Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Rustlers

Cattle rustlers, casting aside saddle and spurs for modern horsepower, are roaming the West with four-wheel drive and GPS technology in a resurgence of livestock thievery considered a hanging offense on the old frontier.

State livestock officials said the increase in cattle crimes was linked to the slumping economy, soaring beef prices and the advent of handheld global positioning systems that allow rustlers to more easily navigate the wide-open range.

They said contemporary thieves may find it more convenient and lucrative to pick off a couple cows, worth as much as $2,000 a head, than to rob a convenience store.

"When the market is extremely high, the bad guys come out," Idaho State Brand Inspector Larry Hayhurst said.

Hayhurst said the incidence of cattle gone missing under suspicious circumstances in Idaho during the past three months had already surpassed the 250 such reports he received for all of last year. That coincides with spikes in cattle thefts in Colorado, Montana, Nevada, Wyoming and elsewhere.

Colorado State Brand Inspector Jim Easthouse looks over a sheet listing cattle headed for auction in Fort Collins, Colo.

Regionwide tallies for rustling are hard to come by because no uniform reporting system or central database exists.

However, Western state livestock agencies have put the value of cattle deemed lost, stolen, strayed or in questionable ownership in recent years in the tens of millions of dollars.

In Montana alone, investigators have recovered more than 7,300 stolen or missing cattle worth nearly $8 million during the past three years, numbers believed to account for just a fraction of the problem, officials said.

More here

Fear and loathing

President Carter Obama has gone golfing 30 times so far this year. I wonder what his handicap is? It should be pretty good at this point.

Newt Gingrich, referring to possible debates with Obama, uttered this zinger..."If he wants to use a TelePrompter, that's fine...We have to be fair."

Victor Davis Hanson writes in his latest blogpost..."The 5% who pay nearly 60% of the taxes, while not monolithic, feel that they are pawns in a larger jaded chess game, in which the bishops and rooks have rigged the board: always higher taxes fuel bigger government, which fuels an expanding recipient class which pays homage by reelecting more big-government statists who further fuel government for sympathetic dependent voters. For the conservative, who sees dependencies and overregulation everywhere, each extra dime in taxes means more of what will turn us into a failed redistributive Greece. One group is expanding, the other shrinking in our Darwinian world of tax and spend."

I used to like Colin Powell years ago. But he has become a real a$$hat. Story

The Richmond (Virginia) Tea Party was required to put up $10,000 to hold a Tea Party rally this past summer. The Occupy protestors were not. Richmond Tea Party demands a refund. City announces an audit of Tea Party finances in retaliation. What bias? Story

Barney Frank is retiring in 2012. Hopefully a few more Democrats will do the same. Barney's the guy who said in 2006 that there was no housing bubble and that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were in good shape financially. Wags on the right are speculating that he's going to take a job in the athletic department at Penn State.

Percentage of Blacks who voted for Gore 95%, Kerry 93%, and Obama 96%.

Confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik was insane when he killed 77 people in a bomb and shooting rampage in Norway, and should be sent to a psychiatric ward instead of prison, prosecutors said Tuesday. Story

Herman Cain must be quite a ladies man. Another lady has come forward alleging a thirteen year affair with him. It is reported that she has had financial problems in the past. If these charges are true, Democrats should love him because they certainly liked JFK and Bill Clinton. Other bloggers have noted that the mainstream media has never found a single woman who dated Barack Obama before he was married. Odd, isn't it?

Democrats like to claim that there is little or none voter fraud. But it happens regularly and here's just one story.

Forgotten history...The head of the Manhatten Project, General Leslie Groves, had scheduled 48 more atomic bombs to be built at the time of Japan's surrender. Had they not surrendered, the U.S. government had planned to drop all 48 bombs on Japan.

The ethics trial of Democrat congresswoman Maxine Waters was supposed to start Monday but was delayed because of new evidence surfacing that casts doubt on her truthfulness in previous testimony.

Ann Coulter referred to John McCain as a doucebag several times on MSNBC's Morning Joe program this week. Who wouldn't agree with her?

President Obama's slow ride down Gallup's daily presidential job approval index has finally passed below Jimmy Carter, earning Obama the worst job approval rating of any president at this stage of his term in modern political history. Source

According to the Los Angeles Times...Nevada has the smallest percentage of native-born residents in the nation with about 24%. Next was Florida, with 35%, and Arizona, with 38%, according to the report, based on U.S. Census Bureau data. All three states were the beneficiaries of the pre-recession stampede to sunny states.

Bank launderers

Money launderers for ruthless Mexican drug gangs have long had a formidable ally: international banks.

Despite strict rules set by international regulatory bodies that require banks to "know their customer," make inquiries about the source of large deposits of cash and report suspicious activity, they have failed to do so in a number of high-profile cases and instead have allowed billions in dirty money to be laundered.

And those who want to stop cartels from easily moving their money express concern that banks that are caught get off with a slap on the wrist.

Banking powerhouse Wachovia Corp. last year agreed to pay $160 million in forfeitures and fines after U.S. federal prosecutors accused it of "willfully" overlooking the suspicious character of more than $420 billion in transactions between the bank and Mexican currency-exchange houses — much of it probably drug money, investigators say.

More here

($420 billion!)

Lazy Americans

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Voter ID

There is a lot of opposition to voter ID's from Democrats. Claims of racism abound.

Ever wonder what Mexico does?

"In Mexico, every registered Mexican voter has a Voter ID card, supplied by the government, complete with photograph, fingerprint, and a holographic image to prevent counterfeiting. But it’s not just the card. At the Mexican polling station, there is a book containing the photograph of every voter in the precinct. This book is available to the poll workers and observers from various parties. If there's a doubt as to someone’s identity, the poll workers can simply look up the person's name and see if the photo matches up. The Mexican voter's thumb is smudged with ink. That way, if he shows up at another polling site to vote, they know he's already voted elsewhere. (The ink wears off after a few days.)"

Source

Climategate

"This new round of emails is more damning than the first because of the white-wash by the media and pols who have no clue how to interpret the data, algorithms, graphs, nor have a clue how the scientific process works (being published in niche journals by like minded alarmists is not the scientific process). With the fiction that CRU and IPCC were vindicated having been played, the more damning second round of emails puts us in the "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me’ state. The alarmists’ credibility is toast given the new revelations, as is their media and political cheer leaders. There is no pretending the science is sound now."

Source

Banking scam

The Federal Reserve and the big banks fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout in U.S. history a secret. Now, the rest of the world can see what it was missing.

The Fed didn't tell anyone which banks were in trouble so deep they required emergency loans of a combined $1.2 trillion on Dec. 5, 2008, their single neediest day.

Bankers didn't mention that they took tens of billions of dollars at the same time they were assuring investors their firms were healthy. And no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed's below-market interest rates, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its January issue.

Saved by the 2007-2010 bailout, bankers lobbied against government regulations, a job made easier by the Fed, which never disclosed the details of the rescue to lawmakers even as Congress doled out more money and debated new rules aimed at preventing the next collapse.

More here

Smallpox scam

Over the last year, the Obama administration has aggressively pushed a $433-million plan to buy an experimental smallpox drug, despite uncertainty over whether it is needed or will work.

Senior officials have taken unusual steps to secure the contract for New York-based Siga Technologies Inc., whose controlling shareholder is billionaire Ronald O. Perelman, one of the world's richest men and a longtime Democratic Party donor.

When Siga complained that contracting specialists at the Department of Health and Human Services were resisting the company's financial demands, senior officials replaced the government's lead negotiator for the deal, interviews and documents show.

When Siga was in danger of losing its grip on the contract a year ago, the officials blocked other firms from competing.

Siga was awarded the final contract in May through a "sole-source" procurement in which it was the only company asked to submit a proposal. The contract calls for Siga to deliver 1.7 million doses of the drug for the nation's biodefense stockpile. The price of approximately $255 per dose is well above what the government's specialists had earlier said was reasonable, according to internal documents and interviews.

Once feared for its grotesque pustules and 30% death rate, smallpox was eradicated worldwide as of 1978 and is known to exist only in the locked freezers of a Russian scientific institute and the U.S. government. There is no credible evidence that any other country or a terrorist group possesses smallpox.

More here

Monday, November 28, 2011

Forced retirements without benefits

"The Obama administration has ordered massive reductions in forces, resulting in many officers who are near retirement being involuntarily separated without retirement or medical benefits," explained institute director Maj. Kyndra Rotunda.

The Department of Defense specifies that service members within six years of retirement normally would be retained and allowed to retire on time with benefits, unless extenuating circumstances exist such as disciplinary issues.

According to lawyers at Chapman and the AMVETS Legal Clinic, the Air Force has deviated from the six-year protection "without any legal authority."

More here

Chinese solar industry

One of the big arguments proponents of the ‘green jobs’ scam often bring out is that the argument that China, thanks to its support of green tech companies, will own the future while the United States is left behind.

Think again. According to a report on Bloomberg, the Chinese solar power industry is on the ropes; massive over investment has run up against flat demand. Margins have turned negative at some companies where solar panels can only be sold below cost.
"Demand has not lived up to expectations and pricing has collapsed over the last three quarters," Aaron Chew, an analyst at Maxim Group LLC in New York, said today in an interview. "Most of the major cell, wafer and module manufacturers are poised to report four quarters in a row of losses and this is just the first one."
The alternative energy market is still an artificial market; except for a handful of novelty customers rich enough to afford inefficient green tech, firms and households only choose green tech when subsidies bring the price within range or regulations force people to choose expensive green products.

Two years ago, when delusional greens thought they were on the way to a global carbon treaty, green tech looked hot. But as that project collapsed under its own weight, the prospects for the green market withered. The recession strengthened public opposition to expensive new green regulations, and the European financial crisis means that countries like Spain (which had a big alternative energy program) and Greece have no more budgetary room for frills.

Solar power has been touted as the next big thing since the 1970s. After forty years of failure, it may be time to think about solar power the way people used to talk about Brazil: it is the industry of the future — and always will be.

More here

Liar, liar, pants on fire

Two Weeks After it is Learned that the Sebelius Administration destroyed key evidence against Planned Parenthood it is learned that four years later a Sebelius appointed official destroyed copies of that evidence. Evidence destruction apparently routine in the Sebelius Administration. As a result, only felony charges ever filed against Planned Parenthood are dismissed.

The news of document destruction in Kansas does not come as a surprise for me. Rather, after a decade of obstruction, the latest indicates that the evidence of Kansas corruption to protect Planned Parenthood is leaking into the media.

Two weeks ago a hearing in a criminal case against Planned Parenthood was delayed. The delay was a result of the administration of current Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius destroying evidence of criminal activity while Sebelius was Governor of Kansas.

The evidence was destroyed at a time the Sebelius administration knew the documents were key to a criminal investigation of Planned Parenthood’s failure to report child rape. Planned Parenthood is an important and long-term political ally of Sebelius.

When the documents were destroyed in 2005, I was leading the investigation of Planned Parenthood as the Attorney General of Kansas.

More here

Fuel prices

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Euro

With the situation in the European Union growing more unstable by the day the British government is making preparations to assist its citizens in the event of monetary collapse and the accompanying social unrest.

Story

War on Christmas

Naughty and Nice list...

Walgreens is the latest store to return to explicit references to Christmas, switching its position a day after some Christian groups threatened to boycott over its generic holiday wording.

Story

Climate fraud

More than 5,000 documents have been leaked online purporting to be the correspondence of climate scientists at the University of East Anglia who were previously accused of ‘massaging’ evidence of man-made climate change.

Following on from the original 'climategate' emails of 2009, the new package appears to show systematic suppression of evidence, and even publication of reports that scientists knew to to be based on flawed approaches.

And not only do the emails paint a picture of scientists manipulating data, government employees at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) are also implicated.

One message appeared to show a member of Defra staff telling colleagues working on climate science to give the government a ‘strong message’.

The emails paint a clear picture of scientists selectively using data, and colluding with politicians to misuse scientific information.

‘Humphrey’, said to work at Defra, writes: ‘I cannot overstate the HUGE amount of political interest in the project as a message that the government can give on climate change to help them tell their story.

'They want their story to be a very strong one and don’t want to be made to look foolish.’

Professor Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit at the centre of the affair, said the group findings did stand up to scrutiny.

Yet one of the newly released emails, written by Prof. Jones - who is working with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - said: 'Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research grants we get – and has to be well hidden.

More here

Blazer?

New fires involving the lithium-ion batteries in General Motors Co.'s Chevrolet Volt have prompted an investigation to assess the risk of fire in the electric car after a serious crash, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Friday.

One Volt battery pack that was being closely monitored following a government crash test caught fire Thursday, the safety administration said in a statement. Another recently crash-tested battery emitted smoke and sparks, the statement said.

GM, which was informed of the investigation on Friday, said in a statement that the Volt "is safe and does not present undue risk as part of normal operation or immediately after a severe crash."

The latest fires are in addition to a battery fire in a crash-tested Volt six months ago.

NHTSA learned of a possible fire risk involving damaged Volt batteries when a fire erupted in a Volt that was being stored in a parking lot of a test facility in Burlington, Wis. The fire was severe enough to cause several other vehicles parked nearby to catch fire as well.

More here

Best comment from a reader..."Well I'm surprised that Chevy isn't calling it the Blazer."

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Summary

Ever notice how Leftists call anyone who disagrees with them Fascists? George Orwell wrote back in the 1930's..."the word Fascist is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley's broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else. Except for the relatively small number of Fascist sympathisers, almost any English person would accept "bully" as a synonym for Fascist. That is about as near to a definition as this much-abused word has come."

Israel seems to be signalling the world that war with Iran is near. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said earlier this week that "the time has come" to shit or get off the pot. He also said that Israel's patience "was wearing thin" in dealing with Iran's nuclear ambitions and their belligerent attacks on Israel's right to exist.

NASCAR fans booed Obama's and Biden's wives last Sunday at the final race of the season in Florida. So is anybody surprised? Had I been there, I would have booed also.

The Pakistani government has banned the words "Jesus Christ" when texting within the borders of the country.

According to Gallup, only 13% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing. They have enacted only 55 public laws so far this year. 34 of those 55 were merely amending existing laws. The average over the past 20 years has been 148 laws per session.

Last week, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith sent Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano a letter warning her to "immediately comply" with the subpoena his committee issued over two weeks ago for information on the hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens the Obama administration has failed to deport. Story

The 19 million new cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia diagnosed in the United States each year cost the nation's health care system $17 billion annually, according to an annual report released Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are treatable but can cause serious, life-long consequences, such as infertility, if they aren't detected.

Latest CNN poll has Gingrich at 24%, Romney at 20%, Cain at 17%, and Rick Perry at 11%.

Rush Limbaugh says..."The people of Spain elected this far-left, fringe government. In less than seven years, with a 'green jobs economy,' the new socialist regime created 21% unemployment. They did exactly what Barack Obama's trying to do here, only Obama's on a faster pace."

Voters oppose more strongly than ever granting automatic U.S. citizenship to a child born to an illegal immigrant in this country. Now, nearly two-out-of-three Likely U.S. Voters (65%) say if a woman enters the United States as an illegal alien and gives birth to a child here, that child should not automatically become a U.S. citizen. Source

"It should be clear that Obama has now settled on his campaign strategy – to divide the nation among economic lines. He has no intention of repairing the damage he’s wrought on America. He’s just hoping, in typical Alinsky fashion, that if he gets Americans frustrated enough they will support him in his reelection." Source

What a difference six months makes in Japan after the tsunami...a photo essay here

Egypt's stock market is down 50% since Mubarak's ouster.

Private life of Rick Perry.

Rush Limbaugh asks..."When will the media do an anal exam of Obama like they do of every Republican?" and also explains how Leftists see America..."The myth of Thanksgiving is basically that a bunch of thieves from Europe arrived quite by accident at Plymouth Rock, and if it weren't for the Indians showing them how to grow corn and slaughter turkeys and how to swallow and stuff, they would have starved."

The Gates of Vienna blog reports...German Chancellor Angela Merkel says that Eurozone member states that do not stay within budgetary rules will face a partial loss of national sovereignty. Yet any country that submits to the EU’s budgetary restrictions has already lost part of its national sovereignty. That’s some catch, that Catch-22!

"All the black people want to fight the Mexicans and all the Mexicans want to fight the black people - it's as simple as that, that's as simple as you can put it." Story

Americans for Legal Immigration PAC is predicting that the Gingrich campaign will implode in reaction to Speaker Gingrich's support for Dream Act Amnesty during the CNN debate. ALIPAC successfully predicted the implosion of Rick Perry's campaign immediately following Perry's debate support for in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. "Newt Gingrich's campaign will now take the 'Perry Plunge' due to his support for Dream Act Amnesty," said William Gheen, President of ALIPAC. "Newt Gingrich is finished!" Source

In 1918 John Browning designed the Browning .50 Caliber Machine Gun and soon afterwards it was adopted by the US military where it was designated the M2 Machine Gun and later became known affectionately by the troops as 'Ma Deuce'. Today almost a 100 years later it's still in operation with the US Army and still being used quite effectively: Story

Russia's socialized healthcare soon to end. Story

Macy's shoppers in New York were serenaded by the Occupy protestors with shouts of "Shame, shame, shame" as lines formed for the midnight opening of the store.

C. S. Lewis, from his book Mere Christianity..."All that we call human history - money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery - [is] the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy."

Friday, November 25, 2011

Sheriff's power

Two months ago Gil Gilbertson, the sheriff of this rural county in southern Oregon, drafted a 10-page report exploring the origins and extent of federal power within a state and emailed his findings to various parties, asking for comment.

Since the report was in rough-draft form he was somewhat surprised that it went viral, but it shows there are a lot of people hungry for information about how much power (particularly law-enforcement power) the federal government actually wields within a state, where that power comes from, and the limits to that power.

Gilbertson continued his research and recently completed a 13-page revised and updated version, retitled: Unraveling Federal Jurisdiction within a State. It is highly footnoted with references to statutes and court decisions.

This a "must read" for anyone concerned about infringements against the 10th Amendment and federal encroachments in general – like road closures, Wild Lands and Monument designations, mining and other resource uses. In other words, this is for anyone and everybody with an interest – no matter how casual -- in accessing the public lands, either as a "resource user" (a rancher or miner) or simply a casual vacationer who enjoys weekend camping.

More here

Too noisy

Wind turbines are being turned off during high winds because they are too noisy.

Documents from local authorities show that 269 complaints were received about noise from the rotating blades in the past three years. Some came from residents living up to three miles away.

In nearly half of these cases, operators switched turbines off or reduced their speed.

The owner of one wind farm in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, was served with a noise abatement notice.

At Askam wind farm near Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, a control system was installed to turn the seven turbines off at high wind speeds.

Council officers found 12 turbines on a former RAF base in Lissett, near Bridlington in East Yorkshire, had exceeded noise limits after complaints from residents.

They arranged with the operators for some to turn more slowly.

More here

Irrational taxes

General Electric, one of the largest corporations in America, filed a whopping 57,000-page federal tax return earlier this year but didn't pay taxes on $14 billion in profits. The return, which was filed electronically, would have been 19 feet high if printed out and stacked.

The fact that GE paid no taxes in 2010 was widely reported earlier this year, but the size of its tax return first came to light when House budget committee chairman Paul Ryan (R, Wisc.) made the case for corporate tax reform at a recent townhall meeting. "GE was able to utilize all of these various loopholes, all of these various deductions--it's legal," Ryan said. Nine billion dollars of GE's profits came overseas, outside the jurisdiction of U.S. tax law. GE wasn't taxed on $5 billion in U.S. profits because it utilized numerous deductions and tax credits, including tax breaks for investments in low-income housing, green energy, research and development, as well as depreciation of property.

"I asked the GE tax officer, 'How long was your tax form?'" Ryan said. "He said, 'Well, we file electronically, we don't measure in pages.'" Ryan asked for an estimate, which came back at a stunning 57,000 pages. When Ryan relayed the story at the townhall meeting in Janesville, there were audible gasps from the crowd.

Ken Kies, a tax lawyer who represents GE, confirmed to THE WEEKLY STANDARD the tax return would have been 57,000 pages had it been filed on paper. The size of GE's tax return has more than doubled in the last five years.

Ryan used the data point to underscore the irrationality of the corporate income tax code. He also contrasted GE with UPS to make the point that the corporate income tax code doesn't make sense. "UPS paid a 34 percent effective tax rate," while its biggest foreign competitor, DHL, paid a 24 percent tax rate, Ryan said.

More here

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Green jobs

A barrage of news headlines on the Solyndra scandal continue to remind us that President Obama made green jobs one of his administration’s priorities. Those headlines also reveal this initiative to have been a costly mistake.

The bankruptcy of Solyndra, the solar-panel manufacturer that has collapsed despite receiving half a billion dollars from the federal government, is only the tip of the iceberg. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that several other green companies that received generous federal aid are teetering on the brink.

Ener1, whose subsidiary EnerDel received a $118 million federal grant, lost $165 million in fiscal 2010 and has dim prospects. According to the Journal, Ener1 had "lost its bid to supply batteries to Fisker Automotive, a battery-powered car maker which received a $529 million U.S. taxpayer-backed federal loan guarantee in 2010," when "Fisker chose to buy its batteries from a company called A123 Systems, itself the recipient of a $249 million U.S. Department of Energy grant."

Great! First Team Obama extends taxpayer dollars to green companies, then it torpedoes them by giving larger grants to their competitors. Meanwhile, Fisker, itself a recipient of over a half-billion dollar handout from Uncle Sam, is making its cars in Finland.

Team Obama’s record on creating green jobs is no more confidence-inspiring than its record in midwifing a viable electric car industry.

A recent study by the Labor Department’s Inspector General examined what became of $162.8 million of Obama stimulus money funneled to the Employment and Training Administration. Set up to "train and prepare individuals for careers in ‘green jobs,’" the score is this: 53,000 individuals were trained, 8,035 got jobs, and only 1,033 trainees still held those jobs after six months.

There are at least four important reasons why we should stop funding "green" government programs....

More here

Rick

Comment No. 10

Just take a hard look at three huge sectors of our economy where the government has become more activist and assumed the role of guarantor and sugar daddy:

- Home mortgages
- Health care
- Education

See any similarity in outcomes?

Source

Connecticut fail

According to the Institute for Truth in Accounting (IFTA), Connecticut has been identified as the top financial "sinkhole" state in the nation. IFTA, a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization that works for greater accounting transparency across all levels of government and business, reports that the Constitution state is at the top of a list of five states which are in the worst financial position. According to the organization’s Financial State of the States report, Connecticut has $29.4 billion worth of assets, but only $10.1 billion are available to pay $63.4 billion of bills as they come due. In addition, each Connecticut taxpayer’s financial burden is $41,200.

The report indicates that the other four states considered to be financial "sinkholes" are New Jersey, Illinois, Hawaii, and Kentucky, all of which have a per taxpayer burden of over $23,000. However, Wyoming, North Dakota, Nebraska, Utah and South Dakota are considered "Sunshine States" because either a per taxpayer’s surplus or nominal per taxpayer’s burden exists in these states.

Interestingly, Republican Gov. Dave Heineman of Nebraska, a "Sunshine State," was invited to Hartford by Democratic and Working Families Party Governor, Dannel Malloy, of Connecticut for a regional economic summit in October. Gov. Heineman’s description of his success in bringing about the largest tax cut in his state’s history, and Nebraska’s 4.2% unemployment rate- the second lowest in the nation- drew a sharp contrast to Gov. Malloy’s explanation of his experience in "straigtening out the state’s finances" by enacting the largest tax increase in his state’s history.

"I believe we’re moving in the right direction," Mr. Malloy said. "The reason I did what I did with respect to the budget was so that I could look business in the face and say, ‘Listen, I believe we’ve got the bulk of our problem behind us. We’ve balanced a budget. We’ve taken the steps necessary to wrestle a structural deficit to the ground and we move forward.’ "

Sheila Weinberg, founder and CEO of IFTA, however, disagrees. Ms. Weinberg said that Connecticut’s "state officials say their budgets are balanced but do not include employee pension and healthcare obligations in their calculations."

More here

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Virtues and Vices

Hardly anyone talks of the table of virtues and vices anymore — which includes the Seven Deadly Sins — but in reviewing them, we find that they nicely sum up the foundation of bourgeois ethics, and provide a solid moral critique of the modern state.

Now, libertarians don't often talk about virtues and vices, mainly because we agree with Lysander Spooner that vices are not crimes, and that the law ought only to address the latter. At the same time, we do need to observe that vices and virtues — and our conception of what constitutes proper behavior and culture generally — have a strong bearing on the rise and decline of freedom.

Let me illustrate. A speaker at a Mises Institute conference two years ago was explaining how problems of welfare, charity, and support for the poor could be handled through voluntary means — that is, through philanthropy. His explanation was brilliant, but a hand shot up.

A student from India had a question. What if, he said, one lives in a society in which the religion says that a person's lot in life is dictated by God, and thus it would be sin to change it in any way. The poor, in this view, are supposed to be poor, and to help them would violate God's will. In fact, a charitable person is committing a crime against God.

The speaker stood there in stunned silence. The students around the room looked at the questioner with their mouths open. We were all amazed to confront a reality too often ignored; namely, that the ethics undergirding our culture, which we so often take for granted, are essential to the functioning of what we call the good society, based on the dignity of the individual, and the possibility of progress, freedom, and prosperity.

More here

USA vs China

The cascade of statements, deployments, agreements and announcements from the United States and its regional associates in the last week has to be one of the most unpleasant shocks for China’s leadership — ever. The US is moving forces to Australia, Australia is selling uranium to India, Japan is stepping up military actions and coordinating more closely with the Philippines and Vietnam in the South China Sea, Myanmar is slipping out of China’s column and seeking to reintegrate itself into the region, Indonesia and the Philippines are deepening military ties with the the US: and all that in just one week. If that wasn’t enough, a critical mass of the region’s countries have agreed to work out a new trade group that does not include China, while the US, to applause, has proposed that China’s territorial disputes with its neighbors be settled at a forum like the East Asia Summit — rather than in the bilateral talks with its smaller, weaker neighbors that China prefers.

Rarely has a great power been so provoked and affronted. Rarely have so many red lines been crossed. Rarely has so much face been lost, so fast. It was a surprise diplomatic attack, aimed at reversing a decade of chit chat about American decline and disinterest in Asia, aimed also at nipping the myth of "China’s inexorable rise" in the bud.

More here

Baltic Sea timebomb

Nobody knows exactly how many discarded chemical weapons are hidden in the waters around Europe. For instance, in the Baltic, where after World War II the Allies dumped munitions originating from German arsenals, there are at least 40,000 tonnes, of which at least 13,000 tonnes contain poisonous substances. A sixth of this amount would be sufficient to kill all life in the Baltic for a hundred years.

Not a reassuring idea, for anyone who knows that mustard gas, chloropicrin, phosgene, diphosgene and arsenic compounds are packed in cases and drums that will rust through sooner or later. No one knows when this will happen, but it is certain to.

Ten years ago, the Russian scientist Aleksander Korotenko predicted that somewhere between 2020 and 2060 the corrosion will have progressed so far that the poison will start to leak out. Sixteen percent is sufficient to wipe out all life in the Baltic.

"That's true, but it is very unlikely that all of that ammunition will rust through simultaneously", says Jacek Beldowski, putting the statement into perspective. He works at the Institute of Oceanology in Sopot, a seaside town in Poland. Beldowski is the coordinator of Chemsea (Chemical Munitions Search & Assess project), an international research project that started this October funded by a European subsidy.

"On the one hand the poison will leak out, on the other it becomes less hazardous when it comes into contact with water", says Beldowski. "The chemical weapons are distributed over an enormous area, and are subjected to very varying circumstances. Also, there are locations where they will not be exposed to oxygen, and therefore they will hardly corrode." So the problem is mainly one of uncertainty. "The only thing that is certain is, that in the coming years there will be a new form of pollution in the Baltic."

More here

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ron Paul madness

Republicans should be very worried that Ron Paul might run a third party campaign as an Independent. He would siphon enough votes away from the Republican candidate that would almost certainly guarantee Obama's reelection. But now Democrats are having second thoughts...President Obama should abandon his run for a second term and turn over the reins of the Democratic Party to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, two one-time Democratic pollsters wrote in Monday's Wall Street Journal, which appeared online Sunday.

Meanwhile, Herman Cain is not quite dead in the water yet, he still has some good quips..."We need a leader, not a reader."

Back in 2008, Obama was referring to Bush's deficit of $9 Trillion as "unpatriotic". Now, three years later in 2011, Obama's deficit of $15 Trillion is justified by the Leftists by questioning the patriotism of those who complain about it. Thy name is hypocrisy.

Ever notice how Democrats don't say much about Franklin Raines $90 million pay and bonuses from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? Nor do they mention that Jamie Gorelick walked away with $26 million. Or Jim Johnson with about $20 million. Wonder why?

Things I didn't know...Forty-nine states have some sort of balanced budget requirement, although opponents note that states do not have national security and defense costs. States also can still borrow for their capital-spending budgets for long-term infrastructure projects. The federal government has balanced its budget only six times in the past half-century, four times during Bill Clinton's presidency.

Europe is insane...21 experts did a 3-year study for the EU and decided that water bottlers should be banned from claiming that water can prevent dehydration. Bottlers face a 2-year jail sentence for failure to follow the law. Conservative MEP Roger Helmer had this to say... "This is stupidity writ large. The euro is burning, the EU is falling apart and yet here they are: highly-paid, highly-pensioned officials worrying about the obvious qualities of water and trying to deny us the right to say what is patently true. If ever there were an episode which demonstrates the folly of the great European project then this is it."

Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon of the United Nations has kindly requested $100 Billion from the world's taxpayers to combat global warming. Wonder if he would he accept an IOU?

Pro-Lifers aren't giving up...Proponents of a measure that would ban abortions by giving equal rights to fetuses have been cleared to gather signatures in California, the secretary of state's office said Friday. The push comes on the heels of a similar effort rejected by voters in Mississippi earlier this month. Mississippi's measure would have banned abortion, and could have deterred doctors from doing in vitro fertilization. It also could have made some birth control illegal. Story

The Wall Street Journal says, "Those looking for signs of a recovery in New Jersey home values may need to take the long view, as more than 100,000 homeowners are dealing with foreclosures that are stalled in court and another 48,000 are way behind on mortgage payments."

Hahaha...How's this for equality in Norway?...A conscript in her first year of a mandatory military service had to bathe in the nude with 30 men after a military exercise near the northern town of Bodø, Norwegian newspapers have reported. Story

From Spain...Mariano Rajoy, leader of the centre-right Popular Party (PP) was on course to win an absolute majority, as voters punished the ruling Socialists for their perceived mishandling of the economy.

Benjamin Weinthal, citing a Saudi-American blogger, Rasheed Abvou-Alsamh, reports in The Jerusalem Post that the U.S. Government last week denied asylum to a gay Saudi diplomat "to avoid disrupting US-Saudi relations." The diplomat in question, Ali Ahmad Asseri, who has worked at the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles, faces the death penalty for same-sex conduct if returned to the radically fundamentalist Islamic kingdom. Story

Demi Moore and her boytoy husband are divorcing. Who could have predicted that?

One in four American women take medication for a mental disorder...Women more likely than men to take antipsychotic drugs, according to new report...Most often prescribed to females over 45...Prescriptions for psychiatric problems in all adults have risen 22% since 2001...Usage has quadrupled among men aged between 20 and 64 over the last decade. Source (If men truly ruled the world they would lock up all women in an insane asylum. Ha.)

Kagan's bias

It is remarkable that Elena Kagan apparently plans to hear and judge the Obamacare lawsuits, although there is a documentary record of her acting as an advocate within the administration for strategies to get the bill through Congress.

Of course, many Republicans are calling for her recusal, which is absolutely required by the appropriate rules for judges.

It's interesting that no Democrats agree. That they do not agree tells us much about who and what they are.

They don't agree because they believe it would be wrong of her to follow the rules. They think it would be wrong because, for them, the purpose of Presidential appointment and Senate confirmation is to overthrow the republican system of a government with limited powers.

For the Democrats in Congress, it would make no more sense for Kagan to recuse herself that it would for her to appear in purple underwear and deliver her opinions in Norwegian.

The electoral system only works when both parties are playing the same game. That is, in our country, no longer the case.

Source

Israeli right wing idiots

Israel has far right wing idiots also...

Jerusalem's secular mayor, Nir Barkat, has pitted himself against the city's swelling ranks of ultra-orthodox extremists by demanding that local police enable women to reclaim their position in the public domain.

Over recent months, women's faces have disappeared from billboards across the city amid mounting pressure applied by the powerful ultra-orthodox lobby, who find the female image offensive.

Several advertisers have erased female models from their posters in Jerusalem. Elsewhere in Israel, the winter campaign of Israeli clothing brand Honigman features a model cosily dressed in winter knits. In the capital, the woman's head has been removed from the image, leaving just her arm and a handbag.

Companies that do not fall in line with the standards of the extreme ultra-orthodox have frequently fallen victim to direct action. Across Jerusalem, female figures have been blacked out of billboards with spray-paint, or vandalised with graffiti branding the image "illegal". Other posters are simply torn down.

On Sunday, Barkat wrote a letter to district police commander Niso Shaham in which he said: "We must make sure that those who want to advertise [with] women's images in the city can do so without fear of vandalism and defacement of billboards or buses showing women."

Police have confirmed an increase in vandalism on the borders of Jerusalem's closed ultra-orthodox neighbourhoods. Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police would be stepping up patrols to prevent further acts of hooliganism and ensure it is investigated.

More here

Abandoned windmills

Minnesotans for Global Warming report that in the last 30 years, the United States has had 14,000 wind turbines abandoned. Apparently, once the subsidies and the wind run out, these 20-story high Cuisinarts are de-bladed and retired. This means more bats and migratory birds will live.

From Minnesotans for Global Warming: "The symbol of Green renewable energy, our savior from the non existent problem of Global Warming, abandoned wind farms are starting to litter the planet as globally governments cut the subsidies taxes that consumers pay for the privilege of having a very expensive power source that does not work every day for various reasons like it’s too cold or the wind speed is too high."

Andrew Walden of American Thinker explored nearly 2 years ago the demise of the 37-turbine wind farm at Kamaoa Wind Farm in Hawaii: "Built in 1985, at the end of the boom, Kamaoa soon suffered from lack of maintenance. In 1994, the site lease was purchased by Redwood City, CA-based Apollo Energy. Cannibalizing parts from the original 37 turbines, Apollo personnel kept the declining facility going with outdated equipment. But even in a place where wind-shaped trees grow sideways, maintenance issues were overwhelming. By 2004 Kamaoa accounts began to show up on a Hawaii State Department of Finance list of unclaimed properties. In 2006, transmission was finally cut off by Hawaii Electric Company.California’s wind farms — then comprising about 80% of the world’s wind generation capacity — ceased to generate much more quickly than Kamaoa. In the best wind spots on earth, over 14,000 turbines were simply abandoned. Spinning, post-industrial junk which generates nothing but bird kills."

More here

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Chinese displacing Hispanics?

Dudley Poston, a sociologist at Texas A&M University, began to study China in the early 1980s, when that country started sending larger numbers of students to the United States. Helping a handful of Chinese students learn the demographics of their own country was contagious; most of his scholarly work now involves the Asian nation. Poston says his work, coupled with research from Princeton University's Mexican Migration Project showing a dramatic drop in illegal immigration from Mexico, suggests Chinese immigrants may replace those from south of the border as the go-to workers for landscaping, construction, agriculture and other unskilled labor here. Poston discussed the theory with Chronicle reporter Jeannie Kever. The conversation has been edited and condensed.

More here

Forget

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Overuse of Antibiotics

The world is being driven towards the "unthinkable scenario of untreatable infections", experts are warning, because of the growth of superbugs resistant to all antibiotics and the dwindling interest in developing new drugs to combat them...

An estimated 25,000 people die each year in the European Union from antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. Countries with the highest rates of resistant infections, such as Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Hungary and Bulgaria, also tended to be the ones with the highest use of antibiotics.

Source

2012 election

As long as there is an alternative that can speak and tie up its shoelaces in the morning, I do not believe that this administration can be reelected. It is so unrelievedly incompetent that its fecklessness is more a matter of sadness and embarrassment than of the rage that engulfed George W. Bush. This, I surmise, is why the liberal establishment, the Times editorial writers and columnists, the Hollywood groupies, the rich fundraisers, don’t detect that the ship is sinking, and still squeal with delight as the Republican challengers fail to generate more than tentative or reluctant enthusiasm. But they are reading the wrong dials; there will be a Republican nominee. The country will not reelect this mockery of an administration, and whoever the Republican is will be elected and inaugurated, even if he has operated an open-air dog kennel on the wings of an airborne aircraft while groping relays of stewardesses.

And the other illuminated revelation, which came swiftly after the first: The voters will not only be disposing of a failed administration; they will be approving the Republican platform, which will call for radical tax simplification and reduction, entitlement reform, serious health-care reform, real spending reductions, incentives to increased domestic oil production and natural-gas use, and an absolute commitment to preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear military power.

It will be a drastic reform program that will signal that the United States is awakening like Brünnhilde, however unlikely the Siegfried, finally resuming world leadership, acting on its budget and current-account deficits, and behaving like a Great Power and a textbook case in self-government for the first time since President Bush Senior. The effect of the change will be electrifying. Although it is the challenging task of implementing a transformative program without an overpowering leader like Roosevelt or Reagan, and will be more of the nature of subtle direction of profound change, as by James K. Polk or Richard Nixon in his first term, the prattling of those announcing the imminent Chinese seizure of the headship of the world will be drowned out by the sound of the world leadership vacuum being filled, where American leadership resided from the 1940s to the 1990s. (The Times even ran a piece on November 2 celebrating the fact that the collapse of American influence in the world assured that it would be less harassed by favor-seekers.)

The new president may have an imperfect CV and too-perfect hair; Speaker Boehner may surpass Mr. Obama’s historic favorite, Iran’s Mohammed Mossadegh, in his proclivity to burst publicly into tears; the White House may be as boring and banal as it was under George W. Bush (though that is unlikely, especially in syntactical matters); but America will lead in policy terms, if not in the personality of its leader. Problems will be addressed and the mere anarchy of abdication compounded by smug official sophistry will no longer be loosed upon the world. Mr. Churchill’s bust may come back to the Oval Office, and FDR’s address at D-Day, including the godly references that the Bureau of Land Management feels disrupt the spirit "of the elegant memorial," may yet be displayed there. The night will end and glorious will be the dawn, in Washington. I have seen the future, and in it, people work.

Source

Which one

Friday, November 18, 2011

Comment

Comment in San Francisco newspaper website on the Occupy protests...

"Really, OWS, your exaggerated sense of self-importance isn't gaining you any support among "the 99%". New poll on CNN shows that 29% of Americans support the OWS goals (the same % that supports the Tea Party), and my guess is of those 29% who support your goals, many, many of them don't support your tactics. Go confront the politicians, both Dem and Repub, who funnel $$$$ to the big banks (The Fed is about to do it again - to the European banks this time), and while they do, instead of confronting them IN THE ACT OF DOING IT, your protests will spiral down into your personal grievances of not being allowed to have a big pajama party in public parks.


If you're serious about stopping Crony Capitalists, they're in DC, in Obama's Justice Dept and SEC, who both refuse to prosecute the 0.000001% who have made out like bandits from gov't bailouts, and fraud. Go confront THEM instead of making life rougher for the everyday folks in Oakland, Portland, etc etc...."

Source

What is the plan?


Three years ago, the national average for a gallon of regular grade gasoline was around $1.70. The price climbed to $2.60 in 2009 and $2.80 a year later. As of November 11, 2011, gas rose to an average of $3.45 per gallon, roughly twice as much as what we were paying in 2008.

When gasoline prices hit their peak at around $4.00, Democrats were demanding Bush's head on a platter, but under Obama the higher prices are simply the new normal. Rather than take steps to curb rising fuel prices, the administration is waging its own ideological war - against energy independence - by drilling regulations and moratoriums that, according to Steve Forbes, "is fueling an energy crisis that could bring this nation to its knees."

We hear much these days about all the jobs "saved or created" but hear little about jobs slashed or destroyed. In many ways, the Obama administration has become a job-wrecking machine. According to Forbes in the same Politico op-ed piece, the six-month gulf drilling moratorium alone cost 8,169 jobs and $487 million in wages, not to mention the sweeping effects on the trucking and agriculture industries.

In this struggling economy, the obvious solution would be to reduce regulations and tap into our own natural resources, which would strengthen our economy on many levels. But, for liberals, it is less about jobs and more about pleasing environmental constituencies. What is Obama's grand plan to get America back on the road to energy independence? One million electric cars on the road by 2015.

More here

Detroit fail

The City of Detroit is running out of money.

Not in the theoretical terms we've imagined for decades, but in literal figures, splayed out over spreadsheets that tell a long story of mismanagement and incompetence, culminating in insolvency.

Cash runs out by April, unless dramatic steps are taken. Tonight, Mayor Dave Bing will address the city to lay out his plan to avoid a financial implosion.

But he's late -- a leader who inherited a financial mess in 2009 but didn't act swiftly or decisively enough to stop a slide that had been building for decades.

The short-term options now are all either horribly unappealing or beyond the mayor's grasp. And financial analyses say even the most draconian (massive layoffs or repudiation of the city's retiree benefit obligations) buy the city only a short reprieve; the imbalance would return by next summer.

...Detroit real estate has lost 87% of its value since 2003, according to a study. Property taxes provide just 14% of the city's general fund; most cities average around 60%. Income tax receipts have dropped nearly 50% in the past decade.

More here

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Perry's plan

In a speech Tuesday in Bettendorf, Iowa, Rick Perry outlined his plan to overhaul the federal government. "I do not believe Washington needs a new coat of paint, it needs a complete overhaul. We need to uproot, tear down and rebuild Washington, D.C., and our federal institutions." Mr. Perry’s plan for Congress? "It’s time to create a part-time Congress where their pay is cut in half, their office budgets are cut in half, and their time in Washington is cut in half." (good ideas, Rick, but what about illegal immigration?)

At least someone is doing something about illegals...The Obama administration has extended its crackdown on employers of illegal immigrants, notifying 500 companies across the nation in recent weeks that the government will inspect their hiring records. The surge in so-called silent raids is the first to occur in the government's new fiscal year, which began Oct. 1. In the year ended Sept. 30, the U.S. audited 2,496 companies, topping the previous year's tally of 2,196. Source

Latest Iowa poll has Cain with 20%, Gingrich at 19%, Romney at 14%, and Bachmann and Ron Paul tied at 10%.

Elsewhere, during 24 consecutive hours at Occupy SF, a San Francisco Examiner reporter witnessed about a dozen assaults and countless shouting matches. Yeah, just like the Tea Party, right? Nationally, the Occupy Wall Street movement is not wearing well with voters across the country. Only 33% now say that they are supportive of its goals, compared to 45% who say they oppose them. That represents an 11 point shift in the wrong direction for the movement’s support compared to a month ago when 35% of voters said they supported it and 36% were opposed.

In 2010, Texas led the nation in migration from other states with 486,558, and the largest outflow among all states was from California to Texas, with nearly 69,000 Californians moving here. (The flow worked in reverse, too; more than 36,000 Texans headed from the Lone Star State to the Golden State in 2010.) Source

Big retail chains are in trouble...Here's some recent store closings by retailers...405 Blockbuster, 633 Borders, 200 GameStop, 189 Gap, 160 f.y.e., 117 Anchor Blue, 117 Foot Locker, 100 Talbot's, 71 A.J. Wright, 69 Metropark, 63 Friendly's, 60 Rite Aid, 52 Destination Maternity, 50 Abercrombie & Fitch, 50 Hot Topic, 45 Big Lots, 45 Family Dollar, 43 Select Comfort, 43 Sonic Drive-In, and 35 Denny's.

I'm not sure if this is believable...In what could be a welcome development for U.S. policy makers, a new survey in Afghanistan shows that support for the Taliban has dramatically declined over the last two years. The percentage of respondents who say they sympathize with the Taliban has dropped to 29 percent, compared with 56 percent in 2009 and 40 percent last year, according to a poll by the Asia Foundation, a San Francisco-based NGO. The poll was partly funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. Source

Meanwhile, 35% of men from rural Brazil have had sex with an animal, study finds...Animals involved include mares, cows, pigs and chickens...Study finds that men who have sex with animals are twice as likely to develop cancer of the penis. Story

We all know that Greece is in trouble. So is Italy. And now, financial troubles in Spain...Flashback to May 2011, when Castilla-La Mancha, another region long under socialist rule changed hands after the regional elections. The newly elected conservatives discovered to their dismay that what the socialists claimed it was a fairly balanced budget (1.5 billion deficit) turned out to be an accounting mess, with debt stuffed in every possible legal loophole (2.8 billion deficit, plus 2.2 billion in unpaid bills). Extremadura also faced similar issues, with the new communist-conservative coalition finding a bigger debt hole than expected. Neither region, howeve, is as big or as badly mismanaged as Andalucia is. Come March 2011, it is hard to imagine that the new conservative team won´t find another accounting disaster. Trouble is, this time it will be in a region four times bigger, close to the size of Greece. Source

Here's an interesting way to see our financial numbers...U.S. Debt Clock

A woman who bit off her boyfriend's testicles was sentenced to 150 hours of community service. A 12-month jail sentence was suspended. Story

Did you know?...The SEIU spent over $60 million to get Obama elected to the White House. What's the payback?

Best comment seen today on the web..."There is an idiot born every day, seems like obama has hired all of them."

Christian Symbols in Mosque

Christianity’s waning relevance in modern Europe is well documented. But even as church pews remain empty, there is an odd twist unfolding in Cologne, a city rich in Catholic history, where a new mosque is being built amidst the whiff of an ancient conspiracy theory.

The details are these. The architect of a near-completed mosque was fired by his client, the Turkish Islamic association DITIB. One of the reasons given was that he had hidden Christian symbols in the building – little crosses, for example, or "Chi-Rho" (XP), the Greek monogram for Christ.

And what was the first reaction of the local press? It sided with the architect. As the supposed symbols couldn’t be found on the plans, the accusations were deemed groundless and any suggestion of conspiracy brushed aside.

But let’s take another look at those plans. Look at the way the prayer room faces East, officially of course because that’s where Mecca is – but isn’t Jerusalem and the Tomb of Christ there too? And how about that cupola, doesn't it sort of resemble two stylized fish? Fish – secret symbols of the first Christians. If DITIB sees it that way, some say, the whole building may have to come down and construction begin anew.

And who could blame the Christians, really, if this really is some kind of conspiracy? After all, Cologne’s famous gothic cathedral represents a major success story for secret Muslim societies. It contains relics of the Three Kings, who after all were from the East, and all those representations of Mary, who happens to be one of the main female figures in the Koran. Is history repeating itself? Just like some fear will happen with the mosque, construction on the cathedral was halted because of the hidden Islamic symbols. And it was some 300 years before it resumed.

Source

Rhode Island fail

Add another problem to Rhode Island’s lengthy list — the New York Times reports that the City of East Providence has just gone into receivership due to the usual cause, to wit: an inability to pay its bills. The state government, which is facing serious financial problems of its own, has appointed an overseer to direct the city out of its crisis. He will have his work cut out for him — as the Times notes, this is the second Rhode Island city in as many years that has been forced into receivership.

Because of its small size, inbred political system and collusive relationships between irresponsible union and political officials, Rhode Island is reaching the end of the road faster than many other places — but Rhode Island and its cities are not alone on the highway to doom. Unrealistically high pension promises matched by unrealistically low savings with a gap papered over by sci-fi and fantasy rate-of-return assumptions; a declining real economy unmatched for years by appropriate reductions in state and municipal overhead; serial failure of one legislature and governor after another to take the state’s declining economic condition seriously to heart: the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and filled to capacity by carloads of get along, go along politicians.

Source

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pathetic

The Obama administration urged officers of the struggling solar company Solyndra to postpone announcing planned layoffs until after the November 2010 midterm elections, newly released e-mails show. Solyndra, the now-shuttered California company, had been a poster child of President Obama’s initiative to invest in clean energies and received the administration’s first energy loan of $535 million. But a year ago, in October 2010, the solar panel manufacturer was quickly running out of money and had warned the Energy Department it would need emergency cash to avoid having to shut down.

Source

Gingrich fail

Bloomberg News reported late last night that Newt Gingrich has been paid between $1.6-1.8 million over the last 11 years to lobby for the organization with fellow conservatives who sought to dismantle it.
Gingrich’s first contract with the mortgage lender was in 1999, five months after he resigned from Congress and as House speaker, according to a Freddie Mac press release.
His primary contact inside the organization was Mitchell Delk, Freddie Mac’s chief lobbyist, and he was paid a self-renewing, monthly retainer of $25,000 to $30,000 between May 1999 until 2002, according to three people familiar with aspects of the business agreement.

Bloomberg reports that Gingrich was on Freddie Mac’s retainer until 2008.

During the CNBC debate last week, the debate where Perry had his "oops" moment, Newt Gingrich was asked why he was paid $300,000 by Freddie Mac. Gingrich said he was asked to advise the firm as a "historian" and maintains that he did no lobbying on behalf of the agency. Past agency officials dispute Gingrich’s account, Bloomberg reports:
Former Freddie Mac officials familiar with his work in 2006 say Gingrich was asked to build bridges to Capitol Hill Republicans and develop an argument on behalf of the company’s public-private structure that would resonate with conservatives seeking to dismantle it.
He was expected to provide written material that could be circulated among free-market conservatives in Congress and in outside organizations, said two former company executives familiar with Gingrich’s role at the firm. He didn’t produce a white paper or any other document the firm could use on its behalf, they said.

Source

Arizona recall

The recall of Arizona State Senate President Russell Pearce, a Republican who crafted the state’s immigration law, SB 1070, was one of the biggest headlines out of Election Day Tuesday night.

A post-election survey in Pearce’s district found a major erosion among two groups who have typically supported the lawmaker: Mormon (or LDS) voters, and conservatives in general.

The survey, conducted by Project New West with Myers Research, found that Pearce won LDS voters by a 16-point margin – which is "a lot of erosion" from his previous support in that group, said Andrew Myers of Myers Research.

The reasons for this departure were not immigration or a particular political issue, the survey found, but about character.

A full 42 percent of LDS voters said they based their decision on issues like a "personal shortcoming" of Pearce’s or "his dishonesty or corruption," said Jill Hanauer of Project New West.

LDS voters often focus more on character than other constituent groups, Myers said, but even so these results were striking.

And since LDS voters make up a full 34 percent of the district’s electorate, Hanauer said, that’s quite a population to lose ground with.

The survey found that conservatives in general, too, jumped ship from Pearce to Lewis.

More here

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Republican fail

We all know that California’s Democratic Party is running the state into the fiscal ground, given how beholden its members are to public sector unions and how devoted they are to expanding government and raising taxes. The state needs some political competition, but a major court case reminds us why the state Republican Party is a useless vessel that’s incapable of broadening its base and changing the state’s political trajectory.

Last Thursday, the California Supreme Court began oral arguments in a lawsuit brought by defenders of the state’s redevelopment agencies (RDAs) who are seeking to overturn recent laws that essentially shut down those agencies. Gov. Jerry Brown isn’t often right, but he was on target when he proposed shutting down these central planning agencies that primarily dispense corporate welfare to big businesses and drive small property owners off their land so that big-box stores can prosper.

Brown’s plan wasn’t perfect. It allowed the agencies to buy their way back into existence as many of them have since done. The law wasn’t passed entirely for the right reasons. Brown and legislative Democrats had typically supported RDAs, but were looking for quick ways to close the state’s gaping budget hole. As Bloomberg reported, "The governor and supporters of the law said the redevelopment agencies have become little more than slush funds for private developers, and they want the tax money generated by new developments to be diverted from the agencies to local schools, law enforcement agencies and other services."

When your political enemies give you a gift, you ought to take it. Instead of taking it, California Republicans actively opposed the governor’s plan and shamelessly sided with the people who run roughshod over everything the GOP is supposed to stand for. Forget all the talk about property rights, limited government, free markets, and family values.

More here

Gingrich speaks

"The government should quit mandating that various documents be printed in any one of 700 languages depending on who randomly shows up" to vote, said Gingrich, who is considering seeking the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. He made the comments in a speech to the National Federation of Republican Women.

"The American people believe English should be the official language of the government. … We should replace bilingual education with immersion in English so people learn the common language of the country and they learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto."

Source

(This will cost him a few votes)

Moron

EU fail

It's been clear for some time that the European Union is in deep trouble. But now even its own leaders admit something shocking: The EU, and its currency the euro, may soon be a thing of the past.

The EU has had a troubled existence since the euro was first rolled out on Jan. 1, 1999. Sure, the EU has advantages — a single currency, one giant market, freedom of movement for a well-educated workforce, all benefits. Still, it's impossible to have an economic union based on rules no one follows. And that's exactly what's happened in the EU.

Under the 1993 Maastricht Treaty, no EU country was allowed to run a budget deficit of more than 3% of GDP or issue public debt in excess of 60% of GDP. This was to be the bedrock of the EU's financial stability.

In recent years, Greece, Ireland and Portugal have all run deficits over 10% of GDP. Worse, the debts of Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal and Spain average 112% of GDP. In short, the countries on the EU's periphery have used membership as a way to redistribute wealth from Europe's rich north to its poorer south.

For a while it worked. But now the debts are enormous, and the amounts needed to bail out the peripherals from their profligacy are so large that citizens in countries such as Germany are saying "no more." By some estimates, as much as $4 trillion will be needed — a number that would bankrupt the EU.

Sure, the poor EU countries deserve blame for running their economies into the ground. But the real problem is the EU itself.

More here

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday, monday

Throughout the Obamacare debate, President Carter Obama repeatedly promised, "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan." Now, Gallup reports that from the first quarter of 2010 (when Obama signed Obamacare into law) to the third quarter of this year, 2 percent of American adults lost their employer sponsored health insurance. In other words, about 4.5 million Americans lost their employer-sponsored insurance over a span of just 18 months. Source

President Obama's hot-miked conversation with French President Nicolas Sarkozy suggested that he is frustrated with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- but Americans might be more frustrated with Obama than they are irritated by Netanyahu. "A poll conducted by the group Greenberg Quinlan Rosner found that 52.3 percent of Americans rate Netanyahu positively, compared to 51.5 percent for Obama." Source

Meanwhile, Rick Perry vows to start foreign aid budgets to zero if he's elected president. Good idea, Rick. Do the same with the U.N. too.

I have a new respect for New York City mayor Bloomberg who recently said..."it was not the banks that created the mortgage crisis. It was, plain and simple, Congress, who forced everybody to go and give mortgages to people who were on the cusp. ... They were the ones who pushed Fannie and Freddie to make a bunch of loans that were imprudent, if you will." Source

California tax collections since the start of the fiscal year have fallen $1.5 billion behind projections, raising concern that the most-populous U.S. state will face automatic spending cuts. Revenue was $810.5 million less than budgeted in October, bringing the total to 6.2 percent below expectations for July 1 through Oct. 31, according to figures released today by Controller John Chiang. Since the start of the fiscal year, the state has spent $1.7 billion more than it budgeted. Story

From Pennsylvania...A woman hired to clean surgical tools at a Philadelphia abortion clinic pleaded guilty to murder and agreed to testify against her former boss, officials said. Lynda Williams, 43, is the fifth person connected with Dr. Kermit Gosnell's clinic to plead guilty, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. She admitted killing a woman who died from a botched abortion and a baby born alive at the clinic. Story

Enemies within the wire...As an advisor to the Department of Homeland Security, Mohammed Elibiary was given access to sensitive government documents. Now the Texas Muslim activist stands accused of leaking some of those documents to the media to spread charges of "Islamophobia." One lawmaker on Capitol Hill is demanding answers. Story

Headline of the Day..."Iran's Khamenei Warns West of Strong Slap and Iron Fist." Sounds just like Saddam Hussein, all over again, doesn't it?

Tsinghua University Professor Patrick Chovanec alludes in his latest blog post to three paragraphs in the Financial Times that are "too explosive to reprint in a blog authored in China." Story

Statistics of the week..."Since 2002, 46 Penn State football players have faced 163 criminal charges, according to an ESPN analysis of Pennsylvania court records and reports. Twenty-seven players have been convicted of or have pleaded guilty to a combined 45 counts." Source


The White Salmon River in Washington state is flowing again as the nearly 100-year-old Condit Dam was disabled with explosives. Great video here.

Something I didn't know...the USA PATRIOT Act is an abbreviation for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools for Intercepting and Obstructing Terrorism Act.

Deaths so far at Tea Party protests total zero. Deaths so far at the Occupy protests total seven.

Have you ever wondered if 20 or 30 million South Korean, Filipino, or Chinese illegal immigrants turned up on a Southern California beach...would La Raza agitate for their amnesty?

If I were president

Perry, on becoming president....

First, I will issue an executive order prohibiting the Department of Health and Human Services from any further implementation of Obamacare until we can fully repeal this unconstitutional government mandate, which, if it stands, will diminish our health care and kill jobs.

Second, I will order federal agencies to begin opening American energy fields for exploration and development, which will kick-start economic growth, reduce our dependence on energy from hostile foreign sources and eventually create 1.2 million jobs across every sector of the economy. I also will work with Congress to ensure that new revenue generated from energy production on federal lands is used to pay down the national debt.

Third, I will impose an immediate moratorium on all pending federal regulations, during which government agencies must audit every measure passed since 2008 to determine its necessity and impact on job creation. Those measures that kill jobs will be repealed.

And fourth, I will deploy thousands of National Guard personnel to secure our southern border until we can provide the permanent increase in manpower, technology and fencing needed to protect the American homeland in the long run. If I am elected, Washington will no longer abdicate its constitutional responsibility to secure the border or force states to fend for themselves.

Source

Tantrums

...what do responsible Americans see in the "Occupy" tantrums?

Tea Partiers, of course, see the gross liberal/conservative double standard at work big time. Where Tea Partiers got legal permits and paid tens of thousands of dollars for such things as police presence, traffic coordination, and sanitary necessities like porta-potties, these leftist tantrum-throwers form health-hazard Obamavilles on public property – fee free. The Obamaville squatters disrupt the sleep and threaten the health of close-by residents with their all-hours, out-of-control misdeeds, all the while getting positive press from the aging-hippie chorus in the media.

Some OWS kids are surely there just for the free food, the no-strings sex, the communal bong hits, or the summer-camp, kumbayah déjà vu.

Most of the lot are, we can be pretty certain, pure hope-dopers from the Obama Youth brigade – the in-your-face and up-yours gang – now come to flaunt their disillusionment with their adolescent president.

These young Obama voters — who in 2008 exchanged their liberal parents’ adolescent rallying cry of "Our hope is in dope!" for the even more stupid "That dope is our hope!" — are now angry "bitter clingers" who refuse to let go of their infantile delusions. The One "they were waiting for" has failed to deliver their fairy tale utopia, so they throw a public tantrum in every city stupid enough to put up with them.

Hordes of good minds so thoroughly wasted in a vainglorious celebration of immaturity and weak character is not a pretty sight. And it bodes horrible ills for the future of this country.

More here

Saturday, November 12, 2011

China's bubble

China’s nationwide real estate boom became so manic last year that many would-be buyers camped in tents on the sidewalks of this tropical island city to be at the front of the line when condominiums went on sale — even though the condos had not yet been built.

But the real estate market here has cooled so rapidly this autumn that the tents have disappeared and been replaced with 20-foot-long banners on balconies with the phone numbers of speculators desperate to sell. Ads have grown on the Internet for unfinished apartments at up to 28 percent off the price at which developers were selling them a few months ago.

"Last year, when things were good, we had over 100 people a day coming into our office," said David Zhang, the sales director at the Honor-Link Investment Consultant Company, a real estate brokerage here. "Now we have three or four a day, and no one is buying."

One of the world’s few remaining real estate bubbles finally seems to be losing air. Real estate transactions have slowed so quickly that in the last two weeks, brokerages across China have laid off thousands of brokers and closed hundreds of offices.

More here

The 99%

Chinatown

As the manager of a Chinatown career center on Kearny Street in San Francisco, Winnie Yu has watched working-class clients come and go. Most of them, like Shen Ming Fa, have the makings of the quintessential Chinese American immigrant success story. Shen, who is 39, moved to San Francisco with his family last fall, an English-speaking future in mind for his 9-year-old daughter. His first stop was Chinatown, where he found an instant community and help with job and immigration problems.

But lately, Yu has been seeing a shift; rather than coming, her clients have been going—in pursuit of what might be called the Chinese Dream.

"Now the American Dream is broken," Shen tells me one evening at the career center, his fingers drumming restlessly on the table; he speaks mostly in Mandarin, and Yu helps me translate. Shen has mostly been unemployed, picking up part-time work when he can find it. Back in China, he worked as a veterinarian and at a school of traditional Chinese culture. "In China, people live more comfortably: in a big house, with a good job. Life is definitely better there." On his fingers, he counts out several people he knows who have gone back since he came to the United States. When I ask him if he thinks about returning to China, he glances at his daughter, who is sitting nearby, then looks me in the eye. "My daughter is thriving," he says, carefully. "But I think about it every day."

Recent years have seen stories of Chinese "sea turtles"—those who are educated overseas and migrate back to China—lured by Chinese-government incentives that include financial aid, cash bonuses, tax breaks, and housing assistance. In 2008, Shi Yigong, a molecular biologist at Princeton, turned down a prestigious $10 million research grant to return to China and become the dean of life sciences at Beijing’s Tsinghua University. "My postdocs are getting great offers," says Robert H. Austin, a physics professor at Princeton.

More here

Restricting abortion

Russia's parliament has adopted a controversial law restricting abortions in an attempt to tackle the country's population collapse.

The UN predicted that, by 2050, Russia's population will shrink by a fifth to 116 million.

Critics of the change in law said limiting women's choice is the wrong way to tackle the problem, in a country where women are almost twice as likely to have an abortion as a live birth.

Getting an abortion in Russia is not difficult. Sky News secretly filmed a Moscow clinic which admitted frequently performing illegal operations over the 12-week limit.

Posing as a woman seeking a termination at four months, Sky's producer Julia was told it would not be a problem. Anything was possible for an upfront fee of £100.

She was told it would be quick and offered no emotional support. She asked what the risks were. The doctor replied: "Honey, have you come here to get an abortion or to keep the baby?"

Julia asked if 16 weeks was the latest term they would perform. She was told: "No, it is not. You are not there first, you won't be the last. Come on, pull yourself together."

Illegal abortions count for 25% of all maternity-related deaths in Russia.

More here

Friday, November 11, 2011

Unintended consequences

Like many homeowners these days, Victor and Yvonne Delia stood to lose a lot — about $90,000 — when they sold their townhouse near Midway Airport five months ago.

Instead, the two retired Chicago police officers managed to walk away with a 23 percent profit — thanks to property taxes collected from 61,145 of their fellow Southwest Side homeowners.

The Delias benefited from a law Illinois legislators passed in 1988 to curb white flight in Chicago’s bungalow belt. The law offered homeowners a guarantee: They wouldn’t lose money if they sold their home even if property values declined.

But there was a catch: No one was supposed to profit if their property values went down because of a national housing slump — as has happened in Chicago the past several years.

Still, some, like the Delias, have ended up profiting, while others aren’t getting paid at all.

And a law that was meant to keep people in their homes in the city has often ended up paying for them to move out of Chicago.

More here

Sulphur

Soon to be smelling sulphur?...

President Hugo Chávez’s cancer is spreading faster than expected and his doctors fear that he may have only a few months left to live, a former U.S. government official said Wednesday, citing sources inside the Venezuelan government.

Maybe I'll start buying gasoline from Citgo again. Maybe.

Reactionary

True or False?...

"The cherished social traditions and valued principles that formed the underpinnings for Western Civilization have not changed with time. Nor has primeval human nature. The cultural war that plays out has the Reactionary in the forefront of defending and preserving that which has intrinsic value and everlasting purpose. Today’s Reactionary wants to protect the idea and model of a real Republic. Since the original one is no longer with us, the task ahead is to legitimatize the political mix that will provide the best chance for a re-institution of the fundamental heritage that marked the lives and sacred honor of our Founding Fathers."

According to Wikipedia, “Reactionary (or reactionist) is a political epithet typically applied to extreme ideological conservatism, especially that which wishes to return to a real or imagined old order of things, and which is willing to use coercive means to do so. The term is primarily used as a term of opprobrium (groups rarely identify themselves as reactionary), meant to assert the idea that the opposition is based in merely reflexive politics rather than responsive and informed views. More specifically, the term "reactionary" is frequently used to refer to those who want to reverse (or prevent) some form of claimed "progressive" change. (An equivalent term would be "regressivism." The term reaction is sometimes used as a general term for the program or philosophy of designated reactionaries.)

Blame Cain

Herman Cain is under attack, so why aren’t the Hollyweirdos flocking to his aid? Why won’t Alec Baldwin stop pimping Capital One credit cards long enough to help a brotha out?

Back when Obama was questioned about his elementary-school transcripts, Hollyweird utopians were outraged. How DARE they question his grades? Don’t they know he’s, like, the smartest guy ever? How racist!

But let a black conservative come under attack, and suddenly the DemocRAT Pack disappear to go save a whale or a baby seal. Anything is better than saving a black conservative. There’s no charity in that.

Black liberal utopians are no better. Harry Belafonte, Samuel L. Jackson, and Morgan Freeman are all suddenly unaware of the grievous insult to Cain. The NAACP is so quiet you can hear a mouse pee on a cotton ball, content to watch a brotha get a straight-up bully beatdown. Meanwhile, the Congressional Black Caucus stands by, waiting for Cain to lose consciousness from the beating so they can take his wallet, remove his watch and wedding ring, and—"Hey, John Lewis, don’t forget to get Cain’s hat!"

If black liberals won’t speak up for Cain, surely liberal women will. If a black man is being accused of sexual harassment, well, race trumps gender. Sorry, ladies. Oh, wait—he’s a conservative, and liberal trumps everything. Sorry, Herman.

"Don’t expect the left’s usual white-guilt crowd to beg the sheriff into letting this Negro go."

NOW concludes that women are as powerful as men—at least liberal women are.

So in this time of tutti-frutti, 32-flavor, NOW-generation, sexual-revolution cross-gendered and cross-dressing bottoms, tops, and otherwise is it even possible to sexually harass?

Are there any pure women on the liberal side any longer? Most appear to be androgynous, if not downright mannish, such as Janet Napolitano, Janet Reno, and Elena Kagan. And what about Hillary Clinton? If it weren’t for Chelsea, there might be a lot more scrutiny on her.

These ladies remind me of a hyena clan: strong, powerful females with the male genitalia to prove it. So why are they suddenly setting the women’s movement back to the 1950s by wilting like flowers in the face of "sexual harassment"? Maybe even NOW knows that the media's so-called exposés on Cain are ridiculous?

More here