September 24, 2010

Must-See TV: Obama’s Aunt

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:57 pm

Watch Barack Obama’s aunt Zeituni Onyango (HT to an e-mailer):

Why help your aunt out when the state will do it for you?

Comments Update

Filed under: General — Tom @ 11:48 am

Two items of good news: At last, WordPress 3 is installed and the pop-up-comment problem is cleared up. You can see your comment in the pop-up window immediately after you make it.

The bad news is that the problem with the comment box below each post is still there . It still doesn’t post, and still forwards you to another post.

So at least for now, commenters need to continue using the pop-up comment window ONLY, which you get to by clicking the “Comments (moderated)” link at the bottom right of each post.

Thanks to all readers for their patience, and thank goodness WP provides two ways to comment.

Lucid Links (092410, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 9:58 am

Your bailout dollars, uh, not at work (“Chrysler Workers Caught Boozing [and Smoking Pot])”; HT Hot Air and Doug Ross).

Here’s a “take it for what it’s worth” comment from a viewer printed in the story:

One viewer wrote, “Drugs and drinking take place at every plant I visited or worked at. Rob’s story (MyFoxDetroit reporter Rob Wolchek) was but the tip of the spear.”

If the workers are fired, they can always apply to serve on California Senator-for-now Barbara Boxer’s staff.

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The Ohio Chamber of Commerce has endorsed John Kasich, the first time the Chamber has endorsed an Ohio gubernatorial candidate in its history (HT Matt at WoMD).

Team Strickland is not pleased:

The Strickland campaign issued a statement saying the Ohio chamber supports free trade with China just as it says Kasich does. Strickland has said such an agreements (sic) cost Ohio jobs.

“Congressman Kasich can fight for Wall Streeters and outsourcers, Ted will fight for Ohio,” said Strickland communications director Lis Smith.

The national Chamber of Commerce definitely supports “free trade” with China.

As to Ohio’s Chamber, Lisa Renee at Glass City Jungle unearthed the following, purportedly from a Columbus Dispatch letter to the editor in August 2008 from the Ohio Chamber’s Vice President of governmental affairs entitled “Trade With China Isn’t taking Jobs, It’s Creating Them”:

… trade is not responsible for the loss of manufacturing jobs in Ohio. Quite the contrary. By participating in trade with foreign nations, Ohio is ensuring that tens of thousands of Ohioans can go to work each and every day to produce the goods the rest of the world demands. Trade is not a job killer; it is a job creator.

That’s really simplistic. Trade does kill certain jobs, particularly ones in manufacturing, and that really isn’t debatable. The questions are whether it ends up creating more overall jobs, and whether it increases income and wealth.

The answers to both questions are, at a minimum, “not always.” Then there’s the question of whether trade ends up creating net jobs in Ohio. It surely isn’t the open-and-shut case the Chamber’s letter-writer says it is.

More basically, trade with China is not free trade. It’s managed trade, because the Chinese government owns a majority stake in almost everything that’s important. As long as that is the case, trade with China serves an agenda beyond that of simple commerce, and carries risks that have long been ignored by the ruling class in both parties in Washington.

As to the claim that “Strickland Testimony Led To Tariffs On Chinese Steel That Have Helped Create (120) Ohio Jobs” let’s be sure everyone knows that the TMK IPSCO Steel Pipe facility had other costs for which taxpayers picked up the tab:

The Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved the Job Creation Tax Credit worth $872,000 over nine years Monday to help encourage the company to locate in Ohio. Ultra Premium will invest $10 million at the plant, including $9 million in equipment and $1 million for the building.

We can argue about whether the tax credits were worth it, but Team Strickland is being ingenuous when it doesn’t cite their existence.

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Well, since the ruling class’s representatives at the National Bureau of Economic Research aren’t satisfied defining the recession as normal people do (and won’t even stick to their own definitional standards), ruling class member Warren Buffett certainly is free to try to come up with his own definition, which is that we’ll be in one “until real per capita GDP gets back to where it was before.”

Under the Buffett definition, we’ve got a long way to go, because U.S. population growth has been about 0.9% per year since we crossed the 300 million threshold in October 2006. As long as this administration is running this economy, we may never get there.

All We Are Saying Is Give Tea a Chance

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:16 am

Scheduling all statewide primaries just before or after Labor Day would improve the prospects of insurgents on the left and right. That would be a good thing.

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Note: This column first appeared at Pajamas Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Wednesday.

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Convincing victories by Tea Party-supported candidates September 14, especially in the Delaware and New York Republican primaries, have left many sensible conservatives in states which held earlier primaries rightfully jealous. The results of what may someday be known as “DE-NY Day” demonstrate that late primary schedules can enable determined challengers to accomplish the seemingly impossible against the supposedly entrenched. On the flip side, artificially early primaries in states like Ohio and Illinois have been pivotal elements in those states’ preferred-politician protection rackets.

In Delaware’s GOP Senate primary, Christine O’Donnell defeated heavily favored, establishment-sponsored, clearly non-conservative sore loser Mike Castle for many reasons. Surely one of the biggest was that she had time to get her message out. The mid-September primary date worked in her favor both on the ground and through the air, as she garnered critical talk radio and Internet support from influential conservatives Mark Levin, Michelle Malkin, and others. The summer campaign gave O’Donnell the opportunity to convince the party’s sensible conservative base of the importance of stopping Mike Castle, a career politician whose values and votes have clearly been out of touch for years.

As remarkable as O’Donnell’s triumph was over a bitterly hidebound GOP establishment — and over a cacophonous cadre of allegedly conservative political commentators and bloggers who deserve to be challenged as to whose side they’re really on — Carl Paladino’s defeat of Rick Lazio in New York’s Republican gubernatorial primary was in some ways even more impressive. It also probably depended even more on the Empire State’s late primary date. After all, New York is over twenty times the size of Delaware in population and land mass; you can’t just flip a switch and turn on a full-blown campaign operation. Rick Lazio was a reasonably popular former congressman who quixotically (in retrospect) took on Hillary Clinton in the state’s 2000 U.S. Senate race when Rudy Giuliani had to withdraw because of prostate cancer. Though the political differences between Paladino and Lazio weren’t nearly as stark as O’Donnell versus Castle, Paladino carried an astonishing 62% of the vote compared to O’Donnell’s 53% majority.

Delaware and New York voters should thank their lucky stars that their primaries took place after Labor Day instead of before Memorial Day. Insurgent attempts in much earlier primaries in Ohio and Illinois unfortunately had very different results.

In Ohio, primaries during non-presidential election years take place in May; in presidential election years, they are in March. This year, in the state’s U.S. Senate contest, both the Democratic and Republican Party establishments backed “non-controversial” candidates they viewed as “acceptable” in Lee Fisher and Rob Portman, respectively. The candidates and the parties both did everything they could to shut out respective challengers Jennifer Brunner and Tom Ganley almost before either could fire a shot. Fisher’s coronation has angered much of the Democratic base, clearly including Brunner. Though he is probably going to get their votes by default, Portman’s determined and troubling aloofness from the Tea Party has been obvious almost since his campaign began. Voters can be forgiven for feeling that their choice is between Tweedle-D and Tweedle-R. A September primary would have at least caused Fisher and Portman to break an ideological sweat.

Further down the ticket, the Ohio Republican Party, which I prefer to call ORPINO (the Republican Party In Name Only), cleared the field for pretend conservative Mike DeWine to run for Attorney General, while Tea Party-supported candidates for Secretary of State and Auditor got thumped by roughly 2-1 margins. Additionally, most insurgents seeking State Central Committee seats lost to go-along, get-along incumbents who deceptively pretended in their ORPINO-paid campaign literature to have “Tea Party Values.” Given four months’ time and what we all saw with our own eyes on DE-NY Day, it’s not unreasonable to believe that the results of a September Buckeye State primary, especially in those Central Committee races, might have been very different.

In the Illinois U.S. Senate race, the situation is even worse. The state’s primaries this year were in February. The absurdly early date enabled Congressman Mark Kirk, the GOP establishment’s favorite, to get away with voting “yes” for the same cap-and-trade law whose support arguably killed Castle’s Delaware Senate bid. There was simply not enough time for insurgent challengers to build momentum.

On the Democratic side in Barack Obama’s home state, it’s even worse. The self-evidently corrupt Alexi Giannoulias, who it should be noted is one of the few Democrats in the country still willing to be seen in the same zip code with Obama, was similarly able to keep more principled opposition at bay. One indicator that there is plenty of leftist resentment over Giannoulias’s coronation is that the Green Party’s candidate was polling at 9% just after Labor Day.

Primaries should not be taking place six or nine months before a general election. Our Founders would never have agreed with the idea that challengers in early-primary states must take 18-20 months out of their lives in anticipation of campaigning full-time until the general election. Many exceptional people who would make good candidates and might be able to carve out ten months or so simply can’t make a commitment twice as long because of personal and financial considerations. Unfortunately, to career politicians and their state party establishments, that’s a feature of early primaries, not a bug.

It is long past time for states with earlier primaries to schedule them later, preferably just before or just after Labor Day. If we must (it’s a separate debate), let’s leave the presidential primaries where they are, but, as many states already do, keep them separate from the other races. With sufficient grass-roots pressure, perhaps in 2011 — in time for 2012 — this change will come.

It’s also long past time for the we-know-better types in state parties to stop rigging primary campaigns, and, yes, for voters who haven’t yet woken up to pay consistent, closer year-round attention.

Positivity: Special reunion for WWII vets

Filed under: Positivity,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Roanoke, VA (video is at link):

2:18 p.m. EDT, September 18, 2010

Gen. Lloyd Ramsey hadn’t seen the man who saved his life for nearly seventy years

t was a long time coming for two World War two veterans to finally see each other once again. After a Roanoke general missed a national reunion because of pneumonia, other vets came to him, including a Congressional Medal of Honor recepient who saved his life.

When retired army general and Roanoke resident Lloyd Ramsey last saw wire technician Bob Maxwell, he didn’t know if he was dead or alive.

Maxwell and Ramsey served in WWII in the European theater. Back then Ramsey was his colonel. One freezing night in Eastern France, both men came under fire inside a house.

“I was trying to get out of the house when they threw a grenade over the wall,” says Gen. Ramsey. “And Bob just took a blanket and fell on top of the grenade.”

“The only thing I could think about was try to find it and throw it back,” says Maxwell, who now lives in Oregon. “And while I was on the stone floor I realized my time was up and I better do something different.”

Saturday, the 3rd Infantry Division put together this reunion as General Ramsey recovers from pneumonia.

They talked about the war, about the night Maxwell risked his life and what they’re thankful for now.

“I remember the good things that happened,” says Maxwell. “I remember first of all I remember coming to and realizing I wasn’t dead.” …

Go here for the video and the rest of the story.