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Bombshell study: Men retain less information when delivered by attractive women newscasters

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 25-01-2011

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Pun intended.


Silly, palate-cleansing fun from Miller-McCune. I’ve seen this story linked on four or five different sites today, in fact, and without fail, every post includes a photo or mention of Megyn Kelly. So I threw you a Jenna Lee curveball with the front-page thumbnail. Redheads for the win. It’s nice at least to see science […]

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Hot Air » Top Picks

Airlines Profit More By Flying Less

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 25-01-2011

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After years of flying people for less than it cost and trying to make it up with volume, the airlines have changed course.

After a decade of multibillion-dollar losses, U.S. airlines appear to be on course to prosper for years to come for a simple reason: They are flying less.

By grounding planes and eliminating flights, airlines have cut costs and pushed fares higher. As the global economy rebounds, travel demand is rising and planes are as full as they’ve been in years.

Profit margins at big airlines are the highest in at least a decade, according to the government. The eight largest U.S. airlines are forecast to earn more than $ 5 billion this year and $ 5.6 billion in 2012.

[…]

Fares in the U.S. have risen 14 percent from a year ago, according to travel consultant Bob Harrell. Flights are more crowded than they’ve been in decades. On domestic flights, fewer than one in five seats are empty. Space is even tighter over the summer and holidays. That’s why it took a week to rebook all the travelers who were stranded by a snowstorm that hit the Northeast over Christmas weekend.

Travelers also face fees these days for services that used to be part of the ticket price, such as checking luggage (usually $ 25 to $ 35 per bag) and rebooking on a different flight (usually $ 150 for a domestic flight, more when flying overseas).

[…]

The industry was profitable in 2000, 2006 and 2007, when the economy was roaring. But those boom years masked the industry’s underlying problems, including high costs and more seats than travelers demanded. During 2008 and 2009, airlines lost a combined $ 23 billion, but they were also attacking their problems, setting the stage for a comeback in 2010.

  • They eliminated money-losing flights. When travel demand recovered, airlines could raise ticket prices for the smaller supply of seats.
  • They grounded older, gas-guzzling airplanes. The government says the major U.S. airlines, plus freight delivery companies FedEx and UPS, used 11.39 billion gallons of jet fuel in the first nine months of 2010, down 11.4 percent from the same period a year earlier. The price of a gallon of jet fuel jumped 20 percent year over year, but overall fuel spending rose just 6 percent.
  • They added fees. In the first nine months of 2010, airlines collected more than $ 4.3 billion from fees for checking baggage and changing tickets, up 13.5 percent from the comparable period in 2009.
  • They consolidated. Delta Air Lines Inc. bought Northwest in 2008, and United and Continental combined last year. That leaves four so-called network carriers that operate from hub airports, down from six. And Southwest Airlines Co.’s pending purchase of AirTran Airways will combine two of the biggest discount carriers. Fewer airlines should mean higher fares.

So, while flying has become increasingly expensive and aggravating, it’s gotten increasingly profitable.  It’s a bizarre business model.




Outside the Beltway

Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and House GOP want more polluted air and less clean energy

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 25-01-2011

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“The fact that no one has really looked at the Clean Air Act in much of a comprehensive way since 1990—they feel very strongly and we feel very strongly as members that we need to revisit the Clean Air Act….”

“The whole issue is not just jobs and the economy but how competitive we are in the global marketplace. This is a much broader issue than the health of the American people and lungs and emphysema; it’s how can we balance that in the global marketplace for jobs….”

Decidedly not on Whitfield’s agenda: research and development for clean energy and alternative technologies….

I’m not a big fan of a lot of government dollars going into research and development for private enterprises … and you’re not going to see the House of Representatives, I’m certain, provide a lot of money for research and development for electric vehicles.”

That is the wisdom of Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), the “top energy lieutenant” of House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), in an extended interview with National Journal Daily, titled “Whitfield Wants a Long, Hard Look at Clean Air Act” (subs. req’d).

How anyone could think there is a post-partisan consensus for a massive increase in clean energy R&D remains a mystery (see “The Chamber of Commerce is so extreme they oppose research and development into renewable energy!“).  Here’s more from Whitfield, who will be central in pushing the House GOP’s dirty air agenda:

In the coming weeks, as Upton turns his attention toward efforts to gut last year’s health care overhaul, look for Whitfield, who will chair the panel’s Energy and Power Subcommittee, to be at the forefront of a full-throated fight against a slew of major environmental rules and laws.

Whitfield, a climate-science skeptic from a coal state, is a veteran of the House Republican class of 1994. He was encouraged to run for office by his fellow Kentuckian, Mitch McConnell, now the Senate minority leader. Throughout his career, the oil, gas, coal, and utility industries have been among the top contributors to his campaign coffers.

Whitfield is preparing to launch a full-scale attack not just on the EPA’s new climate regulations, which kicked off January 2, but on the very foundations of the 40-year old Clean Air Act—a cornerstone of U.S. environmental law. He intends to frame the landmark law and the new climate rules as attacks on jobs and the economy. And he’s clear about his end goal: to bring that message to the national level, and inject it into the 2012 elections.

In an interview with National Journal Daily, Whitfield laid out his views, plans, and strategy for taking on the Obama administration and the tenets of a clean air law that dates back to the Nixon administration.

“Ever since I’ve been in Congress, various groups on the business side, those entities that are creating jobs out there, have felt that the Clean Air Act is really—that there are all sorts of presumptions in favor of the environmentalists. The fact that no one has really looked at the Clean Air Act in much of a comprehensive way since 1990—they feel very strongly and we feel very strongly as members that we need to revisit the Clean Air Act,” he said.

The Clean Air Act, passed in 1970, was the first national law to control pollutants that endanger human health, such as lead, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and mercury. It was amended in 1990 to control the acid-rain causing pollutants spewed by coal-fired power plants. In 2009, the EPA determined that the carbon dioxide emitted by power plants, tailpipes, factories, and thousands of other entities, contributing to global warming, is also a pollutant that endangers human health.

Of course, Whitfield is painfully unaware that by “2020 the benefits of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments will exceed the costs of compliance by a factor of 30 to 1” and that “For EPA regulations, benefits consistently exceed costs.”

Whitfield said that one of his specific targets in the clean air law is a tenet—cherished by environmentalists—called New Source Review. Under the law, new polluting entities, such as coal-fired power plants, oil refineries, or manufacturers, must receive a permit before building a polluting source. In order to receive the permit, they must show that they will use the best-available technology to reduce their pollution.

Whitfield said he expects to hammer home the idea that the clean air rules are hampering the economy.

“The whole issue is not just jobs and the economy but how competitive we are in the global marketplace. This is a much broader issue than the health of the American people and lungs and emphysema; it’s how can we balance that in the global marketplace for jobs.

Another issue that he sees as ripe for elevation to national debate: the rise of oil and gasoline prices—already projected to approach the record highs of 2008—and the return of a “drill, baby, drill” push for offshore drilling.

Decidedly not on Whitfield’s agenda: research and development for clean energy and alternative technologies, such as electric vehicles or carbon capture and sequestration for coal plants.

“I’m not a big fan of a lot of government dollars going into research and development for private enterprises. There’s private research being done for carbon capture and sequestration… and you’re not going to see the House of Representatives, I’m certain, provide a lot of money for research and development for electric vehicles.

“I don’t believe that the electric cars are going to play a major role in this for a while. They may be good for driving around in urban areas but they’re not at a place where people will drive them for long trips. We’re going to be looking at other ways to solve these problems. I think it’s going to be very difficult to reduce our consumption of oil.”

Talk about your self-fulfilling prophecy:  If you block investments in R&D or electric cars or efficiency or alternative energy, then it will be very difficult to reduce oil consumption, which is something Republicans know intuitively (see Darrell Issa (R-CA) slams ‘failed’ GOP energy policy).

Related Posts:

Climate Progress

Broward County still paying less than budgeted for gas

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 24-01-2011

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In case you missed our story about how Broward’s city and county governments will pay for gas if it rises as high as analysts are saying, I’ll post it on the jump for you.

Broward County Budget Director Kayla Olsen said the budget for this year was based on gas prices of $ 2.93 unleaded and $ 3.10 diesel. The last purchase of fuel was at a price point of $ 2.91 unleaded and $ 3.07 diesel – still under the budget estimate.

The latest gas prices haven’t led to any routes changes or reductions for the buses, transportation director Chris Walton said. He said he’s watching ridership in case the gas increase prompts any need for changes. None so far, though.

Public Works Director Tom Hutka said his department has savings measures drawn up because “gas prices have gone up before (to higherlevels, too).”

He reminded managers of the following: No unnecessary idling of vehicles, review of take-home vehicles, reduce unnecessary trips, car-pool to meetings when possible, phone/video conference and keep up regular vehicle maintenance.




Broward Politics

GOP looks to make Affordable Care Act less fiscally responsible

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 24-01-2011

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Over at Kaiser Health News, Lexie Verdon, Bara Vaida and Jordan Rau report on the next phase of the GOP’s assault on the Affordable Care Act, which involves, as Rep. Dave Camp put it, an effort to “prune it branch by branch.” The six branches they seem to eyeing first? The 1099 reporting requirement, the individual mandate, the Independent Payment Advisory Board, limitations on the use of flexible spending accounts, the CLASS Act and the tax on insurers.

Three of those items — the 1099 provision, the limits on flex accounts, and the tax on insurers — raise money to pay for the legislation. One of them, the Independent Payment Advisory Board, is a promising and potentially transformative idea for controlling costs in Medicare. The individual mandate, of course, is an effort to bring down premiums in the individual and small-group markets by making sure that healthy people purchase insurance when they’re healthy, not just when they get sick. Of the six ideas, only the CLASS Act is a new benefit.

It’s perfectly fair to believe these six provisions problematic. I’d reform the 1099 requirement myself. But it’s worth noting that the parts of the legislation that Republicans understand to be vulnerable and unpopular — and that they plan to specifically attack — are the fiscally responsible parts. Which are also the parts of the bill that they pretty much deny exist, or deny will work. If the IPAB is such a feckless idea, for instance, why bother repealing it?

Perhaps it’s all a matter of perspective: It’s not that the Republicans think the bill, as currently written, increases the deficit. It’s that they think it will once they’re done with it — when its cost controls are shredded and its pay-fors undone — and they don’t want to saddle future generations of Americans with the costs of a bill that looks like that.







Ezra Klein

Franklin ‘High Road’ Is Considerably Less Traveled

Posted by admin | Posted in Sports | Posted on 20-01-2011

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On Jan. 6, two days after he was fired by ESPN for making obscene, degrading remarks to ESPN colleague Jeannine Edwards – and then failing to apologize for his admitted indiscretion by ESPN request – Ron Franklin wrote in an email to Richard Sandomir of the NEW YORK TIMES, “I just want this thing to end so we can have our lives back.

Ron Franklin's High Road

(Franklin Austin lawsuit same day as ESPN-TX announcement: Coincidence?)

Franklin’s Jan. 6 lament to the newspaper followed a public apology on Jan. 3 – made through ESPN – in which he admitted, “I said some things I shouldn’t have, and I’m sorry. I deserved to be taken off the Fiesta Bowl.” (Franklin never personally apologized to Edwards, which contributed to his firing.)

Yesterday on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin, ESPN and Texas school officials announced a groundbreaking partnership that creates a sports network expressly designed to carry Univ. of Texas sports programming.

On the same day, less than a mile away at the Travis County Courthouse, the attorney for Austin resident and former Texas football and basketball announcer Ron Franklin filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against ESPN on the announcer’s behalf.

Franklin’s lawsuit filing subsequently caused at least one outlet, the New York Times, to juxtapose ESPN’s big announcement about the Texas Network right next to the news of Franklin suing the very same sports network.

Ron Franklin story next to ESPN Texas story in NY Times

(NYT: ESPN-Texas announcement next to Franklin-ESPN lawsuit)

It’s common knowledge at ESPN that Franklin had viewed the ESPN-Texas television endeavor as a possible part of his own, personal active retirement. But thanks to his ouster at the network, not even Franklin’s staunchest allies at the Univ. of Texas were willing to jeopardize the $ 300 million dollar deal by demanding that the former venerable voice of the Longhorns be included on ESPN Texas Network sports broadcasts.

But why would someone who still makes his home in Austin and was the former sports voice of the Univ. of Texas file a lawsuit against ESPN at a courthouse less than a mile away from campus on the exact day the school proudly announced a landmark broadcasting agreement with the same company?

(more…)

SPORTSbyBROOKS

Moore Again Less: Filmmaker Flummoxed by Link Between More Guns, Less Crime

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 19-01-2011

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From the files of clippings I've saved over the years, one of my favorite headlines — "Prison populations, costs climbing: $ 40b a year spent on inmates despite falling crime rate," as published in The Boston Globe on July 28, 2003.

Yes — "despite".

Not the only time I've seen a headline along these lines, though less often nowadays, its idiocy becoming too obvious to ignore.

As if to fill the void, a variation on the theme has appeared, especially in the wake of the Tucson shooting. It goes like this –  gun ownership rates climb despite falling crime rates. With any luck, this too will be consigned to the dustbin, but don't hold your breath.

Best recent example — agitprop filmmaker Michael Moore appearing on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show Monday and saying this –

[Video clip after page break]

 

MOORE: Why do we, more than any other country, do this? I think it's more than just the laws. There's a reason why we want to own these guns. You pointed out last week that we're number one in gun ownership and then, Yemen … (laughs)

MADDOW: … Is a distant number two. Yes, that's right.

MOORE: … a distant number two! So why us, why do we have this? And the majority of these guns, I mean, the vast majority of these guns are owned by people who live in safe parts of town or mostly in suburbs and rural areas, places where there are very few murders. And your sane producer was saying to me backstage here that he was talking to people there (in Tucson), they said everybody's packing there, I mean, the surgeons there at the hospital, they said they have guns, everybody has a gun, yet they all said we have a very low gun murder rate here in Tucson. So why do you have a gun then? Why do you have a gun? What are you afraid of? What is that thing that we're afraid of that we want to have a gun in the house?

"Yet" taking the place of "despite" — "everybody has a gun, yet they all said we have a very low gun murder rate here in Tucson."  But how can that be, liberals insistently point out?

Here's how, as described in a National Rifle Association fact sheet from last September titled "Gun Ownership Rises to All-Time High, Violent Crime Falls to 35-Year Low" and abundantly footnoted –

Coinciding with a surge in gun purchases that began shortly after the 2008 elections, violent crime decreased six percent between 2008 and 2009, including an 8 percent decrease in murder and a nine percent decrease in robbery. Since 1991, when violent crime peaked, it has decreased 43 percent to a 35-year low. Murder has fallen 49 percent to a 45-year low. At the same time, the number of guns that Americans own has risen by about 90 million. Predictions by gun control supporters, that increasing the number of guns, particularly handguns and so-called "assault weapons," would cause crime to increase, have been profoundly lacking in clairvoyance.

As to be expected from Moore, he couldn't let the discourse pass without playing the race card –

I am loathe to bring up what is in our head because we don't like to talk about it so much. But on this particular day, on Martin Luther King Day, I think this needs to be said. That imaginary person that's going to break into your home and kill you, who does that person look like? You know, it's not freckle-faced Jimmy down the street, is it really? I mean, that's not what really, that's not what really people, we never really want to talk about the racial or the class part of this, in terms of how it's the poor or it's people of color that we imagine that we're afraid of. Why are we afraid? What is that, and it's been a fear that has existed for a very, very long time.

Who is Moore kidding?  "We don't like to talk about it so much … we never really want to talk about the racial and class part of this …" There is nothing liberals want more than to talk about "this," preferably as soon as their feet hit the floor in the morning. Given the chance, they'll weave it into chit-chat about the weather, such as when dark clouds form on the horizon … clearly the tea partiers' fault for the forecast, dontcha see?

Just out of curiosity, does Moore include Second Amendment advocate Gabrielle Giffords among those trigger-happy racists eager to execute impoverished people of color? 

NewsBusters.org – Exposing Liberal Media Bias

Moore Again Less: Filmmaker Flummoxed by Link Between More Guns, Less Crime

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 19-01-2011

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

0

From the files of clippings I've saved over the years, one of my favorite headlines — "Prison populations, costs climbing: $ 40b a year spent on inmates despite falling crime rate," as published in The Boston Globe on July 28, 2003.

Yes — "despite".

Not the only time I've seen a headline along these lines, though less often nowadays, its idiocy becoming too obvious to ignore.

As if to fill the void, a variation on the theme has appeared, especially in the wake of the Tucson shooting. It goes like this –  gun ownership rates climb despite falling crime rates. With any luck, this too will be consigned to the dustbin, but don't hold your breath.

Best recent example — agitprop filmmaker Michael Moore appearing on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show Monday and saying this –

[Video clip after page break]

 

MOORE: Why do we, more than any other country, do this? I think it's more than just the laws. There's a reason why we want to own these guns. You pointed out last week that we're number one in gun ownership and then, Yemen … (laughs)

MADDOW: … Is a distant number two. Yes, that's right.

MOORE: … a distant number two! So why us, why do we have this? And the majority of these guns, I mean, the vast majority of these guns are owned by people who live in safe parts of town or mostly in suburbs and rural areas, places where there are very few murders. And your sane producer was saying to me backstage here that he was talking to people there (in Tucson), they said everybody's packing there, I mean, the surgeons there at the hospital, they said they have guns, everybody has a gun, yet they all said we have a very low gun murder rate here in Tucson. So why do you have a gun then? Why do you have a gun? What are you afraid of? What is that thing that we're afraid of that we want to have a gun in the house?

"Yet" taking the place of "despite" — "everybody has a gun, yet they all said we have a very low gun murder rate here in Tucson."  But how can that be, liberals insistently point out?

Here's how, as described in a National Rifle Association fact sheet from last September titled "Gun Ownership Rises to All-Time High, Violent Crime Falls to 35-Year Low" and abundantly footnoted –

Coinciding with a surge in gun purchases that began shortly after the 2008 elections, violent crime decreased six percent between 2008 and 2009, including an 8 percent decrease in murder and a nine percent decrease in robbery. Since 1991, when violent crime peaked, it has decreased 43 percent to a 35-year low. Murder has fallen 49 percent to a 45-year low. At the same time, the number of guns that Americans own has risen by about 90 million. Predictions by gun control supporters, that increasing the number of guns, particularly handguns and so-called "assault weapons," would cause crime to increase, have been profoundly lacking in clairvoyance.

As to be expected from Moore, he couldn't let the discourse pass without playing the race card –

I am loathe to bring up what is in our head because we don't like to talk about it so much. But on this particular day, on Martin Luther King Day, I think this needs to be said. That imaginary person that's going to break into your home and kill you, who does that person look like? You know, it's not freckle-faced Jimmy down the street, is it really? I mean, that's not what really, that's not what really people, we never really want to talk about the racial or the class part of this, in terms of how it's the poor or it's people of color that we imagine that we're afraid of. Why are we afraid? What is that, and it's been a fear that has existed for a very, very long time.

Who is Moore kidding?  "We don't like to talk about it so much … we never really want to talk about the racial and class part of this …" There is nothing liberals want more than to talk about "this," preferably as soon as their feet hit the floor in the morning. Given the chance, they'll weave it into chit-chat about the weather, such as when dark clouds form on the horizon … clearly the tea partiers' fault for the forecast, dontcha see?

Just out of curiosity, does Moore include Second Amendment advocate Gabrielle Giffords among those trigger-happy racists eager to execute impoverished people of color? 

NewsBusters.org blogs

Gone in 60 seconds: Bears playoff tix sell out in less than a minute – USA Today

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 19-01-2011

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Kansas City Star
Gone in 60 seconds: Bears playoff tix sell out in less than a minute
USA Today
That didn't take long.. The Chicago Bears said remaining tickets to Sunday's NFC Championship game with the Green Bay Packers sold out within one minute of being offered to the public. Most of the tickets went, of course,
Packers aim to complete rare trifecta of road playoff winsBoston Herald
Win Big on the Big Game! Predict the Bears-Packers ScorePatch
What does Packers-Bears rivalry mean to you?Green Bay Press Gazette
Consumer Affairs –Tucson Citizen –Chicago Tribune
all 2,487 news articles »

Sports – Google News

Gone in 60 seconds: Bears playoff tix sell out in less than a minute – USA Today

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 19-01-2011

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

0


Kansas City Star
Gone in 60 seconds: Bears playoff tix sell out in less than a minute
USA Today
That didn't take long.. The Chicago Bears said remaining tickets to Sunday's NFC Championship game with the Green Bay Packers sold out within one minute of being offered to the public. Most of the tickets went, of course,
Packers aim to complete rare trifecta of road playoff winsBoston Herald
Win Big on the Big Game! Predict the Bears-Packers ScorePatch
What does Packers-Bears rivalry mean to you?Green Bay Press Gazette
Consumer Affairs –Tucson Citizen –Chicago Tribune
all 2,487 news articles »

Sports – Google News

Obama on Overregulation: Less than Meets the Eye

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 18-01-2011

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There’s a new regulatory skeptic in town, and his name is Barack Obama. At least that’s the image the President tried to paint today in a bylined opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal. The message was clear: Forget the War on Business. That’s so 2010. Say hello to the War on Regulation.

But is Obama really a born-again regulatory reformer? That, of course, would be good news. After breaking records over the last year in terms of new regulations imposed, a reassessment would be welcome. In his op-ed, the President conceded that sometimes “rules have gotten out of balance, placing unreasonable burdens on business—burdens that have had a chilling effect on growth and jobs. … We’re also getting rid of absurd and unnecessary paperwork requirements,” he pledged, and will be looking at ways to “avoid excessive, inconsistent and redundant regulation.”

To help do this, the President announced a new executive order launching a 120-day government-wide review of rules now on the books that have had a chilling effect on growth and jobs. Such a review—similar to that undertaken by President George H. W. Bush in 1992 and overseen by Vice President Dan Quayle—would be welcome. But a look at the actual executive order signed by the President this morning indicates that the promising rhetoric has not been matched by real action.

Rather than require agencies to identify harmful regulations during the next 120 days, or even to eliminate unwarranted rules, the order merely requires agencies to submit a “preliminary plan” for reviewing regulations sometime in the future, with the goal of making their regulatory program either less burdensome or “more effective.” And despite promises of transparency elsewhere in the order, the results of any regulatory reviews conducted are required to be released online only “whenever possible.”

Moreover, the initiative is hardly “government-wide,” excluding independent agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

This is a phony war on overregulation. Much more robust steps are needed. Representative Darrell Issa (R–CA) has already taken the first step, surveying businesses and individuals regarding rules in need of reform. And, in an upcoming paper, Heritage research fellow Diane Katz identifies 20 rules that could be repealed immediately.

The President, in his Wall Street Journal piece, dismissed the “heated rhetoric” surrounding the regulatory debate. And this certainly isn’t a partisan issue. After all, no President did more to eliminate outdated regulation than Jimmy Carter, a Democrat. Even Bill Clinton, certainly no deregulator, achieved some significant reforms. But to do that, more than rhetoric is needed, heated or not.

To show that this new initiative is more than talk, President Obama must follow up on his rhetoric with action. He should identify specific regulations in need of reform and require agencies to identify some of their own. He should ask independent agencies to do the do the same and to work with the Office of Management and Budget to assess their impact of their rules. And he should work with Congress to develop legislative reforms to ensure that the tide of regulation can be controlled effectively in the future. Until and unless such specific steps are taken, the President’s words will remain just words.

The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

Obama on Overregulation: Less than Meets the Eye

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 18-01-2011

Tags: , , , ,

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There’s a new regulatory skeptic in town, and his name is Barack Obama. At least that’s the image the President tried to paint today in a bylined opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal. The message was clear: Forget the War on Business. That’s so 2010. Say hello to the War on Regulation.

But is Obama really a born-again regulatory reformer? That, of course, would be good news. After breaking records over the last year in terms of new regulations imposed, a reassessment would be welcome. In his op-ed, the President conceded that sometimes “rules have gotten out of balance, placing unreasonable burdens on business—burdens that have had a chilling effect on growth and jobs. … We’re also getting rid of absurd and unnecessary paperwork requirements,” he pledged, and will be looking at ways to “avoid excessive, inconsistent and redundant regulation.”

To help do this, the President announced a new executive order launching a 120-day government-wide review of rules now on the books that have had a chilling effect on growth and jobs. Such a review—similar to that undertaken by President George H. W. Bush in 1992 and overseen by Vice President Dan Quayle—would be welcome. But a look at the actual executive order signed by the President this morning indicates that the promising rhetoric has not been matched by real action.

Rather than require agencies to identify harmful regulations during the next 120 days, or even to eliminate unwarranted rules, the order merely requires agencies to submit a “preliminary plan” for reviewing regulations sometime in the future, with the goal of making their regulatory program either less burdensome or “more effective.” And despite promises of transparency elsewhere in the order, the results of any regulatory reviews conducted are required to be released online only “whenever possible.”

Moreover, the initiative is hardly “government-wide,” excluding independent agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

This is a phony war on overregulation. Much more robust steps are needed. Representative Darrell Issa (R–CA) has already taken the first step, surveying businesses and individuals regarding rules in need of reform. And, in an upcoming paper, Heritage research fellow Diane Katz identifies 20 rules that could be repealed immediately.

The President, in his Wall Street Journal piece, dismissed the “heated rhetoric” surrounding the regulatory debate. And this certainly isn’t a partisan issue. After all, no President did more to eliminate outdated regulation than Jimmy Carter, a Democrat. Even Bill Clinton, certainly no deregulator, achieved some significant reforms. But to do that, more than rhetoric is needed, heated or not.

To show that this new initiative is more than talk, President Obama must follow up on his rhetoric with action. He should identify specific regulations in need of reform and require agencies to identify some of their own. He should ask independent agencies to do the do the same and to work with the Office of Management and Budget to assess their impact of their rules. And he should work with Congress to develop legislative reforms to ensure that the tide of regulation can be controlled effectively in the future. Until and unless such specific steps are taken, the President’s words will remain just words.

The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

Elected Officials Know Less Than General Public About Constitution

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 17-01-2011

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Alarmingly, elected officials have been found to know even less than the general public when it comes to our Constitution. According to a study by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute:

Elected officials at many levels of government, not just the federal government, swear an oath to “uphold and protect” the U.S. Constitution.

But those elected officials who took the test scored an average 5 percentage points lower than the national average (49 percent vs. 54 percent), with ordinary citizens outscoring these elected officials on each constitutional question. Examples:

• Only 49 percent of elected officials could name all three branches of government, compared with 50 percent of the general public.

• Only 46 percent knew that Congress, not the president, has the power to declare war — 54 percent of the general public knows that.

• Just 15 percent answered correctly that the phrase “wall of separation” appears in Thomas Jefferson’s letters — not in the U.S. Constitution — compared with 19 percent of the general public.

• And only 57 percent of those who’ve held elective office know what the Electoral College does, while 66 percent of the public got that answer right. (Of elected officials, 20 percent thought the Electoral College was a school for “training those aspiring for higher political office.”)

Bureauweenies don’t know their own business; yet they know better than you do how to spend your money.

On a tip from J. Hat tip: Hot Air.

Moonbattery

Great news: Elected officials know less about the Constitution than the public

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 14-01-2011

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Surprised?


So claims the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, which just concluded a five-year study on the American public’s knowledge of its foundational legal document.  The bad news: the general public gets an F, with just a 49% average on the 33-question civics test.  The worse news: those who identified themselves as public officeholders scored an average of […]

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Daniels Less Likely to Run

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 14-01-2011

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GOP insiders tell Mike Allen that Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels “is appearing less likely to run for president, based in part on a slowing in the parade of fundraisers and policy gurus to Indianapolis. One prediction: Daniels will endorse his friend Haley Barbour, who shows every sign of RAMPING UP, including meeting with potential consultants and staff.”
Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire