Sunday, December 2, 2012



A round-up of news items, articles, columns and blog posts that caught our eye this past week.

A nice graphical representation of what the President has put on the table to avoid the fiscal cliff.

It doesn't appear that someone is dealing in good faith.

Related: Why have conservatives ceded to the left the term "revenue" to mean exclusively "raise taxes"? What about "pro-growth policies" as a means to generate revenue?

So, what should the Republican response be to the President's proposal? Guy Benson thinks the Republicans should embrace the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan.

Simpson-Bowles, for all its faults, was conducted in an open and transparent manner and brought disparate political players into a room to forge a serious compromise. It overhauls and streamlines our byzantine tax code, takes some important first steps on entitlements, and reduces and caps federal spending. On substance, I'd wager that it would be considerably better than anything Obama and Boehner might produce after weeks of behind-closed-doors acrimony with the proverbial gun to their heads. Politically, it paints Democrats into a tough corner. Republicans could make a grand show of reluctantly supporting Simpson-Bowles for the betterment of the country. Ideally, the press conference would be led by Paul Ryan, who might explain why he voted against the plan as a commissioner, but is now willing to set aside some of his strong ideological preferences to move the nation forward.

Remember, Simpson-Bowles was the President’s own idea and which had bipartisan support. Thus far, the President has not embraced a single part of the plan. We think it would be a brilliant stroke by the Republicans to put the Democrats back on their heels and have they and the President playing defense.

As Benson stated, Simpson-Bowles has its flaws, but we see it as a giving the Republicans a leg up both tactically and strategically because as it stands now, the Republicans, fair or not, are going to take the hit, P.R.-wise, unless they get the President to take a stand on a commission that he specifically requested and whose recommendations he has since rejected. on the 8 college degrees with the worst return on investments.

Yep, all the usual suspects: sociology, fine arts and nutrition are in the mix.

And on the 8 college degrees with the best return on investment.

Atari's "Pong" turned 40 years old this past week.

Here's Buzzfeed's short history of the first video arcade game many of us played.

Warren Buffet has been out again pushing his soak-the-rich tax plan. As you are about to read, raising taxes on the rich isn't so much about improving the economy as it is about improving our... feelings.

From the TODAY Show:

MATT LAUER, TODAY: So bottom line, would raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans have a chilling effect on hiring in this country?

WARREN BUFFETT: No, and I think would have a great effect in terms of the morale of the middle class, who have seen themselves paying high payroll taxes, income taxes. And then they watch guys like me end up paying a rate that's below that, you know, paid by the people in my office.

This is an admission of naked class warfare aggression that, never mind the dismal state of the economy, we'll somehow feel better knowing that the rich are paying more in taxes than they did previously.

It's hard to see someone as independently successful as Buffett become such a hack and such a dishonest one at that. Again, if Buffett paid himself a salary above the $100,000/year he so nobly limits himself, he would land himself in a tax bracket that would make us all feel a whole lot better.

Remember, gang, these are the people that will be in charge of your compliance with ObamaCare:

South Carolina's governor faulted an outdated IRS standard as a contributing factor to a massive data breach that exposed Social Security numbers of 3.8 million taxpayers plus credit card and bank account data. Gov. Nikki Haley's remarks on Tuesday came after a report into the breach revealed that 74.7 GB was stolen from computers belonging to South Carolina's Department of Revenue after an employee fell victim to a phishing email. People who filed tax returns electronically from 1998 on were affected, although most of the data appears to be after 2002, Haley said during a news conference.

It's not just small businesses and restaurants that are doing it but now it appears that colleges are getting in on the act.

From College Insurrection:

Youngstown State University is the second institution to be public about cutting adjuncts’ hours to avoid Affordable Care Act-related costs.

The Ohio university announced its plans in a campuswide memo Thursday, hours after an internal department memo from an English professor warning colleagues about the cuts was leaked to the media.

“A provision under the [Affordable Care Act] requires employers to share in the responsibility of providing health insurance to full-time employees,” the campus memo reads. “Effective this academic year, part-time faculty will not be allowed to teach more than 24 hours over fall, spring and summer.”

Youngstown’s announcement comes just weeks after Community College of Allegheny County in Pennsylvania announced it was preemptively cutting hundreds of adjuncts’ hours to avoid an estimated $6 million in employee health care costs when the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate begins in January 2014.

Curious if the deranged left will now consider boycotting institutes of higher education.

America's trusted highway life line, AAA, not down with ethanol:

The AAA says the Environmental Protection Agency and gasoline retailers should halt the sale of E15, a new ethanol blend that could damage millions of vehicles and void car warranties.

AAA, which issued its warning Friday, says just 12 million of more than 240 million cars, trucks and SUVs now in use have manufacturers' approval for E15. Flex-fuel vehicles, 2012 and newer General Motors vehicles, 2013 Fords and 2001 and later model Porsches are the exceptions, according to AAA, the nation's largest motorist group, with 53.5 million members.

"It is clear that millions of Americans are unfamiliar with E15, which means there is a strong possibility that many may improperly fill up using this gasoline and damage their vehicle," AAA President and CEO Robert Darbelnet tells USA TODAY. "Bringing E15 to the market without adequate safeguards does not responsibly meet the needs of consumers."

BMW, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and VW have said their warranties will not cover fuel-related claims caused by E15. Ford, Honda, Kia, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo have said E15 use will void warranties, says Darbelnet, citing potential corrosive damage to fuel lines, gaskets and other engine components

It's bad for your car, it drives up food prices and its production has a larger carbon footprint than does the extraction, refining and shipment of crude oil. It's the worst alternative energy idea ever created yet it continues because it is a subsidized cash crop in a state that is first up during primary season every 4 years.

OK, gang. That's it for today. We'll catch up with you all tomorrow.

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