Saturday, January 01, 2011

All we gotta do 2.0

Friday, December 31, 2010

Jim Miller, RIP

It was about 12 years ago when I started hanging out at the Willies in Kenwood.

Over the years, I met some great guys; Bartman, Rick, The Unabomber, Vernon, Dana, Dave, Dan, Joe, Bob, Grif, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mizz among others.

We lost one of those in the group yesterday. Jim Miller. Jim was the Dan Fielding of Willies, Never shy about discussing his kinky sexual proclivities.

Jim died of liver cancer yesterday.

I didn't know Jim that well since he was more of a happy hour guy; I usually showed up for dinner later in the evening. None the less, Jim was a funny guy who was always good for a story you never heard before. He will be missed.

I just hope heaven is full of ball gags and leather chaps.

Snowy Conditions Proving Hazardous For Nation's Idiots

Feminism explained

How will they explain this?

You know how the Branch Gorvidians knew that global warming was responsible for the East Coast and Western Europe blizzards/extreme cold.

Now the last I checked my map, Phoenix wasn't along the east Coast. But, of course, that won't prevent the Branch Gorevidians from predicting how snow got to Arizona after the fact.

In fact, let's play a game and come up with a nonsensical reason to explain the phenomenon proving yet again how global warming exists.

I'll start.........

As a result of cow flatulence in the plain states of Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, the air currents rise above the current jet streams. As this stinky air rises, it provides sort of a buffer to the jet stream which gets nauseated by the smell.

The jet stream then reverses course and heads back to the West Coast where it hopes to avoid the stench of cow farts, taking with it all the cool moisture that would have been dumped on the plain states.

Given the length of the trip and the fact there are no good roadside rests along the way, the jet stream has no choice but to dump its cool liquid across the west coast.

And that my friends is how global warming causes snow in Phoenix.

Feel free to add your own in the comment section.

If it's good enough, the government will give you some money to prove it.

how hockey fans use a vuvuzela

So stupid, only a liberal could think of it

So we have a pack of Ivy Leaguer who believe that higher taxes on the rich is the way to get the economy revved up again.

Unfortunately, a bunch of dumb ass conservatives refuse to make rich people give up their wealth to a government, so these guys came up with a brilliant idea......

Give your "tax cut" to charity!

Seriously, they have a calculator that will compute your tax cut and then you can forward it to charity.

In all honesty, it's probably necessary for liberals to suggest that they can give their money to charity since so few understand what that means in the first place.

Last week, Ann Coulter detailed that lack of charitable giving among notable democrats and this is what she found.....

On average, a person who attends religious services and does not believe in the redistribution of income will give away 100 times more -- and 50 times more to secular charities -- than a person who does not attend religious services and strongly believes in the redistribution of income.

Secular liberals, the second largest group coming in at 10 percent of the population, were the whitest and richest of the four groups. (Some of you may also know them as "insufferable blowhards.") These "bleeding-heart tightwads," as New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof calls them, were the second stingiest, just behind secular conservatives, who are mostly young, poor, cranky white guys.

Despite their wealth and advantages, secular liberals give to charity at a rate of 9 percent, less than all Americans and 19 percent less than religious conservatives. They were also "significantly less likely than the population average to return excess change mistakenly given to them by a cashier." (Count Nancy Pelosi's change carefully!)

Secular liberals are, however, 90 percent more likely to give sanctimonious Senate speeches demanding the forced redistribution of income. (That's up 7 percent from last year!)

Maybe Joe Biden can fork over a few bucks more than the $350.00 he gave to charity last year. Someone just needs to forward him this site so he realizes that he can actually do that.

Meanwhile, as a conservative, you know what I think you should do with your tax cut? 1) You can save it 2) You can spend it on anything you damn well please 3) you can give it to a relative or charity or 4) give it to me.

Regardless of what you, do you'll get no criticism from this blog....... you earned it.

Life in "Progress" City - NY edition

So you can move to the south where you get a pay increase just from the lower taxes and lower cost of living or you can stay in NY where you get lots of snow and pay people lots of money not to remove it................

A newborn baby died after waiting nine hours for care, a Brooklyn woman had to wait 30 hours before getting an ambulance, and one person even had to spend an overnight with a deceased relative, according to the New York Daily News. And how do well-paid public employees respond to the complaints? By being annoyed.

A spokesman for the union representing employees of the New York City's Department of Sanitation said that snow clean-up workers are "getting annoyed over the fact that people are thinking there is a job action." But taxpayers are likely to be more annoyed when they find out how well the workers do financially, even in retirement.

According to the Manhattan Institute's "See Through New York" database of 2009 pensions, nearly 180 retired employees make over $66,000 year -- in other words, over and above the maximum salary of currently working employees. In fact, 20 retirees make upwards of $90,000 in retirement, up to $132,360.

Couple this with how notoriously difficult it is to fire a public employee, and you'll see why a public employee crashing a snow plow into a car doesn't rattle city officials.

Just to be clear, the top salary of $66,672 is only the tip of the iceberg for active sanitation worker compensation because it excludes other things like overtime and extra pay for certain assignments. For example, one worker in 2009 had a salary of $55,639 but actually earned $79,937 for the year.

Read more at the Washington Examiner:

Then and Now

I don't have a degree in any natural science. But in my limited scientific studies I vividly remember my instructors telling me that for a hypothesis to move up to a theory in the scientific word, the hypothesis had to have predictive qualities.

Meaning that you could predict some future event based on the nature of your hypothesis.

So how does that apply to global warming?

Let take the time machine back ten years ago and see...........


Within a few years "children just aren't going to know what snow is." Snowfall will be "a very rare and exciting event." Dr. David Viner, senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, interviewed by the UK Independent, March 20, 2000.

Ten years later, in December 2009, London was hit by the heaviest snowfall seen in 20 years. And just last week, a snowstorm forced Heathrow airport to shut down, stranding thousands of Christmas travelers.

A spokesman for the government-funded British Council, where Viner now works as the lead climate change expert, told that climate science had improved since the prediction was made.


THE earth continues to get warmer, yet it’s feeling a lot colder outside. Over the past few weeks, subzero temperatures in Poland claimed 66 lives; snow arrived in Seattle well before the winter solstice, and fell heavily enough in Minneapolis to make the roof of the Metrodome collapse; and last week blizzards closed Europe’s busiest airports in London and Frankfurt for days, stranding holiday travelers. The snow and record cold have invaded the Eastern United States, with more bad weather predicted.

All of this cold was met with perfect comic timing by the release of a World Meteorological Organization report showing that 2010 will probably be among the three warmest years on record, and 2001 through 2010 the warmest decade on record.

How can we reconcile this? The not-so-obvious short answer is that the overall warming of the atmosphere is actually creating cold-weather extremes.

Here's a piece noting other predictions that haven't borne fruit.

And these Branch Gorvidians wonder why there are skeptics?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

What do you expect? He's a liberal

Apparently, all that free love at the Playboy Mansion isn't so free and isn't so loving.........

These A-listers no doubt delight in their association with the legendary lover. But unfortunately for Hefner, some of his former ‘girlfriends’, as he calls them, have become disenchanted with life in his harem over the years.
One by one they have revealed what life was like behind the glittering fa├žade of the Playboy Mansion. According to them, it disguises a grubby world where some girls feel they are no ­better than prostitutes, paid pocket money by an octogenarian obsessive who funds plastic ­surgery to turn them into his physical ideal, and yet must still take huge amounts of Viagra to manage sex with them.

So simple, even Frank Sobotka gets it.

For years, I had friends tell me that The Wire was the best show on TV. Since I didn't even have cable, it was difficult for me to watch.

Now Direct TV is rerunning the series and I have to say that that my friends were right. If you get a chance to watch the series do so. Buy the DVD's if you can't catch them somewhere else.

I'm currently into season two that focuses on the illegal activity on the Baltimore Docks. What's incredible to me is the out and out graft that goes on in our ports. Whether it's human trafficking, drugs, out and out theft of cargo, the port is polluted with people gaming the system. It just makes you wonder how you can get a TV at Best Buy for under $10,000.

Yet, I had to find it hilarious when Frank Sobotka, the union head of the port, starts telling the guys that they need to clean up all the graft because companies are moving their shipments to other ports of entry and soon there won't be any jobs at the Baltimore port.

See even union guy Frank understood that everyone operates on a cost/benefit principle. Something our politicians can't seem to get their arms around.........

Heading into the new year, there's plenty of optimism about the stock market rising, corporate profits recovering and companies hiring. There's just one problem on that last jobs item: Many will be overseas.

On those rare occasions when it's not demonizing businesses as bastions of corporate greed, the White House and all its supporting players spend their time pondering why U.S. businesses, with mountains of cash, won't use at least some of it to hire workers. A mere 900,000 jobs were created in 2010, while U.S. companies sat on $1.1 trillion in cash.

Last week, President Obama went so far as to meet with 20 CEOs for several hours over this, "asking the attendees to dialogue with him on a shared agenda focused on moving our economy forward," according to a White House statement.

We don't have any inside lines as to what was said, but news is trickling out the Obama administration is starting to think about doing something big to end the jobs drought in the U.S.

The something big would be to lower the U.S. corporate tax, which at 35%, stands as the second-highest in the developed world. President Obama only told NPR that he discussed "simplifying the system, hopefully lowering rates, broadening the base."

If so, and if there are no accompanying sleights of hand to extract cash from businesses some other way, as some reports have it, it's good news. Nothing inhibits the creation of U.S. jobs quite like high corporate taxes and their accompanying regulatory regime.

The fact is, companies sitting on cash aren't doing nothing. They're hiring overseas, creating 1.4 million jobs in 2010 alone, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

That's not because they prefer foreigners to Americans, but because the bad business climate here pushes them to do so.

The rest of the world is a vastly different place from Obama's U.S., which is characterized by high taxes and protectionist set-asides for politically connected unions that shut out free trade.

In places like Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan, India and Thailand, nobody demonizes business or blasts trade. Instead great efforts are made by the state and the private sector to draw in foreign investment by becoming more competitive than their rivals.

U.S. multinationals go to these places not because labor is cheap but because these policies also create boomtowns with lots of customers. Incredibly enough, sometimes overseas profits and jobs provide a lifeline for troubled U.S. companies back home. Take GM — today, its Brazil and Korea operations help keep it afloat.

Article here....

Life in "Progress" City - NY edition

From the Big Apple...........

Selfish Sanitation Department bosses from the snow-slammed outer boroughs ordered their drivers to snarl the blizzard cleanup to protest budget cuts -- a disastrous move that turned streets into a minefield for emergency-services vehicles, The Post has learned.

Miles of roads stretching from as north as Whitestone, Queens, to the south shore of Staten Island still remained treacherously unplowed last night because of the shameless job action, several sources and a city lawmaker said, which was over a raft of demotions, attrition and budget.

"They sent a message to the rest of the city that these particular labor issues are more important," said City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Queens), who was visited yesterday by a group of guilt-ridden sanitation workers who confessed the shameless plot.

Halloran said he met with three plow workers from the Sanitation Department -- and two Department of Transportation supervisors who were on loan -- at his office after he was flooded with irate calls from constituents.

Paying high taxes for no service?

Now that's "Progressive"!

Read more:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Life in "Progress" State - CA edition

It’s looking increasingly likely that California will get bailed out by the federal government. The Golden State is $70 billion in the hole. Analysts expect that figure to reach $150 billion within four years — and that’s not including the state’s $500 billion unfunded pension liability. Spending needs to be cut dramatically, but it won’t be; the state is too politically dysfunctional to do that. And the election of big-spender Jerry Brown will only make things worse. (Incidentally, Governor-elect Brown recently described his state’s budget problems this way: “It is much worse than I thought. I am shocked.”)

Most conservatives are adamantly opposed to bailing out any state, especially California. They argue that Californians in particular don’t deserve a bail out, that a bailout would set a bad example for other states, and that it would cost too much.

But these arguments assume that a bailout of California would come with no strings attached. That may be what ends up happening, but it doesn’t have to. It’s possible to make the bailout contingent on Sacramento making drastic budget cuts and passing constitutional amendments that radically reform the state’s political system.

Seriously? Is this writer a moron? How could you possibly structure any debt guarantees that would force the state to do what a total fiscal collapse wouldn't motivate them to do.

The City of Cincinnati is currently working to cut $60 million from a 2011 budget deficit. It has to be done by 1/1/11. These clowns are still pissing in the wind as the clock strikes 12 Friday. I would put up my life savings and wager that if the feds guaranteed anything for the city (regardless of the attached contingencies) the city would have even more incentive to kick the can down the street.

These governments need to come to grips with the fact that the credit card is busted and it's time to real it in. Allowing them any sort of wiggle room is the space they'll slime into.


Life in "Progress" City - Detroit edition

Feds may have to bail out Detroit for a second time — If the federal government decides, in its finite wisdom, that poorly run states and municipalities do not deserve to sink or swim based on the electoral acumen of their residents (or lack thereof), and chooses instead to “bail out” bankrupt members of the American federation, there will be some irony in the decision. In Detroit, two of the city’s public pensions are under investigation for “risky investing” that cost the two funds $480 million in three years. According to the Detroit Free Press, “many of the investments involved secretive middlemen, who pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars, or were vetted by controversial investment adviser Adrian Anderson and his firm, North Point Advisors.” Anderson is currently under investigation by the SEC, but has not been charged. In the meantime, “the pensions are paying the legal bills of Anderson and a second adviser who scrutinized failed real estate deals.” Have you heard the one about the burglar who fell through the woman’s skylight and then demanded that she pay for his medical bills? This is sort of like that.

Read more:

"Let my people go"

The Blue State Exodus continues.........

The Lone Star State is scooping up more than just our congressional seats -- some $846 million in personal income shifted from New York to Texas in an eight-year period during the last decade, according to an analysis of IRS tax returns.

Texas, which has no state or local income taxes and an enviably low cost of living, has been steadily poaching New Yorkers since the '90s, according to data from the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan tax research organization based in Washington.

From 2000 to 2008, more than $846 million in personal income moved from New York to Texas -- with more than $212 million leaving in 2006 and '07.

I don't like the term poaching here. It's not like Governor Perry is rolling into New York rounding up the believers and telling Pharaohs Bloomberg and Paterson to let his people go.

But that is probably the only difference between the stories.

See, in so many ways, the Blue State Exodus mirrors the Biblical account of Moses leading the Jews from the Pharaohs.

Think about it. Taxpayers in NY, OH, MI, NJ etc. work so that the pharaohs of these state and local governments can seize the fruits of their labor, by force, to do what these please.

The plagues of locusts, frogs, death, etc. have been largely self induced pain caused brought about by the pharaohs own arrogance and defiance to truth. If you think about it, even the liberal abortion laws in these states has resulted in the death of the first born to many couples.

People fleeing the Pharaohs, need only cross the Ohio, the Hudson the Delaware to find freedom in the Promised Land.

Do you think the Pharaohs will be smart enough to give up their arrogance to avoid further migration out of town?

Let's just say we'll let Mike Bloomberg turn off the lights when he leaves.


More on the "Blue State Exodus"

It's still the jobs stupid!!!!!!!!!

High taxes kill states. There can be no better evidence than the 2010 Census. The states that lost House seats -- because they're shrinking, relative to the nation -- had taxes 27 percent higher than the ones that gained seats.

Of the seven states that don't have a personal income tax, four (Texas, Florida, Nevada and Washington) account for eight of the 12 seats apportioned to the fastest-growing states.

New York and Ohio lost two more seats. Other losers -- down one each -- are Massachusetts, Missouri, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Louisiana and Iowa. What do they all have in common? High taxes.

Texas, with the second lowest taxes in the nation, gained four seats, Florida picked up two and Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah, and Washington state each gained one. All have low taxes.

The states that lost seats ranked an average of 24th in taxes and had an average tax burden of $2,267 per capita (weighted more toward the states that lost more than one seat).

The states that gained seats ranked an average of 39th in taxes and had an average tax burden (weighted) of $1,788 -- 27 percent lower than the losing states.

People vote with their feet and flee to low-tax states. It's not the climate; it's the taxes.

Without question people are moving from high tax states to lower tax states but I think many analysts are missing the boat as to why.

I don't believe that it's the high taxes by themselves that drives people away. The high taxes are symptomatic of a government culture that makes it more difficult for businesses to thrive. For instance, most of the high tax states are also very union friendly, have higher regulatory burdens, have more incompetent governance and a general attitude (displayed when Governor Patterson said good riddance to Rush Limbaugh and his millions in taxes) hostile to business development.

As a result, businesses with good jobs are relocating to places where they are appreciated. While the taxes are part of that appreciation, it's not the only thing.

People moving to these states is simply the last chapter in the story of the Blue State Exodus and when people arrive in the Red State Promised Land the lower taxes are like milk and honey.


The predatory student loan industry

Yesterday I posted on the OCC shutting down HSBC for Refund Anticipation Loans to low income people's tax refunds.

I wonder when the feds are going to crack down on their own for allowing students to rack up debt to obtain worthless degrees and never achieve the earning potential to pay the loans back. It seems kind of predatory to me..........

When the government subsidizes something, we wind up with more of it. When it subsidizes something heavily—and combines that subsidy with an aggressive campaign encouraging consumption of that thing from the presidential bully pulpit—we wind up with a lot more of it.

Oceans of federal money gush into higher education every day, and every administration promises more to come. That gush obscures the real demand for educated workers. The result is lots of cashiers and waitresses with B.A.s, and lots of people with student loan debt that's tough for them to repay. For most students, the federal subsides geared toward nudging them to consume more education actually result in the acquisition of more education debt.

On the corporate side (and the non-profit side, for that matter) the subsidy encourages institutions to shape their practices around grabbing as much of that "free" money as possible. As critics of for-profit education never fail to note:

Most colleges receive 75 percent of more of their revenue in federal loan funding; at others, like the University of Phoenix's parent company, Apollo Group, federal dollars comprise upwards of 90 percent of the revenue. (The legal limit is exactly 90 percent.)

The government makes the loan getting process easier and faster, and then the schools that live off loan money figure out ways to make the process smoother still. In fact, the getting of education loans has become so seamless that some of the less scrupulous actors out there have figured out ways for students take out and/or retain loans without realizing that they have done so:

Once again, when the government subsidizes you get more of it. Look forward to bailing out some young Women's Studies graduate soon.


Fox News Viewers Are Misinformed Study, The Critique

Monday, December 27, 2010

Government whack a mole

I remember years ago, my ex-wife making the proclamation that the more laws government makes, the more advantageous it becomes for the law breakers to the point that it drives out law abiding businesses.

At the time, I thought that was a stupid statement. But I'm willing to own up to being wrong (according to her that was all the time).

Let's take credit availability to low income households. See, do gooder types thought it would be a great idea to change credit card laws so poor people wouldn't get locked into a mess of credit card debt.

What happened?

Banks quit issuing credit cards to low income people. So if you need a quick $200.00 to cover your car payment, what do you do? Of course, you roll into your neighborhood paycheck lender and pay an even higher rate of interest than a credit card.

Of course, the do gooders, not done doing good for the poor, are attacking HR Block for Refund Anticipation Loans (RAL's). Now, for the record, these loans are a total rip off. But I've told the stories before of people who have contacted this office and asked for one of these because they couldn't wait the 7 - 10 days a normal efile refund would take to get to them.

Frankly, I don't need this kind of client. They're idiots. But even idiots need service too.

So HR Block was more then willing to take $400 to do a tax return with one of these RAL's attached to it.

But Nanny Dogooder apparently doesn't want HR Block to service your neighborhood idiot, so this is how they took care of that.........

Tax prep company H&R Block announced on Friday that it had lost a contract with HSBC after a federal regulator told HSBC to stop offering refund anticipation loans. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency prohibited HSBC (HBC) from offering the loans, which forced the bank to end its long-term contract providing loans to H&R Block (HRB) customers, H&R Block said in its release.

H&R Block shares fell 8% in pore-market trading.

“As a result of the OCC’s decision, millions of taxpayers will be deprived of credit, or they will be forced to use higher-priced alternatives, without the slightest benefit to the solvency of HSBC or the banking system in general,” said Alan Bennett, H&R Block’s president and CEO.

H&R Block says refund anticipation loans (RALs) are much cheaper than other credit options — just $46 on a $1,500 loan. But the OCC has said that RALs are often unnecessary and costly.

“Although a refund anticipation loan may offer easy access to funds on a short-term basis, a RAL can be costly, and paying for a loan may not be necessary given how quickly you can get Office of the Comptroller of the Currency your refund from the IRS,” the agency said in a recent consumer advisory. ”These loans also may cost substantially more than other sources of credit that may be just as appropriate to your needs.”

So what's going to be the end result of Nanny Dogooder and her minions who want to protect the poor?

They're going to push these people towards Carmine, the neighborhood loan shark, who's not all that interested in trivialities like usury laws, collection laws, and the like.

All the while, legitimate companies will shrivel up in the process.

I guess I owe my ex-wife yet another apology.

Article here.......

Government at work

So the head of US intelligence didn't need to know about the arrest of London terrorist.

But hey, if we can have the head of the Treasury who doesn't know tax law. Why not?

Life in "Progress" City - the bankruptcy edition

Name a city where the bankruptcy courts are just waiting for them to show up.

Chances are really, really, good that a democratic mayor will be at the helm..........

Have a gander at America’s 17 most-bankrupt cities, and consider the party variable: Two Republican mayors, two independents, one city so bankrupt that it is in state receivership — and twelve Democratic mayors, meaning the Democrats lead 70.5 percent of the most-bankrupt cities, by my always-suspect English-major math.

And you thought their record was bad in Congress.

And get a load of the size of these budget shortfalls: Camden, N.J., at 15 percent, Hamtramck, Mich., at 17 percent, Paterson, N.J., at 24 percent, Central Falls, R.I., at 22 percent.

The state of California cannot afford to bail out San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Jose; the state of Illinois cannot afford to bail out Chicago and Joliet; New Jersey cannot afford to bail out Camden, Patterson, and Newark. The outstanding municipal-bond obligations are huge. Vero has some thoughts here, and here’s one sleep-disturbing fact:

But municipal bonds have not yet lost their low-risk reputation. According to the Investment Company Institute, $84 billion went into long-term municipal bond mutual funds in 2010, up from $69 billion in 2009. And the 2009 level represents a 785 percent increase from the 2008 level of $7.8 billion. Artificial incentives have lured investors into thinking that lending cash to bankrupted cities will be profitable.

New Jersey already has been accused of fraud for running what amounts to a muni-bond Ponzi scheme.

Questions: Why do city voters continue to elect these mayoral specimens? .....

Nice to see that the Queen City of Cincinnati made the list.

That's been the genesis of this blog. While I have some chicken/egg theories, I'll probably keep doing this blog until someone answers the question. Is it the lack of intelligence voters who keep putting democrats in office or is it democratic policies that create ignorant democratic voters?

As Charles Barkley would say "how is it that poor people keep voting for democrats and they stay poor?"


Life in "Progress" City - the gun control edition

Maybe guns keep outlaws in check?

We should ask all the mayors with felony charges waiting for them.......

I'd hate to be accused of Schadenfreude during the holidays, but I feel I must mention five recent news articles that tie in with my previous mentions of Mayor Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns civilian disarmament pressure group:

The number of mayors in Bloomberg's group that are facing felony and lesser charges is simply astounding. Come to think of it, I have roughly the same number of friends as Bloomberg has members on the roster in his little hoplophobe club. But I couldn't imagine having a dozen of my friends facing felony charges. Oh well, I guess that's because I don't move in the same lofty circles as Mayor Bloomberg.


Life outside of "Progress" City - NY edition

John Galt's not coming back anytime soon to the Big Apple.....

New York, I love you — but I can’t make the math work.

Like lots of media professionals (and fashion mavens, artists, musicians, et al.), I’ve penciled out the numbers for what it would mean to take a job in New York City. There’s barely enough room on the back of the envelope for subtracting the double-dose income tax hit from the city and state, and that’s before even adjusting for cost of living.

That’s one of the reasons I’m in Dallas. You know, Texas, the state that parlayed this year’s census data into four new House seats — pinching the two lost by the Empire State — because people actually want to live here.

But hey aren't they glad that Rush Limbaugh moved out.......

Read more: