Obamacare – The BIG Lie + Stimulus Follies + Braying Jackass Award + more!

Posted on Fri 06/19/2009 by


From The Patriot Post Fri Digest – Vol. 09 No. 24


“If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretense of taking care of them, they must become happy.” –Thomas Jefferson


Obamacare Takes Center Stage

ABC News is lending itself to the Obama administration for the night of Wednesday, June 24, for a live broadcast of ABC World News Tonight from the Blue Room of the White House. This will be followed by an hour-long primetime special entitled “Prescription for America,” which will advocate the Obama health care plan. The Republican National Committee noted that with the absence of opposing views, the programming amounts to little more than a campaign commercial — one that should rightly be paid for by the Democratic National Committee.

ABC predictably took offense and claimed that it will have complete editorial control over the content of the program. Or at least as much control as the White House wants them to have. As columnist Cal Thomas observes, “By the way, guess who’s the new director of communications for the White House Office of Health Reform. It’s former ABC News correspondent Linda Douglass, who left journalism last year to join the Obama campaign.” How convenient.

The network claims it will have “thoughtful” and “diverse” perspectives on the plan, but one noteworthy absence is “20/20” anchor John Stossel, who will not be participating. A pity, too, for if anyone at ABC has the requisite “thoughtful” and “diverse” perspective, it’s Stossel. (See his 2007 health care report for more.)

Obama’s reason for taking to the airwaves is that his proposal is facing stiffer opposition than anticipated. First, his estimate of $634 billion over 10 years is wildly optimistic. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the plan will cost $1.6 trillion over 10 years and “result in a net increase in the federal budget deficits of about $1 trillion,” despite Obama’s reassurance that his reform (read: takeover) “will not add to our deficit over the next 10 years.” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) promised to cut $600 billion from the proposal and to pay for it with tax increases, spending cuts and other offsets. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY) said the plan includes $600 billion in tax hikes and $400 billion in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.

Furthermore, the CBO estimates that 23 million Americans will lose the insurance they currently have, contrary to Obama’s key promise that no one will lose insurance. “[T]he number of people who had coverage through an employer would decline by about 15 million (or roughly 10 percent), and coverage from other sources would fall by about 8 million,” the report says.

Obamacare only tastes good after the alcohol kicks in

The CBO estimate is so ugly for Democrats, The Hill reports, that “lawmakers are talking about changing the chamber’s normal accounting procedures,” substituting estimates from the White House Office of Management and Budget for those of the CBO. So much for “transparency.” Considering the whole of Obamacare, one Patriot reader declared, “I haven’t heard health care advice so laughable since Lucille Ball flogged Vitameatavegamin on TV. ‘It’s so tasty too. It’s just like candy.’ Has our president been hitting the Vitameatavegamin bottle himself? Not to worry, though. Even though socialized medicine has proven an abject failure in every venue trying it, the United States is such a big country that, like Lucy and Ethel selling homemade salad dressing below the cost of their ingredients, no doubt ‘We’ll make it up in volume.'”

The BIG Lie

“Let me also address an illegitimate concern that’s being put forward by those who are claiming a public option is somehow a Trojan Horse for a single-payer system. I’ll be honest: There are countries where a single-payer system works pretty well. But I believe — and I’ve taken some flak from members of my own party for this belief — that it’s important for our efforts to build on our traditions here in the United States. So when you hear the naysayers claim that I’m trying to bring about government-run health care, know this: They’re not telling the truth.” –President Barack Obama to the American Medical Association

When asked which countries’ citizens enjoyed their socialized medicine, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs later admitted, “I don’t know exactly the countries. … I assume Canada, Britain, maybe France.” Not the examples we’d pick to bolster Obama’s case.

On Cross-Examination

“It’s hard to know whether President Obama’s health care ‘reform’ is naive, hypocritical or simply dishonest. Probably all three. The president keeps saying it’s imperative to control runaway health spending. He’s right. The trouble is that what’s being promoted as health care ‘reform’ almost certainly won’t suppress spending and, quite probably, will do the opposite.” –Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson

This Week’s ‘Alpha Jackass’ Award

“I do not want the government to run things. I’ve got enough to do.” –President Barack Obama, attempting the equivalent of a Jedi mind trick: “These are not the droids you’re looking for.”

Hope ‘n’ Change: Stimulus Follies

Congress is prone to making mistakes when it comes to writing legislation. The possibilities for trouble were endless with the 400-page, $800 billion stimulus package crafted and passed in less than a month. One such apparent screw-up that came to our attention is the loss of food stamp eligibility for an untold number of recipients who also received a bump in their unemployment compensation. Receiving just an additional $25 a week in unemployment caused some citizens to lose $300 in food stamps because the stimulus bump pushed their income above the eligibility cap. Those who are receiving the unemployment aid cannot refuse the “raise” — it’s a mandatory gift from the government.

Lawmakers knew this would be a problem and could have headed it off by declaring the $25 stimulus checks would not affect food stamp assistance, or they could have raised the income tax. But either option would have forced states to recalibrate their programs, which would have been expensive and time consuming. So, instead, some people will just have to sing for their supper. As Vice President Joe Biden has said, the recovery package “clearly has had an impact.”

New & Notable Legislation

On Tuesday, the House passed a bill appropriating $106 billion for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq through September. The vote was 226-202 with all but five Republicans opposed. The Senate passed the bill Thursday, 91-5. The GOP’s opposition, at least in the House, was due mainly to the addition of various spending amendments. The Associated Press explains, “The $106 billion measure, in addition to about $80 billion for military operations, provides for an array of other spending priorities, including $7.7 billion to respond to the flu pandemic and more than $10 billion in development and security aid for Pakistan and Iraq as well as countries such as Mexico and the nation of Georgia.” Additionally, “Republicans condemned $5 billion in the measure to secure a $108 billion U.S. line of credit to the International Monetary Fund for loans to poor countries.” The so-called “cash for clunkers” legislation, which would provide vouchers of up to $4,500 for consumers who trade in older vehicles for new vehicles with better fuel efficiency, was also attached to the bill. Senate Republicans tried unsuccessfully to strip the amendment.

The House passed the Senate’s version of the tobacco regulation bill last Friday by a vote of 307-97. Pending President Obama’s signature, the Food and Drug Administration will have the authority to regulate the manufacturing and advertising of tobacco products. The law bans the use of cherry and other flavorings as well as advertising with cartoon characters. We’ve heard that cherry-flavored cigars are especially deadly.

In the executive branch, President Obama issued a memorandum that extends federal benefits to unmarried partners of federal workers, including same-sex partners. He further pledged to “work with Congress to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act,” about which he said, “It’s discriminatory, it interferes with states’ rights, and it’s time we overturned it.” States’ rights? Who knew that President Obama was a closet Confederate?

Finally, since Washington has officially solved all of our other problems, the Senate took up and passed a resolution apologizing for slavery and racial segregation. It now goes to the House. On second thought, maybe Congress should stick to meaningless resolutions and stay out of our daily lives.

Fishy Firing of Inspector General

Details are slowly leaking out about the firing of AmeriCorps Inspector General Gerald Walpin, who last week was given one hour either to resign or be fired. Walpin, accused of misconduct by Sacramento-based acting U.S. Attorney Lawrence Brown — a career official — opted to stay on and thus be fired. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), who co-authored a law requiring the president to give 30 days’ notice and notification of Congress as to the reason for firing inspectors general, says Obama violated the law by giving insufficient notice or explanation. A White House lawyer called it “political courage.”

In dismissing Walpin, Obama cited not having the “fullest confidence” in the IG, who had, oddly enough, just concluded an investigation into a nonprofit foundation run by Obama supporter, former NBA star and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. In that probe, Walpin found Johnson had used AmeriCorps grant money to pay volunteers for political activity and to run his personal errands. The U.S. Attorney’s office also investigated, filing no charges against Johnson, but obtaining a settlement where about half the grant money would be repaid. However, Johnson is personally responsible for only a small portion of the settlement, with the remainder accruing to the insolvent St. Hope foundation Johnson headed. As is often the case with misallocation of funds, there is little hope of recouping the cash.

The White House went on to assault Walpin’s mental faculties, saying that at a May 20 AmeriCorps board meeting, Walpin “was confused, disoriented, unable to answer questions and exhibited other behavior that led the Board to question his capacity to serve.” Other inspectors general may need to start looking over their shoulders if their investigations get too close to prominent Obama supporters.

From the Left: Culture of Corruption, Version 2.0

Congressional Democrats came to power after the 2006 elections on the heels of a campaign that bashed the GOP for a “culture of corruption,” but it seems the shoe has shifted to the other foot. Two more examples came out this week.

First, it seems that Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Countrywide) has been a shrewd investor in Irish property. A vacation home that Dodd’s 2007 financial disclosure report valued at between $100,001 and $250,000 is now worth $660,000 according to his most recent disclosure filed last week. In 2002 the cottage was appraised at $190,000; however, Dodd has also renovated the cottage heavily during the last several years, making the accuracy of Dodd’s disclosures questionable at best.

Also interesting is the former owner who sold his two-thirds interest to Dodd in 2002. William Kessinger is an associate of Edward Downe Jr., who with Dodd’s assistance was pardoned by President Bill Clinton on his final day in office. Downe served as a witness to the legal documents for the property sale. All in all, it’s a nice quid pro quo.

The same can be said for insider trading information. Also coming to light last week were some timely stock transactions by another Democrat, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin. On September 18, 2008, Durbin was briefed by then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. The next day Durbin sold over $40,000 worth of mutual funds and bought a similar amount of stock in Berkshire Hathaway, a company controlled by billionaire Democrat contributor Warren Buffett. All told, by early October Durbin had dumped $116,000 of stock, investing over $98,000 of the proceeds into Berkshire Hathaway. While Buffett’s company hasn’t been immune from recent market trouble, it has not suffered as much as the rest of the market.

Naturally, the Leftmedia has shown no interest in these questions of impropriety. The letter “D” after one’s name shouldn’t serve as a free pass.

Ensign Admits Affair

Sadly, Republicans aren’t immune from moral failings either. Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), a leading social conservative in Congress, admitted to an extramarital affair with former campaign staffer Cynthia Hampton between December 2007 and August 2008. The staffer is married to a former legislative aid for Ensign, and the couple’s son also worked for the senator. Ensign has stepped down from chairing the Republican Policy Committee, the fourth-ranking spot in the GOP leadership.

Given Ensign’s calls for Bill Clinton’s resignation post-Lewinsky and for fellow GOP Sen. Larry Craig’s after the foot-tapping incident in a Minnesota airport men’s room, the charge of hypocrisy is natural. However, as Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto argues, “The hypocrisy charge seems to us an intellectually lazy one. Sam Stein of the [Huffington Post] notes that Ensign called President Clinton’s conduct with Monica Lewinsky ’embarrassing’ and called for Clinton to resign. But he seems appropriately ashamed by his own conduct — the AP quotes him as saying ‘it is the worst thing I have ever done in my life’ — and he has resigned, at least from his leadership post. Where exactly is the hypocrisy? … Those who succumb to temptation are weak, but they are not necessarily hypocritical.”

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The Iranian ‘Election’

Events in Iran over the last week have been interesting, to put it mildly. Following a patently rigged presidential election on June 12 in which incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed to have won with 63 percent of the vote, Iran’s Supreme Leader announced Ahmadinejad’s victory before all the votes could possibly have been counted. Supporters of Ahmadinejad’s only serious rival, former Prime Minister Mir Hussein Mousavi, promptly staged street riots and protests that led to varying degrees of violence over the ensuing week when Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its Basij militia met the protesters with clubs, tear gas and guns. Photos of beaten and bloody Iranians have made it into the international media despite the regime’s attempt at a news blackout, and at least 20 people are believed to have been killed by the security forces.

Lost in all the media speculation about a rigged election and the possibility of a recount is the fact that Mousavi is not the Iranian Martin Luther King Jr., waiting to lead the Iranian people into a broad upland of democracy, women’s rights and responsible behavior as part of the community of nations. No one is allowed to run for high office in Iran without first being approved by the Council of Guardians. The Council learned its lesson in 1997, when Mohammad Khatami was elected on a platform of liberal reforms — and then attempted to implement them, much to the hardliners’ horror. If Mousavi was not palatable to the hardliners who control the election process, his name could never have appeared on the ballot. Furthermore, even if elected Mousavi could at most attempt incremental social reforms. With real power remaining in the office of the Supreme Leader, a President Mousavi could not have reformed Iran itself.

Finally, as noted by Robert Kagan this week in The Washington Post, an Obama administration hoping for talks and meaningful negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program before the end of the year is caught in a difficult spot. Supporting Mousavi and his followers will irritate the incumbent regime and retard any negotiating schedule. But appearing not to support Mousavi openly and the veneer of democratic reform that surrounds him — wrongly, but surrounds him nonetheless — risks abdicating the United States’ role as the champion of democracy. As we said — an interesting week.

This Week’s ‘Braying, uh, Jackass’ Award

“We are excited, uh, to see, uh, what appears to be a ro-robust debate taking place in Iran. And obviously after the speech that, uh, I made in Cairo we tried to send a clear message that we think there is the possibility of change, uhhh, aaaand — ehhh, yuh– oh — Ultimately the election is for the Iranians to decide, uh, but, uh, just a-as has been true in Lebanon, what’s, uh — can be true in Iran as well is that you’re seeing people looking at new possibilities. And, uh, whoever, uh, ends up winning, uh, the election in Iran, uh, the fact that there’s been a robust debate hopefully will help, uh, advance our ability to engage them in new ways.” –Barack Hussein Obama

Warfront With Jihadistan: Netanyahu Offers Two-State Solution

A little over a week after Obama’s speech to Muslims in Cairo during his American Apology Tour, wherein he played the supplicant to Islamists and warned Israel to stop irritating the people that want Israel destroyed, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu countered, stating unequivocally that Israel has a right to exist. Netanyahu also refused to consider the Palestinians’ demand for a “right of return” to Israel, which would effectively end Israel’s existence. Yet, surprisingly, he said that Israel would support a “two-state solution” with the creation of a Palestinian state: “In our vision we see two states side by side, each with its own flag and anthem.” This is a remarkable statement from an Israeli hardliner and would appear to give Palestinians what they should most desire, a homeland.

Naturally, however, things in the Middle East aren’t that simple. For Israel’s part, it wants conditions placed on the Palestinians, such as demilitarization of the Palestinian state with international guarantees that it remains so, along with ceding control of its airspace to Israel. Given the history of the area, these conditions seem reasonable. But of course, it’s really The Big Condition that will be the sticking point: Palestinians, and by extension the Muslim world, must recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland and recognize its right to exist.

Sadly, this is something that most Muslims are still not prepared to do, as illustrated by their head-scratching responses to Netanyahu’s speech. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) claimed that Israel’s two state offer “torpedoed the peace process,” while Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak declared that “Netanyahu’s demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state is ruining the chance for peace.” Such is the delusional, demented state of the Islamic leadership. Apparently, even the smooth-talking Obamessiah could not soothe that savage beast.

Real ID Swapped for Pass ID?

The Obama administration is seeking to scale back a federal law passed after 9/11 that was designed to tighten security requirements for driver’s licenses. The Homeland Security Department wants to repeal and replace the controversial domestic security initiative known as Real ID, which calls for the use of more secure licenses by 2017. The new proposal, called Pass ID, would be cheaper, less rigorous and partly funded by federal grants. Eleven states refused to go along with Real ID, primarily because of costs.

The Real ID program also raised the issue of a national ID. Pivotal portions of the Real ID program were databases, linked through a national data hub, which would allow all states to store and cross-check information, and a requirement that motor vehicle departments verify birth certificates with originating agencies — a bid to fight identity theft (though apparently not elections to the White House). The collection of data and its distribution has raised alarms on both the Right and Left, even if for differing reasons.

In case it has escaped notice, we already have a national ID in the form of our social security number (SSN). One cannot open a banking account, get a credit card, get insurance, or apply for an apartment rental or a mortgage without disclosing this magic number that also unlocks credit information. All that’s missing is the data hub proposed for Real ID for accessing all information that uses the SSN.

There are legitimate security needs for a document which proves that individuals are who they claim to be, such as for airline travel and voter registration. In these times of high-tech crime, the document should be tamper- and forgery-proof, as well as resistant to identity theft. These legitimate needs will have to be weighed against possible infringements on privacy and other civil rights.


Regulatory Commissars: ‘Sweeping Overhaul’

The central government is working hard to keep Americans from working. According to an annual report by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the federal government issued 3,830 new regulations last year, costing “only” $1.17 trillion in new regulatory costs set forth in just 79,435 pages. For perspective, individual income taxes cost Americans only $1.2 trillion. The costs of these new regulations consumed 10 percent of the economic output of the United States, ranking our federal regulatory burden between the entire gross domestic product output of South Korea and Indonesia.

Not wanting to slacken the pace, “President Barack Obama moved Wednesday to shift the pendulum of history, proposing sweeping new government regulation of the nation’s financial system,” according to McClatchy Newspapers. Writers Steven Thomma and Kevin Hall went on to explain, “Obama’s proposal to overhaul the nation’s financial regulatory structure would reverse the prevailing free-market sentiment in Washington and the country that started with Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s…” Wait — what? Surely they can’t be serious. Granted, Obama’s policies are anti-market, but Carter wasn’t exactly the second coming of Adam Smith.

Obama’s plan calls for granting the Federal Reserve greater power over financial institutions, creating a Consumer Financial Protection Agency to prevent abuse in credit cards and mortgages, and further regulating hedge funds and derivatives, among other things. The president, who is fond of claiming that he’s not doing something that he’s busy doing, said via an 85-page white paper on the regulation plan, “[I]t is clear now that the government could have done more” to prevent the financial crisis. In fact, the government did plenty to cause the crisis.

Income Redistribution: IRS Backtracks on Taxing Phones

Further attempting to retard our economic growth, the Internal Revenue Service had been proposing to tax 25 percent of the value of employer-issued cell phones. Since 1989, phones provided by businesses for their employees have been taxable fringe benefits, though employers and employees alike have largely ignored reporting the information. With the new proposal, the IRS claimed the agency was more concerned about making sure employers deduct the correct amounts for cell phones than it was about taxing employees on benefits. But after catching flak for the added burden on taxpayers, the IRS suddenly dropped the issue this week when it became clear that compliance would cost more than the scheme would ever raise in taxes. Just as Congress more often passes the law of unintended consequences than any other, even the IRS can’t escape the law of diminishing returns.

Bond Smugglers Arrested in Italy

“Japan is investigating reports two of its citizens were detained in Italy after allegedly attempting to take $134 billion worth of U.S. bonds over the border into Switzerland,” Bloomberg reports. Police found the bond certificates — some 249 of them worth $500 million each — in the bottom of luggage the two were carrying. Authorities are still trying to determine if the securities are genuine. If they are real, the pair of travelers would be the fourth largest investors in U.S. debt, just behind Russia and ahead of the UK; if they are fake, police said it would be a counterfeiting scam “on an unprecedented scale.” Neither scenario is desirable. And the silence from the Treasury is deafening.

California Denied Bailout; Michigan Razes Flint

After dumping billions of taxpayer dollars into Chrysler, GM, Citigroup, Bank of America, et al., ad nauseam, the Obama administration has rejected California’s request for emergency federal aid to save the state from “fiscal meltdown” in the form of an estimated $24 billion budget deficit. While California Democrat Rep. Zoe Lofgren warns the fate of California — representing the world’s eighth largest economy — portends that of the nation, the administration has developed a sudden concern with setting precedent, worried that a Golden State bailout could prompt similar requests from across the country. Instead, officials have determined California should try a bit harder to fix its own fiscal disaster before asking for help.

Meanwhile, in Michigan, which apparently is exempt from this new “hands-off” approach, Obama has taken a liking to Genesee County Treasurer Dan Kildee’s “pioneering” idea of “shrink to survive,” which entails “razing entire districts” of cities and “returning the land to nature” — a kumbayah spin on “our cities are failing and the stimulus isn’t working.” Flint, Michigan, the original home of General Motors, is now the home of various bulldozers.

Left Coasters are fond of saying, “As California goes, so goes the nation.” But if Obama has his way, perhaps this claim rightly belongs to the la-la-land of Kildee — where leftist policies and government “help” have masqueraded “sustainable” decline and demolition as the new hope for economic renewal.


Second Amendment: GAO Blames U.S. for Mexican Gun Violence

“A new study by the Government Accountability Office says most firearms recovered in drug violence in Mexico come from the U.S., a finding that will likely fuel the politically charged debate over the U.S. government’s efforts to stem gun trafficking across the border,” reports The Wall Street Journal. As we have pointed out before, however, the data is flawed right from the beginning. According to the Journal, in 2008, Mexican law enforcement seized 30,000 weapons, but only 7,200 were submitted to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for tracing. Rather than look at the complete facts, of course, anti-gun demagogues pounced on the report. “The availability of firearms illegally flowing from the United States into Mexico has armed and emboldened a dangerous criminal element in Mexico, and it has made the job of drug cartels easier,” said Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY). “It is simply unacceptable that the United States not only consumes the majority of the drugs flowing from Mexico, but also arms the very cartels that contribute to the daily violence that is devastating Mexico.”

Blaming law-abiding U.S. citizens for drug violence in Mexico makes little sense, other than as a justification for more gun control. In anticipation of a renewed effort by the Obama administration to reinstate the so-called “assault weapons” ban, 23 state attorneys general sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, saying, “We share the Obama Administration’s commitment to reducing illegal drugs and violent crime within the United States. We also share your deep concern about drug cartel violence in Mexico. However, we do not believe that restricting law-abiding Americans’ access to certain semi-automatic firearms will resolve any of these problems.”

Around the Nation: Alaska and Energy Independence

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has pulled off a feat that her predecessors have been working on for some 30 years: closing a deal to create a 1,712-mile natural gas pipeline in her state. The project went from dream to reality when Exxon Mobil, America’s largest oil company, signed on to join a partnership with TransCanada, the company that holds the license for the $26 billion project. Rival energy companies, politicians in Juneau and in Washington all thought the project would never happen, but now they all want to join Palin in taking credit for it. And it’s easy to see why. Palin is just about the only elected leader who is actually walking the walk on energy independence in the United States. The need for natural gas will rise by more than 25 percent in the next 20 years, so there’s no better time than the present to start a project like this one. It is slated for completion in 2018.

Xbox 360’s Jihadi Game

There are no depths to which some will not sink to make a buck, and if they can also further the jihadist cause, well then, all the better. T-Enterprise, a British software developer, was recently put on the hot seat for the proposed sale of an Xbox 360 game, “Rendition Guantanamo,” the heroic tale of a brave terrorist fighting off his American oppressors at the detention facility. The object of the game is for the detainee to shoot his way out of Gitmo, which in the game’s universe is owned, not by the U.S. government, but an independent company called “Freedom Corp.”

T-Enterprise’s director, Zarrar Chishti, stated that it would be a big seller in the Middle East, a disturbing statement on several levels. The game was created by former Gitmo detainee and al-Qa’ida-trained jihadi Moazzam Begg. Begg claimed he was innocent of any wrongdoing and since his release has been telling of alleged Gitmo abuses to any who will listen. This, however, may be his best revenge.

“Rendition Guantanamo” may be a game, but it is also serious business. In 2005, soldiers found that terrorists in Baghdad were using the Xbox as a training tool. The public sale of Rendition Guantanamo has been cancelled due to protests by several groups, but there are others like it — most notably, “Six Days in Fallujah” and “Kaboom” — a game about a Palestinian shoe bomber.

Faith and Family: MTV ‘Reality’

It was bound to happen. With the bright lights of reality shows zooming in on every aspect of human life, it was inevitable that someone would create a show about unwed teen mothers. And who better than MTV, which has catered to teen viewers since its creation in the 1980s.

MTV has a history of risqué programming, from racy music videos to the bisexual dating show “Tila Tequila.” But its new show, “16 and Pregnant,” is no less than a ringing endorsement of a national travesty that robs teens of their youth and contributes to child poverty and neglect.

One of the show’s subjects is a high school student named Maci. The cameras follow Maci as she deals with her child, Bentley, and the baby’s father, Ryan, with whom she has a rocky relationship. Yet according to Maci, things couldn’t be better. She speaks about the fact that her friends are jealous because she and Ryan have gotten their own apartment, and she refers to herself as an “over-achiever” who gets good grades, plays softball and is a cheerleader.

But how long will the good times last? According to the National Center for Health Statistics and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 86 percent of unwed mothers are teenagers and 40 percent of teenage unwed mothers never graduate from high school. It’s no wonder, then, that two-thirds of families started by unwed mothers are poor. In fact, the increase in childhood poverty in recent decades is caused almost exclusively by out-of-wedlock births. Think MTV will mention that?

And Last…

“Another Obama relative has a book deal,” reports the Associated Press. “A memoir by George Obama, the president’s half brother and a resident of [a modest hut in] Huruma, Kenya, will be published by Simon & Schuster in January 2010.” George, otherwise known as Obama the Hut, is writing about his teenage years in crime and poverty and then his ascent as a community organizer. Hmm, where have we heard that before? With an audacious tale of hope following the dreams of his father, who’s to say that George won’t one day become president of Kenya? Provided he can find that pesky birth certificate…

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