Sunday, May 31, 2009

In New York City, the fox looks after the chickens

"State law requires that all new legislation be evaluated to determine its financial impact. For a time, these evaluations were performed for the state assembly by a professional actuary named Jonathan Schwartz. Last year, Schwartz found that a piece of bipartisan legislation allowing city workers to retire early with full pension benefits would impose no new costs. His declaration was greeted with disbelief. Reporters at the New York Times got on the case, and discovered that Schwartz did not work for the Assembly, as was generally believed, but rather for District Council 37 of the Service Employees Union.

Confronted by a reporter, Schwartz replied candidly that he regularly skewed his evaluations to satisfy his union employers. He described his supposedly actuarial evaluations as "a step above voodoo." When Schwartz was told that the legislators sponsoring the early-retirement bill were unaware of his affiliations, he replied, "The Legislature knows full well I'm being paid by the unions. If they choose not to disclose that, that's on them, not me." When asked which unions he had worked for, he replied, "How many unions are there?" His client list included the teachers, firefighters, detectives, correction officers, and bridge and tunnel officers. New York State has the highest per-employee pension costs in the country for a reason.

Jonathan Schwartz is now gone, but, with Wall Street in shambles and 146,000 private-sector jobs having been lost in the city since last August, the public-sector unions still surge ahead."

A "metrosexual narcissist" fulfills de Tocqueville

Video: Andrew Klavan discusses Alexis de Tocqueville, who foresaw 150 years ago that seductive statism might eventually undo America's limited government, a process that is now under way. Klavan suggests that President Obama is a "metrosexual narcissist." Isn't that redundant?

Critic: Even if global warming was real, it wouldn't cost U.S. a dime for the next 91 years

"Democrats in the White House and Congress are now making the most serious push ever for legislation to force reductions of U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions. The stated purpose is to reduce potential future harm from human-caused climate change, and the vehicle is a climate-and-energy bill commonly referred to as Waxman-Markey. But the reasoning behind this proposal is innumerate, even if we accept the scientific and economic assumptions of its advocates.

According to the authoritative U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), under a reasonable set of assumptions for global economic and population growth, the world should expect to warm by about 2.8°C over the next century. Also according to the IPCC, a global increase in temperature of 4°C should cause the world to lose about 3 percent of its economic output. So if we do not take measures to ameliorate global warming, the world should expect to be about 3 percent poorer sometime in the 22nd century than it otherwise would be. This is very far from the rhetoric of global destruction. Because of its geographical position and mix of economic activities, the United States is expected to experience no net economic costs from such warming through the end of this century, and to begin experiencing net costs only thereafter."

Saturday, May 30, 2009

NYT: Sotomayor for affirmative action for decades

WASHINGTON - The selection of Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court has opened a new battle in the fight over affirmative action and other race-conscious remedies for patterns of inequality, with each side invoking the election of the first black president in support of its cause.

Judge Sotomayor, whose parents moved to New York from Puerto Rico, has championed the importance of considering race and ethnicity in admissions, hiring and even judicial selection at almost every stage of her career — as a student activist at Princeton and at Yale Law School, as a board member of left-leaning Hispanic advocacy groups and as a federal judge arguing for diversity on the bench.

Video of Constitution trashed by judge Sotomayor

Video: Jillian Bandes edits, shreds and then burns the U.S. Constitution against a backdrop of Sonia Sotomayor's judicial decisions.

Sotomayor's story "compelling;" Estrada's was not

"In 2001, President George W. Bush nominated former Justice Department lawyer Miguel Estrada to a seat on the federal court of appeals. In that instance, as today, the nominee was was a Hispanic with a compelling story and impressive qualifications. And some of the very people who are today praising Sotomayor spent their time devising extraordinary measures to kill Estrada's chances."

Since when does racial preference equal empathy?

"You would need a heart of stone not to be inspired by Sotomayor's story. But does her superior knowledge of "ordinary" people arise from being Hispanic? Sotomayor thinks so, if we believe the snippet from a 2001 speech at the University of California, Berkeley, law school that rippled across the Internet this week. She believes judges cannot help being affected by gender and ethnic identity. "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences," she said, "would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life." This doesn't make Sotomayor a bad person or a racist, even if Rush Limbaugh has called her one. But it is not what most Americans would define as empathy.",9171,1901478,00.html

Friday, May 29, 2009

Amused Pravda tracks USA's descent to Marxism

"First, the population was dumbed down through a politicized and substandard education system based on pop culture, rather then the classics. Americans know more about their favorite TV dramas then the drama in DC that directly affects their lives. They care more for their "right" to choke down a McDonalds burger or a BurgerKing burger than for their constitutional rights. Then they turn around and lecture us about our rights and about our "democracy". Pride blind the foolish.

Then their faith in God was destroyed, until their churches, all tens of thousands of different "branches and denominations" were for the most part little more then Sunday circuses and their televangelists and top protestant mega preachers were more then happy to sell out their souls and flocks to be on the "winning" side of one pseudo Marxist politician or another. Their flocks may complain, but when explained that they would be on the "winning" side, their flocks were ever so quick to reject Christ in hopes for earthly power. Even our Holy Orthodox churches are scandalously liberalized in America.

The final collapse has come with the election of Barack Obama. His speed in the past three months has been truly impressive. His spending and money printing has been a record setting, not just in America's short history but in the world. If this keeps up for more then another year, and there is no sign that it will not, America at best will resemble the Wiemar Republic and at worst Zimbabwe."

Is Obama's AG maintreaming voter intimidation?

"Justice Department political appointees overruled career lawyers and ended a civil complaint accusing three members of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense of wielding a nightstick and intimidating voters at a Philadelphia polling place last Election Day, according to documents and interviews.

The incident - which gained national attention when it was captured on videotape and distributed on YouTube - had prompted the government to sue the men, saying they violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act by scaring would-be voters with the weapon, racial slurs and military-style uniforms.

Career lawyers pursued the case for months, including obtaining an affidavit from a prominent 1960s civil rights activist who witnessed the confrontation and described it as "the most blatant form of voter intimidation" that he had seen, even during the voting rights crisis in Mississippi a half-century ago."

Bond vigilantes force up rates on surging U.S. debt

"For the first time since another Democrat occupied the White House, investors from Beijing to Zurich are challenging a president’s attempts to revive the economy with record deficit spending. Fifteen years after forcing Bill Clinton to abandon his own stimulus plans, the so-called bond vigilantes are punishing Barack Obama for quadrupling the budget shortfall to $1.85 trillion. By driving up yields on U.S. debt, they are also threatening to derail Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke’s efforts to cut borrowing costs for businesses and consumers.

The 1.5-percentage-point rise in 10-year Treasury yields this year pushed interest rates on 30-year fixed mortgages to above 5 percent for the first time since before Bernanke announced on March 18 that the central bank would start printing money to buy financial assets. Treasuries have lost 5.1 percent in their worst annual start since Merrill Lynch & Co. began its Treasury Master Index in 1977.

“The bond-market vigilantes are up in arms over the outlook for the federal deficit,” said Edward Yardeni, who coined the term in 1984 to describe investors who protest monetary or fiscal policies they consider inflationary by selling bonds. He now heads Yardeni Research Inc. in Great Neck, New York. “Ten trillion dollars over the next 10 years is just an indication that Washington is really out of control and that there is no fiscal discipline whatsoever.”

What bond investors dread is accelerating inflation after the government and Fed agreed to lend, spend or commit $12.8 trillion to thaw frozen credit markets and snap the longest U.S. economic slump since the 1930s. The central bank also pledged to buy as much as $300 billion of Treasuries and $1.25 trillion of bonds backed by home loans."

Krauthammer games Sotomayor pick

"Make the case for individual vs. group rights, for justice vs. empathy. Then vote to confirm Sotomayor solely on the grounds -- consistently violated by the Democrats, including Sen. Obama -- that a president is entitled to deference on his Supreme Court nominees, particularly one who so thoroughly reflects the mainstream views of the winning party. Elections have consequences.

Vote Democratic and you get mainstream liberalism: A judicially mandated racial spoils system and a jurisprudence of empathy that hinges on which litigant is less "advantaged."

A teaching moment, as liberals like to say. Clarifying and politically potent. Seize it."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cato: Sotomayor picked because she is hispanic

"In picking Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama has confirmed that identity politics matter to him more than merit. While Judge Sotomayor exemplifies the American Dream, she would not have even been on the short list if she were not Hispanic.

She is not one of the leading lights of the federal judiciary, and far less qualified for a seat on the Supreme Court than Judges Diane Wood and Merrick Garland or Solicitor General Elena Kagan.

To be sure, Sotomayor has a compelling story: a daughter of working-class Puerto Ricans raised in Bronx public housing projects, diagnosed with diabetes at 8, losing her father at 9, accolades at Princeton and Yale Law, ending up on the federal bench.

A jurisprudence of empathy is the antithesis of the rule of law.
Still, in over 10 years on the Second Circuit, she has not issued any important decisions or made a name for herself as a legal scholar or particularly respected jurist. In picking a case to highlight during his introduction of the nominee, President Obama had to go back to her days as a trial judge and a technical ruling that ended the 1994-95 baseball strike.

Moreover, Sotomayor has a mixed reputation among lawyers who have practiced before her, some questioning her abilities as a judicial craftsman, others her erratic temperament, according to a piece by Jeffrey Rosen in The New Republic, which itself has come in for criticism."

With Sotomayor appointment, grievance politics steps to the door of the U.S. Supreme Court

If Sonia Sotomayor is confirmed as a judge on the U.S. Supreme Court, grievance politics will have penetrated one of the nation's last refuges of even-handedness.

Liberal arts colleges were among the first institutions to declare defeat, back in the 1960s. That's when history, literature and political science fell by the wayside and students began migrating to the new enlightenment: women's studies, ethnic studies, black studies, queer studies and post-modern theory.

Those courses had one thing in common; they all portrayed white men as the powerful devils who must be defeated before the self-appointed victims could thrive.

Then the foundations, huge pools of money, began falling into line. The newspapers, a herd of independent minds, followed suit, as did much of television news.

Fearful that someone, somewhere, might escape the enlightenment, federal, state and local governments began enforcing affirmative action laws, designed to redress grievances.

Over time, conservatives became an endangered species in liberal arts faculties and on newspaper staffs. Some foundations became funders of the political left.

As grievance theater, featuring Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and many others, became a pervasive feature of American life, grievance politics crossed racial lines and seeped into the culture of America.

One man recognized the significance and seized the moment. That man was Barack Obama, who carefully closeted records of his radical past and failed to mention, during the campaign, that his mission was to remake America.

Now, President Obama has chosen Sotomayor for the Supreme Court, where she would become the first hispanic justice. Her sense of grievance, and her willingness to use the bench to redress it, was apparent in the case of New Haven fire fighters who had performed well on advancement examinations but failed to win promotion.

New Haven administered the tests in 2003 to 118 candidates, 27 of them black.

"None of the blacks did well enough to qualify for the 15 immediately available promotions," Reason Magazine reported. "After a rabble-rousing minister with close ties to the mayor disrupted meetings and warned of dire political consequences if the city promoted persons from the list generated by the exams, the city said: No one will be promoted."

The firefighters who had passed the exam appealed to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, where Sotomayor was a judge.

Reason continued: "Sotomayor ruled against the firefighters, a decision that her colleague and fellow Clinton appointee Judge Jose Cabranes, writes The New Republic's Jeffery Rosen, denounced as containing "no reference whatsoever to the constitutional issues at the core of this case."

The New Haven case is now before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Reason looks for a close decision in the Supreme Court, with Justice Anthony Kennedy possibly supplying the swing vote.

The question is, what will conservatives do? Things have started to go their way, with Michigan and several other states having repealed affirmative action laws in recent years.

Now, Obama has teed up the ball. Do his opponents dare to swing?

What's the law? Depends on who the judge is

"President Barack Obama's selection of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to replace retiring Supreme Court justice David Souter is a gift to Republicans - but not to the law.

The essence of the rule of law is that identity doesn't matter. The law means the same thing regardless of the identity of people applying the law or subject to it. We don't have one law for Jews and another for Catholics, one for Italian-Americans and another for Hispanic-Americans. We don't need to know who the judge is to know what the law is.

Judge Sotomayor's nomination is predicated on almost exactly the opposite understanding of what law is and should be, of what matters in our judges and their decisions. But the defects of the nomination - probably not sufficient to derail its confirmation by a heavily Democratic Senate - are enough to give Republicans a glimmer of hope."

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

First they shock us; then they're idolized; then they annoy; then television ridicules them

"Director Mike Judge’s new animated television series “The Goode Family” is a send-up of a clan of environmentalists who live by the words “What would Al Gore do?” Gerald and Helen Goode want nothing more than to minimize their carbon footprint. They feed their dog, Che, only veggies (much to the pet’s dismay) and Mr. Goode dutifully separates sheets of toilet paper when his wife accidentally buys two-ply. And, of course, the family drives a hybrid.

Community activist Helen Goode (the voice of Nancy Carell) chats with a neighbor in the coming ABC animated series ‘The Goode Family,’ which pokes fun at a household of environmentalists living in the Midwest.

On Wednesday at 9 p.m., “The Goode Family” will have its premiere on ABC and become the first animated series on the network’s prime-time lineup since 1995 when “The Critic” starring Jon Lovitz ended its second season."

Monday, May 25, 2009

How global warming fanatics abuse scientific findings to advance an anti-American agenda

"One policymakers’ summary omitted several important unequivocal conclusions contained in the scientists’ report, including, “No study to date has positively attributed all or part [of observed climate change] to anthropogenic [i.e., man-made] causes,” and “None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed changes to the specific cause of increases in greenhouse gases.” These significant revisions were made, according to IPCC officials quoted in Nature magazine, “to ensure that it [the report] conformed to a policymakers’ summary.”


The sponsors of the IPCC, the United Nations, and liberal American politicians all share the goal of reducing Americans’ wealth by capping our consumption of energy with a binding international climate change treaty. They are willing to resort to scientific fraud to further their goal. In the words of Al Gore’s ally, former Under-Secretary of State Tim Wirth, “Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing” by reducing Americans’ consumption of fossil fuels. Keep that in mind whenever the IPCC is cited in support of a climate treaty."


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Cap and trade: devastation posing as salvation

"The House Energy and Commerce Committee has voted to send to the House floor probably the most destructive bill ever passed out of a congressional committee. The Waxman-Markey energy-rationing bill, if enacted, will be the biggest tax increase in the history of the world. It will take trillions of dollars from consumers while making massive payoffs to the big business special interests that support the bill.

By raising energy prices through the roof, it will destroy millions of jobs and create perpetual economic stagnation.

The Committee’s Democratic majority voted down numerous amendments that would limit the economic damage. They voted to continue energy rationing even if gasoline prices go above five dollars a gallon or electricity prices double or unemployment exceeds fifteen percent. They voted against provisions to restrict speculators manipulating the market in rationing coupons and against suspending the scheme if China and India refuse to agree to undertake their own energy-rationing policies.

The Waxman-Markey energy-rationing bill poses a huge threat to American prosperity and freedom. It would impoverish Americans and turn America into a third-rate economy."

Stimulus stimulates stimulus seekers, says Steyn

"So the first new job created by the stimulus is a job "coordinating" other programs funded by the stimulus. What's next?


That's how they spell it. Like in "Star Wars" – Luke Grantwriter waving his hope saber as instructed by his mentor Obi-Bam Baracki ("May the Funds be with you!"). The Grantwriter will be responsible for writing grant applications "to augment ARRA funds." So the second new job created by stimulus funding funds someone to petition for additional funding for projects funded by the stimulus.

The third job is a "Marketing Specialist" to increase "public awareness of ARRA-funded services." Rural Vermont's economy is set for a serious big-time boom: The critical stimulus-promotion industry, stimulus-coordination industry and stimulus-supplementary-funding industry are growing at an unprecedented rate. The way things are going we'll soon need a Stimulus-Coordination Industry Task Force and Impact Study Group.

By the way, these jobs aren't for everyone. "Knowledge of ARRA" is required. So if, say, you're the average United States senator who voted for ARRA without bothering to read it you're not qualified for a job as an ARRA Grantwriter."

Federal judges are the weak link in terrorist issue

"The reason we sent the terrorists to Guantanamo in the first place, rather than bring them onto US soil, was never really connected to worries that they might escape. The Bush administration feared, quite correctly, that if the inmates were in federal prisons on US territory, federal judges would take their pleas for constitutional rights more seriously.

That argument is still true, and bringing the terrorists to the United States puts us at risk that they could be freed by court order.

Some detainees will be tried in US courts on US soil. The first will be tried in New York.

This raises two problems: First, if he is acquitted, where will he be released? Likely, he'll just be invited to walk out the door and onto the streets of New York. Second, is there a danger of terrorist retaliation or attempts to interdict the trial with violence?

Trying a terrorist in the Big Apple serves to paint a bull's-eye on the courthouse."

Friday, May 22, 2009

Does California vote signal antigovernment tide?

"Americans should look carefully at the anti-politician, anti-government mood exhibited in California this week. Just as Proposition 13 and the anti-tax movement of 1978 were the forerunners of the Reagan presidential victory, so the results of Tuesday's vote are a harbinger of things to come.

The repudiation of the California establishment in the series of initiative defeats could hardly have been more decisive. Five taxing and spending measures were rejected by 62.6 to 66.4 percent of the voters. That is a consistent majority of enormous potential. An even larger majority, 73.9 percent, approved the proposition limiting elected officials' salaries when there is a deficit.

This vote is the second great signal that the American people are getting fed up with corrupt politicians, arrogant bureaucrats, greedy interests and incompetent, destructive government."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Posturing on climate while trolling for dollars

"Some business leaders are cozying up with politicians and scientists to demand swift, drastic action on global warming. This is a new twist on a very old practice: companies using public policy to line their own pockets.

The tight relationship between the groups echoes the relationship among weapons makers, researchers and the U.S. military during the Cold War. President Dwight Eisenhower famously warned about the might of the "military-industrial complex," cautioning that "the potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist." He worried that "there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties."

This is certainly true of climate change. We are told that very expensive carbon regulations are the only way to respond to global warming, despite ample evidence that this approach does not pass a basic cost-benefit test. We must ask whether a "climate-industrial complex" is emerging, pressing taxpayers to fork over money to please those who stand to gain.

This phenomenon will be on display at the World Business Summit on Climate Change in Copenhagen this weekend. The organizers -- the Copenhagen Climate Council -- hope to push political leaders into more drastic promises when they negotiate the Kyoto Protocol's replacement in December.

The opening keynote address is to be delivered by Al Gore, who actually represents all three groups: He is a politician, a campaigner and the chair of a green private-equity firm invested in products that a climate-scared world would buy."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A humbled auto industry bows to Obama

WASHINGTON — Why, after decades of battling, complaining and maneuvering over fuel economy standards, did carmakers fall in line behind the tough new nationwide mileage standard President Obama announced Tuesday?

Because they had no choice. The auto industry is flat on its back, with Chrysler in bankruptcy, General Motors close to it, and both companies taking billions of dollars in federal money. Foreign automakers are getting help from their own governments. Climate change legislation is barreling down the track, and Congress showed last fall that it had no appetite to side with Detroit any more.

Simply put, Detroit and the other companies need Washington’s help, and they are powerless to block the rules Washington dictates.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

For liberals, life is like kindergarten

"You really didn't learn everything you needed to know in kindergarten: Liberals love to think of themselves as sophisticated, nuanced intellectuals, but the truth is they have a kindergartner’s view of the world. If it has been defined as "nice" to people they like, they're for it. If it has been defined as "mean" to people they like, they’re against it -- and that is about as deep as it gets. Unfortunately, that lack of adult perspective isn't so cute in political leaders who are making life and death decisions that may still have ramifications fifty years from now."

Friday, May 15, 2009

Obama picks the winners, who voted right

"The sacred cows that voted Democratic last November are mooing more happily than ever. Big Labor is making no sacrifices. Nuclear power plants spew no CO[subscript 2] into the air and consume no foreign oil, yet a serious effort to build new ones is missing from the Obama energy plan because it offends the environmental left. Health-care reform will be massively expensive, yet the trial lawyers' lobby is not being asked to endure the cost savings that tort reform would bring to health insurance. The teachers' unions are unscathed as billions in new spending is poured into public education. Costly--and popular--farm subsidies are untouched (except for those painlessly targeted at "rich" farmers).

Obama's defenders will point to the concessions the Administration forced Detroit's autoworkers to make in the arranged-bankruptcy negotiations with Chrysler. It is true that the United Auto Workers (UAW) got less than it asked for. But without Obama's billions in auto subsidies, it would have gotten far less from insolvency. The children of nonunionized American autoworkers in Kentucky and Alabama who build cars that succeed in the marketplace made the largest concessions. They will endure a larger national debt so that billions of federal dollars can be used to prop up the UAW jobs of far less successful autoworkers in Michigan, Ohio and Ontario.",9171,1898357-1,00.html

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

U.S. government on hiring binge at $75,419

"President Obama's call last year for "shared sacrifice" doesn't extend to federal employees, at least based on the details of his administration's 2010 budget released this week.

At a time when the official unemployment rate is nearing double digits, and 6.35 million people are receiving unemployment benefits, the U.S. government is on a hiring binge.

Executive branch employment — 1.98 million in 2009, excluding the Postal Service and the Defense Department — is set to increase by 15.6 percent for the 2010 fiscal year. Most of that is thanks to the Census Bureau hiring 102,000 temporary workers, but not counting them still yields a net increase of 2 percent in one year.

There's little belt-tightening in evidence in Washington, D.C.: Counting benefits, the average pay per federal worker will leap from $72,800 in 2008 to $75,419 next year."

Monday, May 11, 2009

The U.S. experiments with "gangster government"

"Something bad and dangerous is happening in Barack Obama's America.

The powers that the Obama administration claimed in order to arrest the financial crisis and mitigate the recession are being used and abused in ways that are underming the legal and financial stability of the United States. Investors: You are warned."

Sunday, May 10, 2009

George Will: We didn't heed the warnings

"In 1937, columnist Walter Lippmann, deploring the rise of "authoritarian collectivism," lamented that in order to be taken seriously a politician or theorist had to have "proposals to magnify the power of public officials and to extend and multiply their intervention in human affairs." Paul A. Rahe, a historian and political philosopher at Hillsdale College, in his new book "Soft Despotism, Democracy's Drift," notes that, long before 1937, we were warned.

In "Democracy in America," Alexis de Tocqueville anticipated people being governed by "an immense, tutelary power" determined to take "sole charge of assuring their enjoyment and of watching over their fate." It would be a power "absolute, attentive to detail, regular, provident and gentle," aiming for our happiness but wanting "to be the only agent and the sole arbiter of that happiness." It would, Tocqueville said, provide people security, anticipate their needs, direct their industries and divide their inheritances. It would envelop society in "a network of petty regulations -- complicated, minute and uniform." But softly: "It does not break wills; it softens them, bends them, and directs them" until people resemble "a herd of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd."

So what today seems as modern as Matisse once seemed was actually foreseen 17 decades ago."

Friday, May 8, 2009

Who's being stimulated? Find out at

Want to know where the "stimulus" money is going? The Obama administration can't, or won't, tell you. Never mind. Free enterprise has stepped into the breack. Go to

Obama's auto bailouts subsidize foreign economies at the expense of U.S. workers and manufacturers

"The U.S. government is pouring billions into General Motors in hopes of reviving the domestic economy, but when the automaker completes its restructuring plan, many of the company's new jobs will be filled by workers overseas.

According to an outline the company has been sharing privately with Washington legislators, the number of cars that GM sells in the United States and builds in Mexico, China and South Korea will roughly double.

The proportion of GM cars sold domestically and manufactured in those low-wage countries will rise from 15 percent to 23 percent over the next five years, according to the figures contained in a 12-page presentation offered to lawmakers in response to their questions about overseas production.

As a result, the long-simmering argument over U.S. manufacturers expanding production overseas -- normally arising between unions and private companies -- is about to engage the Obama administration."

Now they tell us; economics is all about feelings

"...Mr Obama needed the nation to be worried enough about the economy to pass his nearly $800bn stimulus plan. And too much good cheer in the first days of his administration could have wasted one of his most powerful trump cards – the country’s belief that this recession is owned by president number 43, not number 44.

But once the stimulus bill was passed, the White House calculated that, as Mr Obama told the Financial Times, lawmakers and US voters had reached their limits. No new money to rev up the economy or revive the banks would be forthcoming until the president and his team could demonstrate concrete results from the first instalment.

Since then Americans have been hearing a decidedly more optimistic vibe from Washington. It has seemed to work. A Google search for the term “economic recovery” turned up 6,991 references to the term in January and 7,831 in February. In the first week of May the phrase occurred 24,443 times."

A preening fascist sets out to destroy capitalism, finds willing allies among failed MI politicians

"Our story begins with the slow downfall of Chrysler, which succumbed to bankruptcy after experiencing a steep sales decline of 48 percent in one year. During its slide, Chrysler borrowed money from lenders and in return signed a contract promising that as so-called senior creditors, they'd get paid before anyone else if the company went under.

These creditors, by the way, represent something of a cross-section of America: the University of Kentucky, Kraft Foods' retirement fund, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, pension funds, teachers' credit unions, and so on.

A normal bankruptcy filing would be straightforward. Senior creditors get paid 100 cents on the dollar. Everyone else gets in line.

But President Obama and his allies don't want that to happen. So they interfered on behalf of unions (the junior creditors) and publicly upbraided the senior creditors who were asserting their contractual rights and threatening to head to bankruptcy court.

Last week Mr. Obama lambasted them as "a small group of speculators" who "endanger Chrysler's future by refusing to sacrifice like everyone else."

Rep. John Dingell, a Michigan Democrat, sent reporters a statement calling the creditors "vultures" and "rouge hedge funds." Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm piled on, taking aim during her radio address at a 'few greedy hedge funds that didn't care how much pain the company's failure would have inflicted on families and communities everywhere.'"

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Who's the model for GOP candidates? Specter

"For many Republicans, including Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, the reaction to Sen. Arlen Specter’s party switch was unequivocal: good riddance.

Yet even as his jilted former party slams the door behind him, the GOP is quietly pursuing a 2010 strategy that relies heavily on candidates nearly identical to Specter. The party’s road to winning back a Senate majority, it seems, is paved with moderates whose records are sure to make conservatives blanch.

For the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s recruitment list for 2010 reads like a roster of some of the party’s best-known RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) and squishes — the derisive terms applied to centrists by movement conservatives.

The party’s top choice for Florida’s open Senate seat is popular Gov. Charlie Crist, who raised eyebrows earlier this year with his vigorous advocacy of President Barack Obama’s stimulus package — he even went so far as to appear with Obama at a Florida rally in February. In Connecticut, the national GOP has lobbied former Rep. Rob Simmons — who holds a higher lifetime rating from the liberal Americans for Democratic Action group than Specter does — to challenge Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd."

Dems never waste time on favorable facts when there's a good doomsday crisis to exploit

"Contrary to popular perception, even though America is at the epicenter of the financial crisis, it has suffered less than its industrialized peers in terms of economic growth. According to the latest International Monetary Fund figures two weeks ago, the U.S. economy actually grew 1.1 percent last year even as Japan's shrank by 0.6 percent. France and England's both grew 0.7 percent, and Canada's only 0.5 percent—or less than half of America's. Only Germany did slightly better at 1.3 percent.

What's more, despite all the gloom and doom about the American economy, IMF expects its gross domestic product to shrink 2.8 percent this year compared to anywhere between 3 percent (France) to 6.2 percent (Japan) for these other economies. (Figures from the U.S. since the IMF projections suggest that the U.S. economy contracted more than expected in the first quarter of this year but it is not yet clear how the other countries performed.)

Not only is America hurting relatively less now, its economic performance in the prior 18 years—from 1990 to 2007—has also been visibly better than everybody else's. Calculations based on Department of Agriculture data show that America's GDP grew at an average annual rate of 3 percent during this period. By contrast, Canada's grew 2.88 percent; England's 2.3 percent; France's 1.92 percent; Japan's 1.74 percent and Germany's 1.59 percent."

Monday, May 4, 2009

Examiner fingers Stabenow on "dirty" money

WHO: Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), a co-sponsor of the Employee Free Choice Act (aka Card Check).

WHAT: Stabenow received the following dirty money: Communication Workers of America (PAC) $5,000 in election 2008 cycle; $5,000 in 2006 cycle. Boilermakers Union (PAC) $2,000 in 2006 election cycle. American Federation of Government Employees (PAC) $4,000 in 2006 election cycle. Service Employees International Union (PAC) $5,000 in 2006 election cycle. United Steelworkers of America (PAC) $5,000 in 2008 election cycle; $5,000 in 2006 election cycle.

WHY IT’S DIRTY: Multiple officers and members of these unions, including division presidents, secretary-treasurers and business managers, have been convicted since 2001 of felonies ranging from embezzlement, falsifying official reports to government, mail fraud and conspiracy. The Communication Workers of America and the American Federation of Government Employees have had at least eight convictions, the Service Employees International Union at least nine and the Boilermakers 10. The United Steelworkers of America, which includes Paper, Allied-Industrial Chemical and Energy Workers International Union (PACE), has had 30 convictions among its membership. The amounts of embezzled funds range from over $5,000 to over $100,000.

How the White House stomped on contracts to secure Chrysler overhaul deal

Here is the explosive interview in which Thomas Lauria, attorney for a hedge fund being steamrolled by the Obama administration, details how the White House scrapped private contracts to force compliance with the overhaul of Chrysler Corp. If the White House will go this far, Lauria asks, "what right will it not attack." Good question.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

If trees don't fall, will oxygen knock out carbon dioxide and silence the global warming alarmists?

As the left celebrates still another reckless, self-aggrandizing presidency, an even more historic force is about to change the nation's landscape while also altering the daily routine of its citizens.

We are going to save the trees.

To do so, we are going to give up our newspapers.

It is a bargain many of us on the right will gladly make, having concluded that the trees are of absolute value while the newspapers are, as often as not, of value mainly for the unintended mirth that they provide.

I spent most of my career at two newspapers, the Minneapolis Tribune and the Detroit Free Press. Both were first-rate newspapers. Both are in their third reincarnations since I left. A newspaper analyzing any other industry in which leading institutions are changing hands that often would refer to "death throes" and speculate on how long the stricken will survive.

The odd thing about the impending demise of the newspapers is that no one mentions the impact this will have on the issue mainstream newspapers love most - global warming. Leaving aside the question of whether global warming is real, or whether it is caused by human beings, the number of trees that remain in the forest obviously bears on the question.

Human beings breath in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. Trees and other plants, on the other hand, absorb carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen. It seems obvious, even inescapable, that the more trees there are in the forest the more oxygen, and the less carbon dioxide, there will be in earth's atmosphere.

Carbon dioxide is the main villain among the greenhouse gases that global warming fanatics blame for the meager evidence that global warming actually has been taking place. They have persuaded millions of Americans, including leading politicians, that carbon dioxide is largely to blame for a rise in the average earthly temperature of less than one degree over 100 years.

On that slender reed, alarmist Al Gore has built a fortune and collected a Nobel Prize while persuading politicians to hasten their destruction of the American economy by enacting a carbon tax.

Instead of enacting that tax, why doesn't Congress demand a scientific study of the impact of increased tree preservation on the future level of carbon dioxide.

Would the New York Times, now approaching extremis, dare to editorialize against that?

For the last decade, circulation of many newspapers has been falling off a cliff. As a result, fewer trees have been cut down to make newsprint. During that period, it turns out, global warming has expired everywhere except in the fevered brains of liberal journalists and politicians on the make.

In other words, more and more trees have been singing "I'm still standing" during a period in which global warming has vanished and global cooling seems to have set in.

Is this coincidence? Or, is the window closing on one of the most successful hoaxes in history?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Obama pursues "banana republic capitalism"

"The Chrysler reorganization is shaping up as another milestone in the decline of the rule of law under Barack Obama. We've said for quite a while that bankruptcy is the only viable option for Chrysler and General Motors, not--as Obama claims--because they don't know how to make the right kinds of vehicles, but because their unsustainable union contracts make it impossible for them to be profitable. That reality has now been turned on its head, as the administration has tried to bully Chrysler's secured creditors into going away, while the United Auto Workers Union, solely on the basis of political clout, would be paid at an implied rate of 50 percent and would emerge owning 55 percent of the company, with the government also holding a stake.

This is banana republic capitalism at its worst. Political influence, rather than the law, dictates the rights of the parties. When some of the secured creditors refused to be intimidated, Obama libeled them in the press, saying, outrageously, "I don't stand with those who held out when everyone else is making sacrifices." Actually, under Obama's plan the politically favored parties, principally the UAW, will benefit--will steal money, to put it crudely--from the parties who held out. Those parties call themselves the 'non-TARP lenders.'"