Friday, December 10, 2010


"Can America really reduce its debt and deficit without raising taxes to job-killing rates or cutting essential services to developing-world levels? The answer is not simply yes, it's that we have to."

Off with their heads
After being reelected, House Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) seems absolutely fearless and brazen. He was despised in Nevada, lower than slug feet in the polls, and reviled by most of the country and still won. The lesson he took from this is apparently that nothing he does is going to harm him, ever. And its difficult to argue the point. So now he's giving his buddies who helped him get elected some payback. The Casinos, for instance; Reid previously opposed online gambling casinos, but now has introduced a bill to make them legal, with a special provision which Alexandra Berzon at the Wall Street Journal exposes:
According to the draft of the bill reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Reid's office is considering language that would allow only existing casinos, horse tracks and slot-machine makers to operate online poker websites for the first two years after the bill passes, which could limit the ability of other companies to enter the market.
So he's throwing his big campaign backers and donors in Nevada a virtual monopoly for two years with the power to prevent troublesome competitors from entering the market if regulators so choose. And he's brazen about it because there's apparently no penalty to any behavior for Reid.

Unable to get card check to pass through congress, President Obama is using his favorite backup plan: just have agencies effectively create law. Originally, unions pushed hard to get secret balloting the law throughout the nation so they could protect workers from management if they chose to vote for the unions. Now that unions are the bullies, they want to reverse the law: no secret ballots ever, which is what card check means. Congress wouldn't pass it, so President Obama is using the Labor Board to effectively create it. The Washington Examiner explains that the board is strong arming companies into accepting card check as part of arbitration and settlement deals under Craig Becker, a former AFL-CIO and SEIU lawyer, who's in charge of the labor board. Obama later put a fox in charge of the hen house and W.C. Fields in charge of a liquor warehouse.

The website has a pair of quotes to compare with. Remember when President Bush said this:
Bush said: “They hate our freedoms — our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.”
The left went nuts with that, claiming it was nonsense and that the only reason al`Qaeda is so upset is because we've been so mean to them and hurt their feelings. They didn't bother asking the terrorist organization, but if they had they'd have found out this:
If it is part of your freedom of speech to defame Muhammad it is part of our religion to fight you … Jihad against the West is the only realistic solution for this problem is the entire Western system that is at war with Islām. Assassinations, bombings, and acts of arson are all legitimate forms of revenge against a system that relishes the sacrilege of Islām in the name of freedom.”
Those are quotes from an al`Qaeda publication. Well why let truth get in the way of a good Bush bashing session, right?

Andrew Sullivan slouched into lunacy in around 2004, but he's been welcome at The Atlantic despite his increasingly unhinged writings, particularly about Sarah Palin. He's not the only crank writing there, however. Jeffrey Goldberg recently wrote about the fires in Israel, fires allegedly started by terrorists and celebrated by palestinians. Israel is raising money to help fight the fires, and Goldberg suggests...
Don't Give to the Jewish National Fund.

...Israel's per capita GDP is nearly $30,000. Israel is a rich country. The fact that it doesn't possess adequate firefighting equipment is its own fault. The fact that the leadership of its fire service is incompetent is its own fault
Gee, so if there's ever a fire people need help to fight, it must be their incompetence their own fault? I wonder if he lives in California.

With the tough economic times, people are finally starting to reach the point that they are beginning to cut corners. Take satellite and cable TV, which cost 50 or more dollars a month. Matt Richtel and Jenna Wortham write at the New York Times:
The Bayerls are using an old technology that some people are giving a second chance. They pull free TV signals out of the air with the modern equivalent of the classic rabbit-ear antenna.

Some viewers who have decided that they are no longer willing or able to pay for cable or satellite service, including younger ones, are buying antennas and tuning in to a surprising number of free broadcast channels. These often become part of a video diet that includes the fast-growing menu of options available online.
Sure, the signal is weak, you get interference, sometimes channels won't come in at all, but the price is good: free. According to the article, cable and satellite companies had a net loss of about 330,000 customers over the summer. In response, cable companies are starting to offer slimmed down cheaper deals. Hey, I have an idea, why not offer individual channels I can pick so I can skip the shopping network and Oprahvision for the stations I actually want?

In Oregon, a man legally has changed his name to Captain Awesome. That just seems like a name which is impossible to live up to.

Smoking pot is becoming more and more mainstreamed as people are much more up front about it. Well, why not? Rappers have been blatantly obvious about their pot smoking and almost never see any legal action. Actors have been doing it for decades and hardly ever do you hear about any busts. Recently Governor Gary Johnson admitted something that reminds me of a Dave Attell Joke: "I used to use drugs, but that was way back (pointing to the back of the club) there"
in an interview with THE WEEKLY STANDARD, Johnson admitted publicly for the first time that he smoked marijuana more recently—from 2005 to 2008—for medicinal purposes, he says.
Yeah, medicinal, like a boozer drinks strictly for medical purposes.I won't deny that pot has some medical value, but so does aspirin and that doesn't require deliberately sucking burning mind-altering material into your lungs.

Russia has been trying to set up a global positioning system like the US has, but they haven't been enjoying the same sort of success. The Associated Press reports that supposedly three satellites were being launched but ended up on the bottom of the Pacific in a rocket failure. Well, this actually is rocket science.

Apparently the anarchist group Wikileaks got advice from five major press organizations about how to release their materials.
These newspapers 'have been advising WikiLeaks on which documents to release publicly and what redactions to make to those documents.' AP questions whether WikiLeaks will follow these redactions, but nevertheless seems quite impressed by this 'extraordinary collaboration between some of the world's most respected media outlets and the WikiLeaks organization.'"
The news organizations? Le Monde (Paris), Der Spiegel (Germany), El Pais (Spain), The Guardian (UK) and the New York Times. This would be the same New York Times who didn't care to post anything at all about Climaquidick because it was stolen secrets, by the way. Ethical concerns, don't you know.

Nineteen percent. Nick Gillespie & Veronique de Rugy write at Reason magazine about how you can balance the budget based on this number. Basically a lot of economists have done major studies and discovered that the most you can squeeze out of any economy regardless of your tax policy - large, small, flat, graduated, progressive, whatever - is nineteen percent of the GDP. You get about that regardless of what you do, so any arguments about how rates have to be higher to collect better are flawed.

They argue that lower tax rates result in not just the same or better revenue, but better economic stimulus. They argue that spending less in government results in greater revenues for the government as well (sort of obvious, if you spend less you will have more in your pocket). Worth a look, at least.

Not long ago I posted about the IRS and congress peeking at IRA and other retirement savings accounts to see if they could be accessed by a cash-hungry federal government. I was personally pooh poohed by an accountant I knew who characterized it as fearmongering by gold sellers (?) but there's no depths to which the government will not stoop to feed its ravenous lust for power and cash. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) is pushing a bit of legislation in the last minutes before Democrats lose their strangle hold on congress, and this one is a doozie. Connie Hair writes at Human Events:
In a nutshell, under the GRA system government would seize private 401(k) accounts, setting up an additional 5% mandatory payroll tax to dole out a "fair" pension to everyone using that confiscated money coupled with the mandated contributions. This would, of course, be a sister government ponzi scheme working in tandem with Social Security, the primary purpose being to give big government politicians additional taxpayer funds to raid to pay for their out-of-control spending.
And the bigger concern is that there will be an attached union bailout bill to help unions pay for their pensions by raiding yours. This isn't likely to pass, but its something you ought to be aware of and spread the word about.

Governor Chet Culver is the Democrat governor of Iowa. He was defeated in the November elections by Republican Terry Branstad, and one of his last acts was to sign a contract with the state workers union AFSCME (American Association of State, County and Municipal Employees). He didn't negotiation, he didn't talk it over, he just took their proposal and agreed to it. This has amazed people as it is unheard of to simply take the first demand from a union... unless you're a Democrat who got an endorsement and tens of thousands from union donors and want to pay them back. There's always another election around the corner, after all. Branstad is trying to find a way to rescind the agreement. Thanks to Ace of Spades for this story.

President Obama loves to blame President Bush for the economy and for the deficits. Its a pretty common leftist lie that the Iraq war put us into the debt we are now, but the truth is, it was TARP and the Stimulus package which did the deed. The war put us heavily into debt (although it was being paid off until TARP) but those two bills cratered us into triple the previous debt level. The usual rhetoric is that Obama "inherited" the debt, but the truth is he pushed for and passed it into law.

At Right Wing News, Chris Korbus runs down the facts, including these:
  • Voted "yea" March 18, 2008 on the $3.1 trillion in fiscal outlays with a projected $400 billion budget deficit (only 2 Republicans voted "yea", and not one Republican in the House voted for it after the conference committee)
  • Biden, Rahm Emmanuel and Hillary Clinton voted "yea" as well
  • Voted "yea" October 1, 2008 for the $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) along with Biden and Clinton
  • Pushed through and signed into law the $787 billion stimulus bill boondoggle in February 2009
  • Signed into law $410 billion of additional spending in the 2009 budget in March 2009
Sure, President Bush pushed for and signed TARP like an idiot, but President Obama pushed for it and voted for it too. Lots more details at Right Wing News.

The film adaptation of Atlas Shrugged is actually underway, but how close they'll be to the book and how they'll slim down some of the sermons monologues by the main characters remains to be see.

Prince Charles has no power over the UK government and is generally a hapless twit, but that didn't stop youth protesters, angry that they might have to pay as much as $14,000 a year for college tuition, from attacking his car. Meanwhile in the US, kids wish it only cost that much for a year of college.

Elizabeth Edwards, wife of philandering ambulance chaser John Edwards, finally died of cancer recently. Her funeral was missing a conspicuous speaker: John. Well, they'd been separated several months after she found out for certain he was cheating on her while she was in bed dying.

Incoming Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH, pronouced "beyner") says that he'll try to cut the budget of the House of Representatives cut by 5% when he takes power in January. Jake Sherman at Politico quotes Boehner:
“I’m gonna cut my budget – my leadership budget – 5 percent,” he said, in video released by CBS.” I’m gonna cut all the leadership budgets by 5 percent. I’m going to cut every committee’s budget by 5 percent. And every member is going to see a 5 percent reduction in their allowance. All together that’s 25, 30 million dollars that likely would be one of the first votes we cast. We can start with ourselves.”
That's only about 30 billion dollars, not much in the overall budget for the federal government, but its a start, and every leader in all branches should be looking at that kind of thing. Including salaries of congressmen.

The latest "climate change summit" slash resort vacation in Cancun has been met with unusually cold weather. In fact, its the coldest the place has been in 100 years. I'm reminded of how the first Earth Day celebration to complain about global warming was snowed out. Well, the Gore effect is not limited to America, after all.

In all the discussion of don't ask/don't tell and the push to get gays to be able to serve openly in the US armed forces nobody seems to want to consider this: women cannot bunk with men for obvious reasons... why does everyone seem to think that having open gay men bunking with men will not have the same problems? Do they figure gays are unusually filled with self restraint, something blatantly untrue?

And that's the Word Around the Net for January 10, 2010.

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