‘The Hive’ – Please Talk Amongst Yourselves

Here is our usual weekend discussion thread once again, where comments on the general topics of the day are very welcome.

But please remember to post and comment on specific news items in the ‘Reader Selected News’ thread below or via the ‘News Selected By Our Readers’ link found in the sidebar.



Reader Selected News, Week Mar 30 – Apr 5

This thread is for the busy bees of S&L to post news articles that might not warrant their own thread.

Posting Guidelines

To make the articles as readable as possible, please:

  • Only post news from established news media outlets.
  • Avoid editorials or opinion pieces unless they are truly newsworthy.
  • Avoid items that most people most likely have seen elsewhere.
  • Post articles that fit under the topic of a recent thread as a comment there.
  • Always spell out the name of the source and post a link to it.
  • Always post less than one quarter of the original article.

Posts of articles that do not follow these guidelines may be edited or deleted.

Thank you.



New York State Ranks Last In Personal Freedom

From the New York Post:

New York is the Nanny State with the least freedoms: national study

State ranks dead last in personal freedom

By CARL CAMPANILE | March 29, 2013

New York’s big government — with its hands deep in taxpayers’ pockets and regulations controlling everyone’s lives — has made the Empire State the worst in the nation for personal liberty, a new study shows.

Remember when young people used to flock to New York City because of the personal freedom it offered?

A war on sugary drinks is the least of freedom-loving New Yorkers’ worries, according a report by George Mason University, which rated the state No. 50 for the level of freedom its residents enjoy.

The university found New York’s government slams citizens from every angle — from huge taxes to tight controls on business to myriad rules on all kinds of fun.



‘Deer Hunting’ In DC Park Spurs More Protests

From the Washington Post:

Sharpshooting plan for Rock Creek Park spurs more protests

By Robert Samuels | March 29, 2013

Their case had been deemed unworthy by the U.S. District court and their cause ridiculed by a federal agency, but still two dozen residents braved a chilly, windy Thursday evening to continue their protest against sharpshooters killing deer in Rock Creek Park.

This was the National Park Service’s second night of six-hour operations, an unprecedented effort in Rock Creek Park to thin a population that the agency says is threatening flora and fauna within, endangering the food supply of other animals in the park. Park officials, cautious about the new program and citing safety concerns, did not allow reporters to observe any of the operations.



IG: Nobody Told DHS Bosses About Fast & Furious

From the Washington Post:

Report: ICE investigators cooperated with ‘Fast and Furious’

By Josh Hicks | March 28, 2013

Homeland Security agents cooperated with the Justice Department’s “Fast and Furious” operation that allowed firearms to flow to suspected gun traffickers, despite knowing some of the tactics violated strict department policies on tracking smugglers, according to an inspector general’s report.

Homeland Security Inspector General Charles K. Edwards said supervisors and investigators from Immigration and Customs Enforcement failed to report the policy conflicts up the chain of command, leaving the department’s senior-level officials in the dark.

Sure they did. Just like low level ICE managers released those 2,500 illegal aliens without telling anyone.

But this is the way Democrats always get around their scandals. They blame the small fry to protest the big fish.



Chicago, NYC, LA Prosecute Fewest Gun Crimes

From US News and World Report:

Chicago, Los Angeles, New York Prosecuted Fewest Federal Gun Crimes

By Elizabeth Flock | March 28, 2013

The districts that contain Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City ranked last in terms of federal gun law enforcement in 2012, according to a new report from Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, which tracks federal data.

A group that we suspect are hardly right-wingers.

Federal gun crimes include illegal possession of a firearm in a school zone, illegal sale of a firearm to a juvenile, felon, or drug addict, and illegal transport of a firearm across state lines. In Chicago, the majority of gun charges last year were for firearms violations.

The districts of Eastern New York, Central California, and Northern Illinois ranked 88th, 89th and 90th, respectively, out of 90 districts, in prosecutions of federal weapons crimes per capita last year.



Unions Have A Lot Of Say In Sequester Furloughs

From the Washington Post:

For federal workforce, the furlough terrain is uneven

By Lisa Rein | March 28, 2013

The budget ax was supposed to fall across the board but hardly does so, federal workers are learning. And the situation is quickly splitting the workforce into haves and have-nots, inflaming labor-management tensions and straining agency resources as everyone struggles through the details.

What’s this? ‘Labor-management tensions’ are being inflamed?

Some agencies are benefiting from exceptions Congress carved out in its stopgap plan to keep the government going through Sept. 30. Lawmakers gave other agencies, including the Defense Department, authority to move money around. This allowed the Pentagon to offer a bit of relief to its 750,000 civilians.

Meanwhile, other employees wait to learn their fates as managers fine-tune plans or complete their bargaining with unions…

So these furloughs, that even the President can’t stop, have to be negotiated with unions?


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DC Has Highest Confidence About US Economy

From the Daily Caller:

Poll: D.C. residents clueless about state of U.S. economy

By Anne Hobson | March 28, 2013

Among the 50 largest metropolitan areas in 2012, the Washington, D.C. metro area had the highest economic confidence index score for the second year in a row. The D.C. metro area reported an index score of 5 in 2012, up from -20 in 2011, according to Gallup.

The people in Washington were not "clueless about the economy," at least as far as they were personally concerned. — The denizens of DC knew Obama and the Democrats would find a way to keep growing the government no matter what.

As Gallup notes (below), they knew their jobs were secure. Just as they know even now their jobs are secure, despite all of their supposed fears about the sequester and furloughs.



France To Punish Companies That Pay Too Much

From CNN’s Money.com:

France’s Hollande wants 75% payroll tax on rich

By Charles Riley | March 29, 2013

HONG KONG (CNNMoney) — If at first you don’t succeed in taxing the rich, try, try again.

French President Francois Hollande made changes to his failed proposal for a 75% top tax rate on Thursday, shifting the burden of payment from individuals to businesses that pay salaries over 1 million euros.

You have to hand it to them (your money that is). The socialists never give up.

Hollande, during last year’s presidential campaign, proposed a 75% tax rate on individual income above 1 million euros. The controversial tax was rejected by France’s judiciary.

Hollande made his new payroll tax proposal on big salaries during a late-night television broadcast.



A NH School District Bans (Foam!) Dodge Ball

From New Hampshire’s Eagle-Tribune:

Windham school officials drop dodgeball

By Alex Lippa | March 27, 2013

Dodgeball has been banned in Windham schools, due to concerns about violence and bullying.

The School Board voted, 4-1, last week to remove dodgeball and nine other “human target” activities from the district’s curriculum. The vote was taken after a committee of physical education teachers studied the issue, then recommended eliminating the games.

“We spend a lot of time making sure our kids are violence free,” Windham superintendent Dr. Henry LaBranche said. “Here we have games where we use children as targets. That seems to be counter to what we are trying to accomplish with our anti-bullying campaign.” …

Does this mean they are also going to ban Tag and Duck, Duck, Goose?


1 Comment »

80% Of Americans ‘Unhappy’ With Washington

From CBS News:

Poll: 80% of Americans unhappy with Washington

Poll analysis by Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Anthony Salvanto and Fred Backus | March 26, 2013

Amid the debate over the federal budget and the failure to come to an agreement to avoid the sequester, eight in 10 Americans are unhappy with how things are going in Washington, including 30 percent who are angry, up nine points since December and the highest level of anger recorded since the question was first asked in 2010.

Dissatisfaction with Washington cuts across party lines, but Republicans and independents are more likely than Democrats to say they are angry.

Elections have consequences.

In addition, the percentage of Americans who say the country is headed in the right direction (32 percent) is down eight points since early February…

As anger toward Washington has risen, President Barack Obama’s overall approval rating has taken a bit of a hit.



Unemployment Claims Are Up — Unexpectedly!

From Reuters:

Jobless claims rise, labor market still healing

By Lucia Mutikani | March 28, 2013

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week, but probably not enough to suggest the labor market recovery was taking a step back.

"Unexpected" is back! Even though this is the second week in a row that unemployment claims have increased.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 357,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Still, they remained in the middle of their range for this year.

The prior week’s claims figure was revised to show 5,000 more applications than previously reported…

That number has now been revised up for 103 of the past 108 weeks.



Feds Fund Studies Of Snail Sex, Duck Penises

First from CNS News:

Feds Fund $880,000 to Study Benefits of Snail Sex

By Matt Cover | March 27, 2013

(CNSNews.com) – The National Science Foundation awarded a grant for $876,752 to the University of Iowa to study whether there is any benefit to sex among New Zealand mud snails and whether that explains why any organism has sex.

Snails? Maybe they are trying to breed more Post Office workers.

The study, first funded in 2011 and continuing until 2015, will study the New Zealand snails to see if it is better that they reproduce sexually or asexually – the snail can do both – hoping to gain insight on why so many organisms practice sexual reproduction.

“Sexual reproduction is more costly than asexual reproduction, yet nearly all organisms reproduce sexually at least some of the time.



Pentagon Cuts Possible Furloughs By Seven Days

From a relieved Associated Press:

Pentagon cuts number of furlough days

By LOLITA C. BALDOR | March 27, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense officials say the Pentagon will sharply cut the number of unpaid furlough days civilians will have to take in the next several months from 22 to 14, reducing the financial impact of the budget cuts on as many as 700,000 workers.

Gee, what a shock. But of course there will never be any "unpaid furloughs," since all these government workers will eventually get paid for the days they get off.

And they probably won’t even get any days off, when all is said and done. (Which is sure to be a disappointment to them, after being promised so many long weekends.)

Officials say Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel made the decision Wednesday.


1 Comment »

AP: Court Ruling Won’t End Gay Marriage Debate

From a worried Associated Press:

However court rules, gay marriage debate won’t end

By DAVID CRARY | March 28, 2013

NEW YORK (AP) — However the Supreme Court rules after its landmark hearings on same-sex marriage, the issue seems certain to divide Americans and states for many years to come.

In oral arguments Tuesday and Wednesday on two cases involving gay couples’ rights, the justices left open multiple options for rulings that are expected in June. But they signaled there was no prospect of imposing a 50-state solution at this stage. With nine states now allowing same-sex marriages and other states banning them via statutes or constitutional amendments, that means a longer spell with a patchwork marriage-rights map — and no early end to bruising state-by-state battles in the courts, in the legislatures and at the ballot box.



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