ARRA News Service
News for social, fiscal & national security conservatives who believe in God, family & the USA. Upholding the rights granted by God & guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, traditional family values, "republican" principles / ideals, transparent & limited "smaller" government, free markets, lower taxes, due process of law, liberty & individual freedom. Content approval rests with the ARRA News Service Editor. Opinions are those of the authors. While varied positions are reported, beliefs & principles remain fixed. No revenue is generated for or by this site - no paid ads - no payments for articles. Fair Use doctrine is posted & used.
Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
Contact: (Pub. Since July, 2006)
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Saturday at the Movies - "The Picture of Barack Obama"

By FleetwoodFactor: "President Barack Obama makes a deal with the Devil to force a liberal agenda onto the people of the greatest nation on earth."
Regardless of which side of political isle you are on, you must admit that this seven minute minute satirical movie uploaded on Dec. 22, 2009 is creative. Since we all "know" the Devil seems to reside in Washington, D.C., maybe there are devilish portraits locked away in the "national archives" for our present and many former presidents. You are now leaving the Twilight Zone!

Tags: Fleetwood Factor, movie, video, The Picture of Barack Obama, Barack Obama, Obama administration, satire, portrait To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Obama's Confused Priorities

Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: The front page of the Washington Post pointed out yet another example of President Obama's confused national security priorities. According to the Post, Pentagon officials (no doubt Obama appointees) are working with representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross to allow visits by family members of the alleged jihadist detainees at GITMO. Even the Post acknowledges that this would be an "unprecedented step."

GITMO is not your local county jail. The accused thugs held there are not common street criminals. They are alleged enemy combatants. Why is the Obama Administration doing anything that would make their lives more comfortable? Sadly, because of the propaganda spouted by big media, most Americans don't realize how much we have already conceded. For example, a new book by investigative journalist Richard Miniter contains this shocking passage:
"I was stunned to learn … that Guantanamo detainees succeeded in convincing prison officials to no longer raise the American flag anywhere they could see it. Each morning on every U.S. military base around the world, the American flag is raised to a bugle. But in the interests of not offending the detainees, it was stopped at Guantanamo."

Unfortunately, even the Bush Administration was guilty of caving in to jihadist demands. Consider these 2003 Department of Defense regulations for the handling of Korans:
"a. Clean gloves will be put on in full view of the detainees prior to handling.
b. Two hands will be used at all times when handling the Koran in manner signaling respect and reverence. … Handle the Koran as if it were a fragile piece of delicate art."
Are we leaving a mint on their pillows at night too?

Our guards are forced to wear gloves because devout Muslims believe that you and I are unclean and that our very touch would defile their holy book. Would we give in to demands by a white supremacist that black guards must wear gloves? Of course not. To do so would be to endorse their bigotry. Yet we endorse the bigoted demands of jihadists!

We are constantly told that these thugs do not represent Islam. If that's true, why are we submitting ourselves to their Sharia-compliant demands?

Jihadists Among Us - ABC News reports that two men of "North African descent" were arrested last night by New York police. They are accused of trying to buy guns and hand grenades. Both men are adherents of the "religion of peace," and were allegedly planning attacks on Manhattan synagogues. According to the report, the men are also being charged with hate crimes for saying during the undercover sting, "We hate the Jews."

Last weekend, Rageh Al-murisi, a 28 year-old with a Yemeni passport, was arrested after he attempted to storm the cockpit of a Boeing 737 with 162 passengers on board as it was preparing to land in San Francisco. The Associated Press reports "Al-Murisi repeatedly yelled 'Allahu Akbar,' … and tried twice to open the cockpit door before being subdued by a crew member and several passengers."

These two separate, and presumably unrelated, incidents have a common thread: radical Islam. Our political elites tell us that Islam is a "religion of peace." Apparently they haven't convinced the Islamists. And while President Obama insists that we are not at war with Islam, the Islamic-inspired jihadists are clearly at war with us.

Liberals Bash Business; Promote Pain - Senate Democrats today resorted to populist demagoguery in an attempt to avoid blame for high gas prices. They hauled the heads of the big oil companies up to Capitol Hill and berated them for making profits. They did it because they know we are unhappy with the high price of gas, and they want us to blame everyone -- oil companies, Wall Street speculators, SUV owners -- except Obama, Reid, Pelosi and their anti-energy policies.

This hearing won't do a thing to lower gas prices. Nor will the Democrats' preferred solution of raising taxes on oil companies. But the hearing did serve a useful purpose: It exposed the economic ignorance and arrogance of Washington's liberal elites.

During one exchange Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) accused Chevron CEO John Watson of being "deeply, profoundly, out of touch" for not endorsing the Democrats' calls for "shared sacrifice." To his credit, Watson fired back, telling Rockefeller, "I don't think the American people want shared sacrifice. I think they want shared prosperity."

Watson is right. Americans want policies that will create jobs and grow the economy. Unfortunately, we have gotten wasteful stimulus spending, a socialized medicine scheme and policies that seem designed to cripple America's domestic energy production. We are subsidizing Brazil's oil industry while we are attacking our own domestic energy industry. The liberal war on U.S. energy translates into a war on U.S. energy jobs.
Gary Bauer is is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families.

Tags: Gary Bauer, Campaign for Working Families, Barack Obama, confused, priorities, GITMO, Jihadists To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Obama’s ‘Transparency’ A Failure of Leadership

By Robert Romano: So much for Barack Obama’s vaunted transparency. Americans for Limited Government (ALG) is appealing the Department of Labor’s refusal to turn over all documents related to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on enforcement of 185 laws the Department is required to follow. And the organization is still waiting to hear back on key items in the request.

This is nothing new with the Obama Administration. Recently, Crossroads GPS created an online repository for pending FOIA requests with the Obama Administration, called This included the request that covered the Department’s implementation of an online enforcement database, which should have included prosecutions of corruption in labor unions, ALG says, but was not.

“That data should be in the database, and the question is why not,” ALG President Bill Wilson explained, saying the request was being “stonewalled” by the Department. After all, the prosecution of union corruption is a key item of the Department’s enforcement responsibilities. He speculated on the possibility that “they don’t want that information to be public because it makes union officials look bad. It may be embarrassing, but we want those documents; the public has a right to know.”

ALG filed the FOIA request in August 2010, the first to the Office of the Secretary (OSEC), which produced no initial response. This compelled the organization to file two follow-ups to the FOIA requests: one to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management in Feb. 2011 and the other to the Department’s Office of the Solicitor (SOL) in Mar. 2011.

ALG Counsel Nathan Mehrens explained, “We initially requested information from the Department in order to better understand how the Department is communicating its enforcement statistics through its online enforcement database.” He added, “This database is mysteriously missing certain critical information such as the number of union officials who were prosecuted by the Department for stealing from union members.”

The follow-up to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management again hit a stone wall. On April 18, they finally replied that “A search was conducted within the Office of the Secretary. No records were found responsive to your request.”

But then the Solicitor’s office did find responsive documents — through the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy (OASP). According to the appeal, “Based on the evidence received from OASP it is clear that senior personnel from OSEC have in their possession federal records that are responsive to Appellant’s FOIA request. As such, the assertion from OSEC that they found ‘no documents responsive’ to Appellant’s request is either incorrect or the OSEC did not perform an adequate search for responsive records to Appellant’s request.”

Either way, Mehrens said “This shows that the Department’s FOIA processing mechanisms are not working properly. It is also not the only time we’ve been told that there are no records, despite evidence to the contrary.” This proves the Department is not living up to Obama’s vow for transparency in his Administration, when he said on Jan. 21, 2009, “Let me say it as clearly as I can: Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”
Mehrens explained, “This was followed up by further guidance from both the President and the Attorney General on how the government was to handle releasing information to the public in response to requests under the Freedom of Information Act.”

In that guidance the federal government was instructed to quickly turn around information requests and that it should have a bias toward disclosure and not attempt to redact information merely because of technicalities. So much for that.
In the end, it appears Obama talked the talk of transparency, but when it comes to walking the walk, is falling far short. It’s a failure of leadership.

Wilson said the Administration was “two-faced on transparency,” concluding, “This is not the kind of transparency we were promised by Obama. Based on our two years of work requesting records from the Obama Administration it appears that not everyone has received the message. It’s time for the Administration to stop stonewalling legitimate requests.”
Robert Romano is the Senior Editor of Americans for Limited Government.

Tags: Crossroads GPS, Department of Labor, FOIA, Freedom of Information Act, Government Transparency, Obama Administration, Obama Transparency, Americans for Limited Government, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Trade Agreements Cost Jobs

Phyllis Schlafly
by Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum: The first debate of the 2012 presidential race, with personalized, provocative questions planned by Fox News, was good political entertainment, but somehow didn't get around to tackling two of the biggest issues. They are: how do the candidates plan to replace the millions of U.S. middle-class jobs that have gone overseas, and what will the candidates do about the millions of illegal aliens in our country. The unemployment rate has now reached or exceeded 9 percent for the 22nd month. But even that high figure doesn't paint how bleak the jobs picture really is for men in their prime working years (between ages 25 and 54). Only 80 percent of those men have a job (compared to 95 percent in the 1960s).

Even that statistic doesn't measure the millions of men of that age who are now working for one half, or one quarter, or even one-tenth of the wage of the job they lost. Obama is bragging that the economy added 268,000 new jobs last month, but 62,000 of those were hired by McDonald's because Obama gave that chain a waiver from ObamaCare.

This month, former trade negotiator and now Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) unveiled what he called a "Senate Republican Jobs Plan," and it is somewhere between pathetic and counterproductive. It includes asking Congress to hurry up and ratify KORUS (Korean-U.S. Free Trade Agreement).

KORUS is another bad NAFTA-style trade agreement that will import more cheap Asian products and export more U.S. jobs. It comes out of the economic school that believes in the pseudo-religion of globalism, i.e., forcing Americans to compete with Asians who work for less than one-third (often as little as one-twentieth) of the wages that Americans expect for similar work.

Here's what trade with South Korea means. In 2007, the U.S. sold 7,000 American vehicles in South Korea, while South Korea sold 615,000 vehicles in the U.S. In 2010, South Korea's auto sales in the U.S. totaled $7.41 billion, while U.S. auto sales in Korea totaled only $536 million. Any jobs plan that depends on trade agreements like KORUS is a recipe for losing more U.S. jobs and increasing our trade deficit. The liberal Economic Policy Institute predicts that KORUS will cost us 159,000 American jobs and increase our annual trade deficit by $16.7 billion.

The alleged elimination of tariffs is a racket that allows the Koreans to subsidize their exports to the U.S. while taxing all imports from the United States. South Korea simply replaces its tariff with a value-added tax (VAT), which gives Korean manufacturers a 10 percent rebate on all goods they export, and imposes a 10 percent tax on all U.S. goods allowed to be sold in Korea.

There are so many other dangers and disadvantages hidden in KORUS that we can't list them all in this column. KORUS limits our right to check contaminated food imports and could make "Buy American" food initiatives illegal because that's labeled a barrier to free trade.

South Korea already enjoys plenty of free trade with the United States anyway, so there's no need for KORUS. Have you been into any electronics store and seen the hundreds of products made by Samsung, Daewoo and LG?

Donald Trump says that when he was ready to buy more than a thousand television sets for one of his hotels, he could not find American-made televisions, so his company bought LG sets from Korea. Trump pointed out that in July and November last year the U.S. sent a battle group of U.S. Navy warships, including our nuclear-powered supercarrier, the USS George Washington, to protect South Korea against North Korea, and we ought to charge South Korea for that extraordinary expense.

The so-called jobs plan includes other unwelcome ideas such as giving so-called Fast Track authority to Barack Obama so he will have the power to negotiate future trade agreements. That's just what Obama needs to give momentum to his goal of "spreading our wealth" around the rest of the world.

Then there are downright silly provisions such as urging the federal government to do more efficient training of workers and educating of children to be innovators and entrepreneurs. There isn't a shred of evidence that the government is capable of doing those things, no matter how much money the government spends or how much the government eliminates what the plan calls "bureaucratic complexities."

The game plan of the globalists is to ratify KORUS first and then pass the trade agreement with Colombia immediately after. Colombia has a 16 percent VAT, which makes the Colombia deal even more discriminatory against the United States than KORUS.

Tags: Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum, USA, KORUS, Korea, U.S., South Korea, North Korea, trade agreements, jobs To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Barack Obama 2012 - "Hot Air" Alternative Energy Plan

NRSC:Hot Air: Since 2006, the energy powering Democrats and now President Barack Obama to as promised, boost the price of gas to the levels in Europe!

Tags: Barack Obama, Energy, Gas Prices, Democrats, Senate, Obama 2012,
reality, political humor, Carbon Cap and Trade, Emissions, Claire McCaskill, Recession, Cars, Technology. Hotair, Hot Air
To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Majority Say U.S.-Mexico Not Secure

Rasmussen Reports: President Obama on Tuesday encouraged Congress to move forward on immigration reform, saying his administration has “strengthened border security beyond what many believed was possible.” But most voters don’t share the president’s view.
Likely Voters:
30% think the U.S. border with Mexico is even somewhat secure
64% disagree and say it is not secure.
Included in the above numbers:
3% who say the U.S.-Mexico border is Very Secure
29% who believe it’s Not At All Secure.
51% of Democrats say the border is secure
86% of Republicans say it is not secure
65% of Independents say it is not secure

Most voters say securing the border is a higher priority than addressing the status of illegal immigrants already in the United States. Most voters continue to feel that the policies of the federal government encourage illegal immigration.

59% of voters favor a cutoff of federal funds to so-called sanctuary cities
53% of voters say the U.S. military should be used along the border with Mexico to prevent illegal immigration -- which is down 145 from a year ago.
78% of voters say they have followed news reports about the issue of illegal immigration at least somewhat closely
41% who have followed Very Closely
61% of American Adults say if immigration laws were enforced, there would be less poverty here. . . . [Full Report]

Tags: Rasmussen Reports, border security, sanctuary cities, federal funds, illegal aliens, amnesty, illegal aliens To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Republican Women Transforming Southeastern Arkansas

Southeastern Arkansas Counties
Bill Smith, Editor: The Forth District of Arkansas has been considered Democrat territory especially during the last ten years of US. Rep. Mike Ross. Prior to Ross, there was a Republican Jay Dickey who served for 8 years. However, after 10 year of Mike Ross, who won re-election in 2010, the memory of Rep. Dickey has been almost erased. The control of most counties and state elected positions in the 4th district has been controlled by democrats. However, a majority of the democrats are conservative democrats unhappy with the progressive agenda of Democrats in both Little Rock and Washington, D.C.

In recent years, the 4th District has faced the challenges of declining population, increased unemployment, and increased poverty. Also, Arkansas Democrat political leaders have refused to lead in helping to tap the natural resources of the district that would transform the district.

Recent redistricting efforts by the Democrat controlled Arkansas legislature, has created a potential for a political shift in the 4th District. The Democrats appear to have "overplayed their hand" in an effort to weaken the Republican growth in the 1st District by taking some poor counties from the 3rd District and moving them to the 1st District. Then without any real logic, they moved more conservative population areas into the 4th District. This effort alone raised the economic standing of the overall 4th district by a few points but did not affect the lives of the people already in the district.

It is also interesting that a majority of the people in the 4th District have relatives or friends across the state lines especially in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Oklahoma. These states are now Republicans states politically supported by former conservative Democrats who have left the liberal progressive Democratic Party. Arkansas' 4th District is positioned to be transformed.

We have previously reported on the massive deposits of lignite coal that could transform the economy of the both the Southern and Eastern regions of Arkansas. Researchers have confirmed that Arkansas has at least four billion recoverable tons of lignite available and possibly as much as nine billion tons. Such a supply would last for generations into the future and help America reduce its dependence on foreign sources of energy. The following two articles about Arkansas lignite will detail the potential to bring economic benefits to the 4th and 1st Districts of Arkansas. Lignite, a Natural Opportunity for Arkansas - Also About Jobs for Arkansans and Reviving Arkansas’ Economy: Turning Brown Coal into Black Gold. With economic transformation comes ownership, wealth and political transformation.

The forth district has had several TEA Party efforts which have sent clear signals that they are tired of the democratic plantation politics controlling the counties in their district. For economic prosperity to be established for the citizens of the 4th District and for individuals to have more economic and political freedom, conservative values and free enterprise must be shared by all. Now another group of people have decided to partner to politically transform the southeastern region of the 4th district.

These people are the local Republican women in five counties in Southeast Arkansas. They have already been busy on the ground in their own counties leading and sharing conservative principles and Republican principles. There is an old saying among Republicans: wherever the conservative women are willing to go, the men will soon follow. These women decided to band together to form the Southeast Chapter of Republican Women and to affiliate with the Arkansas and National Federation of Republican Women. Also noted is that one of the counties is being relocated to the First Congressional District. And this partnership will also aid the Republicans in the 1st District.

Diana Harton is the Chair of the Drew County Republicans Committee. She shared the following details about the creation of the Southeast Arkansas Republican Women (SEARW):
"Julie Harris, President of the Arkansas Federation of Republican Women, came to Monticello on Tuesday May 3rd to help organize a chapter of Southeast Arkansas Republican Women. The Arkansas Federation was founded in 1948 and affiliated with the National Federation of Republican Woman in 1955. The Arkansas Federation has sponsored campaign management schools and training for poll watchers and workers. Community service projects have included donating money to the state’s World War II Memorial, sponsoring literacy programs and essay contests for school children, awarding two scholarships each year to high school seniors, and raising funds to support battered women and children and cancer research. The five Southeast Arkansas counties included in this chapter are Drew, Lincoln, Bradley, Desha and Ashley.

"Elections were held for the SEARW and Andrea Huskey was elected Chapter President; Jan McLemore, 1st Vice President; Jennifer Jenkins, 2nd Vice President; Susan McGlaughlin, Secretary and Brandi Williams, Treasurer. The new group invites everyone to join them on the first Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m. at the Drew County Republican Headquarters located at 304 North Main Street in Monticello. For more information e-mail or call 870/723-7167 or 870/723-5701."
Many of our readers outside of Arkansas enjoy hearing about Arkansas. In fact, many people across America share an "Arkansas connection." As liberty loving conservatives, we wish the residents of Arkansas 4th district well.  We congratulate the Republican women of Drew, Lincoln, Bradley, Desha and Ashley and wish them the best in their new joint venture. We also look forward to future reports on the economic development of Arkansas 4th District and the election of a Republican to the US House in 2012.

Tags: Arkansas, 4th Congressional District, Republican Women, counties, Drew, Lincoln, Bradley, Desha, Ashley. To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

The Hill: Opposition To Contractors Disclosure Rule Grows Among Dems

Leaked: Obama E.O
Today in Washington, D.C. - May 13, 2011:
The Senate has adjourned and will reconvene at 2 PM on Monday. On Tuesday, the Senate is scheduled to take up the nomination of Susan L. Carney to be United States Circuit Judge for the Second Circuit.  Yesterday the Senate voted 94-0 to confirm Michael Urbanski to be U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Virginia.

The House today passed (392-15) a funding bill for 16 intelligence agencies, including the CIA, the National Security Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency. they also used the funding bill to also commend the operatives who were critical in hunting down al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. The Senate already passed a similar resolution 97-0, but House rules no restrict the use of resolutions. So, a provision was placed in the House funding bill which passed 406-0 with four Democrats voting present. The amount of current funding for specific intelligence agencies is classified.

Alan Zibel, Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES reported today that "House lawmakers unveiled seven bills Friday to speed up the eventual closure of government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie Mae ( FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FMCC), part of a Republican push to dramatically reduce the U.S. government's role in the mortgage market. The bills are part of a GOP strategy keep public attention on Fannie and Freddie, the two mortgage giants whose government takeover in fall 2008 has cost taxpayers about $138 billion so far.

The Hill reports today, “Democratic opposition is growing to a draft proposal under consideration by President Obama that would force prospective government contractors to reveal political contributions. Top Democrats in both chambers have come forward in recent days with concerns that such a mandate would politicize the bidding process at the expense of its integrity. They’ve joined Republican leaders and the business lobby in urging administration officials to scrap their plans to adopt the rule. The latest resistance came Thursday from Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman (Conn.), an Independent who caucuses with Democrats, and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), head of the Homeland Security’s Government Contracting subcommittee, who sent a letter to President Obama expressing their dissent. . . . The concerns echo those from House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.), who told reporters Tuesday that political contributions should be immaterial to the bidding process.”

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) pointed out the one-sided political nature of this executive order in an op-ed for Politico yesterday, writing, “While the White House is trying to frame this as a step in government ‘transparency,’ they continue, hypocritically, to refuse to apply the same so-called transparency requirements to their own liberal supporters and allies who receive billions of taxpayer dollars through federal grants and funding. There is just no way to ensure a fair and objective federal contracting review and award process under this policy. Instead, companies that donate to Republicans would risk the loss of business – even if they prove to be the most qualified competitor. It’s this fear of political influence that has led groups like the Professional Services Council – a coalition that represents 350 companies – to condemn the proposal aggressively. ‘The rule would actually do precisely what it is intended to stop,’ the coalition director said, by ‘inject[ing] politics into the source selection process.’”

Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey explained political nature of the executive order thusly: “[P]ose the question this way: would Democrats have agreed to give George W. Bush this authority?  Ronald Reagan?  In both cases, we would have heard screaming from the Left about political payoffs and crony capitalism. Or, even better:  How would they have reacted to Richard Nixon demanding to know which political organizations key executives supported before having his administration make procurement decisions? . . . If we’re looking at authority that we wouldn’t give to Nixon, then we shouldn’t allow Obama or any other President to exercise it, either.”

As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said to reporters Tuesday, “I’m glad to see that somebody on the other side is standing up to this blatant attempt to intimidate people into either not contributing to causes the administration opposes or . . . basically, as Senator Collins has pointed out on several occasions, basically repealing the Hatch Act by putting politics back into the procurement process -- a truly outrageous suggestion, which the White House still has an opportunity to not go forward with. We’ll be watching that very closely.”

Tags: Washington, D.C., US Senate, US House, White House, Executive Order, government procurement, disclose procedures, free speech, Intelligence funding, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

ARRA News Service Is Back Online

Bill Smith, Editor: Several readers have noted in the last 24 hours disappearing posts and notices that the site was not available. Here is what was happening. We use Blogger as the platform for our site. We have used them from day one.  I also use the blogger platform for numerous other blogs. Blogger is owned by Google. Unfortunately, they experienced some technical difficulty during scheduled maintenance -let's have them share what happened:
by Eddie Kessler, Tech Lead / Manager, Blogger: What a frustrating day. We’re very sorry that you’ve been unable to publish to Blogger for the past 20.5 hours. We’re nearly back to normal — you can publish again, and in the coming hours posts and comments that were temporarily removed should be restored. Thank you for your patience while we fix this situation. We use Blogger for our own blogs, so we’ve also felt your pain.

Here’s what happened: during scheduled maintenance work Wednesday night, we experienced some data corruption that impacted Blogger’s behavior. Since then, bloggers and readers may have experienced a variety of anomalies including intermittent outages, disappearing posts, and arriving at unintended blogs or error pages. A small subset of Blogger users (we estimate 0.16%) may have encountered additional problems specific to their accounts. Yesterday we returned Blogger to a pre-maintenance state and placed the service in read-only mode while we worked on restoring all content: that’s why you haven’t been able to publish. We rolled back to a version of Blogger as of Wednesday May 11th, so your posts since then were temporarily removed. Those are the posts that we’re in the progress of restoring.

Again, we are very sorry for the impact to our authors and readers. We try hard to ensure Blogger is always available for you to share your thoughts and opinions with the world, and we’ll do our best to prevent this from happening again.
In summary, the good news is the ARRA News Service is back online and all our posts have been restored. We are now catching-up loading our new posts. We are thankful that the Blogger technical staff was able to both restore the system but also to save all our posted articles.

Tags: ARRa News Service, Blogger, Google, technical problem, Maintence To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

For The Dems: High Gas Prices Are "Not An Issue"

With Gas Prices Nearing Record Highs, The Democrat Finance Chairman Says "I Don’t See That As An Issue At All. The Issue I See Is Who Shares."

CHAIRMAN BAUCUS: Our Bill ‘Is Not Going To Change The Price At The Gasoline Pump’
SEN. MAX BAUCUS (D-MT): “You know, this is not going to change the price at the gasoline pump. That’s not the issue. I don’t see that as an issue at all. The issue I see is who shares.” (U.S. Senate, Finance Committee, Hearing, 5/12/11)

SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D-LA): “It will not reduce gasoline prices by one penny.” “I would just like to add my strong voice to urging my colleagues to read this bill, to look at it and understand the inherent unfairness in it, the lack of significant deficit reduction, and the fact that it will not, although it is being touted as, it will not reduce gasoline prices by one penny.” (Sen. Landrieu, Floor Remarks, 5/11/11)

SEN. MARK BEGICH (D-AK): “It won't decrease prices at the pump.” “There is a lot of talk right now about ending tax incentives for oil and gas industry, but the high profits right now of these companies are easy targets. But one thing Alaskans know, just because you have an easy target doesn't mean it is the right thing to shoot. It won't decrease prices at the pump for our families and small businesses. It will discourage companies, especially the independents, from domestic investment and job creation.” (Sen. Begich, Floor Remarks, 5/11/11)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): “This was never intended to talk about lowering prices.” (CNN’s “The Situation Room,” 5/11/11)

SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D-NJ): “Nobody has made the claim that this bill is about reducing gas prices.” (“McCaskill: Savings From Cutting Oil Tax Breaks Should Be For Deficit Reduction,” The Hill’s E2 Wire Blog, 5/10/11)

Considering the above remarks by these top democrats, Herman Cain has correctly pegged the present American situation: "Stupid People Ruining America!" [Video]

Tags: Democrats, stupid people, high gas prices, gas prices, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

More Senate Dems Oppose Exec. Order On Gov't Contractors; House Dems Voting Progressive Agenda

Today in Washington, D.C. - May 12, 2011:
Yesterday, the Senate voted 96-0 to confirm Arenda L. Wright Allen, for US District Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia. At 1 PM the Senate will consider the nomination of Michael Urbanski to be U.S. District Judge for the Western District of Virginia. Following up to an hour of debate, there will be a roll call vote on the nomination.

This morning, Senate Republicans went to the White House to explain to the president how something serious must be done with the debt if the debt ceiling is to be raised. Senate Democrats met at the White House yesterday.

Yesterday, every Republican and 28 Democrats in the U.S. House voted (235-163) to speed permitting of offshore oil and gas drilling by setting more stringent timelines for the Interior Department to respond to permit applications. The bill may have trouble in the Senate where Democrats are intent on shutting down access to oil and gas drilling in America.

The House Armed Services Committee voted (33-27) Wednesday to delay President Barack Obama's policy allowing gays to serve openly in the military. The amendment by Rep. Duncan Hunter Jr. (R-CA), a military veteran, would require all four service chiefs to certify that the change won't hurt readiness or undermine the military. The present repeal law only requires certification from the president, defense secretary and the Joint Chiefs chairman. Hunter said, "I want them to sign off on the repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell.' I, and others in this room, have more combat experience than the folks who sign off on 'don't ask, don't tell.'"

Other interesting amendments passed in the House Armed Services Committee were:
- An amendment (38-23) by Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) to prohibit the use of military facilities for same-sex marriage ceremonies and bar Defense Department employees from conducting such ceremonies.
- An amendment (39-22) by Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo) to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman for the purpose of military benefits, regulations and policy.
- An amendment (35-26) to prohibit money to take nuclear weapons out of operation unless the administration provides a report to Congress on how it plans to modernize the remaining weapons.

It is clear by the vote that the last election made a significant difference with Republicans voting to protect America and American clues and Democrats general voting to advance liberal progressive agenda.

Following on the visit of President Obama to El Paso, Texas and his mocking those concerned about securing our national borders, the democrats reintroduced the DREAM Act in both the US Senate and the US House. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) and Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced the bill in the Senate. In the House, the bill was reintroduced by long time supporter Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA). The DREAM Act is an "amnesty bill" seeking to provide citizenship to illegal aliens who were children of Illegal Alien parents.

Following House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer’s (D-MD) announcement of his opposition to a proposed executive order from the White House to force government contractors to disclose their personal political donations, more Democrats in Congress are declaring their opposition today.

Politico reports, “Two key members of the Senate Democratic Caucus are criticizing President Barack Obama's draft executive order calling on government contractors to disclose their political contributions. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight, are joining Republicans who say that the order could inject politics into contracting decisions.”

This is the first bipartisan action in opposition to the anticipated Executive Order. In the letter to the President, Lieberman, McCaskill, along with Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), ranking Republican on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), ranking member of the Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight, wrote, “[W]e are concerned that requiring businesses to disclose their political activity when making an offer risks injecting politics into the contracting process. Federal contracting law already precludes the consideration of political activity in evaluating contract offers. . . .  The requirement that businesses disclose political expenditures as part of the offer process creates the appearance that this type of information could become a factor in the award of federal contracts.”

In addition, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) told The Washington Post’s 2chambers blog (despite noting he opposes the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision), “I am concerned that, surely unintentionally, the administration’s desire to get at transparency and accountability may also look like it’s having – or will have – a chilling effect on the ability of people freely to participate in the political process and donate as they see fit.”

In an excellent editorial today, the Washington Examiner lays out why this proposed executive order should attract so much bipartisan opposition. “Awarding government contracts on bidder merits rather than as a reward for partisan political activity should not be controversial. . . . This proposed order is anything but benign. Not only does it require disclosure of individual contributions to partisan candidates, it also covers donations to any organization that might use the funds for ‘independent expenditures or electioneering communications,’ otherwise known as political speech protected by the First Amendment. So all firms hoping to do business with the federal government would have to investigate the personal political activities of their principals and report them to federal bureaucrats and their politically appointed overseers . . . .

“Liberal groups claim that these disclosure requirements are only meant to increase transparency, not chill political speech,” the Examiner writes. “But if that were true, consider this: In 2010, Obama's liberal allies, including unions, spent $95 million on independent expenditures like those funded by corporations. But unions that sign collective bargaining contracts with the federal government are exempt from the Obama order's ‘disclosure’ requirements. Clearly, the chill would only be felt among Obama opponents.”

As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said yesterday, “The issuing of contracts by the federal government should be based on the contractor’s merits, bids, and capabilities. Under no condition should political contributions play a role in the decision. However, the White House’s draft Executive Order makes it crystal clear that if you want to do business with the government you can’t contribute to Republicans. As Senator Collins recently pointed out, this Executive Order would basically repeal the Hatch Act and inject politics back into the procurement process. This is simply unacceptable. . . . The White House still has an opportunity to not go forward with this and you can rest assure we will be watching very closely. Because the proposed effort would represent an outrageous and anti-democratic abuse of executive branch authority.”

Tags: US Senate, US House, disclose act, executive order, military, gays in the military, gay marriage, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Two-Faced Sen. Chuck Schumer

Google "Sen. Chuck Schumer" (D-NY) and read some of the recent article about his positions. After a few articles, you should begin to note his two-faced positions on various issues. Below is a recent example.

In a conference call this week, Sen. Schumer’s called for a ‘blank check’ increase in the debt limit (with some fairly "crappy" inflammatory language).

But the same two-faced Sen. Schumer has voted against raising the debt limit four times. What hypocrisy! Michael Steel, press secretary for House Speaker Boehner related, "Sen. Schumer’s voting record is like a dagger aimed at the heart of his own credibility. It is clear that the American people will not tolerate a ‘blank check’ hike in the debt limit unless we deal with the real issue:  out-of-control Washington spending. We’re listening to the American people, but the Democrats who run Washington, led by Sen. Schumer, are not."

Sen. Schumer Has Voted Against Increasing the Debt Limit at Least Four Times:
In fact, Schumer two-faced positions reminds of a joke shared by blogger TexasFred:
A congressman was seated next to a little girl on an airplane so he turned to her and said, "Do you want to talk? Flights go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger."

The little girl, who had just started to read her book, replied to the total stranger, "What would you want to talk about?"

"Oh, I don't know," said the congressman. "How about global warming, universal health care, or stimulus packages?" as he smiled smugly.

"OK," she said. "Those could be interesting topics but let me ask you a question first. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff - grass. Yet, a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat patty, but a horse produces clumps. Why do you suppose that is?"

The legislator, visibly surprised by the little girl's intelligence, thinks about it and says, "Hmmm, I have no idea."

To which the little girl replies, "Do you really feel qualified to discuss global warming, universal health care, the debt limit, or the economy, when you don't know 'crap'?"

She went back to reading her book, and the congressman had nothing else to say the rest of the flight.

Tags: Senator, Chuck Schumer, Charles Schumer, two faced, debt limit, joke To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Senate Dems Are Slamming Their Party’s Bid To Hike Oil Taxes

They Are Calling It ‘Laughable’ And A ‘Gimmick’ That ‘Will Not Reduce Gasoline Prices By One Penny’
DEM SENATOR: ‘It Will Actually Hurt Job Production In The United States’
“When it comes up for a vote in the Senate sometime in the next week, its chances of passing seem slim to none because not only is it going to run up against widespread Republican opposition, it won’t even have the support of all 53 Democrats.” (“The Skunks At The Garden Party," ABC News, 5/11/11)

SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D-LA): “Laughable.” “You ask me can I vote for a bill like this. No. Not only can I not vote for it, it's laughable.” (Sen. Landrieu, Floor Remarks, 5/11/11)

SEN. MARK BEGICH (D-AK): “A gimmick.” “You're right, this piece of legislation they put down without really a committee process on it is a gimmick, a gimmick to get the next week of activity, and get some press out there.” (Sen. Begich, Floor Remarks, 5/11/11)

SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D-LA): “It will not reduce gasoline prices by one penny.” “I would just like to add my strong voice to urging my colleagues to read this bill, to look at it and understand the inherent unfairness in it, the lack of significant deficit reduction, and the fact that it will not, although it is being touted as, it will not reduce gasoline prices by one penny.” (Sen. Landrieu, Floor Remarks, 5/11/11)

SEN. MARK BEGICH (D-AK): “It won't decrease prices at the pump.” “There is a lot of talk right now about ending tax incentives for oil and gas industry, but the high profits right now of these companies are easy targets. But one thing Alaskans know, just because you have an easy target doesn't mean it is the right thing to shoot. It won't decrease prices at the pump for our families and small businesses. It will discourage companies, especially the independents, from domestic investment and job creation.” (Sen. Begich, Floor Remarks, 5/11/11)

SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D-LA): “Will it create jobs? No. It will actually hurt job production in the United States.” “Why are we singling out one sector of one energy – you know, one part of the energy industry to repeal the subsidies when it will in fact have the opposite effect of reducing gasoline prices, which even its sponsors, one of its cosponsors said publicly for us not to be fooled. This will not reduce gasoline prices. So why are we doing it? Will it create jobs? No. It will actually hurt job production in the United States.” (Sen. Landrieu, Floor Remarks, 5/11/11)

SEN. MARK BEGICH (D-AK): “The bureaucrats in [President Obama’s] administration are not listening. They are not -- they are tossing up barriers in additional Alaskan oil and gas production every chance they get. Sadly, some of my colleagues in this body are not much better. Instead of addressing the problem with specific solutions, they are going for headlines by dragging energy company executives before committees or promising the roadblocks -- or proposing that roadblock incentives for increased domestic energy consumption, some of which have been on the books for decade. Let's stop the headline-grabbing and get serious about the energy security.” (Sen. Begich, Floor Remarks, 5/11/11)

CRS: Dem Tax Hikes ‘Would Make Oil And Natural Gas More Expensive For U.S. Customers’
CRS: Tax changes outlined in the President’s budget proposal “would make oil and natural gas more expensive for U.S. consumers and likely increase foreign dependence.” (“Oil And Natural Gas Industry Tax Issues In The FY2012 Budget Proposal,” Congressional Research Service, 3/3/11)

Senate Democrats Rejected A Similar Tax Hike In February
“A week ago the senate voted 54-44 to reject raising taxes … Seven Democrats, including Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Begich of Alaska, opposed that tax plan.” (“Tax Breaks For Oil Targeted,” The Houston Chronicle, 2/9/11)

“Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) offered another amendment to repeal the [1099] provision but paid for it by issuing new taxes on oil.” (“Senate Repeals Part Of Health Care Law,” Politico, 2/2/11)

BI-PARTISAN REJECTION OF ENERGY TAX HIKES: Sens. Begich, Bingaman, Conrad, Landrieu, Ben Nelson, Pryor, and Webb voted against the Levin amendment. (S.Amdt.28 To S.223, CQ Vote #7; Amendment Rejected 44-54: R 0-48; D 42-7; I 1-0, Begich, Bingaman, Conrad, Landrieu, Ben Nelson, Pryor, & Webb Voted Nay, 2/2/11)

Tags: US Senate, Democrats, taxes, oil, energy tax To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Republican Senators Challenge Democrats Health Care Law

44 Republicans File Amicus Brief With The Eleventh Circuit On Behalf Of Bipartisan, Multi-State Challenge

Washington, DCU.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and 43 of his colleagues filed an amicus brief with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday on behalf of the bipartisan, multi-state challenge to the Democrats’ health spending law. The filing follows a recent letter that Senator McConnell wrote to his colleagues, encouraging them to sign the brief. The brief is attached and excerpts from the letter are below.

Excerpts From Senator McConnell’s Letter To His Colleagues:
"Last November, Americans cast votes reflecting what they had been telling Washington for many months: they oppose a 2,700 page health care law that dramatically increases spending and expands the reach of the federal government into their health care decisions. While I firmly believe that we should repeal the law and replace it with the types of commonsense reforms Americans support, I also strongly support the efforts of the majority of states that have now challenged the law in the courts.

“The attached brief essentially makes two key points.  First it asserts that the Individual Mandate in the PPACA is an unprecedented and unauthorized exercise by the Congress of its authority to ‘regulate Commerce… among the several States…’ U.S. Const. art. I, § 8, cl. 3.  For the first time, the Congress is not regulating an economic activity in which its citizens have chosen to engage, but rather is mandating that they engage in economic activity – that they purchase a particular product – to begin with; moreover, it would allow the federal government to punish those who make a different choice.  Second, the brief argues that if the individual mandate is deemed constitutional, there will no longer be any meaningful limit on Congress’s power to regulate its citizens under the Commerce Clause.  Congress’s specific power under that clause will be transformed into a general police power, all but eliminating the constitutional distinction between federal and state regulatory authority in our federal union.”

The Brief Was Signed By:
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Sen. Daniel Coats (R-IN), Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY), Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE), Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN), Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), Sen. James Risch (R-ID), Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Sen. John Thune (R-SD), Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS).

Tags: Republicans, Democrats, US Senators, Federal Health Care Law, health spending law, amicus brief, 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, bipartisan, multi-state challenge To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

WH Defends Promoting Rapper With "Cop Killing" Lyricks While #2 House Dem Opposes WH Exec. Order

Today in Washington, D.C. - May 11, 2011:
What is that looming dark shadow over the White House? While the White House (WH) encourages President Obama to sign an Executive order that would be blatant thuggery that infringes on free speech as defined by the Supreme Court, the WH then invites a "Rapper" to perform at the White House and defend the speech of this "rapper" who has advocated "the killing of police" in his lyrics.

As of this posting, the WH stands by the invitation of "rapper" Common to participate in a WH East Room poetry event despite objections by New Jersey State Police and others who are very concerned about Common's glorification of the killing of police officers in his lyrics. While Jay Carney says President Barack Obama has spoken out against violent and misogynistic music lyrics, he was incoherent as to the reasons why Obama and WH liberals are defending this "cop killing rapper"'s invitation to the WH. Is Obama is confused between the topic of killing American policemen and killing foreign terrorists?  Is he again allowing someone else to make decisions for him - wonder if it is the "other lady" in his life, WH adviser Valarie Jarret? [Update: News sources reporting that it was First Lady Michelle Obama who invited Common.  She is now "proud of her country."]  Imagine the outcry by the liberal left if GW Bush had invited this rapper to the WH. Looks like another WH example of no consequences for your actions for both the kids in the WH and for the kids of America.

The Senate proceed this afternoon to the nomination of Arenda L. Wright Allen, to be US District Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia. Following up to an hour of debate, there will be a roll call vote on the nomination.  Yesterday, the Senate voted 56-42 to confirm Edward Chen to be a district judge for the Northern District of California.

Multiple press accounts yesterday reported that House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), the 2nd - ranking Democrat in the House, signaled his opposition to a proposed executive order from President Obama that would require federal contractors to disclose their political donations prior to being chosen for a contract.

The AP wrote, “The second-ranking House Democrat said Tuesday he opposes a White House proposal to require anyone seeking government contracts to disclose political contributions. Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the party whip, placed himself on the same side as Republicans and the business community -- and against liberal groups demanding more disclosure. Hoyer told reporters that contractors should be chosen on the merits of their applications, their bids and their capabilities, not on their political donations.”

And The Hill reported, “A White House plan to require federal contractors to disclose political contributions could politicize the bidding process and undermine its effectiveness, the second-ranking House Democrat warned Tuesday. Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said government contracts should be awarded based solely on the reputation of the company and the substance of its bid. The issue of political contributions, he said, has no place in the mix. ‘The issue of contracting ought to be on the merits of the contractor’s application and bid and capabilities,’ Hoyer told reporters at the Capitol. ‘There are some serious questions as to what implications there are if somehow we consider political contributions in the context of awarding contracts.’ He added, ‘I’m not in agreement with the administration on that issue.’”

Felicia Sonmez in the The Washington Post added, “Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said later Tuesday that he welcomed Hoyer’s response to the issue. ‘I’m glad to see that somebody on the other side is standing up to this blatant attempt to intimidate people into either not contributing to causes the administration opposes,’ he said, ‘or, to the contrary, basically, as Senator [Susan] Collins [R-Maine] has pointed out on several occasions, basically repealing the Hatch Act by putting politics back into the procurement process -- a truly outrageous suggestion, which the White House still has an opportunity to not go forward with.’”

Leader McConnell has long fought against government interference in political speech, and raised the alarm about how this executive order could result in contractors being punished or rewarded based on their political contributions when former FEC Commissioner Hans von Spakovsky first uncovered the proposal a few weeks ago.

Today, Leader McConnell said, “I was happy to see the number-two Democrat in the House yesterday take a stand against the President’s proposed executive order, a proposal disguised as increased ‘transparency,” which would allow the administration to review a company’s political donations before deciding whether to award a federal contract. Here’s how he put it: ‘[The] White House plan to require federal contractors to disclose political contributions could politicize the bidding process and undermine its integrity.’

“Similar efforts have already been rejected by the Supreme Court, the FEC, and Congress. And now, there is bipartisan opposition to the administration’s Executive Order. . . . As I’ve said, no White House should be able to review your political party affiliation before deciding if you’re worthy of a government contract. And no one should have to worry about whether their political support will determine their ability to get or keep a federal contract or keep their job. The issuing of contracts by the federal government should be based on the contractor’s merits, bids, and capabilities. Under no condition should political contributions play a role in the decision. . . . Democracy is compromised when individuals and small businesses fear reprisal, or expect favor from the federal government as a result of their political associations.”

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Gas Price Hypocrisy

Don Smith Show: In 2006 the Democrats and the media screamed bloody murder over the high price of gas. When Barack Obama was inaugurated, the average gas price was $1.87 a gallon. Now that the price has more than doubled, what are the Democrats and the administration saying now? If you guessed that high gas prices under Obama are somehow a good thing, give yourself a pat on the back. The liberal mindset is always an amazing thing to behold.

Tags: Don Smith, commentary, video, gas prices, hypocrisy, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelois, liberals, hillary Clinton, media, news, politics, economics To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Majority Favor Cutoff of Federal Funds to Sactuary Cities

Rasmussen Reports: New legislation being considered by the House would stop all federal funding for cities that give sanctuary to illegal immigrants, and most voters like the idea. But very few believe Congress is likely to pass such a measure.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 59% of Likely U.S. Voters favor a cutoff of federal funds to so-called sanctuary cities. Just 28% are opposed and 13% are not sure.

Regardless of Congressional action, 58% of voters think the U.S. Justice Department should take legal action against cities that provide sanctuary for illegal immigrants. Twenty-six percent (26%) are opposed to having the Justice Department prosecute sanctuary cities and 16% are not sure.

Sixty-five percent (65%) oppose the establishment of sanctuary cities. Nearly one-in-five voters (18%) are undecided about them. Only 17% favor sanctuary cities.

Most voters continue to feel that the policies of the federal government encourage illegal immigration, but voters are now almost evenly divided over whether it's better to let the federal government or individual states enforce immigration laws. . . . [Full Report]

Tags: Rasmussen Reports, sanctuary cities, federal funds, illegal aliens To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Reviving Arkansas’ Economy: Turning Brown Coal into Black Gold

Curtis Coleman, Contributing Author:
Come and listen to a story about a man named Jed
A poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed,
Then one day he was shootin at some food,
And up through the ground came a bubblin crude.
Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea.
It’s not “bubblin,” but it certainly may be black gold for South Arkansas. It’s some tea Texans have been enjoying for a long time. And it could be a boon for a nation desperately in need of becoming energy independent.

It’s call lignite. It’s considered the lowest rank of coal and is used almost exclusively as a fuel for steam-electric power generation. Because of its low energy density and typically high moisture content, lignite, also known as “brown coal,” is inefficient to transport and is not traded extensively on the world market compared with higher coal grades.

And there are environmental concerns. Primarily because of its latent high moisture content, carbon dioxide emissions from traditional brown coal-fired plants are generally much higher than for comparable black coal plants.

Replace Oil Imports from Venezuela?
A new process under development at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) may be about to eliminate all those concerns and turn Arkansas’ 548-year supply of readily available lignite into a brown gold bonanza for Arkansas – and the nation. Some estimates suggest that refined Arkansas lignite can potentially replace all of the oil the U.S. imports from Venezuela annually.

UTA has reportedly developed a microrefinery process that will convert Arkansas’ lignite into “syncrude,” a synthetic crude oil that can be refined into diesel fuel. UTA has “gone quiet” on its technology, reportedly completing its patent and proprietary information protection process. Reports are that UTA plans to license the technology to a commercial partner who will then pay UTA a royalty on each gallon of syncrude produced using its proprietary process.

Requiring a remarkably small footprint allowing it to be moved as needed, a UTA microrefinery can produce approximately 1,000 barrels of syncrude per day. Estimates are that each microrefinery can be constructed for as little as $5 million.

Different from burning coal to produce electricity, the UTA process liquefies the lignite, “instantly” converting it syncrude. Remarkably, the process reportedly produces no carbon emissions and has no “carbon footprint.”

Information available from the Arkansas Bureau of Legislative Research (BLR) and the Arkansas Geological Commission indicates that a UTA microrefinery can produce two barrels of syncrude per ton of Arkansas lignite. Arkansas has approximately 4 billion tons of readily accessible lignite reserves (with some estimates as high as 9 billion tons). Assuming 20,000 tons of lignite are mined each day, 200,000 days – or 548 years – would be required to extract 4 billion tons of lignite from South Arkansas earth.

The estimated cost of producing a barrel of syncrude using a UTA microrefinery is in the neighborhood of $40 although no one I’ve talked to as of yet has known if that cost estimate includes the cost of extraction.

Assuming a $40/barrel production cost, and assuming that the cost of oil drops from its current $100 level down to $80/barrel, the economics are extraordinary and compelling.
• 10,000 tons of lignite mined each day
• Produces 20,000 barrels of syncrude daily
• Market price of $80/barrel produces an annual revenue of $584 million
• Production cost of $40/barrel yields an annual profit of $292 million
• Four billion tons of lignite produces a total revenue of $640 billion

The only thing one can know for certain about these estimates and projections is that they are all wrong (as is the case for all estimates and projections of this nature). The $640 billion question is, “What is the magnitude of the error?”

Projected Impact on Arkansas’ Economy is Enormous
The known facts are more than adequate to make the case for moving forward. The projected impact on the economy of Arkansas is enormous, dwarfing projections for natural gas in the Fayetteville shale.

According to the BLR, studies on potential lignite mines in Clark and Dallas Counties produced these projections:
• 200 full-time employees per mine
• An annual payroll of $14.5 million per mine
• Wage rates from $17.50 to $25.22 per hour for operators with skilled positions higher
• Development cost for each mine: $135 million
• Each mine purchases $18 million of supplies from the local economy
• Each mine provides additional ad valorem tax revenues of $600,000 annually
• Royalties paid to land owners for each mine: $1.8 million annually
• Each mine provides $2 million in state sales tax revenue annually
• Each mine provides an additional $350,000 in state severance tax annually
The Economic Impact Projections for Clark County:
One time impacts:
• Total employment 875
• Total payroll $44 million
• Additional GSP $85 million
Annual impacts:
• Total employment 467
• Total payroll $23 million
• Additional GSP $52 million
Current Economics
• Total employment 10,000
• GSP $622 million

The Economic Impact Projections for Dallas County:
One time impacts:
• Total employment 875
• Total payroll $44 million
• Additional GSP $85 million
Annual impacts:
• Total employment 467
• Total payroll $23 million
• Additional GSP $52 million
Current economics:
• Total employment 3,340
• GSP $186 million
One More Study Needed – To Be Funded by Taxpayers?
Arkansas geologists say that another study is required to be ready to move forward with converting Arkansas’ brown coal to black gold. Core samples need to be taken throughout the target area to determine the locations of readily accessible lignite and the depth and purity of each vein – yielding information critical to profitable extraction and refining. (The last core sample study was done 30 years ago and the samples have deteriorated beyond use.) This study, involving thousands of core samples and costing approximately $3 million, is expected to require up to three years to complete.

A group supporting the development of lignite mining in south Arkansas is working to raise a $2.5 million match for a federal grant to conduct lignite core sampling and a special account has been established at Southern Arkansas University (SAU) in Magnolia. SAU, which has a vested interest in lignite research as a member of the Arkansas Lignite Resources Pilot Program, will be the fiscal agent for the project.

Reportedly Land Commissioner John Thurston’s staff is investigating their available funds to determine if any “unobligated” funds can be directed to this project. And according to a May 2, 2011 news release from SAU’s College of Science and Technology, Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe, who has opposed lignite mining in the past, “has pledged to support the project if funding is available.” Information regarding the terms and strings attached to the federal “grant” (taxpayer money) was not readily available.

I asked Richard Wilson of the Arkansas Bureau of Legislative Research why taxpayer monies (instead of an investment from a private commercial entity) should be used to fund the study. He explained that the UTA technology will not be commercially available for another two years and that the core sample study could take as long as three years. He said public funding of the required study will expedite the commercialization of the project, more quickly lead to private commercial investments and revitalization of the South Arkansas economy and therefore also expedite Arkansas’ tax revenues from the new industry. He said that he expects Arkansas to gain significant new revenues directly from the lignite mining and refining industry via both severance and conversion taxes.

The Arkansas counties that have been identified as having significant lignite reserves include Ashley, Bradley, Calhoun, Cleveland, Columbia, Dallas, Grant, Hempstead, Hot Spring, Miller, Nevada, Ouachita, and Saline counties.  Lignite extraction involves a technique know as “strip mining,” a process that includes returning the topography of the mined area to either its original pristine condition or a landscape desired by the landowner.
Curtis Coleman is the President of The Curtis Coleman Institute for Constitutional Policy and contributing author to the ARRA News Service.

Tags: brown coal, lignite, microrefinery, Southern Arkansas University, syncrude, University of Texas at Arlington, Arkansas, Government and Business, Jobs, Curtis Coleman, The New South Conservative To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!

Bipartisan Opposition To President’s Proposed Executive Order

Key Dem Leader Opposes Latest Effort To Limit Speech, Executive Order On Government Contracts Would ‘Politicize The Bidding Process And Undermine Its Integrity’

‘Contractors Should Be Chosen On The Merits Of Their Applications’
“A House Democratic leader opposes a White House proposal to require anyone seeking government business to disclose political contributions. Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland says government contractors should be chosen on the merits of their applications, their bids and their capabilities.” (“No. 2 House Democrat Against Contractor Disclosure,” AP, 5/10/11)

“White House plan to require federal contractors to disclose political contributions could politicize the bidding process and undermine its integrity, the second-ranking House Democrat warned Tuesday. Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said government contracts should be awarded based solely on the reputation of the company and the substance of its bid. The issue of political contributions, he said, has no place in the process.” (“Hoyer Opposes Obama's Political Contribution Disclosure Plan,” The Hill, 5/10/11)

REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD): “The issue of contracting ought to be on the merits of the contractor's application and bid and capabilities… There are some serious questions as to what implications there are if somehow we consider political contributions in the context of awarding contracts. … I'm not in agreement with the administration on that issue.” (“Hoyer Opposes Obama's Political Contribution Disclosure Plan,” The Hill, 5/10/11)
Similar Efforts To Limit Speech Were Rejected By Congress, The FEC And The Supreme Court
“Democrats last year tried to ram through the Disclose Act, designed to muzzle those new corporate rights, while allowing unions to continue spending at will. When the party failed to get the bill through even an overwhelmingly Democratic Senate, the White House stepped up.” (Op-Ed, Kim Strassel, “Obama’s ‘Gangster Politics,’” The Wall Street Journal, 5/5/11)

Congress ‘Rejected’ The DISCLOSE Act Twice
“Campaign Finance Bill Grinds to Halt in Senate.” “Democrats failed to persuade even one Republican to support it.” (“Campaign Finance Bill Grinds To Halt In Senate,” The New York Times, 7/28/10)

“Bill On Political Ad Disclosures Falls Short In Senate.” (“Bill On Political Ad Disclosures Falls Short In Senate,” The Washington Post, 7/28/10)

“'Disclose Act' Fails To Advance In Senate. (“'Disclose Act' Fails To Advance In Senate,” Los Angeles Times, 9/24/10)

“Campaign Finance Disclosure Rejected.” “Supporters of the so-called DISCLOSE Act failed to overcome a filibuster by Republicans who claimed the bill was an attempt to give Democrats the upper hand in this year's elections.” (“Campaign Finance Disclosure Rejected,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, 8/1/10)

The FEC Refused To Impose DISCLOSE By Regulation
“A year after the Supreme Court made a landmark decision to ease campaign spending restrictions for corporations and interest groups, the Federal Election Commission has not issued regulations spelling out the full implications of the move. … the effort to write new regulations has been halted…” (“FEC Is Stalled On Election Rules,” The Washington Post, 3/29/11)

“Democratic commissioners are demanding that the FEC consider rules that would require interest groups to reveal who is underwriting campaign advertising. … The disclosure provisions proposed by commission Democrats closely resemble those in a bill pushed by congressional Democrats last year, which has prompted complaints from Republicans.” (“FEC Is Stalled On Election Rules,” The Washington Post, 3/29/11)

The U.S. Supreme Court Overturned Unconstitutional Free Speech Restrictions
U.S. SUPREME COURT: “Premised on mistrust of governmental power, the First Amendment stands against attempts to disfavor certain subjects or viewpoints. … the government may commit a constitutional wrong when by law it identifies certain preferred speakers. By taking the right to speak from some and giving it to others, the Government deprives the disadvantaged person or class of the right to use speech to strive to establish worth, standing, and respect for the speaker’s voice. The Government may not by these means deprive the public of the right and privilege to determine for itself what speech and speakers are worthy of consideration. The First Amendment protects speech and speaker, and the ideas that flow from each. … We find no basis for the proposition that, in the context of political speech, the Government may impose restrictions on certain disfavored speakers.” (“Citizens United, Appellant V. Federal Election Commission,” Supreme Court Of The United States, 1/21/10)

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