Saturday, June 27, 2009

Atlanta tax hike draws fire, Maryland carpetbaggers like its

Another day and story about some city/county/state wanting to raise taxes on homeowners, that is not news. Why I highlighted this story is this one person who comes from Maryland, a broke high taxed state which has done a good job running people out of it. This person from Maryland likes the idea of an Atlanta tax hike.

In a presentation at the start of Thursday night’s public hearing, Atlanta Chief Financial Officer Jim Glass said public safety occupies such a huge portion of the city budget that any attempt to avoid or reduce the tax increase would cut into police and fire protection.

But taxpayers against the increase said the city could find other ways to generate the revenue needed to keep neighborhoods safe, including ending Atlanta’s defined benefit pension plan for new employees, pushing for more federal aid for water and sewer improvements and being more aggressive in looking to privatize city services.

“It’s absurd to ask taxpayers to choose between furloughs and a tax increase,” said Barbara Payne, executive director of the Fulton County Taxpayers Foundation.

But new Atlanta homeowner Jeannine Brown, who moved to Georgia recently from Maryland, offered qualified support for higher taxes.

“I’m willing to do my share,” she said. “(But) I want services when I call for them.”

Another transplant taking their love of taxes into a new area to help screw it up. T

Obama's "flexible" approach to health care.

AP does bodyguard duty to explain away Obama's outright flip flopping on almost every issue so far.

The reversals, hints of concessions and politically dicey proposals on health care are piling up for President Barack Obama, whose appeal for bipartisan legislation carries risk with no guarantee of reward.
By one definition, that's called presidential leadership, flexibility first, meant to embolden others to do the same.

By another, it's political inconsistency that risks offending people on Medicare, liberals who favor government-run health care and union families with coverage negotiated by contract with employers.

....Any tax on health care benefits would violate two campaign pledges.

Obama campaigned against that specific proposal and pledged often not to raise taxes on people earning less than $250,000. Pressed last April on the subject, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said there were no caveats, health benefits or otherwise.

The president also is a convert to the cause of requiring people to purchase insurance, with waivers in cases of financial hardship. He opposed these mandates last year when his main Democratic presidential rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton, backed them.

Now, he says, "my thinking on the issue of mandates has evolved. And I think that that is typical of most people who study this problem deeper."

Or someone who was running for President and saying what needed to be said to get elected.

Entrepreneurs in America is declining?

This seems to be a bigger story within a lesser story about teenagers building their own job market.

Many teenagers have also seen the turmoil in the auto industry and layoffs of parents or other adults. They no longer associate financial security with big corporations, Ms. Fenn said.

In a survey conducted by the Kauffman Foundation for Entrepreneurship in December 2007, 4 out of 10 people from the ages of 8 to 21 said they would like to start their own business in the future.

But that might reflect youths’ aspirations more than reality, said Scott Shane, an economist and a professor of entrepreneurship at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and a contributor to The New York Times’s small-business blog, “You’re the Boss.” “The percentage of the population becoming entrepreneurs is actually declining,” he said. “It’s true today that people are more likely to say they want to be in business for themselves, but that may reflect their attitude more than their behavior.”

That's not good, not good at all.

Why? G.M. Picks Michigan to Build Small Car

Now we will see UAW revenge on anyone who dares to cross them as the shut down a Tenn plant, reverse the closure of two plants in Michigan which is driving up the cost and forced GM to not build small cars in China to save even more costs.

General Motors said on Friday that it would reverse plans to close two plants near Detroit after Michigan won a three-state battle to be the site where G.M. will build a new small car.

G.M. said that it had chosen to make the car at its Orion Township assembly plant, which was scheduled to close in September, over plants in Janesville, Wis., and Spring Hill, Tenn.

A metal-stamping plant about five miles away from Orion in the city of Pontiac will stay open to supply the Orion plant. About 1,400 of the 5,000 jobs at those plants will be retained.

The Orion and Pontiac plants were among 14 factories — seven of which are in Michigan — identified by G.M. on June 1 that were scheduled to close when it filed for bankruptcy protection. The decision means that the Spring Hill plant will close in November, though G.M. has said it could reopen later if additional production is needed. The Janesville plant closed in December.

“General Motors made the best business decision in choosing the Orion Assembly plant to build its next generation vehicles,” said Gary Peters, a Democratic representative whose district includes both plants that will reopen, along with another assembly plant that will close in October.

....G.M. said its decision assumed a successful completion of negotiations over incentives from state and local officials.

“Small cars represent one of the fastest-growing segments in both the U.S. and around the world,” Troy Clarke, president of G.M. North America, said in a statement. “G.M. will be the only automaker, foreign or domestic, to build small cars in the U.S., and we believe Orion Assembly and Pontiac Stamping are well suited to deliver a high-quality, fuel-efficient car that competes with anything in the marketplace.”

Still going to boycott GM since this is not a smart business move but a political move forced by the union off of taxpayers money.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Bill Clinton's private strip dance in Argentine ?

What is it with Argentine all of a sudden?

Take, for example, the former president's recent trip to Buenos Aires, where he raised a boatload of money for his initiative at a lunch and later a speech for 1,500 government and financial industry folks at a downtown hotel. Later that evening, he dined at a fine restaurant with President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and her husband, former president Néstor Kirchner.

We hear this caused some agita amongst the political opposition, what with the parliamentary elections at the end of this month. The Kirchners' poll numbers are weak and Clinton is hugely popular down there, so his being seen with them -- cameras were everywhere -- might give them a boost. (Might want to go private next time on the dinner.)

And then -- it had to happen eventually -- there were the widespread news reports that Clinton and his entourage later had a "noche de soltero" (boys' night out) at a well-known cabaret called Crocodilo, where a certain Andrea Rincón, a "morocha" (brunette) who was "pulposa" (well-endowed) and a former participant in the popular TV reality show "Big Brother," did a private "baile hot" for him, according to the Web site of the news weekly Perfil, though it's not clear exactly what that dance involved.

Her tale, best we can figure, was that she just danced, nothing untoward, and was paid "very well" in dollars by someone, but not by Clinton. She said she didn't speak to him.

A Clinton spokesman in New York, however, said yesterday that her story "is completely false. They were at the hotel playing cards with the former and current presidents" and "a small group of staff and friends." They were playing "Oh, Hell," he said.

More from the Right Perspective. I'm not hating on the man especially seeing some videos and pics, it could have been worse where he got the day shift and liked it.

Cap and Trade bill close to passing the house.

A huge tax hike boondoggle that most lawmakers haven't read or understand its economic impact on businesses and industries. It has also gone thru so many revisions and added in loopholes it could contradict itself.

Meh, what could go wrong?

The House could vote today on a measure to cap U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, with Democratic leaders predicting a tight victory for a behemoth bill that has grown more complex with each compromise.

The heart of the bill, which now runs to 1,201 pages, is a plan to reduce emissions to 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. To do that, it would create a cap-and-trade system, in which polluters would be required to accrue buyable, sellable credits for all the greenhouse gases they produce.

But the bill also contains a system of caveats, safety valves and rule changes meant to satisfy unhappy Democrats. The result is legislation that could transform the U.S. energy industry -- and allow both Wall Street and the Corn Belt to build a side business in carbon.

Yesterday, Democratic leaders said they had gathered enough votes to win passage of the bill, which could be voted on today or tomorrow.

"Well, you never know until you take the vote, but we are making progress, and I'm very pleased," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters at her weekly news conference. Democratic leaders said the vote could yet be delayed to tomorrow by a backup of floor action or by worries that they did not have enough "yea" votes.

But any talk of confidence is a sign of a remarkable turnabout for Democrats.

Since this bill passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee last month, Democrats have been bogged down in an internal feud between coastal liberals, who supported a hard cap, and legislators from the Rust Belt and farm states. Those representatives were worried the bill would add a crushing new cost to electric power and gasoline.

They worked out a compromise this week, the second time that Democratic leaders have given ground on the bill.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Grandma, grandkids selling water at intersections

I feel bad for grandma since there has to be a story why she is taking care of three grandchildren to make ends meet. Also wondering if some of them couldn't get a part time job to help out.

David Obey vs Maxine Waters on the house floor.

Two of the biggest dinks in congress at each others throats because one demanded an earmark and the other said go to hell.

Two Democrats got into a verbal altercation — and according to one a physical one — on the floor of the House on Thursday night over an appropriations earmark one was seeking.

After the House floor had largely cleared following a series of votes, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) split apart from a heated conversation and began yelling at one another.

“You’re out of line,” Waters shot while walking down toward the well.

“You’re out of line,” Obey shot back before turning and walking away.

But then Obey stopped, turned back toward Waters, and shouted: “I’m not going to approve that earmark!”

Obey turned away, but Waters went to go huddle with members of the Congressional Black Caucus. She could be over heard telling them: “He touched me first.”

Waters was escorted by her colleagues into the cloakroom.

Tax on health benefits likely, key senators say

Yeah baby! People who actually thought they were getting tax cuts welcome to Obamaworld Where he gives with his right and takes with his left. Actually he takes with both.

controversial new tax on employer-provided medical benefits is gaining traction among Senate health care negotiators as a way to help pay for a $1 trillion reform package moving through Congress, two key senators said Wednesday.

Bipartisan Senate negotiators are "starting to coalesce" around the idea, according to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana.

Any tax is controversial — but this proposal is especially politically charged, since President Barack Obama opposed the idea when he ran for president. White House officials from the president on down have sent mixed messages in public in recent weeks about whether he'd accept such a tax.

Baucus says the president has told him he is "flexible" on the proposal.

Canterbury is officially gay enough .

Another trip to the interesting PC world of UK's society.

It took a two-month investigation costing thousands of pounds, but finally Canterbury has been deemed gay enough.

The city was found to sufficiently promote lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender culture.

The investigation by the Local Government Ombudsman was prompted by a complaint from a local gay group.

Council officers had to build a case for 'inclusiveness', providing the ombudsman with 'details of plays and musicals of interest to the LGBT community'.

It had to show it had 'put forward suggestions for small events that it might help fund, as well as proposals for other events such as exhibitions'.

Rob Davies, spokesman for the council, said: 'Obviously we're delighted with the outcome of the investigation.

'We feel we do a great deal for the gay community in Canterbury and we have always tried to support various gay events and promotions.'

Senate and Obama ready illegal immigrant amnesty plan.

They are trying to do it bit by bit and hope it goes under the radar from the public.

Senate Democrats outlined plans yesterday to overhaul the nation's immigration laws, including a requirement that all U.S. workers verify their identity through fingerprints or an eye scan.

Speaking on the eve of a White House summit with congressional leaders on immigration, Sen. Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) said a national system to verify work documents is necessary because Congress has failed to crack down on unscrupulous employers and illegal immigrants with fake documents.

"I'm sure the civil libertarians will object to some kind of biometric card -- although . . . there'll be all kinds of protections -- but we're going to have to do it. It's the only way," Schumer said. "The American people will never accept immigration reform unless they truly believe their government is committed to ending future illegal immigration."

By announcing his plans, Schumer, who chairs the Senate's main immigration subcommittee, ushered in what President Obama has signaled will be his next major legislative campaign, after the economic stimulus plan, health care and energy.

Schumer said legislation should secure control of the nation's borders within a year and require that an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants register with the government and "submit to a rigorous process to convert to legal status" or face immediate deportation. Rejecting the euphemism "undocumented workers," he said: "Illegal immigration is wrong -- plain and simple."

A senior White House official said Obama is open to all of Schumer's proposals, including his ID plan, saying that "he wants to listen, he wants to talk. All of it is on the table."

Jena Six group to plead guilty in deal.

Breaking News via AP which will hopefully put this sorted mess to rest from the media whores like Rev Al and Michael Baisden who latched on to it partly for publicity sake. Kudos to AP who I think got the gist and timeline of the incidents correct.

Five of six black teens accused of beating a white high school classmate in a case that led to the biggest civil rights protest in decades will plead guilty in a deal expected to be finalized this week, Louisiana court officials involved with the case told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The six students were initially charged with attempted murder in the 2006 attack on Justin Barker and became known as the "Jena Six," after the town where the beating took place.

Charges against Carwin Jones, Jesse Ray Beard, Robert Bailey Jr., Bryant Purvis and Theo Shaw were reduced to aggravated second-degree battery.

Court officials, who asked not to be identified because the agreement was not yet public, told the AP that those five will plead to lesser charges Friday but would not be specific. Officials also would not talk about penalties.

A sixth defendant, Mychal Bell, pleaded guilty in December 2007 to a misdemeanor second-degree battery charge and was sentenced to 18 months in jail.

Bill Furlow, a spokesman for LaSalle Parish District Attorney Reed Walters, confirmed the hearing for the remaining five defendants, but said Walters would have no comment.

Bailey's attorney, James Boren, wouldn't confirm the deal but said, "you certainly want to be in court on Friday."

The severity of the original charges brought widespread criticism and eventually led more than 20,000 people to converge in September 2007 on the tiny central Louisiana town of Jena for a major civil rights march.

Racial tensions at Jena High School reportedly grew throughout in the months before the attack. Several months before attack, nooses were hung in a tree on the campus, sparking outrage in the black community. Residents said there were fights, but nothing too serious until December 2006 when Barker was attacked.

Broke California set to issue IOUs

Dems refuse to rein in the spending and the GOP won't sign off on any tax and spend welfare shore up the Dems are demanding.

California's controller said on Wednesday that he would have to issue IOUs in a week if lawmakers can't quickly solve a $24 billion budget deficit, and the state's treasurer plans to tap a reserve fund to meet debt service costs.

The measures came as a budget crisis deepened in the most populous U.S. state and the gridlocked legislature failed to pass a proposed $11 billion in cuts.

"Next Wednesday we start a fiscal year with a massively unbalanced spending plan and a cash shortfall not seen since the Great Depression," Controller John Chiang said in a statement announcing that he would be forced to use IOUs to pay the state's bills beginning on July 2.

"The state's $2.8 billion cash shortage in July grows to $6.5 billion in September and after that we see a double digit freefall," Chiang said. "Unfortunately, the state's inability to balance its checkbook will now mean short-changing taxpayers, local governments and small businesses."

Indian automakers to take on Detroit automakers..

Whatever is left of Detroit at this point.

It wasn't too long ago that the thought of buying a reliable car from Korea seemed laughable. Today, Hyundai and Kia are accepted parts of the American automotive landscape.

Now, automakers from India are ready get into the U.S. market and experts say their vehicles are no joke. Plus, Detroit's turmoil could give Indian automakers a foot in the door here.

With General Motors and Chrysler both looking to save money, in part by trimming their dealer ranks, hundreds of new-car dealers could be ready to sign up with new competitors like these.

By the end of 2009 U.S. auto shoppers will be able to buy a mid-sized Mahindra pick-up truck and already almost 350 dealerships have signed on to sell it nationwide, according to Georgia-based Global Vehicles U.S.A., Mahindra's North American distributor. As a serious towing-and-hauling truck, Mahindra's small pick-up is aimed at taking a chunk of Americas big bread-and-butter market.

Tata Motors has also said it intends to begin selling its Nano microcar here by the 2011 for those seeking an ultra-cheap and fuel efficient vehicle.

Iran forces Neda Solton's family out of their home.

Out of sight and out of mind the Iranian authorities hope.

The Iranian authorities have ordered the family of Neda Agha Soltan out of their Tehran home after shocking images of her death were circulated around the world.

Neighbours said that her family no longer lives in the four-floor apartment building on Meshkini Street, in eastern Tehran, having been forced to move since she was killed. The police did not hand the body back to her family, her funeral was cancelled, she was buried without letting her family know and the government banned mourning ceremonies at mosques, the neighbours said.

"We just know that they [the family] were forced to leave their flat," a neighbour said. The Guardian was unable to contact the family directly to confirm if they had been forced to leave.

The government is also accusing protesters of killing Soltan, describing her as a martyr of the Basij militia. Javan, a pro-government newspaper, has gone so far as to blame the recently expelled BBC correspondent, Jon Leyne, of hiring "thugs" to shoot her so he could make a documentary film.

Obama's hot dog diplomacy is DOA for now.

Obama's reach out to the Mullahs has come from the angle that America is at fault for the strained relations between America and Iran. This latest program was dumb when started and downright dangerous to American credibility if continued after all that has happened in Iran.

The Obama administration has decided to rescind invitations to Iranian diplomats for July Fourth celebrations overseas because of violent crackdowns against protesters in Iran, the White House said Wednesday.

President Obama on Tuesday toughened his stance on Iran's crackdown on protesters.

"July Fourth allows us to celebrate the freedom and the liberty we enjoy: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to assemble peacefully, freedom of the press," White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters. "Given the events of the past many days, those invitations will no longer be extended."

The administration had decided to invite Iranians to the celebrations at overseas posts as part of the president's policy of engaging the Iranian regime.

In late May the State Department sent a cable to its embassies and consulates worldwide informing them they "may invite representatives from the government of Iran" to their July Fourth celebrations.

But in a fresh cable sent to all embassies and consulates Wednesday evening, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered posts "to rescind all invitations that have been extended to Iranian diplomats for July Fourth events.

HotAir points out a couple of things that could have changed his mind in less than 24 hours.

Obama's ABC's health infomercial.

I watched it here and there but outside of the two doctors mentioned in the writeup, it doesn't look like I missed anything other than Charlie Gibson trying to hold Obama's hand thru the townhall.

President Obama struggled to explain today whether his health care reform proposals would force normal Americans to make sacrifices that wealthier, more powerful people -- like the president himself -- wouldn't face.

The probing questions came from two skeptical neurologists during ABC News' special on health care reform, "Questions for the President: Prescription for America," anchored from the White House by Diane Sawyer and Charles Gibson.

Dr. Orrin Devinsky, a neurologist and researcher at the New York University Langone Medical Center, said that elites often propose health care solutions that limit options for the general public, secure in the knowledge that if they or their loves ones get sick, they will be able to afford the best care available, even if it's not provided by insurance.

Devinsky asked the president pointedly if he would be willing to promise that he wouldn't seek such extraordinary help for his wife or daughters if they became sick and the public plan he's proposing limited the tests or treatment they can get.

The president refused to make such a pledge, though he allowed that if "it's my family member, if it's my wife, if it's my children, if it's my grandmother, I always want them to get the very best care.

There is that little tidbit that some will be more equal than others. I actually don't have a problem with seeking the best medical care if you can afford it but a public plan limits you as shown below with the Mass. plan which is touted as the model for national use.

Yet again, Obama is either an economic dullard or is playing cutesy games with the question of a level playing field.

On the "Nightline" edition of the health care forum, Gibson read the president a letter from Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee expressing concern about the creation of a government-run health care plan.

"At a time when major government programs like Medicare and Medicaid are already on a path to fiscal insolvency, creating a brand new government program will not only worsen our long-term financial outlook but also negatively impact American families who enjoy the private coverage of their choice," the senators wrote.

"The end result would be a federal government takeover of our health care system, taking decisions out of the hands of doctors and patients and placing them in the hands of a Washington bureaucracy."

"They're wrong," the president said, arguing that in a Health Insurance Exchange, the public plan would be "one option among multiple options."

The concern, Gibson articulated, is that such a plan wouldn't be offered on a level playing field.

The president rebuffed that, arguing that "we can set up a public option where they're collecting premiums just like any private insurer and doctors can collect rates," but because the public plan will have lower administrative costs "we can keep them [private insurance companies] honest."

Obama said he didn't understand those advocates of the free market who constantly say the private sector can do things better and are yet worried about this plan.

"If that's the case, no one will choose the public option," the president said. He also suggested, however, that the private sector might not necessarily be better, point out that users of Medicare and Veterans Administration hospitals constantly rate "pretty high satisfaction."

Name one government run agency that has low administrative costs? That is just a wish but if he doesn't understand that a government run program cannot be on the same level as a private company. It is funded by the taxpayera and not subject to the same market forces as a private run company. This of course is the big lie he needs to break thru to halt any public concerns.

That a government run program has much lower costs and better options/results than any private company. Who the hell would believe that nonsense except the stupid and naive.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Massachusetts health care a wretched predictable bust.

Why? It was a poorly planned government run program that was more about making good appearances than actual cost cutting.

Why does a progressive state like Massachusetts strong-arm many individuals and businesses into buying expensive insurance plans that don't encourage actual visits to the doctor and hospital? According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average person consumes more than $5,000 per year in health care resources. No matter how you slice it, some entity—government, business, or the individual—owes a boatload of cash for medical expenses. The annual costs for the 500,000 or so uninsured Massachusetts residents would run more than $2.5 billion, far in excess of the original state subsidy of $559 million.

That left billions to be paid by businesses and individuals. So for them, a high-deductible plan was a rational gamble. You (or your employer) front just enough money to get some coverage in case of catastrophe and then hope no one actually gets sick. But someone invariably does. As a result, out-of-pocket medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcies—even though of most affected families actually have health insurance.

The expensive Massachusetts plan is not well-designed to systematically improve anyone's health. Instead, it's a superficial effort to clear the uninsured from the books and then clumsily limit further costs by discouraging care.

Chavez money controls backfire as you expected.

This is another economic genius at work here.

Chavez began regulating access to dollars and making it harder for businesses and people to transfer money in 2003, after confidence in his government was shaken by a failed coup and a subsequent strike. Venezuelans must now apply to the currency agency Cadivi for dollars at the official rate of 2.15 bolivars to import goods or take vacations.

These controls have backfired with a vengeance — businessmen, companies and private citizens transferred some $72.7 billion out of Venezuela over the last six years — nearly double the outflow of the previous six years, according to the Central Bank — distorting the economy, fueling inflation and discouraging private investment.

But the controls themselves haven't led to a political backlash, perhaps because Venezuelans with means tend to be opposed to Chavez's socialist policies already. Poorer Venezuelans haven't been as affected, partly because the government subsidizes food and free health care.

(video) Obama's Testy Press Conference

Kudos to Major Garrett, Jake Tapper and even Chuck Todd actually asking tough questions.

Obama pushed,shoved, prodded to tougher stance on Iran.

He claimed he has been entirely consistent as he tries to pull one of those oratory speech tricks. The AP ain't having any of it today.

President Barack Obama described himself on Tuesday as being "entirely consistent" in his expressions of concern about the disputed Iranian election and the government crackdown that followed street protests. But his language clearly has gotten tougher since his first statement that the suppression of dissent was "of concern to me."

In Tuesday's news conference, Obama was asked whether he had soft-pedaled his public reactions to postelection unrest in Iran. The president correctly recalled that he had initially expressed deep concern about the election. And he has consistently made the point that he would not allow the Iranians to use the American government as a foil to undermine the legitimacy of the protesters.
Obama shifted some of his emphasis to condemnation of the violence. In a June 16 statement, for example, he said suppression of peaceful dissent "is of concern to me." On Tuesday he was more forceful, saying the U.S. is "appalled and outraged by the threats, beatings and imprisonments" of protesters. And he cited the "searing image" shown on TV of a female Iranian protester "bleeding to death on the streets."

A look at some of Obama's other claims Tuesday:

That is also stupid. Iran still blamed the west and America for its troubles after Obama decided to be "cordial" to them. The hot dog diplomacy is still on despite everything else.

If he thinks he can talk to this Iranian regime and get a deal they will follow while stopping their nuke program, he is delusional.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Obama's dishonest and stupid attack on private health care plans.

This either proves he is an economic dullard or he thinks his oratory skills can make people that this statement makes no sense whatsoever. This is from Tuesday's press conference on his public health care plan and private insurers like America's Health Insurance Plans and Blue Cross-Blue Shield saying it would drive them out of business.

Now, the public plan I think is a important tool to discipline insurance companies. What we've said is, under our proposal, let's have a system the same way that federal employees do, same way that members of Congress do, where -- we call it an "exchange," or you can call it a "marketplace" -- where essentially you've got a whole bunch of different plans. If you like your plan and you like your doctor, you won't have to do a thing. You keep your plan. You keep your doctor. If your employer is providing you good health insurance, terrific, we're not going to mess with it.

But if you're a small business person, if the insurance that's being offered is something you can't afford, if you want to shop for a better price, then you can go to this exchange, this marketplace, and you can look: Okay, this is how much this plan costs, this is how much that plan costs, this is what the coverage is like, this is what fits for my family. As one of those options, for us to be able to say, here's a public option that's not profit-driven, that can keep down administrative costs and that provides you good, quality care for a reasonable price -- as one of the options for you to choose, I think that makes sense.

Q: Won't that drive private insurers out of business?

THE PRESIDENT: Why would it drive private insurers out of business? If private insurers say that the marketplace provides the best quality health care, if they tell us that they're offering a good deal, then why is it that the government -- which they say can't run anything -- suddenly is going to drive them out of business? That's not logical.

Now, I think that there's going to be some healthy debates in Congress about the shape that this takes. I think there can be some legitimate concerns on the part of private insurers that if any public plan is simply being subsidized by taxpayers endlessly, that over time they can't compete with the government just printing money.

It can never be a true competition if it involves the government, the public plan is going to be funded by taxpayers while private insurers have to get people to sign on their plans. If people and companies see the government with better plans that will be funded no matter what, they will move over to the public plan, gutting the private insurers.

If its a true competition then everyone has to be on the same playing field and subject to the same marketplace forces. The public plan won't be because if something goes wrong, tax and spend to fund it. It runs into the red, do you think Obama or the Dems will cut spending costs? Nope. Look at Medicare and Medicaid and see how fiscal responsible that has been run over the decades.

The level of dishonest is amazing even when he tries to make a point to Jake Tapper and shows my point how the public plan is stacking the deck against private companies.

Now, let me go to the broader question you made about the public plan. As I said before, I think that there is a legitimate concern if the public plan was simply eating off the taxpayer trough, that it would be hard for private insurers to complete. If, on the other hand, the public plan is structured in such a way where they've got to collect premiums and they've got to provide good services, then if what the insurance companies are saying is true, that they're doing their best to serve their customers, that they're in the business of keeping people well and giving them security when they get sick, they should be able to compete.

Now, if it turns out that the public plan, for example, is able to reduce administrative costs significantly, then you know what? I'd like insurance companies to take note and say, hey, if the public plan can do that, why can't we? And that's good for everybody in the system. And I don't think there should be any objection to that.

Now, by the way, I should point out that part of the reform that we've suggested is that if you want to be a private insurer as part of the exchange, as part of this marketplace, this menu of options that people can choose from, we're going to have some different rules for all insurance companies -- one of them being that you can't preclude people from getting health insurance because of a pre-existing condition, you can't cherry pick and just take the healthiest people.

Name one government agency that is a lean streamlined operating machine? I thought so.

The other point is companies that join the public plan can't decided their customers. The taxpayers are paying for his plan no matter what happens which brings up the question how will companies out of this marketplace in the private sector compete?

Obama is trying his best to make people skip the logical weaknesses while taking advantage of recession worries to push thru a plan that will make people more dependent on government.

In a Dem's mind that is never a bad thing.

UAW refuses to pay $3 million tax bill on posh golf resort.

All those billions in taxpayer bailout and the UAW still looking to gyp the system.

The auto executives have had to give up most of their perks in exchange for the federal bailout money. No private jets. No lavish sales outings.

But the United Auto Workers seems to have slipped under the radar.

The UAW still owns and operates a $33 million posh golf resort on Black Lake near Cheboygan that ostensibly serves as an education center but provides an elegant getaway for union leadership.

And now the union is appealing to the state Tax Tribunal for $3 million in property tax relief from Waverly Township, disputing the assessment of the property. If the UAW wins, schools will be hurt.

"Once again, the next generation is getting cheated out of a quality education -- a chance at a brighter future -- because the UAW doesn't want to pay its fair share of taxes," Drain Commissioner Dennis Lennox said.

The waste watchdogs at the White House's auto task force should note that the resort has lost $23 million over the past five years, and has been kept alive by loans from the union's strike fund.

Anyone making sure none of our taxpayer dollars are going to fund their golf club?

ACORN drops name while strong arming critics.

ACORN is trying a reimaging of its operations under a new name but still trying to bash its critics.

Bernie Kosar fights thru divorce, bankruptcy.

Interesting story about Bernie Kosar going thru some rough times but he at least admits his mistakes and flaws. Most ex players blame everyone else but themselves for everything that goes wrong.

Obama's job-counting rules is hilariously brazen.

If Obama was a CEO and he pulled a stunt like this, he would be fired.

As part of the $787 billion stimulus law, governors, mayors and contractors must begin reporting job numbers to the federal government in October. The data collected could provide the most accurate count of workers employed by stimulus money, a number that is expected to be far more precise than the murky and unverifiable promise that 3.5 million jobs will be created by the end of next year.

But for months, there has been confusion over what the rules would be. What's a created job? A saved job? Could a construction worker be counted twice if he worked two part-time contracts? On highway jobs, do you count just the laborers, or also the extra wait staff at the nearby lunch spot?

Under the rules released Monday, the White House told governors, mayors and contractors to keep it simple.

"Just count the people being paid out of Recovery Act dollars," said Rob Nabors, deputy director at the White House budget office.

To avoid double-counting, a job means a full-time, full-year job. So a student working a 9-to-5 job for his three-month summer vacation will be counted as one-fourth of a job. The part-time teacher who works all year is half a job. And the full-time highway contractor who works all year is one job.

As the figures are released every three months, the data will represent the closest to a stimulus head count as any information available in real time. The number is expected to fall well short of the 3.5 million mark. That's because there's no way to reliably tally jobs created by Obama's $288 billion tax cuts. And the count will not include jobs created by the ripple effect of business spending.

The White House will issue those estimates based on the head count.

"This whole thing is tricky. I'm not going to pretend it's not," Nabors said. "This whole effort is virtually unprecedented."

So if a job was already there it counts as saved if you get paid by stimulus money and since the job is already there it can't have been created. How is this considering even remotely accurate? It would be easier just to guess.

56.4 percent of New York City HS kids graduate

The sad part is the officials seem to be proud of it since this a 3.6% rise from last year.

New York City's four-year high school graduation rate has risen to 56.4 percent.

The city said today that the figure for 2008 is 3.6 percentage points higher than the previous year.

The graduation rate on Staten Island was 68 percent -- up one percentage point from last year.

The statewide rate was 71 percent.

The state also just began issuing separate figures that include students who complete requirements over the summer and graduate in August.

When August graduates are included, the city's four-year rate was 60.7 percent. The statewide rate with August graduates was 73.6 percent.

I bet standards were lowered as well and they barely broke 60%

Perez Hilton getting smacked made my day

I am buying a track from Black Eyed Pea just to celebrate. You call someone a F'ing faggot to their face and you are then surprised you get punched shows you are stupid.

Gladd is not happy.

700 NYC teachers paid to sit around doing nothing.

Lets hear it for the unions who have their own little job bank creation going on in the NYC school system.

Hundreds of New York City public school teachers accused of offenses ranging from insubordination to sexual misconduct are being paid their full salaries to sit around all day playing Scrabble, surfing the Internet or just staring at the wall, if that's what they want to do.

Because their union contract makes it extremely difficult to fire them, the teachers have been banished by the school system to its "rubber rooms" — off-campus office space where they wait months, even years, for their disciplinary hearings.

The 700 or so teachers can practice yoga, work on their novels, paint portraits of their colleagues — pretty much anything but school work. They have summer vacation just like their classroom colleagues and enjoy weekends and holidays through the school year.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Tim Burton's 'Wonderland' looks awesome.

If there was a book that would fit into Tim Burton's style it would be Alice in Wonderland and I am surprised it took this long for both to paired up.

Those who have grown curiouser and curiouser about what the offbeat reinventor of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory might conjure up in his version of Alice in Wonderland can feast their eyes on this array of concept art and publicity images, due to hang in movie theaters this week to promote the March 5, 2010, release.

"It has been Burton-ized" is how producer Richard Zanuck describes the director's vision of the Lewis Carroll classic. Many elements are familiar, from the enigmatic Caterpillar (Alan Rickman) to the fierce Jabberwock (Christopher Lee). But none has been presented in this sort of visually surreal fashion.

"We finished shooting in December after only 40 days," Zanuck says. Now the live action is being merged with CG animation and motion-capture creatures, and then transferred into 3-D.

Obama's Recovery hits snag; Where's the Jobs?

Michael Fletcher of the Wash Post writes about the growing alarm over one of Obama's many promises that spending our way into massive debt would also bring and save jobs. Not going according to plan.

Despite signs that the recession gripping the nation's economy may be easing, the unemployment rate is projected to continue rising for another year before topping out in double digits, a prospect that threatens to slow growth, increase poverty and further complicate the Obama administration's message of optimism about the economic outlook.

The likelihood of severe unemployment extending into the 2010 midterm elections and beyond poses a significant political hurdle to President Obama and congressional Democrats, who are already under fire for what critics label profligate spending. Continuing high unemployment rates would undercut the fundamental argument behind much of that spending: the promise that it will create new jobs and improve the prospects of working Americans, which Obama has called the ultimate measure of a healthy economy.

"Our hope would be to actually create some jobs this year," Obama said in an interview with The Washington Post in the days before taking office.

Obama has defended his economic approach -- which includes the $787 billion economic stimulus plan and record investments in health care, alternative energy, education and job training -- as necessary to stabilize the shaky economy and point the way to job growth.

A recession is about cutting off the dead weight and shutting down businesses that are not working anymore. The last boom economy was built on easy credit and spurious spending behavior that came to bite everyone in the ass. The recovery will not bring back lost jobs or mean businesses will be run the same as before the collapse. What Obama promised was a lie that anyone who took an eco 101 class or just used their common sense.

The dynamics of the modern economy further dim the employment picture. Job growth was weak for years after the past two recessions, in 1991 and 2001. Employers have grown increasingly slow to rehire workers, and steady advances in technology have allowed businesses to do more with fewer workers.

While the recession has touched workers across the spectrum, "many of the job losses are in manufacturing and construction, affecting less-educated workers and immigrants," Zandi said. "It is going to be hard for them to find their way back into the workforce quickly."

Meanwhile, the current recession has been characterized by the implosion of the housing market and the near collapse of the financial sector and automobile industry. Despite huge federal interventions, many of the jobs in those industries are gone for good.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Madonna sends Nanny to get her other African baby.

You would figure that a mother who just adopted her child would be so happy that she would be there to take her home in her arms. Since this is Madonna, nope.

Madonna's new daughter has flown out of her native Malawi on a private jet headed for London, an airport employee and a person familiar with Madonna's adoption proceedings in this southern African country said Saturday.

The airport employee, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter, said 3-year-old Chifundo "Mercy" James left late Friday headed to London, with a stop in neighboring South Africa. The girl, the second child Madonna has adopted from Malawi, was reportedly accompanied on the flight by a nanny, a child nurse and a third aide.

The person familiar with the adoption, who also was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, said the girl known as Mercy should have reached London on Saturday morning. Madonna has homes in England and in the United States.

Deadbeat GM has $250 million bill due.

If you are a business expecting a check from their taxpayer billions upon billions bailout, don't be to hasty running to the mailbox.

General Motors owes hundreds of millions of dollars to major suppliers who have never made an auto part, rubber tire or sheet of steel -- and they're not likely to get paid anytime soon.

GM is on the hook for more than $100 million for advertising it purchased before filing for bankruptcy earlier this month. The list of utilities who are GM creditors takes up 80 pages in its bankruptcy filing.

Among the company's top 50 creditors, 10 are outside the auto or transportation industries. GM owes these firms just under $250 million. But they have to take a back seat in the bankruptcy process.

While virtually all of the auto parts makers who work with GM are being declared "critical vendors," which allows them to receive their next payments by July 2, GM's other suppliers are not guaranteed payments anytime soon. The company cannot make payments to them without approval from the bankruptcy court.

Iranians protests, Obama goes for Ice Cream.

If it wasn't for the past week of Obama simplistic hesitation toward the Iran protests and violence while even trading partners Germany and France put out harsh words over it, this pic of him getting Ice Cream with his daughters wouldn't bug me.

But after the reports of today it really does get under my skin.

BBC, Washington Post and NYTIMES running bodyguard duty for Obama saying his nice tone earlier in the week and previous overtures are confusing the Mullahs. State stooges are taking credit for the "debate" taking place in Iran.

The measured approach and offer of talks, which was repeated this week, may have also been highly unnerving for Iran's hardliners, who are more used to hostility from the West and whose positions were solidified during the Bush administration, which included Iran in the "axis of evil".

"In offering negotiation and conciliation, [President Obama] has put the region's extremists on the defensive," wrote Senator John Kerry in the New York Times on Thursday.

Mr Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat and former presidential candidate, now chairs the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee.

While events unfolded slowly, Mr Kerry cautioned the administration against voicing strong support for the demonstrators or tougher condemnation of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"Returning to harsh criticism now would only erase this progress, empower hardliners in Iran who want to see negotiations fail and undercut those who have risen up in support of a better relationship," added Mr Kerry.

Domestic crisis

State department official Phillip Crowley said the offer of engagement appeared to have contributed to the dynamic of events in Iran even though "the debate is mostly among Iranians and about the future of Iran".

"The offer of engagement by the president helped start a debate in Iran that was perhaps more robust than the Iranian government anticipated," he said.

"In the midst of this debate, it would appear the government overreacted and the results of the election have lacked credibility in the eyes of the Iranian people."

The US administration has been at pains to stress that the crisis in Iran is a domestic one and that it is up to the Iranians to decide who they want as their leaders.


Could there be something to all the talk of an Obama effect, after all? A stealth effect, perhaps?

As the silent protests in Tehran dominated television screens around the world last week, a peculiar debate in Washington erupted. On one side, a handful of supporters of President Bush said Iranian protesters had taken to the streets because they were emboldened by President Bush’s pro-democracy stance, and the example of Shiite democracy he set up in Iraq. On the other side, some of President Obama’s backers countered that the mere election of Barack Obama in the United States had galvanized reformers in Iran to demand change.

Both of those arguments gave the United States an outsize role at the epicenter of an unfolding story that most experts, and a great many Iranians who talked to pollsters, said was actually not about America at all; it was about Iran and its own problems, notably a highly disputable vote count and the performance of its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

“We have to be a little humble about our understanding about what’s going on in Iran,” said R. Nicholas Burns, who was a State Department under secretary for President Bush. “There’s been massive disappointment in Ahmadinejad’s stewardship over the years.”

Even so, something else was also at play: the wistful comments of many Iranian protesters who dreamed of better relations with the world. That strand of thought, however slender among the other huge issues, was evident at the protest demonstrations on behalf of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s principal challenger, Mir Hussein Moussavi. Sign after sign at his rallies was emblazoned: “A new greeting to the world.”

“Behind closed doors, most Iranian officials have long recognized that the ‘death to America’ culture of 1979 is bankrupt, and that Iran will never achieve its enormous potential as long as relations with the United States remain adversarial,” said Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He and others argue that many Iranian pragmatists and moderates believe that their country in 2009 is facing a now-or-never moment.

“If Tehran’s hardliners are incapable of making nice with an American president named Barack Hussein Obama who preaches mutual respect and wishes them a happy Nowruz, it’s pretty obvious the problem is in Tehran, not Washington,” Mr. Sadjadpour said.

Wash Post:

Daniel W. Drezner, professor of international politics at Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, said that "off-key note" was "probably right about a week ago, but the situation has changed when you had tens of thousands of people in streets" in support of Mousavi.

Drezner said that otherwise, "Obama has played it about right." He said yesterday's statement was "rather artful" in citing the government's obligations to its people.

"He's playing to multiple audiences. He's talking not only to the Iranians but also the Russians and the Chinese," two key partners in the effort to restrain Iran's nuclear ambitions, Drezner said. "The more ambitious and, for lack of a better word, Bush-like his language is, the more it will upset the Russians and Chinese."

Tom Malinowski, Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, agreed that Obama has struck the right balance. "Our Iranian-dissident contacts want a certain degree of moral support, but from a significant distance," he said. They believe anything more forceful "will be used to discredit them."

"Some people are saying 'bearing witness' is a passive stance, but I'm not sure what an active stance would be," Malinowski said. "What else could he do? The more the demands of the opposition become associated with the United States, the harder it will be for a spontaneous opposition movement in Iran to make progress."

Only the NYTIMES comes close to the real reason which is this is all about the election and Iran internal problems. For years we have known that the middle class and younger Iranians desired better relations not only with America but the world. But also under Ahmadinejad and the clerics, the domestic issues, economic and social wise have gotten worse.

That all came to ahead when the elections were stolen in a not so subtle way. The Obama effect is his stand of not taking a stand gives him wiggle room to try and take credit for events he never had a hand in the first place.

No one is saying to order troops to the Iranian border but the "concerned" demeanor doesn't help at this point and certainly still thinking of making with this regime over nukes and other issues will be a horrendous move that will show a sign of weakness to the Mullahs.