Here's my problem with this, I'm just going to come out and say it. If I have anything to say against Obama it's not because I'm a racist, it's because I don't like what he's doing as President and anybody should be able to feel that way, but what I find now is that if you say anything against him you're called a racist,"
Angie Harmon, nearly apologetic, yet mustering an awesome amount of courage to speak out in that veritable marketplace of ideas and hothouse of diversity of thought and opinion known as the entertainment industry.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
With respect to the upcoming San Diego Tea Party Protest on Better Saturday, April 11th, we will be equal parts participant and observer. We will be observers of ourselves as much as others as it’s our first protest of any kind and we’re as curious as all get out to see how we behave.
We had a false start the first time around. We mistook the date thinking it would be on a Saturday vs. the day before. It’s been charming, frankly, seeing these “virgin” fisc-cons organize these protests and scheduling the first one on a work day when most would-be protesters were at work or school and which was evidence of this initial stumble out of the blocks. It’s all good, though, and we look forward to exercising our 1st amendment rights.
And dig this from the Buffalo Tea Party Protest over the weekend:
And when co-coordinator James Ostrowski asked the crowd to make donations that will help the movement distribute fliers and pamphlets to every household in Erie County, dozens of adults, children, and senior citizens — some in wheelchairs — stormed the podium.
The group raised $2,000 on the spot, said Jill Sinclair, a co-coordinator.
"Absolutely incredible. I did not expect a single dollar today," said Ostrowski, a local attorney.
The pamphlet, which is a study of market economics, will be distributed door-to-door beginning next week.
A teachable moment, indeed
There's a growing sense among some bankers that Troubled Asset Relief Program known as "TARP" has become toxic. As a result, they want to bail out of the bank bailout program.
"It should be called 'TRAP,' not TARP," said Brian Garrett, chief executive of Bank of the Bay in San Francisco, who is trying to return bailout funding. "Giving it back is harder than getting it."
So much for all the free market vs. socialism theoretical hooey, we now are starting to achieve real empirical evidence for why Bailout Nation is such a horrible idea.
Garrett and other bank executives complain the Treasury's program to stabilize banks during these turbulent times is actually weighing down their potential for growth.
They're especially concerned the limits on executive compensation - imposed in February, four months after Treasury starting sending out checks - could make it difficult to hold on to star talent who may jump to financial institutions that are not receiving any Government assistance.
"Things have changed since TARP was announced. The rules have changed," said Michael McMullan, CEO of the Bank of Florida, who withdrew his application for TARP funds Thursday. "We're going to need to attract and retain key revenue drivers and great bankers."
"The more restrictions that we are placed under from the Government, the less value we can deliver to our shareholders in the long run," said McMullan.
Goldman Sachs (GS, Fortune 500), Bank of New York/Mellon (BK, Fortune 500), Wells Fargo (WFC, Fortune 500), JP Morgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500) and Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500) - all 'mega-banks' that the government forced to take bailout money - say they want to return taxpayer funds "as soon as practical."
But, they're well aware no one will be permitted to return funds before completion of regulatory "stress-tests" of the major banks to determine how they would withstand a severe recession.
They can’t give the money back… even if they wanted to. And those bonuses over which everyone was so outraged - that was precisely the mechanism by which entities like AIG were going to retain their employees to help dig out of this mess but which is now evaporating into thin air as these employees don't need the hassle and don't need their neighborhoods cruised by union goon agitators.
Monday, March 30, 2009
We live for this sort of stuff…
The Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education voted today to make Cesar Chavez Day a school holiday.
The bill adopted by the Legislature in 2000 establishing March 31, the birthday of the late United Farm Workers co-founder, as a state holiday calls for schools to be closed if their school board agreed.
The board resolution calls for Superintendent Ramon Cortines to report back to the board in 90 days with a plan to drop another holiday in favor of the one for Chavez, school board President Monica Garcia said.
The calculus on this is actually pretty simple for Mr. Cortines: axe the holiday that he thinks will cheese-off the least amount of people and then see what happens.
First, full disclosure: We’re newspaper people. That is to say, we vastly prefer to look at hard copy rather than a computer monitor. It’s kind of tough to spread the internet out over the kitchen counter to go along with your cup of coffee and we take no joy in the current state of affairs for the industry as newspapers are what we grew up on.
Times are tough for newspapers these days. With circulation falling off many newspapers are laying-off workers or looking for buyers and some are simply just shutting down. Newspapers are, of course, looking for a hand-out as well. But like many in the financial and automotive industries have found, that bailout business can be a Faustian bargain. A bill has been introduced in the Senate that would allow newspapers to restructure as non-profits with a variety of tax breaks…. and a variety of restrictions.
Cardin's Newspaper Revitalization Act would allow newspapers to operate as nonprofits for educational purposes under the U.S. tax code, giving them a similar status to public broadcasting companies.
Under this arrangement, newspapers would still be free to report on all issues, including political campaigns. But they would be prohibited from making political endorsements.
We suppose that provision would be for that whole conflict of interest thing as elected representatives are the ones keeping the industry afloat but Bailout Nation being what it is, please note that this noble gesture to decouple the newsies from their gracious benefactors comes at the expense of the 1st amendment.
And with respect to the Government bailing out the newspapers we found a piece from The Nationthat not only defends the concept but all but breaks out the pom-poms: Government money will save what was once a proud and regal industry that has fallen on hard times
The news media blew the coverage of the Iraq invasion, spoon-feeding us lies masquerading as fact-checked verities. They missed the past decade of corporate scandals. They cheered on the housing bubble and genuflected before the financial sector (and Gilded Age levels of wealth and inequality) as it blasted debt and speculation far beyond what the real economy could sustain. Today they do almost no investigation into where the trillions of public dollars being spent by the Federal Reserve and Treasury are going but spare not a moment to update us on the "Octomom." They trade in trivia and reduce everything to spin, even matters of life and death.
Now that certainly sounds like an industry worth saving, no? The authors argue in their excruciatingly long piece that newspapers, once free of actually having to turn a profit, thanks to your tax dollars will transform themselves into beacons of journalistic virtue and integrity. And there's more...
Fortunately, the rude calculus that says government intervention equals government control is inaccurate and does not reflect our past or present, or what enlightened policies and subsidies could entail.
We can do exactly that--but only if we recognize and embrace the necessity of government intervention. Only government can implement policies and subsidies to provide an institutional framework for quality journalism.
Just how long does one have to spend in camp to harbor those sentiments let alone be as crazed to actually commit them to print… in public… in broad daylight?
Their argument is that journalism has failed because they choked on their own private enterprise excesses and will take a sudden turn for the better because they won’t choke on the excesses of tax-payer largesse. It’s like your tax dollars are a different color of green – a shade of green that will magically and in the most enlightened way transform the for-profit print journalism industry into the responsible stewards and watchdogs of democracy we knew it to be in the first place because they won’t be able to make any money.
Not that we were in favor of rescuing the newspaper industry in the first place, this treacly cheerleading has soured us even more. There's a time and place for everything and quite frankly the newsies have done nothing of late to convince us they deserve saving.
CAPE CORAL, Fla. - A tea party to protest government spending and taxing is canceled. Canceled by the government.
Why? They feel too many people could show-up.
Lynn Rosko planned to hold a tax payer tea party at Jaycee Park in Cape Coral on April 1st. The idea was announced at a Cape Coral City Council meeting, then an e-mail blast by the Republican Party and it was mentioned in the local media.
With all of that attention, the City of Cape Coral felt there could be more than 500 people attending the tea party.
Therefore Rosko needed to get a permit and insurance for the event. Rosko says she's not willing to get insurance and accept liability for something that a stranger could do. Rosko told WINK News, "I have rescinded any organizing or supervision or what ever you want to call it over this tea party on April 1st."
A couple of things: Does this happen with other groups? We're kind of new to this whole "organizing" and "protest" thing but were wondering if we'll run into the same 1st amendment contrarian legalese on April 11th here in San Diego. And God bless Ms. Rosko but what's to stop all these people from showing up anyway, permit or not? Again, we defer to the 1st amendment.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Ethanol advocates claim that the biofuel is a cheap, renewable energy source that reduces pollution and our dependence on foreign oil. It sounds too good to be true—and it is.
Ethanol, especially the corn-based variety, is bad for taxpayers, bad for consumers, bad for the environment, and horrible for the world's poor. In fact, even environmentalists are critical of ethanol subsidies these days. The ethanol craze has distorted markets and increased the price of food worldwide. The only people who still support ethanol subsidies are the ethanol producers—and politicians from both sides of the aisle. Together, they make sure the subsidies keep coming.
Click here for Reason.tv clip if embed no worky
What do you think would happen to the stock market if the President came out tomorrow and said he was going to work towards lifting the ban on off-shore drilling? What if he said he was going to do that on the condition that the oil companies use state-of-the-industry technology and that the EPA would be living in their back pocket, extracting major fines for violations? Do you think that might be a boon to the markets? Do you think that might be a far more reasonable way to lessen our dependence on foreign oil than what we're doing now?
Shoot, we’d even allow for a portion of Big Oil profits to subsidize alternative energy research and production. You heard that correctly. We would gladly allow for that because anything…. anything is better than the counter-productive non-policy we have right now.
Unfortunately, the adults aren’t calling the shots right now and they haven’t been for quite a while.
Chord Strike puts out their 100 greatest indie rock albums of all-time… B.A.-holding, white scene-sters erupt in protest.
We actually own 4 of the albums on the list so we’re not quite sure whether that makes us tragically hip or severely wanting for musical taste.
Howard also understood the relationship between tyranny and gun control and kept his household protected from white supremacists with a submachine gun and a pistol in his waistband. The first gun control laws in America were actually imposed in the post-Reconstruction South, where they were tied to rolling back the rights that blacks had been granted as an outcome of the Civil War and the 14th and 15th amendments. (As an aside, many odious pieces of the liberal orthodoxy; gun control, prevailing wage laws and discriminatory policies towards private schools, for examples, have their origins in racist and bigoted motives.)
B-Daddy has more about a civil rights leader you may have never heard about, here.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
While everyone appeared to be in full back-slapping, self-gratifying, self-congratulatory mode over the “closing” of Club Gitmo, the harsh realities of what to actually do with the detainees has just now started to sink-in.
We commented previously that the options were limited: detain them here stateside, ship them to countries willing to take them, shoot them or one that we did not, silly us, previously consider…. release them into general population. Not that general population but our general population.
During an interview with reporters, Holder was asked whether members of a group of Uighurs at the U.S. military detention facility in Cuba could be released on American soil.
"I don't know. We're trying to come up with places for them," Holder said.
He added later: "The possibility exists."
…because nothing succeeds like painting yourself into a corner with hastily-made politically-popular decision.
But it gets better… a whole lot better.
The Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair had this to say in response to a question regarding releasing the Uighurs into the U.S.
If we are to release them in the United States, you can't just sort of, as you said, put them on the street and there, but we need some sort of assistance to them to start a new life and not return to some of the conditions that may have inspired them in the first place. So all that is a work in progress. It's under intense timeline because a year is not a very long time to go through that complexity. So all that's in process.
We’re pleased to see that the Obama Administration appears supremely intent on delivering on a campaign promise regardless of the consequences.
More here at Powerline.
Folks, it’s all pretty simple. You want universal managed health care then someone is going to have to manage it.
And we suppose it was a journalistic nod to the freak show at the carny but Newsweek allowed Codepink cofounder, Medea Benjamin to chime in with respect to Congressional handling of the financial sector. It was standard boiler plate lefty populism that concluded with this paragraph from the bearded lady, herself:
The economic crisis, and the public's furor over executive pay and behavior, has provided Congress with an opportunity not just to rein in CEO compensation but also to remake the out-of-touch, irresponsible corporate system. Until that happens, we'll keep wearing our signs.
Out-of-touch… That’s an interesting phrase given the context. Just how out-of-touch does one have to be to believe that the most out-of-control, vindictive, disingenuous and unethical Congress in generations would effectively remake or rein-in anything?
H/T: Hot Air
Friday, March 27, 2009
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner plans to propose today a sweeping expansion of federal authority over the financial system, breaking from an era in which the government stood back from financial markets and allowed participants to decide how much risk to take in the pursuit of profit.
The Obama administration's plan, described by several sources, would extend federal regulation for the first time to all trading in financial derivatives and to companies including large hedge funds and major insurers such as American International Group. The administration also will seek to impose uniform standards on all large financial firms, including banks, an unprecedented step that would place significant limits on the scope and risk of their activities.
This will get the economy rolling. Certainly sounds like some swell incentives for stimulating financial activity in the economy to us.
"So, what if I told you that in the future we would be able to talk to the President on my little brother's Commodore 64K?"
"I would say you are so totally wasted, bro."
The President, bless his heart, seem genuinely surprised that the overwhelming majority of people participating in his mid-work day online town hall meeting are underemployed stoners.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
The Senate version of Obama’s federal subsidization of charitable acts and community goodwill passed 79-19 this afternoon. In a nod to a long-standing government tradition, the torturously named “Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act” results in a pronounceable and relevant acronym, the GIVE Act. (We swear there must be a Senate subcommittee established just for naming these things).
To many, this is the Americorps mandatory volunteerism Act as it boosts funding for this outfit and other community-related organizations. Yes, many other charitable organizations will be strengthened with your tax dollars except one.
Hazard a guess? Perhaps one established at the behest of the father of the President’s predecessor? Perhaps one whose initials don’t form pronounceable acronym that is still relevant to its intent?
Think Sec. 1831 of the bill…
(Sec. 1831) Eliminates federal funding for the Points of Light Foundation.
Yep, we’re throwing around trillions of dollars to god knows who on god knows what but this bill still takes time to stop, turn around and kick a political adversary in the nuts before merrily skipping along. Awesome.
Forgive our momentary crudeness but back at Seminary, that type of action was known as “a dick move”.
There is something Stalinist about this with an effective air-brushing from the federal ledger of a favored institution of the Bush family.
Moving beyond the partisanship of the past, indeed.
P.S. And by that margin, we again would like to thank Senate Republicans for absolutely nothing.
A naval interceptor rocket accidentally targeted and blew up the returning Jesus Christ during a morning test over the Pacific, setting off some kind of retaliatory offensive by the host of heaven.
General Jason Gruntsworthy, head of the Anti-ballistic Missile Shield program, declined comment at first, then said "God, what a mess."
“On our screens, Jesus looked suspiciously like a Chinese MIRV-9 nucular missile, which is frankly an easy mistake to make. The real surprise is that we actually hit something.”
Following the explosion, burning radioactive pieces of Jesus rained down over a wide area of the western seaboard, causing spot fires and random miracles. NASA has asked that the debris not be touched or collected as souvenirs.
While the General described the situation as unfortunate, he remained optimistic. “We do apologize for the collateral and spiritual damage this has caused, but we would like to point out that in the War on Terror, you can't take risks. And hey, it finally works!”
More here from the Wittenburg Door. What the Onion might look like if run by good-humored descendants of long-haired Jesus types. Joe Bob Briggs, the host of the now-defunct, MonsterVision (the Mystery Science Theater 3000 for the trailer park set) is a contributor.
We’ve fielded a few pre-selected questions from pre-selected members of the BwD peanut gallery for which we do not believe we have good answers so we’re throwing them out there in a semi-rhetorical fashion because we don’t believe there is a nice, neat and concise answer for them. Of course, we welcome your feedback just the same.
First question: What the heck happened to that PMI we were paying? You remember PMI, the Private Mortgage Insurance which you paid each month along with your Principal and Interest if the down payment on your house wasn’t at least 20% of the loan. Ostensibly, this payment was to protect the lender in case you defaulted early on in the loan. So…. what the heck happened? Why weren’t lenders protected? Or, why weren’t lender protecting themselves with money we were paying into a collective insurance pool? It galled us to have to scratch out another $60 every month which we knew wasn't going to pay down the principal nor could it be a write-off.
Perhaps this might help answer the question:
With this type of insurance, it is possible for you to buy a home with as little as a 3 percent to 5 percent down payment. This means that you can buy a home sooner without waiting years to accumulate a large down payment.
And who wants to wait all those years just to accumulate enough money to make a lousy down payment?
OK. Next question but first the set-up: We’ve been told that the reason credit is froze up and lending institutions don’t want to lend to each other is because these same lending institutions are holding toxic assets, i.e. bad loans. But it’s tough to quantify or even locate these little critters because they’ve been “bundled” with the good loans. Good loans and bad loans totally co-habitating - living in sin, if you will.
Well, the housing market is showing encouraging trends of making a turn-around and while prices are still falling, the quantity of home sales are going up. It is the foreclosed homes, these very toxic assets that are getting snatched-up by bargain hunters, first.
So, we’re being encouraged to be patient, right? If we are patient and don’t jerk with the positive trend of these toxic assets coming off the books, doesn’t this problem start taking care of itself? Does not the crisis become less so to a point where we don’t feel obligated to pursue anymore idiotic, debt-inducing, recession-lengthening, power-grabbing, political-paybacking bailouts?
Actually, that question is subject to a nice, neat and concise answer.
Congratulations to Mongo’s San Diego St. Aztecs who defeated St. Mary’s in the quarterfinals of the N.I.T. last night, 70-66. They will go on to play Baylor in the semis next Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.
So… it was just the N.I.T. Don’t tell that to the players of either team or to the fans who packed Cox Arena and who were going absolutely bonkers throughout the game.
And maybe, just maybe the most snake-bit athletic program in America beat back some deamons as the Aztecs averted another 2nd half meltdown by playing some tough D and knocking down some clutch free-throws down the stretch.
Intense games like this, even if they are “just the N.I.T.” remind us of why college football playoff detractors are so wrong when they say a playoff would devalue the importance of the regular season. You play to win the game. Herm can’t manage the clock to save his life, but he's spot-on with respect to human competition.
Do you think that Texas-Texas Tech football game we witnessed last fall would have been any less insane if both teams knew that they were going to the playoffs regardless if they won or loss? Of course, not. By and large, athletes at the highest level, when matched against each other, will always compete at the highest level. It's a trait of human nature that doesn't factor-in "playoffs".
Congratulations, again to the Aztecs.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Daniel Hannan, a British MP, kind of goes off on Brit PM, Gordon Brown at the European Parliament.
And here's what he had to say about the speech with respect to Big Media:
The internet has changed politics - changed it utterly and forever. Twenty-four hours ago, I made a three-minute speech in the European Parliament, aimed at Gordon Brown. I tipped off the BBC and some of the newspaper correspondents but, unsurprisingly, they ignored me: I am, after all, simply a backbench MEP. When I woke up this morning, my phone was clogged with texts, my email inbox with messages. Overnight, the YouTube clip of my remarks had attracted over 36,000 hits. By today, it was the most watched video in Britain.
How did it happen, in the absence of any media coverage? The answer is that political reporters no longer get to decide what’s news.
Big Media has no one but themselves to blame for driving themselves towards extinction. We'll have more on this later.
Exit question: Does anyone over here have the testicular fortitude to speak that way? Not with the British accent, but rather, the words.
Among the bills signed into law by Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour on Friday is House Bill 1568, which bans the use of cameras to catch motorists running red lights.
Jackson is among several cities in Mississippi that uses or was considering using cameras as ways to reduce accidents and raise revenues through automated ticketing. Columbus has already resolved to remove its cameras in anticipation of Barbour’s signing the bill. Other cities that were reportedly considering installation of the cameras include McComb, Natchez, Southaven and Tupelo.
Ah, yes – public safety. Now we certainly do not wish to impugn the integrity of our government officials but we become suspect of this claim when in the case of San Diego’s red light scam a few years ago, it was found that not only was the contractor getting a cut of the action for each red light runner, the yellow light time span was being reduced in order to drive up violations. As a result, the program was temporarily discontinued by the courts.
Think about that… in what parallel universe does concern for public safety coexist with shortening the yellow light interval?
Unfortunately, the red light cameras have been re-instated just as long as everybody remains on their best behavior.
We live for stuff like this:
After Rep. Barney Frank, D-MA, admitted he feared a Supreme Court ruling on homosexual marriage because “that homophobe Antonin Scalia has too many votes on this current Court“, the associate justice called on all Americans to “have patience with Rep. Frank as he struggles with his heterophobia.”
“Barney Frank, accustomed as he is to putting like with like, apparently fears things that are hetero…meaning different,” Mr. Scalia said. “Under our Constitution, the judicial and legislative branches are not homo — meaning the same. If the people want to create law about issues not mentioned in the Constitution, they have the power to do so through their elected representatives. The judiciary is a different branch, with different enumerated powers.”
Mr. Scalia refused to speculate about “whether Rep. Frank’s heterophobia is genetic or simply a lifestyle choice, but in either case,” he said, “it demonstrably weakens the constitution and harms society in general.”
Justice Scalia, we are worthy... we are not worthy.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Another day, another… you know the rest.
We’re afraid we may have been overcome by "crappy idea fatigue", but persevere we must.
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.
For all the wailing and gnashing of teeth that was done with respect to the Patriot Act regarding governmental incursion into private matters, how is all this remotely any better? At least the Patriot Act had an expiration date. Now we are faced with the prospects of a ‘roid-raged Congress leveling confiscatory taxes at target groups they don’t like all in an attempt to cover for their monumental incompetence and this plan that would give a two-time tax cheat and someone on the President’s cabinet the power to decide what firms and institutions they will effectively take over.
What is the criteria for “qualifying” for a takeover? What is it exactly that Geithner and...Larry Summers(?)... Rahm Emanuel(?) will do once they take over these entities? And how will this arrangement not be subject to political chicanery?
What galls us more than anything, though, is that we feel compelled to ask these very specific questions when just the concept, the mere notion of this plan should be dismissed out of hand, no questions asked.
And everybody was up in arms over the expansion of Executive power during the Bush years?
B-Daddy predicted, years ago, that the expansion of Executive power, though passing legal muster and even for legitimate purposes of defending the country against foreign and domestic terror threats would prove to have disastrouus long-range consequences. We didn't want to believe him but our John the Baptist-Messiah/Bush-Obama meme appears to be fleshing out.
But, if you and your crew would rather rage on the beach till dawn, you’re in luck, too, since most city sands have facilities to encourage bonfire booze-fests.
In other news today, MSNBC discovers Susan Golding is no longer the mayor, the Padres don’t play at Jack Murphy Stadium but that Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.
About a year or two ago, our friend “Jules” laid this one on us: “I don’t mind Conservatism, it’s Republicans that I can’t stand”.
It took us a while to figure that one out and far from being contradictory in nature, it made all the sense in the world upon further review. In that sentence lies the “problem” with the Republican Party and why it is they are on the electoral outs of late.
People like “Jules”, a good ol’-fashion big government lib, don’t really mind the concepts of fiscal restraint, a commitment to free markets and individual liberty… she just can’t stand a bunch of hypocrites.
This is why Democrats can largely get away with passing a $780 billion “stimulus” package that has maybe 5-10% to do with actual stimulus (and we're being generous - dare we say post-partisan) and a $400+ billion midnight snack while proposing $3+ trillion budget for the coming fiscal year and not suffer any apparent electoral damage, especially when it was Republicans who got the spending ball rolling in the first place. Democrats never have claimed any moral high ground on fiscal discipline so it’s not like they can be accused of violating any of their core principles.
To hell with Specter, Snowe and Collins… we know their type and fully expect their sort of behavior. The rest of the G.O.P. feck… er, faithful on the Hill are going to have to work double-duty to make up for them and to recapture the Republican brand. We’ve seen glimmers of hope but not nearly enough.
Oh, Zo agrees with us and pays up his share of the AIG bonuses, here.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Sunday that help from the private sector was critical to get toxic assets off banks' balance sheets and help resolve a credit crisis.
And then there’s this:
"Our judgment is that the best way to get through this is if we can work with the markets," Geithner said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. "We don't want the government to assume all the risk. We want the private sector to work with us."
Having effectively blurred the lines between the public and private sector, we have zero clue what that statement means.
More on Congress’s waterfall down economy:
The tax plan approved by the House as revenge against a handful of obscenely greedy AIG executives would slam tens of thousands in the financial industry, many of them New Yorkers, who have nothing to do with AIG or any other wrongdoing.
And that would be just start of the collateral damage.
The levies are so draconian that major banks that took bailout money are threatening to give it back - defeating the purpose of jump-starting the economy with an influx of cash.
Yep, we're in good hands.
UPDATE #1: Heartbreak...
Fifteen of 20 American International Group leading bonus recipients have agreed to give them back in full, said New York's top legal officer who is probing into $165 million in executive pay at the troubled company bailed out by the U.S. government.
Which means, of course, there are still 5 brave holdouts who have resisted the lynch mob. Godspeed, anonymous greedy corporate execs, Godspeed.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Us? We're just glad retard jokes are back on the table.
Our 12 year old son Tyler is developmentally disabled. Tyler's learning center has a Special Olympics program and we (along with his teachers) have been encouraging him to participate. Every time we bring it up to him, however, Tyler pushes back and becomes very withdrawn. We love Tyler very much and don't want to force him into it, but we think the Special Olympics would be a terrific experience and help him conquer his shyness and introversion. Do you have any suggestions for helping him get past this fear?
Jean and Ted in Westmont
Dear Jean and Ted:
As you know I am a big fan of the Special Olympics program, and all the good things it does for young Mongoloid-Americans like your son. Nothing inspires more than the sight of these heroic young tards hilariously giving it their all in the arena of friendly athletic competition. Extra-chromosome? More like extra-awesome! That's why I recently volunteered, on the advice of my damage control team, as an equipment manager for the U.S. Special Olympics bowling squad. At first I wasn't sure how I would feel about polishing other people's balls for a change, but I think those tards really appreciate what I've done for them. Lately they started calling me "Special O."
More here from ‘Hawk.
And this guy? He knew the way to a fair lady's heart was to convince her that those "goofy bastards are the best thing" he's got going.
Yep, being a Federal employee must be pretty sweet, especially in this economy. Decent pay, full benefits package and pretty much guaranteed employment. Well, guaranteed just as long as you aren’t an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent who outs the the Denver District Attorney for cutting deals with illegals to lessen the odds of them getting deported.
Denver Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent Cory Voorhis thought the citizens of Colorado should know about the practices of a former Denver District Attorney, Bill Ritter, who allowed 121 illegal aliens to minimize their risk of deportation through generous plea bargain deals. Mr. Ritter demanded an investigation and ICE Agent Voorhis was prosecuted in federal court. The jury saw through the political character of the prosecution and took only two hours to acquit Mr. Voorhis of all charges. The story should have ended there, but Mr. Voorhis lost his job because the federal government would not accept the jury verdict.
Between this case and the travails of border agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, why on Earth would anyone want to get into that line of work?
Modern management techniques encourage employees to not be afraid to make mistakes and for management to back them up in the event of honest errors that were made in pursuit of a greater purpose. We’re thinking that ICE and Border Patrol employees would be satisfied with their management backing them up when they merely do their job.
More here on the discouraging goings-ons in Denver and El Paso, two sanctuary cities
Microbrews, free markets and consumer choice…. Like we weren’t going to run this Reason.tv spot on the craft beer phenomena in this country.
Our ancestors brought their brewing techniques and traditions with them from Europe so that virtually any town or city of decent size had its own brewery, particularly in the Rust Belt and Midwest. Prohibition and the World Wars (diverted grain production for “food only”) wiped out this town brewery tradition in the U.S. but in 1979, a clerical error in the 21st amendment which ended Prohibition, was corrected and for the first time in a half-century it became legal to brew small batches of beer in your home.
Once derided for its fizzy yellow water, the U.S. is now a craft beer juggernaut, producing more styles of beer than anywhere else in the world and dominating international beer competitions.
This is an object lesson to the power of creativity and innovation that this great country possesses and which will always be unleashed with positive results for all if given the opportunity.
Several fine California breweries including Lagunitas (they brew a very good Czech-style Pilsner), Russian River (home of the insanely excellent Pliny the Elder IPA), Bear Republic of Racer 5 IPA fame and Stone Brewing Company in Escondido all get some air time in this video clip below.
Click here, if embed not working.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
The Random-ideas-that-stink-generator at the White House is running quite smoothly, thank you very much.
Another day, another crappy idea to come out of the White House.
The Obama administration will call for increased oversight of executive pay at all banks, Wall Street firms and other companies as part of a sweeping plan to overhaul financial regulation, government officials said.(Oh, really?)
The new rules will cover all financial institutions, including those not now covered by any pay rules because they are not receiving federal bailout money. Officials say the rules could also be applied more broadly to publicly traded companies, which already report on some executive pay practices to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Last month, as part of the stimulus package, Congress barred top executives at large banks getting rescue money from receiving bonuses exceeding one-third of their annual pay.
Just so we're all on the same page, these "new rules" in whatever form, fit and function they will be applied, apply even to those private entities that are not receiving any bailout money. Someone inside the Federal government, be they from the Treasury Department or perhaps a Congressional committee will be passing judgement on executive pay and bonuses. Of course, doing this will not do one single thing towards actually solving the current crisis but it will allow the Administration to look like they are being "sensitive" to the public's apparent populist bloodlust.
Hey, while they are at it, why not print the names and addresses of those executives on the recovery.gov website. Congress would think that is a hell of an idea.
Yep. If there’s anyway to get the world of banking and finance back on its feet again while retaining any decent leadership at these institutions, it would be to regulate pay and bonuses and have the two-time tax cheat nosing around in everybody’s business .
We’ll hand it to the Obama Administration, though - just when you think they can’t come up any more crappy or crappier ideas, they hit the reset button on that generator and out pops another one.
Village idiot, Bill Maher, thinks the rhetoric of radio and television “entertainer” Glenn Beck is increasing “the chance for people to take horrible action” against President Obama. Like, not voting for him 4 years from now?
Meanwhile the hatred and fury Congress has whipped up to distract the public from their own incompetence has resulted in this:
The Connecticut Working Families Party this weekend has organized a bus store that will make stops at Wilton, Connecticut, AIG office as well as the security-patrolled homes of AIG execs who are fearing for their lives.
"We're going to be peaceful and lawful in everything we do," said Jon Green, the director of Connecticut Working Families. "I know there's a lot of anger and a lot of rage about what's happened. We're not looking to foment that unnecessarily, but what we want to do is give folks in Bridgeport and Hartford and other parts of Connecticut who are struggling and losing their homes and their jobs and their health insurance an opportunity to see what kinds of lifestyle billions of dollars in credit-default swaps can buy."
No, the fomenting has been accomplished already, Mr. Green. You lunatics are merely the result.
We can’t say how proud we are to have a body of elected representatives who have shifted blame for a mess they signed off on and which is now resulting in harassment and death threats. Makes us proud Americans.
First, the set up:
Now, the punch line:
We remember fabricating some horrible excuse to cut short a wine and cheese date atop Mt. Soledad in order to get back home to see the last 8 minutes of this epic 1992 East Regional Final between Duke and Kentucky. These actions would explain a few things.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
So, what would you say about a doctor who offered his general practitioner services to the uninsured in New York City for $79/month for unlimited visits with a $10 co-pay for everything from mole removal to mammograms? You might call him innovative or perhaps even a blessing. Here's a man that is providing health care to those who might not otherwise be able to afford it. Pretty cool, huh?
Well the state of New York really doesn’t care what you would call him or what you think of him because, to them, he’s an outlaw.
But his plan landed him in the crosshairs of the state Insurance Department, which ordered him to drop his fixed-rate plan - which it claims is equivalent to an insurance policy. Muney insists it is not insurance because it doesn't cover anything that he can't do in his offices, like complicated surgery.
Not to worry – rather than being shut down, Dr. Muney raised his visit fees to $33 per to appease the state bureaucrats. Everybody goes away happy. Muney keeps his practice, the State effectively throws its weight around, screwing up a perfectly good plan and uninsured patients pay more out of pocket for their medical care. What’s not to like about that?
You all want it. You all think that somehow more regulation and more government involement in the health care industry will somehow keep medical costs down and here is a (yet another) perfect example of just how that would work.
We’re trying to figure out just who the most odious person on the planet is right about now. It’s between Chris Dodd and Barney Frank. Actually, at this point, it’s not even close. Dodd may be one big fat liar and an elected official possessing of zero shame, scruples or morals but he doesn’t stand a chance against Barney Frank who is employing fascist tactics in his “moral” crusade against Wall St. fat cats. A moral crusade to solve the very mess he helped create.
Despite receiving death threats, Frank wants the identities of those AIG employees, past and present, who are receiving the bonuses that Congress approved and who have a household income of $250,000 or above. (Just what is it with $250,000? It’s become some sort of socio-economic Mendoza Line with this Congress and Administration. From here on out, this 250K income threshold will be known as the Obama Line.)
Congress approved the bonuses, the President signed off on it but now all that is somehow unacceptable and Congress is going to prove to the public they can be just as much of a pitch fork-wielding mob as a Klan meeting.
So in the spirit of democratic give and take here’s Barney’s address at 274 Grove St. in Newton, Mass. And here’s a look at his compound on Google. Time for some tree-trimming, Barney.
We fully recognize we’ve probably been spending too much time on this issue when we could be talking about something much more socially redeeming like March Madness and the ACC’s 3-4 record and the Pac-10’s 5-1 record thus far, but what we have seen the past few days with respect to a Congressional targeting of specific people for fiscal retribution and public ridicule when no guilt has ever been established is unprecedented in our lifetime.
We’ve got a President who seems willing to just let Congress run amok in the most reckless of manner and who lacks the balls to stand up to them and worse, appears willing to exploit this very reckless and dangerous behavior for his own political gain.
Yep. We’re in good hands.
Friday, March 20, 2009
DAY 28: Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's wife has taken to calling him the Trillion Dollar Man during sex.
DAY 49: After hanging around for weeks and just watching from outside the White House fence, Sen. Harry Reid is finally invited to play in Barack Obama's pickup basketball game.
DAY 58: Rahm Emmanuel sends out a memo forbidding any more graphical depictions of what a billion dollars in stacked $1 bills looks like.
More on "The First 100 Days" here from The Onion.
The populist lynch mob aka the “Hey, look over there” U.S. Congress was thrashing about like a rabid and wounded animal yesterday trying to get back the bonuses to AIG that they had approved in the stimulus package.
The House of Representatives yesterday overwhelmingly approved a near-total tax on bonuses paid this year to employees of American International Group and other firms that have accepted large amounts of federal bailout funds, rattling Wall Street as lawmakers rushed to respond to populist anger.
Despite questions about the legality of the retroactive 90 percent levy, Democrats and some Republicans said the tax on bonuses for executives earning more than $250,000 per household annually was the quickest way to show angry Americans that Congress intended to recoup the extra dollars. Even backers of the measure noted it was an extraordinary step.
The House vote sent some employees into a panic about the prospect of, in effect, having to give up money they might already have spent. And it had regulators fearing it could undermine the Treasury's efforts to stabilize the financial system if banks tried to flee the bailout program or if other firms refused to participate in future rescue operations in order to protect their bonuses, some executives said. That could curb lending and damage the economy.
And more good news forthcoming over which Congress can get more uppity.
Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., said a House subcommittee inquiry had revealed that 13 financial firms that received an injection of government money owe more than $220 million in unpaid taxes. All 470 firms that participated in the government bailout program were required last fall to certify they did not owe back taxes.
Meanwhile, beleaguered mortgage giant Fannie Mae disclosed it was set to pay its own big-money retention bonuses – ranging from $470,000 to $611,000 – the very sort of payouts fueling condemnation of AIG.
To top it off, Citigroup, which has received $45 billion in federal money, planned to spend $10 million for new offices for its top executives.
And who led the charge to levy the 90% tax on these bonuses? It’s gotta be:
The effort to impose the tax was led by the Ways and Means Committee chairman, Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., who just days earlier had expressed reluctance at using the tax code for this purpose. Rangel has also sought donations from AIG for a public policy institute at City College in New York that will bear his name.
You just can’t make up this sort of stuff.
So, there you have it. Congress is taking Constitutionally-dubious action that will not save a single job let alone create a single job, will not put one more dollar in your pocket, will not do anything of real benefit to society and which, in fact, will prove itself to be counterproductive in the short, mid and long term.
Yep, we’re in good hands.
Exit question: Now that we’ve been taught to demonize the banking and financial institutions, what is the Obama Administration going to do the next time they give these no good miserable fat-cats another couple or so hundred billion (a trillion, anyone?) of your tax dollars?
Put us in the minority perhaps, but could we get the President to fill out a few more brackets…. like, a lot more? Seems to us he’s been focusing a bit too much on the economy lately with the all too predictable results.
In fact, brackets, bowling, appearing on Jay Leno… mocking the Special Olympics… it’s all good with us – just stay away from the economy. Deal?
Thursday, March 19, 2009
The Federal Reserve sharply stepped up its efforts to bolster the economy on Wednesday, announcing that it would pump an extra $1 trillion into the financial system by purchasing Treasury bonds and mortgage securities.
Having already reduced the key interest rate it controls nearly to zero, the central bank has increasingly turned to alternatives like buying securities as a way of getting more dollars into the economy, a tactic that amounts to creating vast new sums of money out of thin air. But the moves on Wednesday were its biggest yet, almost doubling all of the Fed's measures in the last year.
The action makes the Fed a buyer of long-term government bonds rather than the short-term debt that it typically buys and sells to help control the money supply.
It's as if the Federal Reserve has become its own seperate government. No debate. No vote. No oversight. No tranparency. Just print it.
The President has appeared to have dropped the worst idea of all time. Prelude post here.
The Obama administration has abandoned a controversial plan to make veterans use private insurance to pay for costly treatments of combat-related injuries.
Stung by the angry reaction, the decision came following a meeting in the White House today between officials from 11 veterans advocacy groups and top White House officials.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that the intent of the plan had been to "maximize the resources available for veterans." But he said President Barack Obama recognized the veterans’ concerns that it could "under certain circumstances, affect veterans and their families’ ability to access health care."
How exactly does making veteran’s injured in combat pay out-of-pocket for treatment of their injuries, “maximize the resources available for veterans”?
And then, this from Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel:
I think [the President] realized this was the wrong time to ruin what was turning out to be a very good first impression . . . We're very pleased that it turned out this way, and we're very pleased that those of you in the media gave us the chance to make our views clear.
Excuse us? Is there a right time for the worst idea of all time? And all those gracious vets will forever be in gratitude to Obama for restoring the status quo, eh, Rahm?
Gibbs and Emanuel would’ve been better served to just admit they screwed up and then shut the hell up. But, no – instead they suggest that despite their scrapping of the plan, they were really acting in the vet’s best interest (they just don’t know what’s best for them) and that it was just a matter of timing.
Because they had the gall to actually float the worst idea of all time and then after the ass-kicking they received, roll out hubris and arrogance as an exit strategy, the Obama Administration is in no way shape or form off the hook on this one.
As we embark on our near-3 week journey of self enlightenment and bracketology we bring you this video clip in preparation for the opening round games of the NCAA tournament this morning: Adam Waddell of Wyoming throwing down against Northeastern in the... CBI???
We had to do a little research and this CBI is the College Basketball Invitational. From the looks of the teams that are entered into this tournament the qualifications appear to be that you aren’t good enough to get into the NCAAs but still crappy enough to not even get an invite to the NIT. Good times. Enjoy.
Oh, by the way – just to be on record, we’ve got Pitt winning the whole thing. The NCAAs, that is.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Senator Chris Dodd tops the list of AIG campaign contribution recipients for 2008. Amid the faux rage of Congress over the AIG bonuses, the obvious question is whether or not the folks below will return the money.
1. Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., $103,100
2. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., $101,332
3. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., $59,499
4. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., $35,965
5. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., $24,750
6. Former Gov. Mitt Romney, (R) Pres $20,850
7. Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., $19,975
8. Rep. John Larson, D-Conn, $19,750
9. Sen. John Sununu, R-N.H., $18,500
10. Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (R) Pres $13,200
11. Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., $12,000
12. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., $11,000
In other news today, people are scratching their heads and wondering how it is that AIG was allowed these bonuses in the first place.
But though some lawmakers did move to prevent bonuses in the stimulus bill last month, the final language actually makes an exception for pre-existing contracts, effectively exempting AIG.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, who originally proposed the executive compensation provision, said he did not include the exemption clause, which said new rules "shall not be construed to prohibit any bonus payment required to be paid pursuant to a written employment contract executed on or before February 11, 2009."
In an interview with CNN, Dodd denied inserting that exemption at the 11th hour, and insisted he doesn't know how it got there.
"When I wrote the language there was no such language like that," Dodd told CNN Tuesday.
So….. there are only two ways to play this. At worst, Dodd is a bald-faced liar who did indeed write that language to protect a significant campaign benefactor. At best, he was asleep at the wheel on a section of porkulus for which he was responsible. Additionally, this speaks to just how hurried, rushed, haphazard and just what a “cram-down” the fashioning of porkulus was.
It’s either one or the other. And either way, if Dodd had a shred of decency about him, he would step down from chairmanship of the Senate Banking Committee. Of course, he doesn't, so he won't.
We remain incredulous that news item after news item quotes Dodd fulminating on the banking and housing crisis as some sort of paragon of wisdom and integrity without even a hint of irony.
UPDATE #1: Thanks to commenter, Pro, we’ve liberated a link to a site that has a nice wrap-up of everything AIG bonuses-related and where we discovered the video below of none other than Chris Dodd.
Bumper sticker version in case you don’t have the time nor the stamina to watch the whole thing: Everybody kind of knew about the bonuses a while back and everyone kind of knew they would get their pants sued-off by AIG if they did anything to prevent the bonuses so everyone just kind of allowed the bonus exemption language into the porkulus bill.
One could almost see Rahm Emmanuel, though, whispering to the President: “Boss, this is perfect. While the Treasury prints another $1 trillion it doesn’t have we can use this next “crisis” to express our outrage to the American people over these AIG fat cats.”
How’s that working for ya, Rahm?
Embed no worky - please click here for video.
Graciela Barrios, an undocumented immigrant, has long relied on her Sacramento County health clinic for the advice, medication and tests that keep her diabetes under control.
But next month, Barrios and thousands like her will be on their own as communities cut nonemergency health services to illegal immigrants and more local governments are forced to make similar decisions. Nearby Contra Costa County will vote tomorrow on whether to cut services to the 5,000 illegal immigrants they serve each year.
Data on health care for unauthorized immigrants are hard to come by because community clinics and hospitals usually do not ask patients for their immigration status. The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that of the 11.9 million illegal immigrants living in the United States, about 59 percent have no health insurance. That accounts for about 15 percent of the nation's approximately 47 million uninsured.
You know, Big Media always has to look on the darker side of things. Not us. You all know we’re glass-is-half-full types so we just turn around that paragraph above and read it as: 41 percent of f@#$-ing illegal immigrants have health insurance. Wow. We feel a lot better now.
The rest of the article goes on about how the economy has forced clinics to close, caused layoffs and which has resulted also in a drastic cutback in services.
I have no insurance, no resources, nothing to fall back on,” said Barrios, who has one daughter. “I have no idea what I will do.”
The all-around good will and decency that we try to practice at this site forbids us from offering a very simple suggestion to Ms. Barrios.
Apples: A health care industry managed by the government and totally dependent on tax revenue and which will cut back on services provided if tax revenues dry up in an economic downturn.
Exit question: How do you like them Apples?
This is a cause and effect phenomena of universal health care which we had not thought about before but which we now see playing out in real time and which provides one more reason to get onboard and quit being so divisive.
The “outrage” over the AIG bonuses is a smoke screen of the highest order - a veritable “hey, look over there!” by our esteemed leaders. Congress and this Administration now profess shock, dismay and indignation over the handing out of these bonuses – bonuses that they knew were in place and contractually- obligated last fall before any bailout money was even in place.
We’re wondering where this “outrage” was when people like Franklin Raines and Jamie Gorelick (the Zelig of turn-of-the-century man-made disasters) were receiving million dollar bonuses as they ran Fannie Mae into the ground?
And with respect to those lawmakers who defend their earmarks as being a mere fraction of the overall amount of the latest spending bill but throw grandstanding temper tantrums about the AIG bonuses: Are not these million dollar bonuses mere fractions of the billions that are being spent on the myriad of bailout packages approved by Congress and the President?
That this Congress and this Administration express “outrage” over anybody’s malfeasance and incompetence takes the definition of “irony” to an entirely higher level.
Just as the “Rush-as-face-of-Republican-Party” story started losing its legs with Big Media, this came along at just the right time.
But, that’s not even really the worst of it. KT has more, here.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
(The first wave of nausea we experienced while posting the previous piece has passed so we'll get this one in while we can. By the way, We're pleased as punch with our decision to post these pictures that have nothing to do with the article rather than funny-looking mug shots of Nancy Pelosi... we're sure you would agree.)
San Diego U-T editorial board member, Chris Reed notes in his blog what we observed with some bemusement regarding the coverage of the tea party phenomena as the L.A. Times “covered” the Fullerton event which attracted between 8,000-15,000 people by linking to a piece from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune… from one of their keep rockin’ blogs no less. Even now, a “tea party protest” word search on the L.A. Times website will garner you the aforementioned piece at #7 and at #8 another rockin' blog piece on the internet aspect of the tea party phenomena rather than a look at the movement itself.
The New York Times seems equally clueless or willfully ignorant in its piece here regarding populist anger over the myriad of bailouts and where that anger is directed.
The Obama administration is increasingly concerned about a populist backlash against banks and Wall Street, worried that anger at financial institutions could also end up being directed at Congress and the White House and could complicate President Obama’s agenda.
Credit the Times, here – they almost get it right. Our reading of the situation is that while there is some anger reserved for Wall Street, the vast majority of this reservoir of disgust is aimed squarely at the elected officials of Sacramento and Washington D.C. Again, our internet cruising has revealed a general understanding among the majority of “party-goers” that Bailout Nation is equal parts cultural (Government rewarding bad behavior) and political (using Bailout Nation to push an agenda that has zero to do with economic recovery).
To wit (from same article):
Mr. Obama’s advisers argued that to at least some extent, this was a sentiment they could tap to push through his measures in Congress, including raising taxes on the wealthy. They pointed out that in his speech to Congress, Mr. Obama denounced corporations that “use taxpayer money to pad their paychecks or buy fancy drapes or disappear on a private jet.”
Yeah, we sense a real desire to “change” the status quo and “move beyond partisan politics” with a strategy like that.
As a grizzled old bard once said: It doesn’t take a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows.
We first reported on this Friday and now it looks more and more like a concrete goal rather than a trial balloon.
The leader of the nation's largest veterans organization says he is "deeply disappointed and concerned" after a meeting with President Obama today to discuss a proposal to force private insurance companies to pay for the treatment of military veterans who have suffered service-connected disabilities and injuries.
We try our best not to blog while angry so we will try to keep this post short and is why we slept on it before writing anything about it.
Socialized medicine is a bad idea. It’s a bad idea that has terrible consequences but wishing to see socialized medicine enacted does not demonstrate a character flaw or personal callousness.
This, though, is entirely different. Wishing to carry out something like this reveals a mentality and springs from a culture that is completely out of touch with what 90% of Americans think and feel, especially with respect to the men and woman of our armed forces.
Attending the church of a racist loon and rubbing elbows with a terrorist was certainly the bellwether to what we are seeing today played out before our very eyes in the Oval Office.
Today is St. Patty’s day but we do not feel like partying. God and DNA have blessed us with an absolute distaste for alcohol if we are ever in an angry, depressed, pissed-off or despondent mood – kind of like we are right now.
We’ve got some other posts in the can right now but we’re not sure we’ll post them today – just not feeling it.
We welcome comments to advise us whether or not we are taking this too seriously or somehow out of context.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Why do we accept the budget-busting costs of a welfare state? Because it implements the moral ideal of self-sacrifice to the needy. Why do so few protest the endless regulatory burdens placed on businessmen? Because businessmen are pursuing their self-interest, which we have been taught is dangerous and immoral. Why did the government go on a crusade to promote "affordable housing," which meant forcing banks to make loans to unqualified home buyers? Because we believe people need to be homeowners, whether or not they can afford to pay for houses.
Recall how the motive of getting people… as many people as we possibly could into home ownership was advertised as “helping”, “assisting”, “lending a hand”, and “achieving the American dream”, noble pursuits and motives all. Noble that is until these terms were actually used to cover for the true motives of political manipulation of the market in return for political and monetary gain.
More here from the WSJ.
Non-sequitor picture above is yet another shameless attempt to squeeze in desert shots of our trip out to the Anza-Borrego state park on Friday. This particular pic is of Clark (Dry) Lake looking northwest to Rockhouse Canyon. Please click to enlarge.
It’s On! Downloadable tournament bracket, here.
Top seeds are Pitt, UNC, Louisville, UConn.
We went to bed on Friday night thinking Mongo’s San Diego St. Aztecs were a very solid bet for the tournament after their Mt. West tourney semi-final win against BYU. We woke up on Saturday not as confident as conference tournaments around the country were ablaze with upsets and teams that were on the outs at the beginning of last week were making late runs at the rapidly dwindling amount of at-large berths.
Sure enough, despite a near-heroic comeback, State fell short to Utah, 52-50, in the conference final on Saturday afternoon and which sealed their fate as their brief respite as a “Last Four In” team gave way to the reality of hosting a first-round game in the NIT when tournament selections were made yesterday afternoon.
A couple of observations:
Thanks for nothing: UConn gets a #1 seed…. gets shipped out West. I’m sure they would not have minded a #2 seed in the East in order to play in front of their fans in Boston once the Regionals start. For those people that felt Memphis deserved a #1 over UConn, the tournament selection committee solved that problem by putting Memphis in the same Region as UConn as the #2 seed. If the chalk holds, we’ll see those two square off in the Regional Final in Glendale, AZ.
Potential first round upset that jumped off the page at us upon initial inspection: the seemingly once-a-year dreaded 5/12 upset will be Arizona over Utah.
CBS Sports has unveiled its “boss button”… the button you hit if the boss happens by while you are streaming the 1st round games this Thursday and Friday and a totally non-hoops related spread sheet pops up…. except that it's not non-hoops related. Click on spreadsheet to enlarge. Now both you and your boss will know that Jeff Fryer holds the tournament record for most 3-pointers in a game. Thanks, CBS. (H/T: Awful Announcing)
Sunday, March 15, 2009
This, from B-Daddy we decided to liberate from the comment section of our post on the Obama Administration’s fantastic idea to have members of the armed forces pay out of their own pocket for combat-related injuries.
"Such a policy would also be incredibly short sighted, even given Obama's other policy goals. The service-related injury benefit reassures potential employers that hiring a vet won't saddle them with higher health care premiums. This helps transition the veterans into the workforce where they eventually use private insurance anyway. The veterans do so because navigating the VA health care bureaucracy is difficult, but at least it exists as a safety net. Such an amazingly short-sighted plan could only be thought up by an administration that has plans to manage health care for everyone, and wants to free up government resources to do so."
And here we thought the idea was merely just the height of callousness. Imagine our surprise to learn there is actually a motivation… a plan behind this incredible callousness.
And speaking of health care…. Another day, another crappy idea to emerge from the White House:
The Obama administration is signaling to Congress that the president could support taxing some employee health benefits, as several influential lawmakers and many economists favor, to help pay for overhauling the health care system.
The proposal is politically problematic for President Obama, however, since it is similar to one he denounced in the presidential campaign as “the largest middle-class tax increase in history.” Most Americans with insurance get it from their employers, and taxing workers for the benefit is opposed by union leaders and some businesses.
And us. So connecting the dots between B-Daddy’s surmising and the article above, it does indeed appear that the President is making everybody-pays-for-everyone-else’s health care his top priority.
Its like the Administration went out and bought a Random-ideas-that-suck generator, plugged it in and have kept it running day and night since they took office.
Totally non-sequitor photo is from our trip out to Borrego Springs on Friday and is used here in a totally shameless manner.
Well, doggone – it’s so you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting another one of these cases in the “most ethical Congress in history” anymore.
Maxine Waters, get ready for your close-up.
Ms. Waters and her husband have both held financial stakes in the bank. Until recently, her husband was a director. At the same time, Ms. Waters has publicly boosted OneUnited's executives and criticized its government regulators during congressional hearings. Last fall, she helped secure the bank a meeting with Treasury officials.
Her involvement isn't new. Ms. Waters has detailed her financial ties in a series of federal disclosure forms and has been vocal in public in support of the bank. Those ties, however, have received little public attention. Nor is it well known how the influential lawmaker has over the years acted to support the bank and its executives.
Such potential conflicts of interest are more serious as the banking system's crisis has led the government to take an increasingly active role in overseeing financial institutions, including OneUnited. The financial-services committee on which Ms. Waters sits oversees banking issues, and the lawmaker is a potential future chairman.
And here’s that video again. Yep. Whenever we hear people yammer for more regulation or less regulation we’re going to keep rolling this thing out to remind everybody that no matter which way you go, these are the people ultimately calling the shots.
Ladies and gentleman, in a taped encore performance from Capitol Hill…. Maxine Waters, Barney Frank and Franklin Raines!
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Took the day off yesterday to go out to the desert (Borrego Springs to be exact) where the whole area was ablaze with wild flowers. We’ll share more photos over the next few days. (Click image to enlarge)
View is from a field off Henderson Canyon Road looking west at the San Ysidro Mountains above the town of Borrego Springs.
On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, just minutes before learning of the terrorist attacks on America, Democratic strategist James Carville was hoping for President Bush to fail, telling a group of Washington reporters: "I certainly hope he doesn't succeed."
Carville was joined by Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg, who seemed encouraged by a survey he had just completed that revealed public misgivings about the newly minted president.
"We rush into these focus groups with these doubts that people have about him, and I'm wanting them to turn against him," Greenberg admitted.
The pollster added with a chuckle of disbelief: "They don't want him to fail. I mean, they think it matters if the president of the United States fails."
Then again, Carville's no Rush Limbaugh.
Friday, March 13, 2009
BOOKS do not sell themselves: that is what films are for. “The Reader”, the book that inspired the Oscar-winning film, has shot up the bestseller lists. Another recent publishing success, however, has had more help from Washington, DC, than Hollywood. That book is Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”.
Reviled in some circles and mocked in others, Rand’s 1957 novel of embattled capitalism is a favourite of libertarians and college students. Lately, though, its appeal has been growing. According to data from TitleZ, a firm that tracks bestseller rankings on Amazon, an online retailer, the book’s 30-day average Amazon rank was 127 on February 21st, well above its average over the past two years of 542. On January 13th the book’s ranking was 33, briefly besting President Barack Obama’s popular tome, “The Audacity of Hope”.
H/T: Carpe Diem
Veterans Affair Secretary Eric Shinseki confirmed Tuesday that the Obama administration is considering a controversial plan to make veterans pay for treatment of service-related injuries with private insurers.
But the proposal would be “dead on arrival” if it’s sent to Congress, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, said.
Dead on arrival…. Nice touch, Senator.
We don’ t even know where to be begin with this one. It’s like a sick Onion piece.
Let’s get this straight: Obama, a man who wants everyone else to pay for everyone else’s health care, exempts members of the armed forces who have sustained injuries in service to our country and expects them to do that whole free market thing with their own money. That’ll do wonders for recruiting.
The one element of society where we’d be glad to give a little more (and we do) is going to be denied that sacred trust that exists between they and their country if this plan goes through.
Of course, it won’t go through and that’s part of the problem. Murray’s right –this abomination doesn’t have a prayer – so why even float it? What could the administration be thinking? Are they too tired or just plain incompetent? Or maybe just too busy ginning up their next attack on Rush Limbaugh to realize this one slipped through the cracks?
That we have an Administration that is this blatantly callous to the men and women in our armed forces is one thing. That they are this totally oblivious to their own callousness is entirely another.