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Saturday
Apr122014

Why is the American Geophysical Union Prioritizing Climate Alarmism Over Scientific Inquiry?

IStock Man ZipperWjpg

I had a comment rejected by a blog of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) last night because I included within it a link to a blog post by a climate scientist, Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr., who has over 370 peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals to his name.

Any aspersions this casts on the AGU's objectivity and spirit of scientific inquiry are entirely earned.

Climate alarmists -- those who believe humankind is dramatically affecting the climate in a very harmful way -- have often censored contrary views (e.g., routinely deleted comments at the uber-alarmist blog Real Climate; the revelation in Climategate that alarmist scientists were prepared to "redefine what the peer-review literature is" or shut down academic journals if they published skeptics' papers; the decision by various publications and websites including Popular Science, the Los Angeles Times and Reddit to block comment postings by skeptics; among others).

Despite this, I did not expect my rather casual comment to the AGU blog to be censored. In it, I provided a link to a paper praised by the blog's author, Dan Satterfield. The blog post itself had encouraged people to read the paper, but a linking error prevented full access to the paper itself at a spot where such a link was advertised. I supplied one.

But in a move that proved fatal to my comment, I also included a link to comments by Dr. Pielke, Sr. questioning the methodology of the paper recommended by the AGU post.

I know this because Mr. Satterfield sent me an email highlighting the following from his blog's comment policy: "I do not publish links to junk science papers/sites. This is not a platform for you to publicize junk science."

Let us examine what constitutes "junk science" to the AGU and/or its representative.

Mr. Satterfield was promoting a 2010 paper, Anderegg et. al., 2010, "Expert Credibility in Climate Change," whose lead author was a graduate student, which attempted to claim scientists who are alarmist on global warming are more prominent than those who are not by counting the number of journal papers with the word "climate" in them, per scientist, that pop up in Google.

Dr. Pielke, Sr., who is not, as it happens, a skeptic of the theory that humans are having a strong impact on global climate (though he does believe the IPCC underestimates the impact on climate of humans' use of aerosols and land, which irritates some anti-CO2 activists), believed the Anderegg paper had weaknesses. He commented on this in a 2010 blog post and provided links to comments by other experts unconvinced of the strength of the Anderegg paper.

One of those, Science magazine reporter Eli Kintisch, writing on the American Association for Advancement of Science website, explained three criticisms of the paper's methodology:

  • The study allowed for no nuance in the views of scientists. All scientists were lumped into one of two groups.

  • The study limited its analysis to scientists who had signed public statements on climate science or participated in IPCC proceedings.

  • The study conflated frequency of appearance in peer-reviewed publications with prominence.

The AGU blog didn't want its readers to know of these and other criticisms.

Why?

And it's not as if the AGU blog post itself was high-minded and limited only to discussions of peer-reviewed science.

  • Its opening paragraph criticized anticipated commenters for linking to websites with unflattering pictures of Al Gore before they could even have read the post, let alone commented.

  • It bizarrely claimed the fact that an NBC correspondent interviewed a non-skeptic political scientist instead of, presumably, a skeptic climate scientist to "balance" alarmists in a story was evidence for the catastrophic global warming theory.

  • It said that interviewing anyone [emphasis added] about climate science who has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal is "lousy journalism, and the equivalent of doing a story about the Apollo Moon missions, and then giving the chem-trail believer down the street equal time to say the Moon landing was fake, and pro-wrestling is real!" Really? Anyone?

  • And most significantly, it rudely and one-sidedly attacked a University of Colorado at Boulder professor (who is not a skeptic), Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr. (coincidentally, the son of the scientist I linked to about the Anderegg study, but the two debates are unrelated otherwise and separated by about four years) for telling the Senate last year that extreme weather events have not increased in recent decades, a view that happens to be consistent with that of the IPCC, but also politically inconvenient for the White House, which attacked him. (For background on that not supplied by the AGU, go here for his story in the New Republic; go here for a review of the matter in the New York Times by Andrew Revkin (also not a skeptic).)
My blog comment was nothing special, nor was the blog post upon which I commented. But it is important to note how little it takes for an AGU blog to censor an opposing view, even about a study as unremarkable as one that counts the number of papers scientists publish (aka, a study not even about hard science!).

The American Geophysical Union stands with a small clique of "approved" alarmists on global warming, and it wants to make sure you do, too.

Friday
Apr112014

A Bad Week for Lois Lerner, But a Good Week for Finding the Truth

This was a bad week for Lois Lerner, but nothing that she apparently couldn’t have prevented.  It’s her mess.

The former head of the Internal Revenue Service’s division that oversees tax-exempt organizations incurred the wrath of two different congressional committees this week for her part in the alleged malicious targeting of conservative organizations seeking nonprofit status.

Lerner previously professed her innocence in the matter in a statement before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, but then immediately invoked her 5th Amendment protection against testifying before the committee.  This conflicted episode in particular, as well as the mounting evidence that only conservative applicants were hounded and delayed by the IRS during their application processes, has drawn the ire of lawmakers who are seeking answers.

So, on Wednesday, the House Ways and Means Committee voted to formally request that the U.S. Department of Justice consider a criminal prosecution of Lerner for the unfair treatment of conservative applicants, misleading congressional investigators and illegally releasing private information from taxpayer records.  An official statement from the Committee stated that “Lerner used her position to improperly influence agency action against only conservative organizations, denying these groups due process and equal protection rights under the law.”

Then, on Thursday, the Committee on House Oversight and Government Reform voted to hold Lerner in contempt for her refusal to testify before the Committee.

Project 21 co-chairman Horace Cooper, a former staff member of the House leadership, said that Lerner has only herself to blame and that the American people are owed answers to the lingering questions about the probably political targeting of certain Americans for the political beliefs.  Horace said:

This past week, both the Committee on Ways and Means and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the U.S. House of Representatives signaled that the Internal Revenue Service is not the law unto itself and that every federal employee — including Lois Lerner — must be accountable to the American people.

The charges involved here are serious.  Every American is subject to the dictates of the IRS, and they expect that those interactions will be neutral and dispassionate.  Unfortunately the evidence indicates that Lerner’s actions were anything but neutral.

It is axiomatic that the IRS shouldn’t target Americans because of their beliefs or their political activities.

Our nation was founded on the principle that citizens are free to criticize or support the government without reprisal.  By threatening this principle, it appears that Lerner violated the law.

Now, it is important for Lerner to face the consequences of her alleged actions and to tell the American people about the other parties potentially involved in such crimes.

photo credit: iStockPhoto

Friday
Apr112014

Medicaid Expansion: Good News And Bad News

Will Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion make it more difficult for Medicaid beneficiaries to find care?  It’s already well known that finding a physician who takes Medicaid is difficult.  Some critics of Obamacare have suggested that by expanding Medicaid enrollment without also expanding the supply of providers to treat the new enrollees will result in a shortage of health care for Medicaid beneficiaries.

Well, some recent research in JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that might not happen.  This article looked at Medicaid expansions prior to Obamacare and found little difference in access for Medicaid beneficiaries in states that expanded Medicaid versus states that did not.   In short, Medicaid enrollees may have trouble accessing care, but it doesn’t appear that those difficulties get any worse with an expansion.

That’s the good news.  On the other hand, some of these expansions were limited to a few states and some were relatively small expansions.  That is, they were not on the magnitude of the Obamacare expansion.  Will the greater magnitude of this expansion create access problems?  We’ll, have to wait and see on that.

The bad news comes from an article in the International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics.  It examined the the effect that Medicare prices had on Medicaid prices, and while it found that while Medicare prices affect Medicaid prices for physicians, they didn’t find any impact on hospital prices.  The article states:

This suggests that the Medicaid program does not compete with Medicare by adjusting reimbursement prices for patient access to basic hospital care.  In this case, lack of competition is consistent with providers having enough capacity to serve all Medicare and Medicaid patients at relatively lower market prices.

The take away from that is Medicaid is likely to remain a program where enrollees are likely to get a lot of their care in an emergency room, and not from physicians, even under the expansion.

Wednesday
Apr092014

Health Care Odds & Ends: Why The ObamaCare Numbers Matter

1. Costs Versus Benefits.  If you’ve read this blog in the last week or so, you’ve seen a lot of numbers about how many uninsured have gained coverage on the ObamaCare exchanges.  Are there 3.1 million young adults who’ve gained coverage via their parents plan or only 258,000?  Has ObamaCare really reduced the number of uninsured by 5.4 million or is the real number closer to 3 million? And so on.

This matters because the benefits of this law—reducing the number of uninsured—have to be weighed against the costs.  If the number of uninsured has declined precipitously, then the costs are easier to justify.  Thus far, the benefits are falling far short of what the Obama Administration has promised.  The Administration touted the number from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that ObamaCare would reduce the number of uninsured by 13 million in 2014—6 million on the exchanges, 7 million on Medicaid.  It is highly unlikely that goal will be reached.

The costs, however, have been quite steep: loss of freedom; higher taxes, even for some in the middle class; at least 5 million people with insurance on the individual market who received cancellation notices; many of those people losing their insurance and now paying higher premiums for new insurance; patients having difficulty finding exchange plans that cover their doctors; and, of course, the “horror stories.”

Then there are the costs yet to come.  We don’t yet know how many people have lost their small-group plans, although we do know it is happening.  The effect of the employer mandate is as of yet unknown since it doesn’t take effect until January 2015.  But Jed Graham of Investor’s Business Daily counts at least 401 employers who are looking at reducing worker hours in response to the mandate.  He’s also found that some lower-wage workers may already be seeing a reduction on their hours.  Finally, there is the CBO analysis that the incentives in ObamaCare will encourage employees to work fewer hours which would equal 2.5 million jobs by 2014.

Ultimately, we are enduring a great deal of costs for relatively small benefits.  If this trend continues, at some point one has to admit that ObamaCare has not been worth it.

2. More Bad Numbers For The Exchanges.  The New York Times reports a study from Express Scripts that compares pharmaceutical use in the first two months on the exchanges to such use in employer-based plans.  The article notes that while exchanges enrollees appear to be filling prescriptions at about the same rate as those with employer-based plans, the pharmaceuticals exchange enrollees purchase tend to be more expensive:

People who signed up early for insurance through the new marketplaces were more likely to be prescribed drugs to treat pain, depression and H.I.V. and were less likely to need contraceptives, according to a new study that provides a much-anticipated look at the population that signed up for coverage under the new health care law.

The health of those who enrolled in new coverage is being closely watched because many observers have questioned whether the new marketplaces would attract a large share of sick people, which could lead to higher premiums and ultimately doom the new law.

The study, to be released Wednesday by the major pharmacy-benefits manager Express Scripts, suggests that early enrollees face more serious health problems and are older than those covered by their employers. The study also showed a higher use of specialty drugs, which are often used to treat diseases like cancer and rheumatoid arthritis; the use of such drugs could hint at more costly medical problems.

This appears to be bad news for the ObamaCare exchanges.  If enrollees are much sicker than what is optimal for a risk pool, then insurance prices will rise and its off to races on the death spiral.  Nevertheless, a piece on the same subject by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Daily Beast notes:

Experts caution that the findings are limited to two months’ data and don’t reflect the surge in enrollment which occurred in March and April….

“We all expected that the people who signed up by January and February would be a lot sicker than anyone else,” said Robert Lazsewski, a consultant to the insurance industry. 

The consensus among insurers, he said, is that “it will be a year before we know what we’ve got.”

Thus, this is only the first hint that the exchanges are in trouble.  We’ll need a lot more data before any definitive conclusions on the health of the exchange risk pools can be drawn.

3. About That RAND Study.  Recall that RAND study that said close to 9 million people have recently gained coverage?  Well, we are finally getting a look at it, and it turns out the increase doesn’t come primarily from the exchanges or Medicaid, but from an over 8 million increase in the number of people who get employer-based insurance.  In fact, when you compare the gains from the exchanges and Medicaid with the losses in the individual market and the military and federal employee market, the net increase in the insurance is only about 1.1 million:

For more, see Avik Roy.

Wednesday
Apr092014

Project 21's Cooper on Hank Aaron's Race Remarks

Legendary baseball star Hank Aaron fouled out when he tried to play politics — essentially spoiling the 40th anniversary of his record-breaking 715th home run for many fans.

During an interview with USA Today, when Aaron unfortunately steered the conversation into politics, the 80-year-old retired right fielder said about Barack Obama and his performance as president:

Sure, this country has a black president, but when you look at a black president, President Obama is left with his foot stuck in the mud from all of the Republicans with the way he’s treated.

We have moved in the right direction, and there have been improvements, but we still have a long ways to go in the country.

The bigger difference is that back then they had hoods.  Now they have neckties and starched shirts.

After an otherwise dignified anniversary and a stirring speech by Aaron at the Atlanta Braves game on April 8, Project 21 co-chairman Horace Cooper found Aaron’s comments to USA Today to be wholly misleading and inappropriate:

Hank Aaron’s remarks are as disappointing as they are inaccurate.

Suggesting that political differences are the moral equivalent to the odious philosophy of racial superiority is sickening.  To make matters worse, they minimize the truly wicked past policies of institutional racial segregation.

Across the board, President Obama’s policies are failing the American people — black and white.   Pretending that they aren’t just because he’s the country’s first black President serves no one’s interest and ignores the progress we’ve made.

As an individual who had to actually live by his talents and character when it mattered most, Hank Aaron should — of all people — know the difference between naked bigotry and genuine political differences.

Tuesday
Apr082014

Medicare Advantage, Insurance Premiums and Chutzpah

“Great kid!  Don’t get cocky!”  Han Solo’s timeless warning about how to handle success (don’t let it go to your head and stay on your toes) applies as much today as it did back in 1977.  However, Paul Krugman always ignores it.  Here’s Krugman after the announcement that 7.1 million people had signed up on the Obamacare exchanges:

The biggest risk to reform has always been that the scheme would founder on its complexity. And now we know that this won’t happen….The nightmare is over. It has long been clear, to anyone willing to study the issue, that the overall structure of Obamacare made sense given the political constraints. Now we know that the technical details can be managed, too. This thing is going to work. And, yes, it’s also a big political victory for Democrats. 

The general pattern of ObamaCare has been that when it appears something about it is working, something else soon follows to show that it’s not:

The Obama administration announced Monday that planned cuts to Medicare Advantage would not go through as anticipated….

Under cuts planned by the administration, insurers offering the plans were to see their federal payments reduced by 1.9 percent, which likely would have necessitated cuts for customers.

Instead, the administration said the federal payments to insurers will increase next year by .40 percent.

Medicare Advantage was supposed to be cut to the tune of $200 billion over ten years to, in part, help pay for Obamacare.  But, now suddenly, that doesn’t seem necessary: 

The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) on Monday said changes in the healthcare market meant it did not need to make those cuts to Medicare Advantage this year.

It cited an increase in healthy beneficiaries under Medicare, which it said has lowered projected costs for that program.

Uh huh.  Here’s the real reason:

The announcement comes after insurers spent millions on a public relations blitz seeking to head off the cuts, and after dozens of Democrats joined Republicans in calling on the administration to keep MA rates flat to avoid cutting benefits for seniors. (Bold added.)

Guess the Democrats don’t want to have to explain both why people lost their insurance and why seniors saw cuts in the Medicare Advantage plans.

Here’s betting they won’t want to explain this either:

Americans have recently been hit with some of the largest premium increases in years, according to a Morgan Stanley survey of insurance brokers.

The investment bank’s April survey of 148 brokers found that this quarter, the average premium increase for customers renewing an insurance plan is 12 percent in the small group market and 11 percent in the individual market, according to Forbes’ Scott Gottlieb.

What was that about a political victory for Democrats?

Monday
Apr072014

180,000 Women Lost Jobs in February While Obama’s Promotes Gender Warfare

It’s probably a pretty safe bet that President Obama won’t be talking about last month’s unemployment numbers when he officiates at “Equal Pay Day” at the White House on Tuesday, April 8.

Last Friday, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the overall unemployment rate for the American workforce as a whole was unchanged at 6.7 percent.  To break that down among some key Obama demographics, Hispanic unemployment went down slightly to still-high 7.9 percent while black overall unemployment rose by twice as much as Hispanics fell to post at an extremely high 12.4 percent.

And the unemployment rate for all women who are 20 years old or older rose by two-tenths of a percent.  It’s back to the same rate — 6.2 percent — as last November.  Not good news.

There are approximately 180,000 more women in the American workforce who joined the ranks of the unemployed last month.  Black women 20 years and older, in particular, saw their unemployment rate skyrocket by 1.1 percent to 11.0 percent.  While not seasonally adjusted, the Hispanic unemployment rate for women is reported to have fallen four-tenths of a percent to 8.4 percent.

Also, according to CNSNews, approximately 36,000 women chose to join the over 54.6 million other American women who are now considered to not be participating in the workforce at all.  Overall, the American labor participation rate is near a modern low of 63.2 percent.

Yet, as Obama prepares to stoke the partisan fires of an alleged “war on women” on Tuesday by using his much-heralded pen and phone to sign two executive orders he will undoubtedly claim will help equalize the genders in the workplace, the fact that 180,000 more women than in February are no longer drawing amy regular salary should hang over the event like a dark cloud of foreboding.

These very stark facts about womens’ employment will likely go unmentioned as they don’t fit the liberal narrative that the economy is recovering splendidly and that problems right now are borne more out of race, class, gender and power dynamics than an environment toxic to job creation and fiscal growth.

The expected Obama orders, to mandate that federal contractors (the apparent extent of Obama’s pen power) provide federal regulators with salary data broken down by factors of employees’ gender and race and to protect contractors from retaliation for publicly complaining about their wages, are considered dubious in effectiveness and considered by critics to only add more of a regulatory burden on employers that will instead depress wages for all affected workers.

This latest skirmish in the liberal war on women meme fronted by the White House and its supporters is being rebutted by members of the National Center’s Project 21 black leadership network.  These black conservatives find there is more to worry about in the workforce that the specter of gender discrimination.

For instance, Project 21 member Derryck Green, who writes a regular monthly commentary for the National Center’s blog that analyzes the unemployment numbers and the state of the Obama economic recovery, said:

For all the talk about this so-called conservative “war on women,” it seems like an actual two-stage war is being waged on women by the actions of the Obama White House and as a result of his economic “recovery.”

Under Obama’s recovery, for example, women saw their share of the nation’s unemployed increase by 180,000 from February to March.  Since Obama has been in office, the representative percentage of employed women in the civilian federal workforce has also declined.  In 2013, roughly 44 percent of the civilian federal workforce was women — a 16-year low.

Also, during Obama’s tenure, for example, women are reportedly earning less on average than their male counterparts.  Not only are there fewer women working in the White House than men, they are also making $9,000 less per year.

So much for gender equality!  It’s just another example of the apparent unspoken motto of the Obama presidency: “Do as I say, ignore what I do.”

Americans should keep this in mind the next time the Obama Administration and their sympathizers campaign against the “war on women.”

Project 21 member Lisa Fritsch, a Tea Party activist who ran for governor of Texas earlier this year, added:

The way liberals are addressing this alleged recent “War on Women” is equivalent to their “War on Poverty” initiative of the last five decades.  It has only made things worse for both minorities and women.

The unfortunate truth is that women are finding fewer professional jobs that they depend on to support their families.  A real reason is the Affordable Care Act and the unpredictability of its implications and taxes.

top photo credit: iStockPhoto

Monday
Apr072014

More On The Bogus '3.1 Million Young Adults Have Gained Coverage Via Their Parents' Statistic

Last week NCPPR published my study debunking the claim that “3.1 million young adults gained coverage by staying on their parents’ insurance until 26 due to ObamaCare.”

The Administration had based that claim on 2011 quarterly data from the National Health Interview Survey.  I used the most up-to-date data (third quarter of 2012) to find that based on the NHIS survey the number of young adults getting insurance through their parents’ plan was about 2.2 million.

I’ve been trying to get even more recent data, but so far the NHIS has been unable to provide quarterly data.  NHIS has only released data that is an average of Q1-Q3 of 2013.  So, let’s update my analysis using that data, understanding that it’s not the same as the quarterly data:

 

The difference between 2010 and 2013 is about 8.8 percent.  Multiplied against the roughly 30 million 19-25-year-olds in the nation (according to the Census Bureau) and the result is about 2.64 million.  Still a bit off from 3.1 million.

Avik Roy of the Manhattan Institute notes some other problems with using the NHIS data beginning with this chart:

 

Roy writes:

[HHS employee Benjamin Sommers who wrote the Administration’s analysis] assumes that the entirety of the growth in coverage is due to Obamacare. This is highly unlikely. As you can see from the [above] chart, if you look at the NHIS data over a longer period of time—say, from 1997 to 2013—there’s a big dip in the percentage of young adults with private coverage in 2009 and 2010, corresponding to the worst depths of the Great Recession.

Sommers cherry-picked the 2010 baseline that would make his comparisons as flattering as possible. He compared the third quarter of that year, when 49.8 percent had private coverage, with the fourth quarter of 2011, when 58.8 percent did. The full-year averages for 2010 and 2011 were 51.0 and 56.2 percent, respectively; for the first 9 months of 2013, the proportion with private coverage was 58.1 percent.

If you simply use 2008 as your baseline—before the effects of the recession—you still get a positive effect, but a much smaller one. In 2008, the proportion of young adults with private coverage was 55.8 percent; if you assume the entirety of the change in private coverage from 2008 to 2013 is due to Obamacare, you get a coverage expansion of between 869,000 (on a 2008 population base) and approximately 1.04 million (on a 2013 population base). That’s not nothing, but it’s 2 million less than what the Obama administration is claiming.

I say maybe 2.64 million, Roy says closer to 870,000.  I also noted in the study that Census Bureau data shows that number of young adults gaining coverage via their parents’ insurance is closer to 258,000.

In short, we have no clue how many young adults have gotten coverage this way, and the numbers flying around are too unreliable for the president or anyone else to be using.

Monday
Apr072014

Why Did the Federal Government Put $700,000 in Taxpayer Money Down the Drain?

ALT TAGIt’s a figurative drain, not a literal one, but the money’s gone either way.

Specifically, why did the federal government spend $700,000 on a climate-change propaganda musical?

Worse, one put on by a theater group that advertises left-wing environmental organizations and their frequently-noxious causes on its website?

I don’t remember “funding musicals” as one of the Constitution’s enumerated powers. Maybe it’s there, but there just wasn’t room to print it in my pocket Constitution?

Michael Bastasch has the theater boondoggle story in the Daily Caller.

Just as most taxpayers pay for their own expression, so should politically-correct theater groups.

Taxpayers likewise should be relieved from funding advertising for groups that lobby for a carbon tax, sue local governments (which means taxpayers), fight against government approval of the Keystone pipeline, tell the media it is not biased enough toward the left, and promote “green energy” profiteers.

One of these groups, Al Gore’s climate something, even has a project to send its sheep out to argue with climate skeptics (whom they call “deniers,” because, name-calling).

Now as refreshing as it is to see one of the CAGW-believers willing to engage in debate (Al Gore remains too frightened, but he’ll send his followers into the battle of ideas unarmed, no problem), this project isn’t something that ever should be funded by the taxpayers.

Thomas Jefferson said, “…To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical; that even the forcing him to support this or that teacher of his own religious persuasion, is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness…”

People who don’t believe in the secular religion of the church of global warming should not be forced to pay for its indulgences.

Saturday
Apr052014

I Told You So: Myth #3 About the Incandescent Light Bulb Ban

LightBulbBanthebanWhite

Back in 2011 I wrote the following in a short paper, Five Myths About the Federal Incandescent Light Bulb Ban:

Myth 3: "Alternatives to incandescents are just as safe."

No. CFLs contain sufficient mercury for the Environmental Protection Agency to recommend a tedious 10-to-11-step process for cleanup of broken CFLs. Consumers also are supposed to take discarded bulbs to a special disposal center, but it is unlikely that most people are bothering. This places dangerous mercury in the air when the bulbs inevitably break in trash cans or garbage trucks.

I hate to say I told you so (I really do, since most readers of this blog vociferously opposed the ridiculous ban), but, from Canada's CBC:

Compact fluorescent bulbs often end up in trash

Statistics Canada study shows a third of households returned bulbs to depot or store

Most Canadians are using compact fluorescent bulbs, but only a third of them are disposing of the mercury-containing devices properly, a new Statistics Canada report suggests.

The federal agency reported this week that in 2011, 75 per cent of Canadian households used at least one compact fluorescent bulb and 39 per cent used at least one fluorescent tube. Far fewer households used mercury-free LED bulbs, another energy-efficient alternative to incandescent bulbs - just 10 per cent.

The Households and the Environment Survey of 20,000 Canadians, conducted by phone in October and November 2011 found that:

  • Only 32 per cent of households disposed of compact fluorescent light bulbs properly by dropping them off at a hazardous waste depot or returning the bulb to a store.

  • 50 per cent of households surveyed threw the light bulbs in the garbage.

  • 12 per cent still had the old bulbs in their home.

  • The remaining six per cent used an "unknown" method of disposal.

Each bulb contains a small amount of mercury, which can damage the brain, spinal cord, kidneys and liver of humans and other living organisms.

A compact fluorescent light bulb typically contains about five milligrams of mercury — less than the amount that's in a watch battery, according to Natural Resources Canada.

Canadian Vandalism MemeW

However, mercury-containing devices are typically treated as hazardous waste, because light bulbs are likely to break if buried in landfills. The mercury they contained can then contaminate water and enter the atmosphere. It does not break down in the environment and accumulates in the bodies of animals as it moves up the food chain...

This report is talking about Canada, the polite country. What hope is there that we're doing any better?

Oh well, what's a little brain damage, compared to the joy of pretending we're doing something measurable to stop "climate change"?

Friday
Apr042014

About Those March Jobs Numbers…

Is 6.6 percent the best Obama is going to be able to do when it comes to job creation?

This morning, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics posted that the official unemployment rate for March was unchanged at 6.7 percent.  The alternative U-6 rate that covers the total number of unemployed along with the underemployed and despondent jobseekers only “marginally attached to the labor force” was a unsettlingly high and rising 12.7 percent.

This far into the President’s tenure, with his policies in high gear and the Bush era far in the rearview mirror, it’s all Obama’s fault now.

The writing was on the wall earlier in the week when the U.S. Department of Labor announced that claims for unemployment jumped by 16,000 in March to a seasonally adjusted number of 326,000 — 9,000 more than economists had anticipated.

What about the unemployment rate among the key Obama constituencies?  Once again, minority unemployment rates far outpaced white counterparts.

The Hispanic unemployment rate in March was down slightly to a still-high 7.9 percent.  The overall black jobless rate rose to a shocking 12.4 percent.  Among black teenagers, however, the out-of-work segment was a staggeringly unacceptable 36.1 percent (a 3.7 percent rise in just one month).

Such a high rate for black teens, an almost certain impediment for years to come as they lose out on the prospect of entry-level employment and training at a formative age, has been a largely unrecognized issue (outside of these monthly blog postings from Project 21 and among black conservative economists such as Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams.  The Media Research Center, in fact, logged network interest in the black employment crisis when the job numbers are announced to just ten seconds over the past year — and that was confined to two times on one network.

Yet the President gets coverage for his childish name-calling of the budget plan to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) as a “stinkburger” and “meanwich.”

Once again, Derryck Green, a member of the National Center’s Project 21 black leadership network, is naturally not cheered by any of the new unemployment numbers, nor is he excited about the size, shape and strength of the Obama recovery.

In his monthly “About Those Jobs Numbers…” commentary on the state of the recovery, Derryck notes that a lot of the ineptitude is really an expected by-product of the progressive policy agenda:

As another month passes with the economy and job creation stagnant, Americans are continuing to see the obviously intended economic realities of central planning and progressive ideals.

The progressive desire to remake society, however, is diametrically opposed to what’s actually needed for our nation to recuperate its lost jobs, wages and capital — not to mention the faith and optimism that has been lost by the American people during what’s supposed to be Obama’s economic recovery.

Looking at the newly-released job numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate is unchanged since last month at 6.7 percent.

For blacks. there’s a 12.4 percent overall jobless rate.  For black teens, the rate is 36.1 percent.  Also, 2.2 million Americans remain on the margins of the labor force, of which the participation rate is 63.2 percent.

Only 192,000 non-farm jobs were added to the American economy last month.  It doesn’t begin to approach what’s needed to maintain the average pace of job replacement.

It’s been said before, but one particular observation bears repeating.  Despite how the unemployment rate is doctored to appear (Census employees are accused of faking job numbers prior to the 2012 presidential election), and no matter how the Obama Administration spins the news, the nation continues its descent into the murkiness of economic apathy and stifled productivity.

Regarding doctored data, not only are there the allegations of unemployment data being intentionally manipulated to favor Obama — if one can call anything related to the economy in the Obama years as favorable — but it appears that Consumer Price Index (CPI) data may have also been falsified by some of the same people who are accused of cooking the jobs numbers.

The CPI measures the variation of prices for goods and services to determine the development and effect of inflation.  It’s responsible for setting increases of military pay and retiree benefits.  Falsifying CPI data affects those whose income is dependent on government edict.

Adding to this, the Obama Administration has demonstrated a willingness to lie to the nation regarding his health care promises and the severity of the unemployment situation. That President Obama would lie about inflation levels, while cheating service members out of earned pay and the elderly out of benefits, is no surprise at all.

But there is good news of sorts — at least if you are a supporter of leftist politics.  Now that ObamaCare allegedly has over seven million Americans enrolled, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says “we [can] now pivot to jobs.”

Now?  Now?!

That ObamaCare was the focus as the nation suffered through double-digit unemployment, and that ObamaCare remained the focus as more and more Americans left the workforce, confirms just how serious progressive-minded, utopian partisans seem to be when it comes to the economy. 

Consider this.  Aside from jobless claims that increased this week, there are also these formidable factors:

  • Radio Shack, Staples, Sony, Office Depot, Sears Holding (which owns Sears and Kmart), J.C. Penney and Disney — among many other companies — all announced plans to either close stores and or layoff employees in March;
  • Two million fewer people were in the workforce this past month than at the same time last year;
  • According to a report by the Center for Immigration Studies, government data has indicated that almost 17 million Americans wanted, but were unable to find, full-time work in 2013;
  • The housing market remains weak;
  • The Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen said that, even though the Fed decided to taper its bond-buying bailout to $55 billion per month (over $4 trillion total), it will continue for “some time” to tinker with the economy to combat sustained levels of unemployment.

These are real, tangible indicators that the economy hasn’t recovered.  In addition, almost 45 percent of Americans feel they are no longer part of the middle class.  Worse still, 40 percent now self-identify with being lower-middle or lower class, economically.

All this would certainly appear to be bad news for an economy urgently in need of resuscitation, but it’s a significantly worse situation for those who are poor, who lack basic job skills and who have a checkered work history.  It’s remarkably bad when the lack of available jobs intensifies the competition to find work… any work.  This glaring realization — though evidenced generally among the American people — characterizes the black economic and employment situation, specifically.

As previously mentioned, the unemployment rate for blacks and black teens is 12.4 percent and 36.1 percent, respectively.  If not for a few voices — including Project 21 — many Americans would be clueless to the economic struggle and anxiety felt by many black Americans. 

According to a new report from the Media Research Center’s Business and Media Institute ABC, NBC and CBS gave a mere TEN SECONDS — combined — over the last year into reporting the exceedingly bleak black economic plight and severe black unemployment.  Of the 145 jobs-related stories during the past year, the black unemployment rate was mentioned.  Twice. 

Obama, ABC, NBC and CBS have apparently continually ignored the fact that, since January of 2009, the President’s first month in office, the black unemployment rate has been below 12 percent once.  It’s been at or above 14 percent only 39 times, at or above 15 percent on 29 times and at or above 16 percent on eleven times.  They have also continually ignored black teenage unemployment, which during the same period, has been below 35 percent only four times.

Yet Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) is the enemy.  At least he submitted a budget this week that has a chance of getting at least some consideration.

This is inexcusable, but it is also not surprising.

And nothing will likely change at this rate.

Expect the Obama Administration and his supporters to deliver practiced, sympathetic talking points about putting America back to work.  Pronouncements will be made in solemn and determined tones, attached to concerned faces, as they attempt to further fleece the American public.

What’s worse is that, after all the destructive evidence resulting from the policies this administration advocates, that fleecing may prove convincing.  Again. 

Friday
Apr042014

Michael Hiltzik, ObamaCare Shill Extraordinaire

Reading Michael Hiltzik one almost feels embarrassed for the Los Angeles Times.  He’s an ObamaCare shill, and like most shills he’ll repeat an argument in favor of his cause no matter how ridiculous.  For example, here is how Hiltzik spun the disastrous opening of the ObamaCare exchange websites:

…the problems of the healthcare.gov website reduced enrollments, cutting the government’s bill for premium subsidies.

In that same post Hiltzik also repeated the canard that the lost work hours caused by ObamaCare—equivalent to 2.5 million jobs—was a good thing because grandma could retire earlier.

Another characteristic of shills is that they repeat any statistic that supports their cause without ever questioning the methodology behind the statistic.  Is Hiltzik that kind of shill?  Well, here is my twitter exchange with him when I pointed out that the methods behind the claim that 45,000 people die from lack of insurance annually in the U.S. were rubbish:

Hiltzik didn’t answer that last tweet because there is no answer.  For more on the methodology behind the 45,000 statistic and my further tweets with Hiltzik, see this post.

Well, Hiltzik is at it again this morning, parroting a new survey from the Urban Institute that purportedly shows that 5.4 million people who were uninsured now have coverage under ObamaCare.

First, it’s not clear if the survey distinguished between those who have signed up for coverage on the exchanges and those who have actually paid their first premium.  If it doesn’t, then it is overstating the number of newly insured.

Second, the Urban Institute uses the services of a firm call GfK to conduct the survey.  GfK uses its sampling method known as the “Knowledge Panel.”  However, the Knowledge Panel has some pretty serious bias in its samples that likely leads to an overstatement of the number of people who are newly insured.

When doing public opinion surveys, a researcher needs to get a sample that is as close an approximation as possible to the population he is surveying.  To do this, he needs to conduct a random sample.  Yet random sampling can be tricky, and it’s not hard to introduce bias (often inadvertently) into a sample.  If the sample is biased in some significant way, then the sample will yield inaccurate information about the population the researcher is trying to survey.

And the GfK’s Knowledge Panel introduces some substantial bias:  

Unlike opt-in panels, households are  not permitted to “self-select” into  KnowledgePanel; nor are they allowed to participate in many surveys per week. Instead, KnowledgePanel households are randomly chosen and participate in our research only two to four times a month as a result of our patented sampling system. Since almost three in ten US households do not have home internet access, we supply these households a free netbook computer and internet service. (Bold added.)

Sending people free computers and free internet service will bias the sample.  First, there are the hassles these people who get the free computers and internet service go through—such as giving out personal information so GfK can ship them the computers and, maybe, get the computers back eventually, going through the instructions with GfK staff to set up the computers, and then regularly respond to the survery.   The ones willing to go through that hassle are the ones most likely to see it as a reasonable cost for getting goods that they don’t have to pay for with cash.  Ultimately, GfK has oversampled people who are willing to go through the hassles of signing up on the ObamaCare exchanges if it means their premiums are subsidized or the hassles of signing up for Medicaid which usually doesn’t require the recipient to pay anything for care.

The bias inherent in the GfK Knowledge Panel is easier to see when the the Commonwealth Fund used it for a survey back in 2011.  The Commonwealth Fund claimed that survey showed that 6.6 million young people had gained coverage on their parents plan due to Obamacare’s requirement that insurers allow dependent children to stay on their parents’ plan until age 26.  6.6 million!?!?  Apparently that number was too far fetched for even the Obama Administration to use.

The survey had another finding that was a red flag for sampling bias.  According the Commonwealth Fund report,the “survey finds that nearly two of five (39%) young adults ages 19 to 29 were without health insurance for all or part of 2011.”  No other reputable survey has found a rate of uninsurance that high among that age group. For example, the Census Bureau shows that the worst rate of uninsurance in recent years for people in that age group was 29% in 2009 (see page 73 of the 2012 report).

What happened in this case is that if GfK is oversampling young people who would not get a computer unless someone else paid for it, it is also oversampling people who won’t get insurance unless someone else pays for it. (Computers and internet access aren’t that difficult to acquire—over half of poor households have computers and 43 percent have internet access.)

Given that, it seems that the Urban Institute is oversampling people who were previously uninsured and now have coverage. 

But don’t expect Michael Hiltzik to concern himself with any of this.  He has his statistic that supports his precious ObamaCare.  And like a typical shill, he’ll simply dismiss anyone who challenges the statistic as part of the “Right Wing Echo Chamber.”

Friday
Apr042014

National Center's Hogberg Analyzes ObamaCare Enrollment on Fox Business

While the Obama Administration and its supporters crow about the 7.1 million enrollment numbers for ObamaCare, the National Center’s Dr. David Hogberg could not figure how things logically add up as he went over the numbers with Fox Business Network managing editor and lead anchor Neil Cavuto.

Wondering “at what cost” these enrollment numbers were obtained, David and Cavuto discussed how ObamaCare has not substantially reduced the number of uninsured (two-thirds of enrollees were previously covered elsewhere, leaving only about 1.2 million net new paying enrollees) and how many still must pay for the plans they selected on the exchanges.

David suggested that ObamaCare is more about “political control” as it appears to seek to create a new middle-class entitlement.

This conversation appeared on the 4/3/14 edition of the “Cavuto” program.

Thursday
Apr032014

Have a Koch and a Smile

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We need more Charles Kochs.

Rather than vilifying him, we should be encouraging more Americans of means to follow his example.

Regardless of your politics, regardless of whether you agree with his methods, you ought to agree with Mr. Koch's objective of leaving America in a better state than he found it.

In today's Wall Street Journal, Mr. Koch defends himself (finally!) from the big-government left's slander of him and explains why he decided to engage in the political process.

It is definitely worth a read.

In case you've been living under a rock and missed it, the left decided that attacking Mr. Koch and his brother David makes for a better campaign strategy than trumpeting its successes with health care, the economy, U.S.-Russian relations, Iran and Syria.

Senator Harry Reid recently took to the Senate floor to call the Kochs "un-American" and accused them of trying to buy the elections. How were they doing this? Well, by having the chutzpah to participate in political campaigns like everyone else.

We should probably cut Reid a bit of slack for the comments. He's apparently more familiar with the rental market.

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Mr. Koch does a great job in his column knocking down many of the left's attacks on him.

He demolishes the oft-repeated claim that he's one of the nation's worst polluters, noting that since 2009 alone, his company has earned "over 700 awards for environmental, health and safety excellence... many of them from the Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration."

He also effectively rebuts the claim that he's involved in the political process so that he can influence federal policy to his financial benefit. He notes, for example, that despite the fact the Koch benefits from the ethanol mandate, he favors its repeal because it drives up food and energy prices and hurts consumers.

What Mr. Koch doesn't mention in his article, but which I think is important, is that he and his family are engaged in very many philanthropic and charitable activities unrelated to his political activities.

The Koch foundations provide millions upon millions of dollars, for example, to colleges and universities - some 300 of them!

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The left has created a caricature of Mr. Koch that is designed to vilify him, discredit him and, yes, even incite violent action against him. That's a tactic used by despots, not true democrats.

Mr. Koch is repaying the America that has been so good to him by spending his own wealth to ensure that future generations have the same freedoms and same economic opportunities that he did.

For this, he deserves our gratitude, not our condemnation.

We have a Koch... two, actually... Now where's that smile?

Note: Mr. Koch does not underwrite our work nor do we have any expectation he ever will.

Thursday
Apr032014

Rush Limbaugh, Drudge Report Cover David Hogberg's ObamaCare Reports

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Congratulations to the National Center's David Hogberg, whose work uncovering various pitfalls of ObamaCare has been read on the air twice by Rush Limbaugh and cited on the Drudge Report during the past week.

On Tuesday, Drudge linked to David Hogberg's new paper putting the lie to President Obama's claim that "more than 3 million young adults... have gained insurance under [ObamaCare] by staying on their family's plan."

Using data from the Census Bureau, David found strikingly different numbers than those reported by the President: only 258,000 young adults may have gained coverage due to the so-called "slacker mandate."

Rush spent about 8 minutes discussing this on his show Wednesday.

On Friday, Rush discussed another part of David's research, the ObamaCare signup deadlines and related issues.

For fans of Rush and/or David, here are Dittocam captures and transcripts, with links to the original reports.

April 2, 2014 Rush Limbaugh broadcast (transcript here; David Hogberg's original report here):

March 28, 2014 Rush Limbaugh broadcast (transcript here; David Hogberg's original report here):

Rush and Drudge aren't the only media covering David's work. In addition to numerous newspaper, magazine and Internet media citations, David has been a guest on a radio talk show 54 times during the first 90 days of this year.

Wednesday
Apr022014

Health Care Odds & Ends: Bogus Numbers Addition

1. No, 3.1 Million Slackers Did Not Get Insurance Via Their Parents.  I have a new National Policy Analysis up today examining the claim that 3.1 million previously uninsured young adults have gotten covered through their parents’ insurance thanks to Obamacare’s requirement that insurers extend coverage for dependent children up to age 26—also known as the “slacker mandate.”  Suffice to say, the number doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.  Further, looking at Census Bureau data yields a very different result:

The Census Bureau shows that from 2009, the year before the slacker mandate began, to 2012, the number of uninsured 18-24-year-olds declined by about 976,000. But not all of those went onto their parents’ insurance. For that age group, Medicaid enrollment grew 271,000 and employer-based coverage increased 447,000 during that same period. That would mean that those newly insured by joining their parents’ coverage were at most 258,000. 

You can also view it as an article at the American Spectator.

2. About That 7.1 Million… President Obama and his supporters are taking their victory lap.  But the good news will be short lived.  First off, we still don’t know how many people haven’t paid their first premium.  If they never do, they won’t be enrolled.  If that’s close to 20 percent, as the New York Times suggests, then the true enrollment number will be closer to 5.6 million.  At this point I’m betting slightly that the number may even be worse that that, since the Obama Administration tries hard not to release data that reflects poorly on ObamaCare and since the administration has shown no inclination to release data on how many have paid their premiums ever.

Second, we still don’t know how many people were previously uninsured before going on the exchange. Apparently the RAND corporation says it is about one-third, which would mean just under 2.4 million are now newly insured.  However, even that number may be large, as other data has shown that those who were previously uninsured have a lower rate of paying their first premium on the exchange than those who were previously insured (see here).  What we do know at this point is that the exchanges do not appear likely to become a powerful force for reducing the rate of the uninsured.  Remember, the Congressional Budget Office most recently said that the exchanges would reduce the uninsured by 6 million.  At present, the exchanges will be lucky to reach a third of that goal.  

3. How ObamaCare Killed Her Dad.  Finally, don’t miss Jeffrey Lord’s recent article in the American Spectator showing how a change in Medicare’s rules under ObamaCare resulted in the death of Amy DiFrancesca’s dad.  Note:  The piece is long, but it’s worth it.

Wednesday
Apr022014

Project 21's Cooper Cheers Supreme Court's Campaign Finance Ruling

In today’s decision in the case of McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that an aggregate limit on the amount of money a person may contribute to political candidates and committees is unconstitutional.

Writing for the 5-4 majority, Chief Justice John Roberts stated that the federal limits on such contributions — which caps donations at $123,200 over a two year period — “den[ies] the individual all ability to exercise his expressive and associational rights by contributing to someone who will advocate for his policy preferences.”  Such a limit, Roberts added, effectively violates First Amendment rights by forcing a person to pick and choose whom they can support with their campaign donations.

The Court’s ruling in McCutcheon v. FEC is being cheered by Horace Cooper, the co-chairman of the National Center’s Project 21 black leadership network.  Cooper, a former professor of constitutional law, said:

Today’s ruling is another victory for free speech in America.

Restricting the ability of Americans to contribute to the candidates of their choice is not only bad public policy, it’s unconstitutional.

Wednesday
Apr022014

If ObamaCare is Working So Well, Mr. President, Why Has the Percentage of Uninsured Risen?

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Source: "Can Anyone Tell How ObamaCare is Doing?," by Greg Scandlen, The Federalist, March 31, 2014. Survey data is from Gallup.

Tuesday
Apr012014

On ObamaCare I Admit It: Paul Krugman Was Right, I Was Wrong

As the Obamacare exchanges have reached 7 million enrollees, it’s time for me to confess: so much of what I’ve written about ObamaCare is wrong.  So much of it was a futile, misguided attempt to refute the true ObamaCare guru, Nobel laureate Paul Krugmam.

Krugman got so much right in just these two paragraphs:

Yet even as Republican politicians seem ready to go on the offensive, there’s a palpable sense of anxiety, even despair, among conservative pundits and analysts. Better-informed people on the right seem, finally, to be facing up to a horrible truth: Health care reform, President Obama’s signature policy achievement, is probably going to work.

And the good news about Obamacare is, I’d argue, what’s driving the Republican Party’s intensified extremism. Successful health reform wouldn’t just be a victory for a president conservatives loathe, it would be an object demonstration of the falseness of right-wing ideology. So Republicans are being driven into a last, desperate effort to head this thing off at the pass.

Now that ObamaCare is, indeed, working, I admit to my anxiety and despair. My conservative ideology has been refuted.  As I now see the light, I will no longer be working to head ObamaCare “off at the pass.”

Although this post wasn’t about ObamaCare, Krugman still nails it:

…bear in mind that both Koch brothers are numbered among the 10 wealthiest Americans, and so are four Walmart heirs. Great wealth buys great political influence — and not just through campaign contributions.Many conservatives live inside an intellectual bubble of think tanks and captive media that is ultimately financed by a handful of megadonors. Not surprisingly, those inside the bubble tend to assume, instinctively, that what is good for oligarchs is good for America.

Alas, I am a shill for those oligarchs.  But no more!  I will today be sending the Koch brothers my letter of resignation.  I hope Paul will be pleased.

Finally, Krugman properly quotes Charles Gaba about the 7 million enrollees: “For the moment, however, none of [the objections] matters. This is an outstanding number any way you slice it.”

So, I will celebrate today, not only because the ObamaCare exchanges have reached 7 million enrollees, but because I am now officially a disciple of Krugman

And before you grind your teeth too hard, be sure to look at the calendar.

Tuesday
Apr012014

Ballot Protection Law in North Carolina Increases Minority, Liberal Voter Registration

When states consider and implement voter ID laws, the usual complaint from the left is that requiring someone to have valid government-issued proof of identification disfranchises minorities, the old and young as well as those who are generally thought to support liberal candidates and causes.

If such allegations are to be believed, it now must be noted that lawmakers in the North Carolina state legislature did a pretty poor job of trying to suppress the vote in the Tar Heel State.

According to statistics culled from the North Carolina Board of Elections and reported by the non-partisan North Carolina Center for Voter Education, it’s exactly these allegedly aggrieved groups who are taking the most advantage of the new law’s offer of a free valid voter ID for those who need one.

In the first quarter of 2014 (with reporting ending on 3/20), 260 North Carolina voters made the trip to a Department of Motor Vehicles office and got an ID at no cost.  North Carolina’s voter ID requirement will not be enforced until 2016, but those showing up without proper proof of person at the polls this coming November will be warned about the requirements of the new law that will be in effect the next time they vote.

Of those who are now newly-armed with an ID and ready to vote, 62 percent are black.  Only three percent of these people are over 65, but 34 percent are between the ages of 18 and 29 (unlike with ObamaCare, they cannot vote on their parents’ identification).

Among the newly law-abiding registered voters who sought — and obtained — free state-issued ID, 31 percent classified themselves as independent voters.  Only 12 percent said they were Republican and two percent claimed to be Libertarian.  The largest group of partisan voters to receive ID that will allow them unfettered access to the polls in 2016 were self-declared Democrats.

And, of those who received a free ID, 87 percent were not previously registered to vote and used the same visit to register (meaning that likely less that 13 percent of the people were previously going to the polls without the benefit of ID).

So, after all the bluster, it would seem that the voter ID provisions in North Carolina are successfully helping those who were supposed to be rendered helpless by the law.  If the proponents of the alleged powerless wanted to continue this promising trend of making sure that every vote will count in 2016 and beyond, they’d spend less on lobbying against voter ID and focus more on providing the means for those who need it to get to the DMV and get their free ID.

The head of the state’s NAACP, for instance, recently hosted a major rally in the state capital of Raleigh that was, in part, to protest against North Carolina’s voter ID rules (yet the NAACP asked participants to bring their IDs).  Reverend William Barber’s “Moral Monday” protests are supposed to be a regular fixture in the leftist campaign against ballot box safeguards.

Imagine the progress that could be made if the resources on these negative events could be channeled into the positive change of getting valid ID for North Carolina residents who continue to lack such a basic tool of the modern world.  Think of the larger impact beyond just voting — such as travel and banking — that could be opened up to these people by working with the rules instead of against them.

Leaders of the National Center’s Project 21 black leadership network are applauding this welcome news about how this voter ID law is benefiting the population of North Carolina.  In a deep southern state, they note, it’s good to see that the Obama Justice Department in particular is being shown to be off the mark on their wild claims of voter suppression.

Project 21 co-chairman Cherylyn Harley LeBon, a former senior counsel with the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, said:

A well-crafted voter ID law protects the sanctity of the ballot while encouraging participation in the electoral process.  The North Carolina law, according to state officials and non-partisan observers, appears to be doing just that service.

There will always be people on the fringes of society who will refuse to comply, but we cannot let those random elements be co-opted to open the door to fraud that robs law-abiding voters of their voice.

The Obama Administration, for instance, wants to suppress polling place protections by seemingly any means necessary.  But North Carolina’s progress is proof that Attorney General Eric Holder’s animus for voter protections statutes is wrong and the Justice Department’s procedures are counter-productive.

Project 21 co-chairman Horace Cooper, a former congressional leadership staffer and former professor of constitutional law, is the author of “Victims of Voter Fraud: Poor and Disadvantaged are Most Likely to Have Their Vote Stolen,” which pointed out in 2012 that voter ID laws increase black voter turnout and safeguard everyone’s vote.  He added:

The evidence continues to show that voter ID laws do not prevent legitimate voters from having access to the ballot.  In fact, they operate like a welcome sign — providing encouragement to American voters that their votes will count and that they won’t be displaced by cheaters and frauds.

North Carolina, like many other states, shows a similar pattern of anti-fraud measures like voter ID that serve to increase voter participation and not decrease it.

photo credit: iStockPhoto

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