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.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
But now, in a little-noticed move, the House Financial Services Committee, led by chairman Barney Frank, has approved a measure that would, in some key ways, go beyond the most draconian features of the original AIG bill. The new legislation, the "Pay for Performance Act of 2009," would impose government controls on the pay of all employees -- not just top executives -- of companies that have received a capital investment from the U.S. government. It would, like the tax measure, be retroactive, changing the terms of compensation agreements already in place. And it would give Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner extraordinary power to determine the pay of thousands of employees of American companies.
Obama’s move to oust the CEO of GM and put Detroit on notice that he is prepared to let icons of American industry fail if they refuse to bend to his will was a calculated attempt to send a message, said an official often consulted by the administration. And that message was unmistakable: In any business-government partnership, Obama himself expects to play the dominant role.
“He’s realizing, ‘Hey, the economy’s mine now, and I better do it my way,’” said the official. “So the administration is collaring people and letting them know who’s in charge. The days of saying, ‘It’s not our economy’ have come to an end.”
RALEIGH (Carolina Journal Online) — The latest increase in North Carolina's unemployment rate should signal government leaders to stop pursuing policies that have no chance of improving the economy. That's the assessment of a John Locke Foundation analyst with a Ph.D. in economics.
A new report from the N.C. Employment Security Commission lists the state's unemployment rate at 10.7 percent for February, up a full percentage point from the January rate of 9.7 percent. North Carolina's unemployment rate has climbed for 13 consecutive months. The February rate is the highest recorded rate since the state started keeping seasonally adjusted data, according to the ESC.
"As unemployment rates continue to rise, I hope lawmakers and administration bureaucrats notice that the policies they're pushing are not helping the economy," said economist Dr. Roy Cordato, JLF Vice President for Research and Resident Scholar. "What's more important to note is that these policies have no chance of helping the economy. They can only delay economic recovery or make current economic conditions worse."
Straying Husband Caught by Google 'Cheat' View
She saw the Range Rover while using the Internet giant's new Street View service to snoop on a female friend's home.
The hubby had claimed he was away on business, but his missus recognized his SUV immediately because of its blinged-up hubcaps.
The love cheat is not the only husband trapped by Google's controversial new 360-degree photo search, which covers 25 cities and towns throughout Britain.
Top media lawyer Mark Stephens said: "I was talking about the Range Rover case when another divorce lawyer came up to say his firm was dealing with the same sort of thing. People are getting caught out on Google. I suspect the husband's lawyers will claim it was an invasion of privacy that will cost him his marriage and Range Rover."
The video purporting to show Vice President Joe Biden's daughter Ashley snorting cocaine was preplanned by a man trying to get rich selling the tape, RadarOnline.com has learned exclusively.
The man, who is apparently a friend of Ashley's, even bought the cocaine and the hidden camera, our investigation has uncovered.
From Rush Limbaugh: It's a dire day for American capitalism as we've known it.
Article -> WSJ: Obama Outlines Plans for GM, Chrysler
But now, New York's unelected Governor, David Paterson, and Democrats in the state legislature, have decided that raising high-earners' taxes will plug New York’s fiscal holes. The tax rate on New York achievers will jump to almost 8 percent for single earners making over $250,000 and for families earning over $300,000. Families who make over a half million will see a tax increase of 31 percent to over 9 percent. This is supposedly a "temporary" tax hike, but check the toll on your bridge that was supposed to expire 40 or 50 years ago and see how temporary works.
These tax increases hit the same people that Obama and his Democrats in Congress have already targeted, so it's a double whammy. And these increases will kill small businesses off by the score. New York is a dark blue state. A lot of these tax-increase victims voted for Obama and their Democrat state oppressors; so why would I talk about their miseries?
I'll tell you why. These punitive tax increases to fund an out-of-control welfare state debase the freedom from confiscatory taxes that our nation was founded on. They are liberty-crushing and they won't work! To those of you finally ready to flee New York to escape this madness, just know this: I beat you to it. I left in '97, try that.
Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
• WCBS: NY Budget Plan Jam-Packed With Higher Taxes Proposed $131.8B
Tax-And-Spend Plan Has Critics Howling
Monday, March 30, 2009
Those are the views of the man on track to become one of the US government's top lawyers: Harold Koh.
President Obama has nominated Koh -- until last week the dean of Yale Law School -- to be the State Department's legal adviser. In that job, Koh would forge a wide range of international agreements on issues from trade to arms control, and help represent our country in such places as the United Nations and the International Court of Justice.
It's a job where you want a strong defender of America's sovereignty. But that's not Koh. He's a fan of "transnational legal process," arguing that the distinctions between US and international law should vanish.
RALEIGH (Carolina Journal Online) — Washington lawyers assisting Attorney General Roy Cooper in his suit against the Tennessee Valley Authority used North Carolina gas-tax revenue to purchase alcohol, candy, airline flight upgrades, and valet parking, an investigation by Carolina Journal reveals.
The expenses, confirmed by invoices obtained by CJ, were part of $1 million in gas-tax revenue paid to the Ayres Law Group, which was hired at a cost of up to $515 per hour to assist Cooper in the widely publicized pollution control case.
Meanwhile, a worsening economy is putting the pinch on North Carolina’s already strained transportation account, a portion of which is funded through gas tax revenue. The N.C. Department of Transportation is tightening its belt in anticipation of a hefty state budget shortfall, postponing three-fourths of its planned projects and trimming road maintenance, including pothole repair.
On Monday, President Barack Obama is to unveil his plans for the auto industry, including a response to a request for additional funds by GM and Chrysler. The plan is based on recommendations from the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry, headed by the Treasury Department.
The White House confirmed Wagoner was leaving at the government's behest after The Associated Press reported his immediate departure, without giving a reason.
From ABC News: Officials at the University of Notre Dame are standing firmly behind their decision to invite President Obama to deliver the university's commencement address, despite strong opposition from some vocal Catholics.
The university's invitation to the president to speak at the May 17 ceremony has prompted a northwest Indiana bishop to say he will boycott it and has sparked an online campaign from a Catholic advocacy group trying to get Obama uninvited.
The Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., the university's president, said in a statement that the invitation does not mean Notre Dame supports all of Obama's decisions and that it should not be taken as condoning or endorsing his positions on issues like abortion and embryonic stem cell research.
Buried inside this 407-page law is a requirement that laborers and mechanics employed on any government stimulus project must be paid the "prevailing wage."
Sounds harmless enough. Until you realize that the "prevailing wage" is calculated to match what union members earn. AP ran the numbers. In Madison, Wisconsin, the average bricklayer currently earns about 26 bucks an hour. But once the "prevailing wage" standard is applied, each Porkulus-supported bricklayer will get a $10,000-a-year raise. Cement workers will see close to a $20,000 bonus.
This cozy little arrangement will dramatically drive up the cost of construction. Unions are delighted because this opens the door for them to negotiate even higher wages to maintain their status as highly skilled workers. But ultimately, the biggest beneficiaries of this multi-million-dollar bonus scheme are elected Democrats. In return for the millions they're spreading to their union allies, they stand to gain even more campaign contributions and "get-out-the-vote" efforts.
This is why Democrats insisted that the bill be rushed through Congress without being read, and what Democrats meant when they said "crises" were opportunities to be exploited. The only thing they had in mind to "stimulate" is their own political self-interest. (We're talking above the waist; don't worry.) Take that to your nearest nationalized bank and try to cash that.
Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
• AP: Gov't Stimulus Projects Include Wage Requirements
Saturday, March 28, 2009
ShamWow Guy Arrested for Punching Prostitute Who Tried to Bite Off His Tongue
Friday, March 27, 2009
Grandfather Mountain gets OK as state park
RALEIGH (Winston-Salem Journal) - Grandfather Mountain, known for its rugged hiking trails, its annual Highland Games and its iconic mile-high bridge, will become North Carolina's newest state park.
The General Assembly gave final approval yesterday to a bill that allows the mountain to become part of the state-parks system.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for the people of North Carolina to add to the state-parks system a piece of property that is a treasure both for North Carolina and for the nation," said state Rep. Cullie Tarleton, D-Watauga.
The state is buying 2,456 acres, consisting mostly of the higher elevations and backcountry areas of Grandfather Mountain in Avery, Caldwell and Watauga counties.
The state is paying $12 million, but no budget appropriations were necessary, because the money is coming from two trust funds -- the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund and the Natural Heritage Trust Fund.
The agreement also contains a conservation easement on 749 acres that includes the mountain's main tourist attractions, such as the nature museum and the mile-high swinging bridge. That part of the property will still be owned by the family of the late Hugh Morton.
Grandfather Mountain will be North Carolina's 34th state park.
The deal was announced last year by former Gov. Mike Easley, and it was approved by the Council of State, a panel of top executive-branch officials.
The final step was approval by the General Assembly. The House passed the bill unanimously yesterday, 21/2 weeks after the Senate approved it.
The bill now goes to Gov. Bev Perdue, who is expected to sign it.
Sadly, many Americans will embrace this news, buying the liberal lie that our economic health was put at risk by an absence of regulations. If we as nation accept that premise, the real culprit will escape unpunished -- and unreformed.
You see, folks, the excesses which led us here have their root in Washington, DC. It was politicians and unelected bureaucrats who created the sub-prime mortgage crisis, and it was those same politicians who ignored warnings of a festering crisis. It was politicians who set up the schemes that govern banking, insurance, and international trading. The oversight problems were not due to an absence of regulation, but rather an absence of competence.
The bloated federal government has more systemic fraud than our private sector ever has, or ever will -- which is why liberal politicians conjure up villains in the private sector. They send a modern lynch mob out over a few millions in bonus money while they squander trillions on bankrupt programs that rob our freedoms and economic future. The real "excess" in our society runs down both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue -- not Wall Street.
And for those of you who were listening to my final comments on the over-the-air broadcast yesterday -- Thursday -- let me say, from the bottom of my heart, and from the center of my brain: I'm sorry. I apologize.
Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
• WSJ.com: Geithner Wants New Rules to Check Risks
Thursday, March 26, 2009
(Chicago Tribune) - Before its portfolio of bad loans helped trigger the current housing crisis, mortgage giant Freddie Mac was the focus of a major accounting scandal that led to a management shake-up, huge fines and scalding condemnation of passive directors by a top federal regulator.
One of those allegedly asleep-at-the-switch board members was Chicago's Rahm Emanuel—now chief of staff to President Barack Obama—who made at least $320,000 for a 14-month stint at Freddie Mac that required little effort.
As gatekeeper to Obama, Emanuel now plays a critical role in addressing the nation's mortgage woes and fulfilling the administration's pledge to impose responsibility on the financial world.
Flashback Audio: Obama Explains How Redistributing White Suburban Wealth Equals ‘Salvation’
"My individual salvation is not going to come about without a collective salvation for the country."
On September 19, 2008, her only child, 16-year-old Sonia Luster, decided to take a popular shortcut to North Stokes High School and was killed when the car she was driving hit an oncoming truck.
Now Dee and others in the North Stokes district want the shortcut—Clyde Amos Road—to be shut down on the side where Sonia was killed. “I personally would like to have (Highway) 89 and Clyde Amos totally closed down,” Dee told the Stokes County Board of Commissioners on Monday night.
Card check story
(radiovice) - This story takes place in Albion, IN at the Dana Corp auto parts plant. Two years ago the UAW showed up and tried to organize via card check. It was the employees who stopped it but it wasn't easy. I am a union member just so you know. But card check isn't necessary ... and I am afraid very wrong.
Several members of the Obama administration worked for financial companies that received bailout funds, raising the question of whether they should keep any bonus they received.
At least three members of the still-growing team of political appointees, for example, worked at Citigroup and were eligible for year-end bonuses. One of the former Citigroup executives, Michael Froman, the deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs, has decided to give his bonus to charity. The White House declined to provide specific details on what the other two — the deputy Secretary of State, Jacob J. Lew, and David A. Lipton, the White House’s senior director for international economics — will do.
Bloomberg's Tax Lesson
(The Wall Street Journal) - Let us now praise New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has learned a few things about tax rates and incentives.
New York state and city revenues are falling amid the collapse of Wall Street, and state lawmakers in Albany are considering income tax hikes for households earning between $250,000 and $1 million, who already pay 6.85% to the state. Meanwhile, the New York Post reports that City Council Speaker Christine Quinn wants to increase the city's top tax rate of 3.68% for households earning as little as $297,000 (to 4.25%); those earning $532,000 to $1.2 million would pay 4.45%; and above that 4.65%.
But late last week Mayor Bloomberg was channelling these columns when he said that raising taxes on high earners could drive them from the city. "One percent of the households that file in this city pay something like 50% of the taxes," explained the Mayor. "In the city, that's something like 40,000 people. If a handful left, any raise would make it revenue neutral. The question is what's fair. If 1% are paying 50% of the taxes, you want to make it even more?"
This is a different argument than Hizzoner made in 2003, when he called New York City a "luxury product" and said people would gladly pay more to live there. But that was when the federal government was cutting tax rates, and Wall Street was set to boom. Now the financial industry -- which has provided about 20% of city and state revenues -- will emerge from recession smaller than before, and grand bonuses may not return for years.
New York's combined state-local tax rate of 10.5% is already well above New Jersey (8.97%), Pennsylvania (6.98%), Connecticut (5%), or Florida (0%). Which is to say that Mr. Bloomberg is right that New York's upper middle class has plenty of options if the politicians give them another reason to move.
Senate Democrats, grappling with President Obama's $3.6 trillion budget request, have come up a plan. In order to make the numbers work, the Obama tax cuts -- which are now supposedly coming to 95 percent of all American taxpayers -- will go away.
Senate Budget Committee chairman Kent Conrad and his fellow Democrats plan to wait until after the 2010 elections to kill off your middle-class tax cut. That means the $7 a week Democrats put in your pocket is just too much of a burden to be endured long term. In order for your government to stave off financial ruin, your tax cut can't stay.
Couples who got $13 a week will obviously face the hardest obstacles. But you'll be gratified to learn that Democrats aren't planning to trim any of their huge spending increases, so government welfare programs will continue to grow.
Over in the House, Democrats have announced plans to put socialized health care plans in a "fast track" bill that will prevent Republicans from defeating it once it reaches the Senate. So if Democrats get their way, your tax cuts will be gone, and you'll get socialized medicine in the same dose. Yeah, it's big load of... stuff. But, don't choke on it; we told you it was coming. Swallow it!
Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
• AP: Democrats to Take a Knife to Obama's Budget
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Wednesday funnies :-)
People made a big deal out of the fact this is the first time a sitting president has done a late-night show. We tried to have other presidents on, but President Bush went to bed every night at 9:00. And President Clinton always seemed to have other late-night plans.
More problems for AIG: It turns out that the bonus money was actually $218 million, not $165 million as originally reported. AIG says they misplaced $53 million in bonus money. Today Sen. Chris Dodd said, "You mean that wasn't a campaign contribution?"
Senator Chris Dodd -- or 'Chris Dodge,' as they're calling him now -- after first denying it, now admits he's the one who eliminated the provision in the stimulus package that outlawed excessive bonuses. And coincidentally, he just happened to receive $280,000 from AIG in campaign contributions. What are the odds of that?
Congress is now investigating the special treatment that "Senator Dodge" ... received from Countrywide Mortgage for a couple of mortgages. Senator Dodd has contended he didn't know he was getting special rates on the mortgages. And, really, to be fair, how would the Senate chairman of the banking committee have any idea what the normal lending rate would be?
RALEIGH (By David N. Bass, Carolina Journal Online) - State Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, isn’t keen on using North Carolina gasoline tax revenue to join the Climate Registry, a California-based nonprofit that seeks to fight global warming.
Berger recently criticized the use of gas tax funds for expenditures unrelated to transportation, including two payments made by the N.C. Division of Air Quality to the registry.
“We’ve talked for years about the transfer from the highway trust fund of the $170 million, plus the additional [money] that Easley and the Democrats approved over the last 10 years or so,” Berger said in a telephone interview with Carolina Journal. “There has not been a lot of discussion about the other transfers of those dollars, and this is just another example.”
(By Michelle Malkin) - My syndicated column today looks at the massive expansion of government-funded “national service.” Debate began yesterday in the Senate, where the $6 billion SERVE Act’s primary co-sponsors are Sens. Ted Kennedy and…Orrin Hatch. And there’s the rub. Since its inception, AmeriCorps has been a bipartisan-supported beast. The Evil Party and the Stupid Party strike again. If this does lead to the establishment of a civilian national security force, as Obama signaled during the campaign, Republicans who vote for this Trojan Horse will have no one to blame but themselves.
Volcker, 81, who heads the president’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, is being asked to take a top-to-bottom look at the laws in an effort to rebalance the tax system.
Orszag said the review, given a deadline of Dec. 4, is being ordered to make recommendations on steps to simplify the code, built over the last 96 years, in ways that would reduce tax evasion and what he called “corporate welfare.”
"I haven’t read the governor’s proposal. He’s a very thoughtful, very careful distinguished central banker. I generally find him sensible on every issue," Geithner said, saying that however his interpretation of the proposal was to increase the use of International Monetary Fund's special drawing rights -- shares in the body held by its members -- not creating a new currency in the literal sense.
"We’re actually quite open to that suggestion – you should see it as rather evolutionary rather building on the current architecture rather than moving us to global monetary union," he said.
Right Talker Mark Levin Unloads on Geithner on ‘Cavuto’
"There are no limits on our government today. They're about -- you know, they've close to nationalizing the automobile industry. Frankly, they basically nationalized the steel industry. They control the labor unions in giving them the authority that they give them. They control the products that are produced. They control what comes out of the chimney; they control what goes into the chimney. Now they want to control executive pay, and they're not going to limit it to bailed-out companies."
Gordon Brown Savaged as ‘Devalued Prime Minister of a Devalued Government’ at EU Meet
"Perhaps you would have more moral authority in this house if your actions matched your words. Perhaps you would have more legitimacy in the councils of the world if the United Kingdom were not going into this recession in the worst condition of any G20 country. The truth, Prime Minister, is that you have run out of our money. The country as a whole is now in negative equity. Every British child is born owing around £20,000. Servicing the interest on that debt is going to cost more than educating the child."
(Fox News) - In 2000 and 2001, while Barack Obama served as a board member for a Chicago-based charitable foundation, he helped to fund a pioneering carbon trading exchange that is likely to fill a critical role in the controversial cap-and-trade carbon reduction scheme that President Obama is now trying to push rapidly through Congress.
During those two years, the Joyce Foundation gave nearly $1.1 million in two separate grants that were instrumental in developing and launching the privately-owned Chicago Climate Exchange, which now calls itself "North America's only cap and trade system for all six greenhouse gases, with global affiliates and projects worldwide."
One of those gases is carbon dioxide, the most ubiquitous greenhouse gas and the focus of the most far-reaching -- and contentious -- efforts to combat "climate change." On Monday, Obama's Environmental Protection Agency declared carbon dioxide a public health threat.
STRASBOURG, France (AP) - A top European Union politician on Wednesday slammed U.S. plans to spend its way out of recession as "a way to hell."
Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, told the European Parliament that President Barack Obama's massive stimulus package and banking bailout "will undermine the stability of the global financial market."
A day after his government collapsed because of a parliamentary vote of no-confidence, Topolanek took the EU presidency on a collision course with Washington over how to deal with the global economic recession.
US lawmaker: Obama budget makes US worse than Cuba
"This creates for us a higher deficit than Cuba's. This is not the kind of position we want to put the United States in," Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters.
Other Republican critics of Obama's spending policies, including his nearly 800-billion-dollar economic stimulus package, have variously warned that he risks turning the country into Argentina, France, Germany, or Zimbabwe.
Asked for the figures underpinning the charge, a McConnell aide pointed to a report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office that warned the US budget deficit for fiscal year 2009, ending September 30, would swell to 13.1 percent of Gross Domestic Product.
Cuba's deficit in 2008 was 4.1 percent of GDP using the official exchange rate, or 1.57 percent using another measure of total national output, according to the CIA.
According to official Cuban government figures, Cuba's projected deficit in 2009 will run to 5.6 percent of GDP, less than the 6.7 percent it reached in 2008.
"This may not be the optimal choice for some major newspapers or corporate media chains but it should be an option for many newspapers that are struggling to stay afloat," said Senator Benjamin Cardin.
A Cardin spokesman said the bill had yet to attract any co-sponsors, but had sparked plenty of interest within the media, which has seen plunging revenues and many journalist layoffs.
Quote of the day...
Rarely do we hear a message of sacrifice, unless it is used as a justification of taxation of others or a transfer of wealth to others. Today the message seems to be, 'Ask not what you can do for yourselves and your country, but what your country must do for you.'
Justice Clarence Thomas, speaking at Washington & Lee University
This fight was to be a thing of the past once Obama came to power. Earlier this month, new rules were issued: the new president promised he'd work with Congress in advance to iron out any objections he had to their lawmaking. He vowed he'd act with "caution and restraint" when he did issue a statement, and he'd be very specific -- he'd let Congress know exactly what he found objectionable.
Well, it was just two days after making the grandiose promises: Obama broke his own rules. He didn't bother consulting Congress before issuing a signing statement on top of the massive Porkulus spending bill. Lawmakers say the size and scope Obama's signing statement goes beyond anything Bush or Clinton ever did. Included is a clause that would punish whistleblowers who provide Congress with classified information that the administration wants to keep them in the dark about.
Secrecy! In the most transparent administration in history! On top of repeated broken promises and violated standards.
You liberals wanted "change"? You got it! This is the secrecy of the Nixon White House and the lies of the Clinton White House rolled into one! Guess you libs will have to settle for "hope"... and that seems in short supply these days, too, doesn't it?
Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
• Washington Times: Obama Breaks Own Signing Rules
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Obama’s Chief of Staff Does the ‘Blackberry Shuffle’ During Prime Time News Conference
New Yorker: Next to his computer monitor is a smaller screen that looks like a handheld G.P.S. device and tells Emanuel where the President and senior White House officials are at all times.
Obama Upgrade: Teleprompters Swapped for Giant TV Monitor for News Conference
"He read that opening statement from one massive TV monitor from the back and middle of the East Room. White House officials removed the normal glass teleprompters that usually are positioned on both sides of the podium. That change likely a reaction to the focus on the President's heavy use of teleprompters."
In Connecticut, there is an unexpected opportunity to unseat veteran Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) in 2010. In New Jersey, incumbent Gov. Jon Corzine (D) trails his Republican challenger in the polls. Several House races seem promising in neighboring New York, where Democratic Gov. David Paterson’s bungling of a recent Senate appointment has jeopardized both his seat and the one now held by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).
It’s not exactly a rebirth, but the combination of some self-inflicted Democratic wounds, the economic downturn and the departure of President George W. Bush has shell-shocked Northeastern Republicans cautiously optimistic about their fortunes in 2010.
State Department reporters and observers have been buzzing about the brewing conflict since her second foreign trip, earlier this month, to Europe and the Middle East. On that trip, her longtime Senate press secretary Philippe Reines – one of the combatants in Hillaryland’s long civil wars – took over as the political staffer charged with handling the press.
The trip was marked by tussles over information and access, but it became known for a high-profile blunder in Geneva on March 6. There, Clinton met Sergei Lavrov, the dour Russian Foreign Minister, and cheerily presented him with a large red button in a yellow case, with the words “Reset” and “Peregruzka” written on it.
“We worked hard to get the right Russian word. Do you think we got it?” Clinton asked.
“You got it wrong,” said Lavrov.
(Washington Post) - The Obama administration is considering asking Congress to give the Treasury secretary unprecedented powers to initiate the seizure of non-bank financial companies, such as large insurers, investment firms and hedge funds, whose collapse would damage the broader economy, according to an administration document.
The government at present has the authority to seize only banks.
Giving the Treasury secretary authority over a broader range of companies would mark a significant shift from the existing model of financial regulation, which relies on independent agencies that are shielded from the political process. The Treasury secretary, a member of the president's Cabinet, would exercise the new powers in consultation with the White House, the Federal Reserve and other regulators, according to the document.
Monday, March 23, 2009
There are many varieties of socialism. Some socialists tolerate capitalism, as long as the government maintains the dominant influence over the economy; others insist on an abolition of private enterprise. All communists are socialists, but not all socialists are communists.
Source: Dictionary.com. The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005.
Remembering the Gipper...
"The most dangerous myth is the demagoguery that business can be made to pay a larger share, thus relieving the individual. Politicians preaching this are either deliberately dishonest, or economically illiterate, and either one should scare us. Business doesn't pay taxes.... Only people pay taxes, and people pay as consumers every tax that is assessed against a business. Begin with the food and fiber raised in the farm, to the ore drilled in a mine, to the oil and gas from out of the ground, whatever it may be -- through the processing, through the manufacturing, on out to the retailer's license. If the tax cannot be included in the price of the product, no one along that line can stay in business."
The same applies to government. Governments cannot run Ponzi schemes, accumulating ever-higher amounts of debt. We need to demonstrate that, over time, the total national debt is on a path that leads eventually to its retirement. …
The repercussions over the last three days have been astounding. Sen. Judd Gregg is sounding an alarm over the problem CBO raises. Nouriel Roubini says ”A government that will issue trillions of dollars of new debt to pay for this severe recession and socialize private losses may risk becoming a Ponzi government if–in the medium term–it does not return to fiscal discipline and debt sustainability.” In Canada Diane Francis thinks America may have reached its best-before date. …
Some of this is changing — some people are delaying retirement, others are saving more now — but it’s as if the current administration is turning its back on the very generation that brought it to office. If someone could get them the message…
From CNN: Judd Gregg - Nation headed for bankruptcy
(radiovice) - NH Senator Judd Gregg details Obama's budget ... it's 9 trillion dollar deficit and how it will lead to bankruptcy.
Nearly 200 potential exotic dancers, DJs, bartenders, bouncers, managers and waitresses attended a first-ever job fair yesterday at the Providence-based gentlemen’s club.
In January, with revenues off by 15 percent, Thomas Tsoumas, the nightclub’s co-owner, stripped drink prices in half. As a result, traffic increased at the nondescript concrete landmark and 30 more staff are needed at that club and two others in Massachusetts.
At a time when the federal government is spending billions of stimulus dollars to stem the tide of U.S. layoffs, should that same government put even more Americans out of work by buying cheaper foreign products?
In this case, Chinese condoms.
That's the dilemma for the folks at the U.S. Agency for International Development, which has distributed an estimated 10 billion U.S.-made AIDS-preventing condoms in poor countries around the world.
But not anymore.
In a move expected to cost 300 American jobs, the government is switching to cheaper off-shore condoms, including some made in China.
Such power is unheard of and would change the way the military responds to various kinds of threats from land, sea and air.
"The laser has a mix of very unique traits of high-interest for the military," Dan Wildt, vice president of Northrop's directed energy systems program said. It can travel at the speed of light, offer ultrahigh precision to limit collateral damage and can engage a target instantly, he noted.
Inslee, who participated in a conference entitled "Planning for a Secure Energy Future” sponsored by the Washington Post, also recommended a ban on future drilling in the arctic, where he says there is a “gold rush” for oil uncovered by melting ice caps.
But Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), who serves on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and also attended the conference, told CNSNews.com that offshore oil drilling should provide an integral part of American energy and recommended the Interior Department begin distributing offshore oil drilling leases.
“At some point, [the Defense of Marriage Act] is going to have to go to the United States Supreme Court,” Frank said. “I wouldn’t want it to go to the United States Supreme Court now because that homophobe Antonin Scalia has too many votes on this current court.”
Frank also said in the interview that he thinks President Barack Obama will reverse the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy to allow homosexuals to serve openly in the U.S. military.
Obama supports abortion on demand, government funding of abortion, government funding of stem cell research that kills human embryos, legally granting same-sex unions all the rights and privileges of marriage, and repealing the federal Defense of Marriage Act that protects states from being forced to recognize same-sex marriages contracted in other states as they otherwise might be compelled to under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution.
The Catholic Church holds that abortion and same-sex unions are immoral and must be opposed.
Video Captures Moment of FedEx Plane Crash at Tokyo Airport That Killed Two
AFP: Television footage showed the three-engine wide-body airplane tip sideways shortly after touch-down in strong winds and then, as one of its wings clipped the ground at high speed, burst into a fireball.
In a wide ranging interview broadcast Sunday night, Obama was pressed by Steve Kroft on "60 Minutes" for at times laughing or smiling while discussing the global economic crisis.
From Fox News: In a wide ranging interview broadcast Sunday night, Obama was pressed by Steve Kroft on "60 Minutes" for at times laughing or smiling while discussing the global economic crisis.
"You're sitting here. And you're laughing. You are laughing about some of these problems," Kroft told the president. "Are people going to look at this and say, 'I mean, he's sitting there just making jokes about money?' How do you deal with -- I mean: explain ... Are you punch-drunk?"
"No, no. There's gotta be a little gallows humor to get you through the day," Obama replied, with a laugh.
Last week we learned that despite his early denials, Chris Dodd did tinker with the legislation that paved the way for the AIG bonuses to be paid. Chris then tried to blame his staff and Tim Geithner at Treasury.
Dodd is among the Democrats largely responsible for the sub-prime mortgage fiasco. He was also one of the Very Important People who got special treatment on his own mortgage from Countrywide -- one of the biggest players in the mortgage scandals. The Democrat-led Senate ethics committee is trying to figure out how to whitewash that one.
And then there's the "pardon" issue. Edward Downe, one of Dodd's buddies with whom he owned property, was a powerful director at Bear Stearns. He was convicted of insider trading. Dodd wrote a letter to his pals in the Clinton White House, calling Downe a "good person" -- and magically, a pardon was granted.
Now, it's early yet, so Democrats think all this will blow over by 2010; they're not worried for old Chris. But if the chickens are ever going to come home to roost for Chris Dodd, this next election would be a sub-prime time, folks, and some say it's overdue.
Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
• AP: Dodd's political stock tumbles in Connecticut
Friday, March 20, 2009
Gingrich on AIG: Congress Thinks It’s ‘Better To Be In The Lynch Mob Than To Be Lynched’
"There's something truly despicable about what the Congress is doing right now. And it’s all demagoguery because the voters are angry and they figure it’s better to be in the lynch mob than to be lynched.”
“Barack Obama is the first Hispanic president the same way Bill Clinton was the first black” president, Rivera said at the conference, which took place Thursday at the U.S. Capitol.
Rivera also said the Hispanic community should “give the president some slack” in keeping that promise on immigration reform, given the pressing problems with the economy and other priorities, including health care.
(Fox News) - Democrats may want to start thinking about a bailout for Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, whose political stock has slipped amid the financial meltdown.
As a five-term Democrat who blew out his last two opponents by 2-1 margins in a blue state that President Obama won handily, Dodd, D-Conn., should be cruising to re-election in 2010. Instead, he's feeling heat from a Republican challenger eager to make him a poster boy for the tumult in the housing and financial markets.
A recent poll showed former Rep. Rob Simmons running about even with Dodd, a former national Democratic Party chairman.
The Congressional Budget Office says the deficit under President Obama's policies would never go below 4 percent of the size of the economy, figures that economists agree are unsustainable.
(Fox News) - President Obama's budget would generate deficits averaging almost $1 trillion a year over the next decade, according to the latest congressional estimates, significantly worse than predicted by the White House just last month.
The Congressional Budget Office figures, obtained by The Associated Press Friday, predict Obama's budget will produce $9.3 trillion worth of red ink over 2010-2019. That's $2.3 trillion worse than the White House predicted in its budget.
Worst of all, CBO says the deficit under Obama's policies would never go below 4 percent of the size of the economy, figures that economists agree are unsustainable. By the end of the decade, the deficit would exceed 5 percent of gross domestic product, a dangerously high level.
‘Shocked at the Shock’: Rep. McCotter Slams Those Protecting AIG Bonuses in Stimulus Bill
"Every single Democrat in this House that voted for that bill voted to approve and protect those AIG bonuses."
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Alas, when the PM settled down to begin watching them the other night, he found there was a problem.
The films only worked in DVD players made in North America and the words "wrong region" came up on his screen. Although he mournfully had to put the popcorn away, he is unlikely to jeopardise the special relationship – or "special partnership", as we are now supposed to call it – by registering a complaint.
A Downing Street spokesman said he was "confident" that any gift Obama gave Brown would have been "well thought through," but referred me to the White House for assistance on the "technical aspects".
President Obama, in his taping with Jay Leno Thursday afternoon, attempted to yuk it up with the funnyman, and ended up insulting the disabled.
Towards the end of his approximately 40-minute appearance, the president talked about how he's gotten better at bowling and has been practicing in the White House bowling alley.
He bowled a 129, the president said.
"That's very good, Mr. President," Leno said sarcastically.
It's "like the Special Olympics or something," the president said.
Quoting interviews and letters from widely scattered sources, Cathey makes a case that Lincoln’s mother, Nancy Hanks, became pregnant as a servant girl in the home of Abraham Enloe, located on Ocona Lufta, about 14 miles from Bryson City in what is now Swain County.
Abraham Enloe fathered nine sons and seven daughters by his wife (a former Miss Egerton). The ninth and only surviving son in 1899 was Wesley M. Enloe. Wesley was 88 years old when he was interviewed by Cathey at the Enloe home — the same house on the same farm where his father and mother lived when Nancy Hanks was banished from the household and sent to Kentucky.
(Fox News) - Barack Obama picked North Carolina to defeat Louisville for the NCAA championship, a relatively safe selection for a trailblazing president.
Obama spent part of Tuesday making his tournament picks for ESPN, which posted his completed bracket online Wednesday and showed the First Fan filling it out with Andy Katz on the noon edition of "Sportscenter."
Of course, the president's choice drew a reaction from the Tar Heels' most intense rival.
"Somebody said that we're not in President Obama's Final Four, and as much as I respect what he's doing, really, the economy is something that he should focus on, probably more than the brackets," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said from the Blue Devils' first-round site in Greensboro, N.C.
RALEIGH (By Jay Schalin, Carolina Journal) - The problem with letting “the good times” roll is that it is hard to stop the rolling when the economy goes downhill.
During the last few years, while North Carolina’s powerful economy filled the state coffers, the University of North Carolina started many new, expensive programs. After the 2007 legislative season, UNC officials praised the General Assembly for its generosity.
This year, with tax revenues falling, those new programs still require funding, even as the university system explores making cuts to key academic programs. Richard Bostic of the legislature’s Fiscal Research Division estimates that the system will need $38 million in permanent cuts and $143.5 million in “one-time budget reversions.” The Fiscal Research Division provides information about the budget to the legislature.
“These cuts will be painful,” UNC system President Erskine Bowles said at the Board of Governors meeting Feb. 13.
The terms of the book deal were disclosed in a Senate financial disclosure report filed Tuesday.
Analysts say there don't appear to be any rules that would bar such transactions after a president takes office, but it's unclear whether an incoming or sitting president has ever signed a book deal upon entering the White House.
From Rush Limbaugh: Obama's prompter turns on him at St. Pat's party.
She accused them of kicking in doors in the middle of the night in order to send parents away from their children. "It must be stopped... what value system is that? I think it's un-American," she said. But she did have kind words for the immigrants in the audience -- including those here illegally. They are "very, very patriotic," because they are taking responsibility "for our country's future."
Now, I know nany of you find this sickening. You wonder why those who enforce our laws are called "un-American," while those who break the law are called patriots. You remember Democrats like Dick Durbin and John Murtha comparing our military to Nazis and falsely accusing them of murder. You remember John Kerry accusing our troops of atrocities they did not commit -- yet years later he's elevated to the status of "war hero."
And now, government policy calls for the irresponsible to be bailed out by the responsible; achievers to be punished while losers are rewarded. Tax cheats run government agencies, while the House speaker attacks those who put their lives on the line defending our borders.
What you are witnessing is liberalism on parade; unplugged. You see an America... 180 degrees out of phase. Some of you voted for it -- you should be ashamed.
Read the Background Material on the Morning Update...
• Fox News: Pelosi Tells Illegal Immigrants That Work Site Raids are Un-American
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
NC woman hopes to cash in after dog's deposit
She remembered leaving it in the bedroom and it occurred to her that the family's 2-year-old greater Swiss mountain dog, Augie, might have eaten it.
Davis, 42, said when she took Augie for a walk Saturday, she found parts of three $100 bills and five $20s in his leavings. She washed them with a garden hose and hopes to find enough pieces to exchange them for cash.
A professor at the North Carolina State University Veterinary School said the money shouldn't hurt the dog.
Good point by Dr. Will...
Wednesday funnies :-)
The U.S. Justice department said they will no longer use the term "enemy combatant" when talking about detainees at Guantanamo Bay. The new name will be "guys who make you nervous when they're on your flight."
The insurance company AIG has done it again. They announced they're giving their executives another $165 million in bonuses. So they bankrupt the company, took $170 billion of our dollars, and they're giving out bonuses. You know the main thing they want to reward their people for? Convincing the Treasury Department to give out $170 billion to a failing company.
Now it turns out they gave $35 billion -- not million -- $35 billion of our money to bail out European banks. See, this is how a global economy works. Our hard earned tax dollars are used to bail out German banks for making bad investments in American companies that shut down because their Japanese owners moved the whole thing to India, China and Mexico. You follow?
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner was called before Congress again. Geithner defended himself against criticism, saying he inherited this crisis. In fact, he said when the economy started this downturn he was busy in the private sector cheating on his taxes.
Because of the bad economy, they're laying off employees on "Sesame Street." It's pretty sad. Elmo is now out on the street letting people tickle him for $5.
Advocates for the drug war often hypothesize nightmare scenarios where the legalization of drugs will lead to chaos and total social breakdown, constructing fantasies about legions of chemically addled criminals preying upon the helpless citizenry while in search of their next high. But, as has been seen in Colombia and more recently in Mexico, it is actually the illegalization of drugs that causes social devastation, as the drug war's efforts to interdict supply only increases the price of drugs and therefore the profit of the criminal gangs willing to trade in them. As these profits grow, so too does the power of the drug-dealing criminals, until they are strong enough to directly contest local and state government authorities. Or, as is all too often the case, simply purchase and control them.
WASHINGTON (Fox News) - The House of Representatives is expected to pass a measure Wednesday that supporters are calling the most sweeping reform of nationally-backed volunteer programs since AmeriCorps. But some opponents are strongly criticizing the legislation, calling it expensive indoctrination and forced advocacy.
The Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act, known as the GIVE Act -- sponsored by Reps. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y, and George Miller, D-Calif. -- was approved by a 34-3 vote in the House Education and Labor Committee last week.
The legislation would create 175,000 "new service opportunities" under AmeriCorps, bringing the number of participants in the national volunteer program to 250,000. It would also create additional "corps" to expand the reach of volunteerism into new sectors, including a Clean Energy Corps, Education Corps, Healthy Futures Corps and Veterans Service Corps, and it expands the National Civilian Community Corps to focus on additional areas like disaster relief and energy conservation.
(Fox News) - Your lungs may work just fine, but the estimated price for universal health care could take your breath away.
Health policy experts say guaranteeing coverage for all Americans may cost about $1.5 trillion over the next decade. That would be more than double the $634 billion 'down payment' President Barack Obama set aside for health reform in his budget.
About 48 million people are uninsured, and the problem is only expected to get worse because the cost of coverage keeps rising.
Still, administration officials have pointedly avoided providing a ballpark estimate for Obama's fix, saying it depends on details to be worked out with Congress.
(Fox News) - The U.S. Census is supposed to be free of politics, but one group with a history of voter fraud, ACORN, is participating in next year's count, raising concerns about the politicization of the decennial survey.
The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now signed on as a national partner with the U.S. Census Bureau in February 2009 to assist with the recruitment of the 1.4 million temporary workers needed to go door-to-door to count every person in the United States -- currently believed to be more than 306 million people.
A U.S. Census "sell sheet," an advertisement used to recruit national partners, says partnerships with groups like ACORN "play an important role in making the 2010 Census successful," including by "help[ing] recruit census workers."
(Fox News) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recently told a group of both legal and illegal immigrants and their families that enforcement of existing immigration laws, as currently practiced, is "un-American."
The speaker, condemning raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, referred to the immigrants she was addressing as "very, very patriotic."
"Who in this country would not want to change a policy of kicking in doors in the middle of the night and sending a parent away from their families?" Pelosi told a mostly Hispanic gathering at St. Anthony's Church in San Francisco.
"It must be stopped....What value system is that? I think it's un-American. I think it's un-American."