Tuesday, March 09, 2010

From Sea to Shining Sea -- No More Fishing for U.S. Citizens?

According to this report on this report, your freedom to soak those worms may soon be lost, along with all those jobs that depend on sport fishing:

"The Obama administration will accept no more public input for a federal strategy that could prohibit U.S. citizens from fishing the nation's oceans, coastal areas, Great Lakes, and even inland waters.

This announcement comes at the time when the situation supposedly still is 'fluid' and the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force still hasn't issued its final report on zoning uses of these waters.

That's a disappointment, but not really a surprise for fishing industry insiders who have negotiated for months with officials at the Council on Environmental Quality and bureaucrats on the task force. These angling advocates have come to suspect that public input into the process was a charade from the beginning." (Read the rest at ESPN . . .)

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Government Grab of Retirement Accounts

Pajamas Media:

The Obama administration has just solicited public comment on their proposal to take money from Americans’ private 401(k) retirement accounts and convert it into government-backed annuities. In other words, they want to take your money now to purchase U.S. Treasury bonds, then pay you a monthly sum later after you’ve retired. (Read the rest . . .)
So. Very. Predictable.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chris Matthews vs. Howard Dean: The Message From Massachusetts Was Secret Code.


"The super-sized, take-out-a-second-mortgage-to-pay-for-it bushel basket of movie popcorn just might not be big enough. War is breaking out among liberals, and the entertainment value might make Avatar look like a test signal."

Out of touch? Nah. Well, maybe -- the obtuse American hoi polloi might need a little guidance to help them see that they really do like what's going on in Washington. At the moment, they just don't "get it", you see.

Yeah, that must be it. Got that popcorn?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

If It Can Happen in Massachusetts . . .

Yesterday, the unthinkable (from the Democrat point of view) happened in Massachusetts. A previously little-known Republican named Scott Brown won what the Democrats called "Ted Kennedy's" Senate seat, defeating the state's Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley, 52% to 47%. He ran promising to be "the 41st vote" against Obamacare. The Democrats lost their 60 vote super majority in the Senate.

But don't bet that Washington Democrats will acknowledge the message sent by the people of Massachusetts, or for that matter the message sent by cratering poll numbers across the nation. An editorial in this morning's Wall Street Journal explores what the reaction might be:

The question now is how Democrats will respond to this historic election rebuke. Only a fleeting supermajority and corrupt logrolling has allowed ObamaCare to advance as far as it has, but many liberals will be tempted to keep telling voters to shut up and learn to like what Democrats give them. "Let's remove all doubt," Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters this week. "We will have health care one way or another."

Sometimes politicians really are as obtuse as they seem.
Also in this morning's WSJ, Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, is asking a similar question. Will Democrats use their heads, or try to cram their agenda down the voters throats, whether they like it or not?
Following their emotions would mean going full speed ahead and attempting to force final passage of a health care overhaul that is so tantalizingly close to enactment.

Listening to their heads might make some Democrats, especially those who don’t come from the more-liberal coasts, think about the message sent by voters in one of the nation’s most Democratic and liberal states: voters don’t like the health care plan and the political status quo.

No amount of spinning can change that fact.
Oh, but that doesn't mean that the liberal-media complex won't spin. According to Politico, sexism -- not voter disenchantment -- caused Coakley's defeat. Boston Globe's Brian McGrory: the voters of Massachusetts were drunk with power and seduced. Ace is reporting evidence that the Dems missed the message altogether (color me shocked) claiming that a) the defeat wasn't about "health care", and b):
"Massachusetts has health care. ... The rest of the country would like to have that too," said Pelosi. "So we don't say a state that already has health care should determine whether the rest of the country should."
In other words, the good citizens of Massachusetts should just bugger off. (Actually, they may know more about the consequences of government fiddling with health insurance than most of us do. Maybe it isn't going so well.)

While you're digesting these fresh displays of elitist arrogance, consider this:
On Tuesday night, inside the Park Plaza hotel in Boston, thousands of Brown supporters packed the second-floor ballroom chanting, "John Kerry's next, John Kerry's next." Later the chant went up, "Yes we did, Yes we did," a tweak at Mr. Obama's 2008 signature line.

"Let them take a look at what happened in Massachusetts," Mr. Brown said in his victory speech, referring to the coming midterm elections. "What happened here in Massachusetts can happen all over the country."
Even in Illinois? Maybe so . . .

Friday, November 20, 2009

University of East Anglia ("Hadley") Climate Research Unit Hacked, Hundreds of Docs and Emails Released

This is shaping up to be one humdinger of a scandal:

"The University of East Anglia's Hadley Climatic Research Centre appears to have suffered a security breach earlier today, when an unknown hacker apparently downloaded 1079 e-mails and 72 documents of various types and published them to an anonymous FTP server. These files appear to contain highly sensitive information that, if genuine, could prove extremely embarrassing to the authors of the e-mails involved. Those authors include some of the most celebrated names among proponents of the theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW)." [Read more at Examiner.com . . .]
The emails include one purportedly from Philip Jones, Director of the CRU (Climate Research Unit) referring to the now well-known "hockey stick" graph in Michael Mann's article in Nature:
"I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline. Mike’s series got the annual land and marine values while the other two got April-Sept for NH land N of 20N. The latter two are real for 1999, while the estimate for 1999 for NH combined is +0.44C wrt 61-90. The Global estimate for 1999 with data through Oct is +0.35C cf. 0.57 for 1998." [Read more at Watts Up With That . . .]
And on the "are they genuine" question (as if there is any doubt that there will shortly be a denial that they are) we have this, and several more examples of of the "alleged" CRU emails from Ed Morrissey at HotAir:
"The director of the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit confirmed that the e-mails are genuine — and Australian publication Investigate and the Australian Herald-Sun report that those e-mails expose a conspiracy to hide detrimental information from the public that argues against global warming."
There's more at Environmental Capital, Investigate (Australia) and still more from James Delingpole at the Telegraph (UK). Also see the article at Climate Audit, but be patient while it loads -- the site seems to be under a considerable amount of strain.

Global Warming Leads to Prostitution

We can now add prostitution to the list of things caused by global warming:

The effects of climate change have driven women in communities in coastal areas in poor countries like the Philippines into dangerous work, and sometimes even the flesh trade, a United Nations official said.

Suneeta Mukherjee, country representative of the United Nations Food Population Fund (UNFPA), said women in the Philippines are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change in the country.

“Climate change could reduce income from farming and fishing, possibly driving some women into sex work and thereby increase HIV infection," Mukherjee said during the Wednesday launch of the UNFPA annual State of World Population Report in Pasay City. [Read the rest . . .]
So, you enjoyed that hot shower this morning, didn't you, you pollution-belching creep? You didn't even think about your big smelly carbon footprint all over the backs of these these poor, theoretically-prostituted-and-HIV-infected women, did you? So now you know, and the guilt should give you nightmares -- until you're ready to fork over that carbon tax. Jerk.

(H/T GayandRight)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Illinois Jobs: 288 Created, 65,000 Lost

Chicago Daily Observer:

"According to Recovery.gov, the stimulus has created 288 jobs in Illinois. From funds received, that’s a cost to taxpayers of $75,173 per job. Wow! No word on jobs “saved.”
(What does the Obama administration mean by "jobs saved"? I'm no economist -- Keynesian or otherwise -- so I'm mystified. I must admit, it has occurred to me that it may mean that any American citizen who is still has a job may now thank Obama. But of course that would be silly.)
President Obama signed the stimulus into law in February 2009. Illinois’s unemployment rate was 9.2 percent. Seven months later, Illinois’s unemployment rate hit 10.5 percent in September — a 26 year high." (Read the rest . . .)
Not surprisingly, government workers have less to worry about -- for the moment. As I've already said, I'm no economist, but it seems to me that there may be a storm on the horizon for them, too, since the tax revenues used to pay, pension, and perk them on the backs of the rest of us continue to decline at a historic rate.

Will that result in "change"? I doubt it. The political party now in control can continue to blame Bush (or corporations or doctors or Wall Street or insurance companies or executives or capitalism or racists or banks or Joe the plumber . . .) and continue the knee-jerk responses that answer every problem: Raise taxes. Increase spending. Take control. Accuse those who create wealth. The result will be decreased revenue, and increased debt, and a declining economy -- but even that may, at the end of the day, win elections, if they play their blame-cards right. And you can bet, in the meantime, they'll make sure that no good crisis goes to waste.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Irish Journalist Phelim McAleer vs. Al Gore

What happens when a feisty Irish journalist asks Al Gore an inconvenient question?

The venue was a conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists that took place in Madison, Wisconsin. The basis for the question is this:

Two years ago, British High Court Justice Michael Burton characterized Gore's film as "alarmism and exaggeration in support of his political thesis." The court, responding to a case filed by a parent, said the film was "one-sided" and could not be shown in British schools unless it contained guidelines to balance Gore's attempt at "political indoctrination."

The judge based his decision on nine inaccuracies in the movie.
It isn't as though Gore wasn't aware that his inconvenient truths are, well, not entirely true, as Patrick Goodenough, International Editor of CNS News reported at the time:
Gore himself -- as the court heard -- has spoken about the need to overstate the case when faced by skepticism.

"In the United States of America, unfortunately we still live in a bubble of unreality," he said in one often-cited May 2006 interview. "Nobody is interested in solutions if they don't think there's a problem. Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is." (Read more . . .)
Granted, it's a little hard to see from this "bubble of unreality" I'm living in, but I think that means it isn't so dangerous after all. Good to know.

By the way -- about those polar bears -- evidently Gore didn't get this word:
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service estimates that the polar bear population is currently at 20,000 to 25,000 bears, up from as low as 5,000-10,000 bears in the 1950s and 1960s. A 2002 U.S. Geological Survey of wildlife in the Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain noted that the polar bear populations “may now be near historic highs.” The alarm about the future of polar bear decline is based on speculative computer model predictions many decades in the future. And the methodology of these computer models is being challenged by many scientists and forecasting experts. (LINK) [Emphasis added.]
Yeah, when Gore "over-represents", seems he doesn't fool around. But conveniently, he has those hard-core "journalists" to protect him from McAleer's darned inconvenient questions.

Phelim McAleer is the director of the film Mine Your Own Business, which is about environmentalism, and a new documentary, Not Evil Just Wrong, that addresses global warming alarmists. He has written for The Economist and the Financial Times. You can also find him on Breitbart, where he recently asked some inconvenient questions of celebrities at the "Age of Stupid" premier in New York.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Obama Received Nobel Peace Prize

No, really, he did. But not for what he's done as President:

The Peace Prize Committee, made up of Norwegians, appeared to have anticipated criticism of its choice. (The other Nobel prizes are awarded by a Swedish committee.) Committee Chairman Thorbjorn Jagland said the prize often has been used to encourage laureates rather than reward them for their achievements.
Good thing, too, because as we all know, he was sworn in on January 20 -- but the deadline for nominations for the Nobel was February 1. (See a timeline here.) And we're pretty sure it wasn't for reducing violence in Chicago schools. We'd file this under 'mysteries of the Norwegian mind,' but:
Even in Norway, where Mr. Obama enjoys huge popularity, the decision raised eyebrows among some. "It is just too soon," said Siv Jensen, leader of Norway's main opposition party, the Progress Party. "It is wrong to give him the peace prize for his ambition. You should receive it for results."
What a party-pooper, eh?

By the way, don't miss Iowahawk's take on this one.

Stalemate Over Campaign Contribution Reform In Illinois

WSJ's Douglas Belkin reports that Illinois legislators have reached a stalemate with reform-advocacy group Change Illinois over limits on campaign contributions in Illinois. Not surprising, but dismal:

Between 1970 and February 2009, more than 1,000 Illinois officials and businesspeople have been convicted of public corruption, according to a study by Dick Simpson, a political-science professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Remember, that's 1000 caught and convicted. Change Illinois insists that legislation to deal with the endemic corruption in this state must include limits on party contributions, as well as limits for individuals, PACs, unions, and corporations. The problems are challenges with constitutionality, and (obviously) "reluctance of incumbents to cede the advantages of their office."
"This is the single biggest issue in determining whether we're really going to have any reform in the state of Illinois or whether it's going to be business as usual in perpetuity," said Andy Shaw, director of the Better Government Association, a Chicago watchdog group that is part of Change Illinois. "Whoever controls the cash calls the shots."
In other words, the foxes are guarding the henhouse, and I'm going to guess that's the reason that, according to a recent Tribune/WGN poll, most Illinois residents don't believe reform will happen. Nevertheless, Change Illinois is "urging residents to contact lawmakers and pressure them to accept the group's terms or face political consequences."

Political consequences. I like the sound of that.

(Read the rest of Douglas Belkin's article at WSJ . . .)

Friday, October 02, 2009

Daley's Dashed Olympic Dream

In a stunning development for those who thought that the combined "star power" of Obama, Michelle, and Oprah would clinch the deal, Chicago lost it's Olympic bid in the first round of voting this afternoon, garnering only 18 of 94 votes. Somehow, an embarrassingly large majority of voters remained unmoved by the First Lady's speech about her childhood feelings and ailing father, and the President's speech which included a heartwarming description of the "clear November night" when "people from every corner of the world" watched the results of the U. S. Presidential election with hope rising in their hearts.

Mysteriously, none of this produced the desired effect. Of several International Olympic Committee members interviewed after the vote, one said Rio's bid was better. Another said it was friction with the USOC. However:

Another IOC member, Canada's Richard Pound, disagreed.

"I don't know that it says anything to them (the United States and the USOC)," Pound said. "When you look at the margin, it was clear there was an effort to make sure Rio got this, and the only meaningful threat to Rio would have been Chicago. So all the friends of Rio were urged to try and make sure Chicago didn't get into that position.

"I think there were a lot of people saying, 'If we don't get it, we'll support you but we've got to stop Chicago.' And that's sport politics, not anything else. It's election management. The Europeans and the Asians are much better at this (in the IOC) than we are. They are better at managing elections and thinking strategically. We kind of think if you've got the best bid, the world will recognize that, and these decisions are made solely on the merits of the bid. Well, not solely."
Sounds almost like Chicago politics, no? Odd that Daley didn't see it coming.

Nearly half of Chicago residents opposed Daley's Olympic plans, and according to a WGN/Tribune poll in early September, "residents increasingly and overwhelmingly oppose using tax dollars to cover any financial shortfalls for the Games, with 84 percent disapproving of the use of public money." But despite public sentiment and Daley's promises to the contrary, the City Council voted 49-0 to stick the citizens of Chicago with cost overruns.

So, a fairly large number of folks in Chicago are relieved that we won't be hosting Olympics. When we celebrate, in the spirit of today's irony, we should raise a glass to politics -- IOC style.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

One Hand Washes the Other: Democrats and the SEIU

Two Kansas state agencies have ended their efforts to assist SEIU's search for new members by providing contact information of home health care contractors to SEIU. David Klepper of the Kansas City Star:

The state’s Department of Aging and Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services sent more than 1,000 letters last month to the payroll agents of in-home health workers seeking workers’ names, addresses and phone numbers. The workers are not state employees, but they receive state funds to provide in-home care to the elderly and disabled.

The agencies were responding to an open records request by the SEIU, a union that represents health care and government workers. Agency officials said they had no choice but to comply.

The SEIU was "seeking to identify potential members" from the lists, had the state managed to compile and provide it. (Kansas Republicans pointed out that the state isn't required to provide information that it doesn't already have under the state's open records law.)

After receiving complaints from those health care workers about these requests for their personal contact information -- and after the Attorney General was asked to review the request -- the state reconsidered, and decided that the two state agencies, controlled by the Democrat Gov. Mark Parkinson, were not required to comply with the SEIU request after all.

Bret Jacobson of Breitbart's Big Government did some background on a more familiar SEIU/state health care connection:
SEIU — part private sector union and part government union — grows by getting friendly Democratic governments to allow the union to collectively bargain for independent home care workers paid by state agencies.

Sure, it’s a bad deal for taxpayers: rates go up and their side of the “negotiating” table is run by a union toadie. It’s gotten so bad that unions even try to organize foster parents. But it’s a good deal for the union, which then gets to feed off the taxpayer trough, and for the politicians who get coveted union financial and logistical support during elections. SEIU, in particular, has worked this scheme in several states — including in Illinois with its ACORN-founded Local 880 and its game of footsie with disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

A former ACORN organizer studying the group wrote in 2005:
Local 880’s role in the fall 2002 Illinois gubernatorial campaign may hasten recognition of the [childcare] union by the state. Local 880’s political action committee, with major support from the International Union and the SEIU state council, worked hard to elect Rod Blagojevich as the first Democratic governor in Illinois in over twenty years. In return, Blagojevich agreed to support recognition and collective bargaining rights for both homecare and family child-care providers if he were elected governor. In February 2003, he signed Executive Order 2003-8 granting collective bargaining rights to over twenty thousand personal assistants (homecare workers) from Local 880’s DHS/ORS unit …
Of course, Blagojevich went on to give ACORN/SEIU exactly what it wanted, as have other politicians in his place. (Read the rest . . .)
And as long as we're getting back to Kansas - another interesting fact or two reported by the Kansas City Star:

The SEIU has been a key supporter of Democratic candidates across the country. Last year, the union gave $100,000 to a political action committee controlled by Kathleen Sebelius, Parkinson’s predecessor and now the U.S. secretary of health and human services. [Emphasis added.]

The SEIU also gave $31,000 to Sebelius’ campaigns for governor.

Bret Jacobson asks, "Will the SEIU take care of your grandmother?" Well, if Granny is a powerful Democrat, I guess they will.

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