Archive for March, 2010

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010 :: In Politics, Technology ::

Or even on Tuesday or Thursday?

The USPS projected a $7 billion deficit for 2009 but managed to find enough cost cuts to finish the year at $3.7 billion of red ink. For the beleaguered Postal Service, there’s no light at the end of the tunnel because in 2009 it handled (and received no revenue) 27 billion fewer pieces of mail than in 2008, thanks mainly to email, UPS and Fedex.

If the U.S. Postal Service was a private enterprise, it would’ve gone out of business long ago or at least been re-directed to a new mission.

Most Americans have reached a point where we don’t need home delivery more than a day or two per week. We still need hard-copy of certain legal papers and a few other items but I have a problem coming up with a good solid reason for taxpayers to continue to fund a home delivery service that brings fistfuls of junk mail to our doors every day.

You like the coupons? Great! Go online and print them off.

Home delivery is an expensive convenience, and that’s all. It’s there so I don’t have to run to the Post Office when I’m expecting something important. For instance, I just renewed my drivers license and due to new tamper-proofing technology added to the card, my state now mails the actual license from a central site, but even that doesn’t require home delivery 5 or 6 days per week.

I now pay most of my bills online but other examples of the need for snail-mail are my water, sewage and electric bills. Those are city-county owned companies and because governments have no limits on raising taxes, they just keep hiring bodies to shuffle the paper. Paper-shufflers on the other end means paper checks from me because they don’t have the utility to accept online payments for my utility bills. To accommodate the green eyeshades in our city and county governments, I could easily handle bills and checks thru a PO Box, especially if the PO would accommodate the public with evening hours.

If we must keep Post Offices as a matter of national pride, let’s at least cut back on deliveries to no more than two days per week. I would be happy with delivery on Monday and Thursday or Tuesday and Friday or Wednesday and Saturday, or whatever, and they could start today….I need no time to get ready.

Some businesses, especially small ones, would argue they need delivery 5 or 6 times a week, but I don’t buy it. In most cases they’d be better off with fewer deliveries. It would force them to more efficient business practices.

Related: Mailboxes disappearing from South Florida

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Wednesday, March 31st, 2010 :: In Health Care, History, Politics ::

J.R. Dunn, March 29, at American Thinker:

The Supreme Court and FDR’s Power Grab

How great a chance do we have to overthrow ObamaCare in the courts? To answer that question we need to look into that bleak pit of falsehood and mendacity that America’s left would like us to ignore at all costs, the historical record.

We need to look at the original effort to nationalize the American economy, the one attempted by Obama’s model, Franklin D. Roosevelt, by means of the New Deal. FDR was never quite clear about what he wanted to do. He was clear about the goal, but not about how to get there. Not unlike Obama, he left that problem to various retainers, in this case the members of the Brain Trust.

The two key Brain Trusters were Adolf Berle and Rexford G. Tugwell. Both men were professors at Columbia, and both were of one mind concerning the solutions to America’s economic problems: collectivism, centralization, and state control. [Bold added]

Read more….

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Wednesday, March 31st, 2010 :: In History, Military ::

You won’t see this in the MSM so here’s a link to the local paper….

NEW BRITAIN — The names are a chronicle of this diverse city — Colello, Dixon, McEnaney and Meskill; Nadeau, Ohanesian, Pozniak and Rabinowitz.

They were among the World War II veterans memorialized on a stone and metal monument in a tiny city park. Now, that honor roll has been defaced and diminished.

Two of six plaques bearing veterans’ names were pried from the monument in Kulper Park more than a week ago. Police are searching for the missing plaques and those responsible for what Lt. James Wardwell called “a truly despicable crime.”

Investigators are not sure whether the culprits were vandals or thieves out to cash in the plaques at a scrap yard, Wardwell said. Police have alerted scrap yards in the area to look out for the plaques, which are made of either bronze or brass.

Read the whole story….

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Tuesday, March 30th, 2010 :: In Health Care, Politics ::

In 2006 President Bush played Democrat and signed into law the prescription drug plan known as Medicare Part D. During debates in Congress little was said about how Part D would adversely affect Medicare patients that had prescription drug coverage through their Medigap insurance companies.

My wife and I had Medigap policies with riders covering prescription drugs (PD). Early in 2005 my wife became ill and needed a variety of PD and we could fill the scripts with no co-pay and no donut hole.

That changed completely in 2006 when we were forced onto Part D. The net increase in premium cost was more than $100 for the two of us but that was peanuts. Co-payments averaged more than $300 per month and the donut hole set us back another $2000 for the year. And BTW, Congress made sure the donut hole will be an annual event.

We were surprised by the requirements of Part D even though it had passed as a bipartisan bill and everyone had plenty of time to read it. Now ObamaCare is upon us and nobody read it before it was signed into law. I strongly suspect we’ll be finding surprises in ObamaCare five years from now.

One major problem has just come to light. ObamaCare has a little publicized feature that will cost billions but writers of the bill counted it as a cost savings. The feature will seriously impact companies that provide health insurance with PD to their retirees, and this is where Part D and ObamaCare tie-in:

During consideration of Part D Bush made an arrangement with large companies that provide health insurance to their retired employees to also provide PD if they could do it cheaper than Medicare. The idea is that Medicare reimburses them and everybody makes out: The retirees get PD, the companies offer a nice benefit for their employees and Medicare saves money because the retirees don’t go on Medicare Part D. Since 2006, the deal has saved Medicare billions.

The morons that wrote ObamaCare didn’t see it that way. After all, their plan was for control, not cost containment. They declared that the money being paid to large companies for PD was a loophole and they now claim they have closed that loophole.

They don’t mention what’s happening to those big companies now but the WSJ does and here’s a snippet:

It’s been a banner week for Democrats: ObamaCare passed Congress in its final form on Thursday night, and the returns are already rolling in. Yesterday AT&T announced that it will be forced to make a $1 billion writedown due solely to the health bill, in what has become a wave of such corporate losses.

This wholesale destruction of wealth and capital came with more than ample warning. Turning over every couch cushion to make their new entitlement look affordable under Beltway accounting rules, Democrats decided to raise taxes on companies that do the public service of offering prescription drug benefits to their retirees instead of dumping them into Medicare. We and others warned this would lead to AT&T-like results, but like so many other ObamaCare objections Democrats waved them off as self-serving or “political.”

***

On top of AT&T’s $1 billion, the writedown wave so far includes Deere & Co., $150 million; Caterpillar, $100 million; AK Steel, $31 million; 3M, $90 million; and Valero Energy, up to $20 million. Verizon has also warned its employees about its new higher health-care costs, and there will be many more in the coming days and weeks.

Read the whole thing….

Clearly, it won’t be long before companies stop providing PD coverage and just as clearly those retirees will end up on Medicare Part D at nearly double the cost.

And oh, did I mention the lost revenue to federal, state and local treasuries from corporate profits that were turned into instant losses when Obama signed ObamaCare?

Think about what these clowns have done and get ready for more surprises as we wade through nearly 3,000 pages of unread law.

And for your viewing displeasure…. Surprise!
Automatic Paycheck Deduction Hidden in ObamaCare

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Tuesday, March 30th, 2010 :: In Entertainment, History ::

The song runs less than a minute and is nothing special but what they do next is amazing!

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Sunday, March 28th, 2010 :: In Election 2010, Politics, Republicans ::

Barbara, a Scottsdale blogger, has a fascinating piece on the Senate primary in Arizona between RINO John McCain and conservative Republican, J.D. Hayworth. Here’s a snippet:

Senator John McCain’s Reform Institute has suffered some bad press recently due to its involvement in an influence-peddling scandal with Cablevision. As usual, however, mainstream media have failed to go to the root of the matter.

Founded on June 26, 2001, McCain’s Reform Institute for Campaign and Election Issues has long served as a nerve center for the so-called “campaign finance reform” movement – a movement which has done nothing to clean up campaign finance, but has done a great deal to empower federal judges and government bureaucrats to regulate political speech, in defiance of the Bill of Rights.

Now here’s the kicker. The list of donors published on the Reform Institute’s Web site reads like a veritable Who’s Who of radical, leftwing foundations, including the Tides Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Proteus Fund and George Soros’ Open Society Institute (hat tip, Winfield Myers). [Bold added]

Be sure to follow Barbara’s links to Michelle Malkin’s, Winfield Myers’ and the Reform Institute’s sites.

h/t: The Other McCain

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Sunday, March 28th, 2010 :: In Health Care, Politics ::

Jennifer Rubin @ Commentary:

Throw in a plethora of new taxes and perverse incentives for employers to drop their employees from coverage, and you can see why it is an “unmitigated disaster — for our health care system, for our fiscal future, and for any notion of limited government.” But there is time to rip it up and start again. There is no shortage of market-based alternative plans from conservatives. But first, the existing one must be abandoned before it can do permanent damage to the health-care system and to our economy. That is the rallying cry for conservatives this year and in 2012 — to prevent the wrecking ball before it hits its target and to offer a better alternative. Rarely is there such a stark choice for voters, but there is no fuzzying up the differences between the two sides on this one. Are you for or against a giant new entitlement program? Do you think individuals should be forced to buy insurance plans they don’t want? Is it smart to levy huge new taxes when the economic recovery is stalled? If framed clearly, the “Repeal and Replace” brigade has a compelling position.

Read it all….

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Saturday, March 27th, 2010 :: In History, Military ::

WoW! I didn’t know this was available on YouTube.

News reel of the surrender ceremony onboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945. Background music is “With Honour Crowned”.

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Friday, March 26th, 2010 :: In Obama, Politics ::

Apparently, words no longer mean what they once meant.

I read C. Edmund Wright’s take at American Thinker on Bret Baier’s interview of Obama last week, but before I comment let me make something clear: Although I’ve seen snippets on the news, I didn’t see the whole interview because I’ve heard enough from Obama to last a lifetime and, besides, Bret Baier is a lightweight. If I’m going to watch an interview, I want the interviewer to have enough moxie to make it work.

Now, back to Edmund Wright’s post: He titled the piece “Bret Baier: 1; President Obama: 0.” Sounds good. I was pleasantly surprised by the implication and eagerly set about reading how the lightweight had cleaned The Won’s clock. I’m still looking.

Wright declares that Baier won handily and chastises Brit Hume and Charles Krauthammer for failure to “acknowledge on air that their colleague bested the president.” In fact, Wright is so put-out by Hume’s and Krauthammer’s ‘failures’ that he refers to them as “two pundits nearing the end of brilliant careers.”

But my main point is that Wright is the one that failed. He suckered me into reading his column with a declaration that Baier had whomped Hussein and to prove it he presented transcripts. But based on that dialogue, Wright has it backwards; Obama cleaned Baier’s clock. To me, Baier’s ineffectiveness explains why heavyweights like Hume and Krauthammer left the analysis to others.

I pondered why Wright would declare Baier the winner when the dialogue portrays the opposite. All I could see was that Wright gives high marks to questions from an anchor of a conservative TV channel and completely ignores the answers.

Wright obviously thinks that throwing out hard questions is sufficient to embarrass the interviewee. That’s bullcrap. Obama doesn’t care about the question. He knows the MSM will only report what HE says, not what the interviewer says.

As long as lightweights like Baier allow Obama to make political statements instead of answering questions, BHO will be happy to give them face-time.

In process update — After writing this, I noticed that Wright isn’t alone. Others, like Jill Stanek, agree that Baier obliterated The Won. Go figure.

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Thursday, March 25th, 2010 :: In Election 2010, Politics, Taxes ::

Well, it’s on. Speculators are already speculating on where Obama and his minions in Congress will get the trillions needed to pay for the new entitlement, socialized medicine.

The debate on new taxes may be intense but I don’t think it’ll last long because there’s only one good way to raise the kind of money the socialist have in mind. That’s to hide the taxes so the dumbasses that voted for Obama, Pelosi and Reid won’t notice they’re being fleeced. How can they do that? It’s called a VAT, and for that they can look across the Atlantic.

Europeans have been using the insidious VAT for years. VAT requires that taxes are added at each level of processing or manufacturing. When the product arrives at the checkout counter it will have one or more taxes already paid and built into the consumer’s price. Isn’t that beautiful? But there’s more…. Democrats will love it because the VAT money is sent to Washington during the process instead of at the time of purchase by the consumer. That means an earlier and more reliable system for tax collection. Also VAT will greatly reduce under-the-table and off-the-book deals that are rife in the “voluntary payment” system used in the past.

It’s a slimy way of doing business, especially for the U.S. where openness has been a tradition. We grew up with taxes of all kinds clearly publicized. Income taxes deducted from paychecks are shown on check stubs; sales taxes are added at cash registers. But VAT, by its very nature, is a hidden tax, paid by the maker, processor, or grower, and added as a cost of business as goods move through the system. VAT will raise loads of money and, if implemented quietly, only the politically active will notice that the new high prices were brought on by VAT.

How can we get to a VAT? Well, Donks probably can’t do it openly and honestly but that shouldn’t be a problem as long as they’re in charge. For the last year we’ve witnessed example after example of the low opinion they have for openness and honesty.

When they’re ready to spring the VAT trap (probably soon after the November elections if they hang on to power) they will have worked out a plan to end-run the most troubling aspect of VAT. When looked at as, “taxes as a percentage of income,” VAT is a killer to the poor. If the Donks don’t end-run that little problem, their most loyal and most uninformed voting block will become real victims and won’t have to fake it anymore.

Imagine a society where we pay a much higher percentage of our income for taxes at Wal-Mart’s checkout than Bill Gates or Warren Buffet would pay for the same items!

One way to end-run the problem would be to keep the present system and overlay it with a VAT. But….they’d never do that, would they? Of course not! But…. couldn’t they add a VAT and put surtaxes on certain incomes, say, over $100k ?

Oh, wait! That’s the same as keeping the present system and adding a VAT. But never mind; I’m sure Nancy, Harry and Hussein already have a new name, like maybe VAT Plus.

That brings to mind…. Did you know that VAT Plus could provide enough revenue to eliminate income and Social Security taxes for everybody making less than $100k ? — Isn’t that kewl?

Related: Ed Morrissey: “Charles Krauthammer warns … the passage of ObamaCare will lead to the value-added tax, or VAT.” Krauthammer says it’s the only way to raise the “river” of money needed to pay for socialized healthcare.

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Thursday, March 25th, 2010 :: In Politics ::

At City Journal

Here’s the thing. The American people want government that acts in keeping with our principles of free markets, self-reliance, and individual liberty. The people want culture that depicts the moral order as we know it is, not as sequestered elites dream it should be. But in Hollywood and in Washington, they can’t hear the people because they’re making too much noise talking to themselves, confirming themselves, and loving themselves.

They say that Washington is Hollywood for ugly people. But as long as our leaders and artists are displaying such blindness, arrogance, and narcissism, they’re all ugly.

Read the whole thing….

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Thursday, March 25th, 2010 :: In Obama, Politics ::

Click Thru
Obama finger to We The People
Click Thru

h/t: Hookers and Booze

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Thursday, March 25th, 2010 :: In Uncategorized ::
Robert White

Robert White, American air ace, has died at age 85. He was the first person to earn the designation, “astronaut,” in a winged aircraft.

Robert M. White was 38 in 1962 when he joined the elite ranks of America’s first four astronauts.

Mercury astronauts, Alan Shepard, Virgil Grissom, Scott Carpenter and John Glenn went into space seated atop ballistic missiles and returned in capsules that parachuted onto the ocean.

White, a test pilot with ‘The Right Stuff,’ was first to break Mach 4 — four times the speed of sound. First to break Mach 5. First to break Mach 6 — more than 4,000 miles per hour. He did it all in a few short months in 1961.

Then in 1962, he nosed his X-15 59 miles above the earth to be the first to take a winged craft into space.

NASA says the record-setting test pilot died March 17 at his home in Orlando, Fla. after several months of declining health.

White flew combat missions in World War II and the Korean War before becoming a test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base. He retired from the Air Force in 1981 as a major-general.

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Wednesday, March 24th, 2010 :: In Obama, Politics, Socialized Medicine ::

Obama and Pelosi handed out bribes like candy and easily bought enough “Blue Dog” and “moderate” votes in the House to pass the Senate’s socialized medicine bill, H.R. 3590. The House also passed a companion bill, H.R. 4872 (called a Sidecar), that’s supposed to “fix” H.R. 3590. Conservatives were elated that the Sidecar might entice “Blue Dog” and “moderate” Senators to join Senate Republicans to block “Reconciliation” of H.R. 4872. (“Reconciliation” is a euphemistic term used to allow consideration of a bill without going through the usual Senate process.)

So, how did those good ol’ “Blue Dogs” and “moderates” do when H.R. 4872 showed up Monday morning? Well, the Motion to Proceed to Consider H.R. 4872 passed easily 56-40. Not one “Blue Dog” or “moderate” voted with Republicans.

The Senate has 59 Donks (2 say they’re Independent, but that’s horseshit) and 41 Republicans but only 96 of the total voted. Robert Byrd (D-WVA) was sick. Three cowards simply refused to vote: Udall (D-NM), Robert F. Bennett (RINO-Utah) and Johnny Isakson (RINO-Georgia).

Below is a chart of how “Blue Dog” and “moderate” Senators voted.

“Yea” means, “we agree with Obama, Pelosi and Reid that socialized medicine — like they have in Cuba, Russia, China, Canada and the UK — would be great for the USA.”

“Nay” means “no, we want to reform health care and health insurance but there’s absolutely no need for the federal government to take over the industries and raise trillions of dollars in new federal taxes.”

Senate Vote 63 – H.R.4872: On the Motion to Proceed An Act to provide for reconciliation pursuant to Title II of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2010 (S. Con. Res. 13).

Arkansas’ “Blue Dogs”:
Yea Lincoln, Blanche[D]
Yea Pryor, Mark [D]
 
Alaska’s “Blue Dog”:
Yea Begich, Mark [D]
 
Colorado’s “moderates”:
Yea Bennet, Michael [D]
Yea Udall, Mark [D]
 
Connecticut’s “moderate”:
Yea Lieberman, Joseph [I]
 
Florida’s “moderate”:
Yea Nelson, Bill [D]
 
Georgia’s RINO:
Not Voting Isakson, John [R]
 
Indiana’s “moderate”:
Yea Bayh, Evan [D]
 
Louisiana’s “Blue Dog”:
Yea Landrieu, Mary [D]
 
North Carolina’s “moderate”:
Yea Hagan, Kay [D]
 
North Dakota’s “moderate”:
Yea Dorgan, Byron [D]
 
Ohio’s moderate and RINO:
Yea Brown, Sherrod [D]
Nay Voinovich, George [R]
 
Pennsylvania’s “moderate”:
Yea Specter, Arlen [D]
 
Utah’s RINOs:
Not Voting Bennett, Robert [R]
Nay Hatch, Orrin [R]
 
Virginia’s “moderates”:
Yea Warner, Mark [D]
Yea Webb, Jim [D]
 
West Virginia’s “moderate”:
Not Voting Byrd, Robert [D]

So there we have it. Not one of the sorry sacks of shit voted to kill the bill even though several RINOs voted “nay.”

Conservatives please note: only a liar would use the words “Blue Dog” or “moderate” as an adjective or noun for a Democrat.

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Wednesday, March 24th, 2010 :: In Uncategorized ::

AFP — The world’s shortest man, He Pingping, who stood just over two feet five inches tall, has died, Britain’s Guinness World Records said Monday. He was 21. He was in Rome taking part in a television show when he suffered chest problems. He was taken to hospital, where he died over the weekend.

Wikipedia — He Pingping measured 2 ft 5 in (73 cm) tall, and was the third child of a family in Huade county, in the city of Ulanqab in northern China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. He had two sisters, both of whom developed at normal rates. According to his father, He Yun, at birth He Pingping was small enough to fit in the palm of his parents’ hands. When it became apparent the child was growing very slowly, doctors diagnosed the cause as the bone deformity osteogenesis imperfecta, which hinders normal bone growth and body height. His name “Pingping” means wine bottle. He was a chain smoker.

He Pingping shortest man with tallest man

Top photo — The world’s tallest man, 8 ft 1 in Sultan Kosen, poses with the world’s shortest man, 2 ft 5.37 in He Pingping, during the launch of the Guinness World Records live roadshow in Istanbul, on January 14, 2010.

He Pingping shortest man

He Pingping, shortest man with Sultan Kosen

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