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Technorati is indexing me again! They had to make a code change to fix the problem with my blog getting stuck in their queue. Kudos to Eric M. and the guys at GetSatisfaction.com where they have "community powered support for Technorati".
Well, they're "sorta, kinda" indexing me anyway. It's on a 24 hour tape delay or something. So I never get picked up by Memeorandum because they pull from Technorati and Technorati has stuff I posted yesterday listed as my latest blog entry. And that's old news to Memeorandum.
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#VRWC Twitter feed:
The New York Jets signed free agent
felon wide receiver
Plaxico Burress to
a one year deal.
Insert "shoot yourself in the foot" jokes here.
If HBO reruns Hard Knocks who will play Burress, Adam Sandler or Burt Reynolds? The episode where he's signed can be titled "The Longest Foot."
Will Burress be the go-to guy whenever Schotty orders up the shotgun?
"Schotty," "shotgun…" Sometimes I crack myself up.
A Newark "campaign worker" pled guilty to election fraud on Friday. Angel Colon admitted submitting fraudulent absentee and messenger ballots on behalf of State Senator Teresa Ruiz in 2007.
Ruiz won the election.
Now here's the test. Go read the AP story.
Did you notice any mention of Colon's or Ruiz's political party affiliation? No? Gee you'd think that fact would be relevent, right?
And it would be damn relevent to our liberal media, if either of the politicians in question was a Republican. But election fraud by Democrats in Essex County? That's pretty much on the level of "Dog Bites Man."
If the media actually noted the fraudsters' party affiliation people might start drawing some conclusions. Then we'd remember that back in 2009 Ruiz's husband was indicted on the exact same charges. He "reached a plea deal" and entered pre-trial intervention thus avoiding jail time. It's good to have a powerful wife!
So the next time the media tells you it's "disenfranchising" to require a voter to show ID, what they really mean is such a requirement would make it harder for ethically challenged politicians like Teresa Ruiz to remain in office. And then she'll quickly point out that she has not been accused of any wrongdoing.
Of course she hasn't. She got hubby to take the fall, then greased the skids for him.
What is it that the media always says about "the appearance of impropriety" when a Republican is entangled in shady shenanigans? When it's a Democrat in the cross-hairs all we hear are crickets.
Did you guys miss me?
Three weeks ago we packed the Wy family truckster and headed south. Destination? Long Beach Island. Surf City to be exact. It's the perfect vacation spot on the Jersey shore. Everything is walkable, the beach is only a block away, and it's totally low-key and family friendly.
Unlike say, Seaside, where the main attraction is wall-to-wall Jersey Shore goombahs preening for a bevy of tackily tattooed big hair bimbettes as the beer flows faster than the tanning lotion.LBI doesn't do rowdy. And that's how we like it. Which isn't to say there wasn't some mighty fine, uh, scenery. When the ice cream man rang his bell the moms went a-runnin'.
There was only one glitch. This year the house we rented didn't come with Wi-Fi. No problemo, right? Just borrow a Verizon 3G/4G mobile hotspot from the office and we're good to go. And we did go. Slowly. The Verizon network on LBI isn't up to the task of handling 2 laptops and an iPod on a gizmo that's supposed to serve a total of five wireless devices. Dropouts and resets were the rule, not the exception. And that's when the thing bothered to connect at all.
Fortunately the public library was right down the street. Free Wi-Fi. Which even worked like gangbusters while I was sitting outside on a convenient bench long after the library had closed for the day.
So, did Nadz keep you entertained? Yeah I saw some of the negative comments and frankly I'm disappointed. Sure he's kind of a liberal, but he's a thinking kind of liberal; a guy who is the exact opposite of knee-jerk limousine liberalism. I thought he'd spark some good dialog, but aside from a noble effort by the Mind Numbed Robot (thanks 'Bot!) there weren't any bites.
But hey, I said it was an experiment, and the beauty of actually performing experiments lies in discovering unanticipated results. And of course in not trying to fudge those results by massaging the data to hide the decline in readership…You know what brings back the RSS subscribers? Rule 5! Here's another of the beach moms chasing the ice cream man.
Now if I was of the entrepreneurial bent, and I wanted to attract the hot beach mom crowd, I'd skip the ice cream and go straight into the frozen marguerita business. I'm pretty sure I could make a killing, at least until Five-O showed up. After all this is New Jersey. If there isn't already a rule against selling frozen margueritas to hot moms on the beach, there will be one, probably before the batteries on my blender run out.
On the beach there's a rule for everything. After you buy your badge ($7 per day, $17 for the week, or $35 for the whole season) you're given an itemized list of the stuff you cannot do. No ball playing. No digging holes more than 12 inches deep. No open flames. No kite flying. No volleyball (shouldn't that be covered by "no ball playing?") No food (although just about every take out joint in town advertises they'll deliver to the beach so that's one rule which seems to be inoperative). And of course, no alcohol.
See? I told you there was a rule against the exploitation of hot moms in search of frozen refreshment. Maybe I'll call Chris Christie and ask him to do something about that.
I know you're dying to see a picture of our luxurious accomodations. And let me tell you, this place had (almost) all of the comforts of home. Here's the view from the deck.
Sadly, their Sears catalog was woefully out of date.
I saw this news yesterday but didn't have time to blog about it. Better late than never right, especially since Nadz appears to be awol. (Nothing new since Wednesday?) Technically I'm still on vacation until tomorrow, but what the heck, I'll jump back in a day early!
Researchers at the University of Alabama teamed up with NASA in attempt to correlate actual atmospheric temperature data with the predictions made by the various peer-reviewed and never-to-be-doubted Global Climate Change computer models.
The Real World data tells quite an interesting story.
Attention Globull Warming alarmists: Your computer models suck ass.
NASA satellite data from the years 2000 through 2011 show the Earth's atmosphere is allowing far more heat to be released into space than alarmist computer models have predicted, reports a new study in the peer-reviewed science journal Remote Sensing. The study indicates far less future global warming will occur than United Nations computer models have predicted, and supports prior studies indicating increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide trap far less heat than alarmists have claimed.
Study co-author Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA's Aqua satellite, reports that real-world data from NASA's Terra satellite contradict multiple assumptions fed into alarmist computer models.
"The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show," Spencer said in a July 26 University of Alabama press release. "There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans."
In addition to finding that far less heat is being trapped than alarmist computer models have predicted, the NASA satellite data show the atmosphere begins shedding heat into space long before United Nations computer models predicted.
The dry academic title of their study is "On the Misdiagnosis of Surface Temperature Feedbacks from Variations in Earth's Radiant Energy Balance."
Here on Earth, the global warming fraudsters have been fudging surface temperature data either indirectly via calculation massaging, or directly by placing temperature sensors purposely in areas that give a false high temperature (by blacktop, by buildings, by airports, etc). However, they can't get their mitts on satellites, and satellite data may indeed be the downfall of the global warming hoax once and for all!
We can hope. But I'm sure the Hockey Stick Hoaxsters will find some other way to Hide The Decline. But in the meantime, those Carbon Credits Al Gore is pushing seem to be pretty worthless.
Scientists on all sides of the global warming debate are in general agreement about how much heat is being directly trapped by human emissions of carbon dioxide (the answer is "not much"). However, the single most important issue in the global warming debate is whether carbon dioxide emissions will indirectly trap far more heat by causing large increases in atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds.
The results are in. The computer models are wrong. For the past 25 years (and counting) carbon dioxide emissions have directly and indirectly trapped far less heat than alarmist computer models have predicted.
In short, the central premise of Climate Change alarmism, that carbon dioxide emissions will trap heat inside the atmosphere and prevent it from escaping into space, is now proven to be false.
The Earth adapts.
If only the doomsayers could do the same.
Any conservative worthy of the name resists change. Yet this defining characteristic hurts the conservative cause by making them less agile in criticizing the adaptations of their opponents. For example, right wing dogma paints Obama as a Liberal with a capital "L", but this hackneyed label is badly misplaced. Every time I hear a right-wing pundit blather about how Obama is the most liberal politician ever, I instantly stop listening. The person clearly isn't uttering original thoughts; he's stuck in a 20th century conservative rut. What year does he think this is? 1940? 1965? No, President Obama may be a lot of things, but I don't think he's a liberal.
I see Obama as a Whig.
Yes a Whig. To my way of thinking, Obama resembles Henry Clay more than classic political liberals such as Lyndon Johnson or FDR. Obama is an intellegent man with a complex vision: an American Plan like Henry Clay. There's much Whiggery, not Liberalism, in the Obama presidency.
The more I learn about the Whig Party from the mid 19th century, the more I think this is where the modern Democratic party is moving, toward whiggery. There's actually a Modern Whig party, founded when Obama took office.
Conservatives take note: your opponent has moved to a new idealogical stronghold. If your guns are still aimed at LBJ, I think you'll miss by a large margin where the modern Dems are headed. A symptom of this cockeyed targeting are the accusations of socialism hurled at Obama. They are nowhere close to the mark. Whigs are not socialists. They are planners inclined toward complex solutions, but not socialists. My, my no!The original Whig party formed in opposition to Andrew Jackson, who was sort-of the Ronald Reagan of his day. A great communicator, with folksy charm, it's said that "Old Hickory" was the first president to really understand the power in popular opinion. His Whig opposition followed the elitist axiom that ordinary citizens would naturally accept their betters in Washington had things well in hand. Does that sound like Obamacare?
Therefore, if the Republicans want to beat Obama in 2012, I think they need
a candidate who can run effectively against a Whig. Sara Palin or
Mitt Romney are bad choices for this. Get somebody like Andy Jackson,
or better yet, Jackson's protégé: James K. Polk. Don't know much
about Polk? I think if you read
about the man you'll agree with me that he's exactly the sort of man needed
to defeat a Whig. Look at Polk's simple campaign platform: secure our borders, stabilize
the treasury, cut tarrifs, keep the federal government out of local affairs, and (this is the best one) get it all done in four years and
not seek re-election. Polk achieved all of his campaign promises. Polk was, without a doubt, the most
effective President we've ever had. In addition,
Polk swept away the progressive, elitist American Plan of Henry Clay and the Whigs. Read
about his Rivers and Harbors Veto
and I think you'll agree that Polk would have been a Tea Party favorite.
Wy likes tea, I like coffee. Wy's religious, I'm an atheist. Wy enjoys football, I'm a baseball fan.
Speaking of professional sports in the context of politics, I always think about the absurd anti-trust exemption that Major League Baseball enjoys, an exemption no other sport has. Since the supreme court said so in 1915, baseball games "are purely state affairs", and thus not interstate commerce for the purposes of the Sherman Act. As a result of this incredible ruling, MLB has been able to arbitrarily crush competition in any form without fear of legal pushback. The MLB juggernaut is only limited by the 1972 ruling Flood vs Kuhn, where the court ruled that MLB's anti-trust exemption did not extend to labor relations.
In 1957 when the NFL wanted some free stuff for its millionaire owners, in Radovich [sic] vs National Football League the supreme court said, sorry Charlie, professional football, unlike professional baseball, is clearly subject to antitrust laws. No free stuff for you.
You see, baseball, like Mickey Mouse and Jesus, is simply special.
Chris Christie went to Iowa. He gave a speech about education reform. And then the discussion got right back into what everyone who makes the quadrennial trek to Iowa is really there to talk about — presidential politics.
Is he running? The answer is still a resounding "no."
So, will he make an endorsement?
He's not feeling "enthusiastic" about anyone currently in the field, he explained. "I am under no legal obligation to endorse anybody. I know I will be supporting whoever our party chooses to support," Christie said.
So the guy who's never at a loss for words is suddenly spouting boilerplate? What's up with that?
Meanwhile, Rick Perry is waiting in the wings, searching for "enthusiasm."
Perry, who has taken several high-profile meetings with potential supporters over the past month, said, "I'm basically asking people, 'Do you think there's room in this presidential election for a full-throated, unapologetic fiscal conservative? And if you do think there's room, are you going to help?'"
I for one would like to hear Chris Christie's answer to that question.
Because my answer is not just "yes," but "Hell Yes!"
Our long national nightmare is over. No, not the one begat at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue by that Obama fellow; the other one.
Sundays in the fall can now proceed as God and Man intended.
It took 4½ months for the Grand Poobahs of Football to carve up a $9.3 billion dollar pie in a manner which the billionaire owners and the millionaire players deemed "fair."
So naturally the question people will ask is, "who won?"
That's easy. The lawyers won. They always do.
But I'm still ready for some football.
J! E! T! S! Jets! Jets! Jets!
Wysocki and I have had many discussions regarding Environmental issues. I believe that we both agree on the core issue: suicidally dumping crap on ourselves is a bad idea. That said, we seldom agree on the surface issues. Wysocki generally takes the position that the environmental movement comprises a bunch of radical lunatics that care more about Mother Gaia than all us endangered people that attempt to live on her. I try to oppose that point of view, but I admit it becomes very difficult to disagree with Wy when I read something like this.
Talk about delusional! Hey Wysocki, if I ever claim that environumbskulls don't exist, remind me of the "environmental philosopher" Patrick Curry, OK?
Anyway, although I doubt I need to, let me explain where Curry goes wrong in the above statement. His mistake is when he tags capitalism as the source of all Mother Gaia's ills. Let's take the first example he gives: overpopulation. It's hard for me to see how overpopulation is a result of capitalism. A much better explanation for overpopulation is that people like to have sex and make babies, and ethical systems in societies throughout the world tend to promote this excess-people-producing behavior. In that sense, it's arguable the root cause of overpopulation is a major world religion that prohibit birth control and opposes pretty much anything that might impede the production of more babies -- whether or not they can be reasonably supported by society.
If capitalism plays any role in overpopulation, it allows all these "extra" people on the Earth to not die. Capitalism generates so much economic value that the excess value can be taxed to support billions of extra people who would otherwise die off. It appears that Curry would prefer that economic support for our current population vanishes and consequently all these "unsustainable" people would quickly die. Problem solved.
Of course, if you listen to right-wing rhetoric you can sometimes get the idea that conservatives also want to pull the plug on the extra people. Cut entitlements, cut taxes. Let people sink or swim. Oh, and by the way, every life is sacred.
In fairness, I'm taking liberties in my sketches of these polarized opinions, but the polarizing rhetoric I hear from people on the left like Curry is easy to caricature into what I hear from the right. Curry probably doesn't want all the extra people to die. He probably wants us to pay even higher taxes so that the government can magically transport the extra people out of cities, scattering over the face of Mother Gaia to form ecologically ethical self-sustainable communities where they will all eat locally produced native species plants and free range animals, live in carbon neutral homes, and eschew most of the fruits of technology. In short, become neo-Amish (conveniently ignoring the fact that the Amish are, without a doubt, brutally competitive capitalists.)
And the conservatives? No, they don't want the extra people to die either. Atlas
wants to shrug off these freeloaders for their own good. With this shock
of being cast off, and despite being
single moms, elderly, or incarcerated, these reformed freeloaders
are suddenly inspired to pull themselves (and
their babies) up by some sort of heretofore unnoticed
bootstraps. They ultimately start businesses, create jobs,
and generate even more economic value so as to support even more extra people,
with liberty and justice for all (cue music).
Speaking of atheists, I'm an atheist myself. I recognize that lots of really nice people are religious, and to the extent that they practice on private property without hurting me, without hurting innocent kids, and without any of my tax dollars supporting them, it's none of my business whatever nonsense they believe in believing, no matter how bizarre or horrid. So long as it's make believe, they can pretend they are drinking actual human blood and do it with my blessing. Yes, there are some real world, not-pretend abuses of religious license where kids do get hurt and tax dollars do support private religious practices. Those abuses bug me. They bug me a lot. Also, there are some objectively immoral practices enshrined in mainstream religious dogma that need correcting, especially with respect to the abuse of children, but also with respect to the undue hatred of people that are not like us. These abuses bug me a lot as well.Yes, atheists like me have some serious and objective criticisms of mainstream religion that need to be heard, but I'm not about to raise awareness of these serious issues by putting a pasta strainer on my head at a DMV photo shoot like this gnocci-brain did.
Saints be praised, people like Niko Alm give atheists a bad name. No wonder the religious majority in this country think we are soulless morons. To start with, everybody knows that proper Pastafarian garb is pirate regalia. He should be wearing a tricorn and an eyepatch, not playing around with some silly colander. Yarrr! The heretic must walk the plank after he confesses his crime.
What? You say he's not a heretic to be forked over to Davy Jones because Pastafarianism (let alone scolapastaintestationism) is plainly not a religion at all. Rather, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is obviously a put up job -- a satirical stunt. The details of FSM dogma don't matter because they were merely made up for the stunt. Colander, tricorn, yarmulke, they're all the same. That's the point. Ha ha!
Sorry. Can't have it both ways. If it's so obvious Pastafarianism is invalid as religion, then it's also the case that the put-up job has no point. To deny the obvious just insults everyone's intelligence. All a millitant Pastafarian putz like Niko Alm will accomplish is to diminish any chance legitimate aspects of the atheist agenda will ever get a serious hearing.
Maybe if Pastafarians were using their noodles, they'd adhere, ummm, well, religiously to the arbitrary dogma they invented. If they
waited long enough without accidentally breaking character and lapsing into a fit of giggles, maybe then they can make some kind of shocking point when they
let the meatball roll onto the floor at some future date. They don't need to wait very long. L Ron Hubbard wrote a lame self-help book in 1952, and in 1993 the IRS
granted his nonsense status as a tax free religion. That's only 41 years to achieve the ultimate tax dodge. Imagine
if today's Mormon leaders were to come out and say: "Yo! Check it out. Joe Smith just made up all that crap about Moroni and the golden plates. It's
a con that lets us have our way with lots of young girls. HAHA! I can't believe you all fell for that shit."
Once again, the US military leads our country in the fight for securing the civil rights of all. Today, defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, formally certified to the president that the readiness of our military will not be harmed if gays and lesbians honorably serve our country without lying about their sexual orientation. As it did in the past when it recognized the right of women, Negroes, and atheists to serve as equals with other soldiers, the US military reminds us that we are one nation united with a common purpose: to preserve and protect the freedom and liberty of all.
I know that Wy will be less than enthusiastic about this event. I hope he forgives me for taking advantage of his gracious permission to post something here that is so very contrary to his expressed views. I respect Wy's right to state his religious objections to homosexuality. I have no quarrel with anyone expressing their religious views. But when it comes to matters of national policy, something greater than the dogma of a particular religion must guide our decisions. We need to choose what is right because it is objectively right. In this case, I believe that our society has matured to the point that we can accept gays and lesbians as our full fledged brothers and sisters without fear born of ignorance, without abusive prejudice, without hate. I predict that many years from now we'll look back at this event, and the eventual repeal of DoMA with amazement that such injustice could ever have been allowed in our country -- as we now look back at slavery and Jim Crow.
New Jersey's pension reform needs a lot more work. And nowhere is that fact more obvious than within the revolving door that constitutes the backscratching cronyism inside our state's myriad police and sheriffs departments. Ground Zero for abuse are the county sheriffs, with the epicenter in Passaic County.
The latest example is "retired" Undersheriff Chuck Meyers. After less than two months on the couch he's now back at the office, in the newly created position of Business Administrator for the Sheriff's Department.
Meyers' annual income now is $177,648: $81,135 as salary from the Sheriff's Department and $96,513 from his pension allowance.
The best part? It's his old job, with a new title.
Sheriff Richard Berdnik said creating the position was necessary after budget cuts forced out key personnel who handled business matters and left his office with only one undersheriff.
Meyers' chief responsibility as undersheriff? Budgetary matters.
But it's OK, because he's a loyal foot soldier in the Passaic County Democratic Party machine.
Meyers, a key figure in the county Democratic organization who played an active role in Berdnik's campaign last year, retired from the Sheriff's Department on June 1 after 25 years.
One month before the law prohibiting him from taking another public job went into effect. To the victor go the spoils!
Last fall former Passaic County Sheriff Jerry Speziale resigned to take on another law enforcement job — with the Port Authority. That move was also politically motivated, engineered to bypass his desire to seek higher office.
Guess who was Speziale's right hand man? Chuck Meyers! Oh, and Speziale is also "retired" too, on a disability pension from the NYPD. Gee, anyone besides me see a pattern here?
These Sheriffs Departments seem to be less about law enforcement and mostly
dedicated to protecting cushy jobs for "retired" cops. The County Sheriff is
an anachronism, dating back to Colonial times, and established long before
every city, town, and hamlet had their own police forces. Now they're just
another in a long line of redundant bureaucracies. In a sane world the County
Sheriff would be as extinct as the Dodo Bird. But New Jersey politics is
anything but sane, and so the taxpayers continue to take it up the ass while
fatcat cops like Chuck Meyers and Jerry Speziale live high on the hog.
Man, it's hot out!
Previously in this space I've opined that Americans are generally illiterate when it comes to matters of science and nature. Special interests, both left and right, love to take advantage of this mass ignorance, warping objective theory and evidence to fit their own agendas. They hope to stamp the imprimatur of science on their self-serving goals in hopes we'll go along with them. Whether it be intelligent design (or social darwinism), climate change panic (or climate change denial), or any other outrageous distortion of science or nature, the solution to the outrage is simple: be uncomfortable with your own ignorance, be willing to work hard in seeking the truth, and be suspicious of easy, pat answers.
My experience has been that few scientific facts are obvious. They don't fall like rain equally and effortlessly onto all. Reaping the fruits of science is more like harvesting a finicky crop during a drought. Science requires work, thought, consideration, and above all a stubborn adherence to the scientific method when a flood of convenient conclusions and pat answers threaten to wash it all away.
For example, Heat Index. As we experience a record heat wave, I'm annoyed at how in these conditions the media loves to talk about the Heat Index. Today it will be 103°, but it will feel like 115°. What complete and utter nonsense! For over three hundred years scientists have been refining the concept and measurement of Temperature -- a physical property of matter that quantitatively expresses the common notions of hot and cold. Temperature is the scientific fact; how hot you feel expresses your fuzzy "belief" with respect to that fact. I feel hot when it's 70°; my wife feels cold. So what. It's an abomination to spin the rigorous concept of temperature in an attempt to accommodate the touchy-feely aspect of how hot we might "feel" at any given time. Brilliant men like Rømer, Fahrenheit, Celsius, and Kelvin dedicated their lives to making the "feeling" of hot and cold into testable scientific theory. And we just throw that all away?
It's a funny irony that Heat Index has an objective definition. Check it out:
Does that capture your subjective sense of how hot it is? Me neither. Besides, there's no way that Heat Index is ever used objectively to help me know what I should be feeling. Let me put it this way. Suppose we listen to a typical weather report on the five-o-clock news. The weather guy says that tomorrow the temperature will be something, say 93°. Now, let's you and me make a bet on what the Heat Index will be.
Ready to bet?
Me, I'll take the over any day, any time. Why? Because
the weather weenie only ever mentions the
heat index when it's higher than the temperature.
Evening news weather forecasts aren't
trying to convey useful facts; they
are trying to entertain and thrill you with a scientific
sounding hyped up view of a natural world that you are too frightened to
go out and experience directly.
They assume they can exploit your ignorance of science
and nature in order to keep you indoors watching TV and thereby sell you soap. And
in large measure they are successful in doing exactly this.
Mike Bloomberg will have you arrested if you put a newspaper into the wrong trash bin. He deploys Air Conditioner Police to monitor the energy usage of trendy Midtown boutiques. Clearly he's a man who cares about the environment, right?
Raw sewage continues to flow into the Hudson River after a big fire at a water treatment plant.
Engineers are working around the clock to get the minimum of two out of the five engines up and running at the North River Waste Water Treatment Plant.
Until then, raw sewage is bypassing the plant and going straight into the river.
Oops. You'd think eco-boy would have a backup plan. Nope. He's shitting on our beaches. At the bottom of the Hudson River is the Jersey Shore. Where Yours Truly happens to be hanging out with his daughter.
The Department of Environmental Protection says it will take at least two days before sewage would impact beaches.
Gee. Two whole days. Then it's time to get out of the water. When it's 95 in
the shade. At least he
banned smoking on the sand; we wouldn't want
anything fouling the environment, now would we?
I have a decent career, a technical career. Technology is clean work, generally indoor work, and it pays really well in comparison to most other legal ways of earning money. I'm glad I went into technology, even if it was a result of the lies told to me by Walter Cronkite.
You see, every Sunday night my family gathered around the TV at my grandparent's house. Along with Ed Sullivan and Bonanza, we would watch The 20st Century narrated by Cronkite. I'm old enough to remember when they renamed the show to The 21th Century, round about 1967. The episodes were in documentary format with Cronkite explaining all the great things that the future held in store for us. As an impressionable kid, I was soon hooked on the drug that was Cronkite's futuristic optimism. Through Cronkite I learned of the limitless free energy we'd derive from nuclear fission and fusion. On that show I saw a first glimpse of the cars of tomorrow -- personal rocket pods that would fly us around on rainy days when we weren't so inclined to use our personal jet packs. I was intrigued by computers that would soon be able to think for us. Most enticing of all was the bold new frontier of space exploration. Gemini, Apollo, and soon there would be an orbiting station with express commuter service by Space Shuttle. My kids would travel to the stars.
Oh dear! No more Space Shuttle. If you haven't yet, try to watch this video. Take the time to watch the whole thing. If you make it to the end without your eyes tearing up with bitter emotion at least once, you are either a child or you have no soul.
If it wasn't for Cronkite's lies, I would have never been hooked on technology. Given my innate skills that orient toward math and science, I doubt that some other career would have paid off as well. I drank the Kool-Aid that promised a better living through chemistry, and indeed I worked hard for a long, long time to develop and sustain my technical career. I'm still working, learning new skills, competing, struggling to get by in the fast paced rat-race that is a technical career. No rest yet in sight. Without social security and medicare to count on, my paper investments all flattened by the "missing decade" of zero growth, my house after 20 years still valued near its purchase price, my kids punished for their "savings" and unable to qualify for college aid, and thus saddled with a half-million bucks of college costs that will need to be paid for out of what money we get to keep after taxes, you can't blame me for feeling a little cheated by the system. There will be no early retirement for me. Yes, I understand that in life everyone does NOT get a trophy. Trying isn't enough, as The Great Wy so eloquently points out. And even if you do try, and work hard, success is far from guaranteed, especially for boomers like us.
Still, I'm surviving and supporting my family. I still enjoy my work somewhat. We have savings. We don't live paycheck-to-paycheck. Our debt/equity ratio is low. Retirement isn't as close as I'd like, but I'm certain someday I will retire. Goodness knows how tough things would be for me and my family had I not taken up a technical career.
So, I guess I'm not too bitter about being swindled into this gig, even if today's computers are dumber than ever. There are no jet cars, no sustainable supply of cheap energy, and now no space shuttle.
My one last hope is that Robert A Heinlein told me the truth.
...and why he didn't save himself when he could
OPINION: by John Bascom
Caine was sentenced to hang at Gitmo, not so much for what he did, but for what he DIDN'T do: he wouldn't tell.
John Caine is the central fictional character in the new political and biotech novel, Caine's Pestilence. Non-political and uninvolved, yet blindly accepting—like just about everyone else at the time—of the 2014 ultra-liberal Orwellian America where we join his life, Caine meanders blithely through President Nancy Pelosi's far left nightmare. For a while, anyway.
It was the famed Irish writer and satirist Oscar Wilde who first told us art imitates life and vice-versa. This insight is borne out by the fictional world encountered by Caine in the novel: a world where national decline is the product of attempting to guaranty the bounty of the liberal agenda to every American. In Caine's world, a Fundamental Human Needs constitutional amendment has been pushed through by the Pelosi administration, assuring among other things: the right of every woman to cosmetic surgery, every American's right to a plaintiff's attorneys, and an end to capital punishment—except of course for Caine. Taxes are raised and endless regulations are promulgated, but only on corporations and successful people. The not-so-surprising results are huge deficits, a dying private sector, spiraling unemployment, high interest rates, out of control inflation, and the end of American power and prestige. Of course Pelosi blames all this on "previous administrations." And she justifies her initiatives under the banner of "helping the little guy," who is of course the one hurt most of all by the aftermath.
As life mimics art, today's real-world political landscape portends the fictional disaster that materializes for Caine in the novel. Obama's rhetoric today seems designed to appear centrist—compromise, free enterprise, shared sacrifice—but his actions are every bit as extreme-left as his infamous liberal congressional allies. We live in a stranger-than-fiction world where massive deficits undermine our nation's solvency in order to fund liberal initiatives that are an enigma to the American people, such as universal government controlled health care. And multi-billion-dollar "stimulus" spending has had anything but a stimulating effect. As in Caine's 2014 world, today's result has already been rising unemployment rates and flagging confidence in our country's economic future. Can spiraling interest rates and hyperinflation be far behind? Just ask Caine.
So what is Caine's crime, one so dastardly that the Pelosi administration would bypass its own constitutional prohibition on death to sentence him to hang? Poor, hapless Caine inadvertently created something, an otherwise beneficial agent that causes people who are exposed to comprehend the fraud of the liberal promise. And that is intolerable to Pelosi. All he has to do is tell what he did so that it can be stopped, and everything will be made right again for John Caine. What specifically is that liberal promise and what precisely is this agent? How could anything possibly have such an effect? What if anything does Caine tell, and why? Well, all that is a story for another day. But the very last sentence in Caine's Pestilence is the concluding line of the final report of the Caine Commission, formed to investigate and understand all that occurred. "The next steps, if any, are in the hands of the American people," the report concludes.
What then can be done to perpetuate for future generations the American miracle experienced by us and our forefathers? To stop the pestilence that is the spread of the destructive nanny-state liberal agenda? And to forestall the world of John Caine in 2014? Only the vocal, active initiative of an aroused and concerned citizenry; you and me. "The next steps, if any, are in the hands of the American people…" Caine's Pestilence tells us.
John Bascom is a retired banker, part-time college teacher, financial consultant and
the author of
Caine's Pestilence, a novel
of biotech mystery and political intrigue available at
Amazon and as a
Barnes & Noble Nook book.
In the comments to my missive on tax progressivity, MNRobot is confused:
The confusion here is that I'm discussing the real world "effect" of altering tax policy, not what anybody would "want" in some kind of idealistic social aesthetic sense. Of course nobody wants to pay taxes, that's why they punish you if you don't pay them. The question is, given that the insult of forced taxes are necessary to pay for all the free stuff we demand (see note below), what's the best way to lay on those painful taxes so as to get the necessary revenue while we minimize negative consequences.
Policy makers should think about effects, not idealistic wants. I'm talking about how altering tax policy changes behavior. Policy pundits often confuse these two things. They confuse their simplistic and idealized moral wants and theories with real world consequences. There are many other examples of this same confusion. One is the pointless war on some drugs where the idealized want is to decrease drug use and the real world effect of the policy is gun violence and 7 million people in the criminal justice system (3.1% of the US adult population).
Anyway, I digress, back to the pointless war on some taxes. As taxes go up on people with discretionary funds, behavior changes to favor the best tax dodges. One of the best tax dodges is investing in a business, therefore as taxes go up, entrepreneurs will tend to invest more in their businesses rather than, say, taking money as salary or dividends to spend on mink coats or vacation homes. Spun the other way, as taxes go down people will use their tax holiday to cash in their investments to spend on consumer items.
The conservative talking point is that higher taxes discourage business investment. I disagree. In general, higher taxes make investment in a business more attractive. Furthermore, I think higher taxes on the rich hurt the sale of luxury items, and taxes on the middle class make hiring middle class workers less attractive. In that sense, higher middle class taxes stop the creation of human worker jobs and encourage outsourcing, robotics, etc....
The bottom line of my argument is that the tax rate curve is better more exponential than logarithmic. We need to make the middle class American worker less expensive to hire as we encourage entrepreneurs to invest in their businesses. One way to do that is to tax the rich more, and tax the middle class less.* Yes, I know if we stopped giving out free stuff, we could lower the taxes on everybody. I get that. But are we really going to stop giving out the free stuff? I doubt it. Again, it's a question of not letting ideology cloud our view of reality. A balanced approach that combines budget cuts with revenue increases will balance our budget faster in the real world than ideological fantasies like a balanced budget amendment.
A problem with this country is that some things that benefit everyone are purchased individually, and some things paid for collectively are given free to those few individuals who get all their benefit.
Yes, the biggest reason Netflix hiked rates is simply because they can. Everybody knows that Netflix service is still a good deal even at nearly twice the price. People grumble, but in the end they'll reach down into their pockets and pay an extra ten spot for the convenience of advertisement free, on-demand films and current TV shows. Have you seen the prices at a regular theater? I feel robbed watching "The Twenty" after shelling out twelve bucks for a ticket. And think of whot commercial infested "triple play" cable or DSL costs. How can anybody criticize Netflix for charging what the market will bear? Kudos to Netflix.
But there's another reason for the hike. Netflix has been opening its wallet up to Hollywood and needs to recover that royalty expense. Back in December, there were reports of Netflix offering top dollar for TV shows. More recently there was a deal with NBC Universal. And I expect that tons of other deals are in the making. We all want to watch the best and latest movies, Netflix wants to save postage by setting up streaming deals with studios, and the studios want their rent paid. So what does this have to do with free stuff and the fall of the American Empire? Simple.
The constitution gives the government the power "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." I understand society's need for the "embarrasment" of a patent or copyright, but there need to be limits to what private intellectual monopolies we create. The framers felt this way too. Note the phrase limited terms, and nowhere does it say the "securing" of the right has to be totally free of charge to the authors and inventors. Therefore, I say the government should start charging authors for copyrights. Yes, charge. Pay up for your free stuff you millionaire movie moguls and pulp fiction fat cats you.
The way the law is now, copyrights are basically free of charge, and last more than a lifetime. In my view, that's free stuff for billionaires, pure and simple. Disney company sits there in taxpayer protected veritable perpetuity rent seeking with a portfolio of films created by authors and artists now in the grave. To add insult to injury, many of those films are based on captured public domain characters or plagiarized stories and characters. In my opinion, so long as there's an taxpayer funded FBI warning on the Lion King, Disney owes the US taxpayer a cut of its action.
Here's how I'd do it. The first year, copyright would be free. By the end of that year, to continue receiving taxpayer financed protection of some "work" you'd need to register the work on the USPTO web site and pay $1. Yes, just a buck the first year. The second year, the price would be $2 to renew. Then $4, $8, $16, and so on. After 10 years the renewal will be $1024. If you can't make a grand from your book or movie in ten years, maybe you need to give up on it and write something better, OK? After 20 years the price would be just over a million bucks, still chump change for any big media catalog item, like Harry Potter. If after 20-30 years you're making enough money on your work, you'll pay. If you miss a payment: bzzzzzt! The work goes into the public domain. As original author you can still sell or use it after failing to renew, but so can anyone else.
I hate to say it, but US manufacturing is fading. Is there any doubt that intellectual property is the way of the future for this country? We need to support new IP creators and we need to support the development of innovative information distributors like Netflix and Amazon. Locking down the rent seeking business model of big media is not the way to promote the progress of science and the useful arts. Media innovators need an open playing field, with a rich public domain providing a steady flow of new content unencumbered by an entrenched media monopoly.
Unsurprisingly, Obama and his Hollywood backers have offered nothing with regard to this sort of IP reform, but the GOP hasn't been any better. Of late, none of our elected representatives seem to be looking out for the public interest on this issue. PDEA seems dead. My copyright-for-a-fee plan might generate a few cents to help balance the budget, but more importantly it would shake loose millions of so called "orphaned" works, abandoned by their original authors yet unusable by Netflix or Amazon because of the uncertainty in their ownership. It would also gradually strip exclusivity away from original authors after "limited terms" in natural proportion to how important and/or profitable the work is to that author. Over time, even the most valuable works would turn over to the public domain, as I believe was the Founding Father's original intent. Best of all, the predictable supply of freed IP would allow third parties to find innovative ways to deliver high quality content without being burdened by perpetual payments to rent seekers.
Want a way to tax the rich and promote innovation at the same time? Charge for copyrights.
How can you not love Congressman Allen West (R-FL)? When lying leftist hack Debbie Wasserman-Schultz attacked him in absentia on the House floor yesterday he shot back. Hard.
Which I find to be candidly refreshing. Like Chris Christie, Allen West speaks his mind, and pulls no punches. The country needs more guys like them standing up to the progressive onslaught and telling it like it is.
"I must confess, when I see anyone with an Obama 2012 bumper sticker, I recognize them as a threat to the gene pool."
Talk about missed it by that much. All of the nursing students at Saint Peter's College in Jersey City walked the commencment aisle but most of them did not receive diplomas. Why? They failed the final exam!
Some 32 out of 40 students in the college's four-year nursing program failed to pass a final assessment exam that is a supposed to assess the test-taker's ability to the pass the National Council of State Boards' Licensure Examination (NCLEX), an exam nurses must pass to be licensed.
But of course failing the final isn't their fault.
Some of the students argue the final assessment exam -- the Health Education Systems Inc. (HESI) -- is an arbitrary test that shouldn't prevent them from graduating. They say the school did a poor job preparing them for the test and arbitrarily hiked the grade to pass the exam.
"Until now, my father has no idea that I didn't graduate," John Payumo, 23, a fourth-year nursing student, told The Jersey Journal, adding that he's accrued more than $20,000 in student loan debt. He says he learned five days before the commencement ceremony that he wouldn't receive a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing because his score on the HESI was eight points shy of the passing mark.
"I feel like a guinea pig, just so they (college officials) can improve their program," said Payumo. Nursing student Jennifer Evans, 23, who has a 3.2 percent grade point average, also failed the HESI. She believes the college set a higher passing grade for the HESI than was necessary.
"I never thought I'd end up in this situation, going through five years of college and ending up with nothing," she said.
Seven Five years of college down the drain! (Dean Wormer,
please call your office...)
OK, show of hands, who here thinks it's a good idea to give a nursing degree to someone who can't pass the test? Yeah, me neither.
But Ms. Evans is undeterred.
"I'm not asking for handouts. I'm not asking for favors, just meet me halfway."
Half a nurse is better than none? What part of "you failed" was unclear?
Sarah Malinowski, the spokeswoman for St. Peter's College, said the college is well aware of student complaints. She declined to say how many nursing students failed the HESI, but says they were all given adequate support to pass the test.
The complaints "disregard the fact that substantial aid was provided to the students at no additional cost to them to assist them ... in achieving their goal of successfully graduating from the program," she stated in an email.
Imagine that; these kids finally discovered that in life everyone does not get a trophy.
The students have filed a complaint with the New Jersey Board of Nursing.
Of course they have.
Ten bucks says the Board of Nursing decides to give them their diplomas.
In Progressive America it's the thought that counts. They tried,
so naturally they must be rewarded. God help the poor schmuck who's stuck
being their first patient.
Yes I'm enjoying my vacation, thanks for asking. In my absence Nadz seems to
keeping it real agitating some of you into apoplexy. Calm
down Tom, all will be explained in due time. And for your daily dose of sanity
just pay a visit to
Pat in Shreveport. She's watching the
Fear Mongerer in Chief as he continues to
bloviate while our credit rating craters.
Enough with the pointless proposals like Duck, Dodge, and Dismantle from the Republicans, or the Uncommon Denominator plan from the White House that pretends to cut a paltry 4 trillion over twelve years. Enough of this wimpy crap. Finally there's something almost reasonable on the table.
Look at the details of this awesome "Back in Black" plan. $1T from defense, check. Almost $3T from entitlements, check. $1T from tax revenue, including the elimination of ethanol subsidies, check. Raise the retirement age, of course. This is a wonderful plan. What's not to like? Well, the $9T isn't quite covering the $13T budget shortfall predicted over the next decade, but with some solid economic growth, we might be able to close the gap.
Maybe, just maybe, this plan causes enough pain to enough people that it will engender a spirit of shared sacrifice and pull us all together with a sense of civic duty to save our children from financial collapse and violent revolution. Maybe. Or maybe the sphincters of the whole congress will make a collective scrunch at the thought of cutting that much free stuff before a major election, and they'll find some lame way to duck their responsibilities yet again.
I need a
back up plan,
just in case.
I've already explained how higher tax rates help businesses and churches, as they both have fundamental tax dodges that increase in value as taxes go up. Now I'll show that the federal tax rates on the elite "job creators" in the US are at historical lows. Of course, I know that I'm probably wasting my breath in this crowd. You all won't be happy till your favorite CEO gets his free stuff for free. But at least let me show you how they are getting their free stuff for really cheap. I'll also show that for a middle class wage slave, things aren't quite so good.
In a recent speech, President Obama pointed out that tax rates on the richest Americans are at their lowest rates in over 50 years. This statement is largely true. Between Reagan-Reagan and Bush, Bush-Bush, the tax rates at the high end have been pounded down. Check out this comparison of the "progressiveness" of federal taxation.
The difference between 1960 and 2004 is striking. Those in the upper five percent of income brackets used to pay dramatically higher total rate than everyone else, especially when considering estate and corporate taxes. Even individual and payroll taxes were more progressive. Keep in mind I'm talking progressivity here, so I don't want to hear any comments regarding absolute revenue numbers. Marginal rates are far more relevant when it comes to the argument that taxes dissuade entrepeneurs from expanding. Try to stay with me, OK.
It's also quite notable that those in the below 90% income categories had lower rates than today, especially payroll tax. I suspect most of the readers of this blog are in this sad range. Nowadays, the rates are pretty flat as a function of income, and generally higher than they were, especially at the low end. The flat tax the Steve Forbes' of the word have argued for is largely here, and consequently, the top echelons have little disincentive to increase their incomes, and the middle class shoulders an inordinately large burden of taxation. Of course, I'm sure I'll soon hear arguments from all you Ayn Rand fans that flattening out the progressiveness of the tax code was a Good Thing. We don't want to punish success. And believe it or not, I do agree with that. I do. Honest! I've read Atlas Shrugged -- even the long, boring speech at the end, and I get her point. And I get the tea party sentiment -- in general.
But the thing is, as somebody in that not-rich/not-poor middle land (was only kidding last post about being an elite tax-dodging job creator last post). The droopy middle zone in the sharply progressive 1960 tax rates look pretty good from where I'm sitting. I'd be willing to accept some of that comfort and let my dream of being a rich, undertaxed billionaire fade a bit, especially if the extra money "redistributed" from billionaires could help curb the deficit and preserve more of my own free stuff. You see, I've also read John Steinbeck and I like the idea that this country has a social safety net. Class warfare is a recurring theme in history and pushed to its extremes during tough times, things can get very ugly. I don't like ugly. I like coffee.
I can't be anywhere near as eloquent in explaining this point as the great historian Will Durant.
Forced to choose, the poor, like the rich, love money more than political liberty; and the only political freedom capable of enduring is one that is so pruned as to keep the rich from denuding the poor by ability or subtlety and the poor from robbing the rich by violence or votes.
We conclude that the concentration of wealth is natural and inevitable, and is periodically alleviated by violent or peaceable partial redistribution. In this view all economic history is the slow heartbeat of the social organism, a vast systole and diastole of concentrating wealth and compulsive redistribution.
Since practical ability differs from person to person, the majority of such abilities in nearly all societies, is gathered in a minority of men. The concentration of wealth is a natural result of this concentration of ability, and regularly recurs in history. The rate of concentration varies (other factors being equal) with the economic freedom permitted by morals and the laws. Despotism may for a time retard the concentration; democracy, allowing the most liberty, accelerates it... In progressive societies the concentration may reach a point where the strength in number of the many poor rivals the strength of ability in the few rich; then the unstable equilibrium generates a critical situation, which history has diversely met by legislation redistributing wealth or revolution redistributing poverty.
Personally, I favor the former rather than the latter.
I don't mind the rule 5 stuff so much (other than it's inherent rudeness is an abuse of the license granted old, white, heterosexual males such as us) but you really need to step back from politics, Wy, and have another martini. Trust me: your blog is in the very best of hands.
Let's see, where was I? Oh yeah, I love taxes.
No, silly, I mean taxes as in dollars
But seriously, Wy must really be quite drunk over there if he thinks we can dig ourselves out of this multi-trillion dollar PER YEAR financial hole without raising some revenue. The way I look at it, for a long time politicians on both sides of the aisle have been pandering to their bases, giving their constituency what it wants. The right panders for votes with unfunded tax cuts; the left panders for votes with unfunded services. Both sides give it up for seniors and soldiers. It's always an unfunded chicken in every pot and it has to stop. Both sides need to nut up, go back to their bases, and prepare them to chow down a big slice of crow pie for the good of the country. We need a two-pronged "everybody suffers" approach that combines honest cuts in spending with honest increases in revenue. I believe the president's claim that this is what the majority of Americans want: a balanced, and big, deal.
Oh, and Buy Bonds.
I don't remember it being this much fun when I was a kid.
For those of you who missed the announcement, there's a guest blogger pinch hitting for me while I take care of some Real Life Stuff.
And it goes without saying that the opinions being expressed by my good buddy Nadz do not necessarily reflect the beliefs of your humble host.
That goes double for any call he might make for higher tax rates. I mean really, raising taxes has never helped anyone (except for the guys collecting the taxes).
I'll let noted economist Thomas Sowell take it from here.
Even if the income tax rate were raised to 100 percent on millionaires and billionaires, it would still not cover the trillions of dollars the government is spending.
More fundamentally, tax rates — whatever they are — are just words on paper. Only the hard cash that comes in can cover government spending. History has shown repeatedly, under administrations of both political parties, that there is no automatic correlation between tax rates and tax revenues.
When the tax rate on the highest incomes was 73 percent in 1921, that brought in less tax revenue than after the tax rate was cut to 24 percent in 1925. Why? Because high tax rates that people don't actually pay do not bring in as much hard cash as lower tax rates that they do pay. That's not rocket science.
Believe me folks, higher tax rates are not the answer. No matter
what the question is.
OK, I know what you all are thinking: "If you love taxes so much, Nadz, send the government all your money. Just leave my money out of it." Yeah, whatever. Anyway, I do love taxes. The higher the tax rate, the happier I am. Let me explain.
First of all, I'm no fan of "kicking the can down the road". Divide the deficit by the number of people in the USA (illegals included), and send everybody a bill. Pay up, or get out. I'd vote for that. Or raise taxes on everybody, not just "the rich". Deficits are merely taxes put on credit. Conservatives are stonewalling against tax hikes, but I don't want my kids paying for two wars, Medicare part D, the Bush Tax Cuts, and Cadillac health plans for GM retirees. Do you? Crank up the rates. Let's pay our credit card bill today before the interest piles up any higher.
With all that bravado about my willingness to be taxed now, and taxed hard, I have a confession. In the interest of full disclosure I need to mention that I'm self employed. Yes. I'm a small business owner -- one of those people that are supposedly hurt by tax hikes. That's what the politicians warn, anyway, but it doesn't seem to me that I'd be hurt. Quite the contrary. Raise taxes to the moon. I don't care. A large chunk of my day to day costs -- maintenance and gas for my car, many of my meals, my Internet connection, and part of my home -- are all business expenses. When wage slaves drive to their W-2 jobs, they buy gas with what few pennies they get to keep after taxes. Me, I'm a 1099 man. Nothing is withheld from my fat checks, and when I drive to work, I get paid 51 cents per mile.
Yes, I deduct utilities, meals, "entertainment", health insurance, you name it. OK, I admit I do pay a little extra on Social Security tax, but in the final tally, taxes leave me pretty unscathed. In fact, the higher the tax rate, the more incentive I have to start yet another tax deductible business, and the less incentive I have to work like a fool for somebody else. My new businesses don't even have to do all that well in their bottom line. If they allow me to write off a larger fraction of my outlays, they are worth it.
I'm only kidding about the last part. I do care about the bottom line. That is to say, I care about the bottom line I keep in my mental version of the books, not the official books submitted to the IRS. The official books plow almost every penny the business earns right back into the business. If I can't think of things to "invest in" for the business, I invest some in the local mega-church. They have their own tax-free boondoggle going, but who am I to complain? The church has racquetball courts, a health club, and a bistro. All these are top-shelf and free to "parishioners" like me.
To lower my audit risk, my official books have to show a meager profit, which is almost completely taxed away. But in my personal version of the books, I count all the goodies and perks as tax-free gravy. Who knows, if one of my ventures grows big enough, I might be able to buy a corporate jet -- paid for pre-tax, of course. Yes, higher taxes make growing my businesses my number 1 priority.
So I say, if we really want to stimulate the growth of small businesses and pay down the debt, not to mention supporting the growth of bigger and better churches, let's pile on the taxes.
Today Barack Obama reiterated his desire to close a big deal with Republicans. We should seize the moment, he said, and push for the biggest deal possible to cut the deficit. He didn't say in his speech what the exact nature of this big deal might be, but the Washington Post, among others, reports the president's "big deal" as a $4 Trillion dollar package of spending cuts and revenue increases over ten years.
Publicly, the GOP doesn't so much as acknowledge the president's "big deal" proposal even exists. Besides, back in April, the GOP had an even bigger deal, Paul Ryan's plan that would net $6 Trillion in budget savings over ten years. Most recently, the GOP shrunk their deal down to Cut, Cap and Balance, a three-pronged proposal that would cut $2.4 trillion from the federal budget over ten years. A cornerstone of this GOP idea is a constitutional balanced budget amendment, sort of a Gramm-Rudman-Hollings on steroids.
I have two questions.
First of all, why are all these budget cutting proposals scaled over ten years? Could it be practicality? In 1928, when telephone engineers standardized the unit describing power in telephone circuits, the simplest formula yielded too large a unit. They settled for a more numerically practical working unit one-tenth the size, naming it the decibel, one tenth of a bel, which honors Alexander Graham Bell. Are politicians similarly inclined toward numeric practicality here? Is stating the savings of some budget cut per year simply less efficient than the 10 year unit?
Or is it something else. Recall the Byrd Rule, a Senate rule that allow Senators, during the reconciliation process, to block a piece of legislation if it increases the federal deficit beyond a ten-year term. The Bush Tax Cuts were set to expire just under ten years specifically to sidestep this rule. For some reason, people in 2001 thought the BTCs would cause the deficit to increase over ten years. What a silly idea.
My second question is more important.
The CBO predictions show the federal deficit growing $13 Trillion over
then next ten years. Let's do the math here. $13 Trillion over 10 years minus the president's "big deal" $4 Trillion over 10 years. Hey! Handy common denominator. I get a deficit growth of $9 Trillion over 10 years. Check my work and wake up the Parliamentarian.
They did it. The Caldwell Township Council really did it. They introduced a municipal budget with a zero percent tax rate increase.
Yup, the municipal tax rate isn't going up, and nobody was laid off.
This is indeed a historic achievement. It's never been done before. And no other town in New Jersey is doing it this year.
Now like you, I got my 3rd quarter estimated tax bill in the mail last week. And as I'm sure you did, I screamed "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!" when I saw the amount due, which was a lot higher. So what gives?
Two things. The school tax rate always goes up, even when
the Board of Education lies and says they didn't raise taxes. And then
there's Essex County. Joe D spends money like a
democrat. Because he is a democrat. Somebody has to pay for those
monuments he builds to his own munificense and that somebody is you and me.
Speaking of profligate democrats, the two guys running against incumbent Councilmen Joe Norton and Doug Piazza made a big show of demanding to see the municipal budget before it was finalized. But curiously when the budget was presented to the public they were AWOL. Maybe Joe D was having a fund raiser that night.
Anyway, while the democratic party challengers were off duty the entire Caldwell Council rolled up their sleeves, sharpened their pencils, and worked tirelessly to keep our taxes in check. They deserve our gratitude, and our votes.
Way to go guys! You said you'd run our town like a business and by golly you
proved that you can indeed run our town like a business. Thanks, and keep up
the good work.
I think the pragmatic rationalism that built America is fading. A symptom of this immanent dark age is that people today, in general, don't understand science and math very well. Carl Sagan has suggested that the last scientifically literate president may have been Thomas Jefferson. It's arguable that the growing political "controversy" involving scientific questions does not stem from substantive disagreement between a few experts, but from the general ignorance of millions with respect to the ways of science and nature.
Of all the scientific and mathematical disciplines, those that deal with uncertainty are the hardest for people to understand. Here's a test. Which of these hypotheses is more likely: A) I'm a liberal or I voted for Obama? B) I'm a liberal and I voted for Obama? If you think it's B, as many of you probably did, my point is proved. A conjunction (and) is always less likely than disjunction (or).
As more evidence for the assertion that, statistically speaking, we are a country of statistical idiots, I offer the Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries in 43 states. Effectively, these lotteries are a tax on people's ignorance, or at least their general inability to appreciate the statistical theory of expected value. Maybe people think that with luck, the rules of chance may be "just a scientific theory". Here in PA, last year our state lottery took in $3B, paying out 60 cents on each dollar wagered. Wow! My old bookie Vinnie used to pay $8 on a penny number before the staties locked him up.
Anyway, people seem to have absolutely no fear of giving their money away to the government in lotteries, or to private casinos (where allowed by law). People love to take a chance.
Yet GOP leader John Boehner, among others, endlessly flog the talking point that uncertainty has businesses "sitting on their hands". Scary, scary uncertainty; it scared away the magic job creation unicorn. Small businesses are frightened the government may change some rules. Better to not invest at all. Safer to play the lottery. It may rain today so we'd better cancel the barbecue. People hate to take a chance.
If such fear is real, it's not in any sane entrepreneur, it's being
conjured in the electorate. Furthermore, I say it's caused by the
same thing that causes most fear: ignorance. People fear what they
don't understand and understanding of probability is as rare as
filling an inside straight. Aside from the irony when conservative
pundits reference arcane, academic
Starting a business always has and always will require an act of faith in the face of withering uncertainty. Every entrepreneur makes a sort of Pascal's Wager, betting there will be a near infinite payoff a long way down the road, making the finite suffering along the way worthwhile. In this theme, how about a Bible quote highlighting an ancient truth
When times are darkest, and most uncertain, these are the best times to invest. Buy on rumor, sell on news.
Conservatives complain when people blame the government for their problems, and now they say it's regulatory uncertainty causing our slow recovery. Analysis paralysis? What about weak demand, John Boehner? Are not weak demand for product and rising production efficiency far more significant reasons businesses are reluctant to invest?
I guess the concepts of product demand and production costs only dominate
the concerns of most small businesses that make real products or offer
real services with intrinsic economic value. These
don't apply in the same way to big corporate rent seekers with
Washington lobbiests on retainer. I
can see how regulatory uncertainty would stifle investment in a
business model based on altering regulations to help capture
cash without the messy necessity of making anything.
Do not attempt to activate your anti virus software. are controlling packet transmission. If we wish to make your computer faster, we will install Linux and demonstrate the transcendent superiority of non-capitalist collective action by free individuals interacting in a gift economy without any centralized government assistance or oversight. If we wish to make your computer slower, we will install the 20th century fascist mind-control tool that is Windoze and watch your machine grind to a halt.We will control the horizontal pixels. We will control the vertical pixels. We can used your saved passwords to compromise your online accounts and mail pharmacy ads to the world. For the next few weeks, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your computer. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the conservative mind to... The Mind of NADZ.
Fred Upton promised us a vote. He didn't promise us a fair vote. And yesterday the House failed to overturn the idiotic ban of incandescent light bulbs in the U.S. even though a majority of representatives supported it. Upton sleazily set it up so that a 2/3 majority was required for passage, which of course is almost impossible to get.
And then The Lonely Conservative learned that Nancy Pelosi spitefully made sure no Democrats voted for it. Because, as he put it, "She's such a dreadful woman."
So stock up America! (But please, don't buy anything made by the Obamabots at
Steven Chu and the Collectivists know what's best for us.
Choices are for free people. In Barack Obama's Socialist Utopia
freedom is in critically short supply.
Well kids I've done it. I've decided to take a break. Well, sort of a break. More like a slowdown. This summer my daughter has a ton of stuff going on and I can participate in her activities or I can sit in front of a pc. Guess what I chose? OK, so the pc isn't really going to be idle. But I sure won't be here every day.
So, what to do? I could ask Pumpkin The Attack Cat to pinch hit, but he really hasn't mastered the whole thumbs on the spacebar thing. But that doesn't mean I can't call in reinforcements.
Frequent commenter Nadz is an old, old friend. You might think we disagree, but that's only on style, not substance. We've had many, many, many long and interesting talks over multiple bottles of single malt scotch. His mind is sharp and his insights are rarely off kilter. Sure he's way more libertarian than me but he's even more sarcastic too.
And now I've gone and given him the keys to the blog. He'll be guest posting over the next few weeks, or longer if you guys don't scare him away.
To quote Samuel L. Jackson from Jurassic Park when he rebooted
the dino-servers, hang on to your butts!
As far as political theater goes it was pretty low drama. Fifteen times today NJ legislative Democrats attempted to override the cuts Chris Christie made to the state budget. And fifteen times they fell short.
Overriding a veto requires 27 votes. There are only 24 Democrats. The Republicans are united behind the governor.
Do the math.
The only blip came when RINO Jennifer Beck jumped ship to endorse funding for
the Casey Anthony solution to Family Planning problems; but for what's gotta be
a record sixth time the legislature tried and failed to reinstate the
taxpayer subsidy for
Abortion, Inc. Planned Parenthood.
Steve Sweeney and Sheila Oliver are desperately trying to re-establish their pro-union bonafides after compromising on collective bargaining for public employees. So they staged symbolic votes, which of course fooled no one.
They're planning more of the same for tomorrow. Because as you know there are
no real problems facing New Jersey. On the plus side, Sweeney didn't threaten
to punch anyone in the head today. I suppose that's progress.
Equal Pay for Equal Work is a liberal mantra. So imagine my surprise when I learned that uber-liberal Cambridge Massachusetts has decided to pay their gay employees a special stipend. One that is not available to heterosexuals.
Get ready for Gay Pay Day.
[S]tarting this month, Cambridge will become what is believed to be the first municipality in the country to pay its public employees a stipend in an attempt to defray the cost of the federal tax on health benefits for their same-sex spouses.
Of the thousands of legally married gay and lesbian couples in Massachusetts, none can receive the federal benefits offered to heterosexual married couples because the federal government doesn't recognize same-sex marriages.
Well, isn't that special? Did you know there was a federal "Gay Tax?" Because I did not know that. Must be something Barney Frank slipped in to the tax code when his Boy Toy wasn't looking.
In Liberal-Land, paying more to the gays is about "equality."
"This is about equality," said Marjorie Decker, a Cambridge city councilor. "This is a city that models what equality really means."
I imagine she said that with a straight face too.
To a Cambridge liberal, "equality" means "not equal." Or rather it means, "we relish our veneer of moral superiority." But the reality is the federal tax code is so byzantine that it's impossible to say with certitude what the impact of any one provision would be on a single taxpayer, let alone an entire group of people with vastly divergent incomes and deductions.
What we have here is nothing more than a stunt. Let me ask you something. Suppose a private employer, good Christians all, decided to support traditional family values by paying their married employees a bonus? (And of course by "married" I mean a man and a woman united as husband and wife.) Does anyone believe the EEOC wouldn't be all over that like white on rice? Get married and get a raise? I'm thinking that's discriminatory against single people.
Ah but if you're gay and get married, that's different.
Cambridge is a city that models what political posturing means.
Everyone there is equal; some people are just more equal than
others. Next thing you know they'll be telling us that Freedom is Slavery,
and work makes us free.
Make no mistake, even though Chris Christie recently achieved modest limitations on collective bargaining by public employees, New Jersey is still very much a union state. And unfortunately it's going to stay that way.
State Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver won't post a bill granting workers the ability to opt-out from joining a union. The measure was quietly introduced last week by Assemblyman Declan O'Scanlan who says it will control building costs and encourage economic growth.
Today Oliver declared it D.O.A.
"This type of move may play elsewhere, but, quite simply, this anti-worker bill will never see the light of day," she said.
Gotta love that "anti-worker" claptrap, eh? Forcing someone to pay union dues is nothing more than a state-sanctioned private tax. How is taking his hard-earned money and handing it to union fatcats "anti-worker?"
But then, reading the accompanying comments on NJ.com is where the real mendacity of the unions comes out. First we see:
I think this is a great idea. Why not extend it to the private sector also?
Good idea! But it was immediately followed by a refutation:
Hey IDIOT. Do you REALLY want New Jersey to turn into another Texas?
Why yes, yes I do! Because then we'd all have jobs!
Let's take a look at the Texas economy, shall we?
Unemployment in Texas stands at 8.0%; in New Jersey it's 9.4%.
The Texas economy is the second largest in the country, behind California. Texas is growing. California is not. It's only a matter of time before Texas is #1.
Yes the Texas housing market is slowing, but it's not cratering like it is here in the Northeast.
executed a sadistic illegal alien child rapist / killer.
New Jersey offers our savage illegal alien child murderers a plea bargain. That's because there is no death penalty here. We're so enlightened we set cop killers free, too.
Texas has no state income tax; they are constitutionally prohibited
from imposing one.
Income taxes here in New Jersey? Yeah, we've got those.
Texas understands the meaning of the Second Amendment.
New Jersey couldn't find the Second Amendment with a map.
Yeah, you'd really have to be an idiot to prefer Texas over New Jersey!
Well, that is if by "idiot" you mean freedom-loving, hard-working, law-abiding
home-owning American with money in his pocket who wants to get ahead in life.
Which has to be what Mr. Union Shill meant, right? Otherwise, he'd be
It's not often that Progressive Democrats openly admit their failures.
But the Newark, NJ city council has given up on its police force, and their city. Today they enacted an ordinance mandating that eateries open after 9 PM must hire armed security guards.
Because last month an off-duty cop was shot and killed in a hail of bullets while waiting for his take-out order to be ready.
The new ordinance, sponsored by South Ward Councilman Ras Baraka, comes roughly a month after South Ward resident and police officer William Johnson was shot and killed while waiting to buy a slice of pizza at Texas Fried Chicken and Pizza.
Aside from the obvious inability of the city government to get a handle on the murder rate, the idiocy of this policy can't be beat. The only people who are legally allowed to own guns in Newark, ie the talent pool from which said armed guards would be drawn, are off-duty cops.
By all accounts Officer Johnson was a credit to his department. He was trained to spot trouble and react to it. In fact he was already moonlighting as a security guard at a nearby high-rise. But he was still gunned down in a senseless drive-by shooting.
The reality is the police in Newark can't protect themselves, let alone the average citizen. And the gun control nuts who are in charge in New Jersey won't dream of letting us protect ourselves.
Newark is lost. All the silly ordinances and armed guards in the world won't change that fact. But what does Councilman Baraka do? He blames the victims:
According to Baraka, the chicken shacks and pizza joints that stay open late do little to serve the community and encourage crime.
How's that for a kick in the ass? A guy who's trying to earn a living and maybe provide a service to his community, he's encouraging crime. Because an open chicken joint is a magnet for drive-by shootings and not a place for hungry people to grab a bite to eat.
Yeah, Newark is a goner. Forty some odd years of Democratic Party rule coupled with bazillions of dollars in social programs has produced a city which takes all the fun out of dysfunctional. The message is clear — hunker down, board up, hide inside your homes because the people you elected to protect you have given up on keeping you safe.
But come the next election Ras Baraka and the rest of his fellow councilmembers will be returned to office in a landslide. Because the citizens of Newark are genetically hardwired to vote Democratic. Even if it kills them.
Newark doesn't need armed guards. It needs a moat. And a fellow named Lot to take one last look around before he pulls up the drawbridge.
Earlier this week I noted that to save money, New York City is rationing toilet paper in their public restrooms at Coney Island. But a spokesman says they have plenty on hand.
Now in today's news we learn the city plans to open their Clerk's Offices on Sunday when the same-sex marriage law takes effect.
The obvious conclusion?
They'll be printing the gay marriage licenses on toilet paper!
Sounds good to me.
Maybe this is why the religion of climate change is so popular in Hollywood:
The conventional explanation for controversy over climate change emphasizes impediments to public understanding: limited popular knowledge of science, the inability of ordinary citizens to assess technical information, and the resulting widespread use of unreliable cognitive heuristics to assess risk. A large survey of U.S. adults (N = 1540) found little support for this account. On the whole, the most scientifically literate and numerate subjects were slightly less likely, not more, to see climate change as a serious threat than the least scientifically literate and numerate ones.
The More You Know…!
Of course the Know-Nothings in Hollywood embrace it! They gave Al Gore an Oscar; it's gotta be true! Even if Climate Change has become the "Dead Parrot Sketch" of American politics.
Smart people, on the other hand, have well-honed bullshit detectors.
Da Tech Guy nails it:
The whole Climate change business was and is all about a way to funnel tax revenues to a select group of people who would politically reward those who conned the people into doing it while attending lush conferences with well stocked bars and willing young ladies at expensive resorts. Have you ever wondered why they just didn't video conference if they were so concerned about the emissions instead of burning all that jet fuel?
Now I know there are those of you among my readership who cling to the fallacious notion that CO2 emissions are Evil On Steroids. You'll jump in any minute now to cite evidence "proving" that without draconian reductions in greenhouse gas emissions we are all Doomed.
Except now there is Actual Science which says otherwise. Back in the Eocene Epoch when the atmosphere was mostly CO2 the assumption was that temperatures were uniformly high, even at the North and South Poles.
But wait, the science doesn't bear that prediction out.
"Our study shows that previous estimates of temperatures during the early Eocene were likely overestimated, especially at higher latitudes near the poles."
Sure things were hotter then. But, and this is important, they were not nearly as hot as the computer models predicted. And yes, those are the very same computer models being used to scare the luddites among us into believing in Globull Warming.
Want more proof the Climate Change guys are all wet? Since 1998 the global surface temperature hasn't increased one iota. Not one. 2011 is on course to be even cooler. Yet, if the models are to hold any water at all average temperatures need to suddenly jump by at least 2° C by 2025, and by more than 5° C shortly thereafter.
The Real World data now coming in makes that possibility extremely unlikely.
Beating the dead parrot of Climate Change is the new Finagle's Creed: Science is Truth, don't be misled by facts.
Me? I like facts.
OK, show of hands. Who's got a friend crazy enough to sign up for the NYC Marathon? I do!, I do! That's right, my buddy Andrew is training for this year's NYC Marathon. And, he's gonna blog about the whole experience.
I know you guys will like his blog. Why? Because the boy can write, that's why. To us Andrew is "The Commish," head honcho of our neighborhood football pool, and commentator extraordinaire. His weekly recap emails are chock full of biting insights, bad puns, and bodacious banter.
Oh, and Liz Hurley. Andrew's got a thing for Liz Hurley. And sadly, after about the 7th mile (or more likely during football season, his 7th beer) he's convinced she's got a thing for him too.
Then he fires up the keyboard and taunts us with emails she "sent" him:
Baby cakes! Bloody fantastic running last week, honey pie. You ran like you were being chased by my husband's security team. I'm not saying you weren't, love, so it's probably a good thing. . . Best looking legs in the marathon, b-cakes. XOXO. . . Liz. . .
See what I mean? All that pavement-pounding has made him shaken, not stirred, if you get my drift. Luckily his wife is a very understanding gal. One time I overheard her say, "Did Liz tell you to take out the trash? 'Cause it's time to take out the trash." To which he replied, "Yes dear." Liz tells him everything!
So be sure to bookmark I Am Runnin' Wild in NJ where the hills are never steep, the Wheaties™ get airdropped in, and the songs in his head hardly ever repeat. The voices in his head? That's a whole 'nother story…
Run, Forrest, Run!
Former NJ governor Jon Corzine is back to making an honest living; Barack Obama found him a job!
President Obama is desperately putting his Wall Street stock in an unlikely old buddy.
The beleaguered president has recruited former Goldman Sachs head honcho Jon Corzine to shore up re-election funds from the banking industry, which is furious over Obama's financial regulations.
Corzine, the former governor of New Jersey who was blasted out of office by Republican Chris Christie in 2009, has attended secret meetings with the president and has been working on Obama's 2012 campaign for months, The Post has learned.
[Corzine] has been tasked with scraping up the very little banking-industry support Obama can still get.
Scraping up banking-industry support? Scraping the bottom of the barrel is more like it. Maybe Corzine can grab Elizabeth Warren and really tag-team his former Wall Street buds. So long as they're up for re-enacting Kevin Bacon's role in Animal House.
But Corzine is giving it the old Goldman Sachs try:
In the last few months, Corzine hosted a high-end fund-raiser at his Fifth Avenue home for Obama.
He even secretly organized a meet-and-greet at the Four Seasons for key finance-industry execs and Obama's new chief of staff, former banker Bill Daley.
"We need our donors back," one Obama campaign official said. "It's a tough fight."
Many Wall Streeters are fuming over White House rhetoric painting them as "fat cats" who need to pay more taxes.
Top executives -- who contributed millions to Obama in 2008 -- have so far retaliated by closing their wallets to him.
I know, maybe Corzine can sweeten the pot with talk of new tax breaks for
corporate jets. Nah,
anyone on Wall Street who gives this chump a nickel should have their head
examined. But to do that you first have to pull your head out of your ass,
which for many limousine liberals is one contortion they're unwilling to attempt.
Three Days. Kumbaya on the banks of the Delaware lasted three whole days in Trenton. That's gotta be some kind of record.
Senate President Stephen Sweeney went to bed furious Thursday night after reviewing the governor's line-item veto of the state budget.
He woke up Friday morning even angrier.
"This is all about him being a bully and a punk," he said in an interview Friday.
"I wanted to punch him in his head."
Hey, at least he didn't say that Chris Christie was "kind of a dick."
Maybe the interview wasn't on seven second delay.
Yesterday Lance asked, "how come Chris Wysocki hasn't commented on this yet?" Um, because I was busy having a life? Yeah, that's it! I! Have! A! Life! (Well, more accurately my kid has a life, but let's not put too fine a point on it, OK?)
And besides, NJ Democrats wanting to punch NJ Republicans ain't exactly a new phenomenon around here. It's what those of us in Tony Soprano Land call "Politics As Usual."
But apparently the rest of the country frowns upon pugilistic political pugnacity. So Steve Sweeney got his own Memeorandum thread. Which of course won't link me.
Anyway, you want comments? OK! Here's what the NJ GOP should do. Get one of those big inflatable punching bags made up in the likeness of Chris Christie. Deliver it to Sweeney's office. Bring photographers.
Then, one of two things will happen.
Sweeney will punch "Chris Christie" in the head. I'm pretty sure that picture will make the evening news.
Or, Sweeney will have to embrace the inflatable stand-in, taking the wind out of his rhetorical sails.
And when the governor gets back from vacation they can both have a few laughs
and get back to work.
So naturally, Pundette had to point out that the liberals at Huff Po are against it:
-- the holiday tends to bring with it tons of trash, hazardous fireworks, and polluting cars. While some traditions should be embraced, others may need to be tweaked so that future generations can enjoy both this holiday and this earth, as well. Here are a few tips to make your Independence Day more pleasant for you and the world in which you live.
Yeah, I've got a "tweak," I'm gonna tweak the rod this maroon stuck up his ass.
But first, coming in at tip #3, there it is:
Whatever you do, don't eat meat! "Sure, hot dogs and hamburgers might be an American tradition, but sometimes traditions need to change a bit, especially when the safety of our world is a stake."
Because yeah, nothing quite says Fourth of July Barbecue like "baked tofu."
I've only got one thing to say to that:
Is that a thing of beauty, or what? Six main burners and three speciality burners equate to 9 firey daggers aimed at the heart of Mother Gaia. (Don't panic men, I'm not crazy enough to incinerate those lovely baby backs, only the outermost 2 burners and the smoker are on, keeping the interior at a constant 270 degrees. "Low and slow, repeat after me, 'low and slow.'")
Oh wait, Huff Po has another tip!
"Rethink" grilling. Coal is bad, but so is propane.
Hah! That puppy is connected to 100% pure natural gas! Brought to me courtesy of the Fracking Industrial Complex! Bwahahahaha!
God Bless America.
Buried in all the hullabaloo around passing the state budget on Thursday the Merchants of Death tried to sneak a fast one past Chris Christie. Yup, the majority Democrats, never ones to take "no" for an answer, included that $7.5 million subsidy they insist the taxpayers absolutely must send to Planned Parenthood.
And for (by my count) the fifth time, Chris Christie stood up for the unborn.
He line-item vetoed the appropriation for Infanticide, Inc.
NJ Right to Life president Marie Tasy:
"We applaud Governor Christie for once again standing up for the integrity of New Jersey taxpayers and against the political maneuverings of those who use women's health as an excuse to further a misguided ideological agenda," she said. "Given the growing laundry list of Planned Parenthood's misdeeds, it is unfathomable that anyone who truly cares about women's health and their well being would continue to push funding of these clinics."
And come November the voters in Bergen County have a chance to re-retire the chief cheerleader for Kermit Gosnell's ideological brethren. It's time for double-dipping State Senator Loretta Weinberg to embrace the public pension she is already collecting and stop burdening the taxpayers with her second salary and wild-eyed schemes.
Am I optimistic? Uh, no. The guy running against her is, to put it mildly, underwhelming. Check out his totally lame website. "Slogan can go here if candidate has one!" Really, it's the tag line for his campaign, right on top. Yeah, that's gonna resonate with the voters. Will somebody please light a fire under this guy's ass?
Anyway, thanks Gov. Christie, thanks for standing up for the littlest New
New Jersey and California both adopted state budgets yesterday. I listened in on Chris Christie's press conference and had to laugh as he excoriated the Democrats in our state legislature for relying on "fantasy revenue found between the couch cushions." Christie said, "I looked, it isn't there."
Then he aggressively used his line-item veto power to slash almost a billion dollars from their spending plan before signing it. And he vetoed two supplementary bills, one resurrecting the job-killing "millionaire's tax," and another which fed money into various slush funds for use by urban mayors (these funds are kind of a New Jersey tradition, it's about time somebody had the guts to kill them off).
My favorite quote?
"We are not increasing taxes on the most overtaxed people in the country."
Meanwhile, CA Governor
Moonbeam Jerry Brown didn't get the
No New Taxes memo. He's busy turning the Golden State into
Zimbabwe, U.S.A. The budget bill he signed yesterday had an
immediate effect on California's economy and jobs climate.
An immediate, decidedly negative effect: 25,000 Amazon.com affiliates in California woke up to the unemployment line this morning. Why? Internet sales taxes. Jerry Brown imposed them. And Amazon.com said "kiss my ass."
In California the public employee unions run the government. And their appetite for tax dollars is voracious and insatiable. Jerry Brown expects his new Internet tax to raise $200 million a year. Hah! In actuality it will result in a net revenue loss:
For the benefit of anyone too stupid to understand why the California Internet tax is a bad idea: All the revenue from sales commissions to California's 25,000 Web site operators who had participated in the Amazon Associates program was taxable as income.
Now? Zero income. And also zero sales.
Ergo, nothing to tax.
And coincidentally, the exodus of businesses from California continues. Hey guys, come to New Jersey! (Bet you thought you'd never hear me say those words!) The business climate is getting friendlier every day. And our beaches are just as good, if not better, than yours.
OK, maybe I'm getting ahead of myself. But given the choice, would you choose to live in California?
How did I miss this? A Democrat governor and a Republican legislature; he wants a millionaire's tax*; they want spending cuts. It's deja vu all over again!
Well, not really. Governor Tax And Spend shutdown the government in a petulant fit of pique. Welcome to Minnesota? Sorry, they're closed. And everybody went home for the weekend.
* Apparently though, in Minnesota a "millionaire" is a person earning more than $180,000 or a couple with a combined income of $300,000. Man, even Jon Corzine wasn't that bad at math. This Dayton fellow must be a real knucklehead.
Adrienne is a transplanted Minnesotan; she escaped to Texas. She's feeling pretty good about that move right about now!