A reporter asked Majority Leader Harry Reid how he could justify exempting Nebraska from Medicaid payments forever, in exchange for Sen. Ben Nelson's vote. His reply:

There's a hundred senators here. And I don't know if there's a senator that doesn't have something in this bill that was important to them. And if they don't have something in it important to them, then it doesn't speak well of them. That's what this legislation is all about. (Harry Reid, Dec. 21, 2009, Democratic press conference after cloture vote on health-care bill)

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Democrats insisted on changing the law in Massachusetts to require an election to fill the office of Sen. John Kerry, should he be elected president in 2004. They argued that the people, not the governor, should choose the senator's replacement. Of course, the governor at the time was a Republican, Mitt Romney. Now that the governor is a Democrat, the people should not choose Ted Kennedy's successor; the governor should make the appointment. The duplicity here is despicable.

Democrats went berserk over what they called President Bush's "power grab," but are silent in the face of President Obama's massive consolidation of power. The duplicity here is despicable.

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When the president announced last week that he would “cut out the middleman” and make direct government loans to students, he laid bare his contempt for free enterprise. He is fulfilling a campaign promise by overhauling the system through which he claims, “Private lenders are costing America’s taxpayers more than $15 million dollars every day and provide no additional value except to the banks themselves.”

Consider the philosophy behind his statement. If government cuts out the middleman and performs the service instead, it will be cheaper and more efficient, he reasons. Apply this same reasoning to, say, the entire banking industry. Government’s direct involvement in the banking industry can eliminate all those bonuses paid to greedy executives and profits earned by greedy share holders, and make sure that loans are extended to low-income borrowers whether they qualify or not. Direct government control of the banking business will surely make it fairer and more efficient.

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A recent report by Chris Stewart has shed new light on some of the educational problems faced by black youth. The report is titled "The Secret Shame: How America's Most Progressive Cities Betray Their Commitment to Educational Opportunity for All." Stewart is a self-described liberal and CEO of Brightbeam, a nonprofit network of education activists who want to hold progressive political leaders accountable.

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Senator Bernie Sanders' call for socialism has resonated among many Americans, particularly young Americans. They've fallen prey to the idea of a paradise here on Earth where things are free and there's little want. But socialists never reveal what turns out to be their true agenda. Let's look at the kind of statements they used to gain power. You'll note that all of their slogans before gaining power bore little relation to the facts after they had power.

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Sen. Bernie Sanders said: "I believe that health care is a right of all people." He's not alone in that contention. That claim comes from Democrats and Republicans and liberals and conservatives. It is not just a health care right that people claim. There are "rights" to decent housing, decent food, a decent job and prescription drugs. In a free and moral society, do people have these rights? Let's begin by asking ourselves: What is a right?

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Here are a few headlines about an African tragedy: "Africa's Worst Locust Plague in Decades Threatens Millions" (The Wall Street Journal), "'Unprecedented' Locust Invasion Approaches Full-Blown Crisis" (Scientific American), "Somalia Declares Locust Outbreak a 'National Emergency'" (The National) and "UN Calls for International Action on East Africa Locust Outbreak" (Bloomberg Green). This ongoing tragedy is mostly man-made, according to an analysis by Paul Driessen, who is a senior policy adviser with the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) and the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise.

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Mike Scruggs