(CNSNews.com) – The Internal Revenue Service has given no indication to the House Ways and Means Committee about whether it will respond to the committee’s demand, delivered in writing last Friday, that the agency hand over copies of all internal communications containing the words “tea party,” “patriot,” or “conservative” and the names and titles of all IRS officials involved in discriminating against tea party and conservative groups when they submitted applications for tax-exempt status.
IRS spokesmen also did not respond to repeated emailed and telephone inquiries that CNSNews.com made between Friday afternoon and Tuesday morning asking if the IRS intended to comply with the committee’s demand–and if not, why not.
On Friday, the Associated Press broke the news that Lois Lerner, head of the IRS’s Exempt Organizations division, had told an American Bar Association conference that the IRS had targeted for heightened scrutiny groups whose tax-exempt status applications included the words “tea party” or “patriot.”
“That was wrong,” Lerner said. “That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate. That’s not how we go about selecting cases for further review.”
“The IRS would like to apologize for that,” Lerner said.
The AP reported that Lerner claimed the practice was initiated by low-level IRS workers in Cincinnati and was not politically motivated.
After this news broke, Rep. Charles Boustany, chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight, sent a letter Acting IRS Commissioner Steve Miller. The letter instructed the IRS to provide the committee by Wednesday with “all communications containing the words ‘tea party,’ ‘patriot or ‘conservative,’” and the “names and titles of all individuals involved in this discrimination.”
On Friday afternoon, after the committee sent this letter to the IRS, CNSNews.com contacted IRS spokesman Dean J. Patterson via telephone and asked him a series of written questions by email. One of the questions was: “Does the IRS intend to comply with this request?”
The IRS did not respond to CNSNews.com on Friday.
On Monday, morning CNSNews.com asked IRS Spokesman Patterson via email: “Will the IRS comply with the committee’s request to provide these things by Wednesday?”
When IRS Spokesman Patterson had not responded by Monday afternoon, CNSNews.com followed up with this if question: “If the IRS does not intend to comply with the House Ways and Means Committee’s request for ‘all communications containing the words ‘tea party’ ‘patriot’ or ‘conservative’” and the “names and titles of all individuals involved in” discriminating against tea party and conservative groups by subjecting their applications for tax exempt status to heightened scrutiny, on what basis would the IRS refuse such a request from the congressional committee that has oversight over it?”
On Tuesday morning, CNSNews.com asked the House Ways and Means Committee if the IRS had indicated to the committee whether it intended to comply with the committee’s request for the communications and names. A committee spokesperson said: “We have not yet received a response from the IRS or gotten indication that they will respond.” The spokesperson noted that “the date we requested all materials is tomorrow.”
CNSNews.com then contacted the IRS press office again and was put through to the voicemail of IRS Spokesman Patterson. CNSNews.com left a message asking, again, whether the IRS intended to comply with the committee’s request.
CNSNews.com then contacted IRS Spokesman Anthony Burke and put the question to him verbally and via emails that were carbon copied to both Burke and his colleague Patterson.
These IRS spokesmen did not immediately respond.
Acting IRS Commissioner Miller is now scheduled to testify in the Ways and Means Committee on Friday alongside Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, whose office has conducted an as-yet unpublished audit of the IRS in this matter.
Spending Daily | February 28, 2013
“Constructive Discussion” to Prevent “Harmful Consequences” of Sequester to Be Held on Sequester Deadline
The Associated Press reports, “Billions of dollars in harsh budget cuts are hitting the U.S. government on Friday, and officials are conceding that last-minute moves by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress to soften the blow are doomed. President Barack Obama is meeting congressional leaders of both parties just hours after the $85 billion in spending cuts kick in, after no apparent negotiations between the administration and lawmakers in recent weeks to avoid them. Friday’s meeting, the first face-to-face one since Obama was sworn in for his second term in January, essentially looks past the cuts to the next looming fiscal crisis: a possible government shutdown at the end of March. … White House spokesman Jay Carney said Friday’s talks are designed to be a ‘constructive discussion’ about how to keep the deep spending cuts from having harmful consequences.”
Fact Checker: ”Apocalyptic” Warnings from Washington Exaggerated
PolitiFact editor Bill Adair calls out Washington for exaggerating the impact of the sequester. ABC News reports, “With looming across-the-board budget cuts set to take effect tomorrow if Congress and the White House fail to reach a deal, there have been a lot of ‘apocalyptic’ warnings coming from Washington. While the significance of the cuts should not be ‘belittled,’ fact-checker Bill Adair tells Top Line the truth has been twisted and exaggerated in this ongoing political drama. Perhaps the most alarming warning about tomorrow’s cuts, known as ‘the sequester,’ has come from President Obama, who has said that ‘federal prosecutors will have to close cases and let criminals go.’ … ‘From what we could tell, [it was] a vast exaggeration to equate that with letting criminals go, wording that really implies opening the prison doors and letting people stream out, and so that one got a mostly false on the truth-o-meter,’ says Adair, editor of the fact-checking project PolitiFact.”
Poll: Most Americans Not Scared by the Sequester
The Washington Post reports, “In Washington, Republicans and Democrats have been at loggerheads over how best to avert sequestration. In the rest of the country, a remarkably high percentage of Americans take a different view: Bring it on. Thirty-seven percent of Americans said they would tell their member of Congress to let the deep federal spending cuts known as sequestration go into effect as scheduled, according to a Gallup poll released on Wednesday, while nearly one in five had no opinion. A plurality (45 percent) said they would like to see Congress pass a measure to avert the cuts, but that’s hardly a decisive figure that reflects the alarm bells the Obama administration has been sounding the last couple of weeks. … What gives? For starters, many Americans simply haven’t tuned into the debate over the deep cuts set to hit the federal government on Friday. In the Gallup poll, 38 percent said they were not following the story too closely or at all closely. An even higher percentage of Americans — 48 percent — said the same thing in a Washington Post-Pew poll released earlier this week. It’s hard to strongly oppose cuts you don’t really know that much about.”
Washington Post: Sequester Spin Not Rooted in Reality
The Washington Post reports, “The descriptions of the post-sequester landscape coming from the Obama administration have been alarming, specific — and, in at least some cases, hyped. Take the claim by Education Secretary Arne Duncan that there are ‘literally teachers now who are getting pink slips.’ When he was pressed in a White House briefing Wednesday to name an example, Duncan came up with one school district, in West Virginia, and he acknowledged, ‘Whether it’s all sequester-related, I don’t know.’ As it turns out, it isn’t. What Kanawha County is actually doing is sending transfer notices to 104 educators in response to an unrelated change in the way federal dollars are allocated. … While the country has lived through five temporary government shutdowns since 1981, … what is not new, however, is the impulse of officials to resort to melodrama when they are faced with budget cuts. Getting people’s attention has been a challenge in the case of the sequester. In the latest Washington Post-Pew Research Center survey, only one in four said they were closely following news about the automatic spending cuts.”
Market Reaction Response to Sequester: Yawn
POLITICO reports, “The financial markets and some of the nation’s biggest business groups have a collective response to the looming sequester: yawn.President Barack Obama is warning of economic catastrophe if deep and immediate spending cuts hit Friday. Yet some of the most influential business organizations are adopting a decidedly blasé attitude, staying largely silent on the matter. And so far, the markets don’t seem to care much either. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed less than 100 points below its all-time closing high, hit in 2007. … ‘We are tired. We just go from one crisis deadline to the next,’ said Richard Hunt, president of the Consumer Bankers Association. ‘And it seems like the White House is more focused on the consumer approach this time around.’ … ‘Investors have been hearing a lot of hysteria out of the politicians for the last two years over all the different end-of-the-world deadlines,’ said Michael Obuchowski, portfolio manager at North Shore Asset Management. ‘We are human beings with vertebrate nervous systems, and there is a desensitizing effect when you hear it so many times. You eventually ignore it.’”
“Federally Financed Largesse”
The Washington Free Beacon reports, “The Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Job Creation and Regulatory Affairs of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing examining executive pay at companies that received bailout money from the federal government. Christy Romero, special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), and Patricia Geoghegan, acting special master for TARP Executive Compensation, both testified before the subcommittee. … Through TARP, the federal government sought to prop up businesses that were at risk of failing because of the 2008 financial crisis. After several of the bailed-out businesses gave their executives large bonuses in 2009, President Barack Obama announced regulations that curbed executive pay at all TARP-supported companies, including capping immediate cash compensation at $500,000 and limiting greater compensation to stocks. … Romero testified that 70 percent of the top executives at the companies in TARP were paid more than $500,000 in cash in 2012 and 94 percent were paid $450,000 or more in cash, despite the regulations.”
$1 Billion Wasted on Failed VA Medical Records Project
USA Today reports, “The departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs have wasted about $1 billion in a failed effort to streamline medical record-keeping, the chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee said in a hearing Wednesday. … Defense and VA officials said this month they had abandoned an ambitious plan to integrate medical records for both active-duty servicemembers and veterans into a single electronic system to make the records more accessible for patients and doctors. After cost estimates doubled and technology problems persisted, they decided on a less expensive plan to keep their current systems while making them ‘interoperable.’”
Jets for Counterterrorism Used for Top Officials’ Personal, Business Travel, Costing $11.4M
The Washington Guardian reports, “Two corporate-style jets that the FBI persuaded Congress to lease for fighting global terrorism have instead been used the majority of the time to ferry Attorney General Eric Holder, his predecessor in the Bush administration and FBI Director Robert Mueller on business and personal trips at an expense of millions of dollars to taxpayers, an investigation has found. The bureau’s state-the-art, sleek Gulfstream V jets logged 60 percent of their hours between 2007 and 2011 on “non-mission flights” that cost taxpayers $11.4 million, according to an investigation by the Government Accountability Office obtained by the Washington Guardian. … On at least one occasion a trip by Holder in 2011 left the FBI without access to a Gulfstream during a counterterrorism operation, forcing agents to scramble to charter a private plane, according to documents reviewed by the Washington Guardian.”
Failure of Leadership
The Hill reports, “For President Obama, it no longer matters whether weeks from now sequestration has caused the sky to fall or just the pollen level — he stands to be blamed either way. Sure, the GOP strategy so far — using several conflicting messages simultaneously — is failing miserably. But while Obama’s latest campaign might further damage Republicans, it isn’t likely to end in victory for him. … Either Obama will watch the economy suffer the blow he warned of, or he will watch Americans conclude sequester was nothing and wonder just what he was so upset about. Reaching a deal is the only way of avoiding recession or embarrassment, and to build a legacy. Strangely, the president and his team think Republicans will cave and back a tax increase that will spare many of the cuts of the $85 billion in 2013’s sequester cuts, or even in the 10-year total of $1.2 trillion. … Sequestration is an abdication of responsibility and a betrayal of the taxpayer — the likes of which most of us have never witnessed in our lifetimes.”
Senate Lacks Votes to Stop Sequester
POLITICO reports, “Washington’s Great Sequester pregame show ends in the Senate on Thursday with Republicans still divided over how to disarm the doomsday budget machine they built in the previous Congress with Democrats and President Barack Obama. Obama will be waiting at the White House on Friday to meet with House and Senate leaders, even as his Office of Management and Budget works next door toward meeting the midnight March 1 deadline to put the cuts in motion. Newbattle lines were already taking shape Wednesday over funding the governmentpast March 27. Frustrated by the House, Senate Democrats signaled renewed interest in moving a full-fledged omnibus spending package for the remainder of the year. But Thursday in the Senate will belong to the sequester — and a debate less about finding solutions than political cover. No one is expected to have the 60 votes needed for passage — meaning the cuts are likely to be ordered Friday night. Indeed the Republican divisions are such that just getting to 50 will be a challenge on the GOP alternative.”
Few Budget Cuts in Senate Dem Bill
The Associated Press reports, “White House-backed legislation in the Senate to replace $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts would raise the deficit through the end of the budget year by tens of billions of dollars, officials said late Wednesday as the two parties maneuvered for public support on economic issues. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said that under the Democratic measure, deficits also would rise in each of the next two years before turning downward. Democratic officials had said earlier in the day their bill would spread one year’s worth of anticipated savings — $85 billion — over a decade in an attempt to avoid damaging the shaky economic recovery. … Senate Democrats have been reluctant to spell out the details of their measure, although it is not clear if that results from its relatively small impact on the deficits through the end of the current budget year.”
Spending Daily | February 27, 2013
“The Sequester Revelation”
The Wall Street Journal editorializes, “And when the Republicans opened the seventh seal of the sequester, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black and the stars fell unto the Earth; and our nation’s ability to forecast severe weather, such as drought events, hurricanes and tornados, was seriously undermined. Lo, and the children were not vaccinated, and all the beasts starved in the zoos, and the planes were grounded. Or so President Obama and his Cabinet prophets have been preaching ahead of the automatic budget cuts due to begin Friday. The bit about the weather is a real quote from the White House budget director. But if any of these cataclysms do come to pass, then they will be mostly Mr. Obama’s own creation. The truth is that the sequester already gives the White House the legal flexibility to avoid doom, if a 5% cut to programs that have increased more than 17% on average over the Obama Presidency counts as doom.”
Obama: “No Smart Way” to Offset Sequester Cuts
The Associated Press reports, “President Barack Obama brushed off a Republican plan Tuesday to give him flexibility to allocate $85 billion in looming spending cuts, wanting no part of a deal that would force him to choose between the bad and the terrible. … [Sen. Mitch] McConnell and other top Republicans were lining up behind a plan that wouldn’t replace the cuts but would give Obama’s agency heads, such as incoming Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, greater discretion in distributing the cuts. The idea is that money could be transferred from lower-priority accounts to others that fund air traffic control or meat inspection. But Obama, appearing at a Virginia shipbuilding site that he said would sit idle should the cuts go through, rejected the idea, saying there’s no smart way to cut such a large chunk from the budget over just seven months – the amount of time left in the fiscal year.” But not everyone in Washington agrees. Click here to watch Bankrupting America’s new video, “Face Off.”
Dems, Fearing Blame, Oppose Giving Obama Discretion in Cuts
The National Journal reports, “Top lawmakers spent Tuesday searching for leverage points in the coming public-relations war over the automatic spending cuts that almost everyone agrees will now occur even though they were neverdesigned to go into effect. For Senate Republicans, one such potential spot is in crafting an alternative to the so-called sequester that would lessen theblow of the cuts by giving the White House more flexibility as to where to reduce spending. But after Senate Republicans met for more than an hour at their weekly luncheon on Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said his conference remained divided into two factions: those who support giving the White House more flexibility to ease the coming cuts andthose who fear giving away any power to the Obama administration. … But some sources close to the administration have quietly expressed concern that when push comes to shove—after the sequester cuts have taken hold and appear to be sticking—some Democrats might eventually embrace the idea of giving more flexibility to agencies as a least-worst option to manage the pain.”
“Spending Cuts: It’s About to Get Weird”
CNN Reports, “When it comes to budgeting for the federal government, things are about to get strange. Starting Friday, federal agencies will be forced to make cuts to their programs without knowing what their actual budgets for this year will be. Why? Because Congress never passed a budget, just a stopgap funding measure that expires soon. Another unknown: Whether Congress will undo or lessen the impact of those forced cuts after they go into effect. … The White House budget office’s controller, Daniel Werfel, said on Feb. 8 that his office had calculated at that time that spending would need to be cut by 13% for defense programs and by 9% for nondefense programs. But agencies won’t officially learn the exact percentages of the cuts they must make until Friday, when the White House releases a formal sequestration order along with a report to Congress. It’s not clear whether anything the White House puts out Friday will be a surprise to the agencies. Nor is it clear how prepared agencies are for the cuts or any adjustments they might need to make going forward.”
Poll: Despite Split on Sequester, Americans Wants Deep Cuts
The Wall Street Journal reports, “Americans are sharply divided over the wisdom of the across-the-board federal spending cuts due to start Friday, with half saying they will be too severe and a slightly smaller share saying they arenecessary to reduce the deficit, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds. Poll participants hold a diversity of views on the efficacy, timing and likely impact of the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts, which will be appliedbroadly to federal programs but hit military spending disproportionately. … But a large number of those who oppose the sequester nonetheless show strong support for deep cuts in federal spending.”
Economy Strengthening Despite Looming Cuts
The Associated Press reports, “Even with automatic spending cuts looming, the outlook for the U.S. economy brightened a bit Tuesday after reports showed that Americans are more confident and are buying more new homes. Home prices arealso rising steadily, and banks are lending more. Such improvements suggestthat the economy is resilient enough to withstand the deep government cuts that will kick in Friday. … The upbeat economic news contributed to a rally on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average jumped more than 100 points. Consumers still face numerous burdens. Among them is a sharp increase in gas prices. The national average for a gallon, $3.78, has surged 44 cents in a month. And Social Security taxes rose 2 percentage points beginning Jan. 1. This year, the increase will cost a typical household that earns $50,000 about $1,000. Income taxes for the highest-earning Americans also rose. Both factors could reduce overall spending.”
Entitlement Reform Key to U.S. Future
Jon Cowan editorializes in POLITICO, “As the sequester blame game hits fever pitch this week, Republicans’ stance on taxes is simply indefensible, falling hundreds of billions short of even their own prior positions. But as Democrats, we also share a large portion of responsibility for the coming cuts to domestic discretionary spending, as the party has decided in both action and rhetoric that meaningful fixes to the major entitlement programs of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are off-limits. Think about it. Over the past three years, from debt ceiling deals to the supercommittee and the fiscal cliff, social insurance programs have escaped virtually unscathed while every other category of spending took some hit and revenue grew. And because of the sheer enormousness of the Big 3 entitlements, Democrats face a serious new crisis that is closer to home and will linger long past the sequester: There is now barely a farthing left in the budget for any new investments.”
“Obama And The Sequester Scare”
Phil Gramm editorializes in The Wall Street Journal, “President Obama’s message could not be clearer: Life as we know it in America will change dramatically on March 1, when automatic cuts are imposed to achieve $85 billion in government-spending reductions. Furloughed government employees, flight delays and criminals set free are among the dire consequences the president has predicted. If the Washington Monument weren’t already closed for repairs, no doubt it too would be shut down. Scare tactics such as these are similar to the ones that were made when I co-authored the first sequester legislation in 1985, the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings BalancedBudget and Emergency Deficit Control Act. The 1986 sequester was triggered anyway, but the predicted disaster never came. The nation survived then. Itwill now.”
“The Fever That Obama Has Not Broken”
Julie Pace writes in The Associated Press, “President Barack Obama promised this time would be different, that if he won re-election, a Republican ‘fever’ would break and legislative gridlock would ease. Yet just over a month into his second term, Washington is once again mired in a partisan budget battle. And rather than figuring out a way to work with Republicans, Obama is largely ignoring them, trying instead to build public support for his approach to averting automatic budget cuts – and perhaps overplaying his hand if the dire consequences he’s warning of are not quickly felt by many Americans.”
Sequester “a bullet we just may not dodge”
The Associated Press reports, “President Barack Obama is pulling out all the stops to warn just what could happen if automatic budget cuts kick in. Americans are reacting with a collective yawn. They know the shtick: Obama raises the alarm, Democrats and Republicans accuse each other of holding a deal hostage, there’s a lot of yelling on cable news, and then finally, when everyone has made their points, a deal is struck and the day is saved. Maybe not this time. Two days before $85 billion in cuts are set to hit federal programs with all the precision of a wrecking ball, there are no signs that the White House and Republicans in Congress are even negotiating. Both sides appear quietly resigned to the prospect that this is one bullet we just may not dodge.”
GAO Study: New Healthcare law Could Add $6.2 Trillion to Debt
The Washington Examiner editorializes, “A Government Accountability Office study from last month was released to the public for the first time Tuesday. It shows that if the cost-containment measures put in place by President Obama’s health care law prove unsustainable or ineffective, then the law will add substantially to the nation’s long-term debt. The report had been requested by the ranking Republican member of the Senate Budget Committee, Jeff Sessions of Alabama. It estimates that over a 75-year period, the health care law could add government debt equal to 0.7 percent of the nation’s economic output. Though the report itself doesn’t contain a dollar figure, Sessions’ office said the GAO confirmed to his staff that this would translate to $6.2 trillion. At a hearing Tuesday morning, Sessions said the report contradicted Obama’s pledge that health care legislation wouldn’t add a dime to deficits. In fact, it may add 62 trillion dimes.”
“Uncle Sam, Slum Lord”
The Washington Free Beacon reports, “The paint flakes off the walls, and white chips dot the floor and stairwells. The stairs’ railing is caked in grime while the radiator in the bathroom sits cockeyed, unconnected from any heating system. A light fixture lies on the floor beside an old water fountain. And the United States Department of Agriculture owns it all. This building, which sits on a 5,000-acre property near Washington, D.C., is just one example of the many dilapidated, vacant, or underused properties the federal government owns that a House subcommittee will discuss on Wednesday. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Government Operations Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the federal government’s management of its real estate assets on Wednesday morning. The hearing follows the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) recently released high-risk list, which included federal property as one area within the federal government at risk of waste.”
What happens when a government program simply does not do what it is supposed to do?
Head Start, the federal preschool program, says it “promotes the school readiness of children ages birth to 5 from low-income families by enhancing their cognitive, social and emotional development.” But the government’s own evaluations have shown that it just does not do this.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released its latest findings of a long study that followed Head Start kids all the way to third grade.
The findings: “by third grade, the $8 billion Head Start program had little to no impact on cognitive, social-emotional, health, or parenting practices of participants. On a few measures, access to Head Start had harmful effects on children.”
Heritage’s Lindsey Burke, the Will Skillman Fellow in Education, and research fellow David Muhlhausen note in their new assessment of the study that the government finished collecting the data in 2008—and then waited four years before releasing the study on the Friday before Christmas 2012. That tells you how much the people in charge wanted you to know about Head Start’s effectiveness.
The third-grade study results are similar to a first-grade study conducted by HHS in 2010, which found that any benefits of participating in the program completely disappeared by the first grade.
What is Head Start? It’s much more than learning your ABCs. From the program’s website:
Head Start programs provide comprehensive services to enrolled children and their families, which include health, nutrition, social services and other services determined to be necessary by family needs assessments, in addition to education and cognitive development services. Head Start services are designed to be responsive to each child and family’s ethnic, cultural and linguistic heritage.
The information states that “Programs may be based in: Centers or schools that children attend for part-day or full-day services; Family child care homes; or Children’s own homes, where a staff person visits once a week to provide services to the child and families.”
This broad description of services should have you seeing dollar signs. Since 1965—when Head Start was founded as a small summer program—taxpayers have spent more than $180 billion on it. Fraud has also been uncovered in the program, yet it continued. Most recently, lawmakers added millions in Head Start funding to the Hurricane Sandy relief package.
So it is stunning to find that all this money has been spent for little to no benefit to the children and families it was supposed to help.
The third-grade study found that access to Head Start had no statistically measurable effects on all measures of cognitive ability, including numerous measures of reading, language, and math ability.
As Burke and Muhlhausen sum it up:
HHS has released definitive evidence that the federal government’s 48-year experiment with Head Start has failed children and left taxpayers a tab of more than $180 billion. In the interest of children and taxpayers, it’s time for this nearly half-century experiment to come to an end.
Last Tuesday, an armed man began firing shots at the Clackamas Town Center mall near Portland, Ore. By the time the incident ended, the shooter had killed two and wounded a third. But did you hear why the shooter stopped shooting others and killed himself? Not unless you tuned in to local television station KGW.
On Friday, they broadcast a story, Clackamas man, armed, confronts mall shooter, about Nick Meli, a 22-year-old concealed carry permit holder who drew his Glock .22 on the shooter and, he thinks, prompted the shooter to take his own life. This sequence of events proved accurate what I wrote the same day in my post, Connecticut School Shooting Provokes Much Thought.
But did many people hear about it? No.
NEWTOWN, Conn. — A lone gunman killed 26 people at an elementary school here, including 18 children, in a terrifying early Friday morning shooting spree.
The Associated Press and local media reported the shooter, an unidentified adult male, was also dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Two handguns were recovered at the scene. Mayor Mark Boughton said several victims had been taken to local hospitals.
Groups of students — some crying, some holding hands — were being escorted away from the school by their teachers. Some witnesses reported of up to 100 shots.
The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School is the latest in a series mass shootings in the U.S. this year, including Tuesday’s assault by a lone gunman at a Portland, OR., shopping mall that left two dead and one wounded.
Last night I covered the Twin City tea party meeting in Leominster (more on that later tonight) when Dinesh D’Souza movie 2016 came up. I was told it was playing in Fitchburg and a group of tea party members were planning to see it tomorrow night when then have the Tuesday matinees.
I was going to be busy Tuesday so on my way home I swung by the theater to see what time the movie was playing. To my surprise there was a 9:15 show so I figured I’d see it at once and pay the extra $2.
As you might guess on a Monday night the movie only had a few people. There were under 20 cars in the lot for the 9 movies that had post 9 p.m. I was one of 4 patrons, one I had previously met at a tea party meeting and a pair of ladies one who had brought her friend.
None of the patrons would agree to an on camera interview either before or after the film but I did talk one gentleman into interviewing ME. So I handed him my camera told him he could ask we what he wanted and voilà:
I’m told attendance was good enough this weekend to possibility justify carrying it over another week or at least the weekend, I’ll check back on Friday and find out.
THE EXPENDABLES are back and this time it’s personal…
Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), Yin Yang (Jet Li), Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren),Toll Road (Randy Couture) and Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) — with newest members Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth) and Maggie (Yu Nan) aboard — are reunited when Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) enlists the Expendables to take on a seemingly simple job. The task looks like an easy paycheck for Barney and his band of old-school mercenaries. But when things go wrong and one of their own is viciously killed, the Expendables are compelled to seek revenge in hostile territory where the odds are stacked against them. Hell-bent on payback, the crew cuts a swath of destruction through opposing forces, wreaking havoc and shutting down an unexpected threat in the nick of time — six tons of weapons-grade plutonium; enough to change the balance of power in the world. But that’s nothing compared to the justice they serve against the villainous adversary who savagely murdered their brother.
That is done the Expendables way….
‘You Don’t Raise Taxes’
Weak Economic Data Is Casting A Shadow On The Dems’ Vote To Raise Taxes On Nearly A Million Businesses
In 2010, Obama Said Tax Increases ‘Would Have Been A Blow To Our Economy’
PRESIDENT OBAMA: “You don’t raise taxes in a recession.” (“Obama: We Must ‘Help Elkhart Reinvent Itself,’” MSNBC, 8/5/09; Video Here)
· OBAMA: “…tax rates for every American were poised to automatically increase on January 1st… would have been a blow to our economy just as we’re climbing out of a devastating recession.” (President Obama, Remarks At Bill Signing, 12/17/10)
New Data: Economy ‘Weak,’ ‘Sluggish,’ ‘Stalling’
BEA: “Real gross domestic product … increased at an annual rate of 1.5 percent in the second quarter of 2012…” (“Table 8. Real Gross Domestic Product: Percent Change From Quarter One Year Ago,” Bureau Of Economic Analysis, 7/27/12)
· “Economy weak in second quarter … The U.S. economy has never been so sluggish this long into a recovery.” (“Economy Weak In Second Quarter, GDP Grows At 1.5% Rate,” USA Today, 7/27/12)
· “The slowdown in growth adds to worries that the economy could be stalling…” (“US Economic Growth Slowed To 1.5 Pct. Rate In Q2,” AP, 7/27/12)
· “The United States economy grew by a tepid 1.5 percent annual rate in the second quarter, losing the momentum it had appeared to be gaining earlier this year, the government reported Friday.” (“U.S. Economy Slowed To A Tepid 1.5% Rate Of Growth,” The New York Times, 7/27/12)
Dems Voted For Tax Hikes On Nearly A Million Businesses
GOVERNMENT STUDY: “The staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that in 2013 approximately 940,000 taxpayers with net positive business income … will have marginal rates of 36 or 39.6 percent under the President’s proposal…” (Joint Committee On Taxation, Letter To Congressional Office, 6/18/12)
· 51 Democrats voted to hike taxes. (S.3412, Roll Call Vote #184, Bill Passed 51-48: R 0-46; D 50-1; I 1-1, 7/25/12)
The Washington Post reports that the Supreme Court’s ruling that states can opt out of Medicaid expansion “has raised some thorny questions about the practical and financial ramifications.” So what if some states do decide not to participate in the expansion? According to the article, the federal government could save money because “poor people who would otherwise have been newly eligible for coverage would no longer get it. But there’s a twist. … This subset of people might cost the government more than if they had gotten Medicaid, because the program is considered more efficient than private insurance. So, what would be the net effect on federal spending? It depends on which is larger: the savings on people with incomes below poverty — who wouldn’t get Medicaid or any other federal help with insurance — or the extra cost of providing subsidies for those with incomes at or above poverty. For now, no one has hard numbers.”