In its second annual survey of the best- and worst-run states, 24/7 Wall St. noted some significant changes but the same message: “States can do a great deal to control their fate.”  
Texas Congressman Ron Paul may soon have even more ammunition against American foreign aid. The White House has announced that it will use foreign aid to promote global rights for gays and lesbians.  President Obama made his intentions clear in a memo circulated yesterday, directing American agencies working abroad to use foreign aid to help homosexuals abroad who face human rights violations.  
When we studied U.S. history in high school and college, we were taught that during the Industrial Revolution working people in the United States were virtual slaves, mercilessly exploited by their employers. That spawned a strong labor movement, which raised factory workers from a state of destitution, and labor unions continue to wage a ceaseless struggle to prevent workers from once again being subjugated by their employers. But to what extent is this so-called “conventional wisdom” the result of union propaganda that has found its way into our educational establishment, rather than the result of a thorough analysis of the nature of labor unions and a comprehensive study of economic history? In other words, were we really being educated in our U.S. history classes, or were we actually being indoctrinated? Many history textbooks that discuss the rise of the labor movement assume without question that there is an inherent conflict between employers and employees. This is based on the notion that each party will act in its own self-interest: Employers will want to employ the best workers available for the lowest wages possible, while workers will want to earn the highest wages possible for the least amount of effort. On closer inspection, however, one sees that employers and employees are not actually competitors. Rather than having an adversarial relationship with one another, their fundamental relationship is really based on cooperation and mutual benefit: The employer provides a job and the employee does the work. They must work together, because they are both trying to accomplish a common purpose, namely, the creation and delivery of some good or service for which there is a consumer demand.
Billions of taxpayer dollars are being used by the U.S. Department of Defense to provide military-grade weaponry to local law-enforcement departments, and the shadowy “1033” weapons program is expanding at a record pace. But critics of the scheme are concerned as even small-town police forces are building up arsenals that include amphibious tanks, helicopters, armored personnel carriers, robots, grenade launchers, and more.  
It was reported in Tuesday’s Washington Times, among other places, that surveillance technology has taken yet another turn, this time bringing military-grade, high-tech surveillance tools originally intended for intelligence-gathering to the marketplace, enabling even relatively unsophisticated users to snoop on friends, neighbors, significant-others — and political opponents.  
Christmas time approaches, the season for giving, the season when people’s inclination toward charitable acts and other good works reaches its apogee. Preparations for the holiday are well under way, and at shopping centers and street corners everywhere, one sees those red kettles, a veritable symbol of the season, almost as ubiquitous as Christmas trees, holly, and colored lights. Christmas engenders a unique spirit in our hearts. As the great American author and essayist Washington Irving said, “Christmas is a season for kindling the fire for hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.” Americans are renown for their charitable giving. They support a vast network of charitable organizations, having given $290.89 billion in 2010. Additionally, 63.4 million Americans have practiced another form of charity by volunteering 8.1 billion hours of their time to help fellow Americans in need or improve their communities. It is estimated that the dollar value of that volunteer work is $169 billion. Americans are indeed a generous people. Moreover, Americans have been generous to those in need since the first settlers arrived on these shores. Those English men and women who first arrived in the New World were confronted by difficulties few of them could have imagined when they left the country of their birth. In those early years, harshness of weather, crop failures, and outbreaks of disease often decimated the colonists, huddled in their tiny beachheads on the east coast of the strange new continent. They endured these rigors through extreme hard work and through close fellowship.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney declined Donald Trump’s invitation to participate in his December 27 debate, sponsored by Newsmax Media and ION TV in Des Moines, Iowa, saying “We [already] have two debates in December that I’ve agreed to participate in. The rest of the month will be spent campaigning.” Trump was gracious in his response, saying: “It would seem logical to me that if I was substantially behind in the polls, especially in Iowa, South Carolina and Florida, I would want to participate in this debate. But I understand why Gov. Romney decided not to do it.” But all Trump’s response did was to raise questions: Was Romney really that busy? Would his campaign benefit by his absence, appearing to be aloof and “above the fray” while his lessers battled between themselves? Did Romney want to put some distance between himself and Trump, as that relationship was appearing to be getting awfully cozy? Would Romney’s absence spell the death knell for the debate now that three of the contenders were planning to be campaigning elsewhere? At present only Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have agreed to attend, while Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann are considering the matter. And supporters are getting nervous, especially the two “conservative” organizations who are cosponsoring the event, Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and the American Conservative Union (ACU). Spokesmen for each urged those on the fence to join Trump in Des Moines. Grover Norquist, founder and head of ATR, issued this statement:
The federal bench, more and more, determines the policy of federal and state government. So it is an indication of conflict over the direction of our nation that President Obama appointed Caitlin Halligan, who is General Council of the District Attorney’s Office in the City of New York, to the post of judge on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Republicans in the Senate, however, blocked that appointed by preventing cloture. Halligan, who had been Solicitor General for Elliot Spitzer, the disgraced former Governor of New York, had engaged in the sort of legal advocacy that placed her on the extreme of American politics. Among the activist cases that she supported were these: Pro-life groups that are engaged in opposing abortions are guilty of extortion; colleges are proper in using race as a criteria for admitting students; illegal immigrants should be allowed back pay for labor disputes in our country; the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to use the Clean Air Act to regulate the so-called “Greenhouse Gases”; and gun manufacturers may be sued for crimes committed with the weapons they made. Although President Obama said that he was “deeply disappointed” in what he described as Republican obstructionism, in fact in the vote for cloture in the Senate, which requires 60 votes, Obama could muster only 54 votes, and the President could not even get every member of his own political party to support a procedural measure like cloture.
Residents of western Michigan need fear terrorists no more. Courtesy of a Homeland Security grant, 13 counties are now prepared to thwart any and all terrorist attacks with… snow-cone machines.  According to the Greenville Daily News, the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission (WMSRDC), “a federal- and state-designated agency responsible for managing and administrating the homeland security program in Montcalm County and 12 other counties[,] … recently purchased and transferred homeland security equipment to these counties — including 13 snow cone machines at a total cost of $11,700.” (WOOD-TV of Grand Rapids puts the price tag at a mere $6,200.) WMSRDC got the money for the machines and other equipment via a grant from the Michigan Homeland Security Program.  
Six of the top seven GOP presidential candidates addressed the Republican Jewish Coalition December 7, with only Ron Paul being excluded from the forum by organizers because of the Texas Congressman's opposition to all foreign aid.  
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