The Conversation

Politics: Policy issues, legislation and political topics of all sorts.

EPA: Job Killer

Jan 28, 2013 7:41 PM PT

Last year I wrote about how we have evidence of government agents actively working against Americans and their livelihood. It’s an entire government agency, in fact.  Conversation-readers, meet the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Today at the Chamber of Commerce's Free Enterprise blog Sean Hackbarth writes on the EPA closing a power plant in Texas:

You might remember my ongoing "It’s Great to Have a Job…" series of posts about how EPA regulations are causing power plants to shut down and workers to lose their jobs all over the country. This news from Corpus Christi, Texas is along the same lines but has a few wrinkles. First, the Las Brisas Energy Center would have been powered by petroleum coke—a byproduct of refining crude oil—not coal. Second, this power plant was only on the drawing board. It was having difficulty getting air and water permits before starting construction. Except for those working at the project’s financing company that’s shutting down, nobody lost their job.

This doesn’t make this news any less outrageous. The project, backed by both the business community and labor unions, was supposed to create up to 3,900 jobs over its five-year construction, then directly and indirectly support as many as 275 jobs as the plant operated. The chance to create all those jobs is gone, and EPA is much to blame.

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School Choice Works

Jan 28, 2013 6:44 PM PT

It's National School Choice Week and Heritage has a timely reminder that school choice works:

students who participate in the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (DCOSP)—a private school voucher program for low-income K-12 students—graduate at significantly higher rates than their peers, according to the results of a “gold standard” (randomized, control group) study. More than 90 percent of DCOSP students graduate high school, compared to just 70 percent of their peers.

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Could the 2016 GOP Presidential Nomination Come Down to Marco Rubio and Rand Paul?

Jan 28, 2013 3:45 PM PT

Both men were swept into office in large part by the Tea Party grassroots movement in 2010 and both have substantially increased their following nationally since beginning their careers in the Senate.  

Paul has already stated that he would consider running for the GOP presidential nomination while Rubio is playing it more closely to the vest, although he is said to have already expressed his intentions to run for higher office to close friends and family.

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This time, amnesty will be different

Jan 28, 2013 1:50 PM PT

As our great national conversation about "comprehensive immigration reform" gets under way, I wish both Democrat and Republican leaders, including Senator Marco Rubio, would spend a little time reviewing the comprehensive failure of previous amnesty plans, and explain precisely why this time will be different.

This seems like another one of those areas in which the past is never prologue, and each new government plan begins in a memory vacuum, as though the government had never tried to address the issue in question before.  You wouldn't know it from today's rhetoric, but we've had a few huge immigration deals before, and the primary result has been a bigger illegal immigrant problem.  In fact, we're now being told that we must offer some sort of "path to citizenship" because it's political suicide to oppose it.  Today's headlines would have been dismissed as xenophobic paranoia, if offered as a prediction in the 1980s.  

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Will GOP learn the right lessons on digital divide?

Jan 28, 2013 11:53 AM PT

This recent Politico article discusses the digital divide between Republicans and Democrats in the 2012 election. 

Republicans are running a 1.0 digital ground game operation in a 3.0 world — and they know it.

At their recent leadership retreat, Chairman Reince Priebus and others sounded the bell for closing the vast technological divide that made all the difference for Democrats in getting out the votelast fall in numbers that stunned the pundit class.

“Let’s host Skype-based training sessions and Google hangouts on campaign strategy, fundraising, door-to-door advocacy, and digital tools,” Priebus urged at the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting in Charlotte, N.C. “We need to give the next generation of organizers access to the brightest experts.”

He went on: “And in the digital space, we don’t want just to keep up. We want to seize the lead.”

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Pics or it Never Happened

Jan 27, 2013 10:39 PM PT

In response to 'We Do Skeet Shooting All the Time':

Obama also said, "And I have a profound respect for the traditions of hunting that trace back in this country for generations. "


"If you grew up and your dad gave you a hunting rifle when you were 10, and you went out and spent the day with him and your uncles, and that became part of your family's traditions, you can see why you'd be pretty protective of that."

So generous of him to allow Americans to keep their family heirlooms. What that has to do with the 2nd Amendment, I don't know, but all this "profound respect" Obama claims to have  for America's gun culture certainly doesn't square with what he told economist and pro-gun advocate, John Lott when they chatted briefly about guns at the University of Chicago years ago: “I don’t believe people should be able to own guns,” he allegedly said.

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The immigration debate is the "musical chairs" of politics

Jan 27, 2013 6:40 PM PT

The truth about immigration reform is that Democrats opposed it when Republicans were in power, only so that they could be the ones to implement it when they held power. Barack Obama played a particularly important role in obstructing progress, as I've explained on other occasions. It was one of the only areas in which Senator Obama made a difference--and not for the better.

Given the rising strength of the Latino electorate, everyone knew the day would come when the issue could no longer be ignored. The music would stop, and the parties would have to stop circling the chair and sit down. That moment came in the 2012 elections, and the Democrats are sitting pretty. So they will dictate terms. The reason there is so much enthusiasm among Republicans for Sen. Marco Rubio's alternative plans is that this is one area in which the party really has no more leverage, and where a compromise in which both parties can take credit is the best the GOP can do. 

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Can the Left Take the Lone Star State?

Jan 27, 2013 5:48 PM PT

They are known as the Castro Brothers. No, not Fidel and Raúl—San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro and his twin brother and newly minted Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro. Julian and Joaquin have been media darlings ever since Julian’s keynote speech at last year’s Democratic National Convention. The brothers made news again when Julián predicted “in a couple presidential cycles, on election night you’ll be announcing that we’re calling the 38 electoral votes for Texas for the Democratic nominee for president. “It’s changing, it’s going to become a purple state and then a blue state because of demographics,” Julian said.

Texas is a Right-to-work state. Republican’s control both bodies in the state’s legislature. Texas has a Republican governor. And immigration is consistently changing the state's demographics. But all this can be said for Florida. And, of course, for two consecutive presidential election cycles, Democrats have claimed Florida’s 29 electoral votes. And with Dream Act proponents posturing on both the Right and the Left, immigration reform is sure to be a persistent political wedge.

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Political Detox

Jan 27, 2013 1:26 PM PT

In response to The difficulty of opposition:

I think Joel is right to point out that much of our political fatigue right now is based on disappointment in our fellow Americans.  For myself, I find that I'm spending less time on Twitter and reading political news.  Instead I poured myself into redecorating my house, writing and baking.  This morning I ignored the Sunday political shows in favor of Alton Brown while making whoopie pies. 

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