Tuesday, May 31, 2011
President Barack Obama will Tuesday nominate businessman John Bryson as his pick for commerce secretary, in another sign of his wish to mend ties with the US private sector. Two White House officials confirmed on condition of anonymity that Obama would name Bryson, the former head of Edison International, a leading energy firm founded in California,...
Doesn't mention that he was co-founder of NatResDefenseCouncil (NRDC), does it?
LeftyWacko, Extreme Edition.
...Benedict XVI is also a pope of recognized musical competency, even more so than his holy predecessor. On music in general and on sacred music, he has said and written memorable and brilliant things.
But unlike with Pius X, the current pope's words have not been backed up with actions.
Instead of reviving it, Benedict XVI has let slide what was the musical glory of the pontifical liturgies: the choir of the Sistine Chapel. When the choir was decapitated in 1997 with the ouster of its highly qualified conductor, Domenico Bartolucci, by pope Karol Wojtyla's directors of ceremonies, then-cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was the only high official in the curia who came to his defense.
As pope, in 2010, he made Bartolucci a cardinal. But never, up until today, has he received him in audience.
Dumping Bartolucci was a good move. B'ci was of the "stomp, scream, shout" school of singing. So far as I know, he was also the only practitioner from that school.
Magister, evidently now Bartolucci's scribe, then stamps around the room telling us that Bartolucci's successor is incompetent. Well, maybe. But the Sistine Choir is also incompetent--largely due to Bartolucci's stupidity. Pea/Pod.
This is interesting, too:
Last March 14, Archbishop Fernando Filoni, the substitute secretary of state at the time, had pledged in writing that the pope had "benevolently accepted the request for a pontifical audience and for an apostolic letter" on the occasion of the celebrations of the centenary.
On the invitation to the conference, in fact, the Institute also printed the announcement of the audience with the pope.
But then, a few days before the opening of the conference and with the invitations already sent, the prefecture of the pontifical household made it known that there would be no audience, nor any apostolic letter.
In their place, the pope would simply send a message, in the form of a letter to Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the congregation for education and therefore the grand chancellor of the Institute.
A friend of mine who is acquainted with a number of folks in the church-music biz both here and abroad told me that Fr. Grau was------ehhhh-------not the best thing ever to happen to the Papal Institute. Maybe B-16 agrees.
The Pope then emphasized how, since St. Pius X until today, "even though evolving naturally, there has been a substantial continuity of the Magisterium on sacred music". In particular he cited Paul VI and John Paul II who "in light of the conciliar constitution 'Sacrosanctum Concilium', reiterated the purpose of sacred music, that is to say, 'the glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful' and the fundamental criteria of the corresponding tradition...: a sense of prayer, dignity, and beauty; full adherence to liturgical texts and expressions; the assembly's participation and, therefore, the legitimate adaptation to local culture, at the same time maintaining the universality of language; the primacy of Gregorian chant as the supreme model of sacred music and the careful assessment of other expressive forms that make up the historical-liturgical patrimony of the Church, especially but not just polyphony; and the importance of the 'schola cantorum', particularly in cathedral churches".
"However, we always have to ask ourselves: Who is the true subject of the liturgy? The answer is simple: the Church. It is not the individual or the group that celebrates the liturgy, but it is primarily God's action through the Church with its history, its rich tradition, and its creativity. The liturgy, and thus sacred music, 'lives from a correct and constant relationship between healthy traditio and legitimate progressio', keeping always in mind that these two concepts ... are interwoven because 'tradition is a living reality that, therefore, encompasses within it the very principle of development and progress'", the Pope concluded.
Very useful because it is concise and accurate.
HT: Ten Reasons
That painting [at this link] by Charles Chambers is titled The Light of the World. Many years ago, a print of that painting hung in a first-grade classroom. But then the Supreme Court forbade religion in public schools, which meant the painting of baby Jesus had to go, and so the teacher took it home with her. Years later, the teacher gave it to her grand-daughter, who had just moved into an apartment with her boyfriend.
One day when her boyfriend was gone, she was home alone when a fire destroyed their apartment, and it was a miracle that she survived.
Her only possession that survived the fire? The Light of the World.The owner of the picture is quoted thus:
Today I am a pro-life Roman Catholic, the mother of seven children, and this year my husband and I will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary.”
Who is this person? Steven Tylor's ex.
So That’s How They Do it!: “Teachers degrade your paper to find out your grade.”
The Reality of Teenage Dating In Poetry:
“You mean the world to me
It’s like we were meant to be.
April twenty-six was the day
We are still together,
And it’s almost May.
More at the link.
Truer Words Were Never Written: “Teachers know why animals eat their young.”
"We knew that Justice Thomas' family had a financial stake in opposing health care reform. Now we know even more," Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. "It's pretty clear the justice has one option here: recusal."
That from someone who really, really, really, likes young girls. REALLY young girls.
Buried about halfway through:
"What school leaders and unions are trying to do is bring stability to what is a very unstable time, in whatever form is acceptable to both parties," said Jack Linehan, retired Shorewood schools superintendent and executive director of the Southeast Wisconsin Schools Alliance, a group that lobbies for public school funding.
Some districts have a large number of teachers who are 55 to 57 years old, he said. If their contracts expire, "to do nothing doesn't seem right for particularly fine teachers who worked for decades with the expectation of retirement benefits," Linehan said.
He was smart enough to be a Superintendent of Schools and he's implying that 'particularly fine teachers' will NOT get retirement benefits under the Walker plan?
Monday, May 30, 2011
It seemed that out of battle I escaped
Down some profound dull tunnel, long since scooped
Through granites which titanic wars had groined.
Yet also there encumbered sleepers groaned,
Too fast in thought or death to be bestirred.
Then ,as I probed them, one sprang up, and stared
With piteous recognition in fixed eyes,
Lifting distressful hands, as if to bless.
And by his smile, I knew that sullen hall, -
By his dead smile I knew we stood in Hell.
With a thousand pains that vision's face was grained;
Yet no blood reached there from the upper ground,
And no guns thumped, or down the flues made moan.
'Strange friend,' I said, 'here is no cause to mourn.'
'None,' said that other, 'save the undone years,
The hopelessness. Whatever hope is yours,
Was my life also; I went hunting wild
After the wildest beauty in the world,
Which lies not calm in eyes, or braided hair,
But mocks the steady running of the hour,
And if it grieves, grieves richlier than here.
For by my glee might many men have laughed,
And of my weeping something had been left,
Which must die now. I mean the truth untold,
The pity of war, the pity war distilled.
Now men will go content with what we spoiled,
Or, discontent, boil bloody, and be spilled.
They will be swift with swiftness of the tigress.
None will break ranks, though nations trek from progress.
Courage was mine, and I had mystery,
Wisdom was mine, and I had mastery:
To miss the march of this retreating world
Into vain citadels that are not walled.
Then, when much blood had clogged their chariot-wheels,
I would go up and wash them from sweet wells,
Even with truths that lie too deep for taint.
I would have poured my spirit without stint
But not through wounds; not on the cess of war.
Foreheads of men have bled where no wounds were.
I knew you in this dark: for so you frowned
Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.
I parried; but my hands were loath and cold.
Let us sleep now...'
Sunday, May 29, 2011
You will not be surprised to be reminded that His Abysmal Sublimity Under Secretary Screwtape strongly advocated the policy of preventing each generation from learning from its predecessors: "Since we [devils] cannot deceive the whole human race all the time, it is most important thus to cut every generation off from all others; for where learning makes a free commerce between the ages there is always the danger that the characteristic errors of one may be corrected by the characteristic truths of another." That is why the demise of sacred languages among the clergy and the clerisy is such a triumph for our Enemy.
Just because it doesn't SAY "Chant" doesn't mean a thing.
There's even more!
The Diocese of Rockford has announced that its Catholic Charities offices will no longer offer state-funded adoptions and foster-care services when the new Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act takes effect June 1.
Because the law did not include an exemption allowing religious organizations to refer adoptions or foster-care arrangements involving same-sex or unmarried cohabitating couples to other agencies, “the Diocese of Rockford is forced to permanently discontinue all state-funded adoption and foster-care operations as of June 1,” said Penny Wiegert, diocesan director of communications, at a May 26 news conference. --quoted at BadgerCath
No to worry; when you leave, ComEd will shut off the lights.
Benedict XVI doesn't strike one as a tough cookie. But ask the Irish Cardinal he fired last year, or the Bishops he's "allowed to retire" more recently--or Caritas/CCHD.
His address follows up on the one given by Cardinal Sarah that reminded those participating that what they do must bring people to Christ. In other words, they must evangelize as a part of their work.
Here's a brief of B-16's words:
"(A)ll Catholics, and indeed all men and women, are called to act with purified consciences and generous hearts in resolutely promoting those values which I have often referred to as ‘non-negotiable’.”
Saturday, May 28, 2011
...on the sidewalk outside the Historical Building here, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney embraced ethanol subsidies.
How'd that old song go? "It was desperation, I know..."
HT: Hot Air
Texas came close--and could still do it; Utah's next. And we wouldn't need the approval of certain US Senators and Representatives who disapprove of the 4A!!
From the NRA:
As we previously reported, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives recently republished its proposal to require firearm dealers to report multiple sales of various rifles. Compared to its initial request in December, which was rejected as an "emergency" request, the new notice clarifies that the proposed requirement would apply only to dealers in four southwestern states, and would apply only to semi-automatic rifles of a caliber greater than .22 (including .223) and that can use detachable magazines. The notice fails to address the NRA's comments, which pointed out that the agency has no legal authority to demand this information...
BATF's pretext is "drug gangs."
Which would be OK, perhaps, if BATF itself weren't running weapons across the border.
BATF needs to be spanked and put in a corner for several months, not given an extra-legal amount of leash.
Friday, May 27, 2011
We note that Sen. RoJo voted to extend the Patriot Act 'as written'--which means that the Feds can snoop around in 'business transactions' without ANY hint of "terrorism" attached.
Since Rep. Sensenbrenner issued a presser bragging about his vote "yes," he feels more secure!
And guess whose European-sounding name shows up?
The lead author of a letter criticizing House Speaker John Boehner on “matters of faith and morals” says the letter was a bid for dialogue, not a political stunt. But Dr. Stephen Schneck's own critics say he promotes a distorted version of Catholic social teaching.
...Professor Schneck is a member of the board of directors at Democrats for Life, an organization he describes as “fundamentally and wholly concerned with trying to overturn Roe v. Wade.”
He is also a board member of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. That organization has received funding from George Soros' Open Society Institute, which promotes abortion as a “reproductive right.”
Just another hack-with-Ph.D. Not AGW-endowed, so Soros is a good alternative.
Lech Walesa, Poland’s Solidarity-era legend, ex-president and 1983 Nobel Peace Prize winner said Friday he would not accept an invitation to meet with fellow Nobel winner US President Barack Obama.
“It’s difficult to tell journalists what you’d like to say to the president of a superpower. This time I won’t tell him, I won’t meet him, it doesn’t suit me,” Walesa told Poland’s public broadcaster TVP.
The world-view divide between these men is virtually unbridgeable. Good on Walensa to make it plain.
...The past week’s presidential aggression-and-retreat two-step [on Israel] — amid indignant protestations that there had ever been any aggression in the first place — perfectly fit Obama’s pattern, which is already shopworn less than three years into his term.
To cite the classic case, who could forget the single-payer shuffle? “I have not said that I am a supporter of a single-payer system,” declaimed Mr. Obama in 2009, as reported by National Review’s Jim Geraghty. The president’s assertion was an insult to the public intelligence, no matter how credulously the Obamedia repeated it.
IOW, what Clinton taught us--the necessity of parsing--should remain a skill we use.
...Ineffective radicals are so blinded by ideology, so intoxicated by their own sense of righteousness, that they refuse to gauge the public sensibilities. Alinskyites are no less committed to their ideology; indeed, only a person who has completely bought into his ideology can maintain the patient discipline necessary to implement his utopia incrementally. That discipline is what makes the Alinskyite effective. Such an operator understands that you must always check the public pulse: Figure out how far you can push people, but never push so far that you lose political viability. Without power, radicalism is a dead end. The race is not to the swift but to the electable.
That's why the 'stealth' anti-gun activity. He cannot afford to lose electability. Same with the energy deprivation campaign, the anti-Corporate campaign, the Statism campaign...and his refusal to submit a budget this year--not to mention his refusal to come up with a Medicare solution.
....Palestinian Muslims live on global largesse and complain that it’s not enough, epitomize the culture of victimhood, and lionize terrorist “martyrs” who are no more savage (though a good bit more competent) than the iconic Bill Ayers and his Weather Underground. In short, the Palestinians check all the Left’s boxes. Even if Obama’s circle of Chicago friends did not include the rabidly anti-Israel Ayers and former PLO mouthpiece Rashid Khalidi, there would be little mystery about who is assigned the hero’s role and who is the villain in the president’s estimate of this long-running drama. But Obama could not say such a thing and remain politically viable. He knows that. Anyone who watched the rousing bipartisan ovation that washed over his bête noire, Netanyahu, in Congress on Tuesday would know that.
Which is why the 'world community' will be sending $40Bn to the Muslimistas--not "the US."
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told CNSNews.com on Wednesday that the administration's new $500 million early learning initiative is designed to deal with children from birth onward to prevent such problems as 5-year olds who "can't sit still" in a kindergarten classroom.
Good luck with that.
House Budget Committee, you have a call on Line One.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
...legislators should prohibit gun owners from drinking; require permits and training to carry concealed weapons; and impose felony penalties for illegally carrying guns or buying guns for people who aren't legally allowed to own them, Barrett told reporters. He also wants local officials to have discretion over issuing concealed-carry permits.
The 'discretion' stipulation merely means that bribery will play a prominent role in permitting. It's a (D) thang........you wouldn't understand.
When Barrett proves that having a beer is statistically related to CCW permit-holders going on shooting sprees, the Leggies will alter the bill.
...Lang was arrested at a Motel 6 at 1754 Thierer Road in Madison Wednesday night after his handgun accidentally discharged as he loaded it.
Lang also said he traveled to Madison last week with the gun but did not shoot anybody because he "was not 100% in sync with God."
Actually, fella, that didn't change.
Treasury Secretary Geithner is asked if he knew about the "predatory atmosphere" at the IMF. He says "this is a hard question to ask a man." Except, it's not a hard question, for a man or for anyone. "Were you aware of the culture of rape at IMF" has two possible answers: "yes, I noticed" or "no, I just didn't see it."
To borrow the phrase, who's the 401st guy in the Boston phone book? He could be SecTreas.
The Milwaukee County Board Thursday sidetracked efforts by two unions to renew contracts through 2012...
...Renewed efforts to push through contracts for county nurses, as well as parks, highway and social workers are expected again next month in a bid to beat implementation of Walker's collective bargaining restrictions.
In the meantime, union executives are circulating their resumes.
We mentioned the Great Bunny Rabbit Crime; another site has mentioned the Great Yogurt-Selling Crime, and here's the Great Get-Lost-in-a-Blizzard Crime.
Once again, with feeling:
Father Don Hying, rector of St. Francis de Sales Seminary since 2007, has been named by Pope Benedict XVI as the Archdiocese of Milwaukee's new auxiliary bishop, the archdiocese said Thursday.
Parish priest, pastor, then Rector. Solid background.
That's clear already.
In order to circumvent Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s pro-gun amendment to the bill, Reid has now scuttled the Senate version of the 9/11 extension, tacked everything onto a motion to concur with a House-passed small business bill, and employed a procedure to lock out ALL Republican amendments, including Paul’s pro-gun amendment.
As you know, Rand Paul’s amendment would exempt 4473’s and other gun records from the blanket information demands which BATF can make under 9/11 legislation.
Without Paul’s exemption, it is theoretically possible that BATF could go to a secret (FISA) court, and, in a one-party (ex parte) proceeding, obtain an order to produce every 4473 in the country, ostensibly because a “terrorism investigation” requires it.Terror, indeed....
Read to the end of the post, folks. There's a surprise there...
...“It is fair to say that the business-records provision is a part of the Patriot Act that I am extremely interested in reforming,” Wyden says. “I know a fair amount about how it’s interpreted, and I am going to keep pushing, as I have, to get more information about how the Patriot Act is being interpreted declassified. I think the public has a right to public debate about it.”
...Wyden says he “can’t answer” any specific questions about how the government thinks it can use the Patriot Act. That would risk revealing classified information — something Wyden considers an abuse of government secrecy. He believes the techniques themselves should stay secret, but the rationale for using their legal use under Patriot ought to be disclosed.
“I draw a sharp line between the secret interpretation of the law, which I believe is a growing problem, and protecting operations and methods in the intelligence area, which have to be protected,” he says."Business records"? Whaddya talking about......spreadsheets? Tax returns? OfficeMax receipts? Double-declining amortization?
“No one has tipped their hand on this in the slightest. But we’ve come to the conclusion that this is some kind of bulk collection. It wouldn’t be surprising to me if it’s some kind of internet or communication-records dragnet.” --M. Richardson, ACLU
...In a Senate floor speech on Tuesday, Udall urged Congress to restrict the Patriot Act’s business-records seizures to “terrorism investigations” — something the ostensible counterterrorism measure has never required in its nearly 10-year existence.
Has. Never. Required.
Bet you didn't know that, either, eh?
There are two videos of a Joplin convenience store; one taken during the F-5 tornado of last week, another taken yesterday.
The praying of the people in the first video was entirely appropriate--and apparently was heard.
See them at Gateway
An FBI agent assigned to move a rare Ferrari wrecked it during a short drive in Kentucky, and its owner is now suing the U.S. Justice Department, which has refused to pay $750,000 for the car.
For practical purposes, that's really the whole story.
But there is this very tantalizing detail:
...FBI agent Fred Kingston was to move the Ferrari from a garage in May 2009. Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Hamilton Thompson said Kingston invited him on a "short ride."
"Just a few seconds after we left the parking lot, we went around a curve and the rear of the car began sliding," Thompson said in an email released to Motors Insurance Co., the dealer's insurer."The agent tried to regain control but the car fishtailed and slid sideways up onto the curb.
How fast does the F50 go from zero to 100MPH?
I'll bet it's in "just a few seconds."
Under a bill introduced Friday, electric providers could give up to five years of discounted rates to industrial customers that start up or increase consumption in the state. But rates would go up for other customers...
The discount also would apply to businesses that prove they can no longer afford to operate in the state, but only if they receive $500,000 or more in economic development assistance from local governments.
The advantage of having the business in the area outweighs the increased costs for other consumers, said state Rep. John Klenke, R-Green Bay.
Just say "no."
The $600 million 'extra revenue' forecast allows Gov. Walker to push back the "Walker Plan" effective date to July 1st, meaning that the $30 million in savings from health/pension contributions for THIS budget cycle will not be taken.
HT: Daily Reporter
An extensive study released Wednesday in the journal Business and Politics found that the investments of members of the House of Representatives outperformed those of the average investor by 55 basis points per month, or 6 percent annually, suggesting that lawmakers are taking advantage of inside information to fatten their stock portfolios.
And House members are not as well-informed (cough) as are Senators:
In a 2004 study, the same professors found that U.S. senators also enjoy a “substantial information advantage” over the average investor — and even corporate bigwigs — when it comes to picking stocks. The latest study shows that members of the Senate outperform their House colleagues by an average of 30 points per month.
All you need to know is which lobbyist you're making happy--or UNhappy--and you're on the right track.
....Six think tanks submitted long-term budget plans to Peterson and they were all scored by Barry Anderson, former Acting Director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and Eric Toder and Jim Nunns of the Tax Policy Center. Not all of the organizations used the same economic and budgeting models, but the scorekeepers did ensure that the think tanks budget claims were “fair and objective.
The Heritage Foundation’s Saving the American Dream plan not only cuts taxes to 18.5% of GDP, it balances the budget faster than any of the other budget plans.
S'pose that the Congress will simply adopt it? That Obozo will sign it?
I didn't think so.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Indian offshore giant Infosys is facing a federal grand jury probe over the use of B-1 visas by its workers, an inquiry that was touched off by a lawsuit filed by a U.S. employee of the company.
B-1 visas are extremely short-term--like for a business meeting or conference. What makes them interesting to outsourcers like Infosys is that there are NO wage requirements. (H-1B visas have requirements which are, to say the least, "loose.")
Using B-1 people to escape the minimal (and easily evaded) H-1B requirements tells you that Infosys is damn near running a slavery operation, if the allegations are true.
...The grand jury probe stems from a lawsuit filed against Infosys earlier this year by Jay Palmer, an Alabama resident and a principal consultant at the outsourcer. Palmer's lawsuit, originally filed in an Alabama state court and then moved to the federal court, alleges that he was harassed at work after refusing to participate in a plan to use workers holding B-1 visas for tasks he contends requires an H-1B visa...
It would be another Rapture moment if the (R) Presidential primary race included some discussion of the abuses of H-1B.
“The June issue of The Washingtonian—which has already been printed and is currently being mailed to subscribers and delivered to newsstands—includes a profile of IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who has lived in relative obscurity in Washington for the last three and a half years. Titled “The Invisible Man” and written by French journalist Apolline de Malherbe, the profile was meant to introduce Strauss-Kahn’s neighbors here in Washington to a man considered one of Europe’s leading politicians—a man, as we say in the article, who might well be standing next to you in line at Whole Foods. ....."
Let's hope he's NEVER in line near your daughter.
ConYank thinks it is very serious, indeed:
I'm not ready to charge the officers in this shooting with murder, but they are at the very least candidates for some sort of variant of a "manslaughter with depraved indifference" charge that should lean to the end of their law enforcement careers.
Take Dupnik with you when you leave, boys.
The bill begins with an enormous number of definitions, most of which simply pass the buck to other federal statutes for their content. One of those defined in the section, however, is that of "family," and the definition as given should give distributists serious concern. "The term 'family,'" the bill tells us, "means an individual and includes the individual’s dependents."
....Means "an individual"?
The legal beagles will have a field day with this, but ya know, we've used the term 'individual' to denote one sort of health-insurance coverage for years without confusion.
Ignorant, if well-intentioned.
Anyhow, here's a perceptive but not exhaustive writeup of the question which clarifies!
...While dancing itself does not belong in the Mass, it is entirely appropriate to describe the Mass as a dance – a sacred series of rhythmic movements and gestures, often accompanied by music, that aims to “entertain,” that is, to offer perfect worship to God. In fact, when the Mass is celebrated with proper solemnity and reverence, it has, from beginning to end, an internal rhythm and dynamic of its own as it marches to the dictates of the Church and salvation history. >The sacred action of the Mass is dance par excellence...
...One external incursion, for example, comes just before the end of Mass: the faithful have just received the Eucharist, prayed silently, and joined with the concluding prayer said by the priest. Then a voice intercedes from the ambo, asking everyone to sit for some brief announcements (General Instruction of the Roman Missal 90).
There's more at the link, and it's worthwhile.
HT: Catholic Thing
Joslyn Levell longed for a dance partner.
Yet no one would accommodate, until Bears sixth-round pick J.T. Thomas -- an outside linebacker from West Virginia University -- stepped in after a chance meeting. Thomas asked Levell out for the date of a lifetime Friday night at the Suncrest Middle School prom in Morgantown, W.Va.
...unlike most little girls, Levell also has spina bifida, a birth defect which occurs -- according to the Spina Bifida Association of America -- in seven out of every 10,000 births in the United States, and confines her to a wheelchair.
And there are plenty of good Green Bay Packer stories out there, too.
The study, which examined the hippocampus region of the brain, found that Protestants who did not have a “born again” experience had significantly more gray matter than either those who reported a life-changing religious experience, Catholics, or unaffiliated older adults.
The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Templeton Foundation, included at least twoMRI measurements of the hippocampus region of 268 adults between 1994 and 2005.
You're prolly too dumb to formulate a question, so this class is over.
It was only a matter of hours before his state's previous Republican governor, Arne Carlson, unveiled a barrage of fiscal data arguing that Pawlenty wasn't telling the truth about his fiscal conservative credentials. Instead, Carlson alleged that Pawlenty had presided over a $2.5 billion increase in property taxes, used one-time payments to balance the budget, and handed his successor an unprecedented $5 billion deficit.
There's a more important element in this article, however, for Scott Walker (!):
"...if you are going to cut or hold the line on taxes, you also better be ready to introduce bold, fresh thinking with new ideas on how to reform government to deliver more value from taxpayer dollars. And I don't think there was much in the way of substantive reform—or for that matter, evidence of risking political capital—to push new ideas through… Unless you address the underlying cost structures of all these programs and the implications that they have on the budget, you're going to continue to have persistent structural budget deficits as far as the eye can see." --Mark Haveman, MN Taxpayers' Ass'n.
It ain't just benefits and work-rules, although that's important. It's the inefficiency--the inability to deliver only what's needed, on-time, and at budget--that counts in the long run.
You could say "efficacy" if you prefer.
Taking a long-range potshot at POTUS is not a high-percentage gamble. More interesting, however, is the name of the person who is running his flap about the possibility.
Peter Fonda, the star of Easy Rider, suggested to Mandrake that he was encouraging his grandchildren to shoot President Barack Obama.
"I'm training my grandchildren to use long-range rifles," said the actor, 71. "For what purpose? Well, I'm not going to say the words 'Barack Obama', but …" --ConYank quoting London Telegraph
As ConYank points out, the Obozo Regime is doing its damndest to make that dichotomy a permanent fixture here.
Among other things, Pickens would like to own most of the fresh water in Oklahoma and Texas--which presents interesting questions about water and human life.
But his current interest is in getting a bunch of money for (his) natural gas holdings.
That may not be as easy as he thought, despite the co-sponsorship of 80 Congressional
I see Cong. Todd Akin, in whose district I grew up and who is now an announced challenger to Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), has become the second Republican to drop off the odious TBooneDoggle legislation to create a Fourth Ethanol (on top of corn squeezins', wind and solar), for natural gas.
More at the link.
There are ZERO TBoonDoggle supporters from Wisconsin, which is a good thing.
During the health care debate Obama and the Democrats went on and on about how great screenings and preventative medicine would be to keep costs down.
That was then.
This is now.
Now liberal wunderkind Ezra Klein has decided that all these screenings are going to cost way too much and not provide enough benefit.
Wait another 18 months and there'll be another line of crap out there.
A motorist along Capitol Drive near Pilgrim Road called police about 11:30 p.m. Saturday to report a sign with an unusual message.
Instead of providing detour information, the electronic letters appeared to have been reprogrammed to show a new message: "show me your (female body parts)."
The City highway department says that the sign was reprogrammed by 'juveniles.' Perhaps. But no one is certain that they do NOT work for the City.
...What do the following have in common? Eckert Cold Storage Co., Kerly Homes of Yuma, Classic Party Rentals, West Coast Turf Inc., Ellenbecker Investment Group Inc., Only in San Francisco, Hotel Nikko, International Pacific Halibut Commission, City of Puyallup, Local 485 Health and Welfare Fund...
You'll have to go to the link to find out.
...The Obama administration’s bailout agreement with Fiat gave the Italian car company a “Incremental Call Option” that allows it to buy up to 16% of Chrysler stock at a reduced price. But in order to exercise the option, Fiat had to first pay back at least $3.5 billion of its loan to the Treasury Department. But Fiat was having trouble getting private banks to lend it the money. Enter Obama Energy Secretary Steven Chu who has signaled that he will approve a fuel-efficient vehicle loan to Chrysler for … wait for it … $3.5 billion. ...
Just coincidence. Nothing to see here. Move along.
And for the summary-to-be-sick-by:
...the Obama Energy Department is loaning a foreign car company $3.5 billion so that it can pay the Treasury Department $7.6 billion even though American taxpayers spent $13 billion to save an American car company that is currently only worth $5 billion.
It's no wonder that some people believe in Santa Claus!
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
The dangerous supervolcano that once destroyed much of what’s now the USA is much bigger than vulcanologists previously thought.
...All experts agree that if another massive eruption occurs the concussion, lava, superheated gas and ash fall would effectively destroy almost half of the US and be the greatest single catastrophe in recorded world history. --POWIP quoting some prestigious science journal.
Meaning that Obozo would be only #2 or #3.
...China will impose punitive power prices on businesses that exceed consumption limits in Zhejiang province, a manufacturing hub bordering Shanghai, to curb demand during an expected electricity supply shortfall this summer.
China faces the worst power shortage in seven years as the economy grows faster than forecast and some utilities cut production or shut, hit by rising coal prices and government caps on tariffs. Zhejiang, on the eastern coast to the south of Shanghai, is host to companies including automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., owner of Volvo Cars....
Seems that generating capacity is about 10% short of forecasted demand.
Now? Practically speaking, Joplin is no more.
PJMedia posts a first-person report from a Kansas-based reporter. It is gut-wrenching.
I watched a house burn, as frustrated firefighters stood by helplessly — they had trucks and hoses, but no water.
As I was walking away from the fire I saw a couple walk up. They said they thought it was their neighbor’s house on fire. As I told them it was gone and the firefighters had no water, the woman’s hands suddenly flew to her mouth as she wailed: “Oh, my God that’s our home.”More at the link.
“Rove and Krauthammer amuse me with their response to Herman Cain. Since when has it become self-evident that a man with the professional accomplishments of Herman Cain is unfit to hold the office of President for not having spent the better part of his life as an elected politician and has, unforgivably, remained unknown to the likes of Rove and Krauthammer? Paging Professor Codevilla.” --McCain quoting Stephen Clark
Even more on Rove:
Karl Rove is the Architect of . . . what, really? A campaign that squeaked past Al Gore by the barest of margins in 2000, and scored a slim majority against John Kerry in 2004. Looking back on it, Gore and Kerry weren’t the most formidable candidates the Democrats ever fielded, and yet Rove’s reputation as a strategic genius rests on his management of campaigns that just barely beat them.
Damn good question, Stacy: "...what, really?" Rove is prolly a nice guy who happens to be a statistical wonk of the first water. He doesn't really demonstrate a facility with Big Ideas--which is what Presidents need.
Last week, we heard the announcements by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that his office is investigating fraud in mortgage securitization — originally focused on Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and Morgan Stanley, this morning expanded to include JPMorgan, UBS, and Deutsche Bank.
Previously, the Florida AG had published a brutal analysis on Florida foreclosure fraud.We now learn that California is stepping up to the plate: California Attorney General Kamala Harris is creating a 25-person task force to target mortgage fraud of any size.
The California investigation will include "mortgage-origination" fraud.
One representative item:
In City of Madison Ward 48, one person corroborated (vouched) for three consecutive voters. When asked to write in the corroborator's address, this person listed two different address, that in each case matches the residence of the individual trying to vote
Maybe his/her living arrangements are "fluid"?
The Leggies are considering a bill which would incorporate elements of "Constitutional Carry" (no permit required, just carry it concealed) with elements of "shall issue permit" concealed carry. Under the proposal, people could decide to obtain a permit, which would require some training; this would allow them to carry concealed within 1000 feet of schools. But people would not HAVE to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon, meaning that they would not have to obtain training, etc. However, there would be restrictions on precisely where one could carry.
This all comes down to "training."
Some people object to the "training" requirement; one pays for these courses, after all, and free cash isn't exactly abundant for many families these days. In addition, open-carry (currently perfectly legal) requires zero training. Others say that without training, there will be problems with injuries. There's a wide range of what's considered 'acceptable' training, too, with suggestions running from 2 hours to 40 hours (!!).
The problem that the "must-train" people have is that they cannot demonstrate a compelling need, based on data, for training. The four States which allow 'no-permit' CCW do not have significantly higher instances of accidental discharge, mayhem, deaths, (etc.) traceable to a 'lack of training.'
On the other hand, these are deadly weapons; one mistake counts a lot more than one mistake with a spray-can of Raid.
So let's think about "training."
Weapons-training comes in two parts: how to use a weapon (mechanics, controls, aim, etc.) and 'legalities'--which I'll define as having to do with go/no-go decisions. The latter is absolutely required for LEO's and to my mind should be presented to people who intend to carry.
For practical purposes, anyone who's been through military basic training has already been well-trained on the "how to use" component of training. What's lacking is the 'legalities;' in the foxhole, there's little concern for the Marquis of Queensbury's rules.
So perhaps the Leggies could tweak the bill a bit.
I'd suggest that the Legislature require 'legalities' training for all who carry concealed. This doesn't have to be extensive; a good model is the State's drivers' education booklet. There should be a test. It shouldn't cost more than $25.00 including the booklet because the economy of scale prevails; one can have 25-50 students in the class at once. (One useful short book on the topic is "In the Gravest Extreme" by Massad Ayoob).
For all who served in the Armed Forces, and all who can document that they were otherwise trained in the mechanics of shooting, the 'legalities' training is the ONLY requirement. For others, a second session should be required, which also does not have to be extensive (2 hours would be about right) on the 'mechanics' portion: how to handle, aim, and control the weapon. There should be a test of some sort. This will be more expensive, probably $50.00/person, because the economies of scale do not prevail here.
I agree that there is a 'silliness' factor here: requiring training for concealed, but not for open. But that's the legacy of Doyle, the Democrats, and Screechin' Shirley's SCOWI.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is postponing indefinitely new pollution regulations for industrial boilers. The rules, which would require many manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin to install new pollution controls, were strongly opposed by business groups here, who claimed they might be forced shut down 11 paper mills. Environmentalist, however, say thousands could die from the current pollution levels.
The proposals were draconian, not just onerous, and would have been a disaster for the Upper Midwest. Even Herb Kohl was not amused by EPA's scheme.
One smells a political campaign's fear-sweat here.
Monday, May 23, 2011
Seven publicly traded U.S. corporations represented on President Barack Obama’s advisory council for jobs and competitiveness — including General Electric Co. (GE) and Intel Corp. (INTC) — have devoted a growing pool of their non-U.S. earnings to investments in other countries. --Bloomberg quoted by Zippers
There are a couple of reasons for that. One GOOD reason is that overseas markets are growing, meaning that shipping products is a noticeable cost. The other reasons? Cheap labor, almost ZERO regulation, and profits don't have to be repatriated and subject to US income taxes.
...The plan would offer $200 million in future tax credits to insurers not because anyone likes them but because they’re giant pools of investment money. They’d put up the cash, $250 million, that other management companies would parcel out to entrepreneurs, and the tax credits would ensure they wouldn’t lose their shirts. The credits are a lure, nothing more.
Still, why the special inducements? Why the tax gimmicks, which are what high-tax, regulatory hells offer? Why not stick with the program of making taxes more reasonable generally and regulation more rational for all?...
The questions are appropriate, and should be answered before any tax credits get made into law. This is no different, in the end, from tax credits for ethanol, sunshine energy, or wind power. And if you LIKE those, you'll LOVE T. Boone Pickens. About him, and HIS favored tax credits, Carney comments:
Can't stand on its own? Dump it.
America is facing a crushing debt crisis the likes of which we've never seen before. We need to cut spending, and we need to cut it big time. The hard truth is that there are no longer any sacred programs.
The truth about federal energy subsidies, including federal subsidies for ethanol, is that they have to be phased out. We need to do it gradually. We need to do it fairly. But we need to do it.
That cancels my previous post, we think. There are a few conditionals in P's statement.
One more, this from Morrissey/Hot Air:Politicians are often afraid that if they’re too honest, they might lose an election. I’m afraid that in 2012, if we’re not honest enough, we may lose our country.--Pawlenty
...The mass protests that hit the Capitol during debate over GOP Gov. Scott Walker's collective bargaining bill have largely ended, but they have been replaced by smaller groups of die-hard protesters who make their presence known by disrupting legislative sessions on a daily basis.
Their tactics have upset and irritated both sides....The first Senate disruption was a planned protest organized by members of National Nurses United and a few other activist groups. Organizer Pilar Schiavo said they have turned to different approaches because legislators aren't listening.
Well. Now we learn that rabble-rousing is a paid professional gig!
Schiavo worked for an alderman in San Francisco for a short time. Prior:
Pilar worked to convene a coalition of union, community and city staff to address the SSA No Match rule change by the Department of Homeland Security. Through that work the coalition has initiated a campaign to strengthen the City's Sanctuary status through internal and external education and outreach.
Pilar joined the San Francisco Labor Council (SFLC) as its Political Director in August of 2005. As Political Director, she developed and implemented the SFLC's political campaign field operations, including: worksite education, mobilizing, trainings, precinct walks, phone banking, rallies and actions, voter registration, and all other related Get Out The Vote activities. Pilar worked on all Labor Council legislative priorities including organizing the community/labor coalition that worked to pass Supervisor Ammianoâ€™s legislation to provide healthcare to all uninsured San Franciscans
...wide-ranging labor and community experience working as an Organizer for the California Nurses Association. Prior to joining CNA, Pilar was the Regional Campaign Director for the AFL-CIO's Labor 2004 in Oregon...
...With SEIU 285 Pilar was a Field Representative and Internal Organizer for nursing home and mental health workers throughout western Massachusetts. As a community organizer she built coalitions...
...Pilar graduated from University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a master's degree in labor research and relations and has a bachelor's degree in American Multicultural Studies from California State University, Sonoma.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
...by keeping short-term interest rates below the level of inflation, a government can pay off its bondholders with cheapening money. Through regulations, it can compel banks and other financial firms to buy its own debt, much like geese being force-fed for foie gras. As a result, current yields and future inflation-adjusted returns on government bonds fall.
Describing a possible Geithner/Default-mitigating tactic.
So your banker will be on a forced diet.
HT: POWIP (While you're there, scroll down to the section where Meep takes a cold-eyed look at "responsible public officials.")
Sorry about that.
Well, Dupnik's back! This time, he's trying to explain why 5 of his deputies shot someone 71 times and refused to allow medics to work on the guy. (He's also trying to move the blame, as you'll note when you read the entire press release at the link below.)
...The day the search warrant was served, we reported to the media that Mr. Guerena fired at SWAT officers. This is what was understood at that time. After a more detailed investigation, we learned that he pointed his assault rifle at SWAT officers, however, the safety was on and he could not fire. This is a clear example of erroneous information being provided without careful investigation. ...
Hit & Run is also a bit confused as to how the inventory of goods found in the raided home changed so much in only a matter of weeks.
Witnesses say helicopters in Yemen have airlifted the ambassadors of the U.S., Britain and Gulf Arab nations who were trapped inside a diplomatic mission surrounded by armed loyalists to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The loyalists surrounded the United Arab Emirates Embassy in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, on Sunday. They blocked roads and roamed the streets near the mission, where the ambassadors were discussing a Gulf region-brokered deal that would have Saleh transfer power within a month.
Yemen’s president appears to be backing out again from signing the deal.
...The arrest of a mediocre international civil servant in the first-class cabin of his jet isn't just a sex story: It's a glimpse of the widening gulf between the government class and their subjects in a post-prosperity West. Neither Geithner nor Strauss-Kahn have ever created a dime of wealth in their lives. They have devoted their careers to "public service," and thus are in the happy position of rarely if ever having to write a personal check. At the Sofitel in New York, DSK was in a $3,000-per-night suite. Was the IMF picking up the tab? If so, you the plucky U.S. taxpayer paid around 550 bucks of that, whereas Strauss-Kahn's fellow Frenchmen put up less than $150. ...
... As the developed world drowns under the weight of Big Government, the gilded princelings of statism will hunker down in their interior courtyards and guard their privileges ever more zealously. Once in a while, as in that Manhattan hotel suite, a chance encounter between the seigneurs and their subjects will go awry, but more often, as in the Geithner confirmation, it will be understood that the Great Men of the Permanent Governing Class cannot be bound by the rules they impose on the rest of you schmucks.
Steyn also mentioned the rapsit/murderer Ted Kennedy, following this graf:
Well, OK. Why shouldn't DSK (as he's known in France) be treated as "a subject of justice like any other"? Because, says BHL (as he's known in France), of everything that Strauss-Kahn has done at the IMF to help the world "avoid the worst." In particular, he has made the IMF "more favorable to proletarian nations and, among the latter, to the most fragile and vulnerable." What is one fragile and vulnerable West African maid when weighed in the scales of history against entire fragile and vulnerable proletarian nations?...
He didn't bother with Ayers, who is really just a running dog.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Consumers' "free cash" is better--but only about as good as 1Q09 or 3Q05. This time, however, it's virtually all in wage/salary (after tax) cash, as interest/dividends and housing-extractions are FAR less.
That's simply wrong.
The much-longer story is laid out by Ticker, and the facts support my first graf.
This is a case where the "feelings" bunch was victorious.
Not the Biblical one, silly.
...the Texas Legislature has reached a deal for the upcoming fiscal which actually cuts government spending. This is not a reduction in the rate of growth, it is not a cut based on a proposed budget, it is not a series of accounting gimmicks, the State of Texas will actually spend less money next fiscal year than it did last year.
Even the GrinchWalker can't say that!
His problem ain't money. It's votes.
A recent informal survey of 500 post-grads primarily between the ages of 22 and 28 — 83 percent of whom voted for President Barack Obama in 2008 — found just 27 percent of Obama's previous youth supporters plan to vote for him again, The Daily Caller reports. That's a drop of almost 60 points. --MoonBattery
I know. It's not a scientific poll. It's only 500 people.
It's an ignorant--or simply unprincipled--claim, but we expect nothing more from such as Massingale, Reese, et al.
So. The alternative is to do what the Democrats want to do: nothing*.
But that has its problems:
If the trust funds are exhausted, immediate benefits cuts would go into effect. Starting in 2024, Medicare could pay about 90 percent of benefits, but that would drop to about 75 percent in 2045. In other words, despite Democratic attempts to savage the Ryan/GOP budget for “ending Medicare as we know it” (starting in 2022), the fact is that “Medicare as we know it” simply won’t be around much longer anyway on it’s current path. Social Security benefits, meanwhile, would receive an immediate 25 percent cut. --AOSHQ quoting NRO
And THAT'S not even accurate: those figures are based on the ultra-rosy scenario which was blown to smithereens by the auditor's report as we mentioned earlier.
*Actually, the Democrats do have another plan: confiscating all income to balance the books.
...unofficial numbers confirm that state Supreme Court Justice David Prosser narrowly defeated Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg in the April 5 election.
But the battle may not be over yet, as Kloppenburg mulls whether to challenge the results in court.
And if a legal contest goes on long enough, attorneys say it could delay efforts to swear Prosser in for a new term on Aug. 1, leading to a temporary vacancy on the closely divided high court.
Final recount numbers submitted to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board show Prosser with 7,006 more votes than Kloppenburg.So the question: will Kloppy and/or her puppetmasters--the AFL-CIO/AFSCME/SEIU--sue and put SCOWI out of business for the purposes of certain important decisions?
The US/Mexico border fence at an Indian reservation in Arizona.
President Obozo says this is "secure."
Lots more at the link, including this tidbit:
To speak with each other, and with the smugglers below, agents said, the spotters use sophisticated radios with rolling encryption, the sort used by military organizations.
S'pose they bought those from a gun-shop in Phoenix? Or did BATF "arrange" for the transfer?
A Republican legislative aide is under investigation for possible vote fraud after she cast her ballot in the November election in Onalaska although she lives in Madison. La Crosse County District Attorney Tim Gruenke said he has forwarded the report from the Onalaska Police Department to Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne to see if criminal charges are warranted...
The woman apparently was back home in Onalaska, working on a campaign, so she voted there instead of at her permanent residence in Madistan.
To my mind, (assuming the facts reported are accurate), she done wrong. Shoulda/Coulda pulled an absentee ballot from Madison--or drove in and back on election day--to vote.
Under state law, "a person who moves to another location for a temporary purpose is not eligible to vote there," said Diane Lowe, the lead elections specialist for the GAB. "At times, it is difficult to ascertain whether a person has an intent to return from whence they came or not."
That raises VERY interesting questions about students living in dormitories, doesn't it?
There's the foreign contributors to his campaign, there's the "transparency," there's the regulatory legislative sleight-of-hand, there's this 'I'll do whatever I damn please with the Armed Forces' stuff...
Friday, May 20, 2011
Duke Energy CEO James Rogers faced increasing questions about his leadership, in part because of conflicts of interest with top company officials and the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. Now the state’s Ethics Commission has fined a former top lawyer at IURC because he discussed a potential job with Duke while he participated in cases that would determine cost recovery for the utility’s controversial Edwardsport coal gasification plant.
...Cost estimates for the plant have swelled from nearly $2 billion when first proposed in 2007 to almost $3 billion last year, according to the Charlotte Business Journal. Opponents of the plant had cited the immaturity of coal gasification technology, but Duke in part promoted it as a carbon sequestration experiment (with $1 million in federal funds) to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases produced in power generation.
That was, IIRC, a Jimmuh Carter seashells-and-balloons idea which ultimately bankrupted Allis-Chalmers because the damnfool who ran the Company at the time was another Gummint camp-follower.
...John Dollarhite and his wife Judy of tiny Nixa, Mo., have been told by the USDA that, by Monday, they must pay a fine exceeding $90,000. If they don’t pay that fine, they could face additional fines of almost $4 million. Why? Because they sold more than $500 worth of bunnies — $4,600 worth to be exact — in a single calendar year.
...“We’d sell ‘em for 10 or 15 dollars a piece,” John said during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon, comparing the venture to a kid running a lemonade stand. In addition, they set up a web site and posted a “Rabbits for Sale” sign in their front yard. Most customers, however, came via word of mouth.
They sold bunnies to a petting-zoo and to a pet store, made about $200.00 on the sale of 400++ rabbits.
The USDA became "interested" in the operation.
...Judy took the inspector to the back of their property where the rabbits were raised. There, the inspector began running the width of her finger across the cage and told the Dollarhites they would need to replace the cage, because it was a quarter-inch too small and, therefore, did not meet federal regulations.
But that's not the only Violation of Bunny Rights Leading to the Endangerment of the Nation.
Not only was the cage too small, according to the inspector, but she noted a small rust spot on a feeder and cited it as being out of compliance.
Bunny piss is extremely corrosive, so one expects a couple of spots, even in galvanized metal.
The inspector opined that the bunnies were healthy and apparently well-cared for.
That was the end of "Mr. Nice Guy" ....and common f*&^'n sense from the Gummint.
Recently, the Dollarhites received a “Certified Mail Return Receipt” letter (dated April 19, 2011) from the USDA informing them that they had broken the law and must pay USDA a fine of $90,643. Their crime? Violating violating 9 C.F.R. § 2.1 (a) (1): Selling more than $500 worth of rabbits in a calendar year.
They were told to cough up $90K, right then and there.
You think you're overtaxed? That there are too many Federal employees? That they are occupied with make-work, useless scribbling, and general asininity?
You haven't even begun to understand the problem.
Who are the Usual Suspects?
Reese, SJ., Massingale (Marquette U), Cahill of BC., Hug, SJ (Center of Concern), and a lot of 'peace and justice' types, plus the 'social work' types, plus (hooeee!!!) an 'arts' type from Southern California.
And of course, it contains the Usual Lies--like this one:
The House budget radically cuts Medicaid and effectively ends Medicare.
Details don't matter to Ph.D's, eh?
And the fundamental premise is erroneous:
From the apostles to the present, the Magisterium of the Church has insisted that those in power are morally obliged to preference the needs of the poor.
I recall nothing in the Beatitudes which specifically addressed "those in power." But, as do most other Catholics, I DO recall that the teachings of Christ and the Church place the burden of caring for the poor on individuals: you and me. The Bishops of the Church are also to see to care for the poor.
But there's nothing there about Gummints.