Tags: Obama | Trash | Collecting | Green-Job | Immigration Leeway | Terror Risk | CA Bill Bans Gay Therapy

Obama Calls Trash Collecting a 'Green Job'; Immigration Leeway; Bill Bans Gay Therapy

By    |   Sunday, 13 May 2012 03:49 PM

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. California Bill Outlaws Gay Counseling
2. Federal Report: 'Green Jobs' Include Trash Collectors
3. Taxes Now Higher Than Food, Clothing, Shelter Costs
4. U.S. Immigration Policies Raise Risk of Terrorist Attack
5. More Than Half of World's Population Now Lives in Cities
6. We Heard: Andrew Cuomo, News Corp.

1. California Bill Outlaws Gay Counseling

A bill before the California Senate would make it a crime to counsel gay young people about changing their sexual orientation.

California Senate Bill 1172 bans "reparative therapy" administered to patients under age 18 by therapists, psychologists, counselors, and parents. Violators could be subject to arrest, fines, and possible jail time.

The sponsor of the bill, Democrat Ted Lieu, said it helps raise public awareness of the "junk science" that purports to change a person's sexual orientation.

"Under the guise of a California license, some therapists are taking advantage of vulnerable people by pushing dangerous sexual orientation-change efforts," he said after the bill passed out of the California Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee on Tuesday.

But Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute of Sacramento, vows to challenge the constitutionality of the bill if it passes the legislature.

"This legislation is a grotesque violation of the rights of parents over their children," he said after testifying against the bill.

"It specifically prohibits any child under the age of 18 who struggles with homosexuality from getting any kind of professional counseling at all. In fact, it also subjects parents to possibly having their children permanently removed from them if it is found that the parents were not accepting of a child's perception of being homosexual and the parents want the child to get counseling."

The bill states that reparative therapy poses "critical health risks" to gay people, including "shame," "disappointment," and "increased self-hatred."

But the California Psychological Association, the California Association for Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors, and the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapy oppose the bill, terming it an unwarranted intrusion.

"The fact that this bill is opposed by many of the professional organizations that normally are quite liberal on homosexuality indicates how extreme this legislation is," Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for cultural studies at the Family Research Council, told CNS News.

"It really flies in the face of a fundamental ethical principle within the counseling profession, which is the autonomy of the client in determining the goals for treatment."

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2. Federal Report: 'Green Jobs' Include Trash Collectors

A recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report counts 3.1 million green jobs in the U.S. economy, but the BLS defines these jobs so broadly that it includes even school bus drivers and trash collectors as "green" workers.

"Cheerleaders for the president's program of green jobs mandates and spending point to the study as confirmation of green jobs' economic importance," said David W. Kreutzer, Research Fellow in Energy Economics and Climate Change in the Center for Data Analysis at The Heritage Foundation.

Kreutzer takes issue with the report as "an effort to count the number of green jobs as a way of justifying subsidies and mandates."

"Just a little digging into the data shows that only a small fraction of the 3.1 million jobs could have been created by green subsidies and mandates."

The BLS study defines green jobs as those "in businesses that produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources."

Using this definition, the BLS counts 43,658 jobs in steel mills as green because the industry uses scrap steel and can be classified as an active recycler.

Similarly, 27 percent of all paper mill jobs, 30,473, are counted as green because mills use recycled paper.

Steel and paper mill jobs "do not fit in with the rhetoric of the new, clean economy that green jobs proponents use to justify expensive green policies — the sort of policies that brought the Solyndra debacle," Kreutzer writes in the Heritage Foundation report.

The electric power generation industry is said to have 44,152 green jobs, but only 4,700 are in renewable power generation.

The nuclear power industry has 35,755 green jobs, according to the BLS, but since no new plants have been built in the past 30 years, those jobs "are clearly not the result of any green energy or green jobs programs," Kreutzer points out.

Other jobs considered to be green by the BLS include those in used merchandise stores (106,865 jobs), waste collection (116,293), school and employee bus transportation (160,896), leisure and hospitality (22,510), office furniture sales (14,888), septic tank cleaning and portable toilet servicing (13,313), radio and television broadcasting (9,297), fruit and tree nut farming (12,176), and social advocacy organizations (20,704).

Kreutzer concludes that the BLS's "definition and collection mechanisms raise serious questions about how green those jobs are and whether their count can be a useful measure of the importance of green jobs in America's economy and the effectiveness of green jobs policies."

Editor's Note:

3. Taxes Now Higher Than Food, Clothing, Shelter Costs

This year Americans will pay more in total taxes than they spend for food, clothing, and shelter combined, illustrating what the Tax Foundation calls the "growing cost of government."

Total outlays for taxes in 2012 will be about $4.04 trillion, which is $152 billion more than Americans will spend on housing, food, and clothing.

"Relative to the basic cost of living, taxes have increased considerably in recent decades," the foundation states in a new report.

In 1929, Americans paid $10.1 billion in taxes while outlays for food, clothing, and shelter totaled $41.6 billion.

The cost of those essentials surpassed tax collections every year after that until 1981, when the $858.3 billion paid in taxes narrowly surpassed the $854.4 spent on food, clothing, and shelter.

Seven years later, in 1988, taxes again surpassed outlays on essentials, and they remained larger than food, clothing, and shelter costs every year until 2009, when the economic slowdown reduced tax collections.

But after a two-year gap, taxes are once again trumping spending for food, clothing, and housing.

The Tax Foundation also points out that transfer payments — government outlays that Americans can use to purchase food, clothing, and housing, among other things — have increased considerably in recent decades.

In 1929, transfer payments accounted for just 0.5 percent of private outlays on food, clothing, and shelter. By 1965, when Medicare began, the percentage had grown to about 11 percent. Today it is close to 35 percent.

"Consumption data, which comes from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, includes private consumption that is paid for with government transfer payments from assistance programs such as Medicare," Kevin Duncan of the Tax Foundation observes.

"This leads to double counting, as the taxes that finance these programs and the increased consumption that those taxes fund are included in both tax and consumption figures, respectively.

"Despite these limitations, the comparison of tax costs to the basic cost of living provides a useful illustration of the growing cost of government."

Editor's Note:

4. U.S. Immigration Policies Raise Risk of Terrorist Attack

A troubling report discloses that U.S. immigration policies continue to permit the entry of aliens from nations potentially harboring terrorists — including even the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The report from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) says that since 2001, more than 2.5 million people have been allowed to enter the United States from 16 Muslim nations in and around the Middle East.

The CIS examines the threat of Iran reacting to sanctions or other punitive moves with an attack against America, orchestrated by Iran or its proxies or sympathizers in other countries. The report states that the attack could come as a result of "our present immigration policies, which favor vast in-flows of individuals, even from nations known to harbor, or provide an ambient environment for, a whole host of terrorist organizations and their affiliates."

"Most Americans would be surprised by the size of the flow of aliens that have continued to come into the United States from countries of special interest to our homeland security since 9/11."

According to the CIS, admissions of "refugees and non-immigrants" from the 16 Muslim nations to the United States numbered more than 300,000 in 2010 alone. They included 21,919 from Iran, 24,178 from Iraq, 30,735 from Lebanon, 63,250 from Pakistan, and 91,936 from Saudi Arabia.

In addition, 36,001 citizens of those nations were granted lawful permanent resident alien status in 2010 — obtained through marriage to a U.S. citizen, for example — including 7,097 from Iran and 11,633 from Pakistan.

From 2001 through 2010, the number of non-immigrant and refugee admissions, plus lawful permanent resident alien status grants, for people from the 16 countries has totaled 2,579,601. This includes 285,641 from Iran, 151,210 from Iraq, 297,461 from Lebanon, 423,284 from Saudi Arabia, 773,167 from Pakistan, and 105,425 from Syria.

"It is noteworthy that during the decade that ended in 2010, there were nearly 290,000 admissions of Iranians who made their way to the United States, at a time when our two countries don't even maintain diplomatic relations and we are still routinely referred to by the supreme leader and the president of Iran as 'the Great Satan,'" the CIS report states.

Lebanon, home to designated terrorist organization Hezbollah, sent even more aliens to our shores, with almost 300,000 admissions, according to the report.

The CIS concludes: "If one were to expand the list to include arrival flows from other, equally problematic countries whose citizens pose special concerns to the United States, such as Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Indonesia, and even Venezuela, the total would grow by many millions.

"There seems to be a disconnect in the administration's thinking, an inability to . . . understand that U.S. immigration policies have the capability to substantially strengthen, or to significantly undermine, our national security."

Editor's Note:

5. More Than Half of World's Population Now Lives in Cities

The latest edition of the publication Demographia World Urban Areas shows that the migration of rural people to urban areas continues, with 26 of those areas now considered "megacities."

"Around the world, people continue to seek the promise of better economic outcomes in urban areas," the New Geography website observes.

"United Nations forecasts indicate that another 2.5 billion people will be added to urban areas by 2050, while rural areas will be reduced in population by 300 million.

"The world's urban population is expected to rise from today's nearly 53 percent of total population to 67 percent, and more than 90 percent of the urban growth is expected to be in less developed nations."

Urban areas are defined by Demographia World Urban Areas as areas of continuous urban development within a labor market. They are not metropolitan areas, which can include non-urban or rural territory. Urban areas in essence stretch beyond the confines of a city to include all contiguous built-up areas.

Megacities are urban areas with a population greater than 10 million. Tokyo has been the world's largest urban area since 1955, when it displaced New York, and it now has a population of 37.1 million.

The second most populous urban area is Jakarta, Indonesia, with 26 million, followed by Seoul-Incheon, South Korea, with 22.5 million; Delhi, India (22.2 million); Manila, Philippines (21.9 million); and Shanghai, China (20.8 million).

The most populous urban area in the United States, New York, is seventh on the list with 20.4 million. Los Angeles is No. 17 (14.9 million) and Chicago is No. 27 (10.7 million).

The largest urban area in Europe is Moscow (15.5 million), followed by Paris (10.7 million).

The world's most densely populated urban area is Dhaka, Bangladesh, which has 15.4 million people occupying a land area of just 134 square miles, giving it a density of 115,000 per square mile.

Dhaka's slums, however, are estimated to have a density of 2.7 million per square mile. At this density, all of the world's 3.7 billion urban residents could be accommodated in an area about the size of the Washington, D.C., urban area, according to New Geography.

Surprisingly, New York has the lowest density of any megacity, 4,600 per square mile. Atlanta is the least dense urban area with a population over 2.5 million (1,800 per square mile), just ahead of Boston (2,220).

New York also reigns as the urban area with the largest "urban footprint," or land area, with 4,495 square miles, followed by Tokyo (3,300 square miles), Chicago (2,647), and Atlanta (2,645).

Among the megacities, Mumbai, India, has the smallest land area after Dhaka, with 211 square miles.

Editor's Note:

6. We Heard…

THAT New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is writing an autobiography expected to be published in 2014.

Cuomo, who was elected in 2010, is working on the book with his former secretary and political confidant Steve Cohen, according to the New York Post.

Interestingly, the Post is also reporting that Fred Dicker, the paper's Albany bureau chief, has signed a deal to write a biography of Cuomo scheduled for release next year, and he will have the cooperation of the governor and his staff.

THAT the phone-hacking scandal has not hurt News Corporation's bottom line — Rupert Murdoch's media empire reported a 47 percent increase in profits in the quarter ending on March 31.

The company said its net income was $937 million in the quarter, up from $639 million in the same period a year earlier, the New York Times' Media Decoder reported.

The rise was largely attributable to gains at cable television channels, including Fox News.

The solid earnings came despite the $63 million News Corp. had to spend on hacking-related costs in the quarter, the paidContent website reported.

In the first nine months of fiscal 2012, the company spent $167 million on costs related to the closing of The News of the World in Britain last summer and other outlays related to the hacking scandal.

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