Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Sunday 'Report;' 02/12/2012 (Pt #2)

What The National Pamphleteers Don't Report:
World Bank Report Shows Large Public Sectors Reduce Economy

by Daniel J. Mitchell
February 11, 2012    When Ronald Reagan said that big government undermined the economy, some people dismissed his comments because of his philosophical belief in liberty.  And when I discuss my work on the economic impact of government spending, I often get the same reaction.  This is why it’s important that a growing number of establishment outfits are slowly but surely coming around to the same point of view.  The European Central Bank published a study showing
“…a significant negative effect of the size of government on growth.”
A study by two Harvard economists found that
“large adjustments in fiscal policy, if based on well-targeted spending cuts, have often led to expansions.”
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development noted in recent research that welfare programs are economically destructive because they lure people into dependency because
“net disposable income would increase despite putting in fewer hours.”
A study from the International Monetary Fund concluded that
“Cuts to pension and health entitlements had the most beneficial effect on economic growth.”
This is remarkable. It’s beginning to look like the entire world has figured out that there’s an inverse relationship between big government and economic performance.  That’s an exaggeration, of course. There are still holdouts pushing for more statism [....]

Bishops Reject White House’s New Plan on Contraception
by Laurie Goodstein,
New York Times

February 11, 2012
    The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops have rejected a compromise on birth control coverage that President Obama offered on Friday and said they would continue to fight the president’s plan to find a way for employees of Catholic hospitals, universities and service agencies to receive free contraceptive coverage in their health insurance plans, without direct involvement or financing from the institutions.
    The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops — which has led the opposition to the plan — said in a statement late Friday that the solution offered by the White House to quell a political furor was “unacceptable and must be corrected” because it still infringed on the religious liberty and conscience of Catholics.  The bishops’ decision to rebuff the compromise means that “religious freedom” will continue to be a rallying cry for some Catholics who [....]

Canadian PM courts China after Obama's Keystone Pipeline Rejection

by Bob Beauprez
February 11, 2012    About three weeks ago, Barack Obama nixed the Keystone XL pipeline that would have transported 900,000 barrels of oil per day from the Canadian tar sands to the gulf coast region of the U.S. The pipeline project would also create 20,000 direct jobs and potentially hundreds of thousands of indirect jobs according to economic analysis.  Spurned by Obama's rejection, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated that if Canada's next door neighbor and close ally didn't want Canada's oil, then he'd pursue other markets to "diversify" the market for Canada's natural resources. It didn't take him long.  Harper was in Beijing this week where he "pledged closer trade ties with China" during talks with Premier Wen Jiabao. Finding alternative markets for its natural resources has become a top priority for Canada, which today sells nearly all of its oil to the U.S., but sees environmental regulations from Washington as an increasing impediment [....]

Living Very Large

by Juliet Chung
02/11/2012Even as the size of the average American house shrinks after peaking during the boom, several of the wealthy are building gigantic homes of 20,000 square feet and more.  The latest project of Hyatt hotel heir Anthony Pritzker is a 49,300-square-foot building designed by an architecture firm in Paris. It involves a small army of specialized consultants and boasts amenities like a bowling alley, hairdressing area and gym.  The project, in the hills above Los Angeles, isn't a luxury hotel—it's a private home for Mr. Pritzker and his family.
    Four years into the housing downturn, what little new-home construction remains is focused on downsized living. According to the Census Bureau, the average size of a newly completed single-family home peaked in 2007 at 2,521 square feet, capping nearly three decades of growth, falling to 2,392 square feet in 2010.  Then there are the exceptions, a small cadre of homeowners who are currently building mansions that are 10 times that size. Interviews with the small pool of luxury builders who handle such projects, and a perusal of permits in wealthy areas including parts of Connecticut and California, suggests that for some of the mega-wealthy, big is back.
When 50,000 Square Feet Isn't Enough
.In the fall of 2008, clients were saying, "It's not the right time to do the big house on the hill," says contractor John Sebastian, president of Dallas-based Sebastian Construction Group, whose current roster of projects in Dallas and Los Angeles spans 13,000 to 24,000 square feet. As those sentiments dried up, business has picked up, he says.  Hedge-fund manager Cliff Asness is [....]

Surprising Jobs with $100K Salaries
 -- After Only a Two-Year Degree

by Charles Purdy,
February 10, 2012
Think of some typical jobs that pay six-figure salaries, and you likely imagine careers that require four-year college degrees (if not four years plus advanced degrees). The common perception is that a traditional university degree is the only path to financial security and wealth for the average person.   But that's not necessarily true. While some fields require that you have a four-year degree just to get a job interview, there are many other high-earning careers in which typical professionals have two-year degrees -- often known as associate's degrees. According to the compensation experts at, here are five of those fields in which [....]
Cities with the most speed traps

by Colleen Kane
February 10, 2012
When lead-footed drivers get snagged and ticketed, their downfall might have been passing a speed trap where a cop was using radar or a laser, or maybe the driver passed a speed camera. However, as technology improves traffic enforcement, it is also progressing on the side of the speeder. Now joining the radar detector is crowd-sourced reporting of speed traps, a virtual warning system using the Internet and a mobile app.
This list of the 10 most-active cities for speed traps was compiled by, a community platform accessed online and via smartphone app, that alerts drivers to traps, hazards and other traffic issues nearby.
Trapster"s list is drawn from the reports of its base of nearly 15 million users. In addition to speed traps and enforcement cameras, "activity" can include road hazards, traffic, school zones, construction zones and locations of roadkill. However, Sean Farrell, product manager for Trapster, says that over 50 percent of the activity reported on Trapster are "live police" speed traps. For each of the following 10 most-active cities, Trapster users entered 3,000 to 4,000 reports in a recent 30-day period.
Note: These slides are taken from Trapster's TrapMap, and symbols indicate red-light cameras, fixed-speed cameras, and known enforcement points.
10. Austin, TX
Law enforcement in the capital of Texas has a reputation for handing out speeding tickets to motorists only one to three miles per hour over [....]
Bill on citizenship inquiries advances

by Wesley P. Hester
Richmond Times Dispatch
February 11, 2012
    Legislation to require citizenship inquiries of everyone arrested in Virginia is on its way to the House of Delegates, where it is expected to pass easily.  The House Courts of Justice Committee on Friday advanced two similar bills aimed at identifying illegal immigrants accused of committing crimes.  House Bill 1060, the broader of the two, would instruct law-enforcement officers to make citizenship inquiries of everyone arrested for any offense.  It also requires officers finding "probable cause" to believe that the person is not legally present in the U.S. to inform the judicial officer who would decide whether to grant bail.
    Sponsored by Del. Richard L. Anderson, R-Prince William, the bill is based on existing law in Prince William County, which Anderson says has led to a stop in violent crimes and 4,300 criminal illegal immigrants being handed over to federal authorities. "It applies equally to everyone," Anderson said of his bill, anticipating the testimony of its opponents, who claim it will lead to racial profiling.  Several did attack the bill, including law-enforcement officials, before [....]

6 Colleges Cutting Tuition

To attract students from middle-income families, these schools are actually lowering their prices.
by AnnaMaria Andriotis
February 10, 2012
While tuition bills continue to skyrocket, a small but growing number of private colleges and universities are bucking the trend and going on sale.  At least six colleges announced plans to reduce tuition costs in the upcoming school year. Many of these schools say lower-cost higher-education will attract more students from middle-income families those with incomes too high to qualify for free federal financial aid, but not high enough to pay for college costs without going deep into debt. "We are hoping to recruit more students from that group than in the past," says Edwin Welch, president of University of Charleston, in West Virginia, which is slashing tuition by 22%. Others are looking to lure students away from nearby colleges that up to now have been more affordable, says Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of, which tracks financial aid issues.
To be sure, the discounts may not make these private colleges more affordable than public colleges. The average annual cost of tuition and fees at a four-year public college for in-state students this year is $8,244, according to the College Board. Of the private [....]

Chuck Schumer’s brother donated $1,000 to Mitch McConnell
by John Bresnahan, Manu Raju
January 17, 2012
This is one story that "The Putz of Park Avenue" would rather keep inside the family circle.
Robert Schumer, younger brother of the garrulous New York Democrat, gave $1,000 to Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) reelection committee last fall, according to Federal Election Commission records.
The younger Schumer is a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, one of New York City’s
The dark side of free-to-play gaming

by Chris Morris
Plugged In
February 8, 2012
On the surface, you can't beat free-to-play games. After all, having access to titles people used to pay $15 a month for without ever having to open your wallet? It sounds too good to be true.  Unfortunately, it often is.
While some free-to-play games live up to the billing, too many take advantage of our inherent desire to save a buck. Instead of paying cash up front (whether it's $60 for a retail game or $1 for an app), you'll often end up paying much, much more on the back end. Or worse, you'll wind up playing a cut-rate version of the game while others have all the bells and whistles. After all, you get what you pay for.  Here are a few things to watch out for:
Free-to-play = Pay to win
If you haven't learned by now that there's no such thing as truly "free" in this world, a free-to-play game will teach you quickly. You'll very likely [....]

What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls

Rasmussen Reports,
February 11, 2012
Here we go again. Another Republican surges up out of the pack to challenge Mitt Romney’s grip on the party’s presidential nomination. Meanwhile, President Obama appears to have helped his rivals with a bad political call forcing Catholic institutions to go against their basic beliefs and pay for contraception.  In a survey taken Monday evening, Romney reclaimed the lead in the national race for the Republican presidential nomination, jumping ahead of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich 34% to 27%. Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum earned 18% of the vote, and Texas Congressman Ron Paul ran last with 11%.  Then the following day [....]

Obama Should Get Out of the Boardroom and the Bedroom

by John C. Goodman
Feb 11, 2012
    Ask just about anybody in the business community what’s holding back economic recovery and they will tell you two things: new regulatory burdens and new regulatory uncertainty.  Two pieces of legislation top the list: Dodd-Frank regulation of the financial system and ObamaCare regulation of health care. The first is discouraging banks from making loans. The second is discouraging employers from hiring workers.  Job Creators Alliance has assembled some of the top CEOs in the country to try to explain these things and a trip to their Web site is well worth the visit.
    This administration is not content with economic regulation, however. It’s now ventured into everyone’s sex life — proving that there is no aspect of your personal life that the president regards as none of his business.  The latest intervention takes the form of requiring health insurance to cover something almost everyone can easily pay for out of pocket: contraceptives.  Why, you might ask, does this decision have to [....]

Election 2012: Florida President

Florida: Obama Nearly Tied With Santorum, Ahead of Romney
Rasmussen Reports
February 10, 2012
    In Florida as in Ohio and among voters nationally, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum now runs slightly stronger against President Obama than Republican front-runner Mitt Romney. Obama is essentially even with Santorum in the Sunshine State but leads Romney by three points.  A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Florida shows Obama earning 47% support to Santorum's 46%. Four percent [....]
Until Next Sunday....



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