Saturday, January 31, 2009

Obama's new errand run for labor unions, keep old workers.

Politics: Obama's is either stupid about how businesses are run or he is happy being labor union's suck boy.

Obama has issued a late Friday executive order requiring that when a government service contract expires--and there's a new contract to perform the same services at the same location--the new contractor has to keep the old workers. Why?

The Federal Government's procurement interests in economy and efficiency are served when the successor contractor hires the predecessor's employees. A carryover work force reduces disruption to the delivery of services during the period of transition between contractors and provides the Federal Government the benefits of an experienced and trained work force that is familiar with the Federal Government's personnel, facilities, and requirements.

But what if the contract got switched because the previous work force, you know, sucked? ...

So the new coach of the Detroit Lions comes in and the NFL puts in a rule that he has to keep all the previous workers from the last coach.

The idea that all Federal Workers have the same grasp of experience and high training that can be transferred to a new contractor is ridiculous. What if the contractor already has his own workers lined up? You going to deny them a job? How about this being a rule where the best talent for the job is surrounded by average talent or scaring away contractors who have a high work ethic and reputation from being saddled with poor workers?

This is a waste of taxpayers dollars as Obama continues to change America into the Labor Union's whore.

Obama looks to gut Pentagon's budget.

Politics: Here we go, while Obama happily porks up social spending, you knew the liberal in him would be happy to slash at the Pentagon budget. He is already up to 11% and what are they going after? The modernizing of the military's weapons.

Outlining his committee's priorities for 2009, Levin said the United States would have to cut or stretch out previously planned arms buying because of a budget crunch arising from efforts to shore up the rapidly declining U.S. economy.

Levin's panel is one of four congressional committees that oversee defense spending.

Improving the way the Pentagon buys tens of billions of dollars worth of arms each year would be a "major inititative" for the committee early this year, the Michigan Democrat said.

Missile defense spending was the only area that he said he would "love to" see cut.

Other programs vulnerable to cuts include shipbuilding programs, Lockheed Martin Corp's (LMT.N: Quote, Profile, Research) F-22 fighter and Boeing's Future Combat Systems, an inter-operable family of air and ground vehicles that is the core of Army modernization.

Levin said he favored spending to replace equipment worn out in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, "even at the expense of modernization" of the U.S. arsenal.

"We have to avoid getting even deeper in the hole than we're going to be, which is plenty deep," Levin said.

He said he expected President Barack Obama to seek significant changes to unspecified acquisition programs.

"I would be surprised if that doesn't happen," Levin said.

Going over the defense budget and fixing wasteful spending is fine. Going over the defense budget with a scorch earth policy is disgraceful, especially with the pork filled "stimulus" bill sitting in congress.

Update: The cuts will come from weapons projects because you know the military doesn't have use for advanced weaponery these days.

The Obama administration has asked the military's Joint Chiefs of Staff to cut the Pentagon's budget request for the fiscal year 2010 by more than 10 percent -- about $55 billion -- a senior U.S. defense official tells FOX News.

Last year's defense budget was $512 billion. Service chiefs and planners will be spending the weekend "burning the midnight oil" looking at ways to cut the budget -- looking especially at weapons programs, the defense official said.

Some overall budget figures are expected to be announced Monday.

Obama met Friday at the White House with a small group of military advisers, including Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman, and Gen. Jim Jones, National Security Council chairman.

Any reporter out there worth a damn will challenge him on this demand? I have yet to hear of any other program getting slashed by 10% especially on social entitlements.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Chairman Rudd demands new economic world order!

Australia: Does Chairman Rudd realize that Roosevelt's policies allowed the depression to continue on for several more years than it should have in the first place?

KEVIN RUDD has denounced the unfettered capitalism of the past three decades and called for a new era of "social capitalism" in which government intervention and regulation feature heavily.

In an essay to be published next week, the Prime Minister is scathing of the neo-liberals who began refashioning the market system in the 1970s, and ultimately brought about the global financial crisis.

"The time has come, off the back of the current crisis, to proclaim that the great neo-liberal experiment of the past 30 years has failed, that the emperor has no clothes," he writes of those who placed their faith in the corrective powers of the market.

"Neo-liberalism and the free-market fundamentalism it has produced has been revealed as little more than personal greed dressed up as an economic philosophy. And, ironically, it now falls to social democracy to prevent liberal capitalism from cannibalising itself."

Mr Rudd writes in The Monthly that just as Franklin Roosevelt rebuilt US capitalism after the Great Depression, modern-day "social democrats" such as himself and the US President, Barack Obama, must do the same again. But he argues that "minor tweakings of long-established orthodoxies will not do" and advocates a new system that reaches beyond the 70-year-old interventionist principles of John Maynard Keynes.

Going beyond Keynes? The saying "Work Harder. Millions on Welfare are depending on you." will be more relevant in Rudd's new order.

AP: Stimulus bill that's not all stimulating

Politics: When even the AP figures out what a pork laden piece of legislation this fiasco is going to be you have a problem.

They call it "stimulus" legislation, but the economic measures racing through Congress would devote tens of billions of dollars to causes that have little to do with jolting the country out of recession.

There's $345 million for Agriculture Department computers, $650 million for TV converter boxes, $15 billion for college scholarships — worthy, perhaps, but not likely to put many Americans back to work quickly.

Yes, there are many billions of dollars in "ready-to-go" job-creating projects in President Barack Obama's economic stimulus bill. But there are also plenty of items that are just unfinished business for Congress' old bulls.

An $800 billion-plus package, it turns out, gives lawmakers plenty of opportunities to rid themselves of nagging headaches left over from the days when running up the government's $10 trillion-plus debt was a bigger concern.

Obama runs errands for labor unions.

Business: There is no excuse for this other than to help the union browbeat and lie to workers to steal money from their paychecks.

President Obama plans Friday to reverse an executive order allowing unionized companies to post signs alerting employees that they are allowed to leave unions.

Critics of the order said that while unionized shops were allowed to let workers know they could de-unionize, non-unionized shops were not required to post information telling employees they could unionize. …

Samantha Power slinks back into Obama's camp.

Politics: Via MSNBC.

Samantha Power, the Harvard University professor who earned notoriety for calling Hillary Rodham Clinton a "monster" while working to elect Barack Obama president, will take a senior foreign policy job at the White House, The Associated Press has learned.

Officials familiar with the decision say Obama has tapped Power to be senior director for multilateral affairs at the National Security Council, a job that will require close contact and potential travel with Clinton, who is now secretary of state. NSC staffers often accompany the secretary of state on foreign trips.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because Power's position, as well as that of other senior NSC positions, have not yet been announced. One official said the announcements would be made in the near future.

Chairman Bloomberg looking to raise more taxes.

Politics: I doubt I can afford to visit NYC at this rate.

A month after imposing a property tax increase, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is expected to call for a $900 million increase in the city’s sales tax on Friday, as the city confronts a loss of revenue due to the economic downturn.

New York City already has one of the highest sales taxes in the nation, at 8.375 percent, and retailers are likely to fight the increase.

City officials declined to offer specifics. But according to a budget plan discussed late last year by administration officials, the city could generate almost $900 million by increasing the sales tax to 8.75 percent. Under that plan, the city would also do away with the current exemption on some clothing purchases.

Mr. Bloomberg’s proposal, which will be unveiled in his annual budget address on Friday, requires approval from the City Council and the State Legislature, which is now considering whether to raise a range of taxes to close its own $15 billion gap.

"Buy American" clause is stupid and costly.

Nation: In the pork bill just pass comes this section that is just asking for America to be branded protectionist.

"Proponents of expanding the "Buy American" provisions enacted during the Great Depression, including steel and iron manufacturers and labor unions, argue that it is the only way to ensure that the stimulus creates jobs at home and not overseas.

Opponents, including some of the biggest blue-chip names in American industry, say it amounts to a declaration of war against free trade. That, they say, could spark retaliation from abroad against U.S. companies and exacerbate the global financial crisis.

The provisions also confront President Obama with his first test on trade policy. He must weigh the potential consequences of U.S. protectionism against the appealing slogan of "Buy American" and the jobs argument.

The administration has not addressed the issue publicly, and sources close to the issue said it appears that a response is still being formulated.

"We're reviewing the Buy American plan proposal, and we are committed to a plan that will save or create at least 3 million jobs including jobs in manufacturing," White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

The proposals are meant to regenerate heavy manufacturing jobs in the United States by forcing government contractors to use domestic materials and equipment, even if they are more expensive. Yet U.S. industrial giants including Caterpillar, General Electric and the domestic aerospace industry are emerging as strong opponents.

The measures, they argue, could violate trade deals the United States has signed in recent years, including an agreement on expanding access to government procurements reached through the World Trade Organization. But most damaging, critics say, would be the "protectionist message" attached to imposing such barriers on foreign companies.

Nations including China and many in Europe are preparing to spend billions of dollars of taxpayer money on stimulus projects. American companies are angling for a piece of those pies, and retaliatory measures against U.S. companies, executives argue, could significantly complicate those efforts. This week, a European Commission spokesman threatened countermeasures if the Buy American provisions are approved."

It is a dumb move to take taxpayer money to subsidies unnecessary expense. It would be cheaper to cut a check than having to buy material at a higher price than they could get elsewhere.

Canada and others are already irritate and threatening to put up more barriers than usual. Are you going to prop up the steel industry at the expense of every other major exporter and multinational country? That would be great if you are looking to prolong this recession.

Just don't do it.

Ford Escort found buried in garden

UK: That is not a garden, that is a mini rain forest. How do you forget about a car.

In Slough, Sir John Betjeman assured us, 'there isn't grass to graze a cow'. While that may be true, there was certainly enough in one resident's back garden to completely engulf a car.

The silver Ford Escort, dating from the early 1980s, was unearthed by council workers ordered to clear the dense undergrowth at the home of Annis Dodds in the Berkshire town.

The tangle of vegetation had been there so long that it is thought even Mrs Dodds herself didn't know a car was under there. As well as the rusting vehicle – with an air freshener still dangling jauntily from its rear-view mirror – they also found a carpet and other household items.

School stages pole-dancing then realizes its not a good idea.

UK: I am all for keeping fit but for 14-19 years? No.

But one school is now regretting the wheeze it came up with to promote its 'Be Healthy Week' - a pole-dancing display.

The 1,000 pupils at South Devon College were transfixed as professional dancer Sam Remmer twirled, spun and slithered through the hour-long performance in the main hall.

Many used their mobile phone cameras to keep a permanent record of her technique.

But in the cold light of day, staff at the college apparently regretted allowing pole-dancing - usually associated with sleazy lap-dancing clubs - to be promoted to pupils.

US denies talks of Iran deal.

Iran: Someone got smart pills and realizing looking like a eager beaver trying to make nice was not a good idea.

"....In a sign of the sensitivity towards plans for a diplomatic overture towards Iran, Mr Gibbs denied reports yesterday claiming a letter to Mr Ahmadinejad had already been written. "Neither the President nor the Secretary of State has requested or seen any such letter," he said.

Some European diplomats have voiced concerns that Mr Obama might abandon the existing strategy of offering carrots and sticks through the United Nations security council in favour of direct negotiations with the Iranian leadership.

Countries such as Germany have lost billions of dollars in trade by tightening sanctions against Iran and want to ensure that these efforts do not go to waste. Others are cautioning Mr Obama about moving too fast in forming a relationship with a notoriously untrustworthy regime.

In a leaked Foreign Office letter last year, Sir Nigel Sheinwald, Britain's Ambassador in Washington raised questions about how Mr Obama's "desire for ‘unconditional’ dialogue with Iran" squared with the international community's long-standing "requirement of prior suspension of enrichment before the nuclear negotiations can begin”.

But Susan Rice, the new US Ambassador to the United Nations, emphasised this week that while Mr Obama was prepared to engage in "vigorous" direct diplomacy, he also wanted "continued collaboration and partnership with the P-5 plus one".

One European official said today: "If the US oil companies were getting lucrative contracts with Iran that would go down badly. But the idea that it will all suddenly be peace and love between Washington and Tehran is for the birds."

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Robert Rodriguez: A Predator Remake?

Entertainment: How the hell can you perfect the perfected? Predator is a classic that should not be remade, reimagined or even thought about being touched. Fox already dragged both the Alien and Predator franchise and this would be the final kick to the nuts.

Morocco Bans Unislamic Names in Netherlands

EU: Is there some point the Dutch can grow a spine and tell Morocco to get bent. All in the name of Multicult.

Moroccans in the Netherlands are not allowed to give their children any Berber names any more. In this way, Islamic identity is being stressed, Trouw newspaper reported yesterday.

By far the biggest group of Moroccans in the Netherlands are of Berber origin, a region in the mountainous north of Morocco. "They will now be forced to give their children a Moroccan-Islamic name," according to Trouw. "Morocco wants to secure the Moroccan identity of its nationals in this way, including the Moroccan Dutch."

EU economic crisis gets bigger.

EU: The hits keep on coming.

Spain is in recession for first time since 1993

EU economy chief cautions against 'bad bank'

EU Chief Praises Finland's Economic Model:

Finland appeared to have escaped virtually unscathed from the global financial crisis until late last year.

Since then the situation has deteriorated fast and many big companies like paper maker Stora Enso and engineering firm Metso have announced massive job cuts.

The Finnish economy is now expected to shrink more than 2.0 percent this year.

Ireland’s Cowen Says Economy May Shrink 10% by 2010

France Braces for Disruptions as Unions Call for General Strike

UK economy will shrink faster than rest of the developed world ...

(genius move) UK May Need 20 Billion-Pound Post-Election Tax Rise

Scotland heading for a deeper recession that the rest of the UK .

How the pork stimulus bill helps South Florida.

South Florida: A long list that is ripe for the typical waste money mentality in the region.

GOP stand against House Bill kinda fake?

Politics: Interesting though I am still glad they let the Dems own it. Now they all have to come out and press on why its a bad bill.

"....Tens of billions of additional dollars would go to the states, which confront the prospect of deep budget cuts of their own. That money marks an attempt to ease the recession's impact on schools and law enforcement. With funding for housing weatherization and other provisions, the bill also makes a down payment on Obama's campaign promise of creating jobs that can reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil.

The centerpiece tax cut calls for a $500 break for single workers and $1,000 for couples, including those who don't earn enough to owe federal income taxes.

The House vote marked merely the first of several major milestones a for the legislation, which Democratic leaders have pledged to deliver to the White House for Obama's signature by mid-February.

Already a more bipartisan — and costlier — measure is taking shape in the Senate, and Obama personally pledged to House and Senate Republicans in closed-door meetings on Tuesday that he is ready to accept modifications as the legislation advances.

Rahm Emanuel, a former Illinois congressman who is Obama's chief of staff, invited nearly a dozen House Republicans to the White House late Tuesday for what one participant said was a soft sales job.

This lawmaker quoted Emanuel as telling the group that polling shows roughly 80 percent support for the legislation, and that Republicans oppose it at their political peril. The lawmaker spoke on condition of anonymity, saying there was no agreement to speak publicly about the session.

In fact, though, many Republicans in the House are virtually immune from Democratic challenges because of the makeup of their districts, and have more to fear from GOP primary challenges in 2010. As a result, they have relatively little political incentive to break with conservative orthodoxy and support hundreds of billions in new federal spending.

Also, some Republican lawmakers have said in recent days they know they will have a second chance to support a bill when the final House-Senate compromise emerges in a few weeks. "

GM to end Job Banks on Monday.

Business: By end they mean it gets suspended a bit, they are still on the hook for some benefits and it will be back just as soon as Obama and his Dems get around to it.

General Motors Corp.'s "jobs bank" program will end Monday, following a similar move at Chrysler LLC that helps satisfy the conditions the government imposed when it lent the automakers $17.4 billion late last year.

The program gives union workers at the Detroit Three most of their pay and benefits while they are laid off — sometimes for years. It was the target of much ire during the companies' requests for a federal bailout.

GM spokesman Tony Sapienza said Wednesday that the 1,600 GM workers in the jobs bank will be placed on layoff and will need to file for unemployment. They'll receive about 72 percent of their salaries, paid by state unemployment benefits and GM subsidies. The workers also will get medical and other benefits from the company.

The length of time workers can receive unemployment benefits varies from state to state but usually amounts to about 48 weeks, Sapienza said. After that, they'll no longer get paid.

Mayor of Gulfport indicted on Katrina Fraud.

Politics: Add this moron to the list of disgraced mayors.

The mayor of Gulfport, Miss., and his wife pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges they lied to get more than $220,000 in government grants to repair damage to their beachfront house caused by Hurricane Katrina.
Mayor Brent Warr, a Republican, and Laura Jean Warr were indicted on 16 counts of Katrina-related fraud. If convicted on all counts, the Warrs could face decades in federal prison and up to $4 million in fines. Both were released on bond and given an April 6 trial date.

Warr is the highest-ranking public official to be charged with fraud related to the August 2005 Gulf Coast storm.

The investigation was conducted by the inspectors general of the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Housing and Urban Department and the State Auditor's Katrina Fraud Task Force.

Obama heads to Pentagon for straight talk with commanders.

Military: If its anything like his "bipartisanship" talk with Republicans, its going to be a whole lot of the commanders talking and him just saying no unless they go with his way of thinking. Effective method of being CiC right?

President Obama visited the Pentagon Wednesday for a dose of "unvarnished" give-and-take on how to move forward in America's two wars.

Obama sat down with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the Joint Chiefs of Staff to get what the White House called a "comprehensive view of the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan and the impact on our forces."

Obama wants 'strong sanctions' against Mugabe.

Africa: But China and Russia must play along. Good luck with that.

President Obama is in discussions to push forward strong U.N. sanctions against President Mugabe in Zimbabwe.

The claims, made by a national paper, says the President has talked to his main African advisers about launching an unprecedented, American-led diplomatic push.

The team focused on taking the issue of Zimbabwe before the Security Council, and combining the move with an intense diplomatic effort to persuade Russia and China not to block the initiative.

The claim came shortly before it was announced the two leading parties - President Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the opposing Movement for Democratic Change - agreed to a power-sharing deal.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Boeing cuts 10,000 jobs, Machinists union to blame?

Business: Problem with unions today is they really don't think far ahead, just get their own and damn the rest.

Facing falling air traffic and pressure on military budgets, Boeing Co. announced plans to cut 10,000 jobs after reporting a surprise fourth-quarter loss Wednesday.

The Chicago-based company, which makes passenger and military jets, became the latest blue chip company to mirror a slowdown in the world economy, as air travel wanes, airlines cut costs, and the government shifts focus to construction spending. Boeing, whose orders plunged in 2008 following three years of very strong bookings, also announced lower-than-expected earnings for this year.

“The global economy continues to weaken and is adversely affecting air traffic growth and financing,” Jim McNerney, Boeing’s chairman, president and chief executive, said in a conference call. “We are also expecting pressure on defense budgets in light of the economic recovery and financial rescue packages put forth by various governments.”

Boeing’s job cuts expand plans announced earlier this month to eliminate 4,500 positions from its Seattle-based commercial jet business. But McNerney said Wednesday an additional 5,500 positions would be slashed in other parts of the company, including its defense division, which accounts for roughly half Boeing’s revenue.

Boeing reported a fourth-quarter loss of $56 million, or 8 cents per share, compared with profit of $1.03 billion, or $1.36 per share, a year earlier. Results were dragged down by charges totaling $1.79 per share, including the effects of an autumn labor strike and delayed deliveries of new 747 jets.

Looking ahead, Boeing expects per-share earnings of $5.05 to $5.35 for 2009, short of the $5.68, on average, forecast by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

Revenue in the fourth quarter missed Wall Street expectations, sliding 27 percent to $12.68 billion. Deliveries of passenger and cargo jets fell by more than half in the period, as a two-month strike by production workers paralyzed the company’s commercial aircraft factories around Seattle. The strike, over wages and job security, ended with a new contract in early November.

The work stoppage by 27,000 Machinists union workers forced Boeing to shut down its factories and cost the company an estimated $4.3 billion in revenue and $1.2 billion in earnings during the quarter.

Boeing failed to deliver about 70 planes during the walkout, which began Sept. 6. In the last three months of 2008, Boeing delivered just 50 commercial aircraft, down from 112 during the same period a year earlier.

Boeing delayed deliveries of new 747-8 cargo and passenger jets because of the strike, substantial design changes and limited engineering resources to perform the work. McNerney said an assessment of the problems, which cut fourth-quarter earnings by $685 million, was not completed until earlier this week.

Hartford mayor arrested on corruption charges.

Politics: 2009, the year of Mayoral scandal.

Another Connecticut politician was engulfed in scandal on Tuesday when the mayor of Hartford, Eddie A. Perez, was arrested on bribery and corruption charges after an extensive investigation.

Mr. Perez was accused by state prosecutors of deliberately underpaying a local contractor for renovations at his two-story colonial house in Hartford that included a whirlpool, kitchen counters and a remodeled bathroom with a steam sauna.

Prosecutors said that the renovations were worth around $40,000 but that the mayor paid the contractor, Carlos Costa, just over $20,000 — and did so in 2007, about two years after they were done and just as prosecutors were beginning their inquiry. Mr. Perez also requested and received fraudulent billing statements for the work, according to the charges against him.

Mr. Costa thought he “would be blackballed as a contractor in the city” if he did not do the renovations free, prosecutors said he told them.

A sober-faced Mr. Perez, 51, a Democrat who is in his third term as mayor, surrendered early Tuesday after being charged with three counts of bribery, conspiracy and falsifying evidence, following a 15-month investigation. He was freed without bail.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Backdoor universal health care via the "stimulus" bill.

Politics: A "temporary" new entitlement. You see the Dems cutting this off in 2010 when the economy picks up? Yeah I thought so.

For Democrats, it is also a tool for rewriting the social contract with the poor, the uninsured and the unemployed, in ways they have long yearned to do.

With little notice and no public hearings, House Democrats would create a temporary new entitlement allowing workers getting unemployment checks to qualify for Medicaid, the health program for low-income people. Spouses and children could also receive benefits, no matter how much money the family had.

In addition, the stimulus package would offer a hefty subsidy to help laid-off workers retain the same health plans they had from their former employers.

Altogether, the economic recovery bill would speed $127 billion over the next two and a half years to individuals and states for health care alone, a fact that has Republicans fuming that the stimulus package is a back door to universal health coverage.

“It’s raining money,” said Representative Michael C. Burgess, Republican of Texas.

SAG Awards: Lowest ratings evah!

Entertainment: This doesn't bode well for Oscar ratings if you add low ratings for the Golden Globes.

Man gets 15 years for stealing $100 from bank.

Crime: This is excessive unless there is more details not being released given the circumstances. He should be in jail for the bank robbery but unless this is a culmulnation of crimes, 15 years is way too much. More common sense would be nice.

A man who said he robbed a downtown Shreveport bank because he was out of a job and hungry has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for first-degree robbery.

Roy Brown, 54, of Audrey Lane, pleaded guilty in Caddo District Court to robbing the Capital One bank in December 2007.

Brown admitted walking up to a teller with one of his hands under his jacket and telling her it was a "stickup." The teller handed the man three stacks of bills and he took a single $100 bill, told her he was homeless and left, police said.

Brown surrendered to police the next day, telling them his mother didn't raise him that way.

Police let him sober up and interviewed him two days later. Police said Brown told them he needed money to stay in a downtown detox center, had nowhere to stay and was hungry -- so he walked up the street and robbed the bank.

‘Soviet’ Britain aka America's Obama driven future.

Politics: As the Iron Lady said the problem with socialism is eventually you run out of other people's money. It is embarrassing and disgusting to see the collapse of a nation that at one time the Sun never set on.

PARTS of the United Kingdom have become so heavily dependent on government spending that the private sector is generating less than a third of the regional economy, a new analysis has found.

The study of “Soviet Britain” has found the government’s share of output and expenditure has now surged to more than 60% in some areas of England and over 70% elsewhere.

Experts believe the recession will tighten the state’s grip still further as benefit handouts soar and Labour directs public sector organisations to create jobs to soak up unemployment.

In the northeast of England the state is expected to be responsible for 66.4% of the economy this year, up from 58.7% when a similar study was carried out four years ago. When Labour came to power, the figure was 53.8%.

The northwest has seen a similarly relentless advance by the state, according to the research commissioned by The Sunday Times from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).

“Labour has failed to encourage private sector investment across the country. Instead of supporting enterprise and small businesses, Gordon Brown has used the public sector to cover up his failures,” said Theresa May, the shadow work and pensions secretary.

The CEBR reached its estimates for 2008-9 by applying the 6.68% state spending increase announced in November’s prebudget report evenly across the country, although in practice some regions will receive more than others.

Across the whole of the UK, 49% of the economy will consist of state spending, while in Wales, the figure will be 71.6% – up from 59% in 2004-5. Nowhere in mainland Britain, however, comes close to Northern Ireland, where the state is responsible for 77.6% of spending, despite the supposed resurgence of the economy after the end of the Troubles.

Even in southern England, the government’s share of spending is growing relentlessly. In the southeast, it has gone up from 33% to 36% of the economy in four years.

The state now looms far larger in many parts of Britain than it did in former Soviet satellite states such as Hungary and Slovakia as they emerged from communism in the 1990s, when state spending accounted for about 60% of their economies.

House to pass the pork "stimulus" package.

Politics: Will the GOP House stick to its guns and say no letting the Dems sink and swim on their own? Maybe.

"Nobody is more worried about the deficit and the debt than me. I will be judged by the legacy I have left behind," Obama told House Republicans, according to one congressional attendee.

The appeal came hours after Republican leaders, looking for more tax cuts and less spending, directed their troops to oppose the Democratic bill, which provides about 550 billion dollars in spending and 275 billion in tax cuts.

Publicly, Obama said he recognized "legitimate" Republican gripes with his approach but argued waves of jobs losses and punishing economic news dictated urgent action and not political gamesmanship.

"I don't expect one hundred percent agreement from my Republican colleagues," Obama said as fevered political maneuvering on Capitol Hill contrasted with the euphoria of his inauguration there a week before.

"But I do hope that we can all put politics aside and do the American people's business," the president said in a time-honored appeal for Washington to overcome its bitter partisan divisions.

Obama may need Republican support for political cover if the stimulus plan, now widely popular with the US public, fails to achieve its sought-for effects.

Asked whether at least a few Republicans would sign on, Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer replied: "I hope. 'Expect' would be too strong a word."

"We will take what we can get," said Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

Ashley Judd proud of the killing of unborn babies?

Politics: A pro abortion event and Judd is now proud of being in America.

After flubbing a few lines, Judd, who emceed the [NARAL] event, stopped and said, “I need to take a breath. I get so excited.”

After a brief slide show featuring Bush and other anti-abortion politicians, during which the crowd booed and hissed, Judd remarked, “It’s so nice to live in America again.”

NARAL President Nancy Keenan, whom Judd called the “Barbra Streisand of the pro-choice movement” because “she does it all,” had the mostly female crowd cracking-up during her speech, as she showed a picture of the bathroom at NARAL’s headquarters, which sports a photo of President Bush signing anti-abortion legislation.

Rep. Phil Gingrey is a bootlicking subservient twit.

Politics: If this is what makes up the House GOP it explains a lot.

Responding to President Obama’s recommendation to Republican congressional leaders last week that they not follow Limbaugh’s lead, the conservative talkmeister said on his show that Obama is “obviously more frightened of me than he is Mitch McConnell. He's more frightened of me, than he is of, say, John Boehner, which doesn't say much about our party."

Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., did not take kindly to this assessment in an interview with Politico Tuesday.

“I think that our leadership, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, are taking the right approach,” Gingrey said. “I mean, it’s easy if you’re Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh or even sometimes Newt Gingrich to stand back and throw bricks. You don’t have to try to do what’s best for your people and your party. You know you’re just on these talk shows and you’re living well and plus you stir up a bit of controversy and gin the base and that sort of that thing. But when it comes to true leadership, not that these people couldn’t be or wouldn’t be good leaders, they’re not in that position of John Boehner or Mitch McConnell."

Asked to respond to Gingrey, Limbaugh, in an email to Politico, wrote: “I'm sure he is doing his best but it does not appear to be good enough. He may not have noticed that the number of Republican colleagues he has in the House has dwindled. And they will dwindle more if he and his friends don't show more leadership and effectiveness in battling the most left-wing agenda in modern history. And they won't continue to lose because of me, but because of their relationship with the grassroots, which is hurting. Conservatives want leadership from those who claim to represent them. And we'll know it when we see it.”

Rush is right, Republican voters have been livid over the last 4 years at the idiocy that has cost the GOP seats in Congress and around the country because they have gone off the rails. Now with Black Jesus in power they have turned into this wimp party that yaps a lot but with no bite.

Why isn't there a GOP stimulus package being touted as the alternative, why is no GOP pointing out without whining that Obama's bipartisanship is he decides and the GOP doesn't play politics by agreeing with him.

What Obama and the Dems do not want is a honest open debate about this pork package because they remember what happened to immigration reform when that didn't get steamrolled thru Congress.

Do I believe the GOP will grow a spine? No.

Obama = First true American to lead this country!

Politics: As Obama mania make people like John Ridley stupid in euphoria.

UAW gears up to roadblock any changes for auto makers.

Business: First, no wage cuts from the UAW.

The UAW will sacrifice to help General Motors and Chrysler LLC get their federal loans, but doesn’t expect to take lower wages, President Ron Gettelfinger said tonight at the Automotive News World Congress.

He cited several concessions the union already has made to help the automakers become more competitive. But he also said that the effort to revive the automakers has a long way to go. “We’re not out of the woods yet,” he said.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Automotive News World Congress, Gettelfinger said automaker executives have indicated publicly that wage concessions would not be required of the union as part of federal bailout provisions being demanded of General Motors and Chrysler LLC. “We’re not expecting lower wages,” he said.

Second, trade protection and screwing around with other states who have attracted various auto makers.

The union chief said he hoped the new "car czar" that the Obama administration will appoint to oversee the restructuring of GM and Chrysler will also examine the subsidies used by states such as Alabama to entice foreign automakers to build plants in their states.

Third, UAW won't end the idiotic job banks where car buyers subsidies someone to sit around getting paid to do nothing.

The United Auto Workers union will end the so-called jobs bank for Chrysler LLC on Jan. 26 as a condition of the $4 billion U.S. loan made to the carmaker.

The union sent a letter to local presidents Jan. 22 ordering that workers be sent home from the program, which kept employees on the payroll even though they had no duties to carry out at the company. General Motors Corp. is also in discussions about a similar end to its 25-year-old program, said Tony Sapienza, a GM spokesman.

“It’s a powerful statement that the UAW has made about how far it’s willing to go to save the automakers,” said Harley Shaiken, a labor professor at the University of California, Berkeley. “There aren’t a lot of workers in the program any more, but it had become a symbol over the years of job security.”

More benefits changes may follow to appease the government in its effort to make Chrysler and GM viable. Union President Ron Gettelfinger said this week his group would meet cost-saving requests, including becoming “competitive” with some Japanese companies in U.S. labor costs by Feb. 17, when GM and Chrysler must report progress to the U.S. Treasury to keep $17.4 billion in loans.

Look at this with the understanding by around March, the UAW expects the Dems to load them up with more pork money to keep these failing industries afloat. So this right now is just a PR stunt.

New Jersey comes up with a good educational plan?

Edumacation: Long overdue and it wouldn't hurt to require politicians to take the course as well.

High school seniors would be taught how to write a check, manage credit card debt and obtain a mortgage under a bill advanced in the New Jersey Senate.

The Senate Education Committee approved a pilot program in personal financial education despite concerns about overloading the high school curriculum.

Sen. Jim Whelan, D-Absecon, expressed concerns about adding requirements to the high school curriculum without extending the length of the school day.

The New Jersey Education Association says financial lessons can be incorporated into existing coursework in business, economics, math or home economics.

The three-year pilot program will be restricted to six school districts.

The measure passed in the Assembly in September.

New bank bailout studied? New!?

Nation: How about seeing what can be done with the first set of bailout money before asking for even more.

The Obama administration faces a highly skeptical Congress and an angry public if the foundering condition of the nation's banks requires yet another massive infusion of taxpayer money.

The new president's economic team, lawmakers say, must first prove that $350 billion already at its disposal can help unlock credit and slow the rate of foreclosures — and do it with more transparency and oversight.

"My advice to the administration is we've just given you 350 (billion); handle this well, focus on this," Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said Monday. "The last thing I need right now is to have a request for additional funds before you convince me you can manage this well, which I'm confident they can."

Damn it, now they have me agreeing with Dodd of all people. I feel slimy.

CBO: Stimulus bill falls short of Obama goal.

Business: Via Reuters.

The Democratic stimulus package the U.S. Congress will weigh on Wednesday falls billions of dollars short of President Barack Obama's goal to pump most of the money into the economy quickly, a report released on Monday showed.

The $816 billion package will pour some $525.5 billion, or 64 percent, via spending and tax cuts into the ailing economy within 19 months, according to the report issued late on Monday by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

Last week, Obama's budget director, Peter Orszag, told lawmakers the administration's goal was to pump at least 75 percent of the money from the stimulus package into the economy by September 30, 2010.

The report expands on another from the same office Republicans had touted last week as showing that less than 40 percent of the stimulus money would filter into the economy over the 19-month period. Democrats complained report was a partial review and CBO on Monday concurred.

.....Republicans seized on the report as evidence the Democrats' spending plan would take too long to help the economy.

"Once again, it highlights the fact that a huge chunk of the Democrats' so-called stimulus plan comes way too late to make any real difference in fixing the economy," said Kevin Smith, a spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner.

And, another CBO report released by Republicans showed only 49 percent of a $362.6 billion stimulus spending measure that the Senate Appropriations Committee will consider on Tuesday would be spent by the end of fiscal 2010.

The "stimulus" package is pork on steroids. You cannot stop the destruction and only when it has been destroyed can you clearly see what needs to be done. This is just Obama trying to create yet another bubble when at this point probably easier and cheaper to mail everyone a check.

Freddie and Fannie want $51 Billion more.

Nation: This is such a neverending whirlpool of suck.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could tap the government for up to $51 billion in coming weeks, exceeding some Wall Street estimates, so they can continue to operate as the largest providers of funding for U.S. residential mortgages.

The storm of rising delinquencies and falling securities values that led to the government's seizure of the companies in September accelerated in the last quarter, requiring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to seek more of the stop-gap measures organized by the U.S. Treasury and their regulator. Analysts predicted more capital needs from Treasury through 2009.

....Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are also fighting a headwind of unrealized losses on interest-rate derivatives they use to hedge their mortgage portfolio, Moshe Orenbuch, a strategist at Credit Suisse, said in a research note on Monday.

What's more, proposed legislation that would make it easier for a bankruptcy judge to tear up mortgage contracts has hurt the value of securities, he said. That could add $20 billion to the Treasury's costs of buoying the companies, he added.

The value of holdings of "conventional" mortgages should provide some offset to losses elsewhere, analysts said. Growing portfolios also suggest rising interest income.

Treasury injections may keep the companies operating as government entities for years, as they struggle to service costs and provide money for housing, Setia said in a conference call last week. Before conservatorships, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac operated as quasi-governmental "agencies" that benefited from congressional charters, but answered to shareholders.

Wonderful, Congress is going to pass a law that will cost taxpayers anyway more money. For the love of God, let failed businesses die or at least stop propping it up.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Dutch embrace racial discrimination.

EU: As the Dutch government sinks lower and lower into its multicultural hellhole, it introduces another made up diversity word.

The cabinet seems to have adopted the term 'bicultural' as a term for people from ethnic minorities. It has announced in a press release that "more managers with a bicultural background" should be employed by the government.

The organisation Inspiration for Integration (IVI) launched a media campaign in February 2008 to introduce the term 'bicultural'. The usual term for immigrants, 'allochtonen', had acquired too many negative implications, in the view of IVI. Several leftwing parties in parliament welcomed the initiative, but it soon disappeared into the background.

However, the cabinet has now embraced the term. It decided on Friday that more women and Muslims should be employed at the ministries. "The ministers will personally make sure that the departmental targets with respect to managers with a bicultural background will be achieved." The goal is to appoint six people from ethnic minorities as senior civil servants in each department.

More in S. Africa Urges Action on Mugabe

Africa: Couple of years late but at least we have a growing movement that South Africa has to take stronger action.

Kumi Naidoo joined the struggle against apartheid as a teenager, signing up with a movement that fought for human rights, delivered democracy to South Africa and now governs the country. Last week, he began a hunger strike to pressure that government to confront a different oppressor, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.

"The bottom line is, the South African government has betrayed its record," said Naidoo, honorary president of Civicus, an international alliance of civil society organizations.

His was one voice in a growing chorus of frustration in South Africa at the government's failure to condemn Mugabe, even as Zimbabwe's humanitarian crisis worsens, a cholera epidemic that began there spreads throughout South Africa, and the number of Zimbabweans seeking asylum here surges.

In recent weeks, the region's Catholic bishops have called on South Africa to cut off support for Mugabe, and Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu has urged his ouster by force. Graca Machel, Nelson Mandela's wife, said Wednesday that southern African leaders have "blood on their hands" for not stopping Zimbabwe's crisis, while trade unions are demanding that leaders reject Mugabe. Newspapers feature scathing attacks on the stance of South Africa, whose leaders galvanized international support in their own fight against oppression.

"Our country's stand makes me feel ashamed to be a South African," one reader wrote to the Cape Times last month.

But as the 15-nation Southern African Development Community meets Monday in Pretoria to discuss the crisis in Zimbabwe, there is little sign that South Africa, the group's chair and regional powerhouse, will call for an end to Mugabe's 28-year rule or even criticize it.

A sign of political maturity will be if the African community at large disregard Mugabe's pass heroics and focus on his present destruction of a once promising nation.

That ain't happening anytime soon.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lobbyists skirt Obama's earmark ban

Politics: I don't have a problem with lobbyists in the context of most are just doing the job of various groups who want things done. But all this big deal of rules and banning is all show and no substance. When it come to government if something can't be done this way, you can do it another way. Don't think Obama is naive enough to believe his own campaign promises.

President Barack Obama's ban on earmarks in the $825 billion economic stimulus bill doesn't mean interest groups, lobbyists and lawmakers won't be able to funnel money to pet projects.

They're just working around it — and perhaps inadvertently making the process more secretive.

The projects run the gamut: a Metrolink station that needs building in Placentia, Calif.; a stretch of beach in Sandy Hook, N.J., that could really use some more sand; a water park in Miami.

There are thousands of projects like those that once would have been gotten money upfront but now are left to scramble for dollars at the back end of the process as "ready to go" jobs eligible for the stimulus plan.

The result, as The Associated Press learned in interviews with more than a dozen lawmakers, lobbyists and state and local officials, is a shadowy lobbying effort that may make it difficult to discern how hundreds of billions in federal money will be parceled out.

"'No earmarks' isn't a game-ender," said Peter Buffa, former mayor of Costa Mesa, Calif. "It just means there's a different way of going about making sure the funding is there."

Chrysler urges dealers to order cars, cut costs

Business: Either Chrysler has an awesome plan no one else can see or they are trying to drown their dealers out of business.

Obama seeks space weapons ban

Politics: Good luck with that as any country with a space program worth a damn will keep on researching and deploying in space.

Moments after Obama's inauguration last week, the White House website was updated to include policy statements on a range of issues, including a pledge to restore U.S. leadership on space issues and seek a worldwide ban on weapons that interfere with military and commercial satellites.

It also promised to look at threats to U.S. satellites, contingency plans to keep information flowing from them, and what steps are needed to protect spacecraft against attack.

The issue is being closely watched by Lockheed Martin Corp, Boeing Co, Northrop Grumman Corp, the biggest U.S. defense contractors, and other companies involved in military and civilian space contracts.

Watchdog groups and even some defense officials welcomed the statement, which echoed Obama's campaign promises, but said it would take time to hammer out a comprehensive new strategy.

Enacting a global ban on space weapons could prove even harder.

For instance, it was difficult to define exactly what constituted a "weapon" because even seemingly harmless weather tracking satellites could be used to slam into and disable other satellites, said two U.S. officials involved in the area who were not authorized to speak publicly.

Mass. House speaker resigns amid ethics allegation

Politics: Amazingly, the AP points out the party in less than 5 paragraphs.

Massachusetts' House speaker said Sunday he would resign amid allegations a close friend used their relationship to push ticket-scalping legislation and paid off legal bills for the speaker's in-laws.

In a letter to colleagues Sunday, Democrat Salvatore DiMasi said his resignation as a state representative and as speaker would be effective at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

"No matter what the critics and cynics will say, all my actions as state Representative and as Speaker were based solely on what I thought was in the best interests of my district and the people of the Commonwealth," DiMasi said in his letter.

DiMasi has not been accused of any wrongdoing in the criminal investigation of his friend, Richard Vitale. He had won re-election as speaker earlier this month, despite questions into his involvement with Vitale, who once served as his campaign treasurer.

France to support Airbus via banks

Business: Then the EU won't bitch when America gives out tax breaks to Boeing and other aero companies. Whats fair is fair.

The French state plans to inject 5 billion euros ($6.5 billion) into banks with the aim of financing airplane purchases to help European planemaker Airbus (EAD.PA), a French government source said on Sunday.

"There is indeed a plan to lend 5 billion euros to the banks to finance Airbus contracts," the source said, confirming an earlier report in the business newspaper Les Echos.

The source gave no further details.

Although not presented as a direct bailout, the plan appeared to be the first significant government package directed toward the aerospace industry as industrial countries pour funds into propping up industries weakened by the credit crisis.

There are also concerns that the aviation industry, one of France's biggest export earners and home to thousands of high-tech jobs, could be hit indirectly by the automobile crisis since the two industries share many of the same suppliers.

Les Echos said the state would inject the money into banks with a record of lending to the aeronautical industry.

It named Calyon (CAGR.PA), Societe Generale (SOGN.PA) and BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA).

"The aim is to prevent airlines from cancelling orders citing difficulties in raising money," said the newspaper, which did not give its sources.

Lupin III vs. Detective Conan TV Special

Entertainment: I haven't followed anime as much as I used in recent years due to a kind of sameness to everything but this news is pretty awesome.

This year's ninth issue of Shogakukan's Weekly Shonen Sunday magazine will announce on Wednesday that a "Lupin III vs. Conan" television special will bring together the most famous manga thief and one of the most popular manga detectives. An original story revolving around a treasure will unite the two heroes from Monkey Punch and Gosho Aoyama's manga stories for a "legendary match."

South Florida: Land of Loan frauds and dumb people.

Business: Explain to me how its the dealer fault if you lie on your loan application? This is what South Florida is all about which is its never your fault.

No job and no salary was no problem for Pat Callahan when she agreed to buy a $36,000 Ford Expedition.

Callahan, a Homestead retiree on Social Security, says the dealership persuaded her to lie on her credit application by claiming a nonexistent job.

When the finance company phoned to verify the salary, an employee of the dealer answered and pretended to be her boss, she says in a lawsuit.
Callahan got the loan, but lost the car. It was repossessed.

Mortgage brokers aren't the only ones with a propensity to fib on credit applications. Staff in dealerships' finance departments, sometimes with the customer's wink-and-nod consent, have played the same game -- with similar results, according to various auto industry insiders.

And unlike mortgage brokers, they are unregulated by the state, even though they have access to some of your most intimate financial secrets and can make a mess of your credit.

Only in South Florida you would find two idiots willing to say this about their behavior in the newspapers.

Luis Lopez ended up going to court, his credit smudged, after buying a 2002 Mercedes-Benz CL500 from Auto Trend in Hallandale Beach.

According to his lawsuit, which went to arbitration, the finance company first approved, then rescinded the auto loan -- after discovering the finance application included a phony W-2 form that misspelled his employer's name and inflated his annual income by $125,000.

The car was repossessed.

In a deposition last year, the dealer denied his employees were involved in the fabrication. In the end, an arbitrator awarded Lopez $2,907 -- about a third of what he sought -- plus costs. Lopez remains upset.

''I don't understand if I won the case, why I am getting peanuts back?'' says the 29-year-old Pembroke Pines man. Auto Trend's phone number is no longer in service, and its lawyer could not be reached.

....As for Callahan, the Homestead retiree who couldn't handle the $713 monthly payments on the Expedition, she's suing the dealer, Armstrong Ford of Homestead, over the aggravation she says she endured. The dealer did not respond to calls from The Miami Herald.

''I feel like I was pressured into something I didn't want to do,'' Callahan says. Her suit in Miami-Dade Circuit Court seeks unspecified damages.

The Expedition is gone. Today she drives a Hyundai that her daughter bought.

These two agreed to taking part in loan fraud and then have the balls to whine they are the victims. Welcome to South Florida.

Matt Damon hates James Bond, loves China?

Media: I have a feeling if they changed it to America, he wouldn't have objected at all.

Public policy and Santa Claus are not necessarily intertwined in most American households. But for Damon, a fiercely liberal activist who was one of Barack Obama's first and loudest Hollywood supporters (he compared Sarah Palin's vice presidential candidacy to ''a really bad Disney movie'' and suggested President Bush's twin daughters be packed off to Iraq), politics colors nearly everything.

''What we liked about Matt is that he's Harvard educated, so he's a very smart guy,'' says Hal Weiner, who with his wife Marilyn produces Journey to the Planet Earth, the PBS series Damon has narrated for the past eight years and was working on last week. ``But he's also a little political.''

The Weiners discovered just how political when Damon started arguing with them about some lines he was supposed to read in one episode, which said rising Chinese soybean consumption was leading to slash-and-burn farming in the Brazilian Amazon.

''He really objected,'' Hal Weiner recalls. ``He wanted to make sure we were not just bashing China. We had to bring in some scientists to talk to him before he'd do it.''

Damon met Beardon when he was working as a technical advisor on the grim Cold War spy film The Good Shepherd, in which Damon played a fictionalized version of legendary CIA counterintelligence chief James Angleton. Damon has acted in several spy movies, including three as discarded CIA superassassin Jason Bourne, and he has developed some very strong opinions on the subject. Do not, for instance, compare that unctuous James Bond fellow to the misguided but moral Bourne.

''They could never make a James Bond movie like any of the Bourne films,'' Damon says scornfully. ``Because Bond is an imperialist, misogynist sociopath who goes around bedding women and swilling martinis and killing people. He's repulsive.

Compared to the revenge seeking emo moping around Bourne who introduced the sickening trend of shaky cam to movies, I will take Bond.

Jon Stewart: arguably treasonous for Limbaugh for hoping Obama fails.

Politics: But I thought dissent was the highest form of patriotism?