November 26, 2011

AP’s Kuhnhenn Runs Interference for Washington to Do Nothing About Debt and Deficits Until 2013

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:35 pm

It seems that everyone in Washington believes that there is zero chance of any kind of economic calamity befalling this nation until January 2013, even though the government is on track to stay on self-destructive autopilot until then. I do not understand how or why anyone can be that confident.

Jim Kuhnhenn at the Associated Press, aka the Administration’s Press, almost gleefully participated in that denial on Thursday in presenting the following paragraphs (bolds are mine throughout this post):

Beginning in 2013, the federal government faces two oncoming trains. When the supercommittee was unable to find agreement by Wednesday, it triggered spending cuts of $1.2 trillion starting in January 2013 and extending over 10 years. Half of the cuts would come from defense spending, the other from education, agriculture and environmental programs, and, to a lesser extent, Medicare.

At the same time, tax cuts adopted during the presidency of George W. Bush will expire at the end of 2012, meaning an increase for every taxpayer.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said the cuts would “tear a seam in the nation’s defense.”

Meanwhile, the tax increases would hit a still-fragile economy, endangering a recovery and raising prospects of another recession.

Kuhnhenn pretends that the two jumbo-sized locomotives which are chugging merrily along and continually building up steam right now, namely the national debt and the nation’s budget deficit, aren’t even there. The word “debt” appears only once in his report, but only in reference to the “debt crisis this summer” without saying how big the debt is. While the word “deficit” frequently appears, the AP reporter never tells readers what Uncle Sam’s reported deficits have been ($4 trillion during the last three fiscal years) or what they’re projected to be, according to the Congressional Budget Office (Page XI at link; $973 billion in fiscal 2012, and a combined $3.7 trillion — in my view, a very unrealistically low figure — in the nine years which follow).

The national debt train is over $15 trillion and has been growing at a rate of at least $1.5 trillion per year. As noted, the CBO projects that the deficit train will accumulate $4.7 trillion in shortfalls over the next ten years.

But Kuhnhenn, like almost everyone else in Washington, appears to only want to talk about politics, coming down on the side of effectively complimenting President Obama for his noninvolvement. Really:

While Republicans have criticized Obama for not engaging directly in the supercommittee negotiations, his hands-off approach was calculated, coming in the aftermath of his own failed attempts to strike a deficit deal with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. In a gridlocked Congress, Obama is more likely to lose if he gets deeply involved.

The detachment allows him to set a clear dividing line for voters, one in which he can cast Republicans as protecting the rich. It’s a stance that for now has political appeal. A number of recent public opinion polls show that up to two-thirds of Americans support raising taxes on individuals earning more than $1 million, and about half favor raising taxes on families earning at least $250,000 a year.

Even if some Republicans were disposed to negotiate a new deficit-reduction plan, Obama’s sharpening of the lines between the parties could drive them away.

“If the president has decided that he is now in full campaign mode, that’s going to make things very difficult in terms of finding common ground,” said David Winston, a GOP strategist who advises House Republican leaders.

As I’ve noted and others have stated, the president and his team are deliberately endangering the country’s ability to survive its next 14 months solely in the name of achieving his reelection. That’s the real news, Jim — and shame on you for trying to make the unacceptable palatable by pretending we’re not in trouble in the here and now.

Cross-posted at

Sherrod Brown, No Friend Of Ohioans

Filed under: Economy,Ohio Economy,Ohio Politics,Taxes & Government — Rose @ 11:25 am

From Josh Mandel for US Senate:

I thought you might want to see the video below that we just released about the massive job loss caused by Sherrod Brown’s failed and extremist policies.

From championing “Card Check”, to casting the deciding vote on the government takeover of health care, to refusing to support hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas exploration in the Utica shale, to increasing the EPA’s authority to over-regulate Ohio manufacturers, Sherrod Brown’s job-killing policies have put hundreds of thousands of Ohioans out of work.

Sherrod Brown likes to try to be one person in DC and a different person in Ohio, but the nice thing about video, is that he can longer get away with that.

Sherrod Brown’s been running for political office since Richard Nixon was President, has been in Washington for two decades, and simply put — it just ain’t working.

It isn’t working in Ohio where during Sherrod’s last decade as a DC politician, 1 out of every 4 jobs that has left America, left from Ohio. And it isn’t working in Washington, where Sherrod’s extremist policies have put Medicare and Social Security on the brink of bankruptcy.

As this video depicts, next November’s election will be about jobs. While Sherrod Brown and his ultra-liberal allies will attempt to convince the media to cover anything except Sherrod’s jobs record, we will speak directly to the people of Ohio and ask them a simple question:

If Sherrod Brown was the answer, wouldn’t the problem be solved by now?

Best regards,
Joe Aquilino
Political Director
Josh Mandel for US Senate

The video:

I’ll put it more succinctly: If you think that Sherrod Brown is the answer, then you’re [still] asking really stupid questions. Zheesh.

Positivity: Fred Meijer dies at 91

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 9:25 am

FredMeijerNov2011RIPOne of the underappreciated giants of business who built a Midwestern retail powerhouse has passed away.

How underappreciated? Read on (bolds are mine; a photo gallery and several other stories are at the link above):

Published: Friday, November 25, 2011, 11:16 PM
Updated: Saturday, November 26, 2011, 7:16 AM

Frederik Meijer, the Grand Rapids billionaire credited with inventing the supercenter store format in 1962 that made his Meijer chain a successful Midwest retailer and was copied by Sam Walton for his chain Wal-Mart, died Friday at age 91.

The Meijer family confirmed his death in a statement. He would have turned 92 next month.

“Fred Meijer, Chairman Emeritus of Meijer Corp., passed away Friday evening, November 25, 2011 at the Spectrum Health System in Grand Rapids, Michigan after suffering a stroke in his home in the early morning hours,” the statement said.

…. Mr. Meijer’s rise in the world of business began simply enough in Greenville during the depths of the Great Depression. When his father, Hendrik, a Dutch immigrant, couldn’t find a tenant for the space above his barber shop, he opened a small grocery there in 1934.

… In 1942, he and his father opened a second store in Cedar Springs, and a few years later, Mr. Meijer married Lena Rader, a cashier in the Greenville store. In 1949, they opened a third store on Fuller Avenue in Grand Rapids. The chain continued to grow, and, in 1962, father and son considered a venture unprecedented in the retail business: combining a grocery store with a general merchandise discount store.

On the verge of going ahead with it, Mr. Meijer asked his father, “What should we do?“

Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (112611)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:30 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.


Positivity: Mom — Pothole saved girl’s life

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:00 am

From Florence, Kentucky:

5:58 PM, Nov. 19, 2011

You never hear anyone say it, but Laci Davis’ parents have said it many times over the past week.

“Thank God for the pothole.”

Because it was a Cincinnati pothole that saved Laci’s life, said her mother Amanda Cullum.

Last week, while at school in the third grade at Collins Elementary in Florence, Laci says she was playing with her 2.5 cm-wide gold, heart-shaped locket. She took off the necklace, which she fumbled. The necklace fell into her mouth and went down her throat.

The school called Amanda, who rushed to the scene and took her daughter to St. Elizabeth Medical Center. Laci was already complaining that her chest hurt and she was finding it difficult to breathe. To make it worse she could only talk in a whisper. The officials there told her to go to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cullum said.

“Laci was crying, saying it hurt, and we had her spitting into a bucket because she said it hurt to swallow,” Cullum said. “I was freaking out.”

Then, as they drove to Children’s, the family ran over a huge pothole on Reading Road near the United Way store. The hole was massive, nearly taking up the entire side of the street.

The jarring caused the locket to discharge from Laci’s esophagus, forcing it to travel all the way down her throat.

At that moment, things began to change. “I feel better now,” Laci told her mother.

Laci said could swallow and the pain in her chest was gone. She could speak again.

Cullum had to focus. “I was so mad about that pothole I had to think about what was happening.”

Not wanting to risk anything more being wrong, Cullum took Laci to Children’s Hospital to make sure she was okay. Doctors told her the locket should now come out naturally.

Doctors confirmed the hole actually did something remarkable, and the family is now waiting for the ordeal to be over.

“That pothole – it saved her life,” Cullum said. “They may still have to go in there and get the locket out, but that’s better than what could’ve happened. …

Go here for the rest of the story.

Neurosurgeon to Mark Levin: Obamacare Envisions No Advanced Neurosurgical Care for Those Over 70


Transcript of first half of audio, after brief introductories (HT Doug Ross):

Jeff: I heard you talk earlier about the government not knowing how to make pencils and you talked about brain surgeons. And I happen to be a brain surgeon, so I found your topic quite interesting.

I just returned from Washington, DC, where we were reading over what the Obama health care plan would be for advanced neurosurgery for patients over 70, which we all found quite disturbing. As our population gets older, the majority of our patients are getting over 70. They’ll require stroke therapy, aneurysm therapy, and basically what the document stated is that if you’re over 70 and you come into an emergency room… if you’re on government-supported health care, you’ll get “comfort care”.

Mark Levin: Wait a minute… what’s the source for this?

Jeff: This is Obama’s new health care plan for advanced neurosurgical care.

ML: And who issued this? HHS?

Jeff: Yes. And basically they don’t call them patients, they call them units. And instead of, they call it “ethics panels” or “ethics committees”, would get together and meet and decide where the money would go for hospitals, and basically for patients over 70 years of age, that advanced neurosurgical care was not generally indicated.

ML: So it’s generally going to be denied?

Jeff: Yes, absolutely… If someone comes in at 70 years of age with a bleed in their brain, I can promise you I’m not going to get a bunch of administrators together on an ethics panel at 2 in the morning to decide that I’m OK to do surgery.

ML: Is this published somewhere where the general public could get a hold of it?

Jeff: Not yet.

ML: So this was just discussed with your community of neurosurgeons?

Jeff: Yes, the AANS [Ed: the American Association of Neurological Surgeons] and the Congress of Neurosurgeons, because everybody knows that cuts are coming in Medicare and medical reimbursement. And we’re the most expensive out of all the fields in medicine. And we’re the smallest field. But at two, three, four in the morning, we’re the ones in the operating room. And we have to wait for an ethics panel to convene, which are not made of physicians — they’re made of administrators. To decide whether a patient should receive our care.

ML: So Sarah Palin was right. We’re going to have these “death panels”, aren’t we?

Jeff: Oh, absolutely. I’m German by heritage, and I’ve read The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, and — basically, they don’t call them patients, they call them units. And if you’re a unit above a certain age, you get comfort care instead of advanced neurosurgical intervention.

ML: You went to a seminar in Washington, DC?

Jeff: Yes. Where a few of my former partners, two of them, have gone to work… one for the Veteran’s Administration and one for the Congress of Neurosurgeons out of DC.

ML: And this information is based, you’re certain, on representations and information provided by HHS and other government officials?

Jeff: Yep.

ML: And when will the rest of us become aware of it? After the [presidential] election?

Jeff: Probably. I mean, there’s so many things that the government keeps under control that are used — things called H.U.D. devices — humanitarian use devices that we’re allowed to use now because they haven’t undergone full FDA approval. And they’re used in surgery because people know it’s the right thing to do. But the government can step in at any time, like they did two months ago with a device, and say, ‘this device hasn’t met what we want’ and there’s no exact criteria, and can therefore take it away from us.

ML: And the people telling you what to do — they don’t know how to make a pencil, do they?

Jeff: Exactly. That’s what I’m saying. You know, we always joke around — ‘it’s not brain surgery’ — but I did nine years after medical school, I’ve been in training ten years, and now I have people who don’t know a thing about what I’m doing telling me when I can and can’t operate.

As Doug indicated, it’s Politifact, which called “death panels” the “lie of the year” in 2009, whose pants are on fire, not Sarah Palin, who coined the term “death panels” (and used quotes, which everyone conveniently forgets), and could not be more right.