Monday, March 30

The Minds that Move the World

If you would enjoy hearing Anderson Cooper, Charlie Rose, Karl Rove, Bill Maher or Ann Coulter (and many others) speak in person, then you need to check out the 2009 Speaker Series: The Minds That Move The World.”

This is a timely series of events that will provide attendees with a unique framework for understanding America’s current political landscape and place in world politics, through the insights of some of the most prominent political figures of our time.

They are in New York City tomorrow with Anderson Cooper interviewing Mike Huckabee, Arianna Huffington and D.L. Hughley. If you are in the New York area, you can catch this event at Radio City Music Hall. And, since you are a P4M reader you can buy tickets for 50% off for this New York date only. Just use the code MEDIA.

For all their other events, you can still get $10 off selected tickets. Go to and use the following codes for each city.

New York – use code SPIN

Boston – use code SS09SPIN
3/30: Al Gore
5/27: Charlie Rose interviewing James Carville and Karl Rove

Chicago – use code SPIN
4/1: Al Gore
4/22: Chris Matthews interviewing Tucker Carlson, Arianna Huffington and Paul Begala
5/28: Charlie Rose interviewing James Carville and Karl Rove

And this is something additional just in case you are interested: there is a trivia quiz about the speakers on

If you happen to attend any of them, let me know so I can be appropriately jealous!

When Will it Stop?

Dow Dives 200+ Points

Saw this on the news ticker just now:

Dow Dives 200+ Points on News of Obama Administration's Actions on Auto Industry.

Wow, that's a shocker! I can't believe the market would react poorly to news that the government had kicked out the CEO of a private American corporation. I mean, doesn't the market know that government is the answer to this messy economy. At least that's what Opie Geitner told us over the weekend. And he should know. I've been told he's very smart. The smartest, in fact.

Hey folks, you wanted change. Well, this is what change looks like.

Simple Economics

I've been looking everywhere for a simple explanation of our current economic situation. The problem is that it is a very complex and multi-layered issue that can't be easily broken down, but I think this piece by that was posted at Simple Mom this week is about as good as I've seen.

It's well worth a read if you want to try and understand where we are at today. Here's a little tidbit to get you started...

The media has tried to explain the current economic crisis. But many of them don’t fully understand it themselves, so elements and details are lost in translation. The ultimate failure is trying to explain it in a matter of minutes - and this is impossible. You have to keep it simple, and then add layers of complexity as each level is understood.

So let me tell you a story.
Meet Ivan. Ivan is an investor. After a recession in the early 2000s, Ivan pulled his money out of the stock market. He wanted a safe investment, but interest rates were very low and because of this, government bonds offered a low return.

You can continue reading here...

Sunday, March 29

Obama Announces His Plan for Afghanistan

The U.S. presence in Afghanistan will not "be an open-ended commitment of infinite resources, President Obama said in an interview aired Sunday.

Obama said security is tenuous in that nation in part because of
neglect in the last U.S. administration. He said he inherited the war and tried to suggest that it was not his war now that he has announce a new strategy for bringing stability to Afghanistan.

Bold "I think it's America's war. And it's the same war that we
initiated after 9/11 as a consequence of those attacks," Obama told CBS' "Face the Nation" on Friday, the day he announced his new plan. "The focus over the last seven years I think has been lost. ... Unless we get a handle on it now, we're gonna be in trouble."

(You can read the rest of the story here.)

Once again, President Obama wants us to know that he "inherited" the problem in Afghanistan. Does anybody else getting tired of his whining? All presidents "inherit" the situations, problems, and missteps of the prior administration. Get over it!

If you read on in the story, Obama's plan calls for increasing the number of troops, increasing aid and there is no exit plan. Sounds vaguely like a plan a guy named George W. Bush had eight years ago for Iran---a plan that he has been widely criticized for.

Hmmm, I hope that works out for O.

GM CEO Steps Down at Request of White House

I always thought that at some point the heads of the automakers might resign, but I never thought they'd retire at the request of the White House. Now we are definitely in uncharted territory.

DETROIT – General Motors Corp. Chairman and CEO Rick
Wagoner will step down immediately at the request of the White House, administration officials said Sunday. The news comes as President Obama prepares to unveil additional restructuring efforts designed to save the domestic auto industry.

The officials asked not to be identified because details of the restructuring plan have not yet been made public. On Monday, Obama is to announce plans to restructure GM and Chrysler LLC in exchange for additional government loans. The companies have been living on $17.4 billion in government aid and have requested $21.6 billion more.

via Associated Press

What You're Getting Served

A pastor of a church in Indiana wrote this interesting look at what can happen when government gets involved in private business.

Think about regulation before you ask for it. Consider carefully the laws you enact. You may get more than you bargain for….

Suppose you legislate against high risk/high reward endeavors. What then?

The brilliant researcher is asked to, “Join our firm. Cancer is destroying thousands of lives and we’re investing everything to find the cure. We need your genius leveraged against this great need. Of course, if we fail – after you’ve invested a decade of your life in our cause – you’ll receive minimal compensation for your effort.”

The courageous physician is asked to, “Come quickly! This patient coded and you are the one we’re counting on to save her life. We need your skill. None of us can do what you can do. Please help us save her! Of course, you should bear in mind that if she dies, you’ll have your salary capped, we’ll publically blame you for the loss and the ensuing lawsuits will take everything you own.”

The remarkable business leader is asked to, “Fix this mess. The company has negotiated some bad deals. Toxic assets are killing us. Not many people could fix this problem; truth is, not many people even understand this problem. Few would even attempt what we’re asking you do to. Of course, you’d do well to remember that if you fail to rescue this industry, fail to deliver seventy-hour-work-weeks for the handsome compensation of $1 per year or fail to make everyone happy, you’ll have your name drug through the mud, your address publicized, your children exposed to angry protestors and your assets taxed into oblivion.”

Do we really want to reduce the reward for risk?

Do we really want to incentivize safety-first, low-level, risk-averse living?

Do we really want to give high-capacity people little reason to produce more and lots of reasons to produce less?

Better pay attention friends. That’s what’s on the table… and it’s about to be served.

Proverbs 28:2 When a nation sins, it will have one ruler after another. But a nation will be strong and endure when it has intelligent, sensible leaders.

Saturday, March 28

Change We Can Believe In?

Thursday, March 26

A History of Toxicity

In response to this post, I found this short Q&A from the Associated Press which I thought gave a little more explanation about what toxic assets are and how Geitner's plan will remove them from bank balance sheets.

What are toxic assets?
Toxic assets are, mostly, the investments backed by risky subprime mortgages that are held by the larger US banks and that have lost value. They hang like shackles from the banks' feet, dragging down their balance sheets and their fortunes.

It started in early 2007, when the mortgage crisis hit and defaults on subprime home loans, those made to borrowers with tarnished credit histories, began to climb. That gutted the value of the mortgage-backed securities---subprime mortgages bundled and sold on Wall Street to investors---held on the books of the big banks.

When the banks---such as Citigroup Iinc., Bank of America Corp, and JPMorgan Chase and Co.---started writing down the value of the securities, they reported billions of dollars of losses. Their capital eroded and they didn't have the money to make loans. Credit dried up. Banks large and small foundered and failed. The crisis was in full throttle.

There now is an estimated $2 trillion in bad assets on banks' books.

How will the new plan for getting toxic assets off banks' balance sheets work?
It's what the government calls a public-private investment partnership, with the goal of scooping up about $500 billion, and eventually $1 trillion, in toxic assets. The government will put in $75 billion to $100 billion taken from its $700 billion financial bailout program.

For every $100 in bad assets being purchased, private investors would put up $7, to be matched by $7 from the government. The remaining $86 would be covered by a government loan, provided in many cases by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.---the same folks who provide insurance to make sure depositors don't lose all their money when a bank fails.

Dear A.I.G., I Quit!

An A.I.G. executive printed his resignation in the New York Times yesterday. It's a great perspective from the other side of the story.

It's a shame what these employees have had to endure for simply doing their job. I applaud Mr. DeSantis for taking the money and giving it to charity, however, I wouldn't have blamed him for keeping it either.

Opie Asks for More Power

Opie Geitner was on Capitol Hill this week asking for congress to grant Treasury and the Federal Reserve new powers to regulate troubled non-bank financial institutions that are deemed to be "too big to fail."

Their plan — if approved by Congress — will give the government new powers to seize and re-organize institutions like insurance companies, investment banks, and hedge funds whose collapse might have significant systemic effects.

Am I the only person who just doesn't like the sound of that?

Wednesday, March 25

Obama Press Conference Recap

I have two confessions to make. First I have been working on this post all day, and at 11pm, it's still not done. That's what happens when the field in front of your neighbor's house catches on fire and you have to watch their kids while four fire trucks take care of business. Despite the fact that the world revolves around Washington politics, life happens.

Second, I have to confess that I was helping kids with homework and completely missed about 75 percent of the press conference. But what I did see assured me that I probably didn't miss much.

If you were also doing homework with your kids last night, then you can read the transcript of the press conference here. I personally like to read the transcripts more than watch the event because then I'm not swayed by O's boyish good looks, suave mannerisms, and smooth talking. That's why I'm not an official member of the White House press corp, they would never fall prey to such amateurish antics.

But since you come here for summary and analysis, let me sum it up for you in three words: Yada, yada, yada. And here's my analysis: Yada, yada, yada.

You know it's a bust when the only thing the "professionals" can point to as the BIG MOMENT was when Ed Henry from CNN had the gall to ask the President why "he didn't spew outrage as soon as he learned about the AIG bonuses. The president, with an icy stare, responded that he 'likes to know what he's talking about' before he speaks."

The big moment. That was it.

But for what it's worth, here are a few of my lingering observations.

Biggest Non-Story: I'm not bothered that O used a teleprompter for his prepared remarks. And neither is Robert. So move on people. What would've been odd is if he used the teleprompter to respond to the questions with prepared answers.

Obligatory Compliment:
I like how orderly his press conferences are and how he calls on a variety of different news outlets. Although I think the NYT and Washington Post are feeling a little slighted today.

Biggest shock of the night: That 1 in 5 kids in America are living on the street. Wow, I'd love to see the source on that stat because I just don't believe it at all. But if it's true, I hope they didn't hear O's answer to the previous question about taxing charitable giving.

The lamest question of the night: Ann Compton from ABC Radio asked that if during his 64 days in office, have any decisions been made because of race? Or have any foreign leaders treated him differently because he is the nation’s first African-American president? Really? We have an economic crisis, two wars, education in a mess, the world burning to a crisp and Ann wants to know if he has had his feelings hurt by other world leaders because of his skin color.

Most Noticeable Absence: Not one question about Iraq and Afghanistan. None. Zilch. There was a question about peace in the Middle East, but nothing about the two countries that dominated the political agenda and news for the last 7 years. I guess it really is about the economy, stupid.

The Best Reassuring Moment: It wasn’t so many tax days ago – five years – that Mr. Obama was in a far lower tax bracket. Now, he is in the highest, so he seemed to speak for the rest of the wealthiest Americans. “It’s not going to cripple them,” Mr. Obama said. “They’ll still be well-to-do." From Jeff Zeleny at the NYT.

That's my take. What's yours?

Tuesday, March 24

Obama on The Tonight Show

I watched President Obama on the Tonight Show last week. He shines in that type of setting. He's one of the guys. The neighbor next door. The dad in the carpool lane.

However, I find it ironic that the forum the President used to speak to the American people is the show that brings us Jaywalking, a popular bit where Jay Leno asks random people on the street questions about current events. What makes the bit work is that the people are usually clueless about what's going on in the world. At times it's down right frightening when they don't know who the current vice president is or the words to the Pledge of Allegiance.

Unfortunately for the President, his laborious and mind numbing explanation of the economy didn't make the news. It was a quick, off the cuff remark he made about Special Olympics that topped the headlines.

Before kids, I worked for Special Olympics for five years as the director of public relations for the PA chapter. So this little problem would've landed on my desk.

Honestly, it was a passing comment and a stupid slip on his part. I don't believe he really understood what he was saying. But what a gold mine of an opportunity for Special Olympics. I know that they last few years have been tough financially for all non-profits and Special Olympics has not been immune from the decline in donations.

I would've had Special Olympics CEO Tim Shriver on every news program forgiving the President and then touting the incredible stories of Special Olympics athletes and their achievements in bowling and the other 30 sports they can compete in year-round.

I also would've challenged the President to a bowling game with several of Special Olympics' best bowlers. I'm afraid the President will need a better score than 127 to even compete. These are true athletes who train and compete seriously.

So don't feel bad for Special Olympics athletes. The President actually did them a favor by drawing attention to a fantastic organization that has impacted millions of lives world wide.

***If you are from the media and reading this, please don't call them "the Special Olympics" or "Special Olympians." Both or those are like nails on a chalkboard to Special Olympics athletes, parents, fans and former PR directors. It is simply "Special Olympics" and they are "athletes" or "Special Olympics athletes."

Monday, March 23

"The 4th Time is a Charm"

That was a quote from an economist I heard on a news show tonight. It only took six months, one boy genius and about 958 trillion dollars, but those who understand this mess seem to think that the plan to buy up the toxic assets is a winner.

Apparently the market agreed since it went up almost 500 points today. I guess Opie Geitner finally proved his worth.

All kidding aside, I wish I could explain this entire mess to you in lay terms but I just don't understand it. I have no idea why anybody would willingly buy bad assets but apparently someone is willing and it is suppose to help us get out from under this mess.

So I'm not going to pretend like I know what is going on with the economy. Instead, I'm going to steer you toward some articles that will provide a better framework and narrative for you.

Then once you understand it, please come back and explain it to me!

My Plan for Bad Bank Assets, Wall Street Journal

Treasury Unveils Details of Plan to Relieve Banks of Toxic Assets, The Washington Post

Will the Geitner Plan Work? David Gergen, CNN

Inside Obama's Economic Brain Trust, NY Mag

Saturday, March 21

Life Happens

I took an unscheduled bloggy break. Life happens and then you realize your last post was a week ago. Ouch.

I'll be back Monday and there is no shortage of topics to discuss:
  • Obama on Leno
  • AIG
  • Omnibus Bill
  • Timothy "Opie" Geitner
  • The teleprompter
  • Congress Passing 90% tax on executive bonuses
What else is on your mind?

Thursday, March 12

Good Reads

Wednesday, March 11

Let Your Voice be Heard: Card Check

Since I posted about card check yesterday, I thought you'd be interested to know that opposition to this labor law is not only from Republicans. This week, President Obama's economic advisor Warren Buffet said he opposed card check while making an appearance on CNBC. Democrat Presidential candidate and former U.S. Senator George McGovern has also come out against this bill.

If you would like your voice heard on this issue, Newt Gingrich, along with Saul Anuzis, is organizing nationwide campaign to stop Congress.

"We are collecting thousands of signatures online to turn into members of Congress and to encourage voters/activists to let their members of Congress know they oppose this reckless legislation, particularly during these tough economic times. Our goal is to protect freedom in the workforce and not encourage fear through intimidation."

You can go to this site to sign the petition! It's quick and easy and lets your voice be heard.

Tuesday, March 10

Employee Free Choice Act or "Card Check"

Today, the Employee Free Choice Act is being introduced in the Senate. This labor-backed bill, also known as “card check”, is designed to make it easier for employees to vote in a union at their workplace.

Let's Look at What We Have Now

Today, the system for forming unions allows employees to vote by secret ballot whether or not a union should be organized within their company. This method allows privacy for employees to make their own choices without outside influences or potential consequences.

The right to a private ballot is fundamental to the American democratic system. Under existing law, a private ballot election is guaranteed and administered by the National Labor Relations Board. This proven method prevents workers from being vulnerable to misinformation, intimidation and coercion by union advocates or company management.

What's Card Check?

Proposed card check legislation replaces secret ballots with a signature drive. If 50 percent of a company's workers sign individual authorization cards that waive the employee right to a secret ballot, collective bargaining automatically begins between employers and union officials.

Employee signatures can be collected and organized by anyone, anywhere. Card check opens a company's break room for unions to use while wrangling employee signatures. Company parking lots would serve as a place for union expansion.

Binding Arbitration

Card check contains a provision that mandates compulsory, binding arbitration on the employer and the employees as part of the collective bargaining process. This would require a third party - a government official - making labor contract decisions that are binding upon both parties. This would mean that the business owner would have no real voice in his own business nor would the now unionized employees be provided with the opportunity to vote on their new contract.

Why does Labor Want Card Check

First, to add due-paying members. Union membership has decreased steadily since their heyday in the 1950s when nearly 35% of the American workforce belonged to a union, compared with 7.5% today. Indeed, even as the economy added more than 9.5 million jobs between 1999 and 2006, unions lost more than 1 million members.

Secondly, according to Forbes Magazine, there has been a major shift in the mentality of the modern-day labor movement, which now regards political advocacy as its main role rather than workplace representation. With card check, however, Big Labor will get more money and added flexibility to pursue its political agenda.

In A Nut Shell

Andy Stern, the head of the SEIU, says the simpler procedure is needed to keep companies from intimidating workers who try to unionize.

Glenn Spencer, who heads the Workforce Freedom Initiative, argues that the loss of a secret ballot will simply allow labor organizers to coerce their co-workers into joining a union whether they want one or not.

If Card Check Passes

You can expect organized labor to target small businesses, hospitals, and hotels who are already struggling under this economy. They also have their sights set on big box companies like Wal-Mart and Home Depot. The unionization of those companies would put many small businesses out of business and drive prices higher for the ones who are still standing.

My Two Cents

It's an all around bad idea...just look at the auto makers.

President Unveils New Education Standards Today

This morning, President Obama will announce new standards that he hopes will improve the nation's schools and better educate future generations. Included in his proposal:
  • The president’s will call today for a merit-pay system for teachers. It would reward with extra compensation teachers who are improving student achievement and taking on new responsibilities, rather than the seniority system that long has been a staple of bargaining agreements with teachers’ unions.
  • Obama will propose increasing the number of charter schools, which operate independently from the regular public school system while still under the authority of local boards.
  • The president also wants to pursue a retooling of the No Child Left Behind Act, championed by former President George W. Bush, to set more uniform and rigorous standards for tests on reading and mathematics in elementary schools.
  • Obama also will reiterate his goal of boosting the number of college graduates. The stimulus package and his fiscal 2010 budget would expand the Pell Grant system, which helps low- income families send children to college.
source: Bloomberg News

President Lift's Restrictions on Stem Cell Research

Pledging that his administration will “make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology,” President Obama on Monday lifted the Bush administration’s strict limits on human embryonic stem cell research.

At a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, Mr. Obama announced that he was issuing an executive order intended to advance the research. He said he hoped Congress would follow with bipartisan legislation that would ease the existing restrictions even more.

The president acknowledged that studying stem cells extracted from human embryos, which are destroyed in the process, is deeply divisive.

“Many thoughtful and decent people are conflicted about, or strongly oppose, this research,” the president said. “I understand their concerns, and we must respect their point of view.”
But Mr. Obama went on to say that the majority of Americans “have come to a consensus that we should pursue this research; that the potential it offers is great, and with proper guidelines and strict oversight the perils can be avoided.”

In making his announcement, Mr. Obama drew a strict line against human cloning, an issue that over the years has become entangled with the debate over human embryonic stem cell research.
He said that he would ensure that his administration “never opens the door” to cloning for human reproduction, adding, “It is dangerous, profoundly wrong and has no place in our society or any society.”

read more here...

Monday, March 9

Treaty Could Infringe on Parental Rights

Sen. Barbara Boxer is urging the U.S. to ratify a United Nations measure meant to expand the rights of children, a move critics are calling a gross assault on parental rights that could rob the U.S. of sovereignty.

The California Democrat is pushing the Obama administration to review the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, a nearly 20-year-old international agreement that has been foundering on American shores since it was signed by the Clinton administration in 1995 but never ratified.

Critics say the treaty, which creates "the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion" and outlaws the "arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy," intrudes on the family and strips parents of the power to raise their children without government interference.

Nearly every country in the world is party to it -- only the U.S. and Somalia are not -- but the convention has gained little support in the U.S. and never been sent to the Senate for ratification.
That could change soon.

The United States Constitution warns that we do not enter into treaties lightly because once a treaty is signed, it becomes law. Under the Supremacy Clause (Article VI) of the U.S. Constitution, ratified treaties preempt state law. Since nearly all laws regarding children in the United States are state laws, this treaty would negate nearly 100% of existing American family law, and grant the federal government and international organizations authority to override parental decisions by applying even to good parents a standard now only used against those parents convicted of abuse or neglect.

Possible results of this treaty could be:
  • parents prohibited from spanking their children
  • parents prohibited from homeschooling their children
  • parents forbidden from deciding their family's religion
  • a ban of youngsters from facing the death penalty regardless of how heinous the crime is or how close to 18 the child is
  • the government the ability to override every decision made by every parent if a government worker disagreed with the parent's decision in the name of their version of "what's best for the child"
  • a child's "right to be heard" would allow him (or her) to seek governmental review of every parental decision with which the child disagreed
  • according to existing interpretation, it would be illegal for a nation to spend more on national defense than it does on children's welfare
  • children would acquire a legally enforceable right to leisure
  • teaching children about Christianity in schools has been held to be out of compliance with the CRC so it could place into jeopardy the ability of parents to send their children to private schools that are not secular in nature
  • allowing parents to opt their children out of sex education would be eliminated
  • children would have the right to reproductive health information and services, including abortions, without parental knowledge or consent
This treaty will transfer responsibilities from the parent to the government, and all parental rights will be forfeited. The government would decide what is in the best interest of a child in every case, and the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child would be considered superior to state laws. Parents could be treated like criminals for making every-day decisions about their children's lives.

As always, the time is now to lobby your representatives in Washington to not ratify this treaty.

sources: Fox News, Political Pistachio, Heading Right

Would You Like Some Pork with that Tea?

Back in February, MSNBC commentator Rick Santelli gave a rant on the floor of the Chicago Merchantile Exchange that criticized the administration's solution to the housing crisis. These are just a few of his comments:

"How about this, new President and new administration, why don't you put up a Web site to have people vote on the see if we really want to subsidize the losers' mortgages."

"Or would we like to at least buy cars and buy houses in foreclosure and give them to people who might have a chance to actually prosper down the road...reward people who could carry the water instead of drink the water."

"President Obama," Santelli continued. "Are you listening? We're thinking of having a Chicago Tea Party in July," Santelli said.

The YouTube video that caught the rant has gone viral and has rallied Americans from coast to coast to have their own tea parties in protest of government spending. My city held their tea party Saturday and my family joined about a thousand other citizens who are fed up with government spending.

My favorite part of the rally was all the signs.

You may not realize it, but there is a growing grass roots protest movement. The best organizational resources are Tax Day Tea Party (nationwide April 15 events), Twitter #teaparty, PJTV’s list of upcoming protests, Re-TeaParty (send teabags to Washington and find July 4 events), and TCOT Report. And one more good one: New American Tea Party. (Thanks to Michelle Malkin for compiling that list).

Has your city had a tea party? Did you attend?

Friday, March 6

650,000 Jobs Lost

The country lost another 650,000 jobs last month while the unemployment rate jumped to 8.1 percent as companies continued to slash payrolls in the face of an unyielding recession.

In the last four months alone, employers shed 2.6 million jobs. Last month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job declines were "widespread across nearly all major industry sectors."

The government also reported that December and January sustained greater job losses than previously calculated. Employers shed 681,000 jobs in December and 655,000 jobs in January. The new December total rivals losses not seen in some 50 years.


Precaution, Style or Mental Crutch?

President Barack Obama doesn’t go anywhere without his TelePrompter. The textbook-sized panes of glass holding the president’s prepared remarks follow him wherever he speaks.

Resting on top of a tall, narrow pole, they flank his podium during speeches in the White House’s stately parlors. They stood next to him on the floor of a manufacturing plant in Indiana as he pitched his economic stimulus plan. They traveled to the Department of Transportation this week and were in the Capitol Rotunda last month when he paid tribute to Abraham Lincoln in six-minute prepared remarks.

Obama’s reliance on the teleprompter is unusual — not only because he is famous for his oratory, but because no other president has used one so consistently and at so many events, large and small.

continue reading here...

At Least it Wasn't a Tie, Right?

This story made me chuckle this morning.

Thursday, March 5

Omnibus Bill is Perfect Opportunity for President to Make Good on His Word

A staple on the campaign trail for President Obama was his promise to reform Washington's budget process by eliminating earmarks and that he'd "scour the federal budget, line by line, and make meaningful cuts."

What a difference four months makes. Or even a few weeks, as it was at his not-quite-a-state-of the-union-address where he reaffirmed his commitment to eliminating pork during this "disastrous" time in our economy.

Now he wants to turn a blind eye to the $410 billion omnibus spending bill with about 8,500 earmarks. This is on top of the $787 billion stimulus bill already signed into law.

The White House justifies the omnibus spending bill as "last year's business." While that may technically be true, it's going to be passed on Obama's watch. What better way to gain the trust of this nation then by holding true to his word and going through that mammoth bill line by line and eliminating wasteful spending. Or, he could even send a larger message by vetoing the legislation. He could even invite Fancy Nancy over for tea and crumpets and charm her into ditching the earmarks on her own. He'd be a hero. A national wonder. A president for the history books. I would even consider voting for him in 2012!

Sorry, I got carried away for a minute and lost my senses.

I think we have a better chance of seeing Newt run for President in '12, than having any of those reasonable solutions happen because Obama has no intention of eliminating earmarks. In my humble opinion, he never did. But it sure does sound good and it swayed a significant number of bitter and Bible-gripping Americans to think he was a genuine moderate that was going to govern from the center.

And, in case you didn't hear him say it the first 439 times, Obama wants us to know that the excessive spending is someone else's responsibility because he "inherited" this poo poo economy. Fine. So that must mean when our President of hope and change has complete and utter control of his own budget, we'll get a balanced budget the likes we haven't seen since the Clinton years and there won't be a single earmark within a mile of it?

Wrong again. Mr. Obama has proposed $4 trillion this fiscal year and $3.6 trillion next fiscal year, yet he still likes to point out how W is the author of today's problems. Well, I think Karl Rove has a great rebuttal for that point:

Mr. Obama cannot dismiss critics by pointing to President George W. Bush's decision to run $2.9 trillion in deficits while fighting two wars and dealing with 9/11 and Katrina. Mr. Obama will surpass Mr. Bush's eight-year total in his first 20 months and 11 days in office, adding $3.2 trillion to the national debt. If America "cannot and will not sustain" deficits like Mr. Bush's, as Mr. Obama said during the campaign, how can Mr. Obama sustain the geometrically larger ones he's flogging?

The House has already approved the Omnibus bill and now it's in the Senate. If you have the time, you can read more about the bill here. I guess we can always hope they change their minds.

Wednesday, March 4

What's Coming in Through the Back Door?

When I was considering whether to come back to this blog, I was concerned that there wouldn't be a ton of topics to write and discuss in non-election years. Even though things in politics are constantly happening, not all of it is blog-worthy. It's just the day-to-day running of the country.

So far, my fears have been completely unfounded. In fact, now what concerns me is the breakneck pace at which the Obama administration is pushing through legislation. Granted, they are trying to make their first 100 days count, but there are so many balls in the air right now that while we are all focused on the economy and the massive federal spending bills, there are so many other things being shuffled in the back door.

Here's one bill that caught my eye as I was looking through all the proposed bills that are before congress right now:

H.J. Res 5
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the twenty-second article of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as President.

The U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary is considering a bill that would repeal the Constitution's 22nd Amendment prohibiting a president from being elected to more than two terms in office. Rep. Jose Serrano, D-NY, introduced the bill.

That sure would be an appropriate bill for his majesty.

Next up...The Fairness Doctrine!

Tuesday, March 3

What does Bobby Jindal have in common with The Brady Bunch?

He's named after Bobby Brady.

Just a little trivia that was discussed on Sunday's 60 Minutes interview with Gov. Jindal that gives a fascinating look at Jindal's personal and political life.

Even though he gave a lackluster rebuttal speech to President Obama's quasi-State of the Union address, he shows great promise for the Republican party. In fact, I like him even more after watching this segment.

Thanks to Robin at Life is Like Champagne for the link.

Dear Presiden Obama

(Laura from Omaha, NE sent me this letter that she is sending to President Obama. I think it sums up nicely the way a lot of conservatives are feeling right now).

Dear President Obama,

“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who are not.” Thomas Jefferson.

“It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.” Psalm 118:8

President Obama, I do not trust you or your democrat led Congress. I do not agree with a majority of the policies and beliefs that you have. I am certain I never will agree with you. I am concerned about a myriad of topics, but have chosen to focus on one in this letter. You need to know how the citizens of this country feel about the items you are signing into legislation.

These items are being passed swiftly without even allowing taxpayers and the people serving in CONGRESS to READ THEM before they are voted on. That is underhanded and sneaky. Anyone who condones and/or participates in this behavior is not fit to serve the United States of America in any form. They should not be trusted to make the decisions for our nation. I do not trust any lawmaker who would not allow a citizen of this country to research and gain a full understanding of how our tax dollars are being spent before the fact. We are slowly learning the details after the bill was signed into law. I know I am extremely upset about a majority of the spending included in the “stimulus” package. I also know I am not the only one.

With the new multi-billion dollar economic stimulus plan you signed into law recently, welfare cuts made in the 90’s have been replaced with a huge increase in welfare benefits available to states. I believe this increase in benefits is promoting current welfare recipients to continue receiving benefits. It will motivate more people to do what is necessary to receive benefits (conceive fatherless dependents). Where is the positive motivation for people to support themselves and their families? Why are you rewarding people for behavior that does not benefit personal advancement? Why are you perpetuating a vicious cycle of dependency? Why are you going to punish my family and every family that has played by the rules?

I have absolutely no problem helping a person who is in need of temporary assistance. You never know when you will be down on your luck and need TEMPORARY help from outside sources such as a local food bank, a homeless shelter or as a last resort, the government. As long as you are ACTIVELY pursuing a solution to solve your problem (employment, job training, college, etc.), it is ok for people needing help for a short time.

I teach in a school with a high rate of poverty and I am appalled at the slovenly, entitled behavior I see from my students and their parents. When you keep giving people handouts with no expectation of their advancement and you do not hold them accountable for the benefits they receive, you are promoting the cycle of poverty. There are kids having kids in the neighborhood where I work and no one is showing them a way out. As an educator, I can talk until I am blue in the face about the importance of internal motivation and how vital a post-secondary education (I understand that college is not for everyone, but some kind of post-secondary training is) is for success. When those students walk out the door of the school and return to their environment and see what their culture deems acceptable, all of my talk was for naught.

As a president who prides himself on bringing people HOPE and CHANGE, I find it ironic that you are not doing anything to give them HOPE and CHANGE. Your policies are working to keep them entrenched in their current poverty situation. All they are getting is a new and improved government check (more benefits) with no strings attached. These people need to see from their families, local, state and national leaders that welfare benefits are a TEMPORARY fix for a TEMPORARY situation, not a lifetime pass for a ride on the government gravy train. The true goal of welfare needs to be to help families move to employment and self-sufficiency and off of LONG TERM dependence on government assistance.

Dr. Adrian Rogers said "You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

My family prides itself on being self-sufficient. However, the new welfare policy YOU signed into office is threatening to take that freedom away from us in the form of higher taxes. And don’t tell me my taxes are not going to be affected by this piece of legislation. How are you planning on paying for this massive “economic stimulus plan” if not for raising taxes? You are robbing Peter to pay Paul and that is not ethical or responsible. You are reaching further and further into the pockets of average people who are also struggling, but are responsible enough to take accountability for their life and their problems.

My husband and I both come from lower-middle class families. We did not have extravagant childhoods. We are both the first generation in our families to graduate from college and I went on to get my master’s degree. We work hard to support our growing family and have our basic needs met. We have late model vehicles, a comfortable but average house in a nice neighborhood and we enjoy spending time doing simple things as a family and with friends. Again, we work hard for what we have and we work hard to keep it. If we are ever in the situation where we need TEMPORARY assistance, the government will be the last place we turn. We take great pride in our ability to provide for our family. How are you going to build pride in people who are used to having everything given to them? How are you going to build an internal motivation factor for them to work to support themselves?

I reiterate, the focus of welfare should be a temporary solution to a short-term problem. The bill you signed into law does very little to promote self-sufficiency or personal growth for the people receiving welfare benefits. In order to bring people true HOPE, you must offer them a way to help themselves from the dark depths of poverty and welfare dependency, not make it easier for them to fall into the poverty cycle.

I am sure you have heard the phrase “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.” President Obama, please stop handing people fish and start giving people HOPE. TRUE HOPE that their future can be better than their past. They can learn new skills; they can get a job; they can support their family and not rely on government assistance.

I’d like to share a bible verse that is a personal favorite. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11. Help the needy citizens of your country find TRUE HOPE and a FUTURE where they are not dependent on the government to support their lifestyle.

“I am doing good for the poor, but I differ in opinion of the mean. I think the best way of doing good to the poor is not making them easy in their poverty, but leading or driving them out of it,” Benjamin Franklin.

Laura from Omaha, NE

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