March 27, 2007

Couldn’t Help But Notice (032707)

Here’s an Inconvenient TruthRasmussen finds (HT Bill Sloat of The Daily Bellwether via e-mail) that “while he is now an Academy Award winner and celebrity activist, just 24% of Americans consider Gore an expert on Global Warming. A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of 1,000 adults found that 47% say he is not an expert on the topic.” Globaloney globalarmists won’t find very much encouragement in the supporting detail. Too bad, so sad.

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It’s no fun agreeing with Don Luskin on inflation, but I have to. Core inflation (ex-food and energy) is quietly creeping upward, and Ben Bernanke hasn’t done enough about it.

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Kung Pao Congress indeed. The best cartoon about it is here.

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Or Maybe It’s the “Killing Time” Congress — Thanks to “clever” writing by Andrew Taylor of the Associated Press in a Saturday report, it took a while to get to the most important point about the “budget” that the US Senate supposedly “passed.”

This writer’s antennae went up on comparing the headline to Taylor’s two opening paragraphs:

Senate passes Democrats’ budget aimed at balance, keeping tax cuts
Saturday, March 24, 2007

Washington — The Senate approved a Democratic budget plan Friday that promises a balanced budget in five years by mixing spending increases with partial renewal of expiring tax cuts.

The $2.9 trillion budget outline won approval on a 52-47 vote, but only after Democratic moderates rewrote it to favor extending several popular tax cuts that are to expire at the end of the decade.

Plan? Outline? Since when is a “budget” (the headline) just an “outline”?

Reading on, it takes until the 9th paragraph to get to the truth:

The Democratic blueprint is nonbinding but sets guidelines for follow-up legislation.

Oh please, Andrew. This isn’t anything real — it’s “symbolic” nonbinding nonsense like all of those nonbinding antiwar resolutions we’ve been reading about for, what, eight weeks now?

What AP has published is a deceptively headlined report designed to keep the truth from readers who don’t make it through the entire piece. It’s not worth the paper it’s printed on, or the bandwidth it’s burning.

This item is cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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Commenter Kevin will disagree with this (and I mostly agree with him), but an Investors Business Daily editorial says that last week’s stock market recovery shows that the markets several weeks ago “were blindsided by you-know-who shooting off his you-know-what.” I would suggest that the person IBD is talking about needs to take what’s on top of his shoulders (which contains the you-know-what IBD is referring to) out of his you-know-what-else.

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A veiled threat (HT American Thinker) to the future integrity of elections. How tough will vote fraud be if you’re not allowed to see a person’s face?

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Answers to two questions about the BBC you’ve been secretly dying to learn (HT for both to Taranto at Best of the Web):

  1. How many Beebsters does it take to change a light bulb? (Five; go to the last paragraph for who is involved in this complex operation.)
  2. How much money has the publicly-funded Beeb spent trying to turn back a Freedom of Information request about its Middle East reporting to the public it supposedly serves? (about $400,000)

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At the New York Times, the company is slowly liquidating itself. Faster would be better.

If You Think the Government Isn’t Getting Enough, Voluntarily Pay More

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:12 am

And if you do, you will have done something Howie Carr believes no politician in Massachusetts (or almost anyone else, for that matter; HT Jay Tea at Wizbang) has done with his or her state income taxes:

The official state income-tax rate now is 5.3 percent, but there is an option for concerned moonbats – they can check off a box on the form to pay voluntarily at the old 5.85 percent rate.

Here’s how the optional tax came about: In 2000, voters cut the state income-tax rate to 5 percent in a 59 percent to 41 percent landslide. The convicted-felon speaker, Tommy Taxes (that would be former Massachusetts House Speaker Tom Finneran, convicted in early January of obstruction of justice — Ed.), refused to abide by the voters’ mandate and froze the reduction at 5.3 percent.

But the Citizens for Limited Taxation (CLT) proposed an optional higher rate, so that those million or so voters who wanted to keep their taxes way up there would have the opportunity to walk the walk, in addition to talking the talk. For some reason, Tommy Taxes went along with the gag.

Alas, and try not to let this destroy your faith in the sincerity of the moonbat and hack communities, almost no one is ponying up.

Here are the latest numbers, obtained yesterday from the state Department of Revenue.

So far this tax season, 1.54 million people have filed their state returns. Of those 1.54 million, all of 424 people have opted to pay at the higher, voluntary rate.

Don’t expect the tax-hikers in other states to get caught flat-footed like Tommy Taxes did.

I’m also waiting to hear from the editorial board of the Toledo Blade, which complained bitterly last year when Bob Taft, within his legal discretion, lowered individual income taxes rates in Ohio because of the state’s budget surplus. The Blade board opposed the reduction, so I’m “assuming” that they’re paying in extra this year (wanna bet?). After all, it was only a “Two-Bit Tax Cut” (my related post).

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UPDATE: An e-mailer sent me this link to the Americans for Tax Reform’s “Tax Me More” project. Nice job folks:

In policy debates, fiscally conservative state lawmakers often hear their tax-and-spend counterparts argue that they do not pay enough in taxes. Creating a Tax Me More Fund allows lawmakers to challenge big spenders to “walk the walk” by sending more of their money to the government.

Six states currently have voluntary contribution accounts, or Tax Me More Funds, which serve as useful tools to highlight hypocrisy in budget debates.

School Choice Is Apparently Making Headway in Arizona (So Why Is Ohio Going in the Opposite Direction)?

Filed under: Environment,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:07 am

The state’s leading newspaper has endorsed it (HT Cato at Liberty, which I think is being a bit overoptimistic in calling it “a tipping point”), and the linked editorial, on balance, cautiously believes that school-choice efforts will survive the court cases brought against them by the edudinosaurs.

Meanwhile, if Ohio’s governor has his way, school choice in the Buckeye State will be virtually abandoned. This is not progress; where Arizona is heading is.

Attacking Earmarks Is Fine, But …..

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:02 am

….. if the Senate can’t even nibble at entitlement monsters like Medicare, we’re in a heap of trouble. An IBD editorial (“Medicare Cowardice”) from last week took Republican Senators to task for failing to vote against a mere 1.5% reduction in projected spending over the next 5 years.

During last week’s Senate budget debate, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, offered an amendment to trim Medicare by $34 billion over five years. The Cornyn proposal was defeated on Thursday by an overwhelming 74 to 23.

….. Of the $2.2 trillion in spending proposed for Medicare over the next five years, $34 billion would be a savings of only about 1.5%. Yet most Republican senators are so unserious or cowardly when it comes to reining in spending that they can’t even bring themselves to support something that tiny.

The roll call vote “Statement of Purpose” for Cornyn’s amendment read as follows:

To provide reconciliation instructions of $33.8 billion to make provider payments more accurate, to improve Medicare Part B income relation provisions, expand those provisions to Medicare Part D and reduce the deficit.

It certainly doesn’t appear as if anyone was going to be harmed by what Cornyn was suggesting.

Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana votes were as follows:
- Brown (D-OH) — No
- Voinovich (R-OH) — No
- Bunning (R-KY) — Yes
- McConnell (R-KY) — Yes
- Bayh (D-IN) — No
- Lugar (R-IN) — No

Other “notable” votes:
- Clinton (D-NY) — No
- Hutchinson (R-TX) — No
- Obama (D-IL) — No
- Warner (R-VA) — No
- Brownback (R-KS) — Yes
- Dole (R-NC) — Yes
- Coburn (R-OK) — Yes
- DeMint (R-SC) — Yes
- McCain (R-AZ) — Did not vote

Positivity: Miracle on the wrestling mat

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:57 am

From suburban Chicago:

March 12, 2007

Defibrillator saves heart attack victim who was at Bloom Trail High School for grandson’s tournament

Sitting in the stands of Bloom Trail High School’s fieldhouse for a wrestling tournament, Tom Anderson may have expected to see an airplane spin, hammer throw or even a double leg hook piledriver.

What the 61-year-old grandfather wasn’t counting on was his heart stopping before his grandson took to the mat.

As Brian Fuqua, Bloom Trail’s assistant wrestling coach, prepared to ask his son to cue the music, Anderson collapsed on the floor.

“Are you ready?” Fuqua asked his 13-year-old son.

“Dad, we have a problem,” Jake replied.

Anderson’s daughter-in-law flagged down referee Frank Campos. Instead of a hammer throw, the Joliet man hammered Anderson’s chest with his fists in hopes of getting the heart to quiver.

With the help of Tinley Park firefighter Adam Culbertson and Elk Grove Village firefighter Dean Jamrozek, the three began CPR.

A minute passed.

Then another.

And another.

Bloom Trail athletic trainer Erich Stockwell arrived with the defibrillator.

They shocked Anderson.

After 11 minutes without a pulse, he gasped for air.

He was alive.

But was he all right?

They asked him if he knew his location; what day of the week it was; who served as the president of the United States.

“It should be me, but it’s Bush,” said Anderson, of Downers Grove.

And just like that, the good-natured joke of the recovering heart-attack victim killed the tension of the potentially fatal March 4 morning and kindled a spirit of endearment among strangers.

Steger Fire Department Lt. Mike Winder rolled out a groggy but lucid Anderson and took him to St. James Hospital in Olympia Fields.

But not without protest from Anderson first.

“This gentleman didn’t want to leave,” said Tom Tong, head coach at Bloom Trail. “He said he came to watch his grandson wrestle.”
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