Saturday, August 27, 2011

Casey Anthony in Probation Protection Program

For security reasons, Casey Anthony will be serving one year of probation--possibly outside of Florida--for an unrelated check fraud charge in an undisclosed location according to
The Florida Department of Corrections will not be putting her photo and information on their website, and a judge has blocked public release of her personal information.
Judge Belvin Perry imposed the 12-month probation term earlier this month. Subsequently an appeals court ruled against Anthony's claim that she had already served her probation while she was in jail awaiting her murder trial, in which she was subsequently found not guilty.

Anthony secretly sat down with her probation officer on Wednesday and must meet with him in person once a month.

Follow the Path of Hurricane Irene

Will Hurricane Irene, currently Category 1, be less severe than projections? If so, is the media guilty of engendering ratings-motivated hysteria similar to what they do for impending, "end of the world" snowstorms?

Click here for the Weather Channel's hurricane tracker.

Contessa Brewer Loses MSNBC Anchor Gig

Obama-worshipping MSNBC anchor (is that redundant?) Contessa Brewer, who famously made a complete fool of herself in challenging Congressman Mo Brooks' economic credentials, has lost her anchor gig on the network. Apparently she will remain affiliated with the network in some capacity, however.

Michelle Obama's Excellent Vacations

Hurricane Irene forced the Obamas to cut short their summer vacation near Cape Cod in Massachusetts. It's been reported that the president and his wife for some reason flew to and from Martha's Vineyard on separate jets--on the taxpayer's dime of course. Last August, NY Daily News columnist Andrea Tantaros wrote that "Michelle Obama seems more like a modern-day Marie Antoinette" given the first lady's luxury vacation in Spain, in which she and her entourage flew on a government plane accompanied by a large taxpayer-funded security detail.

Even White House staffers are becoming uneasy according to the Daily Mail in the UK:
White House sources today claimed that the First Lady has spent $10 million of U.S. taxpayers' money on vacations alone in the past year. Branding her 'disgusting' and 'a vacation junkie', they say the 47-year-old mother-of-two has been indulging in five-star hotels, where she splashes out on expensive massages and alcohol. The 'top source' told the National Enquirer: 'It's disgusting. Michelle is taking advantage of her privileged position while the most hardworking Americans can barely afford a week or two off work.
As Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr observes, "The first family came in separate planes, and they’re leaving, ditto. Hey, it’s only money, our money."

Can you imagine the outcry if someone like Laura Bush was running up this kind of vacation tab especially with the economy on the skids?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Super-Rich Obama Supporters Should Cough Up More Dough

All this talk of tax policy and governmental budgeting makes our eyes glaze over. One thing that's clear is that federal spending is out of control, in part because a swarm of overpaid, over-pensioned do-nothing bureaucrats and regulators--many probably sitting around playing solitaire on their computer terminals--stand (or sit) in the way of bringing the economy back.

These include the "unessential employees" that somehow never have to report to work during a snow storm. As was demonstrated in Wisconsin, it is unreasonable to force taxpayers to pay higher taxes to fund lavish public sector salaries, pensions, and benefits. Public employees should be subject to the same marketplace forces as their private-sector counterparts.

Romney recently caught a lot of flak for saying that "corporations are people too." As a matter of law, a corporation is considered a "person." For the broader electorate, however, wouldn't it be better if he said something like "Yes, corporations like General Election which didn't pay any taxes along with other similarly situated Obama corporate cronies should pay more taxes."

In an Op-Ed yesterday, billionaire Warren Buffett says the super-rich should pay more taxes. Fine. The U.S. Treasury accepts voluntary payments, so Buffett (and Matt Damon and other fat-cat Obama supporters and donors in Hollywood, on Wall Street, and elsewhere) should open their own checkbooks if they really believe in continuing to prop up the bureaucratic welfare state. That way the entrepreneurs and small businessmen and women--the real job creators--can perhaps be left alone.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Atlanta Appeals Court Finds Obamacare Unconstitutional

Another setback for socialized medicine:
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday ruled that the health care reform law’s requirement that nearly all Americans buy insurance is unconstitutional, a striking blow to the legislation that increases the odds the Supreme Court will choose to review the law.

The suit was brought by 26 states — nearly all led by Republican governors and attorneys general — and the National Federation of Independent Business. The Department of Justice is expected to appeal.

The 2-1 ruling marks the first time a judge appointed by a Democrat has voted to strike down the mandate. Judge Frank Hull, who was nominated by former President Bill Clinton, joined Chief Judge Joel Dubina, who was appointed by George H.W. Bush, to strike down the mandate.
Since the original legislation has no severability clause (i.e., that would allow some parts of it to go forward but not others), the Supreme Court will ultimately have to decide whether the law can indeed stand without the individual mandate.

One practical issue apart from the constitutional questions (that is sometimes lost in the shuffle) is that the individual mandate would be one-size-fits-all (effectively prohibiting high deductible or cafeteria plans), thereby resulting in increased premiums for everyone.

Separately, the administration lost another round in federal court in connection with oil exploration rules:
A judge on Friday threw out Obama administration rules that sought to slow down expedited environmental review of oil and gas drilling on federal land. U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal ruled in favor of a petroleum industry group, the Western Energy Alliance, in its lawsuit against the federal government, including Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. The ruling reinstates Bush-era expedited oil and gas drilling under provisions called categorical exclusions on federal lands nationwide, Freudenthal said.

Would You Believe The Wisconsin Unions Still Don't Get It?

If anyone out there remembers the TV series Get Smart (not the awful 2008 Steve Carell movie remake), one of the signature catch phrases of Maxwell Smart (Don Adams) was "Would you believe..."?)

As it relates to Wisconsin's greedy public sector unions, Maxwell Smart might ask "Would you believe that after failing to stop the budget and collective bargaining reforms, unions would try and fail to defeat Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser, and then fail to gain control of the state senate in the recall elections after spending $30 million according to some estimates?"

Yet, despite being 0 for 3, Big Labor is still claiming it will try to recall Gov. Scott Walker next year.

Yes, you would find that hard to believe!

As the Hillbuzz website explains:
Already, Governor Walker’s reforms pertaining to the public sector unions have saved Wisconsin millions — and in some districts have rescued budgets from the red, eliminating the need for layoffs.
Democrats and the labor unions are tied at the hip, as one cannot exist without the other, and both need as much tax money funneled into the Democrat Party as possible to survive.

From The Wall Street Journal:
In the six months since Governor Scott Walker introduced his reforms, Big Labor and Democrats have tried to make the Badger State a national demonstration that some political lines can't be crossed. Union power, once granted, is sacrosanct. Even President Obama denounced Mr. Walker. The legislative brawl consumed Madison in European-style protests and turned a judicial election into a national spectacle before the law was upheld by the state supreme court. On Tuesday, voters delivered another verdict, favoring Republicans in four of six state senate recall elections and keeping the GOP in the majority...
Part of the Democratic problem is that their predictions of calamity haven't come true. The Walker reforms have given local school districts the ability to renegotiate union contracts and save money, preventing teacher layoffs. In such communities as Ashland, Kimberly, Baraboo and Appleton, officials were able to dump union-affiliated health insurance plans in favor of cost-saving private competitors.
[As an aside, one of the few, if any, useful things ever said on NBC's The Apprentice reality show was that the best leader doesn't necessarily need the loudest voice.]

Here is Gov. Walker on MSNBC:

Monday, August 8, 2011

Mo Brooks, American Hero

Liberals in the news media and entertainment world have made a fortune in the private sector, yet they seem to reflexively worship any expansion of big government--a bureaucratic, tax-and-spend monstrosity that eventually would undermine their own success and that of their family, friends, and industry, as well as the country itself. Can someone please explain this? Why would any reasonable person favor transforming the most economically successful country in world history into a failed socialist state? In any event, here is a case in point that should be included in the MSNBC (a.k.a. BSNBC) highlight reel. This epic fail has been making the rounds of the Internet, but in case you haven't seen it, anchor Contessa Brewer--credentials unknown--makes a complete fool of herself in asking Representative Mo Brooks about his economic background.

Brooks, who represents Alabama's fifth congressional district and who voted against the debt-ceiling bill, graduated from Duke University in three years with a double major in political science and economics, with highest honors in economics according to his official biography. In 1978, he graduated from the University of Alabama Law School.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Taliban Helicopter Attack Kills SEAL Team 6 Members

Terrible news from Afghanistan:
Thirty-one members of the American special forces have been killed in Afghanistan in the deadliest military incident of the 10-year war after the Taliban shot down a US helicopter.
The majority of the dead were from Navy Seal Team 6, the unit that killed Osama bin Laden in a night-time raid deep into Pakistan, but are unlikely to be the same personnel.
[Source: Guardian UK]

The Taliban claimed credit for the attack. According to ABC News, "A total of 38 people were on board the Chinook helicopter when it crashed overnight in the eastern Afghan province of Wardak." The New York Times adds that "The helicopter, on a night-raid mission in the Tangi Valley of Wardak Province, to the west of Kabul, was most likely brought down by a rocket-propelled grenade, one coalition official said."

Donations to the families can be made at the Navy SEAL Foundation website.

Casey Anthony Look-alike Nearly Killed in Road Rage Incident

Perhaps the security surrounding Casey Anthony's release from jail after being found not guilty in the death of Cayleee Anthony was justified. Recently, an Oklahoma convenience store clerk almost lost her life in a traffic crash merely because she looked like Casey Anthony. When this attack occurred, Anthony was still being held in Orange County (Fla.) jail.

The suspect who smashed into the Oklahoma woman's vehicle was charged with assault and battery with a deadly weapon.

Here's an account from the Oklahoma City media:

Did Obama "Dream" Of His Mother's Health Insurance Woes?

Well, it wouldn't be the first time that proponents of socialized medicine made up insurance horror stories that didn't hold up under scrutiny.

Was it an urban myth that President Obama's other was denied cancer treatment coverage? Politico suggests that this might be the case:
President Barack Obama’s mother had no major problems with her health insurance coverage at the time she was dying of ovarian cancer in 1995, a new book about her life claims, raising questions about the accuracy of a story that Obama often told on the campaign trail in 2008.
New York Times reporter Janny Scott’s “A Singular Woman: The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mother” says that Ann Dunham’s health insurance covered most of the costs of her medical treatment, leaving her to pay the deductible and any uncovered expenses. Those came to several hundred dollars a month.
On her blog, Michelle Malkin described it as the "Expanding Catalogue of Obamacare Fables":
Personal anecdotes of dying family members battling evil insurance execs deflect attention from the cost, constitutionality and liberty-curtailing consequences of the law. The president’s Dunham sham-ecdote is just the latest entry in an ever-expanding catalogue of Obamacare fables...
Since Obamacare passed, the amount workers pay in health care premiums has soared an average of nearly 14 percent; thousands of businesses have sought waivers in search of relief from the law’s onerous mandates; medical device makers have slashed jobs and research; and the private individual health insurance market is in critical condition.
Again, in general dealing with an insurance company can be enough to make you sick even on a good day, but does anyone really believe that a featherbedding government bureaucracy will be an improvement?

Leftists Who Falsely Accused Tea Party of Violent Rhetoric Use Violent Rhetoric Against Tea Party

In the aftermath of the horrible Tuscon shooting, liberals in the political and media world immediately made the ridiculous and now-debunked claim that Tea Party activism was somehow responsible. But their demands to tone down the rhetoric or so-called violent imagery did not stop them from accusing ordinary, law-abiding Americans who love their country and their freedom of being terrorists during the debt-ceiling debate.

Writing for the American Spectator website, George Neumayr summs it up:
"Civility" is synonymous with the advancement of liberalism, so nothing they could possibly say about Tea Partiers, no matter how nasty, conflicts with it. On the other hand, Tea Partiers, according to this logic, are inherently uncivil for refusing to argue within the narrow parameters of debate set up by the establishment....The assumption underlying these insults is that the Tea Party harbors an extreme and lawless ideology. In reality, it merely proposes fiscal prudence and respect for the law and Constitution. The recklessness in U.S. politics comes not from the Tea Party but from the establishment as it runs up trillions of dollars in debt....All the terms of invective used against the Tea Party more accurately capture the banditry and indulgence of the establishment. What is "responsible" about spending money that the U.S. government doesn't have? What is "balanced" about running up debt at a slightly lower rate?

Bernie Goldberg (among others) also analyzed the situation on FNC:

The Washington Times has more.

In General Counsel is Back Like a Bad Penny--Or a Shiny Quarter

Owing to a heavy writing/editing workload, this blog lapsed into dormancy, but we're back! We expect to resume regular postings going forward especially since we're approaching the third anniversary of this blog. Thanks for reading, and please continue to stop by.