Archive for August, 2010

Ed. Dept urged employees to attend Sharpton rally

Posted in Culture, Take back America on August 31, 2010 by DaMook

In an email from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, US Dept. of Education employees were urged to attend a rally sponsored by race pimp Al Sharpton. Sharpton’s “Reclaim the Dream” rally was organized as a counter to Glen Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally at the Capitol Mall which drew 300,000 – 500,000 people. Sharpton’s event drew approximately 3000.(previous post here)

According to this article (from the Washington Examiner) Duncan’s email went out to about 4000 Education Department employees. Hmmm, I wonder if there were any emails exhorting government drones to attend the Beck rally – probably not…

President Obama’s top education official urged government employees to attend a rally that the Rev. Al Sharpton organized to counter a larger conservative event on the Mall.

“ED staff are invited to join Secretary Arne Duncan, the Reverend Al Sharpton, and other leaders on Saturday, Aug. 28, for the ‘Reclaim the Dream’ rally and march,” began an internal e-mail sent to more than 4,000 employees of the Department of Education on Wednesday.

Sharpton created the event after Glenn Beck announced a massive Tea Party “Restoring Honor” rally at the Lincoln Memorial, where King spoke in 1963.

The Washington Examiner learned of the e-mail from a Department of Education employee who felt uncomfortable with Duncan’s request.

Although the e-mail does not violate the Hatch Act, which forbids federal employees from participating in political campaigns, Education Department workers should feel uneasy, said David Boaz, executive vice president of the libertarian Cato Institute.

“It sends a signal that activity on behalf of one side of a political debate is expected within a department. It’s highly inappropriate … even in the absence of a direct threat,” Boaz said. “If we think of a Bush cabinet official sending an e-mail to civil servants asking them to attend a Glenn Beck rally, there would be a lot of outrage over that.”

Indeed. Sadly, this is the type of behavior that we have come to expect from this regime. It raises no eyebrows in the state-run media. Here are a couple of photos from the two events:

beck rally crowd

Restoring Honor crowd

seiu-Amercan

Spell check anyone?

Now, I ask you – of the two (Sharpton and Beck), who is the uniter and who is the divider?

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Illinois government economic FAIL costs taxpayers $550M

Posted in BIG Government, Economy, Government Waste/Fraud/Abuse, UGH! on August 31, 2010 by DaMook

Right up there with the People’s Republic of California, the state of Illinois is a fiscal basket case. This should be no surprise to anyone since the state is run by a bunch of thugs and crooks. Of the two previous governors, republican George Ryan is currently cooling his heels in a federal prison and democrat Rod Blagojevich was saved from a similar fate by a lone juror. Blago will be retried in January. This demonstrates that Illinois is a bipartisan thugocracy and just happens to be the home state of our dear comrade leader whose regime is full of “Chicago Way” corruptocrats.

It remains a mystery why the citizens of Illinois continue to tolerate this hideous political system. Perhaps because it is bipartisan, the state party regimes offer no other choices – one crook or the other crook. One thing is for sure however, they are paying dearly for it. (story here from the Chicago Sun-Times)

The state’s miserable bond rating has driven up borrowing costs for state government by more than $500 million since last year, a government watchdog group says.

The nonpartisan, Chicago-based Civic Federation analyzed the near-record borrowing that the state has undertaken since last September and looked at similar borrowing during the same period in other states that have higher bond ratings than Illinois.

The result was a staggering $551.3 million extra that state taxpayers are having to devote to support the state’s thirst for debt because of a series of rating downgrades, the group says in a report being released today.

“This is an actual quantification of what the cost of the state’s fiscal irresponsibility has been because of the Illinois General Assembly and governor’s failure to stabilize state finances and to allow our credit rating to drop so low we are now the lowest credit-rated state in the country, with California,” said Laurence Msall, the Civic Federation’s president.

Since September 2009, the state has borrowed $9.6 billion, which is the second-largest borrowing spree in state history. The most borrowed during any 12-month period in Illinois history came under ousted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who signed off on a $10 billion borrowing plan in 2003 to shore up the state’s underfunded retirement systems.

Illinois’ credit rating has been downgraded four times by one bond-rating agency in the past 18 months because of the state’s record budget deficits, its underfunded pension liabilities, revenue shortfalls, spending jumps and debt increases.

The taxpayers in Illinois are forking over $550M more than they should for interest on the state’s staggering debt. This is not economic rocket science, it’s reality that every state government understands – or should. It’s certainly something most of their beleaguered citizens understand. Illinois and California are not alone in this mess but they certainly represent the worst of the lot.

Running out of helium – another government FAIL

Posted in BIG Government, Congress, Government Folly on August 30, 2010 by DaMook

Few people know that the US maintains the world’s largest helium reserve. The National Helium Reserve near Amarillo, TX, currently holds about 1.3B cubic feet of this non-renewable gas which cannot be manufactured. Helium is a byproduct of radioactive decay of terrestrial rock and has been traditionally obtained through the process of natural gas recovery. The National Helium Reserve, owned by the US government, was established as a strategic reserve when lighter-than-airships were an integral component of military air power. While this use is no longer necessary, helium has become a critical component in a variety of high tech equipment and manufacturing processes.

In 1996, congress passed a law to sell off the National Helium Reserve. According to this story, that decision may have disastrous consequences – in other words, another government FAIL.

It is the second-lightest element in the Universe, has the lowest boiling-point of any gas and is commonly used through the world to inflate party balloons.

But helium is also a non-renewable resource and the world’s reserves of the precious gas are about to run out, a shortage that is likely to have far-reaching repercussions.

Scientists have warned that the world’s most commonly used inert gas is being depleted at an astonishing rate because of a law passed in the United States in 1996 which has effectively made helium too cheap to recycle.

The experts warn that the world could run out of helium within 25 to 30 years, potentially spelling disaster for hospitals, whose MRI scanners are cooled by the gas in liquid form, and anti-terrorist authorities who rely on helium for their radiation monitors, as well as the millions of children who love to watch their helium-filled balloons float into the sky.

Liquid helium is critical for cooling infrared detectors, nuclear reactors and the machinery of wind tunnels. The space industry uses it in sensitive satellite equipment and spacecraft, and Nasa uses helium in huge quantities to purge the potentially explosive fuel from its rockets.

In the form of its isotope helium-3, helium is also crucial for research into the next generation of clean, waste-free nuclear reactors powered by nuclear fusion, the nuclear reaction that powers the Sun.

Helium no longer holds the strategic significance it once did and the government is losing money in storage and maintenance costs. However, by selling it at artificially low prices (set by a know nothing congress), the government may put the entire market for this precious resource at risk. This is not a priority, nor should it be. It is but another example of daily government FAIL.

State-run media shows its true colors in coverage of Beck rally

Posted in Culture, State-run media, Take back America on August 30, 2010 by DaMook

Former CBS newsman Bernie Goldberg has written several books on media bias (here and here). As a true insider, he deftly explains the phenomenon and the reasons behind it. Of course, the state-run media denies these allegations and claims total impartiality – yeah, right.

For further proof of media bias one need look no further than the state-run media coverage of Saturday’s Glenn Beck sponsored Restoring Honor rally in DC. An estimated 300,000 – 500,000 people attended the Tea Party friendly event. While most of the media described Beck as a “controversial conservative commentator,” they were fawning over “civil rights leader” Al Sharpton’s sparsely attended counter rally a few blocks away. Al Sharpton is a “civil rights leader?” Really? Here are just a few of the media blurbs on the Beck rally (post here from Jim Treacher):

“Conservative commentator Glenn Beck and tea party champion Sarah Palin appealed Saturday to a vast, predominantly white crowd on the National Mall to help restore traditional American values and honor Martin Luther King’s message.” — Associated Press

“Attendees at the rally Saturday largely honored organizer requests that they not bring banners or political signs. Instead, the predominantly white crowd, many seated on folding chairs and accompanied by their children, wore t-shirts with slogans including ‘Got principles?’ and ‘Restoring Honor.’” — AFP

“Meanwhile, many in the predominantly white crowd bent over backward to insist that they are not racists and to note that the crowd was courteous, despite heat and density.” — James Hohmann, Politico

“Beck says he and his overwhelmingly white followers ‘are the inheritors and protectors of the civil- rights movement.’” — Ben Adler, Newsweek

“Though the audience at the event was overwhelmingly white, many of the speakers were African-American, including a woman who sang a song about unity.” — Brian Montopoli, CBS

“Claiming the legacy of the nation’s Founding Fathers and repeatedly evoking civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., the speakers at the ‘Restoring Honor’ rally exhorted a vast and overwhelmingly white crowd to concentrate not on the history that has scarred the nation but instead on what makes it ‘good.’” — Philip Rucker & Carol Morello, Washington Post

“A relatively dense and overwhelmingly white crowd stretched from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial out past the Washington Monument.” — Mark Benjamin, Salon.com

“The speaker list was diverse, including African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans; Jews and Christians; clergymen, military veterans and sports stars, including Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals. The crowd, however, was overwhelmingly white.” — Michael A. Memoli and Kim Geiger, LA Times

“Out in the overwhelmingly white audience… politics was everywhere, with Tea Party supporters describing the damage they envision for President Barack Obama’s Democrats in upcoming midterm elections in November.” — Mitch Potter, Toronto Star

Get it? There’s something obviously wrong with the fact that the crowd was “overwhelmingly white.” It couldn’t possibly be related to the fact that the US population is overwhelmingly white. Or that the TEA Party doesn’t represent any one particular demographic. As this Google search indicates, the overwhelmingly white aspect of the crowd was the overriding theme of the state-run media reporting of this event.

Not only does the state-run media continue to show their bias in this type of reporting, they continue to pick the scab of race relations in this country, instead of allowing the wounds to heal.

A looming US tech decline

Posted in BIG Government, Economy, Take back America on August 27, 2010 by DaMook

For decades America has led the world in technical innovation. While companies in other countries may be able to build things cheaper than us, most of the advancements in technology have come from the good old USA. According to this article (from CNET News), the anti-business policies of the current government could cause a tech decline in the US.

ASPEN, Colo.–Intel Chief Executive Officer Paul Otellini offered a depressing set of observations about the economy and the Obama administration Monday evening, coupled with a dark commentary on the future of the technology industry if nothing changes.

Otellini’s remarks during dinner at the Technology Policy Institute’s Aspen Forum here amounted to a warning to the administration officials and assorted Capitol Hill aides in the audience: unless government policies are altered, he predicted, “the next big thing will not be invented here. Jobs will not be created here.”

The U.S. legal environment has become so hostile to business, Otellini said, that there is likely to be “an inevitable erosion and shift of wealth, much like we’re seeing today in Europe–this is the bitter truth.”

Not long ago, Otellini said, “our research centers were without peer. No country was more attractive for start-up capital…We seemed a generation ahead of the rest of the world in information technology. That simply is no longer the case.”

The phenomenon of technology executives advancing dismal predictions and offering pointed critiques of Washington politicking isn’t new, of course.

For instance: In 2005, midway through the Bush administration, Microsoft’s Bill Gates told a Washington audience that curbs on immigration and guest workers would provide a boost to research institutions in China and India. A year earlier, then-Intel CEO Craig Barrett warned that the U.S. must dramatically improve its education system.

That never happened. Nor did politicians follow Gates’ advice to rethink laws that led to foreign engineers being kicked out of the country as soon as they finish their degrees.

And now, six years later with no significant reforms, it should come as no surprise that the predictions have become more dire.

Private industry is sitting on about $3T in cash that it is unwilling to spend because they don’t know what BOHICA policy the government will come up with next. This is a government that is clueless about what fuels the economic engine. What can you expect from a congress stuffed with career corruptocrats and a regime of apparatchiks – about 8% of whom have real private industry experience? These people believe that government, not business, drives the economy. Good grief.

“They’re in a ‘Do’ loop right now trying to figure out what the answer is,” Otellini said.

As a result, he said, “every business in America has a list of more variables than I’ve ever seen in my career.” If variables like capital gains taxes and the R&D tax credit are resolved correctly, jobs will stay here, but if politicians make decisions “the wrong way, people will not invest in the United States. They’ll invest elsewhere.”

Take factories. “I can tell you definitively that it costs $1 billion more per factory for me to build, equip, and operate a semiconductor manufacturing facility in the United States,” Otellini said.

The rub: Ninety percent of that additional cost of a $4 billion factory is not labor but the cost to comply with taxes and regulations that other nations don’t impose. (Cypress Semiconductor CEO T.J. Rodgers elaborated on this in an interview with CNET, saying the problem is not higher U.S. wages but antibusiness laws: “The killer factor in California for a manufacturer to create, say, a thousand blue-collar jobs is a hostile government that doesn’t want you there and demonstrates it in thousands of ways.”)

“If our tax rate approached that of the rest of the world, corporations would have an incentive to invest here,” Otellini said. But instead, it’s the second highest in the industrialized world, making the United States a less attractive place to invest–and create jobs–than places in Europe and Asia that are “clamoring” for Intel’s business.

It’s time to admit that current government policy is not working. It’s time for a clean sweep in Washington. Remember this in November…

Cash for clunkers redux – higher used car prices

Posted in BIG Government, cars, Government Folly, The Regime on August 27, 2010 by DaMook

Last summer’s “Cash for Clunkers” government boondoggle was a typical government FAIL in more ways than one. It caused a spike in auto sales by providing $3B of your money (debt, actually) in incentives to people who most likely would have bought a car anyway. In other words, it pulled future sales into the incentive period. Car sales spiked then returned to the same anemic levels after the program ended. (more here from CNN Money)

Since the program required the destruction of vehicles traded in, this removed a large chunk of inventory from the used car market – with predictable results (story here).

If buying a used car is among your cost-cutting measures…be prepared to pay up to 30-percent more than you did last year.

It is  a simple case of supply and demand.

Trouble is…there are fewer used cars.

The cash-for-clunkers program took a bunch off the market.

Plus, Edmunds Senior Editor Bill Visnick says 5-million fewer new cars were sold last year…which pares down the used car supply even more.

The used car models jumping the most in price include mid-size SUVs and mini-vans designed to carry around families.

Used Cadillac Escalades are almost 36% more.

Chevy Suburbans jumped 34% in price.

Dodge Grand Caravans are also seeing a 34% increase.

BMW X5 is 33% higher.

An Acura MDX will run you 29% more.

Visnick says even smaller models are pulling higher prices…an average of 10% more.

The law of supply and demand – not exactly a novel concept. Apparently this little detail was overlooked by the anti-capitalist, anti-business, anti-consumer “geniuses” in government.

More nanny state government school idiocy

Posted in Culture, Government Folly, Nanny State, UGH! on August 26, 2010 by DaMook

The depths of disfunction and outright lunacy in government schools know no bounds. The administrators of these hellholes are clearly from another planet – a planet where logic and common sense are totally unknown. How else can you explain this latest story of pure assholery?

A ban on singing “Happy Birthday” lasted all of four days at Chesterfield Elementary School in Missouri after angry parents bombarded the school with complaints.

“Singing is not permitted due to the sensitivity of all student beliefs,” wrote Principal Jodi Davidson in a letter to parents dated August 13.

On August 23 Davidson sent another letter reversing the policy noting that students “are permitted and encouraged to sing the happy birthday song in the classroom.”

However, students will not be permitted to sing the traditional song in the cafeteria and all birthday treats must be individually inspected by the school nurse.

“We have lots of students who celebrate birthdays on the same day and we just didn’t want to have the loud chaos that happens in the cafeteria,” Davidson told KSDK television. “That should be a calming environment so that it’s safe for all students and they can celebrate their birthdays with their classmates and friends.”

Kim Cranston, a spokesperson for the Rockwood School District, told FOX News Radio, the initial ban on the birthday song was meant to protect the students.

You got that? The ban on singing was meant to “protect the students.” Huh? WTF? Protect them from what???

“One of the things that she (Davidson) had explained to me is they always want to be sensitive to all children,” Cranston said. “And there are some children in their school – as there are in many schools – who don’t participate in holiday or birthday celebrations.”

Ah, I see now. We need to protect the children who don’t participate in birthday or holiday celebrations (if we can actually find any) by banning these horrible events for all students. Typical government school logic – or lack thereof.

As for the inspections of the birthday goodies?

“We have to be especially careful with children with allergies,” she said.

While cupcakes and other pre-packaged treats are allowed, the school also encourages non-food related items to be distributed for birthday celebrations.

Among the “non-food” related items suggested by the principal are pencils, erasers, book marks, and book donations to the class library.

The school district acknowledged the situation could have been handled a bit more delicately.

“Mrs. Davidson has freely admitted that she didn’t communicate that very well,” Cranston said. “She has apologized.”

Apologized for what? Being an idiot and a horse’s ass? WTF are these people thinking? Are they thinking at all? There’s a proverb that says:

Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.

There should be a third line added:

And those who can do neither, work for the government.

Sheesh!