There are an estimated 500,000 public school buses in America, which will carry America's school children back and forth about 4.2 billion miles this school year. The Center for Auto Safety and the National Coalition for School Bus Safety had requested that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) mandate that all these buses install seatbelts; however, the federal agency has rejected that petition. The Coalition's Arthur Yeager decried the decision: It just confirms the long history of NHTSA in opposition to child restraints in school buses. There is a certain hypocrisy in their supporting seat belts in virtually every other type of vehicle under their control except for school buses… There are accident after accident [sic] where we can document that the cause has been [school bus] driver distraction. More kids are killed when their own school bus drives over them than by other drivers. Some of those kids are killed because the driver is distracted by kids jumping up and down on the bus.
The owners of a bed and breakfast in Vermont are being sued by a lesbian couple and the ACLU for refusing to host the couple’s “wedding” reception at their facility. As reported by CNSNews.com, the lesbian couple, Kate Baker and Ming Linsley, plan to “marry” this autumn in Vermont, one of the handful of states that have legalized same-sex marriage. Nearly a year ago Ming’s mother, Channie Peters, contacted the Wildflower Inn about scheduling the couple’s reception there. But according to the ACLU, when she explained that the couple would consist of “two brides,” she received a subsequent e-mail from a planner at the inn, explaining: “After our conversation, I checked in with my innkeepers and unfortunately due to their personal feelings, they do not host gay receptions at our facility.” In July the ACLU took the case to the Vermont Superior Court, arguing that the inn’s policy excluding homosexuals violates the state’s human rights law which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Declared the ACLU: “This case is about discrimination, pure and simple. When a business that is open to the public refuses to serve two people and their guests solely because the two people are a same sex couple, it is no different than restaurants not serving individuals because they were black, or other businesses keeping out women or Jews. It is discrimination and it is illegal.”
Speaking to reporters at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka made it clear that his union is backing off from supporting President Obama and the Democrats in the 2012 elections and is instead going to funnel union funds into attempts to influence state outcomes. He said, We’re going to use a lot of our money to build structures that work for working people. You’re going to see us give less money to build structures for others, and more of our money will be used to build our own structure…. Let’s assume we spent $100 in the last election. The day after Election Day, we were no stronger than we were the day before. If we had spent that [$100] on creating a structure for working people that would be there year round, then we would be stronger.
Since there has been so much talk among Tea Partiers of returning to the good old, pre-trillion-dollar days of Ronald Reagan’s administration, I thought it would be a good idea to go back to that inspiring time to see what has been happening to the growth of the federal government and how the Great Communicator sought to deal with that problem. In 1960, Uncle Sam, (better known these days as Uncle Sap), spent $76.5 billion to run the federal government. In 1970, a mere ten years later, that figure almost tripled to $194.9 billion. And ten years later, in 1980, federal spending tripled again to $579 billion. By then Congress had lost complete control over federal spending. It had enacted so many entitlement programs that the budget had become a locomotive going full-speed down-hill with no brakes. By the time Ronald Reagan became President, the spending momentum was so great that the most a fiscally conservative president could do immediately was to slow down the rate of growth just a little. Momentum is a powerful force, and even a fiscal conservative cannot stop a locomotive on a dime. And that is why Reagan’s 1983 budget reached a new high of $757 billion, with a projected deficit of $98.6 billion.
As the Northeastern portion of the United States prepares to be rocked by Hurricane Irene, analysts are already predicting the potential financial impact of the storm on the already struggling American economy. As Irene follows a path similar to that of Hurricane Bertha in 1995 and Hurricane Floyd in 1999, experts are comparing the potential damage and costs to those storms. Bertha cost $371 million worth of damage nationwide, while Floyd accumulated $4.5 billion. Some lawmakers contend, however, that regardless of the expected damage, Americans do not need the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). GOP Presidential candidate Ron Paul, for example, contends that there should be no FEMA response to Hurricane Irene and that federal disaster relief is “bad economics, bad morality, and bad constitutional law.” “There’s no magic about FEMA. They’re a great contribution to deficit financing and quite frankly they don’t have a penny in the bank. We should be coordinated but coordinated voluntarily with the states. A state can decide. We don’t need somebody in Washington,” he said.
As noted here recently ("Lame and Lamer: Media excuses for ignoring a surging Ron Paul"), Rep. Ron Paul has undeniably eclipsed many of the GOP presidential candidates formerly accorded "top tier" status by the major "lamestream" media, according to an August 24 Gallup Poll. The new survey of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents shows Paul with 13 percent support, barely trailing former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (17 percent), with Texas Governor Rick Perry, who only recently announced his candidacy, strongly in first place, with 29 percent. This puts Ron Paul three points ahead of Rep. Michele Bachmann (10 percent), who narrowly beat Paul (by less than 1 percent) in the Ames, Iowa Straw Poll on August 13. The other contestants, some of whom have been touted as "top tier" in the past, fade into the distance in the new Gallup Poll: Herman Cain, 4 percent; Newt Gingrich, 4 percent; Rick Santorum, 3 percent; Jon Huntsman, 1 percent; Tim Pawlenty, zero percent (he dropped out).
As reported here yesterday ("Lame & Lamer: Media Excuses for Ignoring a Surging Ron Paul") the "lamestream" media appear to be making efforts to salvage a modicum of credibility by giving some coverage to Rep. Ron Paul's presidential race, after a severe media shellacking by Comedy Central's Jon Stewart went viral last week. Stewart's satirical rant effectively used clips of various media takes on the Ames, Iowa Straw Poll to expose the uniform policy of the major media to treat Ron Paul with unique contempt by simply pretending he doesn't exist. The blatant media blackout of Ron Paul is eerily similar to the Stalinist technique of obliterating all mention of those who have been declared to be non-persons, as chillingly documented by David King in The Commissar Vanishes: The Falsification of Photographs and Art in Stalin's Russia. King's 1997 book demonstrates the power of Soviet censorship under Stalin, showing example after example of famous Communist leaders who had once been considered heroes of the revolution but then, sometimes virtually overnight, disappeared. Not only were they arrested, tortured, and killed, but even their images were removed from all photographs and their names expunged from all documents, news stories, and history books.
Burdened with economic uncertainty, high unemployment, and a volatile investors’ market, young Americans are desperately seeking job security — while anxiously chasing the "American Dream." The economy simply isn’t what it was when they first entered the job market, or when they were finishing high school or working for their college degrees. The entire economic, financial, and social class system has changed. Indeed, the entire country has changed. They’re not Generation X, or Generation Y. According to the Los Angeles Times, they’re "Generation Vexed" — a struggling generation of "young Americans [aged 20 to 29] who are downsizing expectations in the face of an economic future that is anything but certain." As a result, "Career plans are being altered, marriages put off and dreams shelved." Young Americans are trapped under a stagnant economic umbrella, and, lamentably, they are left with no foreseeable escape.
A recent article in the Washington Post posited that the obstruction by the Congress of presidential recess appointments is unconstitutional. This debate emerged in light of the fact that currently, there is a backlog of presidential appointments. There are two explanations for this. First, President Obama has yet to nominate people to fill various executive and judicial branch openings. For example, a new chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers has yet to be named and there are two empty seats on the Federal Reserve board. The second reason behind the logjam is the Senate’s reluctance to confirm those nominees already submitted by the President for that body’s approval. There is, however, a third less obvious factor slowing the appointment process. Using a potent parliamentary tactic, the House of Representatives has acted to keep both houses of the legislative branch in “pro forma” session throughout the August break in order to prevent President Obama from bypassing the advice and consent of the Senate by making what is known as recess appointments.
It is hard not to be amazed by the blackout of media coverage of Ron Paul’s presidential campaign. Had Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman, or any second-tier candidate been performing remotely as well as Paul has, he would no longer be regarded as a “second-tier” candidate. To the credit of such left-leaning outlets as Jon Stewarts' The Daily Show and The Huffington Post, this phenomenon has not gone unnoticed by everyone. Let’s think about this. In spite of the extent to which Paul has been ignored by the establishment media in both of its leftist and rightist varieties, he unfailingly elicits explosive applause in every GOP presidential primary debate in which he has participated. A Fox News poll, of all places, shows that the overwhelming majority of its respondents hold that Ron Paul achieved a decisive victory over all of the other candidates in the most recent debate in Iowa. Of 7,991 “active” cities nationwide that participated in the poll, and 43,293 total votes, 27,459 people thought that Paul won the debate. Newt Gingrich came in second place — with 5, 906 votes.