Photo by Chris Butler

EPA regs likely to kill 68-year-old Louisiana peach orchard

By  |  July 10, 2014  |  No Comments

The peach orchards at Mitcham Farms, near the north Louisiana city of Ruston, have survived winter freezes, droughts and dangerous hail storms, but they evidently will not survive the Environmental Protection Agency and its regulations.

Patrick Leahy

Voters’ rights face bipartisan backlash in Congress

Wisconsin  |  4:00 am

Congressional attempts to “fix” the Voting Rights Act after the Supreme Court struck down an antiquated provision would extend the Justice Department’s reach while excluding “non-minorities” from protection.

WHEN YOU GOTTA GO: Some MN truckers go out of their way to refueling instate due to concerns over nation leading 10 percent biodiesel mandate.  Kottke Trucking photo.

Minnesota doubles down on nation’s top biodiesel law

Minnesota  |  4:00 am

Fill it up with diesel fuel. Just do it in Fargo, Sioux Falls, Eau Claire — or any truck stop across the Minnesota border.

That’s the road map for fueling 90 big rigs operated by Kottke Trucking, the result of plan driven by a state biodiesel B10 rule, which the Minnesota company calls “unfair, expensive and wrong.”

Minnesota became the first state to require every gallon of diesel contain at least 10 percent biodiesel — produced mostly with homegrown soybeans — as of July 1.

AP photo

200 undocumented children now in Nebraska

Nebraska  |  11:38 am

U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns said Thursday that about 200 undocumented children have recently been placed in Nebraska after arriving at the U.S. Border, most of them from Central America.

BEER MONEY: The beer industry in Pennsylvania makes campaign contributors to the top lawmakers who are presently discussing a privatization of the state wine and liquor system.

Audit: Tennessee instructor stole school money, bought booze

Tennessee  |  12:17 pm

A New Johnsonville elementary school teacher reportedly stole more than $11,000 from the school and used some of it on booze, according to an audit Tennessee Comptroller Justin Wilson released Thursday.

Rep. Ed Trimmer

Kansas Freedom Index strikes a nerve with some lawmakers

Kansas  |  4:00 am

The 2014 Freedom Index for Kansas legislators is out, and not everybody is keen to talk about their spot in the rankings.

Compiled by the Kansas Police Institute, the index has been a post-session retrospective staple since 2012. The index ranks state lawmakers according to votes on various pieces of legislation; positive points are awarded for moves supporting economic freedom, student-focused education, limited government and individual liberty, while negative points are awarded for opposing such principles.

target

Target not in Alabama gun groups’ crosshairs

Alabama  |  4:00 am

 
By Johnny Kampis | Watchdog.org
CULLMAN, Ala. — Alabama gun groups don’t plan any demonstrations inside Target stores like those seen in Texas, and some even argue those protests were “counterproductive” to the open carry cause.
Target last week asked its customers not to carry firearms into its stores, including in communities where open carry — when the gun [...]

lpwi

Let us in! Wisconsin libertarians file complaint to get in debates

Wisconsin  |  11:35 am

The Libertarian Party of Wisconsin says the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association provides illegal in-kind campaign contributions to candidates who qualify for its television debates.

AP file photo

U.S. Senate Democrats introduce bill to counter Hobby Lobby decision

National  |  4:00 am

By Malia Zimmerman | Watchdog.org
HONOLULU — Several U.S. Senate Democrats are fast-tracking a bill,  the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act, they say will counter the U.S. Supreme Court’s  Hobby Lobby decision.
Those senators include Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Mark Udall, D-Colo.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 June 30 in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that [...]

AP file photo

Legal motion alleges voter fraud in Mississippi’s U.S. Senate race

Voter Fraud  |  11:40 am

 
By Steve Wilson | Mississippi Watchdog
An election integrity advocacy group will get its day in court in the Mississippi U.S. Senate race.
True the Vote filed a motion for a temporary restraining order and injunctive relief Wednesday in the U.S. District Court, Southern District in Jackson against the Mississippi Republican Party, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, the Mississippi Election [...]

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Is John Doe probe a case of a mini NSA in Wisconsin?

Wisconsin  |  4:00 am

By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Reporter

MADISON, Wis. – Conservatives have long likened Wisconsin’s Democrat-launched John Doe investigation to the IRS scandal.

Much like the Internal Revenue Service’s intense scrutiny of mostly conservative groups, the politically charged John Doe probe has apparently targeted only conservatives – on a legal theory that has been roundly dismissed by two judges.

SPECIAL REPORT

VIDEOS

PLAIN ENGLISH: While Gov. Sam Brownback has been characterized as uncaring in his opposition to Obamacare, the governor says it's a simple matter of fiscal prudence for those who realize the federal government doesn't always keep its promises.

Video: Brownback states plainly why Medicaid expansion hurts Kansas

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Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has been on the business end of numerous barbs and critiques for taking a stand against Obamacare and Medicaid expansion in the Sunflower State.

Those with unwavering faith in the federal government have characterized the conservative governor as an uncaring obstructionist for his opposition, but in an exclusive interview with the Daily Signal, Brownback laid out the argument against Obamacare in his own words.

little free library

Leawood throws the book at Little Free Library

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The city of Leawood is using the full power of the law to protect property values from the threat of, uh, free cabinet-sized libraries.

A municipal statute designed to ban all detached structures is being levied against Leawood residents Brian and Sarah Collins after their 9-year-old son, Spencer, worked with his dad and grandpa to build the Little Free Library as a Mother’s Day gift.

WATCHBLOG

 |  Virginia

By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – State Delegate Barbara Comstock is inflating her energy record to pump up her congressional bid.
The McLean Republican’s congressional campaign webpage declares that she “authored Virginia’s law to allow for offshore exploration of energy.”
In fact, Comstock’s “major legislation” did no such thing. Her 2010 bill, HB 900, [...]

Comstock goes overboard with offshore energy claim

 |  Texas

While taxpayers were picking up the tab for intensive, outpatient care for mentally ill patients, those patients were playing games and watching movies.

Medicare fraud: $97 million for mentally ill patients to watch movies, play games

By Josh Peterson | Watchdog.org
State public utilities regulators are calling for an easy way for consumers to compare complaints against the nation’s phone companies.
Currently, consumers can file complaints about their telecommunications service with the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission, but those complaints aren’t publicly available in an online format for consumers.
On Wednesday, Chris [...]

Regulators push for public database of complaints against phone companies

 |  Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has saved almost $2 billion staving off welfare fraud, waste and abuse under Gov. Tom Corbett, said Beverly Mackereth, the secretary of the state’s Department of Public Welfare.

DPW chief: PA saves billions fighting welfare fraud

 |  Montana

By Dustin Hurst | Watchdog.org
For some, ignorance is bliss, but for Democrat Jon Tester, it’s an important campaign tactic.
Sure, the second-term senator from Montana isn’t up for re-election until 2018, but that won’t stop him from using disingenuous attacks on the wealthy to scare his constituents into sending him campaign cash.
“Today, it looks like the billionaire Koch [...]

Tester launches disingenuous attack on the Koch brothers

 |  Pennsylvania

With no debate and a nearly party-line vote, the state House passed a bill that eliminates a loophole in the law state defining the crime of stalking.

PA House approves ‘stalking’ bill

Section 7

FROM AROUND THE WEB

By Brian Hughes | Washington Examiner
President Obama in a hastily arranged press conference Wednesday insisted that he had not visited the U.S.-Mexico border during a trip toTexas because it would amount to political theater.
“This isn’t theater. This is a problem,” Obama said in Dallas following a meeting with Texas Gov. Rick Perry to discuss the surge in unaccompanied minors [...]

Why Obama says he didn’t visit the U.S.-Mexico border

By Rick Brundrett | The Nerve
Gov. Nikki Haley wasn’t bashful when news broke that the state’s unemployment rate had fallen to 5.3 percent in April – the lowest rate in 13 years, as proudly noted by the Republican governor.
“This kind of progress says a lot about our state, our workforce, and all the businesses that [...]

Food stamp use soars in South Carolina

By Conner Edwards | Freedom Foundation
This month, the management team at the Puget Sound Partnership – a taxpayer-funded state agency – decided to follow in the footsteps of such famous apparel lines as Nike and American Apparel by establishing its own “brand.”
No other agency has garnered as much public attention – for all the wrong [...]

WA state agency asks taxpayers for $60,000 to ‘rebrand’ itself

By Margaret Sessa Hawkins | Maryland Reporter
There are over 1,300 licensed assisted living facilities in Maryland caring for thousands of residents not quite able to care for themselves. But year after year over the past decade the state health department has failed to do annual inspections for a majority of them.
Another audit of the Department [...]

Maryland health department fails to inspect most assisted living facilities

By Tom Gantert | Michigan Capitol Confidential.
What started out as a $155 million tab in 2012 for public school employee pension and retirement health care costs will increase to $945 million by 2015, according to the Senate Fiscal Agency.
The driver of the escalating costs is MPSERS’ unfunded liability. The pension system’s unfunded liability was $25.8 billion in 2013, [...]

Michigan teacher pension costs climb to nearly $1B per year

By Nic Horton | The Arkansas Project
A new report released by the Obama White House last week reveals the extraordinary taxpayer savings created by the states that are declining Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion — and how much expansion states are costing taxpayers.
By not expanding Medicaid, 24 states are saving taxpayers $88 billion over the next three years. That is $88 billion that [...]

White House: States rejecting Obamacare expansion save taxpayers $88B

By Glynis Kazanjian | Maryland Reporter 
A blind voter who had a “horrific” experience voting during the primary election has filed a new complaint against the state election board, adding to the list of grievances in a lawsuit initiated by the National Federation of the Blind in May.
One of the original plaintiffs, Janice Toothman, is seeking [...]

Blind voters sue for online ballots in Maryland

By Joseph Perkins | Cal Watchdog
An Air Force request for proposal for the next generation stealth bomber is about to hit the street. The contract is worth an estimated $55 billion.
Aerospace giants Lockheed Martin Corp. andNorthrop Grumman – both of which have a major presence here in California – are in a dog fight for the federal contract. Lockheed [...]

California Legislature picks aerospace winner

By Susan Ferrechio | Washington Examiner
Democrats on Capitol Hill are turning to last year’s playbook in the fight over highway spending.
On Monday, Senate Democrats used the word “shutdown” 13 times to describe what would happen if Republicans don’t support a compromise bill to pay for summer and fall road projects.
“This would mirror the government shutdown,” [...]

For Capitol Hill Democrats, ‘shutdown’ is the new ‘bailout’