Archive for July 21st, 2009

KC Kansan: Commissioners review status of WyCo Museum

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009


With a potential scaling back of operations looming on the horizon, proponents of the Wyandotte County Museum took to the podium Monday night to defend the importance of the museum.

Lauren Taylor, a member of the Wyandotte County Historical Society, told the Unified Government’s Board of Commissioners during a Monday night budget work session that the museum is too important to be put aside, even during a tough budget year.

Howard Fineman: In his bid to push health-care reform through Congress, Obama is counting on a wave of political good will. But is he at risk of wiping out?

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009


Obama and his aides, fearing a loss of momentum, are trying to stoke a sense of urgency in hopes that the Senate will feel compelled to pass a 1,000-page-plus measure before its August recess. I asked a very plugged-in Hill Democrat whether the Senate would do so. “Less and less likely,” he said. That doesn’t mean that health-care reform is dead. It does mean at best that the fall is going to be dominated by a ferocious national debate, and that the outcome is far from clear.

KC Kansan: Sales tax election coming in November?

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009


Since the consolidation of Kansas City, Kan., and Wyandotte County into the Unified Government in 1997, UG leaders have professed the desire to lower property tax rates by diversifying revenue sources.

The current soft economy has forced UG leaders and the Board of Commissioners into finding new and additional revenue sources nearly out of necessity.

David Brooks: Liberal Suicide March

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009


Machiavelli said a leader should be feared as well as loved. Obama is loved by the Democratic chairmen, but he is not feared. On health care, Obama has emphasized cost control. The chairmen flouted his priorities because they don’t fear him. On cap and trade, Obama campaigned against giving away pollution offsets. The chairmen wrote their bill to do precisely that because they don’t fear him. On taxes, Obama promised that top tax rates would not go above Clinton-era levels. The chairmen flouted that promise because they don’t fear him.

Last week, the administration announced a proposal to take Medicare spending decisions away from Congress and lodge the power with technocrats in the executive branch. It’s a good idea, and it might lead to real cost savings. But there’s no reason to think that it will be incorporated into the final law. The chairmen will never surrender power to an administration they can override.

That leaves matters in the hands of the Blue Dog Democrats. These brave moderates are trying to restrain the fiscal explosion. But moderates inherently lack seniority (they are from swing districts). They are usually bought off by leadership at the end of the day.

And so here we are again. Every new majority overinterprets its mandate. We’ve been here before. We’ll be here again.

NY Times: Republicans Look to Governor Races

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

NY Times:

But there is the potential for some tangible good news for Republicans hanging just over the horizon: the 2010 gubernatorial elections. For a variety of reasons, from the economic problems crushing governors across the country to term-limit laws forcing out otherwise formidable Democratic incumbents, Republicans have a good shot at making gains in what is shaping up as a free-for-all battle for 39 governors’ seats next year.

Wall Street Learned Nothing; The big banks haven’t changed a bit. : Forbes

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009


“With memories of last fall’s financial turmoil already beginning to fade, shareholders are starting to wonder how and when Goldman will redeploy its massive liquidity resources,” wrote Gimme Credit analyst Kathleen Shanley as Goldman Sachs reported $3.4 billion in quarterly profits. Just a few days before, Kurt Andersen’s essay Reset was published in book form. “It’s the end of the world as we know it,” Andersen says and then he argues passionately for 70-odd pages about the values that we’ll need to adopt and adapt to in our post financial crisis existence. For Andersen, the recession changed everything. But try telling that to Wall Street.

Rich Lowry: Like the Stimulus, ObamaCare is Reckless

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009


When Barack Obama pilfered Martin Luther King Jr.’s line about the “fierce urgency of now,” he wasn’t kidding. The line has come to define his presidency. His legislative strategy moves in two gears – heedlessly fast and recklessly faster.

As with the stimulus package, Obama’s health-care plan depends on speed. More important than any given provision, more important than any principle, more important than sound legislating is the urgent imperative to Do It Now.

Gallup: More Disapprove Than Approve of Obama on Healthcare

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009


PRINCETON, NJ — As the debate over healthcare reform intensifies, the latest USA Today/Gallup poll finds that more Americans disapprove (50%) than approve (44%) of the way U.S. President Barack Obama is handling healthcare policy. There is a tremendous partisan gap in these views, with 74% of Democrats but only 11% of Republicans approving. Independents are more likely to disapprove than to approve of Obama’s work on healthcare.

Kobach featured in NY Times article: KC Kansan

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009


In other political news, the state GOP may not be pleased to see one of it’s own, Kansas City, Kan. resident Kris Kobach, be the only one standing in line for the Kansas Secretary of State’s job. The Wichita Eagle reports Kansas Sen. Majority Leader Derek Schmidt announced Monday that he is also considering a run for the position.

New Republic: Why Health Care Reform Will Pass

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009


If health care reform fails, then Obama is toast, and the Democratic brand along with it. Having voted against the bill will provide little cover for moderate Democrats, as the 1994 elections show.

Now, it’s true that you can’t pass an effective health care reform without stepping on some toes. That’s why the best possible scenario for Democrats is to have the bill pass with them voting against it, so they can’t be held responsible for the toes that get stepped on. That’s also why they’re trying to get bipartisan support, which could give them cover, or possibly even the spare votes to allow them to vote against it.

But, at the end of the day, they’re going to have to decide whether to pass the bill or not. Specifically, Democrats will have to decide whether or not to support a filibuster of health care reform that would destroy their president and dig their own grave. And that’s the main difference between now and 1994 — health care can’t be filibustered without Democratic cooperation. I can’t see them doing it. Members of Congress may not be geniuses, but they’re usually pretty good at discerning their own political self-interest. And that’s why I think we’ll end up with a health care bill. A perfect bill? No. But the distance between the status quo anda perfect bill is so vast that we could have something that’s both a massive, historical improvement and a crushing disappointment. That’s what I think we’ll get.

KC Kansan: Kansas Speedway and American Red Cross partner for Sept. 8 blood drive

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009


Kansas Speedway and the American Red Cross have partnered for a Sept. 8 blood drive in Kansas Speedway’s media center. The drive will be from 1-7 p.m.

“We look forward to working with the American Red Cross on this blood drive,” said Kansas Speedway President Jeff Boerger. “This is our third annual blood drive and we’ve been very happy with the turnout of donors each year and expect to have another great crowd this year.”

George Dohrmann: Michael Vick shouldn’t be allowed to play

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009


Michael Vick, fresh off a 23-month federal prison sentence for financing and participating in the dog-fighting operation known as Bad Newz Kennels, should be banned from the NFL for life.

I say that even though the prevailing opinion among my colleagues at Sports Illustrated and other national voices, like William C. Rhoden of The New York Times, is Vick should be back in the league this season. They have written with conviction that when commissioner Roger Goodell reviews the matter, he should allow Vick’s return. Rhoden wrote that Vick earned a second chance “by virtue of his incarceration,” and’sPeter King wrote: “I think there is no good reason why Michael Vick … should not be reinstated to play in the NFL this fall. None.”

Soaring Sales for ‘Road to Serfdom’ by F. A. Hayek

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Club for Growth:

From Cato’s David Boaz:

Cato’s new staff writer, Aaron Powell, told me he had recently seen two people on the Washington Metro reading The Road to Serfdom by F. A. Hayek. That prompted me to check the sales figures for Road to Serfdom at Nielsen’s Bookscan. And whattaya know? Sales have increased this year at an even faster pace than sales of Atlas Shrugged. (Atlas sells 10 times as many copies, but the percentage increase over last year is less.)

So far this year the most popular edition of Road to Serfdom has sold 11,366 copies. That compares with 3,131 copies at the same point last year. That’s a 263 percent increase for those of you keeping score at home.

Detroit’s Beautiful, Horrible Decline — Time Magazine photos

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009


Reuters: Will Obama devalue the dollar to save Democrats?

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009


Economist David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff makes the speculative – and scary – case that high unemployment + 2010 elections = Obama will devalue the dollar to boost growth. Here is case:

National Review editorial: Card-Check Is a Trojan Horse

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009


In its original form, the mendaciously misnamed and thoroughly anti-democratic Employee Free Choice Act would strip American workers of the right to conduct secret-ballot elections on the question of whether to organize a union. In place of a traditional one-man/one-vote secret ballot, the EFCA would impose a regime of union-boss thuggery known as “card-check,” wherein labor organizers (who may also be the employees’ supervisors) pressure workers to sign off on a union-organizing petition, a much easier way to reach a serviceable majority. Democrats have now signaled their willingness to remove the card-check provision from EFCA but, as in the case of the cap-and-trade legislation, the marquee proposal is only one poison arrow in a quiver full of venom. With or without card-check, EFCA is a bare-knuckles power play by Big Labor and the Obama administration – a bill that needs killing.

Michael Tanner, Cato on Perils of Obamacare: The Three Big Lies

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009


In making his case for a government takeover of the US health-care system, President Obama is going far beyond the usual Washington truth-stretching.

Take a look at just a few of the most common claims:

“If you like your current health-care plan, you can keep it.” Even White House spokesmen have said that Obama’s oft-repeated pledge that you can keep your current insurance isn’t meant to be taken literally. The reality is that millions of Americans – perhaps most Americans – will be forced to change insurance plans.

First, the president supports an individual mandate – a requirement that every American buy health insurance. And not just any insurance but insurance that includes all the benefits government thinks you should have. That insurance could be more expensive or include benefits that people don’t want or are morally opposed to, such as abortion services.

Thomas Sowell: Medical Care Confusion

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009


A bigger question is whether medical care will be better or worse after the government takes it over. There are many available facts relevant to those crucial questions but remarkably little interest in those facts.

There are facts about the massive government-run medical programs already in existence in the United States– Medicare, Medicaid and veterans’ hospitals– as well as government-run medical systems in other countries.

None of the people who are trying to rush government-run medical care through Congress before we have time to think about it are pointing to Medicare, Medicaid or veterans’ hospitals as shining examples of how wonderful we can expect government medical care to be when it becomes “universal.”

Politico — Public losing trust in President Obama

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009


Trust in President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies to identify the right solutions to problems facing the country has dropped off significantly since March, according to a new Public Strategies Inc./POLITICO poll.

Just as Obama intensifies his efforts to fulfill a campaign promise and reach an agreement with Congress onhealth carereform, the number of Americans who say they trust the president has fallen from 66 percent to 54 percent. At the same time, the percentage of those who say they do not trust the president has jumped from 31 to 42.

The president’s party has taken a similar hit since the lastPublic Trust Monitorpoll, with only 42 percent of respondents saying that they trust the Democratic Party, compared with 52 percent who do not. The party’s numbers are nearly the inverse of March’s survey, in which 52 percent said they trusted Democrats and 42 percent did not.

Ben Bernanke opinion, WSJ: The Fed’s Exit Strategy

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009


The depth and breadth of the global recession has required a highly accommodative monetary policy. Since the onset of the financial crisis nearly two years ago, the Federal Reserve has reduced the interest-rate target for overnight lending between banks (the federal-funds rate) nearly to zero. We have also greatly expanded the size of the Fed’s balance sheet through purchases of longer-term securities and through targeted lending programs aimed at restarting the flow of credit.

These actions have softened the economic impact of the financial crisis. They have also improved the functioning of key credit markets, including the markets for interbank lending, commercial paper, consumer and small-business credit, and residential mortgages.