Friday, 06 February 2009
50 ABUSES IN THE "STEALFROMUS" PACKAGE (A PARTIAL LIST)
National Review's Stephen Spruiell and Kevin Williamson have scoured the
"steamfromus" package, and put together a genuinely illuminating list
of non-stimulus garbage it has been porked up with.
The article itself is way too long to post, but you can read it by clicking
here - and I hope you do; every word of it.
However, in the interests of providing readers with its key information,
I have extracted the individual items NR selected:
verse on a bad bill.
Spruiell & Kevin Williamson
Senate Democrats acknowledged
Wednesday that they do not have the votes to pass the stimulus bill in its
current form. This is unexpected good news. The House passed the stimulus
package with zero Republican votes (and even a few Democratic defections), but
few expected Senate Republicans (of whom there are only 41) to present a unified
front. A few moderate Democrats have reportedly joined them.
that the government can spend the economy out of a recession is highly
questionable, and even with Senate moderates pushing for changes, the current
package is unlikely to see much improvement. Nevertheless, this presents an
opportunity to remove some of the most egregious spending, to shrink some
programs, and to add guidelines where the initial bill called for a blank check.
Here are 50 of the most outrageous items in the stimulus package:
-$50 million for the National
Endowment for the Arts
-$380 million in the Senate bill for the Women,
Infants and Children program
-$300 million for grants to combat violence
-$2 billion for federal child-care block grants
for university building projects
-$15 billion for boosting Pell Grant college
-$4 billion for job-training programs, including $1.2 billion
for youths up to the age of 24
-$1 billion for community-development block
-$4.2 billion for neighborhood stabilization activities
million for digital-TV coupons; $90 million to educate vulnerable
POORLY DESIGNED TAX
-$15 billion for business-loss
-$145 billion for Making Work Pay tax credits
for the earned income credit
STIMULUS FOR THE GOVERNMENT
-$150 million for the
-$34 million to renovate the Department of Commerce
-$500 million for improvement projects for National Institutes
of Health facilities
-$44 million for repairs to Department of Agriculture
-$350 million for Agriculture Department computers
million to help move the Public Health Service into a new building
million for constructing a new Homeland Security Department
-$600 million to convert the federal auto fleet to
-$450 million for NASA (carve-out for climate-research
-$600 million for NOAA (carve-out for climate modeling)
billion for the Census Bureau
-$89 billion for Medicaid
-$30 billion for COBRA
-$36 billion for expanded unemployment benefits
billion for food stamps
-$4.5 billion for U.S. Army Corps of
-$850 million for Amtrak
-$87 million for a polar icebreaking
-$1.7 billion for the National Park System
-$55 million for Historic
-$7.6 billion for rural community advancement
-$150 million for agricultural-commodity purchases
for producers of livestock, honeybees, and farm-raised
billion for renewable-energy research ($400 million for global-warming
-$2 billion for a clean coal power plant in Illinois
billion for the Weatherization Assistance Program
-$3.5 billion for
energy-efficiency and conservation block grants
-$3.4 billion for the State
-$200 million for state and local electric-transport
-$300 million for energy-efficient-appliance rebate
-$400 million for hybrid cars for state and local governments
billion for the manufacturing of advanced batteries
-$1.5 billion for
green-technology loan guarantees
-$8 billion for innovative-technology
-$2.4 billion for carbon-capture demonstration
-$4.5 billion for electricity grid
-$79 billion for
State Fiscal Stabilization Fund
Let me again point out that
this is only the summary of individual items. Mr. Spruiell and Mr.
Williamson have written narrative about them that not only explains what
they are, but why they are so idiotically wrong for a bill that is supposed
to stimulate the economy.
I especially urge you
to read their explanation of the "State Irresponsibility" allocation ($79
billion dollars!). It is simultaneously illuminating and
Can Barack Obama
get this monstrosity passed? I don't think so - not in its present
By further alienating Republicans
with his poorly thought out rah-rah partisan speech to
Democrats last night, Mr. Obama has insured that the only way this goes through is
with little or none of their support.
If the bill is a) a monstrosity that b) passes only because Democrats
have the majority numbers, it will be an albatross around every Democrat's neck
- one that Republicans will pick apart daily, citing the non-stimulus pork
listed out above.
Two years from now every
Democrat in the house and about one-third of the Democrats in the senate are
up for re-election. They need to be able to say Republicans were as much
to blame for this as Democrats are. And they know it.
That is why more and
more Democrats are running away from the "stealfromus" package.
So, in a matter of two
weeks, President Obama has gone from conquering hero and master of all he
surveys, to angry fearmonger, insisting that a godawful bill which steals
hundreds of billions of dollars from taxpayers, must pass and pass right
-If he gets his way,
he severely damages his party - not to mention the country;
he doesn't get his way, he has demonstrated that he cannot rally Republicans and
can't even hold enough of his Democratic majority to get what he wants. It
means he has gone from shooting star to falling star in less than one month of
This is what happens when someone is in
way, way over his head. And it is happening to Barack Obama. You do the
JAMES WHITMORE R.I.P.
James Whitmore, the wonderful character actor, has died in Malibu,
California at the age of 87. The cause was lung cancer.
Mr. Whitmore had a long and illustrious career on stage, in movies and on
TV. The two things I most remember him for are his long-time stint as
spokesperson for Miracle-Gro, and as Brooks Hatlen, the old-timer in The
Shawshank Redemption who ran the prison library, then committed suicide when he
couldn't make it on the outside.
The last movie I saw him in was The Majestic. His role was relatively
small, but he was terrific. I especially liked the very end of the
movie when he was just a face in the crowd. Even then his smile,
his presence lit up the screen.
Maybe the best way to put it is that no movie I ever saw him in
did anything but improve for his presence.
And off-screen he apparently was a loving, caring husband, father, grandfather and
May he rest in peace.
BARACK OBAMA, TIGER WOODS AND THE KANGAROO
President Obama has spent the last couple of days literally trying to ram the
"stealfromus"...er, "stimulus" package down our throats - even as public
opinion and an increasing number of worried Democrats are running away from
Yesterday Mr. Obama attended a Democratic retreat in Virginia, and
delivered a fiery, partisan speech demanding immediate passage and accusing
Republicans of destroying the economy about 436 different ways. His fellow
Democrats enthusiastically cheered every word.
This morning, on the Today show, Matt Lauer interviewed Newt Gingrich and
asked his opinion of the goings-on. Not surprisingly, Republican Gingrich
is against the package in its current form.
Then Lauer asked him about President Obama's exhortations that the
situation was dire and it had to be passed right away.
Mr. Gingrich responded by asking how come, if it was so dire
and so imperative, Mr. Obama wasn't bringing Republicans and Democrats into
the White House to hash it out. How come he instead was making a partisan
speech to Democrats, during which he tongue-lashed Republicans
in a way that was sure to anger them and create more, rather than less, resistance
to the bill.
This caused me to think about who and what Barack Obama is. And I
realized that it reminded me of an old joke:
A golf pro is on vacation in the
Australian outback, and he hears about a kangaroo that can hit a golf ball 400
The guy finds the kangaroo. He hands it a
driver and a golf ball. The kangaroo drops the ball to the ground,
swings the driver, and the ball goes 400 yards, right through the brush,
straight as an arrow. The guy hands the kangaroo a dozen more golf
balls, turns it to every different angle, and always gets exactly the same
result. 400 yards, through every obstacle, straight as an
So he pays a king's ransom to buy the
kangaroo, ships it to the United States, and somehow convinces Tiger Woods to
do an exhibition match with it on national TV.
The first hole is a 400 yard
par four. Tiger Woods starts off, and hits a beautiful 250 yard drive straight down
the fairway. The crowd goes wild.
The guy gives the kangaroo a
driver. The kangaroo drops the ball, swings, and the ball goes 400
yards, straight as an arrow, landing just a few inches from the cup. The
crowd is out of its mind.
Woods hits his second shot onto the
green. Now it's the kangaroo's turn. The guy gives the kangaroo a
The kangaroo swings the putter, and the ball
goes 400 yards, straight as an arrow....
The reason Mr. Obama's performance last night reminded me of this joke is
that, just like the kangaroo, Barack Obama knows how to do something really
well; in his case, it is to make a speech, speak beautifully, and rouse a
crowd. Because of that, we voters elected him President.
Now he has to actually govern. So what does he do? He makes a
speech, speaks beautifully and rouses a crowd.
We needed Tiger Woods. We got the kangaroo instead.
EDGAR OBAMA AND CHARLIE MCBIDEN?
This picture of President Obama and Vice President Biden was taken on
Is it my imagination or does Mr. Obama appear to
be using Mr. Biden as a ventriloquist dummy?
Also, doesn't it look like Joe Biden's right leg becomes Barack Obama's left arm?
UH, MR. GIBBS, UH, WHAT DID YOU, UH SAY? ANYTHING AT, UH, ALL?
Here is Presidential press secretary Robert Gibbs answering a question about
Pakistan's release of a renegade nuclear scientist:
Q: Is the President concerned
that Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan will be a proliferation risk, now
that hes been released from house arrest? And will he renew the US request
for him to be interviewed by US intelligence?
Gibbs: Uh, obviously weve seen
the reports of the release, but have not received, uh, have yet to receive
official word, uh, from the government. Uh. Obviously this President has made
clear, uh, many times, the great concern he has for nuclear proliferation, uh,
and, uh, as we hear from the government about, uh, these reports, uh,
obviously, uh, the President, uh, and this government want assurances that,
uh, that Dr. Khan is not involved or engaged in, uh, any of the activity, uh,
uh, that resulted in, uh, in, in his house arrest
I'm not troubled by the 16 times Mr. Gibbs
said "uh" in that short answer. Ed Koch, the former mayor of New York
City, used to say "uh" relentlessly (he probably still does).
The difference is that, in addition to "uh", Mr. Koch actually said
something. Mr. Gibbs doesn't appear to say anything.
Some people stammer. That's ok. But when the stammer is the best
part of the statement? That's not ok.
I am now fantasizing Caroline Kennedy divorcing Schlossberg and
marrying Robert Gibbs. They could go on speaking tours. Between his
"uh"s and her "yknow"s, they're sure to sell out every college auditorium in
THE UNSTEALING OF NORM COLEMAN'S SENATE SEAT
From today's www.twincities.com:
on newfound ballots
hopes are lifted as votes missed in recount turn up in Anoka County
Posted: 02/06/2009 12:01:00 AM CST
Perry Mason, meet Rachel
Smith, the top elections official in Anoka County,
dropped a minor bombshell Thursday in the courtroom where a lawsuit over
Minnesota's U.S. Senate race was being heard. She testified that the county has
found within the prior 24 hours a dozen or more ballots that were never
counted in the statewide recount that ended last month.
While the number is not enough to overcome
Democrat Al Franken's 225-vote lead over former Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, it
suggests there might be other uncounted ballots in other counties. Only a
handful of elections officials have testified in the recount trial so far.
The news came just hours after Franken argued
before the state Supreme Court that an election certificate should be issued
allowing him to take his seat in Washington, D.C. Coleman, who attended the
hearing, said the development was a sign his court challenge to overcome
Franken's lead has a chance.
"The fact is, there is no question that the 225
number is an artificial number," Coleman said.
Smith, who was to resume her testimony this
morning, said the ballots were found among the county's election materials
Wednesday night and Thursday morning, partly in response to an official data
request from Franken.
The discovery includes:
Three military ballots for Coleman from a Spring
Lake Park precinct that were originally duplicated and misplaced before the
recount. They were found in a large envelope containing discarded absentee-ballot return envelopes.
Six absentee ballots that were found inside their
original return envelopes and have never been counted.
Several other ballots that were rejected for one
reason or another, but that the county now says should be reconsidered.
"The finding of the ballots is just another
demonstration of how illusory that count is," said Ben Ginsberg, an attorney for
Attorneys for Franken did not comment after the
Also testifying Thursday was Pine County Auditor
Cathy Clemmer. The Coleman campaign has pointed to 11 rejected ballots in that
county that it says should be counted, out of as many as 4,800 statewide.
That was a sign the trial's pace could slow even
more than the previous day, when Coleman's lawyers went through about 150
Washington County ballots it wants included. Lawyers had not begun entering
Anoka County ballots into the record when court was recessed for the day.
Wrapping up testimony from the previous two days,
Washington County Elections Manager Kevin Corbid did provide some of Thursday's
more intriguing testimony.
Questioned by David Lillehaug, a Franken lawyer,
Corbid said two representatives of the Coleman campaign showed up at his offices
at 2 a.m. the day after the election, just as precinct materials were being
delivered to his office and as the final state returns were coming in from
"I don't recall this ever happening, where a
campaign would come to our offices," Corbid said.
It was widely reported that Coleman sent
representatives to observe local elections offices, but the speed with which the
two arrived in Washington County Corbid said they identified themselves as
being from the East Coast was a surprise.
Corbid said the pair stationed themselves in the
parking lot when he left the office at 5 a.m. Corbid also called the Washington
County sheriff and asked that deputies make periodic checks on the men.
In another development Thursday, Lillehaug and
Coleman attorney Joe Friedberg also clashed over Friedberg's attempt to enter a
single ballot cast for Franken, no less into the record.
The absentee vote had been rejected for having a
signature problem, but the voter submitted an affidavit saying the vote was
indeed his. It effectively would have given the Democrat a 226-vote lead, but
Friedberg said he intended to argue that all similar ballots should then be
Lillehaug rejected the attempt.
"What we just saw from Mr. Friedberg was
grandstanding," Lillehaug said.
If all counties' ballots are counted the same way - thus the election does
not turn on whether the election boards in counties that lean toward one
party are more devious and, let us say, "creative" than boards that lean
the other way - We'll have a legitimate result.
If they are not, we won't.
And if they are not, it looks as if Norm Coleman might well edge out al
franken and be re-elected to the senate.
To be continued....
GUEST COMMENTARY: JOHN MCCAIN ON THE STEALFROMUS PACKAGE
Here is a segment of John McCain's statement, on the floor of the senate, about the
Democrats' stealfromus...er, stimulus package:
"I'll tell you how we got here, Mr. President.
We got here here by the Speaker of the House saying, "We won, so we wrote the
bill." That's not what the years I've been here is called bipartisanship. So
without the votes of 11 democrats and without the vote of a single Republican
the bill emerged from the other body, from the house of
representatives, and came over here... The bill was written without
significant input by, or with negligible input from senators on this side
of the aisle.
There's an old saying about if you're not in on
the takeoff you're not going to be in on the landing.
So what are
we up to now? We are up to approximately 1.2 trillion dollar piece of
legislation in front of us. And the GAO, excuse me,
the Congressional Budget Office yesterday said that this legislation
would increase employment by the end of the 4th quarter of 2010 by 1.3 million
to 3.9 million jobs... I did the math. 1.2 trillion dollar bill, 3 million
jobs, is $923,997 for each job...for 1.3 million jobs, which is the low end as
determined by the Congressional Budget Office, it's only $307,692 per job (for
the high end).
Mr. Speaker, the American people are figuring it
out that this is not a stimulus bill, it is a spending bill full of
unnecessary spending, unexamined policy changes or policy changes that have
been examined and rejected in the past and, of course, tax cuts which do not
really stimulate the economy
Where the hell was this guy during the election
CAIR is the Council on American-Islamic Relations. It fronts for,
and raises funds for, Islamic terrorist groups.
ISNA is the Islamic Society of North America. It fronts for, and
raises funds for, Islamic terrorist groups.
A lot of people seem to know this. The Justice Department certainly
does. But, for reasons we may never know, the FBI either did not or
decided it did not want to know, and kept working with CAIR -- until now, that
is. The FBI, way too late if you ask me, has severed ties with this
But does congress know? Does President Obama
And what about ISNA? How come its President, Ingrid
Mattson, was such a welcome addition to the Obama inaugural? How
much does Barack Obama owe Ms. Mattson and how much influence does she have over
Brigitte Gabriel, writing for www.frontpagemag.com, gives us a
great deal of insight:
By Brigitte Gabriel
Friday, February 06, 2009
Last week, media reports surfaced that the FBI quietly decided
last summer to sever its ties to CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic
Relations. One week prior, Ingrid Mattson, president of ISNA, the Islamic
Society of North America, delivered a prayer at the National Prayer Service, one
of the events associated with the inauguration of President Obama. In other
words, while it appears the FBI has finally learned a valuable lesson, it just
as clearly appears that President Obama hasnt.
For years the FBI has conferred legitimacy on CAIR,
meeting with its leaders and asking for its advice on relations with the Muslim
community. The FBI has even utilized CAIR to give sensitivity training to its
agents on topics such as Islam and understanding Muslims.
The FBI maintained its relationship with CAIR in spite of
the fact that it had ample evidence that CAIR had ties to terrorist
organizations such as Hamas.
The most notable is the evidence that led the Justice
Department to list CAIR as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land
Foundation terrorism financing trial, which culminated in 108 guilty verdicts.
During the second Holy Land Foundation trial, FBI agent Lara Burns testified
that CAIR is a front organization for the spread of the militant Islamist
ideology. With CAIR officials unwilling to address FBI questions raised by the
Holy Land Foundation investigation, the FBI finally said enough.
For years, there has been enough smoke around CAIR to
assume there must be a real fire. That it took so long for the FBI leadership
to acknowledge they were dealing with an organization whose agenda was far more
sinister than Muslim community relations is a testimony to how so many in
government appear willing to place concerns about image above our national
But to its credit, the FBI leadership at long last has
said enough is enough.
Lets hope that Congress is going to take the same
position now. We at ACT! for America, has responded to
this revelation by initiating a grassroots lobbying effort calling on Members of
Congress to not meet with CAIR knowing that CAIR was launching a lobbying blitz
on Capital Hill this week. For the sake of our national security Congress should
take the same position that the FBI has.
Why then, is President Obama treading down the same
well-worn path the FBI did? Hes embracing Ingrid Mattson, and by extension
ISNA, the same way the FBI embraced CAIR.
Like CAIR, ISNA was an unindicted co-conspirator in the
aforementioned Holy Land Foundation trial. It is difficult to imagine the Obama
Administration calling upon a professed Christian or Jew to deliver a prayer if
those individuals were leaders of organizations that the Justice Department had
designated unindicted co-conspirators.
But there is much, much more the FBI and other government
agencies know about ISNA. ISNAs co-founder, Sami Al-Arian, is a convicted
terrorist. Declassified documents link ISNA to the Muslim Brotherhood, the
radical organization that is responsible for the Muslim Brotherhood Project, a
document outlining how Islam can destroy the West from within. Al-Arian has
admitted he was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood during the same year he
helped co-found ISNA.
The Obama Administration certainly must be aware of this.
Will it learn the same lesson the FBI did, before its too late?
The early indications are not promising. What appears to
be driving the Obama agenda is a greater concern about rehabilitating our image
in the Muslim world than about protecting us from Islamists who would
infiltrate, subvert and harm our nation.
How else to explain Obamas executive order requiring
that interrogation tactics used on suspected terrorists comply with the Army
Field Manual? These tactics preclude making threats, making promises, and even
the use of good cop/bad cop, an interrogation technique used by American law
enforcement officials on our own citizens. This wont improve our image overseas
but it will certainly make us less safe from terrorism.
Obamas concern about our image, about outreach to the
Muslim world, is the same motivation that led the FBI leadership to ignore all
the warning signs that CAIRs agenda was not merely community relations. Its
the same motivation that has led Great Britain to appease and accommodate demand
after demand issued by militant Muslims. Has Great Britains strategy worked?
Hardly. For instance, polls reveal that the children of Muslim immigrants to
Great Britain are more radical than their parents, more willing to support
terrorism, and more supportive of the imposition of Shariah Islamic
It is understandable to be concerned that our foreign
policy is not misunderstood. However, theres a homespun definition of insanity
that states insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a
different result. For the sake of our security and our liberties, lets hope
President Obama wakes up to this reality before it's too late.
"For the sake of our security and our liberties, let's hope President Obama
wakes up to this reality before it's too late".
Thank you Ms. Gabriel. It couldn't have been said
HAMAS' CONCERN FOR THE PEOPLE: UPDATE
A couple of days ago I blogged about UN supplies, intended for the general
population of Gaza, which were stolen by hamas for its own use.
Some readers may have wondered if that was a one-time occurrence. Here,
from the London Times, is your answer:
February 6, 2009
UN halts aid into Gaza after Hamas hijacks humanitarian
hamas cares about hamas. Not non-hamas Gazans, certainly not Israelis and
definitely not Jews. hamas. Period.
And these are the people that Gazans elected to a parliamentary majority -
after which they just overthrew everyone else anyway.
People get what they vote for. If Gazans
were happy with the
daily firing of rockets and artillery into Israel (which caused the retaliation they
experienced last month), then hamas' expropriation of needed supplies which are no longer available for the
general Gazan population, should make them ecstatic altogether.