Thursday, 12 August 2010

DC FAIRY TALES

Ken Berwitz

The Washington Examiner has an excellent editorial today, which strips away the BS and talks plainly about the difference between the Obama administration and reality.

Here it is:

New fairy tales from Obamaland

Examiner Editorial
August 12, 2010

It cannot be said often enough that Washington is a city of endless fairy tales. Politicians in both parties can be found spinning these fantasies, but the yarns have been coming especially fast and furious since President Obama and his two best buddies -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- have been running the government. They spun two new fantasies just this week.

The first was that without the latest Obama-Reid-Pelosi government bailout, at least 100,000 teachers would lose their jobs this fall. That's why the $26 billion "stimulus" bill passed by the House in an "emergency" session included $10 billion for "job creation." That's a charming legend for the gullible. The reality, as the Education Intelligence Agency's Mike Antonucci noted, is that "it's common practice for school districts to overestimate the number of teachers that will be laid off in advance of budgets being set, and in advance of the school year." So the vast majority of those dire warnings of 100,000 teachers being laid off were mostly just hot air.

And here's something else to ponder: If it cost $10 billion to save 100,000 teachers' jobs, they are each being paid $100,000 a year. Since the national average teacher salary is just over $54,000 a year, somebody -- federal bureaucrats? -- is making a bundle on overhead.

The second was the assertion by the Medicare trustees in their annual report to Congress that Obamacare "improves the financial outlook for Medicare substantially." That assessment was based on multiple assumptions that, frankly, defy political reality. One assumption is that the economy will grow on average 5.1 percent every year for the next decade. Another one was that annual health care costs for Medicare Part B will only increase on average 4.8 percent (the actual figure since 2003 has been double that amount).

With the prospect of a double-dip recession growing by the day due to continued high levels of unemployment and exploding government debt, only the most naive can believe the economy will grow at a 5.1 percent annual clip in the next few years. And that 4.8 percent annual Part B cost increase projection assumes that Congress will actually enact proposed massive cuts in Medicare reimbursements for doctors and other medical providers, something that both Obama and congressional Democrats are already vowing won't happen.

No wonder Robert Foster, Medicare's chief actuary, cautioned that "financial projections shown in this report for Medicare do not represent a reasonable expectation for actual program operations in either the short range ... or the long range." Now there's a man who recognizes a fairy tale when he sees it.

Under this administration Washington DC, which is factually challenged under the best of circumstances, has gone so far into fantasyland that I wonder if they can even distinguish between facts and fiction anymore.

Is the Examiner right to accuse Obama & Co.of dealing in fairy tales?  Well, did we not have the Vice President, sporting an excrement-eaten grin, look us in the eye, first tell us we are in the midst of a "Recovery Summer" and, when that didn't fly, turn on a dime and tell us a) things were lousy and b) it was because of the previous President?

Y'know, that paper just might be on to something...


THE BELL DEMOCRATS

Ken Berwitz

A hat tip to commenter "free" for referencing (and posting) Ann Coulter's latest column, which details the insane-even-by-insane-standards raping of Bell, California's resources by a group of Democrats --  and points out that virtually none of the media identify them as Democrats.

But, in fairness to me, I was going to post excerpts from Ms. Coulter's column anyway, and hadn't been able to do so until now. 

Here they are:

In the greatest party-affiliation cover-up since the media tried to portray Gary Condit as a Republican, the media are refusing to mention the party affiliation of the thieving government officials in Bell, Calif.

There have been hundreds of news stories about Bell city officials' jaw-dropping salaries. In this poor city on the outskirts of Los Angeles, where the per capita annual income is $24,800 a year, the city manager, Robert Rizzo, had a salary of $787,637.

Rizzo was the highest-paid government employee in the entire country...With benefits, his total annual compensation, according to the Los Angeles Times, came to $1.5 million a year.

Not only that, but Rizzo was entitled to 28 weeks off a year for vacation and sick leave. To put that in perspective, that's almost as much vacation time as public school teachers get! 

Before being anointed the King Tut of Bell, Rizzo was the city manager of Hesperia, Calif., where he was overpaid only to the tune of $78,000 a year.

The police chief, Randy Adams, was making $457,000 -- $770,046 including benefits. The assistant city manager, Angela Spaccia, had a $376,288 salary, with a total compensation package of $845,960. Being just an assistant city manager, Angela had to pay for her own yacht.

After the Los Angeles Times reported the stratospheric government salaries in little Bell, and the people of the town revolted, the millionaire government employees all resigned.

That'll show 'em! Oops, except upon their resignations, they qualified for lifetime pensions worth, by some estimates, more than $50 million.

These insane salary packages were granted by the mayor and four city council members -- who also set their own salaries. As a result, all but one was making $100,000 a year for these part-time jobs. After the council members' salaries came to light, the four looters cut their salaries by 90 percent.

According to Nexis, there have been more than 300 news stories reporting on the Bell scandal. Guess how many mentioned the party affiliation of the corrupt government bureaucrats?

One. Yes, just one. Now guess if the government officials were Democrats or Republicans? Yes, that is correct.
Congratulations -- you've qualified for our bonus round!

The one newspaper to cough up party affiliations, The Orange County Register, admitted that the corrupt officials were all Democrats only in response to reader complaints about the peculiar omission.

Lots of news stories on the scandal in Bell used the word "Democrat" or "Democratic." But that was only to say that the DEMOCRATIC attorney general of California, Jerry Brown, who is running on the DEMOCRATIC ticket for governor, is investigating the Bell officials' salaries.

So we know the media are aware of party affiliations. They just chose not to mention it when it would require them to identify shockingly corrupt government officials as Democrats

As readers know, I regularly write about our wonderful "neutral" media's propensity for quickly and conspicuously citing Republican scoundrels, but somehow forgetting to note party affiliation for scandal-ridden Democrats.

 

This is another of the many examples; just as sleazy and unprofessional as the others.

 

But listen to them squeal like stuck pigs if you call them biased.

Zeke ... .... .... Pigs at the public trough. .... .... It does appear that the 'public sector employees' constitute an extraordinary drain on the economy. .... .... High wage rates, incredible benefits, lots of time off, no accountability for productivity or results, disdain for the public. ... ... .... Much of our current financial crisis is due to the burden of meeting the public payroll. ... ... Salaries, benefits, work rules negotiated years ago, and merely increased over time. .... .... No thought of HOW it would be paid. .... .... Constant cry of mayors, governors, congressmen that over 80% of the budget is non-discretionary because it is costs for people. .... .... .... (08/12/10)


NATURAL BORN PRESIDENT: iS IT REALLY NECESSARY?

Ken Berwitz

Our pal West Coast Russ sent me this anecdote.  I think it is supposed to have actually happened:

In a Purdue University classroom, they were discussing the qualifications to be President
of the United States . It was pretty simple the candidate must be a natural born citizen of at least 35 years of age. However, one girl in the class immediately started in on how unfair was the requirement to be a natural born citizen. In short, her opinion was that this requirement prevented many capable individuals from becoming president. The class was taking it in and letting her rant, and not many jaws hit the floor when she wrapped up her argument by stating "What makes a natural born citizen any more qualified to lead this country than one born by C-section?"

Is it true?  Did a student actually say that?  Who knows?  And who cares?  Funny is funny.

It reminds me of (what very definitely is) a joke about a ventriloquist who is playing to a packed house, and starts doing blonde jokes.

After he does several of them, a beautiful blonde woman in the front row stands up and yells "That's enough.  Your material is rude and insulting.  Just because I'm blonde doesn't mean I'm not intelligent and insightful.  I have feelings, and you've offended me deeply" 

The ventriloquist is mortified.  His act is obviously ruined, and he doesn't know what to do, so he says "Gee, miss, I'm really sorry.  I didn't mean to hurt you". 

And the blonde says "Not you!  I'm talking to that little jerk on your knee!"


GAIL COLLINS - THE COLUMNIST WITH BLINDERS (ON ONE SIDE, THAT IS)

Ken Berwitz

Do you know those batting helmets that major league baseball players wear?  The ones with one plastic ear protector, which is worn only on the side of the head which faces the pitcher?

Sometimes I think New York Times columnist Gail Collins has a set of blinders like that, which protect her from seeing Democrats but give a full view to Republicans.

Collins' column in this morning's edition is a classic case in point.  Let me excerpt the key parts so you can see what I'm talking about:

 

More American Idols

By GAIL COLLINS

Published: August 11, 2010

 

I have been thinking about the fact that Colorado Republicans rejected their front-running candidate for governor, Scott McInnis, apparently on the grounds that he committed plagiarism.

 

McInnis, a former congressman, was once paid $300,000 by a right-wing foundation to write a series of articles called Musings on Water. It turns out that he lifted large chunks of the final product from the work of a local judge.

 

This story raised many questions, most critically one about where the rest of us can find foundations that will pay us $300,000 to write some essays on water rights.

Also, would Coloradans find plagiarism so upsetting that they would actually vote for the only alternative to McInnis? This was Dan Maes, a political newcomer who recently claimed that Denvers effort to encourage bike riding was a plot, probably inspired by the United Nations, to threaten our personal freedoms.

Yes, they would.

Its possible that this was just another example of the Republicans Tea Party death wish. But we do seem to be having a lot of squabbles about politicians personal probity: who exaggerated military service or added on an extra college degree or Photoshopped pictures on the campaign Web site. Do you think its a hint that despite the extreme difficulties the countrys in, the candidates dont really have any idea how to get us out?

Consider Ben Quayle, the son of the former vice president. Hes running for Congress in Arizona. Hes been accused of both using a phony family in his campaign pictures and helping to found a local porn site. In response, hes come up with a new ad in which he announces that Barack Obama is the worst president in history, swiftly bemoans drug cartels in Mexico, tax cartels in D.C. and concludes that somebody has to go to Washington and knock the hell out of the place.

Like Wes Cooley of Oregon, a former House member who claimed to have served in Korea during the war when actually he had never left the U.S. It turned out that he had also lied about his marital status and his nonexistent law degree. Cooleys political career was ruined and he vanished from sight only to re-emerge when he was charged with conning investors out of millions of dollars in a money-laundering scheme. His unsuccessful defense was that he had a medical condition that had wiped out his memory.

In Kentucky, Rand Paul has been attacked for failing to correct an interviewer who said Paul had graduated from Baylor University when, in fact, he got early admittance at Duke medical school that made it unnecessary for him to complete his undergraduate requirements. Get a life, Rand Paul critics.

Meanwhile, GQ published an article about Pauls college days that suggested he got out of Baylor not a minute too soon.

There they are.  Republicans all (except for Buchanan, but then again the Republican Party didn't exist when he was elected President).

Do I dispute Collins' disdain for the Republican politicians mentioned?  Other than the Maes UN/bike thing which, though very silly, was not as simple as she made it out to be, no I do not.  They are all deserving of that disdain.

My problem is that we have no mention of the numerous Democrats who qualify for this same list.  People like:

-charles rangel, who yesterday had a reasonably well attended (though a good deal less than what originally was expected) birthday party, and who is lambasting his fellow congresspeople for daring to look at his numerous ethics problems.  rangel has been a paradigm of ethics violations for years, and has made some of the dumbest racial comments I've heard from a politician during that time as well.  But Ms. Collins didn't seem to notice.

-Hapless Harry Reid.  This man is so prone to stupid comments that I sometimes wonder if it's all a gag and he's just channeling the ghost of Ed Wynn.  Reid has complained that "you could literally smell the tourists coming into the capital.  It may be descriptive but it's true".  And just this week Reid told us that he couldn't understand why anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican - which, I suppose, is the corollary to not understanding why anyone of European heritage could be a Democrat.  Not to worry, though:  Reid didn't make it onto the Collins list either.

-Alan Grayson, a one-man conucopia of stupid remarks who, among many, many examples, has stated that the Republican health care plan is to just let people die, and has called countless numbers of politicians - almost all Republicans but not 100% -a variety of insulting, offensive names.  Just this week he called President Obama's press secretary "Bozo Bob".  Grayson seems to think that he is the one and only person out there with a brain.  I suspect an increasing number of people out there feel he's got that reversed.

And believe me, there's more. I could go on and site some of the amazingly silly and nutty stuff from Democrats like Pete Stark, or Maxine Waters, or Jim Moran, or....well, you get the idea.

That said, however, I thank Ms. Collins for her views.  Their value lies in reminding me of what the New York Times has become.

I will seek out the other side of the split-screen elsewhere.

steve schneider didn't the democrat running for the senate in conn. lie about his military record? i guess that doesn't count either. steve (08/12/10)

free` Ann Coulter's column from Wednesday covered this same theme. LET'S PLAY 'SPOT THE DEMOCRAT'! by Ann Coulter August 11, 2010 In the greatest party-affiliation cover-up since the media tried to portray Gary Condit as a Republican, the media are refusing to mention the party affiliation of the thieving government officials in Bell, Calif. There have been hundreds of news stories about Bell city officials' jaw-dropping salaries. In this poor city on the outskirts of Los Angeles, where the per capita annual income is $24,800 a year, the city manager, Robert Rizzo, had a salary of $787,637. That's about twice what the president of the United States makes. (To be fair, Rizzo was doing a better job.) Rizzo was the highest-paid government employee in the entire country, not counting Maxine Waters' husband -- pending further revelations. With benefits, his total annual compensation, according to the Los Angeles Times, came to $1.5 million a year. Alerted to the Bell situation, the White House quickly added the Bell city manager to the list of jobs saved by its stimulus plan. Not only that, but Rizzo was entitled to 28 weeks off a year for vacation and sick leave. To put that in perspective, that's almost as much vacation time as public school teachers get! Reached in Spain, even Michelle Obama was outraged. Rizzo responded to the anger over his preposterous salary by saying: "If that's a number people choke on, maybe I'm in the wrong business. I could go into private business and make that money." (If he wants to grab one of those private-sector jobs that pays $1.5 million for 24 weeks of work, may I suggest the entertainment industry?) Good luck to him. After leaving Bell, Rizzo will be lucky to land a job at Taco Bell. Before being anointed the King Tut of Bell, Rizzo was the city manager of Hesperia, Calif., where he was overpaid only to the tune of $78,000 a year. The police chief, Randy Adams, was making $457,000 -- $770,046 including benefits. The assistant city manager, Angela Spaccia, had a $376,288 salary, with a total compensation package of $845,960. Being just an assistant city manager, Angela had to pay for her own yacht. After the Los Angeles Times reported the stratospheric government salaries in little Bell, and the people of the town revolted, the millionaire government employees all resigned. That'll show 'em! Oops, except upon their resignations, they qualified for lifetime pensions worth, by some estimates, more than $50 million. These insane salary packages were granted by the mayor and four city council members -- who also set their own salaries. As a result, all but one was making $100,000 a year for these part-time jobs. After the council members' salaries came to light, the four looters cut their salaries by 90 percent. According to Nexis, there have been more than 300 news stories reporting on the Bell scandal. Guess how many mentioned the party affiliation of the corrupt government bureaucrats? One. Yes, just one. Now guess if the government officials were Democrats or Republicans? Yes, that is correct. Congratulations -- you've qualified for our bonus round! The one newspaper to cough up party affiliations, The Orange County Register, admitted that the corrupt officials were all Democrats only in response to reader complaints about the peculiar omission. Lots of news stories on the scandal in Bell used the word "Democrat" or "Democratic." But that was only to say that the DEMOCRATIC attorney general of California, Jerry Brown, who is running on the DEMOCRATIC ticket for governor, is investigating the Bell officials' salaries. So we know the media are aware of party affiliations. They just chose not to mention it when it would require them to identify shockingly corrupt government officials as Democrats Any day now, the media will start describing Maxine Waters as "the light-skinned congresswoman from California." (But you might want to vote for that DEMOCRATIC attorney general who is apparently a great crusader against corruption ... despite his years of ignoring the public employee salary and pension looting that has driven the state into insolvency.) Maybe Obama's Czar of City Managers' Salaries could investigate this. Unlike political corruption involving sex or bribery, the outrage in Bell isn't a scandal that hits both parties from time to time -- it's how the Democrats govern. Elected Democratic officials bestow ludicrous salaries and benefits packages on government employees, and, in return, public employee unions make sure the Democrats keep getting re-elected. The scandal in Bell isn't a scandal at all for the Democrats. Au contraire! This is the governing strategy of the Democratic Party. (08/12/10)


DAMN THAT BUSH.....

Ken Berwitz

It is a year and a half after the Democratic President and his Democratic congress passed the so-called "stimulus package", telling us it would stop unemployment in its tracks and create millions and millions of new jobs. 

Today we have this, excerpted from an Associated Press article:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The economy is looking bleaker as new applications for jobless benefits rose last week to the highest level in almost six months.

It's a sign that hiring remains weak and employers may be going back to cutting their staffs. Analysts say the increase suggests companies won't be adding enough workers in August to lower the 9.5 percent unemployment rate.

First-time claims for jobless benefits edged up by 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 484,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's the highest total since February. Analysts had expected claims to fall.

Initial claims have now risen in three of the last four weeks and are close to their high point for the year of 490,000, reached in late January. The four-week average, which smooths volatility, soared by 14,250 to 473,500, also the highest since late February.

Damn that Bush.....

free` Saw this at Drudge - Embattled Rep. Maxine Waters on Friday blamed Bush for her ethics problems. foxnews.com/politics/2010/08/13/rep-waters-violated-house-rules/?test=latestnews -- If I ever get pulled over by the police I am going to give the blame Bush reason/excuse and see what it gets me. :) (08/13/10)


THE DAILY KOS BLOGGER AND 9/11

Ken Berwitz

There's an old, old lead-in line people used to use when they found a lot of things wrong with someone's opinion:  "I feel like a flea in dog kennel, I don't know where to begin"

Well, I feel like that flea after reading the blog entry from dailykos.com, put up by a contributor who uses the screen name "something the dog ate".

This person posted a blog today in which he/she angrily denounces the right (who else?) for opposition for the so-called "ground zero mosque".  You can read the entire blog by clicking here.  But this is the part that got me going:

Yes, the 9/11 attacks were horrific, but they were more about optics than actual harm. The economy was already taking a hit before the Twin Towers fell.  The reaction of the nation to seeing two major buildings in New York fall on T.V. has boosted the attack out of proportion. While the loss of even a single life is to be condemned and the devastation these deaths caused the families of those killed, more than this number of teens are killed every year in car crashes. These are also tragic losses but we do not make the kind of high profile issue of it that the 9/11 attacks are.

What brilliance.  What analytical excellence.  Comparing a series of unintentional car accidents to an act of intentional mass murder which killed almost 3,000 people.

I'd like to chalk this up entirely to stupidity and leave it at that.  But I can't, because it far transcends stupidity.  It is hate speech.  It is moronic.  And.....well, it's the kind of stuff you often see at the daily kos. 

Illustratively, using the same logic, why would we care about the middle east conflict?  The number of Palestinian Arabs killed by Israel is far less than 3,000 per year, and we're being told that 3,000 dead is "more about optics than actual harm", aren't we?  For that matter, how many people a year die at Guantanamo? 

So why has the daily kos written so much about both situations?  Has it become an "optics" site?

This is the point where it would be reasonable to unleash a barrage of very nasty insults aimed at "something the dog ate" and at Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, the person responsible for dailykos.com, thus the person who allows him/her to write there.  But I'm not going to do that. 

Why bother?  I'm guessing you already have a barrage of your own.


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