Thursday, April 30, 2009

This just in ...

Christopher Dodd is a piece of shit. For you non-clickers:

“By all appearances, …Dodd used his position and influence… to intervene of behalf of his friend and convicted felon, Edward Downe Jr., and in received in turn a significant discount in the purchase of property in 2002.”

“Further, it appears… Dodd failed to report this gift on his annual [disclosure], as required by law, and may have falsified his reports in the years following the full acquisition…”

Certain details concerning Dodd’s co-ownership of a Washington, DC condominium with Edward Downe Jr. in the 1980s are just now surfacing. In light of the potential improprieties of Dodd’s Irish land purchase, we believe [his] disclosure reports filed… during that time period may also be worth examining.”

“As chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, Senator Christopher Dodd has a lead role in the oversight of the banking and finance industries involving trillions of dollars… Judicial Watch requests a full investigation of Senator Dodd’s financial disclosure filings…”

I'm sure the media will be all over this*


"People" Magazine editors smoke crack

Stacy McCain alerts us to this Bizzarro World news. People magazine has included Rahm Emanuel and Tim Geithner in its 100 most beautiful people list.

Uhm. No. Just. No.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Health Update

Dan over at Protein Wisdom alerts us to news that officials are pondering new names for the "Swine Flu" out of concern that such name may harm the pork industry. Despite the fact that everyone in the United States is pretty much already familiar with the term already, I don't understand how renaming it NOW is going to have any effect. So, assume I've already made a reference to f "1984" and move on. The article is actually kind of funny, so here it is:

WASHINGTON, April 28 (Reuters) - What's in a name? U.S. pork producers are finding that the name of the virus spreading from Mexico is affecting their business, prompting U.S. officials to argue for changing the name from swine flu.
At a news briefing, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack took pains to repeatedly refer to the flu as the "H1N1 virus."
"This is not a food-borne illness, virus. It is not correct to refer to it as swine flu because really that's not what this is about," Vilsack said.

Food-born illness? Who ever thought that a flu is food born, or that the term designated it as such? I've never referred to ham as "swine" so the term obviously refers to the animal, not the food.

Israel has already rejected the name swine flu, and opted to call it "Mexico flu." Jewish dietary laws forbid eating pork.

Ok, that just cracks me up. If I have to explain why, shoot me an email.

The Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health also objected to the name, saying the virus contains avian and human components and no pig so far has been found ill with the disease.

Ok. FINALLY an actual reason to rename the flu. How many paragraphs-in did it take?

>And there is growing sentiment in the farm sector to call it the North American virus -- although disease expert Anthony Fauci told a Senate hearing the "swine flu" designation reflected scientific naming protocol.

Can we rename the "Bird Flu" the "Asian flu"? I mean, bird is so general, and unfair to those little avian loverlies who visit my feeders.

For U.S. pork producers the swine flu name has hurt, forcing government officials into the position of stressing that American pork is safe to eat and that other countries should not ban imports.
Pork, soybean and corn prices have fallen in the last two days, "and if this continues, obviously you have significant potential, which is why it's important to get this right," Vilsack said.

Well, people are stupid, so instead of trying to educate them it's best to have the government step-in and save stupid from itself by renaming the virus. Makes perfect sense.

At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there was also talk of stripping the "swine" from swine flu, which CDC acting director Richard Besser said was leading to the misapprehension that people can catch the disease from pork.
"That's not helpful to pork producers. That's not helpful to people who eat pork. It's not helpful to people who are wondering, how can they get this infection," Besser told a briefing.

Well, we certainly want to be helpful. Monster, over at the PW thread, made a stupendous suggestion, which I heartily endorse.

So, from here on out (at least on this blog), the "Swine Flu" will now be known as ManBirdPig flu.

Monday, April 27, 2009

In celebration of 'bama's first 100 days

To be unveiled for the auspicious occasion. The artist has rendered him a combination of Jesus Christ and rock star, if you ask me. Jesus Christ, Obamastar. And he is obviously unveiling the "new and improved" United States. Putting himself in front, superseding it. Exit question, are we supposed to applaud or genuflect?

h/t: the corner.

Friday, April 24, 2009

How much will Cap and Trade cost us?

Ace has the story, and backstory. End total? $4000 per family a year.

But, it gets better. Apparently we'll be getting some of that money back. Well, not actually "back" but the government will spend it in a beneficial way, so we'll basically be getting it's "value" back in services. Win/win!

t is not really a matter of returning it or not, no matter what happens this revenue gets recycled into the economy some way. In that regard, whether the money is specifically returned to households with a check that says "your share of GHG auction revenue", used to cut someone's taxes, used to pay for some government services that provide benefit to the public, or simply used to offset the deficit (therefore meaning lower Government debt and lower taxes sometime in the future when that debt comes due) is largely irrelevant in the calculation of the "average" household. Each of those ways of using the revenue has different implications for specific households but the "average" affect is still the same. [...] The only way that money does not get recycled to the "average" household is if it is spent on something that provides no useful service for anyone--that it is true government waste.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Beyonce really sucks

Since it is, apparently, celebritard day here at ITBO, I present this, from the Mayor.

Go watch. I swears it will cheer you up.

The things I learn on the intertubes

Apparently the White House has an open door policy for celebrities.

So this morning, Usher just showed up at the White House, apparently uninvited, and he and his entourage just walked in the northwest gate. But President Obama wasn't home.

Informed that Obama had just left for Iowa and wouldn't be inside, the singer seemed disappointed.

"He did?" he said.

What an odd story! Usher just came over for a chat, apparently. And there is an open door-to-R&B superstars policy, at the White House, even when the President is a thousand miles away. At least Tiger Woods and the White Sox were actually invited.

That's just a shame 'bama was out. I'm sure Usher could have given insightful advice on how to handle Iran or North Korea, or Pakistan. Assuming, of course, he could identify any of the three countries on a map.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Even more reasons to dislike beauty pageants

Not that I needed any excuses.

If you had any doubt that Miss California, Carrie Prejean, lost the crown, if indeed she ever had a chance to win it, with her answer to Perez Hilton's question about states legalizing gay marriage, then read fellow judge Alicia Jacobs' account of her voting. After hearing the answer, Jacobs, a former Miss Nevada USA, writes on her blog, "if I could have made her 51st runner-up, I would have." In a blog item titled "Pretty is as pretty does," Jacobs offers a behind-the-scenes account of the judges and pageant officials involved. Included is Jacobs' account of her reaction as she heard the answer:

"As she continued to speak, I saw the crown move further & further away from her. When she finished, she looked strangely proud for a moment. Personally, I was STUNNED on several levels. First, how could this young woman NOT know her audience and judges? Let's not forget that the person asking the question is an openly gay man, at least 2 people on the judges panel are openly gay. Another judge has a sister in a gay marriage. Her very own state pageant director, KEITH LEWIS is an openly gay man who has been a very generous benefactor of many ways. (2 ways in particular....if you get my drift??) Did I mention I was STUNNED?"

Carrie Prejean's crime was that she had her own mind. She should have learned, coming up through the pageant ranks, that she is supposed to merely say what the judges want to hear.

Instead, she answered truthfully, lost the crown, and is now labeled a stupid cunt by the left. Bravo, tolerant left. You're showing your true colors again.

This is so cool

Google is celebrating Earth day:

That dude is this guy.

Shamelessly stolen from Kate

Political Expert Sean Penn on Obama's handshake with Chavez

It's about as profound as you'd expect.

I know President Chavez well. Whether or not one agrees with all his policies, what is certainly true of Chavez is that he is a warm and friendly man with a robust sense of humor (who daily risks his own life for his country in ways Dick Cheney could never imagine). To treat such a man coldly is akin to spitting on him. As a country we've done enough of that. Say what you will, but it has only resulted in the self-celebration of our smirking spitters, while costing us international respect, American lives, and left wounds in the hands of our children's future. The Cheneys, down to the O'Reillys and Hannitys and Limbaughs, effectively hate the principles upon which we were founded. They are among the greatest cowards in all of American history. I applaud an American President who's tough smile.

You learn something every day

One of the founders of Earth Day, Ira Einhorn, murdered his girlfriend and stuffed her battered, decaying body into suit that he hid in his closet?

Of course, he has his own version of events.

Einhorn's claim that Holly's death stemmed from this activism -- he insists to this day that Holly Maddux was killed by an intelligence agency, and her body planted in his bedroom, to silence his growing knowledge of the CIA's use of the paranormal in military research -- received little credence. And his generous humanism -- Einhorn was consistently described by the many character witnesses at his bail hearing as a "man of love" -- is mentioned much less than his priapism, his enormous sexual practice.

Of course, some people give it credence.

Free the Unicorn!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

On Tuesdays, I work

So, no post. But I put a new blog on my bloglist right over there, and he's written a wicked takedown of Jeneane Garofalogogo, so go read.

Monday, April 20, 2009


Perez Hilton is gobsmacked that a contestant in a beauty queen (code word) contest stated she was against same sex marriage.

The post where I mention Susan Boyle

I find this story only passingly interesting. After all, how many unknowns out there are living in obscurity with an incredible amount of talent? We live in an age where beautiful talentless hacks seek celebrity for celebrity's sake while people of actual- you know- talent live regular old jobs (or sing in church) because they didn't have the looks to market their product. Why are we forced to endure Paris Hilton making a record when there are actually people out there who can sing? Probably working at a Gas and Sip somewhere? Anyway, then there is this:

The shy churchgoer who said that her recently deceased mother encouraged her to "take the risk," who admitted in her audition that she has never been kissed, who has forever lived as something of an accidental outcast - she now seems too much of this world. "I've been for a meeting with Sony BMG, but I can't say much about it," she said this week. "It's early days." Susan Boyle is now one of us. And that is really a shame

It's a shame that Susan Boyle may now be recognized for her talent? Oh, why can she just go back to being that unemployed nobody? Everybody just loves the starving artist, right? There's a dignity. A beauty. It's so compelling. Why did the media have to go and ruin this loverly narrative?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Hatred On Display

River Rat is on the scene at Ste St Marie:

Racism straight up. Tea. Bagging. Rednecks. Seething violence barely under control right there. Sayeth Janeane they will believe anything but the truth. Lymbic brain inside a right-winger is much larger and it pushes against the frontal lobe ... bla bla bla. I didn't know Garofalo was a brain surgeon.

Worst. Person. In. The. World.

Honest, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart. Shut the fuck up,

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Where was Jenny during the Tea Party?

She left town, of course. Up in (friendly) Traverse City. Lotsa liberals up there. She held a "town hall" meeting to discuss what Obama's stimulus plans means to Michigan.

Granholm told reporters she didn't believe the protests represented a genuine grassroots uprising.

"I think they're orchestrated by a certain slice of the far right. And it's been well documented that they've been paid for by certain folks who have an interest in doing that," she said.

"People are much more concerned right now about getting this economy on track and making sure that people get jobs and that is what the recovery act is all about."

Well documented? Mind sharing some of that documentation, Jenny? Regardless, I don't remember Jenny dismissing the protests that were bought and paid for by Soros.


In case you missed it, here's CNN's coverage of a Tea Party.

Blogger sucks, thats why

Again, I still can't upload pictures from the tea party, but I really wanted to unveil how lunatic fringe the protesters were. Man, I haven't since such crazy folk since the last time I went to the grocery store. Or stood with a group of parents watching a soccer game.

Because, these folks were mostly utterly ordinary. They didn't smell. They didn't rant and rave. And there wasn't one giant paper mache puppet of Obama with horns.

Got this to work. From here which has some other good crowd shots.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lansing Michigan Tea Party

Blogger is doing me wrong today, and won't let me post my pictures from the Tea Party. Harumpf.

Ace put one of my pictures up at his place. That's all I got for now.

Monday, April 13, 2009

For Bob

Our Navy SEALS totally rock.


From Blackfive:

This was not a rescue attempt ordered by National Command Authority i.e. the President. It was a reaction by the on scene commander under standard authority to safeguard the life of a hostage.
He did affirm the military's authorization to use force if the captain's life was in danger, but they already would have had that authorization as part of their standard rules of engagement. If there are innocents about to be slaughtered the same reasoning that authorizes self defense also covers an imminent execution unless the ROE specifically forbid it.The AP is making it sound like there was an active rescue ordered by the President. It was not, there was an imminent threat and the local commander gave the order to fire. Good on Obama for ensuring their authorization was clear, but let's also be clear that he did not authorize or order an active rescue attempt.

With an extra heh from comments:

I am no Obama fan either. But, we know that at a minimum, he did not completely forbid "use of force". I take that as a good sign.

Frankly, this is the exact outcome I was hoping for: one freed captain and three dead tangos.

Come to think of it, this is the first person that Obama has freed. Now, he is only 59,999,999 behind Bush.

That other "choice"

School choice. Which union-supported Democrats are against. Obama stays silent as Congress allows a DC voucher program to expire. Deroy Merdock:

With young black kids themselves begging for vouchers, why would reputedly pro-poor, pro-black Democrats kill this popular and effective school-choice program?

Follow the money: Teachers’ unions paid $55,794,440 in political donations between 1990 and 2008, 96 percent of it to Democrats. Sen. John Ensign’s (R., Nev.) March 10 amendment to rescue D.C.’s vouchers failed 39-58. Among 57 Democrats voting, 54 opposed D.C. vouchers. These 95 percent of Senate Democrats nearly equal their party’s share of teachers’ union campaign cash.

Who loses?

These 1,714 poor, mainly black, students who have escaped one of America’s most pitiful school systems.

Who wins?

The teachers unions, who hate school choice, hate vouchers, and don’t give a damn about school kids when they threaten union pay, benefits, and control of classrooms.

Then again, why should Democrats care about disadvantaged black children trying to learn and improve themselves? As the late Albert Shanker, former American Federation of Teachers president, once said: “When school children start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of school children.”

That needs to be stated again.

When school children start paying union dues, that's when I'll start representing the interests of school children.

Friday, April 10, 2009

I've got an idea ...

How 'bout I just stop buying your albums?

Liberals, please ignore this news.

Kate on those polar ice caps.


I Wanna Make It Wit Chu: Dessert Sessions or Era Vulgaris?

(and I wonder why I remain an obscure blog)

Dissent is no longer patriotic

---->Mostly a rant, warning. <-------

Oh. My. Lord. The irony, it burns.

On April 15th, hundreds of thousands of PO’d red meat eatin’ Americans will converge on the streets to protest the Obama administration’s policies and platforms. Over 360 cities nationwide have been confirmed as protest staging points, and conservative luminaries like Newt Gingrich and Sean ‘Rough Rider’ Hannity will lend their considerable girth and celebrity to ensure a sense of bloated spectacle.

I though protest was democratic? Eight years of patriotic dissent. Of Bush is the devil posters. Of protest so mind-numbingly stupid I feared for our country. Yet, a tax day protest is a "bloated spectacle." Not, of course, that the media will cover it...

In reality, their ‘movement’ is incredibly divisive, a mindset that stands in sharp contrast to Obama’s calls for bipartisanship in this time of great national need. Their arguments have the potential to divide the country along titanic lines not seen since the bloody days of the Civil War.

Ba haa haa haa. Bipartisanship? Care to give an example?

The Tea Party Movement is basically a flag for Republicans disenfranchised by last year’s election results to rally behind. Give it up, guys. You lost fair and square. Obama and his policies have the mandate of the people- unlike a certain Bush I could mention.

This argument is so tired, I'm not even going to address it.

If the country continues down this dark path, a second Civil War might not just be a cool idea for a sci-fi novel anymore. Can you imagine the potential for chaos if some of these ‘protesters’ decide to exercise the Second Amendment and bring their weapons to these rallies? There’s a thin line between peaceful protest and bloodthirsty patriotic fervor, especially if those protesting are used to being on the side of the mighty status quo.

Of, for fuck's sake. Get a grip.

I hope April 15th comes and goes without major incident. And I hope the protesters fail in their mission to bring their message to a national audience. It’s a message of fear, prejudice and, quite frankly, hate.

Bla bla bal. You're an asshole. The message is that we're being fucking taxed too much and we're sick of it. Government grows and grows and grows, in times of plenty, and then when things get tough instead of buckling down and cutting excess, they decide they can wring blood from a stone. Many of the protesters don't think the obscene amount of money we're spending to "stimulate" the economy are going to stimulate anything. That instead, it's going to stimulate the government to grow and grow and grow.

President Obama was elected democratically, according to the doctrines set forth by the Founding Fathers. The Tea Party movement represents a real danger to the tenets of democracy Americans have embraced for centuries.

Oh, honestly, shut the fuck up.

h/t Stacy.

When Kos is ragging on you, you know you're in trouble

Daily Kos has a nice lengthy piece about yesterdays shenanigans in Detroit. Now, when have I ever referenced Kos in a positive way? Never. I guess hope and change is upon me. Cobo is a convention center right smack dab on the water, and his home of the North American International Auto Show. It's roof leaks, it's too small, and dated. The city has NO money to fix it and, in fact, loses money on it every year. Here's Kos:

Several leaders, county authorities, and State officials all came together and for the past 5 years slogged through the tough negotiating process to save Cobo, and thus the auto show. Cobo is an eyesore. It's a dying old facility as hazardous and filthy as the city itself. It needed a make over. And the outlying counties were prepared to help pay for it. Negotiations stretched all the way back to the beginning of the failed Kilpatrick administration and culminated in an agreement that gave all parties a guarantee on their investments. But that meant ownerships and rights.

But Monica Conyers, batshit crazy sheriekazoid mentally-ill-housewife-somehow-turned-boss-of-the-city and her pack of city nuts pulled out and sued to stop the agreement that went down under Cockrel's watch. She was having none of it. Nevermind that other facilities like The Detroit Zoo have been successfully jointly owned for decades.

See, it is DETROIT's. She didn't want it owned by a regional authority (even though a Detroit member would have had veto power). In Monica's viewpoint, the suburban (whites) were trying to steal shit from Detroit. Monica Conyers is wife to John Conyers, who, basically, bought her a seat on the City Council. He knew what a batshit loon his wife was, and yet he unleashed her onto the city of Detroit. THANKS JOHN! Monica lead the charge that nixed the agreement when it came before City Council, and the Mayor attempted to override that decision. So, Monica took the issue to court.

Wayne County Circuit Judge Isidore Torres said the talks had failed.

"For whatever reason it didn’t happen, and that’s fine," he said.

Torres then handed out a written copy of his ruling to each side, and Council President Monica Conyers’ reaction left no doubt about the result.

"Yes! We won!" she said, slapping a nearby table exultantly.

Meanwhile, glum city attorneys filed out of the courtroom.

Conyers said she hoped Gov. Jennifer Granholm would reopen negotiations on how Cobo should be governed.

"All we’re asking is just to be brought to the table," she told reporters. "The citizens of Detroit will get to keep their jewel."

You know what, Monica? Nothing is going to be reopened. Jenny Granholm is tired of dealing with your ass. I say we rename Cobo Hall "The Monica Conyers Memorial" and it can sit there, on the water, next to Ford Auditorium as a mausolim to Detroit's past. That will be your "Yes, We Won" memorial.

More Kos:

Oh yeah. Its a "jewel" allright, Conyers. A jewel that as of today has ZERO VALUE, and furthermore even if it were a brand new building, you couldn't PAY investors from this point forward to even stand in the same room with your narcissistic, psychotic self let alone enter into any new agreements. Have it. Take it. Choke on it for all the entire State of Michigan cares. You've proven what your goal is. To keep the City of Detroit a birthright of the 1960s riots era to the exclusion of all growth and evolution. And until such time that you are removed by election or you are committed to an insane asylum we are powerless to do a thing about it.

Oakland Exec Patterson is now saying he will pursue ways of taking the NAIAS out of the city and up into some northern county venue ... and I support him even though he's a friggin' republican. Tell me where and when, and I will be there with my wallet in hand to buy tickets. Maybe it's time to start calling some other city "Michigan's Metropolitan City." Someplace that attracts business instead of causes it to stand back clicking it's tongue in pity.

This has gone beyond party politics. This is about sheer, unmitigated, unmedicated insanity in power. And it's not just a sad day for the City of Detroit. In some ways - it's the last day.

Harsh. Can't even find dissension in the comments. When the usually batshit crazy find you batshit crazy, your end is near.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Tea Party Hook Ups?

RR's lapel pin

I plan on being at the one in Lansing, Michigan (of course), and was wondering if anyone (bloggers/commenters) were going to be there.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Putting it up for a vote ...

Who wants to see a picture of my dog,Oscar, carrying around a bunny head?

Warning - it's only the head and ears. And, the thing has been dead for an indeterminate amount of time.

Oscar's got it buried somewhere right now, but at least once a day he digs it up, carries it around for a bit, then hides it again.

Jules Crittenden on Obama does Europe

Aside from the the American bashing, most give it two thumbs way up. Here's Jules:

67 percent liked the respect an American president got from world leaders. Apparently 67 percent of Americans didn’t make it past the part in the reporting about the thunderous applause from Euros when Obama helpfully did their America-bashing for them, to the part where Euros, unhelpfully, said no, non, nein to his requests.

What? I didn't see that ...

It was fun, a little like Miley Cyrus does Europe, a headspinning montage of Obama in front of famous old stuff like the Queen, though Miley wouldn’t have missed the obligatory hamming it up with the guards at Buckingham Palace scene. But he’s coming home now. Back to the workaday bumbling, irksome checkbook balancing chores and those darned credit card bills. Theoretically those numbers start tanking again soon.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Spring in Michigan

Live blogging AI

Cause, why not?

Music from the year they were born. The one chick is only 16, so that would be ... oh crap, '92? Oye.

1980- Danny Gokey. "Stand By Me", oye I don't care for this song. Will I make it through w/o fast forwarding? The temptation is very strong. He sounds ... off. Hate this song. Repetative. Boring. I don't think I'm going to make it through it. Paula's dancing, which is always a good sign. He's doing better half-way through, but honestly I just hate this song.

Simon sez: overall great.

Chris Allen - 1985. "All She Wants to Do is Dance." He was my favorite last week. Again. Hate this song. You know, these kids suck at picking out these songs because they didn't live through the era once already. He's ok, but not as good as last week.

Simon sez: boring. Indulgent. Forgetable. Stupid song choice.

Lil Rounds - (missed the year) "What's Love got to do with It." Trying to sound like Tina. Mistake I think she's gonna fall off those heels.

Simon sez: Second/third grade imitation of Tina Turner.

Anoop Desai(1986- the year I graduated for high school boy is this depressing). "True Colors." This one has potential. Haven't heard it a billion times. Maybe just a million. He doesn't have the voice that some of the other folks, but he's making it more interesting that anything else we've heard tonight.

Simon sez: (you can tell my Simon's expression how he feels about the song) not fantastic, by the way. I think he intended a compliment in there, but he never really got it out.

Scott MacIntyre (1985) - Another song I don't like. Was this a Disney song? Can't be. "Living for a Dream." I'm not really sure. I remember it, but I can't recall who did it. Or it's name.

Simon sez: go back to the piano next week. It was that bad.

Allison Iraheta (199- something - everyone here keeps talking I can't catch everything) Man, when was this song on the charts? Ten minutes ago? She wins, so far, for picking the best song of the night. She's doing great tonight. Excellent.

Simon sez: Very good. Make her more likable. He's right about her personality not really coming through on the show.

Matt Giraud (1985). "Part Time Lover". oye, I'm thinking not the best choice of song. Paula's dancing. It was alright.

Simon sez: Well done.

Adam Lambert (1982): "Mad World" EXCELLENT song. Love this song. Let's see how he does. WHAT a good song choice. Oye, he's doing really well. My husband just called it, saying this guy's got it won.

Simon sez: Words are unnecessary. Standing ovation.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Take up smoking!

For the children.

This happened back in Feb, but the tax just went up.

Fulfilling a campaign promise, President Barack Obama signed the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) bill into law this week; the measure will expand healthcare coverage for children using funds from a 62-cent-per-pack increase in the federal cigarette tax.

The Detroit Free Press reported Feb. 4 that Obama approved the $74-billion SCHIP reauthorization legislation passed by the House of Representatives earlier in the day on a 290-135 vote. The Senate had previously approved the measure, which was vetoed twice last year by then-President George Bush.

The measure is expected to make an additional 4 million children eligible for SCHIP; the program currently covers about 7 million. In addition to increasing the federal cigarette tax to $1.01 per pack, the law will raise taxes on other cigarette products, generating estimated revenues of $71.4 billion over five years.

So, by quitting (or not even smoking) you are basically stating that you simply do not care about the health of children. SHAME.

I mean, if everyone quits smoking, what EVER will we do?

Take up smoking!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Go Read

Arthur Laffer on the estate tax. Tidbit:

Today in America you can take your after-tax income and go to Las Vegas and carouse, gamble, drink and smoke, and as far as our government is concerned that's just fine. But if you take that same after-tax income and leave it to your children and grandchildren, the government will tax that after-tax income one additional time at rates up to 55%. I especially like an oft-quoted line from Joseph Stiglitz and David L. Bevan, who wrote in the Greek Economic Review, "Of course, prohibitively high inheritance tax rates generate no revenue; they simply force the individual to consume his income during his lifetime." Hurray for Vegas.

If you're rich enough, however, you can hire professionals who can, for a price, show you how to avoid estate taxes. Many of the very largest estates are so tax-sheltered that the inheritances go to their beneficiaries having paid little or no taxes at all. And all the costs associated with these tax shelters and tax avoidance schemes are pure wastes for the country as a whole and exist solely to circumvent the estate tax. The estate tax in and of itself causes people to waste resources.

And this, to be stored in the "do as I say, not as I do" file:

. It shouldn't surprise anyone that ultra-wealthy liberal Sen. Howard Metzenbaum, supporter of the estate tax and lifetime resident of Ohio, where there is a state estate tax, chose to die as a resident of Florida, where there is no state estate tax.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Obama's backdoor plan

I've brought this up before, but it needs to be revisited as the "universal" health care dealo comes to the forefront of Obamanomics. From The Corner:

Pres. Barack Obama has promised, repeatedly, that Americans who are satisfied with the health insurance they have today can keep it, even if Congress passes the sweeping reform program he favors.

But is it true?

The short answer? No. Because the health insurance they have today will no longer be offered by an employer that can't compete with the government. Obama's plan gives an employer two choices. Pay into the government system or "play" by offering insurance directly. Sounds reasonable, right?

But the new, government-run insurance plan wouldn’t be just another offering. No, it would be a “game changer” in every sense. Why? Because the government can present the fees it will pay for medical services on a take or leave it basis — and doctors and hospitals have little choice but to take it, lest they get shut out of the market completely. Private insurers, on the other hand, must negotiate contracts with their networks of service suppliers. Consequently, government-run insurance almost always charges artificially low premiums based on price and other cost controls that are rightly not part of a truly private-sector marketplace.

You see where this is going, right?

And they’re right to see it this way, as estimates provided by The Lewin Group, a health-policy consulting firm, demonstrate. According to Lewin’s analysis (summarized in a series of slides, available here), if the government-run option pays fees as Medicare does today, scores of employers would choose to “pay” instead of “play,” thus forcing workers out of their job-based plans and into the national exchange. Once there, quite predictably, workers would end up largely in the government-run plan because it would pay for hospital and physician care at rates that are only about 70 and 80 percent, respectively, of what the competing private insurers would be forced to pay for the exact same services.

Lewin’s bottom-line is thus truly alarming: They expect 118 million people would move from private coverage to government-run insurance pretty much overnight. And it would be anything but voluntary. There would be tens of millions of workers who would rather stay with their current job-based plan than sign up with the government-run plan — but they would no longer have that as an option.

End game? Universal, state run healthcare.