Saturday, July 24, 2010

John Kerry - doing his part to eliminate government waste

A couple of years ago, I started something called The Whitey Awards.  Hit the post tab below for a list of previous nominees and winners. 
The idea behind the Whiteys was to recognize those who have done the most to eliminate government waste.  The best way to eliminate government waste, of course, is to avoid paying taxes.  They can't waste what you don't give them. 
Previous nominees include Tim Geithner, Tom Daschle, and the great host of people who tried and failed to make it into Obama's cabinet. 
Here's a new one, noted by The Jammie Wearing Fool, who points us to a piece in The Boston Herald:

Sen. John Kerry, who has repeatedly voted to raise taxes while in Congress, dodged a whopping six-figure state tax bill on his new multimillion-dollar yacht by mooring her in Newport, R.I.

Isabel - Kerry’s luxe, 76-foot New Zealand-built Friendship sloop with an Edwardian-style, glossy varnished teak interior, two VIP main cabins and a pilothouse fitted with a wet bar and cold wine storage - was designed by Rhode Island boat designer Ted Fontaine.

But instead of berthing the vessel in Nantucket, where the senator summers with the missus, Teresa Heinz, Isabel’s hailing port is listed as “Newport” on her stern.

Could the reason be that the Ocean State repealed its Boat Sales and Use Tax back in 1993, making the tiny state to the south a haven - like the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Nassau - for tax-skirting luxury yacht owners?

Cash-strapped Massachusetts still collects a 6.25 percent sales tax and an annual excise tax on yachts. Sources say Isabel sold for something in the neighborhood of $7 million, meaning Kerry saved approximately $437,500 in sales tax and an annual excise tax of about $70,000.
John Kerry has prevented the government from wasting more than $500,000.00, simply by not paying any taxes on his luxury yacht. 
Congratulations, sir ! 
You win a Whitey !

Friday, July 23, 2010

More on Britain's National Death Service

From the UK's Telegraph, on the state of Britain's National Health Service. 

Women in labour have been forced to wait while epidural equipment was borrowed from other hospitals, while other patients have been denied chest drains and radiology supplies, according to doctors at South London Healthcare Trust.

Minutes of a meeting between medical staff and the trust’s chief executive say “cash flow” problems at the trust which has a £50 million deficit, mean vital equipment is regularly not ordered.

But wait, there's more !

The document records: “The trust in different areas had run out of under water sealed chest drains, epidural packs, gynaecological disposables, radiological disposables, and the response to this was 'this was a cash flow issue’”.

Doctors told managers “again and again” that consultants were unable to know that equipment was missing until the last item had been used, when their patient was already lying on the table, according to the minutes of June 16 meeting.

And then....

It says doctors fear that the trust’s hospitals will be left “in the same situation as Mid Staffs” where hundreds of patients died amid failings in basic care.

James Brokenshire, Conservative MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup, contacted the CQC after eight clinicians told him they feared patients were being put at risk, but were afraid of the repercussions if they were named.

Socialized medicine.  All of the "civilized" nations have it. 
Here's Donald Berwick, Obama's choice to lead the upcoming Obamacare disaster, explaining to a group of British M.D.'s why their system is so freakin' awesome. 

Hope. Change. Fewer payouts to dead people.

They're boasting about this and having a public signing ceremony

President Barack Obama on Thursday signed legislation intended to slash by $50 billion the taxpayer money improperly paid to dead people, fugitives and those in jail who shouldn't be getting benefits.

But that goal, if achieved, would not even halve the $110 billion made in such payments last year.

Well, it is a start.  Before they stop giving away money to undeserving contractors, bomb-makers, consultants, freeloaders, Afghan warlords, stimulus recipients, agribusiness millionaires, Wars On _______ (fill in the blank), Wall Street, Acorn, car manufacturers, and other undeserving living people, they have to stop giving money to dead people. 

We're starting to see some of the basic competence we were promised a couple of years ago. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Gillespie, Stossel, Postrel, and Napolitano on the growing influence of libertarianism

Four people who would probably make the cut on my list of ideal dinner table companions, discussing the growing influence of libertarian ideas.
It is only 6 minutes long.
Please watch !


Think of all the people who do the same job as you.  Not almost the same, not practically the same, but the same.  Same job, same place, same amount of experience, same cost of living, same circumstances, and same track record with the same manager/owner. 

Ok, got the list?  Raise your hand if the number you came up with was zero.  Ah, almost all of you.  So it should come as no surprise that all of you are paid different amounts, even if the work you do is almost, but not quite, the same. 

Ok, now think of the wildly different amounts that you may have paid babysitters.  Or if your lawnmower has needed repair more than once, think of the dissimilar amounts that you have paid others to mow your yard.  Remember the different prices that you've paid for hamburgers?  Dishwashing liquid?  Hell, think of the different amounts you have paid for identical, absolutely identical, gallons of gasoline. 

It's unfair, isn't it? 

The Obama administration wants to end this gross unfairness with something called The Paycheck Fairness Act, also known as REASON NUMBER 5,729 TO DO ALL MANUFACTURING IN CHINA. 

The Paycheck Fairness Act is described as follows:
A much needed updated of the 45-year-old Equal Pay Act, the Paycheck Fairness Act is a comprehensive bill that would create stronger incentives for employers to follow the law, empower women to negotiate for equal pay, and strengthen federal outreach, education and enforcement efforts. Championed by longtime AAUW friend Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), the bill would also deter wage discrimination by strengthening penalties for equal pay violations and by prohibiting retaliation against workers who ask about employers' wage practices or disclose their own wages. Together with the Ledbetter bill, this critical piece of legislation can help create a climate where pay discrimination is not tolerated, and give the new administration the enforcement tools it needs to make real progress on pay equity.
In other words, if you've been busting your rear end on the job, don't bother asking for a raise.  Because if they give you a raise, they have to give a raise to everyone whose job description is similiar to yours, and it just ain't going to be worth the hassle. 
The burden of proof will be on the employer to show that any increase in compensation is NOT due to sex discrimination. 
If there's a lawsuit against your employer, the potential for punitive damages will be more or less unlimited. 
If there's a lawsuit against your employer, you, as an employee, will automatically be part of any class action lawsuits unless you opt out. 

This thing is a feast for lawyers, a feast for federal employees, and a feast for anyone wanting to play the Victim Card.  In other words, this bill was written to appeal to Obama's support base. 

Anyone who hires anyone within our borders needs his head examined. 

And people wonder why the unemployment rate hasn't improved.  Barack Obama and Congress would have to study hard for ten years to rise to the level of "Economic Idiots". 

End of rant.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I screwed up

I've screwed up. 
A couple of posts ago, I linked a video of Shirley Sherrod, an African-American employee of the Department Of Agriculture, speaking to an NAACP gathering. 
I usually don't worry about taking quotes out of context.  That's why they're called quotes.  By their very definition, they're out of context.  But in this case, Shirley Sherrod was explaining how she overcame anti-white bias.  The latter half of her story, the redemptive part, is not included in the video clip that I posted. 

The video, by not including the complete story, gives the wrong impression of Shirley Sherrod and the point that she was trying to make at the NAACP gathering. 
Talk radio has been pretty lively this morning, pointing out how Sherrod's audience was apparently delighted in her power over the white farmer, the Department of Agriculture shouldn't have forced her to resign, the White House shouldn't have pressured the Department of Kickpacks to force her to resign, Andrew Breitbart should have checked out the context before releasing the video, and on and on and on. 

But enough about them.   I screwed up by posting the video.  (And my post and commentary has already been linked by a couple of Big Deal blogs in Europe, BTW.) 

It's atonement time. 
I don't think Shirley Sherrod is going to put her mailing address online any time soon. 
I ain't about to write a "I'm sorry" check to the Department Of Agriculture. 
I might write a check to the NAACP, along with some kind of apology letter.
I'm open to suggestions. 

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram - now the size of a 1970's advertising insert

From The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.    I've put the only words that matter in bold print:

The version of the Star-Telegram published Monday represents months of work and millions of dollars spent to improve the legibility of the paper. In addition to a new design for our pages, we're completing one of the biggest press upgrades in our history.

To make it easier to find your favorite sections, we've color-coded them: The local section is red, Sports is blue, Work & Money is green, and Your Life is orange. We've also used blue on the front page to highlight the Star-Telegram name.

Classified sections are teal and have been completely redesigned with larger type and an easier-to-read format that includes wider columns.

The new typeface we have chosen for articles is the same size as what we've been using, but it prints larger. The typeface, called Quiosco, was specially designed to improve readability on narrower pages.

Our new design will also improve legibility by reducing the practice of putting small type on gray or color backgrounds.

To improve our reproduction, the Star-Telegram is upgrading the presses, replacing much of the equipment that we've used for more than a decade.

We're also switching to a higher grade of newsprint. Although there may be a short breaking-in process, the visual result should be readily apparent to our readers in the next several weeks.

Because the printed page is more compact -- and easier to handle as a result -- we've had to move some comics, daily features and puzzles to maintain their size.

Go here to see what the front page looks like now.  It's kind of a milder USA Today. 

There isn't as much of it, but they're giving it their best shot.  The Tim Madigan/Ron Ennis series on local neurosurgeon Dave Donahue is one of the best I've read in a while. 

Maybe the Star-Telegram will make it.  Hope so.  Sometimes you have to cut back before you can grow. 

Good news on the Climate Bill

Here's Politico, reporting on some good news about the Climate Bill, also known as "the convenient excuse for a tax increase and a massive power grab":

The Senate climate bill has been at death’s door several times over the past year. But with the days before the August recess quickly slipping away, the case may truly be terminal now.

Hit the link to read the whole thing.  And then from The Washington Examiner, here's a post-mortem on the whitewash of the Climategate scandal:

When the Climategate e-mails were released last year, the evidence of misconduct by the scientists involved was so strong that the climate establishment was forced to commission a series of tribunals. Yet the conclusions of those inquiries are as specious as the science they were supposed to investigate. By asking the wrong questions -- or not asking them at all -- they have failed to advance the climate debate one iota. 

....This panel did not examine the other e-mails on the CRU server, as it was supposed to do. It cleared the scientists of perverting the peer review process simply because their efforts did not succeed, thereby ignoring their clear intent as expressed in the e-mails.

Further, the inquiry failed to ask the most basic questions of the CRU scientists, such as whether Professor Phil Jones had actually deleted inconvenient e-mails. Britain's freedom of information office said that the Cimategate e-mails provided the most cogent evidence imaginable that there had been efforts to avoid FOI requirements, yet the Muir Russell review did not investigate this appropriately.

Even this inadequate investigation, however, found that the way the hockey stick graph was handled was misleading. Imagine what it -- and the parliamentary committee -- would have found if there had been some witnesses for the prosecution.

Those who hope that these inquiries exonerate global warming science are engaging in wishful thinking. The Climategate e-mails are still there for all to read and the questions they raise remain unanswered. Until there are answers, Climategate rolls on. 

Shirley Sherrod, the NAACP, and racism within The Tea Party The NAACP

Here's the Tea Party's first counter-offensive against its recent critics.  (You remember the Tea Party?  The organization with all the racists in its ranks?)

From Ed Driscoll:

The Agriculture Department announced Monday, shortly after published its initial report on the video, that Sherrod had resigned.

“There is zero tolerance for discrimination at USDA, and I strongly condemn any act of discrimination against any person,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a written statement. “We have been working hard through the past 18 months to reverse the checkered civil rights history at the department and take the issue of fairness and equality very seriously.

Andrew Breitbart is going to post one of these counter-offensives every day this week. 
Welcome to Barack Obama's new post-racial America. 
The Tea Party is kinda goofy, but the charges of racism are nothing more than a ploy to intimidate fence-sitters and keep them from participating.  The NAACP really should've gotten the beam out of it's own eye before picking at the specks within the Tea Party. 

In the words of one commenter: “The difference between the tea party and the NAACP is if you are looking for racists at the tea party you look at the fringe and if you are looking for racists at the NAACP, you look to the stage.”

Don't get me wrong....I think Shirley Sherrod did the right thing by intentionally denying the tax money for the white farmer.  I wish all tax money could be denied to white farmers.  And black ones.

From Wednesday afternoon:

Go here for an update.  It seems that the video doesn't tell the entire story. 

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa

Monday, July 19, 2010

Bail Out Studebaker ! Bail Out T. Boone Pickens !

I saw this bumpersticker in Fort Worth today, and started thinking....

....would bailing out Studebaker be any sillier than bailing out Chrysler?  What could be sillier than the current rounds of bailout mania? 

Well, I found out when I went to Bally's fitness to put in some mandatory treadmill time. 

The Bally's TV's were tuned to CNN, which featured Larry King interviewing T. Boone Pickens, mostly about the BP oil spill, but partly about AMERICA'S DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL and the Pickens plan to replace oil with gentle gusts of wind from unseen fairy flatulence which would be enough to power Pickens Inc. windmills paid for by your taxes. 

T. Boone Pickens wants your money, just like Chrysler wants your money.  They both go through government to force the wealth transfer.  In the case of T. Boone, he just wants his bailout up front.  Just like Chrysler, he can't make it without you.  Nobody in his right mind would voluntarily a dime of their own funds for the windmill scheme unless he knew up front that Boone was going to get some pork.     

One thing about AMERICA'S DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL....think of an individual that you do business with, preferably a little guy.  Think of somebody with an oil change franchise, or a seamstress, or a Mom'n'Pop restaurant.  Do you depend on them, or do they depend on you? 

It's mutual, isn't it?  You're trading stuff with each other.  If you didn't buy the oil changes, the clothing, or the meals from them, they would have to find someone else to sell the stuff to.  Finding new customers is a hassle. 

Political hacks like to talk about AMERICA'S DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL.  Well, that street runs both ways, but you never hear them talk about FOREIGN OIL'S DEPENDENCE ON AMERICAN DOLLARS.  If the dreaded foreigners couldn't sell their oil to us, they would have to sell it to someone else.  Their overhead is high, just like ours is.  They have to keep the money rolling in.. If they want to cut us off, they still have to sell it to somebody who is not yet purchasing very much oil.  Somebody like....well, I can't think of anybody else.  But whoever bought it would wind up selling most of it to us. 

Frederic Bastiat figured it out 150 years ago.  He wrote:

The sort of dependence that results from exchange, i.e., from commercial transactions, is a reciprocal dependence. We cannot be dependent upon a foreigner without his being dependent on us. Now, this is what constitutes the very essence of society. To sever natural interrelations is not to make oneself independent, but to isolate oneself completely.

Giving T. Boone Pickens his bailout money ahead of time would be like reviving Studebaker to end our dependence on Toyotas. 

In a world without Les Paul

I'm kinda late to the funeral with this one, but a friend sent this to me today and I thought it was funny.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Bo Obama's carbon footprint

From the someplace in Maine Online Sentinel:

Arriving in a small jet before the Obamas was the first dog, Bo, a Portuguese water dog given as a present by the late U.S. Sen Ted Kennedy, D-Mass. 

Wait a minute....they White House has issued a clarification.  Bo Obama did not fly solo to the Obama's vacation site in Maine. 

Clarification: Today's story about the arrival of the Obamas said the Obama's dog and one aide arrived on a small jet before the First Family, but there were other occupants on the plane, including several other staffers. The presidential party took two small jets to the Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport in Trenton because the airport was too small to accommodate the president's usual jet.

Ah.  They took TWO jets.  The other jet was for the dog and some lackeys.  That makes it all better. 

In the meantime, keep an eye on your carbon emissions, double-fold your toilet paper, take your own canvas bag to the supermarket, and keep buying those inadequate spiral light bulbs.  The Obamas have a lifestyle to maintain. 

The picture of the biggest dog footprint that I could find came from here.  And it's really from a cat.  But it serves my purposes.  Kinda like the carbon emissions panic serves the purposes of our lords and masters in government. 

The July Pew Research Political Quiz

The Pew Research Center has published the results of their July "Political News IQ" quiz.  Hit the link to take the test. 

If you get 'em all right, then you know more about the political news than 95% of all Americans.  I got them all, despite working 7 days a week for the last 3 months. 

There is one question on the quiz about "Twitter", known to our high-tech totally-wired president as a company called "Twitters". 

Please post your results below.  Those living outside the borders of Obamastan, go ahead and add two points to your score. 

One related point....Look at the demographic breakdowns of right and wrong answers.  48% of us should not be allowed to drive, or even order our own Happy Meals, much less vote.  Depressing.