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Tags: Hispanics | Not-Excited | About | Obama | Air Force Has Bunker Busters Ready | Iran Possible Target | Pipelines Are Safest for Fuel Transport

Hispanics Not Excited About Obama; Air Force Has Bunker Busters Ready, Iran Possible Target

By    |   Sunday, 29 July 2012 06:52 PM EDT

Insider Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Times Are Booming for Washington's Governing Class
2. NBC/WSJ Poll: Hispanic Voters Less Interested in Election
3. Obama Wrong on Yucca Mountain Repository: Researchers
4. UN-Backed Panel: Legalize Prostitution Worldwide
5. Pipelines Are Safest for Fuel Transport
6. Air Force: Bunker Buster Weapon Ready for Use

1. Times Are Booming for Washington's Governing Class

While much of the nation has been struggling through stormy economic times, one locale has been weathering that storm just fine — Washington, D.C.

The reason, of course: the huge population of government workers and contractors in the nation's capital living on the taxpayers' dime.

A Money magazine analysis of the 3,033 counties in the United States found that of the 15 counties with the highest median household incomes, 10 are in the Washington area, and "they have an average income almost double that of the nation as a whole," according to John H. Fund, a senior editor of The American Spectator.

"Four of the remaining five surround New York City, and are populated by many Wall Streeters who benefited from TARP and other federal bailouts."

The Politico website noted in 2010 that "the massive expansion of government under Obama has basically guaranteed a robust job market for policy professionals, regulators and contractors for years to come."

A poll that year conducted for Politico found that 45 percent of Washington elites believed the country and economy were headed in the right direction, compared to 25 percent of the general population, and 74 percent of the elites said the recession had hurt them less than most Americans.

The Cato Institute disclosed that in 2008, the average compensation in pay and benefits for federal civilian employees was $119,900 a year, compared to $59,900 in private industry.

When Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980, just 3 percent of Washington residents had an income of $200,000 or more in today's dollars, Fund pointed out. Today, more than 13 percent do.

The Washington Metropolitan Area, which includes parts of Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia in addition to the District of Columbia, has a population of 5.6 million, making it the nation's seventh largest metro area.

In June 2011, the metro area's unemployment rate stood at 6.2 percent, the second lowest among the 49 largest metro areas, and the federal government now accounts for about 30 percent of the jobs in the city of Washington.

As Fund observes, "Wealth and power seem increasingly to gravitate toward the Beltway and its suburbs."

Editor's Note:

2. NBC/WSJ Poll: Hispanic Voters Less Interested in Election

Support for President Barack Obama in the upcoming election is holding steady among Hispanic voters, considered a key demographic in Obama's re-election effort, a new poll reveals.

But Latinos are growing less enthusiastic about actually casting a ballot on Election Day, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Telemundo national poll of Hispanic registered voters.

The survey completed on July 12 shows that 67 percent of respondents would vote for Obama if the election were held today, virtually unchanged from 66 percent on June 12, while 23 percent said they would vote for his GOP challenger Mitt Romney.

"The challenge for the Obama campaign, however, will be turning out these voters, who aren't as interested in the election as all other Americans are," Telemundo Media said in a statement.

"Interest among Latinos in the upcoming presidential elections is at 68 percent, 11 percent less than most Americans (79 percent)."

Similarly, the percentage of Hispanics who say they are "more enthusiastic about voting than usual" has dropped from 57 percent on June 12 to 50 percent in the new survey.

The poll results confirm the assertion of U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Cuban-born Florida Republican, who told Newsmax in November: "The overwhelming Hispanic support is not going to be with Obama this time because they're not going to be as enthusiastic to go out to vote."

Other results of the poll:


  • 62 percent of Hispanics approve of the job Obama is doing as president, down from 65 percent in the June poll.


  • 58 percent now approve of the job Obama is doing in handling the economy, down from 62 percent in June.


  • 13 percent of respondents said they rate their feelings toward Obama as "very negative," the highest percentage since he took office.


  • 32 percent of Hispanics said they like Obama personally but disapprove of many of his policies, and another 12 percent don't like him personally and disapprove of many of his policies.


  • The percentage of Hispanics who are more optimistic about the direction of the economy has fallen to 49 percent from 60 percent in June.


  • Somewhat surprisingly, only a bare majority, 51 percent, say Obamacare is a good idea, while 21 percent believe it is a bad idea and 25 percent have no opinion.

    Hispanics went 2-to-1 for Obama over John McCain in 2008 and were key in several swing states.

    Editor's Note:

    3. Obama Wrong on Yucca Mountain Repository: Researchers

    The Obama administration's decision to withdraw funding for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository "presents a troubling picture" for the future of nuclear energy in the United States.

    That's conclusion of the Institute for Energy Research, a nonprofit organization promoting "freely-functioning energy markets," which is calling on the president to revive the Yucca Mountain project.

    Back in 1982, nuclear energy producers began paying fees to the federal government earmarked for construction of a safe and secure place to store their nuclear waste.

    In 2002, Congress and President George W. Bush approved the Yucca Mountain site, located in Nevada about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Wastes were to be stored there in highly stable geological formations that have remained seismically inactive for millions of years.

    But in March 2010, the Obama administration decided to withdraw funding from the project, the nation's only permanent repository for high-level spent nuclear fuel authorized by current law.

    Critics of the project, including Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, cited environmental concerns. But the Institute for Energy Research pointed out that a 1,000-megawatt nuclear-electric plant produces about one metric ton of waste per year, compared to 1 million tons from a similar size coal plant.

    "The Obama administration has been handling this critical issue with a complete lack of consistency," the Institute stated.

    "On one hand the president extols the benefits of nuclear power in his speeches, and on the other he advocated closing the byproduct storage facility that ensures it can have a future."

    Nuclear power currently accounts for 19 percent of the electricity generated in the United States.

    The Institute makes several points regarding the project:


  • Yucca Mountain has already undergone 30 years of scientific examination, and American taxpayers have spent $15 billion on studying and developing the project.


  • The money that has been collected from nuclear energy producers since 1982 should be used as intended, to create a safe repository for nuclear waste.


  • The government's failure to provide a viable repository has limited the growth of the nuclear energy industry.

    The Institute concludes: "Being a relatively safe and environmentally efficient way of generating electricity, nuclear power will continue to be an important, even indispensable, part of the U.S. energy mix.

    "For this reason, the revival of the Yucca Mountain facility makes the best economic and energy sense for America's nuclear-powered future."

    Editor's Note:

    4. UN-Backed Panel: Legalize Prostitution Worldwide

    A report issued by a United Nations-backed panel and partly funded by liberal financier George Soros calls for the repeal of all laws banning "consensual adult sex work" — prostitution.

    It also recommends the decriminalization of injected illegal drugs to help combat the HIV epidemic.

    The report, "HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights & Help," cites a recommendation by the International Labour Organization that "sex work" should be recognized as an occupation "in a way that protects workers and customers."

    The panel, the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, is made up of 15 former heads of state, legal scholars and HIV/AIDS activists and is backed by the United Nations Development Programme and UNAIDS — the Joint U.N. Programme on AIDS/HIV.

    The panel's report states that countries must "repeal laws that prohibit consenting adults to buy or sell sex, as well as laws that otherwise prohibit commercial sex, such as laws against ‘immoral' earnings, ‘living off the earnings' of prostitution, and brothel-keeping."

    It also notes: "Criminal sanctions against human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of minors are essential — but the laws must clearly differentiate these activities from consensual adult sex work."

    The report terms laws against prostitution "bad laws," and asserts that criminalizing injected drug use and prostitution stands in the way of "effective HIV responses."

    As for drug use, the panel calls on nations to "reform approaches towards drug use. Rather than punishing people who use drugs but do no harm to others, governments must offer them access to elective HIV and health services, including harm reduction programmes and voluntary, evidence-based treatment for drug dependence."

    The commission specifically recommends that the United States should repeal the federal ban on the funding of needle and syringe exchange services, saying the ban inhibits access to HIV services for people who inject drugs.

    The commission's study received funding from the governments of Canada, Norway, Australia, the United States (through USAID), and from billionaire George Soros through his Open Society Foundations, according to CNS News.

    Dr. Janice Crouse, the director of the Beverly LaHaye Institute at Concerned Women for America in Washington, D.C., told CNS that liberals "like to legitimize the whole [prostitution] industry that way so that it can be regulated and so that it can be considered a ‘legitimate option' for women and give it more respectability.

    "But the sad fact is in every instance where prostitution has been legalized, illegal prostitution has flourished."

    Editor's Note:

    5. Pipelines Are Safest for Fuel Transport

    The Obama administration has delayed approval of the Keystone XL pipeline bringing oil from Canada to the United States largely due to concerns over the safety and reliability of fuel pipelines.

    But those concerns overlook the basic fact that oil and natural gas pipelines are far safer than other means of transport, including rail and road, according to a report from Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

    "A review of safety and accident statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation for the extensive network of existing U.S. pipelines — including many linked to Canada — clearly show that, in addition to enjoying a substantial cost advantage, pipelines result in fewer fatalities, injuries, and environmental damage than road and rail," she observes.

    "Americans are more likely to get struck by lightning than to be killed in a pipeline accident."

    America has 175,000 miles of onshore and offshore oil pipelines, and 321,000 miles of natural gas transmission and gathering pipelines. Gathering pipelines bring raw natural gas from the wellhead to the gas processing plant.

    In addition, there are more than 2 million miles of natural gas distribution pipelines sending gas to businesses and consumers.

    About 71 percent of crude oil and petroleum products are shipped by pipeline — 882 billion ton-miles in one recent year, according to the DOT. Tanker and barge traffic accounts for 22 percent, road accounts for 4 percent, and rail accounts for 3 percent.

    "If safety and environmental damages in the transportation of oil and gas were proportionate to the volume of shipments, one would expect the vast majority of damages to occur on pipelines," Furchtgott-Roth notes. "This paper finds the exact opposite. The majority of incidents occur on road and rail."

    Over a recent four-year period, rail had the highest rate of environmental incidents, 651 per billion ton-miles per year. Incidents include not only explosions or fires but also the release of five gallons or more of a hazardous liquid.

    Road had 20 reported incidents per billion ton-miles per year, while natural gas pipelines had only 0.89 incidents per billion ton-miles per year and oil pipelines had just 0.61.

    Pipelines were also responsible for far few fatalities and injuries — 2.4 fatalities and four injuries per year for oil lines, and one fatality and 6.2 injuries for gas lines. Road transport of oil and gas averaged 10.2 fatalities and 21.8 injuries per year, and rail averaged 2.4 deaths and 25.6 injuries.

    "As America continues to ramp up production of oil and natural gas, our pipeline infrastructure becomes more important," Furchtgott-Roth concludes. "America needs more pipelines — the safest way to move fuel."

    Editor's Note:

    6. Air Force: Bunker Buster Weapon Ready for Use

    The Air Force's 30,000-pound bunker buster bomb is operational and ready for use if needed, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley revealed.

    The Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) is designed to destroy deeply buried bunkers that protect chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, according to the Air Force Times.

    Defense Secretary Leon Panetta earlier this year said the bomb needed more development to be able to take out deep bunkers.

    But Donley said on Wednesday: "If it needed to go today, we would be ready to do that. We continue to do testing on the bomb to refine its capabilities. We also have the capability to go with existing configuration today."

    The precision-guided MOP, which contains more than 5,000 pounds of explosives, was originally designed to take out hardened fortifications in Iran and North Korea.

    "Since then, Syria has disintegrated into full civil war, making the U.S. government worried about the Syrian regime's stockpile of chemical weapons," according to the Air Force Times.

    And the Jerusalem Post observed: "The Western world is increasingly concerned over the potential proliferation of Syria's chemical weapons to Hezbollah."

    The MOP is reportedly able to penetrate to a depth of about 200 feet. It was developed at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, and is made by Boeing.

    The Post also reported that it is "unclear" how Israel might deploy such a bomb, which won't fit onto its current fleet of combat aircraft. The U.S. Air Force plans to deploy the 20-foot-long bombs on B-2 bombers, which can carry a far larger payload than Israel's combat jets.

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    Editor's Note:

    Editor's Notes:

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Sunday, 29 July 2012 06:52 PM
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