November 3, 2006

A Mom’s Thoughts

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:48 pm

So much happened today that it will take tonight to sort it out.

In the meantime, it seems appropriate to print this unsolicited essay I received last week. The person who sent it requested that I pick an appropriate time to post this in the runup to Tuesday. This would be that time. I share her views.

A View from an Ohio Mom

Funny how even small kids are smart and instinctive, mine are no exception. When they “push the boundaries of discipline” it’s invariably before an event that everyone is looking forward to attending…which of course means that grounding one child from that event punishes the entire family.

That’s kind of how I view this year’s mid-term elections. Expelling a few [ineffective] Republicans unfortunately affects the entire conservative family.

I am not making excuses for obstructive legislators, merely suggesting that we use voter-enforced term limits in a way that doesn’t punish those who have represented us well, those who fight for our freedoms, but most especially, our posterity. In addition to remaining involved at all levels of government, the practical answer to restoring bold, non-apologetic Reagan-conservative leadership in this country is to start shopping (and fundraising) for them NOW. But it is crucial to keep the current majority – for all that it is and isn’t – during that process so that we are not distracted (by another 9/11 or tanking economy). We must do it right, and we can for we have learned and accomplished much…

For years, and for arguable reasons, many conservatives slumbered while the national and state Republican Party took us for granted. We held our noses and voted for candidates only because [they said] they were “pro-life” or “pro-Second Amendment.” Then came 9/11 and the brutal reminder that we have an enemy whose goal is not to defeat us, but to annihilate us. And we realized that the days of being “one-issue voters,” were over.

Sadly, I don’t believe that 9/11 woke up any political party. It did, however wake up another sleeping giant. One, whose power and influence exceeds that of any party or sum of money. It woke up We the people, the 4th and most important branch of government. And when we rubbed our eyes and got over the shock, we didn’t like what we saw. That’s when many Ohioans got busy, especially in 2004…

Go back there with me for a moment. Many started volunteering nearly a year before the election. Phone banks started in February; door-2-door in May. We delivered signs, dropped off voter guides; our kids put labels on mailers, and held neighborhood parties for the President. By the grace of God, we OWNED that election and when it was over, and we watched Karl Rove tell Fox News that Ohio’s Clermont, Butler & Warren Counties put President Bush over the top, well, to paraphrase Vince Lombardi, it was our finest hour for together, we had worked our hearts out in a great cause and fell exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.

For many of us, in many ways, that feeling goes unmatched to this day. We the people, according to the mandate of our Founding Fathers, directed the course of events in this country, and I for one, am not willing to throw that all away over a few rotten eggs. Or (even) because in lieu of leadership we have a “big tent party” that cannot fundamentally agree enough on any conservative agenda item to move one of them forward. So, without term limits, we realize that certain individuals need to go…and I believe they absolutely will. But again, we must keep the majority so that we can [patiently] affect true and lasting change.

Friends, after 9/11 woke us up, and 2004 helped fine-tune our voices, I believe that the “big tent” party promoters at the state & national levels have gotten the message. Here’s a recap for some who may still be confused:

We, the conservatives of this country are fully awake, and we’re tired of you trying to redefine conservatism. No more “Gang of 14,” no more crying over UN appointments, no more amnesty, no more pork. We want limited government, controlled spending, impenetrable borders, dead terrorists, fundamental tax reform, drilling in ANWR, school choice and of course, PERMANENT tax cuts. This isn’t about President Bush or the war in Iraq; this is about your narcissistic personality disorders being so far off the map that you have sold out the agenda ON WHICH YOU RAN, just to get an invite to the next Oscar party. But be forewarned, since we won’t punish the entire country for a handful of ego-maniacal Republicans, you should know that as we hold our noses to vote with one hand, we will be working hard to find replacements with the other.

Yours truly [for one more term],
We, the People.

When You’re Out of Arguments and Ideas, Go With Vandalism

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:13 pm

From the Ohio GOP web site:

OHGOPwindow

Welcome Cunningham Listeners

Filed under: OH-02 US House,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:51 pm

Thanks to Willie for the mention.

Go here (at Whiskey Tango Foxtrot) and here (my own post) to see yesterday’s posts and documents relating to the Vic Wulsin “Nuke Waste Dump” Deception.

Also, go to this post from this morning to see about the request for investigation Victoria Wulsin’s involvement with malariotherapy and other matters sent to the Ohio Medical Board earlier today.

________________________

IMPORTANT CLARIFICATION: In response to a caller, Willie used this Schmidt quote to give the impression that she is neutral on the idea of a nuke waste dump:

Schmidt has made it clear that she’s not advocating for or against the plan, but she thinks it should be considered, especially since it could bring thousands of jobs to the economically distressed region.

The quote is correct; the context is not. That is because, as shown in yesterday post, in separate letters sent to Wulsin and Schmidt from the plant’s USW union, “the plan” does not consider a nuke “waste dump” or “disposal site” an option in any way, shape, or form.

ALSO: Here is the audio of my call into Willie yesterday (infinite thanks to Matt at Weapons of Mass Discussion for capturing it). Topics covered: Why 527 Media bias, though unprecedented in its severity, is not as big of a problem as in the past; the Zogby poll released earlier in the week showing Blackwell down to Strickland by 7.5% (I erroneously said 7.3%); and information about the Wulsin “Nuke Waste Dump” Deception.

The Latest Employment Report: Undeniably Very Good News

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:45 am

WOW (but notice the inevitable “yeah, but” at the end of the third paragraph):

The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to its lowest in nearly 5-1/2 years during October as 92,000 more jobs were added and hiring in each of the two prior months was revised up, a government report on Friday showed.

The October new-jobs figure was below Wall Street economists’ expectations for 125,000 but the Labor Department said a total 139,000 more jobs were created in August and September than it had previously thought. It revised up September’s job-creation total to 148,000, or nearly three times the 51,000 it reported a month ago, and said there were 230,000 new jobs in August instead of 188,000.

The unemployment rate fell in October to 4.4 percent from 4.6 percent in September. It was the lowest unemployment rate since 4.3 percent in May 2001 and was likely to fan concerns that labor markets are growing tight and could contribute to inflation pressures.

(Aw geez, Reuters, it’s always something, isn’t it?)

That’s a net gain of 231,000 jobs (92 + 139). I believe that the strong upward revisions to August and September make it more likely that final GDP growth will be higher than the preliminary 1.6% reported last week.

___________________________

UPDATE: Some dives into the details

  • According to the Household Survey, the number of people employed increased by a whopping 437,000 in September, and 708,000 in the past two months (see this previous post for a discussion of the Household Survey, used for calculating the unemployment rate, and the Establishment Survey, used for reporting the number of new jobs).
  • How about this:
    15yrUnemp1006

    The differences between Clinton Era and Bush Era unemployment rates are getting pretty narrow:
    – Clinton calendar year average (1993 – 2000): 5.20%
    – Bush calendar year average (Jan. 2001 – Oct. 2006): 5.31%
    – Clinton budget responsibility average (Oct. 1993 – Sept. 2001): 4.99%
    – Bush budget responsibility average (Oct. 2001 – Oct. 2006): 5.43%

UPDATE 2: Check out the silliness of the third paragraph at this second Reuters link in the context of the first two:

All told the 92,000 total net jobs added in October were the fewest in a year, when the economy was suffering the blow of the Gulf Coast hurricanes.

That disappointment, however, was offset by much better job gains in the previous two months. Employers added 148,000 jobs in September, versus the 51,000 first reported. Payrolls grew by a robust 230,000 in August, stronger than the 188,000 slots previously recorded.

That comes against a backdrop of a slowing national economy.

Wulsin’s Woes: Another Self-Inflicted ‘November Surprise’

Filed under: OH-02 US House,Scams,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:11 am

Not to be outdone by John Kerry, whose insult to our soldiers is perhaps the greatest single “October Surprise” inflicted on an entire political party by a member of that same party in American political history — 2nd District Democrat congressional candidate Victorial Wulsin is the first politician in my memory to create two “November Surprises” that are, at bottom, entirely of her own doing.

November Surprise 1: Yesterday, Whisky-Tango-Foxtrot, with some help from yours truly, revealed Wulsin’s “Nuke Waste Dump” deception.

Today, the Dean of Cincinnati at the Cincinnati Beacon is reporting that BizzyBlog Dealbreaker 1 is coming back to deliver Wulsin November Surprise 2, an oh-so-richly-deserved bite in the butt on the Friday before Election Day:

This morning, Dr. Robert Baratz, on behalf of the National Council Against Health Fraud, requested that the State Medical Board of Ohio conduct an investigation into the activities of Dr. Victoria Wells (Wulsin)—who is also in the final week of a campaign against Republican incumbent Jean Schmidt in the race for second congressional district seat.

….. Baratz’s letter to the medical board included the following:

Activities which we feel merit discipline include, but are not limited to:

Participation in unsupervised, unapproved, and dangerous experiments involving human beings where serious diseases were left untreated akin to the notorious Tuskegee experiments. Wells participated with the Heimlich Institute, Henry Heimlich, The Deaconess Associations of Cincinnati, and other parties in these experiments. Further, when Wells became aware of the nature of these deviant and immoral acts she failed to reveal them to proper authorities, and thus became complicit in them. Numerous journalistic reports and release of a report on this work by Wells herself document her involvement and the experiments themselves. The experiments violate 21 CFR 50 and 56 and 45 CFR 46 and appear to involve lack of informed consent, use of unapproved biological agents, and other unprofessional conduct.

After Wells’ activities became known, she altered the records of her report in an attempt to mislead the public as to her true role.

Recently television advertising depicts Wells in a laboratory coat with a stethoscope in a medical facility suggesting to the public she is a practicing physician. In response to interviews and questions conducted by the Cincinnati Enquirer on October 20, 2006 Wells admitted she has not seen a patient in approximately five years “My most recent clinical work was at the Health Resource Center in Over-the-Rhine from 1998 to 2001.”

The so-called Heimlich Malariotherapy experiments involve the injection of malarial parasites into humans for the alleged treatment of cancer, Lyme disease, and HIV infection. They have been disclaimed by numerous medical authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control, and exposed by the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and numerous other media.

Baratz has asked for this investigation under Section 4731.22 of the Ohio Revised Code.

We can’t trust her to tell the whole truth about her involvement in malariotherapy, and so we have asked how she could be trusted as a congressperson. This question, however, has thrown party-line Democrats into a frenzy. They accuse us of working to help Jean Schmidt. Whatever. Jean Schmidt may be a bad candidate, but Wulsin’s status as “ethically challenged” cannot be ignored.

….. Message to Democrats: If you expect real progressives to vote for your candidates, you’re going to have to do much better than this!

In the course of his post on the Baratz announcement, Dean also revealed the details of Wulsin’s “Nuke Waste Dump” deception.

The Dean, who no one will ever mistake for a conservative, clearly understands what a Dealbreaker is, and that this is indeed a big one. Other “progressives” should take heed.

Tax Lunacy That Would Make You Want to Stay Home

Filed under: Business Moves,Consumer Outrage,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:05 am

From the Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI) — some states want you to pay hotel occupancy tax based on the regular price of the hotel you’re staying in, not what you actually paid:

Number 3.40
October 26, 2006

More Tax Discrimination Against E-commerce

Thousands of Americans use the Internet to negotiate lower prices for hotel rooms by going to online hotel-booking companies such as Hotels.com and Travelocity.com. It’s just one of many ways shopping on-line has resulted in more choice and lower prices for consumers.

But lower hotel prices than consumers otherwise would have paid have resulted in lower taxes and fees than government otherwise would have collected. And many local governments aren’t taking this perceived loss of revenue lying down.

Local jurisdictions in several states are going to court to force hotel-booking Internet companies to pay the occupancy tax on the perceived full retail value of the room, rather than on the price the consumer actually paid on-line.

How well would this ridiculous assertion work in the brick-and-mortar world?

Suppose you were to find a great back-to school sale on jeans for your kids — only $20, reduced from $25 — but the taxman demands you pay sales tax on the before-discount price of $25.

….. And the notion that cities are losing money is ludicrous as at least part of what online travel companies do is fill the 40% of rooms that go unoccupied every night, increasing business for hotels and, in turn, increasing revenue to fill the state tax coffers.

So far all of the court cases have been thrown out, which is obviously correct.

But to greedy local officials supporting this technological discrimination, remember: Ludicrous cases aren’t the only things that can be “thrown out” when voters get fed up with never-ending schemes to tax them.

This could get out of control if the cities ever get their way. Look on the back of your hotel room door sometime and look at what the “list price” of the room is. It’s typically well above what ANYONE pays except on very crowded occasions. Imagine paying occupancy tax based on THAT.

Early Rumblings of a Media Earthquake in Cincinnati

Filed under: Business Moves,MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:00 am

Cincinnati-headquartered Procter & Gamble appears to be about to rock Old Media’s world: (HT NixGuy in an e-mail):

P&G Shakes Up Ad Budget, Favors Media That ‘Work Harder’

THE ADVERTISING BUDGET OF THE world’s biggest advertiser is in flux. During a third quarter earnings briefing with Wall Street analysts, A.G. Lafley, chairman-CEO of Procter & Gamble Co., said the packaged goods giant is “reallocating investments from parts of the communication plan that aren’t working as hard for us, to parts of the communication plan that are working harder.”
Lafley offered no details, but P&G is said to be reducing television spending in favor of Internet and direct marketing initiatives.

I’m pretty sure Lafley’s definition of “work harder” involves facilitating the selling or promoting of P&G products by delivering fair and balanced content that doesn’t offend viewers’ sensibilities.

No wonder the company is reducing TV spending.

This Pricing for Vista Seems a Bit Steep; Microsoft (and the Economy) May Pay the Price

Filed under: Business Moves,Consumer Outrage,Privacy/ID Theft — Tom @ 7:55 am

….. and the restrictions pretty severe (links are in original):

Vista is taking this approach to extreme: not only you have to pay $399 for your copy of Vista Ultimate, you also cannot transfer that copy to another computer more than once (see UPDATE below — MS has backed down on the transfer restriction).

If you want to transfer Windows Vista again (or to another computer) you must buy another copy (another $400, I guess)? Somehow this does not sound like an incentive to upgrade. Besides, hardware requirements are outrageous, which means you would have to spend $500 getting a new computer and about the same for a new operating system. Basically shelling out $1,000 to edit your spreadsheets and write emails on translucent background? I don’t think so.

I was a bit exaggerating here as I was talking about Windows Vista Ultimate edition. New users would be able to get Vista Home Basic for $199 (which is still a lot), while it costs only $99 to upgrade.

….. So we are not going to see a wave of upgrades next year, nor shall we see quick proliferation of Vista (aside for new OEM machines that would have it installed right off the start). If Windows 98 took 8 years to die Windows XP would take even longer, unless the inflation catches up with Microsoft prices.

I would think that MS would want to do everything it can to get its security-deficient, virus-vulnerable, malware-loving Windows OS off of as many users’ computers as soon as possible. Not, gonna, happen. Because of the company’s predominant market share, anything that slows down the productivity increases of MS computer users, and slows down the adoption of presumably more powerful Vista-based applications, has the potential, ultimately, to slow down the economy. Not good.

Just a week ago, MS announced what I’m calling the Christmas Coupon debacle; now this. If there is another downturn in the works, maybe it should be called “the Microsoft recession.”

UPDATE: Information Week reported yesterday evening that Microsoft has backed down on the transfer restriction –

Last month, Microsoft was condemned for language in the Windows Vista license that let buyers shift the OS only one time after it had been installed on a PC. The phrasing was more specific than that used in the Windows XP license, which did not specify the number of allowed transfers.

“The first user of the software may reassign the license to another device one time. If you reassign the license, that other device becomes the ‘licensed device,’” read the original Windows Vista license.

The new language reads: “You may uninstall the software and install it on another device for your use. You may not do so to share this license between devices.”

A Constitutional Right to Cloning?

Filed under: Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:50 am

That’s what Missouri’s Amendment 2 creates, says Kathleen Parker:

To be clear: Approval of “Constitutional Amendment 2″ would mean approval of a constitutional right to clone.

Yet, when voters go to the polls, that’s not what they’ll read on the ballot. Instead, they’ll vote on a bullet-point summary of the 2,100-word amendment that reads like a pro-life manifesto blended with progressive compassion.

….. As for cloning, no one should be surprised to hear that it depends on what one’s definition is. By using less-familiar scientific language, supporters of the stem cell initiative effectively have redefined “cloning” to mean only reproductive cloning — that is, implantation of a lab-created embryo in a woman’s womb for the purpose of creating a human being.

While the amendment would ban that procedure, it would allow “somatic cell nuclear transfer,” which is the widely accepted scientific definition of “cloning.”

Geez, I thought Ohio Learn & Earn (covered like a blanket at Writes Like She Talks) was the most deceptive initiative on statewide ballots this year. It doesn’t even come close to Missouri’s Amendment 2.

______________________________________

UPDATE: Parker is not the only one raising the alarm that Amendment 2 legalizes cloning (PLEASE get to the final paragraph) –

November 2, 2006

Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — Over two dozen experts in science, medicine, law and ethics have released a joint open letter saying that Missouri’s Amendment 2 endorses human cloning, despite claims from its supporters to the contrary. They say Missouri voters are being misled into thinking that it actually prohibits human cloning when the opposite is true.
“Amendment 2 creates a constitutional right for researchers to engage in human cloning. Efforts to deny this are misleading and deceptive,” they write. “As individuals who have studied this issue in depth, we hold that it clearly authorizes and promotes human cloning.”

In their letter, the experts conclude, “the people of Missouri should know what they are actually voting on.”

The signers include experts in embryology, microbiology and maternal/fetal medicine, as well as past and present members of the President’s Council on Bioethics and several founding members of Do No Harm: the Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics.
….. “Human cloning is the asexual production of a new living organism, at any stage of development, that is genetically virtually identical to an existing or previously existing human being. It is done through somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT),” they explained.

They said that Amendment 2 authorizes the SCNT procedure and limits the state legislature from putting any reasonable limits in place on human cloning.

“In fact, the amendment creates a statewide constitutional right to conduct such human cloning, so competing ethical or human safety considerations, or other state laws, cannot meaningfully limit the research community’s right to do human cloning,” they said.

Positivity: Man Falls 14 Floors, Lives

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:01 am

In Singapore:

29 October 2006
YOU would expect someone who fell 14 storeys to die.

So, it is a miracle how Mr Chan Hiang Yong survived with minor injuries after plummeting 14 storeys.

His fall was broken by a covered walkway on the ground floor.

The impact left a gaping hole on the roof of the walkway and debris on the ground.

It is possible the sponge used inside the metal roof of the walkway cushioned his fall.

The incident happened on Tuesday morning at about 12.40am at Block 978D Buangkok Crescent.

Mr Chan, 27, a salesman, lives with his wife and two young children in a flat on the 14th storey of the block.

When police and Civil Defence officers arrived, Mr Chan was unconscious. He regained consciousness at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

Lianhe Wanbao reported yesterday that he is still warded there, even though he is out of danger.

He had a few stitches on his forehead and wore a neck brace. He didn’t have any other injuries.

Mr Chan told the Chinese daily that he was feeling fine, and claimed he didn’t have much recollection of the incident. He vaguely remembered falling from a high place.

He admitted that he was lucky to have survived the fall, and said: ‘I guess I fell by accident. But I am very lucky that I didn’t die.’

RESIDENTS SHOCKED

Mr Chan’s crash through the walkway startled many residents.

At first, some thought an air-con unit had fallen.

Neighbours said they heard people arguing in the flat before the loud bang.

A few said it sounded as if a bomb had gone off.

A resident on the 13th storey told Wanbao that he heard a commotion in the corridor upstairs.

The resident said: ‘Not long after, I heard a loud bang and saw the other two people rush down to the bottom of the block.’

Most residents in the area were surprised when told that Mr Chan had survived the fall.

Filipina nurse Leonora Asuncion, who lives on the 13th storey, told The New Paper that her husband was in the corridor when he heard a loud bang.

When he realised that someone had fallen, he woke her up and they went down to help.

‘MOVING LEGS’

Ms Asuncion, 31, said she saw a man lying on his left side. There wasn’t much blood and he was moving his legs, she said.

He was wearing black pants, a white shirt and shoes.

Said Ms Asuncion: ‘A man and woman were crying loudly. They told the man not to move.

‘I wanted to help him, but I was afraid that he had fractured his bones.’

Another resident of the 13th storey, who wanted to be known only as Mrs Tan, said she thought her bamboo clothes pole had fallen.

Said Mrs Tan: ‘After that, I heard someone shout in Mandarin, ‘I don’t understand why you fell down’.’

She also ran down to see what was happening.

‘MUSCULAR’

Mrs Tan, 46, described the man as muscular and well-built.

‘It’s a miracle he’s still alive, and I think he has the sponge to be thankful for,’ she said.