Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Sunday 'Report;' 01/08/2012

What The National Pamphleteers Don't Report:
5 Things I Learned About Investing in 2011

by David Sterman
December 19, 2011There is intelligence and then there is wisdom. We are all born with intelligence, but we pick up wisdom along the way. I'm no more intelligent than when I got into this business 20 years ago, but hopefully, much wiser. The key evolution: I now develop far fewer mistaken assumptions about the stocks and industries I analyze. With this in mind, here are five things I learned in 2011 that will (presumably) make me wiser in the years to come...
1. Industry selection is far more important than stock selection
I spent too much time this year focusing on the best play in a particular industry. For example, I suggested Delta (NYSE: DAL) was the best airline stock to own for the coming year.   Yet the whole group really moves in tandem, and it would have been far wiser to suggest the right entry point for the group, and not the stock. Indeed Delta and the AMEX Airline index (XAL) have traded in virtual lockstep since that late July recommendation.  Of course, my expectation that AMR (NYSE: AMR) would run into financial distress highlights the value of assessing company-specific drivers -- especially on the short-side. But most of the time, there's more value in a top-down call on the right industry than the bottom-up call on the right stock.
2. Shun negative cash flow stocks when the economic environment remains uncertain
Throughout 2011, I recommended a few development-stage biotech stocks, including Celsion (Nasdaq: CLSN), Threshold Pharma (Nasdaq: THLD) and BioSante Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: BPAX). Each of these companies is in the process of testing novel new therapies and could -- one day -- be home-run picks. But these are the wrong [....]

50 Facts About The U.S. Economy That Will Shock You

by Becket Adams,
December 18, 2011"Even though most Americans have become very frustrated with this economy, the reality is that the vast majority of them still have no idea just how bad our economic decline has been or how much trouble we are going to be in if we don’t make dramatic changes immediately,” writes The Economic Collapse (TEC).  For those unfamiliar with this site, TEC is an economic blog that regularly compiles a comprehensive list of the most startling and unsettling facts about the U.S. economy.  Why? Because Americans need to understand that U.S. economy is precariously balanced on the edge of full-blown collapse.
“If we do not educate the American people about how deathly ill the U.S. economy has become, then they will just keep falling for the same old lies that our politicians keep telling them. Just ‘tweaking’ things here and there is not going to fix this economy,” the site explains.
Indeed, America’s economic situation has become increasingly unstable. However, what’s arguably more disconcerting than the state of the U.S. economy is the fact many Americans are largely–if not completely–unaware of just how serious things have become.
“America is consuming far more wealth than it is producing and our debt is absolutely exploding,” TEC explains. “If we stay on this current path, an economic collapse is inevitable. Hopefully the crazy economic numbers from 2011 that I have included in this article will be shocking enough to wake some people up.”
It might behoove [....]

2012 - The Year the Can Kicks Back

by Lurita Doan
January 02, 2012
President Obama may best be known as the president who took kicking the can down the road to new, unimagined levels. Obama has demonstrated an unusual ability to delay decision-making, to obfuscate issues, to divert attention from matters of critical importance, and his preference to take half measures when pushed to the brink is now well known. Obama is the Grand Master of Kicking the Can Down the Road.
But in 2012 that seems likely to change—the can is going to kick back.
The problems besetting our nation can only be ignored and obfuscated for so long—and the past three years of the Obama Administration shows that things have gone about as far as they can go.
Here are some likely can kicking back scenarios.
Young adults and college-aged students get angry. Bad as matters may be for taxpayers, small businesses and minorities under the Obama Administration, matters are far worse for young adults who have the highest unemployment rates, both short-term and sustained, and little hope, in the short-term of improvement. College student loan rates have reached legendary highs and with parents who are also either unemployed, overextended credit-wise and facing diminished retirement savings, these young adults are facing a tsunami of debt in the upcoming years. Soon, these young adults are going to wake up to the realization that the added $4 trillion dollars in indebtedness, courtesy of the Obama Administration, must be paid back by their generation. Team Obama has falsely promised an ever-expanding set of entitlements that the country can’t afford and the young are left with the bill. The young adult population, which almost overwhelmingly voted for Obama in the last election, are going to wake up to the unhappy realization that Obama’s  [....]

About Those Self-Evident Truths

by David Limbaugh,
December 16, 2011
"We hold these Truths to be self-evident..." What truths? What has happened to our passion for liberty? I am concerned that we conservatives, instead of making our case as fearless champions of liberty, are too often on the defensive, preoccupied with trying to prove we aren't the demons the left says we are.  In the GOP primary contest, you'll hear one candidate scolding the others for lacking compassion, another demagoguing a rival for advocating essential entitlement reform, and another shaming an opponent for being too wealthy.
Shouldn't our side do a better job of proudly proclaiming our case for what we believe in rather than have our tails tucked between our legs, apologizing for conservatism and all too often neglecting our first principles?
Because we face an existential threat to the nation in our exploding discretionary and entitlement spending, we rightly aim our rhetoric against the deficits and the debt. That's critically important, but in the process, do we forget to explain that we favor smaller government also as a matter of principle? Do we make the case that we oppose a bigger and more intrusive government because
a) it is incompatible with what we stand for -- robust political liberty -- and
b) other than metastasizing and swallowing up the private sector and our individual liberties, government does only a few things well?
Likewise, do we connect the dots between our confiscatory tax policies and the diminution of our liberties, demonstrating a nexus between oppressive taxes and serfdom? Do we protest that we are already overtaxed and that an onerous tax system, enforced by a menacing federal agency, devours our political liberty?  To the contrary, instead of communicating our passion for liberty -- the bedrock principle upon which the nation was founded, lest we forget -- we spend too much time defending against the false charge that we are evil elitists protecting a tax structure that is tilted in favor of the wealthy.  It's not. [....]

Is America Exceptional?
by Kim R. Holmes, Ph.D.
December 14, 2011
Abstract: America shares many traits with other countries, but it also has characteristics that set it apart and give it a role to play and a national identity that no other country has. Most important are the founding ideas of classical liberalism, political democracy, and economic freedom. The battle of ideas going on in America today is not only ideological. It is historical. It is actually about the heart of the nation. It is about whether America will shed its distinction. And it ultimately is about whether America will give up what made it great in the first place. 
Thank you to the Federalist Society chapters here in Rhode Island for inviting me to speak on the question, “Is America an exceptional nation?”
    This idea of American exceptionalism actually has many roots and many variations. One is the old Puritan concept, based on a John Winthrop sermon, that America is a “city upon a hill.” This concept of America as “God’s country” or the new “Promised Land” later became secularized and mixed with ideas of liberty derived from the American Revolution.  It is this secularized idea that is most prevalent today. When Presidents Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy talked about America as a “city on a hill,” they meant that it had a special role to play in safeguarding freedom in the world.  Rather than give a long recitation of the ways people today interpret the idea, let me share with you my own ideas of what makes America “exceptional”—different, if you like, from most other countries. I see the idea less in moral than in political and historical terms. I may, like many Americans, have pride in my country and even think it is superior; yet what I mean by “exceptional” is not so much that it is better morally, but that it is different or special in a way that no other country is.  Of course, no country can claim [....]
Are You Falling for These Food Label Lies?

By SHAPE magazine
Healthy Living
December 27, 2011
How food-label savvy are you?
Although food labels are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), cutting through the fat (ha!) to understand the fine print can be difficult for even the sharpest of grocery shoppers. Here are 10 sneaky ways food manufacturers cash in on your healthy intentions:
1. If the label says "0 Grams of trans fat..."
A mad-scientist project gone wrong, trans fats are created in a lab by partially hydrogenating healthier oils. This process destroys the many good benefits of the original fats. What's worse, consuming trans fats ups your risk for heart disease and metabolic syndrome. Most nutritionists recommend avoiding them altogether, which doesn't sound so hard except current labeling guidelines allow manufacturers to round anything less than 0.5g/serving down to zero. Eat more than a few servings, and you've consumed a significant amount of the Frankenfood.
Avoid it: Anything that says "partially hydrogenated oil," "hydrogenated vegetable oil," or "shortening" on [....]

DHS Tracks Facebook, Twitter Users

by Sam Rolley
January 2, 202 
The Electronic Privacy Information Center is suing the Department of Homeland Security for a new program that tracks individuals’ social media activity if they are deemed a threat by using certain keywords in posts.  The organization claims “legal authority for the DHS program remains unclear” and asked a Federal court last week to compel the department to turn over documents on the initiative.  DHS makes fake Twitter and Facebook profiles for  [....]

Fortune's stock picks for 2012

Most of the magazine's picks will sound familiar to investors
by Kim Peterson
December 8, 2011
Fortune magazine has released its top 10 stock picks for 2012, and most of the names aren't new.  From Apple (AAPL +1.05%) to Caterpillar (CAT +0.25%), the picks rely on stable income stocks that Fortune says are undervalued. "Times are uncertain," the magazine says. "Stocks are moving in lockstep. Reliability and income matter more than ever."  When stocks move in lockstep, it's very difficult to pick ones that can rise above the rest of the action. Did Fortune make the right choices? Let's go through the picks:
1. Apple. Too easy. It's hard to find someone who isn't bullish on Apple these days, particularly after the stock's price-to-earnings ratio has fallen to around 10.  Add to that the company's dominance in the tablet market, its Black Friday performance, its mountain of cash and its sky-high potential in China next year, and there isn't much to criticize. Analysts think 2012 earnings per share will rise 30%, Fortune reports.
2. Caterpillar. Again, China is coming into play here as part of a host of emerging markets needing mining and machinery equipment. CEO Douglas Oberhelman has set his sights on 15% to 20% growth rates through 2015, Fortune reports. And that $29 billion in back orders is nothing to sneeze at.
3. Enbridge Energy Partners (EEP +0.03%). The company is the U.S. branch of Canada's Enbridge, a pipeline company, and is organized as a master limited partnership. Enbridge Energy has a 7% yield, says Fortune, and payouts have risen by 5% a year on average since 1992.
4. Goodyear Tire (GT +1.61%). This one seems a little iffy to me. Goodyear has been up and down all year, and is now coming up from a low of under $10 in October. Fortune acknowledges that demand for tires is cyclical, and you have to time this stock just right. On the plus side, auto sales are starting to get hot again as people replace their aging vehicles.  While Goodyear can [....]

EPA Ponders Expanded Regulatory Power

by Personal Liberty News Desk
December 20, 2011
The focus of an upcoming global United Nations conference will be the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) goal to change how it makes decisions and analyzes problems to give it more power to regulate businesses, communities and ecosystems in the name of “sustainable development,” according to Fox News.  The news outlet reported that the major reason behind the EPA thinking is a study that the agency commissioned last year from the National Academies of Science. The study, entitled “Sustainability and the U.S. EPA,” cost nearly $700,000 and was run by a team of outside experts and staff from the academies.  Fox News reported that the aim of the study was to determine how to integrate sustainability “as one of the key drivers within the regulatory responsibilities of EPA.” The panel also wrote that part [....]

New laws: No caffeine in beer, shark fins in soup

California bans among laws set to take effect across nation
by Valerie Richardson
The Washington Times
December 26, 2011
DENVER — Starting Jan. 1, getting shark fins, caffeinated beer, cough syrup or a tan is going to be tougher than it was in 2011.  The National Conference of State Legislatures issued Monday its annual list of laws set to take effect in 2012, and there was nothing but bad news for connoisseurs of shark-fin soup. Oregon and California passed laws prohibiting the sale, trade, or distribution of the fins, which are considered a delicacy in China.  California also became the first state in the nation to require a prescription for obtaining any drug containing dextromethorphan, an ingredient found in many popular over-the-counter cough suppressants, including Robitussin, NyQuil and Dimetapp.  The law was prompted by a spike in the use of cough syrup as a recreational drug. A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel [....]

Stern Advice: Financial Predictions for 2012

by Linda Stern
December 29, 2011
Sigh. A lot of people are predicting more of the same for 2012: Another year of stock market volatility, high unemployment, banking industry upheaval, weak housing and more talk about Facebook, mobile commerce, 401(k) plans and taxes.  But maybe that's just because it's hard to envision change. Not everything will stay the same. For example, a year from now, we'll not be having weekly Republican presidential debates, and we will most likely know who the President will be in 2013. Conventional wisdom holds that by this time next year, Facebook will be a publicly traded company and not just a huge time suck.  It's easier to imagine the European economic situation getting better or worse in 2012 than it is to imagine it lurching along as it has been for a whole other year. And federal financial regulators who have spent a year threatening to increase their oversight of mortgage lenders, financial advisers and 401(k) plans may stop talking and start doing.  What does all that mean for your wallet?
Here are some financial predictions for 2012.
-- You may play with your money more. Banks and other financial companies don't have much in the way of interest rates to offer, so they're turning their services into games to win and keep customers. Like every other kind of company, they're investing more in social networking. So expect more game-like random rewards and Facebook-hyped deals from the financial industry, says Philip Blank of Javelin Strategy & Research.  For example, one new company called SaveUp runs a sweepstakes-type game for bank customers, who earn the right to "play" when they save money or pay down debt. The rewards vary from coffee pots and gift cards to a grand prize of $2 million.
-- You'll be courted, but you'll pay more for bank convenience. Bank of America may have backed away from its $5 per month debit card fee in the face of consumer wrath. But the big banks will have no choice but to charge [....]

The Never-Ending Battle Between the U.S. and U.K. for Stupidest Government Policy

by Daniel J. Mitchell
January 3, 2012    In June of last year, I posted several examples of idiotic government policy from both the United States and United Kingdom and asked which nation had the dumbest bureaucrats and politicians.  Since then, we have found new examples of brain-dead government and jaw-dropping political correctness from England, including an effort to stop children from watching Olympic shooting events and (what must be) the most pointless sign in the history of the world.  But American politicians have been busy as well in recent months, with impressive displays of incompetence and stupidity such as preventing a girl from boarding a plane because her purse had an image of a gun and a local school calling the police because a little girl kissed a little boy in gym class.  The competitive juices must be flowing, because there’s a new example of government stupidity from the United Kingdom that is hard to believe. As reported by the Register, you now need an ID to buy teaspoons.  Are you under 18 years of age? Do you have an urgent need for teaspoons? Well, avoid Asda’s Halifax tentacle where the powers that be are determined to prevent this potentially-lethal item of cutlery falling into the hands of murderous yoof. …According to the background info, the lady shopper in question was told by an Asda assistant that she’d have to prove her age “because someone had murdered someone with a teaspoon, and therefore ID was now required”.
    Actually, I suppose I’m being unfair to blame the public sector for this nonsense. The story doesn’t actually say this is a government-imposed policy. So perhaps the store inexplicably decided to antagonize customers and hinder commerce with this new requirement.  But if that’s the case, I’ll still blame government because [....]

Morning Bell: Top 10 Education Stories of 2011

by Lindsey Burke
The Foundry,
December 27, 2011
    There was no lack of education news in 2011. From an explosion in school choice options to the Obama Administration’s executive overreach, the top stories included the high and low lights when it came to issues affecting America’s schools.
10. Obama Administration orchestrates for-profit university witch hunt. On June 2, the Department of Education issued restrictive new regulations targeting “for-profit” higher education institutions. The new “gainful employment” regulation restricts access to student loans for students attending for-profit institutions (like Capella University or the University of Phoenix, for instance) if the school’s average debt-to-earnings ratio exceeds 12 percent of a graduate’s income. The net result? De-facto government price controls on a sector meeting the needs of students historically underserved by traditional universities.
9. Obama forgives student loans. In November, President Obama traveled to the University of Colorado-Boulder to announce his plan to forgive federal student loans — a demand made, notably, by the Occupy Wall Street crowd. Students cannot be required to pay more than 10 percent of their discretionary income on loan payments, all of which will be forgiven after 20 years. Sadly, this executive overreach shifts the burden of paying for college from the students who are directly benefiting from having attended college, to the nearly three-quarters of Americans who did not graduate from college.
8. Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) sees action. Federal education policy watchers were surprised to see the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee pass a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), today known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). As bureaucratic and heavy-handed as NCLB is currently, the Senate HELP Committee’s proposal was 1,000 pages of even more Washington-style education “reform.“ Instead of taking a cue from conservatives in Congress who have put forward proposals to allow states to completely opt-out of the bureaucratic law, the HELP committee put a stamp of approval on a proposal to reinforce the status-quo. Hopefully the Senate committee’s solo action will remain a 2011 relic, and approaches to allow states to opt-out completely will be considered in the new year.
7. House Education and the Workforce Committee moves to reduce federal role in education. This year, the House Education and the Workforce Committee put forward some major proposals to begin the important work of reducing the federal role in education. Two important proposals were introduced: one, by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), would trim the number of programs under NCLB from around 80 down to 43. Another [....]

UAW Picks Targets for Suicide Bombing of US Economy

by John Ransom
January 3, 2012    For over a year, it’s been rumored that the United Auto Workers union (UAW) was going go after a major foreign auto manufacturer in the United States to force unionization upon them by a world-wide boycott.  A new report from Reuters, based on interviews of union and industry insiders, has indicated that the target will be not one, but two German manufacturers operating in the US, Volkswagen AG and Daimler AG.  Specifically, Reuters has learned, the union is going after U.S. plants owned by German manufacturers Volkswagen AG and Daimler AG, seen as easier nuts to crack than the Japanese and South Koreans.  It's a battle the UAW cannot afford to lose. By failing to organize factories run by foreign automakers, the union has been a spectator to the only growth in the U.S. auto industry in the last 30 years. That failure to win new members has compounded a crunch on the UAW's finances, forcing it to sell assets and dip into its strike fund to pay for its activities.  The UAW has seen its numbers of workers shrink [....]

Weird Weight Loss Tricks that Really Work!

by Lisa Collier Cool
December 29, 2011
    Fed up with the same old weight-loss tips? These eight slim-down strategies may sound strange, but they’re all backed by solid science.
1. Eat with your non-dominant hand.
One intriguing new study offers a simple antidote to the mindless munching that often accompanies watching movies or TV: Just switch hands—and you’ll eat less.  The researchers randomly handed moviegoers a bucket of fresh popcorn or “cold, wet, spongy week-old” popcorn. Those who said they usually ate popcorn at the movies shoveled down just as much whether the popcorn was fresh or stale. But in a separate experiment, the scientists found that when people were asked to eat with their non-dominant hand, they consumed 30 percent less.
2. Take a look in the mirror.
While you eat, sit in front of a mirror. One study found that when people watch themselves eat, consumption of high-calorie food (such as full-fat cream cheese) drops by nearly a third, possibly [....]

Why Is Everyone Going Bankrupt?

by Bob Livingston
Personal Liberty Digest
January 2, 2012 
    With the printing presses wide open, there becomes a serious shortage of cash, like right now.Gradualism tricks the mind. Gradualism removes the shock potential of events, no matter how serious the consequences.  If you saw a dead body on the street, you would be shocked and horrified. If you saw two more dead bodies the next day, you would still be shocked, but somewhat less so. Then, if you began to see new bodies every day, you would eventually pay no attention at all. Gradualism neutralizes the mind and numbs the senses to reality.  The U.S. economy has been in gradual collapse for several months, along with Europe’s and economies of most of the world.
    In the United States, it is common knowledge that bankruptcies are widespread and occur daily. Almost 46 million people are now on food stamps. No telling how many really are, as government statistics are totally unreliable.  We are having a debt collapse that will continue until the slate is wiped clean and a new system is put in place. Hopefully, it will be gold-based.  How long will this debt collapse continue? No one knows, but it would already have happened if the United States didn’t have the exclusive ability to print fiat money and force it on the American people and the rest of the world. Nobody else can do this.  Even so, inflation (debasement) of fiat money eventually becomes deflation. With the printing presses wide open, there becomes a serious shortage of cash, like right now. Nobody has enough cash money.  During the Weimar German inflation, the German government took over all newspaper presses in order to speed up production of fiat money. And of course, the money exchange value went to zero with piles of paper money in the streets. 
    Still, there are many variables that can determine how long a debt-based fiat currency can stay in a state of collapse until the end.  Zimbabwe was printing trillion-dollar notes at the end. The people and the system had to use foreign currencies to survive. But even so, it took 28 years from independence for the former colony of Rhodesia to become an economic basket case.  Of course, money debasement speeds up and becomes exponential in the last months of a regime’s existence. It is happening here in the United States, but gradualism is still a mental block and the people are not sufficiently alarmed to take survival action. This will change, I promise!  All dollar assets are evaporating. Only gold, silver, land and commodities appreciate when fiat money is collapsing.  Fiat money is the rot of our land; but politicians, bankers and government love it. They create it and perpetuate it as long as they can at all costs, because it is a wealth-transfer system to the government from the middle class.
    Did you know that the fiat money creators can steal your assets just by printing money? Not one person in a million understands this, but all people should — even schoolchildren. This widespread knowledge would block the chicanery and ongoing fraud.  Don’t forget that bankers can magically make dollars exist in the form of entries in the accounts of borrowers or lenders. No wonder they can and have created “money” to infinity.
    It is bad money creating bad debt. It always collapses because it self-destructs.  Seems to me we are awfully close to the last months. In the past three years, the U.S. public debt (printed money) exploded by $5 trillion.  The United States is 244 years old, and more than one-third of the national debt has been created in just the past three years. The dollar price of gold is telegraphing this message to anyone willing to listen.  There is no painless solution. In fact, there is [....]

OWS For Credit At Columbia University

by Sam Rolley,
Personal Liberty Digest
January 4, 2012 
    Students at Columbia can now Occupy for course credit.A new class being offered for credit at New York’s Columbia University will allow young people to join the ranks of OWS protesters not as unemployed, disgruntled activists, but as anthropology students.  Upperclassman and graduate students at the Ivy League school where the average yearly cost of attendance is around $60,000 — well over the annual income of Americans considered poor — will take to the streets under the direction of Dr. Hannah Appel to learn about economic inequality. The class is dubbed “Occupy the Field: Global Finance, Inequality, Social Movement.” Instruction will be split between spending time with the 99 percent and lectures at the college’s campus.  Appel, who earned a Ph.D. in the Department of Anthropology at Stanford University, reportedly has [....]

Firearm Sales Soared Through Holidays

by Sam Rolley,
Personal Liberty Digest 
January 4, 2012
    Record gun sales were reported this holiday season.The Federal government continues to push for tighter gun-control laws through liberal rhetoric and more dubious means like the Fast and Furious gun-tracking operation, which may explain why wary Americans bought a record number of firearms as gifts this Christmas season.  According to the FBI, more than 1.5 million background check requests were made to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System by gun dealers in the month of December. About 500,000 of those requests came in the six days before Christmas.
    On Dec. 23, there were 102,222 background checks made for gun purchases — the second highest number in history, surpassed only by this shopping season’s Black Friday when there were 129,166 gun-buying background checks, according to The Telegraph.  A spokesman for the National Rifle Association (NRA) said [....]

The Fitting End to the First President of the Universe

by John Ransom,
January 4, 2012
    It’s ironic that the first European president of the United States may end up a victim of the financial crisis that’s killing the eurozone. It’s even funnier that a president who thought that managing China would be easier than managing the United States could also be done-in by China’s slowing economy. Last year at this time, Obama was bragging about the economic recovery and the stock market was rallying in response.  To some extent the president’s troubles last year can be pinned to his over-hyping of a fragile economy that didn’t see- and couldn’t see- the tsunamis that were about to take out Japan, the debt ceiling, jobs, summer driving, the White House economic team, China and the euro.  While the impact of [....]

Morning Bell: Voter ID Prevents Election Fraud

by Mike Brownfield,
The Foundary
January 4, 2012

    Last night’s nail-biter in Iowa marked the beginning of election year 2012. And with Americans heading to the polls — next in New Hampshire, then South Carolina and beyond — they will hope to rely on the integrity of the election system to ensure that every legitimate vote counts and that fraud is not the deciding factor on the local, state or national level.  Unfortunately, despite all the technological advances in our modern democracy, voter fraud still occurs, and yet there is still resistance to one very simple tool that could help eradicate it — voter ID. Some, like The New York Times, say that voting fraud is a myth, that “there is almost no voting fraud in America.” But as Heritage senior legal fellow Hans von Spakovsky explains, voter fraud is all too common in America today:
The fraud denialists also must have missed the recent news coverage of the double voters in North Carolina and the fraudster in Tunica County, Miss. — a member of the NAACP’s local executive committee — who was sentenced in April to five years in prison for voting in the names of ten voters, including four who were deceased.  And the story of the former deputy chief of staff for Washington mayor Vincent Gray, who was forced to resign after news broke that she had voted illegally in the District of Columbia even though she was a Maryland resident. Perhaps they would like a copy of an order from a federal immigration court in Florida on a Cuban immigrant who came to the U.S. in April 2004 and promptly registered and voted in the November election.  Even former liberal Supreme Court Justice [....]

17 Pols Make Judicial Watch’s Top 10 ‘Most Corrupt’ List

by Bob Livingston,
Personal Liberty Digest
January 4, 2012
The Solyndra scandal landed President Barack Obama's name appears on Judicial Watch's annual list of Washington’s 10 Most Corrupt Politicians for the fifth time.
    Judicial Watch has released its annual list of Washington’s 10 Most Corrupt Politicians. Unfortunately for us, and the United States, the scandals were so prevalent in 2011 that Judicial Watch couldn’t narrow the list to just 10. Here, in alphabetical order, are the 17. It starts with the Top 10, then the seven Dishonorable Mentions:
Representative Spencer Bachus (R-Ala): He’s the face of the Congressional “insider trading” scandal that rocked the Washington establishment in late 2011. A 60 Minutes report based on the book, Throw Them All Out, outed a number of sleazy members of Congress who managed to benefit financially based on information they alone were privy to. The report also named Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, but as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Bachus “stood out for his remarkable ‘good fortune’ in shorting the stock market in 2008.”
Former Senator John Ensign (R-Nev.): He was forced to resign from office in May 2011 over an ethics investigation that resulted from a sex scandal. In trying to cover up an affair with the wife of a staffer, Ensign allegedly offered the couple a bribe of lucrative gifts and political favors.
Attorney General Eric Holder: For his involvement in and attempted cover-up of Operation Fast and Furious, refusing to defend the Constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, stonewalling the release of information about Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan’s participation in Obamacare discussions while she was solicitor general, the Black Panther voter intimidation scandal, conspiring with scandal-ridden Project Vote in voter fraud and other malfeasance.
Congressman Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.): Impeached as a Federal judge in 1981 for taking a $150,000 bribe, Hastings is now caught up in a sex scandal. A female government employee claims Hastings [....]
Be a Kick-Butt Entrepreneur

Need some inspiration for the New Year? These entrepreneurs overcame incredible odds to create and run successful businesses.
by Kitt Walsh
January 4, 2012
    Not every successful entrepreneur came out of Wharton or Harvard. One named "Uncle Cleve" clawed his way to fortune in the segregated South helping keep food cold in the scorching Mississippi Delta. Cleve's story, and its entrepreneurial lessons, is documented by his nephew, Clifton Taulbert, in his book, "Who Owns the Icehouse? Eight Life Lessons from an Unlikely Entrepreneur"  The book inspired The Kauffman Foundation to fund The Ice House Entrepreneurship Program, an online program featuring many entrepreneurs over adversity to carve out their success. Here are six.
Entrepreneur: Dawn Halfaker
Business: Halfaker & Associates
Dawn Halfaker lost her arm serving her country as an Army Captain in Iraq, but she never lost her spirit. Meeting another "Wounded Warrior" in the hospital, who was [....]

Meet the Married Rich of 2012!

Political Calculations
January 6, 2012    We're following up our look at the payroll and income tax withholding plight of Single tax filers today with a look at the plight of those who have their income taxes withheld at the IRS' initial 2012 married tax rates.
Once again, we're comparing the initial tax withholding rates for 2012 against those that applied in 2010, the last year before the employee's portion of the Social Security FICA payroll taxes of 6.2% of the employee's income was "temporarily" reduced to 4.2%.
    What we find is that the benefits of extending the Social Security payroll tax cut into 2012 is limited to roughly 51% of those who might choose the Married filing status for their federal tax withholding, namely those whose incomes might fall between $7,900 and $78,800.  For all practical purposes, no individual who has their taxes withheld under the Married filing status whose income equals or exceeds $78,800 can expect to see [....]

Okla. Woman Shoots, Kills Intruder: 911 Operators Say It's OK to Shoot

Young Mom Shoots Intruder
by Kevin Dolak,
Ryan Owens
January 4, 2012

    A young Oklahoma mother shot and killed an intruder to protect her 3-month-old baby on New Year's Eve, less than a week after the baby's father died of cancer.  Sarah McKinley says that a week earlier a man named Justin Martin dropped by on the day of her husband's funeral, claiming that he was a neighbor who wanted to say hello. The 18-year-old Oklahoma City area woman did not let him into her home that day.
    On New Year's Eve Martin returned with another man, Dustin Stewart, and this time was armed with a 12-inch hunting knife. The two soon began trying to break into McKinley's home. As one of the men was going from door to door outside [....]

The Biggest Lie Of The Year

by Chip Wood,
Personal Liberty Digest
January 6, 2012

    No comment today on the results of the Iowa caucuses. Because of publishing deadlines, this column had to be turned in before we learned who garnered the most votes there. But you can bet I’ll have plenty to say about the race for the White House in the weeks to come.   Today, let’s discern the biggest political lie of 2011. My, there are so many to choose from.  I admit I was skeptical when PolitiFact — a popular feature of the Tampa Bay Times — said it was ready to declare the “Lie of the Year 2011.” After all, its record for bashing conservatives was pretty much unblemished.  Two years ago, the scribes who put together PolitiFact selected Sarah Palin’s comment about “death panels” as the biggest lie of 2009. In 2010, they once again sprang to the defense of Obamacare, pooh-poohing claims that it represented a “government takeover of health care” as the year’s biggest falsehood.
    Given this history and the very liberal bias of the paper’s editorial section, I was prepared for one of the recurring themes you read about in Personal Liberty Digest™ to be their top target this time around.  So imagine my surprise when the paper declared that the “Lie of the Year 2011” was the Democrats’ claim that “Republicans voted to end Medicare.”  The brouhaha began in April, when Republicans in the House of Representatives passed Representative Paul Ryan’s plan to reform the hugely expensive government healthcare program. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee jumped on the issue. In a widely circulated Web commercial released just four days after the vote, it warned that senior citizens would have to pay $12,500 more each year for healthcare “because Republicans voted to end Medicare.”  In the most blatantly dishonest attack of all, the Agenda Project, a liberal activist group, produced a Web video showing a Ryan look-alike pushing an old woman in a wheelchair off a cliff.  The attacks continued [....]

The Faux Conservatism Of Rick Santorum

by Bob Livingston,
Personal Liberty Digest
January 6, 2012 
    Fresh off his stunning (a possible ill-gotten) second-place finish in Iowa, former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania is trying to claim the mantle of the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney.  Such a claim would spark belly laughs and derisive hoots and catcalls in a sane world. But in our present-day non-reality of doublespeak it’s simply sad because so many deluded Republicans are glomming on to this lie.  I wrote a complete profile on Santorum last fall that can be read here. But here’s a little reminder to refresh your memory on just who Santorum really is:
■In 2004, he joined George W. Bush to help re-elect Senator Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey. Santorum says no one is more pro-life than he, yet he backed pro-choice Specter over pro-life — and later to become 2010 Tea Party favorite — Toomey in a Republican primary. And by the way, the very liberal Specter later defected to the Democratic Party, giving Obama the filibuster-proof majority he needed to pass Obamacare.
■Santorum championed No Child Left Behind.
■Santorum helped Bush push through a new and wildly expensive entitlement, the Medicare prescription drug bill.
■He voted for the USA Patriot Act, then voted to renew it four years later.
■Santorum voted in favor [....]

U.S. rescues Iranian hostages, with good timing
by Craig Whitlock and Jason Ukman,
January 6, 2012
    For the U.S. Navy, it was like hitting the public-relations jackpot: An aircraft carrier cruising the seas in the Middle East this week stumbled across an Iranian fishing vessel in distress, hijacked by pirates.  Forces from the aircraft carrier’s strike group swiftly made the most of the moment. They seized 15 Somali pirates without firing a shot and rescued 13 hungry Iranian fishermen who had been held hostage for several weeks.   There was no official response, much less [....]

Wildly Successful Former Hornet Jamal Mashburn Wants To Own New Orleans Franchise

by Ben Maller,
January 6, 2012
It's mind-blowing how many stories about former superstar athletes involve bankruptcy. An estimated 60 percent of former NBA players are penniless within five years after hanging up their sneakers. But this is the tale of a one-time NBA star who has built his riches.  Jamal Mashburn earned more than $75 million before his career was cut short by a serious knee injury. But he has put together a powerful post-basketball business dossier which includes 37 Papa John's pizza restaurants, 30 Outback Steakhouses, two car dealerships and a real estate company in the state of Kentucky.  Mashburn and former Kentucky coach Rick Pitino (who is now at Louisville) are partners in Ol Memorial Stable, which owns Kentucky Derby prospect [....]
Until Next Sunday....



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