Obama Picks Gas Tax For First Round of Fiscal Fight

“Today, POTUS will call for extension of the transportation bill which expires 9/30. If not extended, nearly a million will be out of work. Normally, we wouldnt have to worry about this, but the FAA debacle shows we cant assume people wont use it as a chance to drive their agenda”

— Tweet from White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer

President Obama wants Congress to quickly pass an unconditioned extension of the federal gasoline tax, which is set to expire at the end of the government’s fiscal year on Sept. 30.

The federal gas tax has been 18.4 cents per gallon since 1993 and generates more than $32 billion a year that is then mostly passed out to states for road construction and repair. About 15 percent goes to other federal efforts, like subsidizing public transportation or other efforts to discourage driving. The average American motorist pays about $100 a year in the federal tax.

Conservatives in Congress want to cut out the federal middleman and allow states to raise and spend their own road money. Not only would letting states collect the taxes directly reduce the money spent on federal behavioral engineering efforts (bike paths etc.), but would also allow states to avoid federal laws that require union workers be used on highway projects.

House Republicans already made a big change to the way highway dollars are allocated. Before the 2010 “shellacking” the Highway Trust Fund was a slushy spot. Influential appropriators worked hard to get the first spade full of dirt turned over on decades-long projects in their districts because they knew that they could, in essence, obligate the federal government. Then when bills came due, the Trust Fund would have to get a bailout from general revenues in order to complete already authorized projects.

Under the new Boehner rules, big projects have to be accounted for. Start a $10 billion project, budget $10 billion.

Read more here.

CA bill would require parents pay workers comp to babysitters

This is asinine – and about to become the law in the state of California:

Assembly Bill 889 (authored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, will require these protections for all “domestic employees,” including nannies, housekeepers and caregivers.

The bill has already passed the Assembly and is quickly moving through the Senate with blanket support from the Democrat members that control both houses of the Legislature – and without the support of a single Republican member. Assuming the bill will easily clear its last couple of legislative hurdles, AB 889 will soon be on its way to the Governor’s desk.

Under AB 889, household “employers” (aka “parents”) who hire a babysitter on a Friday night will be legally obligated to pay at least minimum wage to any sitter over the age of 18 (unless it is a family member), provide a substitute caregiver every two hours to cover rest and meal breaks, in addition to workers’ compensation coverage, overtime pay, and a meticulously calculated timecard/paycheck.

Failure to abide by any of these provisions may result in a legal cause of action against the employer including cumulative penalties, attorneys’ fees, legal costs and expenses associated with hiring expert witnesses, an unprecedented measure of legal recourse provided no other class of workers – from agricultural laborers to garment manufacturers. (On the bright side, language requiring an hour of paid vacation time for every 30 hours worked was amended out of the bill in the Senate.)

The Feds have already cracked down on evil garage sales. Municipalities have outlawed lemonade stands. And now, we can imagine empowering that 18 year old girl who babysits your kids to sue you if you don’t pay minimum wage, overtime, or vacation.

The never ending stupidity of government at every level never ceases to amaze us.

Is the TEA Party electoral poison?

Well, to answer the question, Rasmussen conducted a poll which stated 43 percent now see the TEA Party label as a negative. Of course they do, since the media constantly portrays the TEA Party as part of the problem and not part of the solution. I think the number around here who would agree with the 43% is only about half of that.

But the labeling trend is definitely not in the favor of those who believe in smaller, more limited government as independents dislike the TEA Party label by a 42-25 margin. Generally they are the ones who fall in the middle politically and supposedly it’s the great unwashed whose votes pile up on election day.

So here’s my message to the 43 percent: if you don’t buy the TEA Party and its message of limited government it’s only because you believe the lies told about the TEA Party by those who have a vested interest in keeping things just the way they are!

Do you want to know the way it is? We spend way too much money in government, and it’s money we create out of thin air. The question now isn’t if we’re heading into an inflationary era, but when and how much. It’s sort of like our experience with Hurricane Irene – some got a little wind, some got a little rain, but most had some sort of damage done to their towns and dwellings. All that differed was the degree.

So follow the money. If you didn’t get a raise last year or – worse – lost your job, well, what has the current big-spending government done for you? Maybe you’re getting some sort of transfer payment like unemployment benefits or food stamps but wouldn’t you really rather have the standard of living of being a productive full-time worker returned to you? As it stands you have less but government has more because they set the rules and print the money! Let my people go!

Read more here.

‘Honor Killing’: Libyan Father Allegedly Slits Daughters’ Throats After They Were Raped By Gadhafi Forces

In what seems like an unimaginable tale, a Libyan father allegedly slit his three teenage daughters‘ throats after he found out that they were raped by Gaddafi’s troops during the siege of the port city of Misrata. The Daily Mail has more:

The father is said to have carried out the ‘honour killings’ because of his humiliation and shame at the rape of the sisters – aged 15, 17 and 18 – in Tomina, on the outskirts of Misrata. The victims were not named.

This “honor killing” is documented in a report by a Boston-based group called Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). Sadly, this is just one of the horrific stories to emerge after PHR sent team members to Misrata back in June. Researchers interviewed 54 residents, then followed the discussions up with the report. Through its text, readers are exposed to stories about Libyan war crimes and violence. According to Bloomberg, the report reads:

“The rule of law must be the bedrock of a new and free Libya,” the group said in the report released today. The rebels’ National Transitional Council “must ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice and held accountable.”

In addition to this story, PHR found that civilians were forced to act as human shields, children were hoisted onto tanks, and rape was widely and tragically used as a war weapon. A local school was purportedly turned into a prison of sorts where women were frequently raped.

Read more here.

Bullying Law Puts New Jersey Schools on Spot, more crybabies to come

Under a new state law in New Jersey, lunch-line bullies in the East Hanover schools can be reported to the police by their classmates this fall through anonymous tips to the Crimestoppers hot line.

Cindy Herrick, speaking at the high school as part of the Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying Prevention Training Program.

In Elizabeth, children, including kindergartners, will spend six class periods learning, among other things, the difference between telling and tattling.

And at North Hunterdon High School, students will be told that there is no such thing as an innocent bystander when it comes to bullying: if they see it, they have a responsibility to try to stop it.

But while many parents and educators welcome the efforts to curb bullying both on campus and online, some superintendents and school board members across New Jersey say the new law, which takes effect Sept. 1, reaches much too far, and complain that they have been given no additional resources to meet its mandates.

The law, known as the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, is considered the toughest legislation against bullying in the nation. Propelled by public outcry over the suicide of a Rutgers University freshman, Tyler Clementi, nearly a year ago, it demands that all public schools adopt comprehensive antibullying policies (there are 18 pages of “required components”), increase staff training and adhere to tight deadlines for reporting episodes.

Each school must designate an antibullying specialist to investigate complaints; each district must, in turn, have an antibullying coordinator; and the State Education Department will evaluate every effort, posting grades on its Web site. Superintendents said that educators who failed to comply could lose their licenses.

Read more here.

Reading Between the Lines: Cowardly Muslims Find 9/11 Coloring Book Offensive

Muslim-American groups are red with frustration over a 36-page “graphic novel” recently released by Really Big Coloring Books Inc. of St. Louis. The coloring book, “We Shall Never Forget 9/11: The Kids’ Book of Freedom,” reportedly depicts colorable scenes from 9/11 to the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Kids can color in the twin towers, Navy SEALS, and former president George W. Bush among others in a 12-hour narrative, rated “PG,” saying children 10 and younger probably should use it with a parent or teacher at their side.

Amina Sharif of the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations told the Chicago Tribune that the book depicts the events of 9/11 in a “slanted” manner, failing to distinguish the attackers as extremist radicals:

“It’s hateful, inflammatory and completely inappropriate for children or anyone for that matter,” Sharif said.

Dawud Walid takes offense to the book, telling ABC News that nearly all of the mentions of Muslims in the book are accompanied by the words “terrorist” or “extremist.”

“It’s disgusting,” said Walid, the Michigan representative for the Council on American Islamic Relations.

Read more here.

Wall Street, September 17: “Beginning of the Global Revolution…?”

Kenneth Melson, acting ATF chief, steps down

The man who led the controversial Fast and Furious anti-gun-trafficking operation will step down as the interim head of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Justice Department announced Tuesday as it named a new acting director for the agency.

Kenneth Melson, the bureau’s acting director, on Wednesday will move to the Office of Legal Policy, where he will be a senior adviser on forensic science, the department said without making reference to the failed gun-tracking operation that is alleged to have ultimately put guns into the hands of criminals. Dennis Burke, the U.S. Attorney in Arizona who oversaw prosecutions in that state related to the Fast and Furious operation, is also stepping down, the department said.

“Ken brings decades of experience at the department and extensive knowledge in forensic science to his new role, and I know he will be a valuable contributor on these issues,” Attorney General Eric Holder said of Melson in a statement. “As he moves into this new role, I want to thank Ken for his dedication to the department over the last three decades.”

Melson’s replacement is B. Todd Jones, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota. Jones “is a demonstrated leader who brings a wealth of experience to this position,” Holder said. “I have great confidence that he will be a strong and steady influence guiding ATF in fulfilling its mission of combating violent crime by enforcing federal criminal laws and regulations in the firearms and explosives industries.”

Melson took the top spot at the ATF on an interim basis in 2009 and oversaw the execution of Fast and Furious, an effort that was aimed at rooting out gun smugglers selling weapons to Mexican cartels. Ultimately, the ATF lost track of as many as 2,000 guns that were sold during the operation, including two that were found near the scene of the killing of a Border Patrol agent.

In a separate statement, Holder commended Burke’s “decision to place the interests of the U.S. Attorney’s office above all else” in stepping down. CBS reported that Assistant U.S. Attorney Emory Hurley, who worked under Burke on Fast and Furious, will be reassigned to the Civil Division of the Justice Department.

Read more here.

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