May 7, 2007

Real Corruption Whose Amount Likely Starts with a ‘B’

Filed under: Business Moves,MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:06 am

In an Investors Business Daily editorial that is primarily about the presumed-guilty treatment of Bill First’s stock sales (Frist has been cleared) compared to the kid-glove treatment given Harry Reid’s land deals, the real biggie is at the end (bold is mine):

Reid’s take is small potatoes compared with the wheeling and dealing of another leading Senate Democrat, Rules Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein of California. In her six years as ranking Democrat on the Senate Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies subcommittee, she “may have directed more than $1 billion to companies controlled by her husband,” according to American Conservative Union head David Keene, writing in the Hill, a Washington newspaper, on Monday.

URS and Perini Corp., under the control of Feinstein’s husband, Richard Blum, apparently got more than $1.5 billion in government business largely from Feinstein’s subcommittee.

“Interestingly, she left the subcommittee in late 2005 at about the same time her husband sold his stake in both companies,” quips Keene. The sale appears to have increased the combined net worth of the power couple by 25%, to a total in excess of $40 million.

Is the SEC — not to mention another SEC, the Senate Ethics Committee — allergic to investigating Democrats?

Looks like it.

The Formerly Mainstream Media doesn’t appear the least bit interested in DiFi’s large-scale largesse to her husband’s company — even though she makes Duke Cunningham look like a rank amateur.

Announcement (050707)

Filed under: General — Tom @ 6:11 am

Business necessity dictates that starting today, I limit my non-Positivity posts to a couple each day. I’ll be shooting to make up in quality for reduced quantity. The large majority of solo bloggers do one a day or less, so I’m thinking that the focus on doing just two posts may constitute an improvement.

Also, most of the Positivity posts from this point forward will carry brief excerpts and link over to full stories instead of (usually) being carried in their entirety, as has been the case in the past. I originally chose to carry entire stories because they usually get moved within a couple of weeks and deserve to be saved somewhere, but the linkover approach is more defensible from a copyright standpoint.

Today’s ‘Read the Whole Thingers’ (050707)

Arnold Kling at TCS Daily talks about the solution to poverty — and it isn’t central planning:

Poverty may fall in half in the next ten years even if we do not enact any of the recommendations of this task force (the Center for American Progress’s Task Force on Poverty). In fact, a reasonable guess is that the recommendations themselves would, if anything, slow the rate of progress against poverty.

The point of this essay is to simply state the obvious. If you look at poverty from the broad perspective of international and historical comparisons, the solution to poverty is decentralized entrepreneurial activity under capitalism.

The capitalist solution to poverty is unsatisfying to many people, because it is not planned or intended. Policymakers and anti-poverty programs per se are not involved.

….. The intentions of the anti-poverty crusaders are good. However, the results of centrally-planned anti-poverty efforts are small, and perhaps negative (certainly very negative in the case of Communism). Decentralized capitalism, in which no one sets out to broadly reduce poverty, is the best anti-poverty program.

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The Institute for Legal Reform published its Legal Climate Survey last week. Its description:

The 2007 State Liability Systems Ranking Study was conducted for the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform among a national sample of in-house general counsel or other senior corporate litigators to explore how reasonable and balanced the tort liability system is perceived to be by U.S. business.

Delaware’s legal climate came in best by a wide margin over #2 Minnesota. West Virginia’s was worst, trailing second-worst Mississippi badly. More locally, Ohio came in 24th, Indiana 8th, Kentucky 33rd, Michigan 23rd, and Illinois 46th.
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Teaching the children not so well — The guy has a point about illegal-immigrant parents:

Phil Magnan, director of Biblical Family Advocates, says the illegal immigrant movement in America is teaching children that they do not have to submit to the governing authorities.

“I’d considered the issue for quite some time and thought about the impact of parents actually ignoring the loss of the land and actually thinking in terms of that they were somehow entitled to the United States and what kind of lessons that actually teaches children,” Magnan notes. “And what I had seen was, in reality, their parents are, by their actions and their attitudes, actually teaching children that it’s okay to steal and that it’s okay to covet your neighbor’s goods,” he says.

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Don Luskin’s weekly SmartMoney.com column smacked down the bears and business press — both of whom deserve it:

The mentally vacuous pessimists and the brainless bears have been saying that the economy will soon slip into recession. They’ve been saying it will happen in the spring. And the summer. And the fall. And the winter. They’ve been wrong, wrong, wrong — but they’ve saying it for so long it’s become the conventional wisdom. In a recent poll, a majority of Americans said they think we are in a recession right now.

It goes to show how powerful the media is in forming opinions. With the unemployment rate at an ultra-low 4.4%, and with disposable personal income having grown 4.5% (even including inflation) in the first quarter, everybody really knows there’s no recession. In fact, in the same poll, a majority said that their own personal financial situation was just peachy. Yet the majority still somehow thinks that there’s a recession on. It’s just for everybody else, I guess.

Positivity: Kidney donation to hubby ends divorce plans

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:56 am

From Allentown, PA:

A couple who grew apart and had agreed to split up were reunited by a life-threatening crisis.

After more than 10 years of marriage, Chip and Cindy Altemos agreed about 5 years ago to separate, see other people, and begin divorce proceedings. But when 48-year-old Chip was hospitalized with kidney failure in September, Cindy, 49, offered him one of hers…..

Go here for the full story.