Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tea parties protest Obama's destruction of America

"Despite terrible weather in many cases, citizens braved the wind, cold, and rain to exercise their Constitutional right to protest the current direction of the country under Barack Obama and the Democrats.

In St. Louis, over 1500 attended the Tea Party at the famous arch.

In Chicago, between 800 and 1000 braved the bad weather to gather to protest the massive spending of taxpayers' money by the federal government.

Atlanta was the site of another well-attended Tea Party.

Many smaller towns and cities participated in the semi-simultaneous events around the country, such as Shelby, Alabama, Asheville, North Carolina, and Greenville, South Carolina."

Readers turn to Atlas Shrugged to fend off Obama

Washington, D.C., February 23, 2009--Sales of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” have almost tripled over the first seven weeks of this year compared with sales for the same period in 2008. This continues a strong trend after bookstore sales reached an all-time annual high in 2008 of about 200,000 copies sold.

“Americans are flocking to buy and read ‘Atlas Shrugged’ because there are uncanny similarities between the plot-line of the book and the events of our day” said Yaron Brook, Executive Director at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights. “Americans are rightfully concerned about the economic crisis and government’s increasing intervention and attempts to control the economy. Ayn Rand understood and identified the deeper causes of the crisis we’re facing, and she offered, in ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ a principled and practical solution consistent with American values."

Friday, February 27, 2009

Arab prof outlines plot to kill 330,000 Americans

"A professor from Kuwait, the country liberated from Saddam Hussein's attack squads by the United States in the first Gulf War, has called Islamic terrorists "the most honorable people in the world" and has outlined on Arab television a potential terror attack that would involve smuggling anthrax from Mexico into the U.S. and killing 330,000 people in 60 minutes.

The plan was described by Abdallah Al-Nafisi in a speech that aired on Al-Jazeera television Feb. 2, according to MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, an independent nonprofit that provides translations and analysis of media reports.

Al-Nafisi, whose school affiliation was not identified, says: "Four pounds of anthrax – in a suitcase this big – carried by a fighter through tunnels from Mexico into the U.S., are guaranteed to kill 330,000 Americans within a single hour, if it is properly spread in population centers there."

Science advisor favors planetary government

"When Barack Obama nominated John P. Holdren as his Science Adviser last December 20, the president-elect stated "promoting science isn’t just about providing resources" but "ensuring that facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology."

In nominating John Holdren, his words could scarcely have taken a more Orwellian ring. Some critics have noted Holdren's penchant for making apocalyptic predictions that never come to pass, and categorizing all criticism of his alarmist views as not only wrong but dangerous.

What none has yet noted is that Holdren is a globalist who has endorsed "surrender of sovereignty" to "a comprehensive Planetary Regime" that would control all the world's resources, direct global redistribution of wealth, oversee the "de-development" of the West, control a World Army and taxation regime, and enforce world population limits.

He has castigated the United States as "the meanest of wealthy countries," written a justification of compulsory abortion for American women, advocated drastically lowering the U.S. standard of living, and left the door open to trying global warming "deniers" for crimes against humanity. Such is Barack Obama's idea of a clear-headed adviser on matters of scientific policy."

Anti-American actions no bar to defense contracts

"Companies that defrauded the United States and jeopardized American lives received new government work despite rulings designed to stop them from receiving federal contracts, government investigators report.

Payments went to a company whose president tried to sell nuclear bomb parts to North Korea, a company that jeopardized lives on the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy, and a seller of body armor that the Air Force said was defective.

The companies were on a government database of 70,000 individuals and businesses suspended or barred by various U.S. agencies from receiving government contract work."

Obamania is starting to subside, polls say

"The media may be smitten with President Barack Obama, but recent Gallup poll results show Americans giving the new president lower marks after one month in the White House than former President George W. Bush earned at the same point in his administration.

Heading into this week’s address to Congress, the Gallup figures showed 59 percent of Americans approved of Obama’s efforts so far, while 25 percent disapproved, and 16 percent had no opinion. According to, President Bush had a 62 percent approval rating one month into his first term, with 21 percent disapproving, and 17 percent having no opinion."

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Obama, too, whores for hispanic votes

Here's another thing that will not change even though the "change" candidate now inhabits the White House: the Obama White House will whore after hispanic votes just as the Bush White House did, sacrificing the interests of low-income American workers to the interests of politicians.

The headline story: "Immigrant rights groups blasted President Obama on Wednesday for breaking what they called his "personal commitment" to change Bush-era immigration raids after U.S. authorities raided an engine machine shop in Washington state and detained illegal immigrants.

The Obama administration itself seemed taken aback by the raid by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, with Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano vowing to Congress that she would "get to the bottom of this."

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Up to 7 million illegals hold jobs in U.S.

"Who is getting the jobs for which these native-born black and Hispanic young could qualify?

Illegal aliens hold literally millions of them.

Last week, the CIS reported, "An estimated 6 to 7 million illegal immigrants are currently holding jobs. Prior research indicates they are overwhelmingly employed in lower-skilled and lower-paying jobs." [Unemployment for Immigrants and the US-Born: Picture Bleak for Less-Educated Black & Hispanic Americans By Steven A. Camarota, February 2009]
Exactly what sort of jobs?

"Illegals are primarily employed in construction, building cleaning and maintenance, food preparation, service and processing, transportation and moving occupations and agriculture."

With the exception of agriculture, a majority of the workers in these occupations are native-born Americans. Thus, illegal aliens are taking jobs Americans are not only willing to do, but are doing, and taking 7 million of these jobs from young Americans now out of work.

By failing to enforce U.S. immigration laws, the government of the United States is selling America's working class down the river."

Monday, February 23, 2009

New Obama bill riddled with 9,000 earmarks

WASHINGTON — During the 2008 presidential campaign, candidates Barack Obama and John McCain fought vigorously over who would be toughest on congressional earmarks.

"We need earmark reform," Obama said in September during a presidential debate in Oxford, Miss. "And when I'm president, I will go line by line to make sure that we are not spending money unwisely."

President Barack Obama should prepare to carve out a lot of free time and keep the coffee hot this week as Congress prepares to unveil a $410 billion omnibus spending bill that's riddled with thousands of earmarks, despite his calls for restraint and efforts on Capitol Hill to curtail the practice.

The bill will contain about 9,000 earmarks totaling $5 billion, congressional officials say. Many of the earmarks — loosely defined as local projects inserted by members of Congress — were inserted last year as the spending bills worked their way through various committees.

Obama's great idea: do an Alinsky-style census

"This is nothing more than a political land grab," Congressman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said of Barack Obama’s Chicago-style political decision to bring the influential role of conducting the U.S. Census under White House influence.

This single act should end any further bipartisanship. Obama is executing raw power politics as taught by his role model, leftist Chicago organizer Saul Alinsky.

Alinsky pioneered this in-your-face style of political move. Practically, this means that Rahm Emanuel, the White House Chief of Staff and the former Democratic congressional campaign chairman -- who has tax problems, ethics problems and negotiated with impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich -- will be in charge of the process that determines congressional redistricting and the makeup of the Electoral College."

The race industry: still alive and looking for growth

"Education bureaucrats maintain an incessant harangue on white racism because they see the writing on the wall: most students are indifferent to race and just want to get along.

If left to themselves, they would go about their business perfectly happily and color-blindly, and the race industry would wither on the vine.

Thus the institutional imperative to remind black students constantly about their victimization and the white students about their guilt. Last month, the elite Phillips Academy at Andover proudly announced a student presentation on White Privilege: A History and Its Role in Education.

Would the student have come up with such a topic on her own without the school’s educators deliberately immersing her in such trivial matters? Of course not."

ACORN activist accused of burglary

"Louis Beverly, an activist with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) who has tried to call attention to foreclosures in the city, is expected to turn himself in to police this morning and face a burglary charge, authorities said today.

He is being accused of breaking the padlock on a home so that the homeowner could reclaim the dwelling as part of a protest effort, according to city police.Last week, according to WJZ, ACORN called the act of breaking into Donna Hanks' home near Patterson Park an act of civil disobedience.

ACORN has been trying to draw attention to the foreclosure crisis in cities across the country, while also urging a moratorium on foreclosures.",0,3348381.story

No one dares speak of the recession's root cause

"There was overlending going on all over the world—yet the collapse started in a few rapidly Hispanicizing states in the U.S. Why?

You have to look at both sides of the equation: lending and repayment. In California and Company, not only was too much money being lent relative to past rates (which was happening in lots of other places, too), but, also, the earning capacity of the new homebuyers to pay back their loans was declining—as Americans moved out and Latin Americans moved in.
That double whammy in the Sand States of increasing lending and decreasing human capital is what blew the gasket on the world economy.

Of course, we also needed a third element—political correctness—to keep investors from noticing what was happening."

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Five states did most to burst the housing bubble

"When President Obama discusses his $275 billion mortgage bailout, he talks as if it was a national problem, caused by a national decline in home prices. "We must stem the spread of foreclosures and falling home values for all Americans," he says. But there is no national market for homes and no national price for homes. Instead, most of the United States will pay for the folly of few.

The beneficiaries of taxpayer charity will be highly concentrated in just five states - California, Nevada, Arizona, Florida and Michigan."

Obama's big spending is real, the funding imaginary

It is beginning to look as if President Obama looks upon his constituents, including those of us who are among the unwilling, as fools.

The latest evidence is his statement that he is about to embark on a deficit-cutting campaign by raising taxes on high-income earners. This, and cuts in war spending, he says, will whittle the deficits by as much as half.

Don't believe it. The deficits are real. The deficits that will materialize over the next several years just grew by a cumulative $1 trillion because of Obama's so-called stimulus package. That money will be spent.

The proposals to increase revenue, on the other hand, are theoretical at best, a head-fake at worst. They will require action by Congress. A wink here and a nod there, and Congress could kill any proposal to raise revenue, leaving the deficits at dangerous levels while absolving Obama of blame. His allies can say he tried.

This is not to impute insincerity to Obama. This is the way Washington works. If a real, intractible problem rears its head, invent a magical, theoretical solution to make it go away, at least for the time being.

Sure, the real problem will return. So what? There are always more theoretical solutions in the politicians' magic bag.

Obama is viewed favorably by 63 percent of Americans, while only 33 percent approve of Congress's performance, according to the Rasmussen Poll. In a face-off, Obama would have a clear advantage. But a faceoff is unlikely given that Congress approved the stimulus bill before any member of Congress could have known what was in it.

How Chris Dodd got lucky before Countrywide

"Ireland does not easily give up its secrets. That may have been one attraction it held for Sen. Christopher Dodd in 1994 when he became an owner of a refuge on nearly 10 acres on the Irish west coast.

The murky tale includes a felonious inside trader, a Kansas City businessman, a presidential pardon and what appears to be a financial bonanza to Dodd during the Irish property boom.

The saga of Dodd's lucrative Irish odyssey reveals that his two 2003 sweetheart loans from subprime mortgage titan Countrywide Financial were not the first time he enjoyed a financial advantage from a wealthy benefactor. The trail begins at one of New York's most desirable addresses.",0,4471645.column

Saturday, February 21, 2009

How to protest the destruction of America

"The internet is abuzz with chatter about organizing protests around the country to put an end to this madness on Wall Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. But I’ve talked to many people out there who have never organized a protest, and so they don’t have a clue where to begin. Here are 10 simple steps that you can follow to organize a protest in your own community. If you want more help, just send me an email at bsteinhauser and I’ll work with you one on one to help make your protest a success."

Bank failure, mortgage foreclosure maps online

Maps that show state by state stats on bank failures and mortgage foreclosures. Instapuncit notes that the maps with the worst calamities are pretty much the states that Barack Obama carried on Nov. 4.

The new political style: frantic action, no reform

"As California goes, says an old cliché, so goes the nation. Oh my.
These days, the Golden State leads the nation on economic and fiscal dysfunction, from the empty homes spread across the Central Valley to the highest state budget shortfall in the nation's history. Meanwhile, its political class pioneers denial in the face of catastrophe.

The spark for the immediate political crisis was a familiar Californian discovery, a fiscal hole of $41 billion. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared an "emergency" in November and took legislative leaders behind closed doors to hammer out a compromise. The budget adopted in a marathon session this week splits the baby, closing the deficit with spending cuts (hated by the left) and tax hikes (ditto the right), all the while largely failing to tackle the state's built-in structural defects."

Did the wordsmith Obama misspeak? Or slip up?

"With the Dow Jones Industrial Average making new lows, President Obama may have it exactly right. When he signed the so-called “stimulus” legislation on Tuesday, he said, “today does mark the beginning of the end.”

OK, he meant “the end of our economic problems.” But it was a peculiar choice of words for a man who is supposed to be so eloquent. It’s easily misunderstood — especially since every single effort he, his administration, and Congress have put forth to stabilize the economy has done nothing but drive the stock market lower and lower.

I wrote here several weeks ago that the “stimulus” bill would be an expensive dud — nothing but a big-government power-grab. And I wrote last week about what a disaster the unveiling of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's half-baked bank rescue plan was. It's now gotten even worse, now that we can see a deadly surprises hidden in the "stimulus" bill, and now that we've heard the administration's plans for mortgage foreclosure relief."

Burris lied his way to Senate, Chicago Trib says

"By what he said and what he chose not to say, Roland Burris lied his way into the United States Senate.

Our questions, then, for leaders of Burris' Democratic Party:Sen. Dick Durbin, Sen. Harry Reid, Mayor Richard Daley, Gov. Pat Quinn, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan, Secretary of State Jesse White, Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias—what's your moral calculus here?

Do you think it's acceptable for someone to take a Senate seat by lies of commission and of omission? That is, by saying what isn't true—and by declining to say what is? Are you comfortable having Burris represent the people of this state—people who wouldn't trust him if he said in a sworn affidavit that the Earth is round?",0,1572796.story

Return of arctic ice cap was misunderestimated

Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- A glitch in satellite sensors caused scientists to underestimate the extent of Arctic sea ice by 500,000 square kilometers (193,000 square miles), a California- size area, the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center said.

The error, due to a problem called “sensor drift,” began in early January and caused a slowly growing underestimation of sea ice extent until mid-February. That’s when “puzzled readers” alerted the NSIDC about data showing ice-covered areas as stretches of open ocean, the Boulder, Colorado-based group said on its Web site.

“Sensor drift, although infrequent, does occasionally occur and it is one of the things that we account for during quality- control measures prior to archiving the data,” the center said. “Although we believe that data prior to early January are reliable, we will conduct a full quality check.’’

The extent of Arctic sea ice is seen as a key measure of how rising temperatures are affecting the Earth. The cap retreated in 2007 to its lowest extent ever and last year posted its second- lowest annual minimum at the end of the yearly melt season. The recent error doesn’t change findings that Arctic ice is retreating, the NSIDC said.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Obama admires Lincoln; what would Lincoln think?

Now that President Obama has very publicly underscored his reverence for Abraham Lincoln, most recently by ousting Winston Churchill's bust from the White House in favor of the 16th president's, it is time to examine some of Lincoln's best knnown quotations.

Some of those quotations are, in fact, timely. For instance:

“You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.”

“I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong."

“The time comes upon every public man when it is best for him to keep his lips closed.”

“These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people.”

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.”

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."

Stocks plunge on fear of Obama's freakonomics

"Today marks the one-month anniversary of President Obama’s inauguration. In his brief time in office, the president has overseen three massive new spending initiatives — the $787 billion stimulus bill, the trillion-dollar financial stability initiative and, most recently, the $275 billion mortgage assistance program.

That’s a lot of activity, and a ton of money, but so far the reaction to the new administration’s programs has been decidedly negative. Investors, among others, have panned the plans; the stock market is off nearly 10% from the day before the inauguration, or more than 800 points on the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Yesterday, in fact, we crossed a truly alarming divide. The Dow Jones average closed at its lowest point since October 2002, the bottom of the last bear market. The S&P 500 fell to 779, barely above the intra-day low of 741 of last November. For many market analysts, if the market crashes through that recent benchmark, it will next move significantly lower. Ouch."

Specter jeered, says expects primary challenge

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) ― U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter was greeted with jeers at a press conference in Cranberry Township. Conservatives are fuming after Specter cast the deciding vote that led to the passage of President Barack Obama's stimulus plan. Specter, 79, acknowledges his run for re-election will be tough.

He says he's not completely happy with Obama's plans but he points out that he was able to cut the price tag by over $100 billion and he says he was able to increase the amount of tax cuts.

Even so, Specter acknowledges the Republican Party's conservative wing will attempt to unseat him in next year's primary race.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

You can't fool all of the people all of the time

For good pix of today's anti-Obama protests, go here:

Obama stimulus is stimulating the very, very rich

"Billionaire Paul Allen is a Microsoft cofounder, the owner of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks and the owner of the NBA's Portland Trailblazers.

And, thanks to the stimulus bill President Obama signed this week, he's also about to be as much as a billion dollars richer.

Here's how:
Allen owns a majority stake in cable provider Charter Communications.
Charter Communications this month said it would reduce its debt load by $8 billion and enter Chapter 11.

Normally, partners at a firm like Charter Communications would have to pay taxes on the amount of debt forgiven in this process, which is, in a sense a one-time income windfall. Tax law calls it a "deemed distribution."

But under the new bill, companies like Charter Communications will be able to avoid paying taxes on forgiven debt until 2014. Even then, Paul will have until 2018 to pay it completely off.
Paul owns about half of Charter, so his share of the Charter Commuincations' $8 billion debt forgiveness is around $4 billion. At a tax rate of 25%, Allen could avoid paying as much as $1 billion in taxes until 2014."

Video of stock traders' revolt against Obama plan

You can't fool all of the people all of the time

"A Dobson High School Advanced Placement government class with strong opinions about Barack Obama watched the president's speech Wednesday on a small, grainy TV in the corner of their classroom.

Some of the students attentively watched the speech, giving questioning looks and comments, shaking their heads and laughing at some of Obama's words. Other students listened, occasionally glancing up to watch, while texting on their cell phones, reading a book or finishing school work.

The gymnasium's events were shown simultaneously in rooms throughout the Mesa school, and teachers were given discretion on whether to show the speech, the students said.

The students in the class were hopeful things will work out but questioned whether Obama's plan would actually work to dig the country out of its economic woes. They also expected a longer speech.

Senior Syna Daudfar took some notes during the speech and was among the most vocally opposed to Obama's words.

At one point, when he talked about the costs of his stimulus plan, senior Maaike Albach and Daudfar looked at each other and said, "uh-oh."

"Overall I think it's a good idea, but he's not addressing the issues of the economic crisis," said Daudfar, a John McCain supporter who added he leans more toward being a moderate conservative. "The spending bill he just passed is just progressing the Democratic agenda rather than addressing the economic issues in the country."

Is it sloth? Or hispandering? Illegals stay here

"The U.S. government spends tens of millions of dollars each year persuading federal circuit courts to uphold orders for thousands of illegal immigrants to leave the country, but those orders have been enforced in only one-fifth of the cases, according to sources familiar with a recent Justice Department study.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a branch of the Department of Homeland Security, is responsible for "removing" illegal immigrants who stay in this country against the law. But the study found that more than 80 percent of the illegal immigrants whose deportation orders were upheld by a federal appeals court last year were still in the country as of five weeks ago, according to an internal Justice Department memo obtained by FOX News.

"If the people aren't getting removed, why the heck are we spending all the money?" asked one former Justice Department official who left with the Bush administration."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Priceless grilling of bailout czar Neel Kashkari

Dem fraudster linked to Mexican drug dealers

"The SEC's fraud charges may be the least of accused financial scammer R. Allen Stanford's worries. Federal authorities tell ABC News that FBI and others have been investigating whether Stanford was involved in laundering drug money for Mexico's notorious Gulf Cartel.

Federal regulators on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009 charged Stanford and three of his companies with a "massive fraud" that centered around high-interest-rate CDs.

Authorities tell ABC News that as part of the investigation, which has been ongoing since last year, Mexican authorities detained one of Stanford's private planes. According to officials, checks found inside the plane were believed to be connected to the Gulf cartel, reputed to be Mexico's most violent gang. Authorities say Stanford could potentially face criminal charges of money laundering and bribery of foreign officials.

Authorities say the SEC action against Stanford Tuesday may have complicated the federal drug investigation.

The federal investigation, however, did not stop Stanford from using corporate money to become a big man at last year's Democratic convention in Denver.

A video posted on the firm's web-site shows Stanford, now sought by U.S. Marshals, being hugged by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and praised by former President Bill Clinton for helping to finance a convention-related forum and party put on by the National Democratic Institute."

A.G. is watching who we pal around with

WASHINGTON (AP) - Attorney General Eric Holder described the United States Wednesday as a nation of cowards on matters of race, saying most Americans avoid discussing unresolved racial issues.

In a speech to Justice Department employees marking Black History Month, Holder said the workplace is largely integrated but Americans still self-segregate on the weekends and in their private lives.

"Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards," said Holder, nation's first black attorney general.

Race issues continue to be a topic of political discussion, Holder said, but "we, as average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race.

Cato: Obama picking up where Bush left off

"Over the last eight years, then-President George W. Bush repeatedly insisted that he was the sole constitutional "decider," free from congressional or judicial checks on his power.

He claimed the power to imprison American citizens as terrorist suspects for as long as he deemed necessary, tap Americans' phones without a warrant, and, through the use of the State Secrets privilege - -a doctrine that shields information related to national security - prevent the courts from testing the legality of those propositions.

In the last months of his administration, Bush behaved like a Roman dictator for economic affairs, deciding which companies would live or die with the $700 billion in taxpayer funds Congress had authorized the executive branch to commit.

On the campaign trail in 2008, Barack Obama promised that he'd take a different approach to presidential power. Last week, our new president faced his first serious test of whether he meant what he said.

He failed."

Is Rahm Emanuel still another Dem tax cheat?

"NEWS broke last week that Rahm Emanuel, now White House chief of staff, lived rent- free for years in the home of Rep. Rosa De Lauro (D-Conn.) - and failed to disclose the gift, as congressional ethics rules mandate. But this is only the tip of Emanuel's previously undislosed ethics problems.

One issue is the work Emanuel tossed the way of De Lauro's husband. But the bigger one goes back to Emanuel's days on the board of now-bankrupt mortgage giant Freddie Mac.
Emanuel is a multimillionaire, but lived for the last five years for free in the tony Capitol Hill townhouse owned by De Lauro and her husband, Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg.
During that time, he also served as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee - which gave Greenberg huge polling contracts. It paid Greenberg's firm $239,996 in 2006 and $317,775 in 2008. (Emanuel's own campaign committee has also paid Greenberg more than $50,000 since 2004.)"

Sowell: government wrecked one of safest bets

"From television specials to newspaper editorials, the media are pushing the idea that current economic problems were caused by the market and that only the government can rescue us.

What was lacking in the housing market, they say, was government regulation of the market's "greed." That makes great moral melodrama, but it turns the facts upside down.

It was precisely government intervention which turned a thriving industry into a basket case.
An economist specializing in financial markets gave a glimpse of the history of housing markets when he said: "Lending money to American homebuyers had been one of the least risky and most profitable businesses a bank could engage in for nearly a century."

That was what the market was like before the government intervened. Like many government interventions, it began small and later grew."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bush years "boom times for Big Government"

"Bush Boom Continues" trilled the headline over the Lawrence Kudlow column, as George W. Bush closed out his seventh year in office. [NRO, December 10, 2007]
"You can call it Goldilocks 2.0," purred Kudlow.[Email him]
Yes, you could. But what a difference 12 months can make.
Final returns are now in on the eight years of George Bush. Charles McMillion of MBG Information Services has crunched the numbers. And, pace Kudlow, the only relevant comparison is to Herbert Hoover.
From January 2008, right after Kudlow's column ran, through January 2009, the U.S. economy lost 3.5 million jobs. The private sector loss of 3.65 million jobs was slightly offset by 148,000 jobs created by federal, state and local governments. Say what you will, the Bush years were boom times for Big Government.
And the private sector? Beginning and ending in recession, the Bush presidency added a net of 407,000 private sector jobs over eight years, less than 51,000 a year, the worst eight-year record since 1927-35, which includes the first six years of the Great Depression.
By January 2009, the average workweek had fallen to 33.3 hours, the lowest since record keeping began in 1964.
From Jan. 31, 2001, through Jan. 31, 2009, 4.4 million manufacturing jobs, 26 percent of all of the manufacturing jobs in the United States, disappeared. "

Monday, February 16, 2009

Obama ousts bust of FDR's wartime soulmate

"A bust of the former prime minister once voted the greatest Briton in history, which was loaned to George W Bush from the Government's art collection after the September 11 attacks, has now been formally handed back.

The bronze by Sir Jacob Epstein, worth hundreds of thousands of pounds if it were ever sold on the open market, enjoyed pride of place in the Oval Office during President Bush's tenure.

But when British officials offered to let Mr Obama to hang onto the bust for a further four years, the White House said: "Thanks, but no thanks."

Diplomats were at first reluctant to discuss the whereabouts of the Churchill bronze, after its ejection from the seat of American power. But the British Embassy in Washington has now confirmed that it sits in the palatial residence of ambassador Sir Nigel Sheinwald, just down the road from Vice President Joe Biden's official residence. It is not clear whether the ambassador plans to keep it in Washington or send it back to London.

American politicians have made quoting Churchill, whose mother was American, something of an art form, but not Mr Obama, who prefers to cite the words and works of his hero Abraham Lincoln. Indeed a bust of Mr Lincoln now sits in the Oval Office where Epstein's Churchill once ruled the roost.

Churchill has less happy connotations for Mr Obama than those American politicians who celebrate his wartime leadership. It was during Churchill's second premiership that Britain suppressed Kenya's Mau Mau rebellion. Among Kenyans allegedly tortured by the colonial regime included one Hussein Onyango Obama, the President's grandfather."

My take: Odds are that Obama is not even aware that Churchill was very close to President Franklin Roosevelt and lived in the White House for months on end while England was under siege by the Luftwaffe. What a doofus.

The wisdom of Rush Limbaugh

"Every Obama statement has an expiration date." (Feb. 16, 2009)

Bush had big role in creating housing bubble

"When measured in terabucks, the Community Reinvestment Act was negligible until the 1990s. And it was still small potatoes until the Clinton “reforms” of 1995 and the rise of well-organized pressure groups of the kind affiliated with the NCRC.

But the biggest flood of CRA assurances came during the presidency of George W. Bush, who repeatedly called in 2002-2004 for 5.5 million more minority homeowners by 2010. Cumulative bank pledges (typically doled out over ten years) grew from $1.85 trillion in 2002 to $4.20 trillion in 2004.

Indeed, total CRA commitments increased by $1.63 trillion in 2004 alone, the first year of the Housing Bubble.

For the benefit of overseas readers for whom the words “billion” and “trillion” mean different things than they do for American readers, let me spell that last bit out as if I was writing it on a check. In 2004 alone, banks publicly promised to lend over the next decade to CRA-qualified minority and lower income neighborhoods the sum of $1,630,000,000,000.00.

That’s a big number.

And those kind of numbers put a lot of upward pressure on home prices as they got incorporated into expectations. Not surprisingly, the subsequent mortgage defaults that plunged the world into economic crisis are disproportionately concentrated in CRA-covered minority and lower income communities."

My take: the diagram tells the story better than words. Access it at:

Will immigrants grab the new stimulus jobs?

"Hey, you know how much our government cares about us citizens in its rush to print nearly a trillion in new debt? As in the bill being signed by President Obama ASAP.

Turns out that before the final vote in the Senate on February 13, Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) pretty well answered the question. He was crying big salty tears about how he knew that some members were disappointed that their amendments had not received a vote. Specifically, Dodd said he knew Senator Jeff Sessions (R-ALA) was particularly upset—and that when the Senate takes up the Continuing Resolution for the Budget in 2 weeks, the bill would include an extension of E-Verify until September 30th.

Remember, you, but far more likely your children and grandchildren, have just been saddled with nearly another trillion dollars debt for the purpose of creating jobs. It is claimed that 4 million jobs will be created by this package. But the latest US Department of Homeland Security data reveals that our government is currently permitting 138,000 legal immigrants to enter the US every month on various work visas. That's over 1.5 million new legal aliens per year, folks!
Which means it’s all the more important to stop illegal immigration. An estimated 500,000 or more arrive here every year. So even if 4 million new jobs are created, a huge number will be going to aliens, not US citizens."

Obama engages in apocalyptic fearmongering

"President Barack Obama has turned fearmongering into an art form. He has repeatedly raised the specter of another Great Depression. First, he did so to win votes in the November election. He has done so again recently to sway congressional votes for his stimulus package.

In his remarks, every gloomy statistic on the economy becomes a harbinger of doom. As he tells it, today's economy is the worst since the Great Depression. Without his Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he says, the economy will fall back into that abyss and may never recover.

This fearmongering may be good politics, but it is bad history and bad economics. It is bad history because our current economic woes don't come close to those of the 1930s. At worst, a comparison to the 1981-82 recession might be appropriate. Consider the job losses that Mr. Obama always cites. In the last year, the U.S. economy shed 3.4 million jobs. That's a grim statistic for sure, but represents just 2.2% of the labor force. From November 1981 to October 1982, 2.4 million jobs were lost -- fewer in number than today, but the labor force was smaller. So 1981-82 job losses totaled 2.2% of the labor force, the same as now.

Job losses in the Great Depression were of an entirely different magnitude. In 1930, the economy shed 4.8% of the labor force. In 1931, 6.5%. And then in 1932, another 7.1%. Jobs were being lost at double or triple the rate of 2008-09 or 1981-82.

This was reflected in unemployment rates. The latest survey pegs U.S. unemployment at 7.6%. That's more than three percentage points below the 1982 peak (10.8%) and not even a third of the peak in 1932 (25.2%). You simply can't equate 7.6% unemployment with the Great Depression.

Other economic statistics also dispel any analogy between today's economic woes and the Great Depression. Real gross domestic product (GDP) rose in 2008, despite a bad fourth quarter. The Congressional Budget Office projects a GDP decline of 2% in 2009. That's comparable to 1982, when GDP contracted by 1.9%. It is nothing like 1930, when GDP fell by 9%, or 1931, when GDP contracted by another 8%, or 1932, when it fell yet another 13%.

Auto production last year declined by roughly 25%. That looks good compared to 1932, when production shriveled by 90%. The failure of a couple of dozen banks in 2008 just doesn't compare to over 10,000 bank failures in 1933, or even the 3,000-plus bank (Savings & Loan) failures in 1987-88. Stockholders can take some solace from the fact that the recent stock market debacle doesn't come close to the 90% devaluation of the early 1930s.

Mr. Obama's analogies to the Great Depression are not only historically inaccurate, they're also dangerous. Repeated warnings from the White House about a coming economic apocalypse aren't likely to raise consumer and investor expectations for the future. In fact, they have contributed to the continuing decline in consumer confidence that is restraining a spending pickup. Beyond that, fearmongering can trigger a political stampede to embrace a "recovery" package that delivers a lot less than it promises. A more cool-headed assessment of the economy's woes might produce better policies."

Sunday, February 15, 2009

How historians rank first 43 presidents

How the first 43 presidents fare in leadership ranking by historians: Bill Clinton is #15, George Bush at #36.

Mark Steyn on Obama's out-of-the-gate stumbles

"Few pieces of political “wisdom” are more tediously recycled than a well-retailed bon mot of British prime minister Harold Macmillan. Asked what he feared most in the months ahead, he gave an amused Edwardian response: “Events, dear boy, events.” In other words, you can plan all you want but next month, next year, some guy off the radar screen will launch a war, or there’ll be an earthquake, or something. Governments get thrown off course by “events.”

It suggests a perverse kind of genius that the 44th president did not wait for a single “event” to throw him off course. Instead he threw himself off: “Is Obama tanking already?” (Congressional Quarterly); “Has Barack Obama’s presidency already failed?” (the Financial Times).

Whether or not it’s “already” failed or tanked, the monthly magazines still gazing out from their newsstands with their glossy inaugural covers of a smiling Barack and Michelle waltzing on the audacity of hope seem like musty historical artifacts from a lost age.

The ship didn’t need to hit an iceberg; it stalled halfway down the slipway. This is still the phase before “events” come into play, when an incoming president has nothing to get in the way of his judgment and executive competence. President Obama chose to nominate Tim “Indispensable” Geithner and Tom “Home, James!” Daschle, men whose enthusiasm for the size of the federal budget is in inverse proportion to their urge to contribute to it. He chose to nominate as commerce secretary first the scandal-afflicted Bill Richardson and then the freakishly scandal-free Judd Gregg, and wound up losing both."

Arrogance, petulance Obama's essential character

"Much has been written in recent weeks concerning the Obama Administration’s early struggles and stumbles, particularly in matters such as properly vetting prospective cabinet nominees, differentiating between campaigning and governing, and staying on message during a rambling press conference. Some commentators have tried to downplay or dismiss these difficulties, while others have chalked them up as the inevitable errors of an amateur who has been pushed too far, too fast. What many of the pundits tend to overlook in their analyses of President Obama’s first weeks is that these early misadventures illustrate the petulance and arrogance that stand as the defining elements of the man’s essential character."

GOP may seek revenge on Obama's court picks

'Kenneth W. Starr has a warning for the Obama administration: what goes around comes around.

During a speech yesterday in Boston, Starr told a group of attorneys that President Barack Obama could face an uphill battle over his Supreme Court nominees because as a senator he opposed two of George W. Bush's Supreme Court picks, Samuel Alito and John Roberts.
Starr's message: elephants don't forget.

The former independent counsel during Bill Clinton's Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky scandals, Starr said an aging Supreme Court meant that Obama could be able to name perhaps two or more nominees to the high court. And that could lead to a showdown with Senate Republicans who were livid with Democrats like Obama who filibustered and voted against the Bush picks."

New leader, Eric Cantor, toughens GOP in House

WASHINGTON: The last time congressional Republicans were this out of power, they turned to a college professor from Georgia, Newt Gingrich, to lead the opposition, first against President Bill Clinton in a budget battle in 1993, and then back into the majority the following year.

As Republicans confronted President Barack Obama in another budget battle last week, their leadership included another new face: Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, who as the party's chief vote wrangler is as responsible as anyone for the tough line the party has taken in this first legislative standoff with Obama. This battle has vaulted Cantor to the front lines of his party as it tries to recover from the losses of November.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Obama endangers Reagan, Clinton welfare reforms

"RONALD REAGAN started it, Bill Clinton finished it and last week Barack Obama was accused of engineering its destruction. One of the few undisputed triumphs of American government of the past 20 years – the sweeping welfare reform programme that sent millions of dole claimants back to work – has been plunged into jeopardy by billions of dollars in state handouts included in the president’s controversial economic stimulus package.

As Obama celebrated Valentine’s Day yesterday with a return to his Chicago home for a private weekend with family and friends, his success in piloting a $785 billion (£546 billion) stimulus package through Congress was being overshadowed by warnings that an unprecedented increase in welfare spending would undermine two decades of bipartisan attempts to reduce dependency on government handouts."

Freakonomics fever: don't think; do something

Feb. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Group of Seven finance chiefs vowed to tackle a “severe” economic downturn that will persist for most of 2009 without spelling out new steps to do so.

The G-7’s finance ministers and central bankers said in a statement released after talks in Rome today that they were working to restore confidence in markets and revive the world economy.

They predicted the full effect of individual rescue packages will “build over time.”

“We reaffirm our commitment to act together using the full range of policy tools to support growth and employment and strengthen the financial sector,” the statement said. “The stabilization of the global economy and financial markets remains our highest priority.”

Stimulus relies on a worldwide Ponzi scheme

"As we have debated how much money to borrow and spend in hopes of jump-starting our economy, we’ve ignored the worldwide stimulus binge. China, Europe and Japan are all spending hundreds of billions of dollars they don’t have in hopes of speeding up their economies, too. That means the very countries we have relied on to buy our bonds, notably China and Japan, are now putting their own bonds on the global credit markets.

American Treasury bonds have been selling briskly on the global credit markets because they have been the calm in the storm of the global credit crisis. This has allowed advocates of borrow-and-spend to argue that for the United States, borrowing is uniquely cheap. But what happens when there is an excess supply of bonds on the worldwide markets? The cost of borrowing will rise. Today we fear deflation, but eventually our fears will turn to inflation."

Arlen Specter in trouble with Pennsylvania voters

"In Pennsylvania, 69% of Republicans oppose the package while 73% of Democrats favor it. Those not affiliated with either major party are evenly divided. That partisan divide places Specter in a difficult position. Even though Specter has aligned himself with the president and other Democrats on the stimulus, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has announced that the Pennsylvania Republican is one of their top targets for the 2010 election cycle.

Specter won re-election in 2004 by a 53% to 42% margin. However, he barely survived a conservative primary challenge from then-Congressman Pat Toomey. Even though he had the support of the state’s Republican establishment, Specter was able to defeat Toomey only by two points, 51% to 49%.

Overall, Pennsylvania voters support the stimulus measure by a 47% to 41% margin. Still, 52% say the legislation is at least somewhat likely to make things worse instead of better."

Obama's politics of gloom, despair and salvation

"President Barack Obama has turned fearmongering into an art form. He has repeatedly raised the specter of another Great Depression. First, he did so to win votes in the November election. He has done so again recently to sway congressional votes for his stimulus package.

In his remarks, every gloomy statistic on the economy becomes a harbinger of doom. As he tells it, today's economy is the worst since the Great Depression. Without his Recovery and Reinvestment Act, he says, the economy will fall back into that abyss and may never recover.

This fearmongering may be good politics, but it is bad history and bad economics. It is bad history because our current economic woes don't come close to those of the 1930s. At worst, a comparison to the 1981-82 recession might be appropriate. Consider the job losses that Mr. Obama always cites. In the last year, the U.S. economy shed 3.4 million jobs. That's a grim statistic for sure, but represents just 2.2% of the labor force. From November 1981 to October 1982, 2.4 million jobs were lost -- fewer in number than today, but the labor force was smaller. So 1981-82 job losses totaled 2.2% of the labor force, the same as now.

Job losses in the Great Depression were of an entirely different magnitude. In 1930, the economy shed 4.8% of the labor force. In 1931, 6.5%. And then in 1932, another 7.1%. Jobs were being lost at double or triple the rate of 2008-09 or 1981-82.

This was reflected in unemployment rates. The latest survey pegs U.S. unemployment at 7.6%. That's more than three percentage points below the 1982 peak (10.8%) and not even a third of the peak in 1932 (25.2%). You simply can't equate 7.6% unemployment with the Great Depression.

Other economic statistics also dispel any analogy between today's economic woes and the Great Depression."

U.S. obligations exceed world's annual production

"As the Obama administration pushes through Congress its $800 billion deficit-spending economic stimulus plan, the American public is largely unaware that the true deficit of the federal government already is measured in trillions of dollars, and in fact its $65.5 trillion in total obligations exceeds the gross domestic product of the world.

The total U.S. obligations, including Social Security and Medicare benefits to be paid in the future, effectively have placed the U.S. government in bankruptcy, even before new continuing social welfare obligation embedded in the massive spending plan are taken into account.

The real 2008 federal budget deficit was $5.1 trillion, not the $455 billion previously reported by the Congressional Budget Office, according to the "2008 Financial Report of the United States Government" as released by the U.S. Department of Treasury."

Friday, February 13, 2009

Look for recovery in May, history suggests

Using calculations as baseless, reckless, self-serving and hare-brained as those used by politicians in their short-sale of America's future, I can now make a fearless prediction.

The recession will end.

I have no idea when it will end, and neither do the politicians.

I have, however, consulted the recent play-by-play recession analysis prepared by Reasononline and have concluded that national administrations and congresses vary greatly in their grasp of recession politics.

First, bear in mind that the real objective of politicians at times of economic difficulty is to enact remedies shortly before recessions end, so the politicians can claim credit for having ended them.
On three occasions since World War II, the politicians have nailed it by enacting recovery legislation in the same months as the recessions were later found to have ended. In October, 1949, durng the Truman administration, Congress acted to end an 11-month recession. In April 1958, and again three months later, during the Eisenhower administration, Congress acted to end an eight-month recession. In March, 1975, in July, 1976, and in May, 1977, during the Ford and Carter administrations, Congress passed bills intended to end a 16-month recession.

Following up on the Eisenhower administration's bullseye, the newly seated Kennedy administration was a little slow on the draw. In May, 1961, it pushed through recovery legislation to end a recession that was later found to have ended in February.

In August, 1971, the Nixon administation goosed the economy nine months after the recession had ended. Critics were merciless in those days. Nixon subsequently resigned to stave off impeachment.

The Ford administration rebounded, nailing a recovery that started in March, 1975. The recovery was so becoming that the Carter administration was still getting into the act in May, 1977, whcn it goosed a recovery that had started 26 months earlier.

In January, 1983, President Reagan won enactment of recovery legislation for a two-month recession that had expired two months earlier.

The first Bush administration was slow on the draw, moving in December, 1991 against a recession that had ended 10 months earlier. The second Bush administration did better, declaring war in June 2001 against a recession that dragged on for five more months.

Here's the good news. Given the fact that the politicians have missed recession endings by a total of 29 months, over eight episodes, the average miss is only three and a half months. Despite the dire, even apocalyptic, warnings from President Barack Obama's camp, look for things to start looking survivable in May.

Addendum: for those who are unversed in economics and finance, a short sale is the sale of an asset one does not own in the expectation that it will be worth less in the future than it is now. In enacting Obama's stimulus proposal, that's essentially what the Democrats are doing to America today, saddling the generations that follow with an economy crippled by debt and controlled by socialists bent on controlling American citizens as never before.

Bush wanted hispanic votes; Americans paid price

Still doubt that President George Bush's relentless hispandering hurt Americans who were trying to get a foothold on the bottom rung of the economic ladder?

Take a look at's analysis:

"...during the course of George W. Bush’s eight-years, Hispanic employment rose by 3.68 million, or by 22.8 percent, while non-Hispanics eked out a 641,000, or 0.8 percent, gain.
The recent job market reverses for Hispanics are increasingly evident in our VDAWDI graphic—as is their longer-term displacement of American workers"

Obama's stimulus rhetoric echoes Bush on war

"I flashed back to the fall of 2001 upon reading the subhead over a New York Times story about Monday's presidential press conference: "He Says That Failing to Act Could Lead to Catastrophe."

To rush a complex, ill-considered piece of legislation through Congress, George W. Bush invoked the specter of another terrorist attack. Barack Obama, bringing the change he promised, invoked the specter of economic collapse.

Just as the Patriot Act was a grab bag of legal changes that law enforcement and intelligence agencies had been seeking for years, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is a grab bag of expenditures that leftish Democrats have long wanted, repackaged for the crisis du jour. In both cases, instilling fear was the key to suspending skepticism and cutting off debate.",CST-EDT-sullum13.article

Economists pan stimulus as survival, not recovery, plan

WASHINGTON — The compromise economic stimulus plan agreed to by negotiators from the House of Representatives and the Senate is short on incentives to get consumers spending again and long on social goals that won't stimulate economic activity, according to a range of respected economists.
"I think (doing) nothing would have been better," said Ed Yardeni, an investment analyst who's usually an optimist, in an interview with McClatchy. He argued that the plan fails to provide the right incentives to spur spending.
"It's unfocused. That is my problem. It is a lot of money for a lot of nickel-and- dime programs. I would have rather had a lot of money for (promoting purchase of) housing and autos . . . . Most of this plan is really, I think, aimed at stabilizing the situation and helping people get through the recession, rather than getting us out of the recession. They are actually providing less short-term stimulus by cutting back, from what I understand, some of the tax credits."

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Stimulating away a hard-won welfare reform

"The House and Senate stimulus bills will overturn the fiscal foundation of welfare reform and restore an AFDC-style funding system. For the first time since 1996, the federal government would begin paying states bonuses to increase their welfare caseloads. Indeed, the new welfare system created by the stimulus bills is actually worse than the old AFDC program because it rewards the states more heavily to increase their caseloads. Under the stimulus bills, the federal government will pay 80 percent of cost for each new family that a state enrolls in welfare; this matching rate is far higher than it was under AFDC."

Real cost of stimulus: $3.27 trillion

Posted February 12th, 2009 at 11.08am in Ongoing Priorities.

"All of the major news outlets are reporting that the stimulus bill voted out of conference committee last night has a meager $789 billion price tag. This number is pure fantasy. No one believes that the increased funding for programs the left loves like Head Start, Medicaid, COBRA, and the Earned Income Tax Credit is in anyway temporary. No Congress under control of the left will ever cut funding for these programs. So what is the true cost of the stimulus if these spending increases are made permanent?

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) asked the Congressional Budget Office to estimate the impact of permanently extending the 20 most popular provisions of the stimulus bill. What did the CBO find? As you can see from the table below, the true 10 year cost of the stimulus bill $2.527 trillion in in spending with another $744 billion cost in debt servicing. Total bill for the Generational Theft Act: $3.27 Trillion."

Taxpayers stimulating San Fran's marsh mice

"Talk about a pet project. A tiny mouse with the longtime backing of a political giant may soon reap the benefits of the economic-stimulus package.

Lawmakers and administration officials divulged Wednesday that the $789 billion economic stimulus bill being finalized behind closed doors in Congress includes $30 million for wetlands restoration that the Obama administration intends to spend in the San Francisco Bay Area to protect, among other things, the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi represents the city of San Francisco and has previously championed preserving the mouse's habitat in the Bay Area."

Obama misreads his mandate

"President Barack Obama's honeymoon period seems to have ended quickly. That's because Mr. Obama doesn't grasp the essentials of presidential leadership. Rather than making a compelling case for his economic policies, he has resorted to curt rebuffs, such as telling House Republican whip Eric Cantor, "I won."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the same thing the same day: "We won the election; we wrote the [stimulus] bill."

This is the trope of a party that has lost its ability to make an argument.
Mr. Obama and his team would be well advised to put aside the imperious FDR model and study Ronald Reagan's first 200 days in office. The contrast is instructive."

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bobby Jindal enters the fray, the doer vs. the talker

"We've already got a national showdown of Jindal vs. Obama – and it's not even 2012. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, widely seen as a potential 2012 GOP presidential contender, will deliver the Republican response following President Obama’s nationally televised Address to the Nation on Feb. 24, Republican congressional leaders announced in a joint statement today. "

Politicians enact cures as recessions are ending

"Now that the stimulus package is about to become law (likely signed by Barack Obama on President's Day next Monday no less!), here's something to keep in mind. And on file.
And if this chart is correct, then break out the champagne, because happys days are here again!"

My take: the best part of this is the chart, which you will find here:

Want to get it on? Show lover the birds

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Chocolate and flowers are nice, but this Valentine's Day why not take your honey for a walk on the wild side?

"We're going to talk about animal reproduction, the different animals here at Binder Park Zoo and their little quirks, different things that get them going to help them reproduce," said Jenny Parnett of Binder Park Zoo.

It's a Valentine's Day date that's sure to ruffle some feathers.

Binder Park Zoo says love birds are flocking to sign up for the Zoorotica program. From frolicking frogs to the love-lives of leopards, this will give you an intimate look at animal mating rituals.

Not everyone loves Obama's policies; who knew?

"Some of President Obama’s policies are not faring well in public opinion, but will anyone be told?

On February 2, a Gallup poll found that Obama’s executive order “allowing U.S. funding for overseas family planning organizations that provide abortion” was decidedly unpopular: only 35 percent approved, while 58 percent disapproved. You didn’t know this? You’re not alone: A Nexis survey finds none of the television networks, cable or broadcast, noticed these results, either.

The Gallup survey found overwhelming approval for other Obama policies – on higher fuel efficiency standards, on restricting lobbyists from joining his administration, on interrogating suspects according to the Army Field Manual, and on naming special envoys for Afghanistan and Pakistan – so there is plenty of good news for the administration.

But why not report the negative news as well?"

Camille Paglia on Democrats' "totalitariansism"

"Too many Democrats have become arrogant elitists, speaking down in snide, condescending tones toward tradition-minded middle Americans whom they stereotype as rubes and buffoons. But the bottom line is that government surveillance of the ideological content of talk radio is a shocking first step toward totalitarianism."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Why census oversight is moving to White House

"President Obama said in his inaugural address that he planned to "restore science to its rightful place" in government. That's a worthy goal. But statisticians at the Commerce Department didn't think it would mean having the director of next year's Census report directly to the White House rather than to the Commerce secretary, as is customary. "There's only one reason to have that high level of White House involvement," a career professional at the Census Bureau tells me. "And it's called politics, not science."

The decision was made last week after California Rep. Barbara Lee, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Hispanic groups complained to the White House that Judd Gregg, the Republican senator from New Hampshire slated to head Commerce, couldn't be trusted to conduct a complete Census. The National Association of Latino Officials said it had "serious questions about his willingness to ensure that the 2010 Census produces the most accurate possible count."

Monday, February 9, 2009

As female wants change, my chances improve

"This Valentine's Day, researchers at the University of Iowa have some new answers to the perennial question of what men and women want in a partner.

Men are increasingly interested in an educated woman who is a good financial prospect and less interested in chastity. Women are increasingly interested in a man who wants a family and less picky about whether he's always Mr. Nice Guy.

That's according to a study by University of Iowa sociologists Christine Whelan and Christie Boxer. They analyzed results of a 2008 survey of more than 1,100 undergraduates at the UI, the University of Washington, the University of Virginia and Penn State University, comparing the results to past mate-preference studies.

Since the 1930s, researchers have been asking college students to rank a list of 18 characteristics they'd prefer in a mate from "irrelevant" (0) to "essential" (3), allowing for a comparison of mate preferences dating back three generations. And my, how times have changed: Today's young adults rank love and attraction as most important; a few generations ago it didn't even make the top three."

Reid blocked ban on "stimulus" for illegals

"GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions and Democrat Sen. Ben Nelson attempted several times to bring their bipartisan amendment to the floor last week. SA 239 would require local governments and businesses that receive porkulus money to use the federal E-Verify citizenship check system.
On the House side, a long term extension of the E-Verify program passed there 407-2 (Conservative Oasis).

But Democrat Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid refused to allow it to come to the floor. Now, we’re headed for cloture.

“While it is difficult to believe that Senate leaders might insist that illegal aliens have the same chance at new stimulus jobs as unemployed Americans, this scenario may now be at hand,” says Roy Beck of Numbers USA. “SA 239 is now unlikely to receive a floor vote.”

The provision is not included in the Sellout Substitute Amendment forged by the Turncoat Caucus and the Democrats."

An escapee looks at downside of socialism

"Instead of solving economic problems, government welfare socialism created monstrous moral and spiritual problems. The kind of problems that are inevitable when individuals turn responsibility for their lives over to others.

The legacy of American socialism is our blighted inner cities, dysfunctional inner city schools, and broken black families.

Through God's grace, I found my way out. It was then that I understood what freedom meant and how great this country is."

Stop illegal immigrants, get sued

An Arizona man who has waged a 10-year campaign to stop a flood of illegal immigrants from crossing his property is being sued by 16 Mexican nationals who accuse him of conspiring to violate their civil rights when he stopped them at gunpoint on his ranch on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Roger Barnett, 64, began rounding up illegal immigrants in 1998 and turning them over to the U.S. Border Patrol, he said, after they destroyed his property, killed his calves and broke into his home.

His Cross Rail Ranch near Douglas, Ariz., is known by federal and county law enforcement authorities as "the avenue of choice" for immigrants seeking to enter the United States illegally.

U.S. taxpayers stimulating Brazil's economy

Latin American Herald Tribune, SAO PAULO -- General Motors plans to invest $1 billion in Brazil to avoid the kind of problems the U.S. automaker is facing in its home market, said the beleaguered car maker.

According to the president of GM Brazil-Mercosur, Jaime Ardila, the funding will come from the package of financial aid that the manufacturer will receive from the U.S. government and will be used to "complete the renovation of the line of products up to 2012.""

It wouldn't be logical to withdraw the investment from where we're growing, and our goal is to protect investments in emerging markets," he said in a statement published by the business daily Gazeta Mercantil.

$1 trillion "stumulus is just the tip of the iceberg

Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) -- The stimulus package the U.S. Congress is completing would raise the government’s commitment to solving the financial crisis to $9.7 trillion, enough to pay off more than 90 percent of the nation’s home mortgages.

The Federal Reserve, Treasury Department and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation have lent or spent almost $3 trillion over the past two years and pledged to provide up to $5.7 trillion more if needed. The total already tapped has decreased about 1 percent since November, mostly because foreign central banks are using fewer dollars in currency-exchange agreements called swaps. The Senate is to vote early this week on a stimulus package totaling at least $780 billion that President Barack Obama says is needed to avert a deeper recession. That measure would need to be reconciled with an $819 billion plan the House approved last month.

Only the stimulus package to be approved this week, the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program passed four months ago and $168 billion in tax cuts and rebates approved in 2008 have been voted on by lawmakers. The remaining $8 trillion in commitments are lending programs and guarantees, almost all under the authority of the Fed and the FDIC. The recipients’ names have not been disclosed.

“We’ve seen money go out the back door of this government unlike any time in the history of our country,” Senator Byron Dorgan, a North Dakota Democrat, said on the Senate floor Feb. 3. “Nobody knows what went out of the Federal Reserve Board, to whom and for what purpose. How much from the FDIC? How much from TARP? When? Why?”

Sunday, February 8, 2009

"Stimulus" is politically crafted, but it's perfect

Having fooled millions of voters into believing that his accomplishment-free resume would soon record a transformational presidency, Barack Obama is now presenting his politically crafted trillion-dollar "stimulus" bill as a finely tailored remedy for America's economic ills.

In his weekly address, Obama praised the bill, which will be debated by the U.S. Senate this week, as just right. A short time earlier, Senate negotiators had chopped $100 billion of spending, presumably because the previous figure had been exactly $100 billion too high.

On Monday he will take his campaign for the bill to Elkton, IN, and on Tuesday he will travel to Fort Myers, FL.

As is his habit, Obama is playing loosely with the facts.

"We can't rely on a losing formula that offers only tax cuts as the answer to all our problems while ignoring our fundamental challenges - the crushing cost of health care or the inadequate state of so many schools, our addiction to foreign oil, or our crumbling roads, bridges and levees," Obama told his radio audience.

Trouble is, no one ever suggested that tax cuts were "the answer to all our problems," only that they should be a significant part of the mix, as they were not in the initial bill drafted by House leaders.

As things stand, tax cuts account for only one-third of the proposed spending. Rasmussen Reports has found that 62% of its survey sample prefer more tax cuts and less government spending, while 14% would like more government spending and lower tax cuts. Only 20% want the stimululs package to remain as it is today.

One more thing: Is Obama suggesting that the stimulus bill must be a universal fix for the nation's ills?

There already is a remedy at hand for failed schools. Break the domination of the public school system by unions that represent the interests of teachers and administrators, rather than pupils and their parents. Open up the sytem to competition by providing for charter schools and school vouchers. If forced to compete to stay in business, failing schools would improve quickly or go out of business.

One thing is certain. More money will not make failing schools better.

As for our addiction to foreign oil, a remedy is also at hand. Permit more drilling offshore and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the addiction to foreign oil would be reduced if not cured.

These remedies are, of course, anathema to Democrats, who hope to use bogus issues such as global warming and real issues such as oil imports to extend the heavy hand of government into every nook and cranny of American life.

As Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emmanuel, famously said, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste."

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Republicans will help pass Democrat bailout bill

Republican Senators are about to explore a level of fecklessness not seen since Sen. Larry Craig went fishing in a men's bathroom at the Minneapolis airport.

By so doing, they will help President Obama rescue the Democrat Party from the likely consequences of its own disastrous social engineering. Their votes will provide the majority Democrats the 60 votes they need to close debate on what is deceptively called an economic stimulus bill.

The defectors are Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, of Maine, and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, none of them strangers to liberal sirens.

In the absense of the Democrat "stimulus" program, a steroid shot for government growth, one of two things would happen:

* The economy would fix itself over a period of a year or two, with little or no inflation, and government would continue its usually modest role.

* The economy would, for one reason or another, stagnate or make a fitful recovery.

Neither of those outcomes is acceptable to the Democrat regime of President Obama. A passive role for government is not what he has in mind. A stagnant economy might doom his party to defeat in 2010, when all 435 House members and one-third of the 100 senators must stand for election.

Worse, from Obama's standpoint, his own chances of reelection in 2012 might fade as well.

Few things are more lethal to an incumbent party than a prolonged recession. That's why, when one occurs, the incumbent party tends to overstimulate, resulting in a spike in inflation. That is a tradeoff that incumbents accept because inflation, while troublesome, is rarely lethal on election day. The last time inflation played a big role in the defeat of an incumbent president was in 1980, when Democrat Jimmy Carter went down under the twin blows of stagflation, a blend of inflation and recession.

Another consideration also may be coming into play. In recent years, Democrats have been getting more and more of their financial support from the rich and very rich, who don't suffer from inflation because the returns on their investments tend to keep pace with inflation.

If the recession were to endure into the next campaign season, it undoubtedly would damage the Democrats' chances, perhaps severely. If the recession recedes before the next campaign, inflation might hurt the Democrats, but not much.

The "Dead Hand" of government has become a fist

"In 2001, Brink Lindsey wrote Against the Dead Hand, in which he contrasted the "dead hand" of central economic planning with the "invisible hand" of the market. The distinction is memorable. It is also slightly misleading. These days, the "dead hand" is very much alive.

Look around. The state has never been more in vogue. Everywhere one turns, central governments are intervening in markets. For political elites, the question is no longer whether the state has an obligation to provide economic security for its citizens. The question is how to do it."

The greening of America's government employees

"In public-sector America things just get better and better. The common presumption is that public servants forgo high wages in exchange for safe jobs and benefits. The reality is they get all three. State and local government workers get paid an average of $25.30 an hour, which is 33% higher than the private sector's $19, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Throw in pensions and other benefits and the gap widens to 42%.

For New York City's 281,000 employees, average compensation has risen 63% since 2000 to $107,000 a year. New Jersey teaching veterans receive $80,000 to $100,000 for ten months' work. In California prison guards can sock away $300,000 a year with overtime pay.

Four in five public-sector workers have lifetime pensions, versus only one in five in the private sector. The difference shifts huge risks from government to private-sector workers.

NYC socked away $20,000 per employee last year for pension benefits. Since 2000 its pension funding bill has risen ninefold, from $615 million to $5.6 billion in 2008. That's more than the city spends on transport, health care, parks, libraries, museums and City University of New York combined, says the Citizens Budget Commission."

Friday, February 6, 2009

Obama coopts main street for his spendacular bill

"A cornerstone of the economic recovery plan that President Barack Obama is expected to unveil Monday will be modifying problem mortgages, The Post has learned.

In a nod to Main Street over Wall Street, sources familiar with the plan say Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner plans to allocate almost half of the remaining $350 billion in funds from the Trouble Asset Relief Program to the so-called "Mo Mod," or mortgage modification, platform."

My take: Doesn't this mean that all existing home mortgages are about to fall into the "troubled" category?

Bob Beckel on GOP Chair Michael Steele

"Steele once told me a story that speaks volumes about his determination to succeed: Steele attended college at Johns Hopkins University. In his freshman year, Steele said, his grades were so bad that the dean of students told him he would not be invited to return. His mother forced him to go back to the dean and insist he was prepared to do anything to continue his studies. The dean said "no," but Steele's mother made him confront the dean again. This went on for weeks until the dean, in desperation, agreed to readmit Steele with the proviso that any bad grades would end in his dismissal, mother or no mother. Steele went on to graduate near the top of his class at Johns Hopkins and was elected student body president."

No recession for those who build better mouestrap

"On a conference call with financial analysts last week, someone asked CEO Jeff Bezos whether other companies' failures were the secret of his company's success. All around Bezos, commerce is plummeting. Many rival retailers have reported their worst revenues in years; they're cutting workers or shutting down entirely. Yet Amazon is thriving: It just had its best holiday season in company history, with profits up 9 percent over last year.

Bezos offered a diplomatic answer: "In the long term, fortunately the markets that we operate in are very large markets, and there is room for lots of winners."

Perhaps he's right about the long run—but for now, he's being modest. In a retail desert—as customers turn to frugality and big-box stores turn to liquidation—Amazon remains an oasis: It's the one place that'll sell you stuff for a bargain without making you feel like you're slumming. "

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Who will spend the money? Uncle Sam or aunt Ida?

Wrangling in the U. S. Senate is said to be intense, centered on the question of how much of the stepped-up spending should be devoted to construction projects, and how much to tax cuts.

Odds are that the real issue will never be mentioned, however long the debate goes on.

Translated into the language of the street, the issue is this: how much of the money will be spent by government, and how much by taxpayers?

The framers clearly intended that rank and file citizens, through their spending, would shape America as they saw fit. Their spending would determine what gets made and marketed, and what goes unwanted and unsold. Markets, not politicians or bureaucrats, would shape the country.

Had markets remained paramount, none of those subprime mortgages would have been granted and the current financial debacle would not have happened. Free markets do not allow loans to people who obviously can not repay the lender.

Now the struggle between markets and government control is playing out once again in the Senate. President Obama and the Democrat-controlled Senate favor public spending projects that would be chosen by elected officials and appointed bureaucrats.

The minority Republicans favor a heavier role for tax cuts, which leave spending decisions up to taxpayers, who would be allowed to keep a bigger share of their incomes.

More money will be spent. The question is, who will spend it.

How the struggle turns out could be historic.

Treasury overpaid for distressed assets

One of the finest illustrations I have seen of the difference between normal people and the politicians who infest Washington is an initial report on the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

As we know, normal people are delighted to run across distressed home owners. While feigning sorrow, we buy their houses for 80 cents on the dollar, and celebrate our good fortune. Sure, we feel sorry for the seller, but only for 10 seconds or so.

Politicians, who are not playing with their own money, apparently take a different view. Elizabeth Warren, chairwoman of the Congressional Oversight Panel, overseeing the TARP transactions, testified to the Senate Banking Committe on Thursday that the U.S. Treasury Department paid $254 billion for assets that were worth $176 billion at the time of the transactions in 2008.

Instead of underpaying for distressed assets, Treasury overpaid.

By my calculation, the sellers now owe the politicians $78 billion in campaign contributions, but I'm sure they'll settle for less.