Sunday, April 29, 2012

Someone finally got the smelling salts

I really don't know what emotion I feel when so called conservatives like David Brooks and Chris Buckley  are figuring out what all of us hicks in the sticks knew from the onset........

That Barack Obama was, and is, a total ideologue.

Now Peggy Noonan come to the plate with her observations on The One..............

Republicans feel an understandable anxiety about Mr. Obama’s coming campaign: It will be all slice and dice, divide and conquer, break the country into little pieces and pick up as many as you can.

But it still matters that the president doesn’t have a coherent agenda, or a political philosophy that is really clear to people. To the extent he has a philosophy, it tends to pop up furtively in stray comments and then go away. This is to a unique degree a presidency of inference, its overall meaning never vividly declared. In some eras, that may be a plus. In this one?

Republicans are worried about the power of incumbency, and it is a real power. Presidents command the airwaves, as they used to say. If they want to make something the focus of national discussion, they usually can, at least for a while. And this president is always out there, talking. But—and forgive me, because what I’m about to say is rude—has anyone noticed how boring he is? Plonking platitude after plonking platitude. 

To see Mr. Obama on the stump is to see a man at the podium who’s constantly dribbling away the punch line. He looks pleasant but lacks joy; he’s cool but lacks vigor.

I listen to him closely and find myself daydreaming: This is the best-tailored president since JFK. His suits, shirts and ties are beautifully cut from fine material.

This is an elegant man. But I shouldn’t be thinking about that, I should be thinking about what a powerful case he’s making for his leadership. I’m not because he’s not.

He’s raised a lot of money, or so we keep reading. He has a sophisticated, wired, brilliant computer operation—they know how to mine Internet data and get the addresses of people who’ve never been reached by a campaign before, and how to approach them in a friendly and personal way. This is thought to be a secret weapon. I’m not so sure.

A while back I talked to a young man who was developing a wonderful thing for a website, a kind of constant live TV show with anyone anywhere able to join in and share opinions live, on the screen. But I thought: Why do you think people will say anything interesting or important?

This is the problem of the world now: Big mic, no message. If you have nothing to say, does it matter that you have endless venues in which to say it?

Life in "Redville"

Things aren't always so rosy out here in the sticks.........

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says a portable methamphetamine lab exploded in a man’s pants as he tried to run away from a state trooper during a traffic stop.

Tulsa television station KOTV reports the incident happened shortly after midnight Friday in Okmulgee County. Authorities say the man tried to run away when the trooper asked him about a chemical smell.

Trooper Shiloh Hall says the man had an active meth lab in his pants that burst during a struggle with the trooper. The man was checked out by emergency personnel and booked in the Okmulgee County jail on a drug charge.

A portable meth lab is also known as a one-pot lab, where a smaller batch of the drug is manufactured.


More bullying from the anti bullying crowd

This is just too rich..................

At issue was some progressive newcomers' inability to pony up the $1,000 they'd all agreed to contribute to publish the slate cards. Those will be going out soon to the roughly 23,000 "perfect women voters" in the city, meaning females who've voted in the past five city elections.

Apparently, Supervisor Malia Cohen told the cash-poor women they had to "pay to play," and attorney Kat Anderson accused them of sabotaging the entire effort. Then somebody accused Anderson of "living in the Marina," which is a fact, but apparently a mean one.

That's when Hene Kelly, a progressive stalwart and self-described "den mother" for the newcomers, told school board member Hydra Mendoza - who was trying to calm everybody down - to shut up and wagged her finger. Then, Kelly upturned her chair (she says that was out of sheer clumsiness) and stormed out of the room with the newcomers, Wendy Aragon and Kelly Dwyer.

"I just didn't want people to be shamed in there or to feel like second-class citizens," Kelly said. "What is this saying about women ... they can't help each other? It is breaking my heart."

Aragon said she's definitely not participating in the women's slate anymore.

"It turned into animal farm - it was even worse than watching men fight," she said. "It was mean girl bullying in that room - that's not why I'm here as a woman or here in politics."

How 'bout dem green jobs?

I guess we can call them green for all the mold they're attracting; not for the money they're generating ...............

Obama’s push to nationalize many of California’s economy-stifling green policies has been slowed down, first by the Republican resurgence in 2010 and then by his reelection considerations. But California’s politicians, living in what’s become essentially a one-party state, have doubled down on green orthodoxy. As the president at least tries to cover his flank by claiming to support an “all-in” energy policy, California has simply refused to exploit much of its massive oil and gas resources.

Does this matter? Well, Texas has created 200,000 oil and gas jobs over the past decade; California has barely added 20,000. The state’s remaining energy producers have been slowing down as the regulatory environment becomes ever more hostile even as producers elsewhere, including in rustbelt states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, ramp up. The oil and gas jobs the Golden State political class shuns pay around $100,000 a year on average.


Life in "Progress" State - Illinois edition

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently offered a stark assessment of the threat to his state's future that is posed by mounting pension and retiree health-care bills for government workers. Unless Illinois enacts reform quickly, he said, the costs of these programs will force taxes so high that, "You won't recruit a business, you won't recruit a family to live here."

We're likely to hear more such worries in coming years. That's because state and local governments across the country have accumulated several trillion dollars in unfunded retirement promises to public-sector workers, the costs of which will increasingly force taxes higher and crowd out other spending. Already businesses and residents are slowly starting to sit up and notice.

"Companies don't want to buy shares in a phenomenal tax burden that will unfold over the decades," the Chicago Tribune observed after Mr. Emanuel issued his warning on April 4. And neither will citizens.

Government retiree costs are likely to play an increasing role in the competition among states for business and people, because these liabilities are not evenly distributed. Some states have enormous retiree obligations that they will somehow have to pay; others have enacted significant reforms, or never made lofty promises to their workers in the first place. 

Indiana's debt for unfunded retiree health-care benefits, for example, amounts to just $81 per person. Neighboring Illinois's accumulated obligations for the same benefit average $3,399 per person. 

Seriously, ask yourself the following question. If you are a high income taxpayer, will you stick around for the pension Armageddon or will you simply pack your bags and leave the mess for those people who don't have the resources to pick up the tab?


Life in "Progress" State - California edition

Four million more people have left California for other states than have come here from other states in the past two decades, according to demographer Joel Kotkin. The population growth has been coming mainly from immigrants and births from people already living here, but now the USC study shows that immigrants are going elsewhere. A cynic might say that California’s liberal elites have ended the state’s contentious battles over illegal immigration by destroying opportunities here.

Kotkin, an old-time liberal, sees troubling trends. “Basically, if you don’t own a piece of Facebook or Google and you haven’t robbed a bank and don't have rich parents, then your chances of being able to buy a house or raise a family in the Bay Area or in most of coastal California is pretty weak,” he said in a recent Wall Street Journal interview. “The new regime wants to destroy the essential reason why people move to California in order to protect their own lifestyles.” He says the state is run for the benefit of the very rich, the very poor, and public employees.

This is not a healthy society. And the demographic changes point to an aging population. Far from reducing the burdens on the state government, this will increase them. State officials are not building to meet future needs, but they have been squandering future dollars on excessive pay and pension packages for public employees. Look for a coming battle between services for lower-income Californians and retirement benefits for the most powerful special interest group in the state, public employees.

There’s no chance the state’s most serious fiscal issues will be solved or even addressed soon. Earlier this month, Democratic Assembly leaders announced that they have no time to deal with the governor’s modest pension reform plan. They do have time to deal with hundreds of other bills, most of which range from the silly to the crazy. What’s the chance they will handle any of the other issues restricting California’s economy?


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