Archive for February 25th, 2011
These are my links for February 25th from 19:14 to 19:44:
- Cato Institute Praises Pawlenty, Disses Daniels – Pawlenty's grades from Cato were slightly better than Daniels's during the years that both were in office. Here are the reports for 2010, 2008, 2006, 2004 in that order (click on any year to read the full report):
Pawlenty: A, B, C, B
Daniels: B, B, D, na
The two earned their low marks during the years when they agreed to tax hikes. But the fiscal records of both Daniels and Pawlenty compare favorably to other potential 2012 candidates who were governors during that same period:
Mike Huckabee (Ark.): na, na, F, D
Mitt Romney (Mass.): na, na, C, C
Haley Barbour (Miss.): C, D, C, na
Rick Perry (Tex.): B, B, B, D
Huckabee, the only aforementioned governor who was graded by Cato in previous years, got a "B" in 1998, a "C" in 2000, and a "C" in 2002. Cato doesn't score the governor of Alaska because of peculiarities of the state budget.
Read it all
- Report: California Pension benefits “unsustainable” – A respected California government watchdog commission issued a scathing report today on the state’s pension system, calling for cuts in benefits for current and future employees, caps on pensions, an end to “pension spiking” and other reforms.
The Commission on California State Government Organization and Economy, known as the Little Hoover Commission, calls the current system “unsustainable” and says it has morphed from a program that provided retirement security into one that seeks “wealth accumulation” for public employees.
The commission traces the growth in pension obligations to 1999, during the stock market’s dot-com boom, when lawmakers approved pension increases that included retroactive bumps for employees who were about to retire. About a quarter of the growth in pension costs can be traced to that legislation, the report says. About half of the growth is tied to an increase in the number of employees and their average salaries, and the rest is attributable to demographics and investment losses.
The most controversial proposal in the report is the idea of reducing benefits for current employees. Most pension experts have said that doing this would be legally questionable because the benefits are considered a “property right” that cannot be taken away. But the commission urges lawmakers to try this anyway, and test the legal theory in court.
Download the full report here.
A long legal battle if they change retirement benefits for existing employees.
- Internet sales tax: California legislation would tighten rules on Internet sales tax – latimes.com – For the third time in three years, California lawmakers are pushing for legislation to make it harder for Internet sellers to avoid collecting sales taxes, and prospects for getting it passed are stronger than ever.
Passing the bill is a question of "e-fairness," said Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), who is sponsoring one of several Internet sales tax bills.
It also would put an extra $300 million into the state's depleted coffers in its first year as a law, she said, and would add California to the growing group of states creating their own Internet sales tax rules.
A big mistake for a little money and Californians who are affiliates will lose their business/jobs.
I suspect there will be a federal court challenge as well.
- Ex-congressman tapped for Chapman law school dean | campbell, law, school – News – The Orange County Register – Chapman School of Law has selected former Congressman Tom Campbell as its new dean, betting on the prominent academic and veteran politician to continue the 15-year-old school's ascent among the nation's law colleges.
Campbell, 58, served as dean for the premier Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, and prior to that was a tenured law professor at Stanford University. Campbell accepted a visiting professorship at Chapman School of Law and moved to Irvine from the Bay Area in 2009, part of a strategy of to broaden his geographic base for a statewide political campaign.
The Republican then launched a campaign for governor before switching to the U.S. Senate race, in which he lost the primary to former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina. But Chapman is keeping him in town.
"I fell in love with Chapman," said Campbell, who graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School and has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago. "This opportunity is great and might not come again. This is huge."
Chapman School of Law has climbed steadily up the rankings since opening its doors in 1995, and cracked the top 100 in U.S. News and World Report's most recent ranking, landing at 93. It's 8.9 student-to-faculty ratio is seventh best on the list.
Chapman University President James Doti said that despite its rapid ascent, the law school is remains relatively unknown – and is turning to Campbell after a national search to help change that.
"One thing Tom Campbell will bring is recognition," he said, noting that Haas under Campbell's deanship went from 15th to second in the Wall Street Journal's ranking of business schools. "I'm quite confident in Tom recruiting the best and the brightest faculty, and the best and the brightest students."
Doti is scheduled to formally announce the selection of Campbell today.
I frankly don't care who Chapman Law School chooses as its Dean. But,
I do care if Tom Campbell a RINO extraordinnaire ever runs for public office again.
Campbell is a disaster and has moved from one political/government job after another.
Posted by Flap in Twitter
These are my links for February 25th from 13:49 to 14:32:
- Bashing Fox News? Call it free advertising for the network – Those who call it "fake news" may wish to reconsider giving Fox News Channel free advertising: FNC and Cablevision have announced a new multi-year carriage agreement, continuing Fox's presence in homes throughout New York, New Jersey, and my native Connecticut. This news comes despite constant attacks from the Left, primarily in the form of Media Matters, who consistently claims that Fox News is a kind of partisan propaganda outlet that needs to be exposed. Could it be that Media Matters' and other critics' constant drumtaps against Fox are helping to make it stronger?
In fact, Fox is still going strong. For nine years straight, the network has been on top of the pile. It's raking in more and more cash. During its coverage of the Egyptian uprising, Fox beat out MSNBC and CNN combined, the latter of which having had the historical advantage of being the international network. (Many networks risked a great deal to get in on the story, as CNN's Anderson Cooper, CBS's Lara Logan, and Fox News's Greg Palkot were all attacked during their coverage.)
Fox News continues to weather the attacks of the LEFT with even greater ratings success.
Bring it on = Roger Ailes
- Two more leftwing front groups exposed = Common Cause and Alliance for Justice Go After the Koch Brothers – The Post's Feb. 24 story did not explain that the letter had been the brainchild of AFJ. (It didn't provide any reference to Common Cause, which had been manning a nearly identical campaign.) But there it was: the same storyline about the Koch brothers and the attendance of Justice Thomas and Scalia at a Koch event. Moreover, the head of AFJ repeated the Koch storyline to The Post. "Nan Aron, director of the liberal group Alliance for Justice, said that if these rules were extended to the Supreme Court, none of the justices could attend 'overtly political meetings or events' like those sponsored by the Kochs." The Post report never identified her as head of AFJ, the author of the letter.
And so we have the second liberal front group in this scheme, AFJ. AFJ didn't identify itself on the letter to Congress, and I wouldn't have known it was behind the latest round of "get-the-Kochs" except for my work on Citizens United and Morrison's forthright answers.
In a subsequent post I'll look at what AFJ is and who funds them. But if you've been paying attention, you probably know all that, right?
- Gingrich: If Palin Took Obama Actions, There Would Be Calls for Impeachment – In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV Friday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said President Barack Obama’s decision not to fully enforce the Defense of Marriage law has sparked a constitutional crisis as he has directly violated his constitutional duties by arbitrarily suspending a law.
Gingrich for the first time raised the specter of Obama’s removal from office, noting that, if a “President Sarah Palin” had taken a similar action, there would have been immediate calls for her impeachment.
Obama Attorney General Eric Holder said on Wednesday that the administration will not defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act in the courts, which has banned recognition of same-sex marriage for 15 years. President Clinton signed the act into law in 1996.
Obama’s decision to forego a legal defense of the law has caused a firestorm of anger from conservative groups.
Gingrich slammed Obama for his decision, telling Newsmax that he is not a “one-person Supreme Court” and his decision sets a “very dangerous precedent” that must not be allowed to stand.
Indeed there would be.
Obama is not a one man Supreme Court and cannot FLEE from his responsibilities to enforce the laws
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Posted by Flap in Cosmetics
The above video is in response to this one which attempted to scare the bejesus out of folks using cosmetics.
Scaremongering about toxins in and toxins out raises my BS meter.
Many of the chemicals in cosmetics are already regulated and I know people are not dropping off because of their deodorant and/or lipstick. the original video is just another Big Government, Nanny State, anti-science diatribe by the pro-regulate everything crowd.
These are my links for February 25th from 10:40 to 10:50:
- The Untold Story of Scott Walker’s Longstanding History with Labor – Governor Scott Walker may be a new marvel to cable news, but he is certainly no stranger to Wisconsin politics. Scott K. Walker, son of a Baptist preacher, began his political career in the early 1990s when he ran for an Assembly seat in the State Legislature. Even as a young legislator in his twenties, Walker took a hard-line, penny-wise approach to labor unions. During a debate in 1993, Walker advocated reforming union laws that oversaw local government labor disputes. Little did he know that his career in Milwaukee politics would be tested and weighed by his exchange with those very laws.
After nine years in the State Legislature, Scott Walker campaigned for Milwaukee County Executive – a seat that no Republican in Wisconsin has ever occupied. But Milwaukee County was recently rocked by a massive pension scandal – one that had given away six-figure backdrops to hundreds of public employees. The area was ripe for a new breed of leadership, and Walker’s message of frugality and fiscal reform seemed to reverberate with the voters. In 2002, Milwaukee County elected Scott Walker, the first ever Republican County Executive.
As Executive, Walker’s skirmishes with unions began shortly after he promised he would balance county budgets without raising property taxes. Without counting on these revenue-raising mechanisms, Walker had to lean on the county workforce for program cuts.
In 2003, Detractors accused Walker of ginning up a false fiscal crisis in order to justify slashing budget items. Drumming up false budgetary crises became a perennial charge against Walker, so he didn’t waste opportunities to remind them that unfunded pension liabilities threatened the solvency of their county government.
In 2006, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) – Walker’s nemesis in all budgetary matters – criticized Walker for what they called a “Sky is Falling Tour.” A few months later (ironically), the Greater Milwaukee Committee – a private sector civic organization – released a damaging report recommending a state takeover of Milwaukee County's budget due to their daunting health care and pension costs.
Read it all
- Oregon Dem Rep. David Wu should step down | For lack of candor, not because of treatment – Now that an explanation for U.S. Rep. David Wu’s sometimes peculiar behavior has emerged, Oregon Democrats are saying that talk of a resignation is premature. The 1st District congressman says he has sought professional care, and supporters claim that seeking treatment should not disqualify a person for public office. They’re right, but that’s not the issue. The real problem is a lack of candor, and for that he should resign.
On Oct. 30, Wu’s staff members demanded that he check into a psychiatric hospital for treatment, according to The (Portland) Oregonian. Wu, who has represented Oregon’s 1st District since 1999, refused. Wu’s staff kept him away from public events in the final days of the campaign, and on Nov. 2 he was easily re-elected to a seventh term. Many of Wu’s top staff members have quit since the election, including his chief of staff, pollster and campaign treasurer.
Wu’s district extends from the northern Oregon Coast to the west side of Portland, and he has not been a frequent visitor to this part of the state. But people in Lane County who recall Wu’s off-key introduction of Barack Obama on the University of Oregon campus in 2008 have some understanding of reports of disjointed public appearances in his district and in Washington, D.C. His behavior in private has reportedly been even more erratic, leading staff members to stage their unsuccessful intervention.
Rep. Wu needs to resign and concentrate on his health.
- Oregon Rep. David Wu’s situation raises questions about why staff didn’t act sooner – The big question now is whether Wu can survive politically. I suspect that continuing coverage of his eccentricities will leave him no choice but resign or pledge not to run again in 2012.
I'm more interested in the answers to a different set of questions that might provide a greater lesson for us all: Who knew what when? And why didn't they act sooner to help a man whose behavior clearly called out for it?
Eccentricity should not preclude anyone from serving in public office. (If it did, the halls of power would be as empty as Manhattan in "I Am Legend.") Neither should addiction or depression disqualify talented public servants, as long as the conditions are acknowledged and treated. It's a wonder we don't hear more tales of members of Congress cracking from the combined strain of long hours, frequent travel, constant pressure to raise money and, even before the rise of the tea party, increasingly personal attacks from partisan foes.
More people, particularly more in powerful jobs, should feel comfortable openly discussing how they cope with stress; we should all understand that seeing a psychiatrist or taking anti-depressants is a sign of strength and self-awareness, not weakness. (Imagine this campaign victory speech: "I'd like to thank my wife, my children, my volunteers and the guy who invented Zoloft.")
Members of the House and Senate work inside a bubble of supportive staff. Aides handle their daily schedules, their travel arrangements, even their laundry. Wu's increasing agitation could not have escaped his staff's notice. And this was obviously not one bad month, despite Wu's suggestion to that effect on "Good Morning America." Political professionals don't decide to stage an intervention with their boss on the spur of the moment.
Yet his aides stayed with him, in some cases for years. The Democratic establishment tolerated and worked around him, through seven campaigns and an increasing number of whispers and raised eyebrows. From a political perspective, that's understandable. Wu holds a strong Democratic seat and knows how to raise money, particularly from out-of-state donors. You don't mess with that kind of success. Unless you care about the person at the heart of it.
In propping Wu up for so long, in staying quiet about what might lie behind his strange behavior, staff and the party power structure did a disservice to both the congressman and his constituents. Wu should explain his behavior. The people who shielded him for all these years as the pressure mounted should explain theirs, too.
Speaker at the time, Dem Rep Nancy Pelosi propped up this moron because she needed his vote.
She and the House Dem leadership should be ashamed of themselves
, Scott Walker