Only 9 percent of Americans think that the economy is Very Good/Good

Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted on Jan. 21 and Jan. 22, 2010 has 12% of American adults saying that the economy is Very Good or Good and 85% say that it is poor or very poor. The Midwest seems to be the most dissatisfied and the West the most satisfied, though the difference isn't huge (9% to 14%).

-- 50% have worried about unemployment hitting their household in recent months
-- 61% rate their personal finances as poor
-- 41% have worried about being able to pay their rent or mortgage

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Some info on the upcoming McDonald case before the Supreme Court: The Chicago Gun Ban Case

This is from a very long article by the Chicago Tribune on the upcoming Supreme Court case.

From behind the wheel of his hulking GMC Suburban, 76-year-old Otis McDonald leads a crime-themed tour of his Morgan Park neighborhood. He points to the yellow brick bungalow he says is a haven for drug dealers. Down the street is the alley where five years ago he saw a teenager pull out a gun and take aim at a passing car. Around the corner, he gestures to the weed-bitten roadside where three thugs once threatened his life.

"I know every day that I come out in the streets, the youngsters will shoot me as quick as they will a policeman," says McDonald, a trim man with a neat mustache and closely cropped gray hair. "They'll shoot a policeman as quick as they will any of their young gangbangers."

To defend himself, McDonald says, he needs a handgun. So, in April of 2008, the retired maintenance engineer agreed to serve as the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging Chicago's 28-year-old handgun ban. Soon after, he walked into the Chicago Police Department and, as his attorneys had directed, applied for a .22-caliber Beretta pistol, setting the lawsuit into motion. When that case is argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on March 2, McDonald will become the public face of one of the most important Second Amendment cases in the nation's history.

Amid the clamor of the gun-rights debate, McDonald presents a strongly sympathetic figure: an elderly man who wants a gun to protect himself from the hoodlums preying upon his neighborhood. But the story of McDonald and his lawsuit is more complicated than its broad outlines might suggest. McDonald and three co-plaintiffs were carefully recruited by gun-rights groups attempting to shift the public perception of the Second Amendment as a white, rural Republican issue. McDonald, a Democrat and longtime hunter, jokes that he was chosen as lead plaintiff because he is African-American. . . .

The family's house was burglarized three times in the 1980s and early 1990s, Otis McDonald says. Five years ago, a teenager pulled out a gun and took aim at a fleeing car in the rear alley. Three days later, that same teenager and two other young men surrounded McDonald's car and, according to a police report, threatened to "off" him. This summer, according to another police report, someone broke into the family's garage.

McDonald says he has spotted drug deals in the back alley and watches with suspicion as flashy cars roll down the street. He disdains the young men who, he notes, wear their "pants hanging off of their butts," and the people who blare their rap music and toss bottles on his lawn.

"To have worked all my life and struggled knowing that anybody who wants to be anything — they can go out there and be something," he says. "But these people, they don't want nothing."

His wife wants to move, but McDonald refuses to be intimidated. Although he keeps two shotguns in the house, he says those weapons would be difficult to handle against an assailant.

"I would like to have a handgun so I could keep it right by my bed," he says, "just in case somebody might want to come in my house." . . . .

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Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) in talks with Dems about Government Health Care Takeover

These last couple of stories that I have linked to indicate that the probability of the government health care takeover getting passed is pretty high this year. This story is pretty worrisome.

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) said Friday that she has been in conversation with Democrats and Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus about a way forward on health care reform.

"I have talked with several of my Democratic colleagues, including the chairman of the Finance Committee, just sorting through these issues, and the process, and what will unfold," Snowe told Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC Friday afternoon. "Hopefully, [Democrats] will take measure of what needs to happen now, build some support, those things can happen so that it's not [so] breathtakingly expansive that [it] creates consternation by the American people at a time will can ill-afford intrinsic costs."

But Snowe made it very clear she could not support any form of a bill that came through the reconciliation process—a legislative move she called "wrong and untenable."

Instead, Snowe believes Congress could pass a scaled-back version of insurance reform based on measures that would aid small business, a policy stance she has held since the summer with she voted in favor of the bill that came through the Finance Committee.

"I hope they reject the reconciliation route. I think that would be wrong and untenable," Snowe said. "There are things in the bill that could be supported regarding small business that I have worked with Sen. Durbin, Sen. Lincoln, and the small business community... some tax incentives, allowing plans to be purchased across state lines—that would all be invaluable to small business who are undeniably facing a crisis with health care cost." . . .


virtually all Insider Democrats think that they will be better off if the Health Care Takeovre passes this year

The Political Insiders Poll has virtually all Democrats thinking that they are better off getting health care passed this year. Just 9 percent of Democrats think that their party is better off the government health insurance takeover his dead this year.

Q: Given the outcome of the Massachusetts Senate race, what would be best politically for your party on health care reform?

Democrats (102 votes)

House approves Senate bill 29 percent
Congress adopts significantly scaled-back bill 36 percent
Congress passes compromise between House,
Senate bills 24 percent
Health care reform is shelved for 2010 8 percent

Volunteered responses: Congress adopts any of the bills, 2 percent; GOP kills health care reform, 1 percent.

Surprisingly, most Republicans also think that they are better off if a bill passes, but they are no where as unanimous.

Q: Given the outcome of the Massachusetts Senate race, what would be best politically for your party on health care reform?

Republicans (95 votes)

House approves Senate bill 41 percent
Congress adopts significantly scaled-back bill 14 percent
Congress passes compromise between House,
Senate bills 4 percent
Health care reform is shelved for 2010 36 percent

Volunteered responses: None of the above, 3 percent; Any of the above, 2 percent.

Somebody is obviously wrong about these estimates.

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"Climate chief was told of false glacier claims before Copenhagen"

The problem is that the chairman didn't make public the problems with the claims in the IPCC report when he was told about it. He knew that making it public right before the Copenhagen would damage the conference and he decided not to reveal the information. He didn't even reveal the information after the conference. FromThe Times of London:

The chairman of the leading climate change watchdog was informed that claims about melting Himalayan glaciers were false before the Copenhagen summit, The Times has learnt.

Rajendra Pachauri was told that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment that the glaciers would disappear by 2035 was wrong, but he waited two months to correct it. He failed to act despite learning that the claim had been refuted by several leading glaciologists.

The IPCC’s report underpinned the proposals at Copenhagen for drastic cuts in global emissions.

Dr Pachauri, who played a leading role at the summit, corrected the error last week after coming under media pressure. He told The Times on January 22 that he had only known about the error for a few days. He said: “I became aware of this when it was reported in the media about ten days ago. Before that, it was really not made known. Nobody brought it to my attention. There were statements, but we never looked at this 2035 number.”

Asked whether he had deliberately kept silent about the error to avoid embarrassment at Copenhagen, he said: “That’s ridiculous. It never came to my attention before the Copenhagen summit. It wasn’t in the public sphere.”

However, a prominent science journalist said that he had asked Dr Pachauri about the 2035 error last November. Pallava Bagla, who writes for Science journal, said he had asked Dr Pachauri about the error. He said that Dr Pachauri had replied: “I don’t have anything to add on glaciers.”

The Himalayan glaciers are so thick and at such high altitude that most glaciologists believe they would take several hundred years to melt at the present rate. Some are growing and many show little sign of change.

Dr Pachauri had previously dismissed a report by the Indian Government which said that glaciers might not be melting as much as had been feared. He described the report, which did not mention the 2035 error, as “voodoo science”. . . .

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Obama administration moving towards changing college playoff rules

Obama spent time during his State of the Union attacking opponents for claiming that Obama wanted to control people's lives. It seems to me that concern over college football playoffs crosses some line into controlling people's lives. From Sports Illustrated:

The Obama administration is considering several steps that would review the legality of the controversial Bowl Championship Series, the Justice Department said in a letter Friday to a senator who had asked for an antitrust review. . . .
"Importantly, and in addition, the administration also is exploring other options that might be available to address concerns with the college football postseason," Weich wrote, including asking the Federal Trade Commission to review the legality of the BCS under consumer protection laws.
Several lawmakers and many critics want the BCS to switch to a playoff system, rather than the ratings system it uses to determine the teams that play in the championship game.
"The administration shares your belief that the current lack of a college football national championship playoff with respect to the highest division of college football ... raises important questions affecting millions of fans, colleges and universities, players and other interested parties," Weich wrote.
Weich made note of the fact that President Barack Obama, before he was sworn in, had stated his preference for a playoff system. In 2008, Obama said he was going to "to throw my weight around a little bit" to nudge college football toward a playoff system, a point that Hatch stressed when he urged Obama last fall to ask the department to investigate the BCS. . . .


Arne Duncan makes some politically incorrect statements

Personally, I don't have any problems with Arne Duncan's comments to ABC, but if a Republican had said this, would he still have a job? From ABC News:

Martin: I was talking to you on James Carville and Mary Matalin. They’re of course very involved in what’s happening in New Orleans. What’s amazing is New Orleans, is that everything was devastated because of Hurricane Katrina. But because everything was wiped out, in essence, you are building from ground zero to change the dynamic of education in that city.

Duncan: That’s a fascinating one. I’ve spent a lot of time in New Orleans and this is a tough thing to say but I’m going to be really honest. The best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was Hurricane Katrina. That education system was a disaster. And it took Hurricane Katrina to wake up the community to say that we have to do better. And the progress that it made in four years since the hurricane, is unbelievable. They have a chance to create a phenomenal school district. Long way to go, but that city was not serious about its education. Those children were being desperately underserved prior. And the amount of progress and the amount of reform we’re seeing in a short amount of time has been absolutely amazing. I have so much respect for the adults, the teachers, the principals that are working hard. I’ve spent a lot of time talking to students at John Mack high school there. Many who had missed school for six months, eight months, 13 months after the Hurricane and still came back to get an education. Children in our country, they want to learn. They’re resilient. They’re tough. We have to meet them half-way. We have to give them opportunity. And New Orleans is doing a phenomenal job of getting that system to an entirely different level.

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Charlie Cook: "Democrats' hold on the House is increasingly precarious"

Charlie Cook says that things are looking increasingly grim for Democrats.

Having given himself "a good, solid B-plus" for his first year in office and declaring he would "rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president," President Obama has a lot of people, even in his own party, wondering what on earth constitutes a good performance to his way of thinking.

Jimmy Carter is the only president in over a century who failed to win re-election after taking over from the other party. That presidents usually get re-elected is of little solace to Democrats bracing for losses that could be comparable to the epic midterm election defeats of 1958, 1974, 1982, 1994, and 2006. . . .

Now Democrats' hold on the House is increasingly precarious. Technically, not enough Democratic seats are in extreme jeopardy for analysts to conclude that the party will lose the chamber. But if Democrats stay on their current downward trajectory, their majority will be history. The retirements that are likely to result from almost any deterioration in the House Democrats' current situation would reduce their chances of maintaining control to 50-50.

In the Senate, the Democrats' 60-seat supermajority is only a memory, of course. And the open Democratic seats in Delaware and North Dakota are now hopeless. Five other Democratic seats are in grave danger: Roland Burris's open seat in Illinois and those of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. Unless the political environment changes enormously, Democrats probably can't salvage more than one of the five -- if that. Likewise, Democrats will be lucky to pick up even one of the open Republican seats in Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, and Ohio. So, a year from now, Democrats could be down to 52 to 54 seats.

Looking further ahead, Senate Democrats will have a combined total of 43 seats at risk in 2012 and 2014, some held by incumbents who barely squeaked into office in the 2006 and 2008 banner elections for Democrats. Republicans, meanwhile, will have to defend only 22 seats, all held by survivors of what for the GOP were elections from hell. All of this means that the odds of a Republican Senate majority in the relatively near future are very high.

Does all this sound like a political landscape shaped by a "B-plus" Democratic president? Perhaps Obama should reconsider his grading system -- or his priorities.


Even 'Obama Girl' Losing Love for President

Amber Lee Ettinger is having second thoughts.

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"Obama Administration Shuts Down Oldest Gun Show in Central Texas"

I need to look into this more.

Darwin Boedeker of Texas Gun Shows provided details of the criminal conspiracy by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (abbreviated ATF) and the Austin police to shut down the show last week.
On Thursday, January 14, Mr. Boedeker was asked to meet with representatives of the ATF and Austin police at a building in Austin used for police interviews and interrogations. In addition to Boedeker, the two hour meeting included the participation of HEB, an Austin grocery retailer. HEB holds the lease on the building where the Texas Gun Shows events are held on the third week of every month.
Police, under the direction of ATF, told Boedeker he would be required to follow their “recommendations” or they would close down his event. Boedeker said he was told “you do what we say or we shut you down.” He said the ultimatum was recorded by the police and ATF.
Mr. Boedeker indicated enforcing the ATF recommendations would destroy his business. He said he would not issue a public notice unless it indicated the so-called recommendations were issued by the Austin Police and the ATF.
In order to make their case, the ATF and APD cited numerous alleged criminal cases associated with a previous gun show organizer. Mr. Boedeker said the ATF and APD did not seem aware that he is not associated with previous gun show events at the location. . . .

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New piece at the Washington Times

Obama's false statements on Corruption and Health Care

Obama tells ABC News an amazing whopper. After Diane Sawyer asks him about the deals to get the health care bill passed:

Let's hold on a second, Diane. I mean, I think that this gets into a big mush. So let's just clarify. I didn't make a bunch of deals. Right, there is a legislative process that is taking place in Congress and I am happy to own up to the fact that I have not changed Congress and how it operates the way I would have liked. . . .

Of course, wasn't it the White House that made the deal with unions to make it so that they didn't have to pay the tax on health insurance that everyone else with high quality health care insurance has to pay. Take this mention in the New York Post:

Big Labor got some big love from President Obama and congressional Democrats yesterday after they agreed to exempt union workers from the whopping “Cadillac tax” on high-cost health-care plans until 2018. . . .

The Washington Post noted something quite different on December 20th:

Schumer, who spent more than 13 hours in Reid's office Friday, said the Medicaid issue was settled around lunchtime, and the final eight hours of the talks focused on the abortion language. Boxer estimated she spent seven hours in Reid's offices -- without ever once sitting in the same room, even though they were all of 25 steps apart.
Reid and Schumer kept up the "shuttle negotiation" between the leader's conference room and his top aide's office, Boxer said. Keenly aware how tense the talks were, the White House dispatched two aides who together have decades of experience in the Senate -- Jim Messina and Peter Rouse -- to work with Nelson. They relayed their intelligence to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who monitored the talks from a dinner in Georgetown. . . .

Of course, Obama has been going after lobbyists and saying that his administration is having nothing to do with the. From The Hill newspaper:

A day after bashing lobbyists, President Barack Obama’s administration has invited K Street insiders to join private briefings on a range of topics addressed in Wednesday’s State of the Union.

The Treasury Department on Thursday morning invited selected individuals to “a series of conference calls with senior Obama administration officials to discuss key aspects of the State of the Union address.”

The invitation, which went to a variety of stakeholders, was sent by Fred Baldassaro, a senior adviser at the Treasury Department’s Office of Business Affairs and Public Liaison.

The invitation stated, “The White House is encouraging you to participate in these calls and will have a question and answer session at the end of each call. As a reminder, these calls are not intended for press purposes.” . . .

This is useful: Hypocrisy on influence peddling.

Sarah Palin has some very useful comments on Obama's speech here.

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Climategate Prof broke law on hiding data

From Fox News:

The university at the center of the climate change scandal over stolen e-mails broke the law by refusing to hand over its raw data for public scrutiny.

The University of East Anglia breached Britain's Freedom of Information Act by refusing to comply with requests for data concerning claims by its scientists that man-made emissions were causing global warming.

The Information Commissioner's Office decided that UEA failed in its duties under the act but said that it could not prosecute those involved because the complaint was made too late, The Times of London has learned. The ICO is now seeking to change the law to allow prosecutions if a complaint is made more than six months after a breach.

The stolen e-mails, revealed on the eve of the Copenhagen summit, showed how the university's Climatic Research Unit attempted to thwart requests for scientific data and other information, and suggest that senior figures at the university were involved in decisions to refuse the requests. It is not known who stole the e-mails.

Professor Phil Jones, the unit's director, stood down while an inquiry took place. The ICO's decision could make it difficult for him to resume his post. . . .

From the UK:

Scientists broke the law by hiding climate change data: But legal loophole means they won't be prosecuted

Scientist at the heart of the 'Climategate' email scandal broke the law when they refused to give raw data to the public, the privacy watchdog has ruled.
The Information Commissioner's office said University of East Anglia researchers breached the Freedom of Information Act when handling requests from climate change sceptics.
But the scientists will escape prosecution because the offences took place more than six months ago.
The revelation comes after a string of embarrassing blunders and gaffes for climate scientists and will fuel concerns that key researchers are too secretive and too arrogant.
It will pile pressure on the director of the university's climate change unit, Professor Phil Jones, who has stood aside while an investigation is carried out, and make it harder for him to return.
The ruling followed a complaint from retired engineer David Holland-66, whose Freedom of Information-requests were ignored.
Last night Mr Holland welcomed the watchdog's decision but said it was disappointing the researchers would not be prosecuted.
'All we are trying to do is make the scientists follow their own professional rules by being open, transparent and honest,' he said. 'We are not trying to show that human beings don't affect the climate, but to show that the science is not settled.'

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Isn't 10 days for Scott Brown up on Friday?

It isn't like Scott Brown's victory was a close one. It seems pretty clear that the Massachusett's Secretary of Sate is treating Brown's win differently from past victories in special elections. From Slate.

Probably 10 days. To ensure that all overseas ballots have been counted, town clerks in Massachusetts must wait at least 10 days and no more than 15 before delivering a final tally to the secretary of state, William F. Galvin. Massachusetts election law stipulates that Galvin present the results for certification to the governor and "at least five councilors" who "shall examine the copies. They shall tabulate said votes and determine who appear to be elected." Barring a tight race that necessitates a recount (which isn't the case here), this is a purely formal process that can take a matter of hours. The next step is for Brown to take the oath of office. This should also take place without delay since, according to a 2003 report from the Congressional Research Service, it's "prevailing practice" after special elections for the sitting, interim senator's term to expire immediately.

There's a chance Brown will make it to Washington even faster. Technically, the president the Senate, Vice President Joe Biden, or a surrogate may only administer the oath of office after the vote has been officially certified (a minimum of 10 days, in this case). But if Galvin writes a letter informing the Senate of the unofficial winner, that chamber could choose to waive its rules. Ironically, after Ted Kennedy won the special election of 1962, the Senate did just that. More recently, in 2007, Galvin wrote such a letter to the House after Democrat Niki Tsongas won a special election in Lowell, Mass., and she, too, was seated before certification. . . .

Of course, this is one of the reasons that the Dems have been so slow in seating Scott Brown:

The Senate narrowly approved a $1.9 trillion increase in the federal debt ceiling Thursday after days of failed attempts to reach agreement on any long-term plan to rein in the trillion-plus-dollar deficits now facing the government.

The 60-39 roll call split the chamber sharply along party lines and, at one level, represented a last gasp of the fading 60-vote supermajority enjoyed by Democrats prior to losing a seat in a Massachusetts special election last week.

The House must next act on the measure, but Democrats are hoping for quick approval there, since the bill would mean that lawmakers don’t have to face another politically difficult debt vote before the November elections.

To further seal House acceptance, Senate Democrats attached new statutory “pay-go” legislation long sought by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Major exemptions are included from the deficit reduction rules, but Pelosi has argued for the legislation as a return to the budget procedures of the 1990s under President Bill Clinton.

Nonetheless, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, angrily attacked the debt package as a political move to escape the pressure from voters that Congress do more now to address the nation’s fiscal problems.

“The people of this country have a right to know whether or not this Congress is going to do something about controlling the rate of growth in the debt — before the next election,” Gregg said. “Instead, we’re seeing this attempt to try to take this off the table by moving it past the next election.”

“Well, the American people don’t believe it ought to be off the table. That’s what Massachusetts was all about. They’re worried about this debt. They’re worried about what we’re doing to the next generation of Americans.” . . .



Mayor Bloomberg Strongly Opposes Terror Trial in NYC

New Yorkers are apparently turning strongly against having the terror trial in NYC.

For the first time, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has spoken out against plans to stage the trial of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, accused mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, at the federal courthouse in Lower Manhattan, joining a growing chorus of people who believe the epic trial will be too disruptive and expensive for the city.

“It would be great if the federal government could find a site that didn’t cost a billion dollars, which using downtown will,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

“It’s going to cost an awful lot of money and disturb an awful lot of people,” he said. “Can we provide security? Yes. Could you provide security elsewhere? Yeah, and I mean — the suggestion of a military base is probably a reasonably good one. Relatively easy to supply — to provide security. They tend to be outside of cities so that they don’t disrupt other people.” . . .

The mayor is not the only one pondering a military base as the place for a trial. Leaders of Community Board 1 in Lower Manhattan also want the government to study the feasibility of holding the trial elsewhere within the Southern District of New York.

On Tuesday evening, the group’s full board voted 42-to-0 to ask Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to consider a list of alternative sites. They include the Unites States Military Academy at West Point, the National Guard base at Stewart International Airport near Newburgh and a federal prison in Otisville . . .

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New Fox News Analysis Piece: What Obama's Not Going to Tell You About Jobs

My new Fox News piece starts this way:

The major focus of President Obama’s State of the Union address tonight is expected to be on jobs. But as he pushes for more of the same solutions to get folks back to work maybe we should ask how well his policies have been working out after his first year in office. The White House recently announced that during the president’s first year between 1.5 to 2 million jobs were “saved or created” by the stimulus. When the December unemployment numbers were released, Christina Romer, President Obama's chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers, pointed out that while jobs were still being lost, the rate of loss had slowed dramatically. "In the first quarter of 2009, when we first came in, we were losing on average 691,000 jobs per month. With these new numbers in the fourth quarter, we were losing 69,000 jobs," Ms. Romer claimed. . . .

I think that the data that this piece provides is pretty damning. Please read.

The Obama administration has changed how it is counting jobs helped by the stimulus. The strange thing is that they dramatically change how the jobs will be counted, but the totals seem to remain unchanged.

Peter Orzsag, director of the Office of Management and Budget, has made a big change in the way the Obama administration keeps track of jobs created by the stimulus bill.

Instead of trying to count all the jobs "created or saved" by the $787 billion legislation, the White House will now count all jobs funded by the bill, according to a Dec. 18 memo written by the OMB chief.

OMB says doing this will help improve data quality and improve the public's understanding of the numbers, but some Republican critics view it as a calculated move towards boosting the overall jobs created by the bill.

"Instead of trying to define jobs created or saved this will look at jobs funded by the Recovery Act," OMB spokesman Tom Gavin told The Washington Times.

"No one understood what created or saved meant," he added. "So we are using a more easy to understand definition." He also noted that the Government Accountability Office recommended these changes in a report issued last fall. . . .

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Appearing on Thom Hartmann Show from 1:05 to 1:15 PM Today

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Number of times that President Obama referred to himself in one speech on January 22, 2010?: 132

Guess what?: if you steal from investors, they aren't very thrilled investing more money

It seems like a pretty simple lesson, but Hugo Chavez is learning that capitalists make production possible.

In anticipation of Thursday's Carabobo oil field auction, outspoken Marxist president Hugo Chavez quietly pleaded for foreign investment.

""Investment and experience from foreign oil firms is necessary in Venezuela. We need it," Chavez said, according to Dow Jones.

The statement is a serious turnaround for a government that has nationalized dozens of foreign oil companies in recent years. But they 'need' foreign investment because mismanagement is turning the country into just another failed petro-state. . . .

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This proposed budget freeze is pretty worthless

Talk about an understatement. $15 billion out of a $3.5 trillion budget comes to a 0.04 percent cut -- that is 1/25th of 1 percent.

President Obama, after spending hundreds of billions his first year, now is seeking a partial three-year federal spending freeze that would reduce budgets by less than 1 percent.

The drop-in-the-bucket nature of the president's proposal was underscored Tuesday by a Congressional Budget Office estimate projecting the 2010 federal deficit to hit $1.35 trillion -- Obama's spending freeze would be expected to save up to $15 billion the first year.

The president will propose the congressional freeze on "non-security" spending in his State of the Union address Wednesday night, senior administration officials said. The freeze, which would apply to annual spending on day-to-day government, appears to be an attempt to answer widespread voter concern about rising deficits and debt. . . . .

The relatively small portion of the budget that is to be frozen has already increased by 24 percent over the last year. On top of that the freeze doesn't go into effect until 2011 so they can increase things further before the freeze.

On the even more negative side, the CBO projects that the budget deficit this year will be $1.3 trillion.

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"Stimulus" cost off by $75 billion

The stimulus cost estimates were apparently off by about 10 percent. I suppose that is good for government work.

The economic stimulus bill's price tag has risen to $862 billion, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday — a $75 billion jump that's a result in part to the fact that, despite the spending, joblessness has risen and the government is paying out more than expected on unemployment benefits.

The CBO, in a new report, also said spending in fiscal 2010 will push the deficit to more than $1.3 trillion, or nearly the record $1.4 trillion deficit recorded in 2009.

The dire warnings fueled spending hysteria, which hit Washington in full force this week after Democrats' health care overhaul got shelved last week. . . .

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Obama uses teleprompter and podium in a sixth grade classroom

Sixth grade classrooms are pretty small. A teleprompter must take up a big percentage of the room.

President Barack Obama is facing criticism after using a podium and teleprompter to address the media in a sixth grade classroom.

President Obama, accompanied by Education Secretary Arne Duncan, spoke to the media after a discussion with sixth grade students at Graham Road Elementary School in Falls Church, Virginia.

Although Obama was not speaking to the students from the podium, questions are being asked as to why the president needed a teleprompter to address the media. . . . .

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New Fox News Op-ed piece: Bernanke Doesn't Deserve a Second Term

My newest Fox News piece starts this way:

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has been warning that a refusal by the Senate to reconfirm Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will be "very troubling" for financial markets. But this is just the lawmakers usual scare tactics: do as they like or else we are in for a disaster. We are getting tired of hearing it. Looming imminent “disaster” has been conjured up to motivate us to fund bailouts, massive government spending programs and huge increases in the national debt. Those fears weren't justified then, and they aren't justified now.

Despite Mr. Bernanke's obvious academic expertise on the Great Depression, he shouldn't be reconfirmed. The Federal Reserve's extreme powers have rarely been as overused and misused as they have been by Mr. Bernanke.

To name just one example, his mishandling of the Bank of America and Merrill Lynch merger is very disturbing. . . .

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"Obama Campaigned Against Spending Freeze"

Americans are told that they don't understand the benefits of the stimulus plan because they are "dumb"

Joe Klein at Time magazine thinks Americans don't appreciate the stimulus because they are dumb.

Absolutely amazing poll results from CNN today about the $787 stimulus package: nearly three out of four Americans think the money has been wasted. On second thought, they may be right: it's been wasted on them. Indeed, the largest single item in the package--$288 billion--is tax relief for 95% of the American public. This money is that magical $60 to $80 per month you've been finding in your paycheck since last spring. Not a life changing amount, but helpful in paying the bills. . . .

1. The Obama Administration has done a terrible job explaining the stimulus package to the American people...especially since there have been very few documented cases of waste so far.
2. This is yet further evidence that Americans are flagrantly ill-informed...and, for those watching Fox News, misinformed.
It is very difficult to have a democracy without citizens. It is impossible to be a citizen if you don't make an effort to understand the most basic activities of your government. It is very difficult to thrive in an increasingly competitive world if you're a nation of dodos.

I think that it is people like Klein who are not very bright. See here, here, and here as examples.

Glenn Beck explains a few things to Joe Klein. Beck also goes through some of the money wasted by the stimulus spending.


Is the herd instinct gripping Dems?

Who knows, but liberal Howard Fineman seems to think so.

the simple herd instinct of fear seems to be gripping the Dems. Beau Biden's decision not to run for his father's seat in Delaware isn't just a canary in the coal mine─it's a giant condor.


Democrat Campaign Officials Meeting to Figure Out How to Stop groups from Having Free Speach

I assume that these restrictions will only apply to companies, not unions.

Democrats are exploring ways to counter a Supreme Court ruling that threw out a century of limits on corporate political spending, hoping it will hand them a populist issue to stem a Republican tide rising on public anger.

President Barack Obama devoted his weekly address to the decision, calling it a victory for "special interests and their lobbyists." He cited "one of the great Republican presidents, Teddy Roosevelt," who "warned of the impact of unbridled, corporate spending" on elections.

Possible legislation includes requiring corporations to obtain shareholder approval before funding political advertisements and blocking companies from deducting election spending as a business expense on their taxes.

Another proposal, borrowed from existing rules for political candidates, is requiring "the CEO of the corporation to make a declaration at the end of an ad saying, 'I'm the CEO of X Corp. and I approved this ad,' " said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.), who heads the House Democrats' campaign committee.

On Thursday, justices split 5-4 along their ideological divide to grant corporations and unions the right to make unlimited expenditures promoting or attacking candidates.

Democrats had anticipated the Supreme Court's decision for months, and quickly rolled out both political rhetoric and legislative proposals.

Friday, White House Special Counsel Norman Eisen met to discuss options with aides to Mr. Van Hollen and Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.), as well as Justice Department staff and Fred Wertheimer, a longtime activist on campaign-finance issues, officials said.

Mr. Van Hollen said Democrats also are weighing an effort to bar companies that received federal bailouts and big government contractors from electioneering, similar to rules affecting federal employees. . . .

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Homeowner shots one of four robbers who break into home

Greene County, Tennessee

Sheriff Steve Burns identified the owner of the home on Houston Valley Road as Alan Burch. At this point, Burns said Burch’s account of what happened matches the sheriff’s department’s investigation. Burns said that 17 year-old Michael Edward Aldridge Banner, and at least three others kicked open the front door of Burch’s trailer. Burch fired one shot, which hit Banner in the chest, and killed him on the spot. The others fled the scene in what was described as a four-door gold Kia. Burch has not been charged for the shooting.
“Certainly we’re still conducting an investigation,“ said Sheriff Burns, “but I believe people have the right to defend their home.“ . . .


Over $1.1 million to send Congressmen and Senators to Copenhagen

It shows you how carefully congress spends money when it is someone else's.

CBS News Investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports official filings and our own investigation show at least 106 people from the House and Senate attended - spouses, a doctor, a protocol expert and even a photographer. . . .

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., is a key climate change player. He went to Copenhagen last year. Last week, we asked him about the $2,200-a-day bill for room and food.

"I can't believe that," Rep. Waxman said. "I can't believe it, but I don't know." . . . .

Flights weren't cheap, either. Fifty-nine House and Senate staff flew commercial during the Copenhagen rush. They paid government rates -- $5-10,000 each -- totaling $408,064. Add three military jets -- $168,351 just for flight time -- and the bill tops $1.1 million dollars -- not including all the Obama administration officials who attended: well over 60. . . . .

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New Washington Times pieces

"Stimulus II: A Sequel America Can't Afford"


64-year-old man fatally shots one of three burglars who broke into home

From St. Louis, Missouri, an even that happened this morning:

A homeowner shot and killed a burglar who broke into his house in the 1900 block of College Avenue about 3:45 a.m. Monday, St. Louis police said.

A 45-year-old man who allegedly broke into the home was killed when the homeowner shot him in the chest. Two women who also broke into the home then ran from the scene.

Police said they do not expect charges to be filed against the 64-year-old man who owns the home and shot the suspect. Missouri’s "castle doctrine" allows property owners who encounter an intruder in their home to use deadly force to protect themselves.

The man’s home had been burglarized over the weekend, sometime between early Saturday and early Sunday mornings, police said.

Police continue to search for the two women burglary suspects. . . .

Thanks to Countenance Blogmeister for this link.


Ellie Light’s Obama Letters

This letter writer for Obama claims to have lived all over the country. By living in a newspaper's circulation area, a newspaper is much more likely to publish your letter. "68 publications in 31 states and the District of Columbia, 3 national publications and a Yahoo link, and 2 foreign publications."

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So which number is it?

Of course, the number of jobs "saved or created" is meaningless, but the WH can't even agree on the same number.

Senior White House adviser David Axelrod, on CNN’s State of the Union: “But understand that, in this recession that began at the beginning of 2007, we've lost 7 million jobs. Now, the Recovery Act the president passed has created more than — or saved more than 2 million jobs. But against 7 million, you know, that — that is — it is cold comfort to those who still are looking.”

Senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, on NBC’s Meet the Press: “The Recovery Act saved thousands and thousands of jobs. There are schoolteachers and firemen and— and— teachers all across our country, policemen, who have jobs today because of that recovery act. We're investing in infrastructure. We're investing in public education so that our kids can compete going forth into the next— generation.”

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, on “Fox News Sunday”: “Well, chris, let's take for instance the example you just used of the stimulus package. We had four quarters of economic regression in terms of growth, right? Just last quarter, we finally saw the first positive economic job growth in more than a year. Largely as a result of the recovery plan that's put money back into our economy, that saved or created 1.5 million jobs.”

Not surprisingly, the administration claims that these numbers are not contradictory. At the Monday press briefing, Gibbs pointed to the CEA report saying: “As of the fourth quarter of 2009, the ARRA has raised employment relative to what it otherwise would have been by 1½ to 2 million.” I wasn't surprised by this, but I am not sure how it fits in Jarrett's comments and it is just amusing that

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Corporations and unions are made up of individuals

Scalia's concurrence in the CItizens United case is devastating.

The dissent says that when the Framers “constitutionalized the right to free speech in the First Amendment, it was the free speech of individual Americans that they had in mind.” Post, at 37. That is no doubt true. All the provisions of the Bill of Rights set forth the rights of individual men and women—not, for example, of trees or polar bears. But the individual person’s right to speak includes the right to speak in association with other individual persons . Surely the dissent does not believe that speech by the Republican Party or the Democratic Party can be censored because it is not the speech of “an individual American.” . . .

The Amendment is written in terms of “speech,” not speakers. Its text offers no foothold for excluding any category of speaker, from single individuals to partnerships of individuals, to unincorporated associations of individuals, to incorporated associations of individuals—and the dissent offers no evidence about the original meaning of the text to support any such exclusion. We are therefore simply left with the question whether the speech at issue in this case is “speech” covered by the First Amendment . No one says otherwise. A documentary film critical of a potential Presidential candidate is core political speech, and its nature as such does not change simply because it was funded by a corporation. . . .

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