Flap’s Links and Comments for March 2nd from 14:05 to 14:10

Posted Posted in Pinboard Links

These are my links for March 2nd from 14:05 to 14:10:

  • California Still Barking Up the Wrong Tree for Taxes – The Amazon tax is back for debate. Again.  Despite court rulings that the thing is unconstitutional, despite proven records of failure in those states who have tried it, California’s Democratic leadership is again proposing the online tax.

    None of the excuses for this wasteful proposal make sense. Some retailers claim that taxes are needed to even the playing field between brick and mortar stores that do collect tax, and online retailers who do not. After all, that is why our local WalMart is suffering, right? But a recent LA Times article shows that retailers such as WalMart are hurting, not because they compete with Amazon, but because they have scaled back their merchandise offerings, forcing customers to look elsewhere to complete their shopping lists.  In fact, WalMart is not losing customers to online retailers so much as they are losing their customers to even lower priced offerings such as dollar stores. 

    Meanwhile, retailers like Amazon, using technology to streamline delivery processes, and offering a wide variety of items,  just posted major increases in sales. In this video from CNN  executives claim Amazon shows 26-40% growth, from the same time last year, with 15,000 employees hired in 2010. And yet, California’s Dems want to effectively slap one of the major employers in the US who is actually offering good paying jobs, with benefits.

    ++++++++

    But, California Democrats in the state legislature have never met a tax they did not like – even if it does not involve capturing that much revenue.

    To the LEFT, it is more about punishing people in the marketplace in search of a social justice "fairness."

  • Koch Brothers Receive Praise From Obama Administration – Progressives may have decided that businessmen and libertarian political benefactors David and Charles Koch are the latest harbingers of the vast right-wing conspiracy, but they could be shocked to learn that several Koch Industries subsidiaries have been working closely and productively with…the Obama administration.

    Specifically, it’s with Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency that Koch Industries has been playing nice. In Texas last fall, for instance, the Koch-owned Flint Hills Resources helped forge an agreement between the EPA and the Texas Commission on Environmental Equality in a regulation dispute. The move got the company praise from the EPA, calling the agreement a “model for other companies.” (…)

    The EPA under President Obama has also praised Koch subsidiaries Georgia-Pacific and Invista for their cooperation with the agency. Georgia-Pacific even won an award from the EPA in 2009. Leftists may complain that these right-wing bogeymen are unfairly challenging federal environmental regulations so they can “keep pumping out pollution for free,” but it seems the Obama administration has a lot of positive things to say about the brothers Koch.

    ++++++

    The Koch Brothers are businessmen and it is in their interests to NOT pollute the environment and alienate/poison their customers.

    The LEFT is laughable in their conspiracy theories regarding the Kochs

Flap’s Links and Comments for February 28th from 08:46 to 09:15

Posted Posted in Pinboard Links

These are my links for February 28th from 08:46 to 09:15:

  • Social media not so hot on the Hill – It raises the question: Are lawmakers putting too much time — or staff resources — into social media?

    Currently, only 8 percent of American adults who use the Internet use Twitter, according to a December 2010 study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

    “The ease at which constituents can communicate with their member has really diluted the quality of communications overall,” said one legislative director quoted in the study. “We get way too many e-mail inputs that forward the congressman some e-mail or YouTube link with ‘Is this true?’ as the only message.”

    But that hasn’t stopped new members such as Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) from embracing as many social media outlets as possible.

    “We have Foursquare, Twitter, Facebook — we’re trying to be in any medium we can,” said his spokeswoman, Stefani Zimmerman. “If it means he’s going to stay up an hour later checking his Facebook, that’s what he’s going to do.”

    +++++++

    Read it all.

    Probably because the Reps and Senators REALLY don't want to hear a critique of their jobs in real time.

    Social media also makes them more accountable to others outside their district who may fund opposition party candidates or a primary challenge.

    The Emperor Has No Clothes with social media.

  • Speaker John Boehner rips bid to regulate Internet – House Speaker John A. Boehner lashed out against efforts to regulate Internet traffic before an audience of evangelical Christian media leaders and pointedly responded to President Obama by comparing the challenge of the burgeoning national debt to the Sputnik-era space race.

    In a speech to religious broadcasters that received a sustained ovation at his conclusion, he said free expression is under attack by a power structure in Washington populated with regulators who have never set foot inside a radio station or a television studio.

    “We see this threat in how the FCC is creeping further into the free market by trying to regulate the Internet,” Mr. Boehner said.

    “The last thing we need, in my view, is the FCC serving as Internet traffic controller, and potentially running roughshod over local broadcasters who have been serving their communities with free content for decades,” he said to loud applause from members of the National Religious Broadcasters, a trade group holding its annual convention here.

    +++++++

    Read it all

    The Obama Administration is going into overdrive to regulate more of the economy, including the internet.

  • Cuban vs. Bissinger: NBA owner and journalist have Twitter smackdown – What happens when a billionaire entrepreneur and NBA team owner uses Twitter to criticize an outspoken Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist?

    Followers of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and author and Daily Beast columnist Buzz Bissinger found out Sunday. The result: A profanity-laced, 86-tweet rant by Bissinger that took place over a span of four hours. The two then set up — using Twitter, of course — a face-to-face meeting for Tuesday.

    It started Sunday when Cuban tweeted that Bissinger was "a coward." The tweet was sent in response to Bissinger's Feb. 17 column titled "NBA All-Star Game: White Men Can't Root." The piece doesn't mention Cuban, but argues that there's a race problem between the NBA and its white fans.

    "Are whites losing interest in a game in which the number of white American players not only continues to dwindle, but no longer features a superstar?" Bissinger wrote. "Yes."

    After Cuban's "coward" comment, Bissinger rattled off a couple dozen tweets and responded to users in true Bissinger form (plenty of cursing).

    Cuban eventually returned to Twitter with a comment directed at Bissinger's column: "Yr editor asked you to write about a topic you dont know & had no interest in researching…"

    At this point Daily Beast editor, and former Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz chimed in: "Hey, @mcuban, I asked @buzzbissinger to write *something* about basketball, but he chose the racial topic, knowing it'd be controversial."

    +++++++

    Ha Ha!

    I blocked Mark Cuban early in Twitter adoption.

    As Yoda would say: A JERK he is.

  • Chris Christie on Wisconsin, Scott Walker and Collective Bargaining – Asked if Gov. Scott Walker has "gone too far," Christie responded:

    Bob, let me tell you what — what went on in New Jersey. My predecessor, Governor Corzine, stood on the front steps of the Capitol at a public-sector union rally and said, "I'll fight to get you a good contract." And I thought to myself, watching that, who's he fighting with? Once he says that, the fight's over. What I believe in is true adversarial collective bargaining. And so, every state is different. I'm not going to micromanage Wisconsin from Trenton, New Jersey. I know Scott Walker. I like him. And I trust him. And I think he believe he's doing what's in the best interest of Wisconsin, the same way I'm going to do what I think needs to be done for New Jersey, which is, to reform the pension system and roll back health benefits for public-sector workers, to put them more in line with the rest of the population in New Jersey, to put us on a long-term path to fiscal stability.
    But aren't collective bargaining rights inviolate? Christie, a former U.S. attorney reminds us:

    Now listen. All these rights are legislatively created. They didn't come down from tablets at the top of a mountain. And so, political things change and go back and forth. And every state is going to make their own determination on that. Wisconsin is in the middle of making that determination. As you know, Bob, there are plenty of states in America where that right doesn't exist. And so, each state has to make their own determination on that.

    But it's not the legal precision of the answer that is exceptional. What stands out is his utter candor. I frankly can't imagine another politician debunking the notion that public employees have a God-given right to collectively bargain.

    +++++++

    Read it all.

    Agreed

Flap’s Links and Comments for February 25th from 19:14 to 19:44

Posted Posted in Pinboard Links

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.