Friday, February 27, 2009

Tilting at Windmills


A clear example of politician-double-speak: when Obama says he isn't going to raise taxes on anymone making less than $250K, he's not telling you that the utility companies will jack your rates up to a European socialized-country level.

From Larry Kudlow at National Review:

"Study after study over the past several decades has shown how countries that spend more produce less, while nations that tax less produce more. Obama is doing it wrong on both counts.

"And as far as middle-class tax cuts are concerned, Obama’s cap-and-trade program will be a huge tax increase on all blue-collar workers, including unionized workers. Industrial production is plunging, and new carbon taxes will prevent production from ever recovering. While the country wants more fuel and power, cap-and-trade will deliver less."

I mean, when he imposes his "cap and trade" system on us, you think oil companies aren't going to pass this along to us? After all, he promised to "bankrupt" the coal industry, and by golly, he's going to do it.

Basically, this cap and trade system will require companies to buy credits if they exceed greenhouse gas limits. As Sara Goss points out in American Thinker, "companies don't absorb costs, they pass them on to the consumer." Utility bills will double, or even triple.

From the Shreveport Times:

To raise about $30 billion over 10 years to pay for other priorities, Obama wants to impose a new excise tax on offshore oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico, cut tax breaks and increase royalties.

Independent Petroleum Association of America President Barry Russell said Obama "delivered a devastating blow to the American oil and natural gas industry today."

"Ninety percent of the oil and natural gas wells developed in the United States are done by small, independent businesses — not so-called 'Big Oil' — so tax increases hurt these companies most," Russell said. "This budget hurts our ability to be competitive with other nations in the growing world energy marketplace."

Russell said the budget proposals, coupled with the administration's recent move to delay a five-year plan that would determine the sites of the next offshore lease sales, "is not welcome news, especially for the majority of Americans who favor increased American oil and natural gas production."

Off-shore drilling is a high-risk enterprise and to remove all incentive further increases the cost of production.

Obama wants us to resort more to "green energy" - I get that. But it's not in place yet. Start-up is expensive. It's not proven it works. If he wants to develop these things, fine, but why, especially during a recession, would you kill any more industry than we already have? Or deny and penalize a technology that we know works? I don't think he'll offer a bailout to the coal industry so they can buy their cap and trade permits.

We must have a reliable energy supply. Windmills aren't it. Energy producers get slammed in the new Obama budget proposal. The result will be "lower energy production or increased cost to the consumers."


Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Tax Myth


I'm at a loss on this one. It is beyond my comprehension how or why we have put ourselves in this position but here we are; on top of all the previous off the charts government spending of the past few weeks, now we are looking at this new budget proposal.

Consider the Wall Street Journal. After noting that Obama said he isn't going to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250K:

Even the most basic inspection of the IRS income tax statistics shows that raising taxes on the salaries, dividends and capital gains of those making more than $250,000 can't possibly raise enough revenue to fund Mr. Obama's new spending ambitions.

Consider the IRS data for 2006, the most recent year that such tax data are available and a good year for the economy and "the wealthiest 2%." Roughly 3.8 million filers had adjusted gross incomes above $200,000 in 2006. (That's about 7% of all returns; the data aren't broken down at the $250,000 point.) These people paid about $522 billion in income taxes, or roughly 62% of all federal individual income receipts. The richest 1% -- about 1.65 million filers making above $388,806 -- paid some $408 billion, or 39.9% of all income tax revenues, while earning about 22% of all reported U.S. income.

This figure is not even close to what he's planning on spending. There is no way. So what happens? Considering that the economy is tanking and that the number of people even making $250K may not be what it was two years ago, basically Obama is gambling.

And as I suggested last night, he's absolutely going to raise all our taxes, despite what he says. We'll all be donating 60 percent of our income to the federal government at this rate. We're creeping closer and closer with each new bailout, each new stimulus, each new health care plan, each new job-killing tactic or proposal that comes down.

WSJ goes on to say that "the bottom line is that Mr. Obama is selling the country on a 2% illusion. Unwinding the U.S. commitment in Iraq and allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire can't possibly pay for his agenda. Taxes on the not-so-rich will need to rise as well. "

John Boehner said "it is a “job killer” and that “small businesses, family farms, middle-class families, retirees, charities, everyone with a 401(k), and anyone who flips on a light switch is going to pay higher taxes under this plan.”

Some will tell me that it's my duty to pay these taxes, that it's patriotic, that it is for the greater good of society. I should not resent having to pay for removal of a gang-banger's tattoos, I should applaud the effort to pay for somebody who bought a house above their means.

Hogwash.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bobby Finds His Legs

THIS is the Bobby we know in Louisiana - from The Today Show this morning. He speaks better OFF the teleprompter, as you can see here.



The money quotes -

"We think it's more important to get the private sector moving rather than just spending government money."

"We can not tax and borrow our way out of this."

"Bipartisanship is not just having people over for lemonade and cookies at the White House, it takes hard work."

"By the way, I know it's a thousand page bill they got at midnight and they voted on very quickly; maybe they should read the bill."



A Revolution is Coming


Did you hear that giant sucking sound? That was another $410 billion dollars going down the drain today compliments of 229 Democrats and 16 Republicans who voted for the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act.

I'm sort of with Ed at Hot Air on this one. I doubt that one person in a hundred on the street could identify an earmark in either Porkulus or Omnibus.

Is it true, as Ed says, and even as one of my commentors said, that Americans just don't care about the earmarks? Are they just such a part of politics that we assume it is business as usual and don't pay attention?

The hypocrisy of it all just slays me. Obama has the gall to tolerate this from Congress, not veto earmarks, and at the same time hold a "Fiscal Responsibility Summit"? Seriously? From Obama's On The Issues site:

Shine Light on Earmarks and Pork Barrel Spending: Obama's Transparency and Integrity in Earmarks Act will shed light on all earmarks by disclosing the name of the legislator who asked for each earmark, along with a written justification, 72 hours before they can be approved by the full Senate.

He promised earmark reform. He promised to go through and veto "line by line" any earmarks in legislation that crossed his desk. Did he do that in the Stimulus bill? Of course not. When asked, he said that if those expenditures were in the bill all along then they were not earmarks. Shell game.

Please tell me how the garbage in the Omnibus bill is not defined as earmarks? Tattoo removal? Honeybee Insurance? Star-gazing in Hawaii? There are close to 9000 earmarks in the Omnibus bill.

Yet we're going to cut back on military spending and scale back in Afghanistan and Iraq.

If the economy is SO bad, and if we are going to spend all this money to rescue irresponsible home owners who made poor decisions about home loans, and if we are going to nationalize banks, and if we are going to bailout the auto manufacturers, and if we are going to keep pouring more money down this black hole of irresponsibility and poor decision making, why not fund earmarks for Brown Tree Snake Management or North Pole Wastewater Management?

If you're keeping count that's almost a TRILLION in Porkulus, now $410 billion in Omnibus. We haven't even gotten to the next TARP which is coming, or the $634 billion health care package which is coming.

Exit question? Where in the hell does it stop? Does it ever?

Exit question 2: You think he's going to do all this and NOT raise YOUR taxes?

Oh wait, I know. I'm supposed to suck it up because it's for the greater good? Sounds like socialism to me.

The Haynesville Shale Problem


I received an e-mail a while back from Andrew Walker of Walker Petroleum in Shreveport. With the recent discovery of the Haynesville Shale which is a rock formation containing oil and gas lying approximately 10,500 to 13,000 feet sub-surface in northwest Louisiana and East Texas, Mr. Walker has become concerned about the lease units.

Last summer, before the economy tanked, folks around here were signing leases and getting fat checks. Then the economy tanked, gas prices dropped, and no more lease deals (nope - I didn't get one.)

According to Mr. Walker's extensive research, he says the issue is that Louisiana law requires our "commissioner of conservation to prescribe units that can be drained by one well." The problem is that the lease units are being drawn up with more than one well which does not conform to state law. This opens a huge can of worms, one of the biggest being that landowners would be subject to unfair apportionment of drilling and production. It also leaves oil companies and the state open to lawsuits later on.

He is calling for a new type of compulsory unit to be drawn up that will allow multi-well, 640-acre shale units and that provides equal protection for property owners.

In a heavily researched paper that was much too long for The Times to print, Mr. Walker outlines the case of three landowners of a 600+ acre "unit." Basically, all the wells are on the land of one landowner and he is taking all the surface damage, but the other two landowners are also reaping profit with no surface damage, traffic, wells, or mess on their land. The profit is divided between the three owners of the "unit" even though one takes the hit. Not fair.

Once the drilling becomes more urban the problem will only increase.

Go here to read Mr. Walker's Times article. You can go here to learn more about the Haynesville Shale.

Mr. Walker would love to hear from anyone who might be interested in getting involved or have experience with this issue. You can contact him at fairdrilling (at) aol.com.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

O-BINGO

If you're watching the speech tonight you might want to amuse yourself with a bit of O-Bingo Go here to download your card!


$900 Million for Gaza?


Money grows on trees you know, and despite our tanking economy we apparently have enough cash to funnel $900 million to Gaza.

A New York Times story this morning explains that this aid is to help rebuild Gaza "after the Israeli incursion" last month. The Times does not point out that Israel, fed up with Hamas rocket attacks, was defending itself. That's beside the point.

This aid follows on the heels of the the "Unexpected Urgent Refugee and Migration Needs Related to Gaza" order signed by Obama on January 27, 2009. The order allocated $20.3 million for the purpose of resettling Gaza refugees and would be distributed by the UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency).

The new $900 million influx would also be handled by the UNRWA. Andy McCarthy, writing for National Review, expressed concern about UNRWA in a post this morning and it seems his fears are well founded. He says "the UNRWA is effectively an arm of Hamas in Gaza (and elsewhere). In its second term, the Bush State Department was reckless in enabling Palestinian terrorists on its utopian quest for Middle East peace. As in so much else, Obama is taking that parlous policy and multiplying it by a hundred."

During the election there were concerns about Obama's anti-Israel position. He was associated with several anti-Israel characters such as Rashid Khalidi (remember the 2003 tape suppressed by the LA Times in which Obama attended a farewell bash, along with Bill Ayers, for Khalidi?). I wrote about my own concerns here, here, and here. Obama's radical associations alarmed me, but many scoffed at me and said I should not to judge him by his friends. Fair enough.

But now we are giving aid to Gaza and to assume that this money won't find its way into the hands of Hamas is naive. Asaf Romirowsky, in an article published in 2007 by the Jewish Policy Center, wrote about how UNRWA supports Hamas and it is worth your time time to read.

Romirowsky points out that the UNRWA benefits from the continued conflict because without the conflict there would be no more purpose for them. The agency is staffed mainly by locals - "more than 23,000" of them and they are not screened against any terrorist watch list.

Khalidi himself explained that UNRWA employs "members of different political groups such as...Hamas and Islamic Jihad, without reference to their belonging to a specific group." The workers are even allowed to associate with terrorist groups.

Rominrowsky writes:

"There have also been widespread reports of terrorism from UNRWA-supervised facilities, including sniper attacks from UNRWA-run schools, bomb and arms factories in UNRWA camps, the transport of terrorists to their target zones in UNRWA ambulances, and even UNRWA employees directly tied to terrorist attacks against civilians.

Nidal Abd al-Fattah Abdallah Nazzal, an ambulance driver for UNRWA from Kalqiliya in the West Bank, was arrested by Israeli security services in August 2002. Nidal admitted that he was a Hamas activist and that he had transported weapons and explosives to terrorists in his ambulance, taking advantage of the freedom of movement afforded to UNRWA vehicles by the Israelis."

In addition, the UNRWA allowed terrorist groups to use their schools for the purpose of training Palestinian children how to make roadside bombs. Is this what we should be funding as U.S. taxpayers? There is more than enough evidence to support the fact that Hamas operates freely within UNRWA. So by extension, our government is funding terrorist organizations?

How might our ally Israel feel about all this influx of cash in the direction of Hamas?

If we want to weaken Hamas to the point where they can no longer terrorize Israel or anyone else, shouldn't we CUT their funding rather than making it easier for them to operate?

Jindal's National Moment


The nation will be watching our own Bobby Jindal tonight as he gives the response to Obama's pseudo-State-of-The-Union-Type address.

I'm watching Jindal too. He was elected with great promise in Louisiana; after the debacle that was Blanco and Katrina, he looked really good.

There are a lot of folks that have not been happy with Jindal, however. One is vocal radio host Moon Griffon. I adore Moon and listen to him regularly when I'm off work in the summer. He's a grassroots, homespun kind of guy. He thinks Jindal has been disingenuous in touting his six tax cuts for the state.

Moon points to the Stelly tax mess as evidence of that and to his credit, he is correct. Jindal is touting the repeal of the Stelly tax as one of his tax credits but to date, nobody is receiving that tax break. In fact, a non-profit group, Believe in Louisiana, ran an ad promoting Jindal last summer; the ad said "Jindal's getting rid of that awful Stelly tax; it's a $300 million income tax cut!" The group bought ad time on Moon's show and once Moon heard the ad, he dropped it and sent the check back.

C. B. Forgotston is even more vocal in his criticism of Jindal. C.B. has a blog and has run several posts demanding that Louisiana citizens "hold Bobby's feet to the fire" about the hiring freeze and outmigration just to name two.

LSUS Professor Jeff Sadow writes articulately about "the dunderhead chorus" who criticized Jindal's decison on the stimulus funds. He explains clearly the logic behind Jindal's refusal of the funds.

What sticks in my mind most is last summer when the state legislature tried to give themselves a huge pay raise immediately after the election. I wrote about it here; Jindal refused to veto the raise until the very last minute despite his campaign promise that the leges would not be allowed to do that. There were protests at every stop he made around the state and a recall petition was circulating until he finally pulled out the veto pen.

Jindal's speech tonight will be poised, articulate, intelligent and he will shine. He will be informed of his facts and he won't be vague. He won't say "uhm" and "uh" a thousand times. He might say "Let's be clear" too much - a favorite of his. Here's a preview of his style:




More Pork, Please


Ray Charles and "Here We Go Again" is the theme music for this post.

Congress is preparing to lay their new $410 spending bill on us as the new budget cycle begins. Republicans are deriding the bill as "the cherry on the stimulus sundae" but you can be sure they have their own earmarks in this one as well.

The budget process begins Thursday as Obama releases his 2010 budget plan. On top of the Porkulus bill, this might truly be too much to take!

Last night Michelle Malkin posted a link to Capitol Hill staffer Tom Jones and his twittering of the bill; he's going through it with a fine tooth comb and identifying the pork.

Some of his findings?

awesome $200K #pork for "Tattoo Removal Violence Prevention Outreach Program" amazing. $$$ to get rid of gang tats. pg283

$5.8M earmark for "Ted Kennedy Institute for the Senate... for the planning and design of a building & an endowment" p.232

omnibus has $95,000 earmark to "combat obesity" - how about less pork?

earmark to the stars?? $2M for "for the promotion of astronomy in Hawaii" Really? pg. 332

National Council of LaRaza gets $473,000 earmark in #omnibus from Sens. Bingamen and Menendez

Follow his twitters and see what he finds today!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Benyam Mohamed Released to Britain


Gitmo is all over the news this week.

Last week White House Counsel Greg Craig visited Guantanamo and today Attorney General Eric Holder made the trip. No reporters were allowed on that trip. It should also be noted that Obama has never been to Gitmo.

Over the weekend we had the quiet news that treatment of the detainees does in fact meet Geneva conventions (even though they aren't, as enemy combatants, actually entitled to them). It seems that force feeding isn't actually torture; trying to save their miserable lives meets Geneva conventions. English and art classes aren't torture either, nor is the 4700 calories a day they consume.

We also learned that detainees at Bagram are not entitled to U.S. Constitutional rights - it seemed a totally obvious conclusion but I guess it needed to be said.

Now we have this ad by Military Families United protesting today's release of Binyam Mohamed.




This guy is a bad egg. Lt. Col. Gordon Cucullu wrote about him in his book Inside Gitmo. Mohamed trained in Afghanistan at the al Farouk camp. From there he supposedly went to Kabul for urban warfare training and eventually he graduated to bomb-making and explosives. He met with senior al Qaeda leadership as well as with Bin Laden. By this time he was proficient in remote control devices, or IEDs. He traveled with another known terrorist, going from safe house to safe house, eventually ending up in Pakistan where he learned how to make dirty bombs.

Benyam Mohamed agreed to carry out an attack on the U.S. He was sent to Karachi to meet with high-ranking al Qaeda leaders. His mission was to be to target high-rise apartment buildings that relied on natural gas. According to Cucullu's research, most notably the charge sheet against Mohamed, they would rent an apartment in one of these buildings and then use the natural gas in that building to initiate an explosion. They were even given the funding for this mission and instructed to fly to Chicago. But all good plans go awry and Mohamed was detained for a forged passport, then turned over to American authorities. Thank goodness.

In October 2008, the charges against him were dropped in a move that was called "procedural" and everyone believed that charges would be refiled. Does this move sound familiar? Remember the dropped charges against al Nashiri - the USS Cole bomber?

Remember Obama meeting with those families, promising that all cases would be reviewed and justice would be swift?

When asked about the release of Mohamed, Robert Gibbs said, "the President made a decision at the beginning of his administration to close the facility at Guantanamo Bay and to start a process of evaluating the detainees there in accordance with his solemn obligation to do all that he can to keep our country safe, to do it in a way that protects our men and women in uniform, and does so in accordance with our American values. That process, as you know, is ongoing. In terms of the specifics related to Mr. Mohamed's case, I would point you to the Department of Justice. But the President feels confident that the process that his administration has undertaken will yield results that keep us safer."

I'm not sure about you, but having Mohamed walking freely about does NOT make me feel safer.

I was encouraged earlier in the week by the overruling of the Urbina decision, but now I'm having second thoughts. I'll say it once again, but Obama's decision to shutter the place was premature; these people have to be held somewhere. They are NOT entitled to due process per se; they are enemy combatants and by rules of war they can be held until the end of that war. As it turns out now, we learn that Gitmo meets conventions, so why not keep it open and keep these guys from attacking the United States again?

Rice Writes


Ah, reader that I am, you know that I can't WAIT for this one:

"Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has agreed to a three-book deal with Crown Publishers, starting with a memoir about her years in the administration of President George W. Bush. "Rice will combine candid narrative and acute analysis to tell the story of her time in the White House and as America's top diplomat, and her role in protecting American security and shaping foreign policy during the extraordinary period from 2001-2009," according to a statement issued Sunday by Crown..."

It's scheduled for 2011. Can't wait!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Highland Parade


For the first year ever, I did not catch a hot dog. So sad. And I did not catch a moon pie, either. I did catch an oatmeal cookie. Ick.

Steve and I took his friends Denise and Jim and we had a big time. The weather was perfect and now I am all Mardi Gras'd out!

I loved Trudeau and the Second Line - awesome as always.

Sandy, I swear I think that's you in the black hat and Steve and I both "hollered" at you but I don't think you knew who we were! If it wasn't you, tell that lady I'm so sorry I yelled at her two nights in a row!

There was an adorable little boy standing near us and we gave all our stuff to him. He'd had his face painted and his mom was hovering behind him, letting him catch stuff. But the bigger kids were killing his chances so we were helping him out. To me, that's the fun of Mardi Gras!

The odd thing about the Highland Parade is that it goes in a big circle through the historic neighborhood, so if you catch it at the front end, as we did, you can't leave because you are trapped by closed streets as the parade goes through. So we drove in a vicious traffic jam circling through the neighborhood for 30 minutes. It was almost funny. Not quite.

If you want to see more pictures, follow my flickr link in the sidebar.

Great parade!


Trudeau's Second Line

At the Highland Parade

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Audacity of The One


Once again I am filled with a sense of doom about Mr. Obama. Oh I was trying to be fair, trying to be optimistic, filled with hope 'n change and all that, but seriously - I'm done with that.

According to the Washington Post, BHO is putting the finishing touches on his very first budget. Seriously - his FIRST budget ever. He didn't have to make a budget before as a community organizer and he didn't have to make one in his 42 days in the Senate either.

He has the nerve to suggest, now that Porkulus has been rammed down our throats, that it's time to reign in "fiscal irresponsibility" and get "spending under control." What audacity! Reign in fiscal irresponsibility? After moving us into the largest government spending era EVER? After funding Nancy Pelosi's mice habitats and Harry Reid's pet projects? And he's going to start with cutting spending on "winding down" the war in Iraq and by raising taxes on the "wealthy" (but RAISING the troop levels in Afghanistan - is that a wash?)

Someone should probably tell Obama that it is the wealthy that MAKE jobs, so to raise taxes on the "wealthy" and on businesses is probably not the best thing to do in a recession. Does he think that businesses will just take that loss and not pass it on to the consumer? And what happens later when he tries to live up to his campaign promise to raise minimum wage to $9.50 per hour by 2011? Between raising taxes on business owners and printing new money for Porkulus, inflation is fixing to skyrocket like we've never seen it.

The Post also says that Obama proposes "a fairly aggressive effort on tax enforcement" which I'm assuming will start with his own Cabinet appointees.

From there, he plans to move on to a "broad restructuring of the U.S. health system" in an effort to be sure that every American has health coverage, which in case you missed it, and I surely did, is somewhere in the Constitution that health care is an entitlement. Housing is in there too. We're all entitled to health care and a house. Ask Peggy the Moocher and Henrietta Hughes.

Joe the Plumber, scoff if you must, but he was dead on when he nailed Obama on this income redistribution. Take from the rich, give to the poor. But the poor don't make jobs, the rich do. Welcome to socialism.

Gemini Fun



I did the Gemini parade this evening - it was COLD! No rain this week though and the floats were great! The theme was the 80s so all the floats were playing fun music!

Okay Sandy - I saw your float and looked for 2nd right, SWEAR I saw you, yelled at you and everything was so LOUD, you looked at me with a big question mark on your face! I'm going to try again at Highland tomorrow! I even chased your float down (along the duck pond) and looked on the other side to be sure I was right...

Anyway, the parade was great. I didn't live blog much because it was COLD and I stayed under a blanket by the fire but I'll post parade pics tomorrow!

Daisy in her Blanket

Detainee Rulings


From the BBC:

"Detainees being held at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan cannot use US courts to challenge their detention, the US says.

The justice department ruled that some 600 so-called enemy combatants at Bagram have no constitutional rights."

I can't believe anybody every thought they could or that they were entitled to constitutional rights in the first place.

This finding, coupled with yesterday's report that the Guantanamo facility does in fact comply with Geneva conventions, is all quite encouraging.

Add to that the overruling decision this week on Judge Urbina's previous decision to release terrorists onto US soil, and things are looking up on the American security front.

Exit question: How will Obama deal with the nutroots that want to shut down detention camps and release terrorists? The human rights groups will not be happy.

Update: Lest I speak too soon, don't miss Andy McCarthy's note on terrorist Binyam Mohammed being released to Britain. He smells a rat, and I think he's right:

"To say this whole thing has the stench of a set-up is an understatement. On February 5, a British court reluctantly denied a demand from Mohammed's supporters that classified information about his rendition and interrogation be released. A few days later, the Obama administration reaffirmed the Bush state-secrets claim, ensuring that the classified information would not be released here, either. Great ... except now the two governments have quietly gotten together and agreed that the terrorist himself will no longer be detained, much less tried — he'll be sent to Britain where he'll be freed."

(Image credit: CBSnews.com)

Saturday Round-Up

Here's a gratuitous Russell Crowe picture for my Saturday round-up.

You may have noticed my blogroll growing over on the right sidebar. I have recently discovered some really great blogs which I'm sure most of the world already knew about. But be sure to check them out from time to time. My addition today is Robert Stacy McCain's blog. I've been reading him in American Spectator for while but clueless as I am, did not realize he had a personal blog. Love his writing style!

I also have been enjoying reading The Anchoress. She does a lot of linking to articles I might miss and her writing style is very easy and conversational.

I also love Nansen Malin's blog from Seaview, WA - she highlights a beautiful part of the country and uses lots of vintage photographs!

Today is Mardi Gras parade weekend number two and so I'm gearing up for that. This afternoon is the Krewe of Gemini Parade (same route as last week's Centaur Parade) and then tomorrow is the Highland Parade. We're going to try to have some friends over for the Highland Parade if we can all get our schedules coordinated! I'll probably live blog both parades with some photos as I did last week, this time with an eye to not running out of battery life before the parade starts!

I drove part of the parade route last night when I went to pick up The Teenager and the streets were already lined with RVs and campers, pickup trucks and even rows of plastic chairs holding spots. The overnighters had bonfires going and were mingling from camper to camper all having a big old time. It looked like fun!

My reading table is still groaning with unread books although I lightened the load by one last night. I finished Inside Gitmo. It was a fascinating book and has a great website tie-in that you should check if you are at all interested in the topic. Lt. Col. Cucullu is extrememly knowledgable about the subject and has even responded to an email question or two of mine.

I'm still reading Team of Rivals but I put it aside for the Gitmo book. I'm getting back to it today but looking longingly at The Yankee Years sitting there. I also have a John Grisham waiting for me and the adorable Daily Coyote book.

Happy reading!

Bobby Refuses Porkulus


While much of the nation seems to love and adore Bobby Jindal, feelings about him are mixed in Louisiana. Many of us are still waiting for him to prove himself.

Many of us are still unhappy about his having to be dragged to the veto pen over the recent attempt by the state legislature to give themselves a gazillion percent pay increase right after they got elected, despite Jindal's ethics promise that they could not do that. A massive grassroots state outcry forced him to veto the legislation. He sat back for the longest time and said basically that the legislature should govern itself and if the voters didn't like what they did then they could vote the guys out.

Bobby is in the news again today as he has officially refused part of the Porkulus spending package that relates to expansion of state unemployment heath coverage. He said "Increasing taxes on our Louisiana businesses is certainly not a way to stimulate our economy. It would be the exact wrong thing we could do to encourage further growth and job creation."

He went on to say that "accepting the money would have required a change in state law and, after federal money runs out in three years, would have led to a $12 million increase in taxes on his state's businesses to keep funding the benefit. He also warned other states against the program. 'I strongly suggest that other states also look closely at this provision in the bill so they can also avoid ultimately passing on a significant tax to businesses that will be left paying for this expansion of benefits when the federal money dries up,' he said."

C. B. Forgotston points out, rightly so, that the legislature could overrule Bobby. He points out that the following provision in the bailout legislation gives the final say to the leges:

SEC. 1607. (a) CERTIFICATION BY GOVERNOR Not later than 45 days after the date of enactment of this Act, for funds provided to any State or agency thereof, the Governor of the State shall certify that: 1) the State request and use funds provided by this Act , and; 2) funds be used to create jobs and promote economic growth.

(b) ACCEPTANCE BY STATE LEGISLATURE If funds provided to any State in any division of this Act are not accepted for use by the Governor, then acceptance by the State legislature, by means of the adoption of a concurrent resolution, shall be sufficient to provide funding to such State.

C. B. is usually pretty hard on Bobby. But it's something to think about. Is Jindal refusing the money knowing that the legislature will overrule him and he'll still look good for trying? Is it a ploy? His reasons for refusing the money are certainly spot on. There is much in this bill that is bad and that will become a burden down the road.

Some Louisiana Democrats are, not surprisingly, unhappy with Jindal's statement.

"He seems to be trying to play both sides of the fence. He might refuse some of the money, he might take some of the money," said Louisiana Democratic Party spokesman Scott Jordan.

"We've got almost $2 billion, education, health care, coastal restoration," he said. "The notion that Governor Jindal would turn down money that would help in those areas ... is just crazy."

I'm not sure how Jordan thinks that health insurance money could be spend on coastal restoration but that's probably why I'm not a politician. For my part, I'm with Bobby. Send the whole mess back! Either way, it will be interesting to see how this unfolds. Notably, there was no Porkulus spending directed at Katrina rebuilding, and I was shocked at the lack of outcry from down south on that one.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Overruling Urbina - One for the Good Guys


It was with interest, and some relief, that I read the D. C. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Judge Ricardo Urbina's order that 17 Uighur detainees be released in the United States.

You may remember that in the last days of the Bush administration, Urbina ordered the release of 17 of the Chinese Uighur detainees into the United States. This all began with Boumediene v. Bush in which the Supreme Court decided basically that Gitmo detainees are entitled to the right of habeas corpus. As soon as that ruling came down I did an immediate WTF??? It just did not compute, does not make sense. Justice Kennedy wrote the 5-4 decision.

Ever since the decision I've been trying to figure out why enemy combatants are entitled to United States Constitutional rights. Separate for the moment the humanitarian argument - the "but they are human beings, too!" feeling. Work just on the principles of law for a moment. The United States Constitution does not generally extend outside of the United States and Gitmo is NOT the United States even though it is operated by the United States.

Justice Kennedy decided that because the U.S. exercises de facto control at Gitmo then the combatants are entitled to habeas corpus. But that was all. He did not actually say that the combatants are entitled to ALL rights. I mean, you have to spell these things out!

Andy McCarthy at NRO asks the question: "So, the question naturally arises, was Justice Kennedy's rationale limited to habeas corpus (the only right at issue in the Boumediene case) or did it extend to all rights under the Constitution? The D.C. Circuit (at least two judges thereof) says it does not apply to the due process clause. "

I'm still in disbelief that anyone would even consider giving terrorists U.S. Constitutional rights, much less import them into the United States. Aren't we trying hard enough to keep our borders safe without actually inviting them in?

At any rate, more sensible minds have prevailed and the Chinese Uighur terrorists are once again cooling their heels until we figure out what to do with them. Who are these guys, you ask? I mean, the U.S. has cleared them for release so what's the big deal, right?

Lt. Col. Gordon Cucullu in Inside Gitmo writes about them. He says, "Just to be clear, these men are not choirboys who strayed on the path home from church services. They were captured in al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, in which they were by their own admission undergoing training so that they could return to China to be terrorists supporting an independent Uighur Islamic nation."

This is why we can't send them back to China - we are fairly certain that they would be tortured.

By the way, you want to know how "badly" these guys were treated at Gitmo? Once they were cleared for release, once we determined that they had no further intelligence to offer, they bided their time at Camp Iguana at Gitmo, "confined, but with an ocean view, communal living, good food and satellite TV." That was a pretty decent deal, probably better than they had it in Afghanistan, until they smashed their living room and their wide-screen TV.

Andy McCarthy suggests, and I agree, that we've not heard the last of all this. I mean, consider the possibilites. BHO has signed the ExO to close Gitmo. But he doesn't know where to put these people. Despite Murtha offering to take them back to his district, where really can we put them? Trust me, these are bad people. I'll get more into this in another post, but you can NOT integrate these guys into the traditional U.S. prison population. It's a totally different deal.

So for all that, I give Judge Ricardo Urbina my Dumbass of the Day award. Is he trippin'? Release these guys into the U.S.? Terrorists? Seriously?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Flaming Bag of Poop


From BarackObama.com:

Sunlight Before Signing: Too often bills are rushed through Congress and to the president before the public has the opportunity to review them. As president, Obama will not sign any non-emergency bill without giving the American public an opportunity to review and comment on the White House website for five days.

Remember that quote? All about how Obama is going to change the "old way of doing things" and bring "transparency to Washington"? So far I am not impressed.

Obama signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act two days after it passed Congress. Nobody reviewed it. It was passed in the Senate on January 22, passed in the House on Jan 27 and signed on Jan. 29. It was not on the website until after it was signed.

Then the SCHIP bill which expands health coverage for low income children. He signed that one just hours after it came through Congress. No input there either.

Then comes Porkulus. He signed that one only today, four days after it was rammed through Congress. Remember, we were headed toward a "catastrophe" and this was the worst the economy had been since the Great Depression. Look out! Here comes another Great Depression if we don't pass this thing in time for Pelosi to get on her airplane to Rome!

Congress on Steroids rams this thing through in a matter of days, the legislators finally get a copy of it near midnight on Thursday and are expected to read it and be ready to vote on Friday. Nobody in Congress, much less the public, had time to read the thing, much less comment on it. And to be honest, no democrats really wanted any comment on it. Pelosi and Reid wrote the thing and that was the way it went down. Obama just outsourced it to them. This bill was crafted with NO Republican input whatsoever unless you count the only 3 RINOs who supported it. So much for input.

Oh the drama at getting the final behemoth passed -- we had to extend the normal fifteen minute final vote to HOURS so that Sherrod Brown could attend his mother's wake, fly back to Washington on a plane provided by the White House, vote, then return home for the funeral. Talk about unprecedented.

And the bill was such an "emergency"? So much so that Obama left Washington, took a holiday jaunt home to Chicago, took Michelle out to dinner, watched the All-Star game at a friend's house, went to the gym, did a couple of photo ops, all the while with this "emergency" bill on his desk for four days.

Oh, it's on the website now, but that wasn't the promise. The five-day promise was to have been BEFORE the bill gets passed, not before it gets signed. I feel played. The promise says "non-emergency" but we're to believe it's an emergency when he takes four days to sign the thing, and only then at a photo op in Denver?!

Okay, so the Stimulus is a done deal. Now what do we do? We have to realize that he never wanted our input in the first place. The whole purpose of this bill is to advance his own policy agenda and his own ambition.

I heard Obama say last week that "there are no earmarks in this bill." Are you kidding, Mr. President? The earmarks have been listed and documented ad nauseum and I won't do it again, but seriously? How can he say that with a straight face, unless of course, he hasn't read it either. Does he know about Harry Reid's train? Or Pelosi's mice? To add insult to injury, I then heard him say that if the earmarks were there all along then they aren't earmarks. It's only an earmark if it got slipped in behind closed doors at the end.

This is not "transparency," this is a shell game.

Obama wanted this bill, earmarks and all, because number one it paves the way for nationalized health care and number two, it undoes the welfare reform that Clinton signed during his administration in a bi-partisan move with Republicans. States are once again going to be rewarded for increasing their welfare rolls rather than getting people off welfare and back to work.

The bottom line is that Obama is the President of the United States, the most powerful man in the free world. He had the power to slow this thing down so that the public could look at what we're going into generational debt for. He could have allowed legislators time to read it, but he didn't. He could have told Nancy Pelosi to stuff it and actually lived up to his promise, but he didn't. He could have fostered bi-partisan support, but he didn't. The ends justify the means.

Oh yes, he talked to Republicans and got "input" but none of those recommendations were taken. That was a face saving gesture but in the end it all fell flat and we are the ones left holding the bag of poo.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Pony

Elvis

Poodle

Bulldog

At the Dog and Cat Parade

Krewe of Centaur Parade


We did the Centaur parade last night. As we do each year, Steve and I walked down to the parade route from my house; it's maybe a mile. But it's MUCH easier than dealing with the blocked streets and crazy traffic after the parade in an attempt to get home. We parked ourselves at my friend Harriett's house and that was our base for the rest of the evening.

Harriett, as always, had tons of food. She had hot dogs, grilled sausages, hamburgers, a cabbage/Ramen noodle salad that was awesome, all kinds of sweets - cookies and cakes, chips and dips, just about anything you'd want. Somebody was always manning the grill.

I like to walk around a little and see who I know and I also like to look at all the crazy get-ups people wear. The little children are always cute and I saw one kid with a super cool balloon which was very festive. One party had a cool little train for the kids and this lady would load up and drive them all in a big circular route around the street, come back, drop them off and load up again. There was a huge turn out for the parade this year and I'll attribute that in part to the wonderful weather. It was warm in the afternoon but chilled off a little after dark but by parade's end we had a few sprinkles.

In this year's parade there were 32 floats and five bands. I actually didn't catch as much stuff this year as I usually do and there were a couple of reasons for that. One was because I spent part of the parade with a co-worker's one-year old who was parked safely back from the fray in her stroller. Ashley and Robert had a second child up near the floats so she could catch things and so I sat with the little one and we watched from a peaceful distance! She enjoyed the loud music and was cute. Also, when I stand next to Steve, he is so tall he catches everything so I don't stand a chance, but it's all good because he just gives them to me anyway! And finally, we are near the end of the route and some floats are either out of stuff by then or are slowing down. When it started to shower near the end, we packed up and started moving toward home, so we didn't actually work the last seven or eight floats for trinkets. No matter - I have BOXES AND BOXES in the garage of beads! It's just fun catching 'em!

Anyway, we had a big time. I was sending pictures back to my blog from my iPhone but the battery life on those things is "slack" as the Teenager says, and so between keeping tabs with him and taking and emailing photos, my battery got low well before parade end.

Today is the Krewe of Barkus and Meoux parade - creatures of all kinds - down on the riverfront. Then next weekend we have two big parades - the Gemini on Saturday and my favorite Highland parade on Sunday. I'll be exhausted!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Mooooo

Floats

By the Fire

The train

Beer is Food

Blue Dog

Daisy and Steve

Live Blogging

I finally figured out how to post to my blog from my iPhone, so I'm going to try to live-blog our parade adventure with photos this afternoon/evening. I remember last summer when Stacy went to San Francisco and blogged her trip withe HER iPhone; I really enjoyed that and saw some cool sites (LOVED the museum, Stacy!)

Check back later!

Gena's Valentine

Donny bought this puppy from the pound for Gena for Valentine's Day. He's part chow (but no black tongue) and we don't know what else. He's adorable, though. His name is Zac.

Reagan v. Obama

Via The Anchoress and Texas Rainmaker:

Friday, February 13, 2009

Mardi Gras Weekend No. 1


This weekend begins our Mardi Gras festivities! Tomorrow is the Centaur parade and the Barkus and Meoux Parade is Sunday. Luckily, I have Monday off for President's Day because after being sick all week, two days of parading is definitely going to set me back!

The weather is PERFECT for the parade; tonight is warm and humid. Down by the river, the fog is rolling in. Steve and I drove to Nicky's for dinner and the Red River had a layer of fog hovering above it. Later we drove along the bayou on the way to Albertsons (had to buy a new Mardi Gras t-shirt for the Teenager to wear to work tomorrow) and the fog was a lot thicker down there.

All along the parade route people are already camped out in R-Vs, campers, tents, trucks and cars. My house is probably a mile or less from the parade route and when I took Checkers out in my backyard I could smell the wood fires burning already. By morning it will really be strong and by noon I'll smell food cooking!

We have some friends coming over for the parade. I'm cooking jambalaya and we'll walk down to the parade route whenever they close the streets, probably around 3:00. The parade starts at 4;30 downtown and will be at least 7 or 7:30 before it gets to our end.

Sunday we'll go down to the Riverfront and look at all the creatures in the dog/cat parade! Then next weekend we'll do it all over again with the Gemini parade and then the Highland parade - which I LOVE!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Rant on the Stimulus


So much for transparency in Washington. The Dems met last night secretly, behind closed doors, were nailing down their Porkulus bill and shutting Republicans out of the process. They also had previously agreed to allow 48 hours for the public to look at and read the bill before finalizing it but it doesn't look like that is going to happen either.

I am not against a stimulus. Let me repeat that: I am NOT against a stimulus. I'm not even against a stimulus with spending in it.

How do you feel about nationalized health care? How do you feel about going to the doctor and being told that your procedure or your illness is not priority and that you can't have it right now, if ever.

How do you feel about your mother or your grandfather needing surgery and finding out that they are "too old" and just need to come to terms with the process of aging. "You can buy a wheelchair Mr. Smith - you don't get a hip replacement or that orthoscopic knee surgery."

How about you go to your EN&T guy for your allergy meds and you can't have that medication that has always worked for you because it didn't work for enough people and is now too expensive to make. You can't have it any more. It's no longer being prescribed.

That's what is coming. That is what is in this bill. I'm not crying "Chicken Little" here - it's in the bill. I've read it. You want the page number?

What about the welfare reforms Bill Clinton signed during his tenure? Those little provisions that make welfare provisional on finding work? On not being open-ended? That even set a limit on how long you can draw welfare? Gone. Gone. Now you can draw welfare forever and remain dependent on the government forever. You don't have to look for work. You don't have to worry about finding a job in two years or five or ten. Open ended. Forever. It's also in the bill. I've read it.

They're also going to pay health insurance premiums for unemployed workers and their families REGARDLESS OF THEIR INCOME OR ABILITY TO PAY! You're a bank executive that just got laid off after making $150,000 or $200,000? You have eight kids? No problem. Here's your check. The underprivileged kids have already been taken care of when we expanded the SCHIP program two weeks ago! This is more on top of that one.

I'm tired of Dems saying "well, it's not perfect, but the world isn't perfect"(Max Baucus). This bill is so far from perfect it is insane. That's why they're jamming it down our throats; not because "we're in a crisis" but because they don't want to field the angry phone calls anymore and they don't want us to know what else is in there.

I'm listening to Sen. Baucus on CSPAN right now making the case that if we don't act RIGHT NOW people are losing jobs! As we speak! Right now! Hurry! Pass this bill! Now! JOBS! "We must enact this legislation to save jobs in this country!" "We must do something!" "Other countries are watching us!"

All I have to say is that if you wanted socialism, if you wanted nationalized health care, if you wanted to give the government complete and total control of your life, you've got it with this bill.

If you want to give the government permission to engage in income redistribution, you've got it with this bill. How do you think they are going to pay for open ended welfare and health insurance premiums for unemployed workers and their dependents?

You don't even have to be an American to benefit from this stimulus. Harry Reid and company denied the amendment that would have required proof of citizenship for stimulus recipients.

So go ahead and try to defend this "stimulus" package. It is European socialism on top of payoffs for Dem. pet projects and nothing more.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Piling on the Pork


The final vote on the Porkulus bill went through today in the Senate much as the vote yesterday. It has become more and more clear today however that many of the Senators don't even know what they are voting for. It defies logic that they could have read the thing in the short amount of time that they've had it. Here's a crib sheet from Sen. Tom Coburn, via Hot Air:

  • $2 billion earmark for FutureGen near zero emissions powerplant in Mattoon, IL
  • $39 billion slush fund for “state fiscal stabilization” bailout
  • $5.5 billion for making federal buildings “green” (including $448 million for DHS HQ)
  • $200 million for workplace safety in USDA facilities
  • $275 million for flood prevention
  • $65 million for watershed rehabilitation
  • $200 million for public computer centers at community colleges and libraries
  • $650 million for the DTV transition coupon program
  • $307 million for constructing NIST office buildings
  • $1 billion for administrative costs and construction of NOAA office buildings
  • $100 million for constructing U.S. Marshalls office buildings
  • $300 million for constructing FBI office buildings
  • $800 million for constructing Federal Prison System buildings and facilities
  • $10 million to fight Mexican gunrunners
  • $1.3 billion for NASA (including $450 million for “science” at NASA)
  • $100 million to clean up sites used in early U.S. atomic energy program
  • $10 million for urban canals
  • $2 billion for manufacturing advanced batteries for hybrid cars
  • $1.5 billion for carbon capture projects under sec. 703 of P.L. 110-140 (though section only authorizes $1 billion for five years)
  • $300 million for hybrid and electric cars for federal employees
  • $198 million to design and furnish the DHS headquarters
  • $255 million for “priority procurements” at Coast Guard (polar ice breaker)
  • $500 million for State and local fire stations
  • $180 million for construction of Bureau of Land Management facilities
  • $500 million for wildland fire management
  • $110 million for construction for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • $522 million for construction for the Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • $650 million for abandoned mine sites
  • $75 million for the Smithsonian Institution
  • $1.2 billion for summer jobs for youth
  • $412 million for CDC headquarters
  • $500 million earmark for NIH facilities in Bethesda, MD
  • $160 million for “volunteers” at the Corp. for National and Community Service
  • $750 earmark for the National Computer Center in MD
  • $224 million for International Boundary and Water Commission – U.S. and Mexico
  • $850 million for Amtrak
  • $100 million for lead paint hazard reduction
Keep in mind, Obama continues to insist that there is no pork in this bill and at the same time, Chuck Schumer seems to contend that there is pork, but that the "chattering" classes don't really care.




Speaking on FOX this morning, Arlen Specter seemed clueless about the national health care provision in the bill, and said that "we need more time to look at the bill." Seriously? So why are you supporting it?! And then Senator Tester gets up there and says he doesn't think that is even IN the bill. Proof positive that he hasn't read it. I saw it. I read it. I can send him the page number.

This afternoon Sen. Ensign proposed that the upcoming meetings to reconcile the House and Senate versions be televised. Transparency and all that. I'm all for it! Must see TV!

National Coordinator of Health Information Technology


Yesterday the Senate advanced the stimulus bill (61-36). I again assert that there is no way that they have read the entire bill or have full knowledge of what is in there. I don't just mean the ones that voted for it either; for those that voted against it, I would suggest that they at least cracked the seal on it long enough to know that there is massive unnecessary spending in the bill that is not stimulating in nature. I think the bottom line is, and what Sen. David Vitter said this morning, is that most Republicans support a bill do to something. We know that something must be done. We also would support meaningful infrastructure spending such as roads and bridges. But that is not the case with this bill. This is a bad bill.

Part of what is bad about this bill would be all the things hidden in it. Betsy McCaughey has an excellent analysis of the upcoming socialistic nature of our health care system imbedded in the bill (my words, not hers). We know that Obama believes health care records should now be electronic and this is not necessarily a bad thing except for the fact that this bill establishes the position of a National Coordinator who will now oversee and moniter your treatment in order to be sure it is cost effective. Sounds like the "Handicapper General" in Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron" - that was the person who got to decide what "handicaps" you had to wear in order to make you Average and bring you down to the same level as everyone else.

McCaughey asserts that much of the health care provisioning in this bill is from Daschle. She writes:

One new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and “guide” your doctor’s decisions (442, 446). These provisions in the stimulus bill are virtually identical to what Daschle prescribed in his 2008 book, “Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis.” According to Daschle, doctors have to give up autonomy and “learn to operate less like solo practitioners.”

The page numbers in the above quote refer to HR1 which you can read if you go the Read the Stimulus site. It's even searchable so you can type whatever you're looking for into the search bar and read this for yourself. I don't know about you, but I don't want the federal government as an overseer to my health care. Even more frightening, what this leads to, as it has in other socialistic countries, is that the elderly are the ones who pay the highest cost, and I don't mean financially. They are the ones who would be refused care because it is not "cost-effective." As McCaughey refers to Daschle's book, she also says:

Daschle says health-care reform “will not be pain free.” Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them. That means the elderly will bear the brunt.

Medicare now pays for treatments deemed safe and effective. The stimulus bill would change that and apply a cost- effectiveness standard set by the Federal Council (464).

The Federal Council is modeled after a U.K. board discussed in Daschle’s book. This board approves or rejects treatments using a formula that divides the cost of the treatment by the number of years the patient is likely to benefit. Treatments for younger patients are more often approved than treatments for diseases that affect the elderly, such as osteoporosis.

The fact is that Obama is insisting that this bill be passed NOW! RIGHT NOW! and he suggests a major catastrophe will occur if we don't. The push to avoid scrutiny should be what makes us all stop and INSIST on scrutiny. He sounds like a spoiled child who is afraid he won't get his way. And to suggest that this bill has been bipartisan is an out and out lie. The bill was supported by NO Republicans in the House and only 3 in the Senate - 3 liberal east coast Republicans. This is not bipartisan. This bill is a horrific and permanent mistake for our country.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Westminster Dog Show 2009



The Westminster Dog Show starts tonight! I love watching the dog show. Loved that beagle that won! And darn it, doesn't some silly poodle ALWAYS get in there? Sorry - I'm not a poodle fan.

Since I am still in allergy hell but am going on to work, I expect that I'll be curled up on the couch later watching the dogs.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Lazy Sunday


I'm paying for my yard work frenzy of yesterday with a day in allergy hell. I woke up this morning and knew right away that cutting back all that English Ivy while my Allegra prescription was empty was a big mistake. I broke out the Zicam allergy formula and tried that. I finally went around the corner and filled my Allegra ($70!) and felt almost instantly better.

I made spaghetti sauce this morning and it's been simmering all day. I made meatballs, too. Kind of wishing now I'd made some brownies, but am too lazy now to do it. We've had GREAT weather this weekend, almost like spring, and I've got windows and doors open. I hope the weather holds for our first major Mardi Gras parade next weekend!

I watched the Sunday talk shows this morning and all the talk was, of course, the Porkulus bill. How in the world can the Senate be ready to vote on this bill on Monday when their version only came out at 11 p.m. last night and is well over 700 pages? You just KNOW they can't have read the thing. The common feeling seems to be panic - "Well we HAVE to do SOMETHING!" Even if it's wrong, we'll worry about it later! Incredible. I'm proud of John McCain for speaking out against it, and our own David Vitter among a few others.

I love Mark Steyn. I don't know anybody else that could pull off such a comparison:

Appearing on "The Rush Limbaugh Show" last week, I got a little muddled over two adjoining newspaper clippings – one on the stimulus, the other on those octuplets in California – and for a brief moment the two stories converged. Everyone's hammering that mom – she's divorced, unemployed, living in a small house with parents who have a million bucks' worth of debt, and she's already got six kids. So she has in vitro fertilization to have eight more. But isn't that exactly what the Feds have done? Last fall, they gave birth to $850 billion of bailout they couldn't afford and didn't have enough time to keep an eye on, and now, four months later, they're going to do it all over again, but this time they want trillionuplets. Barney and Nancy represent the in vitro fertilization of the federal budget. And it's the taxpayers who'll get stuck with the diapers.

Read the whole article; it'll make you laugh.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Yard work, iPhones and Stimulus Debate


I spent the morning working in the yard a bit. I mowed, raked, fired up the weedeater and the blower. Also got out the old hedge clippers and cut the English ivy back on the fence before wasps and yellow jackets decide to move in. I haven't touched the flower beds yet but it's a bit early for that.

I also finally synced my iPhone to my computer, created a custom ringtone (LSU Fight Song) and learned how to send a picture on Tweetie (not hard.) So all in all, it's been a productive Saturday so far!

This afternoon I've been watching the stimulus debate in the Senate. Here's the PDF of the post-compromise version. The total on it at this point is 780, 215,025. Senator Vitter put up an amendment that would ban handouts for ACORN failed 45-51. Payback and all that.

Most of us realize that tax cuts aren't the only way to go; we know that some spending must occur, but nobody should want wasteful spending or spending that won't actually be stimulus. If you read the proposed bill as it is now, you will see LOTS of spending that does not need to occur as part of this bill.

At any rate, before the rest of my Saturday gets away from me, I am off to do exciting things like grocery shopping and helping my mom with her taxes. Tonight - MEXICAN FOOD! And MEXICAN BEER!