Saturday, January 31, 2009

Obama Plan Has Already Boosted IRS Tax Collections

ScrappleFace satire (I think):

"The president's plan is simple but ingenious," said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, "He targets wealthy individuals who filed inaccurate tax forms, cheating the government out of tens of thousands of dollars. Then he just nominates them for cabinet positions. They suddenly see the error of their ways, and they cut checks for the full amount owed, plus interest."

Friday, January 30, 2009

Noonan on the 'Stimulus' Bill

That's what the stimulus bill was about—not knowing what time it is, not knowing the old pork-barrel, group-greasing ways are over, done, embarrassing. When you create a bill like that, it doesn't mean you're a pro, it doesn't mean you're a tough, no-nonsense pol. It means you're a slob.

That's how the Democratic establishment in the House looks, not like people who are responding to a crisis, or even like people who are ignoring a crisis, but people who are using a crisis. Our hopeful, compelling new president shouldn't have gone with this bill. He made news this week by going to the House to meet with Republicans. He could have made history by listening to them.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Stimulus has plum for lawmaker's son

A top House Republican is demanding an investigation into whether the more than $2 billion for national parks in the House stimulus package is proper in light of the fact that the chief lobbyist for the National Parks Conservation Association is the son of House Appropriations Committee Chairman David R. Obey.

NPCA is a major player in advocating for national parks funding, and its senior vice president for government affairs is Craig Obey, son of the Wisconsin Democrat who has long been his party's top Appropriations Committee member.

The money included in the stimulus bill that passed Mr. Obey's committee - $2.25 billion - was about equal to the National Park Service's total yearly budget, and would be a staggering increase and almost three times the $802 million that the Senate Appropriations Committee approved for park spending in its stimulus bill.

The Amazing Story Behind the Global Warming Scam

John Coleman was the founder of the Weather Channel.  Read the whole article for some interesting history.  I'll just quote some conclusions.

As of today, carbon dioxide has increased from 215 to 385 parts per million. But, despite the increases, it is still only a trace gas in the atmosphere. While the increase is real, the percentage of the atmosphere that is CO2 remains tiny, about .41 hundredths of one percent. 

So today we have the acceptance of carbon dioxide as the culprit of global warming. It is concluded that when we burn fossil fuels we are leaving a dastardly carbon footprint which we must pay Al Gore or the environmentalists to offset. Our governments on all levels are considering taxing the use of fossil fuels. The Federal Environmental Protection Agency is on the verge of naming CO2 as a pollutant and strictly regulating its use to protect our climate. The new President and the US congress are on board. Many state governments are moving on the same course. 

We are already suffering from this CO2 silliness in many ways. Our energy policy has been strictly hobbled by no drilling and no new refineries for decades. We pay for the shortage this has created every time we buy gas. On top of that the whole thing about corn based ethanol costs us millions of tax dollars in subsidies. That also has driven up food prices. And, all of this is a long way from over. 

And, I am totally convinced there is no scientific basis for any of it.

Global Warming. It is the hoax. It is bad science. It is a high jacking of public policy. It is no joke. It is the greatest scam in history.

Rush Limbaugh: My Bipartisan Stimulus

I say, cut the U.S. corporate tax rate -- at 35%, among the highest of all industrialized nations -- in half. Suspend the capital gains tax for a year to incentivize new investment, after which it would be reimposed at 10%. Then get out of the way! Once Wall Street starts ticking up 500 points a day, the rest of the private sector will follow. There's no reason to tell the American people their future is bleak. There's no reason, as the administration is doing, to depress their hopes. There's no reason to insist that recovery can't happen quickly, because it can.

Lawrence B. Lindsey: How About a Payroll Tax Stimulus?

For a similar amount of money, the government could essentially cut the payroll tax in half, taking three points off the rate for both the employer and the employee. This would put $1,500 into the pocket of a typical worker making $50,000, with a similar amount going to his or her employer. It would provide a powerful stimulus to the spending stream, as well as a significant, six percentage point reduction in the tax burden of employment for people making less than $100,000. The effects would be immediate.

By contrast, the stimulus now under consideration would suffer from the usual problems of government spending. The Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation have calculated that only $170 billion, or about one-fifth of the $816 billion package will be spent in fiscal 2009. An additional $356 billion will be spent in 2010. That leaves $290 billion to be spent when even the most pessimistic forecasters think the economy will be in recovery mode.

Stimulus Debate Moves to Senate After Passing in House With No GOP Support

The House passed the $819 billion stimulus bill yesterday, but the weeks of attempts to get bipartisan support behind the package failed. Not a single Republican voted in favor.

The bill passed by a vote of 244 to 188, with 11 Democrats crossing the aisle to oppose the bill. The GOP's firm opposition comes as a disappointment for the new administration, which had emphasized the importance of bipartisanship in the process. President Obama himself held a closed-door meeting with Republican legislators on Tuesday to try to win their backing.

As Rush Limbaugh pointed out, the bipartisan side of the vote was "No" -- both Democrats and Republicans voted against the bill, only Democrats voted for it.

The "Rangel Rule"

Rep. John Carter, a Texas Republican, sent out a press release earlier today about his innovative new bill:

"Rangel Rule"

All U.S. taxpayers would enjoy the same immunity from IRS penalties and interest as House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY) and Obama Administration Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, if a bill introduced today by Congressman John Carter (R-TX) becomes law.

Carter, a former longtime Texas judge, today introduced the Rangel Rule Act of 2009, HR 735, which would prohibit the Internal Revenue Service from charging penalties and interest on back taxes against U.S. citizens. Under the proposed law, any taxpayer who wrote "Rangel Rule" on their return when paying back taxes would be immune from penalties and interest.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Pelosi-Obama Stimulus Bill

We've looked it over, and even we can't quite believe it. There's $1 billion for Amtrak, the federal railroad that hasn't turned a profit in 40 years; $2 billion for child-care subsidies; $50 million for that great engine of job creation, the National Endowment for the Arts; $400 million for global-warming research and another $2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration projects. There's even $650 million on top of the billions already doled out to pay for digital TV conversion coupons.

In selling the plan, President Obama has said this bill will make "dramatic investments to revive our flagging economy." Well, you be the judge. Some $30 billion, or less than 5% of the spending in the bill, is for fixing bridges or other highway projects. There's another $40 billion for broadband and electric grid development, airports and clean water projects that are arguably worthwhile priorities.

Add the roughly $20 billion for business tax cuts, and by our estimate only $90 billion out of $825 billion, or about 12 cents of every $1, is for something that can plausibly be considered a growth stimulus. And even many of these projects aren't likely to help the economy immediately. As Peter Orszag, the President's new budget director, told Congress a year ago, "even those [public works] that are 'on the shelf' generally cannot be undertaken quickly enough to provide timely stimulus to the economy."

Thomas Sowell : What Are They Buying?

Out of $355 billion newly appropriated, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that only $26 billion will be spent this fiscal year and only $110 billion by the end of 2010.

Using long, drawn-out processes to put money into circulation to meet an emergency is like mailing a letter to the fire department to tell them that your house is on fire.

If you cut taxes tomorrow, people would have more money in their next paycheck, and it would probably be spent by the time they got that paycheck, through increased credit card purchases beforehand.

If all this sound and fury in Washington was about getting an economic crisis behind us, tax cuts could do that a lot faster.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Silicon Valley Could Become Another Detroit

Could Silicon Valley become another Detroit? [...] [S]ome who work here see trouble on the horizon. These include top executives at Hewlett-Packard, who are ringing an alarm bell about what they see as a looming disaster, not just for HP, but for the entire U.S. tech industry. They say that unless we boost government spending on science, technology, engineering and math -- STEM, in industry jargon -- we will be unable to keep up with countries such as China and India.

‘Soviet’ Britain swells amid the recession

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

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

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

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

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sebastian Mallaby - An OPEC Lesson for China

Geithner is correct that China manipulates its currency. What's more, this manipulation is arguably the most important cause of the financial crisis. Starting around the middle of this decade, China's cheap currency led it to run a massive trade surplus. The earnings from that surplus poured into the United States. The result was the mortgage bubble. [...]

If Americans' insatiable appetite for loans explained the flood of Chinese capital into the United States, we would have seen the evidence in a rising price for those loans -- that is, higher interest rates in the bond market. But bond rates were strikingly low at mid-decade. This strongly suggests that it was the supply of lending that went up, not the demand for it. Chinese money flooded into the United States because of the push factor from China, not the pull factor from Americans.

NFL supports our military

After speaking with our military liaison for the color guard, we will host the members of the color guard (12 people) in the stadium. 

So it sounds like everyone should be happy with the result.  I think the NFL did the right thing. There's no need to turn this into a big controversy.

They didn't say so explicitly, but I also think it shows some respect for the memory of Pat Tillman, who might have been playing in the Super Bowl this year had he not volunteered for the Army after 9/11.

Go Cardinals!

This Is No Time to Panic

I liked the headline that the Wall Street Journal gave to an op-ed by George Mason University economist Russ Roberts: "Don't Just Do Something, Stand There." Roberts pointed out that politicians can't wisely spend the trillions they commit, "even if they want to. The information about who needs to be bailed out and who needs to fail is too complicated. .  .  . It is time to let the imprudent fail and the prudent pick up the bargains."  [...]

George W. Bush told CNN, "I've abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system." Why did Bush and Pelosi think they knew how to run the economy? F.A. Hayek famously termed this the "fatal conceit" -- governments can't possibly know everything that's going on in an economy, and so while government intervention may delay some economic pain, it cannot stop it.

"The arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled," said Cicero in 55 B.C. He was right.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Rush Limbaugh Responds to Obama

Rush responds via email to Byron York...

One prong of the Great Unifier's plan is to isolate elected Republicans from their voters and supporters by making the argument about me and not about his plan. He is hoping that these Republicans will also publicly denounce me and thus marginalize me. And who knows? Are ideological and philosophical ties enough to keep the GOP loyal to their voters? Meanwhile, the effort to foist all blame for this mess on the private sector continues unabated when most of the blame for this current debacle can be laid at the feet of the Congress and a couple of former presidents. [...] Put simply, I believe his stimulus is aimed at re-establishing "eternal" power for the Democrat Party rather than stimulating the economy because anyone with a brain knows this is NOT how you stimulate the economy. If I can be made to serve as a distraction, then there is that much less time debating the merits of this TRILLION dollar debacle.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Obama zings Limbaugh

"You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done," he told top GOP leaders, whom he had invited to the White House to discuss his nearly $1 trillion stimulus package. [...]

In an exchange with Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) about the proposal, the president shot back: "I won," according to aides briefed on the meeting. "I will trump you on that."

Friday, January 23, 2009

Remembering Pat Tillman

Lighthouse on The Right mentions the Tillman connection and posted the Sports Illustrated cover shown above.

NFL snubs military at the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl won't let the military color guard stay and watch the big game? Yes you read that right. Was I skeptical? At first, but after I contacted the Tampa Bay host Committee through their official website and spoke to Katie Wagner, I was assured that yes in fact her email inbox is full of emails from upset Marine Mom's all asking for an explanation. To Ms. Wagner's credit, who by the way was extremely gracious during my questions the Host Committee has no control over game day decisions; that authority rests solely with the NFL

What has become a common yet gracious act of allowing a military color guard to stay and watch the game from the side lines, in honor of their service to our country, this time has them being treated as if they are the unwelcome guests, common servants to be whisked away as soon as their task is completed.

I have a feeling that a bit of publicity might change the NFL's position.  Maybe they remember Pat Tillman, who played for the Arizona Cardinals before volunteering for the Army.  He died tragically in a friendly-fire incident in Afganistan.  I think Pat would appreciate letting the military honor guard watch the game from the sidelines.

Burr Opposes Geithner for Treasury Secretary

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) issued the following statement on President Obama's nomination of Tim Geithner to serve as U.S. Secretary of the Treasury:
"I think the President should be given the benefit of the doubt in selecting the executive leadership of his Administration, and I've been pleased with many of his nominations.  In weighing a nominee, the most important questions I ask is if he or she is qualified to effectively lead an executive department and whether the nominee possesses the judgment necessary to manage and spend taxpayer money wisely and in an open and transparent manner.
"As I asked these questions, I came to the conclusion that Mr. Geithner does not measure up.  With the entire banking system collapsing, Mr. Geithner served as the head of the most important and powerful Reserve Bank in the nation.  During his tenure at the New York Federal Reserve, Mr. Geithner was a leading participant in many late-night, closed-door deals made between major financial institutions and the federal government.  I have particular concern with the ill-conceived proposed merger between Citigroup and Wachovia.  It is now clear, as Citigroup is on the verge of break up, that it was in major financial trouble. 
"Many questions remain about the decision-making process and the judgment of government participants, including Mr. Geithner and the New York Federal Reserve.  So far, Mr. Geithner's response to the Finance Committee on this particular issue raises more questions than it answers.  Additionally, I have concerns about the unanswered questions concerning Mr. Geithner's taxes and his now being asked to head the Treasury Department and oversee the IRS.  For these reasons, I cannot support Mr. Geithner's nomination as Secretary of the Treasury."

Inauguration crowd

Early predictions for the attendance at the inauguration had gone as high as five million:

In an off-hand moment six weeks ago, District of Columbia Mayor Adrian M. Fenty tossed out a guess of three to five million.

President Bush, at the urging of the mayor, had to declare an emergency to get enough federal money to handle the anticipated crowds.

Of course, "official" crowd estimates are typically inflated for political purposes.  Remember the "Million Man March"?  When the National Park Service estimated the crowd at less than half of the titular number, the organizers threatened to sue.  These days, the National Park Service refuses to issue crowd numbers, but just for this historic inauguration, they decided to accept an AP estimate of a "record number" of over 1.2 million as a reasonable guess (probably to avoid getting sued again).

A more scientific approach came up with a somewhat smaller number, making it completely unacceptable...

An ASU journalism professor using satellite images calculated that 800,000 people attended President Barack Obama's inauguration ceremony.

Variety reports that Nielsen ratings clearly demonstrate that Obama's inauguration is the most watched in the history of our great nation... since Ronald Reagan's inauguration in 1981. 

Early numbers for the inauguration of Barack Obama are impressive but, perhaps surprisingly, could come in below those for Ronald Reagan's first term in 1981.

By the way, American Idol also beat Obama on Tuesday.

Instapundit has been collecting links regarding these near historic numbers:

I think it's safe to say that this inauguration has generated historic levels of blog coverage. (Numbers, please!)  I mean, how many bloggers covered Reagan's inauguration back in 1981?  I think I updated my finger .plan, but I had only a couple of work friends who might have noticed.  Now the whole world is watching... and googling.

Does 'Rangel Rule' Cover Geithner?

I caught up with Rep. John Carter (R-TX) yesterday in the hallways of the Rayburn House Office building, outside of an Appropriations Committee markup.  An attorney and former judge, Carter has been a vocal critic of the double standard afforded public officials, in particular House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY), by the IRS when it comes to assessment of interest and penalties on back taxes.

"The first one that popped to the surface seemed to be the issue of Mr. Rangel's 20-years of failure to pay taxes on his rental income," Carter told me.  "So far there have been no penalties or interest assessed. … If that's the way the IRS is going to treat Mr. Rangel, I think that we should be able to write on our tax returns if we owe any penalties or interest, 'I exercise the Rangel Rule' and you would also be exempt from having to pay those monies. … Now it appears Mr. Geithner is getting the same treatment."

In the real world, taking "responsibility" includes bearing the consequence of your actions.  Paying the penalty.  The Democrat Congress has placed unprecedented power in the hands of the Treasury secretary, granting sole discretionary power to disburse hundreds of billions of dollars in bailout funds.  Being held accountable in actuality means as a consequence of your actions, whether "careless" or intentional, you are not placed in a position of great power in the public trust -- a position wielding oversight of the disbursement of trillions of dollars of the public's money.  

"I should have been more careful" and "These were careless mistakes" should not be in the financial world vernacular of the person who will guide this nation through the worst economic times since we endured four years of Jimmy Carter at the helm.  

Political Interference Seen in Bank Bailout Decisions

Mr. Frank, by his own account, wrote into the TARP bill a provision specifically aimed at helping this particular home-state bank. And later, he acknowledges, he spoke to regulators urging that OneUnited be considered for a cash injection.

As President Barack Obama's team sets about revising the $700 billion TARP program, following last week's release of the second half of the money, among the issues it faces is widespread dissatisfaction with way the program has been implemented. Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy Geithner, testifying Wednesday at his Senate confirmation hearing, acknowledged "there are serious concerns about transparency and accountability...confusion about the goals of the program, and a deep skepticism about whether we are using the taxpayers' money wisely."

Bankers, regulators and politicians complain of a secretive and opaque process for deciding which banks get cash and which don't. The goal of aiding only banks healthy enough to lend -- laid out by the Treasury when the program began -- clearly seems to have shifted, but in a way that's hard to pin down and that the Treasury has declined to explain. Part of the problem is that some powerful politicians have used their leverage to try to direct federal millions toward banks in their home states.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Deficit Spending Stimulus Skeptics

For one thing, the true value of these government programs may be limited because they will be put together hastily, and are likely to contain a lot of political pork and other inefficiencies. For another thing, with unemployment at 7% to 8% of the labor force, it is impossible to target effective spending programs that primarily utilize unemployed workers, or underemployed capital. Spending on infrastructure, and especially on health, energy, and education, will mainly attract employed persons from other activities to the activities stimulated by the government spending. The net job creation from these and related spending is likely to be rather small. In addition, if the private activities crowded out are more valuable than the activities hastily stimulated by this plan, the value of the increase in employment and GDP could be very small, even negative.

The First Black President & The Right - Jonah Goldberg

No where in my column do I say — as Mike Gallagher somewhat jokingly put it — that racial quotas and the rest will disappear tomorrow. But I do think I'm right that Obama's election makes the race issue less relevant in American life in ways not entirely helpful to racial liberals. The average American — according to countless polls — does not like racial quotas. Indeed, I think the average black American doesn't either. These policies endure in part because racial liberals successfully argue that racism is still a burning issue in America. Well, doesn't that argument become more difficult to make when the President of the United States is black? I'm not saying activists — or even Obama himself —  won't continue to make very liberal arguments about systematic racism in America. What I am saying is that  I think Obama, simply by being president, makes such arguments less, not more, persuasive.

I think Jonah Goldberg is sincere is his views and hopes that America will be a better place for having our first black president, even if we don't agree with all his policies.  That is my hope as well, but I will be surprised if it turns out that way.  In my opinion, the best way to focus our predictions is with a nominal monetary bet.  If Jonah is right, the racial hustlers such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton should see their influence wane during an Obama administration.  My measure of "influence" would include television time on the network news, quotations in newspapers, and government funding and donations to organizations that they lead.  I will wager $10 that by all those measures Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton will have more national prominence after two years of the Obama administration than they do today.

Jonah's prediction that racial activists will have a harder time supporting the proposition that America still suffers from racism despite having a black president assumes that people such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton will not adapt their strategies for the new administration.  I think it may take them a month or two to figure out how best to make money off Obama, but they will get there.  Remember, Obama is not an "authentic black" in that he is not descended from slaves.  He had all the advantages of a white society, including an Ivy League education.  Until every black child gets the same opportunity as Obama, Sharpton and Jackson can use the plight of poor black people to embarrass the president.  Obama has to prove himself to be racially sensitive everyday, or he'll be just another Uncle Tom.  

The big question is: will the media go along with the race hustlers?  Sadly, I think so.  And any political disagreement with the liberal policies of the Obama administration will be portrayed in racial terms, which plays right into the hands of Sharpton and Jackson.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Al-Qaeda cell killed by Black Death 'was developing biological weapons' - Telegraph

The group of 40 terrorists were reported to have been killed by the plague at a training camp in Algeria earlier this month.
It was initially believed that they could have caught the disease through fleas on rats attracted by poor living conditions in their forest hideout.
But there are now claims the cell was developing the disease as a weapon to use against western cities.
Experts said that the group was developing chemical and biological weapons.

Mark Steyn: Our permanent state of routine emergency"

So a "federal emergency" is no longer a nuclear strike on Cleveland or even a Category Three hurricane, but now a snowfall in New England and an inaugural ball at the Mayflower Hotel. As Mister Incredible shrewdly observes to his kid in "The Incredibles," when everybody's special, nobody is. Likewise, when everything's an emergency, nothing is: We live in a permanent state of routine emergency.

The metastasization of FEMA teaches several lessons – the first and most obvious being that any new government program, agency or entitlement will always outgrow whatever narrow purpose it was created for. Which is why we small-government types are wary of creating any new ones in the first place. Thus, an itsy-bitsy bit of inconsequential government tinkering on the periphery of the mortgage market expanded to the point where federally mandated home loans to the uncreditworthy came close to collapsing not just the U.S. property market but the global financial system.

If you'd suggested in the Seventies a new federal agency to cope with municipal snow removal in Connecticut, you'd have been laughed out the room. But, with government, mission creep isn't a bug but the defining feature. In mid-September, the "bailout" was a once-in-a-lifetime emergency measure to save the planet. A mere four months later, it's the new baseline. If your congressman's lousy boondoggle has got six zeroes on the end, it's an earmark: Boooooooooo! If it's got 12 zeroes, it's a "stimulus": Hurrah!

I'm not worried about "change" so much as creep. The Obama administration doesn't have to do anything terribly transformative – overnight socialization of health care, etc. In fact, it doesn't have to do anything at all. It could just sit there, and America would still drift remorselessly, incrementally left, inch by inch. Eventually, you reach a tipping point: At some point in the next four years, we will reach a situation where the majority of Americans pay no federal income tax but are able to vote themselves more goodies from those who do. The most basic of conservative principles is that if you reward bad behavior you get more of it. We now have a government offering trillion-dollar rewards for bad behavior to the financial system, to the housing market, to the auto unions and to individual voters. And the heirs to those Connecticut town meetings that Tocqueville regarded as the best form of government ever devised by man now underbudget their snow-removal costs, secure in the knowledge that the Feds will pick up the tab.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Why Are the Media Protecting Geithner?

Connections like this help explain why Geithner's tax problems won't become a scandal or even much of a controversy for major elements of the media. But GE's media properties, including NBC News, MSNBC, and CNBC, won't be alone in trying to put this scandal to rest.

Another member of the board of the New York Fed is Lee C. Bollinger, the president of Columbia University, who serves on the board of the Washington Post Company. This is the media conglomerate whose media properties include the Washington Post newspaper, Newsweek, and Slate.

From the point of view of the major media, it's better to remain on the good side of Geithner as well as Obama. That is why Geithner's tax problems have to be whitewashed and senators of both parties have to be provided with an excuse to confirm him. 

Geithner's failure to pay taxes just an 'honest mistake'?,CST-EDT-simon18.article

The economy is teetering on the brink, and we need to cut corners a little. We can't be all that scrupulous and nitpicky when the future of the nation is at stake.

So in November, Team Obama announced that Geithner had this little problem and was paying his back taxes with interest and that it was all an honest mistake and no big deal, right?

Wrong. They decided to keep it a secret. But the Wall Street Journal discovered it and blew the whistle Tuesday.

The Senate Finance Committee has been looking into Geithner -- it has to vote on his appointment -- and discovered something else.

According to Gordon and Parnes: "In addition, Geithner included payments to overnight camps in calculating his dependent child care credit in 2001, 2004 and 2005.

His accountant informed him in 2006 that the camps were not allowable expenses. The committee notes that Geithner did not file amended returns to fix the mistake."

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Rush on Obama Presidency

Rush Limbaugh's "Pearl of Wisdom":

> I got a request here from a major American print publication asking
> for 400 words on my hope for the Obama presidency. I don't need 400
> words. I need four: I hope he fails. Everybody thinks that's
> outrageous to say. What's unfair about my saying I hope liberalism
> fails? Were the liberals out there hoping Bush succeeded or were
> they out there trying to destroy him? Liberalism is our problem.
> It's what has gotten us dangerously close to the precipice. Why do
> I want more of it?

I think Rush makes a good point. I hope Obama is the next Jimmy
Carter: one ineffectual term and out.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

4G war, conflicts of interest loom behind possible DTV delay

Last week, President-elect Barack Obama's call for a delay in the Digital TV transition, long scheduled for February, sent tech and telecom firms into a tizzy. Both Verizon and the Consumer Electronics Association have been pushing back hard against any postponement of the move from analog to digital broadcasting, while AT&T has joined the Consumers Union and several prominent Democratic legislators in supporting the call to give the troubled transition more time. Among those with a vested interest in the debate over a DTV delay is Clearwire, which has been racing to deploy its 4G WiMAX networks ahead of competitors wedded to the LTE standard. And Ars has learned that Clearwire Executive Vice President R. Gerard Salemme has quietly joined the Obama transition team as a key advisor on DTV issues.

The main rationale advanced for pushing back the drop-dead date for analog broadcast is that thecoupon program established to subsidize digital converter boxes for those who rely on over-the-air analog signals has run out of money. Households seeking the $40 vouchers are now being placed on a burgeoning waiting list, and consumer advocates fear that without a delay, millions of older analog sets will go dark in February. Opponents of a delay have argued that changing the date would be "disruptive," upsetting longstanding plans and signaling that companies and consumers need not heed government deadlines.

But the transition will also free up huge swaths of spectrum in the 700MHz band currently in use by analog broadcasters, which the Federal Communications Commission auctioned off last year. As FCC commissioner Robert McDowell noted on a panel at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this weekend, "there are companies paying hundreds of billion of dollars to use this spectrum, and they expect the goods to be delivered." 

One of those companies is Verizon, which ponied up nearly $9.4 billion for spectrum it plans to use for its 4G Long-Term Evolution wireless broadband network. In a letter to top members of the House and Senate commerce committees Monday, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg urged members of Congress to resist any delay of the transition, warning that it could impede the company's plans. "Verizon Wireless intends to begin field testing and deployment of LTE this year," wrote Seidenberg. "Deployment of LTE, however, can only be done if we have access to the 700MHz frequencies. Delaying the DTV transition will delay our ability to upgrade those frequencies to 4G broadband for American consumers and have a negative impact on our nation's international competitiveness."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Camille Paglia on Obama (dump Emanuel!, dump Reid!, dump Global Warming!)

The usual tranquil transition period between an election and inauguration has certainly been overshadowed by the murky Blagojevich scandal, but I think most reasonable people would give Obama a pass on it. Any new president must learn crisis management the hard way. No evidence to date directly implicates Obama in Blagojevich's follies. But Obama's future chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, the arrogant Chicago scrapper who was reportedly a conduit to the governor, already seems like an albatross who should be thrown overboard as soon as possible. Nobody wants a dawning presidency addicted so soon to stonewalling, casuistry and the Nixonian dark arts of the modified limited hangout.

Harry Reid is a cadaverous horse's ass of mammoth proportions. How in the world did that whiny, sniveling incompetent end up as Senate majority leader? Give him the hook! 

We should all be concerned about environmental despoliation and pollution, but the global warming crusade has become a hallucinatory cult. Until I see stronger evidence, I will continue to believe that climate change is primarily driven by solar phenomena and that it is normal for the earth to pass through major cooling and warming phases.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The New Deal Metaphor

The New Deal metaphor in wide circulation today is based on the illusion that, since New Deal interventions were effective in dealing with the Depression, they are the right medicine for dealing with today's financial crisis and economic slowdown. This illusion is driven by a deep misconception: that the market-oriented policies of the past quarter century were a great mistake and should be replaced by a more coordinated set of policies that (it is argued) will yield more stable growth and a fairer distribution of income. Thus the New Deal metaphor is now invoked as a call to overturn the free-market revolution of the 1980s, just as the New Deal threw overboard the Wall Street-favored policies of the 1920s. Such hopes are based on a fairy tale version of the New Deal and a highly ideological interpretation of recent history. In combination, they provide a shaky foundation for current policy and are a trap for Democrats.
The real causes of the Depression, on the other hand, are highly instructive for today's problems. Though economists and historians still debate the subject, several interconnected factors appear to have combined to turn a serious stock market correction in late 1929 into a full-scale depression by 1932: (1) an ill-advised tariff policy passed by Congress in 1930 to protect U.S. manufacturers but which had the unintended effect of shutting down international trade and U.S. exports; (2) a monetary policy adopted by the Federal Reserve, which raised the discount rate and allowed the money supply to shrink through 1931 even as the economy faltered; and (3) a cascade of bank failures which wiped out savings and credit for large swaths of the economy. The economic collapse was thus accelerated by policy errors from Congress, and especially by financial authorities who stood by as money contracted and banks failed. Such lessons seem foremost in the minds of financial authorities today who seem determined to stop any parallel sequence of falling dominoes lest we repeat the experience of the 1930s.

Gitmo Closing, States Vie to Woo Inmates as Residents

As news broke that Barack Obama reportedly plans to issue an executive order on his first day in office closing the U.S. terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Democrat governors across the country lobbied Mr. Obama for the privilege of welcoming the remaining 248 former enemy combatants as residents of their states.

I think Obama should offer the Gitmo detainees a night in the Lincoln Bedroom to make up for their inconvenience.

Monday, January 12, 2009

'Atlas Shrugged': From Fiction to Fact in 52 Years's_Most_Popular

For the uninitiated, the moral of the story is simply this: Politicians invariably respond to crises -- that in most cases they themselves created -- by spawning new government programs, laws and regulations. These, in turn, generate more havoc and poverty, which inspires the politicians to create more programs . . . and the downward spiral repeats itself until the productive sectors of the economy collapse under the collective weight of taxes and other burdens imposed in the name of fairness, equality and do-goodism.

Ultimately, "Atlas Shrugged" is a celebration of the entrepreneur, the risk taker and the cultivator of wealth through human intellect. Critics dismissed the novel as simple-minded, and even some of Rand's political admirers complained that she lacked compassion. Yet one pertinent warning resounds throughout the book: When profits and wealth and creativity are denigrated in society, they start to disappear -- leaving everyone the poorer.

John R. Bolton: The U.S. Votes 'Present' at the U.N. -

When the U.S. abstains, it cedes the field to others on the Security Council. And our global interests make losing the initiative unacceptably risky, especially on critical issues such as the Middle East.

Ms. Rice's abstention last Thursday, for example, neither mitigated the council's pressure on Israel, nor increased the likelihood of a cease-fire. As a display of weakness, it simply invites a diplomatic feeding frenzy. That will almost certainly happen now in regards to Gaza, where Resolution 1860 is having no effect.

Obama climate czar has socialist ties

Until last week, Carol M. Browner, President-elect Barack Obama's pick as global warming czar, was listed as one of 14 leaders of a socialist group's Commission for a Sustainable World Society, which calls for "global governance" and says rich countries must shrink their economies to address climate change.

By Thursday, Mrs. Browner's name and biography had been removed from Socialist International's Web page, though a photo of her speaking June 30 to the group's congress in Greece was still available.

Socialist International, an umbrella group for many of the world's social democratic political parties such as Britain's Labor Party, says it supports socialism and is harshly critical of U.S. policies.

Mrs. Browner ran the Environmental Protection Agency under President Clinton. Until she was tapped for the Obama administration, she was on the board of directors for the National Audubon Society, the League of Conservation Voters, the Center for American Progress and former Vice President Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection.

Her name has been removed from the Gore organization's Web site list of directors, and the Audubon Society issued a press release about her departure from that organization.

References have been scrubbed

Friday, January 09, 2009

Dems Melt in the Heat of Burris Fiasco by Jonah Goldberg

And don't tell me Blago's corruption changes the equation. Has anyone read about the baleful history of minority set-aside programs in cities like Chicago? Cronies and grifters are routinely given sweetheart contracts under the guise of fighting discrimination when in reality it's all a riot of kickbacks, "pay-to-play" and cronyism. People don't call Jesse Jackson a shakedown artist for nothing.

There are two reasons why this spectacle shocks some liberals. The first is that Blago, Burris, and Rush used this tactic on fellow Democrats. And since Democrats can't be motivated by racism, any ploy like this must be cynical. When the same gambit is used on Republicans, it's called "speaking truth to power." Second, some honestly believed that Obama represented a real change of the racial landscape. So far, alas, these folks just look naive.

Pro-Hamas Doctors Caught Faking A Civilian Death... After CNN Airs Footage

Mads Gilbert, the radical Marxist Norwegian doctor that was the focus of a Fox News report earlier today for being an anti-Israeli Hamas apologist, has been positively identified as one of two doctors caught faking CPR on a Palestinian boy that "died" in video featured today on CNN.

Fake video at the link.  CNN has silently removed the video, but the fake story is still out there.

More on the hoax from LGF...

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Panetta a surprise pick to run the CIA,0,5514283.story

If confirmed by the Senate, Panetta would be among the few directors in agency history with no experience at one of the nation's spy services.

Largely for that reason, Panetta's selection was met with criticism on Capitol Hill.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who this week begins her tenure as the first female head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said she was not consulted on the choice and indicated she might oppose it.

"I was not informed about the selection of Leon Panetta to be the CIA director," Feinstein said. "My position has consistently been that I believe the agency is best served by having an intelligence professional in charge at this time."

If you're looking for a Clinton loyalist to run the CIA, I would think that Sandy "Pants" Berger might have better espionage experience.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Sea Ice Ends Year at Same Level as 1979

Thanks to a rapid rebound in recent months, global sea ice levels now equal those seen 29 years ago, when the year 1979 also drew to a close.

Ice levels had been tracking lower throughout much of 2008, but rapidly recovered in the last quarter. In fact, the rate of increase from September onward is the fastest rate of change on record, either upwards or downwards.

The data is being reported by the University of Illinois's Arctic Climate Research Center, and is derived from satellite observations of the Northern and Southern hemisphere polar regions.

Each year, millions of square kilometers of sea ice melt and refreeze. However, the mean ice anomaly -- defined as the seasonally-adjusted difference between the current value and the average from 1979-2000, varies much more slowly. That anomaly now stands at just under zero, a value identical to one recorded at the end of 1979, the year satellite record-keeping began.

Once again proving that we need to spend more money on Global Warming research -- if only to avoid another ice age!

Funny Business in Minnesota

Strange things keep happening in Minnesota, where the disputed recount in the Senate race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken may be nearing a dubious outcome. Thanks to the machinations of Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and a meek state Canvassing Board, Mr. Franken may emerge as an illegitimate victor.

Boss Tweed would be proud: "As long as I count the votes, what are you going to do about it?"

Richardson withdraws bid to be commerce secretary

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson on Sunday announced that he was withdrawing his nomination to be President-elect Barack Obama's commerce secretary amid a grand jury investigation into how some of his political donors won a lucrative state contract.

Richardson's withdrawal was the first disruption of Obama's Cabinet process and the second "pay-to-play" investigation that has touched Obama's transition to the presidency. The president-elect has remained above the fray in both the case of arrested Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the New Mexico case.

A federal grand jury is investigating how a California company that contributed to Richardson's political activities won a New Mexico transportation contract worth more than $1 million. Richardson said in a statement issued by the Obama transition office that the investigation could take weeks or months but expressed confidence it will show he and his administration acted properly.

$1 million is chump change.  I wouldn't be surprised if Hillary didn't want Richardson around in Washington after he betrayed her by endorsing Obama. I'm not saying she had anything to do with it, but bad things tend to happen to people who cross the Clintons.