Lyons: Want Inferior Schools and Higher Taxes?

Patrick Lyons
It is puzzling why former Commissioner of Public Lands Ray Powell continues to launch his baseless attacks on my team and me and accuse us of bad policy and poor management. My policies can’t be that bad, because over the last eight years they have generated $4 billion for public education – more than double what he collected during his 10 years as commissioner of public lands. Furthermore, I am the only elected official in the state’s executive branch who has submitted a flat budget every year for eight years. I also reverted $6 million in unspent budgeted monies, and I reduced the number of full-time employees. Read more here:

Reagan: Who Does the Money Belong to?

In his recent town-hall appearance, President Obama sought to pin the blame for the nation's economic troubles on the so-called Bush tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003. That's not all that surprising, since the president appears to believe that the federal government is the sole and rightful owner of what you think is your money. He says it isn't your money. He is convinced that it's his. Thus you can expect him to oppose any measures that would allow you to hang onto the lion's share of the money you earn or receive from investments. The Bush tax cuts will die of inaction at the end of 2010 if they are not extended. Mr. Obama doesn't want them extended. After all, the tax cuts were designed to allow you to keep a lot of the money you earn while limiting how much of your income the government can confiscate. They cut taxes across the board for earned income, long-term capital gains and dividends. Among other changes, they expanded the child tax credit and put into effect a host of other tax code changes and adjustments, deductions, exemptions, and mitigated the so-called marriage penalty. Read more here:

Joe the Plumber - Meet Velma the C.F.O.

Velma Hart
From Townhall by Morris and McGann - The MSNBC cameras unwittingly -- and probably unwillingly -- captured a Joe the Plumber moment during Monday's town hall meeting called by President Obama to discuss the economy. Expressing the frustration of tens of millions of Americans on a day during which the economists called the recession over, Velma Hart, a self-described CFO, wife, mother and veteran, expressed her "deep disappointment" with Obama's economic record to his face. "I've been told that I voted for a man who said he's going to change things in a meaningful way for the middle class. I'm one of those people, and I'm waiting sir. ... I'm waiting, but I don't feel it yet." Calling herself "exhausted" by the rigors of the task of defending Obama and his administration, she lamented that she and her husband had thought that the "franks and beans" era in their lives had drawn to a close but said that she hears it "knocking" at the door to return. She concluded with a heart-rending question to President Obama, asking if anxiety is to be her "new reality." Wow. Read more here:

Dissecting Progressive Viewpoints Part III

Osama bin Laden
Sunday we began our review of a "progressive" column in the Sun-News on September 18th by Bill Varuola. You can read his column by clicking here: The incoherency of the Varuola piece, particularly within the contest of what "troubled" him seemed to go on and on. He wrote, “The fact that we are being set up as a Christian state in opposition to Islamic states, in replication of the Crusades, is troubling as well.” Being set up as a Christian state in replication of the Crusades? These comments are preposterous. Since we know Varuola is literate we suggest a thorough reading of Princeton University professor Bernard Lewis’s book “What Went Wrong,” as well as a prolonged pass through the bi-partisan 9-11 Commission Report. There will be a pop quiz on radical Islam in a week.
Finally and mercifully Varuola moved on to the subject of education just in time to offer some valuable common sense. Unfortunately, from a philosophical standpoint the astute observations he made on education were contradictory and inconsistent with everything else he had to say. “We don't know what we want them to do for certain but we won't be satisfied until they do it and do it well,” he accuses. This sounds like a shot at the atrocious No Child Left Behind calamity that we have panned so often. For Varuola it was as if suddenly he understood the wisdom of rewarding talent and achievement as well as the folly of further empowering government when he said, “At no point does anyone recognize native ability or free will as factors in the equation. The scores must rise.”  
We agree with these observations and think the principles are universal. The real story is just how philosophically conflicted Varuola and many other "progressives are. In his editorial piece he was impervious to the simple justice involved in allowing people to keep most of what they earn. But when the discussion shifted to education, he seemed to find great injustice with the same oppressive and intrusive government dominating the decision-making in his own professional domain. No wonder Bill his troubled. It must be terribly frustrating to live in such a huge philosophical glass house. Government leaves no stones unturned and the damage done does not end within the realm of frustrated teachers. We are all taking our licks.


Lincoln County Approves Tax Hike

Pepper's Pride 19th Win
The majority of voters throughout Lincoln County in New Mexico sided with Ruidoso Downs Race Track on Tuesday as they approved a slight sales tax increase that will help keep the racetrack in Ruidoso. The referendum to raise the business retention gross receipts tax in Lincoln County by three-sixteenths of 1 percent passed by 420 votes, according to the Lincoln County clerk's office. Those voting in favor of the tax increase totaled 3,719, while those opposed cast 3,299 votes against the higher tax. Tom Battin, chairman of the Lincoln County Commission, was happy to see the measure pass. He did not want to see the racetrack leave Ruidoso. "This protects the future of our economy and our tourist industry," Battin said Tuesday night in a telephone interview. Read more here:

Iranian President Tosses Threats Around at U.N.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threatened a war with “no boundaries” if Western powers attack potential Iranian nuclear sites, ABC News reports. While in New York for a meeting of the UN General Assembly, the Iranian president again said his country would soon become a nuclear power, adding that the US and Israel would have to accept that. Asked by reporters about the possibility of an Israeli-US air strike on Iranian facilities, Ahmadinejad said it would be considered an act of war: “War is not just bombs.” His most inflammatory comments, predictably, came on the subject of the Holocaust, which he stopped short of denying but called a “a historical event used to create a pretext for war.” Read more here:

Summers to Join Romer and Orzag as EX-advisors

Lawrence Summers
It wasn't exactly a shocker. Lawrence Summers, a key architect of President Obama's economic policies and a former secretary of the Treasury, announced today that he will leave his position as director of the president's National Economic Council by the end of the year and return to Harvard University, where he had a controversial reign as president. Here's what's important: The departure is almost certain to mean that the NEC will be headed by a less cantankerous figure -- one who'll serve as an honest broker between competing advisers. Summers is widely considered a brilliant economist, but he is anything but disinterested. His departure, coming so soon after the replacement of Christina Romer as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, guarantees that the president will head into the second half of his term with a very different economic team than the one that designed his current policies. Only Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner remains in place from the original top advisers. Read more here:

Life and Death on the Streets of Juarez

From the San Antonio Express - In Ciudad Juárez, the most dangerous and sinister city of the Western Hemisphere, the Plaza de Armas is one of the few public spots where ordinary people still congregate. The tiny park sits below the cathedral, eight blocks from the international bridge. It is an oasis of calm, community and shade trees in a city where more than 2,000 people have been killed by drug violence this year. When San Antonio Express-News photographer Jerry Lara and I visited the plaza about noon Sept. 16, Mexico's Independence Day, it was brimming with human life, from old vaqueros in white straw hats to young lovers entangled on the benches. A street photographer, with a white plastic horse as a prop, waited patiently for customers. In the gazebo, an amplified preacher belted out an off-key hymn of salvation, while shoeshine men and taco vendors plied their trades. Under a bright blue sky, a life-size bronze statute of Tin Tan, a native-son actor, sat grinning on a fountain's edge, a big cigar in hand. This was my third visit to Juárez in the past year. It's a creepy place on a good day. Here, it is impossible to evaluate risk, as the normal laws of human conduct do not apply. As Lara worked, I stayed close by, watching for camera snatchers. Read more here:

No Miranda Warnings Here

JUAREZ -- In a rural Chihuahua town of about 10,000 people, dozens of residents fed up with kidnappings took justice into their own hands Tuesday. About 300 people of Ascensión beat to death two 17-year-old boys who allegedly had kidnapped a 17-year-old girl Tuesday, said Carlos González, spokes man for the Chihuahua state attorney general. Federal police were sent to the area to respond to the incident and to calm the angry mob. The disorderly crowd protested kidnappings that take place in areas where wealthy farmers live. It all started Tuesday morning, when six or seven men abducted the girl from an Ascensión restaurant. Ascensión is a farming town 120 miles southwest of Juárez. Read more here:

Carlson - Feeling Your Pain

Margaret Carlson
We don’t get many do-overs in life. President Barack Obama got one on Monday, a chance to correct the impression that he can’t identify with Joe and Josephine Six Pack except when telling them to eat their spinach and not be upset that the bankers who got us into this mess are dining on caviar. His opening came in the form of a long, compelling question from Velma Hart at a town hall meeting at the Newseum in Washington. As an exemplar of the middle class, sitting at the kitchen table at the end of the month asking why it’s going so wrong, you couldn’t do better than Hart. You just know she plays by the rules, wakes early to get to her job as chief financial officer of the veterans’ group Amvets, and raced to the polls in November 2008 to vote for Obama. Velma told the president that she’s “exhausted of defending you,” “deeply disappointed with where we are right now,” and waiting for him finally “to change things in a meaningful way for the middle class.” Read more here:

Recession Over? Somebody Tell the Fed

FRB Chair Ben Bernanke
The Federal Reserve moved closer to a second wave of unconventional monetary easing and said for the first time that too-low inflation, in addition to sluggish growth, would warrant taking action. The Federal Open Market Committee’s statement yesterday that inflation is “somewhat below” levels consistent with its congressional mandate for stable prices pushed yields on two- year Treasuries to a record low. The language evoked FOMC warnings in 2003 of the risk of inflation “becoming undesirably low” that justified the era’s low-rate policy. Read more here:

Williams - Public Housing Scandals

Walter Williams
"Philadelphia Scandal Underscores Pitiful State of Public Housing Oversight," read Jonathan Berr's Aug. 28 report in the Daily Finance. It was a story about Carl Greene, the embattled director of the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA). He was put on paid leave while the board investigates charges that he settled four sexual harassment claims against him without notifying the PHA, doled out work to politically connected law firms and pressured employees to donate to his favorite nonprofit. Greene is also being investigated by the U.S. Attorney General Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and HUD's Office of Inspector General. They have yet to bring criminal charges against him. People always act surprised by revelations of political corruption but the Philadelphia Housing Authority corruption is highly probably in nonprofit entities such as government. Because of ignorance and demagoguery, being profit-motivated has become suspicious and possibly a dirty word. Nonprofit is seen as more righteous. Very often, people pompously stand before us and declare, "We're a nonprofit organization." They expect for us to believe that since they're not in it for money, they are somehow above self-interest and have the public interest as their motivation. There's little much further from the truth. Read more here: