Archive for the Culture Category

Moron of the Day: Alec Baldwin

Posted in Culture, Economy, Huh? WTF?, The Regime on April 7, 2011 by DaMook

Alec Baldwin was in Washington for Arts Advocacy Day to lobby congress against cutting funding for the arts – you know, things like this and this. In an interview with CNS News, he said that the financial crisis has prevented our dear comrade leader from “doing any new spending.” Huh? WTF? Apparently Baldwin is not familiar with this:

obama-deficit-2011

No new spending?

 

Emmy award-winning actor Alec Baldwin told CNSNews.com on Capitol Hill that he believes the financial crisis has “crippled” President Barack Obama, preventing him from doing any “new spending.” Baldwin also said Obama has been doing “a lot” of “back-peddling” because he’s had to spend his whole first term “trying” to correct America’s course financially.

Following his appearance on Capitol Hill at a press conference with Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.) about campaign finance reform, CNSNews.com asked Baldwin if President Obama has lived up to his expectations.

“Well, I mean, I think so because I think that when you come into office and you want to put your mark on things — this is just my opinion, when you want to put your mark on things, you want to be able to spend. And what’s crippled Obama’s administration, as far as I’m concerned, is the financial crisis and it’s prevented him from doing any new spending,” said Baldwin, who publicly supported Obama in the 2008 Presidential election.

“He’s not able – if the country was as flush as it was under Bill Clinton and he had money — these things cost money — he could have made more of a mark,” said Baldwin. “I think right now he’s had to do a lot of counter-punching; a lot of back peddling. He inherited this crisis from Bush and Paulson. He had to extend the TARP. I think it’s been very difficult for him to spend his whole first term trying to, you know, correct our course financially. I think a second term of Obama, we’ll see a lot more of what we want to see from him.”

As you can see from the graph, Alec, our dear comrade leader has spent mountains of money – most of it borrowed. Yeah, he’s been correcting our course financially all right – dope…

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NYC nanny state fatso politician wants to ban Happy Meal toys

Posted in BIG Government, Culture, FAIL, Government Folly, Humor, Nanny State on April 7, 2011 by DaMook

The idiotic nanny state notion that banning toys in McDonald’s Happy Meals will somehow solve childhood obesity is not new (more here). I suppose the idea is that kids actually want Happy Meals because of the “toys” inside, rather than the burger & fries – after all, the toys probably taste better. And, of course, parents can’t actually say “no” to their kids so the government needs to step in. What makes this story (from NBC NY) so funny is the nanny who is proposing legislation to ban the Happy Meal toys (and the headline to the story). Meet NYC Councilman Leroy Comrie:

leroy_comrie
Happy Meal victim

A city lawmaker thinks free toys and other giveaways cause children to clamor for fast food, and he planned to introduce a bill Wednesday that will ban them from meals that fail to meet nutritional guidelines.

The bill would create an incentive for restaurants to cook up healthier options, Councilman Leroy Comrie said.

“If we can get the fast food companies to brand and create nutritious meals where children could receive toys, they would be just as excited,” he said.

Meals would be required to be less than 500 calories, as well as low in fat and sodium, according to the proposed law outlined by Comrie’s office Tuesday. Any single food would have to be less than 200 calories. Violators would initially be fined $200 to $500.

So in other words, a Happy Meal would have to consist of carrot and celery sticks and maybe a half of a tuna fish sandwich (on whole wheat) to include a toy. I’m sure kids will be “just as excited” for that – LOL!

What makes this career apparatchik such an expert on childhood obesity and the fast food business? Why, his vast personal experience – and obvious girth.

Comrie, who is himself overweight, has publicly acknowledged his battle with weight and said he ate Happy Meals regularly as a child. He also said he failed to set a good example for his own children by allowing them to eat fast-food.

“Clearly, my weight has always been an issue, and it’s something that has given me the impetus to do this bill,” Comrie, who has confessed he weighs more than 320 pounds, said, according to The New York Post.

He regularly ate Happy Meals (probably several at a time) but he doesn’t say it was because of the wonderful toys inside. I guess we’re just supposed to assume that. He also failed to set a good example for his own kids by allowing them to eat fast food. Hmmm, I guess he’s on a guilt trip or something.

McDonalds has been in the food business for more than 50 years so they probably know more about it than this barrage balloon.

Big government gets bigger – A nation of takers

Posted in BIG Government, Culture, Economy, FAIL, UGH! on April 3, 2011 by DaMook

This piece (by Stephen Moore at the WSJ) is a must read. Mr. Moore says that we have become a nation of takers, not makers. And he is 100% spot on.

If you want to understand better why so many states—from New York to Wisconsin to California—are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, consider this depressing statistic: Today in America there are nearly twice as many people working for the government (22.5 million) than in all of manufacturing (11.5 million). This is an almost exact reversal of the situation in 1960, when there were 15 million workers in manufacturing and 8.7 million collecting a paycheck from the government.

It gets worse. More Americans work for the government than work in construction, farming, fishing, forestry, manufacturing, mining and utilities combined. We have moved decisively from a nation of makers to a nation of takers. Nearly half of the $2.2 trillion cost of state and local governments is the $1 trillion-a-year tab for pay and benefits of state and local employees. Is it any wonder that so many states and cities cannot pay their bills?

Every state in America today except for two—Indiana and Wisconsin—has more government workers on the payroll than people manufacturing industrial goods. Consider California, which has the highest budget deficit in the history of the states. The not-so Golden State now has an incredible 2.4 million government employees—twice as many as people at work in manufacturing. New Jersey has just under two-and-a-half as many government employees as manufacturers. Florida’s ratio is more than 3 to 1. So is New York’s.

At one time the US was the world’s leading industrial powerhouse. In fact, our industrial prowess was the primary reason we were able to defeat the Axis powers in World War 2. The Allies (especially France & Britain) were on the verge of defeat before America entered the war. Militarily the US was woefully unprepared for war at the end of 1941. It was our overwhelming industrial might that made the difference. Unfortunately we could not do this today – we’ve gone from a nation of makers to a nation of government drones.

Even more sad, the trend for more government continues as more college grads consider government employment.

Don’t expect a reversal of this trend anytime soon. Surveys of college graduates are finding that more and more of our top minds want to work for the government. Why? Because in recent years only government agencies have been hiring, and because the offer of near lifetime security is highly valued in these times of economic turbulence. When 23-year-olds aren’t willing to take career risks, we have a real problem on our hands. Sadly, we could end up with a generation of Americans who want to work at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Moore ascribes some of this to productivity gains in the private sector, perhaps allowing business to do more with less. This is exactly opposite of government where the overall trend is to accomplish less with more.

The employment trends described here are explained in part by hugely beneficial productivity improvements in such traditional industries as farming, manufacturing, financial services and telecommunications. These produce far more output per worker than in the past. The typical farmer, for example, is today at least three times more productive than in 1950.

Where are the productivity gains in government? Consider a core function of state and local governments: schools. Over the period 1970-2005, school spending per pupil, adjusted for inflation, doubled, while standardized achievement test scores were flat. Over roughly that same time period, public-school employment doubled per student, according to a study by researchers at the University of Washington. That is what economists call negative productivity.

But education is an industry where we measure performance backwards: We gauge school performance not by outputs, but by inputs. If quality falls, we say we didn’t pay teachers enough or we need smaller class sizes or newer schools. If education had undergone the same productivity revolution that manufacturing has, we would have half as many educators, smaller school budgets, and higher graduation rates and test scores.

The same is true of almost all other government services. Mass transit spends more and more every year and yet a much smaller share of Americans use trains and buses today than in past decades. One way that private companies spur productivity is by firing underperforming employees and rewarding excellence. In government employment, tenure for teachers and near lifetime employment for other civil servants shields workers from this basic system of reward and punishment. It is a system that breeds mediocrity, which is what we’ve gotten.

Most reasonable steps to restrain public-sector employment costs are smothered by the unions. Study after study has shown that states and cities could shave 20% to 40% off the cost of many services—fire fighting, public transportation, garbage collection, administrative functions, even prison operations—through competitive contracting to private providers. But unions have blocked many of those efforts. Public employees maintain that they are underpaid relative to equally qualified private-sector workers, yet they are deathly afraid of competitive bidding for government services.

President Obama says we have to retool our economy to “win the future.” The only way to do that is to grow the economy that makes things, not the sector that takes things.

Well said, Mr. Moore, well said…

Dear comrade leader accepts transparency award – in secret

Posted in Culture, FAIL, Huh? WTF?, The Regime on March 31, 2011 by DaMook

Kyle-Anne Shiver has this great post over at The PJ Tattler about our “hoped-for” dear comrade leader. I’m passing it along in its entirety because it’s short and says it all better than I could.

Well, here’s another Obama first, ladies and gents. Like the Peace Prize awarded on the wings of hope in Obama’s ethereal glow, now various open-government organizations have given the One an award for — hold your breath and count slowly to ten — hoped for “transparency.” A mere week after the most transparent administration in the history of the world was trying to explain why a Biden advance team would confine a lone reporter to a storage room to keep him from mingling with Party fat-cats in Florida, the glorious bastion of open-government moguls decide to preemptively award President Obama with the “transparency” award.

But that’s not the juiciest bit of this. The award was supposed to be given at a public ceremony at the White House with press pool and photographers, but the president decided to cancel all that “transparency” and go with a closed-door, private meeting without a single member of the press in attendance to receive his “transparency” award.

Politico has the whole story here.

Steve Aftergood, the director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, gave Politico the best quote:

“And in that sense, one could say it resembles the award at the Nobel Peace Prize,” Aftergood said. “It’s not because Obama brought peace to anyone but because people hoped he would be a force for good in the world, and maybe that’s the way to understand this award.”

So, here’s the Obama Standard applied in little Johnny’s world: Darling Johnny, following the example set by the President of the U.S., we’re not going to wait for you to learn your lessons or take your tests before giving you your report card. You look so swell, talk so brightly and sit up so straight and tall at your desk. So, we’re putting all our hope in you and giving you all A’s right this minute in the hope that you’ll be so overjoyed that you’ll actually earn them at some point in the future.

Then, we can apply the Obama Standard to earning salaries and give glowing book reviews before the books are written. Hope is such an amazing thing, isn’t it?

What a load of poppycock. The world has gone nuts.

Somewhere, Orwell is standing with his mouth agape.

This, apparently, is what “hope” is all about.

SHEEESH!

Karma: Man named Cokayne arrested for…what else, dealing drugs

Posted in Culture, FAIL, Humor, Thumbs Up! on March 29, 2011 by DaMook

Now, who couldn’t have seen this coming (story here from the Washington Post).

The story you are about to read is true. The names have not been changed because otherwise it wouldn’t be that interesting.

The Fairfax County police on Tuesday arrested a man named Kevin Lee Cokayne and charged him with dealing drugs.

The police were looking to acquire Cokayne, so they went to a house on Franklin Farm Road in the Herndon area and found Cokayne in a rented apartment in the basement, according to a search warrant affidavit filed in court .

As the undercover detective walked downstairs and discovered Cokayne, the detective asked if he could search the apartment. That was no good for Cokayne, who told the detective, “I don’t see why you want to waste your time for an eighth of weed. It’s a misdemeanor,” according to the affidavit. So the cops got a search warrant for the home of Cokayne.

But apparently Cokayne was selling marijuana, not cocaine, the court documents indicate. Police found a safe with marijuana, a wooden box with marijuana, two jars containing marijuana, a smoking device with marijuana, a digital scale, and “records and documents for Kevin Cocaine [sic],” a search inventory reveals.

Cokayne, 24, was charged with two felony counts of distributing marijuana. On what appears to be his Facebook page, he has a picture of an eight-ball. We could not make this up.

LOL!

2010 Census: Detroit population down 25%

Posted in BIG Government, Culture, FAIL, Government Folly, Government Waste/Fraud/Abuse, UGH! on March 29, 2011 by DaMook

Lions and Tigers and FAIL, Oh My… That the city of Detroit is a FAIL is not in question (more here, here, here, and here). That it is this big of a FAIL was made apparent with the 2010 Census results. In its heyday (1950s) Detroit had almost 2 million residents. Home of the Big Three US auto manufacturers, Detroit was an industrial and economic powerhouse. Today, it is an economic and industrial wasteland that has lost more than half of its population and more are fleeing every day. Current predictions are that Detroit’s population may sink to below 500,000 by the end of the decade.

Detroit’s population has fallen steadily since the heyday of the auto industry in the 1950s, when it peaked around two million, but the declines have accelerated in recent years as manufacturing jobs have disappeared and the mortgage crisis has devastated even stable, middle-class neighborhoods. The number of vacant housing units doubled in the past decade to nearly 80,000, more than one-fifth of the city’s housing stock, the Census Bureau reported.

“For those of us who have been out in the neighborhoods, we knew that the foreclosures and the abandonment were really extreme and accelerating,” said Lyke Thompson, director of Wayne State University’s Center for Urban Studies. “The question is, can you put a bottom under it?”

In 1950, Detroit was the fifth-largest city in America, behind New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, and it was in the top 10 as recently as the 1990 Census. Now, Detroit is likely to fall to 19th, behind Indianapolis and Columbus, Ohio.

Former NBA star Dave Bing is the mayor of Detroit and according to most sources, he’s been trying very hard to turn the city around. Bing replaced former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, currently serving time in a federal prison for a variety of corruption charges. Mayor Bing is said to be incredulous about the Census results and will likely call for a recount – mostly because Detroit will lose federal (taxpayer) money.

The flight of middle-class African-Americans to the suburbs fueled an exodus that cut Detroit’s population 25% in the past decade to 713,777, according to Census Bureau data released Tuesday. That’s the city’s lowest population level since the 1910 census, when automobile mass production was making Detroit Detroit.

The decline, the fastest in city history, shocked local officials, who had expected a number closer to 800,000. Mayor Dave Bing said the city would seek a recount.

“If we could go out and identify another 40,000 people that were missed, and it brings us over the threshold of 750,000, that would make a difference from what we can get from the federal and state government,” Mr. Bing said at a news conference Tuesday.

In all, the city lost more than 237,000 residents, including 185,000 blacks and about 41,000 whites. The Hispanic population ticked up by 1,500. Meanwhile, the black population in neighboring Macomb County more than tripled to 72,723, constituting 8.6% of the county’s population in 2010, compared with 2.7% a decade earlier. Oakland County’s African-American population rose 36% to 164,078.

While Bing has made some positive changes, the answer shouldn’t be finding 40,000 phantom residents so they can get more taxpayer money. They should instead focus on fixing the problems that continue to drive residents from the city. This article (from the WSJ) explains how massive infusions of taxpayer money, coupled with failed social and economic policies, have turned Detroit into a wasteland.

Most Americans did not need to be told that Detroit is in a bad way, and has been for some time. Americans know all about white flight, greedy unions and arrogant auto executives. The recent census numbers, however, put an exclamation mark on a cold fact: A once-great American city today repels people of talent and ambition.

“Detroit is a classic example of how a culture that was legendary for enterprise and innovation was slowly eroded by toxic politicization from the 1960s on,” says the Rev. Robert A. Sirico, president of the Michigan-based Acton Institute. “It’s been class warfare on steroids, and the inevitable result is that so many Detroiters who had the means—black and white—have fled the city.”

Another way of putting it is this: Unlike New Orleans and Japan, the ruin we see in Detroit is entirely man-made.

While the decline of the US auto industry has had a huge impact on the city, Detroit’s problems go deeper and are systemic.

What happened to this Detroit? In many ways the answer is liberal politics and expanding government. In the 1960s, for example, Detroit became one of Lyndon Johnson’s “Model Cities.” That meant it was on the receiving end of hundreds of millions of federal dollars to transform a nine-mile-square section of the city. It would be just the first of many government-funded redevelopment schemes that left behind one of the most blighted urban landscapes in the nation.

Notwithstanding its failures, government continued to grow while city services—e.g., police and fire protection—continued to decline. Whites moving to the suburbs took much of the tax base out of the city in the 1960s. The latest census numbers show that blacks are now following in the path of the whites before them. Apparently they don’t like crime and the lack of decent schools for their kids either.

What’s left is the city so embarrassingly exposed by the census figures, a place that people are fleeing as fast as they can. Think of all the dysfunctional measures you can: poverty rates, unemployment, crime, failing public schools, falling home values. Detroit has them all, and most of its indicators rank among the worst in the nation.

The epitome of government FAIL…

Bank robber asked for ID – complies, busted, FAIL

Posted in Culture, FAIL, Heros, Humor on March 24, 2011 by DaMook

It’s probably safe to say that the vast majority of bank robbers are not among society’s deep thinkers. Most are out to make a quick score and are generally caught within hours (more here). Even those that are successful are eventually caught. Given the sophisticated security measures (silent alarms, cameras, armed guards, exploding dye packs, etc.) it doesn’t take genius-level intelligence to figure out that robbing a bank is not a path to financial security.

This is a tale of two people – a stupid robber and a courageous bank teller (story here).

A Dallas Wells Fargo bank teller risked her life and thousands of dollars on a bet that a robber at her window would be stupid enough to comply with her request that he show two forms of identification.But sure enough, her bet paid off! The robber, 49-year-old Nathan Wayne Pugh of Sachse, Texas, actually took the time to search through his pockets and wallet to produce the IDs — which turned out to be his Wells Fargo debit card and a state ID card. Then the teller stalled even more by very slowly copying the information.

Thanks to her efforts, authorities had ample time to arrive on the scene.

Pugh was apprehended when he tried to flee the bank with $800. He was later found guilty of bank robbery and sentenced to an eight year prison term. He was already on parole for two other aggravated robberies.

There’s no word on whether or not the teller was rewarded for her savvy risk. Regardless, she gets bragging rights and a great story to tell her kids.

Great story!