Colleges have been stealing from students for years…..trickle down anyone?

Maryland proposal to claim copyright on students’ work prompts backlash, legal review
By Barnini Chakraborty
Published February 12, 2013

Sorry, Suzie.
That tri-color macaroni necklace you made with gobs of glue stuck to the side could soon belong to the state of Maryland.
A proposal recently floated by the Prince George’s County Board of Education would give them the copyright to anything created by teachers, students and employees before, during and after school hours.
A child’s project, but also an online app or lesson plan a teacher creates, could be fair game.
According to a draft of the proposal obtained by, “Works created by employees and/or students specifically for use by the Prince George’s County Public School or a specific school or department within PGCPS, are properties of the Board of Education even if created on the employee’s or student’s time and with use of their materials.”
The draft policy prompted a backlash from teachers and education activists — causing the board to put the policy on hold pending a more thorough legal review.
As written, though, the policy could include anything published on the school’s website, curriculum documents, instructional materials, platforms and software developed for use by the school system, as well as a broad-reaching “other works created for classroom use and instruction” category.
Some parents and teacher organizations say they are worried that the measure would stifle creativity or that it would strip educators of the incentive to come up with new ideas and ways to teach. If the policy is approved, the county would become the only one in the Washington area where the school board would claim the rights on anything students, teachers or other staff create.
Briant Coleman, a spokesman for the school board, says it’s not the board’s “intent” to take ownership of work done by students.
“Please know that we would never try to impede on the creativity of our students, teachers and employees,” Coleman said. “In fact, we encourage it. The policy is currently on hold and under legal review until further notice.”
Smart move, says San Francisco copyright lawyer Lawrence Townsend.
Townsend tells that while the county has the right under the Work for Hire provision to police what teachers do, trying to stake a claim in what students create won’t fly.
“The students are mostly under the age of 18 and federal law protects their rights,” he said. Townsend added that unless a parent or guardian signs off on it, what a student creates belongs to the student and not the school.
Coleman did not address why a policy that was written to protect the school system from teachers trying to sell their lesson plans online for a quick buck also covered what students create. Multiple calls and emails to board members were not returned.
The PGCPS policy is part of a broader one the board is studying that would develop guidelines for the “use and creation” of materials being developed by employees and students. The board recommended the policy change to address the complications that arose from the increased use of technology in classrooms.
Copyright law’s “work-for-hire” doctrine states that works made during the scope of the creator’s employment belong to his or her employer.
“This is a legal issue,” said Cynthia Chmielewski of the National Education Association’s Office of General Counsel. “So if you want to sell your lesson plans online, make sure you actually own them.”
The problem is that the law is notoriously unclear on whether a work created by a public school teacher falls into the doctrine.
In 2004, a federal appellate court in New York ruled that “tests, quizzes, homework problems, and other teaching materials” were works made for hire owned by the district and that the “academic tradition” of granting authors ownership of their own scholarly work cannot be applied to materials not explicitly intended for purchase.
The site Don’ is asking people to sign a petition to be sent to the school board. The site’s creators say that the proposal to claim what students and teachers create as their own could have far-reaching implications if passed.

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Posted by on 02/12/2013 in news


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Obama….can we take much more of “his Smartness?”

The electric car mistake

By Charles Lane,  FEBRUARY 11, 7:55 PM

The Obama administration’s electric-car fantasy finally may have died on the road between Newark, Del., and Milford, Conn.The New York Times’s John M. Broder reported Friday that the Tesla Model S electric car he was test-driving repeatedly ran out of juice, partly because cold weather reduces the battery’s range by about 10 percent.

Broder’s trip turned into a nightmare, including a stretch with the conked-out car riding the back of a flatbed truck.Tesla chief executive Elon Musk fired back on Monday, tweeting that Broder’s report is a “fake”and that “vehicle logs” show he “didn’t actually charge to max & took a long detour.”

The Times is standing by its story. My take is that even if Musk is 100 percent right and Broder is 100 percent wrong — which I doubt — Musk loses.

Who wants a $101,000 car that might die just because you feel like taking “a long detour”?

President Obama repeatedly declared that, with enough federal aid, we can put a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015

. His administration has invested about $5 billion in grants, guaranteed loans — including $465 million for Tesla — and tax incentives to buyers.

Yet Americans bought just 71,000 plug-in hybrids or all-electric vehicles n the past two years, according to That’s about a third as many as the Energy Department forecast in a 2011 report that attempted to explain why Obama’s goal was not preposterous. 

Federal billions cannot overcome the fact that electric vehicles and plug-in electric hybrids meet few, if any, of real consumers’ needs. Compared with gas-powered cars, they deliver inferior performance at much higher cost. As an American Physical Society symposium on battery research concluded last June: “Despite their many potential advantages, all-electric vehicles will not replace the standard American family car in the foreseeable future.”

If you don’t believe the scientists, listen toTakeshi Uchiyamada, the “father” of the Toyota Prius: “Because of its shortcomings — driving range, cost and recharging time — the electric vehicle is not a viable replacement for most conventional cars.”

Even Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn, whose commitment to the all-electric Leaf helped his firm get a $1.4 billion U.S. loan guarantee, has reduced his boosterism in the face of disappointing sales.

Nor do electric cars promise much in the way of greenhouse-gas reduction, as long as they rely on a power grid that is still mostly fired by fossil fuels.

As for Vice President Biden’s 2009 forecast of “billions and billions and billions of dollars in good, new jobs,” the electric car factory at which he made that statement sits idle. Ditto the taxpayer-backed Michigan factory of battery maker LG Chem. Two Energy Department-funded lithium-ion battery makers have gone bankrupt.

There’s simply no denying that the administration’s electric-vehicle project was a mistake.

But it’s worth asking precisely what kind of mistake (beyond eminently foreseeable and terribly expensive). As Bruce Springsteen once sang: “Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true, or is it something worse?”

I accept the president’s good intentions. He didn’t set out to rip off the public. Nor was the electric-car dream a Democrats-only delusion. Several Republican pols shared it, too.

Rather, the debacle is a case study in unchecked righteousness. The administration assumed the worthiness and urgency of its goals. Americans should want electric cars, and therefore they would, apparently.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu, he of the Nobel Prize in physics, epitomized the regnant blend of sanctimony and technocratic hubris. He once told journalist Michael Grunwald that photosynthesis is “too damn inefficient
,” and that DOE might help correct that particular error of evolution.

The department has recently backed away from the million-car target, in favor of reducing battery costs to $300 per kilowatt hour by 2015 (from $650 today). Even this seems dubious, given the APS symposium’s view that “only incremental improvements can be expected” in lithium-ion batteries.
Chu is on his way out but still dreaming. “For the engineers in the room or those who follow this, you might be saying to yourself, ‘What are they smoking?’ ” he remarked at the Washington Auto Show. “We’re not smoking anything. They are ambitious goals but they are achievable goals.”
I might add that Chu does not own a car


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Posted by on 02/12/2013 in news, Obama


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Please don’t read. It makes too much sense. Left won’t get it. Right already knows.

March of Dimes poster circa 1952

March of Dimes poster circa 1952 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The stunning secret the media missed in Eric Cantor’s AEI speech

The liberal-leaning media didn’t think too much of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s February 5 speech to the American Enterprise Institute. Yet one particular idea that Cantor mentioned–expanding medical research and cures as a way of reducing the upward pressure of healthcare costs–is full of vast implications for not only the medical health of the American people, but also the political well-being of the Republican Party, still seeking to recover from the wounds of the 2012 election.

Not surprisingly, the mainstream media barely mentioned Cantor’s medical-research point.  The Daily Beast surveyed the speech–which also included other significant topics, such as school choice and immigration reform–and minimized its importance; the reporter declared that it consisted of “mini-initiatives,” adding, “Cantor sounds like he is playing small ball.”

Some journalists resorted to outright snark; a columnist for The Washington Post headlined his piece “Eric Cantor’s empty happy talk,” and remarked, “In recent weeks, Republican leaders such as Cantor have resembled nothing so much as laundry detergent salesmen.”

It’s better to cure a disease than merely to care for its ravages.

Okay, now if we cut through the critical spin, what exactly did Cantor say about health care that was so important?  Here’s the key line, which doesn’t seem to have been picked up anywhere in the MSM:

“Long term, controlling health care costs will require smarter federal investments in medical research.  Many of today’s cures and life saving treatments are a result of an initial federal investment. And much of it is spent on cancer research and other grave illnesses.” 

This idea of Cantor’s–that medical research and cures are the key to controlling future health care costs–is worth dwelling on. After all, for the last three years, the Republican message on health care has been dominated by the long-term fiscal plans put forth by House Budget Committee chair Paul Ryan–plans that critics say would make huge and untenable cuts in Medicare and other health programs.

Of course, we’ll never know about those cuts, because they’ve been blocked by the Democrats in the Senate and, ultimately, in the White House. So Cantor and others have come to realize that while Ryan-type budgeting might be the right thing to do, another strategy needs to be tried as well.

In other words, we can see a shift–from what might be called a “Cut Strategy,” to what we can call a “Cure Strategy.” That’s the new idea that Cantor touched upon: It’s better to cure a disease than merely to care for its ravages. Care, to be sure, is always an ethical imperative, but as costs start to mount–Alzheimer’s imposes a $200 billion cost on the economy today, headed toward a cumulative cost of $20 trillion by mid-century–then it’s smart to look for new approaches to curing disease.   It’s less expensive to beat than to treat.

But can this be done?  Can we achieve such cost-saving medical miracles? Well, we’ve done it before.

Let’s take an example: polio.  In 1939, estimates of the number of polio victims — most of them shut up in their homes, outside of the productive mainstream of American life–ranged from 100,000 to 500,000.  As historian David Oshinsky reports, at that time “the expense of boarding a polio patient (about $900 a year) actually exceeded the average annual wage ($875).”  In other words, all humanitarian considerations aside, the financial cost of polio was enormous.

In the midst of the ongoing tragedy of polio, Dr. Jonas Salk, working for the March of Dimes, a private charity supported by the federal government, produced a safe and effective polio vaccine in 1955. Was the Salk vaccine a lot of effort? Sure it was. But it was also a social and financial windfall for the United States. As the 20th century medical philanthropist Mary Lasker observed, if you think the health care system is expensive, consider the expense of not having a health care system.

Indeed, financier-turned-health-care-visionary Michael Milken, looking back to the 1950s, has quantified the gains from the vaccine. As he explained in 2010, the costs of immunization programs turned out to be minimal compared to the costs of wheelchairs, iron lungs, and physical therapy:

“In the early 1950s, economists estimated that by the year 2000, treating polio would cost the United States $100 billion annually.  Today’s polio immunization programs cost one thousand times less than that and have virtually eliminated the disease.”

In other words, savings from the vaccine were a thousand-fold, an astounding economic achievement.  And adjusted for inflation, that $100 billion in 1950 dollars would be  more like $1 trillion dollars today.  But of course, instead, we are spending virtually nothing on polio in the US–because we don’t have to.

In recent years, others have sought to update the Salk vaccine idea. In May 2011, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) was asked by Fox News’ Chris Wallace what might be done about rising Medicare costs.  Bachmann, a staunch constitutional conservative, had just voted for the Ryan  budget plan, but she told Wallace that she had some additional ideas for saving money on health care:

“The other thing that we should focus on would be cures–cures for things like Alzheimer’s, cures for things like diabetes. It’s very expensive to just cover the care for sickness. I’d prefer to see money that we have at the federal level go for cures.”

Once again, a cure is cheaper than care.

Indeed, there’s even some bipartisan momentum for a new approach.  Rep. Rob Andrews, Democrat of New Jersey, voted for the Affordable Care Act, aka “ObamaCare,” in 2010, but he has reached the same basic conclusion as Cantor and Bachmann.   In a Wall Street Journal  editorial published last fall, Andrews called for an “Apollo Program against disease,” recalling the successful moon-landing program of the 1960s.  We can thus see, once again, the importance of goals–and the goal, in this instance, is cures. As Andrews wrote, “We are at our best when we focus on great purposes that transform society and transcend politics.”  Out of such a large spirit, it’s possible to see constructive common ground.

And now Cantor, the second-highest Republican in the House, has added his powerful voice. Describing the life of a young child from his Richmond congressional district and her successful fight against pediatric cancer, Cantor declared:

“There is an appropriate and necessary role for the federal government to ensure funding for basic medical research. Doing all we can to facilitate medical breakthroughs for people like Katie should be a priority. We can and must do better.”

And so, Cantor said, we must focus anew on medical progress. And yet at the same time, he noted, money is not the only issue; yes, we need to pull together financial resources, public and private, but we need also to clear away legal and regulatory obstacles to scientific advance:

“This includes cutting unnecessary red tape in order to speed up the availability of life saving drugs and treatments and reprioritizing existing federal research spending. Funds currently spent by the government on social science – including on politics of all things – would be better spent helping find cures to diseases.”

Indeed, we might also observe that the continuing revolutions of knowledge — embodied in Moore’s Law, the World Wide Web, Big Data, and the “Fourth Paradigm” of medical research  — make this a golden moment for medical breakthroughs; the traditional bench science of white coats and laboratory mice can be now be teamed together with data-crunching supercomputers.

So it seems indeed that the wheel of health care policy is turning, slowly, from the Cut Strategy to a Cure Strategy.

The old policy idea, as we have seen, which dominated Washington, D.C. for more than two decades, argued that the main goal should be to cut health care spending, or at least to cut the growth of spending. Republicans, of course, have long sought to curb entitlements such as Medicare, although without success and at great political cost.

For their part, Democrats have supported the expansion of national health insurance programs, but, at the same time, they have argued that  their overhaul of the health care system would save money.

In 2008, for example, President Obama pledged to cut health care costs for the average family by a third, or $2,500. Yet that hasn’t happened; over the last four years, health care costs have continued to rise. And of course, costs have risen — because nothing has been cured, people continue to get sick, and sick people are expensive.

Indeed, over the last few years, new generations of “superbugs” have come to haunt hospitals; meanwhile, production of new antibiotics has plummeted. That problem, right there, is an important health issue–and should be an important political issue.

The new idea, the Cure Strategy, is that the main goal should be to improve health. We must remind policymakers that healthier people are not only happier and more productive, but also that they cost far less. Yes, prevention, diet, and exercise are all important, but many diseases can strike down even the healthiest.  It was Alzheimer’s, for example, that struck down the once-robust Ronald Reagan.

Indeed, if Alzheimer’s could be cured, or even alleviated, it might be possible to explore raising the retirement age for Medicare and Social Security; more people working longer would solve the long-term fiscal crisis almost painlessly. With a Cure Strategy in place, we could grow our way to better health and to a more vibrant economy.

The Cut Strategy holds that health care is simply a cost to be curbed; the Cure Strategy emphasizes that good health is the goal–and good health is an asset to be prized. Which idea makes for better politics?  More to the point, which idea is better for America?

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Posted by on 02/10/2013 in news


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English: General Joseph F. Dunford, USMC 32nd ...

English: General Joseph F. Dunford, USMC 32nd Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

KABUL, Afghanistan – Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford took over Sunday as the new and probably last commander of all U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan.
The American-led NATO coalition is entering the final stretch of its participation in a war that will have lasted more than 13 years when most foreign combat troops pull out at the end of 2014.
Dunford took over leadership of the International Security Assistance Force, and a smaller but separate detachment of American troops, from Marine Gen. John Allen, who had led them for the past 19 months.
“Today is not about change, it’s about continuity,” Dunford told a gathering of coalition military leaders and Afghan officials. “What’s not changed is the growing capability of our Afghan partners, the Afghan national security forces. What’s not changed is our commitment, more importantly, what’s not changed is the inevitability of our success.”
He takes charge at a critical time for President Barack Obama and the military. NATO decided at its 2010 summit in Lisbon to withdraw major combat units, but to continue training and funding Afghan troops and leave a residual force to hunt down Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.
Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said “much work lies ahead” for Dunford as he tries to meet those objectives while at the same time withdrawing about 100,000 foreign troops, including 66,000 from the United States.
Dunford, from Boston, Massachusetts, will face serious challenges as he tries to accommodate an accelerated timetable for handing over the lead for security responsibility to Afghan forces this spring — instead of late summer as originally planned.
“I told him our victory here will never be marked by a parade or a point in time on a calendar when victory is declared. This insurgency will be defeated over time by the legitimate and well-trained Afghan forces that are emerging today and who are taking the field in full force this spring,” Allen said.
He added that success would be described as an “Afghan force defending Afghan people, and enabling an Afghan government to serve its citizens. This is victory; this is what winning looks like.”
Although the Afghan security forces are almost at their full strength of 352,000, it is unclear if they are yet ready to take on the fight by themselves.
Before departing, Allen admitted that the Afghans still need much work to become an effective and self-sufficient fighting machine, but he said a vast improvement in their abilities was behind a decision to accelerate the timetable for putting them in the lead nationwide this spring when the traditional fighting season begins.
Obama said last month that the Afghans would take over this spring instead of late summer — a decision that could allow the speedier withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.
It is also unclear when the remaining 66,000 U.S. troops would return home, or how many American soldiers will remain after the end of 2014.
Obama may use his State of the Union address on Tuesday to announce the next steps for concluding the war and a timetable for withdrawal along with plans for a residual force post-2014.
Much of that depends on the U.S. negotiating a bilateral security agreement with the government that includes the contentious issue of immunity from Afghan prosecution for any U.S. forces that would remain here after 2014. President Hamid Karzai has said he will put any such decision in the hands of a council of Afghan elders, known as a Loya Jirga.
Although Dempsey said earlier in the week that the United States had plans to leave a residual force, a failure to strike a deal on immunity would torpedo any security agreement and lead to a complete pullout of U.S. forces after 2014 — as it did in post-war Iraq. It is widely believed that no NATO-member nation would allow its troops to remain after 2014 to train, or engage in counterterrorism activities, without a similar deal.
The head of NATO joint command in Europe, German Gen. Hans-Lothar Domrose, said the alliance was already making plans for a post-2014 presence, plans he said that were “all well advanced.”
Allen, 59, of Warrenton, Virginia, was the longest serving ISAF commander so far. Nearly two dozen generals have commanded troops from the United States and ISAF since the American invasion in late 2001 — with six U.S. generals including Dunford running both commands in the past five years alone.
Also attending the ceremony were U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis, Commander, U.S. Central Command, and Gen. James Amos, head of the Marine Corps. Karzai did not attend.

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NATO, NATO, NATO…crap….it is Obomber!…just as it was when it was Bush! I am sick of the “cover his a**” reporting!

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Posted by on 02/10/2013 in news, Obama


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Woman Dies following Late-Term Abortion at Carhart Clinic

Wonder when Obomber and Biden will actually do something productive, to save “just one life?”…..Don’t hold your breath.


This morning Operation Rescue and the Maryland Coalition for Life announced that yesterday a woman died from complications after undergoing a late-term, 33-week abortion at the hands of the infamous abortionist, LeRoy Carhart, in Germantown, Maryland.

From Operation Rescue’s press release:

The woman, who came for a third trimester abortion from out-of-state, arrived at GRHC on Sunday and was seen by pro-life activists every day through Wednesday. Witnesses said she appeared “pale and weak.”

Early Thursday morning, the woman began suffering chest pain and other discomforts. Her attempts to reach Carhart were unsuccessful. The woman was taken by her family from her hotel to a nearby hospital emergency room at approximately 5:00 a.m. Efforts by hospital staff to contact Carhart or get informational assistance from the abortion clinic were unsuccessful.

The patient suffered massive internal bleeding into her abdominal cavity. She slipped into a Code Blue condition approximately six times before finally succumbing to her injuries at around 9:30 a.m. The case has been placed with the Medical Examiner for further investigation.

This is tragic news. Please join the entire SBA List staff in praying for the deceased mother and child, as well as their family during this time.

This is not an isolated incident. reports that yesterday’s death occurred the same day of another medical emergency at a New Mexico abortion clinic where LeRoy Carhart’s associate Shelley Sella is working. Carhart himself is also responsible for another woman’s death following a botched abortion in 2005.

This woman came to Maryland from out-of-state because Maryland’s permissive abortion laws allow Carhart to perform abortions for any reason, throughout all nine months of pregnancy, until the moment of birth.

Women deserve better than a dangerous late-term abortion at the hands of a notorious abortionist.

Please Take Action immediately: Demand that Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley investigate and close Carhart’s dangerous and deadly late-term abortion center in Germantown, Maryland.

This is not an isolated incident. Live Action has found that 14 medical emergencies have occurred at Planned Parenthood’s nationwide in the last two years. Planned Parenthood is America’s largest abortion chain and these incident may only be the tip of the iceberg.

Abortion-advocates supposedly once operated under the premise that abortion should be “safe, legal, and rare.” The reality is that of these three, abortion is only really legal.


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Posted by on 02/09/2013 in culture, news


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Explosive Fed. Mandate Killing Thousands of Red Snapper

English: Red Snapper caught in the Gulf of Mex...

English: Red Snapper caught in the Gulf of Mexico, about 20 miles south of Port Fourchon, LA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Explosive Fed. Mandate Killing Thousands of Red Snapper

MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) A federal mandate to remove old, abandoned oil and gas rigs in the Gulf of Mexico is blowing up a lot more than just the rigs.

Undercover video obtained by Local 15 shows thousands of pounds of dead fish, mostly red snapper, floating to the surface after one of the controversial demolitions in the Gulf.

“Good Lord,” marine scientist Dr. Bob Shipp said, when Local 15 showed him the video. “As a scientist, I think it’s abominable.”

Shipp said the demolitions are frequent, sometimes three a week in the Gulf, but are seldom video-taped. Shipp also sits on the Gulf Fisheries Management Council, and has been a strong opponent of the demolitions.

“It’s a double whammy,” Shipp said, “Not only are we killing a lot of snapper, but we’re also destroying their habitat.”

The old rigs are an eye-sore, but under the surface, they’ve developed into artificial reefs with rich coral habitats. On some of the older rigs, those habitats have grown over the course of 30 to 40 years.

The killing of the red snapper is also infuriating charter boat captains and anglers. Federal restrictions keep cutting the red snapper season shorter and quotas smaller to protect the species from over-fishing.

“They tell us not to fish [red snapper] but they’re blowing them up,” charter boat Captain Jason Domange told Local 15, “It’s a cryin’ shame.”

The confidential source who provided Local 15 the video estimated 10,000 pounds of fish, mostly red snapper, were killed after that one demolition.

”That’s a year’s salary for a lot of people and that’s just going to waste,” Domange said.

Dr. Shipp said the killing of red snapper has both environmental and economical ramifications.

“We’re talking about the most valuable fish species in the Gulf of Mexico, the one on which so much tourism, industry and restaurants depend,” Shipp said, “Then we see something like this, which is just a blatant waste of a very precious resource.”

Before Domange was a charter boat captain, he worked on oil and gas rigs all across the Gulf Coast. He’s seen plenty of demolitions and fish kills, but has never seen one on video-tape.

“A lot of [the demolitions were] hush hush, unsaid, and unseen,” Domange said, “This is the first video that’s been produced, that I’ve seen. Hopefully it shines a lot of light.”

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Posted by on 02/09/2013 in news


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If we can’t do a lousy $100 billion from a 3.7 trillion budget…we are in big trouble!

White House outlines deep cuts that could be coming soon
Published February 08, 2013
Associated Press
Trying to ratchet up pressure on Congress, the White House on Friday detailed what it said would be the painful impact on the federal work force and certain government assistance programs if “large and arbitrary” scheduled government spending cuts are allowed to take place beginning March 1.
They include layoffs or furloughs of “hundreds of thousands” of federal workers, including FBI agents, U.S. prosecutors, food safety inspectors and air traffic controllers, said White House budget officials at a briefing and in a fact sheet that included these examples of what the cuts would mean:
— 70,000 young children would be kicked off Head Start, 10,000 teacher jobs would be put at risk and up to 2,100 food safety inspections might have to be cancelled.
–Up to 373,000 “seriously mentally ill adults and seriously emotionally disturbed children” would go untreated, up to 1,000 fewer National Science Foundation research grants and effecting some 12,000 scientists and students could be threatened, many small business loans denied, workplace safety inspections curtailed, federally assisted programs like “Meals on Wheels” slashed and 125,000 low-income renters put at risk of losing government-subsidized housing.
— Approximately 424,000 fewer HIV tests could be conducted by state agencies working with the Centers for Disease Control and some 100,000 formerly homeless people, including veterans, would be removed from their current housing and emergency shelter programs.
The so-called mandatory sequester cuts are a “serious threat to national security, domestic programs and the economy,” Office of Budget and Management official Danny Werfel told a White House briefing.
The spending cuts were originally to take place beginning Jan. 1, but were put off until March 1 in a last-minute deal between President Obama and Congress to avert a New Year’s Day “fiscal cliff” of tax hikes and spending cuts.
At issue are $1.2 trillion of additional spending cuts over the next 10 years, including about $85 billion this year.
Obama has called for a small package of spending cuts and measures to close tax loopholes and put off the deadline again.
But Republicans have so far said no.
“We agree the sequester is the wrong way to cut spending,” Brendan Buck, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, said Friday. But, he added: “The president got his higher taxes on the wealthy last month– with no corresponding cuts. The tax issue has been resolved.”
White House press secretary Jay Carney dismissed such arguments as “convenient spin, but it’s also a lot of baloney.”
Administration budget officials said the list of proposed cuts was compiled by the various federal agencies that would be responsible for carrying them out — and not dictated by the White House.
In the Senate, majority-party Democrats are discussing ways to raise new revenues and curb spending to replace the cuts and aiming for a vote just before March 1. They want to cut spending as well, including direct payments to farmers that are seen as hard to defend.
“It should be a mixture,” said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.
Ideas for increasing tax revenue include a minimum tax rate for millionaires, eliminating a tax perk on corporate jets and closing a loophole that allows wealthy people to avoid paying Social Security and Medicare taxes on some of their income.
But the Democratic effort seems sure to be blocked by Republicans, who are dead set against additional tax revenue after yielding to Obama during “fiscal cliff” negotiations and agreeing to raise tax rates on the wealthiest Americans. Obama got the tax increases he wanted — with no corresponding spending cuts.
House Republicans are divided between defense hawks hoping to avert Pentagon cuts and tea-party conservatives who back the sequester.
Boehner, R-Ohio, says the sequester was all Obama’s idea in the 2011 negotiations that produced it, but the House speaker hasn’t committed to an effort to block the spending cuts before they strike.
Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, praised the administration for releasing “compelling information” on the impact of the spending cuts.
“The impacts of sequester are devastating to the American people and the American economy. The public has a right to understand how sequester would impact middle-class families, jobs and the economy,” she said in a statement.

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Posted by on 02/08/2013 in news



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