Archive for April, 2009

Cato leader on federal spending: ‘All Aboard the Gravy Train’

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

HT Club for Growth.

Chris Edwards at NRO:

There are now a staggering 1,804 subsidy programs in the federal budget. Hundreds of programs were added this decade, and the recent stimulus bill added even more. The result is that we are in the midst of the largest federal gold rush at taxpayer expense since the 1960s.

Bunning Gets 2nd Dem Challenger

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Politics Nation:

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway (D) announced today that he will seek the Democratic nomination for Senate next year. Conway’s entrance, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports, indicates that state Auditor Crit Luallen and Rep. Ben Chandler will back his candidacy rather than run themselves.

Conway becomes the second major Democratic candidate to announce he will challenge Sen. Jim Bunning (R). Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo, whom Bunning narrowly defeated for re-election in 2004, announced his candidacy in January.

NY Times: Madden retires

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

NY Times:

He will be replaced on NBC‘s Sunday night games by Cris Collinsworth, who has been the network’s primary analyst on the “Football Night in America” pregame program. He will give up his role as an analyst for the NFL Network.

Madden, 73, became a near-immediate hit as a broadcaster and commercial pitchman after retiring in 1979 as a Super Bowl-winning coach of the Oakland Raiders.

Bobby Jindal proposes gov’t reform in LA

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Race42012.com:

Today, Bobby Jindal outlined a proposal for fiscal reform in Louisiana:

“It is critical that we roll up our sleeves now,” he said during a press conference at the LITE Center, “and immediately begin the hard work that must be done to streamline our government and make government more efficient, so we can better protect critical services such as health care and higher education.”

He will propose five major reforms to the upcoming legislative session.

The first is a new funding formula for higher education.

The second is creating a commission to look at downsizing state government.

Third, he will propose civil service reforms to eliminate “bumping,” reduce job classifications and tie merit increases to performance and reviews.

The fourth major reform focuses on fiscal reforms, including automatic “sunsets” for dedicated funds beginning July 1, 2010.

Finally, Jindal proposes changes to statutory dedications that will allow cuts to agencies other than higher education and health care.

I like what I see here.  Performance-based compensation for government employees and funding for universities have become long overdue.  Under Jeb Bush’s watch, Florida effectively utilized sunset programs as a means to cut government waste and inefficiency (FL has the lowest number of state gov. employees per capita in the country).  If Jindal can implement these changes, he’ll add to his already impressive resume.

Reuters:Iran says running 7,000 enrichment centrifuges

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Reuters:

TEHRAN, April 9 (Reuters) – Iran is now running 7,000 uranium enrichment centrifuges, a senior official said on Thursday, an announcement likely to increase Western concerns about the Islamic Republic’s disputed nuclear plans.

The Atlantic: Here Are The Torture Memos

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

The Atlantic:

http://72.3.233.244/pdfs/safefree/olc_08012002_bybee.pdf —  a Top Secret memo by OLC’s Jay Bybee to CIA counsel John Rizzo about torture techniques used on Abu Zubaydah, August 1, 2001.
http://72.3.233.244/pdfs/safefree/olc_05102005_bradbury46pg.pdf — a Top Secret/SCI memo from the OLC’s Steven Bradbury to Rizzo about waterboarding and other techniques, 1995
http://72.3.233.244/pdfs/safefree/olc_05102005_bradbury_20pg.pdf — a Top Secret/SCI memo from Bradbury describing the techniques that could be used in combination with each other.
http://72.3.233.244/pdfs/safefree/olc_05302005_bradbury.pdf

Club for Growth: A Tax on Soda

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Club for Growth:

According to this Reuters article, a bureaucrat and an academic have written a new report advocating a tax on sugary drinks. Below are the opening two paragraphs to the article as read through my eyes [my edits are in BOLD]:

A penny-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks could help fight obesity by cutting consumption [and liberty] and raising billions of dollars to help state and local governments pay for [inefficient] programs, two experts [busybodies] said on Wednesday.

Taxes have been shown to reduce smoking and are just as likely to help force adults and children [to] choose healthier drinks, which are now usually more expensive than sodas and other sweetened beverages [thus, making people more poor as a result of this tax], the experts [busybodies] wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Another record low approval index for Obama

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Rasmussen today:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows that 34% of the nation’s voters now Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Thirty-two percent (32%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of +2 (see trends). On the Generic Congressional Ballot, it’s all tied-39% for the Democrats, 39% for the Republicans.

Most voters continue to believe that the financial and auto bailouts were a bad idea, but the Political Class disagrees. Sixty percent (60%) now believe the federal government has too much power and too much money.

The Star — Kraske: When it comes to recalls, Funk is no Gray Davis

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

The Star:

California knows something about recalls of public officials.

So let’s go to the land of golden sunlight and surfer dudes for an example of an ouster that worked.

And then, let’s compare that to the fledgling effort now underway to oust Mayor Mark Funkhouser.

The quick conclusion: Funkhouser should survive to fight another day.

Why?

Let’s count the reasons.

Money. The Dump-the-Funk brigade doesn’t have any.

“Zero, zero, absolutely zero,” organizer Susan Ramirez told me Friday

Dems hedge on Franken seating: Politico

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Politico:

Democrats are confident that Al Franken will prevail in the Minnesota Supreme Court appeal, but they’re still hedging a bit on whether a high court victory means Franken could quickly be seated.

There’s no guarantee – even with a state high court win – that Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty will certify Franken as the winner.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) would only say “we’ve said there is a requirement for the governor to sign. I hope Gov. Pawlenty signs” a certification document that declares Franken the victor.

Coleman, who decisively lost his lower court battle in the recount case last week, filed a notice of appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court on Monday, and the Franken campaign has asked for the court to expedite its decision.

AFP — Job cuts needed to stop NY bankruptcy: mayor

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

AFP:

Bloomberg, running for a third mayoral term at the end of this year, said that proposals from unions so far were “nowhere near what is adequate.”

The possible job cuts, first announced Wednesday, would be on top of 1,300 already proposed and another 8,000 that could be axed through attrition.

Department heads have until Monday to propose cuts and Bloomberg must present the city budget by the end of the month. The city is barred by law from running deficits.

Matthew Franck on Iowa decision

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

“Law, Feelings, and Religion at the Bar in Iowa”The Supreme Court of Iowa’s decision to redefine marriage abandons reason and replaces it with feelings as the standard of public consensus.

What happens when judicial arrogance becomes so habitual as to become second nature? This past Friday, April 3, the Supreme Court of Iowa provided an answer: judicial arrogance transforms into smug self-deception. This is not the question the court thought it was answering. It claimed to be addressing the question of whether “exclusion of a class of Iowans from civil marriage”-namely the “class” of “gay and lesbian people” who wish to marry others of the same sex-can be justified by the state. But the opinion for a unanimous court in Varnum v. Brien, written by Justice Mark Cady, actually says very little about matters of such justification. By contrast, it speaks volumes about the extent to which American judicial power, having burst free of all constraints, is now in the grip of a banal routinization of tyranny so complete that the tyrants do not recognize their own character as they blandly overturn many centuries of civilization in a day’s work.

Wash Times editorial: ‘Let them drink tea’

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Washington Times:

Forget media bias. That’s just slanting the news. The liberal press judges stories before investigating them. That’s prejudice, which sums up how the anti-tax tea parties were covered this week.

Marc Cooper compared tax protesters to glue-sniffing lunatics in the Los Angeles Times. “Whip out your Lipton and don your tinfoil hat and join the protest against … against … against what exactly?”, he ranted. MSNBC talking heads Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews dismissed the protesters as crackpots or stooges doing the bidding of GOP Svengalis.

Chris Simcox for Senate, campaign site

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Chris Simcox’s site is here. Video:

Video — Rep. King: Obama Policies Like Chavez’s

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

RCP:

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) on President Obama’s business practices: “But something that comes to mind when I see this image, too, is here are two world leaders that have both, within the last month, nationalized huge private-sector companies,” said King. “In the case of President Obama, General Motors and Chrysler, at least in effect if not in actuality, and moved it down that path, when he fired the CEO of General Motors, and when he ordered that Chrysler merge with Fiat.”

“Those two have done the same thing to private business,” King added, “and I think that image also will soak into the minds of investors around the world, and where they want to put their money.”

Star on job seminar

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

The Star:

A half-day program on job-preparation and job-hunting skills will be offered from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. April 24 to college students in the Kansas City metro area.

Rep. Bachus says there’s 17 ‘socialists’ in House

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Politico:

Rep. Spencer Bachus, the top Republican on the Financial Services Committee, told a hometown crowd in Alabama today that he believes there are several socialists in the House.

Actually, he says there are exactly 17 socialists in the House of Representatives. according to the Birmingham News:

But he said he is worried that he is being steered too far by the Congress: “Some of the men and women I work with in Congress are socialists.”

Asked to clarify his comments after the breakfast speech at the Trussville Civic Center, Bachus said 17 members of the U.S. House are socialists.

Searching the POLITICO style book and the official U.S. House listings, we don’t see a category for socialists - just a lot of Ds and Rs next to lawmaker names. And Bachus didn’t name names of the socialist 17.

Deroy Murdock: Obama Admin. Stifles Favorable DC Voucher Study

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Deroy Murdock:

Despite being “a skeptic of vouchers,” candidate Barack Obama promised this would not prevent him from “making sure that our kids can learn.” As he told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, “You do what works for the kids.”

Last January 21, his first full day in office, President Obama declared, “My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government.”

Just 10 weeks later, Obama has broken both these promises. And poor-but-promising minority kids suffer the consequences.

These 1,714 children — 90 percent black and 9 percent Hispanic — enjoy the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program. They each receive up to $7,500 for private or parochial schools outside Washington, D.C.’s dismal government-education system. Since its 2004 launch, 7,852 students have applied for these grants, or more than four children per voucher.

K-State veterinary researchers developing model

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

HPJ.com:

Using equipment not all that different from what a runner might take on a jog, veterinary researchers at Kansas State University are working to make life more comfortable for cattle.

A jogger’s heart rate monitor and an instrument similar to a pedometer are a few of the tools K-State researchers are using to measure discomfort in cattle undergoing two routine procedures, castration and dehorning.

Hans Coetzee, assistant professor of clinical sciences, is working with David Anderson, professor of clinical sciences, and Brad White, assistant professor of clinical sciences. They are developing a model that can evaluate pain management drugs for cattle. Although producers and veterinarians sometimes use aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs, there are no pharmaceuticals approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration specifically for pain management in cattle. It is also unknown what doses are appropriate and how well they work.

Rasmussen: 62% in Illinois Say Burris Should Resign

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Poll:

The fallout from the Rod Blagojevich scandal continues in Illinois.

Sixty-two percent (62%) of Illinois voters say Roland Burris, the man the disgraced governor named to Barack Obama’s Senate seat, should resign. Just 24% believe Burris should remain in the Senate, according to a new Rasmussen Reports survey of voters in the state.

Fifty-four percent (54%) say they will definitely vote against Burris if he chooses to run for a full six-year term in the Senate in 2010. Only four percent (4%) say they will definitely vote for him. Thirty-nine percent (39%) say it depends upon who he is running against.

Only 19% have a favorable opinion of Burris. Seventy-three percent (73%) view him unfavorably, including 44% whose view is Very Unfavorable.