Site for Free Markets and Free People

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Birth Certificate Released; Trump Done?

Obama has finally released his birth certificate. In the process, I wonder if Donald Trump is now finished as a (semi) serious candidate. He has made his whole campaign so far about Obama hiding his true birth. If this is no longer the case, I think Trump just lost a lot of credibility.

I don't know why so many people made such a big deal over it anyway. There are literally thousands of valid reasons to campaign against Obama policies; the birth records were already irrelevant at this point.

Perhaps I am wrong after all. Trump handled that about as well as possible. Most politicians would have apologized and climbed into a hole, having sensed defeat. Instead, Trump takes credit for finally getting records disclosed and then transitions to talking about college records and gas prices. He might not be a great GOP candidate, but he is taking (and giving) punches for the GOP.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Obama Forces Shell to Stop Drilling Off Alaska

Obama continues his assault on oil drilling. The EPA said that they would not grant a permit to Shell, after Shell already spent billions to explore the site. Why? Because 70 miles away, there is a village of 245 people that Obama's EPA believes could be harmed by pollution.

Shell has spent five years and nearly $4 billion dollars on plans to explore for oil in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. The leases alone cost $2.2 billion. Shell Vice President Pete Slaiby says obtaining similar air permits for a drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexico would take about 45 days. He’s especially frustrated over the appeal board’s suggestion that the Arctic drill would somehow be hazardous for the people who live in the area. “We think the issues were really not major,” Slaiby said, “and clearly not impactful for the communities we work in.”

The closest village to where Shell proposed to drill is Kaktovik, Alaska. It is one of the most remote places in the United States. According to the latest census, the population is 245 and nearly all of the residents are Alaska natives. The village, which is 1 square mile, sits right along the shores of the Beaufort Sea, 70 miles away from the proposed off-shore drill site.

Friday, April 22, 2011

NLRB To Decide Where Companies Can Build Plants?

From the Washington Examiner:

Can federal bureaucrats tell a private company where to build a factory?

Members of President Obama's National Labor Relations Board think they can. In a decision that even the New York Times is describing as "highly unusual for the federal government," Lafe Solomon, who was appointed to the board by Obama, filed a complaint on behalf of the NLRB on Wednesday seeking to force the Boeing Co. to build an assembly line in Washington state instead of South Carolina. The NLRB action stems from Boeing's October 2009 decision to build a new factory for its new 787 Dreamliner airplane near Charleston, S.C. Boeing first sought to build the new plant near its existing facility in Puget Sound, but negotiations with the International Association of Machinists broke down when the union refused to agree to a long-term no-strike clause. The IAM had struck four times since 1989, costing Boeing at least $1.8 billion in revenue.

This would be incredible if they can do this. This is precisely why Obama gave a recess appointment to Craig Becker last year after he realized the Senate would never, ever confirm him.

Obama's Permanent Binge

John Taylor of Stanford University lays out the chart in the WSJ that tells the Obama story pretty well. Since 2000 (and really over the last half century), the government has been fine operating with no more than 20% of GDP as its budget. Cue Obama and Pelosi - voila - that spending binge goes to 25% of GDP. And in his February budget, he intended to keep it there permanently. Two months later after GOP Paul Ryan's budget that simply returns spending to historical norms (which Obama calls a "radical plan"), Obama passes another budget that isn't as ridiculous as his first, but still keeps most of his spending in place.

Americans will judge which plan is radical.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Durbin Responds To Jamie Dimon Letter

Jamie Dimon wrote a very thoughtful shareholder letter - one of the best. In it, Dimon is generally politically correct about all of the new legislation. Not so for the Durbin Amendment in Dodd-Frank:

The Durbin Amendment was passed with no fact-finding, analysis or debate, had nothing to do with the crisis and potentially will harm consumers….It is an example of a policy that has little basis in fact or analysis. …The harm will fall largely on consumers; banks will be forced to lose money on debit interchange transactions and likely will compensate by increasing fees in some way for deposit customers…..The Durbin Amendment is price fixing at its worst. It is arbitrary and discriminatory – it stipulates that only large banks (those with assets of $10 billion or more) will be affected by its price fixing.

Durbin then responds to Dimon, telling him essentially to "stop whining.

Controller Falls Asleep; Solution to Hire More

Only in a federal agency will someone not get fired for gross negligence. But after another incident where an air traffic controller fell asleep on the job, the FAA's response was merely to suspend, rather than fire, the employee and hire more people to his shift in case he falls asleep again.

How about just hire someone competent??

WSJ: Obama's, Toxic, Partisan, Dishonest Speech

White House dishonesty and chutzpah has reached a new level, even by Obama standards. If this farce doesn't force the GOP to stand its ground on the budget, nothing ever will...

Did someone move the 2012 election to June 1? We ask because President Obama's extraordinary response to Paul Ryan's budget yesterday—with its blistering partisanship and multiple distortions—was the kind Presidents usually outsource to some junior lieutenant. Mr. Obama's fundamentally political document would have been unusual even for a Vice President in the fervor of a campaign.

Mr. Obama then packaged his poison in the rhetoric of bipartisanship—which "starts," he said, "by being honest about what's causing our deficit." The speech he chose to deliver was dishonest even by modern political standards.

...Mr. Obama rallied the left with a summons for major tax increases on "the rich." Every U.S. fiscal trouble, he claimed, flows from the Bush tax cuts "for the wealthiest 2%," conveniently passing over what he euphemistically called his own "series of emergency steps that saved millions of jobs." Apparently he means the $814 billion stimulus that failed and a new multitrillion-dollar entitlement in ObamaCare that harmed job creation.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Thanks Feds: America's Richest Counties

It shouldn't be much of a surprise that of America's ten richest counties, according to Forbes, several of them owe their debt of gratitude to the federal government (ie. American taxpayers). Here is the list:

1) Falls Church City, VA
2) Loudon County, VA
3) Fairfax County, VA
4) Hunterdon County, NJ
5) Howard County, MD
6) Los Alamos County, NM
7) Douglas County, CO
8) Morris County, NJ
9) Somerset County, NJ
10) Fairfax City County, VA

Think about it - the top 3 are even larger than the suburbs of New York City.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Budget Cuts Just a Slight of Hand?

It appears that most of the $38 billion in budget cuts were nothing more than standard Washington slight of hand and budget gimmickry and there really weren't any big cuts.

This shouldn't be surprising. Maybe the GOP just wants to have the real showdown as part of the debt ceiling increase, but if they don't have the guts to shut down the government if spending isn't cut, then there isn't much hope. Dems couldn't care less about the national debt or even making an appearance of cutting spending.

Beck in 2012?

Think about it? Why else would he leave Fox?

No - of course I don't think Beck will run in 2012, even though I think he would tear Obama to shreds in a debate. (by the way, so would Romney, Gingrich, and Ron Paul).

Actually Beck does say something interesting here - his Presidential candidate is Alan West, VP is Michelle Bachman, and Treasury Secretary is Ron Paul.

See video.

Monday, April 11, 2011

For Your Own Good: No More Home-made Lunches in Chicago Schools

It is now against school rules for kids to bring in homemade lunches to public schools in the name of doing "what's right" for kids.

Principal Elsa Carmona said her intention is to protect students from their own unhealthful food choices.

"Nutrition wise, it is better for the children to eat at the school," Carmona said. "It's about the nutrition and the excellent quality food that they are able to serve (in the lunchroom). It's milk versus a Coke. But with allergies and any medical issue, of course, we would make an exception."

Thursday, April 07, 2011

WI Update: Prosser in Lead Again!

Ha! This race is too funny. After AP adjusted its vote totals for Winnebago County, which were previously incorrect, Plosser is now back in the lead!

Plosser should take a note from Kloppenburg and repeat her speech, who last night declared victory and thanked Plosser for his years of service.

Something tells me the unions will find some more votes in their car trunks...

Another 7,500 for Prosser due to a major error of some kind. It looks like it's over at this point but you never know if they counted all the corpses' votes...

Obama's Support Among Blacks and Hispanics Declining

Gallup has a new poll out which shows Obama's popularity slipping among the African-American and Hispanic groups. His support from blacks declined last month from 92% to 85% (and is probably down from 98% on election day). Among Hispanics, it has dropped from 65% to 54%.

Gallup was surprised by the results.
I'm not too surprised. I think when Obama bombed Libya he lost some support. I believe he will continue to lose support because of the economy and high unemployment.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Bad News in WI: Prosser Leads By Small Amount, So He Will Lose

The good news for Wisconsin reformers is that Judge Prosser is winning his re-election bid by just around 1,500 votes with almost all precincts reporting. The bad news is that without a 5,000 vote lead, the Dems have a long history of stealing these elections, and will likely be successful again this time. A defeat of Prosser means that liberals will control the WI Supreme Court and will invalidate the recent law that they don't like (even though the legal basis is non-existent). So it would take a long time before it ever reached the Supreme Court.

Great news for unions and government workers, bad news for WI taxpayers.

Former DOJ worker Christian Adams, who spilled the beans on Holder's desire not to prosecute election fraud, explains that the levers in national elections all skew close elections to Dems.

As I suspected, the radical Democrat is now ahead by 204 votes and she claims victory. She knows that the GOP doesn't have the stomach for a recount and wouldn't dare stuff the ballot boxes with "found" ballots in the trunks of cars like they do.

Shredded ballots in a district that Prosser carried by 54 points. Does this really surprise anyone? Does anyone doubt that union members worked every precinct in the state?

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

GOP's Path to Prosperity: A True, Welcome Change

Congressman Paul Ryan summarized the GOP's budget plan in today's WSJ. Among other things, it would reduce spending on domestic government agencies to below 2008 levels (which of course, are still well above historical norms), reforming welfare, Medicare and Medicaid and reform taxes by reducing top individual and corporate rates to 25%.

The headline number is a savings of $6.2 trillion from the Obama budget over the next 10 years, and that's what the media will cite as a catastrophe. Of course, Obama's budget is so unrealistic that if implemented, the country would be bankrupt long before the decade was over.

Still, all in all it's a good start and one that the GOP should embrace wholeheartedly.

Lindsey Graham Against First Amendment

So everyone has seen that Lindsey Graham has declared that "Free speech is a great idea. But we're in a war." He was talking about the Florida pastor who burned the Koran. He was likely also listening to General David Petraeus who said that this Florida man's actions was endangering US troops around the world. Gotta disagree with Graham, and Petraeus on this matter. Hey if it's not a Florida pastor, it will be somebody else that causes them to be violent. I don't believe any of that. So Americans can't say anything or challenge any religions because someone might be offended? Since when do we care about causing offense on religious grounds? How many Hollywood movies are there where they offend Christians? A lot more than other religions. I'm sure of that. I don't agree with it, but it is their right and it's our right to watch or not to watch. Once we start restricting these rights, it's a slippery slope. And while maybe Graham was advocating disposal of the First Amendment only during war time, (I have no idea what he wants), we may be in this war for decades, so I for one, want to keep our Constitution in place.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Social Security Says Goodbye to Mailed Annual Statements

Blame it on "budget pressure" (never mind the fact that the budget is up over 100% in the past decade). The Social Security Administration plans to stop mailing annual statements to citizens.

In reality, they probably just want Americans to forget that they're paying into a system and told they will get benefits, when in reality this is very unlikely.

Gallup: Underemployment at 20.3% in March

Gallup says that the rate of underemployment in the U.S. rose to 20.3% in March.

Why is it that Gallup's unemployment number is 10.4%, while Obama tells us it's only 8.8%?

The link above is corrected. Sorry, the numbers are now only 19.3% and 10.0%. But my rhetorical question still stands.