Romney, Palin Lead in Early New Hampshire Poll

Sunday, 09 Jan 2011 06:21 PM

By Special From Newsmax's Most Informed Sources

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. BP Explosion Led to ‘Oil Spill Hysteria’
2. Beijing Boosts Wages Amid Fears of Unrest
3. Romney, Palin Lead in Early New Hampshire Poll
4. ‘Ridiculous Lawsuits’ Are No Laughing Matter
5. Website Shows Real ‘Cost’ of Taxes
6. We Heard: Harry Reid, John Boehner
 

1. BP Explosion Led to ‘Oil Spill Hysteria’

President Barack Obama in June called the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico “the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced.”

The media also sounded the alarm, with the Washington Post repeatedly referring to the “catastrophic oil spill” resulting from the drilling rig explosion and Time magazine warning that ocean currents could carry the oil to the beaches on Florida’s east coast.

Reacting to the BP spill, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in December canceled previous plans for expanded offshore drilling that could have provided thousands of jobs and reduced America’s reliance on foreign oil.

But a new report asserts that the Gulf in fact suffered “remarkably little damage” from oil spewing into the water from April 20 to July 15, when the leaking Deepwater Horizon well was capped.

“Indeed, the greatest significance of the Gulf spill lies not in its ecological effects, but rather in the outbreak of social hysteria that it occasioned,” Robert H. Nelson writes in The Weekly Standard.

Nelson is a professor of environmental policy at the University of Maryland who has worked with the U.S. Department of the Interior. His latest book is “The New Holy Wars: Economic Religion vs. Environmental Religion in Contemporary America.”

In his Weekly Standard article headlined “Oil Spill Hysteria,” Nelson discloses:

• By mid-August, a month after the well was capped, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was having trouble finding spilled oil.

• Researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that the half-life of much of the leaking oil was about three days, meaning that more than 90 percent would have disappeared in 12 days.

• The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported in November that 2,263 oil-soiled bird remains had been collected in the Gulf, compared to the 225,000 birds killed by the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska in 1989.

• Only 18 dead oil-soiled turtles were found, and no other reptile deaths were recorded.

• Just four oil-soiled mammals, including dolphins, were found dead in the Gulf region, compared to the more than 1,000 sea otters alone that died in the Alaska spill.

• Government agencies could not find any evidence of dead fish resulting from the Gulf spill, or any evidence of contamination in live fish. In fact, the closure of large areas of the Gulf to fishing due to the spill has resulted in a surprising increase in the fish population, marine biologists found.

• By early November, “heavy oil” on Gulf beaches remained on only 30 miles of the 580 miles where oil had come ashore.

Most of the blame for the “hysteria” lies with the media, according to Nelson.

“Hysterical overreaction, frankly, sells newspapers and magazines,” he notes.

“The media actually relied less on marine biologists and oil spill experts for their information and more on environmental groups.

“The Gulf ‘disaster’ offered multiple potential benefits to these groups, including the possibility of desired policy changes.”

One such group is the Sierra Club, whose spokesperson confidently announced about the spill: “This will kill any plan to expand offshore drilling for the next decade.”

Editor's Note:



2. Beijing Boosts Wages Amid Fears of Unrest

Officials in Beijing have raised the minimum wage in the Chinese capital by 21 percent, following a similar rise last year, bringing it all the way up to 1,160 yuan a month — about $40 a week or just $1 an hour.

And Beijing’s minimum is the highest in all of China, where the figure is set locally and is currently as low as about 40 cents an hour in some areas.

That underscores the difficulty American manufacturers face when U.S.-made products compete with those made in the People’s Republic. The federal minimum wage in the U.S. is $7.25 an hour, not including benefits.

The latest rise in Beijing’s minimum comes amid government concerns about rising food prices, which have soared nearly 12 percent over a one-year period, according to AFP.

“The government is worried about the disproportionate burden of rising food costs on low-income households, which spend a larger share of their income on basic necessities,” the Financial Times reported.

“It also fears that persistent price rises could stoke social unrest, as they often have in the past.”

A former adviser to China’s central bank, Yu Yongding, wrote in a recent newspaper editorial: “With the contrast between the opulent lifestyle of the rich and the slow improvement of basic living conditions for the poor fomenting social tension, a serious backlash is brewing.”

The wage increases in Beijing and similar increases expected elsewhere in the country are likely to further increase inflation, which is already a growing concern in China.

Editor's Note:



3. Romney, Palin Lead in Early New Hampshire Poll

Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin lead a field of potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates in the nation’s first primary state, New Hampshire, a new poll reveals.

The Magellan Strategies survey of more than 1,450 likely Republican and independent voters, commissioned by NH Journal, showed Romney with 39 percent of the vote. Romney served as governor of neighboring Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007.

Former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential candidate Palin was second with 16 percent, followed by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee with 10 percent, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with 8 percent.

Rep. Ron Paul of Texas got 7 percent, Tim Pawlenty — who just finished his term as Minnesota governor — received 4 percent, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum got 3 percent, and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, 1 percent.

“Other Candidate” or “Undecided” rounded out the field.

A spokesman for Pawlenty, the first potential candidate to have a paid staffer in the Granite State, dismissed the poll results, Roll Call reported.

“Any poll at this stage is largely a name ID test,” spokesman Alex Conant said.

“And obviously Gov. Pawlenty isn’t as well known as other potential candidates who have run for national office.”

Magellan pollster David Flaherty said in a statement: “This survey is a very early measurement of the potential 2012 Republican Presidential primary field. Mitt Romney’s strength is not surprising considering his close second place finish to John McCain in 2008 and his regional advantage of being a former border state Governor.”

Editor's Note:



4. ‘Ridiculous Lawsuits’ Are No Laughing Matter

A Florida doctor was hospitalized with severe abdominal pains after eating an entire grilled artichoke at a restaurant, then sued the restaurant for not telling him he wasn’t supposed to eat the outer leaves.

That’s just number five on a list of the “Most Ridiculous Lawsuits of 2010” compiled by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“While many of these lawsuits are humorous and others quite troubling, the damage inflicted by abusive litigation is very real,” said ILR President Lisa Rickard.

“More litigation is something we can ill afford in this troubled economy that desperately needs more jobs, not more lawsuits.”

Topping the list of the “Most Ridiculous” is the suit filed by a West Virginia woman against Oprah Winfrey, George W. Bush, Laura Bush, and three doctors. She claimed the physicians implanted a 3-D camera and a wire sensor inside her during surgery, and the defendants were monitoring her 24 hours a day through the camera.

Number two is the suit filed by a Montana girl who tried to commit suicide by driving into oncoming traffic. The resulting crash killed a four-months-pregnant woman and her 13-year-old son. The suit, filed against the pregnant victim’s estate, alleged that the woman inflicted mental pain and suffering by causing the crash.

Number three was filed by an incarcerated killer after a Massachusetts judge rejected his request for electrolysis as part of a state-funded sex change.

Number four was filed by a Wisconsin teacher who pleaded guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old boy in her home, then sued the boy’s parents for failing to protect the child from her.

Her claim “represents convoluted reasoning reminiscent of Lewis Carroll,” a court declared. “We will not follow down the rabbit hole and open the door for a child molester to sue the victim’s parents for their failure to lock their child away or for their ineffectiveness in trying to stop the child from being sexually abused.”

Another lawsuit cited by the ILR was filed by an Oregon man who claimed police destroyed the mystical powers of his medicine bag when they opened it during his drunk driving arrest.

Editor's Note:



5. Website Shows Real ‘Cost’ of Taxes

A 30-year-old American with a high school diploma earning $60,000 a year will ultimately pay $471,512 in federal taxes. If that amount were privately invested, it would grow to the tidy sum of $2,626,347.

That’s the finding from the MyGovCost.org website, which has devised a “tax calculator” to figure out how much various Americans will pay in taxes, and how much those amounts would produce if invested.

The calculator assumes that money would be invested in a diversified portfolio earning 6.09 percent a year, and that salaries would increase based on education levels. Figures are in current U.S. dollars.

According to the calculator, a 50-year-old with a high school diploma earning $75,000 would pay $290,738 in taxes, which would produce $863,323 if invested.

A 22-year-old with a bachelor’s or higher degree earning $40,000 would pay $642,674 in taxes, which would produce $4,345,286 if invested.

And a 30-year-old with a high school diploma earning $75,000 would pay $766,234 in taxes, which could grow to $4,083,643 if invested.

The calculator even breaks down how much a taxpayer would shell out for various parts of the budget. For example, the 30-year-old high school grad earning $75,000 would pay $91,902 for national defense, $163,725 for Medicare — and $117,399 for interest on the national debt.

Editor's Note:



6. We Heard...

THAT Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s son Rory is expected to run for the U.S. House seat that Nevada will gain following the 2010 Census.

The younger Reid did not run for another term as chairman of the Clark County (Nev.) Commission last year, instead launching an unsuccessful bid for governor.

Rory Reid has not confirmed or denied plans to run, according to The Hill newspaper. But he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal: “I always want to be involved in working for the public. It’s who I am.”

Harry Reid was re-elected to the Senate in November with 50.3 percent of the vote.

THAT new House Speaker John Boehner is a regular at CXIII Rex, a members-only cigar club outside Washington in Alexandria, Va., where “lobbyists mingle and the press is strictly banned,” the New York Post reported.

The Ohio Republican is welcomed as an honorary member.

Editor's Note:



Editor's Notes:

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