Saturday, March 05, 2011

What unions can do for you

There once was a time when Harry and Nancy Harrington — their teenage children in tow — walked the picket line outside the nursing home where she was a medical aide, protesting the lack of a pension plan for the unionized work force.

But those days of family solidarity are gone.

Harry now blames years of union demands for an exodus of manufacturing jobs from this blue-collar city on the shore of Lake Michigan. He praises new Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker for attempting to strip public employee unions of nearly all of their collective bargaining rights. Protesters opposed to Walker's plan have held steady at the Wisconsin Capitol for nearly three weeks, though their overnight sit-ins ended Thursday with a judge's order.

"I'm sorry, but the unions want to yell, they want to intimidate," says Harry Harrington, 69, as he sets a coffee cup down next to another newspaper headline about the union demonstrations.

"They want to be heard," retorts Nancy Harrington, 66, who fears a weakened union would jeopardize the teaching career of their now 38-year-old daughter.

The Harringtons typify the new national reality for labor unions. Support is no longer a sure thing from the middle class_ not even in a city long considered a union stronghold in a state that gave birth to the nation's largest public employee union. National polls show that the portion of the public that views unions favorably has dropped to near historic lows in recent years, dipping below 50 percent by some accounts.

All I can say is that I grew up in a Teamster household. When those bastards pay my dad back the pension money they stole, I might be willing to support a union again.


Life in "Progress" State - Missouri edition

A News 4 Investigation reveals Missouri residents receiving food stamps and welfare payments are spending them in places like Hawaii, California, and Florida.

News 4 requested public information regarding these expenses through the Missouri Department of Social Services. The agency provided a state by state break down of where Missouri benefits are being spent, click here to see the list.

In January Missouri EBT cards were used to withdraw $362,682 in cash outside the state. During that same time period Missouri EBT cards purchased $3,521,974 worth of food outside Missouri. Those card users racked up $752 worth of ATM fees, they were also paid by taxpayers.

Many of the EBT purchases were in border states, but a large chunk of change was spent in hard to reach places like California, Alaska, and Hawaii.

In Hawaii Missouri EBT cardholders spent $2,737 on food in January. During that same time period there were 6 ATM transactions totaling $175.

In California Missouri EBT users purchased $69,672 worth of food, and withdrew $7,818 from ATMs.

In Texas Missouri EBT users purchased $139,763 worth of food, and withdrew $20,981 from ATMs.

In Florida Missouri EBT users purchased $84,061 in food, and withdrew $9,737 from ATMs.

In Alaska Missouri EBT users purchased $1,845 in food, and withdrew $465 from ATMs.

Brian Hook runs Missouri Watchdog, a non partisan group that digs information out of government agencies. Hook says the transactions might not be fraud, but likely illustrate waste. Hook said, "The first thing that jumps to my mind is where did they get the money to get to Hawaii and Alaska."

This is why I believe any welfare recipient should be subject to a random drug test and inspection of their living quarters 24/7


Friday, March 04, 2011

Choo Choo

I've always wondered why liberals have such a fascination with rail systems.

For years, I just thought it was some sort of homoerotic attraction to Alec Baldwin's narration of Thomas the Tank Engine.

But apparently, there's something more nefarious than that.

George Will on the "progressive" love affair with rail systems..........

Randal O’Toole of the Cato Institute notes that high-speed rail connects big-city downtowns, where only 7 percent of Americans work and 1 percent live. “The average intercity auto trip today uses less energy per passenger mile than the average Amtrak train.” And high speed will not displace enough cars to measurably reduce congestion. The Washington Post says China’s fast trains are priced beyond ordinary workers’ budgets, and that France, like Japan, has only one profitable line.

So why is America’s “win the future” administration so fixated on railroads, a technology that was the future two centuries ago? Because progressivism’s aim is the modification of (other people’s) behavior.

Forever seeking Archimedean levers for prying the world in directions they prefer, progressives say they embrace high-speed rail for many reasons—to improve the climate, increase competitiveness, enhance national security, reduce congestion, and rationalize land use. The length of the list of reasons, and the flimsiness of each, points to this conclusion: the real reason for progressives’ passion for trains is their goal of diminishing Americans’ individualism in order to make them more amenable to collectivism.

To progressives, the best thing about railroads is that people riding them are not in automobiles, which are subversive of the deference on which progressivism depends. Automobiles go hither and yon, wherever and whenever the driver desires, without timetables. Automobiles encourage people to think they—unsupervised, untutored, and unscripted—are masters of their fates. The automobile encourages people in delusions of adequacy, which make them resistant to government by experts who know what choices people should make.


Shimkus Questions Sebelius on Budget Gimmicks in the Health Care Law

Why is Kirsten Powers liberal?

To her credit she calls out the lies on her side. In this case, the abortion lies perpetrated by Planned Parenthood...........

During the recent debate over whether to cut off government funding to Planned Parenthood, the organization claimed that its contraceptive services prevent a half-million abortions a year. Without their services, the group’s officials insist, more women will get abortions.

I’ll admit I bought the argument—it makes intuitive sense—and initially opposed cutting off funding for precisely that reason.

Then I did a little research.

Turns out, a 2009 study by the journal Contraception found, in a 10-year study of women in Spain, that as overall contraceptive use increased from around 49 percent to 80 percent, the elective abortion rate more than doubled. This doesn’t mean that access to contraception causes more abortion—though some believe that—but that it doesn’t necessarily reduce it.

In the U.S., the story isn’t much different. A January 2011 fact sheet by the pro-abortion rights Guttmacher Institute listed all the reasons that women who have had an abortion give for their unexpected pregnancy, and not one of them is lack of access to contraception. In fact, 54 percent of women who had abortions had used a contraceptive method, if incorrectly, in the month they got pregnant. For the 46 percent who had not used contraception, 33 percent had perceived themselves to be at low risk for pregnancy; 32 percent had had concerns about contraceptive methods; 26 percent had had unexpected sex, and 1 percent had been forced to have sex. Not one fraction of 1 percent said they got pregnant because they lacked access to contraception. Some described having unexpected sex, but all that can be said about them is that they are irresponsible, not that they felt they lacked access to contraception.

Whenever I hear one of these Planned Parenthood types talk about lack of access to contraception I always ask myself Where do women have more access to contraception Muncie Indiana or New York City. Yet 40% of pregnancies in the Big Apple are aborted?

It doesn't pass the laugh test.

Read the rest.......

The Ohio public unions

Government Union Collective Bargaining 101

Are Teachers Overpaid?

A coincidence? The post I did earlier on a public school teacher and a private school teacher pay differential was almost exactly the same figures noted in this video.

Life in "Progress" City - New York edition

An MS -13 member whooped it up, shouting "The beast has eaten!" after murdering a Queens man he mistook for a rival Blood, a government witness testified Thursday.

Julio Chavez is charged with emptying his revolver into Maurice Parker on May 18, 2007, in Flushing.

Chavez then hopped into a SUV, flashed gang signs and yelled in Spanish, former MS-13 gang member Jose Molina said in Brooklyn Federal Court.

" 'Yeah, homie, that's how you're supposed to do it,'" Chavez said, according to Molina. "'You see the blood coming out of his head?'"

Molina said Chavez then uttered, "The beast has eaten!"

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ali Kazemi asked the witness to translate the meaning of Chavez's rant.

"That he had just given a soul to the devil," Molina said.

Parker, 21, was not a Blood and was mistakenly targeted because he had on red sweatshirt.


Where wearing red is a health hazard...........

Now that's "progressive"!

Yet they'll keep teaching your children

But hey we need to protect these teachers "for the children."

Mark Gruntzel and Edmund Jones, both former Chicago Public Schools teachers, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to separate cases which targeted local public corruption.

Gruntzel, 43, of Chicago, was charged with theft of government property, official misconduct and money laundering last month, a release from the Cook County State's Attorney's office said.

Gruntzel was a teacher at Disney Magnet Elementary School, and he also served as the school's PTA president and was responsible for collecting payments from parents who enrolled their children in Disney's after-school programs.

According to prosecutors, Gruntzel manipulated the enrollment records of students, cashed the checks in the PTA account and took the money from the account for his personal use, the release said.

Jones, 29, of Aurora, was charged with theft of government property and official misconduct. Jones, a former teacher and history department chairman at Chicago's Marshall High School.


Why people hate public employee unions

Have you ever try to get service from some union protected stooge at a government office?

When SB 5 comes to vote next November (after the union puts it to public referendum), I think it's going to be hilarious when that a-hole, who wouldn't help me get into that calculus class, is now asking for me to support their big ass pension. Or how about the woman at the permit center who closed her window because it was 4:01 and closing time is 4:00. Or the day before a three day weekend when the absentee rate for government employees is about 30%.

Good luck with that.

But we have more current examples like this...........

A dozen Town Hall clerical and custodial employees won the right to get coffee and milk paid for by taxpayers, and the town must reinstate dress-down Fridays, officials said this week.

Recently, the Connecticut State Board of Labor Relations sided with United Public Service Employees Union Local 424-Unit 21, saying the town violated the Municipal Employees Relations Act by retaliating against the union for attending and making certain comments at a Jan. 26, 2009, Board of Finance meeting.


Nah.... shit like this won't impact the public's view of public unions.

Why my blood pressure med costs $100/month

Because of this type of government lunacy......

Can it get any worse than this? First you find out you have an incurable disease. Bad news. Then you find out there is a drug that may not cure you but at least keeps you alive. Great news. You take the drug and miraculously your disease is held in check. Miraculous news. Then the FDA tells you that despite your positive results, the drug does not work and they are pulling it off label. Nightmarish news.

However, as the drug is available for other diseases, you can still get the drug off label. Good news. But the drug costs between $56,000 and $96,000 per annum, and Medicare and private insurance companies often deny coverage for off-label prescription. Tough news. Maybe the drug company will make the drug available for free on a compassionate use basis. Hopeful news. But they can’t because they are afraid of corporate and personal liability. Sad news.

Then the drug company applies to the FDA for a hearing to review their earlier decision. Positive news. The FDA announces that a hearing will be held June 28–29 in Washington, D.C., at the FDA headquarters. Encouraging news. But no patients will be allowed to speak. Insulting news.

Such is the rollercoaster ride that the FDA has inflicted upon women with incurable metastatic breast cancer who are taking the drug Avastin. These extremely brave but desperately ill women fight from week to week to stay alive. But insensitive FDA bureaucrats have continued to torment these women with their endless vacillations as they try to defend the indefensible.

Read the rest...........

They're conservative until it hits their wallets

I rarely listen to Bill Cunningham, alleged conservative talk show host on WLW. But I do catch the beginning of his show when I forget to turn to another station after Doc Thompson's show is over.

For the past few days, Cunningham has been bitching about SB 5 and how it's a bad bill. I have asked myself the question, why would Cunningham object to state budget reforms?

Of course, like most questions in life, when you answer money, you'll be right 90% of the time.

And it would be no different for Cunningham. His wife is a state judge and subject to the reforms of state pensions. Of course he wouldn't want to change those pensions, it means more money for he and the missus. When they retire, they'll be residing in Florida while the remaining state citizens will be bailing out these absurd pensions.

But I guess I can't blame him. He needs more money to support his derelict son.

It's so easy to be a conservative when it's money out of someone else's pocket. But when it comes to your own............

Delay of WI Bill Planned by Madison Mayor and Unions

Thursday, March 03, 2011

When there's a strike and no one cares

Often it seems that what the media is reporting on and what the general population is discussing is parted by a chasm the width of the Grand Canyon.

Take the NFL strike/lockout. All day today, the national sports press has been all over "the story". Maybe someone can explain to me how a sport that won't even have preseason for another 5 months is news today?

Seriously, who gives a crap? I haven't heard one person in the past week bring up a pending labor stoppage between millionaires and billionaires.

But hey, that didn't stop our president from making a statement on the issue.

You may have a hard time remembering this president, given that Dog The Bounty Hunter couldn't seem to locate him while the Middle East was exploding.

None the less, he's always ready to take a firm public stand when it comes to a cop busting a potential burglar, he's giving his NCAA picks, or has a comment on the NFL strike.

Maybe that's why it's news.

Question of the day

Yesterday I did a tax return for a young couple (same age) who both work in the education business.

In this case, one works for a suburban public school and the other for a catholic school.

Anyone want to take a guess on what the income disparity is?

Who do you think cares for kids more, the one who gets paid more or the lesser earning one?

Really Rich Michael Moore Says All Wealthy Americans' Money is Not Their...

Isn't it odd that one of the shareholders in Koch Industries companies is the Wisconsin pensions fund.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

From the party of civil discourse

Tom Blumer from Bizzyblog forwarded these pictures from the Statehouse protest today in Columbus.

Seriously, when one of our state legislators is attacked (notice I don't use "if" in this context), will the media talk about the liberal vitriol being spewed by the unions and democrats (is that redundant?).

More John Galt

Did you ever wonder how we ran into this "jobless recovery"? If you don't understand how that can happen read this.........

George Buckley, the boss at manufacturing conglomerate 3M, apparently didn’t get the memo about Obama 3.0 (vs. Campaign Obama and New New Deal Obama) being a “pro-business” president.

This new incarnation, the White House tell us, is evidenced by a) the hiring of lobbyist/rainmaker Bill Daley as Obama’s chief of staff, b) bringing in GE boss Jeff Immelt to run his new competitiveness council, and c) temporarily abandoning plans to raise income taxes on small business and entrepreneurs.

But Buckley is having none of it, telling the Financial Times that “we know what [Obama’s} instincts are — they are Robin Hood-esque. He is anti-business. … Politicians forget that business has choice. We’re not indentured servants and we will do business where it’s good and friendly. If it’s hostile, incrementally, things will slip away. We’ve got a real choice between manufacturing in Canada and Mexico — which tend to be pro-business — or America.”

Buckley has good reason to wonder aloud about Obama’s pre-election year conversion from nemesis to friend of Corporate America. He surely sees Team Obama failing to make obvious moves to boost U.S. global economic competitiveness. The president still supports the new healthcare and financial reform laws. The president still wants to raise taxes. And the president gave the stiff-arm to his own debt panel. So there you have it, the axis of economic evil – taxes, regulation and government spending.

Now America’s best days may lie ahead, as Warren Buffett suggests in his latest letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders. But the United States is becoming a less attractive place for multinationals, like 3M, to do business.

So here is how it goes.

The Obamunist don't like those stinky, ugly, polluting spewing production plants in this country.

Unfortunately, the American public wants the goods produced by those stinky, ugly, polluting spewing production plants.

So the free market systems says. Hey we can provide the American public with what it wants and we can move those stinky, ugly, polluting spewing production plants to another country that wants them.

Unfortunately, those stinky, ugly, polluting spewing production plants provide high quality jobs to a segment of our society that needs those jobs.

Instead, that segment of society gets to man the Walmarts, Best Buys around the country. Unfortunately, those jobs don't pay as well as the jobs a 3M plant would provide.

Now that you've had a taste of Econ 101 let me ask you the question. Obama's assault on business has hurt the following profession(s) the most......

1) Neurosurgery
2) Truck Driver
3) Attorneys
4) Accountants
5) Corporate CEO's


Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Who would have thunk it?

The U.S. government has 15 different agencies overseeing food-safety laws, more than 20 separate programs to help the homeless and 80 programs for economic development.

These are a few of the findings in a massive study of overlapping and duplicative programs that cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year, according to the Government Accountability Office.

A report from the nonpartisan GAO, to be released Tuesday, compiles a list of redundant and potentially ineffective federal programs, and it could serve as a template for lawmakers in both parties as they move to cut federal spending and consolidate programs to reduce the deficit. Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.), who pushed for the report, estimated it identifies between $100 billion and $200 billion in duplicative spending. The GAO didn't put a specific figure on the spending overlap.

The GAO examined numerous federal agencies, including the departments of defense, agriculture and housing and urban development, and pointed to instances where different arms of the government should be coordinating or consolidating efforts to save taxpayers' money.

The agency found 82 federal programs to improve teacher quality; 80 to help disadvantaged people with transportation; 47 for job training and employment; and 56 to help people understand finances, according to a draft of the report reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Instances of ineffective and unfocused federal programs can lead to a mishmash of occasionally arbitrary policies and rules, the report said. It recommends merging or consolidating a number of programs to both save money and make the government more efficient.


Protecting illegals

Here's liberalism in action..........

After 16-year-old Ashton Cline-McMurray was brutally murdered, his mother took some comfort in hearing that at least some of her son's killers would never walk American streets again.

It's the reason why Sandra Hutchinson agreed with letting the purported gang members, several of them illegal immigrants, plead guilty to lesser charges. She says the prosecutor reassured her that, after their criminal sentences were finished, those in the country illegally would be deported.

"They said that they would never set foot, basically on American soil again. In other words, they'd be like in jail until they got sent back," Hutchinson said.

It's no wonder Hutchinson wanted her son's killers gone. Her son was disabled with cerebral palsy when he was attacked while walking home from a football game in Revere.

"They stabbed him. They beat him. They beat him with rungs out of stairs. They beat him with a golf club," Hutchinson said. "They stabbed him through his heart a couple of times. And through his lung. They stabbed him in his abdomen. He didn't have a chance, really."

The four purported gang members who killed her son pleaded guilty to lesser charges, from manslaughter to second degree murder, meaning they didn't serve the mandatory life sentence without parole that comes with a murder conviction.

That allowed one of the defendants, Loeun Heng, to be released by the Massachusetts Parole Board last March. The illegal immigrant was immediately taken into custody by the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.


Obama's greatest hits

Riddle me this Batman. Who could have predicted the country would be in this bad shape?

Oh wait, we could have watched these videos and we would have known..............

Tell me what's fair

I just finished a tax return for a client who made $400,000 in W-2 earnings last year.

Now I think we can all agree that when you make $400k, you are doing well if not, rich.

I hear lot's of liberals who parrot the tripe that the rich don't pay enough tax like they're a character out of Rainman or Forrest Gump. But you know what I never hear one of these dumb asses say? What actually is fair.

Now surely if you have a functioning brain and you have some concept of what's not fair, surely you can throw me a number that is fair. Right?

So if you are of the ilk to pipe out the harmonic tone of "the rich don't pay enough" At least have the balls to tell the taxmanblog audience what actually is fair for a married father of three making $400k to pay.

Just note it in the comment section.

Consumer Reports reviews GM's coal power car

Consumer Reports offered a harsh initial review of the Chevrolet Volt, questioning whether General Motors Co.'s flagship vehicle makes economic "sense."The extended-range plug-in electric vehicle is on the cover of the April issue — the influential magazine's annual survey of vehicles — but the GM vehicle comes in for criticism.

"When you are looking at purely dollars and cents, it doesn't really make a lot of sense. The Volt isn't particularly efficient as an electric vehicle and it's not particularly good as a gas vehicle either in terms of fuel economy," said David Champion, the senior director of Consumer Reports auto testing center at a meeting with reporters here. "This is going to be a tough sell to the average consumer."

"Doesn't make a lot of sense." That means it's the perfect car for your average liberal.


Monday, February 28, 2011

Life in "Progress" City - San Francisco edition

San Francisco's big push for low-flow toilets has turned into a multimillion-dollar plumbing stink.

Skimping on toilet water has resulted in more sludge backing up inside the sewer pipes, said Tyrone Jue, spokesman for the city Public Utilities Commission. That has created a rotten-egg stench near AT&T Park and elsewhere, especially during the dry summer months.

The city has already spent $100 million over the past five years to upgrade its sewer system and sewage plants, in part to combat the odor problem.

Now officials are stocking up on a $14 million, three-year supply of highly concentrated sodium hypochlorite - better known as bleach - to act as an odor eater and to disinfect the city's treated water before it's dumped into the bay. It will also be used to sanitize drinking water.

That translates into 8.5 million pounds of bleach either being poured down city drains or into the drinking water supply every year.

Not everybody thinks it's a good idea.

A Don't Bleach Our Bay alert has just gone out from eco-blogger Adam Lowry who argues the city would be much better off using a disinfectant like hydrogen peroxide - or better yet, a solution that would naturally break down the bacteria.

Or they could have used the conservative old school solution........"more water".


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Barack Obama on Gas Prices, in Indianapolis

John Galt sends the warning shots to Obama

The head of one of the US’s biggest industrial groups has launched a scathing attack on Barack Obama’s attempts to repair relations with companies, dubbing him “anti-business”.

Manufacturers could shift production out of the US to Canada or Mexico as a result, warned George Buckley, chief executive and chairman of 3M.

“I judge people by their feet, not their mouth,” he told the Financial Times. “We know what his instincts are – they are Robin Hood-esque. He is anti-business.”

The Obama administration has struck a more conciliatory tone towards business since the Democratic defeat in November’s midterm elections.

Last month, the president created a jobs and competitiveness council, chaired by Jeffrey Immelt, chief executive of GE, and including chief executives such as American Express’s Kenneth Chenault, DuPont’s Ellen Kullman, Antonio Perez of Kodak and Southwest Airlines’ Gary Kelly. Mr Obama also convened a meeting this month with technology chief executives, including Steve Jobs of Apple, Google’s Eric Schmidt, Oracle’s Larry Ellison and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook.

Mr Buckley, who has run the diversified manufacturer since 2005, said: “There is a sense among companies that this is a difficult place to do business. It is about regulation, taxation, seemingly anti-business policies in Washington, attitudes towards science.”


The truth from where I sit

There's been plenty of chatter about the Wisconsin and Ohio labor issues before their respective legislatures.

Let me offer up some information from where I sit.

I have a number of recently retired Ohio teachers as clients. I looked at the average pensions of those teachers and it comes to roughly $45,000.

To be fair, these teachers get no social security (unless they had a spouse who kicked into social security). However, I also have a number of retired Ford and GM rank and file employees. Their pensions average roughly $20,000 plus social security benefits of about $22,000.

Not too much of a difference, right? Except that the UAW employees have probably the best pensions in the private sector. In addition, those employees kicked in to that social security for their entire lives; something not done by your average school teacher. Oh and it's because of those healthy pensions that the big three find themselves getting buried by foreign competition.

Here's another big time benefit of your average public sector worker.

They get 10 sick days a year, which they get to carry forward. Do you know anyone in the private sector who gets that kind of benefit? Think about how many sick days you've taken in your life and calculate how many carryover days you'd have in the bank today.

Now it would be one thing if those days were just paid out at the end of the year. But a teacher gets to wait on payment until their salary is 2-3 times the value from when those days are accrued. In addition, the pension benefits are calculated based on the last 3 years of salary. So many teachers stock pile those days until retirement. If you've been a teacher for twenty years you effectively doubled up that last year of wages, thereby ballooning your benefit.

No one in the private sector has that kind of freedom with their private pensions.

Now how about those fat cat pension? I have several retired executives and all of one has a pension amounting to $50,000 a year. But I also have a retired school superintendent who pockets a cool $74,000 a year pension while his wife gets her $33,000 from her teacher pension.

$107,000 a year? Now most couples could retire very comfortably on that.

The fact is, the average pensioner in my practice gets about $10,000 a year in pension benefits. Many of those pensions have no cost of living adjustments so these folks are hit very hard by inflation.

Now whether these folks want to admit it or not. They're breaking the backs of the people who have to work to fund these pensions.

That's the truth from where I sit.

Later, the joke of prevailing wage.