No politics today. Today, a musical legend died...Levon Helm of "The Band" died after a long battle with cancer.
The Band rose to prominence as Bob Dylan's back up band for his 1965 tour but hit it big on their own with a little help from Dylan. Most people know them solely from Martin Scorscese's film "The Last Waltz" which was the Band's farewell concert.
Levon's death leaves only 2 surviving members of the Band - Robbie Robertson and Garth Hudson.
RIP Levon. You will be missed.
I have not done one of these in a while but given yesterday was tax day I thought this was fitting....
"Would it not be better to simplify the system of taxation rather than to spread it over such a variety of subjects and pass through so many new hands." --Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, 1784
Predictably, the Democratically controlled US Senate killed the "Buffett Rule". The Democrats lost 2 of their members(Mark Pryor and Independent Joe Lieberman) while the GOP lost 1 (Susan Collins). Expect much moaning, wailing and garment rending from the President and his supporters over this defeat. Then while you are listening to it, remember the words of Senator Sheldon Whitehouse on the subject.
"The Senate Republican Leader has described the bill as yet another proposal from the White House that won't create a single job or lower the price at the pump by a penny. Well, the Minority Leader is absolutely right that the aim of this bill is not to lower the unemployment rate or the price of gasoline."
It is also not about deficit reduction as the Democrats claim. According to government estimates, the so-called Buffett Rule would net the government roughly $30-$40 billion dollars over ten years. The impact on the deficit....MINISCULE. Cutting the federal budget 1% across the board meanwhile would net the government $33 billion dollars A YEAR in deficit reduction.
The Salt Lake Tribune has an article today on the next financial bubble due to burst.
Utah students who attended for-profit colleges are showing up in growing numbers at the offices of bankruptcy lawyers hoping to find a way out from under student loans that they can’t repay.
Verifiable numbers are hard to come by, but a Salt Lake Tribune survey of Utah lawyers suggests that client cases involving student loans have jumped to 15 percent to 30 percent of their caseloads after the recession started four years ago — even though student debt rarely can be eliminated through bankruptcy.
The problem, for most students is that they have gone to school for an additional 4 years and simply can not get a job.
The schools "tailor their programs to provide career education [and] job skills. But if there are no jobs on the other end, then [the students] just have a loan that is non-dischargeable" in bankruptcy, Hanson said.
The private for profits are not the only source of worthless degrees, as my friend Gary Gross found out.
So Saturday, I'm at the Salt Lake County GOP Convention campaigning for a county wide candidate (more on that later) when the following tweet crosses my phone....
Jazz Shaw @JazzShaw - New at Hot Air: Orrin Hatch may just punch you in the mouth. http://bit.ly/HChCpW
Jazz Shaw, my former radio partner, has been in the Hatch camp (still is when you read the post). He fully sees the importance of that committee position. So of course I just had to click out on the link to read the column.
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has been under a lot of pressure from his own right flank this cycle, facing a serious primary challenge from people who think he’s too “moderate” for today’s Republican Party. FreedomWorks has dropped more than a half million dollars in attack ads trying to knock him out of the running, hoping to replace him with former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist. But at least he’s taking it with the calm, professional demeanor that you’d expect from a seasoned, veteran statesman.
Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch is “doggone offended” by the activists and voters standing between him and re-election, describing them as “radical libertarians.”
“These people are not conservatives. They’re not Republicans.”
“They’re radical libertarians and I’m doggone offended by it,” he said.
“I despise these people,” Hatch added, “and I’m not the guy you come in and dump on without getting punched in the mouth.”
Now the Daily Caller (which Jazz quotes) is more right leaning than even say National Review or Hot Air, so I went to the quoted NPR piece. The quote was accurate, but the piece went a little further.
One has to ask that question when PRAVDA, of all places, is reporting on things that the state run media here refuses to touch.
Today there is no American news outlet factually covering the illegal actions of the sitting President of the United States in context. Nor is there one consistently exposing the laws his administration has flagrantly broken, though this corruption now demonstrably permeates every level of the federal system.
Attorneys General Tom Horne, Arizona; Pam Bondi, Florida; Sam Olens, Georgia; Bill Schuette, Michigan; Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma; Marty Jackley, South Dakota; Alan Wilson, South Carolina; Greg Abbott, Texas; and Ken Cuccinelli of Virginia produced a joint memo on March 5th, 2012 detailing 21 blatant violations of law committed by the Obama administration.
By now it is unsurprising the media has by and large ignored this announcement though AG Cuccinelli did appear in an extended segment with CSPAN (the relevant segment can be found here) on March 18th.
What is even more interesting, is that they are quoting the Tea Party and not passing judgment (in either direction) on them.
Fortunately, The Tea Party Tribune published the Attorney's General memo, "A Report on Obama Administration Violations of Law" in full the same day it was released. It is nothing short of a flashing legal headline story, yet cannot be found at the Washington Post or the New York Times.
"Whether it is through the EPA, NLRB, Office of Surface Mining, FCC or other entities, the Obama Administration has aggressively used administrative agencies to implement policy objectives that cannot gain congressional approval and are outside of the law." - A Report on Obama Administration Violations of Law.
Emphasis in the original. The article has a litany of items where the Obama Administration has broken the law. Then Pravda adds...
You won’t hear it from the mainstream media, but the Justice Department has just faced an embarrassing smack down on the highest profile of these cases. It has dropped an appeal in Holder v. Pine against pro-life sidewalk counselor Mary “Susan” Pine, who is represented by the civil rights firm Liberty Counsel. The DOJ has agreed to pay $120,000 for this frivolous lawsuit which, as the evidence indicated, was intended to intimidate Ms. Pine and send a shot over the bow of pro-lifers around the country.
Mr. Holder unsuccessfully sought thousands of dollars in fines against Ms. Pine, as well as a permanent injunction banning her from counseling women on the public sidewalk outside the Presidential Women’s Center (PWC) abortion mill (or any other “reproductive services” clinic).
After 18 months of litigation, the DOJ’s case was thrown out of federal court, and the department was chastised in a scathing ruling by U.S. District Judge Kenneth Ryskamp for filing a case with no evidence.
The big jobs announcement last Friday that the economy grew an anemic 120,000 jobs lowering the unemployment rate to 8.2% left out one very big detail. One that the St. Louis Federal Reserve let out of the bag.
Germany gives us a glimpse of our future, should we continue with the status quo.
Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats have drafted proposals forcing all those over the age of 25 to pay a proportion of their income to cushion Germany against a looming population crisis.
The German Chancellor's ruling party is seeking extra sources of cash to pay for soaring pensions and bills for social care costs at a time when Germany's "baby boomer" generation is ageing amid a decline in the birth rate.
The proposals – to be adopted by Chancellor Merkel's party cabinet after the Easter break – have not yet set a figure on the age tax but officials are considering a special levy of about one per cent of income.
All around the world, the countries that bought into the population bomb theory advanced by Obama Advisor Paul Ehrlich are now facing the same crisis.
It seems that even the media is not buying the Administration's assertion that overturning ObamaCare is some how some sort of extra-ordinary event. In a press conference Wednesday, CBS reporter Norah O'Donnell had the following exchange with Press Secretary Jay Carney.
ED HENRY: In his original comments he did not draw out that caveat. He just said the whole thing would be unprecedented.
JAY CARNEY: That’s not what he said, Ed, and that’s certainly not what he meant. It was clear to most folks who observe this and understand is at issue here.
NORAH O’DONNELL: Jay, that’s not true. The president said on Monday: “It would an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.” It took him until yesterday to talk about the commerce clause and on an economic issue—there are two instances in the past 80 years where the precedent, where the Supreme Court has overturned stuff—U.S. vs. Lopez and U.S. vs. Morrison. These are very specific legal issues. It’s not evident to everybody.
Then yesterday, CBS reporter Bill Plante got in on the act.
Coequal - noun - equal with one another <coequal branches of government> (definition courtesy of Mirriam Webster online)
This country was formed on the premise that there were THREE coequal branches of government - Legislative, Executive and Judicial. Apparently, in the eyesof President Obama, the Judicial Branch is only coequal when it agrees with his agenda. When it doesn't.....
President Barack Obama took an opening shot at conservative justices on the Supreme Court on Monday, warning that a rejection of his sweeping healthcare law would be an act of "judicial activism" that Republicans say they abhor.
Obama, a Democrat, had not commented publicly on the Supreme Court's deliberations since it heard arguments for and against the healthcare law last week.
Showing yet again that he does not understand the GOP nor does he know what the meaning of "IS" is. Judicial activism is MAKING laws from the bench a la Roe v. Wade (and we'll come back to this).
The entire quote (as provided by real life lawyer John Hinderacker at Powerline) is even more telling.
Logical Lady Peggy Noonan was one of those center right folks that actually bought the President's centrist rhetoric when he was then candidate Obama. Now she is singing a different tune.
Something's happening to President Obama's relationship with those who are inclined not to like his policies. They are now inclined not to like him. His supporters would say, "Nothing new there," but actually I think there is. I'm referring to the broad, stable, nonradical, non-birther right. Among them the level of dislike for the president has ratcheted up sharply the past few months.
It's not due to the election, and it's not because the Republican candidates are so compelling and making such brilliant cases against him. That, actually, isn't happening.
What is happening is that the president is coming across more and more as a trimmer, as an operator who's not operating in good faith. This is hardening positions and leading to increased political bitterness. And it's his fault, too. As an increase in polarization is a bad thing, it's a big fault.
While it is good to see Ms. Noonan and the rest coming around, it is a bit of cold comfort to those of us who were looking at the President's sparse record as a State and US Senator and saying "WAIT - I don't think he is what he says he is....."
The latest "trend" in employer over-reach (when interviewing prospective employees) has been to ask for their social media passwords - something that is a gross invasion of privacy if you are not an employee of a company. But what about when you are already employed by that entity? That is the question that is now being played out in Michigan.
Kimberly Hester, a grade school teacher's aide in Michigan, was fired for refusing to hand over her Facebook password to her supervisors. Hester posted a picture of a co-workers' shoes and pants bunched around her ankles on Facebook in April 2011 with the caption, "Thinking of you." She posted the picture in jest, but a parent who's on her Facebook friend list saw the image and reported it to Frank Squires Elementary where Hester was employed, prompting the investigation.
Seriously - that was a stupid thing to post - ESPECIALLY if you had student's parents on your Facebook page. Ms. Hester really does deserve a resounding "what the HAIL were you thinking when you posted that?" but fired?
Yeah - I was slacking last week....if you call slacking not home for more than two hours a night because your family has you going one place or the other. I am going to try to make up for it with a little volume this week.
First up is this post from Walter E. Williams. Professor Williams is an economics professor at George Mason University and just about one of the smartest men out there....oh and he happens to be an African American male. He wrote "A Minority View" on racial profiling that is indeed one of those articles that makes you stop to think.
Right now, there isn’t enough known about the circumstances surrounding the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, a black, by George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old part-Hispanic, during his neighborhood watch tour in an Orlando, Fla., suburb. If evidence emerges that Zimmerman’s actions were not justified, he should be prosecuted and punished; however, there’s a larger issue that few people understand or have the courage to acknowledge, namely that black and young has become synonymous with crime and, hence, suspicion. To make that connection does not make one a racist. Let’s look at it.
Those of us who are of a certain age remember Richard Jewell. He was the security guard at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics who discovered (and was later accused of planting) the pipe bomb that Eric Robert Rudolph had planted in the Olympic Village. Those of a younger generation will remember the Duke Lacrosse Team Scandal from 2006. Both stories had one thing in common. A media whipped frenzy that had indicted, tried and convicted people of a crime before the investigation was even complete. Well we now have two more stories to add to the pantheon of media whipped frenzies....first comes this from State College PA.
More than a decade before former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with more than 50 counts of child sex abuse, a psychologist warned university police that his actions fit that of a “likely pedophile’s pattern.”
The finding by State College, Pa., psychologist Dr. Alycia A. Chambers, the therapist for one of Sandusky’s alleged victims, was contained in the internal Penn State files of a 1998 police investigation of the former coach for showering and bear hugging her client and another young boy in the school’s athletic locker room.
Based on one man's testimony, the media tried and convicted former Penn State Coach Joe Paterno of allowing a pedophile run loose in his program. They accused him of enabling Sandusky - saying that he should have somehow done more - even though he did what he was supposed to do....reported the one incident he knew about to the University (his employer). It is clearer than ever (based on this new report) that the ADMINISTRATION at PSU failed those boys AND they set up their long time coach to be the scape goat for their misdeeds.
In an interview yesterday with Marketplace.org President "Not My Fault" Obama put out a real whopper.
Marketplace's Kai Ryssdal : With all respect, it was kind of a gutsy move I think to come to a solar facility. Your administration has staked a lot on clean technology, green jobs. The biggest item most people know about that strategy is, of course, a company named Solyndra, which your administration gave loan guarantees to, that then went bankrupt and has been the subject of many investigations. Are you doing your "all of the above" strategy right if that's what we have to show for it -- Solyndra?
Obama: We are doing the "all of the above" strategy right. Obviously, we wish Solyndra hadn't gone bankrupt. Part of the reason they did was because the Chinese were subsidizing their solar industry and flooding the market in ways that Solyndra couldn't compete. But understand: This was not our program, per se. ..
Emphasis mine. Not your program? Really???? Even the leftish leaning Annenberg Foundation couldn't let that go unchecked.
President Obama exaggerated when defending his administration’s approval of a $535 million loan guarantee to Solyndra, a now-defunct solar company.
Obama referred to Solyndra’s loan at an Oct. 6 press conference as “a loan guarantee program that predates me.” That’s not accurate. It’s true that the Energy Policy Act of 2005 created a loan guarantee program for clean-energy companies developing “innovative technologies.” But Solyndra’s loan guarantee came under another program created by the president’s 2009 stimulus for companies developing “commercially available technologies.”...
...The loan guarantee program that provided financing for Solyndra, however, does not predate Obama.