Saturday, August 01, 2009
Thomas McCaslin might never know for sure why General Motors called two weeks ago to say his 80-year-old dealership in the heart of Nebraska cattle country wouldn't close after all.
He has a feeling that a hamburger cookout and an old-fashioned brand of political lobbying had something to do with it.
"There's no doubt in my mind" it helped, McCaslin said Thursday as about 200 residents gathered to celebrate the town's only GM dealership continuing to sell Chevrolets. "You have all these elected officials who make things happen because they depend on votes."
GM's reversal followed a massive letter-writing campaign and lobbying of elected officials that started with a cookout in the town square just days after Gateway Motors was told in May it would be among 1,300 in the country to close.
In some rural areas, GM dealerships once set to be casualties of the company's financial freefall find themselves part of its reformation after sending handwritten pleas and barbecue invites — including one that used GM's own "Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet" slogan.
GM says its change of heart on about 50 dealerships it called underperforming wasn't based on those kinds of factors or any political arm-twisting.
Instead, GM spokeswoman Susan Garontakos said, the company realized it erred when analyzing the finances of the dealerships and reconsidered the distances between some dealers. Closing Gateway Motors, for example, would have meant people had to drive 60 miles to the closest GM dealer.
Yeah, I guess it never occurred to anyone that they might want to analyze that before they announced the closings......
American Thinker with a thousand word analysis of the after beer summit photograph............
C'mon now. It's the same compassion he's shown his relatives in Kenya.I am stunned that the official White House Blog published this picture and that it is in the public domain. The body language is most revealing.Sergeant Crowley, the sole class act in this trio, helps the handicapped Professor Gates down the stairs, while Barack
Obama, heedless of the infirmities of his friend and fellow victim of self-defined racial profiling, strides ahead on his own. So who is compassionate? And who is so self-involved and arrogant that he is oblivious?In my own dealings with the wealthy and powerful, I have always found that the way to quickly capture the moral essence of a person is to watch how they treat those who are less powerful. Do they understand that the others are also human beings with feelings? Especially when they think nobody is looking.
Friday, July 31, 2009
Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science, consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.
Millions of adults in England and Wales haven’t been to an NHS dentist since April 2006 mainly because they couldn’t find one to treat them, says new research carried out for national charity Citizens Advice as it urges Primary Care Trusts to spend newly allocated resources to improve access.
The Ipsos MORI survey found that lack of access is the most common reason cited by people in England and Wales for not seeing an NHS dentist since April 2006, along with not needing treatment. It was mentioned by 31% of respondents in England and Wales who have not been to an NHS dentist since April 2006. This is the equivalent of approximately 7.4 million people who have not been to an NHS dentist since April 2006 because of difficulties in finding one. Of these, the equivalent of approximately 4.7 million have sought private treatment instead and the equivalent of approximately 2.7 million have gone without treatment altogether.
The research also reveals that the problem is more evident in the South West (53%) and the North West (39%).
Citizens Advice Chief Executive David Harker said:
"These figures show the scale of the lack of access to NHS dentistry, reflecting the evidence which bureaux across England and Wales have been reporting ever since the early 90’s. People on low incomes are particularly affected as private treatment is just not an option.
"We are therefore delighted that the Government has responded to the problem by announcing an 11% increase in funding for NHS dentistry in England from 2008. This has the potential to deliver real improvements in access to dentistry but it needs to be carefully targeted on those areas where patients are experiencing the most acute problems.
"Primary Care Trusts have a duty to ensure that dentistry services meet local requirements and it is vital that they start planning how to allocate their additional funds now. We also hope that the Welsh Assembly Government will follow suit and increase funding for NHS dentistry in Wales.
"Patients who have been trying to find an NHS dentist should contact NHS Direct to find their local dental helpline now in order to benefit from any new services that are set up."
Read the rest......
For those who want to believe in the myth that the rich don't pay enough here's a piece from the Tax Foundation on the breakdown..........
Newly released data from the IRS clearly debunks the conventional Beltway rhetoric that the "rich" are not paying their fair share of taxes.
Indeed, the IRS data shows that in 2007—the most recent data available—the top 1 percent of taxpayers paid 40.4 percent of the total income taxes collected by the federal government. This is the highest percentage in modern history. By contrast, the top 1 percent paid 24.8 percent of the income tax burden in 1987, the year following the 1986 tax reform act.
Remarkably, the share of the tax burden borne by the top 1 percent now exceeds the share paid by the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers combined. In 2007, the bottom 95 percent paid 39.4 percent of the income tax burden. This is down from the 58 percent of the total income tax burden they paid twenty years ago.
To put this in perspective, the top 1 percent is comprised of just 1.4 million taxpayers and they pay a larger share of the income tax burden now than the bottom 134 million taxpayers combined.
Yeah, wait till they get to pick up my health care tab......
Hope and jobs are in short supply in eight months after won the recession-battered state in the 2008 election with promises of a better future.
"People were looking for a savior to get us out of this mess and that's why they voted for Obama," said Jeff Fravor, 55, a retired train conductor on his way to breakfast on the outskirts of Toledo.
"I've nothing against Obama personally, but he's new to the job and 'hope' won't fix this mess."
A spokesman for Governor Ted Strickland added "As soon as we get all those receipts from on line Keno, all of our hopes will be redeemed."
These are all interesting reads. Today she opines as to why liberals are still so angry even though they won everything last fall.
So I'm writing to ask a burning question: Why are liberals still so angry? Given that you own almost everything, how come you're not just chilling on the couch, gaming and partying, rather than posting and trolling?Now, I shouldn't even ask the question given that only last year, I was you. I blew a gasket every time I heard the words "Bush" or "Cheney." But the difference is that my party had lost. Defeated underdogs tend to be all pissy and indignant. How could any of us survive bosses without being able to sit around at lunch and vent about how stupid they all are?But it's different when the winners are on the attack. If the top dogs go ballistic, all hell can break loose. When the boss spies on you, calls you a c___t, wishes you were dead, and curtails your free speech, well it's time to hightail it out of there.Some people say this is politics as usual, but I don't think so. I've never witnessed this level of anger from the party in charge. When Clinton was elected, for instance, I was happy as a clam. I really believed in the dude. So I could snooze in the back of the car, not paying much attention to Washington, confident that my beloved (at the time) Democratic Party was in the driver's seat.
Meet Robert Schuerch. Why is Mr. Schuerch in the news?
A Covington man lived with his girlfriend's body for eight days after she died, police said.
It was only after the woman's relatives broke down the door that Kathleen Schmitz's body was taken from the Hermes Street home she shared with Robert Schuerch, according to a police report.
The incident is still under investigation, but Covington police spokesman Spike Jones said it's believed Schmitz died of natural causes.
"We don't believe that foul play exists," Jones said.Schmitz, 57, died July 10, according Don Catchen Funeral Home. Her brother-in-law, Ron Wynn, told police he last saw her July 9.
Now this past November was Robert here a hope and change guy or a four more of the same kind of guy?
No I'm not talking about health care but "cash for clunkers".........
Congressional officials say the government plans to suspend the popular "cash for clunkers" program amid concerns it could quickly use up the $1 billion in rebates for new car purchases.More...
The Transportation Department called congressional offices late Thursday to alert them to the decision to halt the program, which offered owners of old cars and trucks $3,500 or $4,500 toward a new, more fuel-efficient vehicle.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
The National Endowment for the Arts may be spending some of the money it received from the Recovery and Reinvestment Act to fund nude simulated-sex dances, Saturday night "pervert" revues and the airing of pornographic horror films at art houses in San Francisco.
The NEA was given $80 million of the government's $787 billion economic stimulus bill to spread around to needy artists nationwide, and most of the money is being spent to help preserve jobs in museums, orchestras, theaters and dance troupes that have been hit hard by the recession.
But some of the NEA's grants are spicing up more than the economy. A few of their more risque choices have some taxpayer advocates hot under the collar, including a $50,000 infusion for the Frameline film house, which recently screened Thundercrack, "the world's only underground kinky art porno horror film, complete with four men, three women and a gorilla."
Prisoner is so hooked on meth that he decides to lick up some that spilled on the floor.
Now this past election, did prisoner here vote for the hope and change candidate or four more years of Bush?
911 calls normally aren't funny -- but when a Glendale man came home to a man robbing his house over the weekend, he tackled him and held him still while talking on the phone to a 911 dispatcher.
More News »
Homeowner Perry Bigley told a 911 operator, "I have the robber in one hand and the phone in the other." Click play to listen to the 911 call exchange
Officers arrived to the home in the 4600 block of W San Juan where they found the victim on top of the suspect, holding him down.
Now this past election, did Perry vote for the Maverick or The Messiah?
What about the robber?
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
At least 14 people were shot and wounded in Chicago overnight, seven of them in a single incident on the city's West Side.
In that incident, police were called to the scene of a shooting at Walnut Street and Homan Boulevard at 10:43 p.m.
Seven people were shot, according to Fire Media Affairs Dir. Larry Langford, who said six people were initially hospitalized in critical condition and one person, an adult man, was taken in stable condition after suffering a graze wound.
One person was found shot inside a grocery store and the six others were found within a half-block radius of the store, Langford said.
All victims were male, Langford said. They ranged in age from 15 to 28, and were taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, St. Anthony Hospital and Stroger Hospital of Cook County for treatment of their wounds.
A couple of questions.
1) How many of these people had health insurance? And did they get their bullet holes plugged if they didn't have their card?
2) How many were canning pickles? (a reference to Gary's comment on life in Redville)
Seriously, the KKK never inflicted one tenth of the damage to young black males as the city of Chicago has this year.
What's so "progressive" about genocide?
Yes, he does, in fact write the tax code.
Ever notice that those who endorse high taxes and those who actually pay them aren’t the same people? Consider the curious case of Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel, who is leading the charge for a new 5.4-percentage point income tax surcharge and recently called it “the moral thing to do.” About his own tax liability he seems less, well, fervent.
Exhibit A concerns a rental property Mr. Rangel purchased in 1987 at the Punta Cana Yacht Club in the Dominican Republic. The rental income from that property ought to be substantial since it is a luxury beach-front villa and is more often than not rented out. But when the National Legal and Policy Center looked at Mr. Rangel’s House financial disclosure forms in August, it noted that his reported income looked suspiciously low. In 2004 and 2005, he reported no more than $5,000, and in 2006 and 2007 no income at all from the property.
The Congressman initially denied there was any unreported income. But reporters quickly showed that the villa is among the most desirable at Punta Cana and that it rents for $500 a night in the low season, and as much as $1,100 a night in peak season. Last year it was fully booked between December 15 and April 15.
In fact, it does take a village..... to take care of a "progressive" congress woman's property........
John Bailey thought it was great when his neighbor was elected to the House of Representatives in 2007.
"Not everyone lives next door to a congresswoman," he said.But two years later, he doesn't feel so lucky. The congresswoman's house is abandoned and in disrepair, "a blight on the neighborhood," Bailey said.
He thinks the way that Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Long Beach) has treated her Sacramento home tells far more about her than her voting record.
"I wouldn't want anyone that irresponsible to represent me," said Bailey, like Richardson a liberal Democrat. "What I don't get is how she has the time to visit with Fidel Castro but doesn't have time for her own house. If you can't manage your own household, you probably shouldn't get involved in international affairs."He's not alone. Neighbors have complained to the city, written letters and e-mails to Richardson and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi , but the three-bedroom house remains an eyesore. Neighbors just wish she would sell it or let it go into foreclosure, anything to get it into the hands of someone who would care.
"She shows total disregard for everyone in the neighborhood," said Sean Padovan, a retired police sergeant. "She ought to be embarrassed and ashamed."
Richardson did not return phone calls for this story.
The problems with the house began shortly after Richardson was elected to the Assembly in 2006 from Long Beach and bought the two-story house in the leafy Curtis Park neighborhood.
It wasn't long before Padovan, 62, angry that the lawn wasn't being mowed, knocked on Richardson's door, told her he was a neighbor and asked if she minded if he cut the grass. He hauled out his hand mower, and when Richardson still seemed to have no interest in taking care of her yard, he stuck a gardener's card in her door with a note saying that she should call him if she had questions.
What's even better? Richardson is now facing an ethics probe as her home was foreclosed on purchased by a third party and given back to a bank.
U.S. Rep. Laura Richardson's rundown Sacramento house, which became the scourge of the neighborhood and a sore point with an investor who thought he had bought it out of foreclosure, has drawn the interest of a House ethics panel.
The Office of Congressional Ethics contacted real estate investor James York, who bought Richardson's house at a foreclosure auction last year, only to have Washington Mutual take it back after he had recorded the deed and return the house to the congresswoman.
As I read through this, it did occur to me to wonder where is Michael J. Fox, Canadian, getting treatment for Parkinson's disease?
For instance, Fox is on many new and veeeerrrrrry expensive drugs to help with his Parkinson's symptoms. Is the Canadian health care system shelling out for those? I highly doubt it. In fact, if it weren't for the profit motivation for those private enterprise, big pharma companies, he wouldn't have those drugs at all.
Second, would any non rich, ordinary Canadians be able to receive the treatments Fox receives?
Fox's own Parkinson's Foundation is housed in New York (see the foundation's 990 here). In fact, I couldn't find one grant made by the foundation to a non American institution. Seems odd that if the Canadian system was so wonderful, the foundation might have the resources to throw a few bones to Canadian research.
Once again, I'm not the smartest guy in the world but it occurs to me that wherever Fox gets his treatment and where he's getting his research done says something about the health care debate.
New York City is buying one-way plane tickets for homeless families to leave the city, and dozens of the families have landed in Georgia and South Carolina.
It's part of a Bloomberg administration program to keep the homeless out of the expensive shelter system, which costs $36,000 a year per family. More than 550 families have left the city since 2007. All it takes is for a relative to agree to take them in.
Here's a hint Bloomberg; all it ever takes for someone to get off the streets is for a friend and/or family member to help.
For most of these people, they've already exhausted those resources.
I've got a good idea for Mayor Bloomberg, you send me $35,000 a year per family, I'll take care of them.
Here are some good referrals from readers
From reader Jeremy here
From reader Maggie here
A hilarious read from Iowahawk here
By the way, I appreciate all the referrals from readers. It really helps me pare out lots of menusha.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
1) According to the Branch Gorvidians, we need to convert electric production from carbon spewing, coal burning power plants to more efficient, less carbon producing, sources.
2) Nuclear power is the most efficient, cleanest source of power generation we currently have available.
3) We are currently in need of good, union jobs in an economically depressed area to get our economy back and going again.
So you would think that building a nuke plant would be a high priority for the Obamunists?
except that it isn't..........
The chair of the US Enrichment Corporation says he's shocked and disappointed. The company couldn't get a guaranteed $2-billion federal loan to build a nuclear power plant in Pike County.
John Welch says it would have used proven technology, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and created thousands of jobs. He says he can't understand why the Department of Energy would reject their request.
So, even though USEC has already invested $1.5 billion, work is stopping on the plant that used to enrich uranium.
Dubliners angry over the around-the-clock dismantling of U2's monumental concert stage mounted street protests Tuesday, snarling the Irish band's plans for the next stages of their European tour.
Residents around Croke Park stadium said their aim was to embarrass Dublin City Council and the Gaelic Athletic Association - which authorized the all-night noise - not delay Ireland's most famous musical export.
But U2 managers said the protests meant more than 50 trucks carrying much of the band's 390-ton stage, TV screens, lighting and sound equipment missed their intended morning ferry.
But this is the part that is hilarious..........
Berry said singer Bono, guitarist The Edge, bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr. were told of the Dublin disruption about 5 a.m. Tuesday as their private jet landed in Nice, France, where they are staying in between European gigs.
This from the band that repatriated to The Netherlands to avoid the high personal income taxes in Ireland.
You libs give hypocrisy a whole new meaning.
Read the rest
How much have you actually kicked in on that "investment"?
If you live in California; not so much........
A Pacific Gas and Electric Co. program that asks customers to fight global warming by paying a little extra on their electricity bills has enrolled just 31,000 people and takes far more money to run than it generates.
Now PG&E wants to extend the ClimateSmart program, even as consumer watchdogs question whether it's worth the money.
"Everyone agrees that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is important - this just might not be the best way to go about it," said Diana Lee, an attorney representing the consumer protection office of the California Public Utilities Commission.
Launched with great fanfare in 2007, ClimateSmart gives PG&E customers a way to go "carbon neutral."
People who sign up for the program pay a monthly fee - usually less than $3 - to offset greenhouse gas emissions from the power plants that supply their electricity. Most of the money funds forestry projects that pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. While other, smaller companies - such as TerraPass in San Francisco - offer similar services, ClimateSmart was the first such program from a utility.
Another four more years of Bush
Monday, July 27, 2009
Pot Kettle Black
Is the carbon footprint created by this 11,000 square foot monster mansion from
a) Rush Limbaugh
b) Bill Gates
c) Al Gore
d) Writer Thomas Friedman, NY Times Branch Gorvidian
Read the answer here........
Out here in Redville, The Lovely Mrs. Gekko and I spent an evening in Mason watching an Eric Clapton tribute band; Slowhand. After the show, we went home for some strawberry shortcake and watched In Plain Sight prior to going bed at 11:00.
But I get that for some, life in Redville is a little too pedestrian. You want to add some spice so you Obama voters would much rather head to a place like Annie's here in town..........
Two men died early today in a shooting outside Annie’s nightclub, 4343 Kellogg Avenue, Cincinnati police said.
The victims’ names and ages have not been released.
An off-duty Cincinnati police officer working a security detail at the club heard shots ring out about 2:30 a.m. and summoned for help, police said.
Homicide investigators, who are still following leads, are not available for comment this morning.
Police said they are searching for at least one suspect who fled in a maroon Chevrolet Tahoe.
There have been at least two other shootings over the past year outside Annie’s nightclub.Two men suffered non-life threatening injuries in a June 2008 shooting outside the nightclub.
In the most recent incident, a Cincinnati police sergeant had to shoot a suspect twice on Nov. 17 to defend himself after the suspect shot at him following a traffic and foot pursuit, according to a police statement released at the time.
Police pursued the suspect, Dimitri Rogers, 22, after two other Cincinnati police officers saw him fire a gun in the club’s parking lot and then flee in a red Ford Tempo, the statement reads.
Rogers was convicted of several criminal charges and sentenced to 13 years in a state prison.
So I guess you could have spent a boring evening with the Gekko's or dodged bullets at Annies. Call me a old fuddy duddy but I kind of like the fact that I was able to get up this morning without a bullet wound.........
By the way, the front man for Slowhand sings much better than Clapton ever did.
A juvenile with a gunshot wound turned up at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center overnight, sparking a police investigation, according to Cincinnati police.
I just wonder if this juvenile had his insurance card with him before they treated him.......
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Remember all that criticism of Bush when he played golf while US troops were being killed in Iraq?
He's still doing it............
President Obama has become quite the golf fanatic since he began his presidency.
The commander in chief is out on the links again today, playing a round at Andrews Air Force Base. This is the 10th time in as many weeks that Obama has found time to squeeze in some golf (all weekends, except for one Monday.)
In fact, the White House press corps has come up with a nickname to refer to the President's golfing habits: "The First Duffer," as they refer to him in pool reports when he's hitting the links.
Hey kids, if you smoke lots of Kool's and eat your arugula, you too can have spindly legs like our president.
Former professional boxer Vernon “The Viper” Forrest was killed Saturday night when a robbery turned into a gunfire exchange, according to Atlanta Police.More...........
Atlanta Police Detective Lt. Keith Meadows said Forrest was shot seven to eight times in the back after chasing one of the thieves.
The incident began at 11 p.m. at the Chevron on Whitehall Street in Southwest Atlanta when Forrest, 38, stopped to put air in the tires of his Jaguar, said Meadows.
A male suspect approached Forrest and robbed him of a few items at gunpoint, he said. Forrest, who was also armed, chased the suspect to an area near McDaniel and Fulton Streets.
‘Am I optimistic that they can avoid it . . . ? I am not.” That’s what retired judge Ray Graves said this week when asked whether the Detroit public schools, which he is advising, would be forced into bankruptcy. Facing violence, a shrinking student body, and graduating just one out of every four students who enter the ninth grade on time, the city’s schools have been stumbling for years. Now they face a seemingly insurmountable deficit and are expected to file for bankruptcy protection at about the time that students should be settling down in a new school year.
As embarrassing as such a filing would be, it also may be the only thing that can force the kinds of changes Detroit schools need—as the financial turmoil is just the latest manifestation of a system in terminal decline.
Detroit is like many urban school districts—large, unwieldy and bureaucratic, with a powerful union that makes the system unable to adapt to changing circumstances and that until very recently had an indulgent political class that insulated it from reform. That insulation came in two forms. The first was neglect. Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick spent several years distracted by a scandal stemming from his affair with a staffer. He resigned last year, pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice, and was sentenced to four months in jail. Had he been an effective mayor, he might have also been a powerful advocate for students.
The other insulating force was a conscious decision to wall off Detroit from charter schools. In 1993, Michigan’s legislature made it difficult to create new charters in Detroit by declaring that only community colleges could authorize charters for primary and secondary schools in “First-Class Districts”—defined as those with more than 100,000 students. Detroit was the only First-Class District. In 2003 the state, under pressure from the Detroit Federation of Teachers, turned down a gift of $200 million from philanthropist Robert Thompson that would have established 15 charter schools in the city. Those charters are needed today.
Funny how "progressives" insist on more competition in health insurance but somehow think that competition for schools is sacrilege.
What's so "progressive" about a 25% graduation rate?