Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It's about jobs, dude!

Over the last 15 years, when those black-hearted, evil, Neanderthal Republicans had control of the Congress (10 years), 22.9 million jobs were created, or an average of 2.29 million per year. When the progressive and empathetic Democrats had control or control was split, 8.7 million jobs were lost, or an average of 1.7 million per year.

And our current leadership is really working hard for you. According to Vice-President Biden: "We'll never regain those 8 million jobs lost."

Changes in number of jobs:
  • In last six months (Nov. 2009 to May 2010): +873,000 (which includes 390,000 census workers)
  • In Bush's eight years (Jan. 2001 to Jan. 2009): +1,080,000
  • In Obama's 17 months: -2,979,000
  • When Republicans controlled House and Senate, Jan. 95 to Jan. 2001: +16,107,000
  • When Congress/Senate were split, Jan. 01 to Jan. 03: -2,203,000
  • When Republicans controlled House and Senate, Jan. 03 to Jan. 07: +6,801,000 
  • When Democrats controlled House and Senate, Jan. 07 to present (May): -6,497,000
  • Since December 2007 (peak): -7,381,000
Kind of hard to ignore the raw data, isn't it?

Please don't vote for Democrats.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A trip down memory lane

In light of my last post about financial reform, let's review what happened in 2004.

I wonder what financial reform is reforming?

What does the new financial "reform" bill reform? I've been wondering this, and so have a lot of other people. The 2,000-page bill is another monstrosity of the Democrat-controlled Congress, like the 2,000-page health care "reform" bill. You remember? The one that had to be passed so we could find out what was in it, as Pelosi famously stated.

Investor's Business Daily, which ought to have a handle on this, admits it doesn't yet.

We've just scratched the surface here. We'll have more to say in coming weeks as we plow through this monster of a bill that appears to reform little but harm a lot.
In this article, IBD is concerned that the real reform -- to prevent another financial disaster -- is not implemented in the bill.

David Pauly from Bloomberg, in an article for Business Week, confirms this view.
U.S. lawmakers and their Wall Street supporters may have guaranteed another financial disaster like the one we’re still recovering from.
Congress last week thought it was protecting the banks -- especially the six dominate players -- when it gutted the financial reform bill.

Ignoring evidence that investors were defrauded by subprime mortgage instruments that even bank bosses didn’t understand, lawmakers are refusing to rein in the culprits.
The bill was sponsored by Barney Franks and Chris Dodd. These are the two idiots who had such a vibrant role in the last disaster. So the same people who were involved in the last crisis are trying to fix the next one.

Pauly concludes:
Congress never considered real bank reform: Breaking up the Wall Street behemoths by separating commercial banking from riskier investment banking. Then if investors want to bet on Morgan Stanley making bets on credit default swaps, they can. The punters will always be with us.

It’s unfortunate that the now publicly held investment banks can’t revert to partnerships, with the partners at risk instead of the shareholders.
Don't you feel better already?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

If you're old or military, you're screwed

(Update for June 25: The House on Thursday approved a six-month plan to prevent a steep cut in doctors’ fees paid by Medicare, agreeing to a short-term solution that Speaker Nancy Pelosi called “totally inadequate” but said the House had decided to adopt after concluding that the Senate was hopelessly gridlocked and could do no better. Full story in the New York Times.)

It's enough to make you sick, but you can't afford to get sick anymore -- especially if you're a senior citizen or a military family member or military retiree -- because of our increasingly inept, incompetent and corrupt government.

Let's talk Medicare and the so-called "doc-fix." This B.S. has been going on for more than a decade. A provision of Medicare ties reimbursement rates to the growth in the GDP. Whoever thought that up should be taken out and shot, but the point now is that every so often Congress votes to put off the adjustment, while actually adding a few percentage points to reimbursement rates.

Medicare has recently reduced the reimbursement rate 21 percent, since Congress can't seem to get its act together. This not only affects seniors, but also military families and retirees, because Tricare is now tied to Medicare. It was tough enough before to find a Tricare doctor -- it will be even harder now. If the 21 percent reduction remains in place, the result is pretty much that seniors and military people won't be able to find health care, let alone afford it.

The Senate, on Friday, June 18, 2010, voted to extend the provision once again, adding about a 2 percent increase. But Queen Pelosi won't support it because the Senate bill doesn't include some $100 billion worth of other unrelated pet projects of hers and her cronies. They're supposed to create jobs, but y'all know how effective that is.

So if she gets her way, most doctors won't take Medicare patients or Tricare patients, because they can't afford to. Would you work for someone if you have to pay them to work? How many businesses would stay open if they operated at a loss?

From Dr. Michael A. Newman says in the Cap Times (a liberal site): Health reform at risk without Medicare fix
The reform legislation passed in March will greatly increase demand for physicians’ services. But each year, more doctors are declining to participate in Medicare. Physicians, especially those providing primary care, are reimbursed by Medicare at rates 25 to 35 percent below those of other insurance programs. And the Senate action Friday came too late to prevent the rates from being cut 21 percent. A definitive solution is needed, soon, to keep physicians on board for reform.

An American Medical Association online survey last month of more than 9,000 physicians found that 31 percent of primary care physicians -- defined as family practice, general practice, internal medicine and obstetrics/gynecology -- restrict the number of Medicare patients in their practice, mostly because they consider reimbursement rates too low. The AMA found that 60 percent of all physicians are considering opting out of Medicare. And older physicians who have more Medicare patients in their practices have been retiring earlier than expected.
Even the pro-Democrat New York Times reported more than a year ago on this problem of finding health-care under the government-run Medicare system. It may get even worse now.

We need to get these elitist, pompous, narcissistic bums out of Washington. They don't think they work for us anymore. They believe they are there to run us, tell us what's right for us, how to live our lives. I thought this was America, the land of the free individual.

As Dennis Prager so aptly puts it: The larger the government, the smaller the individual.

Monday, June 21, 2010

In case you missed it

Where are the promised border troops?
Remember Obama promised 1,200 National Guard re-enforcements for border security? Where are they? No one seems to know.

U.S.-born al-Qaida operative rips Obama
You have to consider the source, but the statement reveals that even the olive-branch-toting Obama is not popular with our enemies.

Obama: No security without amnesty
In a stunning revelation at an Arizona town hall meeting this past Friday, Republican Senator Jon Kyl told his constituents that President Obama privately insisted that he will not secure the border until amnesty for illegal aliens passes first.

UPDATE: The Obama Administration denies that Obama said this. But only two people were in the room at the time: Obama and Kyl. So this looks like a he-said, he-said type of thing. Who do you believe? (Well, who has told the most lies in the last 18 months?)

Timeline of Gulf Oil Spill
Just how on-top of the disaster is our government? A time-line of events from Fox News.

Senate fails to spare doctors from Medicare cuts
This will not only affect seniors, but military families and retiress, as Tricare is tied to medicare rates now.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The delete button shall rule once again

I've been debating (with myself) for a while now whether to moderate comments or not. Actually, I did for a week or so, then changed my mind. Hey, I'm a flip-flopper! I firmly believe in the right to express opinions, and I don't mind another opinion, if it's well-thought-out and supported with evidence. But calling me names is not going to work.

I may once again moderate comments, because I'm getting fed up with personal attacks. It's my blog, and I get to make the rules. If you want to disagree, fine. But debate, don't attack like some rabid dog.

If you think Bush "raped" our economy and Obama is merely cleaning up the mess, don't just say: "You're stupid. That's the facts. Deal with it." How about some analysis and clarity of thought?

My recent awakening into the mindset of left-wingers started back in 2007 when I ran across an e-mail newsletter by a guy in Oklahoma named Mel (I let him be anonymous). It was supposed to be a forum for debate, with all points of view. That's what he said. But that's not they way it worked. He only wanted to hear opinions that he agreed with. There was no debate. If I disagreed with something, he attacked me, personally. It's called argumentum ad hominem. When I asked him to take me off his mailing list, he replied with a scathing e-mail, attacking me personally.

Sorry Mel, but disagreeing with your left-wing ideology doesn't make me an idiot, or a savage. This tactic of attempting to discredit the person in order to win the debate is a common tactic among those on the left.

Next, I joined a liberal forum which stated that they believed in freedom of speech. When I attempted to debate some of the issues they were discussing by providing a different point of view, I was shouted down and told to leave. The personal attacks kind of surprised me.

I then started this blog in 2008. Everything was fine, with a few comments here and there, but I didn't expect a wide readership, and still don't have any expectations. But a couple of folks started putting comments on my posts. The first one was on Feb. 1, 2010.

Mr. Steve Olson, from the blog (Old fart, just foolin' 'round.) had found me. Here's his first comment:
I WAS gonna read your blog, but when I saw your first "fact", that the US defense budget is 3.3 billion, I realized you are hopelessly ignorant. That's not 1 weeks' budget for W's wars...
Well, the fact was that the $3.3 billion was for payroll, as I had stated in the first paragraph of the post. So I knew I wasn't hopelessly ignorant. And since I spent 25 years in the military and was very familiar with defense budgets didn't make a difference, I guess.

Then, five days later, someone with the name of ladyj says:
it's senseless to try to reason with a Conservative from this neck of the woods [she's referring to Texas]. Folks out there argue with fence posts and believe Jesus was a Baptist.
I should have moderated comments at that point, but I thought, consider the source. I guess if you either don't know the facts, or can't accept them, you have to resort to attacking your debate opponent.

Here's a sampling of the comments made by Mr. Olson over the last few months (I'll leave out the one in which ladyj calls me a jerk):
Any group of old farts, who live on Social Security and Medicare, then scream about the gov't getting involved in health care, are idiots.
Do you ever remove your head from your ass and come up for air? Didn't think so. You cherry pick quotes and distort reality. Works for you Repubs, huh? Not really...
Hey Steve, one othe [sic] thing. Does your ass get chapped, walking aroung [sic] all time, with your tail tucked up between your legs?
I'll blame Bush until you right wingnuts admit HE is the one that wrecked our economy, and the current administration is just trying to fix it. Pretty obvious to anyone that actually thinks.
Pull your head out of your ass and check out reality for a change.
You don't have a clue, and prove it, post after post... some half-baked spouter of right wing propaganda, who overlooks the facts, so he can say liberal environmentalists are the enemy. Nothing new there, though.
BUT, you goofballs just say the tree-hugging liberals won't let us take the oil out of the ground. Total bullshit, but totally typical crap, from your ilk, cuz it fits yout [sic] agenda. The work/investment has been done, and is NOT viable, or it would be a profit making venture. Doesn't stop your BS posts, though.
Now to be fair to Mr. Olson, I did find in one reply to his and another comment where I called them idiots. But I do try to resist that, because I really don't believe that liberals are idiots, just mis-guided. Calling each other names is like being on a playground in 6th grade. And Olson's visceral hatred for Bush, and it seems anything conservative, makes it even that much harder to debate what is going on now that Bush is gone.

But I guess what really showed Olson's hatred is a post on Mr. Olson's own blog entitled: You want to read something STUPID?
It's called 'View from Mid-America', but it's really a view from Redneckville, Texas...Pretty good view into the mind of a right-wing fanatic, who quotes FOXNews as the source of his 'wisdom'. The scary thing? There's a bunch of those 'jeniuses' out there....
Well, Mr. Olson, if you'd bother to do any research at all, you'd find that out of 197 posts, I used Fox News as a source 9 times (there may be a few more in there, but that's the result of a keyword search).

So if you think so lowly of me and my "ilk," think that conservatives are stupid and assholes, why do you bother to come here?

Personal attacks from now on get deleted.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Where do our education tax dollars go?

I have always been suspicious that as we pay more and more for education, but have been getting the same or worse results, that the money had to be sucked up by someone. Well, in this case, its administration. As Michael Barone points out:

Via Tom Elia of the New Editor, here’s a list of the top 100 pensions of Illinois school administrators. The valuations represent the worth of the pension assuming the beneficiary retired at age 56 with a life expectancy of another 29 years. The average value of these pensions is $8.879,257.90. The number one pension goes to Neil C. Codell of Niles Township Community High School District (a suburban area just north of Chicago and just west of the lakefront). Mr. Codell’s salary is $885,327 and his estimated first-year pension is $601,978. The pension is valued at $26,661,604.
Wow. What a nice gig, if you can get it. Retire at 56 with $600K a year.

Read more at the Washington Examiner:

Hey Arizona! Slow down a bit, OK?

The proposed bill to deny citizenship to children of illegal aliens born in Arizona is just going too far. I supported the last bill, as I saw it as a reaction to the lack of action by the Feds.

Supporters are trying to re-interpret the 14th Amendment, but that is nothing but hypocracy, in my opinion. If you are a Constitutionalist, like I am, you can't do this for some issues and not for others and remain credible.

If the 14th no longer serves its purpose (which was the emancipation of slaves in the 19th century), then propose a change to the constitution. I might support a change to the amendment, if it was reasonable and made sense. But this ain't the way to go.

This law, I would hope, will not pass. While I haven't read it, it sounds unconstitutional. If the Constitution can't stand on its own, then we no longer are a nation of laws, but a nation of anarchy.

To those in Arizona, take a deep breath. Chill out a little. Your actions so far have been good, but don't take it too far.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Obama: getting his "facts" wrong again

During his speech last night, one thing he said that struck me was this statement:
"We consume more than 20% of the world's oil, but have less than 2% of the world's oil reserve. And that's part of the reason oil companies are drilling a mile beneath the surface of the ocean -- because we're running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water."
Nancy Pelosi said that same thing in 2008, but it was not true then, and is not true now.

Two things here: The United States has much, much more than 2 percent of the world's reserves. It is estimated we have over 2 trillion barrels sitting idle, enough to keep us going for 300 years. But we can't touch it, thanks to left-wing environmental nutjobs.

That's why oil companies have to drill 40 miles out to sea in mile-deep water, which just increases the risk and chances of accidents. If they could drill in safer places, we wouldn't be in the bad position we are in today.

Even our own government has admitted that there is more oil under North American than previously thought. See the U.S. Geological Survey report from 2008.

But just try to convince your liberal friends of that. It is hard to have a discussion with any clarity of thought when facts are twisted or ignored to fit one's political agenda.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Are we a nation of laws? Or a nation of victims?

So why, when the executives of a huge financial company make bad business decisions, we feel the need to "bail" them out, and they walk away with millions? And the executives at Freddie and Fannie -- in tight with their buddies on Capitol Hill -- got millions too.

Can you imaging running a multi-billion dollar agency, run it into the ground, and walk away with $80 million? Let me introduce you to Franklin Raines, a past CEO of Freddie Mac.

But the little guy has to tighten up or go broke. No bailout there. Main street suffers. Small business (which employs about 80 percent of this country's workforce, I believe) has to cut back. At our company, at the beginning of 2008, we had 120 employees. We still only have 84. The owners took no pay during 2009. Where was their bailout. Nobody is too big to fail. In fact, if you're that big, and fail, you ought to fail.

When Arizona has to pass its own immigration enforcement laws because the federal government won't enforce the laws on the books, you know there is something gravely wrong.

And in the mortgage meltdown, when tens of thousands who took out responsible loans and are still struggling to stay afloat, the feds offer bailouts to those who have defaulted. Why? It's those greedy bankers. And don't forget the evil corporations.  It's not the fault of the home owner who made bad choices. Oh no.

We don't live in a society where actions have consequences -- anymore. Everyone is a winner. There are no losers. Kids are taught that as soon as they start school, thanks to leftist education policies. And it is always someone else's fault.

In other words, it has become part of our society that everyone can be considered a victim in some way. This type of mindset is destroying our society, and it will get even worse, unless something drastic takes place. When 50 percent of the people support the other 50 percent, we will be certainly on our road to failure as a country and a society. And it's the baby boomer generation that will get blamed by future generations, and rightly so.

I grew up learning that this is a nation based on the rule of law. But it seems to have changed.

An interesting read on this is Do laws even matter today? at USAToday. Scary stuff.

We are at a crossroads, and from here, the American dream will either die, or survive to go on as a dream that all the world wants. That's why they come here.

Gasoline too expensive? Maybe not

My corner Exxon station just raised gasoline prices to $2.49 a gallon, from $2.45. Still better than what we paid in 2008, but not a lot more than we've paid, in real dollars, since the 1950s.

Inflation Adjusted Gasoline Prices

Year - Price

1958 - $2.24

1968 - $2.11

1978 - $2.16

1988 - $1.75

1998 - $1.35

2008 - $3.23

2009 - $2.28

Another measure would be how many hours does the average worker need to work to pay for a gallon of gas. I'll be looking for this information. Until then, happy motoring.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Say that again?

"Brazil has the highest tax-to-GDP rate in the Western Hemisphere and guess what — they're growing like crazy," Clinton said. "And the rich are getting richer, but they're pulling people out of poverty." -- Hillary Clinton, 2008

Total growth as a percentage of GDP (1990-2008) and tax revenue as a percentage of GDP (2008)
Costa Rica154%15.2%
United States51.7%28.3%

How's that again, Mrs. Clinton?

Sources for this came from the World Bank and the Heritage Foundation.