February 16, 2011

Wishing Lara Logan a Speedy Recovery

Filed under: Positivity,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 3:10 pm

The story:

LaraLoganLeavesHosp021611

Previous BizzyBlog posts on Logan are here. Those who have followed this blog for a long time are likely aware that I have not been Ms. Logan’s biggest fan. That changed about 18 months ago.

I suspect that the wrath and violence directed at Ms. Logan is not random, but rather about the fact that in Fall 2009, she finally seemed to get it about what is really happening and what really is at stake in the Middle East. I’m quite certain that the Taliban- and Muslim Brotherhood-sympathetic, Israel-despising wing of Islam is not pleased with her.

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UPDATE: A journalism prof (he was a journalism prof? That explains a lot) gets richly deserved just desserts (“Leftist Journalism Prof Nir Rosen Resigns After Insulting Sexual Assault Victim, CBS’s Lara Logan”).

What is it about leftist guys and the women with whom they politicially disagree?

Latest Pajamas Media Column (‘Obama’s Unsustainable and Gutless Budget Proposals’) Is Up

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:27 am

It’s here.

The sub-headline:

The current level of federal spending can’t continue. The administration says: “Yes it can. Try and stop us.”

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Friday morning (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

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Cutting-room floor items

An e-mailer pointed out that for all the administration’s talk about regulatory relief, it’s increasing enforcement budgets in the Department of Labor significantly (he also tells me they are increasing the number of enforcers).

Don’t be deceived by the trumpeted 5% “cut” at DOL; it’s almost all due to training expense reductions and a transfer of budgetary responsibility over an older Americans’ program, and nothing substantive. Such a budget presupposes that DOL somehow isn’t doing enough to enforce arcane and archaic labor laws. That is far from being the case.

The White House Budget assumes real annual GDP growth of 3.6%, 4,4%, 4.3%, and 3.8% from 2012-2015. Despite the fact that George W. Bush made many of the right moves to get the economy going again after the Clinton/Internet bubble recession (as NBER defines it) of 2001, the highest single year of economic growth during the past decade was 3.6% in 2004. The 1980s and 1990s each had six years of 3.5% or higher annual growth.

Sarbanes Oxley (“Sox”) began taking effect in 2002. The mediocre to barely acceptable growth from 2002-2007 before the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy and its recession came along is not a coincidence. It will be extremely difficult to post four years of 4% of near-4% growth as long as Sox remains in effect even if Obama starts doing some of the right things — which he isn’t doing.

If the President was legitimately interested in regulatory relief, he’d be pushing to repeal Sox, or at least the vast majority of it. He’s not.

Lucid Links (021611, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 9:17 am

As the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin (“Why Have a Press Conference Like That?”) wonders what the President was trying to accomplish in his post-budget release press conference yesterday.

Well, with sound bites like this, he’s not helping himself:

What you have to look at is unjustifiable spending through the tax code, through tax breaks that do not make us more competitive, do not create jobs here in the United States of America.

Tax deductions and tax breaks are the same as “spending”? Heaven help us.

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Speaking of tax breaks, there’s this — (Indiana University and Kelley School of Business Professor Eric R.) Rasmusen Presents “The Lawlessness of the GM NOL Ruling” (HT TaxProf).

It refers to the IRS arbitrarily allowing the General Motors corporate entity that emerged from bankruptcy to take net operating loss (NOL) deductions losses incurred by the pre-bankruptcy GM entity:

… After the government joined private parties in purchasing most of General Motors’s property, the Secretary of the Treasury issued “the EESA Notices” which said that the usual tax rules would not apply and the purchasers could deduct $45 billion from their future corporate income, a tax asset worth an estimated $16 billion. The notice gave no justification for the exception, except that the TARP act gives the Secretary authority to do what is “necessary or appropriate to carry out the purposes of EESA.”

This paper argues that there is no legal or economic justification for the EESA Notices, even aside from the issue of whether the government should have bought the GM property. The scant attention paid to the large wealth transfer of the EESA Notices shows the danger of allowing this kind of tax ruling …

Any cost-benefit calculation concerning whether the GM bailout was worth it must consider this $16 billion break that no one else can get in their analysis, as well as many others, including heavy subsidies given to Ally Bank, the old GMAC. Most won’t.

Someone ought to bring this up to the President or his spokesmouths the next time they lecture us about “corporate tax breaks.” This one doozy probably cost us more than much of what they’re whining about does on an annual basis.

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Marvelous (really): “Wireless advances could mean no more cell towers.” Excerpt: “the wireless industry is planning a future without them, or at least without many more of them. Instead, it’s looking at much smaller antennas, some tiny enough to hold in a hand. These could be placed on lampposts, utility poles and buildings – virtually anywhere with electrical and network connections.”

Somewhat related, in a reader’s note to Instapundit: “Yesterday, about a week after Verizon announced its iphone data plans, AT&T notified me that the size of my data plan was now doubled (2GB up to 4GB) with no rate increase. Wow, this free-market competition stuff kinda works. Someone tell Obama.” He knows. I don’t think he or his FCC cares.

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I’m glad Ann Althouse caught this point about Ray LaHood’s banning of e-cigarettes on airline flights –

(from the related AP item) [Senator Frank Lautenberg, author of the 1987 smoking ban] said there had been confusion over their use and wanted to make sure officials were solidly opposed to opening the door to e-smoking on planes.

(Althouse’s comment) Opening the door? How dare a politician talk to us like that! The doors are open until they close them with laws.

Well Ann, that’s how it should be. Unfortunately with this administration, that’s not how it is. Who needs to pass laws when you can avoid all the hassles and just issue regulations?

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“Interest”-ing obfuscation at Bloomberg (“Geithner Quietly Tells Obama Debt Expense to Increase to Record”) –

Interest expense will rise to 3.1 percent of gross domestic product by 2016, from 1.3 percent in 2010 with the government forecast to run cumulative deficits of more than $4 trillion through the end of 2015, according to page 23 of a 24-page presentation made to a 13-member committee of bond dealers and investors that meet quarterly with Treasury officials.

Net interest expense will triple to an all-time high of $554 billion in 2015 from $185 billion in 2010, according to the Obama administration’s adjusted 2011 budget.

That’s if the government can continue to borrow at zero-risk rates, which is by no means guaranteed.

But the obfuscation is that despite comparing interest cost to GDP, the deficit itself, and to other countries, Bloomberg didn’t present what most people would want to know, which is what will happen to the percentage of all federal spending that will be gobbled up by interest.

Answer: It will go from about 5.2% in 2010 ($185 billion divided by $3.571 trillion) to 13.2% in 2015 ($554 trillion divided by $4.19 trillion).

Nibbling at the edges of the budget problem will not suffice.

Positivity: Hundreds of young Catholics hike, rally for life

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 5:58 am

From Tempe, Arizona:

Feb 6, 2011 / 01:15 pm

Choosing to carry an unplanned pregnancy to term almost seven years ago proved to be a life-threatening decision for one young Catholic woman.

Edel Carrick, a Scottsdale Catholic, shared her story during the annual Youth and Young Adult Rally for Life Jan. 21 at the All Saints Catholic Newman Center. The annual gathering, hosted by the diocesan Office of Marriage and Respect Life, marks the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

Carrick detailed before a crowd of teens, young adults, “the young at heart,” at least two deacon candidates and a few priests and women religious from throughout the diocese, how a simple encounter at a party led to a sexual assault and pregnancy. Couple that with Carrick’s diabetes and that left the then 19-year-old fighting for both her life and the life of her unborn son.

It started with Carrick’s first ultrasound.

Afterward, the doctor told Carrick that she would resent the baby, and because of the coming complications due to Carrick’s diabetes, it’d be best for her to have an abortion.

“I looked at him and said, ‘You’re a doctor. You’re supposed to help save lives, not kill them, so if you’d like to help the next person, feel free, but I’m done here,’” Carrick recalled.

Further complications sent paramedics to Carrick’s home weekly during her pregnancy and landed her in the hospital when she was seven-and-a-half months along and facing congestive heart failure. Carrick’s son was born shortly after by c-section at 7 lbs., 15 oz.

The baby spent the next month in intensive care.

“I remember saying, ‘I fought for you. You need to fight for me,’” Carrick told an almost spellbound crowd.

Shortly after that, she introduced her 6-year-old son and happily reported that he’s learning to read and excels at sports.

“That little boy is the one who people were telling me, ‘throw him away’,” Carrick said. …

Go here for the rest of the story.