Tuesday, May 31, 2011

US Post Office to ponder a preliminary proposal to join the 21st Century

Maybe someone could tell the upper management at the USPS about Al Gore's great new invention.

Link
The US Postal Service is set to release its initial ideas on how it could develop digital or hybrid mail services this summer.

Paul Vogel, the USPS chief marketing officer, told the Mailers’ Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) last week that his team had been wading through “thousands” of ideas that have been put to the Postal Service regarding possible strategies to move into new forms of electronic communications.

“There’s been no shortage of ideas of what the Postal Service should be doing,” he said. “We can’t implement them all – we’re trying to narrow down the field in terms of what we can implement without Congressional approval.”

But Vogel then added: “We will have at least a proposal within the next month or two.”

Jim Cooper voted YES on Debt Ceiling Hike

as did Cohen, of course. 

Ole Jim Cooper, always talkin the talk about how awful these deficits are and how he is just worried sick about the future of our country...yada, yada, yada.

Americans have NO expectation of higher earnings, NONE, ZIP, NADA

Link HT: Greg Mankiw

They are asked: “By about what percent do you expect your (family) income to increase during the next 12 months?” Individuals who feel confident about their ability to demand higher wages in response to rising prices would likely expect rising family income. In stable economic conditions, individuals typically expect their family’s income to roughly keep pace with inflation. However, about midway through the last recession, the median expectation plummeted from around 2.0 percent to near zero, and it has continued to hover at an all-time low of 0.2 percent. If inflation were to increase at about 2 percent over the next year and the income expectation materialized, that would mean the median individual’s real income would fall.

NO to debt ceiling hike and that includes 82 Democrats

NEA has lost 95,000 members in 18 months

Link
However, if we accept the 3,269,523 total members reported by the union in December 2009 as the high-water mark, then NEA has lost more than 95,000 members in the last 18 months. Virtually all of these appear to be working K-12 teachers and education support personnel.

Forty state affiliates reported losses compared to last year at the same time. The union expects a further loss of 30,000 active members this year.

Double Dip is confirmed and we are not talking Ice Cream

Link


The S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas declined 0.2 percent in March from February on a seasonally adjusted basis, in line with economists' expectations.
The price index was below the low seen in April 2009 during the financial crisis. The glut of houses for sale, foreclosures, tight credit and weak demand have kept the housing market on the ropes even as other areas of the economy start to recover.
The 20-city composite index was at 138.16, falling below the 2009 low of 139.26.
"This month's report is marked by the confirmation of a double-dip in home prices across much of the nation," David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Indices, said in a statement. "Home prices continue on their downward spiral with no relief in sight."

Monday, May 30, 2011

Whats the difference between a public health expert and an ax murderer?

The public health expert usually means well. (Rim shot)

Link
For one thing we know with certainty about the expert class is that they are never chastened. Their low-fat diet dogma simply and smoothly elides into a Mediterranean diet mantra (a diet, as it happens, with plenty of fats). Their demands that “safe” trans fats be substituted for saturated fats in processed foods simply transforms, 10 years later, into indignant demands that the trans fats be removed when it is discovered they are worse than saturated fats. The phrase “global warming” is simply dropped in favor of “climate change” when it is discovered that the planet actually has been cooling since the 1990s. In no case is there an acknowledgement that their prior expert pronouncements have been both arbitrary and wrong, and much less is there ever an apology. Being experts, and thus by definition correct, they never, ever have anything to apologize for. They simply abandon the old dogma as needed, and seamlessly adopt the new one.

For when you’re an expert within our multiplicity of institutions for public improvement, history will always have begun 10 minutes ago.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Bitter liberal Robert Reich calls the Wambulance

Hey Robert, the only thing that is going to collapse is the mismanaged, failed ,central planning, big government boondoggles that lead to this crisis.

Link
Why is the Tea Party winning? Wall Street and big business hold the purse strings in the GOP, but the Tea Partiers are now the ground troops. House Republicans need those ground troops to get out the vote in 2012. And they figure Wall Street and big business will stake them regardless of what happens.

But Boehner and his colleagues are playing with fire. If the debt ceiling isn't raised and the financial system begins to collapse, the GOP loses not only Wall Street and big business. It loses everyone who's still sane.

More pics from the Great Tennessee Tax Revolt: The Loudest Horn

During the Protests against the State Income Tax in 2002 the favored tactic was driving around the Capitol Bldg honking horns. The sound was deafening during large protests and an informal contest developed among protesters to see who had the loudest horn.

The clear winner was this creation. This is a real train whistle mounted in the back of a pickup truck driven by a gas powered air pump. When this monster went off you could actually see the windows of the capitol vibrate.

A Small Victory against Government Enforced Crony Capitalism

30% of home energy tax credit recipients have no record of home ownership

Link
One part of the program offers 30% credits — with no dollar limit — for solar energy systems, geothermal heat pumps, wind turbines and fuel cells installed before Dec. 31, 2016. A second part of the program — for energy-efficiency home improvements — offered credits up to $1,500 for qualifying exterior windows and doors, insulation and roofing materials.

Both credits have been popular. More than 6.8 million taxpayers received credits during tax year 2009, totaling $5.8 billion through December 2010. But substantial numbers of the filings had problems that went undetected by the IRS, according to the inspector general's investigation. In a review of 5 million returns, auditors found that more than 302,000 taxpayers, who received a total of $234 million in credits from the IRS, showed no evidence of owning a home — the minimum requirement for eligibility.

A review of a smaller sample of returns, supplemented with local real estate property deed information, found that 30% "had no record of owning a home."

Saturday, May 28, 2011

North Sea Oil production plummets after Tax Hike...and the Democrats

want to increase taxes on US oil.....great strategy Dems!!

Link
North Sea oil production has slowed to its lowest level since records began 15 years ago following the Chancellor's recent tax raid on the industry.

An update from the Department of Energy yesterday showed the biggest fall in oil production since quarterly records started in 1995.

The slowdown follows the Chancellor's controversial Budget decision to increase the supplementary tax on North Sea Oil production to 32 per cent from 20 per cent to pay for a cut in petrol duty.

The Chancellor's decision drew an industry-wide outcry and claims that mature fields would be closed.

Beating the Taxman by Rolling your own Cigarettes

Link

Steadily rising taxes on cigarettes, and a crackdown on the black market, have led to a new kind of business in Hawaii; rolling your own cigarettes. 

Tyrannical, Murderous Dictatorship Reduces Taxes

Link
Cuba has announced new measures to spur the island's push into private enterprise. The government is instituting a moratorium on payroll taxes for small business owners and loosening limits on the size of private restaurants.

Under the new guidelines published Friday, anyone who hires between one and five workers will not be subject to any payroll taxes during 2011. The measure applies to all small business owners, but is likely to have its greatest affect on private restaurants and cafes employing waiters and cooks.

The government also says it will allow such establishments to serve up to 50 diners at a time, up from the 20 that had been permitted previously. - Sapa-AP

Bloomberg: The U.S. Postal Service Nears Collapse

"Government Management" is an oxymoron. "Government Management" does NOT work and never will. The USPS is in trouble for the same reasons that Medicare and Fannie Mae and Amtrak are train wrecks.

Link
He is struck by how many USPS executives started out as letter carriers or clerks. He finds them so consumed with delivering mail that they have been slow to grasp how swiftly the service's financial condition is deteriorating. "We said, 'What's your 10-year plan?' " Herr recalls. "They didn't have one."

Congress gave him until the end of 2011 to report on the USPS's woes. But Herr and his team concluded that the postal service's business model was so badly broken that collapse was imminent. Abandoning a long tradition of overdue reports, they felt they had to deliver theirs 18 months early in April 2010 to the various House and Senate committees and subcommittees that watch over the USPS. A year later, the situation is even grimmer. With the rise of e-mail and the decline of letters, mail volume is falling at a staggering rate, and the postal service's survival plan isn't reassuring. Elsewhere in the world, postal services are grappling with the same dilemma—only most of them, in humbling contrast, are thriving.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Romney is just another big government politician

Well, that didn't take long. Romney panders to Iowa farmers and says giving them other taxpayer's money is just fine. He doesn't believe that allowing US citizens to live their lives in freedom will work...government must ride us like a jockey and keep us on the path determined by the good intentions of our politicians.

Link
“I support the subsidy of ethanol,” he told an Iowa voter. “I believe ethanol is an important part of our energy solution for this country.” Iowa leads the nation in the production of corn, a main source of ethanol.

Mr. Romney and a crowd that had come to see his first Iowa speech of the year had been evacuated from the Historical Building by a fire alarm. Amid the tumult, a woman asked if he was going to take any questions. He said given the circumstances, the question and answer part of the program appeared out of the question. So she presented him a typed out note demanding his position on ethanol, one she had intended to present at the presidential forum that had just abruptly ended.

Poll: 65% Favor Federal Balanced Budget Amendment

Link and Link
According to a recent Sachs/Mason-Dixon poll obtained exclusively by The Daily Caller, a large majority of the public backs an amendment to the Constitution requiring a balanced budget, a reform some lawmakers say is on the table in the debt ceiling debate.

65 percent of the public supports the amendment with 27 percent opposed; 8 percent are undecided.

81 percent of Republicans and 68 percent of independents support the amendment. Even a plurality of Democrats, the party that typically resists spending cuts, back the amendment by a 45 percent to 44 percent margin.

“Americans are concerned about our nation’s deepening deficit and as a result, an overwhelming number support a balanced budget amendment,” said Alia Faraj-Johnson, Partner and Executive Vice President of Ron Sachs Communications, the organization that commissioned the poll.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Hooray for Vermont and their socialist healthcare

50 experiments in Democracy...and Vermont has chosen its own way with a state based single payer healthcare system. Who knows if it will ever get implemented but let us hope they will have be freedom to fully implement a healthcare system with full-on central planning. Hey, they have the only self-identified socialist Senator so it is fitting they should have a socialist healthcare system.

Everyone in Vermont will have a "right" to all the medical care they care for...it will be a Utopian dream.

More good news: It will mean new employment opportunities for brick layers who will build the East Germany style wall to keep doctors from moving to neighboring states.

Author Interview: The Case for Legalizing Capitalism

What do you offer a Federal Worker whose performance is unacceptable?

Under current policy you give him or her an annual raise. Under Rep. Issa's revolutionary proposal you would...drum roll...deny them an annual raise!!

Why not fire them and hire someone whose performance is acceptable?

Link
Most federal employees have their performance rated annually, commonly on four- or five-level scales in which “unacceptable,” or a similar term, is the lowest rating. Those ratings are used in decisions such as promotions and awards, but annual raises typically are paid across the board regardless of performance ratings.

“Currently, all federal civilian employees, no matter how they are rated on their performance, receive the annual nationwide adjustment in January of each year,” a House committee report on the defense bill said. “Federal civilian employees who are rated as ‘below satisfactory’ still receive an increase in salary despite the fact that they are underperforming. An incentive is necessary to entice these employees to improve their job performance.”

Not ONE Senator voted YES on President's Budget: Vote was 0-97

Link
The Senate voted unanimously on Wednesday to reject a $3.7 trillion budget plan that President Obama sent to Capitol Hill in February.

Ninety-seven senators voted against a motion to take it up.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Let the Democrats hitch their wagon to the Medicare disaster

There were many factors involved in the NY26 election but to the extent Medicare was involved, let the Democrats own it. Let them wallow in it and love it. They can also have the Post Office and Amtrak and the IRS. Medicare is a third rate treatment system that was destined for bankruptcy the day it was created. It rewards mediocrity and is an administrative nightmare.

President Obama's "solution" for the Medicare disaster is to put cost cutting decisions into the hands of a panel of bureaucrats who will use central planning to spread the misery. Central planning has NEVER worked and will simply make Medicare more of a disaster. Costs will continue to rise and quality of care will become third world.

I am approaching retirement age and I would MUCH rather have a private insurance option instead of the current bureaucracy run Medicare...in fact Ryan should include the private option immediately instead of waiting for those now 54.

This is a slam dunk for Republicans. Let the Democrats embrace their inner-albatross.

Republicans slowly but surely losing their nerve on debt ceiling

Link
Democrats viewed the planned debt-ceiling vote as a symbolic, partisan exercise to prove that a debt limit increase cannot pass the Republican-controlled House unless it is linked to a plan to reduce the federal budget deficit.

All House Republicans are expected to vote against the measure, because it does not include spending cuts. Many Democrats will oppose it, saying they don't want to align themselves with a debt limit increase if the measure is destined to fail.

Democratic leaders in the Senate will also stage a vote this week that they expect to fail, this one on the House Republican budget and Medicare plan.

Their goal is to force Senate Republicans to take a stand on the Medicare proposal, which would fundamentally change the program for people now younger than 55, turning it into a system of government-subsidized private insurance plans.

Poll: American's say REDUCE the Debt!!

Link
The debate over whether to raise the legal limit on government borrowing has riveted Americans, with a large majority worried about the potential consequences regardless of whether Congress votes to allow the national debt to keep increasing.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Harold Camping and Tim Geithner keep moving the goalposts

Harold says we are now looking at Oct 21 and Little Timmy Geithner says Aug 2.

Things are looking pretty darn serious:

More guns...Steady Decline in Major Crime Baffles Experts

Link
The number of violent crimes in the United States dropped significantly last year, to what appeared to be the lowest rate in nearly 40 years, a development that was considered puzzling partly because it ran counter to the prevailing expectation that crime would increase during a recession.

A Small Victory for Free Speech on Internet

Link
A New York appellate court ruled on Thursday that courts need to consider the “freewheeling, anything-goes” writing style that prevails on the Internet when evaluating Internet communications for libel.

The New York Supreme Court Appellate Division in New York City held, in Sandals Resorts v. Google, that Google does not have to release email account information for an account holder who widely distributed anonymous email messages criticizing Sandals, an operator of luxury, all-inclusive Caribbean resorts.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Revolutionary Idea in Fla: Medicaid recipients should help with premiums

Why..."this is OUTRAGEOUS," all the poverty pimps will say!! We must assume all poor people are emotionally and intellectually frail and unable to act like big boys and girls.

Link
Florida wants to be the first state in the nation to charge most of its Medicaid recipients a monthly premium as well as $100 for using the ER for routine care. But even supporters acknowledge that the new fees, which the state legislature passed recently as part of a sweeping Medicaid measure, face long odds of getting federal approval.

Today, four states - Illinois, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin - have Medicaid premiums. But those fees, in accordance with federal law, apply only to people who make more than 150 percent of the federal poverty level - $16,335 annually for an individual or $33,525 for a family of four.

Florida, however, wants to impose the $10 monthly premium on all Medicaid enrollees who aren't in nursing homes. At least two-thirds of Medicaid recipients in Florida, and in the U.S. as a whole, have incomes of less than 150 percent of the poverty level, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. (Kaiser Health News is a program of the foundation.)

Pawlenty calls for phasing out ethanol subsidies -- in Iowa

Hallelujah!!

Link
The truth about federal energy subsidies, including federal subsidies for ethanol, is that they have to be phased out. We need to do it gradually. We need to do it fairly. But we need to do it.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Tea Party Nightmare: Republicans already caving on Debt Ceiling?

Link
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Top congressional Republicans on Sunday suggested they could compromise on the two biggest issues -- healthcare and taxes -- that stand in the way of a deal to get the United States' debt under control.

Representative Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House of Representatives Budget Committee, said he would "absolutely" be willing to negotiate with Democrats on his plan to control healthcare costs. 
Separately, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell did not rule out a tax increase -- a contrast to other Republican leaders who have insisted that any deal to increase the country's borrowing authority must consist of spending cuts alone.

"We're not going to do the deal here this morning," McConnell said on Fox News, when asked if a deal could include revenue increases.

Selective enforcement of the law is the first sign of tyranny

Barack Obama's cousin, Milton Wolf, an MD, pulls no punches.

Link
Selective enforcement of the law is the first sign of tyranny. A government empowered to determine arbitrarily who may operate outside the rule of law invariably embraces favoritism as friends, allies and those with the best-funded lobbyists are rewarded. Favoritism inevitably leads to corruption, and corruption invites extortion. Ultimately, the rule of law ceases to exist in any recognizable form, and what is left is tyranny.

America’s founders rejected that road to tyranny when they boldly declared that all men are created equal. They wrote a Constitution meant to secure the promise of equal protection under the law.

Friday, May 20, 2011

When the Government rations healthcare...rising costs, less availability

Link
New NHS performance data reveal that the number of people in England who are being forced to wait more than 18 weeks has risen by 26% in the last year, while the number who had to wait longer than six months has shot up by 43%.

In March this year, 34,639 people, or 11% of the total, waited more than that time to receive inpatient treatment, compared with 27,534, or 8.3%, in March 2010 – an increase of 26% – Department of Health statistics show.

Similarly, in March this year some 11,243 patients who underwent treatment had waited for more than six months, compared with 7,841 in the same month in 2010 – a 43% rise.

Despite rising demand for healthcare caused by the increasingly elderly population and growing numbers of people with long-term conditions, the NHS treated 16,201 fewer people as inpatients in March 2011 compared to March 2010, the latest Referral To Treatment data disclose.

Will some bureaucrat charge this mom with child endangerment?

Somewhere there is a self-righteous, self-important, self-aggrandizing bureaucrat who would be happy to judge this woman.

Luckily it has not happened in this case, yet...congrats to this mom for her extraordinary athletic skill.

Link

Thursday, May 19, 2011

TN Congressman Phil Roe says Government Shutdown Coming

Link
U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-1st, said Tuesday he does believe there will be a government shutdown in August, though he maintained the country will not default on its debt.

“There were 17 shutdowns during the Carter administration,” Roe told about 150 people at a Rotary Club of Johnson City meeting. “We will get through this just fine, but it will take some tough decision-making. Yes, we’ve hit the debt ceiling, but I’m optimistic that we can pay our bills.”

Roe said the federal government has been fiscally irresponsible and allowed reckless spending that has added $3 trillion to the national debt in just the two years since President Barack Obama took office.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Freedom works, its works here and it works in Guatemala

You can NOT have prosperity without freedom.

Govs and State Legislators: Bulls in the China Shop of OUR Freedoms

Internet and Mail-Order Cigar Sales Banned in Maryland

AZ Gov BREWER Proposes New Fat Tax

Cops competing to take money from drivers, the drug war

A Great report by Phil Williams on extraordinary abuse of power by Cops using their power to shake down motorists for money.

Tax Rates do NOT determine Tax Revenue

Link
Nowhere in that formulation do we see a place for tax rates, as the amount of tax collections from year to year seem to be virtually independent of this factor.

In fact, since 1967, the federal maximum income tax rate has ranged from a high of 77% (in 1969) to a low of 28% (in 1988) before rising back up to today's 35%, while payroll taxes have steadily increased from a combined employer and employee rate of 6.4% to 15.3% of income over all that period of time.

Our relationship then, if it holds up, suggests that the best way for the federal government to increase its tax collections would be to promote things that either increase real economic growth or that boost median household income.

And if the government really wants to balance the federal budget and get the growth of the national debt under control, it really needs to focus on reducing its spending.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Skepticism grows on Geithner's debt limit deadline

Link
Since January, Geithner has changed his forecast of when the U.S. would hit its borrowing cap, and the final deadline for raising the debt limit, at least four times -- fueling a belief among rank-and-file Republicans that his latest August 2 deadline is artificial and can be ignored.

Some Democrats are increasingly worried that the changing calendar has been counter-productive, complicating efforts to get the $14.3 trillion borrowing cap raised because many conservative Republicans do not believe the country will start to default for many months.

"You can only cry wolf so many times," a former economic official in the Bill Clinton White House told Reuters. "If you are jumping from May to July to August, you can see people thinking that maybe you can jump from August to October.

Reuters: Boehner meets with the Tea Party from his district

Link
The private April 25 meeting was convened by the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives at the request of Tea Party leaders, who were seething over recent Republican compromises, most notably on the 2011 budget.

One of the 25 or so leaders, all from Boehner's district, asked him if Republicans would raise America's $14.3 trillion debt limit.

According to half a dozen attendees interviewed by Reuters, the most powerful Republican in Washington said "yes."

"And we're going to have to raise it again in the future," he added. With the mass retirement of America's Baby Boomers, he explained, it would take 20 years to balance the U.S. budget and 30 years after that to erase the nation's huge fiscal deficit.

Reuters Video: Tea Party takes on Republicans over Debt Limit

Monday, May 16, 2011

White House budget staffers seek to join union, what could go wrong?

Link
OMB spokesman Kenneth Baer says the Obama administration strongly supports the rights of workers to unionize.

"It is up to the people working at any bargaining unit to decide if they want to join a union or not," Baer said. "Whatever the decision of these employees may be, we are committed to working together to serve the president and the American people."

YEA!!! the idiots in Congress can't borrow any more, they have maxed out

They have abused the citizen's creditworthiness for too damned long. And YES, the only way they could have borrowed this much money was because of OUR personal earning power and OUR personal financial prudence which gave US creditors confidence that we could pay the taxes to repay the debt.

They have used us for far too long, it is time to STOP the Borrowing.

John Tanner and Bart Gordon get Cushy Lobbying Gigs

You, dear taxpayer, paid for their on the job training and now they are reaping the rewards. Sooooeeeet.

Link
• Bart Gordon of Tennessee works for lobbying giant K&L Gates.

• John Tanner of Tennessee works for Prime Policy Group.

Tea Party Says 'Hell No' to Raising Debt Limit

Link
Many of these members, buoyed by the Tea Party, argue they will not agree to raising the debt limit if their demands of major spending reductions are not met. Members of the Tea Party argue that claims about the repercussions of not raising the limit are over-hyped and simply "fear mongering."

"By raising it gives these guys cover to not make the tough decisions that need to be made," said Amy Kremer, chairwoman of the Tea Party Express. "What's coming out of the White House is a bunch of fear tactics that we're going to default on our debt and all this other stuff and its completely not true. There's enough revenue coming in from tax payments to pay our debt, pay Medicaid, pay Social Security, pay Medicare and still have money left over.

"Our message has not only been no, but hell no" to raising the debt limit, Kremer told ABC News.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tea Party members expand their activism at the local level


IL Tea Party Activists Expose Alleged Gift Cards-For-Votes School Scam

Northern KY Tea party takes aim at area planning commission

Notice: at midnight Saturday all phones will be converted to rotary dial

New bonanza for trial lawyers/bureaucrats, wireless as dangerous as asbestos

Authoritarian lefties rejoice, you now have carte blanche to impose your will on your fellow humans. Go forth and tyrannize. March on, oh soldiers of righteousness.

Link
The committee concluded that member states should:
• Set thresholds for levels of long-term exposure to microwaves of the type emitted by mobile phones;
• Introduce clear labelling on products indicating the presence of electromagnetic fields and any health risks associated with use;
• Ban all mobile phones and wireless networks in classrooms and schools;
• Run information campaigns aimed at children and young adults about the risks to human health;
• Step up research on less-dangerous types of antennae and mobile phones.

DC manages Housing for the poor about like education for the poor, very poorly

Link
The federal government’s largest housing construction program for the poor has squandered hundreds of millions of dollars on stalled or abandoned projects and routinely failed to crack down on derelict developers or the local housing agencies that funded them.

Nationwide, nearly 700 projects awarded $400 million have been idling for years, a Washington Post investigation found. Some have languished for a decade or longer even as much of the country struggles with record-high foreclosures and a dramatic loss of affordable housing.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Coming Postal Bailout will cost you dearly, dear taxpayer

Link
If that isn't ugly enough, the Postal Service expects $42 billion in additional losses over the next four years. Mail volume and revenues have suffered what Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe concedes are "unprecedented declines" since 2006, with projections of another drop of 20 billion letters mailed by the end of the decade, down from 171 million this year, thanks to competition from electronic mail.

If this were a private business, the obvious response to these losses would be urgent cost-cutting to avoid insolvency. Instead, Postal Service management recently concluded negotiations offering the 205,000-member American Postal Workers Union a new four-and-a-half-year contract that will provide a 3.5% pay raise over three years, dole out automatic cost of living wage hikes after 2012, and expand no-layoff protections.

Postal officials say this is the best deal they could get and that, had they not agreed to it, an arbitrator would have been even more generous to the union. But given that 80% of postal costs are for wages and benefits, this contract is unhinged from all fiscal reality.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Listen up Congress: Americans oppose debt ceiling hike 2-1

and they are watching the issue very closely. So get to work and for once, DO SOMETHING!!

Link

Obamacare has ruined Medicare

Link
What do these projected changes in aggregate Medicare spending mean for individual retirees? Actually, that’s not clear. It’s much easier to say how much Medicare spending will change than it is to say what these changes will mean in terms of access to care. The table below shows the changes in Medicare spending for individuals of different ages:
  • For someone turning 65 and enrolling in Medicare this year, the present value of projected Medicare spending was reduced by $35,588 the day Barack Obama signed the health reform bill.
  • For 55-year-olds, the projected reduction in Medicare spending is $62,315 per person.
  • For 45-year-olds, the loss totals $105,004.

There is NO Social Security Trust Fund, zero, zip, nada

The article linked below from the LA Times implies there is a pile of money somewhere called a Social Security trust fund and it will run out in 2036. That is a LIE. Social Security is already paying out more in benefits than it collects in taxes, the idiots in Congress have already bankrupted Social Security. The trust fund is a bunch of IOU's which the taxpayers will have to pay back because the idiots in Congress spent the money in the trust fund and put IOU's in their place.

Try this, go out and buy $10,000 worth of clothes on your credit card. Then place the clothes in a big pile, pour gasoline over them and burn them. You will then have a $10,000 credit card trust fund in the same way that Social Security has a trust fund.

Link
Caught in the sluggish recovery from the last recession, Social Security and Medicare face an increasingly dismal fiscal future, the federal government reported Friday in its annual review of the two mammoth entitlement programs.

Medicare, which now provides health insurance to some 47 million elderly and disabled Americans, could begin running a deficit in 2024, five years earlier than projected last year.

Report: GAO says keeping debt ceiling does NOT equal default

PERFECT!! Keep the debt ceiling in place unchanged and FORCE spending cuts. As Chris Matthews says, it is time to play hardball.

Link
Well, the GAO believes it does. We hear that the GAO sent a message to Congress that the 85 ruling still applies, and nothing has changed in the statutes since then that would make it null and void. GAO attorneys signed off on it as well.

So within the GOP, this should be a shot in the arm to the hard right, now feeling fully confident that failure to raise the debt ceiling won't cause a crisis.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Who supports a Democratic Gov's Budget in NY? The Tea Party

Link
An exclusive NY1-Marist College poll finds Governor Andrew Cuomo's handling of the New York state budget gets a 66-percent approval rating from the state's Tea Party supporters, more than any other group.

"All things being equal, you would say, 'How could the Tea Party be supporting or endorsing what a Democratic governor, whose last name is Cuomo, is doing?' And yet that is exactly what we’re seeing," says Lee Miringoff of Marist College.

Fewer Democrats -- 58 percent -- back Cuomo’s budget actions. Women turn out to be his toughest crowd, with just 44 percent approval.

Tea Party supporters also generally think the budget will be good for the state.

"The budget has no new taxes, there are cuts in spending. These are keeping with what the Tea Party philosophy is all about," says Miringoff.

Among Tea Party supporters, 64 percent think the budget is good for the state. Even more suburban registered voters -- 67 percent -- think the state will benefit from the budget.

However, just 47 percent of New York City voters agree.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Corporate welfare is just freakin BIZARRE

OUR legislators, who represent us and approve the spending of OUR money ask a corporate officer from Amazon what kind of secret deal he made with the Governor. Up is down, left is right, illegal is legal.

The State of Tennessee should not be in the business of making secret deals to bribe huge corporations!!!!!!!

Link
Senate Finance Committee members peppered an Amazon official today with questions about a secret sales-tax exemption agreement state officials struck to persuade the company to build two distribution centers in Southeast Tennessee.

The Internet retailing giant also came under fire in Nashville from traditional brick-and-mortar retailers who asserted it was unfair to let Amazon avoid charging state sales taxes to its in-state customers while they continue to be required to collect the taxes.

Finance Committee Chairman Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, who has a bill that seeks to force Amazon to collect sales taxes, asked the company’s director of state policy, Braden Cox, whether the previous Bredesen administration “made a commitment in order to get Amazon into Tennessee?”

Cox said Amazon officials had negotiated with state officials “as you know and there were commitments made.”

“I guess I just don’t know the legal nature of them,” said Cox, noting he was not involved. “Whether they’re actually something that can be upheld in state court. I don’t know that. But I know they were made in a business context, an inducement for us to want to come to Tennessee.”

There should be NO State Department of Tourism

Another great investigative job by Jeremy Finley at WSMV Channel 4. And, beyond, the issue of overspending raised by this report, it is appropriate to ask why should taxpayers subsidize the travel industry? Why not have a State Department of Grocery Stores or a State Department of Yard Maintenance?

The tourism industry is quite capable of promoting itself without taxpayer help. And most of the money spent is on generic "come to Tennessee" ads which do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to increase tourism. There are limits to what Government should be involved in and we need to start applying these limits.

Link
The tourism trail brochures called Walking Tall promote all Tennessee has to offer and are full of individual information on tourist destinations across the state. The ad agency White Thompson, which won the state bid for the brochures, indicated it would cost about $15,000 to develop six brochures, plus about $4,000 for the logo.

But when the I-Team began inspecting the invoices, it found that just a year later, the estimate to finish the brochures had doubled.

The estimate for the brochure a year later jumped to about $40,000 to finish the same brochure.
In the end, it cost $64,000. Add on the printing, and the final total was more than $100,000 in tax dollars to put the brochure in tourist destinations across the state.

Boehner's tough talk is not as tough as it sounds

James Pethokoukis has a good analysis. Boehner is not the bulldog he first appears to be...we MUST keep pushing Boehner et al for something that puts us on a glide path to lower spending.

Link
But, thankfully, politics keeps pushing the two issues together. The powerful Tea Party wing of the GOP wants party leaders to get something substantial in return for enabling more Treasury borrowing. That might include some or all of congressional approval of a balanced budget requirement, a legislative cap on future federal spending, and deep budget cuts. Boehner’s speech certainly gave the impression he’s on the same page. “The cuts should be greater than the accompanying increase in debt authority the president is given,” he said.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner may want as much as $2 trillion in new borrowing capacity through 2012. It’s not a small number, but matching that with cuts over 10 years is manageable. President Barack Obama’s debt commission called for $2.2 trillion over a decade, while his own recent budget proposal contemplates reductions almost as large. And if defense cuts are in the mix, as Boehner implied, it all could be done without touching Medicare and Social Security outlays.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Senator Kyle: "Tea Party just part of Fox network marketing organization?"

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Govt Commission tells Indian Bribes to stop using cell phone so much

Link
The Punjab State Commission for Women (PSCW) issued an official advisory last week urging brides "to focus on their domestic life instead of having long conversations on mobile phones".
Commission head Gurdev Kaur Sangha told AFP on Monday that the advice was designed to avoid suspicion between new couples as they adjust to their new life together.

"I found that almost 40 per cent of women consider seeking a divorce on the grounds that her husband and in-laws do not like her talking on mobile phones," said Sangha, 70, from Chandigarh, the state capital of Punjab.

"Most husbands said their wives are always on the phone and they doubted their character as they suspected them of talking to ex-boyfriends."

Mika Brzezinski goes all Ayn Rand, says she should be greedy

And, of course, she is correct. She says other people can not define her enlightened self interest, she must do it...Yep.

It would be nice if other people, like politicians, could make decisions about our lives better than we can but they can't.

Link


Are Republicans developing a backbone re debt ceiling?

Boehner seems to be upping the ante by saying Medicare reform must be part of the mix. Are the Republicans actually going to do something to prevent national bankruptcy?

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Call it what you will, Obamacare is government healthcare rationing

Link
Q: What will IPAB do?

A: Beginning with fiscal 2015, if Medicare is projected to grow too quickly, the IPAB will make binding recommendations to reduce spending. Those recommendations will be sent to Capitol Hill at the beginning of each year, and if Congress doesn’t like them, it must pass alternative cuts — of the same size — by August. A supermajority of the Senate can also vote to amend the IPAB recommendations. If Congress fails to act, the secretary of Health and Human Services is required to implement the cuts by default.

Tea Party Dogs GOP on Debt Ceiling

Link
Tea party activists have taken some lumps lately, but they’re not going down without a fight.
With TV ads, petitions and grassroots lobbying, tea party organizers are gearing up to send an absolutist message to Capitol Hill: Don’t raise the debt ceiling under any circumstances. Tea party activists have already clashed publicly with some of the 87 GOP freshmen they helped elect last year, and they’re warning that Republicans who don’t keep their fiscal promises will pay a political price.

“We will remove as many incumbents as we can that do not do the job they were hired to do,” Darla Dawald, national director of the tea party group Patriot Action Network, said in an e-mail. “We are watching every member of Congress, their votes, position and language.”
A newly formed conservative political action committee has released an ad opposing a debt ceiling increase and disputing the $100 billion in cuts that House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, touted in the recent budget agreement. The ad cites the Congressional Budget Office finding that cuts totaled less than $400 million. But its real target is President Obama and his “massive deficit spending.”

The ad was released by the new Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama PAC, a spinoff of the Our Country Deserves Better PAC, the party of the Tea party Express. The latter is about to launch its own national TV ad campaign opposing a debt ceiling increase, said Amy Kremer, who chairs Tea party Express. The PAC raised and spent $7.7 million in the 2010 cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Senator Jon Kyl on Larry Kudlow Show talking tough about debt ceiling talks

From Saturday. Lets hope he stays tough.

US Less attractive to technology workers

This is strange...isn't the US becoming a worker's paradise?

Link
A visa program designed to supply skilled foreign workers to companies in the U.S. has slowed sharply, attracting about 50% fewer petitions so far this year than last year, and 80% fewer than in 2009.

Several factors have contributed to the decline in H-1B visas, including the lackluster pace of the U.S. recovery, more opportunities for skilled workers in their home nations and higher visa fees, which appear to have spurred Indian companies operating in the U.S. to seek fewer visas. Attacks on the program by congressional foes of U.S. immigration policies have also cast a shadow over it.

One Crime Category where women outdo the guys

Link

Pew: Beyond Red vs. Blue: The Political Typology

Link

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Crony Capitalism Corporate extortion is Getting WAAY out of control

San Franciso agreed to pay Twitter simply to get them to stay. Now Illinois pays Motorola $100 million...just to stay...this is ridiculous, should be illegal and has got to STOP.

Link
Gov. Pat Quinn proferred more than $100 million in financial incentives to convince Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. to keep its corporate headquarters in Libertyville, touting the deal as essential to preventing a move to a high-tech hub in California or Texas.

Friday, May 06, 2011

CBO: 7 mo deficit $871 billion, fastest growing spending category: interest

We are $70 billion ahead of last year.

Link
The federal government incurred a budget deficit of $871 billion in the first seven months of fiscal year 2011, CBO estimates in its latest Monthly Budget Review, roughly $70 billion more than the deficit incurred in the same period in 2010. That deficit would have been higher if not for the larger-than-expected payments with individual income tax returns filed near the end of the spring tax-filing season.

Politics: a shabby infomercial you can't turn off

Link
So it dawned on me. Infomercials are the closest phenomenon that the private-sector offers to politics. Fraudulent clowns, skilled at lying, promise gullible audiences something for nothing.

The difference, of course – and it makes all the difference – is that no one is forced to buy (either figuratively or literally) whatever it is the infomercial clowns are selling. And those of us who don’t buy these clowns’ offerings aren’t forced nevertheless to suffer the consequences of the fact that large numbers of our fellow citizens do consistently, even eagerly, fall for the idiotic claims and promises and assurances offered by these greedy imposters posing as our friends.

At the very least, it’s a regrettable fact that all of us have much of our lives ‘governed’ by people who watch infomercials. Those viewers vote. And so politicians obviously appeal to these fools for their votes. And everyone suffers from the resulting absurdities that emerge as “public policy.”

Great Dog Video: PLEASE!! throw my stick

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Chile's Private Social Security System 30 years old, still kickin butt

Link
Instead of paying a 12.4% Social Security tax as we do here, Chilean workers must pay in 10% of their wages (they can send up to 20%) to one of several conservatively managed and regulated pension funds. From the accumulated savings, they get a life annuity or make programmed withdrawals (inheriting any funds left over).

Over the last three decades these accounts have averaged annual returns of 9.23% above inflation. By contrast, U.S. Social Security pays a 1% to 2% (theoretical) return, and even less for new workers.

Sappy but very, very effective Google Video

Poll shows a nation deeply divided and more doctrinaire

Link
Michael Dimock, a Pew Research Center associate director, provided examples of the growing gulf between liberals and conservatives. One example concerned the question of whether government should do more to help the needy, even if that means bigger deficits, or whether government cannot afford to provide that assistance. The survey found a 65-point gap between liberals and conservatives. Six years ago, the gap was 52 points.

When the Pew center last undertook a mapping of the electorate, foreign policy represented the major split between Republicans and Democrats. Today, the most significant divisions that shape the electorate are the size and scope of government and President Obama himself.

A chart that will lose an election? Unemployment claims way up

Unemployment claims moving in the wrong direction.

Link

I have found my next cellphone....amazing video shot by Galaxy S2

Half of states ask US appeals court to strike down health care law

Link
ATLANTA — More than two dozen states challenging the health care overhaul urged a U.S. appeals court on Wednesday to strike down the Obama administration’s landmark law, arguing it far exceeds the federal government’s powers.

The motion, filed on behalf of 26 states, urges the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta to uphold a Florida federal judge’s ruling that the overhaul’s core requirement is unconstitutional. The judge, U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson, said Congress cannot require nearly all Americans to carry health insurance.

Helicopter used in Bin Laden Raid was a secret stealth Black Hawk

Link
The helicopters that flew the Navy SEALs on the mission to kill Osama bin Laden were a radar-evading variant of the special operations MH-60 Black Hawk, according to a retired special operations aviator.

The helicopter’s low-observable technology is similar to that of the F-117 Stealth Fighter the retired special operations aviator said. “It really didn’t look like a traditional Black Hawk,” he said. It had “hard edges, sort of like an … F-117, you know how they have those distinctive edges and angles — that’s what they had on this one.”

In addition, “in order to keep the radar cross-section down, you have to do something to treat the windshield,” he said. If a special coating was applied to the windshield it is “very plausible” that would make the helicopter more difficult to fly for pilots wearing night-vision goggles, he said. The helicopters carrying the SEALs arrived over the bin Laden compound at about 1 a.m. Monday local time. One crash-landed in the courtyard and was so badly damaged it was unable to take off again.

The Cell Phone Revolution Continues, we use them for just about everything

Link

New Poll, same results: 60% Oppose raising debt ceiling

Even though 58% understand it could cause problems. The American people understand the risks!! BUT, they still believe it is time to stop piling debt on the shoulders of our children and grandchildren.

Link

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Fox News reports highest Quarterly Profit Ever

Link
News Corp. announced its third quarter earnings today, and one of its highlights was Fox News Channel, which CFO Dave DeVoe says generated its highest quarterly operating profit ever. Overall the News Corp. cable properties constituted over 60% of operating income for the company.

Perhaps most interesting: On the conference call with analysts and the press, COO Chase Carey says that FNC will renegotiate its carriage fees with “slightly over half” of its carriage universe by Summer 2012.

FNC is currently available in over 95 million homes, so it will have renegotiated deals covering more than 47.5 million homes by then. SNL Kagan estimated earlier this year that FNC receives $0.58 per subscriber per month, though the Kagan estimates can lag behind deals.FNC has been said to be seeking deals as high as $1.25 per sub.

51% of households paid no Federal income tax in 2009

Link
Upper-income taxpayers have paid a growing share of the federal tax burden over the last 25 years. A 2008 study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, for example, found that the highest-earning 10% of the U.S. population paid the largest share among 24 countries examined, even after adjusting for their relatively higher incomes. "Taxation is most progressively distributed in the United States," the OECD study concluded.

Meanwhile, the percentage of U.S. households paying no federal income tax has been climbing, and reached 51% for 2009, according to a new analysis by the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

A New LOW for the US Dollar

Link

What does the dollar's unprecedented weakness mean? A lot of things:

It reflects the world's deep mistrust of our monetary and fiscal policies. In a sense, the dollar's value is akin to the price that foreigners are willing to pay to gain access and exposure to the U.S. economy. The very weak dollar is a sign that the U.S. is a very unattractive place to do business these days.

The Fed is supplying more dollars to the world than the world wants to hold. As a corollary, the Fed is setting U.S. interest rates at a level that is lower than they should be to balance the world's demand for dollars with the supply of dollars.

U.S. exporters may get a temporary boost, since a cheap dollar makes it easier for them to undercut foreign competitors. But the cheap dollar will tend to boost the price of all imported goods, and that in turn will increase the cost of living for everyone. Eventually, higher inflation will erode whatever advantage exporters might enjoy today. You can't devalue your way to prosperity.

Yet another Poll showing overwhelming opposition to Debt Ceiling Increase

HELLOOOO Congress, this is a poll of Registered VOTERS!!!

Link

National Adults
Do you support or oppose doing each of the following to deal with the federal budget deficit: Raise the federal debt ceiling?
SupportOpposeUnsure
Row %Row %Row %
Registered Voters24%69%7%
Party IDDemocrat36%53%11%
Republican16%79%5%
Independent22%74%4%
Tea Party Supporters16%81%3%
Political IdeologyLiberal43%50%7%
Moderate24%70%6%
Conservative19%76%5%
President Obama's April 13th SpeechBefore26%64%10%
After21%73%6%
RegionNortheast28%64%8%
Midwest22%73%5%
South21%68%11%
West25%67%8%
Household IncomeLess than $50,00026%64%10%
$50,000 or more19%74%6%
EducationNot college graduate23%66%11%
College graduate24%71%5%
AgeUnder 4523%67%10%
45 or older24%69%7%
RaceWhite23%70%7%
Non-white25%64%12%
GenderMen23%74%3%
Women24%63%13%
Obama Approval RatingApprove35%58%7%
Disapprove16%78%6%
Interview TypeLandline23%69%8%
Cell Phone26%66%8%
Marist Poll National Registered Voters Split Sample: Interviews conducted April 10th through April 14th, 2011, N=555 MOE +/- 4.5%. Totals may not add to 100 due to rounding.

NYTimes: More advanced HS courses mean...stagnant test scores

Link


But other studies point to a disconnect: Even though students are getting more credits in more advanced courses, they are not scoring any higher on standardized tests.
The reason, according to a growing body of research, is that the content of these courses is not as high-achieving as their names — the course-title equivalent of grade inflation. Algebra II is sometimes just Algebra I. And College Preparatory Biology can be just Biology.