• Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links and Comments for April 18th on 18:41

    These are my links for April 18th from 18:41 to 18:49:

    • Speaker John Boehner asks Dem Nancy Pelosi to join him in cutting funds from the DoJ to defend DOMA – Speaker John Boehner asked House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi's for her support to cut funds for the Department of Justice and use them to defend the Defense of Marriage Act.

      In a letter sent to Pelosi (D-Calif.) Monday, Boehner (R-Ohio) wrote that the funds Justice would have used to protect the law should be used by the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) to protect the act.

      "The burden of defending DOMA, and the resulting costs associated with any litigation that would have otherwise been born by DoJ, has fallen to the House," Boehner wrote. "Obviously, DoJ’s decision results in DoJ no longer needing the funds it would have otherwise expended defending the constitutionality of DOMA. It is my intent that those funds be diverted to the House for reimbursement of any costs incurred by and associated with the House, and not DoJ, defending DOMA."

      The speaker also argued the funds Justice would have used to defend DOMA should be used by BLAG so that taxpayers aren't burdened with the additional expenses.


      Yeah and pigs fly.

      By the way, Nancy Pelosi represents most of San Francisco where a large gay population resides.

    • Illinois-based Amazon affiliates go dark because of Amazon Internet Sales Tax – JEREMY HOBSON: Today is the day thousands of retailers in Illinois had been dreading. That's because they'll lose their affiliation with online retailers like Amazon and Overstock.com, thanks to a new state sales tax for online purchases.

      But as Tony Arnold reports from Chicago Public Radio, Amazon and others have already found a way around the tax.

      TONY ARNOLD: Brad Wilson runs the aptly named BradsDeals.com — a coupon web site based in downtown Chicago.

      BRAD WILSON: Ultimately, Amazon and Overstock hold the trump card in this situation.

      Wilson says after today — Amazon will boycott business with BradsDeals — and roughly 9,000 other retailers in Illinois to skirt the tax. Illinois residents can still go online and get the latest best seller from Amazon, they just won't be getting that book from any Amazon affiliate in Illinois.

      WILSON: We're looking at a lot of options that I wouldn't want to have ever had to think of, unfortunately.

      Wilson says he's considering picking up shop and relocating to another state to make up for the money he'll lose. He wouldn't say how much.

      One Amazon affiliate — FatWallet.com — has already moved its headquarters from Illinois to Wisconsin which doesn't have the online tax. Amazon did not respond to requests for comment.

      Meantime, Overstock.com's president Jonathan Johnson confirmed his company plans to cut off Illinois affiliates on May 1st. Others like Zappos and Shoes.com are planning a similar move.


      Just like they will do in California if the California Democrats have their way with imposing a California based Amazon Tax.

  • Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links and Comments for April 13th on 16:04

    These are my links for April 13th from 16:04 to 19:10:

    • Tim Pawlenty urges lawmakers to reject 2011 budget deal – Likely GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty on Wednesday urged lawmakers to reject the budget deal designed to avert a government shutdown. 

      Pawlenty, who presided over a state shutdown as governor of Minnesota, said that the bipartisan deal that would cut $39.9 billion in spending from this year's budget does not make enough reductions.

      President Obama's lack of seriousness on deficit reduction is crystal clear when you look at the budget deal he insisted on to avoid a government shutdown," he said in a statement. "It's no surprise that President Obama and [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid [D-Nev.] forced this budget, but it should be rejected. America deserves better."


      As they should.

    • CBO Says Budget Deal Will Cut Spending by Only $352 Million – A Congressional Budget Office analysis of the fiscal 2011 spending deal that Congress will vote on Thursday concludes that it would cut spending this year by less than one-tenth of what both Republicans or Democrats have claimed.
      A comparison prepared by the CBO shows that the omnibus spending bill, advertised as containing some $38.5 billion in cuts, will only reduce federal outlays by $352 million below 2010 spending rates. The nonpartisan budget agency also projects that total outlays are actually some $3.3 billion more than in 2010, if emergency spending is included in the total.
      The astonishing result, according to CBO, is the result of several factors: increases in spending, especially at the Defense Department; decisions to draw over half of the savings from recissions; and cuts to reserve funds and and money for mandatory-spending programs that might never have been spent.


      Figures and I sure wouldn't vote for this turkey.

    • Obama: Still No Salesman – Obama’s anti-Ryan speech:

       1) Obama tends to defend the welfare state in ineffective paleolib terms. It’s mostly “compassion” and taking “responsibility for …  each other,” whether we work or not. But most of the welfare state is now at least in theory work-tested–and Clinton showed it is much easier to defend if you say it’s what citizens get if they go to work every day, etc.

       2) The all powerful Independent Payment Advisory Board will save us! This is always Obama’s deficit solution. Democracy can’t handle the truth!(“It is very difficult to imagine the country making those decisions just through the normal political channels.”) But will Congress freely cede power over who gets what treatment to an unelected “advisory” board of experts? It happens with the Fed. But health care involves actual constituents living and dying;

      3) The speech defines a failure to tax the rich–i.e. keeping rates where they are–as “spending.” Way too clever;


      Read it all

    • Rep. Paul Ryan responds – Perhaps the president’s most egregious gimmicks were on health care:

      • Instead of proposing structural reforms that would actually reduce health care costs, the President proposed across-the-board cuts to current seniors’care.

      • Strictly limits the amount of health care seniors can receive within the existing structure of unsustainable government health care programs.

      • Gives more power to unelected bureaucrats in Washington to determine what treatments seniors should or shouldn’t get, against a backdrop of costs that continue to rise.

      • Conceded that the relentlessly rising cost of health care is the primary reason why the nation is threatened by debt, and implicitly conceded that his health care law failed to solve the problem.

      • Eviscerates the only competitive element anywhere in health-care entitlement programs — the competition amongst Part D prescription-drug plans — which allowed the drug benefit to come in 41 percent under budget.

      • Acknowledges that the open-ended financing of Medicaid is a crippling financial burden to both states and the federal government, but explicitly rejected the only solution to this problem, which is to give states the freedom they need to design systems that work for the unique needs of their own populations.


      Now, if Paul Ryan were to run for the Presidency…..

      I am sure he is on everyone's short list for VP.

    • Rep. Paul Ryan Responds to President’s Disappointing, Partisan Speech – House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan made the following statement after listening to the President’s speech on deficit reduction:

       “When the President reached out to ask us to attend his speech, we were expecting an olive branch. Instead, his speech was excessively partisan, dramatically inaccurate, and hopelessly inadequate to address our fiscal crisis. What we heard today was not fiscal leadership from our commander-in-chief; we heard a political broadside from our campaigner-in-chief.

      “Last year, in the absence of a serious budget, the President created a Fiscal Commission. He then ignored its recommendations and omitted any of its major proposals from his budget, and now he wants to delegate leadership to yet another commission to solve a problem he refuses to confront.

      “We need leadership, not a doubling down on the politics of the past.  By failing to seriously confront the most predictable economic crisis in our history, this President’s policies are committing our children to a diminished future. We are looking for bipartisan solutions, not partisan rhetoric. When the President is ready to get serious about confronting this challenge, we'll be here.”


      Read it all

    • CBO: Last week’s $38 billion budget deal only reduces this year’s deficit by … $352 million; Update: GOP leaders lobbying for votes – The deal does eliminate $38 billion in “new spending authority,” but as we learned yesterday in agonizing detail, spending “authority” and actual spending are two very different things. So to sum up: In less than a week, we’ve gone from $61 billion in cuts to $38 billion in cuts to $15 billion in real cuts to $352 million in deficit reduction this year, which is less than one percent of the number agreed to in the budget deal. I can’t help but suspect that tea partiers might feel a tad … antsy about that trend.

      Tim Pawlenty issued a statement earlier this afternoon urging congressional Republicans to reject the budget deal tomorrow:

      The more we learn about the budget deal the worse it looks. When you consider that the federal deficit in February alone was over $222 billion, to have actual cuts less than the $38 billion originally advertised is just not serious. The fact that billions of dollars advertised as cuts were not scheduled to be spent in any case makes this budget wholly unacceptable. It’s no surprise that President Obama and Senator Reid forced this budget, but it should be rejected. America deserves better.

      That’s a nifty way to polish his fiscal conservative cred with the base, but as of last night Cantor was insisting that they have the votes in the House. Maybe that’ll change after the CBO numbers start circulating, but if I had to bet, I’d still bet that it’ll pass. The conversation’s already moved on to bigger money, partly thanks to the erupting war between Obama and Ryan over entitlements and partly to the chess match between Democrats and the GOP over the debt ceiling. And because most of the public’s already moved on from the shutdown drama, if the Republican caucus forced one now, they’d inevitably get more blame than they would have if the shutdown had happened last week. So, yes, it’ll probably pass — but by how much is anyone’s guess.


      The CR's passage may be in doubt now with the CBO report.

      The GOP leadership sold out again. Shocking – NOT.

  • Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links and Comments for April 13th on 14:31

    These are my links for April 13th from 14:31 to 15:25:

  • Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links and Comments for April 9th on 05:45

    These are my links for April 9th from 05:45 to 05:49:

    • KEY FACTS: Bipartisan Agreement on Spending Cuts to Support American Job Creation – ” Here are some key facts on the bipartisan agreement:

      THE LARGEST SPENDING CUT IN AMERICAN HISTORY.  The agreement will immediately cut $38.5 billion in federal spending – the largest spending cut in American history in terms of dollars – just months after President Obama asked Congress for a spending “freeze” that would mean zero cuts. 
      HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS IN SPENDING CUTS OVER THE NEXT DECADE.  The agreement will cut hundreds of billions of dollars from the federal budget over the next decade – “real money,” as the Wall Street Journal editorial board recently noted.
      OFFICIALLY ENDS THE “STIMULUS” SPENDING BINGE.  The agreement begins to reverse the “stimulus” spending binge that began in 2009 – signaling the official end of a period of unprecedented government intervention that former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan and other economists say hurt job creation in America by crowding out private investment. 
      SETS STAGE FOR TRILLIONS MORE IN SPENDING CUTS.  Clears the way for congressional action on House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget – The Path to Prosperity – which cuts trillions in spending and offers a long-term blueprint for American job creation.


      go to the link and read it all

    • Boehner Wins Big – The Numbers – President Obama’s 2011 budget called for a spending increase of $40 billion. Tonight, he touted a bipartisan agreement on “the largest annual spending cut in our history” — some $38.5 billion [emphasis added].  All told, he got $78.5 billion less than he originally requested.

      Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) didn’t want to cut anything at first. But bowing to political reality, eventually ponied up about $4.7 billion in cuts. He ended up with $33.8 billion less spending than he wanted. And he called it an “historic” accomplishment. (Not surprisingly, the left is appalled).

      House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio), on the other hand, initially proposed $32 billion in spending cuts. House Republicans, led by an undaunted freshman class, bumped that number up to $61 billion ($100 billion off the president’s budget), before settling on $38.5 billion. That’s $6.5 billion more than Boehner asked for to begin with, and $5.5 billion more than the $33 billion that Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats claimed had been agreed to less than two weeks ago. It remains to be seen how much of that will be cuts to discretionary spending, but all told it would appear that we’'ll see a substantial reduction in baseline spending that will yield hundreds of billions in savings over the next decade.

      But unlike Obama and Reid, the speaker didn’t quite feel the need to pat himself on the back over it. “We fought to keep government spending down,” he told reporters in a brief speech after the deal was announced. And they’ll keep fighting, because the biggest battles — over the debt limit and the 2012 budget — are still to come.


      Boehner will probably need some Dem votes though.

  • Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links and Comments for April 8th on 19:54

    These are my links for April 8th from 19:54 to 20:06:

    • Boehner gets $39B, Harry Reid gets nothing – Right Turn – The Washington Post – Speaker Boehner gets $39B, Harry Reid gets nothing
    • Speaker Boehner gets $39B, Harry Reid gets nothing – Boehner did have something going for him: a completely incompetent White House. The errors include never having an alternative short-term continuing resolution on the table (letting the GOP’s short-term CR be the only “stop the shutdown” document out there for two days); not stepping in to signal that the troops would be paid in some fashion; issuing an incomprehensible veto threat with no alternative; overestimating Boehner’s need to get the Planned Parenthood rider; and underestimating Boehner’s ability to make this about the most popular issue (cutting the deficit). These major White House errors compounded the error of never getting a 2011 budget done when there were large Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate.

      By contrast, Boehner kept his caucus with him, beginning with a productive Monday meeting with his members. He didn’t flinch when the veto threat came. (Informed sources say that was not expected.) He kept both the rider and the cuts open to the very end and persuaded Reid to overvalue the Planned Parenthood rider.

      Boehner is now the most powerful and effective leader in Congress, maybe in Washington. His power will increase immensely. We know who knows how to make a deal at the end (Rep. Michele Bachmann, Sen. Tom Coburn and others supported Boehner publicly when it mattered.) Sen. Jim DeMint showed why he is a Tea Party favorite but is ineffective in the Senate (i.e., staking out the most extreme position and not knowing how to close a deal).

      I imagine the Democratic base will be enraged, and liberals should be. They control the Senate and the White House and gave away the store. It doesn’t augur well for them in 2012 budget negotiations, does it?


      Boehner wins and Harry Reid loses

  • Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links and Comments for April 4th on 18:32

    These are my links for April 4th from 18:32 to 18:36:

    • Will Jerry Brown do conservative talk radio on his tour? – So Guv Brown is hitting the road to visit conservative California and try to get them to goose their representatives so he can pass his budget plan. For some reason this reminds us of Albert Brooks telling his wife in "Lost in America" that "it's time to get out. We have to touch Indians." (Partial H/T to our Pittsburgh homeboy Dennis Miller.)

      Jerry already has an invitation from one of the uh, chiefs: Conservative radio host/Chronnie Award winner Eric Hogue. He's invited the Guv to be on his noon "Capitol Hour" (1380 KTKZ) show this week for a full hour. Says Hogue:

      "I know this seems very self-serving, but I thought it to be (somewhat) news worthy considering …

      Hogue just told us that "This morning I spoke with his scheduling department; they informed me that they (Gov's scheduling staff) is considering the opportunity, and they would return with a phone call later today, or tomorrow."


      Good Luck Eric.

      What I would really want to see would be Jerry Brown doing KFI's John and Ken.

    • California Redevelopment officials are offering pig in a poke – When Gov. Jerry Brown proposed to abolish more than 400 local redevelopment agencies and redirect billions of dollars in property taxes, the state's redevelopment industry shifted into political overdrive.

      Redevelopment officials claimed that abolition would devastate efforts to improve local economies and cost hundreds of thousands of jobs.

      However, independent analysts agree that redevelopment, while lucrative to subsidy-seeking developers, provides no substantial improvement to the state's overall economy.

      The agencies skim more than $5 billion a year off the top of the property tax pot each year, and the state must make up about $2 billion of that hefty diversion in extra payments to schools.

      Brown is saying, in effect, that the state can't afford to subsidize local development schemes and wants the money back.


      Read it all – CA Redevelopment Agencies are Big Government at its worst.

  • Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links and Comments for March 30th on 19:46

    These are my links for March 30th from 19:46 to 20:18:

    • Republican leaders say, ‘No deal yet’ on Budget – However, Republicans deny this is the case. Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) told me: “There have been discussion for weeks, and those discussions are continuing. There’s no agreement, and nothing will be agreed to until everything is agreed to.” A top adviser on the Senate side echoes that.

      The real issue may not be the dollar amount. A senior adviser to a top Senate Republican tells me that the riders on funding of Planned Parenthood, the EPA and ObamaCare are the bigger stumbling blocks. He believes that “in the end” there will be an agreement, although he jokes, “there are so many ways to screw it up.”

    • Planned Parenthood CEO’s False Mammogram Claim Exposed – A series of new undercover phone calls reveals that contrary to the claims of Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards and other supporters of the nation’s largest abortion chain, the organization does not provide mammograms for women.

      In the tapes, a Live Action actor calls 30 Planned Parenthood clinics in 27 different states, inquiring about mammograms at Planned Parenthood. Every Planned Parenthood, without exception, tells her she will have to go elsewhere for a mammogram, and many clinics admit that no Planned Parenthood clinics provide this breast cancer screening procedure. “We don’t provide those services whatsoever,” admits a staffer at Planned Parenthood of Arizona. Planned Parenthood’s Comprehensive Health Center clinic in Overland Park, KS explains to the caller, “We actually don’t have a, um, mammogram machine, at our clinics.”

      Opponents of defunding Planned Parenthood have argued in Congress and elsewhere that the organization provides many vital health care services other than abortion, such as mammograms. Most prominently, Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards recently appeared on The Joy Behar Show to oppose the Pence Amendment to end Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer subsidies, claiming, “If this bill ever becomes law, millions of women in this country are gonna lose their healthcare access–not to abortion services–to basic family planning, you know, mammograms.”


      Read it all – and defund them….

  • Pinboard Links

    Flap’s Links and Comments for March 23rd on 09:13

    These are my links for March 23rd from 09:13 to 09:44:

    • California Prison cell phone bill? Wimpy – State Sen. Alex Padilla, flanked by law enforcement officials, stood on the Capitol's steps Tuesday before an array of cell phones confiscated from prison inmates and declared that smuggling had become an epidemic.

      It is, Padilla said, a "clear and present danger to public safety" as inmates use smuggled phones to harass victims and witnesses and plot other crimes. He called to the podium a woman who said she received harassing calls from her husband's murderer.

      Padilla et al. made a compelling case for a crackdown on smuggling cell phones – nearly 11,000 were confiscated last year. But the bill that cleared the Senate Public Safety Committee two hours later is rather wimpy. It makes smuggling nothing more than a misdemeanor, even for prison employees who are the sources of many illicit phones.

      Last year, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar Padilla bill – the first anti-smuggling bill to reach his desk after several died in the Legislature – on grounds that it was too weak and that smuggling cell phones should be a felony.


      Of course, this should be a felony. But, do you really expect any public safety laws to pass while Jerry I appointed Rose Bird Chief Justice Brown is Governor?

      I mean really.

      Brown will start letting felons out of the prisons to balance his budget in order to pay of his union cronies.

      And, when these criminals start reoffending, Brown will either shrug it off or blame the Republicans.

    • The Koch Brothers: Anatomy of a Smear – The Center for American Progress is generally regarded as a front for the Obama administration. Its President and CEO is John Podesta, formerly Bill Clinton's Chief of Staff and the chairman of Barack Obama's transition team. CAP is lavishly funded by George Soros and several other left-wing billionaires. It runs, among other things, a web site called Think Progress, which cranks out a steady stream of slimy hit pieces for the benefit of the Obama administration and the far left.

      Soros apparently believes that only left-wing billionaires should be able to participate in public discourse, so his Center for American Progress, through its web site, has carried on a bizarre vendetta against Charles and David Koch and their company, Koch Industries. The Kochs are two of the very few billionaires who are active in politics on the conservative/libertarian side, a phenomenon that apparently drives left-wing billionaires wild with rage. I'm not sure why; maybe they think the Kochs are traitors to their class. In any event,Think Progress has stalked the Koch brothers with video cameras and produced one false, over-the-top attack on the Kochs after another, some of which we have had fun dissecting here.


      Read it all