Links for 4-24-2012

Links for 4-23-2012

  • Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is considering a veto of the state’s voter ID bill, even as the Virginia State Police revealed a wide-ranging investigation into voter fraud during the 2008 election. The State Board of Elections forwarded more than 400 possible voter and election fraud cases to the police, which has resulted in charges against 38 people; twenty-six investigations still in progress.

  • ObamaCare cut reimbursement rates for Medicare Advantage, a fact that senior citizens are likely to learn (if they didn’t know already) just before the November election, which is extremely inconvenient for the Obama administration. They propose to “fix” this by re-allocating $8.3B that was earmarked for “demonstration projects” to patching Medicare Advantage. The Government Accountability Office cried foul, saying this “demonstration project” dwarfs all previous Medicare pilot projects.

  • The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division filed suit against Jacksonville, Florida over its use of written exams for selecting firefighters for promotion. The DOJ claims Jacksonville is using the exams to discriminate against African Americans: “The United States’ complaint alleges that the examinations impact African-American candidates in two ways. First, African-American candidates for promotion to the four positions pass the examinations at significantly lower rates than white candidates. Second, even those African-Americans who pass the examinations are rarely promoted because the fire department selects candidates for promotion in descending rank-order based primarily upon each candidate’s written examination score and African-American candidates score significantly lower than whites.”

  • The U.S. is holding unofficial talks with the Chinese military regarding nuclear weapons strategy and doctrine. The article suggests that the point of the talks is not to establish mutual understanding to avoid a nuclear conflict, but to convince portions of the Department of Defense that China is not a nuclear threat: “An official who took part in past meetings of the nuclear dialogue with the Chinese said the talks are part of policy efforts by pro-China officials to try to convince U.S. military and defense officials that China is not a threatening nuclear-armed power.”

  • A book entitled Ces 600 Milliards Qui Manquent à la France appeared just in time for France’s presidential election. It alleges that Nicolas Sarkozy was an active participant in tax evasion schemes for France’s wealthy, and that his 2007 presidential campaign was illegally funded by Liliane Bettencourt, the heiress to the L’Oreal fortune.

  • An interesting article on why there are so few tech startups in Norway.

  • Helena Bonham Carter would like you know that her friend David Cameron is not a conservative. Plus, he’s actually quite funny.

Links for 4-20-2012

Links for 4-19-2012

Links for 4-18-2012

  • J. Christian Adams testified before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution today. His prepared remarks described how Obama’s Department of Justice refuses to enforce Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act, even in cases where voter rolls are egregiously wrong — as they are in several Mississippi counties where there are more people registered to vote than there are residents.

  • The Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service had a hand in forcing Sanford, Florida sheriff Bill Lee to “temporarily resign” (whatever that means) over the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case.

  • The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) fell victim to a liberal assault — in response to pressure on the member companies that fund ALEC, they shut down their task force that promoted voter ID and “stand your ground” laws.

  • TransCanada is still working to get the Keystone XL pipeline approved. Today they submitted a new route to the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality that avoids the Sand Hills region of the state.

Links for 4-17-2012

  • Democrats are trying to deflect criticism of the fact that the Senate hasn’t passed a budget in three years by holding a hearing that’s designed to look they’re working on a budget when in fact they won’t vote on anything.

  • The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Arizona’s voter ID law is largely constitutional. Unfortunately the Court required Arizona to accept federal voter registration forms, which do not require the applicant to present an ID; the court ruled that allowing Arizona to do otherwise would violate the Motor Voter Act. It’s high time to amend — if not repeal — the Motor Voter Act.

  • Wisconsin’s Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a district court ruling that the state’s voter ID law is unconstitutional; the case will go to an appeals court first.

  • The two Democrats running against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker are both advocating property tax increases, which doesn’t sound like a winning strategy. Then again, this is Wisconsin.

  • A Department of Justice unit called the “Community Relations Service” has been advising Trayvon Martin’s family in Sanford, Florida. This group was created as part of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and was intended to “mitigate local tensions between ethnic groups.” Under Obama’s presidency it has morphed into an advocacy and community organizing group.

  • Homicides in Chicago are up 60% in the first quarter of the year. As an Illinois State Senator, Obama voted repeatedly to restrict the rights of law-abiding gun owners. He also “opposed a law that would have added aggravated battery with a firearm — a common charge in gang drivebys shootings — to a list of crimes that automatically sends teens 15 and older to criminal court.”

  • Someone — presumably the Taliban — poisoned the well at a high school in northern Afghanistan, making about 150 schoolgirls sick.

  • Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst (who is a candidate for U.S. Senate) offered lukewarm support for Governor Rick Perry’s Texas Budget Compact.

  • Speaker of the Texas House Joe Straus appeared at the Bullfeathers club in Washington, D.C. to advocate for bipartisanship: “Urging federal lawmakers to set aside their bickering, Straus said he and his wife had visited George Washington’s estate at Mt. Vernon during their trip to Washington this week. He suggested a field trip for Congress to provide a ‘refresher’ lesson in Washington’s warnings against factionalism.” Could the Tea Party detest Straus any more than it already does? I don’t think so.

  • The U.K. is inching toward more widespread use of fracking for shale gas.

  • Travis County approved incentive funding for Apple’s new Austin campus without tying that funding to restrictions on who Apple could hire.

Links for 4-16-2012

  • Walter Russell Mead on post blue jobs: “Increasingly, it looks to me as if large chunks of the upper middle class are about to get whacked. Many of the learned professions are going to see their incomes cut and the private sector is going to seek much greater productivity improvements by replacing expensive US-based executives with cheaper foreign ones — and even cheaper computer technology.” Part of the solution: “…America is going to have change directions. We have to stop issuing new and more complex regulations every year — and start to tweak, redesign, simplify and in some cases roll back what we’ve got. We have to stop focusing so much on making this country a safe and predictable environment for big business and large corporations, and look to make it a more welcoming place for start ups. The faster we do this, the faster our future will start to look brighter.”

  • Governor Rick Perry announced the “Texas Budget Compact,” an effort to persuade candidates for the state legislature to pursue a fiscally conservative budget that does not rely on accounting tricks to balance. The RINO Speaker of the Texas House, Joe Straus, relied on those gimmicks to balance the last budget. Nonetheless his office issued a prepared statement saying that while he supports the Texas Budget Compact, he won’t pledge to abide by it. If you follow Texas politics, this is an absolutely hilarious statement. Straus is famous for using underhanded tactics to strong arm legislators into signing pledge cards stating that they’ll vote for him as Speaker, yet he won’t sign a pledge to deliver a conservative budget in the next legislative session — assuming he doesn’t lose to Matt Beebe in the primary.

  • The Texas Women’s Health Program will be funded despite the cutoff of federal funds.

  • Project Veritas released the next chapter of their exposé on the potential for voter fraud in Washington, D.C.

  • The Air Force is telling its pilots to fly higher and slower to save money on fuel.

  • How to fix income inequality: Have the Federal Reserve loan each American household $10M interest-free. It would only cost $1,200 trillion, so it’s a steal.

  • A summary of the Austin Independent School District’s plans for next year’s budget: raise taxes, issue new bonds, pull money out of reserves to cover a 3% pay increase, and start a Spanish language radio show. Yes, it’s the epitome of fiscal responsibility.

  • Meanwhile the Austin City Council wants to insource janitor jobs so they can spend $4.1M over five years instead of $2.9M over the same period.