November 11, 2011

Ad Age Writer Blames ‘Grinch’ Drudge for Demise/Delay of ‘Christmas Tree Tax’

RealChristmasTree1111Kerem Ozkan at Advertising Age is not happy with Matt Drudge for having the nerve to call a USDA-administered fee imposed on growers of Christmas trees a “Christmas Tree Tax” (link is Drudge Archive item containing the referenced headline).

Actually (Ozkan recognizes this), Drudge didn’t start it. David Addington at Heritage did. Here are excerpts from Ozkan’s not-so-fine whine, during which he inadvertently demonstrates to readers why Drudge’s characterization was correct:

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A Half a Loaf in Ohio’s Issues Election

YesOnIssue2and3While an attempt at public-sector reform was defeated, ObamaCare suffered an epic fail.

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Note: This column went up at Pajamas Media and was teased here at BizzyBlog on Wednesday. Bolds below were added by me for today’s BizzyBlog appearance.

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So what was the bigger news out of Ohio Tuesday night:

  • That Ballot Issue 2, which aimed to retain a law passed earlier this year that among other things required reasonable public-sector employee contributions towards pension and healthcare costs and limited the scope of collective bargaining, failed by 61%-39%?
  • Or that Issue 3, a state constitutional amendment which set out to legally hard-wire into Ohio’s Constitution prohibitions against forcing anyone to participate in a health insurance plan or to purchase health insurance, passed by 66%-34%?

If you’re in the establishment press, the former means everything and the latter supposedly means nothing. The Associated Press, whose reporters are not so coincidentally represented by an aggressive, far-left union, is trumpeting Issue 2′s failure as one of organized labor’s “biggest victories in decades.” Decades? All of a sudden Barack Obama’s election in 2008 doesn’t count? Meanwhile, searches at the AP’s main site indicate that Issue 3 isn’t even on its national wire.

The truth is that for both Ohio and the other 49 states in the union, the Issue 3 result is potentially far more important, while in the Buckeye State itself, Issue 2′s failure doesn’t repeal the state’s growing fiscal challenges.

Issue 3 was an epic, unqualified victory for the Ohio Healthcare Freedom Alliance, the Tea Party-driven organization which orchestrated a successful petition drive and managed the fall campaign. By significant majorities in each and every one of Ohio’s 88 counties, Buckeye State residents told Washington, in the words of Chris Littleton at the Ohio Liberty Council, that:

  • “… healthcare decisions should be in our hands – not the hands of politicians and bureaucrats.”
  • “… mandates which compel behavior, through threat of penalties and fines, fundamentally limit personal freedom.”
  • “… our rights to liberty and property … (are violated by) the federal mandate to purchase government defined health insurance.”
  • “… Ohio must take a stand on freedom of choice in healthcare to protect both our state and nation moving forward.”

Majorities in every county agreed with these four assertions. The margin of Issue 3′s victory was over ten points in every county save one. It passed handily in bluer-than-blue Cuyahoga County (margin: 58-42), home of the “Little Detroit” known as Cleveland (1950 population: 915,000; 2010 population: 397,000). Issue 3 even passed in Lucas County (margin: 56-44), home of Toledo, where a conservative Republican is even harder to find than a public-sector union rep willing to give up any pay, perks, or privileges. Issue 3′s tightest margin was in Ohio University-dominated Athens County, where it still passed by over five points. At least ten suburban and rural counties racked up victories by margins of greater than 3-to-1. Additionally, do not forget that Issue 3′s gigantic rout was achieved in an off-year election where Democrats and public-sector union employees were clearly far more motivated to turn out than the rest of Ohio’s voters.

Above all, and contrary to the establishment media’s furious spin, Issue 3 was no mere “Well, whaddaya think?” exercise. It also wasn’t “largely symbolic,” as a terse, unbylined regional report from AP arrogantly claimed. Symbolize this, guys and gals in the press and throughout the USA: The Ohio Healthcare Freedom Amendment’s text is now embedded in Ohio’s Constitution. Anyone who doesn’t like that result is going to have to force it out of there. It won’t be easy, even with the help of all of Dear Leader Barack Obama’s horses and all of Eric Holder’s men and women, assuming they even hang around long enough to see such an effort through. Any federal or other attempt to undo Issue 3 is by no means assured of success, even if the Supreme Court erroneously rules that ObamaCare itself passes constitutional muster. Folks in other states who wish to protect their fundamental freedoms should seriously consider going the same route as Ohio just did.

Though it wouldn’t have changed the result, part of the blame for the size of Issue 2′s loss rests with a disjointed, unfocused campaign effort which failed to counter opponents’ non-stop stream of flat-out falsehoods. Getting outspent 3-to-1 by largely out-of-state labor interests obviously didn’t help either.

As for the real-world impact of Issue 2′s failure, Kevin O’Brien at the Cleveland Plain Dealer identified it quite succinctly a few days before the election: “Advice to low-on-the-totem-pole union members: Don’t bother celebrating. Do get your resumes in order.”

I would add: “And quickly.” That’s because while Ohioans were voting down Issue 2, they also resoundingly rejected the mother’s milk of the public sector and its unions: tax increases. In Northeast Ohio, “most (school) districts seeking additional money were turned down,” including Akron, which will “have to find a way to trim $22 million from its budget.” The song was the same in Southwest Ohio, where layoffs loom in Cincinnati and five other local school districts after levy defeats.

B-B-B-But I thought massive layoffs were going to happen if Issue 2 passed? Some layoffs might have occurred anyway, but the fact is that if the law known as “SB5″ had survived, districts would be better able to keep staff on board because of the law’s cost-sharing requirements, and would at least know that they can keep future wage increases at or below inflation. The track record of unions, especially those in the public sector, budging on any issue involving reduced pay or benefits is dismal. When faced with a choice between any kind of cut or layoffs, they have historically opted to jettison junior members — a tactic properly described as “eating their young” — even if some of those let go are outstanding workers or even teachers of the year.

The fiscal math which caused Ohio’s three largest newspapers to reluctantly support Issue 2′s passage hasn’t changed. Governor John Kasich and Ohio’s legislative majority will have to at least piecemeal some of SB5′s critical financial elements into law next year, because Ohio is not as far from becoming another disaster like Illinois as we might complacently like to believe.

Meanwhile, any time someone on the left tells you that the American people will eventually come to accept state-controlled health care, point to the Buckeye State. We – Ohio and the rest of the country — aren’t ObamaCare. That stance will prove far more relevant to 2012′s presidential election than Ohio Issue 2.

‘The Cain Scrutiny’ Update: Pruden Again

HermanCainSmall0611The former take-no-prisoners editor at the Washington Times is making following “The Cain Scrutiny” almost tolerable with his insightful analysis.

Here are a few key points from his read-the-whole-thing (as they all are) writeup:

No Toaster For Herman Cain

The great media toaster isn’t broken, exactly, but it doesn’t work like it once did. By all accounts, Herman Cain should be toast now, served hot, a bit scorched around the edges and left unbuttered. But try as they might, his tormentors have not yet had him for breakfast.

The most telling phenomenon this year is the rise and improbable survival of Herman Cain, and what it says about the cheerful goodwill of an oft-maligned American public often accused by liberals of racism, bigotry, indifference, nativism and maybe even mopery. He has done almost everything wrong, as conventional politics is played.

… Still, he has so far escaped the toaster, even when his Republican rivals began to think it was safe to start piling on. Mitt Romney, discreet at first, hinted that it was time for Mr. Cain to come clean. Newt Gingrich, ever the professor unable to stifle a runaway mouth, lectured his “good friend” that he has to “have an answer [to all the questions] and it better be accurate because if it’s not accurate it won’t stand.” You might think that the professor, with the history of emotional abuse of several wives, would have avoided the subject of the sins of others.

The real story here is that racial politics is dead, if the left will allow it.

The emergence of Mr. Cain as a credible conservative candidate undercuts the liberal canard that the Republican Party is a hopelessly racist party.

Meanwhile, the two most recent polls listed at Real Clear Politics show Cain and Mitt Romney essentially dead even, with no other opponent breaking 13% in either poll. But discerning a trend, if any, is difficult, as one shows Cain improving, while the other shows a Romney pickup:

  • USA Today/Gallup (in the previous case labeled “Gallup”) went from 20-18 Romney to a 21-21 tie most recently.
  • NBC/WSJ went from 27-23 Cain to 28-27 Romney.

The RCP average, which now contains four post-harassment charges polls out of the most recent six in the calculation, still has Cain with a 2-point lead.

There hasn’t been a new poll sighting at Zogby in two weeks. Each of his last three showed Cain leading by 20 points or more.

Friday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (111111)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:00 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder follows. Other topics are also fair game.

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Obama-endorsed (proof here, here, and here) Occupy Update: Gee, I thought I would start running short of material in a few days. Not a chance –

  • Oakland (HT PJ Tatler) — “Man shot, killed near Occupy Oakland encampment.” Now this may or may not be Occupy-related, but if it isn’t, the following behavior would be difficult to explain: “Occupy Oakland protesters told the media that the shooting had nothing to do with the encampment and didn’t involve any activists. Prote(st)ers surrounded the scene of the shooting and made a human chain to keep photographers from filming the victim.” Protecting the victims’ privacy? Possibly, but that seems a stretch. Update: What led to a person’s death was reportedly an argument over “a bag of weed.”
  • More Oakland (“Occupy campers shout down Oakland council members”) — “Tension escalated between Occupy Oakland and city leaders Wednesday when protesters swarmed a news conference held by five council members who were calling for the immediate dismantling of the encampment outside City Hall.”
  • Charleston, SC — “Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann was about 10 minutes into a foreign policy speech in South Carolina on Thursday when she was drowned out by the shouting of (Occupy Charleston) protesters.”
  • Atlanta“Tuberculosis Breaks Out At Occupy Atlanta’s Base.”
  • Vermont“After shooting, part of Occupy Burlington camp closed; protesters gather at church.” Interesting how the headline kept the fact that the shooting was, uh, well, FATAL out of the headline (Update: It’s now being reported as a suicide).
  • Portland, Oregon (“Occupy Portland: Mayor Sam Adams orders camps cleared at 12:01 a.m. Sunday”) — “‘Crime, especially reported assaults, has increased in the area,’ he said. ‘Occupy has had a considerable time to share its movement’s message with the public but has lost control of the camps it has created.’” When you’ve lost the lefty government in Portland, there’s almost no one left.
  • San Francisco“The crime reports coming out of the Occupy SF encampment at Justin Herman Plaza are mounting, San Francisco police said, with cops dealing with incidents of gun possession, assault on a city worker and trespassing on the new holiday ice rink in the past two days.”
  • As of 11 p.m. last night, John Nolte’s clearly incomplete but nevertheless very useful incident compilation at BigJournalism.com had hit the 200 mark.

Remind me again: What was this “Occupy Movement” supposed to be about?

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At CNS News“ICE Ordered Agents Not to Arrest Illegals”

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Rush Limbaugh“Plug-In Car Industry Goes Up in Smoke.”

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Disturbing quote of the day from a supposed businessperson — “Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn is on the record saying his business model is built upon perpetual government funding to production of EVs.”

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One place you won’t see yours truly at the time indicated“Walmart moves Black Friday to Thanksgiving night” at 10 p.m.

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At Powerline“United States Is Getting Colder, Not Warmer”

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That’s it, he should resign“Holder Refuses To Apologize For Murder Of Border Agent; Says Fast & Furious Didn’t Lead To Death.” The heck it didn’t. Any Attorney General who takes such a truth-be-damned approach to sworn testimony to Congress has no right holding his position.

Positivity: History of Veterans Day

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

VeteransDayAll veterans today deserve a salute for serving their country. Heartfelt thanks to all for their service.

From the US Department of Veterans Affairs:

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11 a.m.

The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:

Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and

Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and

Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.

President Eisenhower signing HR7786, changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day. Standing (l. to r.) are: Alvin J. King, Wayne Richards, Arthur J. Connell, John T. Nation, Edward Rees, Richard L. Trombla, Howard W. Watts.

President Eisenhower signing HR7786, changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day. Standing (l. to r.) are: Alvin J. King, Wayne Richards, Arthur J. Connell, John T. Nation, Edward Rees, Richard L. Trombla, Howard W. Watts.

An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday – - a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

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Later that same year, on October 8th, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first “Veterans Day Proclamation” which stated: “In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible.” (Click here for the full text of the proclamation.)

On that same day, the President sent a letter to the Honorable Harvey V. Higley, Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs (VA), designating him as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee. Click here for the text of President Eisenhower’s letter.)

In 1958, the White House advised VA’s General Counsel that the 1954 designation of the VA Administrator as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee applied to all subsequent VA Administrators. Since March 1989 when VA was elevated to a cabinet level department, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has served as the committee’s chairman.

The Uniforms Holiday Bill (Public Law 90-363 (82 Stat. 250)) was signed on June 28, 1968, and was intended to insure three-day weekends for Federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. It was thought that these extended weekends would encourage travel, recreational and cultural activities and stimulate greater industrial and commercial production. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holidays on their original dates.

The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on October 25, 1971. It was quite apparent that the commemoration of this day was a matter of historic and patriotic significance to a great number of our citizens, and so on September 20th, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed Public Law 94-97 (89 Stat. 479), which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978. This action supported the desires of the overwhelming majority of state legislatures, all major veterans service organizations and the American people.

Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. Veterans Day, 1954
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