Saturday, April 30, 2011

Rightist Mythology, Somewhat Debunked

Well, since this comes from de Rugy, it's going to require attention.

Myth 1: Wealthy people pack up and move when their taxes increase.

Fact 1: High taxes generally do not cause the wealthy to move.

Migration is about the same for those with net worth >$1million as it is for everyone else.

This one is a bit more problematic:

Myth 2: Blue states are big government states and red states are small government states.

Fact 2:
Blue states are net payers, meaning residents pay more in income tax than they get back from the federal government, while red states are net recipients. Only one red state pays more into the system than it gets.

'Whether recipient of Fed largesse or not-recipient' is not exactly the question, and the presence of umpty-multiple military establishments across the South and West greatly affects the "Fed largesse" numbers.

Myth 3: The federal income tax may be progressive but the rest of the tax system is not, particularly the payroll tax.

Fact 3: The entire tax system is progressive.

Another somewhat cloudy "fact", because the label 'progressive' applies only after one considers the (expected) SocSec payout that one will (?) receive on retirement. While it works for the cohort selected (born in 1940), it may not work for a cohort born in, say, 1975.

Worth discussing anyway.

HT: McCain

Friday, April 29, 2011

More on "Drug Gang Guns"

Sylvia Longmire may not appreciate this post. Too bad.

...It's true that some stolen, illegally purchased and smuggled guns reach Mexico from the USA; but these appear to represent only about 10% of the guns that are recovered from criminals there. They're certainly not the main "combat" weapons of the narco-terrorists, who rely on full-auto assault rifles for their primary firepower (weapons which are heavily restricted in the USA, and aren't available for sale in most gunshops).

It's now becoming more clear where these full-auto assault rifles and other heavy weapons are coming from. Many are, indeed, being supplied from the USA . . . in the form of US military aid to Central American nations. Corrupt politicians and officials in those countries are passing these weapons to the drug cartels,...

Guatemala has been extremely generous to the Zetas, for example. Honduras is not far behind.

Ms. Longmire has been duped by the usual suspects--and, frankly, I wasn't aware of the Central American gun-leakage problem, either.

So she's at least partially right: the guns ARE coming from the US. They go from Colt Arms to corrupt armies, then to the drug-gangs.

And they are cheap--that is, free of charge.

Obama "Leading" (From Behind)?

There's so much to mine in the propaganda of 'leading from behind,' but it'll take too long.

K-hammer did condense it well:

...Who truly reviles America the hegemon? The world that Obama lived in and shaped him intellectually: the elite universities; his Hyde Park milieu (including his not-to-be-mentioned friends, William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn); the church he attended for two decades, ringing with sermons more virulently anti-American than anything heard in today's full-throated uprising of the Arab Street.

It is the liberal elites who revile the American colossus and devoutly wish to see it cut down to size. Leading from behind - diminishing America's global standing and assertiveness - is a reaction to their view of America, not the world's.

About sums it up.

HT AmSpec

Prohibiting Tax-Funded Abortions in Wisconsin

Good on Zipperer.

LRB 1730 prohibits a qualified health plan offered in Wisconsin through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) from covering abortions that are otherwise ineligible in Wisconsin for taxpayer funding. As part of its major health care legislation, Congress included within the PPACA a provision, section 1303, to give states the ability to prohibit abortion coverage. The section states “A State may elect to prohibit abortion coverage in qualified health plans offered through an Exchange in such State if such State enacts a law to provide for such prohibition.

Sen. Zipperer is circulating 1730. Oughta be a slam-dunk.

The Left-O-Wacky's New Clothes

Kinda like Hallowe'en, but he's not wearing a mask. It's his real face.

At the last of four events on Rep. Paul Ryan's "listening tour" of his district Thursday, he called on a man in the front row of a high school auitorium, then instantly recognized him

"You changed clothes!" Ryan told Steve Jozefczyk. The 54-year old salesman from Franklin, Wis., had asked Ryan several critical questions from the front row of an event six hours earlier in Waterford, when he wore a shirt and tie. In Greenfield, it was a black "Faux News" parody T-shirt.


The guy's employment application at the CIA was, umn, ah, "lost."

For the Supercilious Bozo in Green Bay

Some character in Green Bay thinks that he writes blog-laws.

You know. Like "What to post", "why to post", "what to believe about one's posts"....

So here's another item of general interest, just for Mr Superciliousity!

...The question, therefore, is what was the source and provenance of the document AP scanned? We know the apparent answer: It came from the White House, and had to, since the correspondence says that there were only two copies produced and both went directly to White House counsel. What AP presented is only as good as the source of the paper they were handed.


Who's The Fed Helping?

Ron Paul's dream of nuking the Fed (the Federal Reserve Bank) will happen a lot sooner if people read this from Yardeni:

“The Fed is still your friend if you are invested in cyclical stocks , commodities, and foreign currencies. ...

On the other hand....

...If you eat food and run your car on gasoline, the Fed will continue to hurt you. If you are looking for a job, you may be wondering why it is still so hard to find ond despite all the money the Fed has spent so far on QE2.0. If you are retired and living on interest from your CDs, then you are getting really squeezed between rising food and fuel prices and the Fed’s zero interest rate policy. In other words, the Fed seems to be doing everything to widen the gap between the Haves and Have Nots than to lower unemployment and boost economic growth, which remains “moderate” according to yesterday’s FOMC statement.”

Umnnhhh....Yardeni wouldn't be the first one to notice that Fed policy--explicitly assisting banks, both TBTF and others--is not good for other human beings.

HT: Ritholtz

New Measure of Edyumakashun!

Shoebox proposes that we replace the 'three R's.'

Well, only for the purpose of the '12 election....

Clever. And, by the way, he's right.

McConnell Grows a Spine

Gotta hand it to McConnell on this one.

A day after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) put Republicans on the spot by saying he will bring the House Republicans’ budget proposal up for a vote, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) turned the tables by exercising his legislative prerogative to call for a vote on President Barack Obama’s budget. --HotAir quoting WSJ

Good. Get Herbie to vote for the Obozo plan and settle the 2012 Senatorial right here and now.

The Thoroughly Politicized Obozo Administration

When we say 'thoroughly politicized,' we mean it.

Texas Governor Rick Perry criticized the Obama administration on Thursday for not responding to a request for a disaster aid for the parched state, where wildfires have scorched nearly 2 million acres.

...“There is a point in time where you say, ‘Hey, what’s going on here?’” Perry said.

And this:

...Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to privatize work determining who is eligible for food assistance in the state would violate federal law and could expose the state to a loss of more than $20 million in federal money, federal officials say.

Really? A 'violation' of Federal law?

Well. Even if that IS the case, it's entirely likely that Wisconsin would save a helluvalot more than $20 million if the State dumped 'civil service' workers on this program.

Clearly, however, the Obozo-ites are going to make life difficult for uppity Republican Governors.

November, 2012. Be There.

The Economy, It Ain't Healthy

What you'll read in the papers is this:

Personal income increased $67.0 billion, or 0.5 percent ... Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $60.7 billion, or 0.6 percent.

Uh-huh. Except for the inconvenient chart (above.)

"Personal Income" LESS transfer payments (government assistance like Social Security, UC, foodstamps, EITC, etc.) is just awful. Miserable. Terrible. Horrible.

In other words, if it weren't for Gummint handouts, "personal income" would be down, not 'up,' as BEA reports it.

HT: CalcRisk

If Only Wisconsin's D of Corrections Would Let Wardens Marry...

Ruh-roh. Remember, so far, it's "allegations." But there are a LOT of them.

A yearlong investigation by the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department has uncovered shocking allegations of sexual molestation at Ethan Allen School for Boys in the 1960s and 1970s, including the alleged assault of several juveniles by the superintendent of the institution, clergy and other staff members.

The Sheriff's Department interviewed 28 former residents of the facility, and 17 of those made allegations that they had been sexually assaulted, some saying they were repeatedly molested. However, there will be no prosecution of the alleged perpetrators due to the statute of limitations, said Sheriff's Department Capt. Karen Ruff.

Seems that the Superintending Warden was named a lot by victims.

Roland Hershman, who was superintendent at the time and the focus of the investigation, emphatically denied any wrongdoing and suggested that the accusers had ulterior motives.

One thing that you watch for in any sort of conduct-investigation is "pattern of practice."

While some of the victims did know each other, others did not, according to the report. The stories have a similar theme, with many of the victims either not having a father or having an abusive father. Many were in and out of Ethan Allen. The men recalled Hershman as being generous, giving gifts, and described him as loving and caring.

To me as a Catholic, this part is just plain scary:

One man, who was in and out of Ethan Allen several times from 1966 to 1972, recalled repeated sexual abuse. The man recalled being taken by Hershman to a seminary in 1972, where he played a game like hide-and-seek. The man said he was assaulted by eight or nine men at the seminary, according to the report. The man did not know the name or location of the seminary.

Perhaps it was the Hershman's celibacy?

Hershman, who never married, said he had never had a sexual encounter with a man, according to the report.

Kinda depends on your definition of "man," eh?

Too bad there's no Pot of State Gold waiting for P I lawyers here, eh?

"Under the Radar" Gun Control from Obama Boyzzzz

Oh, yah, Obama and his boyzzzz are working on gun control. How do we know?

Obama said so.

"I just want you to know that we are working on it," Barack Obama reportedly told Sarah Brady regarding gun control. "We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar."

We know about the 'sporting purpose' definition-game being played regarding imported shotguns.

My suggestion: watch how "sporting purpose" definitions migrate for any other firearms.

Oh--yah, also: BUY MORE AMMO!!

Science or Scary Stories From the Journal-Sentinel?

The Science of Scary has its disadvantages. It can be wrong.

Think anthopogenic global warming (or cooling), ALAR, and the ongoing DDT hoax. Those Science of Scary chestnuts were proven wrong, although the political resolutions did not necessarily follow the scientific evidence.

Then there's BPA. BPA is a horse that the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel rode to a couple of J-school awards. Too bad that horse was on illegal steroids, in a manner of speaking, eh?

...after a review of the available research in 2006, Europe decided that BPA was safer than had been previously thought. The European equivalent of America’s Food and Drug Administration – the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) – said the amount considered safe to ingest on a daily basis for life should be raised by a factor of five. Separate risk assessments by individual member countries – Norway, Switzerland, Denmark and Germany – sometimes focusing on different areas of concern, reached the same conclusion. A Japanese risk assessment also concurred.

The JS didn't like being called out. So they ran a column by their ex-employee who was part of the original anti-BPA bunch.

Fact-errors cropped up again (surprise!)

...Rust also attacks the credibility of STATS, the organization that houses the Genetic Literacy Project, where I work. She falsely claims it is funded by “ideological groups with a deep anti-regulatory bent,” citing the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the Cato Institute—none of which give STATS money. Even if it such allegations were true, it is irrelevant even as a matter of context. The Genetic Literacy Project, which I founded and brought to STATS, gets no money from STATS or any of the groups named—zero dollars; it’s housed at STATS and George Mason University.

The JS could have been misled. Lots of people are misled. Often, that happens because one doesn't consider the possibility that there is MONEY in the Science of Scary.

...conflict of interests can cut all kinds of ways. Endocrine disruption is a hot area, with universities, advocacy groups and governments, including the United States under the stimulus, offering tens of millions of dollars to research the hypothesis, often with an a priori expectation that problems will be found. Needless to say, negative findings are not rewarded with lucrative grants or public notoriety in papers like the Journal Sentinel...

Just like AGW, eh?

Well. Not everyone holds onto the Science of Scary after the evidence is in.

...Richard Sharpe, director of the Centre for Reproductive Biology at the Medical Research Institute in Edinburgh and Europe’s top expert on endocrine disruption, had long embraced the BPA-is harmful hypothesis. Last year, as a clearer scientific picture of BPA emerged, he changed his mind. In a stunning article in Toxicological Sciences, he wrote, “As scientists, we all like our ideas and hypotheses to be proved correct; yet, there is equal merit in being proved wrong.” Sharpe now publicly advocates that governments stop diverting precious research funds into studying the endocrine effects of BPA, which he suggests is a dead-horse theory. Ultimately, he says, the evidence stands on its own—regardless of who funds the research. The missing step is that journalists have to report objectively what science finds.

The JS' favorite (and damn near ONLY) source, a fellow in Missouri, won't like being told he's riding a dead horse. Too bad, but endocrine studies will continue; he'll find something to do.

It wouldn't take much for George Stanley to say that he and the JS were misled, would it?

We'll see. The Science of Scary is a very seductive mistress.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The BPA Propaganda War, or How the Journal-Sentinel Scares You

We were aware of the BPA propaganda war quite some time ago, and mentioned that it really boils down to a war between the Usual Suspects (basically, the anti-progress Luddite/nature-worshipper/green-weenies) backed up by the Trial Lawyers, who are always seeking the next Big Tobacco fountain of cash. Tides Foundation and George Soros (really!) are into this pile, and by no co-incidence, the Tides Foundation is connected with the Kendeda Fund, which contributes to "Environmental Health Sciences"--which the JS relies on for its 'factual' information.

When one looks hard enough, one can find all sorts of interesting information. "The 'net, 'swunnerful", as Lawrence Welk never said, (but would have...)

The Milwaukee newspaper proved to be a willing megaphone (not "dupe", please) for the Luddite-and-Lawyers bunch.

To do so, they had to ignore quite a bit of actual, scientific, stuff. And ignore it they did!!

...Why did the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) become the hottest environmental topic in 2008 after global warming? A building block of polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins, BPA was neither new to the marketplace nor unstudied by scientists: By 2007, there were over 4,200 studies covering a dizzying range of possible ways it might be toxic – and there was a remarkable global consensus that it didn’t pose a threat to health...

In fact, after a review of the available research in 2006, Europe decided that BPA was safer than had been previously thought. The European equivalent of America’s Food and Drug Administration – the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) – said the amount considered safe to ingest on a daily basis for life should be raised by a factor of five. Separate risk assessments by individual member countries – Norway, Switzerland, Denmark and Germany – sometimes focusing on different areas of concern, reached the same conclusion. A Japanese risk assessment also concurred.

Gee. You mean that the JS' intrepid reporters and editors are smarter than all those guys?

Well. They're just Europeans and Asians! What in Hell do THEY know? the United States, an entirely different theme emerged in public debate: unremitting panic. There was a run on glass bottles as terrified parents junked polycarbonate; environmental activist groups warned that “millions of babies” were at risk; the media raged at how BPA was proof that America’s regulatory system was broken and that the Food and Drug Administration was relying on industry-sponsored studies to justify inaction; journalists reported, it seemed, every new shred of data on BPA, which now appeared to link BPA to almost every disease imaginable from asthma to cancer to obesity.

Prolly zits and PMS, too, but they didn't get around to it.....yet.

By NO co-incidence:

In the wake of this reporting came the lawsuits: [...] the woman and her two children had used polycarbonate bottles from the maker for several years. As Reuters noted “The lawsuit does not describe any physical ailment suffered by the plaintiffs and seeks unspecified damages.”

That's the best kind of lawsuit. "Just send money; we'll tell you when to stop."

All that is prelude. Guess Who's named as a Leading Cause of Lawsuits and Panic?

...One newspaper, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel even went so far as to commission its own, apparently scientific, study to show how the chemical could leach from microwaveable plastic containers to jeopardize health, and how the FDA was failing to consider vast amounts of evidence showing that the public was in danger.

You can hear the hoofbeats and full-throated cry: "One if by land, and TWO if by BPA!!"

...what has gone missing in the coverage of BPA across the media was that the body of research hailed by vom Saal as demonstrating that BPA was dangerous at low doses had been studied and rejected as scientifically invalid or irrelevant by the European Union’s Food Safety Authority (EFSA), individual European countries, and Japan – along with various evaluations in the United States

Now you know why only Fox News uses the self-descriptor "....balanced." Some news outlets is, some ain't.

And just in case you missed the point, here's even MORE reason to dismiss the JS' bleatings:

...the National Institutes of Health, which funded some of this BPA research (including vom Saal’s original work on BPA) under the auspices of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, has tightened its guidelines for research on BPA....The NIEHS will now only fund two-year studies on BPA, of sufficient sample size “to ensure power to detect a statistical difference between experimental groups,” and that the “route of exposure should be oral or justified to provide similar blood levels as oral route,”...

Look, folks: if you're going to claim that BPA is "dangerous when ingested," then you damn well better have comparable "ingestion" methods, right? Otherwise, you'll have all the credibility of Rachel Carlson, who poured enough DDT into the ground to kill trees for 50 years (and incidentally a couple of robins), or that babe who sampled all the South Seas native men and then declared that 'South Seas native men liked promiscuous sex so it must be natural!!'...but I digress.

And the concluding indictment:

But according to the authors of the European Risk Assessment and the NSF International paper, the Journal Sentinel’s mania to indict BPA (and the other news reports that have mirrored its approach) have made a mockery of science. In the following analysis, they explain in detail why this reporting is misleading and inaccurate, and why the low dose research was rejected as irrelevant or scientifically invalid by their assessments. They explain why the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel didn’t just fail the public in basic toxicology, it failed to follow basic scientific principles in evaluating evidence – the principles that govern whether research is reliable and relevant or not.

In other words, "To Hell with all that science-stuff: SELL NEWSPAPERS!!!"

But there's something in the analysis of the (flawed) studies that almost anyone can understand: 'oral ingestion' is NOT the same as subcutaneous ingestion or injection. Studies which rely on subcutaneous and/or injection induction are ipso facto irrelevant.

Oh, and that 500,000X dosage difference--that might mean something, no?

The Journal-Sentinel wrote a number of self-lauding editorials (Haynes) after its series on BPA won some J-School awards. But what the JS did not print was this:

...the Journal Sentinel never separated oral studies from injection studies, single-dose from dose-response studies, or presented a statistical argument explaining why the exclusion of oral studies is used...the ad hominem: if industry funded it, it must be wrong.

Why sure. Industry wants to kill all its customers! Hell, that's what all the Marketing guys say to do, ain'a??

The same applies to Germany, France, Denmark, and Japan, of course. They want to kill all their babies!! That's why they will not ban BPA.


The JS also conducted its own "test", conveniently using the facilities of the leading anti-BPA voice (Von Saal) and "verified" by a woman named Hunt. But the JS didn't mention that Ms. Hunt and Von Saal were close collaborators--that is, that Ms. Hunt was NOT an arms-length independent "verifier." Another "independent" verifier, from Spain, was also associated with Von Saal's Chapel Hill organization. One other verifier didn't think that the experimental method could reliably detect the BPA. That's not exactly an endorsement, is it?

After the "experiment" was complete, the JS contacted a scientist who reported this:

"The main thing I remember is being surprised that they didn't actually measure BPA concentrations in foods. Instead, what was measured was the BPA concentration in extracts. The reporter said it was all done according to the standard FDA method, but I cautioned her to report the results as surrogate measurements, not as actual concentrations in foods."

The Journal-Sentinel did not report the results as surrogate measurements. Is that a problem?


“Much of the confusion evident in the Journal Sentinel article appears to stem from the fact that the authors failed to appreciate the differences in route of BPA exposure (ingestion vs. injection) and how the different routes of exposure influence the body’s metabolic detoxification and excretion of this substance. In the absence of understanding the role of biotransformation and elimination of BPA in relation to route of exposure, one can arrive at erroneous conclusions about risk to human health posed by trace levels of any material present in our environment.”

Which is to say that the JS' "reporting" was just about the same as Creative Writing.

The JS simply refused to understand this--which any 4th-grader CAN understand:

The claims the paper makes – including raising the specter of breast cancer – come from studies of BPA exposure in animals that administered BPA intravenously, said Willhite. The test, the comparison, the alarm is meaningless. Children aren’t injecting BPA into their veins, they are ingesting it in food, and as every regulatory body has noted, the effects produced by ingestion are different to injection;...

Put simply, your baby does NOT mainline BPA. You understand that, right? Meg Kissinger doesn't. But if all you know was what you read in the newspaper, you'd think your baby would grow up to have green fingers and glowing-purple toes.

That, my friends, is why there are blogs. Oh, and the Columbia School of Journalism--you may have heard of them--which, while not expressing any love for the report linked above (and quoted extensively) also said this:

Journalists need to spend more time reading materials and methods sections of research papers instead of sticking to their introductions, discussions, and conclusions. Doing so prevents uncertainties about the conflicts of interest; it also provides more useful information to readers about the science itself.

Yes, indeed.

Obama's Other "Death Panels"

Oh, there are a couple of ways to do 'death panels.' Governor Palin identified one way. Here's the other:

President Barack Obama has recommended elimination of the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education program in fiscal year 2012.

...Peggy Troy, CEO of Children's Hospital in Wauwatosa, said the program is vital to pediatric care.

“What our nation cannot afford is to further jeopardize children’s access to physicians trained to meet children’s unique health care needs,” Troy said. “Elimination of this program puts children’s health at unnecessary risk."

Well, Ms. Troy, that all depends on one's priorities, eh?

SCOTUS: Consumers Victorious, Lawyers Lose!

The AmSpecBlog has the straight scoop. You'll hear otherwise from all the usual suspects. (Such as newspapers who are slobbering-tight with P I lawyers....)

The Supreme Court handed down a ruling today in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, holding that the Federal Arbitration Act preempts a rule in California state contract law that nullifies class-action waiver clauses...

IOW, you can be held to an "arbitration" clause.

But, in fact, you'll most likely do a lot better with arbitration than with the P I lawyers. (Surprise!!!)

ObozoNomics + Keynes-Gone-Wild: Ugly

With "Important Things to Do" (such as taping an Oprah show and three fund-raisers in one day) on his plate, the President can't also fix the economy, can he?

U.S. economic growth slowed more than expected in the first quarter as higher food and gasoline prices dampened consumer spending, and sent a broad measure of inflation rising at its fastest pace in 2-1/2 years.

GDP crawled up at an annual +1.8% last quarter, and Yes, indeedy!! "Core" inflation popped, just as 'food/fuel' has been popping.

That means something:

Wal-Mart's core shoppers are running out of money much faster than a year ago due to rising gasoline prices, and the retail giant is worried, CEO Mike Duke said Wednesday.

The USDollar is in free-fall because Bernanke has monetized the drunken-sailor spending of Obozo and the Democrats (and, to a lesser extent, GWB and his merry band of Idiot Republicans) over the last 10 years.

It ain't gonna be fun for the next several years. And as usual, I have a recommendation:

Buy More Ammo!!

Another Doyle Screwing: This Time, the Hospitals

Jim Doyle, now an attorney with a prominent Milwaukee firm, has a legacy which is simply awful. Falling-down freeway bridges, (2 of them--the Hoan, too); a $3Bn++ deficit, tax increases, and now (!!) .........

...The state implemented the hospital tax to leverage additional federal dollars for Medicaid programs. Money collected by the tax is matched with federal funds to increase Medicaid payments to hospitals and fund other state Medicaid programs.

In 2010, the tax generated $1.62 for each dollar raised by the tax, which was down from the $1.73 that was generated in 2009.

Because of the tax, hospitals received a $32 million increase in Medicaid payments compared with 2009, but they also paid $43 million more for the hospital tax.

....and where, dear sucker, do you think that $11 million will come from?

More Trouble for the Banks re: Mortgages

Awww, geeee....

The Internal Revenue Service has launched a review of the tax-exempt status of a widely-held form of mortgage-backed securities called REMICs.

The IRS confirmed to Reuters that the review comes in response to mounting evidence that banks violated tax requirements by mishandling the transfer of mortgages to REMICs, short for Real Estate Mortgage Conduits. --Ticker quoting Reuters

The tax penalties could be (get this) one hundred percent of earnings on the REMICs.

Like a Freight Train

Now and then one comes across a performance which is really, really, really good.

This is one of them. You don't have to be a Southern Baptist (I'm not) to "get" the excellence of the performance here. It's clear that Ms. Underwood delivers from conviction, but it takes far more than mere conviction to do what she does in this video.

It hits like a freight train.

The audience is a 'jury of peers', by the way--which should tell you something. They were on their feet 40 seconds before the end....

HT: PowerLine

Photoshop, Illustrator--Whatever Happened to Xerox?

In the Good Old Days, there were Xerox machines. You wanna copy? You getta Xerox. It was all good.

Now there's stuff out there that ........does stuff.......that is very curious.

Gateway is among those who have questions about the long-form.

(Let me make something perfectly clear. I don't give a flying $%^&*&& about Obozo's citizenship. I DO care, Very Much, that Obozo's residence, beginning January 2013, is anyplace BUT the White House. Hawaii's nice that time of year, I hear.)

Backbone Emerges in Chicago Chancery

Frankly, I didn't think this would happen.

Citing what he called threats from the Rev. Michael Pfleger to leave the church, Cardinal Francis George has removed the outspoken priest from St. Sabina parish and has suspended his “sacramental faculties as a priest.

Pfleger had publicly feuded with the cardinal about possibly being reassigned to Leo High School, telling a radio show recently that he would look outside the Catholic church if offered no other choice.

“If that is truly your attitude, you have already left the Catholic Church and are therefore not able to pastor a Catholic parish,” George wrote in a letter dated today.

Pray for the Cardinal, who will be labeled libeled as a "racist" immediately.

HT: Gateway

Yes, D of D Spending Can Be Cut

There are a number of good ideas in this brief essay. Here's one:

Congress should pass a 21st century Military Transformation Act targeting service efficiency by collapsing functional capabilities to cut costs. Specifically, Congress should ask hard questions, such as, “Why do we need two ground forces (Army and Marines)?” “Why do we need four air forces (each service has an air force)?” “Why do we need three navies (Coast Guard, Navy, and Army’s fleet of tugs, barges, and boats)?” And “Why do we need eight Defense Department intelligence agencies?” Organizing functions under single headquarters can truly reduce bureaucracy, and create numerous efficiencies and produce long-term cost reductions.

There are more, and we may as well become familiar with them. It must be done.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The JS' Self-Defense Mechanism

The Milwaukee JS has gone all crusader about bisphenol-A (BPA). They join the P.I. Lawyers (that's "ambulance-chasers", folks) in their zeal to rid the world of this menace--whether by writing incessantly about it or by suing somebody into bankruptcy, or both.

Well. Seems that McIlheran ran across a study which cast a few doubts on the trial-attorney/JS line. (Be SURE to read the combox there. Love and kisses are strewn all over it. JS, in turn, found that the study included scientists who had been affiliated with BPA manufacture.

And the JS cites some outfit called "Environmental Health Sciences" as a 'non-profit environmental group'.

Well, maybe that's what they are. Who can argue? They've been pretty careful to mask exactly what they are by overlaying it with their "news service." As you can see, the "news" is all......bad. But there's a redeeming value: they'll send you aspiring journalists all sorts of "feed" stories for your newspaper!

In any case, it's entirely possible that "Environmental Health Sciences" is funded at least partially by trial lawyers.

About 10 seconds' work with Google also tells you that the 'news service' is supported by the Kendeda Fund--which is also difficult to track down on the 'net. But Kendeda does "partner" with a very well-known outfit: the Tides Foundation. (You remember Tides for its intimate associations with Mrs. Heinz-Kerry and its unvarnished love for all things AlGore.)

And, to top it off, there's an interdisciplinary pissing match!

...there's a deep rift between the scientific disciplines of toxicology and endocrinology, hinging on the theory that some chemicals - including bisphenol A - may behave more like hormones than traditional toxins, and therefore may affect health and development at very low concentrations. Toxicologists don't believe that theory. Endocrinologists do...

Fortunately, I'm a member of the human race, and that means, statistically speaking, that I'm a-gonna' die. BPA, lead, mercury, nicotine, bug-spray, cancer, heart failure, auto accident, spousal shooting---whatever---I'm a-gonna' die.

Probably long before the JS-Trial Lawyer-Bayer-Endocrinologist-Toxicologist pissing match is over with.

One more thing: the JS article of today states "And the FDA reversed its position on BPA safety in January 2010, saying it was concerned about the chemical's effects on fetuses, infants and children..."

Well, that's one way to phrase it.

...the FDA specifically stated that they had ’some concern’ about BPA. This level of concern merely states that there are insufficient data from studies in humans to reach a conclusion on reproductive or developmental hazards presented by current exposures to bisphenol A, but there is limited evidence of developmental changes occurring in some animal studies at doses that are experienced by humans. It is uncertain if similar changes would occur in humans, but the possibility of adverse health effects cannot be dismissed.

That's the OTHER way to phrase it.

But here's the realistic way to analyze it:

You would have to cram 1,300 pounds of food that was in contact with a BPA-lined can or bottle, every single day for your entire life, into your body in order to exceed the EPA’s safety levels of BPA.

Personally, I'll pass on the last 1298 pounds of food. Your mileage may vary.

Don't Hold Your Breath

....waiting for the "Free Markets Forever!!!" crowd to denounce this move.

Interest rates on payday loans would be capped at 36 percent under a proposal Republicans are circulating in the Wisconsin Legislature.

New regulations on the payday lending industry took effect in December, but the previous Legislature controlled by Democrats rejected a cap on interest.

What about all the folks who will no longer be able to get cash? Who'll starve b/c they can't borrow a few bucks in payday-anticipation? Are the Republicans killing off the poor?

Former Bush T-Sec Loses Mind, Talks Anyway

Screw you, Mr. O'Neill.

Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill compared lawmakers trying to block a debt-ceiling increase to terrorists.

Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill compared lawmakers trying to block raising the debt ceiling to “al Qaeda terrorists.”

There's an Alzheimer's ward waiting for you.

HT: Zippers

Public Employee Health Insurance Costs (!!!)

You prolly should be sitting down before you read further.

And if appropriate, have oxygen and a defibrillator handy.

HCTrends, a health-care consulting outfit, ran a study of SE Wisconsin (7-county) health-insurance costs, comparing private-sector, private-sector-unionized, school-district, and State of Wisconsin health-insurance costs.

We all know that "teachers' union" health-plans are expensive. But what we didn't know is that the State of Wisconsin (family) health-plan is even MORE expensive in SE Wisconsin.

$1,719/month for teachers v. $1,750/month for State employees, (family plan.)

If you think that's a lot of money, compare:

Average private-sector UNION-SHOP family-plan insurance cost/month: $1,416.00

Average private-sector NON-UNION family-plan insurance cost/month: $1,292.00

When even the Teamsters' Union cannot get the bennies of the State employees, you know something's wrong....

HT: P-Mac

Bush = Simple. Obama = Complex.

And if you question that, you're:

1) racist
2) too stupid to understand, or
3) both.

And because of the above, you may not ask questions.

HT: Hot Air

Nope. No Inflation Here. Nope. Don't See It. Nope.

Too bad that the NYTimes' chart on inflation cannot support the Obozo Administration's line that there is no trouble in PixieDust land, eh?

By the way, there's a lesson to be learned here, if you look at both charts.

The first one (the original) makes it clear that eating is harmful to your financial health.

The second one--modified for propaganda purposes--really, really, obscures that fact.

See how smart graphics can change your understanding of the world?

HT: Barry

Ryan's Antagonists

You'll see some interesting.......ahhh.......people at about -0:45 on this video.

Didn't know that the Teamsters looked so hot in skirts, eh? Here's the rest of the story--that is, the part that Channel 6's newsteam did not cover:

...Outside of the event in Kenosha there were 50 to 75 protesters, mostly union members and liberal activists, including community organizers from the organization Community for Change who had dressed as 1920s millionaires and held signs thanking Ryan.

The small crowd eventually became raucous, as Ryan supporters began speaking up. A man who identified himself only as a Teamsters member ("I don't have a name," he told me) got in the face of a Ryan supporter.

"I will go to jail for you, man," the Teamsters member said to the Ryan supporter.

[Yes, that's a threat of assault and battery.]

"Officer, arrest this man," the Teamsters member then said to a police officer. "He's inciting a riot."

The police officer told the Teamsters member not to tell him what to do, and the Teamsters official responded by leaning into the police officer chanting for pay cuts to cops who "don't protect and serve."

"Back off!" yelled the police officer.

The rowdy scene caused Ryan to leave with a police escort out of another exit.

"Chickenshit!" yelled Ned Harper, president of the local SEIU chapter, upon hearing the news that Ryan was already gone.

I don't think that the MSM (here, Fox6) is necessarily "covering up" the threats and the identities/affiliations of the protesters.

But it sure would be nice if they went the distance and asked a few questions, wouldn't it?

HT: Insurrection

The Fakery of the MSM

Gee. Just this morning, someone ran an item suggesting that Obama will get the support of the superannuated because Ryan wants those oldsters to die, or something.

Now Gallup comes out and makes the MSM into liars, again.

...Ryan's plan includes a complete restructuring of Medicare for people younger than 55. Pluralities of middle-aged Americans as well as those 65 and older prefer Ryan's plan to Obama's...

As a matter of fact, those 65+ years of age prefer Ryan's plan 48/42 over Obozo's.

There's a reason: they have grandchildren. And in the words of Herman Cain, "Having a child makes you think of that child's future. Having grandchildren makes you think of the COUNTRY'S future."

Cain is right. The MSM is wrong, and so is Obozo.

The "Woopsie!!" Potential in the Volt's Batteries


Lithium-ion batteries contain chemicals that, if allowed to combine through even a pinhole, have the distressing tendency to violently burst into flame. A quick visit to Google will provide a great many articles and entertaining videos of lithium-ion battery fires and explosions(!). In addition, to develop enough power to propel the Volt, its battery contains substantial electrical power, more than enough to seriously injure or kill unwary paramedics or mechanics who do not have the knowledge and proper safety equipment and tools to deal with a wounded Volt.

That should be interesting.

HT: ConYankee

The Comedians Catch On to Obama


"Donald Trump says he's President Obama's worst nightmare," Jay Leno said last night. "No. Having to make a decision is President Obama's worst nightmare."

Jay Leno is NOT a conservative.


Ugh. Charter Cable Here?

If you want, call any of your friends in the Madison area who suffer through Charter Cable's "service."

Then call the PSC and make sure this doesn't happen.

Charter Communications, one of the country largest cable companies, has offered to swap its Los Angeles-area cable system with Time Warner Cable’s system in Wisconsin, according a recent trade magazine report. Under the proposed trade, Charter, which already offers cable services in the state, would quickly become Wisconsin’s largest cable provider.

Trump PR Campaign Over. Back to Real Problems

Well, that'll take care of Donald Trump, thank God.

The Obama administration is releasing President Barack Obama's long-form birth certificate, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer announced Wednesday

There's a closet somewhere which misses Donald.

The "Mexico Problem" Is NOT Guns

The Government of Mexico is now mumbling about suing US gun manufacturers because, says the Gummint of Mexico, drug-gangs have guns from the US.

Well, that's not the Mexican problem.

Suitcases started piling up, unclaimed, at the depot where buses crossing northern Tamaulipas state ended their route. That should have been an early clue.

Then the bodies started piling up, pulled by forensic workers from two dozen hidden graves in the scruffy brush-covered ravines around the town of San Fernando, 80 miles south of this city that borders Brownsville, Texas.

At least 177 corpses have been recovered in the last few weeks, most of them, officials now say, passengers snatched from interstate buses, tortured and slaughtered. ...

...the killing in Tamaulipas state has been going on for months — including the brutal slayings of bus passengers — and no one, not the bus companies, nor the police, nor the officials in charge, acted to stop it.

Can you spell "corruption"?

Obama Darkens Our Days

The Fiscal Inebriate-in-Chief effect:

Americans’ confidence in the economy has hit a low for the year, according to a Gallup survey, returning to levels last seen in 2009 and continuing a downward trend in economic confidence that began in mid-February.

Another reason that Boehner shoulda shut down the Gummint, but .....

Thanks, WISN and Jerry!!!

Thanks are owed to Jerry Bott and WISN for having cancelled Beck.

With Beck out of the way, one can listen to an actual Conservative--Levin--in mid-evening. He's far more entertaining (albeit louder) than Beck.

And the issues discussed are more substantial.

Gas and Oil "Subsidies"? "Record Profits"? Nope. Propaganda

The propaganda war--and it IS propaganda--heats up. And.... The REAL reason Obozo wants to eliminate "subsidies" to oil companies.

First off: a friend (who's been around business for a long time) repeated the 'oil companies had record profits' line to me yesterday, as though it meant that We Wuz Robbed by the bastards. proved that my friend is gullible.

Oil companies report profits of about 10% of gross sales. That means that if their gross sales number goes up, their profit will usually go up. If sales last year were $1 million, then profits should have been ~10%, or $100,000. If sales THIS year were $2 million, then profits (at 10%) should be around $200,000. See? "Doubled Profits!!" is how the MSM would report that. Oil Companies are EEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeevil!!

But the only reason that there were "record profits" is that gross sales rose. More petroleum was sold, and/or the price of petroleum went up. So did the profits from those sales. No surprise to anyone who doesn't swallow the MSM line whole.

Next: Obozo's "Subsidies" bullshit.

...Obama wants Congress to “take ‘immediate action’ to end tax subsidies for oil and gas companies”

The two subsidies Barack Obama specifically wants Congress to kill are the “percentage depletion” and “intangible drilling costs (IDCs)” tax incentives.

In other words, they're not actually "subsidies;" they are deductible expenses.

(Sorta like "mortgage interest" and "property tax" deductions. Are those "subsidies"? That's what Obozo calls them.)

And the Propagandist-in-Chief will not disturb Exxon/Mobil, BP, or Shell with his bright idea, either.

...the Administration is seeking to repeal the “percentage depletion” and “intangible drilling costs (IDCs)” tax incentives. The removal of these provisions would negatively affect domestic independents who utilize them to attract the capital necessary to drill new oil and gas wells inside the United States. It is estimated that eliminating percentage depletion and IDCs for domestic independents would reduce U.S. drilling by 30-40 percent, thereby increasing the nation’s dependence energy from foreign sources. Furthermore, the major oil companies are barred by law from receiving percentage depletion altogether, as it only is given to domestic independent producers. The IDC preference is only available for domestic drilling activity, and as the major oil companies drill primarily outside the U.S., the domestic independent sector of the industry will yet again bear the brunt of losing this critical provision.

That commentary is from a Democrat Senator (Boren).

If Obozo does not know that only the little guys will be hurt by his proposal, he's the Ignoramus-in-Chief.

On the other hand, maybe Obozo DOES know that this will kill off the little guys and leave only the Big Guys around.

Ever think of that?

The Statist can control oligopolies much more easily, folks.

Oh, Really? Fake Hospital Caller ID?

Long story short, a number of people who signed "Recall Hansen" petitions in the Green Bay area then got phone calls from an outfit asking them if they actually signed such a petition.

The caller-ID for those calls said "Aurora BayCare Medical Center."

Well. Aurora said that their hospital had nothing to do with it.

Then we get this:

...the automated called were placed by Meyer Teleservices, a St. Cloud, Minn.-based telemarketing firm

“During the initial scope of our calling on the evening of April 25th it was brought to our attention that there were discrepancies with the caller ID information being provided from our site, Nick Gerten, Meyer’s chief executive officer said in the statement. “We immediately took steps to rectify the situation and had the issue resolved...."

Which raises another question: how did Meyer Teleservices of St Cloud, MN. obtain and utilize a caller ID from Aurora Hospital?

Is that not FRAUD? Or was there some co-operation here, which would mean conspiracy?

Can anyone get and use the Caller ID from the White House? The M&I Bank?

What's going on here?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

High-Lead Goose?

In case anyone in the Wisconsin DNR brings it up, the definitive slapdown of the "leaded goose and venison" crapola is here.

Krugman and Kerry, Sittin' in a Tree....

Well,'s all the same in Nobel Prize land, right?

...the Federal Government, however solid its finances may currently appear, is in fact living utterly beyond its means. While the present generation of retirees is doing very nicely, the promises that are being made to those now working cannot be honored. --Paul Krugman, 1996

Remember that old joke about economists, ending with "....on the third hand...."?

It's not a joke. Krugman is the joke.

HT: Malkin via Verum

Why US Debt Growth Is Very, Very, Bad

Oh, yes, I know that Reagan, Bush 1 and Bush 2 signed off on some of this debt.

SOME of the debt.

It's also noteworthy that results were very different when comparing (R) v. (D) Congressional majorities.


...when adjusted for new debt issuance, the [US'] compounded growth rate since 1983 is -3.96%. Yes, annually. Incidentally, from 1953-83 it was 5.30%. Yes, annually, and yes, positive.

"Investment"? Nope. Pure consumption.

HT: Ticker

The Cost of Healthcare

The cost of healthcare is projected to go up, up, up, up, and up. There is no "down" (excepting the possibility of a black swan event.)

There are reasons for that, of course.

...The myth is that hospitals control these things for everyone. That is false. They have a contract with huge companies to provide whatever the company offers without a true understanding of what really works.

I had an eye toward getting the job done perfectly for the least cost. I was one of the first general surgeons to put an operating room in my office. I was able to realize great savings on drapes, equipment, and supplies. I love to operate so I could quote a very reasonable price to patients for something that was satisfying and fun to do.

Unfortunately, I couldn't put these global fee packages together for insured patients because the insurance companies didn't have a mechanism to deal with any creative new ideas.

...I could offer these global fees for patients that didn't have insurance. For example, I charged $750 for a hernia repair, ($1250 for both sides), and this included everything associated with the repair of the hernia and came with a guarantee.

The doctor also mentions a "surgery center" business which reminded me of the Wisconsin Heart Hospital--blackballed out of business by the usual local suspects.

By the way, Patrick has a wonderful essay touching on the same topic.

HT: Mish's Global

Actual "Ideology"


1) Ideology is inverted religion, denying the Christian doctrine of salvation through grace in death, and substituting collective salvation here on earth through violent revolution. Ideology inherits the fanaticism that sometimes has afflicted religious faith, and applies that intolerant belief to concerns secular.

2) Ideology makes political compromise impossible: the ideologue will accept no deviation from the Absolute Truth of his secular revelation. This narrow vision brings about civil war, extirpation of “reactionaries”, and the destruction of beneficial functioning social institutions.

3) Ideologues vie one with another in fancied fidelity to their Absolute Truth; and they are quick to denounce deviationists or defectors from their party orthodoxy. Thus fierce factions are raised up among the ideologues themselves, and they war mercilessly and endlessly upon one another, as did Trotskyites and Stalinists.

Kirk goes on to mention that ideology makes compromise impossible, but compromise is essential to good governance.


File under "one-liners to remember":

“The notion that Washington knows best has put us in the place that we are in right now, which is bankrupt,”

--Gary Johnson, GOP (Libertarian) candidate for President

HT: RedStates

Thinking of Traveling to Europe? Maybe You Won't

According to Hildebeeste's State Department, "some" US citizens who want a passport will answer a long list of questions.

Form DS-5513 asks for all addresses since birth; lifetime employment history including employers’ and supervisors names, addresses, and telephone numbers; personal details of all siblings; mother’s address one year prior to your birth; any 'religious ceremony' around the time of birth; and a variety of other information," reports Consumer Traveler, which adds that only "some" citizens will have to fill out the questionnaire.

Takes me out, because there are two addresses at which I've lived since my birth which, frankly, I do not KNOW--both before I was 5 years old. And three of my 'former supervisors' are dead...

Monday, April 25, 2011

No Oil for YOU!

Gee, another surprise!

Shell Oil Company has announced it must scrap efforts to drill for oil this summer in the Arctic Ocean off the northern coast of Alaska. The decision comes following a ruling by the EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board to withhold critical air permits. The move has angered some in Congress and triggered a flurry of legislation aimed at stripping the EPA of its oil drilling oversight.

Shell has spent five years and nearly $4 billion dollars on plans to explore for oil in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. --FoxNews quoted at Gateway

Next thing you'll hear from TehWon is that 'Shell Oil is not working on their lease-holding in the Arctic'...

Obama: "Czars, Yes!! Inspector Generals, No!"

Only 12 Inspector General slots not filled since 2009.

What could go wrong??

About Obama's "Budget"

You only have to change a couple of words to hear Obozo talking about Paul Ryan's budget proposal:

“[Paul Ryan's] America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchlldren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists would be censored at the whim of government and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is often the only protector of individual rights that are the heart of our democracy.”

That was actually Ted the Swimmer Kennedy speaking about Bob Bork's nomination.

Recycle, reduce, re-use....

Far more--all just as devastating--at Roeser's place.

The Ruling Class

That's the Democrats and Republicans in DC, calling themselves to the New Order they'd like to have.

On Excellence

From a letter of Matthew Arnold:

A lady in the State of Ohio sent to me only the other day a volume on American authors; the praise given throughout was of such high pitch that in thanking her I could not forbear saying that for only one or two of the authors named was such a strain of praise admissible, and that we lost all real standard of excellence by praising so uniformly and immoderately. She answered me with charming good temper, that very likely I was quite right, but it was pleasant to her to think that excellence was common and abundant.

But excellence is not common and abundant; on the contrary, as the Greek poet long ago said, excellence dwells among rocks hardly accessible, and a man must almost wear his heart out before he can reach her. Whoever talks of excellence as common and abundant, is on the way to lose all right standard of excellence. And when the right standard of excellence is lost, it is not likely that much which is excellent will be produced.

HT: Laudator

The Price of Oil, and Gold (?)

Some would have it that the (USD) price of oil is related specifically to demand.

The charts here present another possibility.

HT: BigPicture

FactCheck v. Obama: Obama...Ahhhh....Makes Stuff Up

The list is very long, indeed, and all it covers is Obama's lying about Ryan's budget proposal.

President Barack Obama misrepresented the House Republicans' budget plan at times and exaggerated its impact on U.S. residents during an April 13 speech on deficit reduction.

- Obama claimed the Republicans' "Path to Prosperity" plan would cause "up to 50 million Americans "¦ to lose their health insurance." But that worst-case figure is based in part on speculation and assumptions.

- He said the GOP plan would replace Medicare with "a voucher program that leaves seniors at the mercy of the insurance industry." That's an exaggeration. Nothing would change for those 55 and older. Those younger would get federal subsidies to buy private insurance from a Medicare exchange set up by the government.

- He said "poor children," "children with autism" and "kids with disabilities" would be left "to fend for themselves." That, too, is an exaggeration. The GOP says states would have "freedom and flexibility to tailor a Medicaid program that fits the needs of their unique populations." It doesn't bar states from covering those children.

- He repeated a deceptive talking point that the new health care law will reduce the deficit by $1 trillion. That's the Democrats' own estimate over a 20-year period. The Congressional Budget Office pegged the deficit savings at $210 billion over 10 years and warned that estimates beyond a decade are "more and more uncertain."

That's just a start on Obama's lying liar speech. Plenty more at the link.

HT: Gateway

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Chris Wallace v. Mayor Bloomberg (Slime-NYC)

Bloomberg claims to be Republican. He's just slime. And he demonstrated that people like him have simply lost their minds, right there on Fox News Sunday today.

Wallace asked Bloomberg just who might be at fault for the public-employee unions' overly generous compensation packages.

Bloomberg replied that it was the voters' fault--that is, the citizens.

Wallace riposted that he (Wallace) had never been at the bargaining table--so how could 'citizens' be at fault?

Bloomberg actually responded that "Politicians represent the people." [So, the politicians did what the people wanted them to do, see???]

That's what passes for thinking and logic in the 'minds' of politicians.

Wanna Have Some Fun With the Stupids?

This is pure comic gold.

HT: MoonBattery

Those Fabulously Wonderful ChooChoo Trains

Just a couple of little problems with those wonderful, fabulous, high-speed Solution to Every Problem Known to Man.

....Today, Liu Zhijun is ruined, and his high-speed rail project is in trouble. On Feb. 25, he was fired for “severe violations of discipline” — code for embezzling tens of millions of dollars. Seems his ministry has run up $271 billion in debt — roughly five times the level that bankrupted General Motors. But ticket sales can’t cover debt service that will total $27.7 billion in 2011 alone.

Oh, there's more:

Safety concerns also are cropping up.

And even more!

On April 13, the government cut bullet-train speeds 30 mph to improve safety, energy efficiency and affordability.

This is the system that Obozo yaps about, continually.

There's some use to be gained from Obama's hectoring. He nagged us about "wind and solar" and Spain's wind/solar industries almost bankrupted Spain. Now he nags and rags about PRChina's choochoos--and the choochoos will almost bankrupt PRChina.

Obama: destroying world economies just by moving his mouth.

The Good Old Days

Maetenloch/AOSHQ reminds us of when gasoline was $2.20/gal and unemployment was 4.4%.

Yup. Just before the (D) majority Congress was ushered in.

You're Not Paying Taxes for Illinois? Soon, You Will!

Well, that's one way to think of it.

Illinois, one of the three fiscally-sickest States in the Union, imposed an 'internet-sales' tax.

Then Amazon and Overstock pulled the 'affiliate' agreements they held with Illinois folks--because if those Illinois affiliates sold an Amazon product, Amazon would have to collect the new Illinois sales tax, yadayada.

Amazon's thought: "Why bother with all that? We can just cut off the Illinois affiliates instead."

So they did.

But of course, that meant that Illinois affiliates were no longer making money on their Amazon/Overstock deals. Some made enough money so that now they're thinking of relocating to Wisconsin, just like FatWallet did.

Well. Can't have too much of that, or Illinois will be to Wisconsin like California is to Texas. (Hint: it ain't good.)

Enter Slimebag Durbin.

As early as this week, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told The Post he will propose sweeping legislation to tax all online purchases — in a move aimed at closing state budget shortfalls.

Should this go through, Wisconsin residents will be bailing out Illinois.

No wonder we call them F.I.Bs.

Yes, Wisconsin is trying to force 'net retailers to pay Wisconsin's onerous sales tax, too--mistakenly. There are good reasons for shopping at "brick-and-mortar" stores and pay the tax, just as there are good reasons to shop the 'net and NOT pay the tax. It's foolish to purchase some items on the 'net; better to pay the tax and have a retailer 'on the hook' for post-sale service and/or warranty obligations, no? On the other hand, a $12.00 book---meh. You don't need a warranty and won't require service.

Happy Easter!

Et valde mane, una sabbatorum, ...

Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia!!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

What's "School Choice" For, Anyway?

The 'school choice' program is about to become very interesting.

Originally, the program was sold as an emancipation from the Massa's plantation. 'Massa' was (and still is) the Milwaukee Public Schools/Milwaukee Teachers' Association combine of incompetence, bureaucracy, and greed. You can argue that the bureaucracy caused the incompetence, and that 'greed' isn't the middle name of MTA--but you can't argue that the plantation generally doesn't suck, because it does. You can ask the teachers, the parents, the principals, the students--ask anyone. They'll tell you.

The "choice" program set the kids free.

The question now is: "free for what and whom"?

There are two basic types of "choice" schools (if one ignores the charlatans and hucksters.) The first type is the religious ones: Messmer, St. Anthony's, Milwaukee Lutheran, St Joan Antida, Believers in Christ Academy (etc.) The second type is the 'academics' schools: the Montessoris, the Waldorf school, the "technical" schools, etc. Some of them are 'both/and', such as Marquette High and Notre Dame. The 'religious' schools do not demand that choice students are members of their religious denomination, but non-believers don't get a 'free pass' from religious training, either.

OK. So what?

Along comes Governor Walker. He proposes to set ALL the captives free by eliminating the 'cap' on total choice-school enrollment, eliminating the City residency requirement, and eliminating the income restrictions. For practical purposes that means that if you live in Milwaukee County, you can send your kid(s) to a choice school--with a check from the State--no matter how much you earn.

(Let's remember that the money for "choice" comes from taxpayers--that is, exactly the people who Walker proposes to let use the system.)

This draws fire from a couple of interest groups: Hispanic (D) leggies, Black (D) leggies, and certain Republicans, yet to be named.

The interest groups here tell us that there are two different motivations. The blacks and hispanics--Democrats--are desperately trying to maintain their own fiefdoms of union voters, so they're playing the race cards. They realize that more choice = less public schools = less union teachers. That's "less votes for us" in the end.

The Republicans just don't like all those religious types. They're 'country club' folk--the Rockefeller/GHWBush/Christie Whitman cabal. Catholics are not welcome, and for that matter, Lutherans who actually believe all their doctrine aren't, either.

Strange bedfellows, eh?

"The Circle" That Has Everybody In It

Agitator likes the tune and the message, and one doesn't have to be a country fan to recognize the folks who perform this 'Circle.'

Everybody is there.

The "Civility" of the Left

On Madison-based blogspots, one is repeatedly reminded that the Right must "be civil."

Shall the Right model its civility on the example provided by the Left?

...John McCain had chosen a running mate 'whose primary qualification seems to be that she hasn't had an abortion... (Democrat State Chairman/South Carolina)

...[McCain] threw caution to the wind and with no vetting whatsoever, picked a woman who, by her decision to endure her own eight-month pregnancy of a Down Syndrome child in public, ... (Andrew Sullivan)

...What her Down syndrome baby and pregnant teenage daughter unequivocally prove, however, is that her most beloved child is the antiabortion platform that ensures her own political ambitions with the conservative right. (Salon)

That's only a few, and it doesn't touch the "Conservatives are, ipso facto, stupid" 'civility' which began when Ron Reagan was running for President.

It's good that the Left doesn't give driving lessons the same way they teach 'civility.' It's bad that the Left dominates education, however.

HT: Insurrection

Oh, THAT Bunny?

HT: Grim/Maggie's Farm

The Secondary Effect of the NLRB's Boeing Action

The Obama NLRB has acted to--in effect--tell Boeing where it may and may not manufacture its products. This is an event which is historic; nothing like it has ever happened before.

(It's also somewhat ironic. Fifty years ago, there were several domestic large-aircraft manufacturers; Douglas, McDonnell, Boeing, Martin, and Lockheed among them. There were union-shops and non-union shops. Some of these companies focused on the commercial market, others on Dept of Defense, some worked with both.

Over time, for various reasons, the field was reduced to two: Boeing and Lockheed. This is called an 'oligopoly.' The IAMAW was encouraged to lobby Congress on Boeing's behalf over various issues. You can bet that some of the IAMAW's lobbying efforts served to put Boeing competitors at a disadvantage--and perhaps out of business. It's a "pilot fish" arrangement, you see.

Oligopolies have consequences; ask the (f/k/a/) "Big Three." The union-in-place ALSO becomes an 'oligopoly,' meaning that it can disable one, or all, of its employers in the process of bargaining. So in a manner of speaking, Boeing brought this on itself.)

Anyhoo, the secondary effect of the NLRB lawsuit will be a concentrated effort to de-certify unions wherever they exist now. Companies which fail to 'de-cert' will, if they have the resources, establish plants offshore. Companies which cannot de-cert or relocate offshore will close--temporarily--and re-open in different States--without a Union in the shop.

This will be deleterious to the US' economic strength, of course, which is all part of the Obama Plan.

Driving While Cop

Happened to fall in line behind an unmarked State Patrol car yesterday.

Evidently the State Patrol gets its drivers from the dipshit end of the pool. Remember all that stuff about "one car length separation for each 10 MPH" you learned in drivers' ed?

Not if you're a State Cop in an unmarked Ford. Try 1.5 car lengths, max. That's so that you can wear out the brakes by slamming them to "lockup" every time traffic slows down. Hey: taxpayers pay for the brake jobs, anyway.

And all that crap about "speed limits"? Fuggedaboutit. With a State Patrol unmarked car with that Police Interceptor engine, you can hit 75MPH (yup, I clocked the damn fool) inside of Milwaukee County, and hit the exit ramp at 84th St. at around 65MPH. Sure, it's a short ramp--but you can slam on the brakes!

After all, the taxpayer pays for those brake jobs.

And no: the car was NOT 'lights and sirens.' Just another day touring around looking for traffic violations, or something.

Education Colleges: "We Will NOT Be Evaluated"

Well, isn't this interesting.

A controversial review of America's teacher colleges has met resistance in Wisconsin, where education school leaders in the public and private sector say they will not voluntarily participate.

The National Council on Teacher Quality, a nonprofit advocacy group, and U.S. News & World Report, known for its annual rankings of colleges, announced in January they would launch a first-ever review of the nation's roughly 1,400 colleges of education

What could possibly be the problem?

A 2006 report by the prominent then-president of Teachers College at Columbia University said most education schools have low admission and graduation standards.

That ruffled feathers, and it fueled interest in some circles about a more public evaluation of education schools.

The council and U.S. News have designed a 15-page survey that asks for information about the schools, such as syllabuses and how student teaching experiences are organized. The process will evaluate the design quality of the education schools against 17 standards, according to the council's website

Marquette University won't participate, either.

Careful Lies About the Sources of Drug-Gang Guns

Fairly interesting interview here about the Mexican drug gangs. In brief, they're all over the US, and their presence includes large growing operations in national and state parks.

Then the interviewee, Sylvia Longmire, 36, former Air Force Special Agent, former senior border security analyst for the State of California and author of the upcoming book "Cartel: The Coming Invasion of Mexico's Drug Wars" goes off the track.

Are the reports that the U.S. exports as many weapons down to Mexico as the cartels bring drugs into the U.S. true?

This is a very delicate political issue. Nobody knows for sure where the cartels' weapons come from because they can't all be traced. They do use military-grade weapons, but their weapons of choice are pistols and AK-47s. Most of the weapons that have been successfully traced have been traced back to the U.S.

Nice spin, Sylvia. Only 15% (or less) of drug-gang weapons HAVE been traced at all.

In other words, 85% of the weapons cannot be traced. There's a reason for that: they are purchased from South America, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe--and they are "obtained" from the corrupt Mexican military.

Not to be bothered with facts, Sylvia blames the NRA.

...The NRA will argue to the death that's it not true that the cartels' drug weapons come from the U.S. ... it's hard to comprehend the insane amount of influence the NRA wields. The NRA says the cartels' weapons are not coming from the U.S., and nobody goes against them because of the number of votes they get politicians...

Umnnhhh....perhaps "nobody goes against them" because NRA's arguments are fact-based, Sylvia?

Look, Sylvia: MEXICO is the problem here. They can't, or won't, enforce their own laws. They can't, or won't, prosecute corruption. The Mexican politicians are far more corrupt than are the US politicians (so far.)


Obama's Poll Numbers Are Where They Should Be

Talk about absolutely awful numbers from CBS/NYTimes...

70% of Americans feel things in this country are seriously off on the wrong track.

59% disapprove of Obama’s handling of the federal budget [ ] the highest CBS/NYT has ever measured that number.

Obama’s Libya approval numbers have completely flipped from 50/29 approve in March to 45/39 disapprove today

When asked “Do you think Barack Obama has the same priorities for the country as you have, or doesn’t he?” 53% said no and 43% said yes. When Obama was inaugurated those numbers were 65% and 28% no

More at the link, and they're all negative, too.

Friday, April 22, 2011

On Good Friday

The Gradual from the Holy Thursday Mass, Christus Factus Est.

Well-performed here, in Bruckner's realization.

Image credit.

"...and the veil of the Temple was rent from top to bottom...."