Happy Easter

Rabbit Stew

By Chef Robert Irvine

2006 Robert Irvine, All Rights Reserved

Prep Time:
20 min
Inactive Prep Time:

Cook Time:
2 hr 20 min

Level:
Intermediate

Serves:
6 servings

Ingredients

3 pounds rabbit, cut into stew sized pieces
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup celery, diced
2 cups diced carrots
2 onions, finely diced
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 bay leaves
6 cups water
4 cups red wine
4 medium-sized potatoes, diced
1/2 cup sliced sauteed mushrooms

Directions

Using half the flour (3/4 cup) coat the pieces of rabbit, shaking off any excess. Heat the oil and butter in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, and brown the floured rabbit on all sides. Add the celery, carrots, onions, salt, pepper, bay leaves, 6 cups water and red wine, and stew for about 2 hours. Add the potatoes 45 minutes into the stewing process. Once the rabbit and all the vegetables are cooked, use some water to form a paste with the remaining 3/4 cup flour. Stir the flour mixture into the pot as a thickener. Add the already sauteed mushrooms to the stew and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings, if necessary, and serve.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/cda/recipe_print/0,1946,FOOD_9936_35846_RECIPE-PRINT-FULL-PAGE-FORMATTER,00.html?oc=linkback

Cartoon of the Day

I Have a Nightmare

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A black lawmaker didn’t break any legislative rules when writing an email referring to a white

constituent’s ancestors as incestuous slave owners, the Alabama House leader said Tuesday.
Republican House Speaker Mike Hubbard of Auburn said Thursday that neither he nor most other legislators share the views that Democratic Rep. Joseph Mitchell of Mobile expressed in the email to a Jefferson County man. He said the response from most legislators was, “I can’t believe he would put out something like that.”

But Hubbard said Mitchell has free speech rights.

“There is nothing in our rules that prevents someone from sending an email that has his personal opinions in it,” Hubbard said.

Mitchell and many other members of the Legislature got an email from Eddie Maxwell of Jefferson County asking them not to pass gun control laws and saying that he would consider any legislation a violation of the state’s
constitution.

Mitchell sent back an email, referring to the man’s “slave-holding, murdering, adulterous, baby-raping, incestuous kin folk.”

That’s just “free speech”. Good thing he was a Liberal… 🙂

But if you say that marriage is between 1 man and 1 woman and that’s it, then man, you’re going to hell because you’re a massive bigot.

Isn’t The Politically Correct Left hilarious!

A pediatric neurosurgeon who has become the darling of conservatives since speaking against nationalized healthcare is now under fire for comments he made about same-sex marriage.

Dr. Benjamin Carson told MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” on Friday that he would be willing to step down as commencement speaker at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine after faculty and students signed petitions asking that he not speak.

The petitions began after Carson told Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity, “My thoughts are that marriage is between a man and a woman. It’s a well-established, fundamental pillar of society and no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality — it doesn’t matter what they are — they don’t get to change the definition.” One of the petitions, quoted by The Hill newspaper, reads: “We retain the highest respect for Dr. Carson’s achievements and value his right to publicly voice political views. Nevertheless, we feel that these expressed values are incongruous with the values of Johns Hopkins and deeply offensive to a large proportion of our student body.”

The Left can say the most outrageously offensive things and no one bats any eye but let a non-liberal say anything that isn’t politically correct and they are a racist, mysognist, homophobic bigot of the grandest order.

Orwell would be so proud.

The full text of Leftist: http://newsone.com/2312809/joseph-mitchell-eddie-maxwell-alabama/

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Alaska Rep. Don Young issued an apology Friday for using the term “wetbacks” when discussing migrant works, acknowledging it is an “insensitive term” that he says should have been left behind with the last century.

The apology came after House Speaker John Boehner and other Republican Party leaders denounced Young on Friday for using the term.

The 79-year-old Young, the second-most senior Republican in the House, had issued a statement late Thursday saying he “meant no disrespect” in using the derogatory term to describe the workers on his father’s farm in central California, where he grew up.

But lawmakers on both sides of the aisle made clear Friday they did not find the explanation acceptable.

One’s “free speech” the other is “offensive”. 🙂

Guess which one is which!

Now for the fun part.

I just happened to be out grocery shopping when I heard this one:

You know, ABC has a show in primetime called Wife Swap (aka polyamory).  They do.  They have a program called Wife Swap, and last night they swap a Tea Party activist with a polyamorous family.  I’m not kidding you. The Tea Partiers are painted as the Bible-thumping freaks, and the polyamorous family portrayed as the open-minded, full of love, and sympathetic bunch.  The wives are Gina Loudon, a San Diego Tea Party activist and a New York polyamorous wife, Angela Envy, and here is how the program opened.

ANNOUNCER: (dramatic music) Tonight on Wife Swap.  Two very different wives. (gunshot) A gun-toting Tea Party activist.

GINA LOUDON:  You can’t defend your rights, then you don’t have any rights.

The Tea Party activist is a fuddy-duddy, Bible-thumping, closed-minded bigot. The wife that’s in the polyamorous relationship is loooooving, open-miiiiinded (giggles), and loves both of her partners.

ANNOUNCER:  Meet Gina Loudon from San Diego, California. (Me:The Agents of the Devil himself! Don’t let the normalcy look fool you they are pure evil!!!!)

Did ABCs Wife Swap Really Make a Polyamorous Family Look More Reasonable & Loving Than a Tea Party Family?

GINA LOUDON:  You take Hitler. You take Mussolini. You take Pol Pot. They were all liberals.  Let’s not forget that.

ANNOUNCER:  Gina is a journalist, author, political pundit, and staunch supporter of the Tea Party movement.

GINA LOUDON:  Faith is the cornerstone of the Loudon family.

MR. LOUDON:  “He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the Lord.”

GINA LOUDON:  My family is grounded in God.  We are Christians.  We believe in Jesus Christ. (gunshot) I don’t think the government should regulate how many guns I own.  People are afraid of the guns, so they just want to throw ’em all away.

Now the Polyamorous “Couple”: (no Irony in their last name now is there?) 🙂

ANNOUNCER:  In New York is the nonpolitical and polyamorous Envy family.

(Non-political is good, kiddies… Everything is completely normal….)

Did ABCs Wife Swap Really Make a Polyamorous Family Look More Reasonable & Loving Than a Tea Party Family?

ANGELA ENVY:  Me and Chris have been married eight years now, and Ashley is our girlfriend.

ASHLEY:  Chris, Angela, and I have, like, a very passionate, loving relationship.  I’ve just become part of the whole family.

CHRIS ENVY:  I had no idea that it was gonna develop into an actual relationship, but I’m happy it did.

ANGELA ENVY:  Ashley fits into the family perfectly.

ASHLEY:  I was hanging out with them more as friends in the beginning and just turned into more.  I went from being a college girl to living in a house with four children.

ENVY:  The trio all live together with Chris and Angela’s children.

ANNOUNCER:  And a polyamorous wife who lives with her husband and their girlfriend.

Aww, aren’t they just the sweetest,cutest, cuddliest family ever! 🙂

Polyamory, the next big Liberal “Civil Rights” push. Well, when you have non morals anything goes.

And that’s good. At least you’re not a hard-nosed, insensitive bigoted, misogynist racist Right Wing Christian Tea Party BIGOT! 🙂

So can Polygamy, Child Marriage, and Bestiality be far behind???

After all, who are we to judge.

Unless you say something the Left doesn’t like that is….

Then you are the spawn of evil and must be struck down fast, hard and with no mercy for the wicked!!!!!

<<<maniacal laughter!!>>

Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson

Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez

Freedom of Choice

Political Cartoons by Nate Beeler

http://embraceeconomicfreedom.com/?p=673

The Mercatus Center at George Mason University has released their third biennial freedom index ranking, Freedom in the 50 States 2013. The economic freedom component of the index offers some valuable comparisons into the various tax, spending, and regulatory burdens imposed at the state level.

The overall freedom ranking is a combination of personal and economic freedoms.

Interesting: The Dakotas were #1 & #2.

Arizona: #11

New York: #50. And has been since 2001!!

California: #49  (never higher than #48 since 2001)

The two most Liberal states. Fascinating 🙂

California not only taxes and regulates its economy more than most other states, but also aggressively interferes in the personal lives of its citizens.

Government consumption (at 11.0 percent of personal income) and employment (at 12.8 percent of private-sector employment) are about average, but debt is high (at 25.8 percent of income).

New York is by far the least free state in the Union. It is therefore no surprise that New York residents have been heading for the exits: 9.0 percent of the state’s 2000 population, on net, left the state for another state between 2000 and 2011, the highest such figure in the nation.1

New York has, by a wide margin, the highest taxes in the country: 14.0 percent of income, three and a half standard deviations above the national mean. New York is also the most indebted state, setting its own record high in FY 2010 at 33.2 percent of income.

 

Americans are migrating from less-free liberal states to more-free conservative states, where they are doing better economically, according to a new study published Thursday by George Mason University’s Mercatus Center.

The “Freedom in the 50 States” study measured economic and personal freedom using a wide range of criteria, including tax rates, government spending and debt, regulatory burdens, and state laws covering land use, union organizing, gun control, education choice and more.

It found that the freest states tended to be conservative “red” states, while the least free were liberal “blue” states.

The freest state overall, the researchers concluded, was North Dakota, followed by South Dakota, Tennessee, New Hampshire and Oklahoma. The least free state by far was New York, followed by California, New Jersey, Hawaii and Rhode Island.

The study also compared its measures of economic and personal freedom to population shifts and income growth, and found that freer states tend to do better on both scores than those less free.

For example, it found a strong correlation between a state’s freedom ranking and migration, which means that Americans are gravitating toward states that have less-intrusive governments.

Escape From New York, L.A.

New York, for example, saw a net migration of -9.2% between 2000 and 2011, and California’s was -4.2%. In contrast, Tennessee gained 4.4%, and Oklahoma gained 1.3%.

An IBD analysis of the data found that “red” states — those voting for Republican presidential candidates in the past two elections — saw an overall net migration of 2.2%, while “blue” states saw an overall average net migration of -0.3%.

“People are voting for places with greater freedom,” said William Ruger, a political scientist at Texas State University and one of the co-authors of the study. That was true, he said, even after controlling for things like weather and amenities that might attract people to states independent of these freedom measures.

The study also found that states with more freedom tended to see stronger income growth. This was particularly true in states with more regulatory freedom.

“Adam Smith was right,” Ruger said. “If you have economic freedom, you will have economic growth.”

IBD has previously reported that red states saw stronger job growth, lower unemployment and bigger gains in per capita income than blue states during the economic recovery. For example, IBD found that in the first three years of the recovery, red states saw 1.9% job growth compared with 1.2% for blue states.

The Mercatus study also found that blue states have generally become less free over the past decade, while red states have tended to gain additional levels of freedom. The states with the biggest declines in freedom were Wyoming, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Kansas. Those with the biggest gains were Oklahoma, North Dakota, Idaho, Utah and New Mexico.

And contrary to conventional wisdom, the researchers found that conservative states are just as likely as liberal ones to score well on measures of personal freedom, which looked at laws covering marijuana use, gambling, marriage rights, alcohol and tobacco use, gun control, victimless crimes and the like.

“Personal freedom does not relate straightforwardly to the left-right spectrum at all,” the study noted.

The study’s findings also call into question claims made repeatedly by President Obama during last year’s campaign that tax cuts and deregulation won’t produce growth and prosperity.

“They tell us,” he said in one speech, that “if we just cut more regulations and cut more taxes — especially for the wealthy — our economy will grow stronger.”

“Here’s the problem,” he said. “It doesn’t work. It has never worked.”

But if anything, the data show precisely the opposite.

So the Democrats will make up the gaps with Illegal Alien Amnesty. 🙂
Political Cartoons by Chuck Asay

Political Cartoons by Michael Ramirez
Political Cartoons by Henry Payne
Or the Muslim Brotherhood.
Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel

Minimum Effort

Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts says the minimum wage should be $22 an hour. As is always the case, the urge to help will create more problems than it alleviates.

The usual response to such nonsense is that if government can make lives better by establishing a minimum wage of $X per hour, then why not double or even triple that rate? Why not make the minimum wage $50 per hour? Or $100?

This makes sense. The point is, government does not have the knowledge to decree wage levels.

Nor does it have the moral authority to force private companies to pay what it deems to be a proper wage — though lawmakers have ignored this for generations and employers have complied without resistance.

Proponents of raising the minimum wage historically ignore the downside of their plans. They seem to think that employers have unlimited funds and can pay whatever they, the supporters, think is fair.

But it doesn’t work that way. It can’t work that way. There are costs. Setting a minimum wage takes a toll.

While benefiting a few — those fortunate workers who gain from lawmakers’ generosity with someone else’s money — minimum wage laws hurt many more by reducing employment among low- and unskilled workers, the very people they’re supposed to help. Minimum wage is a tax on hiring from this sector of the workforce.

The scholarly literature supports the opponents’ position. University of California-Irvine economist David Neumark has looked at more than 100 academic studies that assessed the impact of lawmakers setting wages.

His conclusion: About 85% of the studies reported that there is indeed “a negative employment effect on low-skilled workers.”

Why is this group hit so hard? Economist Milton Friedman explained it clearly.

“What you are doing is to assure that people whose skills are not sufficient to justify that kind of wage will not be employed,” he said.

“Minimum wage law is most properly described as a law saying employers must discriminate against people who have low skills.”

During President Obama’s State of the Union speech, he called for an increase in the national minimum wage. His proposal was much less ambitious than Warren’s: He wants to move it to $9 an hour from the current $7.25.

If fact, in comparison, he looks like a miser.

But his plan still has problems. For one thing, it’s a 24% increase in the minimum wage, a big jump.

Think of it this way: A company’s bottom line allows it to employ 100 low-skilled workers at $7 an hour and it needs all 100 to run its business at peak efficiency.

But because the national minimum wage forces it to pay $7.25 an hour, it can employ only 96. If Obama’s proposal becomes law, it can afford only 77.

Some studies say that minimum wage laws don’t generally cause lost jobs. But one of those, “Effects of the Minimum Wage on Employment Dynamics,” out of Texas A&M University, says that even though minimum wage laws don’t toss workers off the payrolls in large numbers, they do depress job creation.

So let’s take that same company and say it wants to expand to 100 employees from its current 75 because its business is growing and it wants to maximize its opportunities.

Under Obama’s plan, that business can only hire 21 workers rather than the 25 it needs. Under Warren’s plan, it could add only two.

Those who fancy themselves as sophisticated thinkers might consider our examples too simple. And we admit little in life is as straightforward as the scenarios that we laid out.

Yet they make an inescapable point, one so clear that even lawmakers should be able to grasp it: Force the cost of anything to rise beyond its market-clearing price, and people will demand less of it. That’s not an opinion, but an iron rule of economics.(IBD)

But it “feels” so good. and “Social Justice” demands it. And besides, it’s good for Class Warfare and THE AGENDA…

Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

Laying Down The Law

claims

Insurance companies will have to pay out an average of 32 percent more for medical claims on individual health policies under President Barack Obama’s overhaul, the nation’s leading group of financial risk analysts has estimated.

That’s likely to increase premiums for at least some Americans buying individual plans.

The report by the Society of Actuaries could turn into a big headache for the Obama administration at a time when many parts of the country remain skeptical about the Affordable Care Act.

While some states will see medical claims costs per person decline, the report concluded the overwhelming majority will see double-digit increases in their individual health insurance markets, where people purchase coverage directly from insurers.

The disparities are striking. By 2017, the estimated increase would be 62 percent for California, about 80 percent for Ohio, more than 20 percent for Florida and 67 percent for Maryland. Much of the reason for the higher claims costs is that sicker people are expected to join the pool, the report said.

The report did not make similar estimates for employer plans, the mainstay for workers and their families. That’s because the primary impact of Obama’s law is on people who don’t have coverage through their jobs.

Like many poor people and the unemployed. The targets of ObamaCare. 🙂

And if you think, well I’m not one of those people so it won’t effect me…

WRONG!!

Insurance is a shared pool of risk. Everyone is in the pool and if Barack and Nancy are peeing in the pool you’ll get splashed with it.

Insurance companies uses the “Law of Large Numbers” and probability to determine the chance of an event occurring.  If the chance of someone having a car accident is one in one hundred, then insurance companies collect premiums from 100 people to pay the claim that one driver will incur. This is called “spreading the risk”. It is important for insurance companies to adequately gauge the hazards (items that increase the chance of loss) of a risk before insuring it.  If they don’t research and know a business or the habits of an individual and they guess wrong in predicting the chance of something happen the insurance company could lose money.  If they do this often enough then the company suffers.

Of course it is still up to chance but past experience is a good indicator of the future.

http://www.learninsurance.org/Content/LEARNING-INSURANCE/What-is-Insurance/Law-of-Large-Numbers.aspx

What you don’t understand will hurt you.

The purpose of insurance is to protect against loss. If there is no potential for a loss to occur or if there is potential for the person to profit or gain, insurance usually cannot be purchased.

It is not your personal bank and it is not a stock market and definitely NOT FREE MONEY!!! with no consequences.

While loss of property is certainly serious, an even greater potential for loss
exists when a person or family becomes legally obligated to someone else. The main difference between liability and property loss exposures, is that while the amount of a potential loss to property can rather easily be estimated prior to the loss, the amount of a claim for liability is not determined until after something has happened. Even then, it is difficult to predict what a judge or jury might determine a person must pay to another as compensation for damage or injuries.

Many people fail to recognize one of the most significant loss exposures they face—risk of losing their health and being unable to earn income. One of the biggest assets any person has is their potential earning capacity. If that potential is interrupted by ill health, disability, or death, there is a significant loss, not only to that person, but to others who are dependent upon them.

Property, liability, and human losses can be expensive. In addition to the financial impact, or direct loss, there may also be other costs that are not as obvious.

So now do you want the government bureaucrats involved in your Insurance? 🙂

At a White House briefing on Tuesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said some of what passes for health insurance today is so skimpy it can’t be compared to the comprehensive coverage available under the law. “Some of these folks have very high catastrophic plans that don’t pay for anything unless you get hit by a bus,” she said. “They’re really mortgage protection, not health insurance.”

See above. Do you think they understand? Do they understand risk management??

A prominent national expert, recently retired Medicare chief actuary Rick Foster, said the report does “a credible job” of estimating potential enrollment and costs under the law, “without trying to tilt the answers in any particular direction.”

Unlike 1-directional Liberals and progressives. 🙂

Kristi Bohn, an actuary who worked on the study, acknowledged it did not attempt to estimate the effect of subsidies, insurer competition and other factors that could mitigate cost increases. She said the goal was to look at the underlying cost of medical care.

“Claims cost is the most important driver of health care premiums,” she said.

The more claims, the more risk, the higher the premium. That’s NOT rocket science.

Oh, and those “subsidies” from government are what? SPENDING. So if the subsidies have to increase to hide the cost then the SPENDING will have to increase. And where does the spending come from?

Tax Payers! 🙂

Congratulations. You get to fun yet another self-bloating bureaucratic nightmare!

Aren’t you happy!!!!

Bohn said the study overall presents a mixed picture.

Millions of now-uninsured people will be covered as the market for directly purchased insurance more than doubles with the help of government subsidies. The study found that market will grow to more than 25 million people. But costs will rise because spending on sicker people and other high-cost groups will overwhelm an influx of younger, healthier people into the program.

Especially, when you are not allowed to manage your risks by Adverse Selection.

Some of the higher-cost cases will come from existing state high-risk insurance pools. Those people will now be able to get coverage in the individual insurance market, since insurance companies will no longer be able to turn them down. Other people will end up buying their own plans because their employers cancel coverage. While some of these individuals might save money for themselves, they will end up raising costs for others. (Yahoo)

But in a Me-Centered Universe isn’t that a win? 🙂

Go Me! It’s all about ME! ME ME! 🙂

Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson

Political Cartoons by Glenn Foden

Political Cartoons by Ken Catalino
Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel

The Path

Political Cartoons by Gary Varvel

Facing a billion-dollar budget shortfall, the Chicago Public Schools’ plan to close 54 schools, mostly in black and low-income neighborhoods, forces many students to cross gang boundaries to get a mediocre education.

Shuffling children around like so many deck chairs on a sinking ship, the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced the closings as a cost-cutting move, with CPS officials arguing that money being spent to keep underutilized schools open could be better used to educate students elsewhere as the district deals with a $1 billion budget deficit.

About 30,000 students will be affected by the plan, with about half that number moving into the remaining schools. CPS claimed the plan could “save the district $560 million over 10 years in capital costs and an additional $43 million per year in operating costs.”

That’s about 100 million a year. The debt is a billion a year. Fascinating liberal math as always…

Yet the suddenly cost-conscious CPS caved to the Chicago Teachers Union’s demands in a recent strike.

John Tillman of the Illinois Policy Institute notes Chicago’s unemployment rate is just under 11% and that the average Chicagoan makes just $30,203 compared to the average teacher’s salary of $71,000, even before benefits are included.

So your average teacher makes MORE THAN twice what the average worker makes. Gee, are they “the rich”? 🙂

And unlike parents who go to work each day to be judged on their productivity fearing each day might be their last, dismissing a bad teacher is harder than spinning straw into gold.

The Associated Press notes, “many of the schools identified for closure are in high-crime areas where gang violence contributed to a marked increase in Chicago’s homicide rate last year.” These schools are in “overwhelmingly black and in low-income neighborhoods.”

Wait a minute. Weren’t cold-hearted budget-cutting Republicans supposed to be the mortal enemies of the poor, minorities and children? How could this be happening in the heart of liberal progressivism, President Obama’s hometown run by his former White House chief of staff, Mayor Rahm Emanuel?

This is not the hope and change we were promised, lament local residents, who say the planned closings smack of racism. “I don’t see any Caucasians being moved, bussed or murdered in the streets as they travel along gang lines, or stand on the steps of a CPS school,” said activist Wendy Matil Pearson as opponents of the school closing plans protested outside a school in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood.

Such complaints and concerns are well-founded.

Recently Janay McFarlane, 18, was killed just hours after her younger sister was among a group of teens who were onstage as President Barack Obama gave a speech in Chicago on gun violence. Destini McFarlane, 14, sat just feet away as the president spoke of a similar murder of Hadiya Pendleton.

Chicago’s murder rate of 15.65 per 100,000 people looks nothing like the American 4.2, the Midwest’s 4.5 or Illinois’ 5.6 murder rates, despite the strictest gun regulations in the country. Up to 80% of Chicago’s murders and shootings are gang-related, according to police. By one estimate, the city has 68,000 gang members, four times the number of cops.

Yet Mayor Emanuel preaches even stricter gun control over gang control, including “universal” background checks to which Chicago gangs won’t submit. He opposes Illinois’ imminent concealed carry law, which would allow Chicago parents to protect themselves and their children from such thugs.

Emanuel also opposes genuine school choice even while saying he doesn’t want Chicago kids trapped in failing and dangerous schools.

He opposes giving parents a voucher allowing their children to escape such schools and the gang violence that often surrounds them.

Such are the fruits of liberal progressivism in Chicago.

Budgets are balanced on the backs of poor and minority children in a town in which gangs run rampant while its mayor puts the blame on inanimate objects called guns. Some in Chicago are calling it racism.

Or how about incompetence,greed, and political failure. All the hallmarks of a liberal 🙂
Michael Ramirez Cartoon
Immigration reform depends on a secure border. Nearly every lawmaker pushing reform, and certainly every Republican, stresses that the border must be proved secure before millions of currently illegal immigrants can be placed on a path to citizenship.But how do you measure border security? For years, the government estimated the number of miles of the border that were under “operational control” and came up with various ways to define what that meant.

Then the Department of Homeland Security threw out the concept of operational control, which Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano called “archaic.” The administration promised to create something called the Border Condition Index, or BCI, which would be a “holistic” (and a far better) measure of border security.

Time passed, with no BCI. “Nearly three years later, the department has not produced this measure, so at this hearing, we will be asking for a status of the BCI, what measures it will take into account and when it might be ready,” subcommittee Chairwoman Rep. Candice Miller, a Republican, said before Wednesday’s testimony. Getting BCI up and running is particularly important now, Miller added, because comprehensive immigration reform cannot happen without a reliable way to assess border security.

So imagine everyone’s surprise when Mark Borkowski, a top Homeland Security technology official, told Miller that not only was BCI not ready, but that it won’t measure border security and was never meant to.

“I don’t believe that we intend, at least at this point, that the BCI would be a tool for the measurement that you’re suggesting,” Borkowski told Miller. “The BCI is part of a set of information that advises us on where we are and, most importantly, what the trends are … It is not our intent, at least not immediately, that it would be the measure you are talking about.”

Miller appeared stunned and practically begged Borkowski, along with two other Homeland Security officials who were testifying, to tell her what she wanted to hear. “I’m just trying to let this all digest” she said. “We’re sort of sitting here, as a Congress … At what point will you be able to give us something?”

She never got an answer.

Even Democrats who oppose tying immigration reform to border security realized they were being played. “I would say to the department, you’ve got to get in the game,” said a frustrated-sounding Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee. “At some point, we’re going to have to have DHS work with us more concretely about the confidence of the security of the border.”

Rep. Ron Barber, the Democrat who replaced Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona, noted, “The Border Patrol rolled out last May a new strategy that didn’t have goals, didn’t have metrics, didn’t have a process for evaluation”. That’s not really a plan, is it?

Miller, the chairwoman, reminded the officials that the Department of Homeland Security could end up being the “stumbling block” to immigration reform. But the hearing ended with no hint that any answers might come soon.

A related issue: As reform supporters often point out, a large number of illegal immigrants — more than 40 percent — did not cross the border illegally. Rather, they came legally, with a visa, and then never left. Members of the Senate “Gang of Eight” are promising tough new measures to deal with so-called visa overstays.

But like the case of border security, Congress has passed law after law, going back to 1996, requiring the executive branch to crack down on overstays. The promised enforcement has never happened.

Among the measures: The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996; the Immigration and Naturalization Service Data Management Improvement Act of 2000; the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001; the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002; and the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. All directed the executive branch to stop visa overstays, but the problem remains.

A look at the recent House hearing, as well as at the long-standing overstay problem, highlights a major obstacle to comprehensive immigration reform. The executive branch has the authority to enforce border and visa security. But these days, it appears the executive branch, particularly the Department of Homeland Security, doesn’t want to do the job.

Why would passing a new comprehensive immigration reform measure change that? (Townhall)

It won’t. But THE AGENDA IS THE AGENDA and the Agenda says they must do have Amnesty for all those new Democrats.

ALSO…

Fifteen members of Congress have written a letter to the Department of Homeland Security demanding to know why the federal agency is buying so many rounds of ammunition. We’d like to know too.

A good portion of the 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition are being purchased by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal government’s second-largest criminal investigative agency. Yes that’s the same ICE that is releasing detained criminal illegal aliens onto our streets because of sequestration cuts.

Jonathan Lasher, the Social Security Administration’s assistant inspector general for external relations, explained the purchase of 174,000 hollow-point bullets by saying they were for the Social Security inspector general’s office, which has about 295 agents who investigate Social Security fraud and other crimes.

When they say they’re cracking down on waste, fraud and abuse, they apparently mean it.

However, as former Marine Richard Mason told reporters with WHPTV News in Pennsylvania recently, hollow-point bullets (which make up the majority of the DHS purchases) are not used for training because they are more expensive than standard firing range rounds .

“We never trained with hollow points, we didn’t even see hollow points my entire 4-1/2 years in the Marine Corps,” Mason said.

LaMalfa offers one theory that’s less sinister than some: The federal government is simply trying to corner the market on ammo and restrict what’s available to the American people as part of its gun control efforts.

“The extraordinary level of ammunition purchases made by Homeland Security seems to have, in states such as my own, created an extreme shortage of ammunition to the point where many gun owners are unable to purchase any,” LaMalfa wrote in the letter.

While lower-level officials talk to the press, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano apparently doesn’t want to tell Congress herself the reasons for these purchases.

“They have no answer for that question. They refuse answer that,” Congressman Timothy Huelskamp (R-Kan.) told reporters recently, adding, “They refuse to let us know what is going on, so I don’t really have an answer for that. Multiple members of Congress are asking those questions.”

Homeland Security has acquired a number of Mine Resistant Armored Protection (MRAP) vehicles which have been retrofitted for possible service on the streets of the U.S. They were formerly used for counterinsurgency in Iraq. These vehicles are specifically designed to resist mines and ambush attacks.

As we noted in a recent editorial, DHS is also seeking to acquire 7,000 5.56-by-45-millimeter NATO “personal defense weapons” — also known as “assault weapons” when owned by civilians.

If there are plausible explanations for all this, some congressmen would like to hear them.

Maybe DHS can answer Congress’ questions in a series of bullet points. (IBD)

🙂

Or maybe their Mexican Drug Cartel buddies will know…
Political Cartoons by Glenn Foden
Political Cartoons by Henry Payne
Political Cartoons by Ken Catalino

Political Cartoons by Bob Gorrell

More Fun By Liberals

The UK:

TEACHERS are banning schoolkids from having best pals — so they don’t get upset by fall-outs.

Instead, the primary pupils are being encouraged to play in large groups.

Educational psychologist Gaynor Sbuttoni said the policy has been used at schools in Kingston, South West London, and Surrey.

She added: “I have noticed that teachers tell children they shouldn’t have a best friend and that everyone should play together.

“They are doing it because they want to save the child the pain of splitting up from their best friend. But it is natural for some children to want a best friend. If they break up, they have to feel the pain because they’re learning to deal with it.”

Russell Hobby, of the National Association of Head Teachers, confirmed some schools were adopting best-friend bans.

He said: “I don’t think it is widespread but it is clearly happening. It seems bizarre.

“I don’t see how you can stop people from forming close friendships. We make and lose friends throughout our lives.” The Campaign for Real Education, which wants more parental choice in state education, said the “ridiculous” policy was robbing children of their childhood.

Spokesman Chris McGovern added: “Children take things very seriously and if you tell them they can’t have a best friend it can be seriously damaging to them. They need to learn about relationships.” (The Sun)

But the only relationship they are supposed to have is a Love for The State, isn’t it? 🙂

Children have made and lost friends for at least as long as children have had leisure time to play with one another — and probably before that. Those who learn to cope with imperfect friendships early in life are better equipped to handle the imperfect friendships that inevitably come later. (Besides, what friendship is perfect?) Does that mean I wish for every child to experience a falling out with a friend? Not necessarily — but it should be noted that fights often bring friends closer together in the end. Also, a life artificially sanitized of all friend-related disappointment sounds a little, well, artificially sanitized. And who wants that? (hot air)

Individualism must die. Long live the Collective!!

You don’t need any friends other than The State!!!  Now do you… 🙂

Wait!  It gets better….

In the aftermath of the Newtown tragedy, schools across America are tightening security, putting up fences, installing video surveillance equipment and hiring security guards  (and the liberals are doing what they do best– hysterically over-react). The horrific shooting has created an overwhelming uneasiness at schools and some districts, like one in southern Maryland, are looking beyond basic security to make sure they’re doing everything possible to protect their students from harm.

Administrators at St. Mary’s County School District have introduced a long list of new policies meant to create a safer environment for students at its 17 public elementary schools. Many of these rules, such as background checks for non-parent volunteers, are standard and make sense—but one of them, a restriction on hugging, has some people wondering if the district’s staff and community are taking things too far?

Yes, horrible things happen in the world and many people are untrustworthy, but is it so bad that we can no longer allow hugs at school?  Don’t kids need more, not fewer, hugs?

St. Mary’s new policy allows parents to hug their own children but parents and volunteers are forbidden from hugging or touching children who aren’t their own. A parent who is attending lunch recess can’t push a kid who isn’t her own in a swing or help a kid who scraped her knee put on a Band-Aid. If you’re a parent who volunteers at your kids’ elementary school, you know this could be tough, especially when that weepy kindergarten runs up to you and gives you a huge hug because someone just swiped her lunch bag in the cafeteria. But rules are rules, and at St. Mary’s schools you’d have to tell that little girl to step away.

So no chance for a BFF at all because you aren’t allowed to touch another human being!

You touch me and you’re in BIG Trouble! 🙂

“The fact is that we want to make certain our teachers and our staff are trained in what’s defined as the appropriate touching of a student versus inappropriate touch of a student,” Superintendent Michael Martirano told NBC News.

Mind you this is really is not all THAT new. Back when I was in Education in the early 90’s this discussion/warning about touching a child at any point that could end your career in seconds. Taking a child to the bathroom had to have practically a lawyer, legal witness and a Document signed in triplicate.

It’s no wonder discipline in schools has gone to hell.

The majority of the guidelines are meant to put restrictions around visiting parents and volunteers. Parents are prohibited from bringing younger siblings into school when it’s in session and from approaching teachers for a conference while visiting, according to the SoMdNews.com. District staff wants parents to schedule conferences ahead of time.

So if you’re mad at a teacher, Make an appointment so they can dodge it.

Parents who want to attend recess aren’t allowed to play with students other than their own. All school visitors are now required to check in at the front office and have their picture taken by a computer camera. Any volunteer who isn’t a parent must have a background check.

Homemade treats are forbidden because many kids have allergies and parents can now only serve store-bought goodies with clear ingredient lists to students other than their own. Birthday invites can’t be passed out at schools because those students who aren’t invited to a party might feel left out.

“We think it’s the right balance between safety and parental involvement,” Kelly Hall, executive director of elementary schools and Title I, told SoMdNews.com.

We have the right level of hysterical over-reaction.

Most teachers encourage their students to only pass out invitations in class if everyone in the room is invited. And many schools have restrictions around treats brought in from the outside due to the increasing number of kids with allergies.

Because excluding people is bad. 🙂

We are all one. We should all be one. And if you can’t include everyone, don’t do it!

The Collective must be maintained!

Michele Zip over at Cafe Mom wisely points out, “…a hugging ban isn’t going to prevent someone from doing something sinister … if that’s what this is about. Evil doesn’t follow rules.” (SFGate)

Especially silly Liberal ones.

And for the Coup de grace for today…

A Texas mom is furious after discovering that her son’s school is teaching students that the United States is partly to blame for the 9/11 terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people.

Kara Sands, of Corpus Christi, Texas, took to her Facebook and posted photos of the test administered by Flour Bluff Intermediate School. The test reportedly covered content in a video fifth-grade students watched in class.

Of all the questions about the 9/11 attacks, Sands was most disturbed by question three:

“Why might the United States be a target for terrorism?” The answer? “Decisions we made in the United States have had negative effects on people elsewhere.”

Unsurprisingly, the stunningly controversial lesson plan is part of the CSCOPE curriculum system that has come under fire recently. The same system includes lessons asking students to design a flag for a “new socialist nation” and dubs the Boston Tea Party as an “act of terrorism.”

“I’m not going to justify radical terrorists by saying we did anything to deserve that — over 3,000 people died,” Sands told KRIS-TV.

The irate mother immediately contacted her son’s principal and teacher and set up meetings with them. The school then reached out to the video’s distributor, Safari Montage.

“Representatives say they stand behind the video, but have already changed the corresponding quiz that may have caused confusion,” according to the report.

Another worksheet on the Bill of Rights apparently names food and medicine as “rights,” not a personal responsibility, according to Sands. She said her son’s answer was falsely marked wrong because he labeled food and medicine as the latter.

As a Texas parent, Sands said she is very concerned about what CSCOPE is teaching children. But the Flour Bluff Independent School District released a statement defending the use of CSCOPE.

Several parents are reportedly planning to bring the issue up during the next school board meeting on March 28 and Sands is encouraging more parents to get involved.

“When I teach my children that you have to work hard and you have to earn a living and they go to school and learn something different I absolutely take issue with that,” she added.

“When I teach my children that you have to work hard and you have to earn a living and they go to school and learn something different I absolutely take issue with that,” she added. (The Blaze)
Addendum: Since reporting the Maryland  story, the district has issued a statement softening their new guidelines. In a letter to parents, Superintendent of Schools Michael Marirano writes that “local, Washington and Baltimore, national, online media and social networks” have sensationalized the new policies and “St. Mary’s County Public Schools is not banning hugging and homemade treats.” “However,” he adds, “we are raising the awareness of safety issues and the need to provide more guidance and training to our parents and volunteers.”Geez, don’t over-react to our over-reactions!!

Because it wasn’t Maryland wasn’t the same state where a nine-year-old was suspended because his half eaten pop-tart was shaped like a gun.  OMG!!!! 🙂

In case you needed more arguments for homeschooling, there you have it.

You’re welcome. 🙂