Saturday, March 06, 2010

The public option in the auto industry

General Motors Co. plans to reinstate 661 dealers and may enter arbitration with as many as 400 outlets as the biggest U.S. automaker attempts to stem declines in domestic market share.

GM offered franchise agreement letters to the dealers, North America President Mark Reuss said yesterday in a conference call. The company has about 5,500 outlets.

“We are eager to restore relationships with our dealers,” said Reuss. “The arbitration process creates uncertainty in the market. Issuing these letters of intent is good for our customers, our dealers and GM.”

The Detroit-based automaker is trying to increase U.S. sales and market share while trimming four of its eight brands. Chief Executive Officer Ed Whitacre named Reuss, 46, to the post in December in a shuffle of top managers.


I never worked in the auto industry but no one could explain to me how cutting dealerships could result in higher profits.

It's like Tyson Chicken deciding that if they quit selling chicken to Krogers they'll be more profitable. Huh?

I even posted this comment related to the closings back in May of last year.........

Once again, I still don't see how closing dealerships in and of itself makes a car company profitable.

But then again, I'm not as smart as though Government Motors executives making millions of dollars.

Obama Already Breaking Promises On No Lobbyists In Administration

When politics overide academic integrity

Hard to believe Paul Krugman would be such a person......

Former Enron adviser Paul Krugman takes note in his New York Times column of what he calls "the incredible gap that has opened up between the parties":

Today, Democrats and Republicans live in different universes, both intellectually and morally.

"What Democrats believe," he says "is what textbook economics says":

But that's not how Republicans see it. Here's what Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, had to say when defending Mr. Bunning's position (although not joining his blockade): unemployment relief "doesn't create new jobs. In fact, if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work."

Krugman scoffs: "To me, that's a bizarre point of view--but then, I don't live in Mr. Kyl's universe."

What does textbook economics have to say about this question? Here is a passage from a textbook called "Macroeconomics":
Public policy designed to help workers who lose their jobs can lead to structural unemployment as an unintended side effect. . . . In other countries, particularly in Europe, benefits are more generous and last longer. The drawback to this generosity is that it reduces a worker's incentive to quickly find a new job. Generous unemployment benefits in some European countries are widely believed to be one of the main causes of "Eurosclerosis," the persistent high unemployment that affects a number of European countries.

So it turns out that what Krugman calls Sen. Kyl's "bizarre point of view" is, in fact, textbook economics. The authors of that textbook are Paul Krugman and Robin Wells. Miss Wells is also known as Mrs. Paul Krugman.


Reid: GOP "Root For Failure" -- FLASHBACK: Reid Twice "Roots" For Iraq Failure

Bill Cunningham, Great American Douche Bag

For about the past ten years, I hung out at a place called Willie's (in Kenwood). If you are not from the Cincinnati area, it's a chain of sports bars started by Bill Cunningham, a local talk show host and regular on Sean Hannity's show. He's famous for his "Great American" schtick which Hannity uses on his show.

I started going there not because of him but because it was a reasonably priced place with little smoke. Ultimately, I became friends with many regulars; a lot of self employed types looking for some social interaction with other like minded alcoholics.

During my time there, the ownership of the place changed several times with Cunningham in and out of the ownership of one to several of the stores.

Last year, given that the stores were losing money, the principal owner, Brad Orr, gave ownership of the Kenwood store to the accountant Barb for cover the debt they owed her.

Apparently, Cunningham wanted the store back so he could give his jerk wad of a kid a store to manage. But he didn't go to Barb to buy her out. Instead, knowing that the store was on a month to month lease, went to the landlords and offered a sizable rent increase if they would evict Willie's out of the spot; which they promptly did.

So now Willie's is attempting to reopen on Galbraith road where the old Gentry Shop used to be. And Cunningham is looking to start his new place where the old one used to be.

I'm only writing about this now because last night I was looking to go hang out somewhere to have a couple glasses of wine (no more liquid bread for me) and some light heart conversation but really couldn't find a spot that was as comfortable as the old one.

So this post is a special bite me to Bill Cunningham and his loser son for ruining a perfectly good dump. And don't worry Willie. I'll come to your new place when it opens.... just so I can piss all over the floor.

Great American my ass. He needs to add douche bag to the end of his tag line.

Why people resent the government

Because of crap like this...........

The number of federal workers earning six-figure salaries has exploded during the recession, according to a USA TODAY analysis of federal salary data.

Federal employees making salaries of $100,000 or more jumped from 14% to 19% of civil servants during the recession's first 18 months — and that's before overtime pay and bonuses are counted.

Federal workers are enjoying an extraordinary boom time — in pay and hiring — during a recession that has cost 7.3 million jobs in the private sector.

This is a must read.........

Life in "Progress" State

Once again from the golden sate of California, where there hasn't been a conservative in the state since Dag rolled the first wheel down the San Andreas fault......

California's January unemployment rate rose to 12.5 percent from a revised 12.3 percent in December, according to the Employment Development Department.

Despite the uptick, non-farm payroll jobs increased by 32,500.

The number of people unemployed in California was 2.27 million - up by 32,000 over the month.

The new numbers show a possible stabilization in the state's unemployment, said Stuart Dorsey, president of University of Redlands and former chief economist for the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance.

"We're probably close to the bottom whether this month or next month or the month after," Dorsey said. "We're going to be slow coming off of the bottom, so we're not looking for, certainly within California, any kind of very rapid reduction in the unemployment rate from high levels."

You know what California needs right now? A tax increase.... or so says those really smart liberals who run the state.

What's so "progressive" about 12.5 % unemployment which looks to stabilize next month or the next month or the month after that or the month after that.....?


Life in "Progress" City

From the city of Birmingham Alabama, where there hasn't been a conservative in city government since Dag and Gog roasted there first mastodon over an open fire..........

Residents here were not terribly surprised on Friday when Larry Langford, the former mayor, was sentenced to 15 years in prison and fined $360,000 by a federal judge, ending a long-running bribery case that shook local government and state Democratic politics.

But Mr. Langford provided one last jolt to the city just before his sentencing. In an unrelated lawsuit this week, it was revealed that he had somehow won hundreds of jackpots at a bingo casino owned by a supporter, adding $1.5 million to his income, according to his tax returns.

The back-to-back stories spread quickly across Birmingham, generating ridicule, disbelief and disgust, on blogs and at office water coolers.

“Every time news like this breaks, it’s just another little stab in the city’s back,” said Ben Yother, 33, a marketer eating lunch at a cafe downtown. “Nobody’s ever surprised. This has just become the status quo of Birmingham politics.”

What's so "progressive" about corruption?


Friday, March 05, 2010

Harry Reid: Only 36,000 Lost Their Jobs Today

From the party of smart people

So simple even a knuckle dragging conservative can figure it out

But somehow those really smart liberals don't have a clue.......

There's plenty of competition, but our vote for the recent act of Congress that has caused the most economic hardship goes to the May 2007 law raising the minimum wage in three stages to $7.25 an hour from $5.15. Rarely has a law hurt more vulnerable people more quickly.

A higher minimum wage has the biggest impact on those with the least experience or the fewest skills. That means in particular those looking for entry-level jobs, especially teenagers. And sure enough, as nearly all economic models predict, the higher minimum has wreaked havoc with teenage job seekers, well beyond what ...

Well surprise, surprise, surprise!!!!

More..... (subscription required)

Those dog gone too smart liberals

So the Obamunists want to punish those bankers by taxing transactions.

Wouldn't you know that even a 95 IQ conservative could tell you that the net effect of those fees will be for the banks to pass them on the consumer......

ABC News' Matthew Jaffe reports:

President Obama's proposed fee on the country's biggest banks receiving taxpayer bailout money would ultimately result in costs to the firms' customers, employees, and investors, a non-partisan Congressional watchdog said today.

In January the President unveiled a proposal to impose a fee on about 50 of the nation's biggest banks with assets of $50 billion or more in an effort to recoup around $90 billion of taxpayer money dished out as part of the Wall Street bailout.

"We want our money back and we're going to get it," the President said.

But the Congressional Budget Office today warned that "the ultimate cost of a tax or fee is not necessarily borne by the entity that writes the check to the government."

"The cost of the proposed fee would ultimately be borne to varying degrees by an institution's customers, employees, and investors," the CBO said today in a letter to Sen. Chuck Grassley.

"Customers would probably absorb some of the cost in the form of higher borrowing rates and other charges, although competition from financial institutions not subject to the fee would limit the extent to which the cost could be passed to borrowers. Employees might bear some of the cost by accepting some reduction in their compensation, including income from bonuses, if they did not have better employment opportunities available to them. Investors could bear some of the cost in the form of lower prices of their stock if the fee reduced the institution's future profits."

Well duh......


Liberals are smarter than conservatives

Of course they are. All you have to do is ask one......

A new sociological study suggests that atheists and liberals have higher IQs than conservatives and the faithful.

The study doesn't indicate a vast gulf, but it does indicate a gap. The author, Satoshi Kanazawa, London School of Economics and Political Science evolutionary psychologist, says it's down to pushing beyond old evolutionary lessons, towards what he termed "evolutionarily novel" behavior.

For instance, he said: "Liberalism, caring about millions of total strangers and giving up money to make sure that those strangers will do well, is evolutionarily novel."

According to the study, young "not at all religious" adults had an average IQ of 103. Young "very religious" adults had an average IQ of 97.

Hmmm... For the conservative religious types out there, I should note this represents a gap of six IQ points.

The study, in the new Social Psychology Quarterly (your's may not have arrived yet) also notes that young "very liberal" adults had an average IQ of 106 and young "very conservative" adults had average IQs of 95.

Of course liberals are so smart just one liberal in Washington knows how to solve every problem Mary Polischuck in East Washburn MN has.

What I can't figure out is that if liberals are so smart, how is it they can't seem to get their arms around that whole Law of Supply and Demand or the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility but seem to have a firm grip on the Theory of Global warming when it 18 degrees outside.

I mean c'mon even a 95 IQ conservative can understand that!


"Progressives" are introduced to life in the NFL

Isn't it funny how "progressive" policies seem to work in some academic paper but when it comes to the real world.... Well..... let's just say George Bush wasn't the dip shit progressives made him out to be......

President Obama's advisers are nearing a recommendation that Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, be prosecuted in a military tribunal, administration officials said, a step that would reverse Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.'s plan to try him in civilian court in New York City.

The president's advisers feel increasingly hemmed in by bipartisan opposition to a federal trial in New York and demands, mainly from Republicans, that Mohammed and his accused co-conspirators remain under military jurisdiction, officials said. While Obama has favored trying some terrorism suspects in civilian courts as a symbol of U.S. commitment to the rule of law, critics have said military tribunals are the appropriate venue for those accused of attacking the United States.

Funny how the real world works that way.


Life with the public option

The United States Postal Service is facing a $238 billion budget deficit over the next decade and may drop Saturday mail delivery to help cut costs:

The U.S. Postal Service estimated Tuesday that it will lose $238 billion in the next decade if lawmakers, postal regulators and unions don’t give the mail agency more flexibility in setting delivery schedules, price increases and labor costs.

Estimates also predict that letter carriers will deliver 150 billion pieces of mail in 2020, a drop of about 26 billion pieces from last year. Postmaster General John E. Potter plans to press lawmakers and the Postal Regulatory Commission in the coming weeks to eliminate Saturday mail deliveries and allow the mail agency to raise prices beyond the rate of inflation, if necessary.

“We intend to be around for decades and centuries to come,” Potter told a meeting of regulators, congressional staffers and major mail customers Tuesday. “These are the first steps that are necessary to make sure that that occurs.”

So we have the "public option" known as the USPS. Isn't it funny how I can walk into a UPS store and get service on a Saturday; complete with delivery but a solution to the public option is to cut service on Saturday thereby cutting service to the consumer.

That would never happen in health care now would it?


Life in "Progress" City

From the city of angels, Los Angeles, where there hasn't been a conservative in city government since Thag and Ga took their last dips in the Lebrea tar pits....

It is all but impossible to fire even the worst teachers if they’re members of United Teachers Los Angeles and work in the L.A. Unified School District. The union that spends millions on radio and TV ads telling you that more funding is needed “for our students” has forced the cash-strapped district to spend $3.5 million over the last 10 years “trying to fire just seven of the district’s 33,000 teachers for poor classroom performance.” Of those, “only four were fired, during legal struggles that wore on, on average, for five years each. Two of the three others were paid large settlements, and one was reinstated. The average cost of each battle is $500,000.”

So it’ll be interesting to see how vigorously UTLA stands behind the three Wadsworth Elementary School teachers accused not of poor performance but of political incorrectness. In a parade during Black History Month, they had some students carry pictures of O.J. Simpson, RuPaul, and Dennis Rodman—an act that has now sparked outrage from no less than Mayor Villaraigosa and district superintendent Ramon Cortines, who dispatched “a human relations and ethnic diversity team.”

But what’s the big deal? Simpson, RuPaul and Rodman are all black. All have made history. And February is called Black History Month, not “Black Hagiography Month.” It makes more sense to be upset that the powers-that-be allocated the shortest month of the year.

Besides, during the other months, American history in our public schools focuses obsessively on the country’s sins as opposed to its extraordinary accomplishments. Thomas Jefferson, for example, is now often better known for being a scumbag slaveholder than as the author of the Declaration of Independence, which accounts for why so many schools named Jefferson have either changed their names or tried to.

I've been doing this blog for about 3 and a half years and I'm still waiting for Mr./Ms "Progressive" out there to give me one example of something "progressives" that is either a) progressive b) effective or c) better run than the private sector.

I'm still waiting.

In fact, the entire universe is.


Thursday, March 04, 2010

3 Reasons Why Obama's High-Speed Rail Will Go Nowhere Fast

From men to boys

George Will on the increasing level of immaturity among men.......

Current economic hardships have had what is called in constitutional law a "disparate impact": The crisis has not afflicted everyone equally. Although women are a majority of the workforce, perhaps as many as 80 percent of jobs lost were held by men. This injury to men is particularly unfortunate because it may exacerbate, and be exacerbated by, a culture of immaturity among the many young men who are reluctant to grow up.

Increasingly, they are defecting from the meritocracy. Women now receive almost 58 percent of bachelor's degrees. This is why many colleges admit men with qualifications inferior to those of women applicants—which is one reason men have higher dropout rates. The Pew Research Center reports that 28 percent of wives between ages 30 and 44 have more education than their husbands, whereas only 19 percent of husbands in the same age group have more education than their wives. Twenty-three percent of men with some college education earn less than their wives. In law, medical, and doctoral programs, women are majorities or, if trends continue, will be.

In 1956, the median age of men marrying was 22.5. But between 1980 and 2004, the percentage of men reaching age 40 without marrying increased from 6 to 16.5. A recent study found that 55 percent of men 18 to 24 are living in their parents' homes, as are 13 percent of men 25 to 34, compared to 8 percent of women.

Will offers some reasons behind the trend but I would offer this one. When the women's movement (or as I call it The Masculist movement) decided that women needed to be men to be equal many men decided to let them.

As a result, there are too many men who have decided that kicking their feet on top of the coffee table while the wife gets the education and the better jobs was a pretty good deal.

Now we have a population of women supporting a population of baby daddies and deadbeats.

So your average woman can thank the woman's movement while she sings "He ain't heavy, he's my husband".

Read the article.....

Obama gets Vonn's gold medal

Thanks readers Bernie and Fred

The right to bear arms

From Doc Zero........

Twenty-five years ago, a little after sunrise on a Monday morning, the front door of my house was kicked in by a man who had blown his mind with crack cocaine. He marched my family upstairs at gunpoint. When I reached the top of the stairs and turned around, he put the gun in my forehead and pulled the trigger.

I’ve always heard it was good to begin a composition with an arresting opening paragraph. That’s the catchiest one I can offer from an otherwise modest biography. I hope the rest of this essay lives up to the opening. I’ll do my best.

I don’t mind admitting this incident gave me a lifelong aversion to guns. I don’t have any objection to other law-abiding citizens bearing arms – in fact, I’m strongly in favor of it. It’s just not a right I have chosen to exercise, although I’m working on getting over it. I’m fascinated by the beauty and science of firearms. I rarely pass a gun magazine on the stands without flipping it open, and I love attending gun shows. My first close encounter with a gun was rather… intense, so I’m understandably nervous around them. I recently discovered I’m a remarkably good shot with a target rifle, after some friends invited me to shoot with them. I’ve decided twenty-five years is long enough to be uncomfortable around the reality of something I’ve always supported in theory.

The Second Amendment is once again in the news, as the Supreme Court considers a case that would invoke the Fourteenth Amendment to apply it to the states, striking down restrictive state and local gun-control laws… oh, wait. You’re probably wondering why I’m still here, having been shot in the head and all. Well, I got lucky. I was able to knock the gun out of the way just in time, and the bullet wound up in the wall, instead of my brain. I had managed to make a hasty call to the police as the door was being kicked in, and they arrived to find the perp and I wrestling for control of the weapon at the bottom of the stairs. No one died in my house that day.

I wish the Supreme Court would do more than rule the Second Amendment applies to the states. It’s long past time the last, ridiculous cobwebs of ambiguity were cleared away from the right to keep and bear arms. Gun control has been simmering on low heat for a while, after boiling over in the Nineties. We should clear it off the Constitutional stove altogether. We have better things to do than slip into another bitter, tedious argument about whether the government can interfere with our right, and duty, to defend ourselves.

I'm still waiting for one of those gun control nuts to put a sign on their doors declaring it a gun free zone.

Why do you think they're afraid to do so?


The Branch Gorevidians get defensive

A good read on the Great American Global Warming Scam.........

These days, it’s The New York Times that is redefining treason. Three weeks ago, anyone who pointed at the lack of public confidence in climate science was aiding and abetting those horrible climate ‘deniers.’ Treason against Planet Earth! You had to be some kind of dread ‘right wing blogger’ or talk radio host to point out that blunders and arrogance had undermined the credibility of climate scientists and ended any short term chance of serious global agreement on urgent measures to stop global warming.

But a story this morning by John Broder gently lets Times readers know that something has gone badly wrong.

WASHINGTON — For months, climate scientists have taken a vicious beating in the media and on the Internet, accused of hiding data, covering up errors and suppressing alternate views. Their response until now has been largely to assert the legitimacy of the vast body of climate science and to mock their critics as cranks and know-nothings.

But the volume of criticism and the depth of doubt have only grown, and many scientists now realize they are facing a crisis of public confidence and have to fight back. Tentatively and grudgingly, they are beginning to engage their critics, admit mistakes, open up their data and reshape the way they conduct their work.

Admit mistakes? Open up their data? Change the way the work? You mean there was something wrong with the way climate science was operating last year? Is the Times telling us that the climate scientists–on the basis of whose work the whole world is debating complex and far-reaching changes in its economic structure and political governance–were using slipshod and careless procedures that need to be fixed?

Gosh, one has to ask, if these terrible things were going on for such a long time, why didn’t the New York Times notice this earlier on? Why didn’t the New York Times break this important story back when it was news, rather than lamely sweeping up at the end of the parade? Could it be that a climate of politically-correct group-think inhibited the editors and reporters at the country’s newspaper of record from recognizing a one of the major stories of the decade? Could the environmental writers at the Times be just a teensy bit too close to their sources?

Read the whole thing......

Welcome to America

We'll get to see lot's of this in the coming years.....

Yes, Virginia there are two America's

One where you have to pay your ho's out of your own pocket and one where you use campaign contributions.........

The National Enquirer is reporting that disgraced former presidential candidate John Edwards is about to be indicted by a federal grand jury investigating his campaign expenditures.

In another shocker, close sources say Edwards' estranged wife Elizabeth could help send the former presidential candidate to jail!

Edwards, the disgraced two-time Presidential loser, is being investigated by the feds, including the FBI and IRS, for possible campaign violations related to paying his mistress Rielle Hunter.

The grand jury has been meeting since April 2009, and insiders say an indictment is imminent.

"John is terrified that he's going to be indicted," a friend told The ENQUIRER.

"While he believes he's done nothing illegal in trying to hide his extramarital affair with Rielle and their daughter, he thinks the Feds are going to make an example of him."

The Raleigh-based grand jury has been looking into whether payments Edwards made to mistress and former campaign videographer Rielle Hunter broke campaign laws. Former Edwards staffer and tell-all book author Andrew Young alleges more than $1 million was paid out to conceal the relationship, according to

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Mark Foley redux

Congressman Eric Massa says it is health concerns, not claims that he sexually harassed a male staff member, that prompted his decision to not seek a second term.

Massa, 50, is a freshman Democrat representing a Republican-leaning New York district. He is the 15th Democratic member of the House to not seek re-election this year.

Massa denied reports Wednesday that he is leaving because of harassment charges pending before the House Ethics Committee.

Massa, a former Naval officer, acknowledged using "salty language"" in his office, but that's it:

"Do I [use], or have I ever used, salty language when I'm angry, especially in the privacy of my inner office, or even at home? Yes, I have. And I have apologized to those where it's appropriate," Massa said. "But those kinds of articles, unsubstantiated without fact or backing, are a symptom of what's wrong with this city, and it's why so many have looked at the absolute gridlock in Washington, the intense partisanship without rational thought, and decided, like I, I do not have the life energy to fight all the battles all the time."

Massa made his statement after multiple news outlets reported that the ethics committee had received a sexual harassment complaint about the congressman from a male staffer in his office.

Tea Party = George Wallace

A good read forwarded to me from reader Tim.......

The history of the modern Republican Party in one sentence: Barry Goldwater and Nelson Rockefeller got into an argument and George Wallace won.

OK, footnotes are required. The most important is that racism, a central factor in Wallace's career, is marginal in today's Republican Party. In fact, if there is anything Republicans like about President Obama, it is the racial breakthrough that his election represents. Nothing in this article implies that the GOP is a racist party.

But there was much more to George Corley Wallace than race. We too easily forget, today, what a formidable figure he cut in his heyday. His four-term career as governor of Alabama spanned a quarter-century. In 1968, he launched one of the most successful independent presidential candidacies in American history, winning 13 percent of the popular vote. In 1972, this time running as a Democrat, he won five primaries and was on a roll when a would-be assassin's bullet knocked him out of the race.

"To dismiss George Wallace as a racist or a demagogue is to seriously underestimate his allure," said the National Observer in 1968. "His appeal is broader, far broader, than racism, and his themes too vital to be contained within mere demagoguery." Wallace drew a map for Republicans' subsequent inroads into the South and blue-collar America, and he pioneered legitimate issues to which establishment politicians paid too little attention: easy money, dysfunctional welfare programs, perverse crime policies.

What Wallace did not do was frame a coherent program or governing philosophy. His agenda was "this strange conglomeration," says Dan Carter, a University of South Carolina historian and biographer of Wallace. "I don't expect politicians to be running a seminar, but there's an absolute incoherence about the thing that is more a cry of angst than a program."

Wallace's national appeal came neither from the racial backlash he exploited nor from his program, such as it was. "It was a deep sense of grievance," Carter says -- a feeling that elites "are not only screwing you over but at the same time they're laughing at you, they're looking down their noses at you."

Read the rest

Life in "Progress" City

From the Golden Gate city of SanFrancisco, where there hasn't been a conservative in city government since Og beat Ba in the Olympic sabre tooth tiger eating contest..........

It could soon be illegal to sit or lie on public sidewalks anywhere in San Francisco, a law Mayor Gavin Newsom says would make city life safer for pedestrians and merchants, but that homeless advocates and others say would amount to profiling against the poor.

Newsom will introduce two separate versions of a sit/lie law today at the Board of Supervisors. One version would prohibit sitting or lying on public sidewalks in about 20 commercial corridors throughout the city and is modeled on a similar law in Seattle that was upheld as constitutional by the U.S. Court of Appeals.

The other would prevent the behavior everywhere, including in residential neighborhoods, and is believed to be a first nationwide.


Mr. Obama - the biggest spender in presidential history - created the commission by executive order (after the Senate failed to do so), ostensibly to give him recommendations on deficit and debt reduction and spending control. It's supposed to offer ways to bring down the federal deficit to 3 percent of gross domestic product by 2015, compared with 10 percent currently, and to constrain the surging costs of huge entitlements like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Mr. Obama has also asked the commission to look at the tax code in order to consider tax increases. And therein lies its real reason for being. Any sentient human being knows this is simply a cover to raise taxes on everyone, particularly the middle class, for whom Mr. Obama promised no tax increases. "If you make less than $250,000 a year, your taxes will not go up - not by one penny," he said incessantly during the campaign. So much for that.

The commission is supposed to be "bipartisan," but its makeup is decidedly tilted toward liberals thoroughly invested in Mr. Obama's big-government agenda. Mr. Obama gave himself the privilege of picking six of the 18 commission positions. Democrats in Congress get to choose another six, so ultimately, the Democrats get 12 seats, the Republicans get six. Viva "bipartisanship!"

Mr. Obama has announced that former Clinton Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Sen. Alan Simpson will lead the commission. Neither Mr. Bowles nor Mr. Simpson have a record of fondness for tax cuts. That's to be expected of Democrat Mr. Bowles, but Mr. Simpson's role is more problematic. He has criticized pro-growth tax cuts and supported tax increases when what's needed now is a mix of deep spending cuts, elimination of unneeded programs and tax cuts. Of course, that's precisely why Mr. Obama selected him.


"The most ethical congress in history"

If you just don't count all the ethics violations.....

This panel almost never fails to disappoint. It tends to be sluggish in its work and supine in its conclusions. But even by its indulgent standards, the committee reached new heights -- lows? -- of fecklessness last week as it brushed off complaints about lawmakers' acceptance of corporate-funded travel.

Most of the focus, understandably enough, was on the panel's "admonishment" -- its feeblest form of discipline -- of Charlie Rangel, the beleaguered and likely soon-to-be-former chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.

Rangel was wrist-slapped because the committee determined that he should have known his Caribbean jaunts with other members of the Congressional Black Caucus were underwritten by corporations, in violation of House rules. The New York Democrat's most serious ethics problems, trifles such as failing to declare income on taxes and financial disclosure forms, are still -- what a surprise! -- under review by the committee.

But the Rangel-centric nature of the news coverage obscured the bigger story: the ethics committee's role as enabler of ethical violations. Remember the furor over lobbyist Jack Abramoff and the lavish golfing trips he furnished for lawmakers? In response to that scandal, Congress tightened its ethics rules in 2007. It barred lawmakers from accepting free travel lasting more than a day if corporations that retain lobbyists underwrite any part of the trip.

Make that supposedly tightened its ethics rules. Last week's report details how a top lawyer to the then-chairman, the late representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio), served as a kind of tour guide to help sponsors of a November 2007 conference in Antigua find a way around the new restrictions.


Mark Williams

watch this

Monday, March 01, 2010

Raw Footage: February 26 Riot in the streets of Berkeley

Welcome to Greece

Global Warming Challenge update

Earlier this month, I decided to quit being an accountant and be a climate scientist. What that entails is asking other scientists whether or not it's getting warmer so that we can build a scientific consensus. It's a much easier way of getting big bucks from the government than doing tax returns on the weekend.

So I asked other PhD's I know (3) to see if they thought the month of February was warmer or not. I guess it doesn't matter that one of those PhD's is an electrical engineer working on a Parkinson's cure, one is an economics professor and the third is a school superintendent; we built a consensus that it was colder than hell during the month of February. Pretty much like the way Michael Mann, Phil Jones, et al developed their theory of global warming.

Regardless, I broke from a typical no peer review hypothesis and actually ran the numbers.

For the month of February, the average warm temperature was 34.1 degrees versus an historical high of 43.1 degrees. The average low was 19.7 degrees v the historical low of 25 degrees. So we, in fact, have proof that our scientific consensus is accurate.

But hey don't take my word for it. Unlike Phil Jones, I didn't destroy the evidence. You can look it up here.

That makes the year to date score Cool - 4, Warm - 0.

Read the Global Warming Challenge here.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Are we all Greek now?

Last week, I noted how the US is running a Greek style economic collapse and California is in a parallel financial situation.

Mark Steyn weighs in on the subject................

What’s happening in the developed world today isn’t so very hard to understand: The 20th-century Bismarckian welfare state has run out of people to stick it to. In America, the feckless, insatiable boobs in Washington, Sacramento, Albany, and elsewhere are screwing over our kids and grandkids. In Europe, they’ve reached the next stage in social-democratic evolution: There are no kids or grandkids to screw over. The United States has a fertility rate of around 2.1 — or just over two kids per couple. Greece has a fertility rate of about 1.3: Ten grandparents have six kids have four grandkids — ie, the family tree is upside down. Demographers call 1.3 “lowest-low” fertility — the point from which no society has ever recovered. And, compared to Spain and Italy, Greece has the least worst fertility rate in Mediterranean Europe.

So you can’t borrow against the future because, in the most basic sense, you don’t have one. Greeks in the public sector retire at 58, which sounds great. But, when ten grandparents have four grandchildren, who pays for you to spend the last third of your adult life loafing around?

By the way, you don’t have to go to Greece to experience Greek-style retirement: The Athenian “public service” of California has been metaphorically face down in the ouzo for a generation. Still, America as a whole is not yet Greece. A couple of years ago, when I wrote my book America Alone, I put the then–Social Security debate in a bit of perspective: On 2005 figures, projected public-pensions liabilities were expected to rise by 2040 to about 6.8 percent of GDP. In Greece, the figure was 25 percent: in other words, head for the hills, Armageddon outta here, The End. Since then, the situation has worsened in both countries. And really the comparison is academic: Whereas America still has a choice, Greece isn’t going to have a 2040 — not without a massive shot of Reality Juice.

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