Friday, January 07, 2011

Budget Chef Presents: How to Balance the Budget W/O Raising Taxes!

Life in "Progress" State - Illinois edition

Gov. Quinn struck a deal with the Legislature’s ruling Democrats Thursday to raise the state income tax by 75 percent and boost the tax on cigarettes by $1 a pack — while a push to abolish the death penalty scored a historic legislative victory.

The cornerstone of a dramatic day, the revenue agreement reached by Quinn, House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) and Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) would impose a temporary, four-year increase in the state tax on workers’ paychecks from 3 percent to 5 ¼-percent.

Consider this the day the even more people flee the Blue State for redder pastures.

But hey, if you're a convicted murderer, you've got a lot to stick around for.


Walk the talk

I could tell you I want to be slim and fit but if I eat 6300 calories a day and don't work out, would you believe my talk?

I could tell you I want to be a millionaire but if I spend every nickel I get on video games and refuse to work overtime would you believe me?

So when the Obamunist try to proclaim that they are "pro-business" how can you believe them when this is the kind of anti commerce activity coming out of their White House...........

Even as other nations press ahead with plans for deep-water drilling, Obama continues to block offshore oil and gas projects in the U.S. Despite the symbolic lifting of the deep-water drilling ban back in October, no new projects have been approved. Even those already approved have been halted by the president's interior secretary, Ken Salazar.

Now, in another political tease, the president has announced that drilling projects approved before the Deepwater Horizon accident may possibly be allowed to resume, though under strict new guidelines yet to be finalized. As announced on January 3, sixteen drilling projects that have been halted since the Gulf spill may be allowed to resume, but the administration offered no guarantees that they will in fact receive approval.

Once again, Obama is playing "Mother, May I?" with the energy industry. It's good politics to appear conciliatory at a moment when gas prices are rising. But Obama never seems to follow through. Oil and gas production in the U.S. continues to lag. Instead of streamlining energy production, the president has created an entirely new agency to regulate offshore drilling (the ponderously titled "Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement," or BOEMRE) and staffed it with a former Clinton Justice Department lawyer. This new layer of federal bureaucracy, like all government bureaucracy, has done nothing but delay and forestall production. Obviously, Obama is in no hurry to increase offshore drilling.

Now keep in mind that US oil production would do more than just create good union jobs for platform worker. In additon, it lessons our dependence on foreign oil, reduces our deficits from the oil royalties, it shores up the stability of the dollar by reducing our trade deficits, reduces gas prices which can spark more economic activity.

So when these guys try to tell us their "pro-business", I say how about doing something pro-business.


Thursday, January 06, 2011

This gives the Crosstown Shootout a whole new meaning

I'll be at the Crosstown Shootout tonight but I won't be able to pack my .380 because the UC campus has a campus wide gun ban.

It's no secret that student who walk just two blocks off campus are targets for criminals......

UC Police are on extra alert in advance of Thursday's Crosstown Shootout, which will bring thousands of people to campus.

An area around Short Vine has seen a recent rash of violence.

A 20-year-old student was attacked and robbed on Monday night as she was leaving a bar off Short Vine. Police say the attacker slid into the passenger side of her car and demanded that she drive him to an ATM and withdraw money.

He forced her to drop him off at a church on Martin Luther King. Police reported the suspect didn't have a gun and didn't overtly threaten the victim.

This is the third robbery near UC's campus in the last two weeks, so police have issued a campus wide alert.

There were two other robberies on Short Vine Street on December 29, also involving UC students.

A group of college students were robbed just after midnight, and a second robbery was reported a few minutes later on the same street.

Here's an idea. How about having law abiding citizens being allowed to carry an equalizer?


Let's thin the herd

For his encore performance, Governor Strickland decided to make sure no one in the state has exotic animals...........

Exiting Gov. Ted Strickland banned new exotic pets Thursday in one of the few remaining states without such a restriction, and allowed existing pets to be kept only under tough new rules.

Though Strickland’s emergency executive order is only effective for 90 days, Gov.-elect John Kasich said he saw no immediate reason to reverse it after he takes office Monday.

Ohio was one of fewer than 10 states remaining where wild pet ownership was virtually unchecked.

Read the executive order on the Politics Extra blog

Strickland’s order called for a ban on the future ownership, breeding, sale, trade or barter of wild animals “that are dangerous to human health and safety.” People who already own exotic pets will now have to register them with the state and will be barred from breeding or selling their boas, chimpanzees, tigers, bears and other wild animals.

The order fulfills Strickland’s end of a deal brokered by his administration with the Humane Society of the United States, other animal rights groups and Ohio’s agribusiness industry. The agreement prompted the Humane Society to withdraw a ballot issue containing a litany of restrictions on pet ownership and treatment and livestock care.

In a statement, he said the agreement “will keep Ohio’s vital agriculture industry profitable while appropriately updating animal care standards.”

“This rule will help protect Ohioans from deaths and serious injuries caused by attacks from dangerous wild animals held in private ownership,” he said.

You know what cracks me up about liberals. They're big purveyors in the belief that humans evolved from some fungus or bacteria.

So if you are a big believer in natural selection, why would you try and protect dumb asses from killing themselves with exotic animals?

I look at it like a great herd thinning. Who needs the drops of urine in the human gene pool?

A couple of years ago, The Lovely Mrs. Gekko just happened to be in an ER when they brought in a dead dude who had been squeezed to death by his pet python. Apparently, he was truly blue from head to toe.

The guy was a drunken derelict the human race is better for it.

Why would we want to stop someone from their own stupidity?

Who did he vote for?#119

Meet unnamed bank robber.

Why is he in the news?

Police are calling a man who has robbed four banks in the Valley area the $60 Bill Bandit because he asked a teller for cash in $20, $40 and $60 bills. The man has robbed banks in Tempe, Mesa, Chandler and Gilbert since October 2010, according to Phoenix police. The man is described as 55 to 60 years old, 5 feet 10 inches to 5 feet 11 inches tall, bald and 165 to 175 pounds. He was last seen in a light-colored striped button down shirt, a dark-colored jacket, dark sunglasses, light brown suede gloves and khaki pants. No weapons or vehicles have been reported during the robberies.

Now in the 2008 presidential election, did this guy vote for Obama or McCain?


Wednesday, January 05, 2011

So stupid, only a liberal would think of it.

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Life on "Progress" Continent - Europe edition

This could never happen here? Right?

People’s retirement savings are a convenient source of revenue for governments that don’t want to reduce spending or make privatizations. As most pension schemes in Europe are organised by the state, European ministers of finance have a facilitated access to the savings accumulated there, and it is only logical that they try to get a hold of this money for their own ends. In recent weeks I have noted five such attempts: Three situations concern private personal savings; two others refer to national funds.

The most striking example is Hungary, where last month the government made the citizens an offer they could not refuse. They could either remit their individual retirement savings to the state, or lose the right to the basic state pension (but still have an obligation to pay contributions for it). In this extortionate way, the government wants to gain control over $14bn of individual retirement savings.

The Bulgarian government has come up with a similar idea. $300m of private early retirement savings was supposed to be transferred to the state pension scheme. The government gave way after trade unions protested and finally only about 20% of the original plans were implemented.

When counseling clients on the propriety of transferring retirement funds to Roth IRA's I advise clients that there's no guarantee that these funds will remain tax free. Now I have to tell them they may not be there at all.


Marvin Lewis is a loser

I knew Marvin Lewis was a loser 8 years ago when he took a job with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Seriously, name a winner in life who has any relationship with the Mike Brown and the Bengals.

But I recognize that coaching spots in the NFL are few and far between so I could look past Lewis's sins provided he could persuade the Bengals to change their stripes.

But like all things related to that scumbag Mike Brown, Lewis soon became "Bengalized", a loser with no motivation beyond mediocrity. So it should be no surprise that a mediocre team would be more than willing to keep a mediocre coach to keep doing what they do best..... More mediocrity.

The NFL is the perfect poster child of why socialism doesn't work. Teams like the Bengals can continue to extract money from their (larger than average forehead) fans with no more reason than they can.

And like all Bengals fans they can sit and cry about how the team doesn't make the changes they need to all while cutting checks for next year's season tickets........... While the better NFL teams keep playing.

Blue State Exodus

Just when you thought things couldn't get worse on the left coast, along comes more bad news for the Golden State. Across the country, Republican state legislatures and governors are adopting a new economic development strategy: Raid California for its jobs and businesses.

At least three Republican governors have said as much in interviews. The idea is to offer lower taxes, a more business-friendly atmosphere and the right to be left alone from overzealous regulators. "We just keep inviting California businesses to look at the economic climate in Texas, where we treat businesses like assets not villains," said Texas Governor Rick Perry.

California has some of the highest tax rates in the country, the worst bond rating and a multitude of nettlesome regulations. Chief Executive magazine just ranked California as the most antibusiness state in the nation. A new study by Joseph Vranich, a California-based business consultant, found that 144 major companies relocated plants, research facilities, headquarters or their entire operations out of California in 2010. That was more than triple the pace of job-creating firms leaving in 2009. Mr. Vranich said that the outmigration could become "a stampede" in 2011. "Business owners tell me every day that this is just not a hospitable place to do business anymore," he said.

Other Republican governors with their sights on California include John Kasich of Ohio and Rick Scott of Florida. Mr. Scott told me in an interview that "we are going to create hundreds of thousands of jobs in Florida over the next eight years, and we will advertise our pro-growth policies to businesses in places like California that don't share our pro-business policy orientation." He added: "Not having an income tax is a huge advantage over a high-cost state like California."

Mr. Kasich told Reuters earlier this month that he will try to persuade California venture capitalists to relocate high-tech firms to his state. "More of the same is not acceptable to the business community in California," he said.

Unemployment in California is currently 12.4%, and over the past two years the state's jobless rate has ranked among the five-highest in the country. Businesses complain that the extraordinary power of unions, regulators and environmentalists has been an incentive to leave or not come in the first place.


Tuesday, January 04, 2011

API President & CEO Jack Gerald: "We Oppose EPA Unilaterally Regulating ...

So stupid, only a liberal would think of it

From the idiots at the NY Times....

The city of Rio de Janeiro is infamous for the fact that one can look out from a precarious shack on a hill in a miserable favela and see practically into the window of a luxury high-rise condominium. Parts of Brazil look like southern California. Parts of it look like Haiti. Many countries display great wealth side by side with great poverty. But until recently, Brazil was the most unequal country in the world.

Today, however, Brazil’s level of economic inequality is dropping at a faster rate than that of almost any other country. Between 2003 and 2009, the income of poor Brazilians has grown seven times as much as the income of rich Brazilians. Poverty has fallen during that time from 22 percent of the population to 7 percent.

Contrast this with the United States, where from 1980 to 2005, more than four-fifths of the increase in Americans’ income went to the top 1 percent of earners. (see this great series in Slate by Timothy Noah on American inequality) Productivity among low and middle-income American workers increased, but their incomes did not. If current trends continue, the United States may soon be more unequal than Brazil.

Several factors contribute to Brazil’s astounding feat. But a major part of Brazil’s achievement is due to a single social program that is now transforming how countries all over the world help their poor.

The program, called Bolsa Familia (Family Grant) in Brazil, goes by different names in different places. In Mexico, where it first began on a national scale and has been equally successful at reducing poverty, it is Oportunidades. The generic term for the program is conditional cash transfers. The idea is to give regular payments to poor families, in the form of cash or electronic transfers into their bank accounts, if they meet certain requirements. The requirements vary, but many countries employ those used by Mexico: families must keep their children in school and go for regular medical checkups, and mom must attend workshops on subjects like nutrition or disease prevention. The payments almost always go to women, as they are the most likely to spend the money on their families. The elegant idea behind conditional cash transfers is to combat poverty today while breaking the cycle of poverty for tomorrow.

Now call me cynical, but I think the last people who we need to be taking poverty lessons from is Brazil and Mexico. I'm thinking, if life was so kick ass in these places, why are the citizens risking their lives to move here?

Life in " Progress" City - San Francisco edition

So your poor and you don't have a computer with Wifi, what do you do?

First, enroll in Detroit Public Schools and get a free computer

Second, moved to San Francisco where you get free wifi in the projects...........

San Francisco has finished installing free Wi-Fi in its public housing facilities as part of a citywide housing improvement initiative.

Mayor Gavin Newsom and the San Francisco Housing Authority announced Tuesday that 33 developments are now equipped with wireless broadband.

Newsom says expanded Internet access will create job and educational opportunities and improve quality of life for residents.

The city has committed $95 million to overhauling infrastructure and upgrading services at its most distressed public housing facilities.

You really just can't make this up.


Life in "Progress" City - Detroit edition

So you would like a new laptop?

Before you go out and spend hard earned dollars at Best Buy for one, head to Detroit where you'll be able to pick one up for a song.


Detroit Public Schools will spend $49 million in federal money to push technology in the district, including distributing 40,000 new laptop computers to students in grades 6-12 for use in class, as well as more than 5,000 new desktop computers.
Each DPS teacher also will get a laptop.


Lo and behold. Before I could even finish this post, I tracked this down.............

Detroit Public Schools officials say they have suspended a Durfee Elementary School teacher who allegedly tried to pawn her district-owned laptop computer at one of the biggest, most popular pawnshops in Detroit.

The DPS Office of the Inspector General investigation said Karen Drysdale-Oriucci, a DPS teacher since 1994, went to American Jewelry and Loan on Greenfield Road on Wednesday to pawn the netbook computer she received from the district on Dec. 17.

Store staff refused to pay the teacher for the netbook –- which is engraved with the DPS “I’m In” logo on its cover -– instead confiscating it and contacting DPS officials.

Drysdale-Oriucci was suspended Thursday with pay, pending a disciplinary hearing.


First, is anyone really surprised by this?

Second, how much do you want to bet that Ms. Drysdale-Oriucci gets her job back?

Giving stuff to people to make pawn shop owners rich?

Now that's "progressive"!

Are "progressives" intentionally wrecking our economy?

Powerline has an interesting piece on whether the Obamunists are trying to wreck our economy.........

That is the provocative question asked by Peter Schweizer at Big Peace. I think the answer is No, but let's let Peter explain why the question arises at all:

That may seem like an absurd question, but it's hard to come to any other conclusion when you consider what is happening to our energy industry on the Gulf Coast. As the Wall Street Journal reports today, the Obama Administration may have lifted its ban on drilling in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, but there are still long delays in getting other permits approved to drill for oil. Why? No one seems to know. We assume that politicians do what is in their own self-interest, but in this case Obama seems to be damaging himself because he is dragging down the economy. As the Journal puts it, "The Gulf coast economy has been hit hard by the slowdown in drilling activity." And Obama doesn't seem particularly eager to change that fact.

Schweizer recalls Bobby Jindal's bizarre encounter with President Obama at the height of the Gulf oil spill crisis:

In his recently released book Leadership and Crisis, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal recounts an exchange with President Obama during the Gulf oil drilling moratorium. (Full disclosure: I co-wrote the book with Jindal.) After telling Obama that the moratorium would potentially cost tens of thousands of jobs, "The president went on to assure me that anyone who lost their job would get a check from BP. When I explained that BP might not write them checks because it was the federal government that imposed the moratorium the president said, 'Well, if BP won't pay the claim, they can file for unemployment.' I was amazed by the level of disconnect. The people of Louisiana want to work, not collect unemployment or BP checks."

For Obama, getting an unemployment check is about the same as getting paycheck.

Now, let's set aside the Obamunists specifically on this next piece because I think it sheds some light on the impact of anti trade policies (this occurred before the Obamunists took power).

Over at Forbes, they have a piece on magnesium here's the intro.........

In 2005, U.S. Magnesium Corporation, the sole producer of magnesium in the United States, succeeded in convincing the U.S. International Trade Commission and U.S. Commerce Department to impose duties on imports of magnesium from competitors in Russia and China. Before toasting this outcome with some clich├ęd or specious utterance about how the antidumping law ensures fair trade and a level playing field for U.S. producers, it is important to understand that downstream, consuming industries (those U.S. producers that require for their own production the raw materials and intermediate goods subject to the antidumping measures) have no legal standing in these cases. Statute forbids the U.S. International Trade Commission from considering their arguments or projections about the likely consequences of prospective duties. Statute requires that the ITC consider only the conditions of the petitioning industry.

Now by keeping magnesium prices high in the US, it encourages any US production using magnesium to move overseas where the magnesium is cheaper.

Now class, when a manufacturing facility moves overseas, who are the people most directly impacted.

a) Investment Bankers
b) Doctors
c) Commodity traders
d) CPA's
e) Lower skilled people who work in manufacturing facilities.

Anyone. Anyone. Buehler?

Who is most impacted when drilling is halted in the Gulf?

a) Attorneys
b) College professors
c) Senators
d) Engineers
e) Lower skilled people who work in manufacturing facilities.

It's absolutely maddening to watch governments kill all incentives for manufacturers to exist in this country and then watching these same people stand around and cry about the evaporating middle class.

If they're not deliberately trying to kill our economy, I'm not sure what they could do that's more harmful.

Stuff liberals run - Law Schools

Often, you hear "progressives" assail those hedonist mortgage lenders, who manipulated poor uneducated boobs into taking mortgages the lenders knew couldn't be paid back.

When will you hear the outcry over universities, who line up students with degrees that will never translate into the earnings needed to pay back enormous student loan debt?


Obtaining a degree from an ABA-accredited law school is not cheap. Over the last twenty-five years, law school tuition has consistently risen two times as fast as inflation. Consequently, the average tuition at private law schools in 2008 was $34,298, while the average in-state tuition for public law schools was $16,836.2 When one adds books and living expenses to tuition, the average public law student borrows $71,436 for law school, while the average
private school student borrows $91,506.3 Many students borrow far more than $100,000, and these numbers do not even include debt that students may still carry from their undergraduate years.

To make matters worse, the recent economic downturn will likely make legal education even more expensive. Endowment losses, declining state support, and difficulties in fundraising have hit law schools hard. Consequently, most public law schools are raising tuition this year by 10-25%. At the same time, prospective students may have fewer resources from savings, family assistance, or other sources to help defray the cost, even as financial aid assistance declines. An average student considering enrolling in law school now should thus expect to graduate with debt well in excess of $100,000.

When the profession is begging people not to enter it's field, you know there's a glut.

Read the rest........

Monday, January 03, 2011

They just don't play well with the others

The New Year's Day suicide bombing of a church that killed 21 people has opened up a vein of fury among Egypt's Christians, built up over years of what they call government failure to address persistent discrimination and violence against their community.

Christian protests spread to Cairo from the northern city of Alexandria where the attack took place. Late Sunday, riots erupted outside the cathedral-headquarters of the Coptic Church after the country's top Muslim religious figures and government officials met with Pope Shenouda III.

Protesters threw bottles and stones at riot police outside the cathedral, injuring 45 policemen, security officials said. Elsewhere, demonstrators threw stones at cars on two main highways, and hundreds marched in other parts of the capital, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the press.

It's become fashionable to suggest that it's only some fringe Muslims engaging in terror activities but name a conflict in the world and there will be Muslims in the mix.

Uighurs in China, Buddhists in Nepal, Pakistan/Afghanistan, Hindus in India, Serbs/Croats/Albanians, Christians and Jews everywhere.

Outside of Northern Ireland where I believe most of the violence between Protestants and Catholics have subsided, I can't think of a area of conflict where Muslims aren't involved.

All this has me thinking about the great Duane Allman quote "After my sixth marriage failed, I started to wonder if it was me".

2011. What we have to look forward to

Just a reminder of the Hope and change we were promised and what we've received........

Four more years of Bush

Remember the good old days when your favorite baseball player played for the same team his entire career and people hated George Bush for lining oil executive pockets with $4.00/gal gasoline..........

Drivers in the USA could be paying as much as $3.75 a gallon for gas this spring, oil experts predict.

Prices at the gas pump have inched up all year as the cost of crude oil neared $100 a barrel. On Christmas Day, the average nationwide price of self-serve regular hit $3, a record for that day. By year's end, the average price reached $3.06.

Prices creeping toward $4 a gallon could have dire consequences for some industries and slow the economic recovery, analysts say.