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One Picture Puts An End To Everything Dems Say About Walmart And The Minimum Wage

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This is from Independent Journal Review.

This is a classic reason to not have a minimum wage and allowing the free market to set the wages paid.

 

Liberals have long lamented the Walmart corporation and its supposed cruel treatment of its workers. They’ve also insisted that without a minimum wage, workers have no chance of earning a decent living.

But this one picture, snapped by a University of Michigan economist and reported by Watchdog.org, is about to flip both arguments right on their heads.

wal mart jobs

 

North Dakota does not have a state minimum wage policy. Nor does the city of Williston, where this photo was taken. But a local Walmart proves that it takes care of its workers, and it doesn’t need a set wage to pay its employees well.

Employment policies like this – effectively, more business and less government – have paid off. In six of the past seven years, North Dakota has led the nationin personal income growth.

North Dakota’s policy is obviously working – and other states should sit up and take note.

 

 

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Performance of ‘YMCA’ at talent show by first-grade class cancelled for being ‘racist’

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This is from UPI’s Odd News.

Political Correctness running wild in North Dakota.

There is no doubt in my mind political correctness is a mental defect.

Notice I did not say mental illness.

Bennett Elementary School in Fargo won’t allow the show to go on.

 

Members of the pop music group Village People (L-R back row) Ray Simpson, Alexander Briley and Eric Anzalone, (L-R front row) David Hodo, Felipe Rose and Jeff Olson ham it up during unveiling ceremonies honoring the group with the 2,369th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles on September 12, 2008. (File/UPI Photo/Jim Ruymen) | License Photo Read more: 

 

FARGO, N.D., May 14 (UPI) —A North Dakota elementary school will not be allowing the young men and women in a first-grade class to perform YMCA at a talent show because a parent dubbed the planned performance “racist.”

Students at Bennett Elementary School in Fargo were supposed to sing the famous Village People song during a May talent show.

The kids were supposed to come up dressed up like members of the ’70s group – a policeman, a cowboy, a biker, a construction worker and a Native American.

Parent Elaine Bolman found it offensive that her daughter or her classmates would be asked to dress up like a stereotypical Native American caricature.

“I’m not in a position to do anything for these educators, and hopefully those people that are can make the right choices so all students of any culture and race won’t feel singled out or like their race is being stereotyped against,” Bolman told Inforum.

Guess this video is racist in liberal minds:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAAzxdBkAdM

 

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2014/05/14/Performance-of-YMCA-at-talent-show-by-first-grade-class-cancelled-for-being-racist/6921400090141/#ixzz3287usPuY

 

 

 

 

6 Environmental Truths the Left Conveniently Ignores

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This is from The Foundry.

For the left you could say they are inconvenient truths.

 

 

According to a March Gallup poll, 50 percent of respondents thought the quality of the environment in the U.S., as a whole, is getting worse. But the reality is very different. Heritage hosted an Earth Day panel event in Apriladdressing some of the overlooked truths about the state of the nation’s environment:

1. Human freedom and prosperity lead to environmental success.

Photo: Cartoonbank.com

Studies show that wealthy countries are environmentally healthier countries. Able to worry less about meeting basic needs, wealthier societies can afford to direct their attention to environmental improvement.

earthday-2

2. We’re not running out of resources.

Kenny LeBaron, left, and his brother Joshua moved to North Dakota from Minnesota to take advantage of higher salaries due to an oil boom there. Here they service a gas and oil well near Watford City, North Dakota, on September 27, 2011. (Glen Stubbe/Minneapolis Star Tribune/MCT)

Some would have us believe that as population increases and economies grow, we are consuming resources too quickly. But this simply isn’t the case. In fact, many natural resources are renewable and respond positively to stewardship and management. As we learn more, innovate, and advance technology we develop more efficient ways to access, use, and reuse natural resources. The recent boom in shale oil and natural gas is a perfect example of this process.

3. The quality of our air is cleaner and safer.

Photo: Getty Images

Over the past 30 years (data gathered from 1980 through 2012) concentrations of each of the six common air pollutants have drastically decreased:

  • Ozone: decreased by 25 percent
  • Particulate Matter: 33 percent (data starting in 2000)
  • Nitrogen Dioxide: 60 percent
  • Sulfur Dioxide: 78 percent
  • Carbon Monoxide: 83 percent
  • Lead: 91 percent

This reduction in pollutants has happened at the same time the country has grown in wealth, population, and economic activity.

4. Although tough to measure, water quality is also improving.

Photo: Getty Images

Americans are using water more efficiently even as population has increased, and only 9 percent of the waters of the United States are considered impaired.

5. The government owns more land than it can manage.

Photo: Peggy Peattie/U-T San Diego/ZUMAPRESS.com

While the nation’s air and waters have improved in quality, the nation’s land management continues to stagnate— at best. The federal government owns some 28 percent of the United States and indirectly controls well beyond that amount through laws like the Endangered Species Act. The federal government alone owns:

  • 42 percent of Arizona
  • 47 percent of New Mexico
  • 62 percent of Idaho and Alaska
  • 81 percent of Nevada.

The government doesn’t have the resources to maintain such vast amounts of land and waters, but also because it has no incentive to steward it well. And in many cases the federal government has thwarted efforts of private citizens to improve the land.

6. Thanks in part to the big successes made in other areas of the environment, the environmental pressure groups have pitched global warming as the next great environmental issue of the day.

Former EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The result has been heavy handed regulations that treat CO2 emissions as pollutants to be cut. Yet even if one were to assume climate alarmists’ models were correct and decide to  cut all U.S. carbon emissions today—no driving or flying, no running factories, stores or homes unless they run on nuclear power, and probably best not to exhale either—this would only decrease world temperatures by 0.08 degrees Celsius by the year 2050. Former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson has herself conceded that America’s efforts alone would not meaningfully impact global CO2 levels.

Historic ‘polar vortex’ could cause record low temps across Midwest, extreme cold in Northeast

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This is from The New York Post.

What happened to globull warming?

While this is something that only happens every twenty or

thirty years in some areas.

Yet the people in Minnesota, Wyoming, North Dakota or

South Dakota this cold and snow are normal. 

 

One meteorologist said temperature records will likely be broken during the short yet forceful deep freeze that will begin in many places on Sunday and extend into early next week. The conditions in the Midwest could be life-threatening for ‘a person not properly dressed.

New York won’t endure brutal weather to such an extreme degree as the Midwest — though Tuesday will require extra layers. Here, a woman in Midtown stays warm in the frigid temperatures.

An arctic blast straight from the North Pole will chill the Midwest Sunday with a “polar vortex” — potentially setting record-low temperatures and raising fears of frostbite and hypothermia.

The deep freeze is caused by a “polar vortex” that creates a counterclockwise rotation of cold air at the top of Earth that will be pushed as far south as the Gulf Coast. The frigid spiral should dissipate early next week.

“All the ingredients are there for a near-record or historic cold outbreak,” said Ryan Maue, a meteorologist for Weather Bell.

A tattered flag flies by a flooded yard along the shore in Scituate, Mass., on Friday.

MICHAEL DWYER/AP photo credit

A tattered flag flies by a flooded yard along the shore in Scituate, Mass., on Friday.

“If you’re under 40 (years old), you’ve not seen this stuff before.”

The forecasts will make you shiver: -25 in Fargo, N.D., -31 in International Falls, Minn. and -15 in Chicago.

At those temperatures, exposed skin can get frostbite in minutes and hypothermia can easily take hold as the wind chill plunges to 60 or even 70 below zero.

New York won’t endure brutal weather to such an extreme degree — though Tuesday will require extra layers.

This Friday satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows the blanket of snow that stretches from the Midwest across to New England after a massive winter storm moved over the region.

AP photo credit

This Friday satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows the blanket of snow that stretches from the Midwest across to New England after a massive winter storm moved over the region.

The local forecast calls for temperatures in the 40s Sunday and Monday. Tuesday, however, calls for a high in the teens.

Back in the Midwest, experts were concerned people unprepared for the polar plunge could die. Even wind chills of 25 below zero are cause for alarm, said National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Truett.

PHOTOS: EXTREME WEATHER HITS HEARTLAND

“Those are dangerous levels of wind chill,” said Truett.

“A person not properly dressed could die easily in those conditions.”

Cheeseheads in Green Bay will watch their beloved Packers take on the San Francisco 49ers Sunday at Lambeau Field in what could be one of the coldest football games ever played. The forecast at kickoff is a brutal -2.

PHOTOS: WILD WEATHER

Minnesota already took the drastic measure of canceling school Monday for the entire state — the first such closing in 17 years.

The brief-yet-powerful cold spell will probably freeze over the Great Lakes and other bodies of water, meaning the frigid temperatures will linger for the rest of the winter, Maue said.

“Right now for the winter, we will have had two significant shots of major Arctic air and we’re only through the first week of January. And we had a pretty cold December,” Maue said.

With News Wire Services

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/extreme-cold-weather-expected-midwest-northeast-article-1.1566162#ixzz2pXrHHJxP

California: Soon to be First State to Impose Full Ban on Lead Bullets

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This is from Girls Just Wanna Have Guns.

How long before the EPA pushes for a nation wide lead ban?

In Kalifornia the inmates are running the asylum.

 

 

California is on the verge of becoming the first state to impose a full ban on hunting with lead bullets — with environmentalists and gun-rights advocates squaring off as Gov. Jerry Brown decides whether to sign the legislation.

The state already has a ban on lead-bullet hunting in eight counties with an endangered condor population. But the new proposal, overwhelmingly approved this month by the Democrat-controlled General Assembly, would impose a statewide ban on all hunting. Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown has until Oct. 12 to decide whether to sign the legislation, which would not be fully implemented for at least several years.

Environmentalists and other supporters have broadened their argument beyond protecting the prehistoric condor bird, saying the lead bullets, and the left-behind lead fragments on which animals feed, are making their way into the country’s edible meat supply. And they point to a 2008 study by the Centers for Disease Control and the North Dakota Department of Public Health that concluded lead is so prevalent in meat harvested through hunting that pregnant women and children should never eat it.

“There is no safe level of lead for human consumption,” said bill sponsor and state Assemblyman Anthony Rendon, a Los Angeles-area Democrat. READ MORE HERE
Read more at http://girlsjustwannahaveguns.com/2013/09/california-soon-first-state-impose-full-ban-lead-bullets/#zQIXk0Iuib7FXUTV.99

 

States raise privacy concerns over health law navigators

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This is from The Hill.

This is typical  modus operandi for the Obama regime.

Obama wants confusion and to break people down and strip them

of any resistance.

 

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi argued late Friday that new hires under ObamaCare could threaten the private information of people trying to get health insurance.

Bondi said that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is making it easier for someone to be hired as a so-called navigator, cutting back on background checks and eliminating a fingerprinting requirement, which could make it easier for a person’s private information to fall into the wrong hands.

 

“Because of time constraints, HHS [is] cutting back on the requirement to become a navigator, meaning they’re not going to be doing background checks. They’re not going to be fingerprinting these people,” said Bondi in an interview with Fox.

“And it’s more than navigators. It’s people that assist the navigators. Now, these navigators will have our consumers throughout the country’s most personal and private information — tax return information, Social Security information. And our biggest fear, of course, is identity theft.”

A navigator is a federal employee who helps those wanting to get insured navigate the paperwork of the new healthcare system.

“What if they’ve been convicted of committing identity theft or grand theft before?” asked Bondi. “They could potentially still become a navigator.”

Earlier this week, Bondi and a dozen other Republican state attorneys general sent HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius a letter calling her attention to this privacy issue and asking her to implement more stringent privacy requirements and safeguards. They’ve given Sebelius until Aug. 28 to respond.

The letter was organized by West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and signed by attorneys general from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.

Bondi said she wants to know who will be in charge of monitoring the navigators, who is going to be liable if someone’s identify is stolen, and who is responsible for educating the American public and the navigators on fraud prevention.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/health-reform-implementation/317513-state-attorneys-general-raise-privacy-concerns-over-obamacare-navigators#ixzz2cNuLASuH
Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook

 

SEN. LANDRIEU SAYS S. DAKOTA BORDERS CANADA WHILE CALLING BORDER FENCE ‘DUMB’

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This is from Breitbarts Big Government.

I think it would be safe to say Mary The Moron Landrieu

failed geography.

I guess South Dakota borders Canada like Indiana borders Texas.

Is Mary The Moron the best Louisiana has to offer? 

 

 

While attempting to attack an amendment to the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill that would require a fence be built along Mexico’s border with the U.S. before legalization, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) made a significant geographical gaffe.

Landrieu, who represents Louisiana in the U.S. Senate, was trying to undermine the amendment Sen. John Thune (R-SD) offered. In doing so, she tried to argue Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was more qualified to talk about border issues than Thune because McCain represents Arizona.

“A smart fence, which is what Senator McCain and I want to build–since he’s from Arizona, I think he knows more about this than the Senator from South Dakota who only has a border with Canada and that is quite different,” Landrieu said.

South Dakota does not share a border with Canada. It does, however, share borders with North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa.

Landrieu went on to argue that the 700-mile border double-fence that Congress passed into law a few years ago is a “dumb fence.” She said she would be “voting against” Thune’s amendment requiring the implementation of current law because of she thinks the fence is “dumb.”

“So I would be voting against Senator Thune’s amendment because I’m not going to waste taxpayer money on a dumb fence, and that’s what his amendment would be,” Landrieu said. “We need to build a smart fence and a fence is not just a physical structure which could be built out of a variety of different materials with or without barbed wire on the top.”

Thune came back to the floor after Landrieu’s comments to note that the Louisiana Democrat actually voted for the “dumb fence” a few years ago. “I would say in response to my colleague from Louisiana that we all voted for this,” Thune said.

“I mean this is not–she described it as a dumb fence. I guess I didn’t realize it was a dumb fence. I thought it was a commitment we made to the American people to get serious about securing the border,” Thune explained. “There are other ways—I would certainly concede—other ways in which we can combine manpower, technology, infrastructure along the border to make it more secure.”

Afterward, Landrieu came back to the floor to respond to Thune: “You are correct, I voted for the dumb fence once, I’m not going to do it again because I learned my mistake.”

HERE ARE THE STATES SAYING ‘NO THANKS’ TO DRONE FLYOVERS

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This is from The Blaze.

This is a rare time I agree with The ACLU.

It is time to encourage our states to follow the example of the states and say NO!

Will the drone flights be used to spy on The Tea Party?

How about killing Americans on America soil?

Eleven States Take Steps to Restrict Drone Flyovers

What do Montana, California, Oregon, Texas, Nebraska, Missouri, North Dakota, Florida, Virginia, Maine, and Oklahoma have in common? They are all currently looking to restrict the use of drones over their skies amid concerns the unmanned aerial vehicles could be exploited to spy on Americans.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says state legislators are proposing various restrictions on local authorities’ use of the technology.

Concerns mounted after the Federal Aviation Administration began establishing safety standards for civilian drones, which are becoming increasingly affordable and small in size.

Some police agencies have said the drones could be used for surveillance of suspects, search and rescue operations, and gathering details on damage caused by natural disasters.

Virginia lawmakers, for example, on Tuesday approved a two-year moratorium on the use of drones by police and government agencies.

Supporters of the legislation claim the use of drones could infringe on Virginians’ privacy rights. The legislation had the backing of the ACLU, the Tea Party Federation, and agriculture groups, while law enforcement organizations opposed the moratorium.

Eleven States Take Steps to Restrict Drone Flyovers

“Our founders had no conception of things that would fly over them at night and peer into their backyards and send signals back to a home base,” said Sen. A. Donald McEachin, D-Henrico, a sponsor of the Senate bill.

In a move to placate the law enforcement groups opposed to the two-year moratorium, Virginia legislators included a provision that would allow the use of drones only in the case of emergencies or missing children.

In Montana, a libertarian-minded state that doesn’t even let police use remote cameras to issue traffic tickets, Democrats and Republicans are banding together to back multiple proposals restricting drone use. They say drones, most often associated with overseas wars, aren’t welcome in Big Sky Country.

“I do not think our citizens would want cameras to fly overhead and collect data on our lives,” Republican state Sen. Matthew Rosendale told a legislative panel on Tuesday.

Rosendale is sponsoring a measure that would only let law enforcement use drones with a search warrant, and would make it illegal for private citizens to spy on neighbors with drones.

The full Montana Senate endorsed a somewhat broader measure Tuesday that bans information collected by drones from being used in court. It also would bar local and state government ownership of drones equipped with weapons, such as stunning devices.

Eleven States Take Steps to Restrict Drone Flyovers

The ACLU said the states won’t be able to stop federal agencies or border agents from using drones. But the Montana ban would not allow local police to use criminal information collected by federal drones that may be handed over in cooperative investigations.

The drones could be wrongly used to hover over someone’s property and gather information, opponents said.

“The use of drones across the country has become a great threat to our personal privacy,” said ACLU of Montana policy director Niki Zupanic. “The door is wide open for intrusions into our personal private space.”

Other state legislatures looking at the issue include California, Oregon, Texas, Nebraska, Missouri, North Dakota, Florida, Virginia, Maine, and Oklahoma.

A Missouri House committee looked at a bill Tuesday that would outlaw the use of unmanned aircraft to conduct surveillance on individuals or property, providing an exclusion for police working with a search warrant. It drew support from agricultural groups and civil liberties advocates.

“It’s important for us to prevent Missouri from sliding into a police-type state,” said Republican Rep. Casey Guernsey of Bethany.

Eleven States Take Steps to Restrict Drone Flyovers

A North Dakota lawmaker introduced a similar bill in January following the 2011 arrest of a Lakota farmer during a 16-hour standoff with police. A drone was used to help a SWAT team apprehend Rodney Brossart.

Its use was upheld by state courts, but the sponsor of the North Dakota bill, Rep. Rick Becker of Bismarck, said safeguards should be put into place to make sure the practice isn’t abused.

Last year, Seattle police received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to train people to operate drones for use in investigations, search-and-rescue operations and natural disasters. Residents and the ACLU called on city officials to tightly regulate the information that can be collected by drones, which are not in use yet.

In Alameda County, Calif., the sheriff’s office faced backlash late last year after announcing plans to use drones to help find fugitives and assist with search and rescue operations.

 

The Best- and Worst-Run States in America

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This is from Yahoo Finance.

Most of the Best Run States are run by Republican Governors.

Most of the Worst Run States are run by DemocRat Governors.

How well run are America’s 50 states? The answer depends a lot on where you live.

Every year, 24/7 Wall St. conducts an extensive survey of all fifty states in America. Based on a review of data on financial health, standard of living and government services by state we determine how well each state is managed. For the first time, North Dakota is the best run. California is the worst run for the second year in a row.

The successful management of a state is difficult to measure. Factors that affect its finances and population may be the result of decisions made years ago. A state’s difficulties can be caused by poor governance or by external factors, such as extreme weather.

[More from 24/7 Wall St.: America’s Poorest States]

A state with abundant natural resources should have an easier time balancing its budget than one starved for resources. Regional problems or the national decline of certain industries can destroy local economies. The subprime mortgage crisis, for example, disproportionately affected states with strong construction and real estate markets. Such factors can be easily identified and noted as possible causes for a state’s poverty levels, unemployment, or strained coffers.

Despite this, it is the responsibility of each state to deal with the resources at its disposal. Each government must anticipate economic shifts and diversify its industries and attract new business. A state should be able to raise enough revenue to ensure the safety of its citizens and minimize hardship without spending more than it can prudently afford. Some states have historically done this much better than others.

To determine how well the states are run, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed hundreds of data sets from dozens of sources. We looked at each state’s debt, revenue, expenditure and deficit to determine how well it is managed fiscally. We reviewed taxes, exports, and GDP growth, including a breakdown by sector, to identify how each state is managing its resources. We looked at poverty, income, unemployment, high school graduation, violent crime and foreclosure rates to measure if residents are prospering.

The best-run states have certain characteristics in common, as do the worst run. The high-ranking states all have well-managed budgets. Each of the top ten has a perfect, or near-perfect, credit rating from Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, or both. Of the ten worst-ranked, only three received top scores from one agency, and none from both. California is currently the only state rated A- by S&P, the lowest score given to any state. These poor-ranked states have high debt relative to both income and expenditure.

There is a strong correlation between well-educated populations and generally well-managed states. Of the ten best-scoring states on our list, nine have among the highest percentages of adults with high school diplomas.

[More from 24/7 Wall St.: The 12 Companies Paying Americans the Least]

Employment is also closely correlated to how well a state is managed. The unemployment rates of most of the poorly ranked states are among the highest in the country. Nine of the ten best-ranked states had an unemployment rate of less than 7% in 2011. This includes North Dakota, which had the lowest rate in the country in 2011, at just 3.6%. The average unemployment rate nationwide was 8.9% in 2011.

Best-Run States:

1. North Dakota

 Debt per capita: $3,282 (22nd lowest)
> Budget deficit: None
> Unemployment: 3.5% (the lowest)
> Median household income: $51,704 (20th highest)
> Pct. below poverty line: 12.2% (13th lowest)

For the first time, North Dakota ranks as the best run state in the country. In recent years, North Dakota’s oil boom has transformed its economy. Last year, crude oil production rose 35%. As of August, 2012, it was the second-largest oil producer in the country. This was due to the use of hydraulic fracturing in the state’s Bakken shale formation. The oil and gas boom brought jobs to North Dakota, which had the nation’s lowest unemployment rate in 2011 at 3.5%, and economic growth. Between 2010 and 2011, North Dakota’s GDP jumped 7.6%, by far the largest increase in the nation. This growth has also increased home values, which rose a nation-leading 29% between 2006 and 2011. North Dakota and Montana are the only two states that have not reported a budget shortfall since fiscal 2009.

2. Wyoming

Debt per capita: $2,694 (18th lowest)
> Budget deficit: 10.3% (32nd largest)
> Unemployment: 6.0% (7th lowest)
> Median household income: $56,322 (13th highest)
> Pct. below poverty line: 11.3% (6th lowest)

Wyoming is not the best-run state in the nation this year. The drop is largely due to the state’s contracting economy. In 2011, GDP shrunk by 1.2%, more than any other state. As a whole, however, the state is a model of good management and a prospering population. The state is particularly efficient at managing its debt, owing the equivalent of just 20.4% of annual revenue in fiscal 2010. Wyoming also has a tax structure that, according to the Tax Foundation, is the nation’s most-favorable for businesses — it does not have any corporate income taxes. The state has experienced an energy boom in recent years. The mining industry, which includes oil and gas extracting, accounted for 29.4% of the state’s GDP in 2011 alone, more than in any other state. As of last year, Wyoming’s poverty, home foreclosure, and unemployment rates were all among the lowest in the nation.

3. Nebraska

 Debt per capita: $1,279 (2nd lowest)
> Budget deficit: 9.7% (34th largest)
> Unemployment: 4.4% (2nd lowest)
> Median household income: $50,296 (22nd highest)
> Pct. below poverty line: 13.1% (tied-15th lowest)

Last year, Nebraska had the second-lowest unemployment rate in the nation at 4.4%. In Lincoln, the state capital, the unemployment rate was 4%, lower than all metropolitan areas in the country, except Bismarck and Fargo in North Dakota. Although far from the nation’s wealthiest state — median income was slightly lower than the U.S. median of $50,502 — Nebraska’s economy is strong relative to the rest of the U.S. The state is one of the leading agricultural producers, with the sector accounting for 8.3% of the state’s GDP last year. The state also had the second-lowest debt per capita in the country in fiscal 2010, at $1,279, compared to an average of $3,614 for states nationwide.

4. Utah


Debt per capita: $2,356 (15th lowest)
> Budget deficit: 14.7% (25th largest)
> Unemployment: 6.7% (tied-11th lowest)
> Median household income: $55,869 (14th highest)
> Pct. below poverty line: 13.5% (tied-17th lowest)

In fiscal 2011, Utah had a budget deficit of $700 million, equal to 14.7% of the state’s GDP. This debt-to-GDP ratio is worse than half the states in the U.S. Despite these problems, Utah has committed to reducing expenses in place of raising taxes or increasing debt. The state has also limited its borrowing. Its total debt was just under $6.5 billion in fiscal 2010, or $2,356 per capita — less than most states — and 40.4% of 2010 tax revenue. Both Moody’s and S&P gave Utah their highest credit ratings because of the state’s strong fiscal management. Moody’s commented that Utah has a “tradition of conservative fiscal management; rebuilding of budgetary reserves after their use in the recession; [and] a closely managed debt portfolio.”

5. Iowa

 Debt per capita: $1,690 (7th lowest)
> Budget deficit: 20.3% (18th largest)
> Unemployment: 5.9% (6th lowest)
> Median household income: $49,427 (24th highest)
> Pct. below poverty line: 12.8% (14th lowest)

Like many of the other well-run states, Iowa is one of the nation’s top agricultural centers — the industry accounted for 6.6% of the state’s GDP in 2011. The farm economy has contributed significantly to growth, with farm earnings rising rapidly and land values skyrocketing. State GDP rose by 1.9% between 2010 and 2011 — the 12th-highest increase in the country. Iowa’s unemployment rate fell from 6.3% in 2010 to just 5.9% in 2011, the nation’s sixth-lowest rate. The state has carried a low debt burden in recent years, averaging just $1,690 per capita in fiscal 2010, among the nation’s lowest. The state currently has the best possible credit ratings both from Moody’s and S&P.

Worst-Run States:

50. California

Debt per capita: $4,008 (18th highest)
> Budget deficit: 20.7% (17th largest)
> Unemployment: 11.7% (2nd highest)
> Median household income: $57,287 (10th highest)
> Pct. below poverty line: 16.6% (18th highest)

California is 24/7 Wall St.’s “Worst Run State” for the second year in a row. Due to high levels of debt, the state’s S&P credit rating is the worst of all states, while its Moody’s credit rating is the second-worst. Much of California’s fiscal woes involve the economic downturn. Home prices plunged by 33.6% between 2006 and 2011, worse than all states except for three. The state’s foreclosure rate and unemployment rate were the third- and second-highest in the country, respectively. But efforts to get finances on track are moving forward. State voters passed a ballot initiative to raise sales taxes as well as income taxes for people who make at least $250,000 a year. While median income is the 10th-highest in the country, the state also has one of the highest tax burdens on income. According to the Tax Foundation, the state also has the third-worst business tax climate in the country.

49. Rhode Island

 Debt per capita: $9,018 (3rd highest)
> Budget deficit: 13.4% (28th largest)
> Unemployment: 11.3% (3rd highest)
> Median household income: $53,636 (17th highest)
> Pct. below poverty line: 14.7% (24th lowest)

Rhode Island’s finances were a mess in fiscal 2010. The state had $9.5 billion in unpaid debts, which came to 107.2% of that year’s revenues.At more than $9,000 per person, it’s one of the largest debt burdens in the country. The state also funded less than half of its pension obligations, worse than all states except for Illinois. In 2010, in a spectacular example of fiscal mismanagement, the state guaranteed a $75 million loan to a video game company, which has since defaulted. With one of the nation’s slowest growth rates and the third-highest unemployment rate in the U.S., at 11.3%, Rhode Island’s economy performed poorly overall.

48. Illinois

 Debt per capita: $4,790 (11th highest)
> Budget deficit: 40.2% (2nd largest)
> Unemployment: 9.8% (tied-10th highest)
> Median household income: $53,234 (18th highest)
> Pct. below poverty line: 15.0% (25th highest)

Although many states have budget issues, Illinois’ faces among the biggest problems. In 2010, the state’s budget shortfall was more than 40% of its general fund, the second-highest of any state. Both S&P and Moody’s gave Illinois credit ratings that were the second-worst of all states. In addition, the state only funded 45% of its pension liability in 2010, the lowest percentage of any state. Governor Patrick Quinn has made the now-$85 billion pension gap a top priority for the new legislative session beginning in January.

47. Arizona

 Debt per capita: $2,188 (12th lowest)
> Budget deficit: 39.0% (3rd largest)
> Unemployment: 9.5% (tied-13th highest)
> Median household income: $46,709 (21st lowest)
> Pct. below poverty line: 19.0% (tied-8th highest)

Between 2006 and 2011, the value of homes in Arizona tumbled by 35%, more than every state except for Nevada. The state also had the nation’s second-highest foreclosure rate in 2011, with one in every 24 homes in foreclosure. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, Arizona had some of the nation’s largest budget shortfalls. In fiscal 2010, the state had a shortfall of $5.1 billion, equal to 65% of its general fund. In fiscal 2011, Arizona’s budget deficit was 39.0% of its general fund, the third-highest in the nation. In the recent state elections, residents voted on several measures intended to shore up the state’s finances. Voters rejected the continuation of a sales tax hike, while approving the restructuring of the state’s property tax assessment system.

46. New Jersey

 Debt per capita: $6,944 (5th highest)
> Budget deficit: 38.2% (4th largest)
> Unemployment: 9.3% (14th highest)
> Median household income: $67,458 (3rd highest)
> Pct. below poverty line: 10.4% (3rd lowest)

Between 2010 and 2011, New Jersey’s GDP contracted by 0.5%, more than all but three other states. The state’s median household income and poverty rate were both third best in the nation. On the other hand, the state’s tax burden on its residents was second highest in the U.S. in 2010. Residents paid 12.4% of their income in state and local taxes, higher than any other state except New York. The state has many budget problems, as well. New Jersey’s debt as a percentage of revenue was 91.6%, the fifth-highest of all states.

How did your state do? Click here for the full list of the best- and worst-run states.

Methodology:

24/7 Wall St. considered data from a number of sources, including Standard & Poor’s, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau, the Tax Foundation, RealtyTrac, The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Conference of State Legislators.

Unemployment data was taken from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Credit ratings were from ratings agencies S&P and Moody’s. We relied on the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report for violent crime rate by state and large metropolitan areas. RealtyTrac provided foreclosure rates.

A significant amount of the data we used came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Data from ACS included percentage of residents below the poverty line, high school completion for those 25 and older, median household income, percentage of the population without health insurance and the change in median home values from 2006 to 2011. These are the values we used in our ranking.

Once we reviewed the sources and compiled the final metrics, we ranked each state based on its performance in all the categories. All data are for the full year 2011, with the exception of debt per capita, obtained from the Tax Foundation, and state budgetary data, which came from the U.S. Census Bureau, and is for fiscal year 2010. New to this year’s study was our more detailed review of state industry for 2011, from the the Bureau of Economic Analysis, exports per capita for 2011, from the Census Bureau, and the 2010 tax burden and the current tax business climate, from the Tax Foundation.

Judge Okays Use of Drones Against US Citizen Over…Stolen Cows

1 Comment

 

This is from The Blaze.

This bothers me tremendously.

Will the government eventually an armed drone against us?

Will the government decide the Tea Party members are terrorist?

The concept of using unmanned military drones to shoot or otherwise harm American citizens has always been a controversial concept. Some aggressive national security hawks portray the program as a necessary evil in the age of terror, whereas other, more civil libertarian-minded people, argue that the usage of military technology against citizens is alarming at best, and possibly unconstitutional in places. “Where will it end?” This latter group often wonders. “Next thing you know they’ll be using drones to get back stolen cows!”

Oh, wait. They have.

In a court case that is sure to make you lose at least some percentage of your faith in humanity, a District Judge in North Dakota has okayed the usage of drones during a 16-hour standoff between police and one Rodney Bossart of Grand Forks, North Dakota. And yes, the standoff was over a group of cows. US News and World Report explains:

Court records state that last June, six cows wandered onto Brossart’s 3,000 acre farm, about 60 miles west of Grand Forks. Brossart allegedly refused to return the cows, which led to a long, armed standoff with the Grand Forks police department. At some point during the standoff, Homeland Security, through an agreement with local police, offered up the use of an unmanned predator drone, which “was used for surveillance,” according to the court documents.

Grand Forks SWAT team chief Bill Macki said in an interview that the drone was used to ensure Brossart and his family members, who were also charged, didn’t leave the farm and were unarmed during the arresting raid.

Brossart faces felony terrorizing and theft of property charges and a misdemeanor criminal mischief charge. Although his charges weren’t dismissed, Brossart won a motion to move the trial from Nelson County—which has a population of 3,100—to nearby Grand Forks County.

For this, the state of North Dakota apparently felt a drone was needed. So they brought it in. And, unsurprisingly, Brossart cried foul in Court over the usage of the device, claiming it was used without a warrant.

…And surprisingly, the Judge threw it out:

District Judge Joel Medd wrote that “there was no improper use of an unmanned aerial vehicle” and that the drone “appears to have had no bearing on these charges being contested here,” according to the documents.

The Judge’s point may or may not be well-taken regarding the issue of the charges, but it doesn’t change the fact that no guidelines have been issued for the usage of drones by the Federal Aviation Authority. Thus, these military-grade weapons can be used for practically anything.

Is this what you thought drones would be used for? If not, does it concern you?

 

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