Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sign of the times: Fed require NYC to change all street signs

As some on the left scoff at the right’s complaints about unfunded federal mandates and the need for greater 10th Amendment protection, I offer up Exhibit A.  This is how the Feds cause states to bust their budgets.
New York Daily News: The city will change the lettering on every single street sign - at an estimated cost of about $27.5 million - because the feds don't like the font.
Street names will change from all capital letters to a combination of upper and lower case on roads across the country thanks to the pricey federal regulation, officials said Wednesday.
By 2018, MADISON AVE. will become Madison Ave. and will be printed in a font called Clearview, the city Department of Transportation says.
The Federal Highway Administration says the switch will improve safety because drivers identify the words more quickly when they're displayed that way - and can sooner return their eyes to the road.
Still, several city residents were OUTRAGED.
The city has about 250,000 signs, and it costs about $110 to replace one, the DOT says. Officials said the new signs will have improved reflectivity and clarity for nighttime drivers. […]
The changes are among many in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices that regularly changes to improve road safety, highway administration spokesman Doug Hecox said. The mixed upper- and lowercase rule was adopted in 2003, but municipalities were given until 2018 to comply completely, Hecox said. [MORE] 
New York City is currently running a $4 billion deficit for fiscal year 2009-2010 and the state needs to close a $47 billion budget gap.  In a sane and orderly world, New York should be able to decide if and when something like street sign changes are necessary and affordable. 

Sooner or later, states must exert their rights to determine when and where money is to be spent. Otherwise the wasteful spending disease from Washington will continue to spread.

Via: Reuters

ObamaCare strikes again? McDonalds may drop health plan

Those of us who fought against ObamaCare knew stuff like this was coming down the pike.  The Wall Street Journal has a story up saying McDonalds may have to dump the health plan for its 30,000 hourly employees because of cost.
WSJ: Trade groups representing restaurants and retailers say low-wage employers might halt their coverage if the government doesn’t loosen a requirement for “mini-med” plans, which offer limited benefits to some 1.4 million Americans.
The requirement concerns the percentage of premiums that must be spent on benefits.
While many restaurants don’t offer health coverage, McDonald’s provides mini-med plans for workers at 10,500 U.S. locations, most of them franchised. A single worker can pay $14 a week for a plan that caps annual benefits at $2,000, or about $32 a week to get coverage up to $10,000 a year.
Last week, a senior McDonald’s official informed the Department of Health and Human Services that the restaurant chain’s insurer won’t meet a 2011 requirement to spend at least 80% to 85% of its premium revenue on medical care.
Everybody is now coming out saying that the Wall Street Journal story is not true (well sort of). What McDonald’s and Health and Human Services aren’t denying is that they are talking about the effects (i.e. waivers) of ObamaCare.

Right now, no one wants to admit the ill effects of ObamaCare, however reality will sooner or later make this a moot point.  The government simply cannot set one size fits all rules for something as expensive as health care and expect that everyone can easily comply.  To make matters worse,  ObamaCare’s low penalty makes dumping employee’s health coverage for more cost effective than supplying coverage.

 For more info on this story check out the Weekly Standard and then follow the discussion on Memeorandum.

Meg vs. The Maid

I just got though reading about Meg Whitman’s alleged "illegal alien maid" problem and I have to say something doesn’t pass the smell test.  

The maid is basically claiming that work at Meg’s was a living hell (a $23 per hour living hell) and that Whitman knew she was illegal. The maid also claims she was kicked to the curb last year when Whitman decided to run for governor. Whitman has fired back saying the maid is “full of it” and has released the maid’s application and documentation (SS card and Calif driver’s license).

The maid’s (Nicky Diaz Santillan) story reads like it was written for maximum effect. Even the sob story about the extra chores she had to do. 

Never mind that on her application the extra chores she complains about are checked as things she would do.

The only part in the maid’s story I can take seriously is the notification from Social Security back in 2003 saying there was a problem with her Social Security number.  Should proof of this come out, bye-bye Meg Whitman.  Without it, I would have to say the whole thing is manufactured for political reasons.

The guys at Hillbuzz have seen this ploy before:
[…]Because what the Democrats are doing to Meg Whitman in California today is exactly what Obama did to Republican candidate Jack Ryan in 2004…manufacturing a scandal so that Republicans will abandon a candidate and allow a Democrat to walk away with an election in a cake walk…in election that Democrat would have actually lost.
Gloria Allred is having a press conference today with a Mexican maid who’s claiming she was abused by Meg Whitman.  The goal for Democrats here is two-fold:
(1) to alienate Hispanic voters from the Republicans
(2) to portray Whitman as a Leona Helmsley-grade wealthy tyrant that’s unrelatable to voters suffering financial problems
Democrats excel at the politics of personal destruction because this is the only thing they know.
I could not agree more. Just read Santillan's tear jerker testimony and it sure enough fits the Democrats two goals perfectly. 
Until proof comes out showing Whitman received and then ignored Social Security's letters, I am taking Ms. Santillan’ story with a very huge grain of salt.
Via: Hillbuzz 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

WTF? NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg to address House GOP

It seems that there are a few Republicans in the GOP who think Mike Bloomberg has something important to say.
The Hill [emphasis mine]: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is scheduled to meet with House Republicans on Thursday.
The GOP’s invitation to the Republican-turned-Independent is an unusual move. Bloomberg, who supports gun control, recently criticized Republicans for their handling of a bill for 9/11 responders and has endorsed several Democrats in the midterm elections.[...]
“Theme Team” organizer Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) explained that Bloomberg was asked to appear because he is a leader outside the Washington Beltway whom GOP lawmakers want to talk to. The point of the weekly Theme Team meetings is to give House GOP lawmakers and staffers a chance to have off-the-record conversations with key outsiders on important issues.
I would love to ask these GOP beltway insiders, why they find Mike Bloomberg a better "key outsider" than say; Sarah Palin or Jan Brewer.  Both of those women are outside the beltway, both women are key players outside the beltway and both women have a message that the GOP really needs to hear and understand for 2010 and forward.
The other thing I would love to know is who is paying for these meetings?  If it is us, the abused taxpayers, then I say this is one of the first things the GOP nixes to keep its pledge about shrinking government.  We cannot afford it financially nor can we afford it ideologically.  Read this part:
A Kingston aide explained that Bloomberg was booked months ago for Thursday’s meeting.
Kingston spokesman Chris Crawford said the point of the Theme Team is to “bring outside ideas in” to Capitol Hill. Crawford added that Democrats have addressed the conference before, though most of the guests are Republican.
CBS news anchor Bob Schieffer, MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski and former Rep. Joe Scarborough (R-Fla.), Dr. Patch Adams and former Secretary of State Colin Powell are among the recent guests, according to Crawford. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and John Podesta, who served as President Clinton’s chief of staff, have also met with the GOP group.
There isn’t a single Nanny-Stater idea that Mike Bloomberg supports that I would want the GOP to copy in any way, shape or form.  The GOP had better get all this foolishness out of its system before they take over next year.  Unlike the punched up hippies on the left, the right is in no mood for nonsense.

WSJ Poll: Tea Parties Gather Steam

The Wall Street Journal has a new poll out today showing some very interesting statistics for the Tea Party movement.
WSJ: In the survey, 71% of Republicans described themselves as tea-party supporters, saying they had a favorable image of the movement or hoped tea- party candidates would do well in the Nov. 2 elections.
The poll found that tea-party supporters make up one-third of the voters most likely to cast ballots in November's midterm elections. This showed the movement "isn't a small little segment, but it is a huge part of what's driving 2010," Mr. Hart said.
The tea party is a major driver of the so-called enthusiasm gap, with three-quarters of supporters saying they are intensely interested in the election.
For the GOP, these statistics must give the establishment pause. Not only do the Tea Parties have numerical strength within the GOP, they are clearly the driving force of enthusiasm within the party.  The message for the GOP is clear; Hippy Punch the Tea Parties and you WILL draw back a nub.

With Tea Partiers making up one-third of voters, the Democrats may want to rethink their fantasy that the Tea Parties are a fringe group.

The WSJ poll also gives us a peek at the 2012 line up.
The movement's greater strength within the party could be significant beyond 2010, as the party looks toward choosing a nominee in 2012 to challenge Mr. Obama.
One beneficiary could be former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who is viewed positively by about two-thirds of tea-party supporters, making her more popular in the movement than other potential presidential candidates included in the new survey.
Slight majorities of tea-party supporters also feel positively about former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Just four in 10 feel positively about former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Like I said in the post about Palin’s Iowa speech, she holds two cards for 2012.  She can outright run to win the nomination or she can run to shape the nomination. Just looking at these numbers, Mitt Romney is going to have to remake himself into Reagan on steroids just to have a shot against Palin and Huckabee.
Via: Hot Air

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rahm Emanuel likely resign White House Chief of Staff position by Friday

ABC News: Although no final decision has been made because of family considerations, ABC News has learned that White House officials are preparing for Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel to announce on Friday -- as Congress adjourns for recess -- that he is leaving his post to explore a run for mayor of Chicago.
White House officials expect that President Obama will also name an interim chief of staff, perhaps senior adviser Pete Rouse, at the announcement.
Sources close to Emanuel cautioned that he has yet to pull that last trigger on the decision.
Emanuel's likely departure is not a surprise; his mayoral aspirations are well known.
Longtime Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley's announcement earlier this month that he would not seek reelection created the opportunity that Emanuel has long been seeking.
This is a little surprising that Rahm is going to leave before midterm elections, so much for loyalty to the president.  Rahm is clearly going for his dream, Obama be damn.  Perhaps this is why so many in the base are not too fond of Rahm.
That brings me to the next thought, so many people on the left blame Rahm Emanuel for Obama’s failure; will these lefty then come out and support Rahm for Chicago mayor?  Something tells me that Rahm is going to have one heck of a primary fight on his hands.  Maybe that is why he needs to leave early.

Joe Biden takes up Hippie Punching, tells base “Stop Whining”

It looks like Joe Biden is getting into the Hippie Punching game.
Jake Tapper, Political Punch: At a fundraiser in Manchester, NH, today, Vice President Biden urged Democrats to "remind our base constituency to stop whining and get out there and look at the alternatives. This President has done an incredible job. He’s kept his promises."
The remarks, made to roughly 200 top Democratic activists and donors, recall comments President Obama made last week to “griping and groaning Democrats…Folks: wake up. This is not some academic exercise. As Joe Biden put it, Don’t compare us to the Almighty, compare us to the alternative.”
The Vice President said that "every one of these (races) is winnable" if the candidates draw clear distinctions between themselves and their GOP opponents.
Acknowledging that voters are angry, the Veep said, "You take it out on those who are in office…They should be able to be angry with us. If we make this a referendum on the current state of affairs, we lose, and so that’s why we’ve got to make this a choice."
Obviously Joe Biden has not sat down with David Axelrod lately.  Had he did he would have known that talk like this is starting to get under the skin of the liberal base.  Biden’s argument is a classic one employed by both right and left party establishment.   Basically, the argument goes, yeah we suck, but look the other guys suck worse; therefore you should just be quiet about any of your party’s shortcomings.
If the left ‘s base is growing tired of all this Hippie Punching, then perhaps it is time they started brewing a little tea party of their own. Otherwise they are going to on the receiving end of a whole lot of Hippie Punching come November.

MSNBC? What’s that? Poll: Only 12% rely on MSNBC for their news

Every time I have been subjected to watching MSNBC News, I have always said to myself; "who the hell can watch this crap"?  Today, I get my answer, not many.
Politico: More people are getting their news about the upcoming election from cable television than any other source, and from Fox News more than any other cable channel, according to a POLITICO/George Washington University Battleground Poll released Monday.
The poll found that 81 percent of those polled get their news about the midterm elections from cable channels, like Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, or their websites, compared with 71 percent from national network news channels, such as ABC, NBC or CBS, and their websites.Among cable news channels, Fox was the clear winner, with 42 percent of respondents saying it is their main source, compared with 30 percent who cited CNN and 12 percent who rely on MSNBC. 
The most delicious part of the poll is when pollsters asked about cable news and talk radio personalities
Fox’s opinionated personalities were also rated as having the greatest positive impact on the political debate in the country. Bill O’Reilly was rated as having, by far, the greatest positive impact, with 49 percent of respondents rating him positively, and 32 percent negatively.Glenn Beck was the second most-positively rated personality, with 38 percent of respondents saying he had a positive impact, and 32 percent saying he had a negative impact.[...]
Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh was the third-most-positively ranked, with 36 percent saying he has a positive impact on the discourse, but his negatives far outweighed his positives, with 52 percent saying he has a negative impact.
MSNBC’s personalities were largely ranked as unknown by respondents: 70 percent said they had never heard of Ed Schultz, 55 percent said they had never heard of Rachel Maddow and 42 percent said they had never heard of Keith Olbermann.
[Snicker] Sorry, but I have to laugh over that one. Didn’t Ed Schultz just say the other day that he too could draw crowds like Glenn Beck?  Poor Ed, he may want to start with something less prodigious, like getting someone to watch his nightly ranting.  Otherwise, he could end up all by himself shouting on the Mall and everyone wonder who is that fat slob?
Read the Politico piece and check out the full results of the poll. Oh, and does anyone want to take a guess at what O'Reilly's Talking Point Memo will be about tonight ;-)

Segway owner Jimi Heselden dies in Segway accident

This is currently the top story on Memeorandum, file it under “ironic”.
UK Daily Mail: Jimi Heselden, the multi-millionaire owner of the Segway company, died in a freak accident when he rode one of the high-tech two-wheel machines off a cliff and into a river
A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said today: 'Police were called at 11.40am yesterday to reports of a man in the River Wharfe, apparently having fallen from the cliffs above.
'A Segway-style vehicle was recovered. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
'At this time we do not believe the death to be suspicious.' 
Invesitgators are probing whether there was a fault with his particular machine or it was driver error. 
What a very sad way to go, indeed.  I remember the great fanfare when the Segway was being launched.  We were told they would revolutionize transportation.  To date, I think I may have seen less than 10 in real life. 

There is a fellow in my neighborhood who tears around on one at breakneck speed, I think I am going to print this article and hand it to him the next time he goes buzzing by.

Video: Gangsta Government

Hat tip to The Last Tradition for pointing this out to me.  From the previous conservative raps (see here and here) I have seen lately, this one is just so-so.  I think the lyrics are far better than the video.
The Last Tradition: Rightside News reports that a new 5-minute music video entitled'Gangsta Government Rap' is beginning to sweep the Internet, appearing to be well on its way to becoming viral. In the first 48-hours since it was posted on YouTube, the video has received over 20,000 views. It has been prominently featured on the websites of The Fox Nation, The Washington Examiner and The American Spectator. Hundreds of Facebook posts and Twitter tweets have been logged encouraging people to watch the video.
The video's title was inspired by a 2009 column by Michael Barone in which he referred to the federal government as 'Gangster Government.' The video catalogs the federal government's efforts to impose an unpopular radical agenda on the American people.

The video was written and produced by Minnesota Majority, a non-profit government watchdog group

The group is concerned about the apparent corruption and abuse of power in today's federal government.

The rap is performed by Gregory Van Leer (a.k.a. The Infidel). He has recorded a number of rap songs with a conservative message, including "Liberalism is a Mental Disorder." He is working on his first album and is currently seeking a distributor.

"We wanted to find a creative way to convey our message and reach a new audience," said Jeff Davis, president of Minnesota Majority. "We think this video will help us accomplish that mission."

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dick Durbin sidesteps endorsing Rahm Emanuel for Chicago Mayor

If I were Rahm Emanuel, I would seriously reconsider running for Chicago Mayor.  From what I have repeated read on lefty blogs, many on the left blame Rahm for Obama’s shortcomings.  It looks like Dick Durbin is hedging his bets against a lefty backlash.

Take this as yet another preview of the Great Dem on Dem fight that will come after November.

Video h/t: Fire Dog Lake

E.T. gets an ambassador: U.N. to appoint Earth contact for aliens

It looks like the U.N. has taken steps to answer that age old request; “Take me to your leader”. Mazlan Othman, the head of the UN's little-known Office for Outer Space Affairs (Unoosa), is to describe her potential new role next week at a scientific conference at the Royal Society’s Kavli conference centre in Buckinghamshire.
She is scheduled to tell delegates that the recent discovery of hundreds of planets around other stars has made the detection of extraterrestrial life more likely than ever before - and that means the UN must be ready to coordinate humanity’s response to any “first contact”.
Professor Richard Crowther, an expert in space law and governance at the UK Space Agency and who leads British delegations to the UN on such matters, said: “Othman is absolutely the nearest thing we have to a ‘take me to your leader’ person.”
Can you imagine the Earth’s first contact with an alien race being routed through the dysfunctional U.N.? Sweet Jesus, after five minutes of hearing the U.N.'s blather about world peace and global warming, the aliens will conclude the Earth is ripe for the plucking!

Thanks, but no thanks U.N., America will take its chances (and those are some big chances) with Obama. Hopefully, no intelligent extraterrestrial life will US visit until after 2012.

Another Hope Dope is starting to feel hopeless

Add Greg Smith to the growing list of Hope Dopes who are starting to realize that the Hope and Change flavor Kool Aid is starting to wear off.
New York Post: The day President Obama announced he was running for the White House was the happiest day in our household. On that day, Feb. 10, 2007, I became a volunteer for the campaign.
I knocked on doors in my neighborhood of Kensington, Brooklyn. I started talking to strangers about Obama on the subway. I told people they needed to pay attention to this guy and read his book, "The Audacity of Hope."

After The Post ran a story about me, Obama called me personally and asked me to tell my story at a New York fund-raiser.
At his Cooper Union speech on March 27, 2008, Obama hugged me and said, "This is my guy in New York."
I went to volunteer full time for Obama and was soon hired as an organizer for the campaign.[…]
Two years later, I'm living a more sober reality.
My life is not better. I'm a college graduate and I still can't get a good job.
I'm back working as a doorman at a Manhattan hotel earning peanuts because my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer and I need the health insurance again.
I share the same sentiments of Velma Hart, the woman who confronted Obama at a town hall last week, saying she was tired of defending him. The idea of leaving New York is even on the table.
Obama has let professional politicians take over the White House -- and our dream of change.
I know it's childish to expect solutions to happen overnight. Obama inherited a big old mess, and I don't expect him to have everything figured out after 18 months.
But we're only human and we want to see some visible change.
I'm trying to keep up my hope -- but I'm afraid that instead of being that guy who knocked on doors in Denver, I'm now the person who needs convincing. 
I suspect Greg Smith was one of the millions of blacks who could not bring themselves to look beyond the color of Obama’s skin and really examine Obama’s record (or lack thereof).  So many blacks I know pulled the lever for Obama simply out of racial simpatico and not because they knew what the brother was pushing. Perhaps these brothers and sisters thought that electing a black president would somehow translate into a Golden Age for American blacks. 

Unfortunately, the sad truth is, the color of any president will have little to no impact on us, instead it is the policies of that president that will affect us the most. Greg Smith and Velma Hart about to learn this truth the hard way, by having their hopes and dreams smashed against the rocks of reality.

San Francisco Chronicle refuses to endorse either Carly Fiorina or Barbara Boxer

The San Francisco Chronicle has decided not to endorse anyone for the US Senate race in California. While it certainly isn’t surprising for a left leaning paper not to endorse a Republican (even a RINO like Fiorina), it is pretty surprising that they would not endorse the Democrat either.  Even more surprising, is that the Chronicle was not the least be kind toward Boxer.  Check this out.

San Francisco Chronicle: Californians are left with a deeply unsatisfying choice for the U.S. Senate this year. The incumbent, Democrat Barbara Boxer, has failed to distinguish herself during her 18 years in office. There is no reason to believe that another six-year term would bring anything but more of the same uninspired representation. […]
Boxer, first elected in 1992, would not rate on anyone's list of most influential senators. Her most famous moments on Capitol Hill have not been ones of legislative accomplishment, but of delivering partisan shots. Although she is chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, it is telling that leadership on the most pressing issue before it - climate change - was shifted to Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., because the bill had become so polarized under her wing.

For some Californians, Boxer's reliably liberal voting record may be reason enough to give her another six years in office. But we believe Californians deserve more than a usually correct vote on issues they care about. They deserve a senator who is accessible, effective and willing and able to reach across party lines to achieve progress on the great issues of our times. Boxer falls short on those counts.
Boxer's campaign, playing to resentment over Fiorina's wealth, is not only an example of the personalized pettiness that has infected too much of modern politics, it is also a clear sign of desperation.
Ouch! That read like it was written by the Fiorina camp and not the San Francisco Chronicle.  Least you think the Chronicle is all of a sudden coming to their senses, think again. Read this utter nonsense.
[…]The challenger, Republican Carly Fiorina, has campaigned with a vigor and directness that suggests she could be effective in Washington - but for an agenda that would undermine this nation's need to move forward on addressing serious issues such as climate change, health care and immigration.
Um, the nation has spent the last two years with dry heaves over the lefts’ position on these issues. It is the main reason why Democrats are getting kicked to the curb in November.  Why then would the Chronicle think Fiorina should champion those position the same way Boxer did?  Wake up Chronicle, America doesn’t like left’s ideas on climate change (sham science), health care (socialism deluxe) or immigration (amnesty for all).

It will be interesting to see where the other California papers place their endorsements.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Video: Allen West to Obama: “Welcome to the jungle”

The Shark-Tank: At the Vets for West picnic today in Delray Beach, Florida, Congressional Candidate Allen West in true form called out the Democrat Party and its spineless minions that include none other than Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Allen has already sent Madam Speaker a message-Allen West to Pelosi- “Give Me that Damn Gavel!) and ‘the Messiah’himself, President Barack H. Obama.  The Congressional Black Caucus and Congressman- impeached Federal Judge Alcee Hastings have announced that they will be campaigning against West on behalf of Congressman Ron Klein.  President Obama and Speaker Pelosi will be in Congressional District 22 next month stumping for the embattled Congressman Klein, who has been lagging in the most recent public opinion polls.
You know the Dems will pull out all the stops (including publishing his social security number) to make sure Allen West does not get to Congress.  Too bad for them Allen West won’t go quietly.  Allen West represents the new type of Republicans, Republicans who are grounded in principle and not at all afraid to get down and dirty with the Dems.

Come on Florida, send Allen West to Washington!

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