Democrats want to be granted exemptions from maximum campaign donation law

It is amusing to see Democrats who so strongly support donation limits being the ones asking for exemptions. This all stems from the Kinde Durkee fraud case. If they waste money on campaign activities, should they also be given exemptions there also? From Reuters:

While the extent of the losses isn't yet clear, the coffers of dozens of Democratic politicians have been frozen, prompting the crippled campaigns to ask the California Fair Political Practices Commission to permit further donations from contributors who have already given the maximum.
Feinstein, seeking re-election in 2012, has been forced to start from "square one" to raise campaign money, said Bill Carrick, political strategist and consultant to the Senator.
But a commission official said it wasn't that simple.
"It's quite clear that we can't just say 'the contribution limit is set aside'," California Fair Political Practices Commission chair Ann Ravel said, adding that the commission's legal team was researching what options were permissible by law. . . .


Did the Obama administration break the law in the Solyndra loan?

The Obama Justice Department could solve this problem by bringing suit themselves, but don't hold your breath. From Politico:

House Republicans can scream all they want that the Energy Department broke the law when it changed the terms of Solyndra’s $535 million loan guarantee, putting taxpayers on the hook first if the company went under.

But can anyone do much about it?

Probably not — at least not legally.

Unlike laws such as the Clean Air Act, which allows citizens to sue the EPA for possible violations, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that created DOE's loan guarantee program doesn't provide a similar outlet for someone who claims a law was broken.

"Certainly there's some mileage to be gained by making the argument that DOE exceeded its statutory authority, but beyond that, I'm not exactly sure what the actual repercussions would be from that," said Salo Zelermyer, a former DOE attorney during the George W. Bush administration. . . .

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Alabama Democrat acknowledges extent of vote fraud

Artur Davis was a former Democratic congressman from Alabama and he ran for governor in 2010. He has sometimes bucked the Democrat party line in the past. This op-ed piece by him is quite revealing.

Voting the names of the dead, and the nonexistent, and the too-mentally-impaired to function, cancels out the votes of citizens who are exercising their rights -- that's suppression by any light. If you doubt it exists, I don't; I've heard the peddlers of these ballots brag about it, I've been asked to provide the funds for it, and I am confident it has changed at least a few close local election results.

There is no question that a voter ID law, in order to pass legal muster and in order to be just, must have certain characteristics. It should contain exceptions for the elderly or disabled who may not drive, and as a consequence lack the most conventional ID, a driver's license. There should also be a process for non-drivers to obtain a photo ID, and the process has to be cost-free, for the simple reason that even a nominal financial impediment to voting looks and feels too much like a poll tax.

It is my understanding that the Alabama statute contains each of these exceptions and a few others, including a provision for on-site polling officials to waive the requirement if they attest that they know the voter. . . .


Republican alternative gets more votes in the Senate than Obama's plan

So who is the obstructionist? From The Hill:

The GOP embraced a component of Obama’s jobs proposal eliminating the 3 percent withholding tax on federal contracts.

The administration favors the concept, but balked at the Republican offsets of unspecified spending cuts. The Office of Management and Budget added that if the bill were presented to the president with the offsets, his senior advisers would recommend a veto.

The threat did not sway some Democrats, who voted with the GOP. The 10 Democrats defections were: Sens. Al Franken (Minn.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Robert Menendez (N.J.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Ben Nelson (Neb.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Bill Nelson (Fla.).

Of these senators, Franken, Klobuchar, McCaskill and Tester are co-sponsors of a similar measure offered by Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.). After the vote, Republicans noted that Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) are also co-sponsors of Brown’s bill, but voted no.

Begich's and Pryor’s offices did not comment for this article at press time.

The Republican alternative attracted 57 votes, falling three short of passing and collecting more support than the Democratic bill backed by Obama, which was rejected, 50-50.

Every Republican rejected the Obama-backed bill while Sens. Pryor, Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Ben Nelson also voted no. . . .



Robert Samuelson lists some of Obamacare's broken promises

Samuelson's piece in the Washington Post is available here.

Controlling health spending was a major promise. After all, it’s called the Affordable Care Act, and boosters argue that it will subdue runaway spending. It almost certainly won’t. . . .

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Does the New York Times ever fact check Krugman?

Normally, I don't even bother responding to Krugman's claims, but this one deserved some comment ("Hey, Small Spender," New York Times, Oct. 10, 2010).

the big government expansion everyone talks about never happened. This fact, however, raises two questions. First, we know that Congress enacted a stimulus bill in early 2009; why didn’t that translate into a big rise in government spending? Second, if the expansion never happened, why does everyone think it did?

Part of the answer to the first question is that the stimulus wasn’t actually all that big compared with the size of the economy. Furthermore, it wasn’t mainly focused on increasing government spending. Of the roughly $600 billion cost of the Recovery Act in 2009 and 2010, more than 40 percent came from tax cuts, while another large chunk consisted of aid to state and local governments. Only the remainder involved direct federal spending.

And federal aid to state and local governments wasn’t enough to make up for plunging tax receipts in the face of the economic slump. So states and cities, which can’t run large deficits, were forced into drastic spending cuts, more than offsetting the modest increase at the federal level.

The answer to the second question — why there’s a widespread perception that government spending has surged, when it hasn’t — is that there has been a disinformation campaign from the right, based on the usual combination of fact-free assertions and cooked numbers. And this campaign has been effective in part because the Obama administration hasn’t offered an effective reply. . . .

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Comments on my debate with Adam Winkler on KPCC last week

The audio of the show discussing the Seal Beach shooting in California is available here starting at the 47:15 minute mark.

Email that I sent to Winkler after our discussion.
1) During your last comment on the show you stated (19 minutes into audio): "One point that I would like to comment on. . . . We are assuming that no one in Seal Beach had a gun, it is almost like this is the only guy in Seal Beach with a gun. But with 280 million guns in America, I think that it is unlikely that there was no one else with a gun. I bet that there was someone else there with a gun who just didn't want to use it."
In Orange County, there are only 551 people with concealed handgun permits out of an adult population of 2.26 million, a rate of 0.02 percent.  Those with permits were mainly judges, prosecutors, and wealthy businessmen.
The issue isn't whether a law-abiding citizen in an apartment or a house a couple blocks away had a gun. Did someone near by had a gun and they chose not to use it? I suspect that a Beauty Salon is not likely to be a place where the manager had a gun on premises. Besides referencing the number of guns in the US, do you have any other direct evidence on your claim?
2) There is no work that actually shows that adding a "few more years of data" to the right to carry law data set changes the results. I assume that you are referring to the 2003 paper by Ayres and Donohue where they used data from 1977 to 1997. I realize that their paper acts as if my research up to that point had only dealt with data up to 1992, but that isn't accurate. My second edition of MGLC (2000) used data from 1977 to 1996. Even though they never discuss what I did in that book, I gave them my data and they added one year to the data set. It is pretty easy to show as a technical point that they just added one year, but that one year onto twenty years of data is not what changed their results.
3) It is not just my research on the one side of the debate. This is from the third edition of MGLC (http://johnrlott.tripod.com/surveyofrtcliterature.pdf).
Winkler's response.
Thanks for the feedback, John. I love that your work has become such a part of our common knowledge that callers cite your studies without even knowing they are yours.

I always assume there are far more guns around than people usually believe -- though maybe the people with those guns wouldn't use them in this kind of situation.

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Wealthy Democrats get half billion dollar low interest loan from DOE

Massive wealth transfers to well connected Democrats. How much campaign donations would you make to keep getting these subsidies from taxpayers?

With the approval of the Obama administration, an electric car company that received a $529 million federal government loan guarantee is assembling its first line of cars in Finland, saying it could not find a facility in the United States capable of doing the work.

Vice President Joseph Biden heralded the Energy Department's $529 million loan to the start-up electric car company called Fisker as a bright new path to thousands of American manufacturing jobs. But two years after the loan was announced, the job of assembling the flashy electric Fisker Karma sports car has been outsourced to Finland. . . .

backed by a powerhouse venture capital firm whose partners include former Vice President Al Gore . . .

the DOE's bet carries risks for taxpayers, has raised concern among industry observers and government auditors, and adds to questions about the way billions of dollars in loans for smart cars and green energy companies have been awarded. Fisker is more than a year behind rolling out its $97,000 luxury vehicle bankrolled in part with DOE money. While more are promised soon, just 40 of its Karma cars (below) have been manufactured and only two delivered to customers' driveways, including one to movie star Leonardo DiCaprio. Tesla's SEC filings reveal the start-up has lost money every quarter. And while its federal funding is intended to help it mass produce a new $57,400 Model S sedan, the company has no experience in a project so vast. . . .


"LightSquared refuses to release communications with White House"

From The Hill newspaper:

Wireless company LightSquared has refused a request from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to release its communications with the White House and the Federal Communications Commission.

Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, requested the documents earlier this month to probe whether the company benefited from improper influence in its effort to secure regulatory approval. LightSquared told Grassley it would "respectfully decline" his request in a letter Wednesday night. . . .

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Steve Jobs: Obama "headed for a one-term presidency"

From MacDaily News:

. . . “When he finally relented and they met at the Westin San Francisco Airport, Jobs was characteristically blunt. He seemed to have transformed from a liberal into a conservative,” The Huffington Post reports. “‘You’re headed for a one-term presidency,’ he told Obama at the start of their meeting, insisting that the administration needed to be more business-friendly. As an example, Jobs described the ease with which companies can build factories in China compared to the United States, where ‘regulations and unnecessary costs’ make it difficult for them.”

The Huffington Post reports, “Jobs also criticized America’s education system, saying it was ‘crippled by union work rules,’ noted Isaacson. ‘Until the teachers’ unions were broken, there was almost no hope for education reform.’ Jobs proposed allowing principals to hire and fire teachers based on merit, that schools stay open until 6 p.m. and that they be open 11 months a year…. Though Jobs was not that impressed by Obama, later telling Isaacson that his focus on the reasons that things can’t get done ‘infuriates’ him, they kept in touch and talked by phone a few more times.”

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Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid says that private sector is doing fine

Uh? The private sector is doing fine relative to the public sector? Senator Reid should look at the graph above (the big temporary spike in Federal government employment was due to the Census). From the Hill Newspaper:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Wednesday indicated Congress needs to worry about government jobs more than private-sector jobs, and that this is why Senate Democrats are pushing a bill aimed at shoring up teachers and first-responders.

"It's very clear that private-sector jobs have been doing just fine; it's the public-sector jobs where we've lost huge numbers, and that's what this legislation is all about," Reid said on the Senate floor.

Reid was responding to recent comments from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who accused Democrats of purposefully pursuing higher taxes as part of the teacher/first-responder bill, S. 1723, so that Republicans would oppose it. McConnell said the bill was meant to fail in order to give Democrats an issue to run on in the 2012 election, but Reid said the Republicans are simply trying to defeat President Obama any way they can. . . .

The data for the above graph is from Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Unpaid Student loans top $1 trillion

From Politico:

. . . . outstanding student loans this year will exceed $1 trillion for the first time.

In addition, the amount of student loans taken out last year was greater than $100 billion, another new record, according to USA Today, citing the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The $1 trillion of outstanding loans means that Americans now owe more on student loans than on their credit cards. While students have been racking up educational loans, American consumers have been paying down credit cards and home loans.

The average fulltime undergraduate student borrowed $4,963 in 2010, up 63 percent from a decade earlier, even after adjusting for inflation, the report says.

Meanwhile, with a greater loan burden, the percentage of borrowers that defaulted on their student debt also rose — from 6.7 percent in 2007 to 8.8 percent in 2009. . . .

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63% of Canadians think that their economy is in "good or very good shape"

Compare this survey here to surveys of Americans:

Most Canadians appear satisfied with the way the national economy is performing, and specific personal financial concerns have subsided over the course of the past year, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample of 1,003 Canadian adults, 63 per cent of respondents say the national economy is in good or very good shape, while 33 per cent say it is in poor or very poor shape.

Across the country, the highest level of economic confidence is in Alberta (76%) and the lowest in Atlantic Canada (56%). Since a similar survey conducted in October 2010, the proportion of Canadians who feel the national economy is in good or very good shape has increased by 15 points.

More than half of Canadians (53%) rate their own personal financial situation as good or very good, while 45 per cent deem it bad or very bad. Also, while most Canadians (60%) expect the national economy to remain the same over the next six months, 22 per cent of respondents foresee a decline, and 12 per cent expect an improvement. . . .

By contrast, a CBS poll finds this:

Nearly nine of ten Americans think the U.S. economy is in "bad" shape--88 percent, while just one of ten thinks the economy is in "good" shape, the poll found. That compares to 14 percent and 86 percent last month and a 26/74 split in January. . . .

From Gallup:

An earlier Angus-Reid Survey of Canadians showed:

-- 56% of Canadians say economy is in bad shape (+36 since February)
-- The proportion of respondents who expect a decline in the domestic economy grew from 29% in January to 49% in December.

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Unprecedented number of Americans underemployed

A better measure of how hard it is to find a job? People who take on a part time job are unable to keep getting unemployment insurance benefits. The people who take part time jobs and who would rather have a full time job are ones who really want to work more, but can not. From the Business Insider:

While the number of unemployed workers has held steady at around 14 million in recent months, another telling measure of frustration in the labor market—the number of underemployed individuals—rose for a third consecutive month in September, by almost a half of a million people.
Almost 9.3 million Americans are considered underemployed, defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as working part-time for economic reasons, such as unfavorable business conditions or seasonal declines in demand.
That's up from just over 8 million in July, but down from a peak of about 9.5 million in September 2010. In addition, about 2.5 million individuals are considered "marginally attached to the labor force," meaning they were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. (They are not counted as unemployed because they had not looked for a job in the past four weeks prior to the survey.)
Put together, almost 26 million Americans are either unemployed, marginally attached to the labor force, or involuntarily working part-time—a number experts say is unprecedented. . . .

Eight of the "15 stunning statistics" on unemployment and the job market:

1. 9.1 percent. Today's unemployment rate is the highest it has been since 1982.
2. 131.1 million. The total number of jobs held by Americans in August. In January 2000, total nonfarm employment stood at 130.8 million. That means that over the past decade or so, less than 400,000 jobs have been added overall. At the same time, the eligible work-age population (those older than age 16, who are not in the military or prison) has grown by 28 million.
3. 58 percent. That's the number of workers currently employed as a percentage of the work-age population. In December 2007, it was 63 percent. "Particularly in an economy where multiple-earner households are an important element, that drop of about 5 percentage points equates to several million people who want jobs, who would like to have jobs, but for whom there are no jobs available," says Patrick O'Keefe, director of economic research at accounting firm J.H. Cohn and former deputy assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Labor.
4. 11.5 million. Currently, there are 11.5 million fewer job holders than there were in 2007 before the recession began. "That's the true depth of our jobs deficit," O'Keefe says.
5. 6 million. That's how many workers have been out of work for at least six months and have looked for a job within the last 30 days. They are called the "long-term unemployed." This group accounts for 43 percent of the total number of unemployed. "That's the most striking statistic," says Stacey Schreft, director of investment strategy for the Mutual Fund Store, an investment firm in Overland Park, Kan. "Even though we have unemployment rates that were comparable to the '81-'83 recession, we didn't have long-term unemployment anywhere close to this."
6. 40 weeks. The average duration of unemployment is almost a full year.
7. 16.7 percent. The unemployment crisis has affected races differently. This is the unemployment rate for blacks. Compare that with 11.3 percent for Hispanics and 8 percent for whites.
8. 25.4 percent. Young people have also been hard-hit. About a quarter of teenagers are unemployed. In comparison, the unemployment rate for adult men is 8.9 percent, and for adult women, it's 8.0 percent. . . .

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Are Democrats going to pay a price for linking up with "Occupy Wall Street"?

Douglas Schoen has this warning. The Democrats didn't listen to his warnings to the party in 2010.

Last week, senior White House adviser David Plouffe said that "the protests you're seeing are the same conversations people are having in living rooms and kitchens all across America. . . . People are frustrated by an economy that does not reward hard work and responsibility, where Wall Street and Main Street don't seem to play by the same set of rules." Nancy Pelosi and others have echoed the message.

Yet the Occupy Wall Street movement reflects values that are dangerously out of touch with the broad mass of the American people . . . The protesters have a distinct ideology and are bound by a deep commitment to radical left-wing policies. . . .

What binds a large majority of the protesters together—regardless of age, socioeconomic status or education—is a deep commitment to left-wing policies: opposition to free-market capitalism and support for radical redistribution of wealth, intense regulation of the private sector, and protectionist policies to keep American jobs from going overseas. . . .



Environmentalists collide: Windfarm stopped at night after bat killed by swinging blades

Windmills already have a huge financial disadvantage in that you have to have an alternative power supply for when the wind doesn't blow. If the windmills are not allowed to operate at night, the bad economics for them will only get a lot worse.

Thirty-five windmills at a western Pennsylvania wind farm have been silenced at night since a bat that belongs to an endangered species was found dead under one of the turbines. . . .

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Impact of our loopy corporate tax laws?

Apple has $54 billion of its $81.6 billion in cash and short term securities overseas. Is it any wonder that Apple is supporting an overseas profit tax holiday?


Despite what Krugman and others have been claiming, Government spending went up this year

The CBO report is available here (see also here). Remember Krugman's piece on "The Austerity Economy," NY Times, September 3, 2011, where he claimed:

When the recession officially ended, spending was rising at an annual rate of around $60 billion; now it’s declining at an annual rate of $60 billion. That difference is around 1 percent of GDP, and maybe 1.5 percent once you take the multiplier into account. That makes the turn toward austerity a major factor in our growth slowdown. . . .

Krugman got this claim by ignoring government transfer payments. But for some reason Krugman previously thought that such transfers were extremely important ("Punishing the Jobless," NYTimes, July 4, 2010):

One main reason there aren’t enough jobs right now is weak consumer demand. Helping the unemployed, by putting money in the pockets of people who badly need it, helps support consumer spending. That’s why the Congressional Budget Office rates aid to the unemployed as a highly cost-effective form of economic stimulus. And unlike, say, large infrastructure projects, aid to the unemployed creates jobs quickly — while allowing that aid to lapse, which is what is happening right now, is a recipe for even weaker job growth, not in the distant future but over the next few months. . . .

In "The Austerity Economy" piece Krugman wrote:

Look, in particular, at actual government purchases of goods and services — governments at all levels buying stuff — which is what standard macroeconomics says should have the highest multiplier, since unlike transfers and tax cuts it is by definition spent rather than saved. . . .

Could someone please help explain these different statements to me? But it sure seems as if transfer payments are important except when they don't give him the right results.

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A lot of Blacks voting for Obama because he is black?

Apparently many blacks think that others voted against Obama because he was black. So it is their duty to vote for Obama because he is black. My guess is that a lot more whites voted for Obama, not against him, precisely because he is black to help heal the racial problems in this country. From the Washington Post:

For several months, radio host Tom Joyner has pleaded with his 8 million listeners to get in line behind the first black president.

“Stick together, black people,” says Joyner, whose R&B morning show reaches one in four African American adults.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, an ally of President Obama who has a daily radio show and hosts a nightly cable television program, recently told the president’s black critics, “I’m not telling you to shut up. I’m telling you: Don’t make some of us have to speak up.” . . . That message is pointed at racial unity much more than it was in 2008 . . .

Corry McGriff, 42, said the call to stick together resonates with him, and McGriff has begun telling his friends that they have a responsibility to support the president, too. “We need to keep him in there. By him becoming president, he is showing African Americans that it can be done,” said McGriff, who works for a federal defense contractor. “He helped the race. ”

Kychelle Green, 18, a nursing student at Norfolk State University, agreed. “You know it’s not really his fault that things aren’t changing,” she said. “He’s really trying but he can’t change every rule on his own. Now people are trying to criticize him because he is African American.”

Green said she listens every morning to Steve Harvey, who is among the radio hosts who are promoting the message that Obama deserves support.

Warren Ballentine, a black talk radio host based in North Carolina who has interviewed Obama about a dozen times, speaks about the president’s accessibility. “It’s not like he is not hearing black America,” he said.

Ballentine specifically reminds his listeners of the racial undertones he saw in the 2008 campaign.

“It’s almost like we’ve forgotten what this man had to go through to get into the office. We need to remember the hatred and vitriol that came out.” . . .


Assuming everything works out OK, it will only cost $87,500 to preserve each state and local job for one year

$35 billion for 400,000 jobs?

Republicans and two Democrats filibustered President Barack Obama’s $445 billion jobs package last week, forcing Democratic leaders to break the legislation into pieces. Reid indicated he’d like to hold a vote on a different piece of the jobs package each week.

The $35 billion bill would create or save 300,000 teaching jobs and 100,000 first responder jobs, Reid said. It would be paid for with a 0.5 percent surtax on those earning more than $1 million a year, similar to Reid’s proposal to pay for the entire Obama jobs plan.


John Merline on the Government Austerity Myth

As usual, John Merline has a useful piece available here.

When Republicans took control of the House in January, they pledged to make deep cuts in federal spending, and in April they succeeded in passing a bill advertised as cutting $38 billion from fiscal 2011's budget. Then in August, they pushed for a deal to cut an additional $2.4 trillion over the next decade. . . .

A July article in USA Today, for example, claimed that "Already in 2011, softer government spending has sapped growth."

Jared Bernstein, former chief economic adviser to Vice President Biden, wrote over the summer that "government spending cutbacks have been a large drag on growth in recent quarters and have led to sharp losses in state and local employment."

Economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman argued in September that "the turn toward austerity (is) a major factor in our growth slowdown." . . .

In fact, in the first nine months of this year, federal spending was $120 billion higher than in the same period in 2010, the data show. That's an increase of almost 5%. And deficits during this time were $23.5 billion higher. . . .

Total state outlays in 2010 were almost 10% higher than in 2008, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers' annual State Expenditure Report.

And general fund spending — which makes up about 40% of total state spending — is expected to climb 5.2% in 2011 and 2.6% next year, according to the association's latest survey. . . .

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USPS Hires Big Guns to Help Get More Government Protection

Hopefully, this bailout will cost something less than the $100 billion spent to bailout GM. From the WSJ:

The National Association of Letter Carriers said it retained Ron Bloom, the president's former "car czar" who orchestrated the bailout and restructuring of General Motors Co. and Chrysler LLC, and led the Treasury's oversight of the companies.

The union also has hired investment bank Lazard Ltd., assembling a restructuring team experienced in analyzing large, complex, financially troubled institutions and proposing solutions.

The hiring of Lazard and Mr. Bloom indicates that rather than absorbing the massive job and infrastructure cuts being proposed by the postal service, the union is aiming instead for a role in the public-policy debate over how to prevent the collapse of the age-old institution and remake its business model for modern America.

The letter carriers say they have no choice but to go on the offensive. As part of its strategy to right itself, the postal service is aiming to slash $20 billion in expenses by 2015 by closing many post offices and mail-sorting centers, dropping Saturday delivery and eliminating 220,000 jobs, despite collective-bargaining agreements limiting layoffs. The agency is appealing to Congress to change laws so it can rapidly make these cuts. . . .



Double dipping for government aid?: A case involving wind farms

Alex Tabarrok has this find here: government provides $1.2 billion of a $1.9 billion project.

The memo says that OMB and Treasury were concerned about three problems, “double dipping” (massive government subsidies from multiple sources), lack of “skin in the game” from private investors and ”non-incremental investment,” the funding of projects which would occur even without the loan guarantee. . . .

So are you surprised to learn that shortly after the memo was written the Shepherd Flats loan guarantee of $1.3 billion was approved? Of course not; no doubt you also saw that the memo authors were careful to inform the President that the “338 GE wind turbines” were to be “manufactured in South Carolina and Florida.” Corporate welfare meet politicized investment. . . .

Another Solyndra?

How did a failing California solar company, buffeted by short sellers and shareholder lawsuits, receive a $1.2 billion federal loan guarantee for a photovoltaic electricity ranch project—three weeks after it announced it was building new manufacturing plant in Mexicali, Mexico, to build the panels for the project.

The company, SunPower (SPWR-NASDAQ), now carries $820 million in debt, an amount $20 million greater than its market capitalization. If SunPower was a bank, the feds would shut it down. Instead, it received a lifeline twice the size of the money sent down the Solyndra drain.

Two men with insight into the process are SunPower rooter Rep. George R. Miller III, (D.-Calif.), the senior Democrat on the House Education and Workforce Committee and the co-chairman of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, and his SunPower lobbyist son, George Miller IV.

Miller the Elder is a strong advocate for SunPower, which converted an old Richmond, Calif., Ford plant in his district to a panel-manufacturing facility.

The congressman hosted an Oct. 14, 2010, tour of the plant with company CEO Thomas H. Werner and Interior Secretary Kenneth L. Salazar to promote the company’s fortunes.

“The path to a clean energy economy starts here, in places like SunPower’s research and development facility,” said Salazar during the tour. . . .

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Romney's Global Warming Problem

IBD has this discussion of Mitt Romney, Global Warming, and Romney's relationship with John Holdren. For more on Holdren see these discussions here.

John Holdren, now President Obama's assistant for science and technology, once advised GOP presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney on environmental policy. . . .

On Jan. 1, 2006, Massachusetts became the first state to regulate CO2 emissions from power plants, something the Obama administration is trying to do to all states through the Environmental Protection Agency's draconian job-killing regulations and mandates.

A Dec. 7, 2005 memo from the governor's office announcing the new policy listed among the "environmental and policy experts" providing input to the policy one "John Holdren, professor of environmental policy at Harvard University." . . .

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Possibly iPhone 4s's are going to be very popular gifts to give to spouses this Christmas

9TO5Mac has this story:

I got my wife a new 4s and loaded up find my friends without her knowing. She told me she was at her friends house in the east village. I’ve had suspicions about her meeting this guy who lives uptown. Lo and behold, Find my Friends has her right there. I just texted her asking where she was and the dumb b!otch said she was on 10th Street!! Thank you Apple, thank you App Store, thank you all. These beautiful treasure trove of screen shots going to play well when I meet her a$$ at the lawyer’s office in a few weeks. . . .


Obama administration complains about media bias against them

It would be useful for the Obama administration's own PR if they could explain the bias in Ed Henry's question to Obama. CNBC's John Harwood certainly seems to think that it was a legitimate question. Possibly the Obama administration just wants to discourage reporters from asking Obama to respond to criticism from the Republican presidential candidates. From the Politico:

On Friday, CNBC's John Harwood, who also writes for The New York Times, sat down with White House chief of staff Bill Daley, and — in the course of asking a lot of other things — inquired about the flare-up with Henry.

"I want to ask you about the thinking within the White House," Harwood said to Daley, according to a transcript of the interview. "Yesterday at a press conference one of my colleagues asked the president to respond to something Mitt Romney said. The president said, 'I didn't realize you were a spokesman for Mitt Romney.' Is the White House — you feeling — the president feeling under siege from events right now?"

Daley responded with a lengthy answer about the economy and the middle class. Harwood pressed him, "Why would the president respond that way to a reporter, though?"

"I don't think it was a colleague from your network," Daley said, "but a colleague from another network."

He added, "And — sometimes as you — I know it may surprise people, some people that there are certain people in the media who do seem at times to carry the water for certain — piece of the political spectrum." . . .


Democrat Billionaire Mort Zuckerman on Obama

From the Wall Street Journal.

Mr. Zuckerman maintains that America will solve its problems over the long haul—"I am not somebody who's pessimistic about this country. I have had a life that's been better than my fantasies," he says—but he's certainly pessimistic about the current administration. That began shortly after inauguration day in 2009.

At that time he supported Mr. Obama's call for heavy spending on infrastructure. "But if you look at the make-up of the stimulus program," says Mr. Zuckerman, "roughly half of it went to state and local municipalities, which is in effect to the municipal unions which are at the core of the Democratic Party." He adds that "the Republicans understood this" and it diminished the chances for bipartisan legislating.

Then there was health-care reform: "Eighty percent of the country wanted them to get costs under control, not to extend the coverage. They used all their political capital to extend the coverage. I always had the feeling the country looked at that bill and said, 'Well, he may be doing it because he wants to be a transformational president, but I want to get my costs down!'"

Mr. Zuckerman recalls reports of Mr. Obama consulting various historians on the qualities of a transformational president. "But remember, transformations can go up and they can go down."

Now comes the latest fight over Mr. Obama's jobs plan, which has as its centerpiece a tax increase on the wealthy with obvious populist appeal. Mr. Zuckerman supports raising taxes on the rich but says such a proposal cannot be taken seriously unless it's paired with other measures to grow the economy and restrain deficit spending. He also wonders why, if the president wanted to get a plan enacted, he didn't begin with private bipartisan discussions with House and Senate leaders, instead of another address to a joint session of Congress.

"Even if you want to do this to revive your support in the base, to revive your credibility on the issues of the economy and jobs, which has fallen off the table, this isn't going to accomplish it. Another speech from this guy? The country knows this is just another speech. They understand it almost instantaneously, and his numbers have continued to go down for that reason. What the country wanted was some way of coming up with a solution."

The only solution Mr. Zuckerman sees now to juice the economy "is to broaden the tax base and simplify and lower tax [rates]. To me that will be as close to revenue-neutral as you're going to have so it isn't going to be seen as a budget buster." . . .

"Reagan surprised me," says Mr. Zuckerman. "He got the point of every argument. . . . He was very decisive. And everybody loved working for him. They followed his lead because they really respected his decisiveness and his instincts."

'I was not a Republican and I was not an admirer of his before I knew him," continues Mr. Zuckerman. "And you know, Harry Truman had a wonderful definition for the presidency. He said the president has to be someone who can persuade the American people to do what they don't want to do and to like it. And that's what you have to do. Somebody like Reagan had that authority. He was liked so much and he had a kind of moral authority. That's what this president has lost." . . .

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Stevens and Breyer are dubious that Thomas is somehow being bought off to change his position on Obamacare case

My question is if those opposed to Clarence Thomas sitting on the Obamacare case were asked how Thomas would decide on the case without this supposed undue influence, what would they say? I would think that all of those opposed to Thomas would think that he would rule in exactly the same way that they say that the money is supposedly causing him to rule. Note also that the reaction of the Justices to the notion that a member of the court could be bought off. It is too bad that they don't view campaign donations in the same way.

According to The Associated Press, Stevens made his position clear during a recent talk at Princeton University. “I would say that I wouldn’t think there’s any possibility that any of the activities of Mrs. Thomas have had any impact on the analysis of Judge Thomas,” Stevens said. “He has definite views; he’s been consistent over the years.”

Breyer recently said at the Aspen Ideas Festival that it’s a “false issue,” when an audience member coyly asked a “what if” question mirroring the Thomas situation. “As far as what your wife does or your husband does, I myself try to stick to a certain principle, and feel very strongly about it, that a wife or a husband is an independent person and they make up their own minds what their career is going to be.” Retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was on the panel, and concurred with Breyer that the current court is not politically influenced in any way. . . .

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Obama administration changes jobs "Saved or Created" to jobs "Supported"

You can see their document available here. There is no mention of "saved or created." The term "supported" doesn't tell you whether those jobs would still have existed without the subsidy.

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