Private Fire Station Companies in NYC?

Many people may not know it, but the subways in NYC were privately built and run for many decades until city price controls drove the firms into bankruptcy. Here is something that I noticed at the end of a story about fire stations in NYC.

The firehouse was built in 1906. It was the former home of a unit of the Fire Patrol, a private firefighting organization backed by the insurance industry.

I wonder how much of the fire services in NYC used to be privately run.


Some towns in Pennsylvania are ignore the pre-emption ban on local gun control laws

Besides Hatboro there is also Swarthmore.

Hatboro Mayor Norm Hawkes proposed a lost or stolen handgun ordinance to borough council Monday night that he said would help keep firearms out of the hands of criminals.

If adopted, the ordinance would require citizens to report their lost or stolen handguns to the police up to 72 hours after discovery.

Anyone who violates the ordinance would be subject to a fine of no more than $1,000, or imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or both, reads the draft ordinance.

Council will vote at its meeting Feb. 22 if it will advertise the ordinance for a future vote. . . .


Seattle gun ban for parks is struck down

The story is available here:

The law has sided with gun rights advocates who took the city of Seattle and former Mayor Greg Nickels to court over the city's gun ban.

King County Superior Court Judge Catherine Shaffer on Friday ruled in favor of the plaintiffs - the Second Amendment Foundation, the Citizens' Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, Washington Arms Collectors, National Rifle Association and five individuals - and declared the city of Seattle's gun ban at public places is in direct violation of Washington state's firearm pre-emption law.

In issuing the ruling, Shaffer wrote, "Seattle's Department of Parks and Recreation's Rule/Policy Number P 060-8.14 ("Firearms Rule") violates Washington law and on that basis, is null and void."

The city has been ordered to remove all signage banning weapons from public areas within 30 days.

Last June, Nickels issued an order banning guns on city facilities where children are likely to frequent. The places on the ban list include parks, playgrounds, community and environmental learning centers, sports fields and courts, swimming beaches, pools, water play areas, skate parks and golf courses.

The plaintiffs' complaint challenged Nickels' executive order, stating "ownership of firearm is a clearly protected right under the United States and Washington Constitutions." . . .

Labels: ,

Another shooting in a gun free zone at the University of Alabama at Huntsville

From the AP:

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — A biology professor at the University of Alabama's Huntsville campus was charged with murder late Friday in the shooting deaths of three fellow biology professors at the campus.

Several pieces of information indicate that students, faculty, and staff are banned from having guns on university property (here and here).



Airborne Laser Used to Shoot Down Misslet


Lawrence O’Donnell seems like a pretty mean guy

Here is something that just happened with Mr. O'Donnell. O'Donnell asserted: "Isn't it true that the President you worked for [George W. Bush] invited the first attack by having no idea what was going on with al Qaeda?"

Unfortunately, that is hardly unique.

I guess that this lets us all know what the purpose of the TV series "Big Love" is all about.

Just so one can see what Romney's reponse was you can go here.


So much for bipartisanship in the Senate

I wouldn't have supported the bipartisan deal on Stimulus 2, but it is interesting to see how Senator Reid killed it so that he could blame Republicans for not getting something passed.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) worked for weeks with Reid's blessing and frequent involvement to craft an $85 billion jobs bill, a measure that seemed destined to break the partisan logjam that has ground the Senate to a halt.

But as Baucus, Grassley and President Barack Obama were preparing to celebrate a rare moment of bipartisan Kumbaya on Thursday, Reid stunned a meeting of Senate Democrats by announcing he was scrapping Baucus-Grassley, replacing it with a much cheaper, more narrowly crafted, $15 billion version.

"Grassley and three to four Republicans would have voted for it, but all the other Republicans would have beaten the living s—t out of us [during the 2010 midterms], claiming the bill was too bloated," said a Democrat who supported Reid's decision, explaining the leader's logic.

Few felt as good about the decision: Republicans say the about-face will only add to an already poisonous partisan atmosphere, liberal Democrats think the bill is too small to do much good and the powerful negotiators of the bipartisan package were left embarrassed, demoralized and befuddled.

Aides to Baucus and Grassley said their bosses didn't know of Reid's decision when they unveiled their bill early Thursday – and expected it to have the leader's support.

"Sen. Reid's announcement sends a message that he wants to go partisan and blame Republicans," Grassley spokesperson Jill Kozeny said in a statement.

Antonia Ferrier, a spokeswoman for Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who supported the bipartisan effort, said her boss was “deeply disappointed that the majority leader has abandoned a genuine bipartisan compromise only hours after it was unveiled in favor of business-as-usual, partisan gamesmanship.”

The White House also appeared to be caught off guard.

Moments before Reid announced his decision, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs released a statement, saying, "The draft bill released today by Sens. Baucus and Grassley includes several of the president's top priorities for job creation. [T]he president is hopeful that the draft language presented today will lead to a bipartisan Senate bill." . . .

On health care, Obama is pushing for a summit when it is obvious that Democrats have already decided what they are going to do and that they don't really seem interested in any deal with Republicans.

Senate Democrats may go into the bipartisan health care reform summit later this month holding a legislative gun to Republicans' heads.

Some Democrats are readying a health care reform "Plan B" in case negotiations at the half-day televised forum on Feb. 25 go nowhere. The plan would involve passing part of the imperiled health care bill using reconciliation, a controversial procedural maneuver that would allow the package to pass with 51 votes, as opposed to the usual 60 required to overcome a filibuster.

"I think a decision has just been made -- we're just going to go ahead" with a reconciliation bill, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, told reporters. . . .

Trying to undo the political damage, "A senior Democratic Senate aide clarified that Democrats are heading in that direction, though they are waiting to see what happens on Feb. 25 before making a decision."

That might be believable if there weren't already other statements such as:

In comments reported by Congress Daily, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s top health care aide Wendell Primus admitted top Democrats have already decided on the strategy to pass the Senate's pro-abortion, government-run health care bill.

Primus explained that the Senate will use the controversial reconciliation strategy that will have the House approve the Senate bill and both the House and Senate okaying changes to the bill that the Senate will sign off on by preventing Republicans from filibustering.

“The trick in all of this is that the president would have to sign the Senate bill first, then the reconciliation bill second, and the reconciliation bill would trump the Senate bill,” Primus said at the National Health Policy Conference hosted by Academy Health and Health Affairs.

“There's a certain skill, there's a trick, but I think we'll get it done,” he said. . . .

Labels: ,

More on Brady Campaign drive to ban guns at Starbucks

A Seattle PI story on the Brady Campaign petition is available here. At the bottom of the story is a poll.

More on Starbucks still keeping to its guns here:

Many businesses have banned customers from openly carrying firearms in states that otherwise allow it, though Starbucks has yet to prevent anyone from packing heat in its stores.
Gun owners across the country are exercising and advertising their rights to carry guns in states that allow it, with many walking into businesses with a handgun strapped to their waists. However, businesses are allowed to ban guns from their stores—even in those "open carry" states.

Some have outlawed firearms, creating political confrontations with gun owners.

Meanwhile, gun control advocates say such displays destroy the tranquility of places that people expect to be free of guns. A petition demanding that Starbucks ban guns from its stores has quickly gained 26,000 signatures. . . .

Even more on Starbucks.

The major news media was replete with reports over the weekend that the coffee company, Starbucks, "has no problem with customers packing heat while placing their orders."

"The coffee giant says it won't take issue with gun owners who take advantage of 'open carry' laws and bring firearms into their restaurant." (Source: NBC News)

To tell you the truth, I'm not sure why this is even considered "newsworthy." Perhaps because Starbucks is a Seattle-based company that caters to the "yuppie" crowd? Maybe because the anti-gun national news media is shocked and chagrined at Starbucks' statement? Who knows? That Starbucks would not want to alienate millions of gun owners (many of whom lawfully carry concealed weapons for personal protection) makes perfectly good sense to me. I'm sure the statement by Starbucks has little to do with guns and everything to do with business. But the fact is, there are tens of thousands of lawfully armed citizens who carry either concealed or open that have been peacefully doing business with thousands of companies around the country for years.

At last glance, 12 states allow unrestricted open carry. Those states are Alaska, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, South Dakota, Vermont, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Virginia. Plus, at least 13 other states allow restricted open carry (meaning a permit is required). I know it infuriates gun-grabbing liberals to admit this, but the facts are absolutely undeniable that an armed citizenry is far and away a more civilized and peaceful citizenry. . . .

Labels: ,

"U.S. Government Funds $400,000 Study on Gay Sex in Argentina Bars"

This creates jobs in the US?

Government researchers are spending more than $400,000 in taxpayer money to hit the bars in Argentina.

The National Institutes of Health are paying researchers to cruise six bars in Buenos Aires to find out why gay men engage in risky sexual behavior while drunk -- and just what can be done about it.

Doctors and specialists from the New York Psychiatric Institute are using the generous grant from NIH's National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to help tailor HIV prevention programs to work at bars and clubs. . . .


This is almost enough for me to want to get rid of my cell phone

Didn't the Dems get upset about being able to check the history of use of public computers in public libraries? Didn't the Dems get all excised about the rights of foreigners? Both cases involving terrorism. Now the Dems want to use our cell phone records for common law enforcement in non-terrorism cases!
Obama wants to be able for the government to get this cell phone tracking data without a search warrant. All the government as to do is go fishing for what people were nearby when a certain crime occurred. Possibly we should just let government go into people's personal files to see if they can find info on whether you committed a crime. Can you make a contract with your cell phone provider that you expect privacy? Tracking an enemy in a war might be one thing, but these guys are going even farther in civilian affairs.

Two years ago, when the FBI was stymied by a band of armed robbers known as the "Scarecrow Bandits" that had robbed more than 20 Texas banks, it came up with a novel method of locating the thieves.
FBI agents obtained logs from mobile phone companies corresponding to what their cellular towers had recorded at the time of a dozen different bank robberies in the Dallas area. The voluminous records showed that two phones had made calls around the time of all 12 heists, and that those phones belonged to men named Tony Hewitt and Corey Duffey. A jury eventually convicted the duo of multiple bank robbery and weapons charges.
Even though police are tapping into the locations of mobile phones thousands of times a year, the legal ground rules remain unclear, and federal privacy laws written a generation ago are ambiguous at best. On Friday, the first federal appeals court to consider the topic will hear oral arguments (PDF) in a case that could establish new standards for locating wireless devices.
In that case, the Obama administration has argued that warrantless tracking is permitted because Americans enjoy no "reasonable expectation of privacy" in their--or at least their cell phones'--whereabouts. U.S. Department of Justice lawyers say that "a customer's Fourth Amendment rights are not violated when the phone company reveals to the government its own records" that show where a mobile device placed and received calls. . . .
U.S. Magistrate Judge Lisa Lenihan in Pennsylvania denied the Justice Department's attempt to obtain stored location data without a search warrant; prosecutors had invoked a different legal procedure. Lenihan's ruling, in effect, would require police to obtain a search warrant based on probable cause--a more privacy-protective standard. . . .
The Obama administration is not alone in making this argument. U.S. District Judge William Pauley, a Clinton appointee in New York, wrote in a 2009 opinion that a defendant in a drug trafficking case, Jose Navas, "did not have a legitimate expectation of privacy in the cell phone" location. That's because Navas only used the cell phone "on public thoroughfares en route from California to New York" and "if Navas intended to keep the cell phone's location private, he simply could have turned it off." . . .

This Clinton nominee didn't get this right. My understanding is that you have to actually remove the battery from the cell phone to protect yourself. Some cell phones won't let you remove the battery.

Labels: ,


The Press slims Senator Dan Coats

Remember the story "[U.S. Sen. Dan] Coats lobbied for Chavez-connected oil company." It seemed pretty devastating for Coats who is looking to challenge Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.). The news stories that covered this initial report by Politico were devastating. Well, guess what? The oil company hired Coats' firm because it was trying to get its assets back from Chavez's government AFTER THEY HAD BEEN NATIONALIZED. It might be interesting to know who Mr. Glenn Thrush contacted before he wrote the story. Did he contact Harvest Natural Resources, which is the firm that had these "connections" with Chavez? Did he contact King & Spaulding, the firm that Mr. Coats worked for?

NOTE: I have meet Senator Coats a couple of times and he has always been extremely courteous when I talked to him. Beyond that I have no personal knowledge of the man, but it would be interesting to see what checking Mr. Thrush did before going with his story. Thrush's piece doesn't mention talking to either the Harvest to the consulting firm before running the story.

UPDATE: Mr. Thrush's response in the comment section makes it clear that he asked Mr. Coats' office about the claim. My concern is that it isn't surprising that with a new campaign it would take a little while to get things in gear. With such an explosive claim it would have been useful to have checked with one of the other sources, either the firm that hired the consulting firm or King & Spaulding. As I wrote: "Did he contact Harvest Natural Resources, which is the firm that had these "connections" with Chavez? Did he contact King & Spaulding, the firm that Mr. Coats worked for?"


Piece at BigGovernment: The Real Climategate Scandal

My piece there starts this way:

The global warming scandal keeps getting worse. Revelations over the last few weeks show that many important assertions in the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were based on misquotes and false claims from environmental groups, not on published academic research as originally claimed. This is on top of the recent mess regarding data, where the three most relied-on data series used by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2007 assessment report still not been released. Other information indicates that data have been systematically biased to produce a rise in measured temperatures when actual temperatures were falling or flat.

Take some of the false claims in the 2007 IPCC report. . . .

Labels: , , ,

Appearing on Ron Smith's Radio Show at 4:35 PM today

I will be on WBAL in Baltimore today for possibly a half hour. We will be talking primarily about the piece that I had yesterday at Fox News on The Next Climategate?

Labels: ,

Obama acknowledging that he is willing to break campaign tax promise

Obama has already tried to break this promise many times, such as in the health takeover bill. From the NY Daily News:

President Obama says he is now "agnostic" about raising taxes on households making under $250,000 a year to help cut budget deficits, signaling a possible retreat from a campaign pledge.

In an interview with Bloomberg BusinessWeek on newsstands Friday, Obama said a presidential budget commission needs to look at all options for deficit reduction - including tax increases and cuts in spending on such programs as Social Security and Medicare.

"The whole point of it is to make sure that all ideas are on the table," Obama said. "So what I want to do is to be completely agnostic, in terms of solutions."

Obama repeatedly vowed during the 2008 campaign to spare households earning less than $250,000 a year from tax increases.

When top economic officials last August suggested going back on the pledge, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs quickly reiterated the promise. . . .

Labels: , ,

The Fix on the Health Care Takeover

So why is Obama inviting Republicans to a health care summit if Democrats have already agreed to pass the Senate health takeover bill? Why ask Republicans to come up with ideas to reach a new compromise?

In comments reported by Congress Daily, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s top health care aide Wendell Primus admitted top Democrats have already decided on the strategy to pass the Senate's pro-abortion, government-run health care bill.

Primus explained that the Senate will use the controversial reconciliation strategy that will have the House approve the Senate bill and both the House and Senate okaying changes to the bill that the Senate will sign off on by preventing Republicans from filibustering.

“The trick in all of this is that the president would have to sign the Senate bill first, then the reconciliation bill second, and the reconciliation bill would trump the Senate bill,” Primus said at the National Health Policy Conference hosted by Academy Health and Health Affairs.

“There's a certain skill, there's a trick, but I think we'll get it done,” he said. . . .

Labels: ,

Some readings to remember

Economic Report of the President for 2010

A copy of the actual report is available here.

Republican Breaks Rank on Finance Bill
Tennessee's Corker Begins Negotiations With Dodd; Colleagues Urge Senator Not to Vote With Democrats

Insurer writes defense of rate hikes

Anthem Blue Cross sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Thursday blaming its recent rate hikes on the weak economy and rising medical costs.

Financial woes have pushed healthier people to drop coverage or buy cheaper plans, the company argued to Sebelius, who had demanded an explanation this week for the company's decision to raise premiums by as much as 39 percent. As a result of losing those customers and holding on to sicker ones, the insurer said, its individual business in California operated at a loss during 2009 and an increase in rates would cover the anticipated shortfall this year.

"While this dynamic always exists, in a challenging economy it becomes more prevalent as individuals who are paying for coverage without a government or employer subsidy must choose to continue coverage or use the money for other necessities," wrote Brian A. Sassi, president and CEO of the consumer business unit at WellPoint, Anthem's parent company.

At the same time, medical prices are rising faster than inflation. People are also using more health services, "driven largely by an aging population, a lifestyle that results in chronic disease, new treatments, and more intensive diagnostic testing," wrote Sassi. . . .

Labels: , ,

Obama's changing views on bonuses (only the rhetoric changes)

Obama thinks that large Wall Street bonuses are just fine.

President Barack Obama said he doesn’t “begrudge” the $17 million bonus awarded to JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon or the $9 million issued to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. CEO Lloyd Blankfein, noting that some athletes take home more pay.

The president, speaking in an interview, said in response to a question that while $17 million is “an extraordinary amount of money” for Main Street, “there are some baseball players who are making more than that and don’t get to the World Series either, so I’m shocked by that as well.”

“I know both those guys; they are very savvy businessmen,” Obama said in the interview yesterday in the Oval Office with Bloomberg BusinessWeek, which will appear on newsstands Friday. “I, like most of the American people, don’t begrudge people success or wealth. That is part of the free- market system.” . . .

But last year, Obama lashed out against all bonuses:

People are rightly outraged about these particular bonuses, but just as outrageous is the culture that these bonuses are a symptom of that have existed for far too long; a situation where excess greed, excess compensation, excess risk taking have all made us vulnerable and left us holding the bag. . . .

As someone who knew Obama at Chicago, I strongly believe that Obama's statement last year accurately reflects his views.

Labels: ,


New Fox News piece: The Next Climate-gate?

My newest piece at Fox News starts this way:

The global warming scandal keeps getting worse. Revelations over the few weeks show that many important assertions in the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were based on misquotes and false claims from environmental groups, not on published academic research as it was originally presented. This is on top of the recent mess regarding data, where the three most relied-on data series used by the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2007 assessment report still have not been released. Other data simply never seem to have existed or cannot be provided to other scientists.

But probably the most damaging report has come from Joseph D’Aleo, the first Director of Meteorology and co-founder of the Weather Channel, and Anthony Watts, a meteorologist and founder of SurfaceStations.org.

In a January 29 report, they find that starting in 1990, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) began systematically eliminating climate measuring stations in cooler locations around the world. . . .

Labels: , , , ,

More on Global Warming Debate

From The Australian, Media cools on global warming:

LAST weekend looks likely to have been a tipping point in the media debate on climate change in the English-speaking world.

The two daily papers in Britain which have campaigned most single-mindedly on the urgent need for action on man-made global warming have begun to change their tune.

The Independent's environment editor, Michael McCarthy, filed a piece under the head "Professor in leaked email scandal tried to hide fact that numbers he used were wrong". Previously The Independent has been underwhelmed by revelations arising out of Climategate, the hacking of computer files from the University of East Anglia's climate research unit.

But the evidence of suppressing data and trying to sideline freedom of information requests has called into question research findings which are fundamental to modern climatology. . . .

AccuWeather.com's Joe Bastardi has this:

But AccuWeather.com's chief long-range and hurricane forecaster Joe Bastardi, who appeared on the Fox Business Network's Feb. 9 "Cavuto," warned there are other implications with the government having an expanded role in climate forecasting. According to Bastardi, it could lead to an effort to shut out other opinions.

"What I'm trying to say is there are a lot of other non-governmental opinions in this debate that have been shut down," Bastardi said. "So I'm asking myself, well, is it going to be like NOAA? They get to say whatever they want and influence things? And then folks that have other opinions aren't allowed to say anything about it or are pushed off to the side?"

Bastardi showed where long-range climate models diverge and explained three factors that are causing the earth to cool.

"Science and Public Policy Institute - take a look at this graph here - since the satellite era, you can see temperatures have been going up," Bastardi continued. "The computer models are up even higher, but we've leveled off in the past 10 or 15 years. The question is, with the natural reversal, the solar activity, the volcanic activity, what I have labeled the ‘Triple Crown of Cooling,' are we simply, in 20 or 30 years, going to be back to where we were 20 or 30 years ago. . . .

Labels: , ,

Blizzard causes Senate to cancel Global Warming Hearing

The link is here.


Ben Nelson finally supports filibuster when it doesn't make any difference

With Senator Brown seated, the Republicans had the votes finally to block something happening in the Senate. The nominee to the National Labor Relations Board was going to use regulations to push card check, so blocking the nomination was a big deal. Democrats had hoped to push back seating Brown until after the vote, so presumably they thought that at that time they had Sen. Nelson's vote.

When you talk to labor officials these days, much of their animus is directed at Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), who helped filibuster Becker's confirmation.

"Ben Nelson has got principles until you buy him off," Gerard said.

A group affiliated with the Service Employees International Union, called Change That Works, had defended Nelson's support for an unpopular health care reform bill in his home state.

But the Nebraska director of that group, Jane Kleeb, now criticizes Nelson for not allowing the Becker nomination to come to the floor for an up-or-down vote. And Bill Samuel, legislative director for the AFL-CIO, accused Nelson of following a "double standard" since he had argued that the nominees of then-President George W. Bush should get up-or-down votes.

Another AFL-CIO spokesman, Eddie Vale, pinpointed Nelson, saying he had "let down" working families.

Nelson said Becker’s stance on labor issues made him worry whether he would be "impartial" in making NLRB decisions.

But labor unions can’t pin all their blame on Nelson. The failure of a wide range of union priorities has been deflating for the labor movement, which seemed destined to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of Barack Obama’s presidency. . . .

Labels: , , ,

New Washington Times pieces

"Government Workers Make 45% More Than Private Sector Employees"

I see the claim: "According to recent research done by Mark J. Perry, professor of finance and economics at the School of Management of the University of Michigan government employees make on average 45% more than private sector employees." But I would like to find out whether this is simply the average pay, whether it takes into account the differences in jobs, whether it takes into account the high retention rate for public jobs. Just looking at it briefly makes me assume that nothing is controlled for here, but I would be disappointed for an academic to make this claim if that were true.

From the BLS:

State and local government employers spent an average of $39.83 per hour worked for total employee compensation in September 2009, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Wages and salaries averaged $26.24 per hour worked and accounted for 65.9 percent of these costs, while benefits averaged $13.60 and accounted for the remaining 34.1 percent. Total employer compensation costs for private industry workers averaged $27.49 per hour worked in September 2009. Total employer compensation costs for civilian workers, which include private industry and state and local government workers, averaged $29.40 per hour worked in September 2009. . . .



What kind of electric car you can get for $100,000

Just don't plan to drive very far in this car. At a price starts at $109,000 in the United States for the base model, you would hope that you could actually drive one way from LA to Las Vegas. In any case, don't let the battery run down or you will be stuck for a long time. It isn't like you can stop for lunch for an hour and hope to recharge it very much during that time.

A FEW blocks from the Tesla Motors dealership here is one of California’s public charging stations for electric vehicles. But the Tesla Roadster, just the sort of vehicle that planners had in mind when the statewide network was conceived, cannot be charged there.

“It’s an inductive charging system,” Jeremy Snyder, general manager of the Tesla showroom, said of the facility. Translation: the inductive connector is not compatible with the Roadster, whose conductive system uses a plug with metal contacts to carry the electricity that recharges the battery. . . .

Using the standard charging connector (15 amp capacity) plugged into a typical 120-volt outlet, the Roadster needs an hour of recharging for every five miles of driving. . . .

If you drive far enough to deplete the Roadster’s battery pack, it can take up to 36 hours to recharge it using 120-volt household current, at a cost of about $5, according to Tesla. Refueling is quicker when a high-voltage circuit, typically used for appliances like electric clothes dryers, is available. . . .

Tesla sells a 40-amp universal mobile connector (about six hours for a recharge) for $1,500. . . .

Labels: ,

Two Politico Headlines: Obama putting partisanship blame on Republicans at the same time Dems won't work with Obama

New Stimulus Bill Filled with unrelated spending?

The Republicans could make a big deal about this pork in the new stimulus bill.

A draft of the roughly $80 billion bill, obtained by POLITICO, has a wide range of tax credits and job creation ideas, but it also includes provisions unrelated to jobs, including a reauthorization of the Patriot Act, infusion of new money to the Highway Trust Fund, and extension of the so-called “doc fix.” . . .


Promises versus Reality on Unemployment

President Obama claims that he can't be held to his initial unemployment predictions on unemployment because the economy was worse than he thought. Putting aside that the president was constantly claiming that the economy was much worse than it was during the campaign and the early part of his presidency, it really don't matter whether you look at his unemployment predications in January or February 28th.

With the one year anniversary of the Stimulus, the accompanying figure shows how the economy has actually performed compared with Mr. Obama’s forecast. Using either Mr. Obama's January or February forecasts, the stimulus was supposed to limit increase in unemployment to being just slightly above the 7.7 percent that it started at in the beginning of the year. But instead of a 0.4 percent maximum increase in unemployment, the rate soared by 2.4 percentage points. It soared by more than an entire percentage point over what was supposed to have happened if nothing was done to help the economy.

Rush Limbaugh takes Biden to task for blaming everything on Bush.

RUSH: Now, listen to this. Joe Biden was on Larry King Alive last night. And Larry King, following right along with the questions they gave him, said (impression), "Are you optimistic about the jobs bill?"

BIDEN: By the spring I think people are gonna begin to have more confidence in the policies we've -- we've put in place. I think you're going to see net creation of jobs every month. Now, it's not going to be seven million jobs in the next six months. It's a depression for millions of Americans. But we took this job knowin' we were facing a gigantic hole we were going to fall into.

KING: Inherited it.

BIDEN: We inherited it.

RUSH: Yeah, "We inherited it." You know, why don't they do something: Take the New Madrid Fault where I live -- and Obama, that's a New Madrid, Missouri, a short little stop at Cape Girardeau. There's an earthquake fault there. Been predicting the big one there just like the San Andreas for a long time. I think what Obama could do is maybe Obama and Biden have a joint, big, wallapaloozing ceremony in honor of President Bush and name the New Madrid Fault after him so it becomes "Bush's Fault." Because this seems to be the only thing these people have to say. Now, what Biden's talking about here, "The United States..." This is State-Controlled AP. "The United States is likely to average 95,000 more jobs each month this year, while personal savings will remain high as credit remains tight, according to a White House report released [today].

"The Council of Economic Advisers also trumpeted the $787 billion economic stimulus package, which it said has saved or created about 2 million jobs. In a message to Congress, President Barack Obama pointed out that the economy he inherited was losing 700,000 jobs each month but now says 95,000 jobs will be produced net every month starting this spring." Now, by this time I have a simple question. Who cares what Obama or his people say about the economy and what they predict in the future? They have been grossly wrong time and time again! Who cares what they predict? Here's the truth: The American left, the liberals, keep attacking the regulatory system that was in place before Obama was elected; when in fact it is mostly their regulatory system. They complain about inheriting deficits when in fact they pushed for even bigger deficits when Bush was president, including Senator Obama.

Senator Obama voted for every spending bill that came down the pike! He cannot distance himself from all of this. In fact, he and the Democrats were asking Bush to spend more. . . .

Labels: ,

$50 million for beach front property in the Caribbean Island?

Tax dollars well spent?

The property soliciting accusations of "pork" from critics is the Castle Nugent National Historic Park. It's in the U.S. Virgin Islands, about a thousand miles from Miami and an expensive jet ride to get there.

Two weeks ago, on a near party line vote, a huge Democratic majority in the House agreed to spend $50 million to buy the former cotton plantation on the island of St. Croix.

"This is a beautiful and important natural and cultural resource that is in danger of being lost forever," Virgin Island delegate, Donna Christiansen, told House colleagues in January. . . .

"Now is not the time to spend up to $50 million dollars of the taxpayers’ money to buy nearly 3,000 acres of beachfront property on a Caribbean Island," said Rep. Doc Hastings, (R-Wash.), ranking Republican on the House Natural Resources Committee. "We can't afford a price tag for a new park in St Croix, just as many Americans will never be able to afford a visit there."

Democrats approved the purchase, even though the National Park Service has yet to complete a study on the purchase.

"We don't have the money to do this," said Rep Jason Chaffetz, (R - Utah). "Currently the National Park Service has an estimated $9 billion in backlog maintenance on existing parks. Why should the people of Iowa, Rhode Island or California or Utah have to continue to pay and supplement the people there on St Croix for this property?" . . . .

Labels: ,

"Stimulus funds for high-speed Internet access tangled up"

Talk about speed. Despite the claim that this money would go out quickly, after a year only 7 percent of the $7.2 billion has been "assigned."

The Obama administration knew that there'd be a lot of interest in the $7.2 billion for high-speed Internet projects it included in last year's huge economic stimulus package.
The goal was to quickly create tens of thousands of jobs and connect millions of poor and rural communities to broadband, a technology that's essential for economic development, modern medicine and education.
But officials had no idea that the demand for the cash would be so overwhelming. They also were bombarded with questions and challenges from large cable and phone companies including Comcast, Time Warner Cable and AT&T.
The combination has swamped the agencies in charge and created a bottleneck that might threaten disbursement. After nearly a year, about 7% of the funds has been assigned to specific projects.



Texas debating whether state capitol should be gun free zone

The piece below has a couple of errors. For example, Texas has one of the toughest right to carry laws in the country, so that implies that there are only about a dozen states (including those that ban concealed carry) that have more restrictive rules. From the WSJ:

Lawmakers in firearm-friendly Texas are embroiled in a debate over how to make the state Capitol safer: get rid of guns or encourage even more.

The discussion comes after a man last month fired several shots on the steps of the towering Capitol in Austin. State troopers tackled him and no one was wounded, but the incident spotlighted a predicament for lawmakers in a state where carrying handguns is not only legal but largely cherished.

Lawmakers, some of whom regularly show up armed to the job, have to sort through an array of safety options. They range from prohibiting guns in the Capitol, making everyone who steps into the building go through a metal detector, to exempting those who have a license to carry a concealed weapon. Or lawmakers could stick with current safety procedures, which permit unfettered access to all areas of the Capitol when the legislature isn't in session, effectively allowing access to people carrying guns.

Gov. Rick Perry, a concealed-weapon licensee himself who was endorsed by the National Rifle Association in his bid for re-election, is of the view that lawful gun-carrying Texans deter criminals from drawing their weapons for fear of being outnumbered. "The last thing I want is for the Texas Capitol to turn into DFW Airport," he said at a recent news conference.

But others question whether civilians' right to carry firearms should extend to the seat of state government, which is visited daily by thousands of tourists and citizens with legislative business, some of whom who aren't always happy about lawmakers' decisions. . . .


Why does Israel have among the lowest violent crime rates in the world?

Here is a hint.

Thanks to Ben Zycher for sending me this picture.


A very troubling ad of what the US might be like if President Obama and the Democrats get their way

And plastic is bad for the environment for what reason? That the plastic will sit in a landfill for long periods of time before it disintegrates, but so will a rock. Why should we care in either case? The other irony is that 20 years ago environmentalists were upset about people using paper bags. Of course, using more paper bags increases the demand for paper and thus encourages more trees to be planted. Arresting the man for throwing out a rind is bizarre. Getting upset for people carrying bottled water with them? See point about plastic above.

Labels: , ,


Fumento's views on Wikipedia

Government micromanaging people's eating decisions

The assumption is that people must be making a mistake in how much they eat. If people really valued the information that the government wants provided, companies would make money providing it. The fact that no one is offering this information the way the government wants it offered should tell regulators something. But why must the government ignore what customers want?

The goal is to give people a jolt of reality before they reach for another handful of chips. But the urgency of the message could be muted by a longstanding problem: official serving sizes for many packaged foods are just too small. And that means the calorie counts that go with them are often misleading.

So to get ready for front-of-package nutrition labeling, the F.D.A. is now looking at bringing serving sizes for foods like chips, cookies, breakfast cereals and ice cream into line with how Americans really eat. Combined with more prominent labeling, the result could be a greater sense of public caution about unhealthy foods.

“If you put on a meaningful portion size, it would scare a lot of people,” said Barry Popkin, a nutrition professor at the University of North Carolina. “They would see, ‘I’m going to get 300 calories from that, or 500 calories.’ ”

The problem is important because the standard serving size shown on a package determines all the other nutritional values on the label, including calorie counts. If the serving size is smaller than what people really eat, unless they study the label carefully they may think they are getting fewer calories or other nutrients than they are.

And if manufacturers increasingly push key nutrition facts to the front of packages — as many have begun doing — the confusion could be magnified. Rather than helping fight obesity, it may simply add to the perplexity over what makes a healthful diet. . . .

Labels: ,

"Americans Reject Keynesian Economics"

Rasmussen Reports finds a lot of opposition to what the president is doing on the economy. Note that these voters want the president to do what he promised during the political campaign last year.

While influential 20th Century economist John Maynard Keynes would say it’s best to increase deficit spending in tough economic times, only 11% of American adults agree and think the nation needs to increase its deficit spending at this time. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 70% disagree and say it would be better to cut the deficit.
In fact, 59% think Keynes had it backwards and that increasing the deficit at this time would hurt the economy rather than help.
To help the economy, most Americans (56%) believe that cutting the deficit is the way to go.
Eighty-three percent (83%) of Americans, in fact, say the size of the federal budget deficit is due more to the unwillingness of politicians to cut government spending than to the reluctance of taxpayers to pay more in taxes. . . .

Just a reminder to everyone what Mr. Obama had promised during the 2008 presidential campaign. Mr. Obama blamed the financial crisis on the Bush era deficits. In late October right before the election, Mr. Obama was upset that Mr. Bush’s last deficit was “well over a half trillion dollars.” “But there is no doubt that we've been living beyond our means and we're going to have to make some adjustments. Now, what I've done throughout this campaign is to propose a net spending cut. I haven't made a promise about. . . . . What I want to emphasize, though, is that I have been a strong proponent of pay-as- you-go. Every dollar that I've proposed, I've proposed an additional cut so that it matches.”

Labels: , , , ,

7th grade Girl arrested for doodling on her school desk and having whiteout in her book bag