I write you today on behalf of Frontiers of Freedom to express our concern over the Puerto Rican Government’s $46 billion in severely underfunded pension liabilities.
Recently, a Puerto Rican Government-sponsored coalition published a report claiming that the Commonwealth may have violated its own constitutional debt limit in borrowing up to $30 billion from creditors. The commission asserts that, if this is the case, the island would not be obliged to repay the money it borrowed, despite the fact that it did not warn bondholders of the sale’s potential illegality at the time it sold bonds to them. This report, which was authored in part by a major labor union, is a thinly-veiled attempt to ensure preferential treatment for Puerto Rico’s public pension system, which congressional Democrats, members of the Obama Administration, and Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla have sought to retroactively prioritize over the island’s other creditors. Continue reading
Dear Chairmen Kline and Upton:
We write in strong opposition to H.R.5365, the “Muhammad Ali Expansion Act,” legislation introduced by Rep. Markwayne Mullin to regulate mixed martial arts (MMA), which is one of the most popular sports in the U.S. and fastest growing throughout the world. This misguided legislation is yet another unfortunate and unneeded regulatory power grab that will stifle the dynamic innovation and success of MMA. Continue reading
by Ronald D. Rotunda • Verdict
In 2009, there was a massive email leak from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia. Supporters of global warming claimed the disclosures were out of context while opponents claimed they showed efforts to manipulate data. One of the quoted emails, Professor Phil Jones, while discussing paleo-data used to reconstruct past temperatures, says, “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.” (Emphasis added.) The House of Commons investigated and concluded, “insofar as we have been able to consider accusations of dishonesty—for example, Professor Jones’s alleged attempt to ‘hide the decline’—we consider that there is no case to answer.”
In the 1970s, scientists told us to fear global cooling and warned about the coming ice age. In 1970 alone, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and the LA Times all published stories with headlines like “Scientists See Ice Age in the Future.” Time Magazine’s cover story on Jan. 31, 1973, (still posted on the Magazine’s website) was all about “The Big Freeze.” Two years later, Newsweek reported, “There are ominous signs that the earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production—with serious political implications.” The problem—warming? No, cooling! The story concluded, “Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend,” but “they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century.” Continue reading
Add “Green Energy” Pork Barrel Tax Extenders to Unrelated FAA Bill
Millions of Americans are deeply disappointed that Senators John Thune (R-S.D.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) worked to insert sweetheart tax benefits for special interests in the so-called renewable energy industry. Simply stated, hard working Americans who are struggling to make ends meet may now end up paying hundreds of millions of dollars to well-healed “green energy” companies — like wind and geothermal energy — who can afford the best lobbyists money can buy. Continue reading
The CURB Lifeline Act of 2016 does a number of important things. The FCC will be exploding the “Lifeline Budget” by roughly 50%. It is time for Congress to begin requiring some accountability and some reasonable restraint. This legislation does exactly that!
Phasing out the mobile-voice-only “Obama Phone” program is a positive step for the American taxpayer. The program has been fraught with waste, fraud and abuse. Capping Lifeline spending at its current rate, rather than allowing spending to dramatically balloon protects the taxpayer and requires the FCC to be responsible stewards of the power entrusted to them. Continue reading
Tobacco products are understandably a hot and controversial regulatory issue. But what is surprising is that vapor products, only some of which have a visual appearance similar to cigarettes, but all of which contain no tobacco and provide a much healthier and safer choice for smokers, seem to be attracting an even greater level of interest from federal regulators.
A final rule is under review by the Office of Management and Budget which would deem vapor products, like electronic cigarettes, to be subject to even more heavy duty FDA regulation than the rules to which traditional tobacco cigarettes are subjected. This makes no sense, and it is a huge loss for public health and is counter-productive to over-regulate a new, innovative product that satisfies adult consumers without subjecting them to the health risks of traditional burning tobacco. Continue reading
I don’t know if the ancient language of Arizona’s Tohono O’odham Native American tribe includes a word for “hubris” — defined as excessive pride or self-confidence, with synonyms like “arrogance” and “deceit.”
Regardless of whether they have an equivalent word for hubris, the Tohono O’odham Nation (TON) leaders have proven themselves masters of the concept. And the casino they plan to open December 20th in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale is a monument to hubris, not to mention greed and a shameless distortion of the principle of tribal sovereignty. Now, it appears, federal legislation is the only solution.
All 17 Arizona gaming tribes – including TON – joined in a compact with the state, supported by a public referendum that gave the tribes exclusive rights to operate gambling casinos in Arizona. In return the tribes agreed to specific limits on the number of casinos in Arizona. This was intended to prevent over-saturation thereby providing financial support to the tribes and host communities through gaming revenues, a structure that has proven profitable since enacted in 2002.
The TON casino in Glendale violates the agreed upon limit of seven casinos in the Phoenix area at least until the compact expires in 2027. TON already runs three lucrative casinos on their reservation lands near Tucson. Its Glendale invasion is empire-building pure and simple, not to be confused with a poor tribe trying to pull itself out of poverty. Continue reading
by Kenneth Bloomquist
Standing before an audience of college students, President Obama remarked that “As Americans, we can and should be proud of the progress that our country has made over these past six years. This progress has been hard, but it has been steady and it has been real. And it’s the result of the American people’s drive and their determination and their resilience, and it’s also the result of sound decisions made by my administration.” These remarks sound more defensive than confident. The President asserted that Americans should feel proud of the modest economic gains his administration frequently cites, but given that over half of Americans still consider the economy to be meandering through a recession it seems they have overwhelmingly rejected his outlook and chosen to remain humble instead.
Perhaps they’re being overly pessimistic? In the President’s defense, the metrics commonly used to measure the duration of recessions do indeed place the end of the Great Recession in 2009. Since then, GDP has risen slowly, but steadily, at an adjusted rate of just over 2% per year. The unemployment rate has fallen from its 2009 high of just under 10% to just under 6%, and new jobs are being created at a pace which is improving with time. And yet despite the graphs and charts, Americans refuse to be optimistic no matter how often they are told to be. The economy as described in press conferences doesn’t seem to be same one which most Americans live and work in, where family and friends remain unemployed or underpaid, where they have been passed over for raises, and where there just isn’t enough income leftover to save. Americans may not all have advanced economics degrees, but they are intuitively aware when times are good and when times are bad, and they remain skeptical even when bombarded by a steady stream of rose-tinted statistics. Continue reading
How scary are your jack-o’-lanterns? Scarier than you think, according to the Energy Department, which claims the holiday squash is responsible for unleashing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Most of the 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkins produced in the U.S. end up in the trash, says the Energy Department’s website, becoming part of the “more than 254 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) produced in the United States every year.”
Municipal solid waste decomposes into methane, “a harmful greenhouse gas that plays a part in climate change, with more than 20 times the warming effect of carbon dioxide,” Energy says. Continue reading
by Stephen Moore • NY Sun
What ever happened to the old-fashioned American work ethic? I ask this because Thursday’s Labor Department report for June found yet another 430,000 Americans of working age (16+) dropped out of the workforce.
Over the last year more only 1.3 million of Americans of working age have entered the workforce even as the population of this same demographic increased by more than 2.8 million. Just over 1 million of this group found jobs. That’s right—of the increase in working age population, less than 36 percent found employment! Continue reading
There will be no winners in this showdown between Left-wing fantasists and the European project’s true believers.
by Janet Daley • The Telegraph (London)
Which of these do you find more repugnant: an autocratic European Union which is no longer bothering to conceal its intention to displace an elected government, or a shambolic clique of Left-wing fantasists who are propelling a country – and its hapless population – into economic ruin and political chaos?
It’s a tough call, isn’t it? Whatever happens in the Greek referendum on Sunday, it will not be the end of this pantomime. In fact, it is intended not to be the end, in spite of the Greek prime minister’s bizarre assertion last week that he could guarantee a deal would be made with the country’s creditors within 48 hours of a “no” vote – when, in fact, a “no” vote would effectively guarantee the impossibility of making such a deal since the answer “no” is a rejection of meaningful concessions to the creditors. Continue reading
by George Landrith • The Hill
When it comes to the U.S. Postal Service, the organization’s decline has been well documented for years. Last year the Postal Service lost $5.5 billion, marking the eighth consecutive year of multi-billion dollar losses. Further, for consumers, the Postal Service is still failing to meet performance targets for First-Class mail, Standard Mail, Periodicals, Package Services, and more according to a recent federal review.
As the agency seeks to regain solid footing for its balance sheet and service standards, it’s clear that improved management at the top is necessary. In the last several months the Postal Service has made ill-advised efforts to expand into offerings that are unrelated to its primary letter mail responsibility and interrupt areas where such products are already provided.
Achieving excellence in the core product offerings is also grounded in one major facet of the Postal Service’s operations – its ability to handle items in a way that prioritizes the overall security of the mail system for the safety of the public. Continue reading
President Obama lives and operates in a fictitious world because the real world doesn’t cooperate with his dogmas.
It’s plainly liberating for President Obama to simply deny reality and declare everything just peachy, as he did again Monday at the G7 summit in Germany. Sadly, reality’s not cooperating.
One of his fictions du jour: All’s well with ObamaCare. No joke.
“The thing is working,” the president insisted. “We haven’t had a lot of conversation about the horrors of ObamaCare, because none of them have come to pass.”
Somebody’s having those conversations. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows 54 percent oppose ObamaCare, with only 39 percent — the lowest ever — in favor.
He also insisted that a big suit against ObamaCare, Burwell v. King, is so clearly based on a “twisted interpretation” that “it probably shouldn’t even have been taken up.” Continue reading
by Michael Bastasch • Daily Caller
Data from America’s most advanced climate monitoring system shows the U.S. has undergone a cooling trend over the last decade, despite recent claims by government scientists that warming has accelerated worldwide during that time.
The U.S. Climate Reference Network was developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to provide “high-quality” climate data. The network consists of 114 stations across the U.S. in areas NOAA expects no development for the next 50 to 100 years.
The climate stations use three independent measurements of temperature and precipitation to provide “continuity of record and maintenance of well-calibrated and highly accurate observations,” NOAA states on its website. “The stations are placed in pristine environments expected to be free of development for many decades.” In essence, NOAA chose locations so they don’t need to be adjusted for “biases” in the temperature record. Continue reading