Wednesday, December 28, 2011
From Charlie Sheen's #winning tweets to the Government spending the USA into a recession, the debt ceiling crisis and global protests, it seems the whole world went nuts in 2011. Join us as we reminisce about the most notorious moments of the year in our 7th annual year in review... this time sung by a popsicle stick puppet choir!
Funny Video Animation by JibJab.
This video would be funnier IF it wasn't true!
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Sunday, October 16, 2011
When early humans got the hang of walking upright, the first thing many did was to walk out of Africa and, eventually, to all parts of the Earth from Asia to Europe, to North and South America, proliferating into different races.
Always restless to see what was over the horizon, they populated continents. There will shortly be seven billion of us on planet Earth, an extraordinary number and one with considerable consequences regarding issues of food, water, housing, transportation, trade, and energy.
In terms of our DNA, we are all one big family, closely and uncomfortably related to chimpanzees. A look back at the past five thousand years we call civilization reveals that, in addition to developing agriculture, building cities, and establishing trade, we have never stopped engaging in wars great and small.
In good times we reproduced like rabbits. In bad times, we gathered around the fire and hoped the food would hold out. Many packed up and went someplace else, anywhere else.
America is not called a nation of immigrants for nothing. Aside from the native tribes that were here for centuries, it was waves of immigration, first from Europe and then from everywhere else, that created the most unique citizen on planet Earth, the American. The lure was a fairly scarce commodity in the world, freedom and opportunity.
Anyone who takes an interest in demography, the study of the changes in age, birth and death rates, and racial identity, knows that the pressures of population and events cause people to move from nation to nation or, in our case, state to state. To an extraordinary degree migration has shaped history.
The United States is home to approximately 311 million people, natural born and immigrants, legal and illegal. In 2012, issues surrounding illegal immigration will be a factor in selecting candidates. The decision by Texas Governor Rick Perry to become a Republican candidate for President has required him to explain his state’s policies, but in truth many states are wrestling with growing illegal immigrant populations.
Data released by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) are extremely useful in understanding what is occurring now and how it will affect the future of America. It is culled from Census Bureau data.
Knowing how many people reside in the nation is incorporated in the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 2. “(An) enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of ten years, in such manner as they shall by law direct.” The composition of the House of Representatives depends on such information.
The CIS reports that “the nation’s immigrant population (legal and illegal) reached 40 million in 2010, the highest number in American history. Nearly 14 million new immigrants (legal and illegal) settled in the country from 2000 to 2010, making it the highest decade of immigration in American history.”
“The nation’s immigrant population has doubled since 1990, nearly tripled since 1980, and quadrupled since 1970 when it stood at 9.7 million.”
The following states saw significant increases between 2000 and 2010: Alabama (92%), South Carolina (88%), Tennessee (82%), Arkansas (79%), Kentucky (75%), North Carolina (67%), South Dakota (65%), Georgia (63%), Indiana (61%), Nevada (61%), Delaware (60%), Virginia (60%), and Oklahoma (57%).
States with the largest numerical increase over the last decade were California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, Washington, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. Overall, the immigrant population grew by 28% between 2000 and 2010.
The U.S. is going to add “roughly 30 million new residents each decade for the foreseeable future.” Americans in recent times have been struggling with immigration policy in earnest since the 1980s, debating amnesty for those here illegally, struggling to deal with the impact of more children in our schools, the need for more housing, more congestion on our highways, crime, and more competition for jobs.
The CIS estimates that every ten years America will need to build and pay for 8,000 new schools. It will need to develop land to accommodate 11.5 million new housing units and construct enough roads to handle 23.6 million more vehicles.
By mid-century, racial and ethnic minorities will become the majority population in America. More minority babies are being born, outnumbering the white population which is aging. A look back tells us that, in the past, it was the Italians, the Irish, the Russians, the Germans, and others who were the “minority” populations.
Immigration and in particular illegal immigration will force Americans to focus on these changes. As governor of a major border state, Perry is correct when he says “the federal government has failed in its basic duty to protect our borders. States are forced to deal with illegal immigration issues.”
In 2010 Latinos accounted for 65% of Texas’s population growth over the past decade. They are excellent citizens, no less than previous immigrants who came here. There’s a bit of irony insofar as Texas used to belong to Mexico, but so did California and much of the Southwest. .
Predictably, some politicians will demagogue these changes, but the nation must address them in a sensible way recognizing that while we need to stem the illegal flow across our southern border, there is a wealth of brains and talent eager to legally immigrate to the United States from around the world and studies demonstrate they bring innovation and job creation with them when invited to share the American dream.
And then there is the reality of those who are already here. We cannot wish away millions of illegal immigrants. We cannot wish away their children. For now, the states affected are seeking their own solutions in lieu of the failure of a federal government that has not addressed border security in a serious way.
The issues surrounding immigration are as old as the nation and the world. People, as always, are on the move and a lot of them want to live in America.
© Alan Caruba, 2011
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Check out http://www.attackwatch.com to see what everyone's laughing at!
Please buy the movie from which this famous clip has been taken, it really is a very good movie!
PatriotPost's Channel, YouTube
After receiving several complaints from readers about the Hitler video we ran last week (which we did not create), we thought it only fitting that those complaints be forwarded to AttackWatch. In case you missed the offending video, here it is again with a suitably revised caption:
Editor's Note: Occasionally, an Obama ad plays before the video, which only takes money away from his campaign. Personally, we mute these and (
Oh my, that is bad. What were we thinking?
Hitler Discovers ATTACKWATCH is a Joke!
Monday, September 26, 2011
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
PolitiZoid presents this exclusive video, "My Little China Debt." Some people think David Yeohme looks like David Bowie. Yeohme sings. Obama dances. The China Debt gets bigger.
Late Night With The Obamas -- Episode 8, posted with vodpod
Friday, July 29, 2011
Round 3: House Homeland Security Committee Hearing
“Al Shabaab: Recruitment and Radicalization within the Muslim
American Community and the Threat to the Homeland”
by Lisa Piraneo, Director of Government Relations
Yesterday, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter T. King (R-NY) continued to follow through on the promise he made at the start of the 112th Congress—to address the threat of radical Islam in America. Yesterday, he held his third in a series of hearings on Muslim-American radicalization, this one entitled: “Al Shabaab: Recruitment and Radicalization within the Muslim American Community and the Threat to the Homeland.” I attended the hearing so that I could offer you a first-hand report.
As I noted after Chairman King’s second hearing (covering radicalization within the U.S. prison system), we didn’t see the full-blown circus that attended his first discussion on radical Islam. However, I have to say that the behavior of some congressional members of the Committee was appalling. This is a serious subject that demands serious examination, and it is deeply disappointing to watch some of the members of the Committee act with the disrespect they showed yesterday.
The discussion yesterday was based on the result of what Chairman King called a “lengthy investigation the Committee has conducted into the threat the U.S. homeland faces from al-Shabaab, the Somalia affiliate of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda and Anwar al-Aulaqi’s al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).” The report found, among other concerning things, that over 40 Muslim-Americans and 20 Canadians have been recruited and radicalized by al-Shabaab. Click HERE to read the Committee’s full report.
The purpose of yesterday’s hearing by Chairman King was clear: We see a problem developing that has severe implications for our national security; we take this seriously; we need to address it NOW.
The witnesses for this particular hearing had varied but formidable backgrounds:
Mr. Ahmed Hussen – National President, Canadian Somali Congress. Mr. Hussen stated that his group is a “national advocacy organization that advocates on issues of importance to the 200,000 strong Canadian Somali community.” He told the Committee that as a Canadian Muslim he is “proud of his heritage” and thanked Chairman King for holding a hearing on this critical issue as, he said, it helps the Somali community, both in the U.S. and Canada, fight against those who wish to do either nation harm. Further, he said that it is important that the leaders in the Somali-Canadian and Somali-American communities “emphasize integration and the adherence to and respect for American and Canadian values and not those that promote separation, extremism and victimology.” See Mr. Hussen’s full testimony HERE.
Mr. Thomas Joscelyn – Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Mr. Joscelyn noted that a majority of Somali-Americans do not support al-Shabaab, nor its agenda. That said, he believes that there is a serious danger to our nation from al-Shabaab and though there is “great confusion here in the U.S. as to whether or not Shabaab is really a part of al Qaeda’s international terrorist network…my view is that the link is much stronger than some counterterrorism analysts realize.” See Mr. Joscelyn’s full testimony HERE.
Mr. William Anders Folk – Former Assistant United States Attorney, District of Minnesota. Mr. Folk agreed with the other witnesses that al-Shabaab is a serious threat to the United States and that to fight them and their supporters, the U.S. “must engage in a multi-faceted approach that utilizes all of the United States’ abilities, including military, intelligence, law enforcement and diplomatic options. Further, this effort must be carried out in Somalia, the Horn of Africa, and the United States.” See Mr. Folk’s full testimony HERE.
Mr. Tom Smith – Chief of Police, Saint Paul, Minnesota. Chief Smith updated the Committee about efforts taking place in St. Paul to combat al-Shabaab’s impact on the Somali-American community there. During his testimony, he noted another problem with which they are dealing: Somali girls not only in Saint Paul and Minneapolis, but also in Tennessee and other states are being sexually trafficked. See Chief Smith’s full testimony HERE.
The discussion during yesterday’s hearing was a critical one. Again, what was tremendously disappointing to me was the recurring rude and disrespectful behavior (both to the Chairman and the witnesses) by certain Members of the Committee. This has happened at each of Mr. King’s hearings on Islamic radicalization. Though national security should be a non-partisan issue, once again, the perpetrators were all Democrats. To me, it demonstrated a serious problem: how unknowledgeable, disconnected and disinterested some Members of Congress are about a very real and dangerous threat to our nation.
Rep. Shiela Jackson-Lee (D-TX) – as usual, was bent on making a show out of her comments instead of adding substance to the dialogue and learning from the experience of the witnesses. As during prior hearings, she made formal requests that the Chairman instead hold hearings on right-wing extremist organizations, as well as one on Rupert Murdoch. When her comment period expired and the Chairman informed her that it had, she continued speaking over him. It took several attempts of “the gentle lady’s time has expired” to get her to settle down. The cameras were rolling and she knew it.
Rep. Laura Richardson (D-CA) – commented that the scope of the Chairman’s series of hearings is discriminatory.
Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY) – argued that radicalization is “cross-cultural, cross-religious, and cross-ethnic” and that if we focus on only one group we open ourselves up to “the disdain of others.”
Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) – noted to Chairman King that this was his third hearing on the issue of Islamic radicalization within the U.S. and said “point made. Let’s move on.”
But the most outrageous comments during the hearing, came from Rep. Al Green (D-TX), who does not serve on the Committee but asked (and was granted) time to speak. [NOTE: The Chairman did not grant the same, this time, for Rep. Keith Ellison, another legislative showman, who dramatically broke down in tears during King’s first hearing.] Early in his comments, Mr. Green asked all of the witnesses if they had ever heard of Jihad Jane. When they replied that they had, he continued his line of questioning, asking them what her hair color was, her eye color, her height, and finally, her complexion. He asked the witnesses if acknowledging that she was “as she is called in America, a white woman” took them “out of their comfort zone.” Clearly, he was insinuating that the Chairman and the committee were racist by focusing on Somali-Americans. When Chairman King responded that the questions had absolutely no basis and made no sense to him, Rep. Green shot back, “I didn’t expect it to make sense to you.”
I do think it is worthwhile to watch the full hearing, so you can see how the issue was taken seriously by the witnesses and some Members of Congress, such as Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN), Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX) and Rep. Dan Lundgren (R-CA), as well as those I mention above, who were only interested in distractions. This hearing took place at the courtesy of your tax dollars and you have a right to know what your elected officials are doing on Capitol Hill. You can view the full hearing HERE or by going to the House Homeland Security website HERE and clicking on “Webcast.” If you like what your Member of Congress is doing remember to let him or her know—and the very same if you don’t.
As the Chairman noted in his Opening Statement, which we sent out to our full membership shortly after it was released (click HERE to view it in its entirety) “I will not back down from holding these hearings. I will continue to hold these hearings so long as I am the Chairman of this Committee. I…owe it to all the friends, neighbors, and constituents I lost on September 11th. I will not back down.”
We need to be appreciative of Mr. King’s past and future efforts in the U.S. Congress on identifying and addressing radical Islam within the U.S. Contrary to what some Members of the Committee claim, he never has and never will focus on the peaceful Muslims living in America. This is not about them and, frankly, these hearings will benefit them. These discussions are about identifying and immobilizing those individuals who follow an ideology that is contrary and dangerous to the freedoms afforded by our U.S. Constitution—those who strive to do harm to our nation and our citizens.
Finally, we need to let Chairman King and all other Members of Congress who continue to speak out about this issue know that a grateful nation—certainly including the 170,000 members of ACT! for America—is behind them 100 percent.
As for those Members of Congress who do not take this seriously, who seem intent only on making a mockery of these hearings, they need to hear from their constituents too. They need to be told that they took an oath to defend the Constitution and they need to start taking these discussions about Islamic radicalization seriously.
ACT for America
P.O. Box 12765
Pensacola, FL 32591
Thursday, July 28, 2011
A US federal agency, the Fish and Wildlife Service, is currently debating whether or not there will be national wildlife rules for industrial wind energy, and if yes, what they will be.
Make sure you scroll down to the end to read what he says about the New York Times.
King Opens Third Committee on Homeland Security Hearing on Radicalization, Focusing on al Shabaab
Washington, D.C. (Wednesday, July 27, 2011) – This morning, U.S. Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, convenes the hearing entitled “Al Shabaab: Recruitment and Radicalization within the Muslim American Community and the Threat to the Homeland.” The prepared opening statement of Chairman King follows:
“Good morning. Today, we hold the third in a series of hearings on radicalization in the Muslim-American community.
Our focus is the result of a lengthy investigation the Committee has conducted into the threat the U.S. homeland faces from al-Shabaab, the Somalia affiliate of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda and Anwar al-Aulaqi’s al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
The Committee has been briefed by intelligence agencies and we have interviewed dozens of experts on al-Shabaab.
I welcome our distinguished panel of witnesses. They have some of the most extensive insights into the problems uncovered by our Committee’s investigation and we are grateful they are sharing their knowledge.
You will hear how al-Shabaab, who bin Laden called “One of the most important armies” of Islam, is engaged in an ongoing, successful effort to recruit and radicalize dozens of Muslim-American jihadis, who pose a direct threat to the U.S.
Some argue that al-Shabaab is only a Somali problem, and that the group will never strike outside of the Horn of Africa region.
That kind of thinking is a glaring example of what the 9/11 Commission called a failure of imagination.
With al-Shabaab’s large cadre of American jihadis and unquestionable ties to al-Qaeda, particularly its alliance with AQAP, we must face the reality that al-Shabaab is a growing threat to our homeland.
Our investigation into this threat has led to alarming findings: Notably, that al-Shabaab has successfully recruited and radicalized more than 40 Muslim-Americans and 20 Canadians, who have joined the terror group inside Somalia.
Of those, at least 15 Americans and 3 Canadians are believed to have been killed fighting with al-Shabaab, the Committee has learned.
Not al-Qaeda, nor any of its other affiliates, have come close to drawing so many Muslim-Americans and Westerners to jihad.
Three Muslim-Americans became suicide bombers, such as Shirwa Ahmed from Minneapolis -- the first confirmed American suicide bomber in our history.
There also are radicalized converts like al-Shabaab commander Omar Hammami who was raised a Baptist in Alabama, and who has repeatedly threatened the U.S. homeland.
Three American al-Shabaab fighters have been arrested after returning home and one was collared in the Netherlands.
Other radicalized Muslims have been arrested in the U.S. and Canada before they reached Somalia, which is now much easier to get to for jihad than Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan or Yemen.
But as many as two-dozen Muslim-Americans with al-Shabaab -- who in many cases were trained by top al-Qaeda leaders -- remain unaccounted for.
The Committee found that al-Shabaab-related federal prosecutions for funding, recruiting and attempting to join al-Shabaab are the largest number and most significant upward trend in homegrown terror cases filed by the Justice Department over the past two years.
At least 38 cases have been unsealed since 2009 in Minnesota, Ohio, California, New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Missouri, Alabama, Virginia and Texas.
Al-Shabaab is recruiting inside American mosques in Somali communities like Minneapolis and San Diego, according to the Justice Department.
This month, an al-Shabaab recruiter pleaded guilty to recruiting a large group of Muslims in Minneapolis, “At mosques,” and without any known protest by mosque leaders. A top al-Shabaab leader in Somalia supervised this recruiting.
One Minnesotan recruited was suicide bomber Shirwa Ahmed whose 2008 attack in northern Somalia sent a shockwave of alarm through U.S. homeland security agencies, because of its implications.
Another would-be bomber from Minneapolis was shot and killed in Mogadishu by peacekeeping troops on May 30, moments before detonating his suicide vest.
When one cleric spoke out against al-Shabaab inside the Minneapolis mosque where many of the missing young Somali-American men had once worshipped, he was physically assaulted, according to police.
For those still skeptical that there are still jihadi sympathizers inside that community, it’s worth mentioning that the Committee learned of the mosque assault when an audiotape of the incident was posted on overseas jihadi Internet forums before authorities in Minneapolis even knew about the incident.
There is an enormous amount of travel by Somali-Americans between U.S. cities and East Africa. While most of this travel is legitimate senior U.S. counterterror officials have told the Committee they are very concerned about individuals they have not identified who have fallen in with al-Shabaab during trips to Somalia, who could return to the U.S. undetected.
They fear an al-Shabaab fighter operating under law enforcement’s radar – someone like a Zazi, a Shahzad, an Abdulmutallab – may attempt an attack here.
It is deeply troubling that from the very beginning, the Muslim-Americans in Somalia were trained by top al-Qaeda operatives, including several who were tied to Yemen’s al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which is now generally considered our biggest homeland threat.
Al-Shabaab operative Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame was charged this month for doing weapons deals and explosives training with AQAP in Yemen, and to, “Provide AQAP with material support including... personnel.”
Al-Shabaab has long harbored top al-Qaeda leaders, such as the mastermind of the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa, who was gunned down this month in Somalia after a 13-year manhunt.
Al-Shabaab has paraded in Somalia in support of AQAP and sent fighters to battle the weakened Yemeni government this year -- as well as flying the battle flag of al-Qaeda-in-IRAQ.
Finally, an al-Shabaab bombing in neighboring Uganda one year ago that targeted Westerners killed 74 people including one American.
President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, has said the Administration remains, quote, “Vigilant that al-Shabaab may expand its focus from fighting to control Somalia to plotting to attack the U.S. homeland.”
That convinced me of the necessity to launch a careful examination of that threat.
Dozens of experts the Committee interviewed agreed this threat is real, and that al-Shabaab leaders’ public calls for attacks against America -- including in retaliation for killing bin Laden -- must be taken seriously.
With a large group of Muslim-Americans willing to die as “martyrs,” and a strong operational partnership with al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan and in Yemen, al-Shabaab now has more capability than ever to strike the U.S. homeland.
We look forwarding to hearing more about the rising al-Shabaab threat from our exceptional witnesses, as well as the Minority’s distinguished witness.
Finally, I note that certain elements of the politically correct media—most egregiously the vacuous ideologues at the New York Times—are shamelessly attempting to exploit the horrific tragedy in Norway to cause me to refocus these hearings away from Muslim-American radicalization.
If they had even a semblance of intellectual honesty the Times and the others would know and admit that there is no equivalency in the threat to our homeland from a deranged gunman and the international terror apparatus of al-Qaeda and its affiliates who are recruiting people in this country and have murdered thousands of Americans in their jihad attacks.
Let me make this clear to the New York Times and their acolytes in the politically correct, moral equivalency media--I will not back down from holding these hearings. I will continue to hold these hearings so long as I am the Chairman of this Committee.
Apart from all the strategic and moral reasons why these hearings are vital to our security, they are liberating and empowering to the many Muslim-Americans who have been intimidated by leaders in their own communities and are now able to come forward.
I also owe it to all the friends, neighbors, and constituents I lost on September 11th. I will not back down.”
ACT for America
P.O. Box 12765
Pensacola, FL 32591
ACT for America is an issues advocacy organization dedicated to effectively organizing and mobilizing the most powerful grassroots citizen action network in America, a grassroots network committed to informed and coordinated civic action that will lead to public policies that promote America’s national security and the defense of American democratic values against the assault of radical Islam. We are only as strong as our supporters, and your volunteer and financial support is essential to our success. Thank you for helping us make America safer and more secure.
The news items, blogs, educational materials and other information in our emails and on our website are only intended to provide information, news and commentary on events and issues related to the threat of radical Islam. Much of this information is based upon media sources, such as the AP wire services, newspapers, magazines, books, online news blog and news services, and radio and television, which we deem to be reliable. However, we have undertaken no independent investigation to verify the accuracy of the information reported by these media sources. We therefore disclaim all liability for false or inaccurate information from these media sources. We also disclaim all liability for the third-party information that may be accessed through the material referenced in our emails or posted on our website.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Uploaded by AlJazeeraEnglish on Jul 26, 2011
The United Nations has agreed to airlift food to help some of the 12 million people affected by drought in the Horn of Africa. Aid agencies say one in three Somalis is now at risk from famine.
The move follows Monday's emergency meeting with aid agencies and charities in Rome.
The UN says it's so far received $1bn, but needs the international community to donate a billion more by the end of the year to stave off widespread starvation.
The World Bank has promised 500-million-dollars for the region. However, $12m will be immediately released for relief projects for those worst hit by the drought.
Al Jazeera's Jamal ElShayyal reports on the crisis.
UN To Airlift Food To African Famine Zone, posted with vodpod
Saturday, May 28, 2011
By Stilton Jarlsberg
Here at Hope n' Change, we were initially skeptical of Barack Obama's claims that he could get politicians of both parties to "reach across the aisle" and meet in agreement. But that's exactly what happened Wednesday when the Senate voted on Mr. Obama's proposed budget and decided that it emitted such a pungent stench that not a single Senator, Republican or Democrat, supported it.
The president's $3.7 trillion budget, first proposed in February, was notable for making absolutely no attempt to rein in deficit spending or reduce our national debt. Still, you'd think that the president would have picked up at least a couple of mercy votes from his party, just to keep him from looking like a complete fiscal ignoramus.
Unfortunately, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has had his arm in a sling since injuring himself in a fall recently, and was thus unable to lift the ten-foot-pole he would have required to vote for the president's proposal. And other Senate Democrats didn't want to find any portion of their anatomies in a sling when having to answer to voters about how they could support a budget which seemed designed to make things worse.
So with a vote of 97-0, the president has managed to get the first and only unanimous negative Senate vote of this session.
In other countries, this would be referred to as "a vote of no confidence." Come to think of it, that's what we call it over here, too.
See more great Webcomics at Hope n' Change
Friday, May 27, 2011
This is sad. People glorifying EVIL.
PA Honors Families of Arch-Terrorists Serving L..., posted with vodpod
In fact, all of the children to be served are low-income children, not middle-class children, in the years described in the Senate’s fiscal note. A special thanks to Pete DeCoursey at Capitolwire.com for setting us straight.
We apologize for this error. However, it does allow us to respond to questions and concerns raised by readers, all in the context of whether taxpayers are getting value for their money.
Vouchers are being sold as a way for children to leave low-performing public schools.
However, the overwhelming majority of students who will get vouchers already have left public schools (or never were in them), whether they were low-performing or not.
Also, they are attending schools of unknown quality. In the absence of a universal system of academic and financial accountability, it is hard to justify requiring taxpayers to support private and religious schools that may, in fact, be worse than the public schools. It also begs the question of whether students in nonpublic schools really need a state subsidy if their parents already can afford to send their children to nonpublic schools. Shouldn’t voucher money be reserved for poor students whose parents cannot afford to make that choice?
In the beginning, the voucher program is limited to students in low-performing public schools. In the second year, the program expands to students in the attendance area of low-performing schools, regardless of whether the student actually attends the school, including students already in nonpublic schools. By the third year, the program expands statewide, providing tax-funded vouchers for nonpublic schools, regardless of how well the public schools perform or how poorly the nonpublic schools perform. The question of whether taxpayers are getting value for their money is conspicuous.
Several readers wrote to ask what the difference is to taxpayers whether money goes to a public or nonpublic school as long as the child is being educated. Even assuming that the schools are of the same academic quality, there still are important differences.
Attending public schools is not just requirement (unless the student attends some other school or is home-schooled); it is a legally enforceable right. It also is a constitutional duty of the General Assembly to ensure that public schools are “thorough and efficient.” There is no such legally enforceable right to attend a private or religious school and no mandate for the General Assembly to support non-public schools or ensure their quality.
Further, when public money (acquired by force of law in the form of taxes) supports public schools, there is a continuing public benefit. The money isn’t used just to pay salaries. It pays for books in the library and the classroom, computers and white boards, science labs, building maintenance, machinery for vocational programs, and a host of other things that continue to be public assets. The same is not true of money that goes to non-public schools because the public loses the lasting benefit of those dollars. Instead, a private or religious school gets that benefit at the expense of the public.
Click here or send a donation to Democracy Rising PA, P.O. Box 618, Carlisle, PA 17013.
This is a correction to the previous article: Pennsylvania's Voucher Math
(Editor's response: Ahh, but we all know that the teacher's union really runs the show and they aren't governed by the Parents or any Government oversight. They are more interested in the school teachers and their dues than they are in educating our children! Look at the past and present record of the crap they are piling on our children under the guise of education!!! And NO ONE, NOT the Parents and NOT the Government is able to change this abysmal curriculum!
No, Public (Government) Schools are the WORST option. Home Schooling has consistently proven to be the best with Private and Religious Schools in 2nd place as a whole. ---Al)
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Please Note: There is a correction to this article at: Pennsylvania Vouchers - A Correction and ResponseQuestions:
- Why should parents who get vouchers receive more in taxpayer subsidies than they pay in taxes?
- How much does a public school really save when a student leaves for a non-public school?
- What are the real costs to a non-public school when a voucher student arrives?
Because accountability is a fundamental concern for DR, the February 15 edition of DR News presented serious problems with Senate Bill 1, the proposal to send some students to private and religious schools with tax-funded vouchers. The problems dealt with a complete lack of academic and financial accountability among schools that would receive tax dollars.
Since then, Senate Bill 1 has been amended, but none of those amendments has made the proposal any more accountable than it was in February. One new requirement for student testing in non-public schools does not include the same tests that public school students must take and therefore gives parents no real basis of comparison. Non-public schools may choose the norm-referenced, standardized test that will make them look best, not a test that demonstrates mastery of the state's mandated curriculum.
Because giving taxpayers value for their money is another fundamental concern for DR, we now look at the murky math surrounding vouchers. Officially, the average voucher would cost taxpayers $7,041 per student in the first year (2011-12), growing to $7,253 per student in the second year (2012-13).
The bottom line is that a $7,253 voucher for just one student is more than a typical household pays in state sales and income taxes plus local property taxes in a year, which is $5,852 at most. A household that gets vouchers for two students would receive a subsidy of $14,506 more than twice what they pay in taxes. This begs the question:
- Why should parents who get vouchers receive more in taxpayer subsidies than they pay in taxes?
Doing the math.
In 2009, the median household income in PA was $48,172. The annual state income tax, assuming that there was no non-taxable income, was no more than $1,479 (3.07% times $48,172). Click here for the US Census data.
Using a five-year average (2005-2009), the median local property tax in the median PA county (Washington County) was $1,483. Click here for the analysis by the Tax Foundation (warning: it takes a while to load).
That's a total of $2,962 in state income and local property taxes. If the median household also paid sales taxes on all of its income a ridiculous assumption, but one that creates the best case for vouchers add another $2,890 (6% times $48,172).
That's a total in state and local taxes of $5,852 per year for the median household.
The other voucher math questions are far more difficult to estimate, but they continue to be worth asking. To pass a voucher bill without answering them, we believe, would be irresponsible.
- How much does a public school really save when a student leaves for a non-public school? The public school cannot shut down a classroom or turn down the heat. The actual savings are probably in the hundreds of dollars, not the thousands public schools will lose for each voucher student.
- What are the real costs to a non-public school when a voucher student arrives? Even several students spread around several grades could not raise costs by the thousands of dollars per student the non-public school would receive for each student.
Vouchers are not about poor children, and they're not about better schools.
Who really benefits from vouchers? Although the rhetoric portrays vouchers as a way to help poor children escape troubled public schools for better private and religious schools, the voucher plan is not guaranteed to do either. According to the Senate's official fiscal note, only about 8% of vouchers would go to poor children in the lowest performing schools. Nearly 67% of the vouchers would go to children in middle-class families who already send their children to private and religious schools. Click here for the analysis by the Education Law Center-PA, which includes a link to the fiscal note.
Nor is there proof that non-public schools provide a better education for poor children, according to studies of the nation's longest-running voucher experiment in Milwaukee. This has led some former voucher supporters to become voucher opponents, as noted in a May 23 Philadelphia Inquirer article, Pennsylvania: Voucher Ground Zero.
"African-American students in Milwaukee have scores on National Assessment of Educational Progress that are below those of African-American students in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana," said Diane Ravitch, a former high-ranking education official in the George H.W. Bush administration who once favored vouchers but now opposes them. "Vouchers helped no one."
But Senate Bill 1 is certain to hurt tens of thousands of children who cannot take advantage of vouchers and who will remain in schools that have dramatically less money to sustain the gains of recent years, much less make additional needed improvements.
To be clear, DR does not oppose vouchers per se. We oppose the lack of accountability and the inability of the voucher proposal to make financial sense and therefore provide value for taxpayers.
The final question is whether voucher supporters will fix these conspicuous problems.
Please support our work with a tax-deductible contribution. They hate it when you do that (some of them anyway).
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Thank you!Please Note: There is a correction to this article at: Pennsylvania Vouchers - A Correction and Response
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
RightChange releases new Politizoid "Gassing Up with Obama". Gas prices continue to climb at a steady rate. Rather than drilling and taking action to stop the crisis at the pump, the Obama Administration is busy telling Americans what they should do.
(It's Obama's American Oil Dependency/Slavery --Al)
Gassing Up with Obama, posted with vodpod
Republicans, we’ve got a problem. Or better said, boy, do we have an opportunity!
All our putative frontrunners (ever narrowing) are either retreads, dull, old, polarizing, odd, not trustworthy, not ready, or not telegenic. They have excess baggage, brain deficits, name recognition challenges, peculiar wives, policy mistakes, even less experience than Obama had in 2008, and/or shortages of charisma. Even so, many people — if not all Republicans and the majority of independents — gladly would vote for these candidates over the unpopular Obama any day of the week; yet, despite the fact that this current president is eminently beatable, no new, exciting face has yet stepped forward to claim the crown, or to electrify the crowd.
And why ever not? Two recent polls show Obama to be nearly dead in the water. The numbers from these polls, for an incumbent, are devastatingly ominous. The Hill newspaper’s recent poll shows that nearly half of American voters (46 percent) say they feel worse off than they did a year ago. And then the Fox News poll revealed that enormous numbers of Republicans (82 percent) and independents (71 percent) think the country is now weaker than it was five years ago.
What opposition candidate would not want to jump into this slam dunk? America is crying out for a candidate to bring true (as my friend Ruth King says)…change and hope.
Republicans are disappointed too. A pollster said recently that 75% of the GOP base is unhappy with its candidate selection for 2012. But what should Republicans do? First, we’ll have to get over our pesky habit of choosing the “next guy in line,” journeymen who masquerade as stars. Folks like lukewarm Bob Dole in 1996 and lukecold John McCain in 2008, who naturally enough went down to defeat to electoral steamrollers like Bubba the Philanderer and The Stranger With No Background — candidates who, in their own right, would otherwise have been truly lousy choices. We can’t afford to repeat this senseless pattern.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
By Noel Sheppard
Most Americans are probably familiar with outspoken Kiss star Gene Simmons, but likely didn't know that he was born and partially raised in Israel.
With this in mind, when he was asked by CNBC's Jane Wells what he thought about President Obama's suggestion that Israel's borders be redrawn to pre-1967 levels, Simmons replied, "He has no f--king idea what the world is like because he doesn’t have to live there" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2011/05/21/israeli-born-kiss-guitarist-gene-simmons-67-borders-obama-has-no-f-ki#ixzz1N3AhwTvW
Israeli Born Kiss Star Gene Simmons on '67 Bord..., posted with vodpod
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Uploaded by ALGNewsNetwork
The concept of forcing companies to use a certain health care program can be devastating. Reporter Frank McCaffrey spoke with Obamacarewatcher.org's John Vinci about this government imposed plan.
ObamaCare Regulations Can Crush Businesses, posted with vodpod
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Uploaded by MEMRITVVideos
From Arutz Sheva:
As the world is subjected to a hail of propaganda from Arabs regarding the 1948 “disaster” inflicted upon them by the creation of the state of Israel, Arab press watchdog MEMRI has released a video that places the Arab claims in perspective ...
See photos and more Israel news:
92-Year-Old Palestinian Woman Gloats Over 1929 ..., posted with vodpod
Sunday, May 08, 2011
Uploaded by UncleJayExplains
Osama-Rama! Osama is now like Elvis, enjoying a great popular surge thanks to the ultimate career move. Uncle Jay explains every version of exactly what happened!
Uncle Jay Explains the Osama Versions: May 9, 2011, posted with vodpod
Thursday, May 05, 2011
Uploaded by patriotupdatereport on May 5, 2011
Columnist Ann Coulter sounds off on administration's decision not to release pictures of Al Qaeda leader; as does Sarah Palin!
H/T The Patriot Update
Is Obama Right Not to Release Bin Laden Photos? , posted with vodpod
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
AIFD President, M. Zuhdi Jasser, discusses implications for Muslims around the world to the killing of UBL and the next steps.
Bill Hemmer Interviews Dr. Zuhdi Jasser on Musl..., posted with vodpod
Monday, May 02, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PHOENIX (May 1, 2011) - Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, a devout Muslim and the president and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) issued the following statement regarding President Obama's announcement that the United States had killed Osama Bin Laden:
"This evening's announcement by President Obama that the United States had carried out an operation in Abbottabad, Pakistan that resulted in the death of Osama Bin Laden is a victory for the United States of America against the face of Islamist terror and the man who perpetrated war crimes against our nation on September 11, 2001. Most importantly this will allow the American people and especially the 9/11 families to begin to get a degree of closure.
This operation is a testament to the dedication and steadfastness of the United States military, our homeland security, and intelligence community. There is no finer force than the men and women of the United States military who defend and secure our freedom every day.
The death of Osama Bin Laden is significant because it closes a chapter in our war against Islamist extremists. But make no mistake this war is far from over. Bin Laden was but one head on the Hydra that is the Islamist movement. It is our hope that Bin Laden's death will serve as a means to transition this war from a reactionary approach to quell violence to a proactive war of ideas against the ideology that breeds the extremism.
We will not be free of terror until we openly confront the ideology of political Islam which is the underlying fuel for the militant Islamism of groups like Al Qaeda. To deliver true national security we must demonstrate the same dedication and steadfastness in creating a liberty narrative within the Muslim conscience as we did in hunting Bin Laden."
About the American Islamic Forum for Democracy
The American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. AIFD's mission advocates for the preservation of the founding principles of the United States Constitution, liberty and freedom, through the separation of mosque and state. For more information on AIFD, please visit our website at http://www.aifdemocracy.org/.
Osama Bin Laden is dead!
Updates will be posted as they occur.
Confirmed from six reliable sources that Osama was killed by an American bomb about a week ago.
The Military have been waiting for confirmation from DNA testing for positive proof before making an announcement.
There are conflicting reports of the cause and the day of Osama bin Laden’s death.
one day seems a bit too soon to have DNA test results completed.
I don’t know who’s right, but the big thing is he is DEAD!
For that I am grateful to our American Military Heroes for being over there!
Breaking News Updates as they occur
from VOA News: News by VOA News 0545 UTC – The United States is warning its citizens around the world to be on the alert for potential anti-American violence in response to the announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death. The State Department issued a statement early Monday saying U.S. citizens in sensitive locations “are strongly… [Read more…]
We Got The SOB! Bin Laden Dead
We Got The SOB! Bin Laden Dead from YID With LID by Jeff Dunetz For almost ten years we have heard the same thing over and over, how the heck does a six foot four Arab who needs dialysis evade capture or death. We don’t have to hear that anymore. Today it has been announced… [Read more…]
Bin Laden Dead
By Andrew Bolt The US reports that it has the body of Osama bin Laden, the al Qaeda chief.. UPDATE Fox believes bin Laden was killed by a missile. Barack Obama is said to be considering an urgent address to the nation, closer to midnight. What is significance of this? Bin Laden said it best,… [Read more…]