Saturday, February 25, 2012

Some good news and some bad news

What’s new Today

Our #1 story shows that the Occupy Movement has evidently overstayed its welcome even in liberal San Francisco.  #2 in the meantime shows that Americans are a very generous people volunteering over 8 billion hours.  Everyone seems happy with this except Unions.  #3 tells you a dilemma most companies would love to grapple with.  This company has too much cash on-hand. #4 lets you lose the guilt.  Next time you see a PETA sign, ad, or demonstration reread this article and feel smugly superior.  #5 gives us at least on gauge of how the Obamacare mandate for birth control is being accepted.

1.  OWS loses San Francisco

Last weekend, a 67 year-old Berkeley, California man calmly phoned the police, requesting protection from an aggressive trespasser that had confronted him and his wife in their garage. The call was "queued for dispatch", but then ignored because the police were shorthanded at the time. The San Francisco Chronicle explains why:

In a statement Tuesday, police Lt. Andrew Greenwood confirmed that "only criminal, in-progress emergency calls were to be dispatched, due to the reduction in officers available to handle calls for service" as a result of the Occupy protest. [On Wednesday, unnoted, the Chronicle removed the word "Occupy" from the online version of its story]

Sadly, less than 13 minutes after the police call, the mentally ill trespasser returned and attacked the man in front of his home, dragged him into the bushes and beat him with a large flowerpot, while the victim's wife watched helplessly. The man died later.

Is it fair to blame the Occupy protestors for the man's death? Probably not, though many did. Others theorized that the Berkeley police were staging a slowdown, responding only to urgent calls in order to create a public outcry for more taxpayer funding. Most likely, though, it was just fate. According to the Chronicle story, "sources" said that it would have taken up to ten minutes for the police to arrive anyway, and by then it easily might have been too late.

The most intriguing aspect of the tragic story though, is the 250-plus comments. Presumably, the Chronicle's audience consists primarily of demographically leftist Bay Area readers, so one might expect most of the comments to defend the leftist OWS movement. According to my informal count, nearly a quarter (23 percent) of the comments blamed the Occupy protestors for the homicide. In fact, more comments blamed the Occupy protestors than defended them. Even more remarkable, 40 comments recommended that Chronicle readers arm themselves with guns to avoid a similar malady.

Granted, those results aren't statistically valid, as trolls might have flooded the story's comment section. Still, according to the real polls, a negative view of the Occupy movement is growing nationally, so even leftist San Francisco might be disenchanted with OWS. Last month Rasmussen reported that 51 percent of likely US voters think the movement is “a public nuisance” Only 39 percent approve of it….

The Occupy movement hasn’t worked out the way the left had hoped it would. 

2.   Volunteers irk Unions

More and more every year, a large part of what we do is volunteers,” says Archie Matthews, Yakima’s director of neighborhood development services, “It saves us a ton of money.”

Matthews says begging for volunteers is not beneath him. And to his surprise, he usually gets them. Once signed up, they do a variety of tasks, including construction work for low-income housing, painting over gang graffiti and keeping senior centers from having to close their doors.

Mary Lizotte, 74, volunteers eight hours a week at a senior center, where the paid staff has been trimmed to just three employees.

“We’ve been faced with cuts in the budget and threatened to be closed down a couple of days a week,” Lizotte said. “It’s not only good for them, it’s good for us volunteers.” The center is able to stay open seven days a week with volunteers doing everything from clerical work to preparing and serving the food.

According to a Volunteering in America study, last year 63 million Americans volunteered more than eight billion hours. When you calculate average wages and benefits for city employees, local governments saved $173 billion.

In many places churches are leading the way. “We’re at a time when, as citizens we need to be giving ourselves away freely to serve our communities,” says Dave Edler, pastor at Yakima’s Foursquare Church which held a park cleanup with several hundred volunteers recently.

But not everyone is thrilled about the civic spirit. Some unions are pushing back, fearing volunteers are cutting into their territory. “They’re eroding the number of hours for our people,” says Ian Gordon of Laborer’s Union 1239 in Seattle. “It’s of great concern that they might be doing further work that we would normally do.”…

The old WIIFM is front and center here at least for the public unions. 

3.  Apple has too much cash

Apple CEO Tim Cook says he believes the world's most valuable company has more money than it needs. His next challenge is to figure out whether Apple should break from the cash-hoarding ways of his predecessor, the late Steve Jobs, and dip into its $98 billion bank account to pay shareholders a dividend this year.

During a question-and-answer session Thursday at the company's annual shareholders' meeting, Cook indicated he and the rest of Apple’s board are nearing a decision.

The board and management are "thinking about this very deeply," Cook said. "This isn't a case where 100 percent of people are going to agree with what we do."

The question of how to handle Apple's cash stockpile is a touchy one, partly because company co-founder Jobs had steadfastly brushed aside suggestions that the company restore its quarterly dividend. Apple stopped making the shareholder payments in 1995 when it was in such deep trouble that it needed to hold on to every cent.

Things got so bad that Apple turned to rival Microsoft Corp. in 1997 for a $150 million infusion to stay afloat. Microsoft came to the rescue at the same time Apple named Jobs as its CEO -- a decision that turned out to be one of the smartest business moves ever made.

Haunted by memories of Apple's grim times, Jobs kept accumulating cash even as the company's fortunes soared during the final decade of his life….

This is a great problem to have if you are a business, too much cash.  But to put it in perspective, if the government took all of Apple’s cash it would be able to zero out the deficit for just under 25 days. 

4.  PETA Hypocrisy

Documents published online this month show that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an organization known for its uncompromising animal-rights positions, killed more than 95 percent of the pets in its care in 2011.

The documents, obtained from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, were published online by the Center for Consumer Freedom, a non-profit organization that runs online campaigns targeting groups that antagonize food producers.

Fifteen years’ worth of similar records show that since 1998 PETA has killed more than 27,000 animals at its headquarters in Norfolk, VA.

In a February 16 statement, the Center said PETA killed 1,911 cats and dogs last year, finding homes for only 24 pets.

“PETA hasn’t slowed down its slaughterhouse operation,” said Rick Berman, CCF’s executive director. “It appears PETA is more concerned with funding its media and advertising antics than finding suitable homes for these dogs and cats.”

It’s always fun to find hypocrisy in self-righteous movements.  Well at least they didn’t eat them!

5.  Representative Kathy Hochul booed at her own town hall meeting

Representative Kathy Hochul (D - 26th District) was booed at her own town hall meeting on Friday morning in Lancaster.

The packed crowd was critical of Hochul for supporting President Obama’s to require religiously affiliated employers, such as hospitals and schools, to provide full contraception coverage to female employees.

The plan was later altered. It now calls for those workers to get free contraceptive coverage from health insurers, thus sparing religious based groups, morally opposed to paying for birth control, from having to do so.

Even though Hochul's town hall meeting was open to any topic, the large crowd focused on the contraception coverage issue.

When Hochul spoke in support of the President, the crowd booed. Many in the audience carried signs, including one that read: "Kathy why have you betrayed our Catholic institutions?" One woman in the crowd told Hochul: "This President has lied to us repeatedly when he proclaims support for conscience protection in his infamous speech at Notre Dame as well as in the executive order he signed following passage of the health care law. He is not worthy of your support in this matter." Another man shouted "It's an insult to the Catholics in this country to even listen to that gibberish. It is an absolute insult and Catholics deserve better. We were taking care of this country's sick long before the government got involved in it."…

This is not a winning issue for the Democrats or the President.  Time to cut bait and surrender. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Obama electability and energy--neither look good for him

What’s new Today

Our #1 story talks about Obama’s chances for reelection.  I find he is toast.  As a student of history I know when there is an economic downturn, the party in the White House loses seats and the Presidency if it is still happening during a presidential election.  #2. Talks about Obama’s speech on energy and the falsehoods in it. #3 has a complementary story to that one with oil executives and what they have to say about Obama.  #4 has some shocking statistics of the cost of green jobs finance by the stimulus.  #5 tells you of what they are doing in green energy in Massachusetts.  And our final story #6 looks at the charge by the left that a law being considered in Virginia was the equivalent of rape to women wanting an abortion.  It appears there is more than a little exaggeration there. 

1.  Obama’s Actual Reelection Chance

Barack Obama is a lame-duck president already, but he probably doesn't realize it since he is surrounded by leftist zealots who insulate him from any contrary opinions and shielded by the partisan mainstream media. Obama's popularity began falling right after his election, and the percentage disapproving has exceeded those approving steadily since 2009. Each and every voting bloc that supported him in 2008 has eroded by at least 10 points -- even the African-American voters, with independents and young voters dropping by over 30 points. Approval on major issues (economy, budget, deficit, employment, etc.) has also eroded, with disapproval exceeding approval ratings across the board.

Despite approval ratings lower than any president's in recent history, the media push-polls are trying to sell us the idea that Obama is well liked and has a good chance to be re-elected, meanwhile ignoring any and all facts that do not support their partisan message. The good news is that there has been a mass awakening of the American people, who now realize that the mainstream media has a decided leftist tilt and that media polls can no longer be trusted…

The election will be a huge shock to the left.  I think they are beginning to believe the press. 

2.  The Five Biggest Whoppers in Obama’s Energy Speech

Energy: The White House billed President Obama's energy policy speech as a response to mounting criticism of record high gas prices. What he delivered was a grab bag of excuses and outright falsehoods.

Obama's main message to struggling motorists was: It's not my fault, so stop whining. The speech only got worse from there, recycling excuses and myths that Obama's peddled for years. But there were some standout whoppers that deserve debunking. The five biggest:

"We're focused on production."

Fact: While production is up under Obama, this has nothing to do with his policies, but is the result of permits and private industry efforts that began long before Obama occupied the White House….

"The U.S. consumes more than a fifth of the world's oil. But we only have 2% of the world's oil reserves."

Fact: Obama constantly refers to this statistic to buttress his claim that "we can't drill our way to lower gas prices." The argument goes that since the U.S. supply is limited, it won't ever make a difference to world prices.

It's bogus. New exploration and drilling technologies have uncovered vast amounts of recoverable oil…..

"Because of the investments we've made, the use of clean, renewable energy in this country has nearly doubled."

Fact: Production of renewable energy — biomass, wind, solar and the like — climbed just 12% between 2008 and 2011, according to the federal Energy Information Administration….

When Obama claimed to have nearly doubled the use of clean renewable energy you know his off in fantasyland.  Do we really want to have good money follow bad? 

3.  Oil Executives complain about the Obama Administration

…"These have been the most difficult three years from a policy standpoint that I've ever seen in my career," Bruce Vincent, president of Houston oil and natural gas producer Swift Energy, told the Houston Chronicle.

"They've done nothing but restrict access and delay permitting," he added. "The Obama administration, unfortunately, has threatened this industry at every turn."

Vincent led the voices exposing White House press secretary Jay Carney's phony assertion Wednesday when asked about gas prices soaring above $4 per gallon.

Carney said President Obama had "put in place policies that will dramatically expand the amount of exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, will expand the amount of exploration in Alaska, will expand the amount of natural gas production here in the U.S."

Really? "The administration has done everything BUT support drilling," said NAPE attendee and former Shell executive John Hofmeister. "We are on the verge of slipping into an energy abyss."

Shell has fought the administration to begin drilling in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska….

The truth and the Obama Administration are not close friends.  But you really can’t blame Obama.  If he told the truth no one would vote for him again. 

4.  Your Taxpayer Dollars at Work:  Crony Green-Job Edition

A new Wall Street Journal investigative report shows that once again there are discrepancies between the number of jobs claimed to have been created by the stimulus money and the actual number of jobs created. In this case, the Journal looks at the jobs created with $10 billion spent on renewable-energy companies for building wind farms, solar projects, and other alternatives to oil and natural gas under Section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

On paper the program claims to have created 102,883 jobs. That’s too few jobs considering the $10.7 billion paid to 5,098 businesses for 31,540 projects according to the Department of Treasury. That’s also $97,197 per job.

But it gets worse, because these jobs probably aren’t real. This reported number of jobs is a product of formulas, mathematics models, and reports by recipients of the money rather than actual counting of jobs. For instance, the Congressional Research Service last year alerted Congress that the recipient reports were full of errors and it recommended “that any job creation estimate be viewed with skepticism.” CRS also noted that the market response to these new facilities was mixed to say the least.

Now here is some of what we know for sure about the wind-farm jobs:

About 40 percent of the funding — roughly $4.3 billion — went to 36 wind farms. At the peak of employment, these firms employed 7,200 workers. But these were temporary jobs, as is almost always the case with stimulus money. Now these 36 farms employ 300 employees. If you do the math and calculate the cost per job, you may well fall off you chair.

I’ve done the math so you don’t have to.  Using the peak numbers (7200) that comes to almost $600,000 per job ($597,222).  Using the current employees (300) that comes to over $14 million per job. 

5.  Wind Power in Massachusetts

…A proposed merger between two local utilities, NStar and Northeast Utilities of Connecticut, gave Patrick the opportunity to put together a clever plan. His administration approved the $17.5-billion deal on two conditions: the new utility company must purchase 27.5% of the output of Cape Wind, the controversial offshore wind farm in Nantucket Sound. Secondly, the utility must freeze its rates for the next four years, and distribute a one-time rebate of $21 million to customers.

George Bachrach, the president of the Environmental League of Massachusetts, wrote in the Globe: "The Patrick administration deserves great credit for negotiating the recent merger agreement with NStar that will both protect ratepayers and make Cape Wind a reality." A Boston Globe editorial titled "NStar deal, rise of Cape Wind will boost state’s economy” had similar praise.

It would appear that the state gets green energy to satisfy the Renewable Portfolio Standard, while utility customers (aka voters) get relief from higher utility bills. Everyone wins!

Er, not exactly.

To begin with, that $21-million rebate works out to a one-time payment of around $13. I'll try to not spend it all in one place.

Secondly, we are in the midst of a natural gas boom that promises to revolutionize America's energy picture. Natural gas prices have plummeted from near $5 per MMbtu last summer to around $2.60 per MMbtu. According to the EIA, the energy equivalent of $3 natural gas is $18 oil.

The Globe editorial admits:

Cape Wind power will likely be costlier than that from fossil fuels, and it looks even worse next to today's historically low natural gas prices. But fossil fuel prices are notoriously volatile; the deal will lock in predictable wind power rates for years.

It's true that locking in prices will protect consumers from volatility, but if the volatility stems from collapsing prices, this will benefit only utilities, not consumers…

As these last two stories demonstrate, wind power is not ready for prime time. 

6.  Abortion and Ultrasound

Over the last few weeks, an intense controversy has raged in Virginia, where Republicans have introduced a bill that requires -- among other things -- that women undergo an ultrasound prior to getting an abortion. The pro-abortion lobby has hysterically opposed the legislation (does their opposition ever take any other form?), going so far as to compare it to forcible rape.. Their point, to be charitable, is based on the fact that one form of ultrasound involves a more invasive probe than the over-the-abdomen method many people associate with the practice. The usual crowd of media dupes have carried water for the extremists, parroting various iterations of the "mandatory ultrasounds = rape" talking point. The problem? It's thoroughly bogus. Commentary's Alana Goodman has emerged as a one-woman debunking machine:

The complaints are the ultrasounds are needlessly invasive, not medically necessary, and would be forced on women seeking abortions, even if they don’t want them. This criticism misses one crucial point: Planned Parenthood policy already requires ultrasounds before abortion procedures. “That’s just the medical standard,” said Adrienne Schreiber, an official at Planned Parenthood’s Washington, D.C., regional office. “To confirm the gestational age of the pregnancy, before any procedure is done, you do an ultrasound.”

According to Schreiber, Planned Parenthood does require women to give signed consent for abortion procedures, including the ultrasound. But if the women won’t consent to the ultrasound, the abortion cannot take place, according to the group’s national standards. “...If she’s uncomfortable with a transvaginal ultrasound, then she’s not going to be comfortable with an equally invasive abortion procedure,” Schreiber told me.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Debt: The Obama Legacy

What’s new Today

Our #1 story tells of the real Obama legacy which is a mountain of debt for our children and grandchildren.  #2 tells you that Obama is not a Muslim, but he is a Marxist.  #3 relates that in last night’s debate, Newt Gingrich claimed the MSM did not ask Obama about his position on infanticide if an child is alive after an abortion.  #4 is a story about how the British government raised its tax rates only to see the amount collected decline.  It’s a common story, but the left doesn’t seem to get it.  #5 gives Obama an interesting claim he can make.  It seems the mortality rate declines when more people are unemployed.  #6 is interesting because it describes a dilemma for both the left and the right.  The left needs to hope that Obamacare is struck down, while the right needs to hope it is upheld or only partially struck down.  Read the article to see why. 

1.  Obama’s legacy

Mountains Of Debt

Maybe you have to be Greece before most people get seriously concerned about sovereign debt. Of all the good reasons to evict Barack Obama from the presidency in November, the most fundamental is that he is spending our country into financial ruin. I don’t think most Americans understand how much federal spending and debt have risen during the Obama administration (and even before it, when Democrats took control of Congress in 2007) and are projected to rise in the future under Obama’s budget proposal. These two charts, from the Senate Budget Committee, tell the story in a very simple way. This one shows the federal debt per household from 2000 through 2022; the numbers are actual to the present and thereafter represent the projections in Obama’s FY 2013 budget. Those projections are taken at face value, rosy assumptions and all. Still, the picture is staggering:

Just another reason Obama will be going down in November.  Right now the media is studiously avoiding mentions of the debt, the price of gasoline, and any other subject that makes Obama look bad and tries to claim the Republicans want to ban birth control.  It is pathetic.

2.  Obama the Marxist

…Clearly, Obama is not the son of Islam, or of Christianity, but he is very much the son of Marx. When Rick Santorum referred to the president's radical environmentalism as a "false theology," he was perfectly correct. Obama's "religion" is not Islam or Christianity, but the leftist ideology that Obama learned as a child. If anything, this radical ideology is the opposite of both Islam and Christianity since it would supplant individual conscience, and the conscience of the church, with centralized state control of all of life's functions. No devout Muslim or Christian wishes to inhabit a Marxist state that would run roughshod over the religious beliefs of the faithful. But this is very much Obama's goal.

Within the Marxist state that Obama envisages, all sectors of the economy -- all aspects of everyday life, in fact -- would fall under the control of a centralized bureaucracy. This destruction of liberty is already coming to pass with the implementation of ObamaCare. At the direction of a small panel of "experts," standardized protocols are being constructed that will constrain the health care choices for every American. When it comes time to decide upon end-of-life care, it will not be you, your doctor, and your family who make the decisions -- it will be a computer program implementing the cost-benefit analysis arrived at by a secretive panel appointed by the president….

This is the left’s dream, that is, to have experts take the choices out of our lives.  The biggest obstacle they have to this is the Constitution, which is why you see Obama running roughshod over it so often.

3.  Alexander Burns Claims Media did ask Obama about Infanticide vote

The Politico headline was "Newt: Media never asked Obama about 'infanticide' -- except it did." If Burns wanted to prove Gingrich wrong, he'd find an actual question about that. Click on the Burns link, and it's quite clear Chris Wallace was asking a more generic question to Obama, about whether he was truly a bridge-builder:

WALLACE: But, Senator, if I may, I think one of the concerns that some people have is that you talk a good game about, "Let's be post-partisan, let's all come together," just a couple of quick things, and I don't really want you to defend each one. I just want to speak to the larger issue.

OBAMA: Right.

WALLACE: The gang of 14, which was a group, a bipartisan coalition, to try to resolve the issue of judicial nominations. Fourteen senators came together. You weren't part of it. On some issues where Democrats have moved to the center — partial birth abortion, defense of marriage act — you stay on the left and you are against both.

And so people say, "Do you really want a partnership with Republicans, or do you really want unconditional surrender from them?"

Overnight, Burns reported "conservative readers" pointed out to him what should have been obvious to him. His link didn't prove his case.

I don’t see anything about his vote on infanticide in this example.  The left seems to deny actual facts and then claim things that they want to be to be facts. 

4.   Britain raises tax rat: Revenues fall

The Treasury received £10.35 billion in income tax payments from those paying by self-assessment last month, a drop of £509 million compared with January 2011. Most other taxes produced higher revenues over the same period.

Senior sources said that the first official figures indicated that there had been "manoeuvring" by well-off Britons to avoid the new higher rate. The figures will add to pressure on the Coalition to drop the levy amid fears it is forcing entrepreneurs to relocate abroad.

The self-assessment returns from January, when most income tax is paid by the better-off, have been eagerly awaited by the Treasury and government ministers as they provide the first evidence of the success, or failure, of the 50p rate. It is the first year following the introduction of the 50p rate which had been expected to boost tax revenues from self-assessment by more than £1billion…

Well they didn’t get as much revenue as before, but at least it was FAIR.

5.  Mortality Rate declines with increase in Unemployment

…The age-adjusted death rate in the U.S. declined by 2 percent from 2007 to 2010, according to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As a result, projected life expectancy at birth rose to 78.7 years in 2010 from 77.9 years in 2007, an increase of 0.8 year.

In contrast, from 2004 to 2007, when the economy was much stronger, life expectancy rose by only 0.4 year.

Life expectancy appears to have risen more in the states with relatively large increases in unemployment. In Michigan and Illinois, for example, where joblessness rose much more than in North Dakota or Iowa, age-adjusted death rates have had a steeper decline since 2007. (In the states with the smallest increase in unemployment, the death rates have perversely risen.)

These cross-state data are consistent with historical patterns that economists Douglas Miller, Marianne Page, Ann Stevens and Mateusz Filipski have found. Their research shows that a one-percentage-point increase in a state's unemployment rate is associated with a 0.5 percent reduction in the state's mortality rate….

Perhaps when leftist claim the EU’s socialized health care is better because they live longer what they are missing is that perhaps they live longer because their unemployment is higher.

6.  Obamacare, the Courts and the Election

Though the legalities are a bit more complicated, there are three basic outcomes possible: The law is upheld; the law is fully overturned; or the law is partially overturned.

If the law is upheld as constitutional, it would be an utter disaster for advocates of small government. If Congress can force Americans to purchase a product they do not want, it would mean that there are effectively no limits on congressional power.

But as much as it would be an affront to individual liberty, it would probably be a big boost to Republicans in both the presidential and congressional elections.

Though, on the one hand, Obama would get to claim vindication if the Supreme Court upheld the law, the backlash against the verdict would be fierce, not only among conservatives, but among independents who overwhelmingly oppose the law’s requirement that individuals purchase health insurance.

Last month, 67 percent of Americans had an unfavorable view of the mandate, compared with just 30 percent who had a favorable view, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The same poll found that by a more than three-to-one margin (54 percent to 17 percent), Americans believe the Supreme Court should strike down the mandate.

A Supreme Court verdict upholding Obamacare would be the one thing that could galvanize conservative grass-roots activists who have been underwhelmed by the weak GOP presidential field.

It would mean that the only remaining chance of repealing the health care law would be to elect a Republican president and as many Republicans to the House and Senate as possible.

If the Supreme Court strikes down the entire law, it would be a joyous occasion for conservatives. And it would be a powerful indictment of Obama that he spent more than a year of his presidency pushing through a law that turned out to be unconstitutional.

But at the same time, it could have the opposite effect on voter enthusiasm. If Obamacare is struck down it would be one less thing to motivate conservatives who are turned off by the Republican nominee, or disillusioned with Republicans in general. And no doubt, it could energize liberals, who will spin a decision striking down the law as coming from a “conservative activist court.”

It’s a long shot that the Supreme Court would strike down the entire law, however. More likely is that the justices strike down the individual mandate, but leave it up to Congress to rework the rest of the law. This means that several of the scenarios outlined above are possibilities.

Conservatives can still hammer Obama’s law as unconstitutional and if Mitt Romney is the nominee, he’d no doubt use that to distinguish his Massachusetts legislation from Obama’s national law. But there would still be plenty of work to be done legislatively, meaning conservatives would still be motivated in November.

On the flip side, the individual mandate is the most unpopular aspect of the health care law, so removing it could decrease public support for full repeal among the broader public

It appears the left needs to hope that SCOTUS strikes down the entire law while the right should hope for the opposite.  Politics is a strange game.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Republican Debate and other worries for the left

The Republican Debate: 

This was actually a pretty good one looking at more substantive issues.  Winners tonight in my opinion would be Romney and Gingrich.  Santorum looked very tentative and weak.  Ron Paul was Ron Paul.   Best line came from Romney when the moderator told him he wasn’t answering the question.  Romney said, “You get to ask the questions you want, and I get to answer the questions I want.”  A lot more going after Obama which was a hit with the Republican audience.  Biggest waste of time was the one word you would use to describe yourself, but Gingrich did get a laugh when he said “Cheerful.” 

What’s new Today

Our #1 story looks at all the tax increases that are in the cards if Obama keeps the presidency.  He won’t.  #2 is an article by Glenn Reynolds about how you could actually have a course to study the Occupy movement.  It’s not anywhere near what the liberal establishments are looking to do.  #3 is an editorial in today’s USA Today regarding the Occupy movement.  It definitely isn’t the TEA Party.  #4 as a hint of what 2012 will be like election wise, we find that Scott Brown is 9 point ahead of his competition for his Senate Seat. Not good news for the Democrats.  #5  is a good reason never to elect a Democrat to anything where they need to be part of the economy.  It appears Valerie Jarrett also sees unemployment checks as a stimulus for the economy.  #6 is great news.  It appears Chevron is looking at one of the three biggest oil strikes in the world just off the coast of Louisiana.  Now if we can get Obama to let the drillers get that oil.  Finally in #7 we have a story that will explain why we will never have another 9/11 at least as far as the airplanes are concerned.

1.  If Obama is reelected, Democrats will get their tax increase wishes

... To help finance the health care reform law passed in 2009, Congress approved a new tax on investment income to take effect in 2013. Beginning next year, families whose overall income is above $250,000 (individuals with income over $200,000) will pay an additional tax of 3.8% on taxable investment income (e.g., interest, dividends, capital gains, rents, royalties). This additional tax will not apply to non- taxable income, such as tax-exempt municipal bond interest, or to amounts withdrawn from qualified pension plans and IRAs.

When the new tax under health care reform is added to the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, in 2013:

  • The top tax rate on ordinary income will rise from 35% to 43.4%—an increase of almost 25%*
  • The top tax rate on capital gains will rise from 15% to 23.8%—an increase of almost 60%
  • The top tax rate on dividends will rise from 15% to 43.4%—an increase of almost 200%
  • The estate tax exemption will drop from $5 million to $1 million and the estate tax rate will rise from 35% to 55%—an increase of over 55%

Most important, Congress need not pass a single piece of tax legislation in 2012 for these tax rates to take effect in 2013. They will happen by default.

This is the definition of the Democrats of fairness. 

2.  How to Study Occupy Wall Street

Schools from New York's Columbia to Chicago's Roosevelt University are offering courses on the "Occupy" movement. This has inspired some derision from the right, but I think that derision is misplaced. There is much that a course on the Occupy movement might profitably cover. Here are some possible lessons:

1) The Higher Education Bubble and Debt Slavery Throughout History. Since ancient times, debt has been a tool used by rulers to enslave the ruled, which is why the Bible explains that the borrower is the slave to the lender. One complaint of many Occupy protesters involves their pursuit of expensive degrees that has left them burdened by student loans but unable to find suitable employment. This unit would compare the marketing of higher education and student debt to today's students with the techniques used to lure sharecroppers and coal miners into irredeemable indebtedness. Music to be provided by Tennessee Ernie Ford.

2) Bourgeois vs. Non-Bourgeois Revolutions: A Comparison and Contrast. The Occupy movement left its major sites—McPherson Square in D.C., Zuccotti Park in Manhattan, Dewey Square in Boston—filthy and disheveled. By contrast, the tea party protests famously left the Washington Mall and other locations cleaner than they found them, with members proudly performing cleanup duties.

This unit would note that social-protest movements are sometimes orderly and sometimes disorderly as a matter of approach, and it would compare the effectiveness and ultimate success of such relentlessly bourgeois movements as the tea party, the pre-1964 Civil Rights movement, Women's Suffrage activists, and the American Revolution, against such anti-Bourgeois movements as the post-1968 Black Power and New Left movements, and the French Revolution.

Which accomplished more lasting good? Is Max Weber's Protestant work ethic applicable to social movements?

3) Class struggles and the New Class. Professor Kenneth Anderson of American University has suggested that the Occupy movement is best understood as a struggle between the upper and lower tiers of the elite. In recent years, the upper tier, composed of bankers, financiers, etc., has become decoupled from the lower-tier sub-elite of "Virtue Industry" workers in fields like education, nonprofit activism, social work and the like—with the latter feeling betrayed and abandoned….

This article is well worth your time to read it.  Glenn Reynolds does a good job of laying out what you could study. 

3.  The Occupy Patriots????

USA TODAY’s editorial is right to say that Occupy might lack clear goals on how to move forward, but the movement has accomplished its main original goal: to protest these injustices, not by simply holding a rally and going home, but by keeping the rally going to underscore the seriousness of this problem. Your piece accuses the protesters of sitting around and doing nothing. So maybe they should take up their Second Amendment-sanctioned guns and storm Wall Street and our nation’s capitals. If our country doesn’t change, it could very well come to that one day.

Now let’s see the editorials and the condemnation from the Democrats in Congress.  I mean they are threatening armed insurrection which according to the Constitution is treason. But it’s only treason if the person is right winged.  In this case it’s a form of patriotism according to the left.   

4.  Scott Brown ahead in Massachusetts

Republican Sen. Scott Brown holds a decisive lead over Democrat Elizabeth Warren in the race for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts. According to a new Suffolk University/7NEWS (WHDH-Boston) survey, the freshman senator garners 49% of the vote -- nine points ahead of his main Democratic rival. It's the first time a poll put Mr. Brown in the lead since last fall. Suffolk University was also the first to show Mr. Brown ahead in 2010 when he upset state Attorney General Martha Coakley.

That upset was driven largely by the independent vote. And the new poll shows Mr. Brown again heavily drawing his support from this group of voters. Among the 52% of respondents who identified themselves as independent, 60% supported Mr. Brown while only 28% supported Ms. Warren….

In a traditional democratic state, to have the independents go to Brown like this is not a good sign for Obama.  Add to this the rise in gas prices, the rise in unemployment as forecasted by Gallup, and the serious lack of fund raising by Obama and the Democrats in January and you have all the signs of a failed presidency that will end this November.

5.  Another Senior White House Advisor claims unemployment good for the economy

This evening, speaking at North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina, White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said that folks getting and spending unemployment checks is a healthy thing . . . because it stimulates the economy:

"Even though we had a terrible economic crisis three years ago, throughout our country many people were suffering before the last three years, particularly in the black community," Jarrett said. "And so we need to make sure that we continue to support that important safety net. It not only is good for the family, but it's good for the economy. People who receive that unemployment check go out and spend it and help stimulate the economy, so that's healthy as well."

I swear there is nothing but economic idiots in the Democratic Party.  While unemployment checks help the economy from falling down as much as it might, it doesn’t help stimulate the economy.  In fact, there are indicators that many people don’t bother to look for jobs before the checks look like them may stop.  It’s like putting water wings on your kids.  It keeps them afloat, but you need to take the away at some point and get the kids to swim.

6.  Another Oil Find?

As a practical matter Chevron is practically beating the drum – by oil company standards. Chevron has begun promoting the Shallow Water Gulf of Mexico (SWGM) as one of its top three areas of geologic interests worldwide. Keep in mind Chevron is a major firm from the U.S. to Australia, across Africa, central Asia and South America. If SWGM is in the top three, the prospects must be huge.

This is significantly important – an earlier well called Blackbeard East turned out to have a formation measuring 300 feet thick and appears to be a hydrocarbon bearing fractured carbonate. A huge percentage of the world’s most prolific oil and gas deposits have been found in fractured carbonate  structures. Fractured carbonates sometimes naturally give up their deposits very easily. This could be a major discovery….

For consumers this is great news from an additional viewpoint. The SWGM work is in an area where there are existing pipelines to carry the new reserves to market right away. Billions of dollars will not have to be spent over the coming years and interminable waits to get permitting are avoided. This discovery and development isn’t vulnerable to a crass political presidential delay.

The world appears to be doing the opposite of approaching peak oil.  It appears peak oil may be decades or even centuries off in the future. 

Passengers come to the rescue

Passengers aboard a Continental Airlines flight bound for Houston Tuesday sprang into action to help a flight attendant having trouble with an unruly passenger. Twenty minutes after the plane departed Portland, pilots returned to the city where the FBI was waiting.

Passengers said the unruly man was a problem from the beginning. After boarding Flight 1113, the man became upset because he was not seated next to his friend.

Then after the flight took off, he ignored the “No Smoking” sign and tried to light an electronic cigarette.

A flight attendant asked the passenger to turn off the cigarette, but he refused. The Middle Eastern man started screaming at the smaller woman.

“He was screaming, ‘Allah is great, Allah is great,’” said Nancy Haywood, passenger. “And it kind of worries you when that happens, but believe me, there were enough men to hold him down.”

And they did. Men on the plane jumped up and ran to assist the flight attendant.

“Every guy that was in my area was ready to go,” said Mark Foster, passenger. “It was not even a thought. You can tell buckles were off and people were already leaning toward the aisles.”

The men subdued the unruly passenger while the flight attendant ran to the back and retrieved plastic handcuffs and ankle cuffs….

There will be no repeats of 9/11.  Let’s roll.