Sunday, January 31, 2010

Organizing High Schools "for America"

How very conveeeeeeeeeeeeeenient! All those energetic young folk, all in one building.......

An Atlas reader, Chuck, has a student in the eleventh grade in an Ohio High School. Her government class passed out this propaganda recruiting paper so students could sign up as interns for Obama's Organizing for America (OFA is the former site.)

Obama is using our public school system to recruit for his Alinsky-inspired private army. Organizing for America is (and I quote) recruiting in our high schools to "build on the movement that elected President Obama by empowering students across the country to help us bring about our agenda" ............of national socialism.

More, including the application blank, at the link.

HT: McCain

What.........Lawyers Are Displaced?

Breaking news from Davos, relayed by McCain the Winner:

Not so long ago, financiers ruled the roost at the glitzy annual gathering of the global economic elite here in the Swiss Alps. At this year’s gathering of the World Economic Forum, the unofficial theme seems to be, “First, kill all the bankers.”

...Asked which other groups of people have been similarly unpopular in Davos in the past, [Donald Moore, chair/Morgan Stanley--Europe] said: “terrorists.” . .

Bankers displace lawyers at the top of the Shakespeare quote? Bankers compared to terrorists rather than lawyers? could ask Toyota about that.

The "AGW" Stench Gets Worse

Vox finds another dandy.

The IPCC made a prominent claim in its 2007 report, again citing the WWF as its authority, that climate change could endanger "up to 40 per cent" of the Amazon rainforest

....the authors claimed that the piece was supported by an article in Nature.

But the focus of that piece, it emerges, was not global warming at all but the effects of logging.

A Canadian analyst has identified more than 20 passages in the IPCC's report which cite similarly non-peer-reviewed WWF or Greenpeace reports as their authority, and other researchers have been uncovering a host of similarly dubious claims and attributions all through the report. These range from groundless allegations about the increased frequency of "extreme weather events" such as hurricanes, droughts and heatwaves, to a headline claim that global warming would put billions of people at the mercy of water shortages – when the study cited as its authority indicated exactly the opposite, that rising temperatures could increase the supply of water.

Pretty much proving that anything the UN puts out is bullshit. Of course, that's a 'goes without saying' for anyone over the age of 17.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The "T&E" Line on the Obama Expense Report

Given the source, (the Globe) the numbers might be a tad overblown.

But might not.

President Barack Obama has blown $10 million on drunken White House parties, Washington insiders tell GLOBE. This week’s Special Report rips the lid off the Commander-in-chief’s outrageous antics, including boozy conga lines and dinners featuring $150-a-pound Japanese beef! It’s must reading for every American.

He's ahead of QueenNancy, right?

HT: McCain

History Lessons: Real Estate Securitization

Ritholtz found really neat stuff.

But not good news.

Yes, there were "securitizations" of RE before 1990.

But you do NOT want to know when. So go ahead, look.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Even Orrin Hatch?

Perrin's right about Hatch.

Senator Hatch is a pretty level-headed guy. He used to be a boxer, and if pushed — and I mean really pushed — the guy will come out swinging.

And boy, have the Dems pushed on ObamaCare.

Not only is Hatch 'level-headed.' He's pretty much a squish (R)--a John McCain kinda guy.

Hatch threatened an all-out political “war” and promised a new high in partisan tensions if Democrats employ a rarely used Senate rule to win approval of their health reform bill….It is going to be outright war and it should be, because it would be such an abuse of the reconciliation rules,” Hatch said. “If they abuse those rules it is going to lead to even more heated animosities between not just the two parties, but even between individual senators.

Buy more ammo.

Black Swan and Global Warming

Grim has a very elegant post describing Nassim Taleb's quadrant-theory and how it applies to GloboWarming.

Nassim Taleb speaks of a kind of statistical modeling that cannot work. It is what he calls "the Fourth Quadrant." There are three others; they are arranged on a square grid.

That's the start. Worth the read.

Another Good Economic Sign

Calculated Risk is a graybeard....and knows stuff.

Residential Investment (RI) has made a positive contribution to GDP the last two quarters, and the rolling four quarter change is moving up.

Equipment and software investment made a small positive contribution to GDP in Q3, and a larger contribution in Q4. The four quarter average is also moving up.

As expected, nonresidential investment in structures is now declining sharply as major projects are completed. The economy will recover long before nonresidential investment in structures recovers.

And as always, residential investment is the best leading indicator for the economy.

There is a handy-dandy graph at the link. It's not exactly a rip-roaring sign, but it's certainly going in the right direction.

High Speed Rail, Low Speed Expectations: The Doylet Line

The expectation that HSR will displace automotive travel is suspect, to say the least. Another way to put it: ChooChoo folk lie about ridership, lie about costs, lie about "enviro benefits," lie about "development", and lie about the speed of the trains.

In other words, ChooChooFolk are natural-born Democrat Party members.

...compared to the United States, countries with HSR have higher population densities, smaller land areas, lower per capita levels of car ownership, higher gas prices, lower levels of car use (measured both by number of trips per day and average distance per trip), and higher levels of public transportation availability and use.

Also, there is a significant difference in the structure of the rail industry in these countries compared to the United States. In virtually all of those countries, high speed rail was implemented and is operated by state-owned rail companies that operate over a state-owned rail network, a network on which passenger rail service was far more prominent than freight service even before the introduction of high speed rail. By contrast, in the United States the rail network is almost entirely privately owned, and freight service is far more prominent than is passenger service. Yet even with the introduction of HSR, and with other factors that are more conducive to intercity passenger rail use than in the United States, in most of these countries intercity rail travel (including both conventional and high speed rail) represents less than 10% of all passenger miles traveled on land.

A promising start, eh? It gets worse.

In the linked PDF, you'll also note that "high speed" actually means around 60 MPH, based on real-life experience with 5 existing HSR lines in the US. That 110 MPH stuff? It's fantasy. But then, fantasy is the living-quarters of the promoters of this stuff.

But hey! Milwaukee-to-Madistan travel makes a lot of sense!!


On the question of highway congestion relief, many studies estimate that HSR will have little positive effect because most highway traffic is local and the diversion of intercity trips from highway to rail will be small. In a study of HSR published in 1997, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) estimated that in most cases rail improvements would divert only 3%-6% of intercity automobile trips. FRA noted that corridors with short average trip lengths, those under 150 miles, showed the lowest diversion rates

(By the way, "improving" the proposed service doesn't win customers, either.)

[The] Department of Transportation’s Inspector General (IG) found much the same thing in a morerecent analysis of HSR in the Northeast Corridor. The IG examined two scenarios: Scenario 1 involved cutting rail trip times from Boston to New York from 3 ½ hours to 3 hours and from
New York to Washington from 3 hours to 2 ½; Scenario 2 involved cutting trip times on both legs by another ½ hour over scenario 1. In both scenarios, the IG found that the improvements reduced automobile ridership along the NEC by less than 1%.

And CRS was kind enough to provide a darn-near-perfect comparison to the Doylet Line, too!

Planners of a high speed rail link in Florida between Orlando and Tampa, a distance of about 84
miles, estimated that it would shift 11% of those driving between the two cities to the train, as
well as 9% of those driving from Lakeland to either Orlando (54 miles) or Tampa (33 miles).
However, because most of the traffic on the main highway linking the two cities, I-4, is not
travelling between these cities, it was estimated that HSR would reduce traffic on the busiest
sections of I-4 by less than 2%. The final environmental impact statement for the project states that the reduction in the number of vehicles resulting from the HSR system “would not be
sufficient to significantly improve the LOS [level of service] on I-4, as many segments of the
roadway would still be over capacity.

Pollution Reduction? Nope.

Because HSR will only capture a relatively small share of total passenger trips, it is also unlikely
to make much difference in achieving greenhouse gas reduction targets, nor for that matter in the amount of oil imported. A critical analysis of HSR in California estimates that it might account
for 1.5% of the state’s goal for reducing carbon emissions, and that would be at a very substantial
cost.49 A study of the potential benefits of HSR in Sweden concluded that investment in rail
networks is not a cost-effective climate policy instrument; general policies, such as increased fuel
taxes, would be more effective.50 Similarly, in the UK’s analysis of a line from London to
Scotland, they estimated the carbon savings would be 0.2% of the UK’s current carbon emissions, and this assumed that all flyers take the train and the HSR is zero-carbon.

Let's talk about "estimates." (That's Fantasy-By-Numbers--you know, just like children do.)

...a project to increase train speed between Chicago and other Midwest cities would make improvements to existing track. These improvements involve approximately 3,000 miles of track at a total estimated cost of $7.7 billion, or about $2.5 million per route mile.

The "estimates" were $2.5 million/mile.

The reality?

A GAO review of six projects involving incremental track improvements found that per mile costs ranged from $4.1 million to $11.4 million

ChooChooFolk are math-challenged, so I'll help. REALITY BITES AT TWO TO SIX TIMES YOUR FRIGGIN' STUPID ESTIMATES!! (Could you read that? I put it in all caps for you.)

CRS notes that ChooChoo folks worldwide lie habitually about "costs," usually by about 50%.

By the way, if you think you'll get there on time, you won't.

...while Amtrak’s on-time performance on the NEC,67 which has multiple
tracks and on which Amtrak controls the scheduling, was 85% in FY2007, Amtrak’s on-time
performance on short-distance corridors outside the NEC, where there is often only a single
track, and where scheduling is controlled by freight rail companies, was only 65%.69 According to Amtrak, much of the delay was due to interference from freight trains, and to a lesser extent,
commuter trains.

Think it was great? You're pregnant and you now have a social disease!!

There is the matter of "operating costs," which will go on.........forever........after Obama's money runs out. This is why I refer to this boondoggle as "The Doylet Line." Just like the rest of Doyle's policies, Wisconsin will be left in the Doylet--in this case, with rails. Wow.

In addition to infrastructure costs, operating costs, such as labor, fuel or electric power, and other costs that vary depending on the number of trains that are operated, can be a significant public expense if the train operator cannot generate sufficient ridership to cover these costs with ticket revenue.

...Given the high cost of constructing and operating high speed rail service, its cost-effectiveness
depends on achieving high ridership levels

...Amtrak only captures about 5% of the air/rail market share for trips from Washington, DC, to Boston (a distance of about 440 miles, which takes nearly seven hours even on the Acela).

That '440 miles' should sound familiar: it's 407 from Chicago to the Twin Cities. The ChooChooFolk who yap about "it's not just Milwaukee-Madison" are wrong on that count, too. And by the way, there are 3500 passengers/day on the MSP/ORD route, so we can look at 175 passengers/day on the ChooChoo.

High speed trains are not expected to compete well against intercity buses in many instances
because bus travelers are most concerned about price. Recent improvements in intercity bus
service quality and frequency may reduce demand for high speed rail in some markets.

Except for the high-priced lobbyists (and lawyers), who don't like to associate with the ........ugh.....BUS riders.

Destinations Count

Trains depend on population density to operate efficiently. To compete with the airlines, trains
must depart frequently but they also must fill, or nearly fill, their seats to generate sufficient ticket revenue if they hope to cover their operating costs. Not only is the population size of a city
important but also the concentration of economic activity in the central business district or
otherwise near the train station(s).

It's fair to say that Milwaukee and Madison are not exactly Manhattan--nor downtown Chicago.

New York City is more suited for train travel than many other U.S. cities because of the high concentration of activity on the island of Manhattan. About 35% of the city’s jobs are within three miles of Wall Street, while in other American cities, on average, about 22% of employment is within a 3-mile radius of the city’s center. Although the nation as a whole is becoming more urbanized, trends show that employment is steadily decentralizing in almost all U.S. cities.81 Most other large U.S. cities have a population density that is less than one-third that of New York City.

The actual 'commercial hub' of Madison is near the Beltway and a number of miles west of the Capitol--in the Middleton area, by the way. It's also about 5 miles SOUTH of the Capitol.

What was that "per-ticket" price, again?

The quoted price for tickets on the Doylet Line was around $44.00.

In FY2008, Amtrak reported having 28.7 million riders, paying an average ticket price of $60.39.

What was the "ridership estimate"?

...the level of ridership, which is difficult to forecast accurately.

And Who's Going to Pay the REST of the Bills?

Congress may wish to consider how to pay for maintaining an HSR system over the long term. Passenger revenues may not be sufficient to cover the operating costs of high speed lines. The federal government’s responsibility in financing this gap versus the responsibility of state or local governments has not been determined.

All aboard the Doylet Line!!

Welcome, FoxPolitics readers! For even more, including responses from a promoter of this boondoggle, see Rick's place.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Ace Looses It on Obama

This guy is fun to read.

Ace reminds us of Obamamamama's wonderfulness.

....The GOP was, we all kinda know, ready to roll over and compromise, or at least enough of our Reps and Senators were to give Obama his win. It was only agitation from the grassroots that put some steel in their spine. And not, how Mr. Top-Down Command-and-Control You-Little-People-Listen-To-Your-Leaders would have it, the other way around, wherein our "leaders" told us what to think and what to say.

Second of all: The complaint he makes actually applies ten times as much to himself. It is this asshole who's telling everyone WE'RE ALL GOING TO FUCKING DIE, this asshole telling tales of foot-hungry amputating jigsaw surgeons, this asshole who sold his nutroots on the notion that the public option was the only path to single payer, and single payer is the only path to equality and wonderfulness.

And it is this asshole -- President "I Won" -- who has staked his young and now failed presidency on nothing but winning and steamrolling the opposition and ignoring critics and demonizing dissenting voices, all to "win" on this issue, to prove he could win, and so to prove that he was El Supremo Jefe and we all had to buckle under his benevolent dictatorship.

It is this asshole who has denied himself the wiggle room to compromise, and so it is this asshole who is now attempting to persuade us to compromise, because he can't.

Pretty good summation. And if Obamamamamama thinks he's going to Rahm-a-Jamma healthcare down our throats, he may find that it ain't as easy as talking smack to Pubbies on TV.

Amy Carpet-Bombs the WymminPriest Gaggle

Amy's Part Two is out.

Joe Wilson Was Right, Chapter 3

Chapter One was Joe's outburst. He was correct, of course

Chapter Two was Alito's quiet dissent. He was correct, of course.

Chapter Three?

Liars cherish nothing more than the civility of those who know the truth.

Frankly, a little incivility now and then, like a little rebellion, is a very good thing.


A bit lengthier, but addressing the same concept:

Culture is set against truth. This relativism, which is nowadays to found, as a basic attitude of enlightened people, penetrating far into the realm of theology, is the most profound difficulty of our age. This is also the reason why practice is now substituted for truth and why the whole axis of religions is thereby displaced: we do not know what is true, but we do know what we should do: raise up and introduce a better society, the "kingdom", as people like to say, using a term taken from the Bible and applied to the profane and utopian sphere. --Benedict XVI

HT: Insight

The GDP Pop

As usual, paying attention to the 'internals' is worthwhile.

Ticker notes that the 'Personal Consumption Expenditures' portion of GDP happens to include Gummint transfer-payments (like, e.g., unemployment compensation) and is therefore a bit foggy.

That caution is reinforced when we note that 'personal income increased $119Bn in 4Q, but current taxes decreased $11+Bn (same quarter.)

The reported increase is certainly a positive. But it may be less positive than Teh Won would like.

Freeze? A Little Late!

Some elements of the budget which would fall under the "freeze":

Despite the freeze President Obama announced last night, the folks at Energy will have $65 billion to spend -- compared with a mere $26.6 billion when President Bush left office.

The Energy Department is one of the big winners in the Obama spending splurge, thanks to a one-two punch of last year's lavish budget handouts plus the huge federal stimulus package.

Another winner is the Environmental Protection Agency. From a $7.8 billion budget under Bush, its coffers grew by a whopping 35 percent in Obama's first budget, unveiled last February.

Add in the $7.2 billion from the stimulus, and the pollution-fighting agency's available funds will grow to $17.7 billion -- more than twice that under Bush.

The Department of Education, similarly, nearly tripled spending, from $46.2 billion under Bush to $127.8 billion.

What AFSCME Would Do in Wisconsin....If It Could

The Oregon tax increase follows this news:

“Oregon’s public employees have one of the sweetest deals in America. Their average pay is about one-third higher than that of private Oregon workers, and Oregon public employees don’t have to pay anything toward their health-care benefits. In the last budget, the Democratic controlled state legislature doled out a $259 million pay raise to the government work force, even as the state was facing a near $1 billion deficit. In the last three years, the state has added 25,000 new public employees while losing 40,000 private sector jobs.

That would be the AFSCME plan for Wisconsin, too. And don't think it can't happen...

HT: LaborPains

Zombie Rising: ObamaCare

Maybe pitchforks and torches (and lots of heavy-duty ropes) will be necessary after all. (Or does killing a zombie require a brain-shot?)

Hewitt interviews Sen. Kyl.

HH: There is some talk that the Democrats are going to try reconciliation, a jam down of their bitterly divisive, and almost certainly wrong-headed health care plan. What can you tell us about this?

JK: This is kind of breaking news. As you say, we’re just hearing it. We haven’t been formally advised, but we have it on relatively good authority. And this would be what they call the nuclear option. This would be we can’t do it with 60 votes, because now we have a new Senator from Massachusetts, so we’ll do it with 51.

Apparently they're adding $300Bn to the cost (making the real-world cost over $2.5 TRILLION) to sweeten the deal for the House.

HT: HotAir

Kramer Steps Out

Well, that was quick, and inexpensive.

Just one day after announcing his candidacy for the 33rd state Senate seat, state Rep. Bill Kramer, R-Waukesha, has dropped out of the race.

Kramer issued a statement through the Waukesha County Republican Party on Wednesday morning, saying he will stay in the state Assembly to avoid having another Republican primary for the fall general election.


HT: FoxPolitics

Sweaters and the SOTU Contradiction


The central fact of the speech was the contradiction at its heart. It repeatedly asserted that Washington is the answer to everything. At the same time it painted a picture of Washington as a sick and broken place. It was a speech that argued against itself


Damn hard to put a populist sweater over that Statist head, ain'a?

QueenNancy's Booze Bill--Which YOU Paid

This is a Goldman Sachs-level perk.

Maker's Mark whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Johnny Walker Red scotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Bailey's Irish Crème, Bacardi Light rum, Jim Beam whiskey, Beefeater gin, Dewars scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniels whiskey … and Corona beer.

But that single receipt makes up just part of the more than $101,000 taxpayers paid for "in-flight services" – including food and liquor, for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's trips on Air Force jets over the last two years. That's almost $1,000 per week.

A GRAND PER WEEK for food and booze?

Look, I don't have a problem with burgers, fries, and a 6-pack. That woman has to eat, after all.

Oh, yes--the flights themselves cost money, too.

Pelosi used Air Force aircraft to travel back to her district at an average cost of $28,210.51 per flight. Of 103 Pelosi-led congressional delegations (CODEL), 31 trips included members of the House speaker's family.

Worse, QueenNancy often schedules a flight and then cancels it. So there are crew members (and flight-prep folks) who are, basically, driving in circles. Another term for those people would be "servants."

Fit for a Queen, no doubt.

"Lights Out" Hacking

Ugly, and we are dealing with matters of national security here.

More than half of the operators of power plants and other “critical infrastructure” have had their computer networks infiltrated by sophisticated adversaries, according to a new study. In many cases, foreign governments are suspected.

...Many intruders have apparently done something harmful with the access they’ve stolen.

Sixty-five percent of the respondents that had experienced large-scale denial of service attacks said the incidents had at least some effect on their operations, from minor service interruptions to sustained damage and critical breakdowns.

Many of these are foreign-government-sponsored attacks.

Feingold: Mo' SPENDING!!

Remember the Sen. Feingold who brags about being a tightwad?


A bi-partisan bill was offered which would allow a 1% increase in discretionary spending, approximating the proposal of Teh Won in his SOTU/STFU address.

The bill was defeated in the Senate, and Feinie voted against it.

(So did Nobody's).

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Money Market Fund Rules Change

You may not like this.

The new rules permit a money market fund's board of directors to suspend redemptions if the fund is about to break the buck and decides to liquidate the fund (currently the board must request an order from the SEC to suspend redemptions). In the event of a threatened run on the fund, this allows for an orderly liquidation of the portfolio. The fund is now required to notify the Commission prior to relying on this rule.

But that's not the copy you see in the WSJ or in Bloomberg's.

HT: Ticker

Fed vs. Fed: Recovery?


The Federal Reserve panel in charge of interest rates declared for the first time the U.S. economy is in “recovery” and took several steps to prepare investors for the removal of aggressive monetary stimulus


Calculated Risk:

Although the CFNAI-MA3 improved slightly in December, the index is still negative. According to Chicago Fed, it is still early to call the official recession over.

If you look at the CFNAI-MA3 chart closely, you see a 'hitch' in the giddyup; that may well be the prognostication of the second part of the "double dip."


Obama Channels Joe Wilson

Joe Wilson was quiet last night.

But Obama took up Joe's impoliteness, with a vengeance.

Has a president ever attacked The U.S. Supreme Court like that in such an august setting?

No. Not even FDR hit SCOTUS like that during a S O U address.


Presidents have mentioned the Supreme Court by name only nine times since that Wilson speech nearly a century ago, according to the search, and it would be hard to categorize many of those nine as criticisms. Even President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who had a lot of grievances with the Court, never mentioned it in any of his State of the Union messages. And Richard Nixon, who campaigned against the Warren Court, mentioned the Supreme Court in a State of the Union talk only once, in 1972, in a bland, welcoming way.

HT: Legal Insurrection

Privileging "Public Service"--Huh??

Plenty to mention in Obama's condescending lecture last night, but one element struck me as startling--and very revealing. Not just me, either. My longsuffering spouse was equally disconcerted.

He proposed that college loans would be forgiven after 20 years of repayments, regardless of the balance outstanding. But if one entered "public service" after college, then the loans would be forgiven after only 10 years.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

With that line, Obama revealed his reflexive, unthinking, Statist-based animosity toward the private sector. In his mind, "public service" is pure and saintly, whereas "private enterprise" is dirty.

Never mind that the private sector developed devices and drugs which diagnose and cure disease and continues to spend billions developing more of the same.

Never mind that the private sector provides billions in charitable donations.

Never mind that "public sector" workers take in far more than private-sector workers--in both wages AND benefits.

None of that matters to the ideologue Statist who thinks that 75%+ of the US population is "dirty."

That, my friends, is the real problem with Obama, and it is the reason that he notes 'distrust' in the population towards Washington, DC.

Yup. Obama Lied About SCOTUS

Alito was right. Obama lied. (Surprise!!!)

...Indeed, Mr. Obama’s description of the holding of the case was imprecise. He said the court had “reversed a century of law.”

The law that Congress enacted in the populist days of the early 20th century prohibited direct corporate contributions to political campaigns. That law was not at issue in the Citizens United case, and is still on the books. Rather, the court struck down a more complicated statute that barred corporations and unions from spending money directly from their treasuries — as opposed to their political action committees — on television advertising to urge a vote for or against a federal candidate in the period immediately before the election. It is true, though, that the majority wrote so broadly about corporate free speech rights as to call into question other limitations as well — although not necessarily the existing ban on direct contributions.

That's the New York Times, folks.

HT: Ace


...President Obama called for new legislation to prohibit foreign companies from taking advantage of the ruling to spend money to influence American elections. But he is too late; Congress passed the Foreign Agents Registration Act in 1996, which prohibits independent political commercials by foreign nationals or foreign companies.

--also from the NY Times. Of course, the ConLaw instructor isn't expected to know US legislation, right?

HT: JustOneMinute

$800 Million Choo Choo. It's the SPENDING, Stupid!

Down the rat-hole, at high speed. And ooooohhhhh, so many jobs!!

Wisconsin will receive more than $800 million to build a high-speed rail line carrying passengers between Milwaukee and Madison at 110 mph and recapture a piece of a regional rail system largely abandoned six decades ago.

Looks nice, until you get to the rest of the story.

The work to upgrade the tracks to accommodate the high-speed trains from downtown Milwaukee to the Dane County Regional Airport is projected to cost roughly $651.8 million. Doyle sought $817 million in federal funds to cover contingencies and inflation.

The money ends there.

"There have been discussions along this line for 20 years at least," said Craig Thompson, executive director of the Transportation Development Association of Wisconsin. "It's very expensive, and we've been having trouble finding money to meet existing needs." The challenge in the future will be to find the money for ongoing operations of the high-speed rail system, Thompson said

Our Governor claims that this will create 13,000 jobs.

How? Where?

Ruh-roh. $200Million+ Hole in the Doylet Budget

What a shock.

The state budget is projected to come in $219.5 million less than expected, but the shortfall won't require action by lawmakers - at least for now.

The bulk of the shortage can be attributed to a tax reciprocity agreement with Minnesota that state canceled last year and lower-than-expected cigarette tax collections, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau reported Wednesday.

Gee. Raise the tax on tobacco, get $90 million less of the revenue-producing activity. Who coulda node?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Geithner/Paulson Hearings

You don't have to like 'conspiracy theories' to be sympathetic to people who hold them.

All you have to do is read Ticker's review of the hearings.

"Civil unrest! Blood in the Streets! We'll only buy bad CDS packages!"

Yah, sure.

HRC to Bail on State

Reported by Ace, from T. Smiley interview.

SMILEY: Finally, there’s already speculation about whether or not Secretary Clinton is going to do this for the full first time, and whether or not she has any interest if asked to stay on to do it for eight years? You see how tough the job is, can you imagine yourself doing all four years and, if asked, doing it for another four years?

HILLARY CLINTON: No, I really can’t. I mean, it is just…

TAVIS SMILEY: No to what? All four or eight?

HILLARY CLINTON: The whole, the whole eight, I mean, that that would be very challenging. But I, you know, I don't wanna make any predictions sitting here, I’m honored to serve, I serve at the pleasure of the President, but it’s a, it’s a 24/7 job, and I think at some point, I will be very happy to LAUGHS pass it on to someone else.

She's not the first SecState to bail after four. But she has a better reason than most of the others.

Her boss.

Oh, and she does NOT want to be President.

Ratzinger's Assessment of the "New" Liturgy

Nice column here.

Thomas Woods describes Ratzinger's reservations about the Novus Ordo. In brief:

the new missal gave rise to excessive creativity in liturgical celebration. This development undermined the very essence of liturgy and cut Catholics off not only from their past but even from the parish down the street, where Mass was different.

--A second major theme in Ratzinger's corpus of liturgical writing is what he called desacralization

--Ratzinger's third major criticism of the liturgical reform was that whatever its virtues, the new missal, both in particular sections and in its entirety, leaves the impression of a rupture with the past, and can seem contrived.

And, of course, Ratzinger was very critical of the music which materialized in support of the New Order.

Although it's a medium-length essay, it's well worth the read.

Internet Mythology

It's a side-comment in a longer rant, but clears up a myth--one which compares to "housing values will NEVER decline."

In the 1990s the essence of the scam was the claim that The Internet is doubling in size every three months. It was: for about six months in the late summer of 1995 and through the early spring of 1996. I know because I was running the Chicagoland area's largest ISP at the time, had access to the core Internet routing tables and was forced into buying hardware to keep up with the expansion of processing power and memory required to keep track of it. The driver of this crazy expansion was the release of Windows 95, which for the first time made connecting to the Internet a "non-technical" accomplishment. But by the end of 1996 the expansion rate was slowing substantially and into 1997 and 1998 the rate of growth, while still substantial, was more akin to a "growing nicely" industry - simply because virtually every PC out there was already online.

HT: Market Ticker

DNR's New Crusade and What It Will Cost YOU

In two words: the crusade is "phosphorus removal" and the cost?

Likely $5 BILLION statewide. Or more.

  • 10.5 new DNR positions at an annual cost of $773,644
  • 70% cost-share for milkhouse management systems and manure storage facilities: $9,312,500
  • Private sector cost for same: $2,800,000
  • Increased costs for controlling solids runoff in highway and road reconstruction: $30,915,000 to $46,352,250 annually. Wow.
You note that the FIRST thing is "more DNR employees."

But that's not the big numbers.

Chris Shaw, Deputy Director of Utilities for Appleton testified Monday that the cost of the new regs to Wisconsin wastewater plants would total $1 to $2 billion, with estimates as high as $5 billion.

And, of course, that cost will be passed on to ............guess who?

Why so much?

Wastewater plants in the Fox Valley are being asked (told) to decrease their phosphorus discharges by a factor of 10!

The largest single sewage outfit in the State is MMSD. (Thanks again to Mayor-Ette Bloomberg for putting ALL Brookfield residents into the MMSD tax structure, regardless of watershed...)

Which brings up the question: what will MMSD spend on the phosporus boondoggle?


Just How Bad IS the MPS Situation?

Dependable Lefty Folkbum provides an indicator of the problems at MPS.

This morning, the desktop in my classroom got upgraded to Windows XP.

'Nuff said.

Kramer Joins Zipperer in Senate Race

Now there are two, both good guys.

Bill Kramer:

"Democrats in Madison and Washington, DC, continue to ignore the needs of our state’s job creators and working families," Kramer said in a statement. "I have been an outspoken critic of the Democrats’ proposed $5 billion in tax increases and I will continue to pursue policies that empower our state’s entrepreneurs so they can create jobs without concern of an out-of-control state government that continues to impinge on our families’ pocketbooks."

Kramer, 45, was first elected to the Assembly in 2006. He is an attorney, accountant and financial planner.

Only negative is that both Zipp and Kramer are lawyers.

Kramer is a CPA, too, making him a 'switch-hitter.'

"Ellie Light".......Girly Man!

Curiouser? Or no surprise at all?

The nutshell version: The Cleveland Plain-Dealer spoke to “Ellie Light” on the phone this morning and got her to admit — in a “husky voice” — that her name’s really Barbara Brooks, she’s a nurse, and that she wrote the letters on her own initiative. She gave them some personal information to verify her existence and it checked out. Later today, another woman — not husky-voiced — called the Plain-Dealer and said that she’s Barbara Brooks and that it’s actually her husband, a Kossack named Winston Steward, who’s responsible for the Ellie letters and has now taken to posing as her because he’s afraid the “right-wing crazies” will get him.

Well, if nothing else, she'll get a whole lot in the property-settlement part of the divorce, what with all those residences all over the country and all.

Or not.

HT: Ace

ObamaCare Dead; What of Congressional (D's)?

It appears as though ObamaCare is dead.

...The latest evidence that all this talk of the House passing the Senate bill and then 'fixing' it through reconciliation is nothing more than talk is that Democratic senators are bailing on the idea and it's no sure thing Harry Reid can even round up the 50 votes he'd need.

But there's a LOT of collateral damage. And that damage is from 'friendly' fire....

Obama has played this, "let them figure it out" thing with Congress on all his major initiatives. How's that worked out so far?

The thing is, Obama is moving on from health care. No, he's not saying it that way but he's clearly made his 'hard pivot' from it to his faux populism, spending freezes and jobs, jobs, jobs. That's hanging congressional Democrats out to dry with an angry base.

Obama isn't and can't come to their rescue, so what's in it for congressional Democrats to keep going on with what is a lost cause?

Even if the Democrat Party minimizes its Congressional losses in November--say, giving up 20 House seats and 3 Senate seats (in addition to Brown),-- those are losses. There is going to be resentment, at the very least.

It's possible that if Obama were not a Hard Left ideologue, OR if he weren't practicing Rahm-a-Jamma Chicago 'concrete shoes' politics, that he'd maintain some traction in Congress.

But that possibility is fading.

Thank God.


Metro Area Economy Tanked in '09

We mentioned yesterday that Wisconsin sales-tax revenues were down quite a bit in year/year comparisons.

But they were not nearly as miserable as the sales-tax revenues in the four-county area afflicted by the Selig Playground tax.

Sales-tax collections for the Miller Park stadium district in 2009 were 9.45% below what was collected in the previous year, a record-setting drop, new figures show.

Collections totaled $24.1 million, about $2.5 million less than what was collected in 2008.

Statewide sales tax collections were down only (only!) 7.5%.

Just Send Your Check to New York

The WSJ observes that Sen. "ChuckYou" Schumer has plans for your tax money......and that of your children, and their children, unto the 5th generation (or more.)

Yesterday he demanded that the two failed mortgage giants [Fannie/Freddie] guarantee low rent for tenants in a Manhattan property they now own after the owner defaulted. As they say in Democratic Washington, a crisis is a terrible thing to waste.

The development in question is the largest failed real-estate deal in history. In ChuckYou's alleged mind, it's now the responsibility of the US taxpayer to 'help' New York City citizens.

Hell, here in Wisconsin we're having trouble supporting Milwaukee.......

The Clear Difference: Ryan v. Obama

Paul Ryan will not give up, to his credit.

I have reintroduced my plan to tackle our nation's most pressing domestic challenges—updated to reflect the dramatic decline in our economic and fiscal condition. The plan, called A Road Map for America's Future and first introduced in 2008, is a comprehensive proposal to ensure health and retirement security for all Americans, to lift the debt burdens that are mounting every day because of Washington's reckless spending, and to promote jobs and competitiveness in the 21st century global economy...

The plan ensures universal access to affordable health insurance

The Road Map secures Medicare for current beneficiaries, while making common-sense reforms to save this critical program

The Road Map preserves the existing Social Security program for those 55 or older. For those under 55, the plan offers the option of investing over one-third of their current Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts, similar to the Thrift Savings Plan available to federal employees. This proposal includes a property right

The Road Map offers an alternative to today's needlessly complex and unfair tax code, providing the option of a simplified system that promotes work, saving and investment. This highly simplified code fits on a postcard.

(Details are at the link.)

Let's hope that Ryan's work will get the attention it deserves before ObamaSpendulus tanks the US.

"It All Depends on What the Meaning of 'Is' Is"....

Yah, we've heard that before.

“Let's just clarify. I didn't make a bunch of deals [on health care]. ... There is a legislative process that is taking place in Congress and I am happy to own up to the fact that I have not changed Congress and how it operates the way I would have liked.” --President Obama
Reid and Schumer kept up the "shuttle negotiation" between the leader's conference room and his top aide's office, Boxer said. Keenly aware how tense the talks were, the White House dispatched two aides who together have decades of experience in the Senate -- Jim Messina and Peter Rouse -- to work with Nelson. They relayed their intelligence to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who monitored the talks from a dinner in Georgetown.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Eastern 'Lung' Will Talk

......about primacy!!

With Benedict XVI, for the first time in history, the Orthodox have agreed to discuss the primacy of the bishop of Rome, according to the model of the first millennium, when the Church was undivided

Holy wah. Long story here.

Surprise!! Zipp to Go for Kanavas' Seat

Who COULD have guessed?

Today Rich Zipperer (R-Pewaukee) announced that he is a candidate for the open 33rd State Senate seat, which will be vacant due to Senator Ted Kanavas (R-Brookfield) deciding not to seek re-election. The primary election will be on September 14th and the general election will be on November 2nd.

He's a good guy. Vote for him!!

Dr. Zero Nails It

Man, this guy is good.

Here he exposes the Four Bad Assumptions underlying Big Gummint.

The first, and perhaps most dangerous, assumption is that authority confers virtue.

Yah, well, we have James Doylet as the counter to THAT one...

The second assumption is that authority bestows wisdom.

Counter: Bill Clinton.

The third assumption is that authority implies benevolence.

Umnnhhhh.....Tom Ament.

Finally, there is the persistent, but ridiculous, superstition that authority creates wealth.

Can't do better than Doyle, again. Are YOU wealthier than when Doylet took office?

Nazis=Commies=Eugenicists=The Real Left Wing

Five vids from Beck with Jonah Goldberg's valuable contribution.

And that headline up there?


Who is Joe Klein? (And .....Does Anybody Care?)

Evidently Time Magarag employs someone named Joe Klein.

And Joe Klein does NOT like the average American.

Absolutely amazing poll results from CNN today about the $787 stimulus package: nearly three out of four Americans think the money has been wasted. On second thought, they may be right: it's been wasted on them. Indeed, the largest single item in the package--$288 billion--is tax relief for 95% of the American public. This money is that magical $60 to $80 per month you've been finding in your paycheck since last spring. Not a life changing amount, but helpful in paying the bills

---quoted by Dennis, who is actually pretty nice to the twit.

HT: Grim

QuadGraphics Gets Bigger


Privately held Quad/Graphics Inc. of the U.S. is expected to acquire Canadian rival World Color Press Inc. for roughly $1.3 billion to $1.4 billion, said people familiar with the matter, in a deal that would create North America's second-largest commercial printer by sales, behind industry giant R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co.

Under the plan, these people said, shareholders of Toronto-listed World Color, which prints such magazines as Sports Illustrated and Rolling Stone, as well as the Crate & Barrel catalog and Yellow Book directory, would get a 40% stake in the newly combined company. The new company would then list on a U.S. stock exchange, they said, in effect bringing Quad/Graphics, whose clients include Newsweek, GQ and the L.L. Bean catalog, to the public market for the first time since its founding in 1971.

Ironically, World Color Press purchased the old Krueger business, which occupied a building on 124th/Bluemound. They closed that plant a number of years ago.

Krueger employed Harry Quadracci, and old man Krueger actually provided some of Quadracci's initial capital when QuadGraphics was launched.

Wisconsin Cops Actually Become Pigs

Wisconsin Democrats extended their middle finger to local governments, and James E. Doylet signed off.

It's the Cops-and-Firefighters' Protection Act.

Yes, it will produce problems.

The law, which was worked into the state’s 2009-11 budget, requires county and municipal governments spend at least as much as they did the year before on police, fire and emergency medical services. If a government fails to meet the requirement, the state, according to the law, will withhold shared-revenue payments.

The law means local construction projects likely will suffer as county and municipal governments craft their upcoming budgets...

How piggish ARE the cops and firefighters?

“Look at where fuel prices were two years ago,” [the Madison city controller] said. “The city spent a lot on fuel just for the police and fire departments. Well, then they drop in 2009, so we have a savings there. Under this new law, we couldn’t use those savings for other needs.

We can’t consider efficiencies. We just have to keep spending the same amount.”

It used to be counter-cultural to refer to the cops as "pigs."

Not any more.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Learning About 'Special Ed'

Turns out that maybe it's not so "special" after all.

P-Mac's post on Borsuk's Reagan school brouhaha has a most interesting combox item:

...this whole special ed thing is suspect. Few actually look too deeply at the kids they are diagnosing or what their disabilities are. As a special educator for almost 20 years I can say with 100% certainty that some kids who are not disabled are being placed in special ed.

MPS uses a "non-categorical" label, along with the ever popular Other Health Impairment, which for all practical purposes could be placed on any kid who is behind a year in any academic area. These kids ARE NOT learning disabled nor do they have an emotional disorder (which have a more strict set of criteria), they simply were either raised in a non-nurturing environment, didn't attend school regularly or were allowed to behave without restrictions, but now the district needs to label them.

Diagnosticians feel pressure from parents, advocate groups and from staff to label these kids even though they may not qualify based on federal and state standards. I have been in meetings were students are placed in special ed but don't truly qualify and this then extends the number of special ed students in MPS.

The author self-identifies as an MPS teacher.

Question: does MPS get extra State money for 'special ed' kids?

Cut SPENDING? My Heart!!

As usual, the common sense comes from Coburn.

Mr. Coburn has a better idea: Cut spending to a level that would allow the government to stay beneath the current debt ceiling for a few more months. President Obama promised in his campaign to eliminate "unnecessary redundancy" in government, so Mr. Coburn is calling for at least $20 billion in spending cuts on programs that are duplicated across federal agencies.

...A few examples: A 2009 Government Accountability Office report found 69 early education programs, administered by nine different agencies. A 2003 GAO report found 44 job training programs, also administered by nine agencies. The Department of Education runs 14 separate programs for foreign study exchanges. Taxpayers spend more than $300 million annually on at least nine Agriculture Department programs to develop biofuels.

Yah. But there's always the "More Debt" lobby, about 75% of Congress.....

WimynPriests Over the Coals

Amy's going to do a takedown of the wackos.

Newsweek v. Reality

Above is a picture of the vanguard at the 2010 March for Life held last Friday. (HT Kevin Fischer)

Here's the take on the event from a Newsweak columnista:

"Where are the young, vibrant women supporting their pro-life or pro-choice positions? Likely, they’re at home."

Yah, I guess so.

Non Nobis, Domine

The project at CMR.

Non nobis, non nobis, Domine
Sed nomini tuo da gloriam.

(Not to us, not to us, o Lord,
But to your name give glory.)

Conspiracy Or Co-Incidence?

If you like conspiracy theories, you'll enjoy this post at Ticker.

It has just enough facts to put it on the edge of credibility, and there is NO lack of bad guys.

On the other hand.........

Summary: September of 2008 when Bernanke and Henry Paulson demanded $700 billion for EESA/TARP, and threatened that "if this doesn't pass the market will blow up."

Well, The House initially refused to pass the bill, if you remember.

Do you remember what Ben Bernanke was doing behind the scenes at the time?

Hint: Draining liquidity from the markets.

Result: SP 500 took a major dump.


Gibbs shows up on FoxNews and tells the Senate to "support Bernanke's re-nomination" or else.

Or else WHAT, Gibbsie?

Naaah. It's just politics, right?

WI DofRev Report: December 2009

Mixed news, but nothing surprising.

Individual Income Tax 12/09 v. 12/08, up 3.8%


Year-over-year Individual Income Tax collections down 5.4%

(Both above using "adjusted" figures.)

Sales Tax down 0.6% 12/09 v. 12/08


Sales tax down 7.5% Year over year.

Corporate income tax up 1.1% 12/09 v. 12/08


Corpoate income tax up 9% Year over year.

Grand totals:

Total Tax Revenues up 3.0% 12/09 v 12/08, BUT Down 4.4% year-over-year


I really expected the Vikings to win that game......until they played it.

Frankly, the Vikings had the better team AND the better defense.

But none of that counts when you lose the turnover war 1,000-to-1 (or whatever.)

It's too bad that Favre got his brains bashed in, too; I'd hoped that he would not join a team this season for precisely that reason.

He deserved better than that.

About That "Discretionary Spending" Freeze

We could start with BATF, no?

...Years back the Phoenix office siezed a 2-door Mercedes drop top on a drug deal. Phoenix was under the LA Division. Then LA SAC Andy Vita, known in the field as the "Metrosexual SAC" for having his nails done during duty hours [no kidding] and before he became the Deputy Director, a position he uncerimoniosly left after getting busted out for leaving his business card at a whore house on the Montana/Canada border, ordered the Mercedes delivered to him out here.


Most of the 5th floor in ATF took the boondoggle trip to Las Vegas to attend the Shot Show firearms trade show. Would all of them have gone to the same event if it was held in some snowed in Midwestern city? Of course not. I wasn’t about the Shot Show it was about the free trip on ATF’s dime to Las Vegas.

It's not as if they have a real job to do, or anything.

HT: Of Arms

Easier Than ObamaCare!

Barney Frank's next bright idea.

"The remedy here I believe this committee will be recommending, abolishing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in their current form and coming up with a whole new system of housing finance," said Rep. Barney Frank (D., Mass.), the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.

If you thought you saw backroom dealing with ObamaCare, you ain't seen nothing.

HT: MoonBattery

ObamaCare in One Word

Torinus nails it. take on a $2 trillion bill for coverage for the 30 million uninsured people with a near total disregard for management of a broken system is irresponsible.

Come to think of it, that word applies to the politicians who wrote the damn plan, too.

The Games of the Financiers

Predictably, someone (named Wallison in this case,) pops up to draw a distinction without a difference.

...Mr. Obama says that some firms should be prohibited from engaging in "proprietary trading." The White House announcement seems to apply to both banks and bank holding companies, but there is a huge difference between them. A bank is chartered by the government, its deposits are insured, it can participate in the U.S. payment system, and it has access to the Fed's discount window. None of these things is true of a bank holding company—which is an ordinary corporation that controls a bank.

Because banks are government-backed, and privileged in many ways, their activities are limited by law and regulation. They are restricted in how they can use their insured deposits. The Glass-Steagall Act, despite what we constantly hear in the media and from people who should know better, still applies to banks; it forbids them from engaging in underwriting or dealing in securities. This should prohibit them from engaging in proprietary trading to the extent that this is dealing in securities. Bank holding companies, however, because they are not banks and not government-backed, can engage in any financial activity, including securities dealing. Why would we prohibit them from doing so when they are using their own funds?

Oh, I don't know. Maybe because when they got their collective butts in a crack they simply removed the necessary cash-infusion from the pockets of the TAXPAYERS?


Maybe Goldman Sachs is a bank-holding company. Maybe it is one under a different corporate name.

Does anyone, aside from Mr. Wallison, seriously believe that nobody in the GS-owned bank knows anything at all about GS' investment-house deals? Does anyone, aside from Wallison, seriously believe that "separate entities" means "discrete knowledge"?

Not on this planet, Mr. Wallison.

Oh, Yah. Live in Wisconsin, Pay More.

The ninny-nannies also have boy's names.

State Rep. Gordon Hintz, D-Oshkosh, has co-authored legislation to require carbon monoxide detectors in all one-and-two-family homes and parallels requirements for smoke alarms for ease of installation.

Gov. Jim Doyle already signed into law last year requiring carbon monoxide alarms in all multi-family homes, hotels, bed and breakfast establishments or any public building used for sleeping or lodging.

Hintz said carbon monoxide is a real threat.

"We want to do everything possible to save lives," Hintz said. "Hopefully, a carbon monoxide detector will be just as common as having a smoke detector in your house."

Just like the Democrat-passed trial-lawyer-payoff which raised your auto insurance rates, and the green weenie that the Doylets intend to shove down your throat.

Wanna live in Wisconsin? Pay more.

"Stare Decisis Is Fo' Suckas": Roberts

The abortion lobby is in panic.

In last Thursday’s 5-to-4 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling dismantling the McCain-Feingold campaign law, Roberts joined with fellow Bush appointee Justice Samuel Alito to issue a separate concurrence “to address the important principles of judicial restraint and stare decisis implicated in this case.”

While Roberts conceded that “departures from precedent are inappropriate in the absence of a ‘special justification,’” he quickly added that “At the same time, stare decisis is neither an ‘inexorable command’… nor ‘a mechanical formula of adherence to the latest decision’ … especially in constitutional cases,” noting that “If it were, segregation would be legal, minimum wage laws would be unconstitutional, and the Government could wiretap ordinary criminal suspects without first obtaining warrants.

Put a bit differently, SCOTUS is not obliged to revere stupidity.

ObamaCare, the Zombie: Still Alive

Dick Morris advises that ObamaCare (Senate version) will be passed.

...First, the House will pass the Senate's Obamacare bill that passed the Senate in December. The House leadership will vote on the Senate bill, and Pelosi will allow no amendments or modifications to the Senate bill.

How will Pelosi's deal fly with rambunctious liberal members of her majority that don't like the Senate bill, especially its failure to include a public option, put heavy fines on those who don't get insurance and offering no income tax surcharge on the "rich"?

That's where the second part of the Pelosi-deal comes in.

Behind closed doors Reid and Pelosi have agreed in principle that changes to the Senate bill will be made to satisfy liberal House members -- but only after the Senate bill is passed and signed into law by Obama.

This deal will be secured by a pledge from Reid and the Senate's Democratic caucus that they will make "fixes" to the Senate bill after it becomes law with Obama's John Hancock.

The 'fixes' will be passed through the Senate under reconciliation rules, requiring only 51 votes.

IIRC, zombies can only be killed with a brain-shot.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Threat Level Up a Notch?

Drudge has the headline.

Osama bin Laden's word choice in the latest audio message attributed to him is seen as a "possible indicator" of an upcoming attack by his Al-Qaeda network, a US monitoring group warned Sunday.

..."The Osama bin Laden audio message released to Al-Jazeera on 24 January 2010 contains specific language used by bin Laden in his statements in advance of attacks," IntelCenter said in a statement.

The group said it considered the language "a possible indicator of an upcoming attack" in the next 12 months.

"This phrase, 'Peace be upon those who follow guidance,' appears at the beginning and end of messages released in advance of attacks that are designed to provide warning to Al-Qaeda's enemies that they need to change their ways or they will be attacked," the group said.

Buy more ammo!

This Is Your Brain on GummintDrugs

Wherein Capper reveals his intimate knowledge of economics and business. (See the combox)

Echoes of Citizens United

Well, if nothing else, it's a fund-raising tool.

“Yesterday’s Roberts court decision, which exhibited a stunning disregard for settled law of decades’ standing, is terrifying to those of us who care deeply about the Constitutional protections the court put in place for women’s access to abortion,” said Nancy Northup of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “We are deeply concerned….Yesterday’s decision shows the court will reach out to take an opportunity to wholesale reverse a precedent the hard right has never liked.”

“It is worrisome beyond the direct impact of yesterday’s ruling on election law,” said, Jessica Arons, the director of the Women’s Health and Rights Program at the Center for American Progress. “It’s certainly cause for concern.”

The pro-abortionists are sweating.


HT: VerumSerum

Napolitano, Brennan Lied to Congress on DTW Bomber?

This gets curiouser every day.

...In testimony that has fueled controversy on Capitol Hill, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, National Counterterrorism Center Director Michael Leiter, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano were all asked the same question during an appearance before the Senate homeland-security committee by Sen. Susan Collins, the panel’s ranking Republican: “Were you consulted regarding the decision to file criminal charges against [suspect Umar Farouk] Abdulmutallab in civilian court?”

Leiter and Napolitano gave the same answer. “I was not.” Blair also said, “I was not consulted,”


A key event was a 5 p.m. secure videoconference call on Christmas Day that included Leiter, who reports to Blair, and presided over by John Brennan, President Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser. Also on the call was Jane Lute, the deputy secretary of homeland security and Napolitano’s No. 2.

During that conference call, a Justice Department lawyer briefed the group about the questioning of Abdulmutallab and the plans to file a criminal complaint against him the next day, Dec. 26.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

A Fistful of Bad Ideas

Obama may propose a 'discretionary spending freeze.'

And he's got another huckstering card up his sleeve, too.

The senator [Bayh] also said he expects Obama to use the Jan. 27 nationally televised address before Congress to embrace creation of a commission that would suggest spending cuts and tax increases that Congress would be forced to vote on.

That will result--guaranteed--in a major tax increase. You remember the 'spending cuts' effected by the Grace Commission?

I didn't think so.

"Spending Freeze"? Not Impressive

These bozos actually expect us to be impressed.

There is a “fighting chance” President Barack Obama will propose a freeze in most discretionary spending by the federal government in his State of the Union speech next week, Senator Evan Bayh, an Indiana Democrat, said.

“The president can say in this State of the Union address, ‘I’m going to include in my budget a freeze on discretionary spending, I’m drawing a line in the sand, and I’m going to use my veto pen to enforce that,’

As though "discretionary spending" is really tight, eh?

The current budget (Bush's last one as proposed, not as passed) included a 5% increase in discretionary. That did not include TARP, nor the GM/Chrysler rescues, nor "porkulus."

According to Peterson/Pew, freezing discretionary would likely amount to a $60Bn reduction in spending. But they also make the point that discretionary cuts are virtually irrelevant compared to Medicare/Medicaid/Social Security spending.

That's without Socialized Medicine.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

How Democrats Work

Straight from The Agitator:

After some anti-tax groups and Oregon Republicans began agitating to put recently passed tax increases to a popular vote, Democrats tried to sneak the following language into the bill:

“A measure referred to the people by referendum petition may not be adopted unless it receives an affirmative majority of the total votes cast on the measure rejecting the measure. For purposes of this subsection, a measure is considered adopted if it is rejected by the people.”

Emphasis mine. Yep. You read that right. They attempted to pass a law defining yes as no, and no as yes. They pulled the language after local media got wind of the cunning plan.

They learned that from the opponents to Wisconsin's Marriage Amendment.

You'll Have to Look a Lot Harder for the Union Label

Private-employed union membership continues to sink like a rock.

The recession battered two industries with high union density -- manufacturing and construction -- leading to a decline in private sector union membership from 7.6 percent to 7.2 percent of all workers. That's the lowest rate since the agency began keeping records in 1983.

Private sector union membership plummeted by 10 percent, while government unions posted slight gains.

You noticed that 'government unions' phrase?

Local, state and federal government workers made up 51.5 percent of all union members in 2009, up from 48.7 percent a year ago, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday...Local government workers -- a group that includes teachers, police officers and firefighters -- had the highest union membership rate at 43.3 percent.

Reversing Wisconsin's state and local budget problems depends entirely on successful management (or elimination) of those union contracts and workers.

300,000 March for Life in DC

300,000 show up in DC to march for life.

Today's AP headlines from JSOnline fail to mention it.

Obviously, 300,000 people is not a big deal.

Sorta like the TEA Party movement. Not a big deal.

(Or so they thought.)

Kohl, Feingold Nominate ADELMAN to 7th Circuit

Ripley couldn't have imagined this.

Frankly, Loophole Louie is a 'hanging judge' compared to Lynn Adelman.

It's another finger-in-your-eye to Wisconsin voters from Rusty Feingold (D-Arrogant!! (and You Will Like It!))

Ben Nelson's Sad Apotheosis

Give him credit for showing up at a pro-life meeting.

As to the rest of the story, well........

One month after Senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) stunned pro-lifers across the country by casting the crucial vote allowing the health care bill to pass the Senate, the beleaguered Democrat caused a stir when he arrived unexpectedly at a private meeting of pro-life leaders Wednesday to explain his reasoning and insist that he was still devoted to their cause.

The atmosphere of the room grew tense, however, as it became clear that Nelson had not come to apologize for casting the 60th "yes" vote that dashed the hopes of pro-life leaders counting on the senator to stop the abortion-expanding bill in its tracks. Instead Nelson rebuffed the idea that he caved on his pro-life position, and said that the “compromise” language that he had offered just before the final senate vote - which segregated the taxpayer subsidy monies funding abortion-providing insurance plans - allowed Nelson to "hold true to my pro-life principles" in voting for the measure.

An interesting article--lots more stuff at the link.

It appears that Nelson is a dead Senator walking, now fighting a rear-guard action which will only delay the inevitable.

His defiance won't help his cause, either.

McCain-Feingold, FEC v. Citizens United

You thought this was about "corporate money"??


Watch the video linked here, (it's short.) The Solicitor General made some VERY startling admissions in his SCOTUS appearance.

Let's put it this way: we were right when we described Sen. Feingold (D-Defeatable) as a Statist.

The best we can say about Sen. John McCain is that either he didn't know what he was doing (he was old and stupid), or he's another flavor of Statist. I'll be kind, and go with old/stupid.

Presidential Bravo Sierra

Oh, man. Do we really need two-and-a-half years of this BS from Obama?

: He'll also talk about what a hard fight this has been, and that even though we've hit some pretty big bumps in the road from the special interests and their lobbyists and from partisan politics and the different ways that people try to determine who's up and who's down in Washington. But the President is going to keep fighting because he was sent to Washington to solve hard problems and he's not going to give up just because the going got tough...

So the President thinks there are very important things that he's fighting for in Washington, D.C.

That would be the ass't press-sec'y on Air Force One en route to Ohio, where Obama resumed campaigning talked about jobs.

For more rapid-shoveling, see the excerpt here.