Saturday, December 26, 2009

Wall Street Journal Editorial about Health Care non-debate

Found this nugget from the Wall Street Journal about how the Senate rushed this bill through without regard to transparency or good legislation.

The Senate Postmortem, Dec. 26, 2009.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Senate Legalizes Bribery

Earlier this week, a bill introduced by Jim DeMint went down in flames in an almost straight party vote. The bill basically sought a yes/no vote on allowing votes for bills to be, to put it bluntly, purchased by offering deals in the same or future legislation. The result of the bill was a 53-46 defeat, with seven Democrats joining Republicans in voting for the legislation.


While it wasn't a headline grabber, those that have been paying attention to the health care debate certainly took note of this small piece of legislation. Opponents of the health care takeover have been up in arms recently as Ben Nelson's (D-NE) and Mary Landrieu's (D-LA) votes for the Senate health care bill were practically purchased by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as he offered both of them sweetheart Medicaid funding deals that only their states qualify for.

While I'm not surprised that a vote like this came down to an almost straight party vote, I do won't to recognize the 7 Democratic Senators that took a stand (even though they may have voted for the health care bill).

Bayh (D-IN)
Feingold (D-WI)
McCaskill (D-MO)
Merkley (D-OR)
Nelson (D-NE)
Warner (D-VA)
Webb (D-VA)

And now for the punchline. Ben Nelson voted for it. What a jerk. Here is the actual language from the bill that gives Nebraska its federal Medicaid dollars:

"'(3) Notwithstanding subsection (b) and paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection, the Federal medical assistance percentage otherwise determined under subsection (b) with respect to all or any portion of a fiscal year that begins on or after January 1, 2017, for the State of Nebraska, with respect to amounts expended for newly eligible individuals described in subclause (VIII) of section 1902(a)(10)(A)(i), shall be determined as provided for under subsection (y)(1) (A) (notwithstanding the period provided for in such paragraph)"

My children say you're welcome.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

FTC Considers Subsidies to Help Failing Newspapers

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, the Federal Trade Commision is deciding wether or not to assist failing newspapers, after many major dailies have gone bankrupt or are close to it. With free information and news available through the internet, many papers are struggling with old business models and new ways of making revenue.

There are a few issues with this. One argument the media executives have, especially those from newspapers, is that internet sites can search their site for free and return the article to the user, or print articles on other sites. I take the side of the execs on this, but only a little. Lets look at it this way. Anything that is printed by Townsville's newspaper's staff in that newspaper is property of Townsville's newspaper, and no one else. If Cityville's newspaper wants to borrow, or re-print an article, then they pay Townsville's newspaper for the article. And so on. The problem some execs - OK, Rupert Murdoch - have is that Google, for instance, can search a news site, and reprint a blurb, or an entire article, with out the user ever visiting the actual newspaper site. The other side of the coin is that newspapers need to either update their business model, create new revenue streams (The FTC is considering letting media companies own TV stations and newspapers in the same market), or just fail and go out of business.

Another issue with the government sponsored subsidies of media organizations is the (further) blurring of the line of the separation of government and media. Earlier this year, Democratic Senator Benjamin Cardin of Maryland introduced a bill that would let newspapers operate as non-profits. So, if that were to come to fruition, then newspapers would be indebted to government for practically being propped up. If government intervention is the sole reason newspapers would be able to stay afloat, how could they be government watchdogs and actually do investigative journalism? Media organizations that received government assistance would practically become state run news agencies.

A third issue is the further bailing out of failing companies. I guess, by now, the model for failed government intervention is GM. They get billions of dollars, and have nothing to show for it in nine months except (continually) falling profits and hundreds of dealerships boarded up. As hard as it would be, the government would be better served by letting business find new ways to do business or go out of business. The same business models that worked 50-100 years ago don't always work now.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Senator Barbara Boxer Ignores Reality

During the recent Climate Gate mess, Barbara Boxer more intent on calling for an investigation of the leaked/hacked emails than she is about finding the truth behind global warming. I suppose if global warming were de-bunked, then it would totally derail her liberal agenda. With a scandal right in front of her where scientists FOR global warming are admitting that they cooked the data in favor of, she is still head strong for anti-global warming legislation.

I heard this clip on the radio a few days ago, then finally found the quote in the LA Times.

"People write ridiculous e-mails when they're in the middle of a fight," Boxer said. "To me, what's important is, e-mails aside, is there global warming? Is it being affected by human activity? And there's nothing out there that says otherwise."

Mrs Boxer, I present several arguments - maybe even FACTS - to refute Global Warming.

From MTVY News 4:

Temperatures are falling, not rising

As Christopher Booker says in his review of 2008, temperatures have been dropping in a wholly unpredicted way over the past year. Last winter, the northern hemisphere saw its greatest snow cover since 1966, which in the northern US states and Canada was dubbed the “winter from hell”. This winter looks set to be even worse.

The earth was hotter 1,000 years ago

Evidence from all over the world indicates that the earth was hotter 1,000 years ago than it is today. Research shows that temperatures were higher in what is known as the Mediaeval Warming period than they were in the 1990s.

The earth’s surface temperature is not at record levels

According to Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies analysis of surface air temperature measurements, the meteorological December 2007 to November 2008 was the coolest year since 2000. Their data has also shown that the hottest decade of the 20th century was not the 1990s but the 1930s.

Ice is not disappearing

Arctic website Crysophere Today reported that Arctic ice volume was 500,000 sq km greater than this time last year. Additionally, Antarctic sea-ice this year reached its highest level since satellite records began in 1979. Polar bear numbers are also at record levels.

Himalayan glaciers

A report by the UN Environment Program this year claimed that the cause of melting glaciers in the Himalayas was not global warming but the local warming effect of a vast “atmospheric brown cloud” over that region, made up of soot particles from Asia’s dramatically increased burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.

Temperatures are still declining

Nasa satellite readings on global temperatures from the University of Alabama show that August was the fourth month this year when temperatures fell below their 30-year average, ie since satellite records began. November 2008 in the USA was only the 39th warmest since records began 113 years ago.

From CO2Science.org, here is a study by Japanese scientists studying temperature fluctuations across the region for a few hundred years.

What was learned
Significant decadal to centennial-scale variability was noted throughout the record, with temperatures fluctuating by about 5°C across the series. Most notable among the fluctuations were multi-century warm and cold epochs. Between AD 700-1200, for example, there was about a 1°C rise in average temperature (pre-1850 average), which the authors state "appears to be related to the 'Medieval Warm Period'." In contrast, temperatures were about 2°C below the long-term pre-1850 average during the multi-century Little Ice Age that occurred between AD 1580 and 1700. Kitagawa and Matsumoto also report finding significant temperature periodicities of 187, 89, 70, 55 and 44 years. Noting that the 187-year cycle closely corresponds to the well-known Suess cycle of solar activity and that the 89-year cycle compares well with the Gleissberg solar cycle, they conclude that their findings provide further support for a sun-climate relationship.

What it means
The results of this study add to the growing body of evidence that the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age were global phenomena. What is more, they indicate there is nothing unprecedented about Current Warm Period temperatures in this region, which according to the data presented in the authors' Figure 3, remain about a degree Celsius lower than the peak warmth of the Medieval Warm Period.

There is growing scientific evidence that strongly disputes the global warming phenomenon. It's unfortunate that people we elect to represent our interest are too interested in their own personal agenda to pay attention to facts.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Senate's Saturday Night Special

While some people will be watching the Saturday night games of college football, or just partaking in other relaxing weekend activities, our elected officials in the Senate will start debating the merits of the Senate's Health Care bill. That's right . . . on a Saturday night.

First, a brief history lesson. During the Bush years, the media was quick to point out news dumps on Fridays from the White House. Even as a conservative, it did seem that the White House was just trying to feign ignorance about what it was doing. The more the Bush White House tried to avoid making news on Friday evenings, the more it made news. I understand that the Senate is not the White House, but a bill that would consume 1/6 of the country's economy should be a bit more important than a Saturday night debate.
The people who will be paying any close attention to the debate will be reporters and those ardently opposed to government-run health care.
One thing this really does is jumble up talking points for Sunday morning news shows. The Ft. Hood shooter is still in the news for his Middle East ties. President Obama still hasn't decided what to do in Afghanistan. There are too many talking points to have a serious discussion about the health care bill.
I'm not opposed to a debate, but neither the House or Senate version brings up tort reform. The only way to truly curb health care costs is to reform litigation. The biggest travesty of all would be the Senate actually passing something at 12:30 AM Sunday morning.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Schools Come Under Fire for Not Airing Obama Speech

President Obama's plan to give a planned speech to elementary school kids ran into a big snag last week when Fox News reported it, then started digging to see what would actually be in the speech. Anyone who's seen any news over the last few days knows that Obama is going to talk about reaching one's educational goals and doing your best, and so on. This sounds like a typical pep-talk to school kids.

I for one am all in favor of doing anything to get our kids to strive to do better in school. I just hope it doesn't turn into a future fundraiser for ANY political party, Republic, Libertarian, Green, or Democrat.

What's more disheartening about the entire event is the way Obama supporters are attacking schools that are choosing not to air it as a live event. Here in Eastern North Carolina, Pitt County Schools have decided to record it, and re-air it at another time after administrators have had a chance to preview it. That decision is in-line with the school system's policy on viewing educational materials. It must be previewed to make sure it is applicable to the students viewing it and is also educationally relevant. The timing of the President's speech also conflicts with students' lunch times. Some students would miss all or some of their state mandated lunch period. The county also doesn't have the bandwidth capacity to have students watch it live. Pitt Schools are planning on recording it, then letting school administrators determine what grades should view it, then plan appropriate class time to do so.

However, some advocacy groups are up in arms that Pitt Schools are not airing the speech live. If you want to know why they aren't, re-read the above paragraph. Some groups are saying the decision by system administrators is racist since the speech isn't being shown live. So, since administrators are actually following guidelines set forth BEFORE President Obama took office, they are racist. And I imagine that Pitt County isn't the only school system with these guidelines in place, so there are a lot of racist school administrators all across the country. If President Obama was going to give a speech with a bunch of knock-knock jokes and schools decided not to air it, would they be racist then, too? Community groups who are concerned about airing of the speech should record it themselves. Choose a community center or church and show it there with parents present so they can also participate in the discussion.

It is important for schools to do what they can to keep kids in school. It is also admirable for President Obama and previous presidents to make this an important issue. However, if community leaders and activists want to make an issue of the speech not airing, they should also do their part in keeping kids in school and decreasing the drop-out rate. This is an issue that should not be left for the President of the United States to handle. Parents are more accountable for this issue than President Obama and school administrators are.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Coming to a Classroom Near You

It's been in the news for the last few days now. President Obama will be giving a speech to kids from Pre-K to sixth grade next Tuesday. The White House is spinning this into just a general speech about the importance of education. Thats fine and dandy, if that what it truly is. The President has surrounded himself with far-left radicals that would love nothing more than to turn kids into little left-wing radicals from the start.
The Department of Education has already come under fire for distributing accompaning learning materials and follow up questions to ask the kids after the speech. Good luck asking a group of 1st graders how the speech made them feel.
If Obama wanted kids to have more fun learning, he would do what is within his Constitutional power to improve the economy so states would have more tax revenues to hire for teaching positions they have had to leave vacant. School systems are so strapped for cash they have basically eliminated all unneccesary travel and trips. My wife, who is a teacher, has a yearly music educators conference. This year, she has already learned that the school will not reimburse her for any costs (registration, hotel, meals, gas, paying for her substute) associated with the conference. So, she may not even attend.
Maybe Bill Clinton should give Obama some advice. "It's the economy, stupid."

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Attitudes of Appeasement Before WWII

Last night on the Military Channel, there was a documentary on about Franklin D Roosevelt and his secret efforts to help Britain prior to the U.S.'s official entry into World War II.

 

Many American citizens were opposed to U.S. involvement in the war. They saw Hitler as Europe's problem, and Europe should deal with him. There were many clips of people marching in the streets with signs and boards opposed to American involvement in the war. If anything, they wanted to strike a peace deal with Hitler's regime. A sort of guarantee, I suppose that he wouldn't come across the Atlantic, or attack U.S. ships in the Atlantic. Hitler also had a treaty with Poland. That didn't work out too well for the Poles.

 

Roosevelt tried back channels to assist the British, even going as far as to surplus naval warships, sell them to U.S. Steel so they could, in return, sell them to the British.

 

Even after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, there were still many people who were opposed to U.S. involvement in Europe, since Hitler didn't attack us. The appeasers didn't mind going to war against Japan, but wanted us to stay out of Europe. Ultimately, if it weren't for a German U-Boat sinking a U.S. destroyer, citizen apathy may have prevented Americans from entering the European theater.

 

Of course, there was a lot more to it than that. As it relates to today's politics and world view, it's interesting to see that the same rules still apply. While FDR wasn't exactly hawkish about going to war, he was able to see what would ultimately happen if Hitler wasn't stopped, not just appeased. This same philosophy seems to running rampant today. War is a brutal thing. I hate it. It should be used as a last resort. But I'm not afraid of building up America's defenses to ensure that we are not threatened. North Korea comes to mind immediately.

 

Now, the U.S. is in a position where we have a president who has reached out to Russia and wants to enter into a news arms treaty with them. This is a country who is so far behind us in technology, the only country that treaty would  help is Russia, since they don't have to spend money they don't have trying to develop new weapons. The only thing it does is put the U.S. at a disadvantage since it will hamstring the Defense Department.

 

The attitude of appeasement will always be there, but we must be careful how much we appease versus how much we prepare to defend ourselves and our allies.

 

 

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Obama Washes His Hands Clean of Iraq

U.S. President Barak Obama effectively told Americans and Iraqis a few days ago that he is no longer responsible for whatever happens in Iraq. He has appointed Vice-President Joe Biden as his point-man for Iraq.
 
Now Joe Biden is responsible to the American people for what happens in Iraq, not President Obama. This was announced the same week that American troops moved out of Iraqi cities, not the country as some people celebrated it that way.
 
Immediately, I can not think of anyone more inept at dealing with foreign dignitaries as Joe Biden. He can't even have any interview in the U.S. without coming off as a bafoon. There have been a number of interviews he has given and his brain just goes completely blank, just like Dear Leader without a teleprompter.
 
Obama accomplishes something else by handing the reigns over to Emperor Joe. One of the major knocks against Obama during his campaign was his foreign policy experience. By washing his hands clean of Iraq, he takes leave of one his major points during his campaign. He wanted a fresh approach to Iraq, and he was going to do this, and that, and blah blah blah.
 
There is a downside and an upside for Obama on this issue. If Iraq blows up after troops leave the cities, he can tell Biden to fix it. If all goes well, Biden (or Dubya for that matter) can claim victory. Whatever the result, Obama is still taking leave on foreign policy decisions.

NC Governor Bev Purdue Bites the Hand

NC Governor Bev Purdue Bites the Hand
 
Governor Bev Purdue recently announced that NC teachers will not be getting their automatic pay increases they normally get when the next school year begins. Unfortunately for the NC teachers union, they don't have any room to complain until 2012, when Purdue is up for re-election.
 
Teachers groups fell over themselves endorsing Purdue during her campaign, and this is how they get repaid. She has already made drastic budget cuts that have decreased the number of teacher positions, has stopped funds for replacing some teachers that have retired, and with other means, has increased the number of children per classroom.
 
For a candidate that ran on her previous experience as a teacher, she is showing her adeptness for being a politician, rather than someone concerned about her colleagues in the classroom.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Abortion Supporters Win Again

The Senate voted against a proposed amendment on Friday that would have blocked funding for family planning organizations if it was found to be participating in forced abortions.

Senator Roger Wicker (R – Mississippi) had proposed the legislation allowing the President to block funding if groups were participating in forced or coerced abortions. Senator Wicker had these words to say on the floor of the Senate before the vote:

"Let's keep the provision that allows the President of the United States to make this determination. And if there is evidence to prove that American tax dollars would be used by the United Nations to fund these coercive practices, then let's not allow the United States taxpayers to be a party to these abhorrent and coercive practices."

The amendment failed by a 39-55 vote, with only 94 Senators voting.

The measure would have blocked funding to UN groups that were participating in forced abortions. An investigation by the Population Research Institute found that the UN Family Planning Agency was heling to enforce China's one-child policy.

“‘It's very clear that the U.N. Population Fund is a cheerleader for the Chinese family planning program, is funding the program, and turns a blind eye to forced abortion and forced sterilization,’ he tells the Times.

Mosher's team's 2001 investigation found that family planning was nonexistent and that forced
abortions and sterilizations were commonplace. And the local UNFPA officials conducted their operations out of the China Office of Family Planning, where these abhorrent practices were taking place.”
Even the United States’ own investigation revealed that the UNFPA did not deserve taxpayer funding.
“The State Department sent officials to China to conduct a follow-up investigation in 2002 and found enough evidence for then-Secretary of State Colin Powell to tell Congress that the UNFPA doesn't deserve taxpayer funding.

Powell said the Chinese population control staff members used equipment and supplies provided to them by the UNFPA to carry out their work.

Rep. Christopher Smith, a New Jersey Republican, also toured China and spoke with local residents and activists who informed him of the situation there. He said Chinese officials only showed the State Department what they wanted Powell's staff to see and that the abuses and the UNFPA link was more pronounced than even Powell's team knew.

"The United States should not help UNFPA cover up China's crimes against women and children," Smith told the Times.”
The President’s stance on abortion is starting to become very questionable. During the campaign season, he said that the decision about where life began was beyond his pay grade. Well, it starting to look like that is in serious doubt as President Obama has signed legislation funding forced abortion.

Friday, March 6, 2009

BBCW: Obama Centrists Starting to Wonder if Obama is Healthy for Country: Stuart Taylor's "Obama's Left Turn" Sounds Like a Familiar Friend

BBCW: Obama Centrists Starting to Wonder if Obama is Healthy for Country: Stuart Taylor's "Obama's Left Turn" Sounds Like a Familiar Friend

Great article about how some citizens of Obamanation are starting to rethink their citizenship.

Kansas City, Misery

Kansas City TV station KMBC announced today that the city is facing an $85 million shortage in their budget. Mayor Mark Funkhouser has put a plan up that includes holding back the $2 million dollar payment to the Truman Sports Complex. Eliminating the payment would essentially break the lease with both the Chiefs and the Royals.

While I completely see the point that the city needs to balance its budget, I wonder what would be more beneficial. Let’s examine the points.

The city doesn’t pay up, and the teams, basically, become free agents. Just like the Sonics did to Seattle last year, they could pack up and go because the city didn’t help them stay. Of course, there were other points in interest in Seattle, but that is for another day. With the bad economy affecting the entire country, do the teams have a realistic chance to find another city that would be able to support them financially and offer a viable fan base? One obvious answer is Las Vegas, but neither the NFL or MLB is willing to let a team camp out in Vegas due to their respective league’s stance on gambling. So Vegas is out. And in a down economy, Vegas just got some bailout money to remain viable anyway. Vegas is very out. For MLB, there are a few other options. Charlotte, NC, already has a basketball and football team. But since Charlotte is the Southern Banking Capital, the city’s economy has been hit hard. Atlanta might object to another team being so close, especially one where they have a large fan base. Charlotte stays on the list for now. Then there is New Orleans. Like Charlotte, there is an established pro sports legacy. One advantage New Orleans has is a ready stadium in the Superdome. Although it may be outdated, at least there is a place to play immediately. New Orleans is on the list. As far as I can see, those are the options for the Royals. Besides, who would want one of the worst teams of the last 20 years?

Unfortunately for the Chiefs, the options are not good. LA. That’s it. And we all know how that is going to turn out, don’t we Al Davis . . . .

Besides loosing the teams, there would be a ton of revenue leaving the area, along with jobs in concessions, parking, stadium maintenance, and team operations.

Now, let’s examine what would happen if KC bucks up and pays the bill. The teams stay. There is a rabid fan base for the Chiefs, which keeps the locals happy. People stay in employed and pump money back into the local economy. Kansas City would lose a lot more than $2 million if they choose not to pay up.

In this time of economic belt-tightening by municipalities everywhere, this is one time where the muni needs to splurge a little to keep their local economy from flat-lining.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Markets tank again; GM and Citigroup lead the way

As of 2:30 PM today, the Dow was down 260 points to 6.612. And The One didn’t even mention the economy today. And Timmy hasn’t been in the news. Hmm. I guess this is just reflective of how the markets see the assistance from the government.

The Dow is down more than 50% from its high of 14,164 on October 2007. February 2009 is the worst February for the Dow since 1933.
“The Dow, which dropped 12 per cent this month, had its worst February since 1933. During the month, 20 of the 30 components reset their 52-week lows, with 13 hitting 52-week lows at some point during final session of the week.”
Citigroup’s stock finally fell below the $1 threshold. Welcome home, dear! I thought the feds were going to prop up Citi after their announcement last week about converting a few billion dollars in preferred shares to common stock. That would give the feds 36% ownership in Citi. Looks like that was a great idea..

Oh yeah, and GM is saying today they may have to go into bankruptcy to help restructure. Why didn’t they say this $50 BILLION ago? Once again, the government offered a band-aid to something that needed to be amputated. If GM is going to have to declare bankruptcy to get straight, they should just suck it up and do it. Bankruptcy would allow them to void their union agreement so that could be restructured as well. Every time they’ve been give BILLIONS, they come back to the trough like pigs a few weeks later wanting to get some more. Unfortunately, President Obama promised in his speech to Congress last week that he would not let them fail.

While the American auto makers are crying, why haven’t we heard any screams from Toyota, Nissan, or Honda?

Chavez Nationalizes U.S. Company Cargill

Hugo Chavez is at it again. He announced yesterday that he would be nationalizing all operations of U.S based food producer Cargill. Cargill makes a form of rice that Chavez is being made to avoid price controls.

With this announcement, Chavez basically halts all foreign manufacturing in his country. If he successfully takes over Cargill’s operations, many other countries and business will not set up shop for fear that turning a profit will put them at the short end of Chavez’s big stick.

Chavez is popular among the poor for forcing companies to produce lower cost food. That’s great that he is trying to help his countrymen. But in the long term, this is just like what is happening in Cuba. With no foreign investment, there are no countries willing to come in and establish manufacturing plants. Lower oil revenues for Venezuela, an OPEC member, mean less money for the government to play with. This is one reason President Chavez is gearing up his nationalization efforts, to take money from the businesses to pass around. Sounds familiar.

By nationalizing companies, Chavez is planning on keeping prices down and increasing government revenues. This will only keep or turn wages lower as the government struggles to meet payroll.

Venezuela’s situation will not improve anytime soon. By getting major support from the poor, Chavez is creating a situation where he is going to increase that class of people. And he is always going to blame business for the downturn in his country’s economy. His people will suffer, but he will be the hero, because they just don’t see any other solution than what he is proposing.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Quid Pro Quo, Clarice

President Obama made many promises during his campaign, just like any other politician. Unfortunately for him, his are likely to stick with him because of the nature of his fee-good campaign.

No lobbyists.

He was going to change the tone in Washington, gonna change the business. How is this change?

In early January, he unveiled his pick to head the FCC, Julius Genachowski. Genachowski and Obama have known each other since their days together at Harvard. Old chums. And just like other recycled picks by Mr. President, Genachowski worked for the FCC during the Clinton administration.

Why don’t we just start calling him President Barack Clinton?

In addition to working his previous experience in government, Genachowski was a – gasp – fund raiser for then-and-always-will-be Campaigner Obama. He raised over $500,000 for the Obama campaign.

While that may have been chump change for the campaign, this definetly looks like a case of back scratching to me. Genachowski may not have been a lobbyists for a law firm or anything of that nature, but can one be a lobbyists if you are lobbying for … yourself?

President Barack Obama has not change the tone of anything in Washington. He promised transparency and we get fund raisers in charge of government agencies. When George Bush was elected the media cried foul because he was bringing in a bunch of friends as associates, advisers, and so on. President Obama is doing the same thing and it gets buried on page 12.


Thanks, President Obama, can I have my change back, please?

Citimortgage announces Loan Modification Program

Citimortgage announced yesterday it had its own loan modification program. Under the program, home owners have the option to pay around $500 a month on their mortgage for three months if they meet certain criteria. Citimortgage is targeting those homeowners that are unemployed and perhaps behind in their payments. This is a great idea from Citimortgage and it’s time for more companies to propose something along these lines.


This proposal allows people to stay in their homes and also keeps the asset on the books for Citimortgage. Hopefully, this is more than a stopgap measure and homeowners will take advantage of this offer. They are even freezing credit reporting during the process as well. It is a win-win for both parties. Citi would loose a lot more if the house went into foreclosure than by asking someone to pay what amounts to rent on a one-bedroom apartment in most cities. It also protects other homeowners because this should help stabilize some property values.

This does what the government has tried to do through two pieces of legislation. It tackles the original problem of the economic turn we are in. It goes after home foreclosures. Once again, a business based solution trumps government.

This follows on the heels of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae’s plans to rent foreclosed properties. Many renters were being evicted because the owners were being foreclosed upon, affecting the innocent tenants. While still being owned by Freddie (and in effect, the government) the plan keeps the homes occupied and from falling into a state of disrepair. Just like the Citi plan, it helps to stabilize home values and keeps a stream on income on the asset instead of letting it sit.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The ACORN Strikes Back, II

A few weeks ago, I posted this diddy about ACORN, and how they were going to stop foreclosures by basically barricading themselves in houses. Well, the good police of Baltimore actually made an arrest.


An activist with ACORN — the Association of Community Organization for Reform Now — faces criminal charges after breaking into a home in southeast Baltimore on Thursday to protest the foreclosure crisis sweeping the country.

"This is our house now," ACORN member Louis Beverly reportedly said after cutting a lock with bolt cutters at the home.

Beverly will be charged with fourth-degree burglary, according to Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the Baltimore Police. Attempts to reach his attorney, Justin Brown, were not immediately successful.

Donna Hanks, who owned the home since 2001, lost it in September when she couldn't make her $1,995 mortgage payments. It was not immediately clear whether Hanks re-entered her home last week, but she was not expected to be arrested, Guglielmi said.

At least the homeowner was not implicated in this arrest. This is absolute lawlessness on the part of ACORN and it's organizers. Further down the article is an even more aggregious quote by Joe Cox, an ACORN organizer,
"We understand people have to do their jobs and we hope that they understand that we're doing this to highlight the issue."

Cox said he expects homesteading — refusing to vacate a foreclosed property — will become common as blame for the foreclosure crisis increasingly shifts from homeowners to financial corporations.

"This program is saying, 'We are not going,'" Cox said last week. "People say we're breaking the law, but we don't see how putting a person back in an abandoned property is harming anyone."
ACORN plays the victim card again. Don't blame me, I just had a $2,000 mortgage I couldn't afford. Blame the banks, they're the bad guys. When they [ACORN activists] want to break the law to make a point, they should be arrested. This is not a case of civil rights, this is blatant lawbreaking. Just because no one is living in the house doesn't mean they can just break in and squat and claim it.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Quick Fix Is In

President Barack Obama announced another member of his 2nd string today by tapping Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. Pro-life groups have already come out of the wood work protesting her record on abortion. While that may be an issue of concern, it is not while I’m concerned about her nomination.

The state of Kansas made headlines in the middle of February by announcing they were stopping the distribution of tax rebate checks. This announcement was the result of an impasse between Democrat Governor Sebelius and the Kansas legislature where Republicans control both houses.

While the rebate checks became the polarizing issue, the state was also worried about whether or not they would be able to meet state employee payroll and Medicaid payments. In 2008, the state borrowed $550 million dollars from itself - $300 million in the summer and $250 million in December. Republican lawmakers are worried that if they continue to move monies between accounts – basically borrowing from Paul to pay Peter if the economy improves – that the other agencies may go broke or that they just may not be able to pay themselves back when the bills comes due.

Governor Sebelius was at odds with this strategy. She just wanted to borrow some more.

Republicans offered up a new budget slashing $300 million but Sebelius refused to sign it into law. The Governor issued this statement about the stalemate,
"Through their refusal to act today, the Republican legislative leadership is jeopardizing our citizens' pocketbooks for no other reason than to play political games — games in which the only ones set to lose are Kansas families, workers and schools.”

Yada yada yada.

So what does this have to do with her nomination to the post of Health and Human Services? Upon her confirmation, Sebelius will have a bigger budget to play with. With the country in a recession, if not depression, the Obama administration has nominated someone to a Cabinet position that seems to have absolutely no idea how to work within a budget.

A lot of this back and forth is simply long-term versus short-term impact on the economy. The Republicans in the Kansas legislature were trying to take a long-term approach to their budget woes, while Governor Sebelius seemed to want a quick fix.


The nomination of Governor Sebelius to Obama’s cabinet puts someone forward that may not be thinking of long term solutions, but is looking only to improve the health care in this country on a temporary basis.

Friday, February 27, 2009

North Korea Ramps Up Rhetoric

North Korea has been back in the news lately. The government is preparing to launch what is being called a satellite in early March. There are, of course, many skeptics to this so called satellite launch. Some intelligence agencies are saying this could be a disguised missile launch with the capabilities of reaching Alaska, or the western coast of the lower 48.

The government is North Korea is always willing to negotiate, as long as they get millions in aid in the form of food, supplies, or energy. North Korea says they not give up their nuclear program. They say the program is for power. However, the rest of the world disagrees with that statement. Most world governments believe they are using the program to develop nuclear weapons.

Whatever the uses, North Korea has been threatened with sanctions again and again.

It is finally time for a change in strategy. With so many countries geographically close to North Korea concerned about their nuclear ambitions, it is time to deal with this threat with force. And I fully understand that now is not the time to get bogged down in war with another country. However, I still believe this can be accomplished without a full scale war.

Many media pundits seem to have already forgotten that the United States dealt with a similar issue in the 1980s. Without going to war, President Ronald Reagan authorized air strikes against Libya. Deemed a success, the strikes forced Muammer Gaddafi to stand down in his rhetoric against the west. Although North Korea probably has a much more organized army than Libya did at the time, I do believe strikes would work as long as we had the support of neighboring countries China and Russia. That would probably the hardest part.
Other links:

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Subtraction by Exponential Multiplication

When I was in the 8th, my algebra class had a hard time understanding some of the principles involved. So, we would just say our teacher was using her magic powers. It was a convenient explanation of math we didn’t understand. Well, I would like to say congratulations to her. She is no longer a math teacher. She is now working for the Office of Management and Budget. And they have figured out a way to reduce the deficit in half by 2013, along with proposing the largest budget in history in terms of dollars and percentage of national GDP. Shazaam!


When President Obama was campaigning, he said he would rule from the middle. He failed to mention that he would write his budgets from the far left. But conservatives have been waiting for this since he took office. He had the most liberal voting record in the Senate, when he wasn’t voting “Present.”

In presenting his outline, Obama said there would be "some hard choices that lie ahead." I really find it hard to believe that there would be some extreme cuts in a government budget that is the largest in history.

Highlights include and additional $250 BILLION to stabalize the financial system. I guess there wasn’t enough money in Porkulus to get the job done? And then there is $634 BILLION for a reserve fund for health care for those without coverage. Wealthy seniors will fund some of the increase by paying more in Medicare premiums. And so will those making more than $250 G once the Bush tax cuts expire. I’ve combed over the Constitution, and I still can’t find where health care coverage should be covered by the government.

During his inaugural addres, Obama asked Americans to make sacrifices, to get this great country on the road to recovery. Well, President Obama, we are going along the best we can. It’s nice to know that we shouldn’t worry about the government struggling.

It was nice to see the GOP leadership come out swinging, though. From CNN.com:

"There's been too much spending under the Republicans over the last couple of years, but if you begin to look at what's happen over the last month and what's being proposed in this budget, the president's beginning to make President Bush like a piker when it comes to spending," said Rep. John Boehner, the House minority leader.

Even Mississippi Democrat Gene Taylor was critical of the proposal, saying “I don't like it ... Change is not running up even bigger deficits that George Bush did”

Of course, Nancy Pelosi almost fell over herself praising it as in line with our national values. Well, considering we are in an economic mess right now because people got mortgages they couldn’t afford, maybe she’s not too far from the truth.

I just pray that the GOP makes enough racket about the proposal and can get some Democrats on their side.

Good News From CPAC 2009

Of this year’s CPAC attendees, half will be under 22. That is great news for the conservative base.


During the 2008 election season, the GOP looked like your grandpa’s party. No offense against McCain, but we did march out the oldest candidate in history. If it wasn’t for Sarah Palin being on the ticket, there would have been no excitement about the ticket. The only reason some people voted for McCain/Palin was to not vote for Obama.

With the Governors in town last week, many GOP Governors were thrust to the forefront of the party. That was great news. The GOP needs fresh faces to attract the next generation of conservatives.

But this isn’t all about national leadership. As parents, we are also responsible for raising our own kids to be gracious Americans, to have personal responsibility, and to understand and embrace conservative principles.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tax Deduction for Jury Duty

From today’s News and Observer (Raleigh, NC):

Randolph County Republican Jerry Tillman has introduced a bill in the NC Senate that makes jury duty not seem like such a bad idea.

“A bill would let you deduct income lost while on jury duty. Sen. Jerry Tillman, a Randolph County Republican, said he filed the bill after he heard from a constituent who lost thousands of dollars while serving on a federal grand jury.

"They were paying him $40 a day," Tillman said. "That will barely cover his travel and his food, and he would lose several hundred dollars a day by not being able to run his business."

Under Tillman's proposal, North Carolinians who serve on state or federal juries would be allowed to deduct the lost income from their state taxes.”

For years, citizens have tried to avoid the big J for fear of losing income. It’s not the actual service we mind, it’s that we would only get about $12 for an entire days worth of service. I know, there is the whole “community service” aspect and that we should be proud to be citizen volunteers. I’ve also thought it was a bit draconian to request citizens to serve jury duty, and in turn lose pay from their job.

Hopefully, Senator Tillman’s proposal will gain some traction and pass through the NC legislature.


Obama gives speech, Pelosi drinks 20 Red Bulls

One thing I had a problem with during the Obama speech was the fact that he said we would possibly have to give the banks more money for a continued bailout effort. MORE MONEY!?

I thought the $700 BILLION was a final measure and we would be on the great road to recovery. Well, it might not be. We’ll just keep printing money until we reach late 1970s inflation and interest rates. It’s not even debt if we just print money.

Other notes of interest:
I head Mike Gallagher talking about it this morning as well, but I thought Nancy Pelosi was going to explode with giddiness last night. Mike compared her to a pogo stick. That’s about the best analogy. Every time Obama paused, she would bounce up and clap like a madman (or woman).

When Obama made a point about the “deficit we inherited,” he continued on saying we were going to tackle it and reduce it and so forth. The Congressional Democrats were loud with their applause. What was VERY noticeable though were the Republican boos and aggravation about the deficit comment.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Clyburn continues oppression of African-Americans

Earlier, I posted a link about Mark Sanford (South Carolina Gov.) saying he would deny the stimulus funds. Unfortunately for Mr. Sanford, his own state rep, Jim Clyburn, had language written into the stimulus package that if the state executive denied the funds, then they would go to the states’ legislatures. In the same article a quote was attributed to Clyburn saying that the opposition to the stimulus money was a “’slap in the face’ to black Americans, because most represent Southern state with large black populations.”

When Clyburn added the language, he said he was trying to help Black Americans. This statement by Clyburn continues the oppression of African-Americans by the Democrat party. His statement implies that black people are unable to find work or pay bills without government assistance. What about white people that work along side of blacks every day? Does he think they don’t need jobs, too? Or is the stimulus money only going to black people?

Today’s Democrat party continues to pander to the lowest common denominator. By suggesting that by denying the stimulus funds, governors are not helping Black Americans is crazy. The Democrat party is plainly using scare tactics to keep the Black population in its pocket. Democrats continue to scream from the mountains that without them, Blacks have no chance against the “good ‘ol boy” GOP. They continue to be the social and economic crutch they tell Black Americans they need in order to succeed.

When Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream about being free, do you think he also meant being free of government support and assistance? Clyburn did issue an apology where he didn’t mean to infer that governors denying the stimulus money were racist. Great. But he should also apologize to the white people he represents for not representing them, and to the black people for trying to keep them enslaved in government oppression.

Young Republicans Shine

While Obama and his congressional bosses continue to shove through legislation explain that this pill is the best thing for us, it has given the new faces of the GOP a chance to step forward.

Tonight, in his first starring roll, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal will be giving the Republican response to Obama’s joint-session speech. I haven’t been able to find any video, but Jindal gave a press gathering in DC today a nice run for their money when they pressed a group of GOP governors in town for their annual conference. He was direct in answering their questions about how much pork was in the stimulus and he questioned how it was going to help the economy in the long term. CNN has a nice bio on him.

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford made waves recently by publicly saying he would not accept any stimulus funds. He is known as a fiscal hawk, and is worried about the government borrowing so much money to create growth. Of course, as much as we would like to see the Gubernatorial ranks make such a bold stand, provisions exist in the bill for the money to go the state legislation if the governor denies the money – thanks to South Carolina’s own Democratic Rep Jim Clyburn.

Michael Steele, a black conservative from Maryland, was recently voted to Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Steele goes against every stereotype Democrats have labeled Republicans. He’s not white. He’s Catholic.

Of course, there is Sarah Palin. Despite her short time on the national stage, she shot up like a meteor to be a rock star in the Republican party. Besides the problems of geography, the one problem she may have is trying to leave behind the problems of Troopergate and other media created problems. We all know she is pro-choice, anti-gun control, and a fiscal conservative.

I’m sure more will rise, but it is becoming apparent that it will be up to the GOP Governors to become the new voice for conservatives.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Dear Mr. Penn, my grandchildren will have no shame

Even when I had a regular chance to watch movies, I never got caught up in the awards season as those obsessed with Hollywood do. If it was a good movie, great. If not, oh well. I've been out of college now for 8 years, and my life has changed dramatically with having a family. One thing I really understand, now that I have kids, is how hard it is to protect them from the world and its influences. One of those influences is that from the entertainment world and the message they broadcast.



And My God helps me do that. Even though I am not a citizen of California, I was pro-Prop 8. I believe that marriage should be defined as that relationship between man and woman. Sorry, Mr. Penn, but I disagree with your message. God made man and woman to be partners together, to worship their Creator.

It is not because of hatred that I disagree with you Mr. Penn, it is because My God says this is how it is supposed to be. I will raise my children to understand how and why God made us, and I pray that they will do the same for their children. And I hope my family realizes that it is not a message of hating people, but of the act. Yes, I do realize that we shouldn't hate people, but hating the act is different.

I increasingly become annoyed at those in Hollywood who think that they are so popular because of their social beliefs and values. If you want to be a mouthpiece, then run for public office.

Lets Make a Plan to Make a Plan

CNN had a story this morning about how divided President Obama’s first 30 days in office have been. During the campaign season, Obama planned to bring both parties together and transcend Washington politics. Unfortunately for Obama, the entrenched divisiveness of DC politics is bigger than he is.


Obama’s first major act, closing Gitmo, ran headstrong into cries from the GOP wondering what to do with the prisoners housed there. There was absolutely no plan forthcoming from the administration about what to do with the prisoners once Gitmo was closed. Even congressional reps that wanted the base closed didn’t want them brought to prisons in their district. It seemed Obama just wanted to make nice with Muslim nations, no matter the cost to U.S. security.

So far, the only plan that the Whitehouse seems to have is to not have one.

One of the funniest moments so far was the first press conference by Treasure Secretary Timothy Geithner. Even when Bush fumbled through speeches and tripped over his own words, at least he tried to look confident. At a time when citizens want to see the people in charge of the nations economy look confident, Geithner looked like a deer in headlights at his press conference. There seemed to be no organization to his plan on spending $70 BILLION dollars. He might as well have said, “We are going to spend a whole lot of money. We just aren’t sure how, yet.”

Today and tomorrow, Obama is focusing on the economic recovery of this country. He is heading a budget conference today to discuss the ballooning deficit and how to reduce it. Tomorrow night, he plans to give his first address to a joint session of Congress. Hopefully, he’ll introduce a plan.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Recession-Proof Government

So when President Obama says we all need to change our lifestyles to reflect the dire economy, this does not seem to apply to him and his Democrat cronies. A CNN investigation (I’m as shocked as you are) found out about a trip that Senator Nancy Pelosi took to Italy on a military charter. There are three major issues with this trip.

The timing of this trip couldn’t be any worse. Instead of giving the American people a debate we deserve on the $800 BILLION stimulus bill, she was trying to get out DC. The final vote was taken Friday afternoon, and she left Monday. One of the (if not the biggest) spending bills in this country’s history and we couldn’t get a real debate on it. She treated this bill like a grenade, just toss it and hope it gets close enough to do some damage.

But she didn’t go by herself. Her delegation also included Reps John Larson (D-CT), George Miller (D-CA), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Anna Eshoo (D-CA). I guess Republicans or anyone not from one of the most liberal states in the Union were not invited.

Another issue is her responsibilities to her constituents. Instead of being available to the citizens she represents for discussions on the stimulus bill, she was on the other side of the world talking to the Italian Prime Minister about the Middle East, global economic issues. Let’s not forget that this is not the first time that Pelosi has taken it upon her self to represent the entire country in an overseas trip. In January of 2007, Pelosi wound up in Iraq to meet with Iraqi leaders. She also wanted to “thank the troops.” The White House needs to realize that there are other people that get paid to do this. They work in the State Department, and also the White House, of course.

Pelosi’s arrogance in thinking that she is the CPM, Chief Policy Maker, is absolutely absurd. Anyone that paid attention to the stimulus debate knows that Obama was just along for the ride while Democratic Senators and House Reps were crafting the legislation. The only thing Obama really participated in was telling the media that without it, the world would end.

While the rest of the country and many businesses are being forced to downsize, and some of us lose our jobs, the Democratic administration keeps chugging along. Pelosi’s Italian Job cost the taxpayer a few grand for the plan charter. No telling what other kind of “expenditures” were charged on the ground. But not just for her, but also her entire entourage. And President Obama is just as guilty. He recently jetted off to Colorado from DC just to sign the stimulus bill. He wanted to highlight “Green Energy” at a museum in Denver. Then he went to Arizona, a state hit hard by the housing melt down, to announce his housing rescue plan. Of course, he could have done this from the White House. Obama even created a new Cabinet position, his Chief Performance Officer.

While the rest of the country’s businesses are cutting costs and laying off employees, the Pelosi/Obama administration continues to spend as though there is no tomorrow.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

BBCW: Video of Rick Santelli and his Obama Descent for Paying "Losers' Mortgages": Suggests "Chicago Tea Party in July"#comment-form

BBCW: Video of Rick Santelli and his Obama Descent for Paying "Losers' Mortgages": Suggests "Chicago Tea Party in July"#comment-form

Attorney General Holder stirs the melting pot

As much as I may disagree with President Obama’s policies or world view, I can give him credit on one thing. He ran his campaign without injecting the race card. That doesn’t mean his supporters did it, but he personally never brought it up. It wasn’t even brought up with his Cabinet picks, until Eric Holder did it himself. Niiiiiiice.


From ABCnews.com:

"Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot in things racial, we have always been, and we, I believe, continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards," Holder said at the Justice Department in Washington, D.C. "Though race-related issues continue to occupy a significant portion of our political discussion, and though there remain many unresolved racial issues in this nation, we, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about things racial.

"This is truly sad. Given all that we as a nation went through during the civil rights struggle, it is
hard for me to accept that the result of those efforts was to create an America that is more prosperous, more positively race-conscious, and yet is voluntarily socially segregated."

If Holder is so worried about voluntary segregation, maybe he should be the first to take the leap. Perhaps he already has. As a black person and the top law enforcement person in the country, I’m sure he lives in a nice gated community surrounded mostly by upper crust white people, not in the DC hoods.

My point is, we live with and around people that share our same values and people that we feel comfortable living around. If I choose not to live around black people, Mexicans, or Asians, it’s not because I’m racist, or a coward. For almost all of my college life, I had a black roommate, and we were great friends. Since Holder is older than I, and because of his stature, maybe he has seen more racism than I have and had to fight through more walls.

But if he wants to discuss a nation of cowards, maybe he can also talk about how companies are forced to hire inferior minority applicants to make sure they don’t face a lawsuit. Discuss.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The ACORN Strikes Back

Looks like ACORN is at it again. Savior Obama has come out with his Great Plan to keep people in homes they can not afford. Obama plans to throw more than $75 BILLION at this problem. This is separate from the stimulus he signed the day before. And with the pronouncement, ACORN has come like paparazzi to the Grammys.


Obama said earlier today, “In the end, all of us are paying a price for this home mortgage crisis," And then added more doom and gloom.

"And all of us will pay an even steeper price if we allow this crisis to deepen -- a crisis which is unraveling homeownership, the middle class, and the American Dream itself. But if we act boldly and swiftly to arrest this downward spiral, every American will benefit."

Who needs remade mortgages? Why can’t we just call ACORN in to chain some staffers to homes so the un-home owners will not get evicted? And who needs bankruptcy judges? Just call in some ACORN lawyers so they can renegotiate the mortgage themselves.

Why, they even have their own rep in the House.

The demand to end evictions and foreclosures received a huge boost when Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) recently told families facing foreclosure to stay in their homes. "Stay in your homes. If the American people, anybody out there is being foreclosed, don’t leave," she said on the floor of the House of Representatives.

This action by ACORN and others like Kaptur reeks of sidestepping normal laws to get what you want. Rallying public support against a county official because they are doing their job is an embarrassment to those that dutifully pay their rent or mortgage on time.

The local sheriff showed up with an eviction order, but the people helped block the eviction. ACORN organizers mobilized the media and public opinion against the sheriff's eviction order. ACORN lawyers worked with government agencies to negotiate a stay on the eviction, and the family was able to stay in the home.

Is this the change that was voted for? The American Dream was “work hard, and you’ll be rewarded.” This is “hardly work, and you’ll be rewarded.”

Tribune's John Kass on Burris Mess

Saw this on an another blog, Backyard Conservative. It was so funny, I though I would post it here as well.

Chicago Tribune's John Kass, "Blame for Burris Mess isn't Blagojevich's Alone"

The Results Are In

GM and Chrysler showed up today, tin cup extended, begging for more federal money to stay afloat. All this after they received a Christmas gift in December. Companies that have been the bedrock of American capitalism are now feeding at the trough of the American taxpayer.


In December, GM received $13.4 BILLION. Now they want an extra $16 BILLION by 2011. I hope they are still in business by then. From CNN.com:


“The two firms also detailed plans to cut 50,000 jobs worldwide by the end of the year. In addition, GM plans to close five more plants in the next few years and confirmed it will drop some of its weaker brands.”
I hate that GM is being forced to lay off workers, but slimming down is product is something that has been a long time coming. Does GM really need to produce more than 15 Pontiac lines every year?

Plans are in the works for the Saturn and Hummer lines to go by the wayside. Chrysler will be eliminating the PT Cruiser and the Aspen. Frankly, I’m glad the Cruiser is going away. It’s an ugly car. It’s supposed to look like the street muscle cars from the 60’s and 70’s. This new version has a 4 cylinder engine. Some muscle car. I’m a little sad about Saturn. I’ve never driven one, but that line has been very dependable, and Saturn totally revolutionized the car buying experience. As for Hummer, I’m not sure what to think. I do think it’s a little odd for Citizen Joe to be driving around in something designed for military transport.

I know we don’t want people to be laid off, but it is bound to happen in a sour economy. I would love to see the UAW make some concessions to make sure these companies are able to stay afloat. I doubt that will happen.

A lot of people are complaining that the Obama administration is going to result in socialism and nationalization of industries. But when these industries go hat in hand to the government asking for money to stay in business, we shouldn’t complain that the government is going to take over these businesses. After all, they’re basically being asked to do it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pakistani government caves to Taliban in provincial territories.

Not even a month into the Obama presidency, one of our allies in the ongoing war on terror, Pakistan, has recognized the Taliban rule in the northwest frontier area known as Swat Valley.


Apparently, the new government in Pakistan is tired of fighting the extremists, and did this in the hopes that the Taliban will bring peace to the region.

From CNN.com:
“But now that the Pakistani government has recognized Taliban rule in the region in exchange for a temporary cease-fire.”

Obama’s and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s first test is not going to be appeasing and patching relationships in Europe and Asia. Dealing with the appeasing of the Taliban by new government in Pakistan is going to be their first test.

Under President Bush, the US was operating covertly in those areas of Pakistan. The Pakistanis didn’t like it too much, so we scaled back our operations. And now the Taliban has a new base of operations.

Stocks sink as Obama spends

President Barak Obama is all giddy about signing his Generational Theft Act today in Denver. Usually, when presidents or governments enact legislation that will boost the economy and help businesses, the markets respond favorably. Today is not that day.


The headline on CNNMoney.com at 11:55 AM is “Stocks sink to 3-month lows.” That is not a headline that screams confidence. The DOW is sinking, down 270 points for the day.

As Obama readies his big spending bill, he really should take a step back and look how the business center of this country is reacting to his first big piece of legislation.

From CNNMoney.com

“Stocks tumbled Tuesday morning as investors worried that the $787 billion economic stimulus plan won't go far enough to slow the pace of the economic downturn.

The Dow Jones industrial average (
INDU) fell 230 points, or about 3% roughly 90 minutes into the session.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (SPX) index lost 30 points, or about 3.6%. The Nasdaq composite (COMP) lost 50 points, or about 3.2%.”

The Stock Market has not seen any favorable gains since Obama took office. So far, his term has been defined by partisan politics over the $800 billion dollar stimulus package and the mess some of his nominees have made of his Cabinet. Since the stimulus package picked up steam last week, the DOW started to decline from 8,400 to below 8,000.

With GM and Chrysler expected to release their own bail-out plans today, more doom and gloom may be on the way. Of course, it might not hurt if our national leaders stopped using doom and gloom phrases when discussing the economy. After all, consumer spending was up 1% in January, without the help of a stimulus.




Blog Buzzer

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Obama Free Money Giveaway

I noticed this little paragraph in a Foxnews.com write-up about the stimulus plan.


The $1,000 child tax credit would be extended to more low-income families that don't make enough money to pay income taxes, and poor families with three or more children will get an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit.
That’s great.
And according to this, middle-class America gets to pick the tab up on that, too.
Millions of workers can expect to see about $13 extra in their weekly paychecks, starting around June, from a new $400 tax credit to be doled out through the rest of the year. Couples would get up to $800. In 2010, the credit would be about $7.70 a week, if it is spread over the entire year.
This makes absolutely no sense. Obama wants to start his pet “middle class task force,” but can only give us a big enough tax cut for less than $10 a week. I’m not even going to see that. But if I wanted to go to work at McDonald’s part-time, I would at least get an extra grand. Maybe more since I have two kids.

If the middle class is the backbone of the economy, doesn’t it make more sense to give us a bigger tax cut than the poor? According to the article, the $1,000 tax cut is going to people who don’t even qualify to pay taxes in the first place. Basically, they are getting another government handout.

I can’t even apologize for sounding mad this time. To give someone who is making about $12,000 a year and extra grand is not going to stimulate anything. They aren’t going to qualify for a car, or a mortgage.

Obama Sets Hard Salary Cap, Players Union to File Grievance

President Obama signed an executive order on February 4th placing a cap on CEO pay to those financial firms that will be receiving federal bail out money. The cap is $500,000. While I consider that a lot of money, it may not be to someone that has been making a few mill every year.

While the policy is great for public support, there is zero chance this will work.


Before Leon Panetta was tapped for Chief Spy, he made over $700,000 in speaking and consulting fees. Now he makes a lot less. Poor guy.

My point with that is if Panetta can make that kind of money in consulting fees, imagine what a real Wall Street CEO who just quit his high-profile gig because of the salary cap is going to make in consulting fees.

Patrick McWallstreet is so unhappy with his new found un-glory that he quits his CEO position with Bank De America. He’ll be OK. There is another bank that has an opening for a CEO. ACME Bank hires McWallstreet, but not as CEO. They hire him as a consultant at $1 mill per, plus performance incentives. The leave the CEO position open but have a Consultant-in-Charge in McWallstreet.

The only true effect the salary cap is going to have is lots of restructuring and renaming of job positions.

By meddling with free market economics, the only thing Obama has done is change someones job title from CEO to consultant.

Barak Motors, Inc.

Barak Obama recently announced he is dismissing his plan to have a “car czar” in charge of retooling American’s automakers, specifically GM and Chrysler. While I admit that the companies definitely need to rethink how they do business, I don’t think the government is the best place to learn how to do that. Fortunately for us, Obama has seen the light. Instead of having one person in charge, he is going to set up a panel, led by none other than Timothy H. Geithner.

Groan.

From the NY Times…

“The official also said that Ron Bloom, a restructuring expert who has advised the labor unions in the troubled steel and airline industries, would be named a senior adviser to Treasury on the auto crisis.”
That’s just great. We’re going to fix a troubled industry by hiring someone with union ties to consult with the panel. Unions handicap business by demanding wages and benefits above what the market demand is. Someone working at a GM plant gets paid about $18/hour to install a CD player, while someone doing the same thing at Best Buy gets paid about $12 with fewer benefits if they get any at all.

Part of a free market economy that we all enjoy is that supply and demand set prices for products as well as wages.

This news comes out today as we all wait with baited breath to see what kind of plan the automakers will have tomorrow as they are expected to issue reports about their restructuring as part of loan agreement with Washington.

“The companies’ plans are required to show progress in cutting long-term costs as a condition for keeping their loans.”

Unfortunately for the auto companies, the best way to reduce long-term costs was to not enter into costly legacy deals with the UAW. When the companies are responsible for ongoing benefits, including health care, to retired union workers there are going to be huge long-term costs. Even worse, the companies are stuck with the deal. The UAW will never let the companies out of those agreements even if that means the union has to sacrifice today’s jobs.

While the auto industry may be its greatest enemy, it doesn’t need government intervention to help itself. If CEO’s had the balls to do it, they would even decline government money to make themselves leaner.

Before the election, many people were concerned about the Democrats increased leanings towards socialism. Looks like the auto industry may be first on the docket.

Democracy fading in Venezuela

Venezuelans voted on Sunday to abolish term limits for elected officials. With 94% of the results counted, 55% were in favor of the constitutional amendment to do away with term limits. Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s sitting president, was thrilled with the victory.


From CNN.com

"Victory, victory, popular victory," Chavez told a jubilant crowd of thousands gathered in front of the Miraflores presidential palace. "This is a clear victory for the people. A clear victory for the revolution."
That quote was attributed to Chavez, but sounds eerily similar to remarks made by Fidel Castro many years ago as he ascended to power in Cuba. Chavez has already gone out of his way to make friends with Cuba and even Russia.

How long will it be before the U.S. takes action against Chavez? I’m not calling for all-out regime change like the Bay of Pigs fiasco or an invasion of Iraq. Clearly, some sort of political or economic pressure will need to be applied. Of course, that didn’t work in Cuba as poverty only increased.

If it wasn’t for Venezuela’s major export, this probably wouldn’t even be an issue. Their major export is oil. Time will tell.

Friday, February 13, 2009

At Least the Mice Aren't Being Foreclosed Upon

Now that the Senate and House have agreed on a version of the stimulus plan, details are finally leaking out about how the $800 billion (so far) will be spent. I for one, can’t wait until the mice start working and contributing to our economy.


Some Porkulus numbers
“The $500-per-worker credit for lower- and middle-income taxpayers that Obama outlined during his presidential campaign was scaled back to $400 during bargaining by the Democratic-controlled Congress and White House. Couples would receive $800 instead of $1,000. Over two years, that move would pump about $25 billion less into the economy than had been previously planned.

Officials estimated it would mean about $13 a week more in people's paychecks this year when withholding tables are adjusted in late spring. Next year, the measure could yield workers about $8 a week. Critics say that's unlikely to do much to boost consumption.”


Wow, what am I going to do with all that money? Maybe I can buy a combo at Burger King. This is ridiculous. If I got paid every week, that would give me about $670 a year. Spread over a year, that is not going to go very far. I could put that extra $13 into a high yield savings account and at the end of the year I would have an extra $673. But then I wouldn’t be stimulating the economy. And that would be unpatriotic.

And then there is this $70 BILLION nugget…

“But nothing could shake negotiators from insisting on including $70 billion to shelter middle- to upper-income taxpayers from the alternative minimum tax …The Congressional Budget Office
estimates that provision will have relatively little impact on the economy.“

I think it’s time to ask Arlen Specter for his GOP membership card. He supposedly helped keep one of his pet projects in the bill.

“Scaling back the bill to levels lower than either the $838 billion Senate measure or the original $820 billion House-passed measure caused grumbling among liberal Democrats, who described the cutbacks as a concession to the moderates, particularly Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., who are feeling heat from constituents for supporting the bill.

Specter played an active role, however, in making sure $10 billion for the National Institutes of Health, a pet priority, wasn't cut back”


And then there is the money designated for mouse habitat protection. Thanks Nancy!

“Lawmakers and administration officials divulged Wednesday that the $789 billion economic stimulus bill being finalized behind closed doors in Congress includes $30 million for wetlands restoration that the Obama administration intends to spend in the San Francisco Bay Area to protect, among other things, the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse.”


Dems were so quick to attack the Bush White House for releasing news information on Friday so it wouldn't get noticed in the slower weekend feeds. Funny how the stimulus information is coming out on a Friday as well. I guess the public only gets 48 hours to comment as both houses of Congress expect to vote on this Monday.


Judd Gregg Withdraws Cabinet Nomination

Judd Gregg announced yesterday that he was withdrawing himself for consideration for the Commerce cabinet position. Those against the stimulus and Obama’s power grab couldn’t be happier.


As it turns out, neither party could probably be happier about it. Senator Gregg had abstained from the economic package vote, much to the dismay of Obama. White House officials said since he had abstained from the vote, that he wasn’t fully on board with the Obama team. Maybe Gregg had more altruistic motives for not voting. Since he had been nominated for the Cabinet post, he may have wanted to be seen as neutral in the stimulus vote and for it not to look like his vote had been bought.

Another issue was the attempted hijacking of the Census from the Commerce Department. The census was always under the management of Commerce. Obama announced a few days ago that he wanted it under control of White House Chief of Staff. There is no clear reason why he wanted this to happen. The only thing that could be inferred was that he wanted the districts redrawn favorably to Democrats after the census was complete.

The census is one of the primary responsibilities of the Commerce Department. For the White House to hijack it is utterly shameful. This article By John Fund of the Wall Street Journal gives great insight on how the census could help with political boundaries.

“In 1999, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Department of Commerce v. U.S. House that sampling could not be used to reapportion congressional seats. But it left open the possibility that sampling could be used to redraw political boundaries within the states.”
Maybe Gregg also realized he would be much more important as a GOP senator than as a figurehead in the Obama Cabinet.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Octuplets and Our Own Freedoms

Much has been said about the mother of the recently born octuplets, Nadya Suleman.
Conservative pundits are outraged that she was allowed to have all of these kids when she already had 6, and doesn’t have a clear source of income. She lives with her parents, and receives food stamps. CNN reported this morning that she has already set up a website to solicite donations and tell about her family, I guess.


While it is very clear that she has no way of adequately providing for the needs of her kids financially, she says she will stop her life for them and will love them and be with them. So, what she is really saying is that she is going to be a stay-at-home mom. Great. Because to have a job and pay daycare for 14 kids would be like going to work and shredding your paycheck.

Many people are angry that she will be receiving governmental assistance for 14 kids. Hey I’m upset about it, too. But what other recourse is there? Some people have said the government or family services needs to step in and do something, like placing the kids with other familys that have the means to take care of them.

I say this. Be very, very, very careful. Government intervention would set a dangerous precident that the government has the authority to tell us how to raise our kids. This would be a serious intrusion of privacy and would be a major concern for those that have a parent stay home with kids while another works. Imagine a social worker showing up and telling you that both parents have to work so you don’t receive foodstamps, even if the other income just barely covers child care costs. Or what if the house is just a little bit dirty. Right now, there isn’t a clean dwelling rule to receive assistance.

Reproductive rights would also be targeted by government intervention. For the government to set a cap on the number of kids one can have or to control women’s reproductive rights would be downright totalitarian. That would be just like having China’s one-child rule in this country.

While many people are rightfully upset about her receiving assistance there really isn’t much to do about it, as I see it. As a society, we are hamstrung by the same freedoms that we enjoy for our own families. And isn’t that the way it should be? The best we can hope for is that Ms. Suleman is successful in this long journey with her own family.
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