PUNDIT PRESS HAS MOVED FROM BLOGGER
Pundit Press has moved on to bigger and better things.
Pundit Press now includes Pundit Press Radio and Pundit Press TV, bringing you the latest news and information with some of the top writers and broadcasters on the web today.
Please visit us at our new website: http://thepunditpress.com/.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Let me set the scene for you in words (which makes it even stranger sounding):
Man- Do you know [Kucinich] is a trained ventriloquist?
[Cuts to Dennis Kucinich holding a creepy puppet with a straw hat and checkered outfit]
Puppet- (Singing) God bless America. Whenever I feel afraid, I hold my head erect!
Interviewer- How? How do you keep winning elections?
Puppet- You're going to have to ask Dennis.
I may never sleep with the lights off again.
And make sure to let your friends know about us!
The Orleans Parish Sheriff's office says Cage was booked into the Orleans Parish Prison at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
Cage has been a frequent visitor to New Orleans, where he has owned property and shot movies in the past.
New Orleans police did not immediately disclose details about his arrest. An agent for Cage did not immediately return a phone call Saturday.
After two-hundred and thirty-five years of our Independence, we are reduced to continuous media coverage of an insufferable royal attempting to keep alive the world's most disgraceful institution - monarchy, figurehead or otherwise by merrying his beloved.
We fought the brutality of King George II to relieve ourselves of this monarch bull, but now toe head anchors on Fox News are obsessed with the whole affair as if they were still under his tyrannical rule. Can you believe this?
What say you?
"President Barack Obama misrepresented the House Republicans’ budget plan... and exaggerated its impact on U.S. residents during an April 13 speech on deficit reduction."That's their opening sentence. Probably not what the President wanted to hear, especially when he is trying to fool his audience. But wait, there's more.
That’s an exaggeration. Nothing would change for those 55 and older. Those younger would get federal subsidies to buy private insurance from a Medicare exchange set up by the government.What about the President's claim that Mr. Ryan's bill either specifically aims to lower benefits for "disabled children" or will intentionally lower funding for "autistic children?" Again, according to FactCheck:
That, too, is an exaggeration. The GOP says states would have "freedom and flexibility to tailor a Medicaid program that fits the needs of their unique populations." It doesn’t bar states from covering those children.What about Mr. Obama's claim that he is saving the United States $1,000,000,000,000 with his health care bill over the next decade? According to FactCheck:
He repeated a deceptive talking point that the new health care law will reduce the deficit by $1 trillion. That’s the Democrats’ own estimate over a 20-year period. The Congressional Budget Office pegged the deficit savings at $210 billion over 10 years and warned that estimates beyond a decade are "more and more uncertain."What about Obama's claim that taxes for the "rich" are the lowest in "50 years?" Well:
But the most recent nonpartisan congressional analysis showed that the average federal tax rate for high-income taxpayers was lower in 1986.I think you get the idea. The President lied his mouth off this past Wednesday. So, have you seen this report on the Main Stream Media?
As our debt increases dramatically and entitlement spending increasing beyond our means, something has to be done. President Obama is content to play the race card in an attempt to gain a second term. His plan to "fix" the spending problem in this country is not a viable long-term solution.
Medicare and Medicaid are much, much more expensive than originally slated. President Johnson signed the act creating these services claimed that they would be efficient and relatively cheap. Let's take a look at the estimates and reality:
Medicare (hospital insurance). In 1965, as Congress considered legislation to establish a national Medicare program, the House Ways and Means Committee estimated that the hospital insurance portion of the program, Part A, would cost about $9 billion annually by 1990.v Actual Part A spending in 1990 was $67 billion. The actuary who provided the original cost estimates acknowledged in 1994 that, even after conservatively discounting for the unexpectedly high inflation rates of the early ‘70s and other factors, “the actual [Part A] experience was 165% higher than the estimate.”
Medicare (entire program). In 1967, the House Ways and Means Committee predicted that the new Medicare program, launched the previous year, would cost about $12 billion in 1990. Actual Medicare spending in 1990 was $110 billion—off by nearly a factor of 10.
Ronald Reagan said about the system: “[I]f you don’t [stop Medicare] and I don’t do it, one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it once was like in America when men were free.” When you look at the debt being accumulated by future generations, this is beginning to ring more and more true.
The country is facing a structural debt crisis. As the aging population grows in proportion relative to those who are able-bodied and working, there is a severe problem. Without swift action, we are in severe trouble.
Let's take a look at Federal spending last fiscal year:
Medicare and Medicaid combined equal 23% of our total budget, or approximately half of our deficit. This is larger than our entire defense budget. Also keep an eye on the yellow bloc, which represents the interest on our existing debt. This is now greater than the entire budget deficit in 2007-- when George W. Bush was President.
If you then take a look at where the program is headed as the Baby Boomers are retiring, we have a horrible outlook:
If we look at the structural debt problem form this angle, it becomes clear that something has to be done. However, Democrats in Congress will instead shriek that any attempt to reform or change the system would wind up "destroying" the problems.
So let's take a look at some of the problems facing the programs today:
- Medicare and Medicaid both increased the cost of medicine in this country. As people went to the doctor more and more for non-essential services, the cost of treating them has increased. The medical rate of increased costs well outpaces that of the inflation rate. Much of that is because of the artificial forces of the two programs.
- Medicare and Medicaid fraud is a constant concern. This cost New York State alone over $1 billion last year and the federal government of $54 billion!
- Non-citizens are able to draw from the Medicaid pool.
- With the Baby Boomers retiring, we have drastic changes to the demographics of the country. Today we have almost four workers paying in for every Medicare beneficiary. Within twenty years that number will drop by over one-third. Today, we have about 13% of the country 65 years and over, or about 38 million people. This number is expected to increase greatly the next twenty years.
For the third major option, we can take a look at what has happened in Indiana under Republican Governor Mitch Daniels. Not wanting to play into socialism but still wanting to slice the amount that the state paid for insurance costs-- he came up with a middle ground. The Healthy Indiana Plan is a waiver system meant to not interfere in individuals' lives, but instead use very subtle methods, including waivers, to help fix the system. Daniels would balance Indiana's budget.
And you can't just get it for free-- you have to pay in additionally.
To obtain and maintain coverage, enrollees must make monthly POWER Account payments, which are scaled by family income and range from 2%-5% of income. The state (along with federal match funds) pays for the gap between enrollees’ payments and the $1,100 deductible for the POWER Account. If an enrollee misses a monthly payment, the individual loses coverage, forfeits 25% of his or her POWER Account contributions, and is barred from re-enrolling for 12 months. By obtaining state-specified preventive care, enrollees can carry over state POWER Account contributions to the next year, which helps offset required enrollee payments.This plan wound up being budget-neutral while also cutting Medicaid expenditures. This is an improvement on the other potential plans circulating around the country. So why don't we use some of the ideas of Governor Daniels combined with a very simple enforcement policy.
The plan: create a new medical voucher program to replace both programs. Obviously they would have to be phased out, but the new idea would be devilishly simple.
Use the funds collected in payroll taxes to instead create an annual voucher to feed into an individual medical account. This account would allow people to use it as they wish-- for any medical expenses. This account would accrue interest, say, at a 2% rate or whatever else the prevailing savings rate would be. Every citizen, of any age, would receive $2,000 annually into the account. For those that would complain about 'helping' people making over $250,000 a year, even if you cut them out it would not be a great difference in spending (about $3 million annually).
This account would be good for Republicans because it would be much cheaper and simpler to use without smacks of socialism. For Democrats, the amount of money given per money earned would be disproportionately higher for seniors, the poor, and children.
Childrens' accounts would be under the jurisdiction of their parents. This way, the parents would not have to pay out of their own account to pay for health care for their children.
Those who are in good health in their teens, twenties, and thirties, would likely not use much of their account. Then the account would simply feed into itself and keep growing without interference. That way, over 30 years it would increase $60,000 (plus interest) without major withdrawals. By the time a person starts getting major medical bills in their 50s they could have $100,000 in the account. By the time a person is a senior, they will have tens of thousands of dollars to deal with increasing costs and end-of-life services. When a person dies this money would return back to the government coffers.
This system would automatically increase with the rate of inflation not the medical cost rate. This way, spending would remain constant every single year in terms of real dollars. Further, there would not be an artificial excess of money that would drive up medical costs. If people want to use the money for pointless optional procedures, then they could do it without billing the government.
This would not be a medical insurance program. The government would not mandate to buy any insurance, or for that matter, and medical care at all. People could use the money from the account to buy their own insurance from a company at market prices. They could choose to be uninsured and only use the account when they believe it necessary. This way the government would be able to leave the choice of what to do with your own account in your own hands. The poor would be benefited with a way to cover both insurance and other costs.
Many private and public employers already use health-flex plans to pay for individuals' personal medical care. This would be an extension that could be used in tandem with insurance earned from work
Now, let's take a look at the result on the individual:
At the age of 21, a person that used 1/4 of the funds in the account while earning 2% annually in interest would have (these numbers would be rated for inflation in an actual scenario):
$37,174.98 in the account at taxpayer cost of $42,000. If that person then used zero dollars in the account over the next 25 years he or she would have an amazing: $126,331.31 at the age of 46. This is at taxpayers' expense of $92,000. Then for the next nineteen years until retirement the person uses half of the annual funds. By retirement this account would have: $207,338.23 at the beginning of the golden years. This is at taxpayers' expense of $130,000. This over $200,000 could be used to buy private insurance or supplement one already earned. Furthermore, medical expenses would not have to come out of pensions or personal savings-- but instead an account specifically meant for health care.
This plan does not discriminate by income or pre-existing conditions. It would cover 100% of Americans and would not go bankrupt by an aging population. Furthermore, it would change along with inflation and only increase in costs because of a growing population. A growing population would likely have more people to pay into the system.
So with this system to total amount being paid for Medical Vouchers would be $616 billion dollars. Doesn't sound like a real improvement-- only a $177 billion savings. Twenty years from now the cost for the Voucher program would be about $700 billion (adjusted for inflation)-- a minor increase for a projected population of 350 million. However, the country would be looking at much higher amounts with the current numbers. It's unclear how much would be spent just on these two programs, but a middle-of-the-road figure would be about 10% of GDP-- or $1.4 trillion in 2011 dollars. This would mean that we would save a full 50% of costs-- and perhaps give better, more personalized service. Not to mention the money returned to the government after death.
Think of all of the claims adjusters that this country would not have to pay for. Think of the elimination of all fraud-- everyone would get the same amount. Think of the reduction of health care costs as artificial metrics are thrown out.
We have two doctors writing for the site-- let me know what you think. Would this plan work in the real world?
Now we have word that the protests have spread in large scale in Damascus for the first time. There were sporadic reports of such demonstrations yesterday, but they appear to be growing.
In Deraa, "demonstrations came out from every mosque in the city, including the Omari mosque... The number of people is above 10,000 protesters so far," an activist said by phone.Even Assad's token moves don't seem to be stopping the crowds:
The younger Assad's promises of reform, including a salary increase for public workers and a reconsideration of emergency rule in place for 48 years, has been dismissed by protesters hungry for change.I hope that Assad's days are numbered but he runs the tightest dictatorship in the region. His regime is a near-copy of that of Saddam Hussein's, even down to the ruling party. Further, without American diplomatic or military support, Assad will not relent like Hosni Mubarak.
His decision last Thursday to grant citizenship to tens of thousands of stateless Kurds, as well as announcements about lifting a ban on veiled teachers and closing Syria's sole casino, failed to prevent protests erupting the next day.
Cross-posted on WorldThreats.
1. When and why did you start (Mis-) Leading Wisconsin?
I started (Mis-) Leading Wisconsin earlier this year because I noticed contradictions coming from my state’s Governor and Legislature. I felt an obligation to point them out.
2. What is your reaction to the Kloppenburg-Prosser race?
What struck me most of all was the disgusting amount of outside money—on both sides-- spent on this campaign. I also believe there’s too much at stake in this election to let voting irregularities go uninvestigated—whether it’s the actuality of “unsaved” votes in Brookfield, or the claim of improper ballots in Dane County. It’s not so much anymore about who wins and who loses, it’s more about restoring the faith of voters across the state in their officials and in the voting process itself.
3. Will Governor Walker's public employee law hold up in court?
I don’t know, to be honest. From my reading, I think the committee meeting wasn’t sufficiently announced. I really don’t understand why the Senate didn’t just schedule another meeting and turn around and pass the bill into law without any question, as even Judge Sumi intimated they could do.
4. In light of the recent Supreme Court race, do you see enough energy in the state to recall the Governor next year?
It’ll be tough, but this is an administration that has sparked immediate and intense divisiveness, and I think it will make for a hell of a fight.
5. How do you rate the President's response to the actions regarding public unions this year?
I was hopeful the President would have taken an even stronger stand, especially regarding the loss of collective bargaining, but I do understand he’s got some other issues he’s dealing with.
6. As a teacher, do you have an insight on the new public employee laws?
I was surprised at the vitriol that descended upon my profession, and upon me personally, as a result of the budget bill. I think some of the measures within it will reduce the number of “best and brightest” choosing to teach, and that is what will hurt education, and especially the children, most of all.
7. Anything else you'd like to add?
A good leader isn’t one who just makes “the hard decisions.” A good leader is one who can unite the people in a positive way. I’m very hopeful we see more of that in the near future.
Friday, April 15, 2011
All fiscally minded Americans should be very pleased with the results:
77 ayes (18%).
347 noes (81%).
Only seventy-seven Representatives (only Democrats) were willing to sign their names to this monstrosity. In fact, Nancy Pelosi wouldn't even touch it, and she was the House's most Progressive Speaker in America's two century old history.
The Republican budget was passed on Republican votes today, but it is thrilling to see the Progressive movement fail so resoundingly. America has definitely moved towards Conservatism since President Obama's election and we can only hope for more of the same.
Change we can all agree with!
P.S. - My Congressman, Paul Tonko, voted aye. I feel absolutely sick.
In a statement released to Congress, the President wrote in regard to his requirement to get rid of his czars (emphasis mine):
"The President has well-established authority to supervise and oversee the executive branch, and to obtain advice in furtherance of this supervisory authority. The President also has the prerogative to obtain advice that will assist him in carrying out his constitutional responsibilities, and do so not only from executive branch officials and employees outside the White House, but also from advisers within it.
"Legislative efforts that significantly impede the President's ability to exercise his supervisory and coordinating authorities or to obtain the views of the appropriate senior advisers violate the separation of powers. Therefore, the executive branch will construe [the law as to] not to abrogate these Presidential prerogatives."In other words, even though Congress has passed a law and he signed it, he intends to ignore it. Let me repeat that: he (the President) is ignoring Congress because it "violates the separation of powers." Following that logic, no matter what the Congress passes, President Obama believes he can utterly disregard it.
And he was a Constitutional "professor?" Even he should be ashamed to do something so illegal.
|Listen to Congress and the American people? *Ha*|
"It's not surprising that the White House, having bypassed Congress to empower these 'Czars' is objecting to eliminating them."Let me just say this: if the President does not believe that he has to follow American law, that is exceedingly dangerous. That goes without saying.
Update: Oh, and go figure, another broken promise/lie:
Unfortunately for the President, closed-door meetings with Republicans and Democrats last week were accidentally "piped back" to the White House and then recorded. In them, the President does not simply disagree with others' points: he openly mocks and ridicules them.
Take for example his discussions on Republicans and ObamaCare. Talking with an undisclosed Democrat, President Obama went on a tirade, saying:
"The notion that I'm going to let you guys undo that in a 6-month spending bill?' I said, 'You want to repeal healthcare? Go at it. We'll have that debate. You're not going to be able to do that by nickel-and-diming me in the budget. You think we're stupid?!'"On spending cuts and ending liberal programs, Obama continued:
"You guys want to have this debate? We're happy to have that debate. We will have the debate on the floor of the Senate or the floor of the House. Put it in a separate bill. We'll call it up. And if you think you can overturn my veto, try it."The President even whole-heartedly said that Republicans do not have a
"This is going to be the [Republican] strategy going forward -- trying to do things they can do legislatively under the guise of cutting spending,"Once again, the President shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is not only out of touch with America, but a complete egomaniac.
Update: Here is some of the actual audio:
Today we have a poll from Public Policy Polling, which usually biases towards Democratic candidates. The PPP polling shows us some interesting answers to their questions:
Vote for President
Obama (D): 48%
Huckabee (R): 43%
Obama (D): 47%
Romney (R): 41%
Obama (D): 54%
Palin (R): 36%
Obama (D): 52%
Gingrich (R): 38%
Some notes about the polls:
These results are a bit different than others published recently. A Rasmussen poll published this week shows Obama and Huckabee tied, Romney down by five, and Palin down by ten.
Secondly, this poll did not include Donald Trump. With Trump surging in the polls, it would be interesting to see where he stood against Obama, even at this early stage. With Trump potentially announcing his bid in May, it would be nice to see some numbers.
Protests have spread to multiple cities, a day after a new cabinet was sworn in by the dictator, Bashar Assad.
The largest protest was in the southern city of Daraa, with about 10,000 people turning out in a city that has become the epicenter of the protest movement. There was no immediate sign of army and security services in the city — a stark change from previous weeks, when government forces fired tear gas and live bullets at the protesters.
"Demonstrations came out from every mosque in the city, including the Omari mosque... The number of people is above 10,000 protesters so far," an activist said by phone from Deraa.
Furthermore, this is the first time that the protests have appeared in Damascus. Hopefully this is a sign of more to come.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) was forced to hold a vote on the issue as part of Friday night's deal to fund the federal government through fiscal year 2011, while avoiding the much dreaded government shutdown that was just hours away.
This represents the second time in three months that all Senate Democrats have stood with President Obama's unpopular health care law.
What say you?
1. The income tax will never be removed, unless you can convince two-thirds of the House; two-thirds of the Senate and three-fourths of the States to repeal the sixteenth amendment, which is highly unlikely in the 21st century.
2. The income tax system can be simplified by implementing a low flat tax, eliminating loopholes and reducing the number of deductions someone can claim. Revenues would increase; government spending would decrease (IRS agents would be fired because of the efficient system).
3. The inept fair tax would be used to target specific consumer habits, such as higher taxes on luxury items to soak the wealthy, and taxing Japanese owned cars more to encourage Ford and GM purchases; it has already been done with tobacco products.
What say you?
Windmills in the Sicilian village of Patirnico- AFP PhotoSeveral shell companies controlled by the Sicilian and Calabrian mafia are fraudulently obtaining grants from the European Union and using 'green' energy projects to launder money, according to Italian officials and EU auditors.
Sicilian mafia turncoat Anthony Birrittella said that he and other organized crime figures viewed the EU funds as 'A gift to the mafia' and easy pickings.
"First the Mafia had an interest in many of the companies which obtained public funds, and they owned many of the companies which won the contracts to build wind farms, and finally they claimed fake transactions and issued double payment invoices." He says the organisation used intimidation to obtain the plots of land it needed to build the wind farms, and threatened any construction firms who refused to pay its extortion fees. "It started with arson on their premises or building sites, burning their trucks and machinery. That was followed up with threatening phone calls. At that point they usually got what they wanted."Among the assets seized in what Italian authorities called a 'record' anti-mafia sweep in September were more than 40 wind and solar energy companies registered in Sicily and Calabria.
The rapid growth of wind power in southern Italy has been fuelled in large part by generous government subsidies. The seizure of the mob-controlled 'green' energy companies confirms to Italian officals that the Cosa Nostra and 'Ndrangheta crime syndicates breaking into the new 'green' economy as a means of laundering the profits from their other criminal enterprises.[Hat tip: Friends of Ours; Cross Posted at Not Another New England Sports Blog!]
The authoritarian government of China has announced a new policy: depictions of time travel are no longer allowed on television. The ban comes as China is cracking down on dissent across the nation. Apparently, the government is afraid that revolutionaries will be inspired enough by time traveling to challenge the government.
The Chinese government, however, said the ban is simply there because time-traveling goes against their heritage.
But the latest guidance on television programming from the State Administration of Radio Film and Television in China borders on the surreal – or, rather, an attack against the surreal.
New guidelines issued on March 31 discourages plot lines that contain elements of "fantasy, time-travel, random compilations of mythical stories, bizarre plots, absurd techniques, even propagating feudal superstitions, fatalism and reincarnation, ambiguous moral lessons, and a lack of positive thinking."
“The government says … TV dramas shouldn’t have characters that travel back in time and rewrite history. They say this goes against Chinese heritage,” reports CNN’s Eunice Yoon. “They also say that myth, superstitions and reincarnation are all questionable.”
The Chinese censors seem to be especially sensitive these days. But for the television and film industry, such strictures would seem to eliminate any Chinese version of “Star Trek,” “The X-Files,” “Quantum Leap” or “Dr. Who.” And does that mean rebroadcast of huge Hollywood moneymakers like “Back to the Future” and the “Terminator” series are now forbidden?
So it's bad news:
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 27,000 to a seasonally adjusted 412,000, the Labor Department said.
Plus you have the specter of gas prices:
Energy prices, which rose 2.6 percent, accounted for nearly 90 percent of the increase in wholesale prices last month.
Energy prices rose 3.3 percent in February.Gasoline prices rose 5.7 percent after increasing 3.7 percent in February. Food prices fell 0.2 percent, the first decline since August.
That's right, the leader of the free world is appearing on a talk show. I didn't realize that we were in late 2012 campaign-mode yet. Well, it's a good thing he doesn't have anything to worry about in the world. You know, other than:
Libya, the economy, unemployment, our deficit, uprisings in the Middle East, terrorist attacks on Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, MediCade, MediCare... everything.
But, you know, I just don't know where he finds the time to be on a talk show. It's not like he ever takes impromptu vacations, golfing trips, entire TV shows about his NCAA bracket picks, or anything like that.
As Entertainment Weekly reports: "[The President will] tape his episode with the Queen of Daytime at Harpo Studios on April 27; it’ll air May 2. The First Lady is also expected to make an appearance." So he's filming this month when he should be busy, you know, being President.
|"Being an incompetent politician is hard"|
This should make for a good episode of Behind the Scenes on OWN: Harpo Prods. has confirmed that President Obama will appear in one of the final episodes of The Oprah Winfrey Show...
Winfrey’s final talk show will air on May 25.I wonder if the President will be watching himself...
1) When and why did you decide to start Conservative Compendium?
I started the Conservative Compendium in 2006. It was actually not originally intended to be a blog. My first idea stemmed from my penchant for arguing politics on the internet, which is a great way to see my ideas challenged and craft my philosophy, but it can also get very repetitive. I got tired of citing the same ignored facts over and over, constructing the same dismissed arguments time and time again. In Computer Science (the only degree I had at the time and once intended career), we don't like to code twice what we've already coded once. Reusability is key. So why not take that approach to my hobby as well? I decided I would craft my arguments once, cite all the relevant facts, and put them somewhere so that I can grab them when necessary. And since I'm going through all this trouble, I figured I might as well put it online for others to use, too. The Conservative Compendium was born. Looking back, it was a bit overly ambitious - I was essentially trying to build a one man think-tank. Then I went back to graduate school for political science, had no time for the project, and CC eventually morphed into your standard, one-man-screaming-into-the-virtual-wind blog.
2) What is the best part about running your site?
It educates me. I hold no illusion that I'm influencing the debate in my tiny corner of the political arena, though I do reach some decent sized audiences at some of the larger sites I also write for. But the real benefit from Conservative Compendium is that, with the constant pressure to produce content, I am forced not merely to think my thoughts, but put them into words. I don't find my thoughts to be really fully formed until they have been expelled into some form or another. It also forces me to research. I don't like to speak, and particularly write, about things which I don't know a whole lot. So I have to research topics I'm writing about. It's continuing education.
3) What article that you've written are you most proud of?
Wow, this is a tough one. I have trouble just remembering where I put my keys, much less what I've written over the years. There is one that stands out, though. Back in 2006, I wrote a piece called "Why We Fight," which laid out my thoughts on The War Against Global Jihad. I can't say that my views haven't evolved at all over the years, but for the most part it still represents my thoughts on a very important topic. The post is here, if anyone cares to read it.
4) Has President Obama been better or worse than you expected?
I'd say he's about what I had expected. He's much more ideological than the last Democratic President, Bill Clinton, but equally as deceptive. The latter has turned out to be a good thing in at least one regard, which is that a large percentage of his campaign promises will not be carried out. His ideological stubbornness, unfortunately, also leaves us with a man completely committed to growing government at a time when all the forces of history are wanting, and needing, to pull us in the opposite direction. Such a stark contradiction necessarily introduces instability and chaos in the body politic.
5) Any favorites for 2012 yet?
Not really. I like Herman Cain, but have some reservations. I don't foresee anyone particularly exciting, and with an actual chance at winning the primary, coming along this cycle for Republicans. It's early, though, so we'll see. But the more time I spend in DC, or maybe just as I get older, the more I realize that all politicians inevitably disappoint.
6) Has the new Congress disappointed you?
Speaking of disappointment... Actually, they really haven't. Not yet, anyway. There's only so much that they can do with a Democratic Senate and President. Without even the Senate, it's not like they can just pass bills and force Obama to take political stands. Harry Reid will just run interference and let anything die in the Senate (by refusing to even give it a vote) that might put the President in a tricky position, such as vetoing a repeal of his unpopular health care law. So I don't expect a whole lot. Just keep the discussion about the size of government and the need to reign in spending. That's all I really expect, and so far they're doing a decent job.
7) Anything else you'd like to add?
Yes, this seems like a good opportunity to mention a new website I'm working on. It's called Left of the Mark, and will serve as a repository of outrageous, asinine and demagogic statements by liberals and others on the left. The media has a very short institutional memory for stupid liberal statements. While they obsess for days on whether Sarah Palin used an aggressive font in some political ad 2 years ago, they ignore Democrats who have made actual death wishes. Imagine if, with a one or two clicks, you could come up with hundreds of quotes of liberals wishing death on conservatives, or using other violent rhetoric? It obviously wouldn't be comprehensive, but it would be a number to use, and the examples and sources would be there (including links to any video if available). So I want it to be a useful tool for conservative bloggers and activists, and my goal is to make it both powerful and user friendly. Right now as I'm finishing the code and (more importantly) populating the database, it's not accessible - but when it's complete it will be up and running at http://leftofthemark.com/. So keep an eye out.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
|Before and after|
Talk about tired:
Here is the text of Obama's speech while Biden was dozing off, with Biden's actions in brackets:
Obama- [Biden's head is drooping forward, eyes closed] It says that ten years from now, if you're a sixty-five year old who's eligible for MediCare, [Biden pulls head back, eyes closed] you should have to pay nearly $6,400 more than you would today. [Biden's head starts to slump toward chest] It says, instead of guaranteed health care, you will get a voucher. And if that voucher isn't worth enough to buy the insurance that's available in the open market place, well, tough luck. [Biden opens eyes, squints]. You're on your own. Basically, it ends MediCare as we know it. [Biden looks down, clearly tired].
Personally, I can't really find fault with Biden. If you look closely at the woman in the background, she is barely staying awake as well. Lord knows a lot of people could barely listen to the guy, let alone stay awake.
Some words from the beginning of the speech:
Obama- Over the past few weeks, I've traveled the country, talking about what we need to do to win the future; talked about the need to invest in innovation so that the next big idea is discovered here in the United States of America. I've talked about the need to invest in high-speed rail and high-speed Internet, so that companies can move goods and information faster than ever. And this week, I'll be talking about the need to invest in education...
By the way, if you don't realize it, "invest" means "spend money on."
I won't pass judgement on these opening statements; I hardly believe that I even have to. But what I will discuss is the President's complete 180 on... well, everything. No longer are we going to "invest" and no longer are we going to "spend money to keep from going bankrupt." All of a sudden that needs to stop.
No longer will we spend $787,000,000,000 for the hell of it. Now we must save, cut, and tax, tax, tax. If there is anything that shows that this President has absolutely no plan what-so-ever, this is it.
President Obama should save us all some time, wet his finger, and put it up in the air to check the wind. You don't even need a teleprompter for that.
He's their dream candidate - fiscally conservative, socially moderate, and quite likely to cause Republicans to either bolt, or sit out the 2012 election - and they are very invested in seeing him perform well during the war between candidates.
But could Mr. Huntsman actually succeed?
Ask New Hampshire.
When New Hampshire Republicans went to the polls in early 1964, they were absolutely sick and tired with the leading two candidates - Barry Goldwater and Nelson Rockefeller - so they wrote-in one of America's greatest 20th century diplomatic and political figures. They wrote in Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., who was currently serving the United States as Ambassador to South Vietnam.
Lodge received almost 40% of the vote and 13,000 more votes than any of the declared candidates. He was surprised by the write-in victory and actually won two more states before publicly announcing he was not running for President. I can't imagine a write-in effort being that successful in American politics today.
It's unlikely that history will repeat itself for Mr. Huntsman, but there is strong precedence for New Hampshire to buck the leading candidates and go with the maverick.
What say you?
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
- Howarth: “They are limited data. These are not published data. These are things teased apart out of PowerPoint presentations here and there. So rather than try to extrapolate based on any complicated formula, we’ve ended up simply taking the mean of those values.” (Howath presentation to colleagues, 22:30, March 15, 2011)
- Howarth: “A lot of the data we used are really low quality, but I’m confident that they are the best available data.” (38:50)
- Howarth: “Let me just as an aside say that, again, the quality of the data behind that number [methane emissions during well completion] are pretty lousy. You know, they’re these weird PowerPoint sort of things.” (44:15)
- Ingraffea: “We do not intend for you to accept what we have reported on today as the definitive scientific study in respect to this question, clearly it is not. We have pointed out as many times as we could that we are basing this study on in some cases questionable data.” (38:20)
- Ingraffea: “I hope you don’t gather from this presentation that we think we’re right.” (57:15)
- Howarth: “We did not look as carefully at coal. … We didn’t put anywhere near the amount of effort into them [coal numbers], but I’m sure they are lower than natural gas.” (39:10 – 40:08)
[Columbus, NM/Palomas , Chihuahua Border Crossing: Photo- Through Gates of Grace blog]
The defendants charged in the 84-count indictment include Angelo Vega, the Columbus chief of police; Eddie Espinoza, the mayor of Columbus; and Blas Gutierrez, a village trustee in Columbus. Ten of the 11 defendants were arrested without incident Thursday morning by teams of federal, state and local law enforcement officers, and will make their initial appearances Friday in the federal courthouse in Las Cruces, N.M.[You can read the full indictment (PDF file) here]
The officers also executed 10 search warrants at eight residences, one business and the Columbus Police Department office.The indictment is the result of an intensive yearlong investigation initiated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and ICE Homeland Security Investigations, that later expanded to include the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Attorney's Las Cruces Branch Office.
The indictment alleges that, between January 2010 and March 2011, the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to purchase firearms for illegal export to Mexico. The defendants allegedly obtained firearms from Chaparral Guns by falsely claiming they were the actual purchasers of the firearms, when in fact they were acting as "straw purchasers" who were buying the firearms on behalf of others, according to the indictment.
According to the El Paso Times Chief Vega has had prior run-ins with the law over the last 16 years.
in 1996, he was indicted by a grand jury on two counts of extortion, a third-degree felony, and two counts of intimidation of a witness, a fourth-degree felony. The charges stemmed from a 1995 incident in Lincoln County when Vega allegedly threatened a woman who had been wrongfully arrested a day earlier, telling her that she would be prosecuted unless she agreed to work as an undercover narcotics officer and sign a written apology in which she agreed that her arrest was appropriate. Vega made the threats even though he knew at the time that paperwork was being prepared to dismiss charges against the woman, according to the grand jury record. He eventually reached a plea agreement with then Attorney General Tom Udall in which he pleaded guilty to one count of false imprisonment, a misdemeanor.
In 1998 he was appointed police chief by Carrizozo Mayor Manny Hernandez. After being arrested in 2001 on stalking and harassment charges, which were later dropped, Vega departed in early 2005 to accept a job with the New Mexico Juvenile Justice Division. It was in 2006 that then state Sen. Lee Rawson publicly voiced concerns about Vega's criminal background, even bringing his concerns to then Gov. Bill Richardson."I think this is a personal attack toward me, and it's very unfortunate," Vega said at the time.
After resigning for "personal reasons" in June 2006 as director of the J. Paul Taylor Juvenile Justice Center, the state's Southern New Mexico juvenile jail west of Las Cruces, Vega moved up to the top law enforcement position in Mesilla, town marshal, on March 12, 2007.
Several months after a dispute with former Mayor Michael Cadena, Vega was removed from office March 11, 2008, a day short of what would have been one year in office. He was reinstated that June, but resigned the next February to become the village chief of police in Columbus.Columbus trustees unanimously approved his hiring.
Columbus as seen from Pancho Villa State Park: Image- WikipediaThe village of about 1700 abuts the town of Palomas in the northern portion of the Mexican state of Chihuahua and is perhaps best known for being raided by Pancho Villa in 1916. Presently it is home to the nearby Pancho Villa State Park. Over the last five years, however, Columbus has had no less than 8 police chiefs, with mayor Espinoza disbanding the entire police force at one point.
After the arrests of Vega and Espinoza, the Luna County Sheriff Raymond Cobos had recommended to the Columbus board of trustees that they suspend the remaining three police officers on the force until they could be independently vetted and cleared of any wrongdoing.
Senator Allen is likely to face off against former DNC Chairman Tim Kaine next November in what political pundits are predicting to be a world class dogfight in the midst of another expensive and close Presidential election.
Incumbent Senator James Webb, a freshmen pro-military Democrat, is retiring.
What say you?
The ex-leader was taken to a hospital in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh two days after reports that he was about to be summoned for questioning.
"Mubarak was admitted to the Sharm el-Sheikh International Hospital this afternoon, amid a very heavy security presence in the town," a security source said.
A hospital source refused to comment on the news and said that "the minister of health will make an announcement" shortly.
Mubarak was admitted by his bodyguards to the VIP wing of the hospital, state television reported, adding that the hospital was not accepting any patients except for emergency cases.
Police cars and ambulances surrounded the hospital, as well as a heavy military police presence, state television said.