Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Obama's Honeymoon is Over: Poll Shows First Negative Approval Rating

I think the GM takeover and screw-job on their bondholders is the first hole in the boat. Now Americans are finally coming to the realization that we can't afford all of Obama's plans and dreams.

"The raw numbers of pretty straightforward — 31 percent of Americans strongly approve of the way Barack Obama is handling his job, 33 percent strongly disapprove," Rasmussen said.

"Before the last week we never had a circumstance where the number who disapprove outweigh the number who approve. So we're in new territory. Right now the approval index at minus two is as low as it's been.

I think this is the most heartening part of the poll by a long shot:

"When we talk about healthcare reform and the proposal the president is talking about, the country is fairly evenly divided. But those who have strong opinions tend to oppose the plan more than support it.

"On the cap and trade legislation [to reduce carbon emissions], 42 percent believe it's going to hurt the economy. Only 19 percent believe it's going to help.

I think Americans are still on the fence about healthcare reform because they want to see the economy getting better before we have to borrow another $1.6 trillion dollars from the Red Chinese.

Also the idea of taxing every American when they can barely find jobs, for some negligible reduction in temperature in 20 years, is a bad idea no matter what Obama says. I'm pretty sure that most Americans would not want the economy to tank even further just so Al Gore can be the first Climate Billionaire.

Cap and Tax Bill Just Keeps on Sucking: Now Homeowners will be hit

There is nothing like burdening homeowners with extra costs right at the time that home price drops are starting to slow down.

Home Sellers Beware. Having a hard time selling your home? Here’s one more hurdle to jump: all homes sales are conditioned upon an energy audit and a new energy rating assessment and energy labeling program for your home that’s outlined in the Democrats’ bill. And if you thought you could improve your property with a fresh coat of paint and some granite counters? Think again! Now your home will be subjected to a new energy rating assessment and energy labeling program that will penalize you for older windows, original fixtures, and dated appliances. So the Democrats’ bill would bring down the value of your home!

So if you are already underwater and want to sell your home Cap and Tax will put you a few $1000 more underwater just to sell your home. Sounds like some real unintended consequences.

Here is the text of the stupid bill that they passed so even more nuggets can be mined from its 1300 pages. I'm glad Congress loves to vote on things that they don't read. I guess they will have plenty of time to read it when they are out of office. I sincerely hope that that is what happens to the 8 GOP members that voted for economic ruin. This is the list of the Cap and Tax 8 and their office numbers:

Mary Bono Mack (CA) (202) 225-5330
Mike Castle (DE) (202) 225-4165
Mark Kirk (IL) (202) 225-4835 (And he’s seriously considering running for Senate!)
Leonard Lance (NJ) (202) 225-5361
Frank LoBiondo (NJ) (202) 225-6572
John McHugh (NY) (202) 225-4611
Dave Reichert (WA) (202) 225-7761
Chris Smith (NJ) (202) 225-3765

The Us Pulls out of Iraqi Cities

At least we were able to leave at the head of the column and not on our shields or sneaking out in the middle of the night.

We all recall the delighted leftist claims that Iraq had entered a hopeless civil war. Wrong. That Iraqis preferred al Qaeda to us. Wrong. That Shia militias represented the people. Wrong. And that Iran would seize control. Wrong again.

Looking back over six years of good intentions, tragic errors, generosity, arrogance, partisan vituperation, painful deaths and ultimate vindication, two things strike me: the ever-resisted lesson that human affairs are more complex than academic theories claim, and the simple truth that most human beings prefer a measure of freedom to immeasurable repression.

I still think L Paul Bremer needs to be brought up on dereliction of duty charges for disbanding the Iraqi Military. That mistake extended the war by 5 years and cost 1000s of extra lives. That might go down as one of the biggest blunders of all time.

I've Heard of Acid Reflux but What is Bile Reflux?

This is kind of a sad state of affairs when doctors seem disinterested or not knowledgeable about something that afflicts quite a few people. Maybe it is time for a drug company to step up and get rid of this thing.

Although the condition is certainly not unknown, there is a relative lack of information on it in major medical journals read by nonspecialists. Mr. Kozma said his wife had now developed Barrett’s esophagus and, instead of being offered treatment, was told to return in three years to have another endoscopic look at her damaged esophagus. “What are we supposed to do? Wait and see if this develops into cancer?”

I wonder if we could get the Mayo Clinic to run the entire health care system? They always seem to be on the cutting edge of any breakthrough.

Both acid reflux and bile reflux may afflict the same person, which can make diagnosis a challenge. But the stomach inflammation that results from bile reflux often causes a burning or gnawing pain in the upper abdomen that is not felt with acid reflux, according to experts at the Mayo Clinic. Other symptoms of bile reflux may include frequent heartburn (the main symptom of acid reflux), nausea, vomiting bile, sometimes a cough or hoarseness and unintended weight loss.

Coleman Conceeds, Al Franken to Serve Out His One Term

Ah the NY Carpetbagger and "funnyman" is now Senator Franken for that one term after which he should probably lose to just about anyone with a pulse.

Coleman announced his decision at a news conference in St. Paul hours after a unanimous Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that Franken, a former "Saturday Night Live" comedian and liberal commentator, should be certified the winner.

"The Supreme Court has made its decision and I will abide by the results," Coleman told reporters outside his St. Paul home.

Radio-host to Senator is too big a jump and I will be willing to bet there won't be a 30 year career in the Senate ahead of him. I can see Coleman trouncing him in 6 years after the Dems blow up the economy if things like Crap-and-Trade pass. The filibuster-proof margin might be big but I'm pretty sure the Dems don't want to ram through alot of crap in a partisan manner and be stuck with the consequences.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Now Obama is "Has Doubts" About Cap-and-Trade War Bill

This is exactly why Congress needs to read bills before they vote on them. The part of the bill that would create tariffs on countries that don't have the same carbon measures as the US in place is just asinine. I guess Obama kind of agrees in a wishy-washy way.

President Obama, speaking to reporters Sunday, didn't say whether he would veto the bill if the measure remains a part of it, or whether he will work to remove it in negotiations with Congress. "At a time when the economy world-wide is still deep in recession, and we've seen a significant drop in global trade, I think we have to be very careful about sending any protectionist signals out there," he said. He added that he was "mindful" of the need to level the playing field internationally for U.S. business.

Uh, yes Mr. President protectionist signals are what Great Depressions are made of. If this passes the Senate then Americans will deliver a massive hiding to the Democrats come 2010. Especially because this thing will hit every single American right in the face. I'm sure the domestic oil companies (if the don't all move to Switzerland or Dubai or something) and utilities will remind the consumers of the fact that they had to raise rates due to Congress just to cover their own asses.

Germany Floats Tax Cut Plan

It seems the Germans are trying to cut taxes to goose growth while we try to knee-cap ourselves with that asinine Cap-and-Tax bill.

The conservative parties' election platform promises tax cuts worth €15 billion ($21 billion), but gives no time frame. The parties plan to cut the lowest income tax rate to 12% from 14% at present, raise the threshold for paying the top income tax rate of 42%, and reduce the degree to which a rising income leads to a progressively higher tax rate.

If that plan goes through and the Germans are able to cut spending at the same time we might see some impressive growth numbers coming out of Germany in the near future. It would be interesting to see the Germans leading the rest of Europe out of a recession.

CBO Releases Debt Numbers and they are Staggering

Now this should give every Congressman heart palpitations from its gravity.

To put it bluntly, the fiscal policy of the United States is unsustainable. Debt is growing faster than gross domestic product. Under the CBO's most realistic scenario, the publicly held debt of the U.S. government will reach 82 percent of GDP by 2019 -- roughly double what it was in 2008. By 2026, spiraling interest payments would push the debt above its all-time peak (set just after World War II) of 113 percent of GDP. It would reach 200 percent of GDP in 2038.

I think it is time to argue that we need immigration reform as soon as possible. Most of this huge interest expense comes from aging population and older people consuming more health care then they are paying in. So we need to open the gates and start bringing in skilled immigrants to pay taxes and buy things to stabilize our debt load.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Trade War with China and India in the Cap-and-Tax Bill

You have got to be kidding about this Cap-and-Destroy the Economy Bill. There is a trade clause in the thing that might start a trade war with China and India.

But it isn't clear how much of the sprawling House bill will survive in the Senate, where moderate Democrats and Republicans could form a majority that backs less ambitious action. Among the potential problem areas: the House bill has a provision that would impose tariffs on goods imported from countries that don't match U.S. carbon dioxide restrictions -- a slap at China and India that some business interests fear could provoke a trade war.

Oh yes, that means it is a trade war with just about every country in the world except for a handful like Iceland and Sweden. This is not just kind of like Smooth-Hawley this IS Smoot-Hawley all over again.

That Tariff caused a trade war that wrecked the world economy for decades and indirectly led up to WW2. This asinine Cap-and-Trade War bill will act in exactly the same way as China and India retaliates against us. The Senate better kill this piece of crap or the world will pay the consequences.

Dems Barely Pass the Cap-and-Destroy the Economy Bill

The one good thing is that the thing passed by such a narrow margin that the Senate will hopefully put this crap out of its misery.

The vote was 219-212, capping months of negotiations and days of intense bargaining among Democrats. Republicans were overwhelmingly against the measure, arguing it would destroy jobs in the midst of a recession while burdening consumers with a new tax in the form of higher energy costs.

The whole argument that it will "grow green jobs" does not say that these jobs will be in the future at some uncertain date. At this time these "green jobs" are little more then guys that install solar panels and have basically failed in Spain. These jobs will be there if the government funds the research instead of penalizing every single American for using any energy at all.

We don't need to go into the Second Great Depression just so we can reduce the temperature by .0013 degrees by the end of the century. I think if this thing actually passes the Senate (by some miracle) this will be the Smooth-Hawley Tariff of this century in lead us into 10 years of economic ruin.

Think Tank Now Believes that ObamaCare will Cost $4 Trillion?

A Healthcare economist (what a dismal job) from the University of Minnesota, named Dr. Stephen T. Parente testified in front of Congress and broke out the real numbers on ObamaCare and they are staggering.

CBO scored the Kennedy Bill last week at approximately a 30% reduction [of uninsured people]for 1 trillion over ten years. Using the ARCOLA model, we found nearly everyone would be covered if all elements of the Kennedy bill were enacted at a ten year cost of 4 trillion. At this time, we are the only group yet to score the full Kennedy proposal. (If you would like to see the full analysis of this bill including how they got to their budget numbers)

That will cover all but 1% of the uninsured at what might be the insolvency of the debt of the United States. As this article pointed out the total federal budget for 2010 is $3.6 trillion and that is with all the TARP and stimulus and other crap thrown in. Now that is a big pile of money I hope the Red Chinese have their checkbooks out.

15 More Reasons Why Cap-and-Tax Will Rob America of Growth

Ugh, some of these things sound make this thing sound like the greatest regressive tax of all time.

National Energy Tax: This is a tax that will affect constituents in every aspect of their lives. From transportation, to food, to electricity, to income - this is the ultimate regressive consumption tax to the tune of nearly $3,000 per year according to the Heritage Foundation. The costs per family for the whole energy tax aggregated from 2012 to 2035 are estimated to be $71,493.

Nothing like taxing people an additional $3000 a year when there is 10% unemployment in the nation. Plus anything that makes food prices go up hits poor people right in the wallet since most of their cash goes to food. I think every Congressman that votes for this thing should be branded an economic criminal and thrown out of office. The Senate better fix this thing or we will be feeling its ill effects for the next 30 years.

Cap and Tax Might be an Economic Disaster

Now this is sobering news now that the green shoots of an economic recovery are just coming up.

As we've said before, capping emissions is capping economic growth. An analysis of Waxman-Markey by the Heritage Foundation projects that by 2035 it would reduce aggregate gross domestic product by $7.4 trillion. In an average year, 844,000 jobs would be destroyed, with peak years seeing unemployment rise by almost 2 million (see charts below).

Consumers would pay through the nose as electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket, as President Obama once put it, by 90% adjusted for inflation. Inflation-adjusted gasoline prices would rise 74%, residential natural gas prices by 55% and the average family's annual energy bill by $1,500.

Yup cap-and-trade has the potential to cripple the US economy while it doesn't do anything to stop the Red Chinese from building 2 coal power plants per week or the Indians from increasing their energy usage. I mean both countries will fight like mad against any world carbon emissions scheme because they know it will cut their growth in the trillions of dollars range. This bill will strait up have the ability to put us into a second Great Depression.

Lightswitch Tax Moves Closer to Getting Through the House

The Senate better kill this thing quickly because there is no way we can afford to raise any taxes during a recession and hope for a V-shaped recovery.

Obama on Thursday called it "a vote of historic proportions ... that will open the door to a clean energy economy" and green jobs.

"It will create millions of new jobs," Pelosi insisted.

This is the most BS thing I have read recently. This thing will strait up destroy jobs right now and might create jobs in the future but probably won't. Those carbon credits will result in higher prices for anyone who turns on a lightswitch and will cost many more people in manufacturing their jobs.

It would be so much easier and cheaper for many companies to move whatever jobs are left to Malaysia where a company doesn't have to deal with this cap-and-rob crap. About the only people happy about this are the Wall Street types running the carbon marketplace and people that are going to get rich from selling offsets.

If they really wanted to create millions of new green jobs they should give tax incentives for companies to switch over. Call it a green tax cut and pay for it out of the stupid stimulus bill. Use that $700 billion waste of money to build a nuclear plant for every coal or oil power plant in the country.

Then create a multi-billion dollar energy research grant program to work on new power solutions. In other words pay for the R&D of solar, nuclear, and wind companies. Then when we have the technology in place put down the carbon limits. Don't do it backwards so people are stuck with a regressive tax for decades. Hoepfully the Senate will make the House come to their senses on this thing.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

ObamaCare Infomercial Draws Hardly Any Viewers

I think this whole Health Care fix-it plan from the Dems only seems to resonate in some place where the majority of Americans do not live.

The one-hour ABC News special "Primetime: Questions for the President: Prescription for America" (4.7 million viewers, 1.1 preliminary adults 18-49 rating) had the fewest viewers in the 10 p.m. hour (against NBC's "The Philanthropist" debut and a repeat of "CSI: NY" on CBS). The special tied some 8 p.m. comedy repeats as the lowest-rated program on a major broadcast network.

Actually the funniest part may be that ABC sold its integrity for a show that lost to a rerun of CSI and a probably soon-to-be-cancelled NBC drama. It goes to show you that people don't seem to care as much about health care as the Dems will have you believe.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Nokia Sells the Iranian Regime a Way to Catch Protestors

Well there seems to be a boycott in the works against Nokia. I've only owned one Nokia phone but I will not be buying another one for any reason.

Telecommunication companies in the United States and other countries are required to provide this so-called “lawful intercept” capability so that domestic law enforcement agencies can eavesdrop on calls to investigate criminal activity. “Lawful,” of course, means different things in different countries. In the U.S. such interception generally requires a court order.

Yup in Iran you don't need any court order to get you and your whole family "disappeared." Nokia did yoemans work helping the regime catch their foes. The Basij Militia will probably send them a nice fruit basket for making their job so much easier. I have no idea why this telecom equipment was sent to them without this "feature" crippled.

I can just see the new Iranian Telecom Whitepaper thanking Nokia for their service.

It was so hard in the past to catch enemies of our regime who were using cell phones in order to communicate. So we turned to our friends at Nokia who provided us with a solution to this very pressing problem. Using Nokia's technology we are able to listen in on cell phone calls so we can tell exactly when and where we need to be to intercept their lawlessness.

Nokia's Solutions helps our very own Basij Militia crack heads and kill people with axes more efficiently and effectively with no wasted time trying to find the troublemakers. Then we are able to trace the calls back to their families in order to make the protestors pay for their transgressions.

We don't even need to question the detained protesters or plant moles in their organizations because Nokia has done the work for us. Nokia's superior technology has literally brought the tools of repression right into the homes of the hated enemies of our regime. Thanks again Nokia!

Yours with lotsa love,

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Holy Crap! US Beats Spain 2-0 at Confederations Cup!

Now this is something I thought would never happen.

The United States stunned top-ranked Spain 2-0 Wednesday night on goals by Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey, advancing to the Confederations Cup final with one of the Americans' biggest soccer victories.

Yup the hapless US team knocked off the Worlds Number 1 team. Now they will probably take on the 5 time World Cup champ Brazil who has already beat them 3-0. Normally I would say they have no chance but stranger things did actually happen.

North Korea Directly Threatens the Existence of the US

Well I am curious to hear what Obama has to say about this latest rhetoric salvo the crazies in North Korea lobbed at us.

North Korea has said it would consider interception of its ships a declaration of war, and on Wednesday accused the U.S. of seeking to start another Korean War.

"If the U.S. imperialists start another war, the army and people of Korea will ... wipe out the aggressors on the globe once and for all," a dispatch from the official Korean Central News Agency said.

Now I haven't heard this from a sovereign nation in quite a long time and should be taken as a direct threat against the US. The problem with North Korea is that the US end wars that are started against us. Kim Jong Il will be crawling out of a spider hole in 6 months time if they dared to declare war against us.

SC Governor Sanford Found: He was in Argentina With Some Woman

Who knew that the Appalachian Trial led all the way to Argentina?

Questions about Sanford's whereabouts arose early this week. For two days after reporters started asking questions, his office had said he had gone hiking on the Appalachian Trial.

Cornered at the Atlanta airport by a reporter, Sanford revealed Wednesday morning that he'd gone to Argentina for a seven-day trip.

The funny part about it is this:

He told reporters he spent "the last five days of my life crying in Argentina" and the affair is now over. Sanford, a rumored 2012 presidential candidate, refused to say whether he'll leave office.

Um, why did he have to sneak off to Argentina to break up with this woman? He could have done it over the phone or just waited until she was back in the States. Instead he flies off like a CIA operative going on a clandestine mission and alarms the people of South Carolina.
I guess it is time for him to resign because lying about being in the country is something that governors shouldn't be doing.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Is Obama Turning Us Japanese?

I sure hope not. The idea of 10 years of economic malaise has created all sorts of problems in Japan. Reason thinks we might be going down that road.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Redbox vs. Netflix: Not as Much a Threat as You Might Think

Well there has been some rumbles on how Redbox can compete with Netflix and I have to say they may be overblown at this point.

To that end, Redbox tracks rentals to predict the right mix of titles and the right number of copies for each location. It also lets customers go online and reserve a DVD in a specific kiosk, then pick it up in person. The $1 price may be the initial draw, but most people end up paying to keep DVDs for two or three days.

If Redbox grows into a serious challenge to Netflix, it will have done what two much larger companies, Blockbuster and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., could not.

I'm still not sure why a person would rather go to a kiosk in order to buy a DVD when they can just make a few clicks and either get it by mail or stream it on their TV or Xbox. I can see some people using these kiosks when they are in the supermarket instead of buying the DVD at Wal-Mart but not huge numbers.

Looking at the site makes me not want to rush out use their service. Most of the reason is that I would hate to reserve the thing online then drive to some place, park, go into the store, hope there wasn't some online mix up, and pull the DVD out of the machine and then take it home to watch. Then I only get to watch the movie for 1 night and then have to return the thing. This would be even harder with a bunch of kids in tow.

I'm not sure if Redbox is even a leg up from the Blockbuster experience in anything except for the price. With Redbox you can't browse around for a movie that you might not have picked normally like you can at Blockbuster. I see Redbox as more of a Blockbuster in a box and not a serious contender for Netflix at this time.

Senior Clerics Might Scrap the Supreme Leader Concept in Iran

Now this is a potential game changer in Iran.

Members of the assembly are reportedly considering forming a collective ruling body and scrapping the model of Ayatollah Khomeini as a way out of the civil crisis that has engulfed Tehran in a series of protests,

The discussions have taken place in a series of secret meetings convened in the holy city of Qom and included Jawad al-Shahristani, the supreme representative of Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who is the foremost Shiite leader in Iraq.

An option being considered is the resignation of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iran's president following condemnation by the United States and other European nations for violence and human rights violations against unarmed protestors.

This could be huge since according to this article Ayatollah Sistani is supposed to have all kinds of sway in the Shiite world. This new, proposed, ruling body kind of sounds like an Islamic Senate but instead of being voted in they are appointed by their fellow clerics.

Also according to the article Ayatollah Sistani seems to be quite a pragmatist from his statements. If this man is brought into the fold to offer legitimacy we might see the rise of a pragmatic government in Iran.

Why? Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in 2007 made two very critical statements: that "I am a servant of all Iraqis, there is no difference between a Sunni, a Shiite or a Kurd or a Christian," and that Islam can exist within a democracy without theological conflict. You will never hear such words slip past the lips of Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei. Ever.

Mayo Doctors Use Ipilimumab To Get Rid of Prostate Cancer in 3 patients

I hope to hell that ObamaCare doesn't screw doctors like Dr. Kwon and Dr. Blute up in the future. In any case though this might be a great breakthrough in medicine of it can be repeatable to the rest of the people in this Phase 2 study.

With Nelson, Dr. Blute spent more time in the OR than planned. “I was cutting away scar tissue, while trying to find cancer cells. The pathologist was checking samples as we proceeded and sent word back asking if we had the right patient. He had a hard time finding any cancer. I had never seen anything like this before. The pathologists were floored.” The same story played out for Solano-Revuelta. In that case there were two phone calls from pathology, one asking if he was operating on the correct patient.

Whatever this combo did it got rid of all of the cancer cells. From the article it was hormone thearapy, then they used a drug called Ipilimumab (which is made by Medarex and Bristol Myers Squibb,) then surgery to cut away whatever cancers cells are left.

This drug is supposed to do something to the T-cells that cancer shuts off to get them running again. The doctors aren't even sure what is happening yet. What may make this a breakthrough though is that you might be able to repeat it on breast and ovarian cancer since they are dependant on homones as well. In any case more data will be in order but the idea that the cancer was essentially "cured" is a big deal.

Obama's Chicago Style Politics

This is an interesting article that hits on the exact problem I have with the Obama administration. He thinks about long term plans but doesn't execute on the minutiae. This part on the economy is what I don't like the most:

Second, he does not seem to care much about the details of policy. He subcontracted the stimulus package to congressional appropriators, the cap-and-trade legislation to Henry Waxman and Edward Markey, and his health care program to Max Baucus. The result is incoherent public policy: indefensible pork barrel projects, a carbon emissions bill that doesn’t limit carbon emissions from politically connected industries, and a health care program priced by the Congressional Budget Office at a fiscally unfeasible $1,600,000,000,000.

I'm not sure that Obama's stimulus plan would have been better but the Congress one is a dismal failure so far. You can hear him say "we need healthcare reform" over and over but then relies on Congress to hammer out the details. Then when their Budget Office says the thing will cost $1.6 trillion the Obama people have to scramble to convince people that we can afford such a staggering sum. Even cap-and-trade will be dismal failure and too much of a hard sell during recession like this one.

Friday, June 19, 2009

ObamaCare Starting to Cloud up a Little

It seems that the cost is starting to kill ObamaCare little by little.

That is why Democrats admit that it was a public relations disaster this week when the Congressional Budget Office issued a report this week concluding, from a partial draft of a Senate health committee bill, that the plan would cost $1 trillion over 10 years but only provide coverage for 16 million of the estimated 50 million Americans who are uninsured.

Khamenei Readying the Crackdown

Well, it looks like Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is going to go the way of the forgotten man of history as he might be choosing a Tiananmen Square style ending to the conflict.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei sternly warned Friday of a crackdown if protesters continue their massive street rallies, escalating the government's showdown with demonstrators demanding a new presidential election.

I think Saturday will be a crucial day in the history of Iran. If the government cracks down hard they might go the way of the Shah or they might bully people into submission this time. The army will be the key because if they side with the marchers or refuse to fire on their own people the revolution will be on.

In any case I think the young Iranian's just got a whiff of freedom and solidarity and might never back down again. My guess is that the regime will last 10 more years at most even if there isn't a crackdown. When these marchers get into positions of power in the army and the old Islamic radicals that overthrew the Shah start to die of old age it will be the end of the regime.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Congress Passes Cash for Clunker Bill

I didn't like how they stuck it onto a war spending bill but the results are pretty damn cool. I love the idea of financial incentives to do something. Now they need to pass a Chili's Texas Cheese Fry Bill and I will dub this Congress a success.

Under the proposal, car owners could get a voucher worth $3,500 if they traded in a vehicle getting 18 miles per gallon or less for one getting at least 22 mpg. The value of the voucher would grow to $4,500 if the mileage of the new car was 10 mpg higher than the old vehicle. The miles per gallon figures are listed on the car window's sticker.

Owners of sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks or minivans that get 18 mpg or less could receive a voucher for $3,500 if their new truck or SUV got at least 2 mpg higher than their old vehicle. The voucher would increase to $4,500 if the mileage of the new truck or SUV was at least 5 mpg higher than the older vehicle.

ObamaCare is Not As Popular As You Might Think

According to this there was much more enthusiasm for HillaryCare in 1993 and 1994 then for ObamaCare today.

In ‘93 the Cold War was over, the economy was coming out of a recession considerably weaker than this one, and we were 15 years further removed from facing Medicare doomsday than we are now. Fast forward to 2009, with the U.S. stuck in two wars and Obamatopia landing us trillions in the red and it’s only natural that we’d find priorities have hope-n-changed.

One thing interesting that jumped out at me from looking at those poll numbers people that want to rebuild the health care system are only more than 50% in 2 categories. Only if you are a Democrat and if you are making less then $30,000 per year. In 1993 the only people that had less then 50% in support were the GOP (of course,) college grads, and people making $75,000 per year.

I think the idea that we are throwing another $1.5 trillion in new spending right after we have blown $1.75 trillion already is what is throwing off most Americans. Then they think that spending all that money will just end up both not insuring everyone and force you to wait 6 months for hip surgery or something.

I think the main problem with ObamaCare is not just the crushing costs but it is so easy to demonize the issue. Doctors can say you are ripping them off since they will be making far less but malpractice is not capped. Businesses can say that ObamaCare will raise their costs of doing business and they will have to lay off more workers. Hospitals can say that there will be less reimbursement if the government can low-ball insurance companies. Insurance companies can say that they can't compete with the government's low-ball offers. Patients can say that ObamaCare will make them have to wait in line to get surgery.

It is going to be a tough sell any way you slice it. I think Obama needs far more then just one ABC infomercials to get people to back his plan. If I were him I would back-burner this until the economy improves and you can pay down some of that deficit. Americans will back sweeping reform when it doesn't make an $11 trillion deficit into a $12.5 trillion+ deficit.

The 4 Scenarios to Resolve the Iran Crisis

Now this is an interesting take on what Time Magazine things are 4 ways the crisis in Iran could be resolved.

1. Government Falls. They say this one is highly unlikely and I would tend to agree. Hundreds of thousands in the street will only succeed in toppling the government if the military switches sides. They might be able to battle the Republican Guard and the Basij militia who support Ahmadinejoke and the result will not be pretty. This would result in a civil war and no one in that region would want to see that.

2. Tehran Tiananmen-style Massacre: This would damage the government to the core and thus I think it will be unlikely as well. There is no way they could keep the massacre quiet and nations all over the world will be outraged. Iran will fritter away their legitimacy and standing in the world for what would end up as a short term solution. Obama or any other world leader would never sit down with Ahmadinejoke who will have gotten his job over a massive pile of Iranian corpses. This will also create an insurgency in Iran that will be in place for decades.

3. Re-Vote after Guardian Council Acknowledges Irregularities: This is the scenario that I would do if I was in Khamenei's shoes. This one allows him to save face and say we are deferring to the "wise" councilmen. Then have a run-off between Mousavi and Ahmadinejoke.

You would then have a chance to rig an Ahmadinejoke win but without the vote so fake. Or you could could just let whatever true result of the election stand. Then you simply block anything that Mousavi does that you don't agree with. The whole time you will work to drive a wedge between the pragmatists and the reformers. This is the divide and conquer method but you get to placate the people and look like the "voice of reason."

4. Power Sharing: Time says this will only happen if Mousavi backs down or feels threatened enough to back down. This will allow Khamenei to have his boy, Ahamdinejoke in power but have some kind of power sharing arrangement with pragmatists and reformers mixed in with hard liners.

If I was Khamenei I would not make this bargain because this will put the pragmatists and reformers into one coalition against the hard liners. You are counting on disunity in order to rule and that just seems too unpredictable to me. This is especially bad because this coalition will have the power of the mob behind them and thus may be emboldened to play out a strong hand. Plus any failures will end up pinned on you and your boy, Ahamadinejoke instead of on Mousavi.

Jon Minus Kate; Who Gets the 8?

Well, it looks like it is splitsville for the two most annoying reality fixtures of all time.

The source says that Kate recently met with a divorce lawyer. Another source told RadarOnline.com that the couple had previously agreed to separate by July 15.

But that timetable has now been pushed forward.

I would love to see them divorce from their TV show and see their 15 minutes of fame come to an end but that won't be happening anytime soon. Mark my words, we will get wall-to-wall Jon and Kate divorce proceedings including a courtroom camp-out. Then we will have wall-to-wall custody hearings right afterward.

Yes, this will be the top story for the next few news cycles while North Korea might be proliferating nukes and Iran might going into meltdown mode. I love how the MSM keeps their priorities strait.

Obama Remains Popular But Cracks Appear from His Handling of Economy

It seems that Americans are starting to be leery of historically high deficits and government run car companies.

Nearly seven in 10 have serious reservations about the federal government’s ownership stake in General Motors. Almost 60 percent say that President Obama and Congress should worry more about keeping the deficit down — even if that means it will take longer for the economy to recover. And fewer than half of Americans have confidence in the president’s policies to improve the economy.

That last one sounds pretty bad if I was the Obama people. That means all the stimulus and all the trillion dollar budgets full of Health care down payments and such have been a waste of time. I think America should be rightfully afraid because massive debt will crush us in the future no doubt about it. You can't blame Bush anymore because these are your debts and your car companies now Mr. President.

ABC Promises that Obamacare Infomercial Unbiased

The funny thing is that all of their coverage will be from the White House.

The dustup began when officials at the Republican National Committee got wind that ABC News would devote extensive coverage to the topic, including an interview with President Obama and the First Lady on "Good Morning America," a White House-set telecast of "World News" and a one-hour prime-time town-hall type discussion with the President on health care on June 24.

Olive Garden Pulls their Ads from Late Show with David Letterman

Now this is the only way for these "comedians" to understand that all jokes aren't created equal. Hopefully other people like John Stewart should understand that when you go after a politician the children are off limits. If not then your sponsors pull their money. They should keep in mind that 56.3 million Americans voted for the other guy in the last election.

In an email to a Letterman critic obtained by POLITICO, a spokeswoman for the Italian restaurant chain wrote that “there will be no more Olive Garden ads scheduled for ‘The Late Show’ with David Letterman in this year's broadcast schedule,” citing the talk show host’s “inappropriate comments.”

“We apologize that Mr. Letterman’s mistake, which was not consistent with our standards and values, left you with a bad impression of Olive Garden,” wrote Sherri Bruen, the company’s guest relations manager.

Another Massive Crowd Gathers in Iran

This crowd was marching in remembrance of the 7 people shot by pro-government militia groups.

Independent witnesses said that, based on previous demonstrations at the site, the size of the crowd appeared to be in the hundreds of thousands. Foreign news organizations are barred from reporting on Tehran's streets.

The demonstrators had marched silently until they arrived at the square, where some chanted "Death to the dictator!" one witness said. Press TV showed them making V-for-victory gestures and holding pictures of Mousavi and signs that say "Where's our Vote?"

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Top 10 Most Wasteful Stimulus Projects

Well I said it once before that the stimulus was a big fat waste of money and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) is pointing it out with his Top 10 List of Most Wasteful Projects. Here are the Top 5 and they don't add up to a whole bunch compared to the $789 billion. However this is my money being wasted for this stupid crap so someone needs to be held accountable.

1. Perkins, Oklahoma where accepting $1.5 million in stimulus money for a waste water plant forced the city to borrow $5.875 million more. That shot up sewer rates by 60%. There is nothing that stimulates the economy more then raising rates by 60%.

2. Futurgen in Mattoon, Illinois, $1 billion wasted dollars on a Blagojevich sponsored project to build a next gen coal plant. Too bad the next gen was 2003 and better tech is already available.

3. River Road, Wisconsin where they are spending $15.3 million to fix rural bridges instead of fixing 1256 structurally deficient bridges. My bet is it will take years of permits and bidding to get the bigger bridges fixed so the dinky ones came first. Too bad the big bridges are only going to be fixed when we are already out of the recession.

4. John Murtha Airport, Pennsylvania will get another $800,000 to repave the backup runway for an airport that serves 9,733 passengers a year. I'm willing to bet that Murtha and his cronies make up the bulk of that number as well.

5. Lake Jackson, Florida Eco-Passage will cost $3.4 million to make a tunnel for turtles under US 27. Why can't they just build a bunch of fences along the highway so turtles don't come onto the road? It seems some community activists have already built a temporary fence so just give them the money to expand their work.

Scary Assessment on What Might Go Down in Iran

This is some sobering thinking from Forbes on the issue.

It is clear that the regime is committed to a carefully planned, extremely violent campaign in the next few days. Will this silence millions of people who are desperate for change? Even if the authorities successfully clear the streets, could Ahmadinejad's government effectively govern after such a campaign? The strategy could backfire as it did in 1979 with Shah's regime. But every dictator feels entitled not to learn from the past and instead make mistakes of his own.

The hardliners should know that the violence and brutal crackdown in 1979 is what caused the Shah's government to fall apart. In fact they were the rock throwers in the street getting gunned down by the Shahs men. The funny thing is they hope that no one will be watching when they do it to this generation. But it isn't 1979 anymore and the world is actually watching via the Internet.

Obama's Financial Overhaul: It's Big Alright

It seems the Federal Reserve may get some sweeping new powers out of the financial mess.

The plan calls for the creation of an eight-member financial services oversight council, which will be chaired by the Treasury Department and include the heads of bank and securities regulators. The council, which would maintain a permanent staff at the Treasury, will seek to fill gaps in supervision, coordinate data collection and coordination among bank regulators so that the Fed is aware of any emerging risks. It will replace the President's Working Group on Financial Markets.

I guess another layer of oversight won't be too bad for markets. At least all the heads of the regulatory groups will be on the same page when it comes to systemic risk coming from various sectors of the economy. These people better not be surprised by another bubble in the future.

The Obama administration will also seek to have managers of hedge-funds, venture capital funds and private equity funds, which have significant assets, to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission, so agency officials can examine their books.

One of these things is not like the others. What do venture capital firms have to do with hedge-funds and private-equity firms? They take pools of money and invest in high tech start-ups and have a 100th of the amount of money that hedge funds and private equity funds do.

Why does the SEC have to regulate small pools on start-up capital like this? All I can think of is so the Obama people can get in on the ground floor of any innovation by looking at the Venture Funds' books and then hopefully helping them reach their goals. In other words catch the next Google at the acorn stage instead of at the Giant Oak stage.

The Obama administration also endorsed the creation of a controversial process to unwind large, interconnected insolvent financial institutions whose collapse would cause a systemic impact to the markets. Conservative leaders on Capitol Hill oppose such an entity, preferring instead to revise the bankruptcy code to expedite restructuring through the Chapter 11 process.

There had to be some changes here or these mega-companies will always end up unwinding using taxpayer money and bailouts instead of some mechanism already in place. Hopefully it will just be financial companies because the idea of the Fed winding down any large company that "creates a systemic risk" will be scary.

The OTS will become part of the Office of Comptroller of the Currency to create a new new "National Bank Supervisor," that Obama argues will curtail the problem of financial institutions shopping for the regulator of their choice.

I think this should have been done decades ago. The idea that there were so many regulators doing essentially the same thing but under different names was asinine.

The CFPA (Consumer Products Safety Commission,) an independent agency, will write rules for banks and other institutions that limits what kind of mortgage products they can make available for consumers.

The proposal seeks to expand disclosure responsibilities by requiring lenders to define standard mortgage products and promote these along with all other legal products they choose to offer.

This should prevent another mortgage meltdown. Hopefully this group will make mortgages as easy to understand as any other consumer product. In other words give the home buyer as much information that they need as clearly as possible so they won't sign some document that they don't understand.

The senior administration official said Obama will call for issuers of complex mortgage-backed securities and other similar financial products to be required to have a 5% unhedged stake in the securities they market.

I guess this is the eat what your cooking provision. I think they should also put some mechanism in place that tracks the slices of mortgage and what security contains that slice. I mean Bloomberg would have the technological chops to do something like that.

Obama's proposal is expected to seek additional requirements for credit-rating agencies, considered a key contributor to the financial crisis because of their high ratings for a wide-range of securitized subprime mortgages.

Specifically, the proposal is expected to require agencies to differentiate between structured products, such as securitized mortgages, and unstructured debt products, such as corporate bonds. Details about risks associated with ratings, methodologies and non-public rating data will need to be disclosed in an easy-to-understand manner.

Credit rating agencies will also need to disclose their performance measures for structured products so buyers of ratings can better compare agencies. Finally, the proposal seeks to have regulators reduce their own reliance on credit ratings.

Now this is the reform that if enacted even 5 years ago would have stopped the mortgage market meltdown in its tracks. These agencies saying that a bundle of subprime mortgages were actually AAA just because they were mixed in with good mortgages was criminal. The idea that they made more money from grading these things was even worse. I would support the idea that these agencies are either folded into the FED or must work as nonprofit entities to avoid these kinds of conflicts of interest.

The official said there would be comprehensive regulation for credit default swaps, considered a key contributor to the financial crisis. He said that tailored CDS products sold on the opaque over-the-counter market will have higher capital standards and they will not be marketed to unsophisticated investors.

This is another thing that should have been enacted 5 years ago and I still marvel that a multi-trillion dollar market had no regulation at all.

The administration proposed the creation of an Office of National Insurance within the Treasury Department, which will seek to provide the department with information abut the insurance sector. The white paper also seeks the establishment of additional oversight for insurance holding companies and activities likely to pose systemic risks.

Hopefully this will supercede the 50 different insurance agencies and their stupid-assed requirements. Also having one regulator instead of 50 improves information gathering as far as insurance companies are concerned.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Face of of Iranian Change? I Sure Hope So

Now this is one good looking Iranian woman! She looks just like Mila Kunis but hotter. From Getty Images.

Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri Blasts Election Results

Wow, now this is some seriously strong words from one of their highest ranking clerics.

"No one in their right mind can believe" the official results from Friday's contest, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri said of the landslide victory claimed by Ahmadinejad. Montazeri accused the regime of handling Mousavi's charges of fraud and the massive protests of his backers "in the worst way possible."

"A government not respecting people's vote has no religious or political legitimacy," he declared in comments on his official Web site. "I ask the police and army personals (personnel) not to 'sell their religion,' and beware that receiving orders will not excuse them before God."

Too bad they can't they get this guy in charge instead of Ayatollah Khamenei. He seems like a fairly reasonable person at least from these remarks. Maybe his faction will dominate the Guardian Council in the near future and the pragmatists rather then the hardliners will rule in Iran. Now that would be a development that would be great for the Iranian people and the world as a whole.

Come to think of it this Ayatollah Montazeri has the possibility to make himself into a great man of history like Cyrus the Great or Darius if he can change Iran from an anti-Israel, atomic pariah, that blows their cash on terrorist adventures, into the Mighty Persian Lion.

Imagine the power of a country with 1/3rd of the worlds oil and 75% of their populace under 30. They have a potential to be the so-called Lion of the Middle East if they use that capital wisely. Their oil wealth can easily fund the best universities in the world with the best faculty and make it free for all Iranians. The idea of Tehran University and MIT or Harvard mentioned in the same sentence might actually be possible if these pragmatists gain the upper hand.

More Democrats Blame Jews for The Financial Meltdown?

Now this should make Jewish Americans kind of wary of wholeheartedly supporting Democrats in the future.

But what the Stanford and Columbia academics find “somewhat surprising” is the partisan breakdown among the American public: “Democrats were especially prone to blaming Jews: while 32 percent of Democrats accorded at least moderate blame, only 18.4 percent of Republicans did so (a statistically significant difference).” Why is this surprising? Because of “the presumed higher degree of racial tolerance among liberals and the fact that Jews are a central part of the Democratic Party’s electoral coalition.”

I wonder why so many Dems are blaming Jews like this? It might be from the poisoned well of victimhood that many on the left drink from. You can't blame the poor homebuyer who signed these interest only, jumbo, balloon payment loans for a McMansion they couldn't afford. Instead it is far easier to blame some shady Jewish Banking Cartel for duping these poor innocents to the tune of big profits.

It is much like the Truthers blame the Bush administration for pulling off the most complicated and difficult conspiracies of all time on 9/11 instead of simply blaming 19 terrorists and their Al-Quida masters. They just can't fathom how some basic Muslim nutjobs from the Middle East can pull off such a terrible attack on our nation.

The financial crisis has all sorts of moving parts and may have been 30-some years in the making just like the buildup to 9/11 had been festering since the 1980s. Instead of the complicated analysis that is really needed to tell the culprits from the scapegoats the Left falls back to the quickie culprits of Bush and the Jewish Bankers.

How do you Help the Iranian Protestors on Twitter?

Well it seems pretty easy for the most part. I have no idea why the Mullahs would even try to block this is a big waste of time. It must be like trying the catch water with a net. I did #4 already everyone should stand for these Iranian protesters:

The purpose of this guide is to help you participate constructively in the Iranian election protests through Twitter.

1. Do NOT publicise proxy IP's over twitter, and especially not using the #iranelection hashtag. Security forces are monitoring this hashtag, and the moment they identify a proxy IP they will block it in Iran. If you are creating new proxies for the Iranian bloggers, DM them to @stopAhmadi or @iran09 and they will distributed them discretely to bloggers in Iran.

2. Hashtags, the only two legitimate hashtags being used by bloggers in Iran are #iranelection and #gr88, other hashtag ideas run the risk of diluting the conversation.

3. Keep you bull$hit filter up! Security forces are now setting up twitter accounts to spread disinformation by posing as Iranian protesters. Please don't retweet impetuosly, try to confirm information with reliable sources before retweeting. The legitimate sources are not hard to find and follow.

4. Help cover the bloggers: change your twitter settings so that your location is TEHRAN and your time zone is GMT +3.30. Security forces are hunting for bloggers using location and timezone searches. If we all become 'Iranians' it becomes much harder to find them.

5. Don't blow their cover! If you discover a genuine source, please don't publicise their name or location on a website. These bloggers are in REAL danger. Spread the word discretely through your own networks but don't signpost them to the security forces. People are dying there, for real, please keep that in mind...

Obamacare Draws Boos from Doctors

It seems that doctors might not be as onboard with Obamacare as he might think.

The boos erupted when Obama told the doctors in Chicago he wouldn't try to help them win their top legislative priority — limits on jury damages in medical malpractice cases.

But what could they expect? If Obama announced support for malpractice limits, that would set trial lawyers and unions — major supporters of Democratic candidates — on the attack. Not to mention consumer groups.

Every other group in the health care debate has a wish list and a top priority. Insurers don't want competition from the government. Employers don't want to be told they have to offer medical coverage to their workers. Hospitals want to stave off Medicare cuts. Drug companies want to charge what the market will bear.

Yup one thing about healthcare is that you have to throw one powerful group or another under the bus in order for Obamacare to succeed. We either cut doctors pay, add millions in new costs to small businesses, reduce some hospitals financial viability, or cut off the innovation coming from our drug sector.

Plus we might still have to pay $1.5 trillion extra over the next 10 years in order to get these 46 million people insured. Actually if we didn't blow $700 billion on that worthless stimulus bill we would be most of the way to the goal. Well, the battle will be epic but I would be willing to bet the result will be luke-warm and half-assed like the stimulus bill.

Also what the hell is the big rush to get this thing done by August? With Iran and North Korea getting huge on the world stage we should put this off until next year. I think the idea of a democratic Iran and a North Korea free of nukes is much more important then messing around with something that can easily wait until the economy is getting better.

Supreme Leader of Iran Calls for Unity after Staging Rally

Well, don't rig the elections and people might actually unify behind you Mullahs.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on Iranians to unite behind the cleric-led ruling system despite the rival demonstrations and street clashes, state television reported, and he said representatives of all four candidates should be present for any limited recount of disputed ballots.

What they need to do is just rule from behind the throne a little more effectively. In other words if you rig an election make it look like you didn't rig the election. So fake counting and having the reform candidate losing his home town just doesn't wash in the Internet age. People aren't idiots anymore and they are armed with Twitter and cellphone cameras now.

So in other words you have to actually go through the motions to buffalo people. That means fake counting the votes will take even more time then it did in the past. That means the reform candidate needs to win the cities and lose the rest of the country.

Hell, you can even have a disputed election that has a bunch of recounts with the Guardian Council finally finding for Ahmadinejoke in order to "preserve the stability of the Islamic Republic." It is a little like when Bush ran against Gore but with fewer hanging chads. Although the idea of a Mullah with his black turban peering over his glasses through a ballot would be deja vu all over again.

Obama States the Obvious on North Korea

Some strong words issued by Obama regarding North Korea.

President Barack Obama said Tuesday that a nuclear-armed North Korea poses a "grave threat" to the world, and he vowed to end a cycle of allowing Pyongyang to create crises and then be rewarded with incentives to back down.

"This is a pattern they've come to expect," Obama said. "We are going to break that pattern."

What is the plan anyway? Just jawbone until North Korea nukes Tokyo then condemn it in the strongest possible terms? I think Obama needs to say an attack by North Korea on any ally in the area will be met with the destruction of the North Korean regime. I other words bang the table and rattle the saber a little to show your allies you mean business.

Monday, June 15, 2009

HuffPo Liveblogs the Iranian Uprising

I rarely agree with very much on HuffPo but this stolen Iranian Election is a true bipartisan issue and they should be lauded for their coverage. Instipudit has also made their banner green. This might be the last, best hope for a peaceful Iran without the bomb. I understand Obama moving slowly so the protesters won't be massacred and painted as "tools of the Hated Americans" but the American people at large should be 100% behind these protesters. (Man that alot of people)

Obama's Silence on Irans Stolen Election: Smart Geopolitics?

I have to think that Obama keeping silent on Iran's stolen election has to serve some purpose other then a "distraction" from the "bigger issue" of health care reform.

The administration hasn't quite caught up to this reality, offering weak statements about "irregularities" in the voting but no real sign that it will stand up and support the Iranian kids who are pleading for help as they're beaten in the streets. I suspect it will soon.

I think he is trying to triangulate this so that the Mullahs can't relegate the protesters to "puppets of the Decadent West" status. So they are keeping their mouths shut on who won the election and the glaring issue that the election was almost unequivocally stolen.

What the Obama people really need to do is condemn in the strongest possible terms the crackdown and violence on behalf of the Iranian government toward the protesters. Then say that any massacres of the people will be treated as genocide and brought to the World Court.

Letterman Really Apologizes This Time

Now we have a true mea culpa and not that half-assed one we had before.

It was "a coarse joke," "a bad joke," Letterman told viewers. "But I never thought it was (about) anybody other than the older daughter, and before the show, I checked to make sure, in fact, that she is of legal age, 18."

"The joke, really, in and of itself, can't be defended," he declared.

Actually before the show he should have checked to make sure what daughter was at the game instead of checking if she was a minor or not. The messed up part is that all he had to do is put Bristol's first name in the joke and there would not be so much outcry. It would have been mean spirited, crass, and tasteless but it wouldn't have been directed at a 14 year old girl. Letterman then, to his credit, goes on to say what he should have said in the first place:

"I feel that I need to do the right thing here and apologize for having told that joke," he said. "It's not your fault that it was misunderstood, it's my fault that it was misunderstood."

He apologized to both daughters, "and also to the Governor and her family and everybody else who was outraged by the joke," he said as the studio audience applauded. "I'm sorry about it, and I'll try to do better in the future."

That last line should be something that all comedians should think about. It is okay to go after Governor Palin and Barack Obama or any other public figure but minor children should be the true no-go area. In other words no jokes about Willow Palin and thus no jokes about Malia and Sasha as well. If there is doubt then use just use a different joke. It is just that simple.

GOP Level Attack Against Obamacare: It's Rationing by Another Name

That seems like the major charge leveled against it and it will be hard for the Obama people to deny.

Kyl and McConnell introduced a bill today that would bar the federal government from using "comparative effectiveness research" — which, Kyl charged in a news conference timed to coincide with Obama’s AMA speech in Chicago, would lead to rationing of care.

Kyl said that the research would result in the delaying of health care treatment to a patient based on cost, which he believes would weaken the quality of care.

“I don’t want America to begin rationing care to their citizens in the way these other countries do,” Kyl said.

If every American has to wait 6 months to a year to get certain expensive forms of care or be put on a waiting list to take a certain medicine then Obamacare won't fly.

However this will be the perfect way for health insurance companies to compete with the federal government. Give a 1 month guarantee where a patient will not have to wait for more then 1 month for any procedure at all. You will have to pay a higher premium for this service but it can be put onto your insurance ala carte.

That way if you have the money you get the procedure in 1 month or less but if you have to rely on the government you have to wait until they approve it. These sort of value added services is what these insurers will have to use in order to compete. The government will always beat them on price so they will have to beat them on quality of service. Knowing how the government works the private option will always be better if you can afford it.

First Person to Die from the Iranian Freedom Protests

It seems that the "Green Revolution" in Iran may have just got its first martyr.

An Associated Press photographer saw one person fatally shot and at least two others who appeared to be seriously wounded.

The United States was "deeply troubled" by reports of violence and arrests in Iran, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said, but he added that the U.S. knows too little about the conduct of the election to say for sure whether there was fraud.

The worst part about this vote rigging is that Ahmadinejoke won by some asinine landslide. If you want to rig the vote and make it look decent you would just allow Ahmadinejoke to win by a comfortable margin or even just squeak by. That way he can say that the people have spoken and he can pay lip-service to reforms and take the same hard-line stance.

Now these events at Tehran University has to be some weird Deja Vu for the people involved in the original Islamic takeover of Iran exactly 30 years ago. This is one of the places where the Shah shot some demonstrators and helped trigger some of the revolution.

Overnight, police and hard-line militia stormed Tehran University, ransacking dormitories and arresting dozens of students. The university was the site of serious clashes against student-led protests in 1999 and is one of the nerve centers of the pro-reform movement.

The gathering at the university started with students chanting "Death to the dictator." But it quickly erupted into clashes as students threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at police, who fired tear gas and plastic bullets, a 25-year-old student who witnessed the fighting told the AP. He would only give one name, Akbar, out of fear for his safety.

Fire Letterman Protests Pick Up Speed

There is no way in hell CBS will fire him because he is so important to their Late Night wars but I think this movement may have some legs. Here is a link to their site.

Sponsored by New York State Assemblyman Brian Kolb, along with an attorney and radio host John Ziegler, the site also provides contacts - including major advertisers and CBS bigwigs - to whom people can complain about what many felt was a tasteless and potentially harmful quip by the late night talk leader.

The idea is to get people like Letterman to understand that hiding behind "it's just jokes" whenever they say something reprehensible is no defense.

Jazz Pharmaceuticals Releases Data on Fibromyalgia Drug

Here is a link to the data on drug and it looks like a winner.

At three months, 54.2% (p<0.001)>

That seems pretty significant and here are the other highlights of what
sodium oxybate also does for the fibromyalgia patient.

-- Patients treated with sodium oxybate 4.5 g/night and 6g/night showed significant reductions in fatigue as early as Week 1 after dosing compared with placebo as measured by the Fatigue VAS (p<0.001). These differences were maintained throughout the 14 weeks of the study (p less than or equal to 0.009).

-- Patients taking sodium oxybate 4.5 g/night and 6g/night showed significant improvement in sleep patterns compared to placebo as measured by the Jenkins Sleep Scale (p<0.001).

-- Statistically significant improvements in mean scores on the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, a measure of daily function, and on Patient Global Impression of Change were seen in patients receiving sodium oxybate compared to placebo.

-- Sodium oxybate was generally well tolerated, with the majority of adverse events reported being mild to moderate in nature. Adverse events were similar to those seen in previous sodium oxybate experience.

-- In this study, the most common adverse events, with incidence greater than or equal to 5% and at least twice the rate of placebo, were headache, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, anxiety, and sinusitis.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Even the Press is Going After Letterman

Now this is one of those controversys that is actually crossing party lines when the liberal media takes Letterman to task.

I don't agree with many things that Sarah Palin says, but she has solid grounds to be furious at David Letterman. After Palin's recent trip to Yankee Stadium with 14-year-old daughter Willow, he joked about the girl having sex with Alex Rodriguez. Letterman now says he was talking about 18-year-old Bristol, who had a baby out of wedlock last year.

But Bristol wasn't on the trip. Confusing Bristol with Willow is about as understandable as confusing Bristol with one of her brothers--or confusing Letterman with Leno.

I wouldn't confuse Letterman with Leno because I actually think Leno is decently funny. Letterman is a mean-spirited far-left curmudgeon that was edgy once and funny long ago. Now maybe this controversy can force him to retire once and for all and have Craig Ferguson (who is actually insanely funny) take his place.

NOW Finally Speaks out Against Letterman

I think this may be the first time in a long time I have seen NOW speak out against one of their liberal brethren.

Comedians in search of a laugh should really know better than to snicker about men having sex with teenage girls (or young women) less than half their age.

The sexualization of girls and women in the media is reaching new lows these days — it is exploitative and has a negative effect on how all women and girls are perceived and how they view themselves. Letterman also joked about what he called Palin’s “slutty flight attendant look” — yet another example of how the media love to focus on a woman politician’s appearance, especially as it relates to her sexual appeal to men. Someone of Letterman’s stature, who appears on what used to be known as “the Tiffany Network” (CBS), should be above wallowing in the juvenile, sexist mud that other comedians and broadcasters seem to prefer.

I have to applaud NOW for actually taking a stand against this kind of behavior and hiding behind the "I was only joking" line. Rape is just not funny and Palin reacted as any mother should be protecting her daughters from a dirty old man.

The Recession is Great According to Forbes

Ah the "purifying fire" effect of the Recession.

Prices will tumble until goods find buyers, making it a very good time to go shopping. The recession's benefits also go beyond the purely tangible. Last week I met an artist, Kendrick Mar, who compared the downturn to a "purifying fire." We were talking about the end of high prices for bad work. But there's something else going on too: a burning away of dross in our personal and working lives.

The thing I am hoping for is this purifying fire destroys the notion of irrational excess that the media pushes on us. The idea that some 16 year old girl can spend $100K+ on a Sweet 16 party that is glamorized on MTV should be seen as aberrant. I hope Americans get to think about how much good that money can do for needy people instead of how it can be wasted on some bratty kid.

Iranian Election Breaking All Records

Well, hopefully all these people are coming out to vote for Mir Hossein Mousavi instead of Almadinajoke.

The fiery, monthlong campaign unleashed passions and tensions. The mass rallies, polished campaign slogans, savvy Internet outreach and televised debates more closely resembled Western elections than the scripted campaigns in most other Middle Eastern countries.

President Barack Obama said Iran's "robust debate" leading up to elections shows change is possible there, and it could boost U.S. efforts to engage Tehran's leadership.

I can see Obama sitting down with Mousavi and trying to do some kind of engagement type thing. Almadinajoke will just spout the same old anti-Israel rhetoric and deny the Holocaust. Plus getting the Iranian youth into the election for the first time might make for a historic change in Iran. That is if their guy wins of course.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Gen. McChrystal Might Be the Right Man for Afghanistan

He seems to understand what it means to build a counter-insurgency force from his time in Iraq.

When Gen. Stanley McChrystal told the Senate last week that troops in Afghanistan will have to make cultural sensitivities central to military operations, he didn't sound like a man who spent most of his career in the special-operations world training soldiers to kill enemies quickly and stealthily.

But in his first interview since being named commander in Afghanistan, Gen. McChrystal said his front-row seat to the Iraq and Afghan wars has shifted his views.

Having watched the U.S. trying and failing to put down insurgencies in both countries through force, the former Green Beret said he believes that to win in Afghanistan, "you're going to have to convince people, not kill them."

I wonder if he will let his officers grow those big bushy Afghan beards which are supposed to be a sign of manhood in their culture. "Going native" in order to help the Afghans is a small price to pay to get that country under some kind of control. I am reading this book The Strongest Tribe: War, Politics, and the Endgame in Iraq and it tells exactly how a counter-insurgency is supposed to be done. I hope the lessons can carry over to Afghanistan.

The AP Calls Letterman Willow Palin Rape Jokes "Wisecracks"

Now this is even more dismissive then Yahoo calling the rape of a 14 year old girl "off-color." The AP actually referred to Letterman's despicable attack as "wisecracks."

David Letterman deftly played it both ways on Wednesday's "Late Show" as he apologized for wisecracks aimed earlier in the week at Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and one of her teenage daughters -- even as he milked the situation for more laughs.

Yup the funny jokes about the rape of a minor child by A-Rod by a liberal TV personality are simply "wisecracks" to some morally bankrupt person at the AP. Even Lettermans so-called "apology" is a big joke.

Before he was done, he tried to boil down the situation into two key points, which he stated with playful precision:

"Am I guilty of poor taste? Yes.

"Did I suggest that it was OK for her 14-year-old daughter to be having promiscuous sex? No."

He also invited Palin to be a guest on his show, saying, "I think we could put these differences behind us." But the offer, extended to both Palin and her husband ("or leave Todd at home," Letterman suggested), was turned down on Thursday.

Yup some of that playful precision trying to run away from a "joke" about a 14 year old child being raped by a 33 year old member of the Yankees during the 7th inning stretch. I mean it is just "wisecracks" about rape from funnyman Letterman. The AP considers it no harm done. I really hope Todd Palin does come on Letterman walks out to the stage and gives him a right cross. I'm sure any father of a teen daughter in the US would do the same.

How to Contact Letterman's Sponsors

Here is a great post on how to get in touch with the sponsors of the Late Show with David Letterman. Plus it looks like the agitation is working because Embassy Suites Hotels has already pulled their sponsorship.

Embassy Suites pulled their ads! Score one for the good guys!
From: Dawn Ray [Dawn.Ray@hilton.com]
Sent: Thursday, June 11, 2009 2:00 PM
To: Chris Wysocki
Subject: Embassy Suites Sponsorship of the David Letterman Show

Thank you for your email. Embassy Suites is not a sponsor or advertiser of the David Letterman show. Several online ads appeared on a series of web sites, including cbs.com, among many others. These ads have since been taken down. The appearance of the ads on the CBS network web site does not suggest we condone or agree with Mr. Letterman's views or comments.

We sincerely appreciate your email.

Ms. Ray, we sincerely appreciate you and your company's response to this issue as well. Thank you.

A List of Lettermans Advertisers

If you want to hit this creep where it hurts here are a list of Letterman's advertisers. This site advocates a letter writing campaign against Mars, Best Western, and Embassy Suites. If I was Mars I would pull my sponsorship right now. Don't they sell a lot of candy to 14 year old kids? I would hate to be tied to a guy that jokes about raping their best customers.

Main Advertisers:

Mars Candy

Best Western


Capitol One


Other advertisers:


On the Border Restaurants





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