and represents 10 percent of the gross domestic product of this country. That’s our money they’re using to buy those votes, friends.
*The “Mouth of the South” on getting by. Ted Turner says things just aren’t the same for him anymore. He’s lost CNN, the Atlanta Braves, Jane Fonda and much of his money. But he adds, “You know, if you economize and don’t buy new airplanes or long-range jets, or that sort of thing, you can get by on a billion or two.” Thanks for the inspiring advice, Ted.
Researchers suspect that kudzu, a vine that covers millions of acres in the southeastern U.S., contains a compound that may be useful in treating metabolic syndrome, and may therefore become a source of valuable dietary supplements.
Scientists from Alabama have found evidence that a compound called puerarin regulates glucose metabolism by directing it to muscles, where it helps generate energy, and away from fat cells and blood vessels. They have also discovered that it is found in abundance in root extracts from kudzu, which has long been used as nutritious food by people in China and Japan.
The scientists arrived at the conclusion by studying animals which received kudzu extract supplementation and experienced lower cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and insulin levels after a period of two months.
In the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry they wrote that kudzu root "may provide a dietary supplement that significantly decreases the risk and severity of stroke and cardiovascular disease in at-risk individuals."
Puerarin is an antioxidant isoflavone that is also believed to have protective properties against cancer, including certain types of breast and prostate cancers.
Metabolic syndrome is associated with excess body fat, high blood pressure, sugar and lipids levels. If untreated, it may increase the risk of heart disease, stroke or diabetes.
Thank you, Michelle Malkin.
Thank you for reminding us that it’s not just Barack Obama’s policies that are often wrong; it is the people who surround him that are a large part of the problem.
Thank you for writing the bestselling book, Culture of Corruption, to give us the documented proof, as you put it, of the “tax cheats, crooks and cronies” with whom he has chosen to associate.
And thank you for granting an exclusive interview to Personal Liberty Digest, so we can remind our 500,000 subscribers of just how dangerous many of those people and programs are.
One of the first things Michelle and I discussed when we spoke was the mainstream media’s fawning favoritism toward Barack Obama and his administration and their relentless bias against anyone and anything to the right of Nancy Pelosi.
As just one example, Michelle described how the New York Times sold millions of dollars worth of Obama memorabilia during and after the campaign. I asked her, “Isn’t it a little unusual for a major media to profit so directly from a candidate?”
“You would think so,” was her sardonic reply. “But if you’ll take a look at my blog ( www.michellemalkin.com ), you’ll be able to see some of the actual merchandise, which really, literally deifies Barack Obama. There are glorious, glowing photos of the president with halos behind him. All sorts of political swag promoting his campaign and then the inauguration.”
And then she made this very telling point: “Imagine if a newspaper out there had been doing this during the Bush years—selling merchandise that glorified George W. and his candidacy. Why, the New York Times would have been all over it.”
By the way, one of the things the Times has not been all over is Michelle Malkin’s book. When we spoke, Culture of Corruption had been riding atop the NYT’s own bestseller list for almost two months. But the paper itself has never published a review of it. Imagine that. The newspaper’s own survey ranked her book No. 1 in sales across the country yet refused to even review it!
We talked for a while about the incredible bias and intellectual dishonesty of the left. Then I asked her if she detected a growing tone of desperation in their attacks on conservatives.
“I certainly do,” she said. “The left simply cannot help itself. They degenerate into ad hominem attacks and very ugly language, bigotry and intolerance. Even with their control of the White House and both branches of Congress they can’t contain themselves.
“We’ve seen this in their attacks and their rhetoric against the townhall protestors and the TEA Party movement. Their knee-jerk resort to things like the race card. It belies the promise that under Obama we were heading into a post-racial era in this country. We certainly are not. The first thing they do is accuse us of racism, whether it’s our criticism of healthcare legislation or Joe Wilson’s calling out of the president during his speech to a joint session of Congress. There is more than a smidge of desperation in their tactics.”
There are nine chapters in Culture of Corruption and every one of them is loaded with facts and anecdotes that need to be more widely known. But if there is one chapter that, by itself, is worth the price of the book and then some, it’s the second one, which she calls “First Crony Michelle Obama.”
As author Michelle puts it, “Star-struck liberal journalists swoon over Michelle O.’s bare arms, but it’s her bare-knuckles they should be watching.”
Here’s how the bestselling author put it during our discussion: “The mainstream media pays a lot of attention to Michelle Obama’s toned arms and what shoes she’s wearing. I pay a lot more attention to the political muscle she has flexed over the years. There’s been a lot of white-washing of her own political history. But what she does is marry a lot of the hard-left ideology—the class warfare, the politics of racial resentment—with the Chicago way of hardball tactics, cracking heads and cracking knuckles.”
Her book is loaded with carefully documented exposés of activities by both Obamas that will shock even the most cynical observer. If you doubt that, just turn to page 52 of Culture of Corruption and read the section that begins “Mrs. O. Screws the Poor.” I have to confess, even I didn’t realize what a sordid history the First Lady has.
Bring any of this up publicly, of course, and you can count on Obama’s defenders to smear you mercilessly. As Michelle Malkin put it when we talked, “These are the folks who called their opponents ‘political terrorists.’ That phrase was used not just by Democrat leaders, but of course by all their satellite organizations as well.”
One of the most powerful and dangerous of those satellites is the Service Employees International Union (SEIU)—a group that poured $60 million to $80 million into Democrat coffers to get Barack Obama elected. Their investment is paying off handsomely, as their legislative agenda is on the front burner of the White House. In fact, we just learned that SEIU president Andy Stern has been the most frequent visitor to the White House thus far this year.
“The SEIU not only uses these bully tactics,” Michelle told me, “they specialize in them. It wasn’t until some of their henchmen showed up at various town hall meetings that we saw actual violence.”
She then continued: “The SEIU, which calls itself the purple shirts of the purple army, has a long and proud history of thug tactics. Their president is quoted in my book about his organizing philosophy, where he says they prefer to use the power of persuasion. But if that doesn’t work, they will use the persuasion of power. That’s not just an idle threat, that’s a guarantee.
“It’s not just healthcare they want. Their holy grail is the card-check bill. If they get it, it will radically transform the political landscape. They now have 1.8 million members and they see card check as the way to vastly inflate their membership rolls and subsequently, of course, their campaign coffers.”
Bad as it has been, Michelle expects the use of terror and intimidation to get worse.
“Team Obama is notorious for that,” she explained, “going back to the campaign days of trying to stifle dissent through shear intimidation. Now they are using the power of government to try to silence their opponents as well.”
As we came near the end of our interview, I asked Michelle about the dedication of her book. “The book is dedicated to the whistleblowers,” she explained. “Many of them worked in the trenches for Barack Obama’s satellite organizations. They saw the raft of broken promises that he’s left over the past several months on transparency, ethics and accountability; core issues that transcend partisanship and ideology.”
And then she concluded, “If Barack Obama can’t deliver on these, what does it tell you about the era of hope and change? It tells you that it was a complete farce. That is what my book documents, extensively and comprehensively.”
As I said, there’s lots of scary stuff between the covers of Culture of Corruption. Michelle Malkin has done us all a huge service in compiling the sorry, shoddy record of the Obamas and those they have invited into their inner circle.
Since we spoke, her book has slipped a bit on the bestseller lists. If you don’t already own a copy, do yourself and your country a favor and order one. In fact, order several and loan the extras to some less-alarmed friends. Believe me, if they’ll read it, Culture of Corruption will act like a very loud alarm bell going off alongside their head.
Go wake them up! And until next time, keep some powder dry.
A newly released report from the Death Penalty Information Center has concluded that states could save hundreds of millions of dollars by abolishing the death penalty and diverting the funds to more effective anti-violence programs.
Accompanying the report was a nationwide poll of police chiefs, conducted by RT Strategies, that found that most law enforcement officials do not believe the death penalty deters violent crime, and they see it as the least efficient use of taxpayer money.
"With many states spending millions to retain the death penalty, while seldom or never carrying out an execution, the death penalty is turning into a very expensive form of life without parole," says Richard C. Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center and the report’s author.
He adds that "at a time of budget shortfalls, the death penalty cannot be exempt from reevaluation alongside other wasteful government programs that no longer make sense."
The center also cites Police Chief James Abbott of West Orange, N.J., who says the state spent $250 million on death penalty-related expenses over 25 years "with nothing to show for it," and added that New Jersey’s murder rate has dropped since capital punishment was abolished.
In October, the Obama administration eased the long-standing marijuana policy which made its use subject to prosecution even in states where it was legal for medicinal purposes. Although the move was praised by many, there have also been critical voices, some of them coming from former administration officials.
One of them is Bob Weiner, a former drug policy spokesman who left the White House in 2001. He recently stated that the new law—which instructs federal prosecutors to stop prosecuting those who use marijuana for medical purposes in the 13 states where it is legal—may lead the administration to get "more than they bargained for."
"Prescription marijuana use may explode for healthy people," he said, adding that as many as 90 percent of purchases at clinical distribution centers are based on false pretenses, according to some law enforcement statistics.
He also questioned the effectiveness of smoking marijuana for conditions such as pain and nausea.
The new approach to marijuana is expected to attenuate the consequences of the 2005 Supreme Court ruling stating that the federal government could continue to enforce U.S. law barring the cultivation, possession and use of marijuana, even in states that had legalized it.
However, Attorney General Eric Holder stressed that law enforcement will still go after traffickers who are hiding behind claims of compliance.
Out of the depths of the Great Depression came the most popular board game in history. More than 750 million people have played some version of Monopoly since the game made its debut on Nov. 5, 1935.
Among various special editions that have been issued, Neiman Marcus offered one in their 1978 Christmas Wish Book where every element—board, tokens, cards, dice and money—was made of chocolate. Then in 2000, F.A.O. Schwartz toy company produced a “One of a Kind” Monopoly set. The department store topped the hotels and houses with emeralds and sapphires. It also made the tokens of solid gold, and the money was real currency. For $100,000, you could take it home.
Before the collapse of communism you could buy a version of Monopoly in Russian, which strikes me as pretty ironic. And Mad Magazine once created an anti-Monopoly game, where the objective was to lose all of your money as quickly as possible.
The best-known edition of Monopoly is the original “Atlantic City” version. The city’s streets, railroads and utilities were chosen by Charles Darrow, the game’s inventor, long before Donald Trump and numerous casinos transformed the town. Boardwalk and Park Place were the most valuable properties, with Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues the least desirable.
If you managed to buy up all properties of one color (or all railroads, or utilities), you had a monopoly and could jack up the rents. The goal of the game, after all, was to bankrupt your opponents and grab all of their money. (Bet you never thought about the anti-capitalist philosophy behind the game, did you?)
One of the problems with Monopoly is that the game can take forever to play. (Hasbro, the game’s current owner, says the longest one on record lasted 1,680 hours.) Most contests today have a time limit—two hours at the national championships.