Saturday, July 18, 2009
This is an excerpt from a recent conversation.....
Tenant - Is the Loveland tax office run by a bunch of Nazi's?
Gordon - Why do you ask?
Tenant - Because, I've lived here for just about three years and every city return I've filed with the city has been sent back for additional information and/or amounts due.
Gordon - That's kind of common place for many of the suburbs who have clerk's audit every single return filed with the city.
Tenant - I moved here from Texas; you probably know that they don't have an income tax. I'm amazed that despite all the state income tax, sales taxes and these local taxes I pay the roads don't seem any better, the schools are about the same and the basic city services are about the same yet I calculated that I'm paying about two and half times more in taxes for these same services.
Gordon - Welcome to Ohio
If the state ever really wants to understand why we have a major brain and wealth drain out of this state, maybe the ought to consider the insights of this affluent taxpayer, who's only reason for being in this state right now is that it's closer to his parents in Youngstown and his business interests in Indiana and Kentucky.
What exactly is the state doing to keep this guy's wealth, expertise and entrepreneurial spirit in this state?
How does Ohio stack up with the rest of the states in this country?
Ruth Bader Ginsberg's interview in the NY Times as reviewed by The New Ledger.
JUSTICE GINSBURG: Reproductive choice has to be straightened out. There will never be a woman of means without choice anymore. That just seems to me so obvious. The states that had changed their abortion laws before Roe [to make abortion legal] are not going to change back. So we have a policy that affects only poor women, and it can never be otherwise, and I don’t know why this hasn’t been said more often.
Q: Are you talking about the distances women have to travel because in parts of the country, abortion is essentially unavailable, because there are so few doctors and clinics that do the procedure? And also, the lack of Medicaid for abortions for poor women?
JUSTICE GINSBURG: Yes, the ruling about that surprised me. [Harris v. McRae — in 1980 the court upheld the Hyde Amendment, which forbids the use of Medicaid for abortions.] Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion. [Emphasis mine]
What exactly is she talking about? How is it that nobody (especially the Times Interviewer) has really even followed up to what the hell she's talking about?
Read the rest..........
Friday, July 17, 2009
Suicide Bombers, posing as guests attacked American luxury hotels in Indonesia's capital and set off a pair of blasts Friday that killed eight people and wounded more than 50, authorities said.
Probably a Jerry Falwell backed cabal of fundamentalist Christians.
And this diddy........
Multiculturalism, government books, using phrases like “Canadian mosaic” with a straight face, hailing the ability to say “CanLit” with a straight face as a virtue in and of itself . . . These are all excellent answers. But David Rakoff, “the author, most recently, of Don’t Get Too Comfortable,” cut to the chase:
“There is no contest about what I miss most about Canada. It is universal medical coverage. Just thinking about it, and its absence here, can send me into complete despair.”
Well, the natural reaction is just to roll one’s eyes. But don’t try that at home, kids: the wait time for eye-roll dislocation-correction surgery is up to two years at the Royal Victoria. So Colby Cosh, a rare non-expat Canadian, chose instead a hoot of derision, paraphrasing Mr. Rakoff thus:
“Yeah, I got so upset I almost thought about packing my shit and going home so I wouldn’t be in complete despair anymore.”
Canada has done everything David Rakoff, Sarah McNally and Melissa Auf der Maur want—not least in their own fields. It taxes convenience-store clerks to subsidize books and writing and publishing and that wonderful “national conversation about literature like a big book club” in which everyone’s membership dues are automatically deducted from your bank account whether you go to the meetings or not. And still Mr. Rakoff and Ms. McNally and Ms. Auf der Maur leave. They applaud the creation of a “just” and “equitable” society, and then, like almost all the members of the Order of Canada you’ve actually heard of, they move out. Despite commending the virtues of a social “safety net” for you and everyone else, they personally can only fulfill their potential somewhere else, without one. Usually in a country beginning with “Great” and ending in “Satan.”
Read the whole thing...........
From the WSJ..........
Say this about the 1,018-page health-care bill that House Democrats unveiled this week and that President Obama heartily endorsed: It finally reveals at least some of the price of the reckless ambitions of our current government. With huge majorities and a President in a rush to outrun the declining popularity of his agenda, Democrats are bidding to impose an unrepealable European-style welfare state in a matter of weeks.
Mr. Obama's February budget provided the outline, but the House bill now fills in the details. To wit, tax increases that would take U.S. rates higher even than most of Europe. Yet even those increases aren't nearly enough to finance the $1 trillion in new spending, which itself is surely a low-ball estimate. Meanwhile, the bill would create a new government health entitlement that will kill private insurance and lead to a government-run system.
Hyperbole? That's what people said when we warned about this last fall in "A Liberal Supermajority," but even we underestimated the ideological willfulness of today's national Democrats. Consider only a few of the details:
Read the rest............
Cincinnati City Manager Milton Dohoney says layoffs must start this summer because the city's deficit for this year is now projected to be $28 million, $8 million more than previously expected.
Dohoney announced the worsening financial picture in an e-mail this morning. Mayor Mark Mallory followed immediately with an announcement about a press conference to talk about the budget.
Mallory had said he didn't think the deficit would be as deep as $20 million, crediting Finance Director Joe Gray with being ultra-conservative in his projections.
Yeah, Let's be a little more specific about the mayor's thoughts on the projected deficit. After all I had it right here........
"Who knows what the number will actually be?" he said. "The number is a projection. We get forecasts all the time."
So we started at a 14 million dollar shortfall then it went to 20 mil and now it's up to 28 million.
But hey it's only an ultraconservative projection right.
Three men were fatally shot. One man was fatally stabbed. Police shot one man and at least seven other people were wounded by gunfire -- including an 8-year-old boy sitting in his bedroom -- during an especially violent six hours late Wednesday and early Thursday mainly on the South and West Sides.
Miguel Loreto, 17, of the 5900 block of south Kolin Avenue, was shot in the head at 2936 W. Palmer St. and was pronounced dead at 10:27 p.m. at Norwegian-American Hospital, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office.
At 10:08 p.m. Wednesday, a gunman on a bicycle approached Loreto and shot him in the head, according to police, who said the shooting is possibly gang-related.
Terrance Hollins, 17, of the 7300 block of south Dorchester Avenue, was shot at 6422 S. Eggleston Ave. and was dead on the scene, the medical examiner's office said.
It's a good thing that they have those restrictive gun laws in Chicago or someone might be shot there.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Could the best climate models -- the ones used to predict global warming -- all be wrong?
Maybe so, says a new study published online today in the journal Nature Geoscience. The report found that only about half of the warming that occurred during a natural climate change 55 million years ago can be explained by excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. What caused the remainder of the warming is a mystery.
"In a nutshell, theoretical models cannot explain what we observe in the geological record," says oceanographer Gerald Dickens, study co-author and professor of Earth Science at Rice University in Houston. "There appears to be something fundamentally wrong with the way temperature and carbon are linked in climate models."
During the warming period, known as the “Palaeocene-Eocene thermal maximum” (PETM), for unknown reasons, the amount of carbon in Earth's atmosphere rose rapidly. This makes the PETM one of the best ancient climate analogues for present-day Earth.
Well it's clear that all those single cellular organisms built huge SUVs that ultimately ended in their demise........
The Fund for the Public Interest raises money for all kinds of liberal causes, but a lawsuit has forced it to pay millions of dollars in overtime to its legions of idealistic door-knockers.
The nation’s largest fundraiser for progressive causes issued checks to thousands of former workers in the last several weeks after settling a $2.15 million class-action suit alleging it subjected workers to grueling hours without overtime pay.
The nonprofit Fund for Public Interest Inc. was set up in 1982 as the fundraising arm of the network of Public Interest Research Groups, which was founded by Ralph Nader. It deploys legions of door-to-door and street canvassers—and once counted a young Barack Obama as one of its New York City organizers—to solicit contributions for the Human Rights Campaign, the Sierra Club, Environment America, and other groups that together spend millions of dollars each year lobbying Congress.Those organizations often battle with deep-pocketed corporations; the money raised by canvassers is an important source of funds. In many cases, however, the employees collecting those donations made an hourly rate that worked out to less than minimum wage.
The abrupt shuttering of its Los Angeles office after employees took steps to unionize also brought allegations of illegal union-busting from many, including Christian Miller, an L.A. employee from 2002 to 2006 who filed the suit on behalf of 12,000 canvassers and directors.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Among the full-time faculty of the University departments of journalism, law, political science, sociology and economics, there are 111 registered Oregon voters. Two of them are Republicans.
That's what I discovered last week, via the public voting terminal at the Lane County Voting Office. I spent two hours there, with a spreadsheet full of names generated from the various department Web sites. It was a laborious process, but I was in no hurry. In fact, I even took a break to eat a sandwich and muse on the gorgeous summer weather outside. There would be plenty of time to continue the long, winding procession of faculty down the screen.
When I finished, there were 98 Democrats, nine Independents, two Republicans and two members of the Pacific Green party staring back at me. Both of the two Republicans were in the School of Law, and one of them was University President Dave Frohnmayer. I wondered, as I came across his name marked red in a sea of blue, if he was aware of the monolithic politics of University faculty. Did it irk him? Did it belie the diversity standards that his tenure had ushered in?
The Diversity Plan that Frohnmayer signed off on in May 2006 was a massive effort reviewed by more than 1,000 people, and will remain a prominent feature of his legacy. Contrary to popular belief, it is not just dedicated to increasing racial and ethnic diversity, but takes a broad-based approach to helping "the individual learn to question critically, think logically and communicate clearly." In addition, it explicitly includes political affiliation as one of the elements of diversity it intends to promote.
Three years later, it's hard to give the University's efforts on political diversity anything besides a failing grade. Not only do voting statistics reveal political uniformity, but the checkbooks of the faculty members are just as indicative. Ninety-six percent of political contributions made by faculty to presidential candidates in 2008 went to Democrats. In 2004, it was 100 percent.
This doesn't surprise me in the slightest. See, those who can, do (republicans) those who can't, teach (democrats) and those who can't teach, shoot for tenure protection (socialists).
Read the rest here
Obamaheld a one-hour meeting with more than a dozen U.S. Jewish leaders on July 13 -- a session the White House tried to keep secret and off-the-record. The White House also was careful to exclude Jewish leaders it deemed too inimical to the president's Mideast agenda.While the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations approached the White House to set up Obama's first formal meeting in the Executive Mansion with a constituency that overwhelming voted for him in November, it turned out to be a belated, carefully orchestrated damage-control exercise.The encounter of Jewish leaders with Obama came well after his far higher-priority outreach to the Muslim world during previous trips to Turkey and Egypt, when in each instance he avoided stopovers in Israel.
The new state budget in Massachusetts eliminates health care coverage for some 30,000 legal immigrants to help close a growing deficit, reversing progress toward universal coverage just as Congress looks to the state as a model for overhauling the nation’s health care system.
The affected immigrants, permanent residents who have had green cards for less than five years, are now covered under Commonwealth Care, a subsidized insurance program for low-income residents that is central to the groundbreaking health care law enacted here in 2006.Critics of the cut, which would save an estimated $130 million, say it unfairly targets taxpaying residents and threatens the state’s health care experiment at a critical time.
An increase in the minimum wage is coming in a couple of weeks (July24). And guess what? It will hit blue states hardest........
The lower cost of living in central states makes the higher minimum wage even harder to absorb, because customers can’t pay the higher costs. The same breakfast could cost $10 in a New York diner and $5 in South Carolina. That’s why it makes no sense for Congress to impose Blue State rates on the Red States, unless it’s to drive up the unemployment rates of their low-skilled workers.
Members of Congress assume that if the minimum wage were raised, all workers would retain their jobs. But this is not the case. An increase to $7.25 an hour, plus the mandatory employer’s share of Social Security, unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation taxes, brings the hourly employer cost close to $8, even without benefits.
With the minimum wage increase, employers will only hire workers who can produce $8 an hour worth of goods or services. That will be fewer people than they employ today. Employers can change technologies or hire more skilled workers to keep their firms in business.
Denying work opportunities to those whose skills and output don’t add up to $8 per hour is not compassionate, it’s manifestly unfair. At a time of rising unemployment, the federal government is dooming unskilled workers to the ranks of the unemployed by saying they cannot even take the first step on the career ladder. That’s not the road to job creation and economic recovery.
Once again, it blows me away that liberals are so quick to embrace the very marginal science of global warming yet ignore very provable science like, say, THE LAW OF SUPPLY AND DEMAND.
So let's go through this for your liberal arts major that somehow received a college degree without passing econ 101.
See, when prices increase, demand for the product and or service decreases. So when you artificially increase the costs for labor what happens? anyone? anyone? Bueller?
The demand goes down.
Look, I'm not trying to be a prick by laying this out. I don't make up the law just to be hard on the working guy. I also don't like the law of gravity; especially when I weigh in every Sunday morning.
But that is the economic reality we live in.
Let's take an example. I can make a fabric paying $8.00 to some unskilled worker in the US or I can pay an unskilled worker in say Thailand (can you say Nike) for $1.00. Where do you think I'm going to take my production.
This doesn't even include environmental mandates, OSHA requirements, various state and local zoning issues, an upcoming mandatory health care requirement, etc.........
Once again the minimum wage doesn't impact me directly; I pay my employees well above minimum wage. But like all business owners, prices will eventually increase on everything I buy for my business and guess what I do with those price increases?
If you guessed, "he'll increase his prices" you would be correct.
See a dirty little secret The Obamunists won't tell you. When the people on top of the food chain have their prices increased (taxes, labor, materials, etc.), they simply pass on the increase to their customers or vendors. That cycle continues through the economic food chain until you get to the bottom. Who does the poor guy at the end of the food chain pass his price increases on to? Nobody! He eats it.
So once again, let me repeat that I'm not a conservative for me, I'll do fine in any economy because I have the skills to adjust.
I'm a conservative for the little guy out there. And laws like minimum wage hikes only end up hurting the very people they're designed to help. You'd think a congress person or two might have enough wisdom to understand that.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said Friday that "Bruno," the new film starring Sacha Baron Cohen, reinforces negative stereotypes and "decreases the public's comfort with gay people."
GLAAD president Jarrett Barrios, who saw the film Friday, said that "the movie was a well-intentioned series of sketches — some hit the mark and some hit the gay community pretty hard and reinforce some damaging, hurtful stereotypes."
Have any of these gay folks ever watched the Logo channel or Bravo; networks aimed at the gay community?
It's a Brunofest.
Or how about those gay pride parades?Nothing stereotypical about those..... right?
If you don't want the Cohen's of the world to exploit your stereotypes, you might want to police that crew of guys in the crotchless leather chaps in your next parade.
President Barack Obama conceded Tuesday that the unemployment rate will keep growing for "several months" as he prepared to head to battered Michigan to unveil a plan to help train people for the next generation of jobs.
Obama is proposing a multibillion-dollar investment in the nation's community colleges, a $12 billion effort to help the two-year institutions reach, teach and train more people for "the jobs of the future." He was to outline his program in a speech Tuesday afternoon at Macomb Community College in Warren, Mich.
The clue phone is a ringing on The Obamunists. You can train these people to be nuclear physicists but if there are no companies in the Michigan area where will they work.
Exactly, how anxious are entrepreneurs to get into new businesses when they'll summarily be stripped of any of their income for their risks?
John Fautenberry, a 46-year-old serial killer convicted of murdering a Milford man who gave him a ride in 1991, was executed this morning by lethal injection.
For those who would suggest that capital punishment is not a deterrent; explain to me how Fautenberry will kill again.
Read the rest on this derelict. Society is better off for not having him in it any longer.
An update from TOTUS on the problem........
Remember how I was hoping to take the next couple of days off? Well, that hasn't worked out so well.
My White House designated operator, Felix, clearly has to go. Today, Big Guy and I were scrolling and speaking to an interest group that supported us, and during the middle of the speech, one of my screens collapsed. Turns out Felix didn't tighten one of my screen's bracket rods, and one of my screens collapsed. It was kind of embarrassing, and the accident looked alot worse than the may have seemed on video.
All that said, I think I tweaked something. It may be my ACL, or maybe my MCL, or my "T" joint. Regardless, the Secret Service sent me first to George Washington University Hospital, where there is a special ICU and care facility for senior administration officials. But a good friend of mine, I'll call him Browny for legal reasons, ended up in a coma there after having "minor sinus surgery" if you get my drift, and there was no way in hell, I was going to put up with that.
So off I went to Bethesda Naval, where I figured I'd get looked at and released. But then there were the X-rays, the MRIs, the prodding and poking, the seemingly endless attempts to draw blood where the nurse couldn't find a vein despite my best efforts to explain that I was merely a humble hard-drive. Yet the poking and prodding continued.
Then they discovered that I basically had a limited warranty, and out the door I went. Someone really ought to try to look into this health care thing.
Thanks to reader Jeremy......
The federal deficit has topped $1 trillion for the first time ever and could grow to nearly $2 trillion by this fall, intensifying fears about higher interest rates, inflation and the strength of the dollar.Read the rest..........
The deficit has been widened by the huge sum the government has spent to ease the recession, combined with a sharp decline in tax revenues. The cost of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan also is a major factor.
The soaring deficit is making Chinese and other foreign buyers of U.S. debt nervous, which could make them reluctant lenders down the road. It could also force the Treasury Department to pay higher interest rates to make U.S. debt attractive longer-term.
"These are mind-boggling numbers," said Sung Won Sohn, an economist at the Smith School of Business at California State University. "Our foreign investors from China and elsewhere are starting to have concerns about not only the value of the dollar but how safe their investments will be in the long run."
The Treasury Department said Monday that the deficit in June totaled $94.3 billion, pushing the total since the budget year started in October to $1.09 trillion. The administration forecasts that the deficit for the entire year will hit $1.84 trillion in October.
Monday, July 13, 2009
A breakdown between "right to work" states and non right to work states.
The Alliance for Worker Freedom has consistently championed Right to Work laws, which protect a worker against being forced to join a union against their will. Right to Work laws are currently in force in 22 states, and the the coercion of being forced to pay union dues as a condition of employment that occurs in the 28 states without right to work laws is antithetical to worker freedom.
Right to works laws have an additional benefit however – they are proven to reduce unemployment.Examining unemployment in all 50 states and the District of Columbia shows that states without Right to Work laws average over 9% unemployment, whereas states with right to work laws average only 7.8% - a difference of over 1.2%. Lest there be any doubt as to the relationship between right to work laws and unemployment, statistical analysis and regression modeling proves a correlation does indeed exist at a statistically significant level (p<0.05).
Read the restIt is purely a matter of common sense that tax cuts generate economic growth, while tax hikes cause business to shut down or flee. After all, why stay in business when half your profits are being taken by the taxman? That’s why according to the IRS, over 400,000 tax-refugees fled from the top 10 taxing states to lower-taxing states in 2007 alone.
This is hardly rocket science.Especially damaging to jobs are corporate tax hikes. As we all know, corporations don’t pay taxes—people do. These tax hikes result in massive job losses as businesses close their doors and move interstate – or overseas. In fact, the marginal US corporate tax rate (including state and federal taxes) is a whopping 39.3% - the second highest in the world! But legislators just don’t get the message and refuse to cut corporate taxes. In some states, like New Jersey , Oregon, and Illinois, in defiance of all laws of logic and reason, corporate tax rates have actually increased in the last 6 months!
In President Obama’s op-ed on the topic of the economy, here are some words you won’t find: profits, investment, incentives, taxes, risk, enterprise or markets. Or freedom, or liberty. So, though he claims to want to build a “foundation for growth,” Obama ignores the real drivers of economic growth. Instead, his vision is that of a bloated and meddling nanny state that would stifle economic opportunity and growth.
Obama’s economic program--the stimulus package, health care, cap and trade--offers a huge opportunity to Republicans: Oppose root-and-branch this attempt to impose on us more spending, more debt, and higher taxes, accompanied by an ever heavier hand of government. Oppose these schemes that are informed by the unwarranted arrogance of the central planners and the barely hidden condescension of the best and the brightest.
Bronson and Walter Williams Columns were the last remaining reasons to buy a Sunday paper. Since I can read Walter Williams elsewhere, I don't need the Enquirer at all.
Here's some economic logic to ponder. The unemployment rate in June for American teenagers was 24%, for black teens it was 38%, and even White House economists are predicting more job losses. So how about raising the cost of that teenage labor?
Sorry to say, but that's precisely what will happen on July 24, when the minimum wage will increase to $7.25 an hour from $6.55. The national wage floor will have increased 41% since the three-step hike was approved by the Democratic Congress in May 2007. Then the economy was humming, with an overall jobless rate of 4.5% and many entry-level jobs paying more than the minimum. That's a hard case to make now, with a 9.5% national jobless rate and thousands of employers facing razor-thin profit margins.
There's been a long and spirited debate among economists about who gets hurt and who benefits when the minimum wage rises. But in a 2006 National Bureau of Economic Research paper, economists David Neumark of the University of California, Irvine, and William Wascher of the Federal Reserve Bank reviewed the voluminous literature over the past 30 years and came to two almost universally acknowledged conclusions.
First, "a sizable majority of the studies give a relatively consistent (though not always statistically significant) indication of negative employment effects." Second, "studies that focus on the least-skilled groups [i.e., teens, and welfare moms] provide relatively overwhelming evidence of stronger disemployment effects."
Proponents argue that millions of workers will benefit from the bigger paychecks. But about two of every three full-time minimum-wage workers get a pay raise anyway within a year on the job. Meanwhile, those who lose their jobs or who never get a job in the first place get a minimum wage of $0.
Mr. Neumark calculates that the 70-cent per-hour minimum wage hike this month would kill "about 300,000 jobs for those between the ages of 16-24." Single working mothers would also be among those most hurt.
Here's my question to "progressives". If minimum wage is such a great idea, why don't we make it $20.00/hr?