Obama's dishonesty over requiring religious organizations to pay for abortion?

Obama really thinks that Catholic organizations won't feel that they are being forced to pay for contraception and abortion services if Obama simply says that they are forced to buy insurance that is mandated to have these services included and that Obama mandates that the insurance companies have to provide this for free. How is mandating that the churches provide abortion services to their employees any different than the government mandating that you can only buy insurance that contains these services? Even Obama can't believe others think that this changes anything. From Fox Business:

The president, facing a growing controversy fueled by angry religious organizations, said religious employers will not be required to offer free birth control to their employees as part of their insurance coverage.
Instead, that responsibility has been diverted to insurers, according to the administration’s compromise. The new requirement mandates that insurers provide workers at religious entities such as Catholic universities or hospitals with "contraceptive care free of charge."
“There is no such thing as ‘free of charge.’ It’s a complete ruse,” said Dr. Merrill Matthews, resident scholar at the Institute for Policy Innovation, which advocates for free markets.
“He thinks this stuff actually comes free,” Matthews added. “It doesn’t come free. People actually pay for it and there’s an administrative cost added to it.” . . .

The Washington Post's Marcus praises Obama's "fig leaf":

. . . . Women who work for religiously affiliated institutions that morally object to contraception will nonetheless have access to contraceptive coverage free of charge, just as women who work for other employers. They won’t have to sign up for any different coverage or pay any additional money.

The employers, for their part, won’t have to pay for the coverage, say they offer it or even direct employees to places where they can obtain it. The extra cost, and here is where the fig leaf comes in, will be born by the insurance companies themselves.

This is, of course, a dodge — a quite clever and positive one. Everyone gets to say that the religious institutions aren’t “paying for” contraception. But if covering contraception ends up costing them money, you can be sure those costs will be passed along, as costs always are, to customers.

The beauty of this dodge is that it is entirely possible, even likely, that adding the coverage will not raise rates. Easier, cheaper access to contraception means fewer pregnancies. Pregnancies — and the resulting babies — cost insurers far more than birth control pills. For example, according to the Guttmacher Institute, the federal government reported no increase in costs after Congress required coverage of contraceptives for federal employees in 1998. Think of it as immaculate contraceptive coverage.

Of course, fig leaves can leave gaps. One big gap in the administration’s plan involves how to treat religiously affiliated institutions that are self-insured. In those situations, the employer pays an insurance company to administer the plan but bears the cost of medical care directly. The administration’s approach does not necessarily solve the problem for such entities. . . .

Here is the problem. If this approach really saved money, insurance companies wouldn't be trying to charge for the service to begin with.

From the Catholic Bishops Conference

. . . The change was initially met with a reserved response. While many Democrats praised it and Republicans dismissed it, nonpartisan groups like the Conference of Catholic Bishops said they were reserving judgment.

But the Conference, after earlier calling the change a "first step in the right direction," issued a lengthy statement overnight blasting the plan. And they joined others in calling for legislation in Congress to reverse the policy, something Republicans said they were not abandoning despite Friday's announcement.

"We think there needs to be a legislative fix to protect our religious liberties," Bishop William Lori, a member of the Conference, told Fox News on Saturday. "I think that our First Amendment religious rights are far too precious to be entrusted to regulatory rules."

Lori and the rest of the Conference said they want to see the "mandate" rescinded altogether. They pointed out several lingering concerns. They said the change appears to make no consideration for religious insurers or self-insuring religious employers -- or for religious for-profit employers and secular nonprofit employers. . . .

"And in the case where the employee and insurer agree to add the objectionable coverage, that coverage is still provided as a part of the objecting employer's plan, financed in the same way as the rest of the coverage offered by the objecting employer. . . .

Are women really this dumb to believe that they can get abortion coverage and contraception for free? Obama and the Democrats seem to think so (from The Hill newspaper):

"President Obama has set a standard that every woman has a right to contraception coverage at no additional cost," the DNC email says, "and he's done it in a way that respects religious freedoms."
An accompanying YouTube video, which includes excerpts from Obama's Friday press conference announcing the change, aims to highlight the sharp distinction between the president's compromise and a proposal – being drafted by Republicans – to repeal the birth-control mandate for employers.
"Who do you think should make decisions about contraception?" the ad asks. "You, or your employer?" . . .

Holy war over health care

Catholics mocked

UPDATE: Is Representative Kathy Hochul (NY, D - 26th District) just dense when she says that Obama solved the problem so that Catholics won't have to pay for abortion and contraception? The news reporter explaining things here must also be pretty dense.

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Stock prices falling in EU despite (or because of) Greek Debt deal?

Why does the EU and the US government think that their money will be spent any better this time? Last time the Greeks got a bailout they just kept spending as they had previously. From Market Watch:

“They don’t trust Greece. Agreeing is one thing, but implementing is another and they want assurance that Greece will live up to the agreement,” said Lenhoff. “If the parliament refuses to approve the measures, Greece will have to leave the euro zone, because they’ll default.”

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Houston Mom Runs Burglars Off with Gun

From the Fox TV affiliate in Houston:

A couple of burglars chose the wrong woman to pick on.
They came sneaking into her house, and she sent them running out. Perhaps they didn't count on the woman fighting back, but that's just what she did.
The mother of two was getting her 10-year-old son ready for school when the two bad guys broke in. She grabbed a gun and came face-to-face with not one but two intruders inside her Huffman home.
"It was scary," she said.
She's still shaken up, so she doesn't want her identity revealed. . . .

Mom Runs Burglars Off with Gun: MyFoxHOUSTON.com


NJ Public Teachers Union Chief makes embarrassing comment about vouchers for the poor

The life's not fair comment surely implies that the poor would have been better off with vouchers. Possibly life shouldn't be fair for the well paid union members. From Fox News:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called Wednesday for a state teachers union chief to resign, after the union boss said in an interview that "life's not always fair" while arguing against vouchers to send poor students to private schools.
Christie, who has clashed repeatedly with the union over his education proposals, called the remark "outrageous" at a town hall meeting.
The call from the governor was the latest fallout for New Jersey Education Association Executive Director Vincent Giordano, whose own salary tops $300,000.
Giordano made the comment on the local "New Jersey Capitol Report" program over the weekend. During the interview, he was challenged by the host on why low-income families should not have the same options as other families when their child is in a failing school.
"Those parents should have exactly the same options and they do. We don't say that you can't take your kid out of the public school. We would argue not and we would say 'let's work more closely and more harmoniously,'" Giordano said.
When told some families cannot afford to finance the shift to private school without government help, Giordano said: "Well, you know, life's not always fair and I'm sorry about that."
The interview clip swiftly spread on the web, along with reminders about Giordano's healthy salary.
The Newark Star-Ledger reported in 2010 that his salary was nearly $422,000, and total compensation roughly $550,000 when deferred compensation and other benefits are counted. . . . .

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Do conservative movies make more money?

The Hollywood Reporter finds a study showing that the do (discussion available here).



President Obama is constantly attacking the do nothing congress, but doesn't care that the Democratic Senate won't pass a budget

From Real Clear Politics showing Jay Carney and Jake Tapper at the White House Press Briefing.

Jake Tapper, ABC News: So, therefore, the Senate should pass a budget as well?

Jay Carney, White House: I don't have -- well, I don't have an opinion to express on how the Senate does its business with regards to this issue. The fact is, because of the negotiations over the debt ceiling, that resulted in the Budget Control Act, we have an unusual situation here in that the top lines for the budget going forward have already been set and agreed to by Republicans and Democrats alike.

Tapper: I'm not actually asking your opinion but the White House's opinion. The position the White House has?

Carney: Well, I don't have --

Tapper: The white house has no opinion about whether or not the Senate should pass a budget? The president is going to produce one? The Fed says not having one is bad for growth but the White House has no opinion about whether --

Carney: I have no opinion, and the White House has no opinion on Chairman Bernanke's assessment of how the Senate ought to do its business. . . .


Should food stamps be used to buy junk food?

Florida seems to be joining the movement in other states to limit what food stamps can be used for. Why not limit it even further to really basic foods that aren't already? For example, not allowing the money to be spent on TV dinners.

Florida's poor can use food stamps to buy staples like milk, vegetables, fruits and meat. But they can also use them to buy sweets like cakes, cookies and Jell-O and snack foods like chips, something a state senator wants stopped.
Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Valrico, also wants to limit other welfare funds, known as Temporary Assistance For Needy Families, from being used at ATMs in casinos and strip clubs and anywhere out of state. The bill comes after reports that the debit cards welfare recipients now receive were used in those places, as well as locations in Las Vegas and the Virgin Islands in a small percentage of cases, but the state does not track what items were purchased.
The bill recently passed a committee. A companion bill in the state House companion is being considered by a subcommittee.
The bill would also require the state to launch a culturally sensitive campaign to educate people about the benefits of a nutritious diet. Supporters say it would help recipients follow healthy eating habits and prevent taxpayer funds from being used to purchase luxury foods like bakery cakes when they can whip up a cheaper box mix.
"Most individuals using public assistance dollars are using the funds to get by and to provide for their families. However, we should do what we can to prevent dollars intended to help Florida's poorest families from being spent in the wrong places," Storms said in a statement. . . .


Half a million in Stimulus spent upgrading a yacht

This is pretty bizarre. From the Washington Examiner:

The Port of Los Angeles spent $489,000 of a $1.5 million grant from the Department of Energy to retrofit a city-owned yacht with "hydro-electric propulsion system," according to Issa's letter, rather than the diesel engines it already had in operation. The yacht is used to conduct tours of the port.

"This is the American people’s money that was borrowed in stimulus," said House Oversight and Government Reform Chair Darrell Issa in a local CBS broadcast. "It was supposed to create net new jobs. Could that half a million dollars have been used better? Was this really just show without substance?" . . .


Citizens in Detroit are turning to themselves to make sure that they are safe

From the Daily.com:

Justifiable homicide in the city shot up 79 percent in 2011 from the previous year, as citizens in the long-suffering city armed themselves and took matters into their own hands. The local rate of self-defense killings now stands 2,200 percent above the national average. Residents, unable to rely on a dwindling police force to keep them safe, are fighting back against the criminal scourge on their own. And they’re offering no apologies.

“We got to have a little Old West up here in Detroit. That’s what it’s gonna take,” Detroit resident Julia Brown told The Daily.

The last time Brown, 73, called the Detroit police, they didn’t show up until the next day. So she applied for a permit to carry a handgun and says she’s prepared to use it against the young thugs who have taken over her neighborhood, burglarizing entire blocks, opening fire at will and terrorizing the elderly with impunity.

“I don’t intend to be one of their victims,” said Brown, who has lived in Detroit since the late 1950s. “I’m planning on taking one out.” . . . .

In this city of about 700,000 people, the number of cops has steadily fallen, from about 5,000 a decade ago to fewer than 3,000 today. Detroit homicides — the second-highest per capita in the country last year, according to the FBI — rose by 10 percent in 2011 to 344 people. . . .

Average police response time for priority calls in the city, according to the latest data available, is 24 minutes. In comparable cities across the country, it is well under 10 minutes.

Citizens like Brown feel they have been left with little choice but to take the law into their own hands.

The number of justifiable homicides, in which residents use deadly force in self-defense, jumped from 19 in 2010 to 34 last year — a 79 percent rise — according to newly released city data. . . .

Thanks to Eric Bragas for this link.

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Maxim Lott's latest piece at Fox News: "Tech startups facing unexpected challenge: the government"

My son's latest piece can be found here.


Surprisingly little opposition to Obamacare's mandate that religious organizations provide contraceptions and abortions

Given that Obamacare will force the provision of morning after pills, this is more than contraception. In any case, I am surprised that not much more than 50 percent of voters oppose this use of government force. Rasmussen Reports finds:

Half of voters do not agree with the Obama administration’s action forcing Catholic institutions to pay for birth control measures that they morally oppose. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 39% of Likely U.S. Voters believe the government should require a church or religious organization to provide contraceptives for women even if it violates their deeply held beliefs. Fifty percent (50%) disagree and oppose such a requirement that runs contrary to strong beliefs, while 10% more are undecided. . . .

Meanwhile, Obama appears to be giving a different cover to their policies. From Fox News:

Obama's chief spokesman and his top campaign strategist both said the administration was searching for ways to allay the concern of Roman Catholics who say the birth control mandate would force them to violate their religious beliefs against contraception. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said the policy was a "huge mistake" that the administration should reconsider. "And if they don't, Congress will act," McConnell said. . . .
Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod made the same point. "The real question is how do we get together and resolve this in a way that respects the concerns that have been raised but also assures women across this country that they're going to have the preventive care that they need," Axelrod said on MSNBC.
The comments by Axelrod and Carney created a sense that the White House's public emphasis has clearly shifted and that further accommodation would be considered. But there was no sign the administration would move to completely withdraw the rule, and it was unclear that the White House could strike the balance of ensuring contraceptive coverage for all while defusing the fierce opposition of some religious groups when those two points are in conflict. . . .

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Copy of the amazing Ninth Circuit decision on Prop 8

As I expected, the very left wing and frequently overturned Judge Reinhardt argues that there is no rational reason to have marriage between a man and a woman. Whatever one thinks about homosexual marriage, this is not the way to get the political outcomes that one wants. A copy of the decision is available here.

The dissent points out that under the level of scrutiny involved for this case the government "has no obligation to provide evidence to sustain the rationality of statutory classification," that the measure at issue "is not subject to courtroom fact-finding and may be based on rational speculation unsupported by evidence or empirical data," and that states "may use their police power to regulate the 'morals' of their population" (pp. 11-12). If anything, the dissent doesn't go far enough in that it would seem to only allow states to withhold the word "marriage," not any of the rights that come with it, from homosexual marriage.

The majority here also doesn't explain why any type of a marriage between consenting adults shouldn't be allowed.

If judges can go this far in arbitrarily judging whether legislation is rational or not, there is nothing that judges can't redo in terms of their own political preferences.


John Fund explains the trouble that Romney is in

John Fund summarizes the state of the race very well today.

But what Romney won’t be able to explain away is just how much more poorly he did tonight in those three states than in his 2008 showing — when he lost the GOP nomination for president. . . .

If Romney indeed loses all three states tonight, it will be in large part because he has failed to close the deal with conservatives, who dominate the Republican party more than they did in 2008. Romney drew the ire of conservative icons Steve Forbes and Dick Armey this week when he endorsed inflation-indexed minimum-wage increases — something every free-market economist worth his chops knows would make it harder for people to get entry-level jobs. Forbes told Yahoo News that “in the name of showing his compassion, he hurts the opportunities for those who need it the most.” Romney has also been quite muted in his opposition this week to President Obama’s proposed rule mandating that religiously affiliated hospitals provide birth control and morning-after-pill coverage. . . . .


Solid majority of Canadians support the death penalty

The poll implies that Canadians support the death penalty in much the same way that it is done in the United States, which requires some type of special circumstances. Of course, despite what might be true in the movies, there has yet to be a case in the US where someone was incorrectly put to death. Even in the provinces with the most opposition, the opposition never rises above 45 percent and the next highest opposition is just 32 percent. From Angus Reid Public Opinion:

The survey conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion in partnership with the Toronto Star found that 63 per cent of the 1,002 Canadians surveyed across the country believe the death penalty is sometimes appropriate. Sixty-one per cent said capital punishment, which was abolished in Canada in 1976, is warranted for murder.

“I think people might be warming to the idea of having it as an option on the table, if anything just as a deterrent,” said Jaideep Mukerji of Angus Reid.

But Mukerji said the poll also reveals that it is “not a black and white” issue for many Canadians. Given the choice of supporting the death penalty or life imprisonment, 50 per cent chose the latter, the survey found. . . .

In British Columbia and Alberta, about seven in 10 support the return of the death penalty; six in 10 Ontarians, or 62 per cent, agree.

The most opposition was in Quebec, with about 45 per cent against the return of capital punishment. Some 32 per cent in Ontario and 24 per cent in British Columbia were also opposed.

“These respondents (about 75 per cent) are primarily concerned over the possibility of wrongful convictions leading to executions, but most (54 per cent) also feel that even if a convicted murderer has taken a life it is wrong to take the murderer’s own life as punishment,” the survey results stated. . . .

Thanks to Mario Canseco for this link to the full poll results.

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Well, we can see who is benefiting from all those government subsidies for the Chevy Volt: The Wealthy

From AOL Autos:

In order for the Chevy Volt to really be a success, the car needs to be affordable for the masses.

But for now, the car is mostly the province of the wealthy. General Motors, which makes the Volt, said Monday that the average income of Volt buyers is a whopping $175,000 a year. That rarefied space is usually reserved for buyers of German luxury cars.

"The Volt appeals to an affluent, progressive demographic," says Bill Visnic, senior editor for Edmunds.com "It's rare. It's hard to get one. ... It's the same reason that people buy the really rare exotic cars: Because other people can't have one."

GM hopes that the battery technology offered in the Chevy Volt catches on with the public so much that it can scale up production, making hundreds of thousands and driving down the cost of the expensive lithium-ion batteries. The batteries drive the Volt to be a $39,145 to $42,085 car before a $7,500 tax credit, so lower battery costs would make the car a bit more affordable. . . .


So does Clint Eastwood half time ad count as a donation to the Obama campaign?

Chrysler got bailout by the Obama administration.

Two members of the creative team that produced the two-minute minute spot for ad agency Wieden+Kennedy donated their personal time in 2008 to make pro-Obama art.

From the Hollywood Reporter: "The Obama reelection campaign couldn’t buy a better endorsement."

Chrysler Dealers are supposedly not happy that people see the Chrysler ad payback to Obama. What I can say is that this reporter really ought to be on Obama's payroll.


"Super PAC" Failed Promise

Some of the press have called Obama on this change in position. As president, Obama has raised large amounts of money and not have to spend it against challengers in his primary. This video at Real Clear Politics is worth watching:

"With the President reversing course on this, does he look hypocritical?" O'Donnell asked.

"The President firmly believes that the affects of the Citizens United decision were as he described or predicted. And were are seeing that play out in many ways, like the Republican primary process which you all have covered or many of your colleagues have covered," Carney said.

O'Donnell pressed Carney, again asking if the President's past statements on Super PACs raised the issue of hypocrisy.

"The President spent much of 2010 on the road ridiculing these groups. I mean, he joked about the name, they can call themselves anything like 'Moms For Motherhood.' He really decried their influence on the elections. Now, he has signaled to his campaign he would like his donors to contribute (to the PAC) as well. You indicated, when asked about when the President made his decision, you said you could 'divine' that and clearly since he made that in February 2012. Has the President been putting off this decision or are you indicating that he left it to so late in the game because he didn't want to do this but since he's watched the Republican primary he's finally relented and said, 'the Republicans have so much money, I'm willing to give up on my principles?'" O'Donnell asked. . . .

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Wisconsin "Republican Assembly leader carries concealed weapon while in session"

It isn't just whether there is danger on the Assembly floor. If you can't carry a gun with you on the Assembly floor, you can't carry it with you going to or from the Assembly. If you can't keep it with you on Assembly grounds, you couldn't keep it with you when you leave home to go to the Assembly. From the Badger Herald:

A Republican leader in the state Assembly, in charge of maintaining order during legislative sessions, has carried a concealed gun during sessions in the Wisconsin Legislature.

Assembly Leader Pro Tempore Bill Kramer, R-Waukesha, told the Associated Press Friday he has carried a concealed Glock 26, a subcompact semi-automatic gun, on the Assembly floor.

Kramer said he received a concealed carry permit before Thanksgiving and needs it because of the atmosphere in the Capitol. He said he has received threatening emails, including one calling for Jesus to return and stab him with a flaming sword.

“Have you been in the Capitol lately?” Kramer asked the Associated Press. “The saying is you don’t need a gun until you need it. I hope to go to my grave having never fired it at anything but a paper target.”

He added he is not the only legislator who carries a concealed gun in the chamber. . . .

He pointed to the assault of Rep. Robin Vos, R-Burlington, who a protestor doused with beer. He also said Rep. Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc, has received insults from protesters, especially against his wife, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, even in front of their children. . . .

“I really can’t imagine why a member of the Assembly feels the need to have a gun on the floor, especially at a time when people are being taken out of the Assembly chambers for silently holding signs with pictures of the apple pie and copies of the Constitution silently,” Roys said. . . .

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Obama is only returning part of the money raised by family of person who is linked to violence and corruption in Mexico and seeking pardon

So if the family can convince others to give money to Obama's campaign, that money can be used by the campaign? Why not return it and let the individuals re-donate it if they want to give the money? From the Canadian National Post:

President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign is returning more than $200,000 in donations from the family of a fugitive casino magnate linked to violence and corruption in Mexico who has been seeking a pardon, Obama’s campaign confirmed on Tuesday. . . . .
The New York Times cited Obama campaign officials as saying that said most of the donations of about $200,000 came from the Cardonas brothers themselves and other relatives. The campaign was identifying other donations, believed to total less than $100,000, that was bundled from other people, the newspaper said. . . .

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How easy is vote fraud in Minnesota or New Hampshire?

A video about Minnesota is here.

How about live people voting for dead people in New Hampshire?



Romney's Solyndra?

This is great. From Politico.

Republicans are pounding Barack Obama on Solyndra, but it may be a complicated argument for their front-runner to maintain: While Mitt Romney was governor, Massachusetts also picked some winners and losers with energy subsidies.
And like Obama, some of the companies Romney's state invested in came out on the losing end.
The scale is dramatically different: While the Obama administration dumped $535 million alone into Solyndra — the California solar panel company that subsequently filed for bankruptcy protection — the energy loans, grants and other financial help Romney distributed during four years as governor add up to just a fraction of that amount.
But Democrats — and even some Republicans — say the core issue is the same: If the federal government shouldn't be betting on one company rather than the other, then neither should the state of Massachusetts. . . .

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Obama administration regulates what service chaplains can say

The Obama administration regulates what Catholics are able to say at their religious services for military. From CNS news:

The message from the archbishop touched off a controversy both in and outside the military when the Army's Office of the Chief of Chaplains told the service's senior chaplains that Catholic priests serving as Army chaplains should be told not to read the archbishop's letter from the pulpit.

The Archdiocese for the Military Services has described that move as a violation of the archbishop's First Amendment rights as well as the First Amendment rights of the Catholic chaplains involved and their congregations.

The regulation the archbishop spoke about was finalized by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Jan. 20. It mandates that all health-care plans in the United States cover sterilizations and all FDA-approved contraceptives, including those that cause abortions. A “religious” employer exemption included in the regulation only applies to organizations that primarily focus on inculcating the tenets of the church in question, primarily employ members of the church, primarily serve members of the church, and is organized under the section of the Internal Revenue Code used by actual parishes.

Catholic hospitals, universities and charitable institutions would not be exempt from the regulation, nor would Catholic individuals, business owners, or insurers. . . .

Peter Johnson, Jr. weighs in on whether White House violated Army chaplains' rights

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Google and privacy

This is actually a pretty effective ad.

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Surprise: Journal editors ask scholars to cite relevant articles from their journals in their research

This is a surprise? The fact that it is primarily younger authors who get the most suggestions slightly helps to differentiate it from the fact that editors might simply know the articles in their own journal best. The alternative might be the editors want to suggest articles that they know to everyone, but that they refrain from doing so to senior researchers who might react negatively. From USA Today:

Business, economics and related scholarly journal editors are coercing scholars into unnecessarily citing their own journals, a survey suggests, perverting the research record.

A system of "impact factors", tied to references listed in studies, pervades the scholarly enterprise, notes survey author Allen Wilhite and Eric Fong of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, who reports the survey of 6,672 researchers in economics, sociology, psychology, and business research in the current Science journal. The survey covered journal editor behavior from 832 publications.

Overall, about 20% of survey respondents say that a journal editor had coerced extra citations to their own journal from them. Broadly, journals with higher impact factors attract more prestige, advertising and power in hiring and firing decisions in scholarly circles, the authors note, giving journal editors an incentive to extort added citations to their publications in the studies they consider for publication. "(T)he message is clear: Add citations or risk rejection," write the authors.

In particular, younger professors with few co-authors who need publications to keep their jobs reported the most pressure. Business journal editors coerced the most often, followed by economics, and then psychology and other social sciences. . . .


Hoekstra's ad raises questions of racial sensitivity?

I guess that I don't see how a beautiful Asian woman is a threatening visual image that will stir up racism and xenophobia." I would think that a gruff looking man fits that image much better. My own guess is that this just shows that how effective Hoekstra's campaign has been. From the Washington Post:

The portrayal of a young Asian woman speaking broken English in a Super Bowl ad being run by U.S. Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra against Michigan incumbent Debbie Stabenow is bringing charges of racial insensitivity.

GOP consultant Nick De Leeuw flat-out scolded the Holland Republican for the ad.

“Stabenow has got to go. But shame on Pete Hoekstra for that appalling new advertisement,” De Leeuw wrote on his Facebook page Sunday morning. “Racism and xenophobia aren’t any way to get things done.”

The nonpartisan Asian & Pacific Islander American Vote group’s Michigan chapter said it was “deeply disappointed” by the ad, noting that the Asian-American community is a major contributor to Michigan’s economy. In 2010, Michigan’s 236,490 Asian-Americans made up 2.4 percent of the state’s population, up 35 percent from 2000. . . . .


The Teacher's Unions and Congressional Democrats

Here is how the NEA grades congressmen.

The partisan divide plaguing Washington is evident in the National Education Association’s recently released Legislative Report Card for the first session of the 112th Congress (2011). The annual report card measures members’ of Congress overall support for public education and educators, with each member receiving a letter grade of A, B, C, D or F.

In 2011, only 57 Congressional Republicans earned passing NEA grades, while 143 did so in 2005. “Unfortunately, these ratings confirm that Congress is increasingly divided. We all have a responsibility to help our students succeed—especially our elected leaders,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel.

The grades of more moderate Democrats and Republicans rebounded from 2009-2010 lows as a result of bipartisan opposition to attacks on worker’s rights and support for education programs such as Title 1 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee also worked in bipartisan fashion to adopt some needed improvements to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

“We have to work together to ensure adequate and equal funding for all public schools so that all students have the opportunity to succeed in school and in life,” said Van Roekel. “These men and women hold much of the future of our students in their hands and we need to know if our member of Congress supports public education and workers’ rights.”

NEA graded members of Congress based on selected votes in 2011. . . .



On another 1.2 million dropping out of the labor force

The January BLS numbers show that 1.2 million have dropped out of the labor force. Over the last year we have seen a huge drop in the number of people in the labor force. The BLS numbers showed an additional 1.2 million drop in January, though more accurately this drop should have been spread out over the last year. In fact, the number of people dropping out of the labor force was larger than was being reported. Between January 2010 and December 2011, the official numbers had shown that 3 million had dropped out of the labor force. The correct number for the period from January 2010 to January 2012 is over 4.2 million. Some people have attacked those who pointed to the 1.2 million number for January without acknowledging that the numbers that they have been using previously understated the already large number of people who had dropped out of the labor market.

Of course, as ususal, both Santelli and Zero Hedge have a real reading comprehension problem and completely missed that this million+ people isn’t some new January phenomenon, but a result of the BLS using the 2010 census data to have more accurate data. In other words, the changes in the Household Survey to the various measures had taken place over the years prior to 2010, but for simplicity’s sake, the BLS incorporates these changes into one month . . .

The adjustment increased the estimated size of the civilian noninstitutional population in December by 1,510,000, the civilian labor force by 258,000, employment by 216,000, unemployment by 42,000, and persons not in the labor force by 1,252,000. Although the total unemployment rate was unaffected, the labor force participation rate and the employment-population ratio were each reduced by 0.3 percentage point. This was because the population increase was primarily among persons 55 and older and, to a lesser degree, persons 16 to 24 years of age. Both these age groups have lower levels of labor force participation than the general population.”

So Rick/Zero Hedge, unless you would like to argue that the population of the United States also grew by 1.5 million in one month (since that is from the exact same report/revision you quoted), I think both of you should retract your extremely misleading statements about those not in the labor force increasing by over a million in January and simply admit that you are either too stupid or too focused on selling a particular world view to read the data correctly. . . .


Drug testing for some welfare recipients in Pennsylvania

I don't really understand the constitutional objections over privacy to drug testing. Someone doesn't have to take government money, but if they do there can easily be certain requirements, including a drug test. From Fox News:

After a federal judge blocked a much broader drug-test rule in Florida, Pennsylvania is taking a more careful approach. Instead of mandating drug tests for all welfare recipients, Pennsylvania plans to randomly test only those with a felony drug conviction within the past five years and those on probation for such offenses.
Officials are taking it slow. A pilot program has started in Pennsylvania's Schuylkill County, which could pave the way for a statewide program this summer if it proves cost effective.
State Sen. David Argall said in a statement last month that the program is "overdue," as officials try to cut costs in the state's most expensive division -- the Department of Public Welfare.
"This initiative seeks to stop the abuse within our welfare system," he said, adding that government benefits should only go to those "who genuinely deserve state assistance." . . . .


It turns out that liberal Democrats don't mind forcing states to adopt the laws that they like

I can understand laws against texting while driving, but state governments can pass these as well as the federal government. It was amusing to see all Democrats attacking a national reciprocity law for concealed carry as impinging on state rights have no problem with regulating driving laws across states. The new Senate legislation is discussed here.

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Dem Congressmen use Class Warfare against Pelosi

It is nice to see that the wealthy inside the Democratic party can't be trusted either. From Fox Nation:

Class warfare erupted in a House Democratic Caucus meeting Tuesday, as Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s personal fortune was thrown in her face by a junior colleague angry about a proposal to freeze the pay of members of Congress.

Rep. Laura Richardson attacked Pelosi for endorsing the GOP-written pay freeze during a Tuesday caucus discussion of a possible Democratic amendment to the payroll tax cut, according to several sources who were in the room at the time. Both women are California Democrats.

The sources disagreed on the exact wording of the unusually direct shot at the party leader, but Richardson’s sentiment was clear: Pelosi, who is worth at least $40 million, doesn’t need the money as much as some of her colleagues, and she should have consulted with them before deciding to protect the GOP-written pay freeze. . . .


One way to look at job growth