.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Bully Pulpit

The term "bully pulpit" stems from President Theodore Roosevelt's reference to the White House as a "bully pulpit," meaning a terrific platform from which to persuasively advocate an agenda. Roosevelt often used the word "bully" as an adjective meaning superb/wonderful. The Bully Pulpit features news, reasoned discourse, opinion and some humor.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Obama Declares War on Investors, Entrepreneurs, Businesses, And More

(By Larry Kudlow, CNBC) - Let me be very clear on the economics of President Obama’s State of the Union speech and his budget.

He is declaring war on investors, entrepreneurs, small businesses, large corporations, and private-equity and venture-capital funds.

That is the meaning of his anti-growth tax-hike proposals, which make absolutely no sense at all — either for this recession or from the standpoint of expanding our economy’s long-run potential to grow.

BOTTOM REACHED: 'Natural living' advocates unveil 'reusable toilet wipes'...

(Herald and Weekly Times) - “Natural living” advocates unveil their latest planet-saving invention - the reusable toilet wipe.

American taste for soft toilet roll 'worse than driving Hummers'

Extra-soft, quilted and multi-ply toilet roll made from virgin forest causes more damage than gas-guzzlers, fast food or McMansions, say campaigners

(UK Guardian) - The tenderness of the delicate American buttock is causing more environmental devastation than the country's love of gas-guzzling cars, fast food or McMansions, according to green campaigners. At fault, they say, is the US public's insistence on extra-soft, quilted and multi-ply products when they use the bathroom.

"This is a product that we use for less than three seconds and the ecological consequences of manufacturing it from trees is enormous," said Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

"Future generations are going to look at the way we make toilet paper as one of the greatest excesses of our age. Making toilet paper from virgin wood is a lot worse than driving Hummers in terms of global warming pollution." Making toilet paper has a significant impact because of chemicals used in pulp manufacture and cutting down forests.

Off Duty

(Fox News) - In Washington state, a trooper on his way home came up behind a car going 20 miles under the speed limit. The car then turned into a driveway and parked in the garage. The trooper went up to the driver and asked what he was doing. The driver replied "I live here."

The trooper then informed the driver that they were actually in that officer's garage. The Washington State Patrol says the man behind the wheel was promptly arrested and charged with a DUI and driving on a revoked license.

Three’s a Crowd

(Fox News) - Familiar names are popping up from the 2008 campaign cycle. The New York Post reports Mayor Michael Bloomberg was very critical of Democratic Governor David Paterson during a private meeting with Republican leaders Wednesday.

Bloomberg, who is an independent, said former GOP presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani would make a "great governor" and that Giuliani would have to run if Paterson is the nominee in 2010.

In Ohio, Samuel Wurzelbacher, better known as "Joe the Plumber," is back and considering a run for Congress. He tells Politico, "If I became a congressman I would literally bang people's heads together and probably get in a lot of trouble."

Ice Breaker

(Fox News) - Immigration rights groups are angry with President Obama for breaking what they call his personal commitment to change Bush-era immigration raids.

The Washington Times reports on the backlash after immigration agents raided a business in Washington state this week and detained illegal immigrants. During his campaign, Mr. Obama criticized such raids as ineffective.

One immigration rights advocate, Cynthia Buiza from Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, says: "This is about holding public officials accountable to the things they promised during the campaign."

Another asks, "What are Latino and immigrant voters to think? They turn out in massive numbers for change and yet 'change we can believe in' turns out to be 'business as usual.'"

More Ammo for Critics of Senator Roland Burris

Family Business

(Fox News) - The son of embattled Illinois Democratic Senator Roland Burris was hired five months ago to a $75,000 a year job under then-Governor Rod Blagojevich.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports Roland Burris II is a senior counsel for the state's Housing Development Authority. That agency's mission includes overseeing mortgage programs for low-income home buyers and anti-foreclosure initiatives.

The interesting thing is Burris II got the job six weeks after the IRS slapped a $34,000 lien on him and three weeks after a mortgage company filed a foreclosure suit on his Chicago home.

Illinois State Republican Rep. Jim Durkin of Western Springs says the fact that Burris faces foreclosure but is working at a housing-related state agency "reeks of hypocrisy."

A spokeswoman for the agency says there is nothing improper about Burris' employment there.

Sales of “Atlas Shrugged” Soar in the Face of Economic Crisis

Washington, D.C. (Ayn Rand Institute) - Sales of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” have almost tripled over the first seven weeks of this year compared with sales for the same period in 2008. This continues a strong trend after bookstore sales reached an all-time annual high in 2008 of about 200,000 copies sold.

“Americans are flocking to buy and read ‘Atlas Shrugged’ because there are uncanny similarities between the plot-line of the book and the events of our day” said Yaron Brook, Executive Director at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights. “Americans are rightfully concerned about the economic crisis and government’s increasing intervention and attempts to control the economy. Ayn Rand understood and identified the deeper causes of the crisis we’re facing, and she offered, in ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ a principled and practical solution consistent with American values."

Rush Limbaugh's Morning Update: Budget

From Rush Limbaugh: Okay, folks: this is as serious as politics gets. The scope and reach of the $4 trillion budget released by President Obama represents a fundamental break with the America that is -- and the America that will be created -- if it's passed.

The $4 trillion as a dollar figure is insignificant from the perspective of Obama and the Democrat Party. This budget is about good and evil, as they see it. This budget is about payback. And, first and foremost, this budget is designed to fundamentally realign the federal government to ensure current Democrats and their political heirs remain in power for the rest of the century.

Under Obama, the federal deficit would grow to over 12 percent of our GDP. Now, we haven't had a deficit that size since the beginning of World War II. Added to the massive deficit spending are tax increases that punish the enemies of the Democrat Party state: the achievers.

American companies that Democrats simply define as "polluters" will be forced into a cap-and-trade program, adding almost $1 trillion in taxes to their bottom lines. Small business owners and people Democrats call "wealthy" will be slammed with new taxes as well. The Obama budget also funds the relentless drive toward socialized medicine. And all that is just the beginning.

The way to look at this budget is not with an economic lens, it is with a philosophical one. Liberals want to remake America in their image... and this is how you will pay for it. (You're supposed to be happy and like it, too.)

Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
Wall Street Journal: Obama Delivers $3.6 Trillion Budget Blueprint

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Las Vegas Running Out of Water Means Dimming Los Angeles Lights

(Bloomberg) - On a cloudless December day in the Nevada desert, workers in white hard hats descend into a 30- foot-wide shaft next to Lake Mead.

As they’ve been doing since June, they’ll blast and dig straight down into the limestone surrounding the reservoir that supplies 90 percent of Las Vegas’s water. In September, when they hit 600 feet, they’ll turn and burrow for 3 miles, laying a new pipe as they go.

The crew is in a hurry. They’re battling the worst 10-year drought in recorded history along the Colorado River, which feeds the 110-mile-long reservoir. Since 1999, Lake Mead has dropped about 1 percent a year. By 2012, the lake’s surface could fall below the existing pipe that delivers 40 percent of the city’s water.

The 2% Illusion

Take everything they earn, and it still won't be enough.

(The Wall Street Journal) - President Obama has laid out the most ambitious and expensive domestic agenda since LBJ, and now all he has to do is figure out how to pay for it. On Tuesday, he left the impression that we need merely end "tax breaks for the wealthiest 2% of Americans," and he promised that households earning less than $250,000 won't see their taxes increased by "one single dime."

This is going to be some trick. Even the most basic inspection of the IRS income tax statistics shows that raising taxes on the salaries, dividends and capital gains of those making more than $250,000 can't possibly raise enough revenue to fund Mr. Obama's new spending ambitions.

Consider the IRS data for 2006, the most recent year that such tax data are available and a good year for the economy and "the wealthiest 2%." Roughly 3.8 million filers had adjusted gross incomes above $200,000 in 2006. (That's about 7% of all returns; the data aren't broken down at the $250,000 point.) These people paid about $522 billion in income taxes, or roughly 62% of all federal individual income receipts. The richest 1% -- about 1.65 million filers making above $388,806 -- paid some $408 billion, or 39.9% of all income tax revenues, while earning about 22% of all reported U.S. income.

A Radical Presidency

(By Daniel Henninger, Real Clear Politics) - When Barack Obama delivered his 44-minute acceptance speech in August among the majestic columns of Denver, it was apparent his would be an expansive presidency. Some wondered whether his solutions for a very long list of problems was too ambitious. On Tuesday, before Congress, he made clear across 52 minutes that the economic downturn would not deflect him from his Denver vision.

Instead, the economic crisis, as it did for Franklin D. Roosevelt, will serve as a stepping stone to a radical shift in the relationship between the people and their government. It will bind Americans to their government in ways not experienced since the New Deal. This tectonic shift, if successful, will be equal to the forces of public authority set in motion by Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. The Obama presidency is going to be a radical presidency.

Barack Obama is proposing that the U.S. alter the relationship between the national government and private sector that was put in place by Ronald Reagan and largely continued by the presidencies of Bill Clinton and the Bushes. Then, the private sector led the economy. Now Washington will chart its course.

Obama's Budget: Almost $1 Trillion in New Taxes Over Next 10 yrs, Starting 2011

(ABC News) - President Obama's budget proposes $989 billion in new taxes over the course of the next 10 years, starting fiscal year 2011, most of which are tax increases on individuals.

Man, 28, Dies After 'Guzzling' Viagra During 12-Hour Romp

(Fox News) - A Russian man died after guzzling a bottle of Viagra to keep him going for a 12-hour orgy with two female pals.

The women had bet mechanic Sergey Tuganov $4,300 that he wouldn’t be able to follow through with the half-day sex marathon.

But minutes after winning the bet, the 28-year-old died of a heart attack, Moscow police said.

“We called emergency services but it was too late, there was nothing they could do,” said one of the female participants who identified herself only as Alina.

Republicans' Day of Reckoning

(By Bill Kristol, The Washington Post) - After Tuesday night, no one should doubt Barack Obama's ambition. His silent dismissal of the efforts of his immediate predecessors -- he mentioned none of them -- is only one indication of the extent to which he intends to be a new president breaking new ground in a new era.

George W. Bush defined his presidency by his response to the terror attacks. Obama didn't discuss Sept. 11. And by relegating foreign policy to the status of a virtual afterthought, Obama indicated that he doesn't think his presidency will rise or fall by the success or failure of his diplomatic or military endeavors. Bill Clinton told Congress in 1996 that the era of big government was over. Obama withdrew that concession to conservatives and conservatism. George H.W. Bush worried in 1989 that we have more will than wallet. Obama has no such worries.

Obama's speech reminds of Ronald Reagan's in 1981 in its intention to reshape the American political landscape. But of course Obama wishes to undo the Reagan agenda. "For decades," he claimed, we haven't addressed the challenges of energy, health care and education. We have lived through "an era where too often short-term gains were prized over long-term prosperity." Difficult decisions were put off. But now "that day of reckoning has arrived, and the time to take charge of our future is here." The phrase "day of reckoning" may seem a little ominous coming from a candidate of hope and change. But it's appropriate, because it's certainly a day of reckoning for conservatives and Republicans.

Obama releases $3.5 trillion budget plan

WASHINGTON (Winston-Salem Journal) - President Barack Obama unveiled a multi-trillion-dollar spending plan Thursday that would boost taxes on the wealthy, curtail Medicare, lay the groundwork for universal health care and leave a string of deficits dwarfing any in the nation's history.

In addition to sending Congress his $3.55 trillion budget plan for 2010, Obama proposed more immediate changes that would push spending to $3.94 trillion in the current year. That would result in a record deficit Obama projects will hit $1.75 trillion, reflecting the massive spending being undertaken to battle a severe recession and the worst financial crisis in seven decades.

As part of the effort to end the crisis, the administration proposes boosting the deficit by an additional $250 billion this year, enough to support as much as $750 billion in increased spending under the government's rescue program for banks and other financial institutions. That would more than double the $700 billion bank bailout passed by Congress last October.

Stimulus money coming to Stokes County: Senator Kay Hagan visits King to spread the word

(By Leslie Bray Evans, The Stokes News) - When North Carolina Senator Kay Hagan paid a visit to King on February 18, she came as the bearer of good news. The South Main Street Project, which has been put on hold repeatedly for over a decade, will get underway soon, thanks to stimulus money from the federal government.

“I’m very excited to be here today,” Hagan told officials in King last Wednesday. “In about 90 days, you will see dirt being turned. I’m thrilled.”

Already power lines are being moved as the first step in beginning the project. Relocating utilizes will be “a mammoth job,” says King Mayor Jack Warren.

[Stokes County, NC] Commissioners must decide fate of Mental Health Coordinator Position

(By Leslie Bray Evans, The Stokes News) - Stokes County Commissioners are facing a difficult decision—whether or not to terminate the position of Mental Health Coordinator. This position, currently held by Angela Grubb and funded by CenterPoint Human Services, was created early in 2008 as a contractual position. Due to a potential lack of funding, the position may be eliminated.

Grubb has already turned in a letter of pending resignation, effective March 16 unless a solution is found. Her decision is a result of recent notification by CenterPoint that they will not be able to fund the position for the coming fiscal year due to budgetary shortfalls stemming from the state level.

At their regular meeting on Monday night, the board of commissioners discussed the possibility of losing the Mental Health Coordinator. Commissioner Dr. Ron Carroll stated that the Stokes County Board of Health, of which he is also a member, has recommended that the position be retained and put under the auspices of the Health Department. Carroll concurred with the recommendation, “I think we’ll see the need only increase.”

Moving Notice

(Fox News) - As we mentioned a few moments ago, violence along the Texas border with Mexico has increased dramatically in recent months. It's so bad in fact that the mayor of the Mexican city of Juarez has moved his family to the U.S. city of El Paso for safety.

A local TV station reports anonymous signs appeared in Juarez threatening to behead Mayor José Reyes Ferriz and his family members, even if they live in El Paso.

A U.S. Border Patrol spokesman tells FOX News the mayor, who owns a home in El Paso, has legal documentation to be in the U.S. The previous Juarez mayor had similar papers that allowed him to cross the border freely.

Several government officials and business owners in the Mexican city have moved their families to the U.S. side of the border to protect them from escalating violence related to the drug trade.

Unwelcome Mat

(Fox News) - Earlier this month we told you about Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch opposition political party, who was banned from entering Britain because British authorities were concerned about the anti-Islam film Wilders has produced. The documentary juxtaposes verses of the Koran with images of violence by Muslims. The Daily Mail reports that Wilders will be in Washington D.C. Thursday to show the film.

Arizona Republican Senator Jon Kyl will host the screening for members of Congress and their staff. The event is sponsored by the International Free Press Society. Kyl says he agreed to do it because, "All too often, people who have the courage to point out the dangers of militant Islamists find themselves vilified and endangered."

Party Tricks

(Fox News) - Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning says he might sue the National Republican Senatorial Committee if it recruits a primary challenger against him.

Bunning said Tuesday in the Associated Press: "In the bylaws of the NRSC, support of incumbents is the only reason for their existence. If they recruited someone and supported them in a primary against me I would be able to sue them because they're not following their bylaws."

Bunning added that he does not believe anything said by Committee Chairman John Cornyn of Texas. He says the two have miscommunicated from the first week of the current session and that Cornyn "doesn't understand English."

Fact Check on President Obama's Speech

Driving Force

(Fox News) - President Obama spoke of the importance of a strong automobile industry during Tuesday's address to Congress, saying: "I believe the nation that invented the automobile cannot walk away from it."

But the Library of Congress says the nation that invented the automobile is actually Germany. Karl Benz built the first true car that used a gasoline-powered internal combustion engine in 1885. France built the first steam-powered self-propelled road vehicle in 1769. The first major U.S. contribution was Henry Ford's development of the auto assembly line and the affordable Model T in 1908.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Save the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program

(The Heritage Foundation) - Recipients of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program read letters urging President Barack Obama to continue the program that provides scholarships to disadvantaged students so they can attend the school of their choice.

Byrd: Obama in power grab

(Politico) - Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), the longest-serving Democratic senator, is criticizing President Obama’s appointment of White House “czars” to oversee federal policy, saying these executive positions amount to a power grab by the executive branch.

In a letter to Obama on Wednesday, Byrd complained about Obama’s decision to create White House offices on health reform, urban affairs policy, and energy and climate change. Byrd said such positions “can threaten the Constitutional system of checks and balances. At the worst, White House staff have taken direction and control of programmatic areas that are the statutory responsibility of Senate-confirmed officials.”

While it's rare for Byrd to criticize a president in his own party, Byrd is a stern constitutional scholar who has always stood up for the legislative branch in its role in checking the power of the White House. Byrd no longer holds the powerful Appropriations chairmanship, so his criticism does not carry as much weight these days. Byrd repeatedly clashed with the Bush administration over executive power, and it appears that he's not limiting his criticism to Republican administrations.

Congressional Democrats Target D.C. School Choice Program for Elimination

Washington (CNSNews.com) – School choice advocates are trying to save the District of Columbia voucher program, which is targeted for virtual elimination in Congress’ proposed $405-billion omnibus spending bill. The school choice supporters think the termination of the D.C. program could have national significance.

“It would happen after the 2010 school year, and 1,715 kids would be affected if the program is killed,” said Virginia Walden Ford, executive director of D.C. Parents for School Choice, who spoke to a group of bloggers at the Heritage Foundation on Tuesday. “If they kill the D.C. Choice program, it will affect school choice programs all over the country.

The omnibus bill is to be voted on in the House of Representatives on Wednesday. If passed in its current form, it would prohibit any new students from receiving vouchers after the 2009-2010 school year, eliminating $18 million from the program.

PA Senator’s Solution to ‘Greatest Problem’ for Deficit — Terminal Patients Should Die Faster

"I do believe it is fair to ask people to think about that and to make a decision in a living will."
Arlen Specter

Fact Check: Obama's Words on Home Aid Ring Hollow

Obama glossed over a number of complex realities in delivering his speech to Congress and a nation hungry for economic salvation.

WASHINGTON (Fox News) - President Barack Obama knows Americans are unhappy that the government could rescue people who bought mansions beyond their means.

But his assurance Tuesday night that only the deserving will get help rang hollow.

Even officials in his administration, many supporters of the plan in Congress and the Federal Reserve chairman expect some of that money will go to people who used lousy judgment.

The president skipped over several complex economic circumstances in his speech to Congress -- and may have started an international debate among trivia lovers and auto buffs over what country invented the car.

Spell Check

(Fox News) - The $620 million Capitol Visitor Center here in Washington might need to start paying for a copy editor. The Politico reports that the newly-opened center was forced to cut off the top of some tour tickets because "U.S.Capitol" with an "o," was misspelled "U.S. Capital" with an "a." The CVC admits it made the error and is correcting the mistake in the next batch of printing.

Dramatic Interpretation

(Fox News) - Former Vice President Al Gore is removing a dramatic slide in his global warming presentation. The New York Times reports Gore used a graph from a disaster research center in Brussels to illustrate that human-driven climate change is, "creating weather-related disasters that are completely unprecedented."

But the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, which came up with the raw data, says no such direct correlation can be proven: "Justifying the upward trend in hydro-meteorological disaster occurrence and impacts essentially through climate change would be misleading. Climate change is probably an actor in this increase but not the major one... We need to be cautious when interpreting disaster data... and remain objective scientific observers."

Out of Gas

(Fox News) - A $280 million NASA project to study global warming gases from space has failed. A satellite launched [yesterday] from California crashed into the sea near Antarctica after a malfunction kept it from achieving orbit. This was NASA's first satellite dedicated to monitoring carbon dioxide emissions on a global scale.

The project took almost a decade to plan and was supposed to last two years. A NASA spokesman says an exact cause of the failure has not been determined.

One of the Men Who Created Al Qaeda Rips Into Usama bin Laden

Founding Fodder

(Fox News) - One of the founders of Al Qaeda has written a book repudiating terrorism and railing against Usama bin Laden and deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper reports Sayyid Imam al-Sharif, better known as Doctor Fadl, led an Islamist insurgency in Egypt in the 1990s. Now he writes that the terrorist attacks on 9/11 were both immoral and counterproductive: "Ramming America has become the shortest road to fame and leadership among the Arabs and Muslims. But what good is it if you destroy one of your enemy's buildings, and he destroys one of your countries? What good is it if you kill one of his people, and he kills a thousand of yours?"

Fadl says the murder of innocent people goes against Islam: "Every drop of blood that was shed or is being shed in Afghanistan and Iraq is the responsibility of bin Laden and Zawahiri and their followers."

Shovel-Ready... :-)

All in the family

A place for everything...

Rush Limbaugh's Morning Update: Greater Good

From Rush Limbaugh: Well, President Obama and the Democrat congressional leaders have decided they want more control over the transmission lines that make up our current power grid. For the purposes of this update, I'm not going to tackle the merits of this plan, I just want to focus on the politics.

In order to accomplish their objective, Senate Democrat Majority Leader Dingy Harry proposes that federal regulators be given the authority to override states' deciding where electric grids ought to be built. As it now stands, that responsibility rests with state public utility commissions. But Dingy Harry says the federal government "cannot allow 231 state regulators to hold up progress." Instead, states should have the opportunity to "participate" in the process. The federal government should, if it deems necessary, seize the land that it wants to build energy grids. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, of course, backs the move.

Now, do you liberals understand what your precious Democrats are doing? They're telling you your environmental concerns don't matter. Your state governments don't matter. Your age-old tactic of using lawsuits won't matter. And since the Supreme Court already ruled that states can take people's property on a whim, the feds will, too.

This could have come out of the old Soviet Politburo. First, government takes your legislative recourse away, then your right to dissent, and finally your property -- for the sake of the "greater good."

Folks, we're not headed toward the slippery slope. We are on it, and we are falling fast -- but don't get off yet.

Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
AP: Federal officials debate placement of power grid

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hold the Ice

(Fox News) - A glitch in satellite sensors has caused scientists to underestimate the extent of Arctic sea ice by 193,000 square miles. That's a chunk of ice about the size of California. The National Snow and Ice Data Center says the error was due to a problem called "sensor drift" and lasted from early January to the middle of this month.

The extent of Arctic sea ice is seen as a key measure of how rising temperatures are affecting the planet. The center says on its Web site: "Although we believe that data prior to early January are reliable, we will conduct a full quality check."

It maintains that the recent error does not change findings that Arctic ice is retreating.

Check Is in the Mail

(Fox News) - The story we brought you in last week's Grapevine, revealing that Postmaster General John Potter has received a nearly 40 percent pay raise since 2006 has gotten a lot of attention.

The Washington Times reports Congress will hold a hearing next month into why Potter's salary has ballooned even as the postal service faces a multi-billion dollar shortfall that threatens a day of mail delivery. Rep. Stephen Lynch, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee that oversees the postal service says, "I think most postal customers feel that the huge increase in pay for Mr. Potter is incongruent with the post office's recent performance."

Bye, American

(Fox News) - Most of the men and women President Obama has picked to help fix the American automobile industry do not even drive American cars. The Detroit News reports that only two of the 18 people named so far as members and aides to the task force own U.S.-made vehicles.

The co-chairmen Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers both own foreign automobiles. So does Management and Budget Office Director Peter Orszag. And at least two task force members don't own a car.

Is the Energy Secretary In Over His Head?

Oil and Water

(Fox News) - Energy Secretary Steven Chu says he feels, "like I've been dumped into the deep end of the pool," in confronting questions about oil policy.

The Wall Street Journal reports Chu says he doesn't know what the Obama administration wants the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, to do at its meeting next month.

He says: "I'm not the administration. I will be speaking and learning more about this in order to figure out what the U.S. position should be and what the president's position is."

A day earlier, the Nobel Laureate in physics declined to offer an opinion on whether OPEC should cut production, saying the issue was, "not in my domain."

He later said his response reflected, "more of my naiveté than anything else."

For now, laid off and loving it

Some are finding respite in a life without work

From the Boston Globe: A few days after David Adler's wife decided to leave her law firm in December, he was laid off from his job designing software at Brightcove.

It was shocking. And scary.

Until it wasn't. Adler has quickly learned to appreciate some aspects of his unexpected unemployment.

The 42-year-old spends his days doting on his 6-month-old daughter, visiting museums with his family, and preparing for a possible exhibit of his photos at a local coffee shop in Dedham. Living off savings, unemployment, and severance packages, Adler knows he has to get a job eventually and has started the search. But for now, he's cherishing every moment. "It's our first child and I love watching her grow," Adler said. "And it's nice to have time off and get in touch with my old hobbies."

Rush Limbaugh's Morning Update: Items

From Rush Limbaugh: A few items today, folks. First, to the utter dismay of the fringe left, the Obama Administration sided with the Bush White House. They declared detainees held at the Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan do not have rights under our Constitution. If you're one of fringe kooks who expected "better days" were coming from this administration, you should have paid attention. I told you that despite all the anti-Bush rhetoric from this bunch, Democrats do not want to be perceived as losing the War on Terror on their watch. And, by the way, if you haven't noticed -- Club Gitmo is still open (my business is still thriving there).

Now that Democrats have spent more money than any government in history with their Porkulus bill, they're turning their attention to taxes. Under the guise of "fiscal responsibility," Obama and his Democrat hacks are floating their plans to usher in massive tax increases on the upper middle class, the affluent, small business owners, and on capital gains. The massive tax hikes are job killers; they will prolong the recession. The label "tax-and-spend Democrats" has become a political cliche, but it is also a political reality -- as many of us are about to find out... the hard way.

Finally, a question. What do Richard Jewell and former Congressman Gary Condit have in common? Answer? The Drive-By Media, which all but accused both men of committing murders of which they were innocent. With no actual evidence, no second thought -- and no apology. That's why we call them the "Drive-By Media".

Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
CNSNews.com: Massive Tax Increases Loom as Democrats Begin to Talk Fiscal Responsibility
AP: Obama backs Bush -- No rights for Bagram prisoners
Washington Times: After Levy, police still struggle

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Real Lessons of the Great Depression

(By Michael Barone, TownHall.com) - "Not since the Great Depression." "Not since the 1930s." You hear those phrases a lot these days, and with some reason. As Congress prepares to pass the Democratic stimulus package, it may be worthwhile to look back at Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal and consider how well it worked as policy -- and politically.

Hard Blows, Hard Living

(CBS News) - Ric Flair was once professional wrestling's bad boy and he may have been the inspiration for actor Mickey Rourke's oscar-nominated performance in the film "The Wrestler." Jeff Glor reports.

King of Queens?

(Fox News) - George Mason University crowned its homecoming queen during the school's basketball game last Saturday.

But this year's tiara went to a male student. Ryan Allen, who is gay and performs as a popular drag queen at local clubs, received more votes than the two women who vied for the title. He says: "We're one of the most diverse campuses in the country... we celebrate that."

In the Washington Post, school spokesman Dan Walsch says the university is, "very comfortable with it. We're fine." One female student, Melissa Banjjani, says: "He deserves to be queen. He's already a queen for everybody."

But a male student, Grant Bollinger, counters: "It's really annoying. The game was on TV. Everyone was there. All eyes were on us. And we do something like this? It's just stupid."

Leaving Nothing to Chance

(Fox News) - We reported Wednesday that a White House spokesman said the administration will not try to revive the Fairness Doctrine. But the Business and Media Institute reports Republican Senator Jim DeMint wants to get his colleagues on the record. He will offer an amendment to the D.C. Voting Rights Bill next week that seeks to prevent the FCC from reinstating the requirement for balance on political issues: "I'm glad President Obama finally confirmed his opposition to the Fairness Doctrine... but many Democrats in Congress are still pushing it... now is the time for Congress to take a stand against this kind of censorship."

Ski Report

(Fox News) - The global economic crisis has not stopped extravagant congressional fundraisers for the 2010 election. USA Today reports Texas Republican Congressman Jeb Hensarling is throwing a skiing fundraiser in Wyoming where the minimum donation is $2,500. Colorado Democrat Ed Perlmutter will host a similar event at $2,400/person. And if skiing isn't your thing, you could have joined Hawaii Democratic Senator Daniel Inouye at his Honolulu fundraiser last weekend. He pulled in about $100,000 just days after Congress passed the mammoth $787 billion stimulus bill.

Nancy Watzman, a spokeswoman at the watchdog group Sunlight Foundation says: "Everyone is tightening their belts, but lawmakers are doing what they have always done."

Chicago Not Paid for Obama Celebration

Show Me the Money

(Fox News) - The city of Chicago has not yet been reimbursed for President Obama's victory celebration on November 4. The Chicago Sun-Times reports the city is still owed about $1,750,000. Chicago already has a budget shortfall in excess of $50 million. City spokesman, Peter Scales, from the Chicago Office of Budget & Management says: "The Democratic National Committee has not yet paid us. We're reaching out to them this week."

Mayor Richard Daley said before the event that the city would be reimbursed. Spokeswoman Stacie Paxton for the DNC explains the delay: "We are still looking at various costs and bills."

Rush Limbaugh's Morning Update: Judas

From Rush Limbaugh: Bound to happen: California Democrats have succeeded. In the midst of this recession, taxpayers are going to get squashed again with an additional $13 billion of sales, personal income, and automobile taxes.

Governor Schwarzenegger saluted the lawmakers, calling their actions "courageous." Republicans, however, are livid. The one-vote margin to inflict this latest misery on the taxpayers was secured when State Senator Abel Maldonado cut a deal with Democrats. Instead of the usual 30 pieces of silver (which would subject him to the higher tax rate), this senator took something else that he craved: a ballot measure to create open primary election, to give moderates -- like himself -- a better shot at winning elections... and diluting conservative districts. Another Republican sellout!

Two other Republicans voted in favor of the tax hikes. One was Roy Ashburn of Bakersfield; the other Dave Cogdill of Modesto. Cogdill was the Republican senate leader until his own caucus tossed him overboard last week, fearful he'd cave in to Democrats.

So I want to congratulate all of the Republicans who held firm. You were outnumbered. You were subjected to intimidation; physically held hostage in chambers by the Democrat Leader. You did your best to protect the people in your state from the tyranny of a majority, whose governance is plunging your state into economic ruin.

But your valiant battle has not gone unnoticed, and neither have the actions of those who betrayed you. The fight will continue -- and that is a promise.

Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
AP: Gov. Schwarzenegger to sign budget-balancing bill
AP: Calif. senator wins big in budget fight -- for now
AP: Calif. Republicans keep their no-new-taxes promise
San Francisco Chronicle: State Legislature passes emergency budget plan

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sen. Feingold's Constitution

(By George Will, The Washington Post) - A simple apology would have sufficed. Instead, Sen. Russ Feingold has decided to follow his McCain-Feingold evisceration of the First Amendment with Feingold-McCain, more vandalism against the Constitution.

The Wisconsin Democrat, who is steeped in his state's progressive tradition, says, as would-be amenders of the Constitution often do, that he is reluctant to tamper with the document but tamper he must because the threat to the public weal is immense: Some governors have recently behaved badly in appointing people to fill U.S. Senate vacancies. Feingold's solution, of which John McCain is a co-sponsor, is to amend the 17th Amendment. It would be better to repeal it.

The Framers established election of senators by state legislators, under which system the nation got the Great Triumvirate (Henry Clay, Daniel Webster and John Calhoun) and thrived. In 1913, progressives, believing that more, and more direct, democracy is always wonderful, got the 17th Amendment ratified. It stipulates popular election of senators, under which system Wisconsin has elected, among others, Joe McCarthy, as well as Feingold.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Goodbye to the Governator

Schwarzenegger’s new role is as a supporting actor in the Golden State’s fiscal destruction.

(By Rich Lowry, National Review Online) - The Governator: What a sad artifact of a bygone era that moniker is. Arnold Schwarzenegger circa the 2003 “total recall” election was going to sweep all before him as California governor, bringing the same élan and toughness he had on the big screen to fighting special interests and restoring his beloved state to competitiveness.

That was before Governor Arnold got a severe beat-down in a November 2005 special election from the unions and Democrats (a.k.a. “girly men”) he had taunted during his ascendancy. Schwarzenegger pushed four far-reaching reformist ballot initiatives that all went down under a blizzard of spending and propaganda by California’s entrenched interests. With no screenplay to save him, the much-reduced Governator simply buckled and switched sides.

His new role is as a supporting actor in the Golden State’s fiscal destruction. If the future happens in California, we all should tremble at its ever-expanding debt, falling credit ratings, crushing pension obligations, suffocating regulation, and rising taxes — with environmentally preening, ill-considered restrictions on carbon emissions thrown on top. California Democrats are only slightly ahead of national Democrats, so the country’s fiscal future may be in preview in Sacramento.

Santelli's Tea Party

(CNBC) - CNBC's Rick Santelli and the traders on the floor of the CME Group express outrage over the notion they may have to pay their neighbor's mortgage, particularly if they bought far more house than they could actually afford, with Jason Roney, Sharmac Capital.

Obama Cabinet totally lacking in business experience

(Politico) - In President Barack Obama’s Cabinet, there is a Nobel Prize winner, a former mayor and a veteran CIA agent. Surrounding him in the White House West Wing are a former four-star general, one of the nation’s most eminent economists and a handful of this generation’s most talented political operatives.

This constellation of talent, however, has something of a black hole. There is virtually no one on Obama’s team with outsized achievements or a high-profile reputation earned in the world of business.

There are no former CEOs in the Obama Cabinet. And among the people who make up his daily inner circle, there is only a dollop or two of top-level private sector experience.

Transportation secretary eyes taxing miles driven

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says he wants to consider taxing motorists based on how many miles they drive rather than how much gasoline they burn - an idea that has angered drivers in some states where it has been proposed.

Clyburn: Opposing the stimulus is racist or something

(WISTV) - [Rep. James] Clyburn [Democrat] also had some strong comments for Gov. Mark Sanford [Republican] on why he thinks he opposed the stimulus.

“The governor of Louisiana expressed opposition. Has the highest African-American population in the country. Governor of Mississippi expressed opposition. The governor of Texas, and the governor of South Carolina. These four governor’s represent states that are in the black belt. I was insulted by that,” Clyburn said. “All of this was a slap in the face of African-Americans. It had nothing to do with Governor Sanford.”…

A spokesman from the governor’s office says, “Representative Clyburn is no stranger to playing the race card, because he has no defense for the runaway spending and the deficits contained in this so-called stimulus bil that will hurt our economy. Spending money at the federal level that we do not have represents a future tax increase on all South Carolinians, regardless of their color - and in the process of doing so, he’s ripping off everyone he claims to represent.”

Obama victory bash owes city $1.74 mil.

PARTY IN THE PARK | Waiting for Dems to pay up

(Chicago Sun-Times) - Chicago has yet to recoup the $1.74 million cost of President Obama's victory celebration in Grant Park -- despite a burgeoning $50.5 million budget shortfall that threatens more layoffs and union concessions.

"The Democratic National Committee has not yet paid us,'' Peter Scales, a spokesman for the city's Office of Budget and Management, said Thursday after questions from the Chicago Sun-Times. "We're reaching out to them this week."

Stacie Paxton, a spokeswoman for the Obama-controlled DNC, explained the reimbursement delay by saying, "We are still looking at various costs and bills.'' She would not say whether parts of the bill are disputed.

Judge tosses out NC's ban on video poker machines

RALEIGH, N.C. (Wilmington Star-News Online) - North Carolina can't legally ban video poker machines while also allowing the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to operate the games on their lands within the state, a state court judge ruled late Thursday.

The ruling issued by Wake County Superior Court Judge Howard Manning overturns the 2006 law that ended the state's 13-year experiment with video poker machines, a popular attraction when legal in bars and convenience stores.

The ruling won't lead to the immediate return of the machines, since Manning also issued a stay of his order to give the state time to file an expected appeal.

A better understanding of property revaluation: Ten percent increase is just an average figure

(By Leslie Bray Evans, The Stokes News) - When property owners receive the property revaluation notices that will be mailed out within the next week, they may or may not see big changes. A figure of 10 percent has been quoted as the average increase in property values, but Stokes County Tax Administrator Jake Oakley stresses that the 10 percent is merely “an overall average.”

Some property values may not change substantially, while others will climb above the 10 percent average. It all depends on where the property is located. Stokes County’s three appraisers—Richard Brim, April Hicks and Danny Nelson—have found that the northeast corner of the county has the cheapest rates, and the southwest region has the highest.

Citizens should understand that this four-year property revaluation is not the same as an increase in the tax rate. County Commissioners can raise the tax rate at any time that they need more money to fund budgetary needs. The tax revaluation, on the other hand, is something mandated by the State of North Carolina to be done in eight-year cycles.

Preference Questions

(Fox News) - Newly released documents indicate the FBI once investigated whether then-presidential aide Jack Valenti was gay. Valenti went on to notoriety as the flamboyant head of the Motion Picture Association of America.

But the Washington Post reports that in 1964, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover ordered a probe into Valenti's sexual preference. Valenti was a top aide to President Lyndon Johnson, and 45 years ago even allegations of homosexuality could kill a career. No proof was ever found. Valenti and his wife raised three children. He passed away in 2007.

The report also says that then-White House aide Bill Moyers also investigated the sexual preferences of fellow staffers. Moyers went on to fame as a liberal journalist. He says in an e-mail to the Post that his memory is unclear and he may have been looking for details of allegations first made by Hoover.

On the Fritz

(Fox News) - President Obama has just announced a troop increase for Afghanistan -- but former South Carolina Democratic Senator Fritz Hollings writes on the Huffington Post Web site: "'Why are we in Afghanistan?' No one has a good answer... why are we killing GI's to spread terrorism?" Adding, "I read an article that it won't be long before charging President George W. Bush with war crimes for killing civilians in Pakistan with drones. Now the same charge could be made against President Obama... we are ruining Pakistan."

Image Is Everything

(Fox News) - The Republican Party is planning a public relations blitz to rebuild its image. Recently-elected Party Chairman Michael Steele tells the Washington Times that he wants to target, " young, Hispanic, black, a cross section... we want to convey that the modern-day GOP looks like the conservative party that stands on principles. But we want to apply them to urban-suburban hip-hop settings."

Steele says the makeover will come through the Internet, radio, television and print media, adding: "We need to up tick our image with everyone, including one-armed midgets."

Are Democrats Having a Hard Time Doing Business by the Book?

Ethics Cloud

(Fox News) - The Associated Press says Democrats are having a hard time doing business by the book. An analysis piece is titled: "Democrats Self-Destructing Over Ethics."

Reporter Larry Margasak writes: "The Obama administration and new Congress are quickly handing over to the Republicans the same 'culture of corruption' issue that Democrats used so effectively against the GOP. Freshman Senator Roland Burris is only the latest embarrassment."

Margasak lists a number of Democrats embroiled in ethical issues -- including House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel, Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha, and former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

He also highlights the tax problems of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and former Health and Human Services secretary nominee Tom Daschle.

Mr. President, Keep the Airwaves Free

As a former law professor, surely you understand the Bill of Rights.

From Rush Limbaugh:

Dear President Obama:

I have a straightforward question, which I hope you will answer in a straightforward way: Is it your intention to censor talk radio through a variety of contrivances, such as "local content," "diversity of ownership," and "public interest" rules -- all of which are designed to appeal to populist sentiments but, as you know, are the death knell of talk radio and the AM band?

You have singled me out directly, admonishing members of Congress not to listen to my show. Bill Clinton has since chimed in, complaining about the lack of balance on radio. And a number of members of your party, in and out of Congress, are forming a chorus of advocates for government control over radio content. This is both chilling and ominous.

Rush Limbaugh's Morning Update: Culture of Democrats II

From Rush Limbaugh: In one of these updates about three weeks ago, I talked about the "Culture of Democrats." I detailed a few of the corruption charges that elected Democrats, on the local and federal level, are facing. Now, it's a little bit late, but the AP has come up with their own coverage of the problem... in the form of a warning to Democrats that they are self-destructing over ethics issues.

AP describes Illinois Senator Roland Burris' admission that he tried to raise money for the now-impeached Governor Blago, who's accused of trying to sell Obama's senate seat. Then there's New York Democrat Charlie Rangel, who has multiple problems -- including fraudulent financial disclosure reports, fundraising and tax compliance issues, and questions over a resort property he owns in the Dominican Republic.

Pennsylvania Democrat John Murtha is waiting for the other shoe to drop in an investigation into a defense firm he's close to that got millions in federal funding. Bill Richardson is also waiting for a shoe to drop in a federal investigation regarding state contracts that he awarded. And then there are the waivers Obama granted in order to let about a dozen or more lobbyists violate his own lobbying/ethics rules. Not to mention the Democrat tax cheats -- most notably Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Tom "Puff" Daschle, and Nancy Killefer.

This Democrat corruption is just the tip of the iceberg, folks. If you Drive-Bys want to find more, just follow the trail of the billions of dollars in stimulus money.

Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
AP: Analysis -- Democrats Self-Destructing Over Ethics

Thursday, February 19, 2009

ACORN and Obama: Together Again

(By Michelle Malkin, Townhall.com) - Fresh off the trillion-dollar porkulus bill signing in Denver, President Obama immediately launched into his next New Raw Deal expansion: a massive mortgage entitlement program forcing lenders to refinance at an initial cost of $50 billion to $100 billion. That's in addition to the bipartisan-supported $50 billion in the "stimulus" bill to bail out homeowners underwater on their mortgages and the $2 billion in "neighborhood stabilization" funds to alleviate the foreclosure crisis.

In tandem with the White House Bad Borrowers Bailout, Obama's old friends at the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) are launching a new campaign of their own: the "Home Savers" campaign. What a coinky-dinky, huh? As with most of the bully tactics of the radical left-wing group, it ain't gonna be pretty. They are the shock troops on the streets doing the dirty work while the Community Organizer-in-Chief keeps his delicate hands clean.

Where's the Party?

(Fox News) - Texas Republican Congressman Lamar Smith contends that when Democrats are involved in scandals, the mainstream media choose to ignore their party. He tells humanevents.com: "two weeks ago the governor of Illinois was removed from office. All three television networks ran full reports... not one report mentioned that he is a Democrat... CNN ignored the party affiliation of the Democratic mayor of Baltimore as news broke that she had been indicted. The Associated Press did the same while covering the indictment of the former Democratic mayor of Detroit. And in the aftermath of his sex scandal, network newscasts apparently forgot that the former governor of New York is a Democrat."

Under Wraps

(Fox News) - The Obama administration prides itself on transparency. But the Politico newspaper reports that since taking office, President Obama has issued three executive orders, a presidential memorandum, a presidential notice and a proclamation -- all unannounced by the White House press office and not posted to the White House Web site.

The moves came to light only after the official paperwork was transmitted to the federal register, a daily log of formal notices compiled by the national archives.

A White House spokesman, Ben Labolt, says, "this is a simple oversight... this is a non-story -- the documents are posted on the Web site."

Double Standard?

(Fox News) - As President Bill Clinton opposed same-sex marriage and even signed into law the Defense of Marriage Act, that legislation -- said the federal government -- cannot treat same-sex relationships as marriages for any purpose. But LifeSiteNews.com reports Mr. Clinton tried to penalize a hotel owner for supporting the California ballot provision that eliminated the right to marry for same-sex couples.

The report says the former president recently tried to have a speaking engagement which was booked for the San Diego Manchester Grand Hyatt, moved somewhere else after pressure from gay rights groups. The move ultimately failed and Mr. Clinton did appear. But it would have cost the hotel tens of thousands of dollars.

Spokeswoman Wendy Wright for the Concerned Women for America said that Mr. Clinton's action, "reveals the depth of his hypocrisy."

Two's Company for President Obama?

Two's Company

(Fox News) - We reported earlier that today in Arizona, President Obama unveiled his housing plan aimed at stemming the nationwide wave of foreclosures. The president spent Tuesday night at the InterContinental Montelucia Resort & Spa just outside Phoenix. But he was not the only famous politician on hand.

November election opponent John McCain was hosting a fundraiser at the hotel for his Senate re-election campaign. McCain's former campaign manager, Rick Davis, joked with Time agazine: "We were here first."

In an ironic twist, the lender backing the resort which opened last November began foreclosure proceedings earlier this month.

Housing Plan: A Break For Those Who Least Deserve It

From Michelle Caruso-Cabrera: The new Obama housing plan is going to give a break to those who least deserve it: people who bought more house than they can afford. It will reward those who made all the wrong decisions.

I've written about this before, but I have to readdress it here because I'm absolutely gobsmacked.

Think this through for a second. Your home value, along with all your neighbors, has gone down in the last year. But now your neighbor, who bought above his means and can’t make the payments, because of a reset to the REAL monthly cost of the loan, is suddenly going to get a gift. Well what about you? You did the right thing. . You didn’t buy more than you could afford. But you don’t get a break.

Rush Limbaugh's Morning Update: Celebrations

From Rush Limbaugh: I have three celebrations today, folks. First, Republicans in Kansas won an important victory for taxpayers when Democrat Governor Kathleen Sebelius actually cut state spending and signed a balanced budget bill. Sebelius had insisted on using accounting gimmicks instead of spending cuts to get to a balanced budget, she suspended state income tax refund payments and threatened late paychecks for state workers. But the Republicans stood firm. You voters in Kansas oughta thank them for having the onions to force the tax-and-spend governor to cave.

Celebration Two: California Democrats are still trying to turn one Republican to the dark side to give them enough votes to foist massive tax increases on California. But Republicans in the Democrat-controlled state legislature threw their own leader overboard and replaced him with a conservative. In what the Drive-Bys are calling a "late night coup," Senate Republicans chose Dennis Hollingsworth as their new leader, because they think he’s more able to resist tax increases. Republicans in California showing real onions.

Lastly: new economic numbers show losses for the private aviation industry. Corporate jet shipments dropped over 7 percent, marking the end to four straight years of growth. This sector employs over a million people, and generates $150 billion to the economy. So why is this celebration three? This one's for liberals, who put corporate jets high on their hate list – unless they're flying on them. Their nonstop demonizing is finally paying off! With coming aviation layoffs, Democrats in Congress and the Drive-Bys can pat themselves on the back for harming another industry. Congratulations, we know you love doing it boys.

Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
Bloomberg: Kansas Governor Signs Budget So State Employees Can Be Paid
AP: California Republicans oust leader amid budget talks
PJD: Private Aviation hits a road bump

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wednesday Funnies :-)

Jay Leno:

In Denver, President Obama signed the stimulus package into law. Anyone feel stimulated?

Fewer people are getting plastic surgery, the industry reports. How ironic. The one time you need a smile on your face and you can't even afford to get it.

hings are so bad, three stockbrokers tried to kill themselves by eating peanuts.

[A]irlines are now charging extra if you want peanuts without salmonella.

Well, just a few days after being nominated, New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg has withdrawn as the nominee for Commerce Secretary. In a statement explaining why he turned it down, he cited 'irresolvable conflict.' So, apparently, he must have paid his taxes.

After withdrawing his name for commerce secretary ... Gregg said he hoped he was just embarrassing himself and not President Obama, to which Joe Biden said, "Don't worry about it. I do it all the time."

Prosecutors have asked a Federal judge to send Marion Barry, the former mayor of Washington, DC, to jail for failing to file tax returns for the eighth time in nine years. ... So for Barry, it's either jail or a cabinet position in the Obama administration. Either one.

Cheering for Obama Stimulus Buys Into 1930s Myth

(Bloomberg) - It takes only a few seconds to make history new again.

Leaders around the world are talking up economic stimulus, channeling U.S. President Barack Obama, who in turn is channeling Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Obama bases his confidence on an old story line with some appealing parallels to today:

A disastrously high stock market caused by excessive faith in the private sector generated an epic crash. A Republican, Herbert Hoover (George W. Bush), let us down. A new president, FDR (Obama), knew that action was imperative and understood the value in “bold persistent experimentation.”

FDR stimulated the Dow back up, and unemployment down, saving America and democracy. Massive wartime spending solidified the recovery in the 1940s, proving that when it comes to stimulus, more is better.

So, celebrating the $787 billion stimulus bill Obama signed yesterday depends on ramming through this version of history -- and dismissing dissent. That is what Obama did at a news conference when he said those who criticize FDR’s New Deal are “fighting battles that I thought were resolved a pretty long time ago.”

In fact, this battle is far from resolved. Economists are arguing more now about the quality of the Roosevelt programs than they were a decade or two ago.

Holder: US a nation of cowards on racial matters

WASHINGTON (AP) - Attorney General Eric Holder described the United States Wednesday as a nation of cowards on matters of race, saying most Americans avoid discussing awkward racial issues. In a speech to Justice Department employees marking Black History Month, Holder said the workplace is largely integrated but Americans still self-segregate on the weekends and in their private lives.

"Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards," said Holder, nation's first black attorney general.

Race issues continue to be a topic of political discussion, Holder said, but "we, as average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race."


(Financial Times) - Long regarded in the US as a folly of Europeans, nationalization is gaining rapid acceptance among Washington opinion-formers – and not just with Alan Greenspan, former Federal Reserve chairman. Perhaps stranger still, many of those talking about nationalizing banks are Republicans.

A new New Deal is not the solution

(By Rep. Virginia Foxx, Winston-Salem Journal) - "We are spending more [money] than we have ever spent before and it does not work. I want to see this country prosperous. I want to see people get a job. We have never made good on our promises. I say after eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started and an enormous debt to boot."

Surprisingly, this statement is not one of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's criticisms of the Bush years. Instead, it's from Henry Morgenthau, secretary of the Treasury for 11 years under Franklin D. Roosevelt more than 70 years ago.

Morgenthau, given the task of financing and carrying out many of Roosevelt's Depression-era spending programs, made these remarks while testifying before Congress in 1939 -- at the tail end of the New Deal programs that had been started in 1933 when FDR was first elected.

Today the New Deal is back -- Morgenthau's candid comments about government spending notwithstanding. We all know the "new" New Deal by a less appealing title, the stimulus package.

Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous with Destiny

(Gingrich Productions) - Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous with Destiny, hosted by Newt and Callista Gingrich, is a groundbreaking film that documents the life and legacy of the 40th President of the United States. Through never-before-seen interviews with former heads of state, cabinet officials and White House staff, RENDEZVOUS WITH DESTINY tells the story of the Reagan presidency and the three pillars that shaped his time in office: reviving the American economy, restoring America's spirit, and challenging the oppression of the Soviet Union.

Gingrich: "This is just wrong."

(Fox News) - Newt Gingrich predicts spending bill will fail.

Are Obama's Policies Ushering in Era of Socialism?

Numbers show the U.S. is drifting ever closer to the socialist systems popular within the European Union.

(Fox News) - With taxpayers shelling out $700 billion to bail out Wall Street and another $787 billion to jolt the sputtering economy, serious questions are being raised about whether all the government intervention is taking the country down the path to socialism.

Numbers show the U.S. is drifting ever closer to the socialist systems popular within the European Union. In 1999, government spending made up 34.3 percent of gross domestic product, or GDP, the broadest barometer used to measure the health of the economy. That number is projected to grow to nearly 40 percent by next year.

Government spending within the majority of European Union nations averages 47.1 percent of the GDP, meaning the U.S. is roughly seven points behind -- closer than ever before.

Obama’s Stimulus Will Cause 'Lower Wages' for American Workers, Says Congressional Budget Office

(CNSNews.com) – The huge economic stimulus package that President Obama signed into law Tuesday will result in “lower wages” for American workers, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

The CBO analysis, dated Feb. 11 and sent to Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), says the $787-billion plan will increase employment in the short-term, but will run up deficit spending which will “crowd out” private investment in the economy in the long-term.

The analysis concludes that the stimulus will put downward pressure on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and wages after 2014. (The Gross Domestic Product is the total value of all goods and services produced in the United States in one year.)

BASKETBRAWL" Mass fight breaks out in Alabama; All-out melee on court...

Trouble Brewing

(Fox News) - A battle is brewing in Oregon after five state lawmakers suggested a 1,900 percent increase in beer taxes to help cope with budget shortfalls. Media reports say the legislation would increase the tax on a barrel of beer from $2.60 to almost $50.

The lawmakers say the increased revenue would help offset the costs of alcoholism in lost earnings, law enforcement and health care expenses. But brewers say the tax would cripple their business and not raise enough to justify the increase.

Says Mike DeKalb of Laurelwood Public House & Brewing Co., "If that tax is passed it would mean consumers would pay $315 million more (in 2009) to buy the same amount of beer they bought in 2008."

Junk Mail

(Fox News) - Postmaster General John Potter wants to cut mail delivery days and freeze executive salaries as a way of dealing with a three billion dollar a year deficit. But The Washington Times reports Potter's salary has jumped 40 percent since 2006.

That includes a $135,000 bonus last year, making his total compensation package worth over $800,000. That is more than double President Obama’s salary.

Postal records indicate at least four other officials earn more than a quarter-million dollars/year.

Fair & Balanced?

(Fox News) - FCC officials met last week with advisers to House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman to discuss ways to enact a form of the Fairness Doctrine without calling it that. The American Spectator reports Waxman is also interested in policies allowing similar oversight of the Internet.

The Fairness Doctrine required broadcasters to present both sides of controversial issues. It was repealed in 1987.

One Democratic committee member who chose to remain anonymous says, "We want to get alternative views on radio and TV, but we also want to make sure those alternative views are read, heard and seen online."

A Rasmussen Reports poll shows 47 percent of respondents oppose a new Fairness Doctrine. Thirty-eight percent think bringing it back is a good idea.

Obama Gets Criticism Over Auto Bailout

Car Trouble

(Fox News) - President Obama is drawing sharp criticism over his delayed decision not to appoint a car czar. An administration official said Sunday that a task force will oversee the recovery of the auto industry — not a single person.

But the Politico newspaper reports Michigan Democratic Senator Carl Levin says the delay impacted today's interim deadline for the automakers to come up with a plan: "This appointment has taken so long... we've raised it over and over again. It seems to me it will be more difficult to have this kind of plan in the absence of a car czar."

David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research, says the president's panel lacks experience: "It is like taking someone like me — with a PHD — and asking, 'could you participate in the oversight of brain surgery?'"

Democrats Seek "Bipartisanship," as in Republicans Dump Their Principles and Hike Taxes

From Bloomberg: California lawmakers failed to reach agreement on how to eliminate a $42 billion budget shortfall as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger prepares to shut down hundreds of public works projects and fire thousands of state workers.

Senate President Darrell Steinberg, a Democrat, plans to lock lawmakers in the capitol unless they pass a $40 billion package of tax increases, spending cuts and bond sales today. The bills, backed by the Republican governor and by Democrats, remain one Republican vote short.

“We are dealing with a catastrophe of unbelievable proportions,” said Senator Alan Lowenthal, a Democrat from Long Beach. “We cannot deny it any longer.”

One Side to Every Story

From James Morone: Providence, R.I. - “THIS is not a time for partisanship,” declared Senator Judd Gregg, Republican of New Hampshire, when he accepted President Obama’s invitation to serve as commerce secretary. By last week, Mr. Gregg had changed his mind, citing “irreconcilable conflicts.” For historians, this outcome was predictable: Bipartisan dreams have been crashing into political reality from the earliest days of the Republic.

Only a few months after his first election, George Washington dropped by the Senate to solicit advice about a treaty — but all he got was a loud and agitated debate between the senators. Already they were breaking into factions. Washington, who believed that partisan strife would be “fatal” to the new nation, marched out with what one observer called “a discontented air of sullen dignity.”

Now it’s President Obama’s turn. He seems eager to put aside small political differences and to restore a culture of cooperation in Washington. But it’s going to be a long, hard effort because, well, that golden bipartisan era never existed.

Rush Limbaugh's Morning Update: GOP Onions

From Rush Limbaugh: My friends, a few items today – starting with a plan to replace the state gas tax in Mass'chusetts. If the governor signs off, drivers would be tracked by a GPS device and taxed a quarter cent for each mile they drive. Republican Senator Scott Brown is fighting the plan, which he calls "outrageous." He says if it's implemented, the government would add a "whole new department of cronies" to monitor people's movements.

In Kansas, Democrat Governor Kathleen Sebelius is trash-talking Republicans who control the state legislature. She is having a hissy fit because they won't play along with her scheme to spend money that isn't in the state's main budget account, using accounting gimmicks. Republicans are demanding spending cuts. Meanwhile, Sebelius has suspended income tax refunds, and warned state employees that their paychecks might be late.

In Cah-li-fornia, some state employees are being furloughed, and public works projects stopped because Republicans refuse to go along with Democrat plans to raise taxes yet again to cover their budget shortfalls. Angry, hysterical Democrats leaders held Republicans hostage in a legislative session that lasted 30 hours to break their will. And, so far, they've failed. The Republicans are holding.

Add to the mix the Republicans in Washington standing firm against Obama's massive Porkulus bill, and we're seeing a trend. In the face of massive tax-and-spend Democrat schemes, Republicans are showing, ehhhh... some onions out there!

And it's a welcome sign. Keep at it, guys.

Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
AP: Massachusetts may Consider a Mileage Charge
AP: Kansas May Delay Tax Refunds, Paychecks
Bloomberg: California Lawmakers Face Lockdown as Budget Falters in Senate

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Remembering the Gipper...

"Bitter as it is to accept the results of the November election, we should have reason for some optimism. For many years now we have preached 'the gospel,' in opposition to the philosophy of so-called liberalism, which was, in truth, a call to collectivism. Now, it is possible we have been persuasive to a greater degree than we had ever realized. Few, if any, Democratic Party candidates in the last election ran as liberals. Listening to them I had the eerie feeling we were hearing reruns of Goldwater speeches. I even thought I heard a few of my own. Bureaucracy was assailed and fiscal responsibility hailed. ... But let's not be so naive as to think we are witnessing a mass conversion to the principles of conservatism. Once sworn into office, the victors reverted to type. In their view, apparently, the ends justified the means."
Ronald Reagan

Ex-VP Dick Cheney outraged President Bush didn't grant 'Scooter' Libby full pardon

WASHINGTON (NY Daily News) - In the waning days of the Bush administration, Vice President Dick Cheney launched a last-ditch campaign to persuade his boss to pardon Lewis (Scooter) Libby - and was furious when President George W. Bush wouldn't budge.

Sources close to Cheney told the Daily News the former vice president repeatedly pressed Bush to pardon Libby, arguing his ex-chief of staff and longtime alter ego deserved a full exoneration - even though Bush had already kept Libby out of jail by commuting his 30-month prison sentence.

"He tried to make it happen right up until the very end," one Cheney associate said.

McCain's Daughter and Former Campaign Manager to Speak At Homosexual Republican Group Convention

(CBN News) - John McCain’s daughter, Meagan McCain is scheduled to speak at the gay Log Cabin Republican Convention this April. Her seminar will be titled as follows:

"Losing the Next Generation—How can the Republican Party attract more young voters?"

Oh, by the way, McCain’s campaign manager Steve Schmidt will also be speaking. His topic? Here’s how it is listed in their convention agenda:

“Moving Forward—Steve Schmidt, John McCain's campaign manager, discusses the campaign and the Party's path forward."

Scare Tactics

(Fox News) - Former Astronaut Harrison Schmitt says scientists are being intimidated into not speaking out against man-made global warming theories.

"They've seen too many of their colleagues lose grant funding when they haven't gone along with the so-called political consensus that we're in a human-caused global warming."

Schmitt recently resigned from a non-profit space exploration organization known as the Planetary Society after the group blamed global warming on human activity. In his resignation letter he said the "global warming scare is being used as a political tool to increase government control over American lives, incomes and decision making."

Funny Money

(Fox News) - New York Democratic Governor David Paterson reportedly has secretly given 16 of his top staffers pay raises of up to 46%. The New York Post says the moves came after Paterson asked 130,000 state workers to give up a three percent pay hike because of the state's $15.5 billion budget deficit. His emergency declaration in August required the state to cut spending and impose a hiring freeze.

The single largest raise — almost $40,000 — was given to a confidential assistant. A Paterson spokesman says the raises are new salaries for new positions. The Post reports that is only true in two of the 16 cases.

Critic’s Corner

(Fox News) - Even the liberal Washington Post is unimpressed by a new HBO documentary created by the daughter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Alexandra Pelosi's film — "Right America: Feeling Wronged — Some Voices From the Campaign Trail" — is billed as a forum for supporters of John McCain and Sarah Palin that tries to explain why die-hard conservatives feel aggrieved. But The Post says, "it's drive-by journalism... a string of stupefyingly brief hit-and-run interviews with a bunch of unidentified people... we know they're going to sound like yahoos, often goaded, always reduced to sound bites and caricatures."

"All the conventions of the smirking, winking, belittling political documentary are abided by in this film... this is less a documentary than a reason for a snarky laugh track."

Media Members Join Obama Administration

Reporting for Duty

(Fox News) - Another member of the mainstream media is joining the Obama administration. Jill Zuckman of the Chicago Tribune will serve as Transportation Secretary Ray La-Hood's assistant and director of public affairs. Zuckman is the second Tribune company reporter who has accepted a role in the new administration this month.

Peter Gosselin — who previously reported for the Los Angeles Times — left to become chief speechwriter for Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Former Time Magazine Washington bureau chief Jay Carney is now Vice President Biden's communications director.

And CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta is said to be among the top candidates to become the next surgeon general.

Rush Limbaugh's Morning Update: Flying High

From Rush Limbaugh: During the economic stimulus debate, Democrats repeatedly smeared the private aviation industry starting with a vitriolic attack on auto executives who flew corporate jets to Washington for congressional hearings. Their accomplices in the Drive-By Media followed suit, with stories slamming companies scheduled to take delivery on aircraft they ordered years ago. At a town meeting, President Obama joined the witch hunt, saying executives, "Just can't get corporate jets" to go to Las Vegas "on the taxpayer's dime."

I spent an hour on my show discussing how vital the private aviation industry is to this country's economic health – and the millions of skilled jobs it produces. During that monologue, I also mentioned the large fleet of aircraft, identical to the corporate jets under attack, owned and flown by the government.

Circumstances have underscored the point. The Senate vote to pass the trillion-dollar Porkulus bill (which President Obama will sign today) was held open for five hours, because Democrats needed one more vote. Democrat Senator Sherrod Brown, in Ohio (because his mother had passed) was that deciding vote.

The White House made arrangements for Senator Brown to be flown in to vote and then taken back to Ohio – on a government private jet. There will be no humiliation, vilification, or worries over the taxpayer dime, because there are two sets of rules in America: One for elected Democrats. The other, for we the plebes, the peasants, the Great Unwashed, the Victims.

It's over.

Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
AP: Senator Brown Casts Decisive Stimulus Vote
Cessna Aircraft Company: Cessna Launches Campaign to Counter Business Aircraft Misinformation
Wall Street Journal: Cessna Fights Back On Private-Jet Trend