Monday, February 28, 2011

Oh, Christmas Tree....

So there is a new pig poking it's head in the public trough.   The Christmas Tree consortium now wants the government to tax Christmas Trees so they can market - wait for it - Christmas trees.  Yep, apparently their attempt to voluntarily form organizations to market trees them selves failed, so they need the ever compassionate Big Government helping hand to get Christmas Tree growers the money they need to effectively market their product.

What's next, a diaper consortium?  (I shouldn't have said anything....)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Collectivist Tyranny - Alexander's Essays - PatriotPost.US

Collectivist Tyranny - Alexander's Essays - PatriotPost.US

As per usual, Alexander nail's it.  The Patriot Post is the most consistently great source of conservative news, views and humor.  If you are not already, you really ought to join.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Here is a great summary of the latest union statistics by the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Highlights (in my humble opinion):

1. In 2010, the union membership rate--the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of a union--was 11.9 percent, down from 12.3 percent a year earlier.

2. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions declined by 612,000 to 14.7 million. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent, and there were 17.7 million union workers.

3. The union membership rate for public sector workers (36.2 percent) was substantially higher than the rate for private sector workers (6.9 percent).

4. Workers in education, training, and library occupations had the highest unionization rate at 37.1 percent.

5. In 2010, 7.6 million public sector employees belonged to a union, compared with 7.1 million union workers in the private sector.

6. The union membership rate for public sector workers (36.2 percent) was substantially higher than the rate for private sector workers (6.9 percent). Within the public sector, local government workers had the highest union membership rate, 42.3 percent.

7. Among these occupational groups: education, training, and library occupations (37.1 percent) and protective service occupations (34.1 percent) had the highest unionization rates in 2010.

8. The largest numbers of union members lived in California (2.4 million) and New York (2.0 million). About half of the 14.7 million union members in the U.S. lived in just six states (California, 2.4 million; New York, 2.0 million; Illinois, 0.8 million; Pennsylvania, 0.8 million; Ohio, 0.7 million; and New Jersey, 0.6 million), though these states accounted for only one-third of wage and salary employment nationally.

9. Texas had about one-fourth as many union members as New York, despite having 1.9 million more wage and salary employees. Similarly, North Carolina and Hawaii had comparable numbers of union members (117,000 and 111,000, respectively), though North Carolina's wage and salary employment level (3.7 million) was about seven times that of Hawaii (511,000).

Note a couple things:
- Unions are losing membership in the private sector. In fact, they have decreased to record low numbers in the private sector where they negotiate with management of for-profit companies for a piece of the profit gained through higher compensation.
- Unions are gaining membership in the public sector. In the public sector unions negotiate with who for higher compensation? They negotiate with the same government representatives they help elect. And for what? A greater piece of taxpayer money. It is my contention that it is this simple fact that has kept this gravy train going.
- Did you notice the states with the highest percentage of union representation? These are the states with the highest tax burdens and the states who are in the most dire of financial situations. Do you really believe governor "moon beam" is going to take on Richard Trumpka?
- Did you notice the states with the least representation? I don't believe it is a coincidence these are the sates to which businesses are moving. It is no coincidence that BMW, Mercedes, Hyundai, Kia and Toyota have all built new plants in right to work states in last decade.

Unions are driving businesses into the ground. They certainly played a pivotal role in our country's history. However, since the early days of unions, he now have a plethora of government agencies enforcing workers safety (OSHA), worker rights (EEOC) and environmental protection (EPA). The era of big union in the U.S. is over. They know it is over in the private sector and they are scared to death it is dying a slow death in the public sector, beginning in Wisconsin this year.

These leaders are freaking out that they may not be able to continue to earn their incredible salaries or buy their way into the White House if their membership continues to dwindle. Hence, you get them "Organizing Against American the American Taxpayer" and ground zero is Madison, Wisconsin the birthplace of AFSCME. Oh, the irony...

Here's a run down of articles regarding the unholy alliance of public sector unions and government.

Ann Coulter
Look for the Union Fable

How Politicians and Union Leaders Have Scammed Taxpayers and Public Employees
By Steve Chapman
Chicago Tribune

Michael Barone
Public Unions Force Taxpayers to Fund Dems

Steve Chapman
How Public Employees and Taxpayers Got Scammed

The real threat to democracy in Wisconsin

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Col. West Schools CAIR's Executive Director in Islam...

Wow... Col. West takes it to Nezar Hamze, Executive Director of the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR)

Maybe we have finally got some real leaders in the GOP...

Monday, February 21, 2011

golfingbud: A Political History of African Americans in the US...

This is great recap of the history of blacks in the U.S. as represented by the facts, not the history books....

golfingbud: A Political History of African Americans in the US...: "A Political History of African Americans in the United States This is an attempt to provide an accurate political history of African America..."

Friday, February 18, 2011

Herman Cain, the GOP Wild Card - The Atlantic

Herman Cain, the GOP Wild Card - The Atlantic


Are we doomed to a dull campaign? Not if the Hermanator has his way.

If you don’t attend Tea Party rallies or listen to political talk radio, the name Herman Cain may not register. Cain intends to rectify that. He’s planning to seek the GOP nomination, so he’s spreading his blustery, relentlessly upbeat right-wing social and economic message, which can be heard weeknights from 7 to 10 on WSB in Atlanta. Cain is so exuberantly confident of his message that he has upgraded its status: he bestows upon audiences not speeches or talking points but “The Hermanator Experience.” He’s even trademarked the phrase.


His entrance into national politics was a fluke—albeit, if he runs, an enormously beneficial one. In 1994, Cain, then still CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, participated in a town-hall meeting that Bill Clinton held to drum up support for his flagging health-care plan. He challenged the president’s claim that restaurateurs would bear only a marginal new cost. Clinton objected, but Cain wouldn’t relent. “I’d had my financial people run the numbers,” he told me. The Wall Street Journal published them, and after Clinton’s plan collapsed, Newsweek identified Cain as one of its “saboteurs”—a badge of honor, especially among conservatives today.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What to get freaked out about the size our debt?

Then you need to check this out.

Here's the video:

Here's some interesting facts:

We do not have a good frame of reference to understand the concept of a trillion. Professor Davies shared the following analogy to provide a frame of reference we can understand.

If the Federal government were scaled down to the size of the average US household, here’s what its finances would look like:

The Federal government would earn $50,000 a year in tax revenue (the same as the average US household).

It would be $325,000 in debt.
It would pay almost $10,000 a year in interest on that debt.
Last year, it would have spent $79,000.
This year, it is hoping to spend $86,000.
The $100 billion in spending cuts (that some politicians view as draconian) would be equivalent to the household cutting its $86,000 in planned spending down to a mere $83,700.
Not a bad start, but the household has another $33,700 to go before it balances its budget.

Environmentalist Smack-down


Wisconsin going 'right-wing'. Who'd a thunk...?

I am not sure which is more laughable:
1) That they think this is remotely comparable to Eygpt
2) The three chinned union thug saying he was going to try to get his sign back

Of course, there is always the beauty of the ignorant youth and the teachers who teach them...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The truth about Eygpt....

Egypt: The Distance Between Enthusiasm and Reality is republished with permission of STRATFOR.

You need to read the entire article, but the conclusion is quite good:

The week began with an old soldier running Egypt. It ended with different old soldiers running Egypt with even more formal power than Mubarak had. This has caused worldwide shock and awe. We were killjoys in 2009, when we said the Iranian revolution wasn’t going anywhere. We do not want to be killjoys now, since everyone is so excited and happy. But we should point out that, in spite of the crowds, nothing much has really happened yet in Egypt. It doesn’t mean that it won’t, but it hasn’t yet.

An 82-year-old man has been thrown out of office, and his son will not be president. The constitution and parliament are gone and a military junta is in charge. The rest is speculation.

I like everyone's idealism, but the facts are the facts....

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sadly, our State Department also seems to have a bad case of denial...

DNI Clapper: Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood 'largely secular'
Josh Gerstein
February 10, 2011

During a House Intelligence Committee hearing Thursday, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper called Egypt's branch of the Muslim Brotherhood movement "largely secular."

In response to questioning from Rep. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.) about the threat posed by the group, Clapper suggested that the Egyptian part of the Brotherhood is not particularly extreme and that the broader international movement is hard to generalize about.

"The term 'Muslim Brotherhood' an umbrella term for a variety of movements, in the case of Egypt, a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried Al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam," Clapper said. "They have pursued social ends, a betterment of the political order in Egypt, et cetera.....In other countries, there are also chapters or franchises of the Muslim Brotherhood, but there is no overarching agenda, particularly in pursuit of violence, at least internationally."

The Brotherhood uses the slogan, "Islam is the answer," and generally advocates for government in accordance with Islamic principles. The movement has as a broad goal unifying what it perceives as Muslim lands, from Spain to Indonesia, as a "caliphate."

Myrick interrupted Clapper at one point, saying her concern isn't simply with the violence but with the Brotherhood's beliefs regarding government.

"The danger of the Muslim Brotherhood is not just encouraging terrorism through their ideology, but also trying to take over government, so everyone has to succumb and live under their ideology," Myrick said.

Clapper said later in the hearing that the Brotherhood in Egypt runs 29 hospitals "not under the guise of an extremist agenda." He said the group fills a vacuum caused by the absence of government services, but added, "It is not necessarily with a view to promoting violence or overthrow of the state."

FBI Director Robert Mueller said some branches of the Brotherhood have engaged in violence, but he declined to go into detail in a public session. "Obviously, elements of the Muslim Brotherhood here and overseas have supported terrorism," he said.

Hamas, which is designated by the U.S. as a terrorist group but also runs the elected government in the Gaza strip, is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. U.S. prosecutors have also produced evidence that some Islamic organizations in America, such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of North America and the North American Islamic Trust, grew out of the Brotherhood.

I quake with fear when I think how incompetent our government is... Thank God we have a military that can get us out of the messes in which the politicos put us.

The radical Islam deniers at it again....

But I would expect no less from the the likes of MSN"BS"C....

More effects of BHO/"Uncle Ben" Bernanke/"Lil' Timmy" Geithner Policies

Get Ready for Higher Food Prices
2011 The Omaha World Herald.
By David Hendee
February 10, 2011

Note: Emphasis added by me...

Warnings of higher food prices headed for American supermarkets and restaurants were swallowed easily across much of farm country Wednesday.

The big gulp came when the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that global demand had pushed U.S. corn supplies to their lowest point in 15 years.

The price of corn, which has doubled over the past six months, affects most food products in supermarkets. It's used to feed the cattle, hogs and chickens that fill the meat aisles.

It is the main ingredient in Cap'n Crunch and Doritos. Turned into syrup, it sweetens most soft drinks and many foods.

Corn also is part of the agricultural blend that fuels the economies of Nebraska, Iowa and other farming states. Iowa is the nation's top corn-producing state; Nebraska is third.

Shoppers could see higher grocery bills as early as three months from now, though most of the impact won't be felt for another six months, said Scott Irwin, an agricultural economics professor at the University of Illinois.

Chicken prices are among the first to rise because the bird's life span is so short that higher feed costs get factored in quickly, he said. Price hikes for hogs take about a year and cattle two years. Prices on packaged foods take six or seven months to rise.

Tyson Foods, the nation's biggest meat company, said chicken, beef and pork prices are expect to rise this year, if only slightly, as producers seek to cover costs.

ConAgra Foods Inc. — the Omaha-based producer of brands including Healthy Choice, Banquet and Chef Boyardee — is raising prices on some of its products because of higher costs for corn and fuel, said Teresa Paulsen, a spokeswoman.

The price rally has bolstered the financial fitness of America's crop and livestock operators over the past eight months. Midwestern cropland is yielding record values. Rural banks and equipment makers report record profits.

“We're seeing record income levels for the ag community and ... wealth accumulation that cannot be denied,” said Bruce Johnson, an agricultural economist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “We've moved into a whole new level.”

Said Bruce Babcock, an agricultural economist at Iowa State University: “Farmers are going to be earning quite a bit more money.”

Jason Henderson, Omaha branch executive for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, said farmers are buying more tractors, pickup trucks, grain bins and land.

“And they also come to Omaha to shop and go to events,” he said.

But it hasn't been simply a spending spree, Henderson said. Farmers are paying down debt and fewer are seeking loan renewals or extensions.

“It's a good time to be an ag banker,” said Brian Esch, president of McCook National Bank in southwest Nebraska. “But I have concerns over what this means for consumers. If one guy is selling at a record profit, someone is buying at a record level.”

Corn prices have risen over the past six months from $3.50 a bushel to nearly $7.

The U.S. will have a reserve of 675 million bushels left over in late August, when this year's harvest begins. That's roughly 5 percent of all corn that will be consumed, the lowest surplus level since 1996.

“There is going to be enough corn for food, for feed, for fuel and for export opportunities,” Tom Vilsack, the U.S. agriculture secretary, said at a Washington press conference.

Babcock, the Iowa State economist, said the U.S. mandate to increase the use of renewable fuels like ethanol is a major reason why the nation's corn supply is so low. About a quarter of the nation's corn crop is consumed by the production of ethanol. The ethanol industry's projected corn orders this year have risen 8 percent, to 13 billion bushels, after record-high production in December and January, USDA said.

“We've created a hungry business that is dependent on corn, even high-priced corn,” Babcock said.

Johnson, the UNL economist, said global supply and demand are the root causes behind low U.S. corn stocks.

“Ethanol is a factor, but it's not the driver,” he said.

Johnson said the declining value of the dollar not only has fueled greater agricultural export demand, but also has driven up the price of oil. That, in turn, has propelled higher prices for corn-based ethanol.

The agricultural economies of Nebraska and Iowa will continue to grow into greater prominence as global food providers, economists said.

Johnson said rising population numbers globally and greater demand in major developing countries for higher-protein diets have strengthened the Midlands' agricultural market.

Farm cash receipts — led by corn and other crops — doubled in Nebraska from 2000 through 2010. Crop receipts alone ended the decade in the $9 billion range, up from a 2000 total of $3 billion.

Nebraska's net farm income hit a record $4.25 billion last year, according to preliminary estimates. The 2010 level would be nearly 65 percent above the 10-year historical average, Johnson said.

Although farm income represents only about 6 percent of Nebraska's $75 billion personal income total, it has a major impact on local and regional economies, Johnson said.

“There is no question that agriculture buffered the state from going into a deeper recession these last few years, and it has helped pull us out of the recession faster than other areas,” he said. “Agriculture has been our pack horse.”

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

I'm sure this has no relation to the HUGE increase in Spain's socialistic tendencies

Public release date: 9-Feb-2011
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology
Young people now take longer to join adult life

A research study by the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), in collaboration with the State University of Campinas (Brazil), shows that young Spanish people were by 2001 taking six years longer than in 1981 to reach full employment, residential and family independence.

Spain considers itself to be a "family-centred" country, in other words, families are expected to take up the slack with regard to areas not covered by social security. "The objective was to evaluate transformations in the trends of how young people gained their independence in Spain over the last decades of the 20th Century", Pau Miret Gamundi, a researcher at the UAB Centre for Demographic Studies, tells SINC.

The transition from youth to adult life can be broken down into three key stages – the passage from student life to the world of work (joining the labour market), from a dependent member of the household to a leading figure within it (residential emancipation), and from a position of being exclusively a child to being a parent (formation of family).

"Our results show there has been a significant change in the age at which the most intense status changes take place, which were six years later in 2001 than in 1981", says Miret, who is a co-author of the study, which has been published in the journal REIS.

This time lag has been the same for both sexes. In 1981, the average age at which young people gained full independence was 22 for females and 24 for males, while this age had risen by 2001 to 28 and 30, respectively. "These ages, in comparison with other geographical locations outside southern Europe, are considered to be extraordinarily late", the researcher explains.

No regional differences can be appreciated with regard to different autonomous communities "as we showed in the detailed study of particular cases in Catalonia – which is representative of an urban, industrialised setting – and Galicia, which is more rural". When the two regions were compared, the researchers found the results converged towards identical patterns of independence.

The study is based on data from the Spanish censuses for this period, which were provided by the University of Minnesota (USA), as part of a project that is attempting to collect census data from as many countries as possible. The next census that will allow further calculations to be made of the transition to adult life will be carried out in 2011.

Crises exacerbate the situation

The 1973 recession is considered to be one of the reasons for the growth in university education in the 1970s. "The constant sensation of instability makes it hard for young people to achieve full autonomy and residential independence", say the authors.

The experts say investment in education "is part of the dynamic of the labour market", in other words, young people prolong their studies in the hope of increasing their career opportunities, putting their other personal plans on the back burner.

"Policies regarding young people are not usually a priority and are the last to be implemented. The independence grants that the Government is providing are a favourable policy for helping resolve this problem, but it would also be interesting to be able to provide access to subsidised rent for housing, not necessarily for single-occupancy flats, but flats shared by three or four people", Miret concludes.

I cannot imagine anyone is surprised, are they?

Who is going to hijack the Egypt movement...?

Or, will it be:

Muslim Brotherhood text reveals scope of radical creed
The Jerusalem Post
02/09/2011 02:09

Translated by Palestinian Media Watch, book details group’s goal of global Islamic conquest.

On Tuesday, two Brotherhood representatives participated in an opposition delegation that met with Vice President Omar Suleiman for the first set of talks over implementing political reforms.

Pundits have portrayed the Brotherhood as uncompromising zealots or beneficent providers of social services that long-deprived Egyptians desperately need.

But a translation released Tuesday of a 1995 book by the movement’s fifth official leader sheds light on just how Egypt’s Brotherhood views itself and its mission. Jihad is the Way is the last of a five-volume work, The Laws of Da’wa by Mustafa Mashhur, who headed the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt from 1996-2002.

Or will it be:

Islamic Socialism Political System?

A number of Muslim leaders who relate Islam and Socialism in the political system usually use the term Islamic Socialism to describe the system. They combine the principles of Socialism with the spirituality of Islam in the system. Muslim socialists consider the principles of Socialism, such as redistribution of wealth and equality, are in accordance with the teachings of Prophet Muhammad and the Holy Qur’an.

Or will it simply be a combination of all of the above?

Why are we having this conversation to begin with...?

Ryan confronts Bernanke over Fed’s purchases of U.S. debt, raises concerns about the dollar
By Jon Ward
The Daily Caller
Published: 11:01 AM 02/09/2011
Updated: 4:49 PM 02/09/2011
Why don't we simply abolish the Fed?

Everyone is under the impression that the "Federal Reserve" part of the U.S. government, when in fact it is a private entity allowed to exist by the The Federal Reserve Act of 1913. Constitutionally, the money supply is the responsibility of congress and was until 1913.

We should not even be having this conversation.

My take on Egypt....

Wrongly choosing Egypt's generals over the democrats
The Washington Post
Monday, February 7, 2011; 8:09 PM

I have to say I disagree with this article (big surprise).

Here's a book you ought to read: "The Next Decade" by George Friedman. I'm about 2/3 done with it. As I am reading it I feel like a president reading an analysis compiled by the CIA or NSA. The world is very large chess game and the president's job #1 is to protect America'a interests abroad. Sadly, that sometimes means allowing autocracies like Egypt's to exist far too long.

Egypt's history is one of the longest in the world and it a tangled web of disparate groups/tribes. The cold hard facts are that Egypt has lived peacefully alongside Israel for nearly 40 years, which has allowed the U.S. the time to win the cold war without getting distracted by less essential battles elsewhere. In the long run, it will be Turkey that holds the key to "peace" - such as it can exist - in the middle east.

I hope we do not get dragged to far into the weeds in Egypt. This man-child president is ill prepared for many more weighty decisions. If Egypt falls under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood, it'll be much worse for the citizens than the regime they live under now. Sadly, these teens & 20 somethings protesting in the streets are but pawns in chess game that cannot end good for them. It's painful to watch.....

Monday, February 07, 2011

Education dissected...

This is a great (and creative) presentation on education:

I believe if we are ever going to leap frog over other civilizations by getting ourselves out of the mess we are in and REALLY ensuring we don't get back into this mess again, it's going to take a massive overhaul of our education system. (Side note: education is only one of many things that need to be overhauled and certainly not the first, but is in the top 5) As someone who makes a living transforming manufacturing companies in a manner similar to what we discusses, I can tell you he is spot on.

Here are some more things to think about. When you benchmark the results of our public education system against the rest of the world, we are average at best. Asian countries always come in at or near the top in subjects like math and science. But, these results are measured largely the same way in which we measure our students - my metrics that are questionable to begin with.

If we suck so bad at education, why do so many Asian countries send their students over here to go to school? If we suck this bad at education, why are these countries studying our education system? The answer is simple. Because as dysfunctional as it is, it still has the tendency (for now anyway) to produce people who are more creative in their approach to solving problems where there are multiple answers than nearly anywhere else on the planet. In one of Malcolm Gladwell's books he compares the opportunities that where given to Bill Gates with some other guy (whose name if forget) who tested much higher on the IQ scale. The opportunities provided to Bill Gates were coincidental, like availability to rent time on large mainframe computer as a child and his parents did not keep him in a box (they allowed him to go pursue his crazy passion for computers). The other guy? He had road block after road block placed in front of him until he finally gave up. My point being is that here in the U.S., in spite of an educational system designed like a factory, when kids are in home environments where they are allowed (encouraged, actually) to pursue their passions and allowed to explore all their options they learn to think.

I currently have a lovely Asian international student living with us. She is a prime example of this theory. She is "acing" all her subjects where memorization is key (math, chemistry, languages, etc...). But, in real life, she gets an 'F'. She rarely plans further ahead than tomorrows or next week’s assignments. She shows little curiosity about other people. She never thinks to ask, "Why?" I love her, but sometimes I'd like to scream with her lack of curiosity about things outside academia.

It's like Rush always says. We have the same basic DNA as the rest of the people on the planet, so why are we so much further ahead than other countries? I would say simply, it is because, in spite of an education system that tries to create little robots out of us, we are largely unconstrained in our creativity of problem solving.

Imagine how much further ahead we would be if our children grew up in an education system that did not try to put us in a box. Imagine if we were allowed to learn at our own pace and pursue our own passions from the earliest age. Imagine if kids did not have to learn things that would never provide value later in their life, but were allowed to absorb everything they could about subjects where they excelled. Imagine how much more advanced we’d be…

Friday, February 04, 2011

So why aren't we drilling?

The Interior Department's Culture of Contempt
Michelle Malkin

Read the article, then think about what is going to happen to the price of oil when the Muslim Brotherhood gets it hands on the Suez Canal. Think about it. Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen and Sudan added to Iran, Syria, and Lebanon. How long until Saudi Arabia falls? Once a caliphate is created the return of the Muslim controlled Ottoman Empire is complete. Do you suppose they'll be anxious to sell oil to people whose heads they would prefer to cut off?

So you think all this is crazy talk from Glenn Beck, right? What about this guy? George Friedman and his organization, Statfor have come to largely the same conclusions. Does the CIA think he's crazy? Because they hire Stratfor to supply them with information.

Now more than ever, we need to drill. We need to drill in the gulf, in the Dakota's, in ANWR, off the California coast, off the Atlantic coast, where ever we can find oil, we need to go get it.

Unfortunately we have a wet noodle for a president who couldn't lead his way out of paper bag. Where is the presidential leadership on this issue?

Could it be that BHO wants oil prices to be higher?

Why is Obama blocking permits?

We already know BHO wants higher energy prices...

Thursday, February 03, 2011

So this is why the Dems seek total control... they can hand out favors to big donors and political appointees... Now I get it! And this from the most honorable and transparent administration to ever govern... (NOT!)

Obama issues global warming rules in January, gives GE an exemption in February
Timothy P. Carney
Senior Political Columnist

Last month, the Obama EPA began enforcing new rules regulating the greenhouse gas emissions from any new or expanded power plants.

This week, the EPA issued its first exemption, Environment & Energy News reports:

The Obama administration will spare a stalled power plant project in California from the newest federal limits on greenhouse gases and conventional air pollution, U.S. EPA says in a new court filing that marks a policy shift in the face of industry groups and Republicans accusing the agency of holding up construction of large industrial facilities.

According to a declaration by air chief Gina McCarthy, officials reviewed EPA policies and decided it was appropriate to "grandfather" projects such as the Avenal Power Center, a proposed 600-megawatt power plant in the San Joaquin Valley, so they are exempted from rules such as new air quality standards for smog-forming nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

There's something interesting about the Avenal Power Center:

The proposed Avenal Energy project will be a combined-cycle generating plant consisting of two natural gas-fired General Electric 7FA Gas Turbines with Heat Recovery Steam Generators (HRSG) and one General Electric Steam Turbine.

Maybe GE CEO Jeff Immelt's closeness to President Obama, and his broad support for Obama's agenda, had nothing to do with this exemption. But we have no way of knowing that, and given the administration's record of regularly misleading Americans regarding lobbyists, frankly, I wouldn't trust the White House if they told me there was no connection.

The hell you say!

So benefits most from education spending...?

Unions to Taxpayers: "Where's the Cash? "
Kyle Olson

This is just another reason anyone getting our tax dollars ought not be allowed to belong to unions. Yeah, teachers get paid less than other jobs, but most only work 9 months a year. 2/3 the pay for 2/3 the work. Seems fair.

We also ought to eliminate tenure at all levels of education, especially in public schools. The stories of corruption and union boondoggles are mind blowing.

Here are some of the astounding results of our hard earned tax dollars at work:

From 1980 to 2007, the U.S. increased K-12 education spending by a whopping 571 percent (from $101 billion in 1980 to $581 billion in 2007). That works out to over $10,000 per student per year.

All that money must have increased learning, right? Afraid not.

Every year, college-bound high school seniors take the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SATs) to assess “academic readiness for college.” From 1980 to 2008, the average SAT score for critical reading stayed absolutely flat (502 to 502), while the average SAT math score climbed from 492 to 515 – an increase of just 4.6 percent.

Even the left-wing Center for American Progress published a report concluding that there isn’t much of a correlation between spending and student achievement.

Here's what I know. If I ran a division of a company and I had those kinds of results, I'd be fired (actually, I'd have resigned in shame long before I was fired, but I digress...). And, you know what? I'd deserve to be fired.

Shutter the federal Department of Education and send those people back to their local districts. End federal grants and force the issues back on local governments and watch them get creative in cost cutting. Allow states the freedom to fix the problems creatively by offering school vouchers, by allowing the parents to create schools whose mission it is to teach children - charter schools, not do the bidding of the unions.

As is so often the case, the problems are complicated, but the solutions simple. It is the courage to speak and the will to implement that keeps the status quo.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

I'm on board - mostly...

I Can Balance the Budget
John Stossel

Aside from the war on drugs and the troop withdrawals from Japan, Germany and Britain I'm on board. That is not to say that we could either get more for the $47 billion we spend on the war on drugs (i.e., they waste probably 1/2 that if they are a typical government department) and lord knows we could cut $150 billion from the military without anyone noticing, just by providing a little oversight and accountability. I would add that we could abolish the IRS (or about 95% of it, anyway), simply by instituting a "Fair Tax" and at the same time light a fire on investment in the U.S. the likes of which has never been seen. Maybe Stossel could calculate that savings.

Of course, the Fair Tax , especially when combined with a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution would strip all the power from Washington. Suddenly, legislators would not be able to create sweet heart deals and tax loop holes for their big donors. Sounds good, doesn't it?

Oh, I'd also:

1) Raise congress person's & senator's salaries to $500,000 & $1,000,000/ yr annually;

2) Limit congress people to 3 terms and senators to 2 terms and no congress person or senator could serve in either capacity consecutively;

3) Strip them of all their benefits (i.e., government pension, house gym gets privatized and must make a profit, along with the cafeteria, the barber shop, et. al....) and make them pay all their own expenses for travel, etc..

4) Cut their staff budgets to 25% of current levels. After all, once the Fair Tax is in place and all those other departments Stossel recommends closing are gone there won't be much left to do anyway.

5) They should also be banned from returning to Washington as a lobbyist for 6 years after leaving office.

6) Legislators would have to give absolute transparency to campaign contributions regardless of how large or small, as well as, make their meeting schedule available for public viewing.

6) While we are at it, how about mandating they could only spend 90 days in any year in session and only another 90 days having hearings. That ought to cut down on the creation of more stupid laws....

Other than that, I believe Stossel nails it...

His conclusion:

As the bureaucrats complain about proposals to make tiny cuts, it's good to remember that disciplined government could make cuts that get us to a surplus in one year. But even a timid Congress could make swift progress if it wanted to. If it just froze spending at today's levels, it would almost balance the budget by 2017. If spending were limited to 1 percent growth each year, the budget would balanced in 2019. And if the crowd in Washington would limit spending growth to about 2 percent a year, the red ink would almost disappear in 10 years.

As you see, the budget can be cut. Only politics stand in the way.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Can Cal be right...?

Egypt Aflame
Cal Thomas

Frightful Conclusion:

If Egypt falls -- immediately, or ultimately -- to the Muslim Brotherhood, it will embolden other fanatical revolutions throughout the region and world. Then they'll come after the big prizes: Europe, which is almost gone, and America, which still has time to save itself, if it will climb out of denial which, as the joke goes, is not just a river in Egypt.

Last week, U.S. border guards got a surprise when they discovered the radical Muslim cleric, Said Jaziri, trying to sneak into the United States across the Mexican border. They're coming to America.

Rep. Peter King (R-NY) will soon hold hearings on the radicalization of Muslim communities in the U.S. Will he probe deeply enough? Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers will try to prevent him from doing so.

Do you suppose we'll awake in time?

$300,000,000 of OUR tax dollars go to this organization....

Please don't try telling me, "This is just one bad apple." This is what Planned Parenthood is all about. The abuse of women and the destruction of human lives. Over 50,000,000 lives have been aborted since Roe vs. Wade. How many of them could have been the next Obama, or been the person to cure cancer? There is no way our tax dollars should have anything to do with this organization. This woman should be imprisoned and Planned Parenthood shut down.

For those of you who would say, "That is entrapment." I would say this: cops pretend to be little boys & girls everyday on the internet to "entrap" potential child molesters. How is this any different?