On July 27, Education Secretary Arne Duncan reiterated an earlier request for a 13.3-percent budget increase over 2011, which would bring Education Department spending to one-fifth higher than 2010 levels. Amid congressional arguments over reducing the nation’s debt and raising the debt ceiling, Duncan justified his stance by explaining: “You can’t sacrifice the future to pay for the present.”

He said the additional funding would allow the department to fund more Pell grants; to place increased emphasis on the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) initiative; to continue most aspects of President George W. Bush’s decade-old No Child Left Behind law, which even liberals have admitted is a disappointment; and to push the Obama administration’s new toddler initiatives, such as the Early Learning Challenge (ELC), described earlier this week as part of the President’s “Race to the Top” boondoggle.

House Speaker John Boehner’s last-minute “pep talk” to his Republican caucus early Thursday morning failed to turn the tide of Tea Partier “nays” to “yeas,” and the vote on his debt-limit bill has been postponed. Calling on them to “get ... in line” because “I can’t do this job unless you’re behind me,” Boehner failed in getting the 216 votes he needed. He claimed, “The Republican proposal includes real spending cuts and reforms that will restrain future spending — and the spending cuts are larger than the debt limit increase.”

He went on to say his bill represents "the best opportunity we have to hold the president’s feet to the fire. [Obama] wants a $2.4 trillion blank check that lets him continue his spending binge through the next election. This is the time to say no."
 

We shall not be able to even start reducing the size of the federal government until Tea Party Republicans take control of both houses of Congress and the White House. Hopefully that will happen in November 2012. Then will begin the great task of abolishing the hundreds of departments and agencies that have done nothing but interfere with the ability of American industry and business to grow. In other words, we must restore the kind of free-market economy that permits individuals to create new businesses and permits old businesses to expand. In that way we shall also create many new jobs.

In the past, when Republicans took control of Congress and the White House, they did nothing to reduce the size of government. They didn’t repeal a single useless liberal program. They simply consolidated the gains of the liberals. Why? That’s the mysterious part of American politics. Believe it or not, the Republicans were simply behaving like good Hegelian dialecticians.

Four Taliban and Hezbollah operatives were arrested overseas on Monday during a drugs-for-weapons sting operation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). According to The Blaze, the incident illustrates a “growing nexus” between drug trafficking and terrorism.

Those arrested were part of a larger crime ring reportedly intending to supply Stinger Missiles, AK-47 automatic rifles, and U.S. carbines to terrorist groups such as the Taliban and Hezbollah.

The Blaze reports, "At least two of the men arrested, Lebanese national Bachar Wehbe and Afghan national Tazar Gul Alizai, are currently on U.S. soil and are reportedly set to appear before a federal court in Manhattan."

George Soros recently made a stunning announcement: He would be dissolving all of his non-family aspects of the hedge fund that ultimately made him an authority on all things monetary.

Bloomberg News reports:

The billionaire, best known for breaking the Bank of England, is returning money to outside investors in his $25.5 billion firm [and is] ending a career as hedge-fund manager that spanned more than four decades.

Some family friends of ours had quite a bit of excitement recently: They adopted a baby boy! Their new boy is the joy of joys for them because, though they desperately wanted children, they had been languishing on adoption waiting lists for years, without much hope of getting a child. They were ideal prospective parents: Both the husband and the wife are college educated; the couple is financially stable; they could produce an almost endless supply of character references; and their marriage vows remain solidly intact after nearly 20 years together. In other words, they could provide a stable, loving, traditional home for a child.

But there were no children to be had. Fortunately for them, an adoption agency in Wisconsin recommended that they apply at an agency in Florida where it might be possible to get a child.
 

As the debate over the debt ceiling heats up, and as time ticks down, heroes and villains are emerging. Of course, who they are depends on who is asked, but for Tea Party activists, perhaps the greatest disappointment has been House Speaker John Boehner.

Fox News reports on the progress of Boehner’s bill:

Boehner revised his plan after congressional budget analysts said it would save $850 billion over the next decade instead of the $1.2 trillion advertised. The latest figures put the savings above $900 billion, more than the bill's proposed debt limit increase. The House is expected to vote on the revised plan Thursday.

It’s a few months early, but the ACLU is already beginning its annual attack on America’s beloved Christmas holiday. The Florida Sun Sentinel newspaper reported that the Broward County branch of the ACLU has warned the community of Plantation not to put up its annual display of Christian and Jewish symbols in Liberty Tree Park this holiday season, calling the display “inappropriate.”

In a letter to city officials, the ACLU argued that “displaying a Nativity scene and menorah violates the separation of church and state,” reported the paper. “The problem, the rights group said, is that the city is advocating for two religions while ignoring all the others.”

The ACLU’s Barry Butin said his group thinks Plantation’s holiday spirit is “a violation of the First Amendment and an endorsement of religion. If they were really neutral and didn’t favor one over the other, they’d have a more inclusive display: Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist.”

The federal government just can’t stay out of agriculture. From subsidy programs that decide winners and losers in the markets by favoring corporate farms over family farms to ethanol rules that sacrifice food for fuel to laws that give undue influence and power to a select few pesticide and seed producers, Washington has maintained a stranglehold over farming that has forever altered the industry’s competitive landscape and doomed consumers to pay ever-higher prices at the grocery store.

It wants even more power. Now, another assault comes from the Capitol and the unlikeliest of agencies: the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, an arm of the Department of Transportation. The DOT/FMCSA has new standards currently in the public comment period that, were they to become law, would override states’ rights — and the rights of the individual farmer — and have a detrimental impact on how business is done.

The Traditional Values Coalition has released the second installment of its investigation into grant-making by the National Institutes of Health. This time, TVC reveals that U.S. taxpayers pumped $90 million into “research” that included investigating AIDS in China, Chinese prostitutes, and a treatable parasite that infects one in every 1,000 Chinese.

A week ago, TVC exposed grantees who used NIH money to study whether the physical endowment of homosexuals affected their sexual satisfaction.

Now taxpayers get this news, as Congress and the President grapple about raising the debt ceiling and a few relatively small cuts in the federal budget that won’t come close to nicking the surface of the nation’s $14.5 trillion debt.

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