Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Sunday 'Report;' 02/26/2012

What The National Pamphleteers Don't Report:
51 year old woman graduates from Army boot camp
Joel Gehrke,
Associated Press
February 21, 2012
Army Sgt. Sandra Coast graduated from U.S. Army Basic Combat Training at the age of 51, finishing training with one of the highest physical fitness test scores in her company after having to lose 30 pounds just to qualify for basic training.  "I was impressed, because she can do everything the younger soldiers do," Army 1st Sgt. John Byars said of Coast, according to the [....]

‘Buying’ House Votes for Unpopular Legislation

by Lachlan Markay,
February 21, 2012
    An examination of “administrative earmarks” around the time of congressional votes on key pieces of President Obama’s agenda suggests the White House used its power to fund local projects as a means to “buy” votes for major legislative efforts.  Administrative earmarking refers to the federal government’s allocation of funds from its discretionary budget for specific projects. The practice is less transparent than legislative earmarking, since, according to the Congressional Research Service, “[t]here is no source that defines and comprehensively identifies Administrative earmarks.”  But an analysis of grants from agencies during the early years of the Obama administration shows that the districts of moderate Democrats, whose support was so crucial for Obama during the 111th Congress, received large sums right around the passage of three key pieces of legislation: Obamacare, Dodd-Frank financial regulations, and the cap-and-trade bill.
    During the run-up to votes in the House of Representatives for each of those pieces of legislation, the rate of administrative earmarking spiked. This chart shows the number of grants requested by 12 federal agencies, as documented at  The number of grants given by those agencies spiked precisely when the House was considering each of the three pieces of legislation.  Even more troubling: during the same time periods, significant grant money went to the districts of numerous Democratic representatives who looked to [....]

Afghanistan: The Aftermath of the Koran Burning at Bagram

Staff Reports,
February 23, 2012

    The Afghan Taliban on Feb. 23 condemned the burning of Korans along with other religious material at Bagram Air Field two days earlier. Since the incident, protests have spread in a number of provinces throughout the country, reflecting anger over the burning of the holy books as well as pent-up anti-U.S. sentiment among the Afghan people. The Taliban's statement comes as the movement attempts to both maintain its anti-U.S. credibility and maneuver toward a political accommodation in negotiations with the United States.
    Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid issued a statement Feb. 23 condemning the Feb. 21 incident in which Korans were burned at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan. Mujahid urged all Afghans to target foreigners and their military bases as a warning against desecrating the Muslim holy book. Following the Feb. 21 incident, as expected, anti-U.S. protests flared up in various parts of Afghanistan. The incident and the Taliban's response have occurred within the context of U.S. attempts to reach a political accommodation in negotiations with the Taliban, even as the militant movement attempts to maintain its anti-U.S. credibility.
    On Feb. 21, protesters armed with Molotov cocktails and stones protested outside Bagram Air Field, where foreign troops had burned copies of the Koran along with other religious material. Reports of the Koran burning surfaced when some of the protesters said trash collectors had discovered burned copies of the Koran. U.S. helicopters released flares and U.S. soldiers guarding the base perimeter fired rubber bullets in attempts to disperse the protesters, who chanted anti-U.S. slogans and burned tires outside the base at a gate where protests regularly occur. Reports differ on the size of the protests, but the demonstrators were not able to cause significant damage to the base.  Gen. John Allen, the U.S. commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan [....]

20 Ways to Speed Up Your Metabolism

by Heather Bauer, RD, CDN,
February 21, 2012
    Whether you're trying to shed some lbs or just stay fit, these tricks to increase your metabolism from nutritionist Heather Bauer, RD,CDN, will help you reach the finish line even faster.
1. Keep Hydrated I'm sure the general population thinks dieticians sound like a broken record when it comes to the whole water thing, but it really is important. Drinking the recommended eight cups of water a day will help your body function at peak performance levels.
2. Keep Calcium Levels Up Current obesity research shows that a dip in calcium levels can trigger the same hormone that causes the body to hold onto fat to be released. Choose low-fat dairy, cheese, yogurt, salmon, tofu, and oatmeal.
3. Ditch the Drinks Happy hours and late night cocktails can do a number on your metabolism the next day. Research shows that the day after a night of drinking, there is a significant dip in your metabolic rate. Combine this with hangover cravings, and you've got a double disaster. [....]

Academic Hypocrisy

by Dr Thomas Sowell,
February 21, 2012
    It is fascinating to see people accusing others of things that they themselves are doing, especially when their own sins are worse.  Academics love to say that businesses are not paying enough to people who work for them. But where in business are there people who are paid absolutely nothing for strenuous work that involves risks to their health?  In academia, that situation is common. It is called college football. How often have you watched a big-time college football game without seeing someone limping off the field or being carried off the field?  College athletes are not to be paid because this is an "amateur" sport. But football coaches are not only paid, they are often paid higher salaries than the presidents of their own universities. Some make over a million dollars a year.  Academics also like to accuse businesses of consumer fraud. There is indeed fraud in business, as in every other aspect of human life -- including academia.  When my academic career began, half a century ago, I read up on the academic market and discovered that there was a chronic over-supply of people trained to be historians. There were not nearly enough academic posts available for people who had spent years acquiring Ph.D.s in history, and the few openings that there were for new Ph.D.s paid the kind of salaries you could get for doing work requiring a lot less education.  
    My own pay as a beginning instructor in economics was not high but it was certainly higher than that for beginning historians.  Now, 50 years later, there is a long feature article in the February 17th issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education on the chronic over-supply [....]

Conn. university: competition for free tuition

For freshmen at Conn. university, chance to win free tuition for business degree 'priceless'
by Stephanie Reitz,
Associated Press
February 18, 2012
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Four years of tuition at the University of New Haven's business school? About $120,000.
A chance to get it free? Priceless.
UNH's new business school dean, a former MasterCard executive responsible for its "Priceless" advertising campaign, has issued a challenge to the university's incoming freshmen: Bowl me over with your entrepreneurial idea and win free tuition for your undergraduate degree.  Larry Flanagan calls it [....]

Beware the “Public Corruption” Amendment to the STOCK Act

by Joe Luppino-Esposito
February 9, 2012
    Perhaps not so surprisingly, Washington politicians on both sides of the aisle are opposed to the recent change by Representative Eric Cantor (R–VA) and the House of Representatives in eliminating the so-called public corruption amendment that was proposed by Senators Patrick Leahy (D–VT) and John Cornyn (R–TX) and attached to the Senate-passed STOCK Act. The House version (which lacked the Leahy–Cornyn amendment) passed by a whopping 417–2 vote earlier today.
    Cantor and the House deserve credit—not blame—for putting good policymaking ahead of their own potential electoral considerations. As The Heritage Foundation has chronicled, the Leahy–Cornyn Amendment attempts to kick to the curb [....]

Cancer-Fighting Teen Invites Taylor Swift To Prom; Gets Surprise Response

by Wendy Geller
Our Country
February 24, 2012
    Lots of guys want to go on a date with Taylor Swift. So, what makes 18-year-old Kevin McGuire from Somerdale, New Jersey any different from the pack of Swift's would-be suitors?  Well, there are a few things, which I'll go over in a minute. But, suffice to say, McGuire, who recently asked Swift via Facebook to be his prom date in June, stands out for the response he got. Swift declined the offer...but asked him to accompany her to a prestigious awards show in April, instead!  How did this all happen? The backstory: McGuire has had a painful struggle with leukemia since he was 13 years old. He went into remission in 2010, but sadly relapsed [....]

Current Gas Prices - Gas Prices by Zip Code

From Adam’s housecat to zydeco: After five decades, Dictionary of American Regional English completed

Behind the dictionary: Researchers’ work crucial
by Stacy Forster,
University of Wisconsin
February 23, 2012

    Along the way, the Dictionary of American Regional English has been an important source of employment and education for graduate students who have worked on the project, including those who traveled the U.S. in the late 1960s conducting the surveys that are the basis for the dictionary.  August Rubrecht was ready to start his dissertation in English when he was hired as a DARE field worker in August 1967. He spent the next year traveling through Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee and Delaware in one of DARE’s Word Wagons, campers that were specially outfitted with reel-to-reel recording devices and other tools field workers needed.  A year later, Sharon Huizenga began three years of fieldwork in Virginia and Kentucky, where her Michigan license plate drew attention. Huizenga says, “that caused some suspicion,” especially following the upheaval of the 1960s civil rights movement in the South.
    Researchers were required to find informants who had lived in the designated community – usually one that had been long settled -- their whole lives, Rubrecht says. The project was also skewed toward older informants, who had seen such changes as airplanes, radio, indoor plumbing and electricity in their lifetimes.
“We were catching the present, but one reason we tried to get older informants was they were able to give us what they knew from the old days and the latest with their grandchildren,” Rubrecht says.
Huizenga, who asked “Where do I sign up?” when told more DARE research might be done, says she’s interested in knowing how many of the regional terms in the dictionary have gone out of use or been replaced by new ones.
“Language reveals so much about who we are and what our values are,” Huizenga says. “You could say DARE is a portrait of America at a particular time, and that portrait will help us remember where the present comes from.”  What is a Maine-born doctor to do when a patient in Pennsylvania complains, “I’ve been riftin’ and I’ve got jags in my leaders?”
Consult the Dictionary of American Regional English to learn that the patient has been belching and experiencing sharp pains in his neck. After nearly five decades of work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the fifth volume of the dictionary, covering Sl to Z, is now available from Harvard University Press.
    The completion of the dictionary, known as DARE, is a landmark of American scholarship, recording the words, phrases, pronunciations, and pieces of grammar and syntax that vary from one part of the country to another.  “We think of American English as being pretty homogeneous, but with our spoken language, there are still thousands of differences,” says Joan Houston Hall (video: 5 Questions with Joan Houston Hall), who took over as editor after the death of DARE founder Frederic G. Cassidy in 2000. “It’s those kinds of differences we’re trying to record with DARE.”  DARE is based on interviews researchers from UW-Madison conducted in more than 1,000 communities across the country between 1965 and 1970. After the fieldwork was done, editors in Madison spent [....]

“Fashionably Late”? Try “Criminally Late”

by Joe Luppino-Esposito,
February 13, 2012
    Everyone knows that showing up late generally is a bad idea. But is it so bad that it ought to be punished criminally? To some officials in Loudoun County, Virginia, the answer is “Yes.” In their view, the appropriate treatment for habitual tardiness is not criticism, nor ostracism, nor some other “cism,” but is being charged with a crime.
    A front page story in the Washington Post this Sunday called attention to the Denicores, who have brought their three children late to school on dozens of occasions since September. Loudoun County concluded that parents who too often bring their children to school late – who engage in “excessive tardiness” as the school calls it – should be charged with a Class 3 Misdemeanor under Virginia law and should be subject to a $500 criminal fine. Other reports from Loudoun County say that Maureen Blake was arrested and [....]

The Myth of the End of Terrorism

by Scott Stewart,
February 23, 2012

    In this week's Geopolitical Weekly, George Friedman discussed the geopolitical cycles that change with each generation. Frequently, especially in recent years, those geopolitical cycles have intersected with changes in the way the tactic of terrorism is employed and in the actors employing it.  The Arab terrorism that began in the 1960s resulted from the Cold War and the Soviet decision to fund, train and otherwise encourage groups in the Middle East. The Soviet Union and its Middle Eastern proxies also sponsored Marxist terrorist groups in Europe and Latin America. They even backed the Japanese Red Army terrorist group. Places like South Yemen and Libya became havens where Marxist militants of many different nationalities gathered  [....]

The 2012 Index of Dependence on Government
by William Beach and Patrick Tyrrell
February 8, 2012
Abstract: The great and calamitous fiscal trends of our time—dependence on government by an increasing portion of the American population, and soaring debt that threatens the financial integrity of the economy—worsened yet again in 2010 and 2011. The United States has long reached the point at which it must reverse the direction of both trends or face economic and social collapse. Yet policymakers made little progress on either front since the 2010 Index of Dependence on Government was published. Today, more people than ever before—67.3 million Americans, from college students to retirees to welfare beneficiaries—depend on the federal government for housing, food, income, student aid, or other assistance once considered to be the responsibility of individuals, families, neighborhoods, churches, and other civil society institutions. The United States reached another milestone in 2010: For the first time in history, half the population pays no federal income taxes. Related to these disturbing trends, publicly held debt continued its amazing ascent without any plan by the government to pay it back. As if those circumstances were not dire enough, the country is about to witness the largest generational retirement in world history by a population that will depend on currently bankrupted pension and health programs.
    The 2012 Index of Dependence on Government highlights the gathering fiscal storm clouds. Unsustainable increases in dependent populations predate the recent recession—and continuing economic morass—and have continued to rise since the economy collapsed in 2008 and 2009. There is one silver lining to those clouds: A few policymakers and independent public policy groups have advanced plans for restoring fiscal balance in Washington. Among them is The Heritage Foundation. Heritage calls its fiscal plan Saving the American Dream. The Heritage plan reforms and funds those government programs that matter most to people who need the government’s help, and it frees the private sector to create the millions of jobs that will dramatically reduce the growth of dependence on government.
    Virtually no issue so dominates the current public policy debate as the future financial health of the U.S. government. Americans are haunted by the specter of enormously growing mountains of debt that suck the economic and social vitality out of this country. Only the intrepidly stagnant and jobless economic recovery garners more attention, and many are beginning to believe that even that sluggishness is tied to the nation’s growing burden of publicly held debt.[1]
    Of course, the roots of the problems produced by the great and growing debt lie in the spending behaviors of the federal government. Annual deficits far greater than the government’s revenue are fueling explosive levels of debt. One such significant area of rapid growth is those programs that create economic and social dependence on government.
    The 2012 publication of the Index of Dependence on Government marks the tenth year that The Heritage Foundation has flashed warning lights about [....]

The 5 Wealthiest Members of Congress

by Meredith Margrave,
September 09, 2011
According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics, 319 of the 535 members of Congress are millionaires. That's 60%.  And regardless of the recent economic malaise, Congressional wealth has grown.
The combined minimum net worth of this year's 50 wealthiest lawmakers was $1.6 billion, over $200 million more than in 2010.
    Luckily, a series of rules adopted by Congress in 1968 allows us to keep tabs on the finances of our elected representatives. All members of Congress must publicly disclose information on their finances every year -- including stock holdings.  So not only do we [....]

Surprise at the top of the list of sports’ highest-paid players of all-time

February 21, 2012
    On March 8, Peyton Manning is set to make $28 million from the Indianapolis Colts, the highest amount ever paid to an NFL athlete, despite missing all of last year due to injury. It also would put him in the rarefied group of star athletes who make more than 10 times the average salary in their sport, according to 24/7 Wall St’s independent analysis.
    Top athletes are now paid more than ever before. In fact, even when adjusting for inflation, older salaries fail to compare to current ones. As a result, nearly all of the highest-paid athletes in current dollars are playing or have retired in the last decade.  Still, even in earlier times – when sports teams made far less money – they paid the best players much more than others. A better way to look at athletes’ pay requires examination of all salaries since modern professional sports began. By comparing the salaries of the top-paid athletes from each era with the average salary of the sport at that time, the highest-paid players of all time can be counted. Based on an analysis of the highest salaries in the NBA, NHL, MLB and NFL in the last century, 24/7 Wall St. has identified the top-paid athletes that made at least 10 times the average player’s salary when they played.
    When looking at the highest salaries of all time based on current dollars, the lists are dominated by players from the last decade. Of the highest single-season salaries in baseball, the top 100 paid players are all [....]

Sometimes even Warren Buffett gets it wrong

by Josh Funk,
Associated Press,
February 25, 2012
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Oracle of Omaha earned his nickname — and more than a few billion dollars — by spotting investments that others overlooked, but Warren Buffett makes mistakes.  No, really, he does.
Just pick through Buffett's annual letters to shareholders of his conglomerate, Berkshire Hathaway. His pronouncements are eagerly anticipated by investors around the world. But sometimes even the Oracle gets it wrong.  By the second page of this year's letter, released Saturday, Buffett was borrowing a tennis term to take credit for "a major unforced error" he'd made on some Texas utility bonds.
    Of course, Buffett's shareholder letters are filled with a lot more good decisions than bad ones. His $44 billion fortune attests to that. But the blunders are instructive. Or at least remind us that he's human.  The plainspoken, no-nonsense investor tends to be a good sport about his mistakes. Here are some of the lowlights.  The blunder: Buffett predicted in last year's letter that [....]

The State of the World: A Framework

by George Friedman,
February 21, 2012

Editor's Note: This is the first installment of a new series on the national strategies of today's global power and other regional powers. This installment establishes a framework for understanding the current state of the world.
    The evolution of geopolitics is cyclical. Powers rise, fall and shift. Changes occur in every generation in an unending ballet. However, the period between 1989 and 1991 was unique in that a long cycle of human history spanning hundreds of years ended, and with it a shorter cycle also came to a close. The world is still reverberating from the events of that period.
    On Dec. 25, 1991, an epoch ended. On that day the Soviet Union collapsed, and for the first time in almost 500 years no European power was a global power, meaning no European state integrated economic, military and political power on a global scale. What began in 1492 with Europe smashing its way into the world and creating a global imperial system had ended. For five centuries, one European power or another had dominated the world, whether Portugal, Spain, France, England or the Soviet Union. Even the lesser European powers at the time had some degree of global influence.  After 1991 the only global power left was the United States, which produced about 25 percent of the world's [....]

The Emperor's Ego and Naked Americans

by Charles Payne
February 16, 2012    There is no doubt this year's election is all about the economy, from jobs to debt, but I think we might also see voters react to basic principles as well. The mishandling of the contraceptive issue by the White House probably created a seam in the electorate that has sensed their rights fading but has missed the degree because of all the finger pointing and noise that makes day to day life like watching World Cup soccer in Johannesburg. The noise and the sales job simply weighs on people to the point that they either completely tune out or succumb and make a purchase they'll regret later. But the idea that social issues aren't connected to financial issues has always baffled me.
    I think there is something anti-social about promoting victimhood and anger in any environment but more so in a recession or near recession. This is the moment for leaders to forget vanity and rigid ideology. You see, policies coming out of the White House are in fact mean-spirited notions of punishment loosely wrapped in the guise of economic policy. The unrelenting attack on successful individuals and business under the banner of fairness is the scariest part of it all. A lot of people are getting duped and that could mean our doom. In some ways this is reminiscent of "The Emperor's New Suit" by Hans Christian Andersen; someone keeps telling President Obama this war on business and success is somehow going to help the economy, but even those in the inner circle that know that is not true are also chiming in with agreement.
    In this particular tale there was an emperor that lived many years ago and whose only passion was clothes. He didn't show interest in the arts, military or other "royal" endeavors. He had a coat for every hour of the day. The kingdom was peaceful and wealthy and a beacon for travelers from around the world. One day a couple of those travelers were swindlers with [....]

The Tea Party Hit List for 2012
by Jonathan Karl, Richard Coolidge & Sherisse Pham
Power Players
February 20, 2012
Spinners and Winners
    In Texas, conservative Ted Cruz is looking for a Marco Rubio-esque victory. Like Rubio, Cruz came out of nowhere to challenge an established Republican candidate for the Senate nomination.  The similarities are striking: Rubio's father came from Cuba to the U.S. in 1958 and got a job as a bartender; Cruz's father came from Cuba in 1957 and got a job washing dishes; Rubio is 40, Cruz is 41; Rubio took on a powerful governor, Cruz is taking on a powerful lieutenant governor. 
    Ted Cruz is the whole package, says Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, a conservative group with links to the Tea Party. "He's got the values, he's got the resume of someone that has always fought for these ideas, he's got the charisma, and he's willing to burn a little shoe leather getting elected and it's got to be that combination."  Cruz has already raised $4 million - a staggering sum for an underdog.
    Conservative activists are also [....]
This is What a President Looks Like
by John Ransom
February 21, 2012    In an era that lives by self-promotion- an era that takes someone like Donald Trump seriously as a presidential candidate- Presidents' Day is a day to remember that greatness still resides in what one does, not what one claims to be.  That is why Abraham Lincoln will always belong to every age. Because Lincoln was not just a great president; he may have been one of the greatest men that this country has yet produced. His rare combination of self-confidence and humility produced the archetype of "the American, this new man," who is still universally admired.  While many of our heroes have lost their gloss, Abraham Lincoln still shines brightly for many Americans because there is so much to learn from his life.
    Lincoln was once criticized over the publication of a private letter he sent to an actor because it dared express Lincoln’s opinion on William Shakespeare. Although Lincoln did not write the letter for public circulation, in those days it was common for private letters to end up in the newspapers.  Lincoln was well-read in Shakespeare. It was evident in the fluidity of much of his writing that he got some of his short, Anglo-Saxon style from Shakespeare. While Lincoln would never match the volume of the Bard, in his own way, Lincoln’s contribution to American letters ranks probably just below Mark Twain’s own accomplishments.
“The novelist William Dean Howell’s claim about his friend Mark Twain,” writes literary biographer Fred Kaplan, “that he was the [....]

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When You're Holding a Hammer
(Everything Looks Like a Nail)
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August 20, 2010
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I'm just a fellow patriot.
Teacher Who Told Student to "Go Back to Mexico" Keeps her Job

by Alan Scaia,
WBAP 24/7 News
(Date Unknown)
ARLINGTON (WBAP 24/7 NEWS) - An Arlington school teacher who told a Hispanic student to "go back to Mexico" will return to the classroom. School trustees voted unanimously Thursday night to accept an independent investigator's report that found no cause for Shirley Bunn's termination.
"I'm ready to go back to the classroom," Bunn said through tears after the board meeting. "I've been so worried about my kids."
Bunn has [....]
Who’s Looking At Your Facebook Page?
Can You Really Find Out?
by Becky Worley
Upgrade Your Life
February 15, 2012
    If you've spent more than five minutes online, you've probably seen an ad that promises "find out who's searching for you." It sounds like a scam, but is it possible? Can someone find out if you've been looking at their Facebook or LinkedIn profile? Can you tell if someone's unfriended you? And can you see what searches have been performed with your name?  First the warning: there are scams aplenty promising to show you who is "stalking" your Facebook page. I put in a call to Facebook and spoke with [....] 
Until Next Sunday....
(Enjoy THE Race!!)



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