Almost everyone is aware that the federal government pays farmers not to grow certain crops. But not many know that taxpayers are also being forced to pay airlines to fly empty planes. It’s true. According to the Associated Press, the $200 million federal Essential Air Service (EAS) program subsidizes airline service to less populous areas of the country; and because it does so on a per-flight — not per-passenger — basis, airlines sometimes fly empty planes back and forth just to keep the free funds flowing. EAS was created in 1978 as an outgrowth of airline deregulation — deregulation, like most words, not meaning the same thing in Washington as it does outside the Beltway. Some in Congress believed that airline service to rural areas was so critical that it had to be maintained even if it was unprofitable to airlines; and who better to take on an unprofitable venture — and guarantee its continued unprofitability — than Uncle Sam? University of California at Berkeley professor Severin Borenstein, one of the designers of EAS, told the AP that “Congress originally intended for the program to end after 10 years.”
California has provided yet another example of just how far the tentacles of the Nanny State can reach. California’s legislature will be confronted by a load of bills to consider upon its return from a month-long recess, one of which mandates that hotels eliminate flat sheets and requires all hotels to have fitted sheets on hotel beds. Section 1 of the legislation requires: The use of a fitted sheet, instead of a flat sheet, as the bottom sheet on all beds within the lodging establishment. For the purpose of this section, a "fitted sheet" means a bed sheet containing elastic or similar material sewn into each of the four corners that allows the sheet to stay in place over the mattress.
Tea Party activist Ryan Rhodes confronted President Obama publicly at a town hall meeting in Iowa and demanded to know whether or not Vice President Joe Biden did in fact call Tea Partiers “terrorists” during the debt ceiling debate. Reports indicate that Obama did engage in a “heated back and forth” with the activist but refused to directly answer the question. On August 1, Vice President Joe Biden and a number of other House Democrats issued a verbal lashing to Tea Party Republicans, accusing them of having “acted like terrorists” in the fight over the debt ceiling. According to Politico, Biden was “agreeing with a line of argument made by Rep. Mike Doyle,” who said, “We have negotiated with terrorists. This small group of terrorists have made it impossible to spend any money.” Biden later made a similar statement, “They have acted like terrorists.”
As the GOP 2012 presidential campaign evolves, foreign policy issues will become more and more relevant, particularly as pro-Israel candidates debate Palestine’s venture for membership into the United Nations. Although domestic issues will continue to play a central role in the debate — largely due to the economy’s prolonged comatose state — Palestinian leaders’ request for U.N. membership serves a new recipe for the GOP campaign plate. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will introduce Palestine’s application to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon before the general assembly convenes on September 20. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said that the Palestinian request was "expected and regrettable," and that "Netanyahu still believes that only through direct and honest negotiations — not through unilateral decisions — will it be possible to advance the peace process."
Immediately after her noteworthy victory in the Iowa Presidential Straw Poll August 13, Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann managed to book herself on all five major Sunday national television political talk shows. But Ron Paul, who finished in a virtual statistical tie with Bachmann — just 152 votes and less than a one-percent difference — was booked on none of them. Zero. Then there was the Politico.com headline on the straw-poll results that — when moved over to blogrunner.com — became this: "Michele Bachmann wins Ames Straw Poll, Tim Pawlenty gets third." Umm, isn't something missing there? "How did libertarian Ron Paul become the 13th floor in a hotel?" Comedy Central's Jon Stewart quipped in an August 15 Daily Show segment poking fun at the obvious censorship of Paul in discussion of "top tier" candidates.  
Against the backdrop of price inflation reaching six percent, the unemployment rate touching five percent, the increasingly large holdings by foreign governments of dollars (that at the time were convertible into gold upon demand) and his desperate need to get reelected, in August, 1971 President Nixon conferred with his economic advisers about how to solve the inflation problem without taking any blame for it. The meeting was precipitated by the demand from the British ambassador “who showed up at the Treasury Department to request that $3 billion [of paper dollars] be converted into gold. At that moment in time, the amount of “cover” — the amount of gold held in Fort Knox as a percentage of outstanding paper dollar claims against it — had declined from 55% to 22% — leaving the Treasury desperately close to default. The economic advisers surrounding Nixon knew that “shutting the gold window would weaken the dollar against other currencies, thus adding to inflation by driving up the price of imported goods,” but they moved ahead anyway. And so was born the Nixon lie, delivered just as the Asian markets were opening on Sunday night, August 15, 1971. Here are the relevant parts of the lie:
There is no resolution yet on a proposed $7 billion Canadian-U.S. oil pipeline, as President Obama has continued to delay his decision on whether to approve it. Before the construction and operation of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline expansion can progress, the President, through the U.S. State Department’s permitting process, must grant final approval — an approval which has been in political limbo for the past three years. In a bill passed in July by the U.S. House of Representatives, the North American-Made Energy Security Act obliged the President to decide by November 1 whether to move forward with the 1,700-mile pipeline, which would transport Canadian crude oil from the Athabasca Oil Sands in northeastern Alberta, Canada, to Steele City, Nebraska, and then on to the Gulf Coast. As The New American reported two weeks ago, political opposition and environmental rhetoric hover around Obama’s verdict to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.
Finally, some good news about the economy, from an unlikely place: North Dakota. CNNMoney reported that while the United States' economy grew at less than 3 percent last year, North Dakota’s grew by more than 7 percent. And with national unemployment over 9 percent, in North Dakota it is just over 3 percent (and hasn’t touched 5 percent there in more than 20 years). The prime driver is the discovery of vast untapped but recoverable oil reserves in the Bakken Formation, along with improved technology, which is allowing entrepreneurs to obtain access to it: fracing (or fracking). Luke Popovich, a spokesman for the National Mining Association, explains: “North Dakota has a lot of untapped shale oil, and developing that field [has] attracted a lot of investment and a lot of employment into the state.” The Bakken Formation is an oil shale deposit located two miles below ground, and reaches from western North Dakota into eastern Montana and up into Saskatchewan, Canada.
Many suspect leftist billionaire George Soros of having profited from Standard & Poor's recent downgrade of the U.S. credit rating. According to ETF Daily News, an “invisible trader” bet nearly $1 billion that the rating would be downgraded. Kenneth Schortgen of the Examiner notes: While the identity of the "mystery investor" remains unknown, many indicators do point to George Soros as the principal benefactor. First, Soros has been tied to the Obama administration since the 2008 elections. In February of this year in fact, a Soros investment fund profited well on President Obama’s new green energy policies. Secondly, right about the exact same time as the $1 billion bet took place on the US credit rating downgrade, Soros made public the move to divest his management fund of outside investors, and quietly go private. This move allows him to make trades and investments without being required to notify the SEC under the new Dodd-Frank act passed in Congress last year.
The Florida State legislature has taken steps towards securing Second Amendment rights by eliminating restrictions on firearms. The measures, which will be enacted on October 1, will impose penalties on public officials who pass or enforce gun regulations at the state level. Violators face a $5,000 personal fine and may risk being removed from office by the governor. Florida already had a law that made it illegal to pass gun regulations beyond those imposed through state statutes since 1987. The Blaze explains the necessity for this new law: While Florida has had a law on its books since 1987 that makes it illegal to pass gun regulations beyond state statutes, there was no enforcement mechanism in place. As a result, towns and cities have created ordinances at will. In the process, many of them have criminalized otherwise completely law-abiding citizens who unintentionally ran afoul of arbitrary, localized gun rules. As a result, Governor Rick Scott has signed into law the Penalties for Violating Firearms Preemption Law, which forces the repeal of all regulations and policies that violate the firearms preemption law of 1987.
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